Specialty Contractors- Water Extraction Cleaning-Mitigation-Restoration-Remediation

Water mitigation is the process of reducing or preventing the amount of waterdamage that happens after a flood or a permeating leak. It prevents additional damage by taking fast, appropriate actions.

One type of specialty contractor is the restoration or emergency service provider. They are the ones who are most aware of the need for speedy responses. Their equipment listing is composed of fans and dehumidifiers to get rid of the moisture that accumulates in the home

Specialty contractor” means a contractor who performs work on a structure, project, development or improvement and whose operations as such do not fall within the definition of “general contractor.”A specialty contractor is a contractor whose operations as such are the performance of construction work requiring special skill and whose principal contracting business involves the use of specialized building trades or crafts.

Water damage describes a large number of possible losses caused by water intruding where it will enable attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, and many others.A clause in a property-casualty insurance contract. A water damage clause states that the insured is covered for water damage that occurs for specific reasons, such as frozen pipes or sewer backup. Water damage clauses are therefore usually included in most homeowners and renters’ policies.

Fire damage refers to the physical damage to a property as a result of burning. Thisdamage may either be directly caused by the flames or could occur due to smoke and other corrosive substances emitted by the fire. In terms of insurance, fire damage is one of the types of coverage offered in property insurance.

Sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) is a condition in which untreated sewage is discharged from a sanitary sewer into the environment prior to reaching sewage treatment facilities. When caused by rainfall it is also known as wet weather overflow.


Water Damage

Disaster mitigation measures are those that eliminate or reduce the impacts and risks of hazards  through proactive measures taken before an emergency or disasteroccurs. 

Disaster recovery (DR) involves a set of policies and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster.

ANSI/IICRC S500-2015 provides a specific set of practical standards for water damage restoration. It does not attempt to teach comprehensive water damage restoration procedures; rather, it provides the foundation for basic principles of proper restoration practices. ANSI/IICRC S500-2015 does not attempt to include exhaustive performance characteristics or standards for the manufacture or installation of structural components, materials and contents (personal property).

ANSI/IICRC S500-2015 Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration is a procedural standard. It is based on reliable restoration principles, research and practical experience. In addition, there has been extensive consultation and information obtained from numerous sources. These sources include, but are not necessarily limited to the scientific community, international, national and regional trade associations serving the professional restoration industry, chemical formulators and equipment manufacturers, cleaning and restoration training schools, restoration service companies, the insurance industry, allied trades persons and others with specialized experience. It is subject to further revision as developments occur in technology, testing and processing procedures.

Wet Hardwood Floor

According the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification), which sets the standards for the cleaning industry and water damage restoration training, there are several different levels and classes involved in liquid destruction. From the IICRC’s S-500 standards,
3 categories  of  Water Damage
•    Category 1. This is liquid from a clean and sanitary source, such as faucets, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, etc. But, category one can quickly degrade into category two.
•    Category 2. This category of liquid used to be called grey water, and is described as having a level of contaminates that may cause illness or discomfort if ingested. Sources include dishwasher or washing machine overflows, flush from sink drains, and toilet overflow with some urine but not feces.
•    Category 3. This is the worst classification and is grossly unsanitary. It could cause severe illness or death if ingested. It used to be called black water, and sources include sewer backup, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces, and stagnant liquid that has begun to support bacterial growth.

4 Classes of Water Damage 

•    Class 1. The lowest and easiest to deal with, this has a slow evaporation rate. Only part of a room or area was affected, there is little or no wet carpet, and the moisture has only affected materials with a low permeance rate, such as plywood or concrete.
•    Class 2. With a fast evaporation rate, this level affects an entire room, carpeting, or cushioning, the wetness has wicked up the walls at least 12”, and there is moisture remaining in structural materials.
•    Class 3. This class has the fastest evaporation rate, and ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet and sub-floors are all saturated. The liquid may have come from overhead.
•    Class 4. This class is labeled as specialty drying situations, which means there has been enough liquid and time to saturate materials with very low permeance, such as hardwood, brick, or stone.

Category of Water: (source of the water)  Category 1 (a.k.a. “clean”) – originates from a sanitary water source  Category 2 (a.k.a. “gray”) – contaminated; may cause discomfort or sickness  Category 3 (a.k.a. “black”) – grossly contaminated; includes toxins, pathogens Special Situations – regulated or hazardous materials Class of Water: (quantity; anticipated evaporation rate; initial dehumidifier calculations)  Class 1 – least amount of water, absorption and evaporation  Class 2 – large amount of water, absorption and evaporation (carpet; cushion; base of walls)  Class 3 – greatest amount of water, absorption and evaporation (ceiling; walls; insulation; flooring)  Class 4 – specialty drying – (hardwood; plaster; concrete) – deep pockets of saturation Principles of Drying: Remove excess / evaporation / dehumidification (ventilation) / temperature control Extraction tools:  Light wand – perimeter of water loss; extract glue-down carpets  Stationary tool (e.g., Water claw) – subsurface tool; extract carpet and cushion  Self-propelled tools (e.g., Rover; Xtreme Xtractor) – riding tool; multi-speed; extract carpet and cushion  Vacuum squeegee – concrete; hardwood; vinyl; laminate Evaporation tools:  Airmovers – centrifugal (laminar); axial (high-amperage; low amperage; focus ability) o placement – 1 for every 10-16 linear ft. of wall area; 15-45 degree focus; almost touching wall o safety screens – intake and output areas; clean with compressed air; do not block intake o electrical safety – lightweight extension cords; three-prong plugs; maintain electrical cord safety  Structural Cavity Drying Systems (SCDS) o vented (e.g., Turbovents 18”-48” widths; Octi-dry; Omni-dry; Air Wolf) o injected (e.g., Injectidry; Dri-Force; Direct-it In)  Floor Drying Systems o vented (e.g., Air Wolf) o injected – negative air mats (e.g., Dri-Force; Injectidry)  Air Filtration Devices – AFDs (negative air machines – NAM; air scrubbers; HEPA filters) Dehumidification equipment: AHAM rating – pints removed at 80º F / 60% RH in 24 hours Type Reduced Performance Type Dehumidifier Temperature Relative Humidity Specific Humidity (gpp) Standard refrigerant 68º F. / 20º C 60% 55-60 Conventional 33º F. / 1º C 40% 55-60 Low Grain Refrigerant (LGR) 40º F. / 4º C 30% 28-35 Desiccant (with silica gel) 32º F. / 0º C – below 10% – below 10-15 – below  Refrigerants – Most efficient operating conditions 70º – 90º F. (most energy efficient)  Desiccants – most efficient with incoming air from coolest/driest air possible; capable of creating pressure differentials; produces low specific humidity required to dry Class 4 materials  Uses – closed-drying environments; multiple layers of materials; security limitations; high outside (and inside) humidity conditions; no ventilation ports; basement areas Initial dehumidification calculations (psychrometric readings dictate further requirements after first day) Type Class 1 Class 2 Class 3 Class 4 Conventional 100 40 30 N/A LGR 100 50 40 50 Desiccant 1 ACH 2 ACH 3 ACH 2 ACH Electrical / Heat / Energy:  Amperes (amperage or “amps”) – the amount of electricity (current) flowing in a circuit  Voltage – the force of electricity flow in a circuit  Watts – the amount of electricity an electrical device uses when operating  British Thermal Units (BTUs) – heat generated by electrical device o Formula – amps x volts x 3.4 = British Thermal Units (Btu) per hour o HVAC – unit removes 12,000 Btu per ton  Residential v. commercial – generally, residential 15 amp / commercial 20 amp  220 splitters – use where there is limited amperage or fuses  Use no more than two, five-amp airmovers per 100 ft., 12 gauge extension cord  Power consumption formula – volts x amps x 24 hours = watts ÷ 1000 = kw x cost per kw per day Inspection equipment:  Moisture sensor – senses moisture in materials over 17% MC; helps determine perimeter of water damage; unable to determine which layer is wet or when dry  Thermo-hygrometer – determines temperature / RH in all required atmospheric areas of inspection; helps determine open or closed drying system; further determines dehumidifier requirements after initial placement  Moisture meters – invasive and non-invasive; determines moisture content; establish, monitor and determine when dry standards are met  Miscellaneous – infrared camera and thermometer; manometer; borescopes; data loggers Chemicals / biocides (antimicrobials)  Sterilizer; disinfectant; sanitizer  Provide written informed consent to customer; advise occupants to leave during application; document  Government-registered disinfectants – document application details; apply only per label directions  EPA – Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. federal agency with regulatory control over biocides)  F.I.F.R.A. – Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act – U.S. federal regulations administered by EPA Floorcovering carpet:  installation methods – stretch-in, direct glue-down, double glue-down  drying methods – in-place, full float, partial float  construction – woven – Axminster, Wilton; usually natural fibers; tufted – primarily synthetic  delamination – separation of primary – secondary backings; laminate strength loss up to 85% when wet  Category 3 – must remove and dispose; IEP may be required for testing Floorcovering cushion (also known as padding, underlay):  types – foam (prime, bonded urethane); rubber; felt (hair/jute, synthetic); porous and non-porous  Category 2 and 3 – must remove and dispose; if Category 2 – hot water extraction of carpet Floorcovering wood (strip wood, plank wood, engineered – laminated wood, parquet)  non-destructive (non-rotting) fungal growth – over 16% MC  destructive (dry rot) fungal growth – over 20% MC  fiber saturation (wet rot) – 28 – 30% MC  damages from moisture – (cupping; crowning; buckling; heaving)  dry within 2-4 percentage points of EMC drying goal Floorcovering (laminate; resilient, tile)  limitations (trapped water, potential asbestos, ceramic tile – sealed grout; trapped water)  layers of floorcovering; dry flooring as a system Microbiology (fungus; bacteria; virus)  conditions for growth o organic food source (cellulose) o moisture (or high humidity) o temperature (most prolific 68-86º F. / 20-30º C.) o stagnant air o time (some 1-2 days; others up to 10-12 days in chronic conditions)  ANSI/IICRC S520 – Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation  Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) – specialized experts may be required  Mycotoxin – a potentially harmful metabolite produced by some fungi, especially molds.  Endotoxin – a portion of the outer cell wall of some gram-negative bacteria. When ingested or respired, endotoxins can cause fever, changes in white blood cell counts, increased airway resistance, shock and even death. Psychrometry definitions:  Psychrometry – study of the relationship between air, humidity and temperature and their effect on various materials and comfort levels  Psychrometric chart – chart consisting of lines and curves that shows the relationship between air volume, temperature and relative humidity, and from which a variety of other information (specific humidity, dew point, vapor pressure, etc.) relating to drying may be determined  Dew point – the temperature at which humidity in air reaches saturation (100% RH) and will condense from that air to form condensation or “dew” on surfaces.  Evaporation – the process of changing a liquid to a vapor  Primary damage – damage sustained as a result of direct exposure with water.  Secondary damage – damage sustained from indirect or prolonged exposure to disaster contaminants  Relative Humidity (RH) – the amount of moisture in a given volume of air, expressed as a percentage of the total moisture holding capacity of that volume of air, at a given temperature. As temperature increases, humidity „relative‟ to the total air volume decreases; conversely, as temperature decreases, RH increases.  Humidity ratio (specific humidity) – the weight of suspended moisture in air expressed in grains per pound (gpp) of dry air (14 cubic feet of dry air equals one pound). 7000 grains of water vapor equals one pound of water. As specific humidity (humidity ratio) changes, there is a corresponding change in vapor pressure on the surrounding environment.  Grains of moisture per pound (gpp) – unit to measure specific humidity (humidity ratio), or the weight of moisture in air, expressed in grains per pound (gpp) of dry air.  Balanced drying – ideal drying situation in which the rate of evaporation is equal to or slightly less than the rate of dehumidification or ventilation.  Dehumidification / ventilation – reducing (exchanging) moisture content of air  Dry bulb temperature – temperature registered by a thermometer  Hygroscopic – material that readily absorbs and retains moisture or water vapor from air in an attempt to reach equilibrium.  Moisture content (MC) – weight or percentage of moisture in materials, as compared to the weight of oven-dried, like material. (Wood with 10% MC indicates that 100 pounds of that wood contains 10 pounds of water and 90 pounds of wood).  Permeance – a measure of water flow through material(s) of specific thickness.  Sublimation – phase-transition in which a solid is transformed into a gas while bypassing the intermediate liquid phase (e.g., dry ice; freeze drying).  Vapor pressure – pressure on surfaces exerted by substances in a gaseous state; directly related to (reduced through) dehumidification.  Vapor barrier – material through which moisture can‟t readily pass (permeance factor of 1 or less).  Saturation – point at which air or materials can absorb no more moisture; point at which drying stops; point at which air temperature has reached dew point (100% RH).  Grain depression – reduction of specific humidity (grains; gpp) as noted in difference from ambient air to output on dehumidifier, and as well noted in other area differentials (e.g., inside air – outside air; affected air – unaffected air; ambient air – HVAC register output) showing moisture removal Balanced drying characteristics:  Humidity, airflow and temperature “HAT” work together and when managed, enable achieving target time for drying  “HAT” all influence movement toward equilibrium – wet seeks dry; hot seeks cold; high vapor pressure seeks low vapor pressure  Vapor pressure is directly related to humidity ratio (specific humidity) and dew point  As heat is applied to a material, energy is added; raising the temperature of a wet material increases the rate of evaporation, further releasing moisture from the material, changing the internal vapor pressure  The greater the difference between ambient temperature and dew point temperature, the greater the potential for faster and more efficient drying.  Open drying – intentionally exchanging indoor with outdoor air without using dehumidifiers o requires constant monitoring; above 80ºF/ 27ºC – microbial growth highly probable o requires rapid exhausting of wet air; concerns of reaching dew point temperature  Closed drying – use of mechanical dehumidification  Heat drying systems – creates lower RH; requires rapid and massive ventilation of wet air to the exterior; increases rate of evaporation by increasing the surface temperature of wet materials Common items to all drying jobs:  Proper authorization (contract, payment terms, responsible parties)  Protect contents from further damages; identify primary, secondary, and pre-existing damages  Activation of site assets (ceiling fans, whole-house fans, exhaust vents, HVAC, open drying)  Initiate extraction procedures (contain migrating water; remove excess moisture)  Set up evaporation and dehumidification (ventilation) equipment to promote drying  Customer communication; determine drying goals  Project monitoring (frequency, activities, forms, documentation)  Completion procedures (e.g., clean flooring; demolition; reconstruction, as required) Other Common Industry Acronyms:  AHAM – Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers  ANSI – American National Standards Institute  CRI – Carpet and Rug Institute  NADCA – National Air Duct Cleaners Association  OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration  PLRB – Property Loss Research Bureau  SCRT (ISCT) – Society of Cleaning and Restoration Technicians  WLI – Water Loss Institute  ASHRAE – American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers  ACH – air changes per hour  ACM – asbestos containing material  BBP – bloodborne pathogen  gpp – grains per pound (g/kg) – grains per kilogram  HEPA filter – High Efficiency Particle Air filter  IH – industrial hygienist  LKQ – Like Kind and Quality  MVOC – microbial volatile organic compound  EMC – equilibrium moisture content  ERH – equilibrium relative humidity  MSDS – material safety data sheet  aw – water activity

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Call a Local Damage/Disaster Company

Homeowners typically call their insurance right away when a disaster happens. While it is important to call the insurance in a timely manner, there are a few good reasons why calling your local damage or disaster company first makes more sense.

For one, in some cases you may decide not to go through your insurance – and how would you know that until you have someone assess the damage? Some insurances have high deductibles, and if the damage is under that amount it makes sense to avoid a claim on your record. If you’ve filed claims in the past, you may also be worried about your rate going up or even worse – getting your policy canceled. Once again, your disaster relief company can assess the damage and advise you on whether you should go forward with insurance.

Another reason to call a disaster relief company first is that they will pretty much handle everything for you. After you get the initial assessment and advice on if you should use your insurance, pretty much the only thing you will have to do is call in the claim. From there, the disaster relief company will clean up the disaster, gather evidence, get estimates, deal with the insurance adjuster, negotiate to get you the most claims money, and help you rebuild, restore or upgrade your home afterward. Calling the disaster relief company first is an ideal way to take the stress off of yourself in this difficult situation.

A final, and perhaps the most important, reason to call your local damage/disaster company first is that the insurance company will try to pressure you to use their ‘preferred provider.’ By law, it is your right to choose your own disaster relief company ( Water Damage Restoration Services)! However, the insurance will try to pressure you to choose one of their selected providers and it’s typically not in your best interest to go with them. Here’s why:

  • The insurance company wants you to use that provider because they have special pricing arrangements with that provider.
  • Because of that, the ‘preferred provider’ of disaster relief services is splitting their interests – they are not just working for you – they are actually working for the insurance company!
  • Since they work with the insurance company, they will try to keep prices down (or else they won’t be a preferred provider anymore and will lose valuable referral business).
  • Keeping prices down means that using the preferred provider may impact the quality of the work you get and the amount of money you get in your insurance claim.

You have a right to do research and choose the disaster relief company that YOU think is best.To find a disaster relief company, you can search Google for ‘restoration company’ and then your location (city or county). You can also search for your specific disaster – for example ‘water damage company’ and then your location.

So what are you looking for when you choose a disaster relief company?

  • A company that provides 24/7 support so you can get help right away.
  • A company with a fast response time and can get to you soon.
  • A company with certified and trained staff.
  • A company with a good reputation.
  • A company that is local, who knows about and is involved in your community. For this reason, locally-owned family businesses can typically provide better service over national or franchised businesses.
  • A company with values you can relate to.

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