All water damage restoration jobs are unique and the amount of work required for each depends on a variety of factors such as the amount of area in the home that’s been damaged and how long the water has been present. Once a professional water damage cleanup vendor arrives and has a chance to inspect the home, they’ll be able to put together a detailed project timeline specific to your job. In the meantime, we’ve listed the eight common phases that occur during the water damage restoration process and what happens in each, so you’ll know what to expect.
The longer water damage sits untreated, the more likely it is that additional damage can occur. If it’s determined that drying equipment is needed, dehumidifiers will often be placed in the home to prevent against further damage like mold growth while the vendor is waiting for approval from the insurance company, if one is involved. Dehumidifiers can be present for one or multiple nights depending on factors such as the length of time the water has been present and the source of the leak. The contractor working on your home will be able to assess how long the dehumidifiers are needed.
Even a competent DIYer should have a qualified professional assess the damage first — making sure no part of the cleanup is missed. Before doing anything, check with your insurance company — they may require a licensed assessment. Don't wait. As soon as you detect any damage, call a professional. With time, each class and category quickly degrades into something worse.
After this type of catastrophic event, it's typically best to replace certain types of equipment rather than try to recover items such as receptacles, light switches, start-stop stations, fire alarm panels, and metering equipment. Your crews must also drain all the conduits by opening up the conduit covers and letting gravity drain out all water and debris.
Inspect damaged materials for mold and mildew. Mold can start to grow in the right conditions in as little as 24 hours. For long-term issues, like mold caused by attic condensation, the mold may have started growing a long time ago. And if you find mold and mildew issues, you need to be very careful. Some mold is toxic to humans, and all mold is very damaging to the materials it infests. For small mold issues, cut out the material, bag it, and throw it away immediately. For serious mold issues, get out of the area, shut down any airflow (to avoid spore contamination) and call a professional. And keep in mind that mold can show up in hidden areas like inside walls or under floors, so this inspection and water damage repair will be ongoing.
If you’ve recently experienced a flood or pipe burst and have water damage in your home, you’re probably wondering “what happens now?” The first, and most important, step when dealing with water or flood damage is to stop any active leaks in the home. This can be done by shutting off the home’s main water supply. If you don’t know how to shut off your home’s water supply, call a professional plumber or your local water supply company for assistance. Once any active leaks have been addressed and all water has been turned off, it’s imperative you call a professional to start the water damage cleanup process as quickly as possible to minimize damage.
Restoration dehumidifiers are an important piece of restoration drying equipment. Humid environments are ripe for the development of mold and bacteria, so drying them quickly and effectively is important. You can find a wide range of different types of dehumidifiers, varying in size and capacity and the choosing the right one will depend on the types of environments in which they are used.
Before any mold is released for production (“blue-tagged”), it is imperative to put the mold through a series of final-check bench procedures to verify “All Systems Go” and minimize any opportunities for the mold to be stopped and returned to the shop for something that should have been caught before it was released. Water leaks, heater problems, etc., can be avoided with a final-check procedure.
You can easily spot the most visible type of mold, called mildew, which begins as tiny, usually black spots but often grows into larger colonies. It’s the black stuff you see in the grout lines in your shower, on damp walls, and outdoors on the surfaces of deck boards and painted siding, especially in damp and shady areas. A mildewed surface is often difficult to distinguish from a dirty one. To test for mildew, simply dab a few drops of household bleach on the blackened area. If it lightens after one to two minutes, you have mildew. If the area remains dark, you probably have dirt.