All About: Indoor Flooding

All About: Indoor Flooding

It’s a nightmare for any property owner: coming home to a wet floor. There’s no shortage of incidences that can lead to indoor flooding, including but not limited to: broken or burst pipes, clogged drains, tropical storms, runoff from snow melt, sump pump failures, broken water heaters, roof leaks, malfunctioning appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines, and more. Indoor water damage can cost thousands of dollars in damage to property owners. Learn about how to quickly being the remediation process and reduce the damage to your home and your wallet.

The most important thing to do regardless if you have an inch of water around your dishwasher or a foot of water in your basement is to begin the process of cleaning up the water, and quickly. The longer water is allowed to sit in your structure, the more potential for damage to your property. Water can cause a surprising amount of structural damage, especially if it’s allowed to linger for an extended amount of time. Additionally, considering the source of the water, it can quickly become a health hazard if it’s contaminated or becomes contaminated. The onset of mold begins just 24 to 48 hours after moisture is present in the property.

If you can, assess the cause of water intrusion and stop the source. If the flooding is coming from an appliance such as a washing machine or dishwasher, you can turn off the water supply valve on the appliance. If the flooding is being caused by a water supply line and it’s safe to do so, shut off the main valve for your home’s water supply.

Is it safe to have water in my home?

In addition to the property damage and mold growth it causes, it’s a bad idea to allow any kind of water intrustion to linger indoors. As mentioned before, the level of contamination of standing water can also contribute to health issues for both people and pets. The IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, who sets the standards for water remediation) currently recognizes three levels of quality when dealing with a water intrusion:

  • Category 1: This is water originating from a sanitary source. Category 1 water can come from broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows with no additives in the water, or appliance malfunctions involving water supply lines. Category 1 water is not dangerous, but contact with building materials and other contaminants can quickly degrade this water.
  • Category 2: This “gray” water contains some contamination and can cause discomfort or illness when you ingest or come in contact with it. Water sources of Category 2 water can include but are not limited to: overflows from washing machines, broken aquariums, and punctured water beds. Like the first category of water, contact with building materials or additional contaminants can degrade this to a higher category.
  • Category 3: This is “black” water that is grossly contaminated by pathogens and other harmful materials. Examples of this category of water include: sewage, rising water from rivers or streams, flooding from seawater, and wind-driven rain from weather and tropical storms. Category 3 water is harmful to people and pets and should be handled only by professionals

How do I remove the water from my property?

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The next step after ensuring the source of water intrusion has stopped is to assess the property and affected materials. This is where hiring trusted experts like the technicians at Tri State Restorations is key; we have the tools and expertise to quickly stop water damage in its tracks.

Before a restoration team hits the ground running, there are a few steps you can take immediately to prevent additional damage to your property. First, any furnishings (chairs, sofas, etc) should be moved from affected areas if possible. Wet furniture, particularly wood, can stain flooring. Additionally, furniture can swell and warp if left in standing water, making it impossible to dry and restore back to its original condition. Any valuable possessions affected such as books and clothing that you wish to try and salvage should be set aside and photographed.

When remediation technicians arrive to inspect your property, they will immediately begin checking moisture, determining the extent of the water damage. Even though moisture may not be visible to the naked eye, the chances that water has wicked up behind walls and wood studs is probable. Examples of moisture-detecting equipment include:

  • Thermal Imaging Cameras – A heat-sensitive, non-invasive imaging device that shows areas of moisture by showing temperature differences (wet areas will read colder than its surroundings).
  • Moisture Reader – A device used to scan building materials– this will
  • Hammer Probe – This kind of probe uses electricity to detect the presence of moisture in non-conductive materials such as wood
  • Thermo-Hygrometer – This equipment is used to read relative humidity and temperature in a room. Relative humidity should be below 40% to prevent mold growth.

Determining the exact extent of indoor flood damage helps us create a customized drying plan that’s tailored to your specific damage and property. In many cases, unfortunately, the best course of action involves some removal of affected materials.

Affected walls may be cut out or removed if determined to have moisture. Baseboards and wainscoting act as barriers which trap moisture in the wall and can prohibit effective drying, practically guaranteeing mold growth. If drywall can be salvaged, access holes may be cut to allow airflow to be directed behind the walls. Drywall affected by Category III water is always removed to ensure contamination is effectively removed from the home.

The best course of action for affected flooring also depends on the extent of damage. If you have carpeted flooring that is saturated by water, the carpet will be pulled and the padding removed to ensure best possible drying and treatment of the subflooring. Many times carpeting can be cleaned and restored, but in the case of Category III water or when the carpet has become delaminated (when back of the carpet pulls away from the top fibers), it will be removed. Vinyl and laminate flooring will usually have to be removed post-flooding as there is a plastic underlayment that acts as a barrier preventing effective drying. Other flooring may or may not be salvagable. A good rule of thumb is that when dealing with Category III water, any porous building materials or flooring that were affected will need to be removed, including grouted tile flooring.

Following the extraction of any standing water (using either mops or high-powered extraction equipment) and after removing affected materials, cleaning and applying antimicrobial agents, equipment should be used to ensure optimal drying. Fans will be set to create a vortex pattern to pull moisture away from the affected area and improve overall evaporation in the area. A dehumidifier may also be used to assist in pulling moisture out of the area.  The equipment is usually in your property for 3-4 days.

How Can I Recover From Indoor Flooding?

hoseIf you’re dealing with a water intrusion or indoor flooding in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, know that you can always count on the experts at Tri State Restorations to help you recover your property quickly. In addition to quickly mitigating any water damage to your property big or small, we will also work directly with your insurance company to take the best care possible. We also take photos of any damages to assist with effectively resolving your claims. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for your convenience and can be on site within 90 minutes to mitigate the damage. Contact us at 866-231-3880.