Just about every home and business owner fears a fire. Not only because it can be fatal for people living in the home but also for those around it. In addition, fire damage can devastate a home, if not restored in time and professionally, can lead to a ton of frustration and heartbreak.
What is water damage mitigation
What Is Water Damage Mitigation?
It may come as no surprise to many people if a door or window left open during a storm ended up with a flooded basement or probably the living room. Leaks in the bathroom wall can also be the leading cause of mold, and boy does that spread fast!
We’ve worked on damage mitigation projects, where the broken fire sprinkler system led to furniture, equipment and other types of property damage in an office. However, the same can happen in your home too.
These are just a fraction of all types of property damage that require professional water damage mitigation. However, water damage mitigation shouldn’t be confused with restoration. The two are related but different.
Sure, both services are about recovering your property. However, a home or business can’t be restored without mitigation first.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into water damage mitigation and how we work to save home and business owners thousands of dollars in the event of damage.
What Is Water Mitigation?
It is the first step towards restoring a property damaged by flooding or any other type of water damage. The steps we take to address water damage. The purpose of these mitigation steps is to prevent further damage and mainly involves removing the water, controlling the amount of moisture in the home or office and then drying the damaged areas.
You can think of water mitigation as a quick way to respond to the initial damage done by flooding. This can be flooding caused by external factors or caused by internal factors like a ruptured pipe in the bathroom. Water damage mitigation helps to minimize, if not entirely mitigate, instances of secondary damage like buckled floors, widespread mold growth and crumbled drywall.
Our water damage mitigation helps to set the stage for full-blown property-wide repairs and restoration.
How Is Water Restoration Different From Water Mitigation?
Now that you understand water mitigation, the next step is to examine how it differs from water damage restoration. In this section, we compare both processes, the various steps involved, and why one can’t exist without the other.
Water Mitigation Steps
Assessment and Inspection – The technicians will start by inspecting the property. The purpose of the inspection is to assess the level of damage done to your property and what emergency repairs will be needed.
Extracting the water – The deep-standing water will have to be pumped out of your home or business. We will use a truck-mounted system that stores the water we sucked out in a tank. The teams will then follow that up by using a special vacuum to remove all the residual water from all the porous surfaces like your couch, mattress, drywall etc.
Structural Drying – This process involves mainly using industrial-grade equipment like subfloor drying systems and a wood floor. The system uses a high volume of air delivered via industrial fans and dehumidifiers.
Stabilization – We achieve this by using various site-specific drying methods to minimize secondary water damage. For instance, if the drywall was soaked or the floorboards were buckling, we would use equipment focused on these areas. This helps us stabilize the property, thus setting the stage for restoration that follows mostly right after.
Site mop up – As the site continues to dry, our crews will also clear out any debris on the property, make a note of what can be salvaged, and start the cleanup process. Part of the clean-up process of disinfecting all materials and surfaces.
Are There Various Types of Water Mitigation?
The techniques involved with water mitigation tend to differ mainly based on where the water came from. For instance, if the water was clean because it came from a broken water supply pipe, it’s Category 1 damage. This will mean our crews will follow the industry standards for mitigation.
If the water was damaged by so-called grey water, that’s Category 2. Common sources of grey water include but may not be limited to water backed up by sumps, a broken disposal line or a leaking washer.
Category 2 damage requires addressing the contamination and also the chemicals which may be present in the water.
The third instance is black water damage. This is category 3 damage, requiring the use of specialized equipment and products. It is worth bearing in mind that category 3 carries highly contagious pathogens and chemicals that may soak into the environment, like your couch, table, chairs, foam mattress etc. The techniques we use need to follow the CDC’s, OSHA and EPA’s regulations for mitigating this category of water damage.
How Do We Go About Doing Water Damage Mitigation (The Process)
We grant that all water damage mitigation services may have a slightly different approach. However, our approach has been honed over the years; our team has been handling water damage mitigation.
Below are the exact steps we follow. However, we may decide on additional steps depending on the type and extent of the damage.
Step #1 – Finding The Water Source
Now, if the cause of damage was water from a flood, then there is no need for us to search for the source. However, in every other case, it may not be entirely clear where this water comes from.
If the source of the leak is apparent, it is possible to quickly shut off the source like a valve to save the home from further damage. For instance, if you find that the washing machine valve located on the rear of the machine is damaged, you can use the toilet valve shut off below this to turn it off. Similar valves are located under sinks too.
In the event that the source of the flooding or water isn’t clear, we will shut off the water meter, or you can do it too. This is located under the iron lid on the street. You will need a water meter key to open the heavy lid to turn off the water. This is something we will do for you, too, if we are called ASAP.
Many homes also have a main shut-off valve; if you need help determining where this is located, a plumber may be able to help you. Plus, they can turn it off for you.
Step #2 – Remove Water
The next step in the process is to remove the standing water from the property. We often start by turning on a sump pump to pump out all the standing water from the home. We will then dehumidify the space using industrial-grade dehumidifier machines.
Depending on the size of the space, we may require multiple dehumidifiers. However, we need to be careful here because these are high-voltage equipment, and the slightest mistake could lead to personal harm.
Once the water reaches a certain level, it is too low for a sump to handle. This means we need to start the next phase of our water damage mitigation process to avoid the spread of mold using our hands and sponges.
Step #3 – Recovering From the Damage
Once all the water has been removed, using a multitude of techniques, it is time to start working on recovering from the damage. This will often mean drying and repairing individually damaged items. This is probably the most exhaustive part of the whole process, but an important one because if done right can help our clients save hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
It is worth keeping in mind that some types of damaged furniture and equipment can’t be repaired. But our team does its best to recover and repair everything damaged.
Step #4 – Contact Your Insurer To Inform Them of The Damage and Mitigation
Your final step should be to call the insurance company. This can also be your first step if you have flood damage insurance. If you are covered for flood damage, they will often arrange accommodation while professionals like us work on recovering your home.
If the insurer has you covered, they may want you to take a couple of steps to reduce the damage encountered, such as:
- Turning off the water valve (mentioned above)
- Drying the area to prevent damage by mold growth
- Draping a tarp on a potential roof leak
- Contacting a water mitigation service like ours to immediately start working on reducing damage
Keep in mind that the insurer may dispute the cost of water mitigation and restoration if these simple steps are not taken on time. Though every policy is different, insurers will generally cove water damage if:
- There was a sudden discharge of water, like may be a burst pipe. However, a slow leak may not be covered since that’s easily preventable in time with a quick fix.
- If you have storm cover, then storm-related water damage would be covered, but that will not cover water that damaged the home from the inside. Instead, that would be covered if a tree fell on the roof because of a storm, thus damaging it and leading to water damage by rain.
- If your home were damaged by sewer backup or overflow, that would only be covered by a rider on the existing policy.
- You may have flood damage cover, but only if your policy has a rider. This may cost extra and isn’t easily available in areas where it is common for homes to get flooded, like those near a lake.
Even if you assume that insurance may not cover the damage, you still want to contact them to find out. If you are paying for coverage, there is no reason to leave money on the table.
An agent can help you figure out what policy covers apply, after which you can decide if it is worth filing a claim so that an insurance adjuster can visit you.
Common Misconceptions About Water Mitigation
Anyone dealing with the aftermath of water damage to their home or business may probably be wondering if this is something they can handle on their own. However, before you do, consider these common misconceptions.
#1 – Getting A Replacement Will Be Cheaper
We’re not disputing that replacing some common belongings like old furniture will be cheaper and thus help you save money. However, on the whole, or should we say in the majority of cases, water restoration costs are lower than what you will pay for new items. As a professional water mitigation and restoration service, we know how to identify and then clean items, thus helping you salvage furnishings like electronics, appliances and personal items.
#2 – Air Drying Is Cheaper
Yes, it is true that, in most cases, your property will dry without undertaking any mitigation steps. However, you will want to know that air drying isn’t going to save you money or time. Residual moisture behind the walls, the floors, and other areas of the property will degrade the materials. This becomes a hotbed for unhealthy mold growth, which spreads like wildfire before you know it. The longer you take to address these issues, the worse they become.
#3 – You Can DIY Water Mitigation
You probably can, but only if you are familiar with working with water extraction equipment; probably rent a few small systems from a home improvement centre, and you are good to go. However, in the case of Category 2 and Category 3, you will want to wear OSHA-approved PPE gear. Then use correct structural drying methods, which are crucial to the drying process but require additional equipment. That said, if you do the math, it is easier and far safer to let certified professionals handle the heavy lifting.
Water damage mitigation is essential, but the sooner you get it, the more money you will save. That’s why if you have encountered water damage, call professionals like us within 24 hours of finding out. Holding off on calling us any longer means the restoration will cost you way more money and take longer.
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Most home and business owners in North Carolina are no strangers to fire, flooding, storms etc., all of which can cause widespread property devastation. However, when your property is damaged, the question often arises should you hire a restoration company versus perhaps a contractor to patch things up?
At Highland Construction, not a day goes by without us hearing about someone being scammed by an unscrupulous construction company. While the construction industry has evolved dramatically, with certified experts working for reputable businesses, somehow, scammers know when to swoop in to take distressed homeowners for a ride.