It may begin with a broken pipe, a sewer-line backup or a sump pump failure. Whatever the cause, water damage is a problem many Quad Cities residents face. Each year, an average of 400 homes and businesses in the Quad Cities trust the Werner team to repair water damage. But while water damage is not uncommon in western Illinois and eastern Iowa, it’s not business-as-usual for you. And the end goal is to get you back to normal as quickly as possible. Here are a few key facts about the process.
When walls are soaking wet, it’s important to know what’s hiding behind them. It may not only be a matter of drying them. Instead, an important step in water mitigation is checking for vapor barriers in the walls. These barriers are installed in walls to resist moisture making its way through the walls – especially in the form of condensation. But in the case of water damage, walls with this coating in walls don’t allow moisture to escape. This means the walls have to be removed in the process of repairing the damage.
Suction and evaporation
The first step in getting water out of your home or business is to pull the water out with an extreme extraction unit. These machines suck water from flooring and furnishings, removing it completely. This process typically takes less than a day. Even after extracting much of the water, the job has just begun. There will be plenty of moisture remaining. This is when air movers and dehumidifiers are brought in. “Everything that’s left will have to be removed through evaporation,” explains Brent Werner, an operations manager with a decade of experience in the restoration business. This step takes three to five days, on average. The team monitors this process each day – taking moisture readings and adjusting equipment to get the best results.
Heat and containment
There are a few techniques used to speed up the drying process. When water damage is isolated in a certain area – for example, a kitchen or basement – it may be necessary to contain the damage. Building walls and surrounding the area with plastic can focus the drying efforts, making it faster. Additionally, because evaporation is such a key component of drying, warmer temperatures can mean faster results. Warm air holds moisture, which means that it’s faster and easier to extract. “The hotter it is, the faster it will dry,” says Brent. “So we may have to turn up the heat or bring in supplemental heat.”
Smells and noise
When cleaning up water damage, not everything is expected or even pleasant. The saying is true that it may get worse before it gets better. There will be some unexpected odors – many people notice sour or musty smells during the mitigation process. This is perfectly normal, and the odors will dissipate as the moisture is removed. “Even the cleanest person in the world will have this issue,” explains Brent. The smells originate from pet dander, dirt and skin cells that naturally find their way into floorcoverings and contents. Even with regular cleanings, the particles are embedded. When the floorcoverings and contents are soaked with water, the smells rise to the surface. Many homeowners also aren’t prepared for the noise that comes with the drying process. When the team brings in air movers, they can be loud. And they need to run all day and night. But it’s important that they remain in-place until the process is complete.
The bottom line
Water mitigation is a part of life for hundreds of area home and business owners each year. Understanding the process can help.
For more tips, including what to do (and avoid) when you discover water damage, visit our FAQ page.