Clearly, any contaminated water can wreak havoc on a home or business. Moisture penetration into flooring, walls, studding and structural components, in addition to water-damaged furniture, electronics, clothing and more, is time-consuming to dry, if even possible. Compounding the situation is which among the three classes of contaminated water has caused the damage. Commonly known as gray water contamination, there are several categories. Biological contamination means that organisms that live in water are present; these include bacteria, viruses, parasites, and human and animal waste. Physical contamination signifies the presence of sediment and dirt, glass, metal staples, bones and organic material. Chemical contamination indicates that cleaners, bleach, salts, pesticides, drugs, sanitizers and polishes are present.

 

Flooded basements, lower-level crawl spaces and ground floor areas are where contaminated water most often settles. Even clean water from a broken, leaking pipe — while starting as clean water — can quickly become contaminated. Step one in securing the area is to be sure that all electric is off and gas or fuel oil lines are closed. If possible, stop the source of water flow. If not, start a pumping effort to move the water as far away as possible. If the water source was external to the structure, an inspection should include outside walls and concrete floors to check for structural damage. In some instances, an engineering report may be required to determine this.

 

Drying is Best Left to Professionals

Structural components must be dried using proper dehumidification, depending on outside atmospheric conditions. In some areas the materials will be too cold to dry on their own. In order to increase the vapour pressure of these materials, additional energy is used. One type of drying used is an Air Exchange System. First, the temperature of the ambient air is increased. As the energy of the materials subsequently increases, the vapour pressure increases and promotes faster evaporation. The evaporation is removed from the air by being exhausted outdoors.
Proper drying following water damage is a science. Measuring the humidity ratio differential between the interior air being exhausted and the outside air determines the amount of physical moisture removed. The structure’s air pressure should be either neutral or preferably negative while using these systems. Positive pressures can force high humidity into cavities where cooler temperatures and surfaces might exist. This can result in condensation and high water activity, causing additional wetting and secondary damage within the structure. Water contamination carries many unknowns, including the development of mould. Paul Davis Restoration is staffed with experts who know the dangers and have the means at their disposal to remedy water damage with utmost care and control. This is no time for second best™. Call Paul Davis at 800-661-5975 whenever water damage occurs.