There is nothing as worrisome as coming into your home after being away, or waking up in the middle of the night, and finding wet carpets and standing water on your floors.
“The first thing many people do is get out their shop vac, but the first thing they should be doing is calling a professional water extraction company,” said C.J. White, owner of the Stanley Steemer franchise in Lutz. “Using a shop vac is a bit like trying to save the Titanic with a bucket — all it does is delay the homeowner’s call for help.”
It’s important to quickly get water extracted from a flooded area, because it doesn’t take long for water to find its way under baseboards, and then be absorbed by drywall.
“Drywall is like a water wick that sucks up water as is seeps under your baseboards,” said White. “And, when water becomes trapped in your drywall, the lack of airflow and direct sunlight in the wall cavity create a perfect environment for mold growth once moisture is introduced to the drywall.”
The most common reasons homes flood is because a water supply line leaks or breaks in the kitchen or bathroom, the A/C unit backs up, or the washing machine’s drainage hose jumps out of its outlet pipe.
“None of these sources of water are ‘grossly contaminated’ and can all be easily resolved without further problems, as long as a professional extracts the water within 24 hours,” said White. “Unfortunately, many people wait three or four days before they call and, by then, the drywall is saturated and mold spores are beginning to grow.”
White explains that what could be an inexpensive extraction job, can end up costing thousands of dollars by waiting.
“If you get the water sucked up before it gets into the drywall, it may only be an $80 to $100 job. But, if you wait, the cost increases tenfold, and this can happen in as little as 12-24 hours,” said White.
White says when his crew walks into a house and there’s a musty smell, it’s already too late, which means the carpet and pad need to be thrown away, and the saturated drywall cut out and replaced.
Stanley Steemer complies with standards set by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), a nonprofit, certifying body, for the cleaning and restoration. For over 45 years, this organization has trained and certified experts to do the hands-on hard work needed to clean up the mess left by water damage.
The Stanley Steemer operation in Lutz has seven IICRC technicians who are certified to handle most kinds of residential and commercial flooding problems. Plus, every Steemer truck is equipped with a subsurface extraction tool that gets under the carpet, pad and baseboard to successfully extract water from small spills.
“If the flooded area is limited to a 10 x 10 space, this extraction tool can suck up water from the carpet and pad so that it does not need to be replaced,” said White. “The cost is just $85, compared to thousands of dollars if you wait too long and the carpet, pad and drywall have to be removed and replaced.”
As an IICRC-certified company, the first thing Stanley Steemer technicians do when arriving at a job is access what Category the water is rated at, according to industry categories:
Category 1: Flooding originates from a sanitary water source and poses no substantial risk from exposure. Within 48-72 hours, this water can deteriorate to Category 2.
Category 2: Water containing significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans. Within 48-72 hours this water can deteriorate to Category 3. Examples include discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, A/C drain pan backups, or Category 1 water losses that weren’t properly resolved quick enough.
Category 3: Grossly contaminated water that can cause adverse reaction to humans if contacted or consumed. Examples include sewage, toilet backups that originated beyond the trap, rising water from storms, and Category 1 or 2 water losses that weren’t properly resolved quick enough.
“In a Category 3 water loss, the IICRC requires most affected materials be removed and replaced. This includes any wet carpet, carpet padding, drywall and baseboards” said White. “When this happens, we have no choice but to remove everything in order to ensure the health and safety of the home’s occupants,” said White.
White adds that much of the damage that he sees is not due to the water itself but from occupants of the home not responding quickly and appropriately.
“The only thing that stops this from happening is by promptly calling a professional water restoration company,” said White. “We are always here to help you — please don’t hesitate to call.”
Published August 28, 2019
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