Recent Water Damage Posts

Hazard Awareness and Risk Assessment

5/27/2019 (Permalink)

The first line of defense against safety hazards is awareness. A hazard inspection checks for any work-site situation that potentially poses danger to life or property. Project managers must then perform a risk assessment on all potential hazards found on the work site. The assessment evaluates the risk or likelihood a particular hazard will cause harm. Due to the unsafe nature of most water damaged structures, hazard inspections and risk assessments are essential for protecting workers. 

The initial hazard inspection and risk assessment of a water damaged facility would involve three important aspects. The first step is to identify hazards that could give reason not to enter the building, such as wet electrical panels and collapsing ceilings. The second step is to identify the presence of regulated building materials such as asbestos, lead or PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyls). Government-regulated substances may require testing or inspection services from specialized. Third-party experts to assess health and safety issues. Finally, a competent technician conducts a risk assessment and installs or implements the necessary hazard controls for any identified hazards. 

What to expect from the Initial Water Damage Inspection?

4/3/2019 (Permalink)

Initial Inspection

What to expect from the Initial Water damage inspection

The goal of the restoration process is to transform an abnormally wet, potentially damaged structure into an environment of equal or better appearance and cleanliness than before the intrusion occurred, and to do so in the most economical and efficient means possible.

Our Loss Professionals begin this process by identifying all affected materials. Water must be tracked from its source and followed in every direction to establish an accurate perimeter of the flooded area. Next, our Loss Professional documents what types of materials have been affected (e.g., type of subflooring, type of carpet and underlay, type of wall construction, and type of insulation.) Affected materials are then evaluated against three criteria to determine if they should be restored or replaced.

The 3 Criteria are:

  • Degree of Contamination
  • Damage to the item
  • Replacement cost vs. Restoration cost

Only after identifying the material and considering these three factors does the Loss Professional decide which materials should be dried and which should be replaced. In addition, the Loss Professional will also decide which materials should be dried aggressively and which should be dried through more disruptive means.

Extraction: Remove the Easy Water First

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

Light Extraction Wand used to remove excess water.

The most effective way to speed the drying process is to remove as much of the water in a liquid state as possible during the extraction phase of the restoration project. Poor extraction will significantly slow the drying process.

Extraction and evaporation are the only ways water can be removed from a wet structure. During the extraction process, liquid water is extracted, mopped, squeegeed or otherwise removed from the structure. This takes some energy, but not nearly as much as evaporation.

The most important factor in extraction is not how much water is removed, but how much water is left behind. It is important to remember that every drop of water left behind will add time to the drying project.

The two-step process for carpet and pad extraction:

  1. The primary goal of the initial extraction of the affected area is to contain further migration of the water within the structure. This step is accomplished using a light wand attached to either a portable or truck mounted extraction unit.
  2. The deep extraction process is accomplished by using a sealed or weighted extraction tool attached to either a portable or truck mounted extraction unit.

If deep extraction is not available, the carpet pad must be removed to prevent lengthy drying times. Otherwise, excess water will remain in the carpet underlay. This water must be removed through evaporation, which prolongs the drying process. It also increases the amount of equipment required to meet drying timelines and drastically increases the likelihood of secondary damage to the structure and its contents.

Primary and Secondary Damage following a Water Intrusion

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

Water intrusions will affect building materials both immediately and over time. Damage that occurs immediately by direct contact with water is referred to as primary damage. Damage that occurs because material remains wet for an extended period of time is referred to as secondary damage.

Water also affects materials indirectly. Excessive moisture leads to elevated humidity. Many building materials will absorb excess water vapor and suffer damage, especially when the air in the structure is allowed to remain above 60% relative humidity. This form of damage from high humidity is also referred to as secondary damage. Secondary damage includes dimensional changes, loss of structural integrity, microbial growth and staining.

Hygroscopic materials absorb moisture easily, whether from direct contact with water or from exposure to high humidity. As a result, hygroscopic materials are very susceptible to secondary damage. Such materials gain and lose moisture continually in an effort to equalize with the water content in the surrounding air. The more hygroscopic the material, the faster it will collect water vapor, and the easier it will suffer secondary damage.

Why we Monitor on a daily basis

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

Drying progress is noted during daily monitoring visits. The Project Manager asks "Is it drying?" while comparing the moisture readings taken from two separate monitoring visits. These two sets of data, recorded in DryBook, reflect the impact of the drying effort on the affected materials over a 24-hour period.

If materials are making significant progress after the initial 24-hours of drying, then drying continues; no major change is necessary to the process. Our Project Manager continues to observe progress until drying is complete.

If materials are not drying, it is clear that the current approach is not working. The Project Manager must re-evaluate the equipment, systems and processes and refine our approach. The approach can be more aggressive, or more disruptive. The evaluation process is identical to the initial assessment except in one important detail. Now the material has been wet for an additional 24 hours. Damage and contamination are of greater concern.

This cycle of evaluation and re-evaluation must continue throughout the restoration project. The critical element to the process is that drying progress must be constant. If the drying process is not working, the Project Manager must modify the drying environment by adding or subtracting equipment or possibly removing wet, non-salvageable materials. The most economical and effective methods are best identified by a consistent focus on contamination, damage and cost.

The Role of Air Movement for Evaporation

3/28/2019 (Permalink)

Two aspects of air movement influence evaporation of moisture from materials:

  • Velocity - The speed of the air moving across surfaces.
  • Volume - The quantity or amount of air moving during a period of time.

Velocity is a multiplier in the evaporation process, multiplying the rate that evaporation occurs. The velocity of airflow is comparable to wind speed. Higher wind speed will result in higher evaporation rates. Likewise, the faster the velocity of air moving over a wet surface, the better the rate of evaporation will be. Velocity is measured in feet per second (FSP), feet per minute (FPM), or miles per hour (MPH), and can be determined using an anemometer.

Volume is critical to the circulation of air. Airflow used for drying must have high wind speed, but that wind must be dry air. The source of dry air usually is a mechanical dehumidifier, though it could also be the outdoor environment. Regardless of the source, the dry air must be distributed or circulated throughout the affected area, much like the heated or cooled air from an HVAC system must be distributed throughout.

Moving air from one location to another is a product of mass, or volume, and is usually expressed in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM). We measure air movers in terms of CFM to indicate how much air the air mover is able to move around.

Project Managers can better control air movement when they understand the roles of air volume and air velocity. Volume is not velocity. Adequate velocity is critical for increasing the rate of evaporation. Adequate volume is important when trying to circulate warm, dry air throughout especially large and complex structures.

Why Water Damage is NOT a DIY Project

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

Oftentimes, homeowners don't realize the extent of the water damage in their home. Excess moisture is one thing, but damage from a flood, sewer backup or something else can be devastating to your health and your home in general. It doesn't take long for a situation like this to spiral out of control and leave you struggling to figure out what you are going to do to take care of it. The best thing you can do is turn to the help of a professional. Our team at SERVPRO Fenton and South Ballwin has all of the necessary tools to make sure your home is taken care of and the water damage is cleaned up properly.

  • Dirty water from sewage backups is loaded with deadly substances from parasites to chemical residues.
  • Bacteria, fungi and viruses thrive in contaminated fluids. They pose all sorts of health risks, such as hepatitis and salmonella.
  • It only takes 24 hours for mold to begin growing out of control and invading your space.
  • Even a small amount of water left undried could be a source of problems for your home.

Our team here at SERVPRO Fenton and South Ballwin has all of the necessary tools and experience to come in and get your water damage taken care of and thoroughly cleaned up to prevent anyone from falling ill or mold setting in.


5/5/2017 (Permalink)

Water damage can originate by different sources such as a broken dishwasher hose, a washing machine overflow, a dishwasher leakage, broken/leaking pipes, and clogged toilets. Homeowners should inspect and replace worn pipe fittings and hose connections to all household appliances that use water at least once a year. This includes washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories, refrigerator ice makers, water softeners and humidifiers. Below is a specific way SERVPRO has combined different scenarios of water damages of how severe the damage actually is.


Category 1- Refers to a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as "Clean Water". Examples are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involves water supply lines.

Category 2 - Refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to. Known as "Grey Water". This type carries micro organisms and nutrients of micro organisms. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.

Category 3 - Known as "Black Water" and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affects the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination regardless of visible content or color.


Class of water damage is determined by the probable rate of evaporation based on the type of materials affected, or wet, in the room or space that was flooded. Determining the class of water damage is an important first step, and will determine the amount and type of equipment utilized to dry-down the structure.

Class 1 - Slow Rate of Evaporation. Affects only a portion of a room. Materials have a low permanence/porosity. Minimum moisture is absorbed by the materials.

Class 2 - Fast Rate of Evaporation. Water affects the entire room of carpet and cushion. May have wicked up the walls, but not more than 24 inches.

Class 3 - Fastest Rate of Evaporation. Water generally comes from overhead, affecting the entire area; walls, ceilings, insulation, carpet, cushion, etc.

Class 4 - Specialty Drying Situations. Involves materials with a very low permanence/porosity, such as hardwood floors, concrete, crawlspaces, plaster, etc. Drying generally requires very low specific humidity to accomplish drying.


Different removal methods and measures are used depending on the category of water. Due to the destructive nature of water, chosen restoration methods also depend heavily on the amount of water, and on the amount of time the water has remained stagnant. For example, as long as carpet has not been wet for longer than 48 hours, and the water involved was not sewage based, a carpet can usually be saved; however, if the water has soaked for longer, then the carpet is probably irreparable and will have to be replaced.

Here at SERVPRO of Fenton and South Ballwin we have a highly skilled team who can clean up any amount of water in your home or business. SERVPRO of Fenton and South Ballwin is open 24/7/365 so give us a call anytime at 636-527-5990.

Water Damage Timeline

3/20/2017 (Permalink)

Have you ever had your toilet over flow, or spill a lot of water on your floors and didn't notice until later how much water got on the floors? Well, not properly cleaning spilt water on your floors right away can cause serious problems. Check out the water damage timeline below and see what happens in minutes, hours and even weeks!

Within Minutes:

Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.


Hours 1 - 24:

Drywall begins to swell and break down.
Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
Furniture begins to swell and crack.
Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
A musty odor appears.


48 Hours to 1 Week:

Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
Metal begins to rust and corrode.
Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
Paint begins to blister.
Wood flooring swells and warps.
Serious biohazard contamination is possible.


More Than 1 Week:

Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

Our team here at SERVPRO of Fenton and South Ballwin has all of the necessary tools and experience to come in and get your water damage taken care of and thoroughly cleaned up to prevent anyone from falling ill or mold setting in. Give us a call at 636-527-5990 and we'll make it "Like it never even happened."