Water Damage Drying: The Most Important Part (Reprint)

When we began doing water damage restoration 20 years ago, there wasn’t much science and practical application involved. A home was flooded with water from one of many causes, we extracted, and placed water damage drying equipment to dry everything. It wasn’t long after we began that mold concerns became rampant and the EPA began discussing the need for drying a flooded home properly after a water damage or sewage damage occurrence. One thing was for sure, if the water restoration contractor did not dry the house properly, mold would begin to grow quickly and fiercely. That meant a good water extraction was not enough to stop the consequences of a flooded house. Even worse, much of the mold growth was happening inside the wall cavity rather than where the occupants could see it.

Most people would say that if they can’t see it, and it is in the wall cavity; why worry about the consequences of water damage. Honestly, we should worry because by the time it begins to creep out onto the walls where it can be seen, mold has already become a very serious problem inside the water damaged wall cavity. That extensive growth requires a full blown mold remediation most times, complete with Tyvek suits and containments. The interesting thing is that a costly, and mostly uninsured, mold remediation is absolutely preventable with a proper home drying. Proper is the actual key word here because drying a water damage occurrence is not always done fully or properly when homeowners do it themselves.

Many homeowners feel that if the water is removed, the work of water damage cleanup is done. This is because it is difficult to see or feel the extent of the saturation of water in building materials without moisture detection equipment used in the water damage industry. What follows is that either the homeowner will attempt to remove the water and simply place household fans around, with or without removing drywall; or they will tell the water damage restoration contractor to leave when the water is extracted and before equipment is placed. The paradox here is that these decisions are made to save time and money. In some cases, they may have done just that. However, in most cases, the resulting long term water damage is both costly and time consuming in addition to being inconvenient and stressful. Added to that is the fact that the cost of mold remediation consequent of an improperly dried flood damage will likely not be covered by insurance policies because the water damage or sewage damage was not dried properly to begin with.

You have probably noticed by now that it is not the water removal service that is the important part of taking care of water damage. It is actually the drying part that makes your home safe from long term mold or building material damage. In fact, there is no time to waste when it comes to drying a water damaged home. Mold begins to start growing within 24 hours and continues “growing like a weed” damaging building materials as it spreads.

Water damage restoration companies spend a tremendous amount of money on drying equipment for a very good reason. They dry quickly, effectively, and safely. After all, think about it, if we could just use household fans and a couple of blowers, we would save a tremendous amount of money on equipment. If I though those types of equipment did an effective job, I would be all over saving money by purchasing those at less than $50 each rather than a $300-400 blower and $3000 dehumidifiers. However, I know the importance of having industrial equipment to keep your home safe and dry. Further, all of the equipment works together to both dry the structural materials (blowers), remove the moisture from the air as the wet materials dry and the water from them turns to vapor (dehumidifiers), and clean the air to prevent allergens that permeate through the air during drying (air scrubbers).

I know what you’re thinking…but the cost!!! Insurance covers water damage and structural drying and they are very aware of the high cost. In fact, the bigger insurance companies are the ones that set the industry standard pricing. Maybe you are worried about the deductible. There are two things to consider here. The first is that the potential consequential cost of long term damage will be higher than your deductible, typically. Second, most deductibles are not subtracted from the water damage restoration bill when a flood damage restoration company bills directly to the insurance. The insurance company will typically subtract the deductible from the repair invoice for things like cabinets and repainting. If you are dead set on doing work yourself, you will probably be doing this anyway.

So what is the take away? If you have insurance, call the professionals that will bill your insurance directly. This will reduce the work that you have to do yourself, dry your home faster getting it back to livable condition, save you time, and save you money and headache in the long run.