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Andreas Fault Property Services

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Water Damage and Mold
             In the life of a home, one of the most common and recurring problems are damages caused by water. Even in the case of a fire, the amount of damage caused by water can be greater than what was burned by the fire itself once the fire department and their high pressure hoses are through putting it out. Let’s face it, the building materials of today: paper backed drywall, wood, concrete and particle board are veritable sponges when it comes to moisture. And the sources for water damage come from both inside and outside of the home: leaking roofs, damaged exterior walls and gutters, misaligned sprinklers, improper landscape grading, burst or leaking plumbing, appliances lines, water heaters, un-caulked shower stalls, the list is endless…

When it comes to repairing water damage there are several factors that should be taken into account to avoid costly mistakes. First of all, has the source of the water leak been correctly identified? This is where many inexperienced repair men and home owners make their biggest error. It does no good replacing damaged cabinets, flooring or walls if the damage will re-occur as soon as it rains again or when the sprinklers are used, the water gets turned back on to the vacant property or someone uses the faulty toilet. Many times in the rush to make a property marketable a problem can be covered up with new paint or carpet only to immediately reappear perhaps right before escrow closes or when the new homeowners family moves in.

The next biggest factor to consider is what was the source of the water leak and how long did it go before it got cleaned up and dried? In the water restoration business we categorize the water leak source into a Class. A Class 1 water source would be from a clean, potable water supply such as water supply pipes, a refrigerator line or a faucet. A class 2 would be considered a “Gray Water” source such as from a shower or laundry drain.Gray Water can be contaminated with chemicals and maybe some organic particles. The 3rd class of water is known as “Black Water” and as you may have guessed is sewer and waste water. This is the nastiest and most contaminated water teeming with microbes, bacteria and viruses. Cleanup of a clean water leak can be as simple as extraction and dehumidification while cleanup of gray and black water usually involves tearing out drywall, carpet and pad and any other porous materials. Sanitation and deodorization is usually involved. An interesting and often overlooked fact is that once water sits for more than 48 hours, even if it from a clean source, Bacteria begins to multiply at a tremendous rate. According to the IICRS S500, the industry standard for water restoration, clean water (Class 1) that has been sitting for more than 48 hours must be treated as “Black Water” (Class 3) due to bacterial contamination.Just think of what happens on the microscopic level when old pet stained and dusty carpeting gets fully soaked. The smell alone is a great indicator.

Thirdly, we must consider “how dry is dry?” Many inexperienced or ignorant contractors make the dangerous mistake of replacing moisture damaged walls and ceilings while completely overlooking the moisture that remains trapped in the hidden structural members: wall studs, sill plates, sub flooring and insulation. This is the recipe for a hidden Mold problem not to mention foul odors. Special instruments known as Moisture meters and thermo hygrometers are used to measure the amount of water in construction materials and in the air itself. On the west coast, wood studs can have an Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC) of 10-14% and be considered dry and usable.Mold requires a Moisture Content of 16% or higher to begin growing. Dry Rot of wood occurs between moisture content and wet rot between .This is why water damage is best left to the professionals. Before the damaged flooring, wall or ceiling is replaced with new material it may be necessary to bring in specialty drying equipment such as Dehumidifiers and Air Movers to properly dry the trapped water in the homes structure. Otherwise, a Mold problem can easily follow and affect the rest of the property as well as its inhabitants. Using industry standard charts and formulas, the water restoration professional will calculate the proper amount of Dehumidification and Air Movement that will be necessary based on the cubic footage and moisture readings of the affected areas. A little known fact is that many Molds can begin growing within 2-3 days including the toxigenic black mold strain StachyBotrys (24 Hours) and Aspergiluss Fumigatus.

Andreas Fault Property Services is available to help with all your water damage and restoration needs. We utilize IICRC Certified technicians in Water restoration, Structural Drying and Mold Abatement. Andreas Fault is also certified as a CDPH Lead Abatement Contractor and with the EPA as a certified Renovation Firm. Call us today and let us know how we can be of service!