Repairing water damage can be a Herculean effort, and requires some rather specialized tools of the trade. Your local Clean Trust (previously IICRC) certified water restoration professional will be both trained and experienced with the various types of tools required to get your home or business back to its pre-loss condition.
Water damage equipment:
Water Extraction – of course the primary goal is to get the excess water out of the structure. For a do-it-yourself water job the water extraction process is accomplished through the use of wet-dry or shop vac units or gas powered submersible pumps. The tool used depends on the depth and severity of the spill. Electric pumps are out of the question for obvious reasons. For a professional water damage restoration company there is no other choice than a ride-on water extractor connected to either a portable pump/extraction unit or a van mounted unit. These units are expensive are not available to a homeowner wanting to handle the extraction process themselves.
Dehumidifiers – these are units designed to filter humidity from the air and reduce humidity levels back to within normal parameters. Typically, humidity levels should be kept below 40-50%. One unit per large room or area is usually all that is required, however in severe damage cases, more than one unit may be utilized to speed up the drying process. Dehumidification is important to dry and heat up the air, making it “thirsty” so more evaporation can take place from wet materials.
Wall Cavity Drying – water left behind walls and in cabinet cavities can cause serious long term problems. Specialized units designed for use within wall cavities serve to dry out these hard to reach areas through the use of a pressurized drying system which supplies a steady stream of circulated warm air through the affected area. Some of these units are stackable and are typically used to dry out cabinets as well as wall cavities where air movers (high velocity fans) can’t reach.
Moisture Meters – these units are designed to measure the percentage of water in a given material from drywall to stone masonry. Physical properties are strongly affected by moisture content, and even dimensions may be altered if not properly detected and treated. They are relatively easy to use, although training is recommended in order to better understand given readings and determine a proper course of action. Most materials can appear dry to the touch but can be “wet” enough to support mold growth. Moisture meters will alert water technicians to these wet materials allowing a more thorough dryout.
Thermal Hygrometers – these meters are used to measure the humidity levels in the surrounding air. This is especially important in the final stages of water damage restoration, as you want to make sure that the humidity level is sufficiently decreased in order to avoid long term problems such as mold. These readings are also used to determine or justify the number of dehumidifiers to be used when drying out a structure.
Infrared Cameras – can help identify areas of water damage which may not be readily apparent to the naked eye or may take too long to measure with moisture meters. These devices detect infrared energy (heat) and convert it into an electric signal which is then processed into a thermal image. The image displays the differences in heat coming off the object you are looking at which in turn can provide an indication of any excess water that may have been overlooked. Typically resembling a camcorder, and produces a live picture (not a snapshot) of the affected area.
Air Scrubbers – removes particles, gases, or chemicals from the surrounding air, creating a cleaner and healthier environment. Most scrubbers are only designed to handle one kind of element; however, most industrial strength units can handle all three types of contaminants. On water damage jobs air scrubbers can ensure that anything kicked up by the air movers and dehumidifiers is removed immediately. They are also very handy when there is any mold present as they can filter out mold spores too. If just placed in a room these units will circulate the air and scrub it. If the return clean air is ducted out of the room then it will result in negative pressure inside that room which is also handy on mold jobs because it prevents contaminated air from escaping any containment.
Your local water damage PuroClean professionals will make use of these and all other tools at their disposal to successfully remediate the water damage problem in your home