Water Glossary

ALLERGEN A substance that induces the hypersensitivity state of allergy and stimulates the formation of reaginic (type of antibody found in the serum and skin of allergically sensitive persons) antibodies.
ANTIGENS Substances that when introduced to the body is capable of stimulating an immune response, specifically activating lymphocytes, which are the body’s infection-fighting white blood cells.
ANTIMICROBIAL An agent that limits or controls the growth of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc.)
ASTHMA A medical condition marked by recurrent attacks of labored breathing and wheezing caused by spasmodic contraction of the bronchi.
BALANCED DRYING The point at which evaporation and dehumidification are balanced at optimum levels. In other words, more moisture is not being evaporated into the air than the dehumidification methods can remove.
BIOAEROSOLS “…Airborne particles that are living or originate from living organisms … (i.e., culturable and dead microorganisms) and fragments, toxins, and particulate waste products from all varieties of living things.” ACGIH Bioaerosols: Assessment and Control
BIOCIDE A substance that kills living organisms, both pathogenic and non pathogenic.
CATEGORY 1 “Clean Water” Water Source that does not pose substantial harm to humans
CATEGORY 2 “Gray Water” Water containing some degree of contamination. Has the potential to cause substantial discomfort or sickness if consumed by humans.
CATEGORY 3 “Black Water” Grossly unsanitary. Contains pathogenic (disease causing) agents.
-CIDE To kill, e.g., virucide, sporicide, fungicide, etc.
CLASS 1 Slow Rate of Evaporation. Affects only a portion of a room. Materials have a low permeance/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 permeance/porosity, such as hardwood floors, concrete, crawlspaces, plaster, etc. Drying generally requires very low specific humidity to accomplish drying.
CLOSED DRYING SYSTEM Using equipment to remove excess moisture from indoor air.
CROWNING A term used to describe the appearance of wood flooring strips that have lost moisture from the edges, leaving the edges lower than the center of the wood strip (plank).
CUPPING A term used to describe the appearance of wood flooring strips that have absorbed excessive moisture from the underside causing expansion of the edges, leaving the edges higher than the center of the wood strip (plank).
DELAMINATION The separation of the primary backing from the secondary backing of tufted carpeting.
DEW POINT The temperature at which the air becomes saturated with moisture and condensation forms.
DISINFECTANT A biocide that kills a broad spectrum of microorganisms, but not all their spores.
DRY BULB TEMPERATURE Temperature registered by thermometers with dry sensing bulbs.
DRY STANDARD Pre-determined drying goal based on the moisture content (MC) of structure in an unaffected area; pre-loss normal MC, or average MC for your particular area.
ENDOTOXIN Portion of the outer wall of gram-negative bacteria, such as e-coli, that can cause fever, increased airway resistance, raise white blood cell counts, shock and even death.
EQUILIBRIUM MOISTURE CONTENT Moisture Content (MC) of structural materials has stabilized in relation to relative humidity (RH) and temperature of surrounding air. No more moisture can be absorbed at that temperature and humidity. Change the temperature and/or humidity and more moisture can be absorbed.
EVAPORATION Changing moisture from a liquid to vapor.
FUNGI Fungus includes molds, mildews, years and mushrooms and most range in size from 2 – 20 microns.

Stage 1 of growth: Spore – seed-like bodies that allow survival of some microorganisms.
Stage 2 of growth: Hypha – As spores absorb moisture, they swell and elongate to produce thread-like structures.
Stage 3 of growth: Mycelium – Visible form of fungi. Mycelium is capable of producing additional spores. Mycelium stage generally causes destruction of its host material.
GRAIN DEPRESSION The difference between two specific humidity readings; i.e. outside SH and indoor SH. Knowledge of grain depression needed in order to determine which drying system will be employed.
GRAINS OF MOISTURE Term used to express the weight of moisture per pound of air
7000 grains of moisture equals one pound.
Water weighs 8.34 lbs. per U.S. gallon (128 ounces, 3.78 liters)
8 pints per gallon
7000 grains equals approximately one pint (16 ounces)
HVAC Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system.
HYGROMETER Measures relative humidity
HYGROSCOPIC The ability of materials to absorb moisture. Hygroscopic materials change physically as they absorb moisture from humid air, often causing Secondary Damage.
HYPER-SENSITIVITY The human immune system’s exaggerated response to an allergen.
IICRC S500 “The Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration”, it is the Standard of Care for the water damage restoration industry.
IICRC S520 “The Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation”, it is the Standard of Care for the mold remediation industry.
INFILTRATION Seepage of moist air into a building through leaks in the building structure.
MICROBIOLOGICAL VOLATILE COMPOUNDS (mVOCs) Volatile (evaporative) gases produced by microorganisms in their growth stage; e.g., the musty odor associated with mold growth, damp basements, etc.
MC See Moisture Content
MICRON Term used to measure microorganisms. One micron measures 1/1,000,000 of a meter
MICRO-ORGANISM An extremely small life form that is visible only under a microscope.
MITIGATION To control or contain / make smaller. Loss Mitigation is to control the cost of the loss and prevent further damage from occurring by taking reasonable and prudent steps to secure and protect the property from on-going damage.
MOISTURE CONTENT (MC) The amount of water by weight in solid materials, as compared to an oven dried sample of that material. The average MC in North America is 10%.
MYCOTOXIN A potentially harmful chemical compound produced by some forms of fungi to protect themselves against other microorganisms.
OPEN DRYING SYSTEM Exchanging humid air inside with dryer air outside.
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration (United States).
PATHOGEN A specific agent, such as a bacterium or virus, that causes disease.
PERMEANCE Measure of water vapor flow through material(s) of specific thickness.
PRIMARY DAMAGE Damage sustained by direct contact with water or contamination.
PSYCHROMETRY The study of the relationship between air, humidity (relative and specific), temperature and their effect on various materials and human health and comfort.
PSYCHROMETRIC CHART A graph showing the relationship between dry bulb temperature, humidity and vapor pressure. When two values are known (relative humidity and temperature), all other factors affecting drying can be determined.
RELATIVE HUMIDITY The amount of moisture in the air, expressed as a percentage of the air’s total moisture holding capacity at a specific temperature.
SATURATION The point at which moisture vapor returns to a liquid condensate and/or materials will absorb no more moisture, regardless of increases in temperature.
SECONDARY DAMAGE On-going damage that results from absorption of moisture from abnormally high levels of humidity.
SENSITIZATION An allergic condition that usually affects the skin or lungs. Once a reaction occurs, further exposure may cause adverse reactions, even at lower exposure levels.
SPECIFIC HUMIDITY The actual amount of water vapor contained in air as expressed by weight (GPP – grains per pound).
SANITIZER An agent that reduces microorganisms to a safe level as judged by public health agencies. It is the lowest level antimicrobial.
-STAT To limit or control.
STERILIZER A biocide that kills all microorganisms and their spores. It is the highest level biocide.
SUBLIMATION The process of changing the state of a solid, such as ice directly into a vapor (freeze drying).
VAPOR PRESSURE The force exerted by a gas (vapor) on its surrounding environment. High seeks low.
VAPOR BARRIER Materials through which moisture can not easily penetrate and pass through (permeance factor of 1 or less)
VENTILATION Exchange of air from one area to another. Usually from inside to the outside.
VIRUS Parasitic submicroscopic organisms (0.03 – 0.25 microns) that lack the energy generating enzyme systems necessary to reproduce independent of living host cells. Most are pathogenic. Over 120 different viruses exist in human urine and feces.

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