Emergency water removal is somewhat of a misnomer, since any situation where water has to be removed could usually be classified as an emergency. Water is one of the most destructive forces that can be brought to bear on a home, even more so than fire. It not only does a great deal of damage right away, but can continue to wreak havoc for as long as it is allowed to remain. In addition, not all water damage is readily apparent, and may be easily overlooked by the untrained eye. Failure to properly treat all water damage can result in additional problems later on, weeks or even months down the road.
The first step in the treatment of any water damage emergency is to locate the source of the water and shut it off. This not only prevents more water from coming into the home, but it should also tell you exactly what kind of water you are dealing with. Knowing the type of water dictates the measures that should be taken to remediate it.
Clean Water – this is water that is free of contaminates and poses no threat of illness if ingested by humans or animals. An overflowed sink or broken water supply line would be examples of Clean Water.
Grey Water – this is water that is slightly contaminated at the source and my cause illness if ingested by humans or animals. Laundry water or dishwater runoff are examples of this type of water.
Black Water – this is water that is highly contaminated at the source and will cause serious illness or even death if ingested by humans or animals. Black water is typically sewage based and should always be handled by a trained professional.
The key word in any water removal process is “dry”. Everything should be completely dried out before repairs are deemed complete. Failure to do so will result in problems such as mold. Mold can appear in as little as 48 hours after a water damage event (sooner if the water is sewage based “Black Water”), spread quickly, and prove extraordinarily difficult to remove.
Of course the fastest and most efficient way to deal with water damage is to contact a local, water restoration professional. But even here you find problems. Companies advertising such service are readily found in every city. Unfortunately not all of them are qualified to do the work. Choosing the wrong company could make a bad situation worse, easily doubling the cost to repair and restore your home.
You should look for a company that has approval from the Institute for Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC), or another industry governing body such as the Restoration Industry Association (RIA). While no seal of approval guarantees competent work, you can know that the company in question has devoted time, energy, and finances into the proper training and certification for their employees. It lends credibility and accountability to the company and peace of mind for the homeowner.
Certification means that the company you choose will be available 24/7, able to send a technician to your home right away. They will be fully staffed by trained professionals, proficient on all the latest water damage gear and techniques. And they will be able to handle all elements of your specific water damage repair needs, from water extraction and drying, to carpet cleaning and mold removal, to structural repair and reconstruction.
Remember, with water damage, time is of the essence, and the clock is ticking. Only trust your home to IICRC certified professionals.