Water damage in a home is surprisingly common. It only takes a small crack to allow a great deal of water to enter your home. Indeed, according to statistics from Insurance Industry Research, a ⅛ of an inch crack in a pipe can cause 250 gallons of water to leak out per day. This volume of water would be almost certain to cause a large amount of damage, meaning that the cost of restoration would likely be in the thousands of dollars.
The costs for a flood in your home can quickly mount up. According to the same industry data, the relationship between the level of flooding and the final cost is striking:
|LEVEL of |
|AVG. COST |
What this indicates is that a flooded house involves more than simply removing the water. The residual damage can be significant, often involving professionals to clean up.
Put simply, water restoration refers to the process of cleaning up your home after water damage has taken place. This is often a bigger task than simply removing the standing water and letting a room dry out.
Each of these requires a specific type of restoration. Water restoration goes further than simply removing the water, removing any bacteria present, deodorizing any smells, and providing protection against mold and mildew.
Water restoration can, therefore, be a big project, particularly if you have a room or rooms that have been flooded (and even more so if that flood was caused by sewage or water from a river). In order to do the job correctly, professionals will use a variety of equipment. Generally, these can be grouped into four different categories:
What is a moisture meter?
Moisture meters are fundamental pieces of equipment for water restoration. As the name suggests, they are designed to indicate the water content of various materials. This is important in demonstrating potential structural damage from water.
Moisture meters have applications outside of water restoration – such as demonstrating the quality of pieces of furniture – although within the field of water restoration they will usually be the first piece of equipment used.
How do they work?
Moisture meters give a percentage reading (percentage moisture content, or %MC). Moisture meters are usually calibrated to the moisture content of wood, which is in the 5-40% range. Concrete ranges from 0-100%, where 0 is no moisture present, and 100 is totally saturated.
This makes it easier if you are using a moisture meter, but you aren’t necessarily familiar with the percentage figures involved.
If you do use your own moisture meter, then be aware that checking sheetrock will require a meter that is calibrated for gypsum. Moisture meters generally retail for around $20-50 from a hardware store.
What types of moisture meters are there?
There are two types of moisture meter: pin-type and pinless.
How do they work?
Air movers function like giant hairdryers, blowing air over a damp surface, and hastening the process of water evaporation (and therefore drying).
Depending on which company you work with, air movers may have different names, going by any of the following:
They may also be known as air dancer blowers, as they are the same piece of equipment used to make the advertising inflatable dancers move.
What are the advantages of using an air mover?
The benefits of using an air mover are threefold:
They are extremely energy efficient, using minimal electricity to operate effectively.
Air movers are high velocity, pushing air out at around a rate of 8 cubic feet per minute.
Cut Drying Time
They greatly decrease drying time, helping carpets, wall cavities, and the like dry much faster
Easy to Use
As an added benefit, they require little to no work once they are turned on – you can just set and forget it.
Can I rent one?
Renting an air mover is likely to cost around $100 per week, meaning it can be a cost-effective piece of equipment to use yourself (since it doesn’t require any professional expertise to use yourself).
How do they work?
Air scrubbers are filtration systems, designed to remove particles from the air. They work by taking in air, passing it through a filter, and then venting the air without the impurities. The type of air scrubber you use depends on the specific type of contaminants you want to remove from the air.
Why should I use one?
Air scrubbers are particularly important when water damage is from water which contains toxins or biohazards.
This is the case when your flood is caused by a sewage backup or a burst sewage pipe, or if your home has been flooded by water from a river or lake. In both cases, you are likely to have dangerous chemicals in your home.
In these cases, an air scrubber will often be a fundamental requirement of any work crew in your home in order to protect themselves from inhaling any harmful chemicals.
What’s the difference between an air scrubber and a negative air machine?
The two terms are often used interchangeably, although a negative air machine relies on venting the air out of the space using ducting. An air scrubber, by contrast, does not vent the air but rather filters it.
How much does it cost to rent an air scrubber?
If you decide to rent an air scrubber, you can expect to pay $300-$400 for a week’s rental. This includes the cost of the filter, which cannot be reused.
LOW-GRAIN REFRIGERANT (LGR) DEHUMIDIFIERS
What does an LGR dehumidifier do?
An LGR dehumidifier is an advanced piece of equipment, designed to remove moisture from the air. When your home has been flooded and water has entered various surfaces, the process of evaporation is often slowed by the humidity level of the air; a dehumidifier allows this process to speed up by lowering the humidity in the atmosphere.
How does it differ from a regular dehumidifier?
An LGR dehumidifier is more powerful than a regular dehumidifier as it contains a double cooling system. As the air is cooled inside the machine, it cannot hold as much moisture as room-temperature air, and therefore more moisture is deposited onto the coils inside the mechanism. The air that is vented is therefore removed of more water than with a regular dehumidifier.
How is it measured?
There are two metrics when comparing moisture removal from the air – AHAM and Saturation.
AHAM is the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, who take their ratings at 60% humidity at 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The AHAM rating is usually accurate as these are typical work conditions for dehumidifiers.
Saturation measurements take their readings at 90% humidity in 90-degree Fahrenheit conditions. Because of the extremity of these conditions, they provide an indication of the maximum capacity of a dehumidifier (think of the saturation measurement as the same as a car’s top speed).
How much does it cost to rent an LGR dehumidifier?
To rent a 96-gallon LGR dehumidifier, you can expect to spend $250-$300 per week. You could also consider purchasing a standard dehumidifier for your home, which will cost between $200-$300 and dehumidifies moisture at a slower rate.
If your home is damaged by water, you can certainly attempt the cleanup operation yourself. Since most of the costs involved in the cleanup are labor costs, you can certainly save a lot of money doing it that way. You can rent or purchase a dehumidifier, as well as other tools discussed here.
However, as this guide has shown, professional equipment can be expensive to rent, let alone buy. Moreover, it’s not even certain that you’ll use the equipment in the proper way.