Documentation ] [ Water Damage ]

 

Water Damage
cleaning up after a leak or flood

If your building or home has been damaged by water, whether by flood, sewer backup, pipe break, etc. It is important that you act quickly to prevent further loss. If you are a public building, risk management and loss prevention are critical after water damage is discovered.


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Cleveland water and flood damage experts

If your building or home has been flooded due to an act of God, pipe break, sewer backup, roof leak or any other reason, your reaction to the problem could avoid much more serious problems down the road. When a home or building has experienced flooding, microbial contamination can begin within 24-48 hours of the initial water damage. It is important that you act quickly in order to prevent further loss. You should contact your insurance carrier to report the loss and you should work with a consultant to document your loss. If the water damage occurred unnoticed and has recently been discovered you should have the damage evaluated by a consultant that is familiar with water damage restoration projects. Many times contractors perform repairs by removing damaged building materials, painting, drying wet areas, etc. It is critical that the contractor that is performing the repairs to your water damaged home or building be trained in water damage restoration and contaminant remediation. An improper remediation can worsen the problem, especially if microbial contamination is present.

 

 

Inspecting The Damage

C.L.I. Group, LLC is experienced and knowledgeable in water damage restoration and microbial contamination remediation. We will inspect the damaged property following guidelines which we have developed using:

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IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration

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IICRC S520 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation

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ASTM E-241 00 Standard Guide for Limiting Water-Induced Damage to Buildings

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Bioaerosols; Assessment and Control (ACGIH 1999)

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The Industrial Hygienists Guide to Indoor Air Quality Investigations (AIHA 1999)

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Report of the Microbial Task Force (AIHA 2001)

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Understanding Microbial Contamination in HVAC Systems (NADCA 1996)

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NYC Dept. of Health Guidelines

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EPA Guidelines

After a careful visual assessment of the building and the damaged areas, we will report on our findings and help you to develop an appropriate course of action for remediation of the problem areas. The scope of the remediation will depend largely on the findings of the visual assessment. If microbial contamination is suspected from visual indicators or occupant symptoms, we will develop hypotheses from our initial assessments and develop a sampling strategy to locate the sources of the contamination and the pathways by which they are finding their way to the occupants. You can read more on our microbial page. If the water source has been active for some period of time, there is also the potential for structural or building material damage which will need to be addressed. It is important that you protect your interests when dealing with a water damage claim to your insurance company. You will want to assure that all of the damage has been documented and the the problems are corrected properly and fully. In some cases, extensive damage can be present with only limited visual indicators.

After a careful visual assessment of the damage, air or other sampling may not be necessary. However, your insurer may want to have samples taken (surface and air) to confirm the level of contamination. It is suggested that your consultant be present when this sampling is performed for your insurer to assure that proper methodologies are used.  

See Sample Water Damage Report

Thermography

For those cases where the moisture damage may not be readily visible, C.L.I.  uses thermography as a tool to aid in locating thermal anomalies which could indicate leakage. Thermography gives us the ability to see what the eye can't see. We can often pinpoint the source of the leakage using state of the art electronic equipment which saves time and money on repair costs.

If your building has experienced water damage, using thermography can aid (further investigation is required to verify moisture) in assuring that the cleanup and drying process is performed properly and that those areas requiring immediate attention are dealt with first. This reduces opportunity for microbial contamination to begin and again reduces overall cleanup costs. In cases where mold contamination is suspected, the first order of business is tracking down the moisture sources that are creating the conditions favorable to it's amplification. Infrared imaging is our tool of choice for such projects. Companies that offer to kill, treat or seal the mold and do not mention dealing with the conditions which created the problem in the first place may not be doing a job that will last. These companies offer guarantees, etc. but there are several good questions you should ask before signing on for such a remediation...

  1. If you are going to kill the mold, is there a guarantee that dead mold spores will not affect my health?

  2. Does the guarantee cover the moisture which allowed the mold to amplify?

  3. Do you have EPA registered products proven to be safe for such applications?

  4. What claims are you making for the products you are using to kill, seal or treat the mold? Will you put the claims in writing?

  5. Does your company employ licensed applicators?

What You See

What We See

Same area, different color pallette

Basement wall anomalies indicate hidden moisture

Moisture in basement wall is indicated by thermal anomalies

Wall adjacent to kitchen where suspected leakage was occurring

Same wall viewed using infrared thermography clearly shows suspected leakage

End of wall between kitchen and living room

Same area using infrared thermography shows distinctive line where moisture starts

 

There are many other questions you could ask, but in many cases, after asking the above questions, you may not get the opportunity because the company may have already left the premises. It is our opinion that source removal is the best procedure in most cases, and that includes correcting the conditions which created the problem. Moisture is at the top of the list.

For further reading on methods of remediation Click Here. (See what the EPA, ACGIH, U.S. Army and other say about biocides, etc. during remediation).

Water Damage and Insurance

You should read and understand your policy as it relates to water damage. Does your policy cover water damage? Chances are that your policy may cover damage from water under certain conditions and not others. If your water leak is a covered item, does the policy also cover ensuing damage? Microbial contamination may be considered ensuing damage, depending on the source of the water damage. In many cases, the source of excess moisture in the home may be related to more than one source. In such cases, it may be up to the policy holder to segregate the specific damages to specific causes. This can be an extremely difficult task. We can help in damage assessment and loss control. In many cases, water damage classifications can degrade with time, so prompt action is required to limit your losses. It is also important that you fulfill your obligations under your policy in order to prevent further losses from occurring. This time factor involved in water damage is what is causing much of the news about mold. If the parties involved understood the time factors better, much of the mold related litigation could be avoided. It is when homeowners wait to file claims for water damage and insurance companies are not quick to respond that problems occur. Your reaction to a sudden catastrophic water leak in your home is critical to assuring an acceptable solution, and to preventing contamination of a biological origin.

Another important issue in water damage claims is the cleanup. If you have experienced water damage and suspect that microbial contamination is present, the cleanup should be carefully considered. If the contamination is severe, an improper cleanup can make matters worse and increase the cost of the cleanup. Is the contractor that was sent to perform the cleanup a certified microbial remediation specialist? If not, have they had other specialized training for abatement projects (ex. asbestos, lead)? The contractor should also have a supervisor present during any microbial abatement project to assure that proper procedures are followed. This is where having a consultant working for you can help to assure that proper abatement and cleanup procedures are being followed.

C.L.I. Group, LLC uses specialized equipment to assure that the areas affected are dried properly to prevent further problems after the claim has been settled. In many cases, after repairs have been performed, an area may look as it did before, but there may be hidden moisture not visible by visual only inspection methods. We use thermal imaging equipment to spot thermal anomalies and electronic moisture detection equipment to verify that all affected areas have been satisfactorily dried to acceptable levels. 

If you have suffered water damage, we suggest that you contact a private consultant at the same time you contact your insurance company. This will help to assure that your interests are protected.

Some Water Damage Facts

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Using improper remediation techniques can affect the health of building occupants

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Fogging your home does not rid your home of microbial contamination and IS NOT recommended

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Companies offering to seal, fog, spray etc. should be avoided. Instead look for qualified remediation companies. The mentioned methods may be cheaper, but do not really address your problem. This could require a more costly solution later.

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Proper diagnosis of water damage category is critical to proper remediation

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High moisture levels may be present inside wall cavities, etc. but are not visible without the use of specialized equipment

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Water damage can cause both fungal and bacterial contamination and may damage structural components in buildings

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Different fungal and bacterial contaminants may call for different remedial options

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Drying out does not necessarily mean items are not contaminated

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If you suspect a mold contamination, DO NOT simply begin opening up walls, etc. This could spread any contamination and cause you problems down the road with any insurance claims.

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Understand the role of your insurance companies adjuster, they are trying to reduce the amount of the claim and do not work for you.

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If you have experienced water damage and your insurance carrier sends a contractor to clean up the water, ask if the contractor is experienced in abatement procedures for microbial contamination. If not, extreme caution should be practiced.

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If microbial contamination has resulted from water damage, is the microbial contamination isolated to one area? You may need professional assistance to answer that question. Performing a microbial abatement in one room does little good if the remainder of the building or HVAC system is contaminated.

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Companies claiming to verify the successfulness of a remediation or drying project using thermal imaging are mistaken about what thermal imaging does. Thermography does not detect moisture, it detects thermal anomalies which will require further investigation to determine if anomalies indicate moisture.

Floor Cover Failure

When flooring on slabs has been damaged during flooding or is failing in new buildings the cause may be related to moisture levels in the slab when the flooring was installed. Before installing finish flooring on slabs the slab moisture levels should be measured to assure that moisture/humidity are at acceptable levels for the application. C.L.I. Group, LLC can perform such testing per ASTM Standards to assure that there are no failures later.

Concrete Slab Inspections

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Calcium Chloride Vapor Emission Testing
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Quantitative, per ASTM F-1869-04

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Qualitative

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In-situ Concrete Relative Humidity Testing, per ASTM F-2170-02

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Surface Alkalinity Testing

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Meter Survey
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Tramex™ Concrete Moisture Encounter

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Protimeter™ MMS using Humidity Box

 

 

 

Documentation ] [ Water Damage ]

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