Facts about Commercial Water Damage
When it comes to water damage to a residential or commercial property, there is more than meets the eye.
Here are some water facts and figures as they pertain to the restoration industry:
1. Water is capable of dissolving a variety of different substances. In fact, water is known as the “universal solvent” because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid.
2. A sheet of drywall standing upright with its edge sitting in a ½” of water can wick water up to 6 inches in less than three hours.
3. Mold typically begins to grow in 24 to 48 hours in an untreated moist environment.
4. A good indication of a failing hot water heater is a puddle of water underneath it, indicating a slow leak, or rusted or corroded fittings on the top of the heater. If you don’t investigate the leak ASAP, you may quickly flood your home because water heaters are under a great deal of water pressure.
5. There are three categories of water contamination defined in the restoration industry:
- Category One – Water from a clean water source with no substantial risk of causing sickness or discomfort. Examples include water from a broken water supply pipe or an overflowing bathtub.
- Category Two – Water that has a significant degree of chemical, biological, and/or physical contamination. Examples include water from aquariums, dishwasher or clothes washer leaks, and water entering the structure from below grade. Discharged Category One water that sits untreated more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Two.
- Category Three – Water emanating from a grossly unsanitary source or carrying disease-causing agents. Examples include discharges from sewer or septic systems/pipes and flood waters. Discharged Category One water that sits more for more than 48 hours becomes Category Three. Discharged Category Two water that sits more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Three.
6. Controlling pathogenic microorganisms during a restoration project may require the use of chemical agents that act as biocides. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defined three levels of biocidal activity:
- Sanitizers – Designed to reduce the number of microorganisms.
- Disinfectants – Designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms but not necessarily their spores.
- Sterilizer – Designed to destroy all microorganisms (fungi/molds, bacteria, viruses, etc.) and their spores.