When a major water incident unexpectedly occurs, you may find yourself scurrying to find a resolution. As such, it can be helpful to prepare in advance for situations like these so that you can know what to expect and how to prepare for it, ahead of time. 

Initial Contact

When you pick up the phone to call a water remediation specialist, you’ll be greeted by an answering service, automated line or live person. During this process, you will likely be asked a series of questions that are designed to gather as much information as possible to assist the technician that is to be dispatched. 

Although you may find yourself feeling a wide range of emotions including anxiety, turmoil and fear, it is important that you calmly provide specific and accurate information when prompted for it. While the process may take longer than you’d like given the situation, your cooperation is needed to ensure a successful resolution of your situation. 

Prepare yourself to answer the following questions when asked:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • The source of the problem
  • Your insurance company
  • Whether or not the source has been stopped
  • How many rooms or stories have been affected
  • Potential or standing health issues of occupants
  • Deductible costs
  • Client intervention when possible
  • Work authorization explanation and confirmations

Arrival 

When the emergency crews arrive, it is okay to gauge the professionalism of your remediation specialist. You should evaluate the common courtesy and respect level of the water remediator at his or her arrival. 

Some factors you may wish to consider are the general appearance of the crew, their attitude towards you and other occupants, the certifications of the remediation team and overall professionalism. 

It is important to remember that the remediation team you choose has received training that may involve following protocol you don’t agree with. While you always reserve the right to voice your opinion, you should bear in mind that without following specific guidelines, the restoration team may not be able to finish a job if you refuse to allow them to follow proper protocol.

Upon that initial arrival, the remediation crew is likely to ask you to sign a document called a work authorization, or WA, which is an agreement between the property owner and the contractor as to who will pay the final bill. Until this document is signed, no work will ensue.

Once the work authorization has been completed, your technician will begin to scope out your home or business. He or she will identify the water source and remediate the issue, if you have not done so, already. 

Upon entering your home or business, you may find that the restorer puts on, or has already come with, protective gear. This gear keeps your restorative specialist safe from any potentially harmful airborne or surface toxins, and is not anything to be offended by. Remember, it is always the duty of the restorer to ensure a safe environment, both for him or herself, and for the occupants of the structure. 

Before continuing with the inspection, you can expect to hear about the plan going forward, and what to expect over the span of the upcoming days, including follow-up. It is important to listen carefully to these plans, as they may require vacating the premises for a set period of time. Inspection times, days and procedures may not always line up with what you expect, so be sure to ask questions ahead of time, if you have them.

The Inspection

After the source has been identified and stopped, the remediator will begin to inspect the environment for affected areas. Your remediator will be looking to answer questions such as:

  • What in the affected area Is wet?
  • How wet is it?
  • Has damage occurred?
  • Can it be salvaged? 

The technician will need to analyze your home or business for water migration and will need to take note of the type of materials affected by the water event and whether or not they are salvageable. 

He or she will also seek to protect any affected furniture or other items you have at your home or business, especially if the water source was unable to be stopped at the time of your restorer’s arrival. 

Ultimately, the goal of this inspection process is to identify all areas in which water could have traveled. Any negligence of this task will lead to microbial growth that can lead to a multitude of secondary problems, in addition to the main water event itself. 

The Drying Process

Before beginning the drying process, your remediation specialist will use moisture meters to determine the amount of drying that will need to take place. Your technician will have a drying goal that is determined using specific methods. You can expect your technician to use moisture meters over the course of the entire project, in an attempt to gauge the effectiveness of the drying methods utilized.

Once the inspection has taken place and moisture levels have been recorded, your restorer will go forth with a drying operation that is fit for the occasion. Do not be surprised if the restorative team changes methods and equipment in the middle of the drying process. The restorative process is fluid and will likely involve many changes throughout to ensure full and effective drying techniques are being utilized. 

Your technician may attempt to remediate your water damage situation using the following techniques: 

Removing Wet and Unsalvageable Items– Wet and unusable items, such as cardboard and other waterlogged materials, will need to be thrown away promptly, as their presence adds unnecessary moisture in the air. The more moisture is in the air, the longer the drying process will take, meaning there is a higher chance of secondary damages, such as unwanted microbial growth.

Extraction– Extraction occurs by removing water from a home or business while it is still in its liquid state. This can be done with the use of specialized and high-tech equipment, but can only be utilized if certain criteria are met. If your technician has the proper tools, has a dehumidifier and can classify the situation as a Category 1 water loss, then extraction techniques may be used. 

Specialized Drying Equipment– Through the use of air movers, dehumidifiers and other drying agents, the amount of moisture in a room can be greatly reduced. This will involve particular placement of this sort of machinery throughout the structure, along with other reliable measures, to ensure that your technicians achieve the aforementioned drying goal. 

Every Situation Is Different

Bear in mind that the water restoration process mentioned above may not go exactly as described, and may flex with the situation. Depending on the severity of the water situation at hand, your restorer may devise a plan of action that is conducive with the severity and complexity of the situation, and may involve the application of biocidal and antimicrobial agents. All in all, always trust your remediator to do what is best, and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you have them.