Insurance Article, The Insurance Times 2023, The Insurance Times September 2023

Mitigating flooding effects with Water Damage Restoration Solutions

The flood feud looming over the northern states with the onset of the monsoon has raised concerns among the masses. Where water is an essential element for sustaining life, in excess it can be a destructive force incurring havoc in the lives of people and property. With the country still in the middle of the monsoon, getting incessant rains in the time period can be expected. Water damaging valuable assets aggravates the distress in industrial and commercial spaces.

Coming with a draining effect, water can disrupt the operations of the space and in severe conditions, can even lead to shutdown of the business activities. In an industrial and commercial setup, the machinery, furnishings, and miscellaneous items are quite expensive, and in a flooding situation, they are under the threat of getting damaged. Replacing and reconstructing the articles can incur heavy losses for the company, considering they are already suffering from an acute crisis due to the sudden halt in business. To deal with the situation, it is very likely that the companies seek help from insurance companies, but in turn, they advise taking assistance from a professional restoration team to mend the damage. Along with this, most of the time companies are left with unbudgeted compensation as a result of high insurance claims.

In order to address the water menace, opting for timely restoration of water-damaged assets can be economical that can also ensure continuity of business. Here, it is important to understand that time is a crucial factor in mitigating the flooding issue. One needs to observe the situation in the first 24 to 48 hours. It is a very crucial situation where time cannot be wasted in taking action but on the contrary, one cannot rush to take hasty decisions. Hence, proper knowledge of the basics of water damage is required to deal with the problem. This necessitates a solid emergency disaster to be in place beforehand to control the unforeseen situation. Looking at the intensity of the situation, only highly trained professionals coming with expertise in handling sophisticated technology and equipment are better able to control the water damage.

They are efficient at deploying a Water Damage Restoration (WDR) plan where they ensure the safety of the occupants while carrying out drying and restoration of water-damaged assets. In the process, the emergency plan also promotes the preservation, protection, and security of assets and protects them from any further damage, expediting the restoration of material to the original state.

But before resorting to the restoration process, it is important to identify the category of water in order to take relevant action. Water is categorized into three types namely Clean Water, Gray Water, and Black Water depending on its inherent properties. As the name suggests, Clean Water is less susceptible to trigger contamination and poses less health risk to humans. It can be a very common outcome of broken water supply lines, contaminant-free tub or sink overflow, or excess rainwater.

Moving ahead to the next category, in Gray Water there is presence of significant amount of chemical, biological and physical contaminants like fungal, bacterial, and viral algae, etc. Substantial exposure to water can lead to discomfort or sickness in humans. Considering that dishwasher or washing machine discharge, overflow of toilet bowls containing urine, slump pump failures, hydrostatic pressure causing seepage, etc. could be the reason behind Gray Water, it requires immediate professional intervention. It provides an ideal condition for harboring the growth of microorganisms that worsens in the presence of moisture and warm temperature. In case the water is left unattended for 48 hours, it has the potential to get converted into black with the ability to pose even higher risk to human health.

Out of the three categories, black water is the worst type of water damage. Containing pathogenic agents arising from sewage or floodwater, it is highly unsanitary and unhealthy. The huge financial and health risks it incurs time must not be wasted in taking restoration services with immediate effect.

WDR majorly focuses on the drying process. The process includes different phases to remove the standing water. Here, the excess water is eliminated by removing the standing water. After which evaporation is carried out with the help of air movement and dehumidification. Evaporation initiates the formation of vapor that ensures the elimination of saturated water from drywall, wood frame, and subfloors. It is followed by dehumidification which is adept at exhausting and removing moisture externally. It forms a very crucial stage for protecting the assets from secondary damage as it can pose serious health hazards to the occupants.

Throughout the restoration, it is important to regulate the temperature and humidity of the entire space to amplify the drying process. It is recommended to maintain the relative humidity within a very narrow range to avoid things from getting worse. Failing to dehumidify the space can lead to a combination of wet and moist conditions giving rise to a disastrous situation. Considering that warm air has more capacity to hold moisture as compared to cold air, a mixture of high temperature and low relative humidity forms the ideal condition for expediting the evaporation process. Here, reversing the condition slows down the evaporation process and can take an alarming turn in case the humidity reaches 100% capacity. In such a situation, there is condensation formation on the surface that encourages the growth of mold accountable for corrosion, decay, and other moisture-related deterioration.

Understanding that WDR requires specific environmental conditions, maintaining the temperature at 72°F while keeping the RH between the narrow range of 50-55% can accelerate the evaporation process. Furthermore, minimizing the RH by less than 40% proves to be even more favorable for the WDR process. In the entire process, it is imperative to ensure that the temperature of the affected space is not increased.

Understanding the significance of evaporation in the WDR process, deploying dehumidification technology with advanced and viable solutions can remove the moisture physically from the air. Opting for TDS can help in escalating the evaporation process by increasing the airflow which lowers the moisture content in the air. It harnesses the benefits of desiccant dehumidification for reducing the water menace with the help of end-to-end Water Damage Restoration solutions. In turn, it inhibits secondary and tertiary damaging effect which is responsible for encouraging the growth of fungus, mold, and mildew and causes corrosion, condensation, etc.

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