Emergency Water Removal Prompt emergency water removal and extraction is a crucial first step when your home has suffered water damage. DryHero uses specialized and powerful self-propelled water extractors to pull virtually all bulk water from your carpet AND pad! Don’t pull up your water damaged carpet until you’ve talked to us! In Lincoln Call 402-438-2379 or 1-888-DRY-HERO(1-888-379-4376) for live, free telephone support. Removal of excess water could include such simple steps as mopping or soaking up excess water from hard surfaces or furnishings. It could also be pumping standing water from crawlspaces or basements. However, the most valuable form of water removal is via powerful vacuum to remove water from carpet and pad. DryHero uses the most powerful water extraction system on the market and that translates into more successful emergency drying projects. On most of our drying and restoration projects it is NOT necessary to remove the wet carpet pad because it is easily dried in place! There is no faster or more cost effective way to restore a water damaged home. Shockingly, very few “professional” restoration companies invest in the training and state-of-the-art water removal equipment to extract massive amounts of water from your flood damaged home. That’s pretty important because the more water you can physically remove at the beginning of your water damage mitigation project, the faster your home will dry out because it is at least 1,200 times easier to physically remove water than it is to evaporate it via dehumidification. Correspondingly, the faster your structure will dry and the less water damage you’ll sustain. When it comes to wet carpet, the more water left behind in carpet after the extraction process, the more potential for odors, staining and even bacteria and mold growth. The water removal process actually removes a tremendous amount of organic contaminants from wet building materials. Remove more water removed the more organic particulate (i.e., skin cells, pet dander, insects, pollen, yeast, mold spores, bacteria, soil, etc.) removed. You simply can’t quickly remove enough water via evaporation to effectively avoid bacteria, PH and soil wicking problems. Maximum water removal from wet carpet is so important that we actually recommend to Nebraska water damage do-it-yourselfers that they remove their wet pad/cushion and sometimes even their carpet if they don’t have access to professional de-flooding equipment. If you have a large amount of water damaged carpet in your home, either hire a professional with state-of-the-art water removal equipment or strongly consider removing the carpet pad/cushion. Water Damage Restoration At DryHero, 24/7 emergency water damage restoration service is our business! We specialize in mitigating flooded, water damaged residential and commercial properties. If you have a flooded basement, crawl space, attic or rental property it’s important that you act quickly to remove the moisture and suspend the water damage. DryHero is in your corner and we work as your advocate to preserve and protect your water damaged property. We can work directly with your insurance company to document your damage and submit the billing directly to them. CATEGORIES OF WATER DAMAGE The type of water damage and how to mitigate it depends on the category of flood water. According to the IICRC S500 Standards and Reference Guide for Water Damages, water damage is defined by one of the three following categories: Category 1 Water Damage Also known as Clean Water Damage, this is water that is uncontaminated at the source and as such does not pose a threat if exposed to or consumed by humans or animals. Broken water lines or overflowing tubs or sinks would be examples of Clean Water Damage. Examples of clean water sources may include, but are not necessarily limited to the following: Broken domestic water supply lines; Tub or sink overflows with no contaminants; Appliance malfunctions involving domestic water supply lines; Melting ice or snow; Falling rainwater; and Broken toilet tanks and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives. Category 2 Water Damage Also known as Grey Water Damage, this water may contain some varying degrees of contaminants at the source and may cause discomfort or illness if exposed to or consumed by humans or animals. Somewhat common type of water damage in Nebraska. Examples of Grey Water would include toilet water with urine present, sump pump failures, and discharge from dishwashers or washing machines. Examples of gray water sources may include, but are not necessarily limited to the following: Discharge from dishwashers or washing machines; Overflows from toilet bowls with some urine (no feces) Sump pump failures; Seepage due to hydrostatic pressure; Chilled and condensate water; and Fire Protection Sprinkler Water. Category 3 Water Damage Also known as Black Water Damage, this refers to water that is highly contaminated at the source and may cause serious illness or even death if consumed by humans or animals. Very serious situation! This water contains grossly unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, and is usually the result of sewage based spills. Other sources may include seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Keep in mind that, with time, the Category of water can worsen or degrade. For instance, Category 1 Water may become Category 2 Water if left untreated long enough. Likewise, Category 2 Water should be considered Category 3 if left standing and stagnant for more the 72 hours. Water damage containing Category 2 or 3 water is best handled by a professional in order to avoid potential health issues. Mold Remediation If you suspect that you have mold in your home or business, have no fear! DryHero is trained and certified in mold remediation and can provide you with an honest, common sense assessment of the severity. We offer precise inspection techniques and mold testing to help identify and locate mold contamination. Call 402-438-2379 in Lincoln for your no risk professional consultation! Mold contamination can often be identified during a simple inspection of your property. However, it’s possible to have elevated levels of airborne mold in your home or business that is not visually detectable. The best way to evaluate your air quality or mold problem is to simply give us a call. We can answer many of your questions by phone and will give you candid, professional advice regarding your specific situation. We even offer free on-site mold assessments during normal business hours to further address your air quality and mold concerns. MOLD OVERVIEW Mold growth awareness in buildings has risen greatly in recent years. Factors that have contributed to this heightened awareness include energy conservation measures, modifications in building materials, fast-track construction techniques, failure of occupants to properly manage moisture intrusion and humidity and an increased reliance on mechanical heating and cooling for comfort. Furthermore, significant media focus and litigation have fueled increased air quality concerns. DryHero.com site is not intended to replace professional examination and evaluation of your specific mold situation. It is however intended to provide honest, objective information from various sources throughout the mold remediation industry for eastern Nebraskans. Since professional indoor air quality (IAQ) organizations, state governments and the US EPA have not agreed upon threshold exposure limits or levels of visible mold growth that constitute a concern for occupant and worker safety, assessing individual mold and air quality concerns can be quite challenging. Quantifying visible levels of mold growth alone has obvious limitations as an action level decision criterion, because it does not take into consideration hidden or concealed mold growth, and it does not take into consideration contamination resulting from settled spores (not visible) that were dispersed from areas of actual growth. The IAQ and mold remediation industry is constantly evolving and as more information regarding mold contamination and remediation becomes available and as advancements are made in mold remediation science, abatement protocols will change. INDOOR MOLD ENVIRONMENT CONDITIONS Condition 1 (normal fungal ecology): an indoor environment that may have settled spores, fungal fragments or traces of actual growth whose identity, location and quantity are reflective of a normal fungal ecology for a similar indoor environment. Condition 2 (settled spores): an indoor environment which is primarily contaminated with settled spores that were dispersed directly or indirectly from a Condition 3 area, and which may have traces of actual growth. Condition 3 (actual growth): an indoor environment contaminated with the presence of actual mold growth and associated spores. Actual growth includes growth that is active or dormant, visible or hidden. PRINCIPLES OF MOLD REMEDIATION 1. Provide for the Safety and Health of Workers and Occupants When it’s been determined that an indoor environment is contaminated with mold, remediation workers must be protected from mold exposure. Engineering controls and work practices are the primary means for preventing exposure. Appropriate respiratory protection or other personal protective equipment (PPE) are also used to protect workers. Reasonable efforts should be made to inform occupants of and protect them from mold exposure as a result of inspection and remediation activities. 2. Document the Conditions and Work Processes When a preliminary inspection indicates that mold contamination exists or is likely to exist, an assessment should be performed prior to beginning remediation. In circumstances where an entire building or system is fully involved as a result of Condition 3 mold contamination or when the scope of work can be determined without sampling or independent IEP inspection and assessment, engagement of an IEP for assessment may not be necessary. Furthermore, some mitigation services may be initiated before or during assessment of conditions or performance of remediation processes. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if health issues are discovered or apparent that seem to be related to the actual or suspected mold contamination, an IEP or other appropriate professional should be engaged by the property owner and the extent and Condition (1, 2 or 3) to which areas of the structure, systems and contents are potentially mold-contaminated should be assessed, documented, and reported to the client. The conditions and work processes should be documented on an on-going basis during remediation work. The return of the remediated portion of the structure and salvable contents to Condition 1 should be documented before the structure is rebuilt or the contents reused. 3. Contamination Control The spread of mold contamination should be controlled as close as practical to its source. Initial moisture mitigation services may be performed to control mold growth, while ensuring that mold contamination does not spread from more-contaminated to less or non-contaminated areas. 4. Contamination Removal Physically removing mold contamination is the primary means of remediation. Mold contamination should be physically removed from the structure, systems and contents to return them to Condition 1. Attempts to kill, encapsulate or inhibit mold instead of proper source removal generally are not adequate. Remediated structures, systems and contents can be considered clean (post-remediation evaluation) when contamination, un-restoreable contaminated materials and debris have been removed, and surfaces are visibly free of dust. The term “visibly” can include direct and indirect observation (e.g., using a white or black towel to wipe a surface to observe for cleanliness). Also, remediated areas should be free of malodors associated with microorganisms. At that point, it is probable that the structure, systems and contents have been returned to Condition 1. After a post-remediation evaluation, the remediated structures, systems and contents are ready for post remediation verification. When verification that the structure, systems and contents have been returned to Condition 1 and when it is requested or required, a post-remediation verification should be performed by an independent IEP. 5. Contamination Prevention To prevent recontamination or future contamination, the moisture problem that contributed to the mold growth shall be identified and corrected or controlled as soon as practical . Affected salvable materials should be dried to acceptable moisture content following the current ANSI/IICRC S500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (S500). ENGINEERING CONTROLS Mold remediators should prevent cross-contamination and use engineering controls to help ensure worker and occupant safety. Generally accepted mold remediation principles and Occupational Safety and Health Act “OSHA” regulations and standards, engineering controls are the first line of defense for ensuring healthy air quality. Engineering controls may include, but are not limited to: source containment, isolation barriers, pressure differentials, dust suppression, and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration and vacuuming. DEVIATING FROM MOLD REMEDIATION INDUSTRY PROTOCOLS The Principles of Mold Remediation state that mold contamination should be controlled as close to its source as practical. Mold should be physically removed during remediation. Attempts to kill, encapsulate or inhibit mold instead of proper source removal generally are not adequate. Every mold remediation project is unique, and that in certain circumstances, common sense, experience and professional judgment may justify deviation from industry standards. It is the responsibility of mold remediation firms to determine and verify on a case-by-case basis that following the standard is appropriate. When Condition 3 mold situations exist that cannot be physically removed using reasonable measures, or when ongoing moisture intrusion cannot be resolved, it may be necessary to manage a Condition 3 area for extended periods by using long-term engineering controls, encapsulants, sealants or other methods. Allowing mold or moisture conditions to remain is strongly discouraged, since it can compromise the health of occupants, further damage building materials, and expose remediators to liability and other consequences. However, when deviations from this Standard are considered, it is recommended that mold remediators advise customers in writing that controlling mold or moisture condition in place can 1) have limited effectiveness, 2) result in a release of contaminants, 3) result in additional structural deterioration, 4) require long-term management, or 5) result in additional remediation work being necessary. Mold Testing and Inspection Mold testing and inspection is the best and most objective way for Lincoln property owners to evaluate the mold levels within their home or business. Since mold spores are too small to see with the naked eye, relying strictly in visual evidence of mold contamination has obvious limitations. If you really want to know what’s in the air you’re breathing, air testing for mold is fast, objective and cost effective. Surface mold testing is another powerful tool for identifying elevated levels of settled mold spores. As our schedule allows, DryHero provides FREE mold inspections to Lincoln Nebraska and Omaha residents. Just call 402-438-2379 in Lincoln or 402-592-4376 in Omaha. IS MOLD NORMAL? The reality is, mold is normal…at least to some extent. Mold and mold spores are everywhere, naturally occurring in the Nebraska outdoor environment. Correspondingly, you will also find mold spores in every home and business in Nebraska. If you have dust, there are mold spores in that dust. Pretty normal. What is NOT normal is for that mold to be actively growing, colonizing and producing new mold spores. The only way for that to occur is with the introduction of moisture. WHO SHOULD TEST FOR MOLD? At DryHero, we try to take a very common sense approach to mold. There are plenty of opportunities for mold remediation companies to be alarmists. This can either be well-meaning or self serving on the part the mold remediator. Consumers can meet the mold remediator’s elevated concerns with skepticism or embrace it as validation of their own health concerns. Generally speaking, if your home or business has not sustained water damage, does not smell like mold and does not have any signs of visual water damage or mold growth, your indoor aerosol mold spore levels are probably going to be very “normal”. However, for those individuals that want to know exactly how much mold is floating in their air, testing and inspection is effective. When it comes to new home buyers, a simple mold inspection and air test for mold is cheap insurance against possible dangers and expense of contamination. Although the exception for Nebraska home sellers, some individuals and institutions fail to disclose prior water intrusion, water damage and/or mold problems. An aerosol mold test is indiscriminate, regardless of the mold source, it will measure the actual mold spores in the air. Valuable data for prospective home buyers. A WORD OF CAUTION ABOUT MOLD TESTING IN NEBRASKA It’s important for the consumer to understand that testing for mold in Nebraska can cover a broad spectrum of services and expenses. Even with the most robust testing services, not all mold will be or can be detected. Mold testing alone simply does not guarantee that you will identify hidden, concealed or trapped contamination. A thorough visual inspection as well as an accurate historical record of past water intrusion and water damage greatly increase the odds of locating mold contamination and its origin. Water Damage Hardwood Flooring Cupped, water damaged wood flooring is one of the most difficult and complicated materials for our industry to dry and requires experience, finesse and good judgement to reverse the damage. At DryHero, 24/7 we have been trained in the use and application of state-of-the-art wood floor drying systems to help save your wet wood floor. Wood flooring responds slowly to moisture so it’s important to act promptly when you discover, warped, cupped or discolored water damaged wood floors. IMPORTANCE OF DRYING WATER DAMAGED WOOD FLOORING When wood flooring is water damaged, there are two primary negative results that concern us: permanent structural damage and mold growth. It is our objective to avoid both negative outcomes and both are a function of moisture content. “Normal” moisture content for a wood floor can vary from as low as 6% to as high as 12%. A flooded or water damaged wood floor can achive 40% moisture content and remain above 16% MC for weeks and even months if left to naturally dry on their own. According to the EPA, in as little as 48 – 72 hours, mold is capable of growing on most materials with a relative moisture level of 16% or higher. Time is your enemy when it comes to water and your wood flooring because the moisture, temperature and dust layer beneath a wet wood floor provides a pretty good environment for mold. Leaving wet floors naturally air dry is not worth the potential risk. Before you can even enter into a discussion of saving or drying your water damaged wood floor, you have to determine exactly what type of wood flooring you have. TYPES OF SOLID WOOD FLOORING Solid wood floors are manufactured from one complete piece of solid wood. Solid wood flooring comes in three main types. Each type is available in both an unfinished and a pre-finished version. Unfinished flooring must be job-site sanded and finished after installation. Pre-finished flooring is sanded and finished at the factory, so it only needs installation. The three main types of solid wood flooring are: STRIP WOOD FLOORING This type of flooring is denoted by the thickness and width of the wood planks. Strip flooring has a set width, but the thickness can vary. Strip flooring ranges in thickness from 5/16 of an inch to 3/4 of an inch wide. It is available only in widths of 1 1/2 inches, 2 inches and 2 1/4.inches. Strip wood flooring is very common in older Nebraska homes. PLANK WOOD FLOORING Plank flooring only comes in two thicknesses, but unlike strip flooring, the widths can vary. It is available only in thicknesses of 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch and a range of widths from 3 inches to 8 inches. Parquet flooring – Parquet floors have a very different look from typical hardwoods. They are made up of geometrical patterns composed of individual wood slats held in place by mechanical fastening or an adhesive. ENGINEERED WOOD FLOORING Engineered wood floors are made up of multiple layers of wood veneer glued and pressed together. They are generally 5/16″, 3/8″, 1/2″ or 3/4″ thick with widths of 2 1/4″, 3″ and 5″. Because of their cross-lamination, engineered wood floors tend to be more stable during seasonal changes than solid wood floors. LAMINATE WOOD FLOORING Like many areas of the country, laminate flooring has become very popular in Nebraska. Laminate floors vary greatly in construction but are basically made up of a hard core material that has a laminated printed layer and a special backing that are secured to the core and then saturated in plastic-type resins, called melamine. Laminate floors are really very similar to kitchen countertops. Virtually all laminate floors are “floating” floors, meaning the floor is not directly attached (nailed or glued) to the subfloor. Laminate floors are NOT considered wood or hardwood flooring. MOISTURE AND WOOD FLOORS There are numerous factors that affect how a wood floor will react to moisture. Although no wood flooring system will tolerate high levels of moisture, but some do better than others. Solid plank wood floors have the highest salvage potential because you’re dealing with 100% real, solid wood. There are no resins, veneers or composite materials to deal with. In general, a solid wood floor can be sanded and refinished several times in its lifetime. So if you can control the moisture and stabilize the flooring system, refinishing can restore even badly damaged floors. The harder the wood, the more slowly it will react to moisture. Oak flooring will react to moisture within a day or two whereas a hard maple floor may not cup for three, four or more days. The harder the material, the slower it absorbs moisture and the slower it will release it. Some softer wood floors (such as southern yellow pine) can be exposed to significant moisture yet only slightly cup, increasing the potential to underestimate the damage. One variable to solid wood flooring is whether it was finished on-site or pre-finished. Floors that are sanded in-place usually have a fairly continuous finish on them, reducing the rate at which they can absorb (and release) moisture. Pre-finished, solid wood flooring has the finish applied at the factory. To account for slight variances in the product thickness, manufacturers bevel (or “kiss”) the edges for a uniform look. Factory finishing produces a high quality finish, but the bevels will allow surface moisture to absorb into the wood at a higher rate. Parquet flooring, although solid wood, has a much lower salvage potential. High quality parquet will be more forgiving than low-cost varieties, which are seldom worth saving. Since it’s glued and not nailed to the substrate, excessive exposure to moisture causes the adhesive to release, even before the wood cups. Engineered wood, although more stable when exposed to minor moisture, has a major disadvantage. It has a veneer wear layer anywhere from 1/32″ to 5/16″ so it often can’t be refinished. Refinishing a floor removes 1/32″ – 1/16″ of material so you have to do your homework researching the material. Ask the property owner if they have a sample or any leftover wood flooring to help identify the wood. Engineered wood floors always have beveled edges and you can also identify them by removing a floor vent and inspecting the plank’s cross section for laminated layers. Laminate floors have a low tolerance for moisture. The high-density fiber core permanently swells when it absorbs water and cannot be saved. You can identify water damage to a laminate floor by inspecting the edges of the planks for swelling. Like solid wood flooring, it is possible to spot repair laminate floors but it’s often difficult, even with spare material. Since water can remain trapped beneath the floor padding, it’s important to thoroughly test for moisture at the substrate level. Laminate floors are not restorable after swelling from moisture. If the laminate floor has a significant amount of water beneath the padding but the flooring has not yet swollen, drying may be possible but is unlikely. Attic Mold Remediation Due to the environmental complexities in Nebraska, we gave attic mold remediation its own service category on the website. OSHA confined space, extreme temperatures, poor air quality, electrical shock hazards, poor access and seemingly limitless puncture injury risks are just some of the challenges presented when an attic has mold contamination. However, there is good news! DryHero can effectively remediate your mold from your attic framing for far less money (and time) than replacing your roof! ANATOMY OF ATTIC MOLD REMEDIATION Attic mold growth is actually more common in Omaha and Lincoln Nebraska than you may think. Attics are not intended to be occupied and, by their ventilation, they are very dusty environments with high levels of ambient mold spores. However, all attic mold growth is a result of the same key ingredient: moisture. The moisture can be from something as simple as a roof leak but is typically due to excessive water vapor. So why is this a problem? Dew point. Dew point is the temperature at which the water vapor contained in a volume of air at a given atmospheric pressure reaches saturation and condenses to form dew. The dew point varies depending on how much water vapor the air contains, with humid air having a higher dew point than dry air. When large droplets of condensation form, they are deposited onto surfaces as moisture . If the dew point is below the freezing temperature of water, the water vapor turns directly into frost by sublimation, resulting in mold amplification. The conditions for mold growth can occur in an attic when insulation or ventilation is deficient. The more sources of moisture you have in your home, the higher water vapor contents you will have, increasing the odds for attic mold growth. Sources of moisture include humidifiers, cooking, showers, bathroom vents, kitchen vents, laundry vents and even water damaged basements. Controlling these moisture sources and improving attic ventilation minimizes the risk of future attic mold growth.