Proper Use of a Shop Vac for Water Damage Restoration
Not every case of water damage is a large scale disaster. In most cases you will not be looking at several feet of water in your home, nor will you require heavy duty pumps in order to get all the water out of your home. In the vast majority of cases, the excess water may be removed through the use of a wet dry vacuum unit, known more commonly as the shop vac.
Shop vacs may be easily rented or purchased, and are fully capable of removing up to 90% of the excess water in your home. The remainder will have to be removed through the use of devices designed to circulate air, such as fans, blowers, and dehumidifiers.
If there is one mistake that homeowners make, it is trying to use a regular vacuum cleaner to remove water. These electrically powered units will only be damaged or destroyed if used in this way, and the operator may run the risk of serious injury due to electrocution. Do NOT use home vacuum cleaners to repair water damage.
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Take the time to read the manual before beginning use, make sure the proper filter is installed, and set the unit to operate on the “wet option”. In addition, remove any and all loose items from the damaged area. Shop vacs can pull up about anything, and if it gets tangled in your curtains, it could yank the entire assembly right off the wall.
Using a shop vac is much like using a traditional vacuum, moving it back and forth across the water damaged area, There will be no mistaking whether or not it is working, since you will be able to hear the water being pulled through the unit. Once the sound of the water ceases, continue to work the area for a minute or so, just for good measure. In some cases, the unit tank may fill up before you have removed all the water, but fortunately most units are designed to shut off when the tank is at capacity. Empty the tank as needed and continue operation until all of the excess water has been effectively removed.
Different size tanks are offered with different models, so choose the largest possible tank that you can effectively work with. Remember that repeated trips to empty the tank will become cumbersome and tiresome after a while.
Once the job has been completed, disassemble the unit, clean it, and properly store it away in order to prevent the buildup of mold and mildews, which may be dangerous as well as affect the operation of the unit in the future.
Again, remember that the shop vac will only take up part of the excess water. You will still need to dry out the damaged area in order to remove any residual moisture on the surfaces and surrounding atmosphere. The operative word in water damage restoration is always “dry”. Everything must be completely dried out in order to prevent long term issues.