Water Damage, Water Damage Restoration

Water Damage Glossary Of Terms

When you are recovering from water damage, you will no doubt end up talking to a water damage restoration provider at some point (preferably sooner rather than later).  In doing so, they will no doubt be using their own terminology to describe the problem and how they intend to fix it, and sometimes the process can get a little confusing.

So, in order to alleviate that problem, we now present some of the more common terms that you are likely to hear during the process, along with explanations and definitions to help you better understand the process that you are paying for.

Air Mover: Air movers are specialized fans that promote evaporation and quickly dry out carpets, carpet pads, sub flooring, drywall, walls, and other building materials.

Literally, “against microorganisms”. A substance, mechanism or condition that inhibits the growth or existence of an organism. (e.g., fungi, bacteria, viruses and other organisms) Cp, “sterilize, disinfect, sanitize”

Balanced Drying
The equalization of evaporation and dehumidification. An idea drying situation in which the rate of evaporation of moister from the structure and content is equal to or slightly less than the rate of dehumidification or moister removal from the air. The objective in balanced drying is to prevent moisture absorption from the air into unaffected materials and thus, to minimize or eliminate secondary damage.

Boroscope: A boroscope is a snake-like tool with a camera attached to its end used by water damage restoration technicians to look for mold inside walls, crawl spaces, ceilings, and other hard to reach spaces.

Category 1 Water: Water from a clean source that does not pose substantial harm to humans.

Category 2 Water: Also called gray water, this water contains chemical, biological, and/or physical contamination. It has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans.

Category 3 Water: Unsanitary water with pathogenic agents that can cause severe discomfort, sickness, or even death if consumed by or exposed to humans. Water in this category includes sewage, seawater, ground surface water, and floodwaters.

Class 1: A classification that indicates the least amount of water, absorption and evaporation.

Class 2: A classification that indicates a large amount of water, absorption and evaporation

Class 3: A classification that indicates the greatest amount of water, absorption and evaporation.

Class 4: A classification that indicates a specialty drying situation

The process of reducing the moister content of air

A mechanical device that promotes dehumidification. Two types of dehumidifiers are used in water damage restoration: refrigerant (operating on the condensation principle), and desiccant (operating on the absorption principle).

Moisture Content (MC)
The percentage or weight of moisture in materials as compared to the weight of that material when completely dry (oven dried); e.g., structural wood with a moisture content of 10% indicated that 100 pounds of that wood contains 10 pounds of water.

Moisture Detector
An instrument that has two stainless steel probes designed to penetrate the primary and secondary backing of carpet. when moister is encountered in the carpet, cushion, or sub-floor materials, a circuit is completed between the two probes and a light and/or buzzer will sound to indicate the presence of that water.

Moisture Meter: A tool used for measuring the moisture level in building materials.

Thermal Hygrometer: A tool used for measuring the temperature and humidity levels indoors.

Personalized Protective Equipment (PPE)
Specialized clothing or equipment (e.g., gloves, goggles, respirators, hard hats, etc.) worn by workers for protection against a hazard.

Relative Humidity (RH)
The relationship between air volume and the amount of moisture it holds at a specific temperature expressed as a percentage of that air’s total moisture holding capacity; i.e., the amount of moisture in a give volume of air, expressed as percentage of the total moisture holding capacity of that volume of air, at a given temperature. As temperature increases, humidity “relative” to total air volume decreases; conversely, as temperature decreases, RH increases.

Restorative Drying
The removal of water and excess moisture and humidity from a structure and damaged materials following an unwanted release or infiltration of water from several possible sources, and returning that structure and it’s components and contents to a pre-damaged state of moisture content and humidity. There are four principles involved in restorative drying: mechanical extraction of excess water; promotion of evaporation through air movement; temperature control and dehumidification.

Scope of Work
The work plan or protocol for a restoration or remediation project. It identifies who will be responsible for the various components of the plan and how it will be implemented.

Water Damage Restoration: The process of returning a flooded property to its pre-water damage condition. Restoration includes extracting water, drying the environment, dehumidifying inside air, cleaning and disinfecting any affected items, applying deodorizing detergents, mold inhibitors, and solvents, and repairing damaged structures.

Work Authorization
A form which, when properly executed, allows an individual or company to work on the premises or property of another, often under the terms of the owners insurance policy.