Water Damaged Indoor Environments
It seems as though, as with the subject of mold, that water damages have become controversial and complicated. Maybe one person heard this and another that; this company is saying do this, while another says do that; or some people feel they’ve gotten sick during a water damage, while others don’t. Either way, most people have either experienced a water damage or known someone who has, but few understand its affects on the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) and their health. I hope that this page might help you understand a little more about the indoor environment of a water damage.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia defines water damage as, “a large number of possible losses caused by water intruding where it will enable attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood , and many, many others.
“The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface, or it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a very major contributor to loss of property.”
Water damage can be caused by a number of sources, such as leaking plumbing, sewage back-ups, vandalism, hail damage, clogged guttering, natural disasters, hydrostatic pressure, leaking or congested crawl spaces and attics, and many others. Whatever the cause, prompt, thorough attention should be given to the situation in order to protect everyone’s health, the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), and the building components from compromising degradation. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) in its Standard & Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (hereafter referred to as the S500), states several times how “it is important to begin mitigation procedures as soon as safely possible following the initial loss, as the quality of the water is likely to deteriorate over time.As the quality of water deteriorates, the greater damage to the structure and contents, along with increased environmental hazards, are likely to develop.”
The IICRC S500 goes on to say, “If increased water activity and/or ERH (Equilibrium Relative Humidity) (fr