By Charlie Ogden
With 30 years in the business of emergency water extraction, Charlie Ogden has seen it all.  Here is Charlie's thorough guide on water leaks from what to expect and how to select a legitimate water extraction company.

One of the most dreaded situations for a building manager is a water leak.  It can be very disruptive and damaging, but not the end of the world if the proper restorative steps are taken.

 The first step, of course, is to have the water extracted.  Water leaks have no time schedule.  They can happen at 2 o’clock in the afternoon or 2 o’clock in the morning, so the extraction/remediation company the manger chooses should be reliable, 24/7.  After proper authorization—by individual owners, the owner’s insurance company, property manager or AOAO insurance agent—the next step is to map out the path that the water has taken through the building.  A thermal imaging inspection by an infrared camera fills the bill.  When walls, ceilings, carpets, etc., get wet, they create a temperature signature that the camera identifies on its screen.

  The type of water loss will determine the next course of action.  There are three categories of water loss:

·  Category I is water from a clean or sanitary source.  These can include water from water supply lines, clean water from a toilet tank or bowl, faucets and bottled water.  Although it may be from a clean source originally, Category I water can quickly degrade into Category II or III depending on such factors as time and contact with contaminates.

·  Category II is water with some level of contamination that could cause discomfort or illness if ingested.  Sources for Category II water could include washing machine overflow, toilet overflow with some urine (but no feces) and dishwasher overflow.  As with Category I , Category II can degrade to Category III with time and/or contact with contaminates.

·  Category III water is grossly unsanitary and could cause severe illness or even death if ingested.  Sources for Category III water include, but are not limited to, sewage, flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, and standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.

For Category I and most Category II water loss situations, once the affected wet areas on the walls and ceilings are identified, the structural drying process can begin.  Drying requires a combination of airflow and dehumidification.  The affected areas usually need to be penetrated in order to introduce airflow.  This can be accomplished with several types of air-moving devises.  Once this equipment is installed, daily monitoring is suggested to ensure proper drying progress and assure that the equipment is functioning properly.

  The inconvenience for the affected homeowner or tenant should not be understated.  The noise and heat generated by the drying equipment can very uncomfortable and disruptive, and should be fully explained before beginning the process.  It is sometimes suggested that the affected people find alternative living arrangements until the drying process is completed, which usually takes three to five days.

  After drying is confirmed by moisture-measuring meters, the equipment is removed, and the walls and ceilings are repaired to their pre-loss condition.

  For Category III situations, the remediation company should partner with an environmental specialist to make an evaluation of contamination levels and determine an appropriate course of action, which may include removal and disposal of contaminated areas.

How to select an emergency extraction or remediation company  

In selecting an extraction/remediation company, the building manager should have several considerations:

·  Do the company’s employees have an Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)?  The IICRC is the leading certifying body in the restoration industry. The IICRC conducts classes and tests applicants who must complete their course successfully before certification.  Its procedural standar is a detailed instructional manual called the “S500,” based on reliable restoration principles, research and practical experience—along with extensive consultation and information gathered from numerous sources.

·  Is the company a 24-hour service? You never know when a 2am water emergency will happen, and the building manager must be confident that whoever he/she calls at that hour will answer the phone.

·  How long has the company been in business? Just like any other trade or business, the more years they have been around usually translated in more expertise.

·  Are the technicians polite, informative and professional? This is a service business, so the ability to work well with people is very important.  Do technicians punctually keep their appointments? Do they keep the building manager informed of their progress?

·  Is their billing procedure clear and concise? The remediation process involves many variables so the invoices must be clear and understandable for the AOAO, property manager and the insurance adjuster.

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Premier Restoration Hawai'i is the above mentioned and so much more.  With a full-service integrated approach, we are there every step of the way no matter the size or scope of your water extraction and restoration needs.  

Should you have an unexpected water leak in your home or building, Premier Restoration Hawai'i is standing by with our team of IICRC certified technicians who are able to assist you at any time of day or night.