Yesterday, we were called out to investigate a flood in a basement bedroom. A rapid response is vital in flood restoration work, so we attended the property within three hours of the initial call. Unfortunately, the owner had called another company 4 days ago!
Needless to say, this company had not turned up.
Unfortunately, this contributed to several factors that compounded the original issue:
- The clean water that had leaked now needed to be classified as “grey water”. This is because enough time had passed in conditions favourable to microbial growth.
- The water had saturated the carpet and been allowed to penetrate the concrete sub-floor. This will take considerably longer to dry.
Stage 1: Pre-inspection
Our team (me & Aaron!) took initial humidity readings outside and inside the property.
This gives us a good sense of how the flood has impacted on the property. In this instance, internal humidity levels were over 60%, meaning that there was already a danger that microbial growth could have begun.
This was more likely as the property was near the river and the weather has been warm for several weeks.
The next stage involved creating a survey of the affected area. In the image, you see the use of an infrared thermometer. This is useful as it gives a good idea of areas that may be evaporating, and therefore have a lower temperature.
In this case, the temperature readings allowed us to confirm that the area the tenant had said was most affected was where we should focus our attention.
Having determined the site of the flood, we removed most of the furniture (sufficient to treat the affected areas) and lifted the carpet and underlay for inspection.
We used our concrete moisture meter to take accurate readings of the moisture levels here. Unfortunately, the readings at this point were off the scale! The concrete was saturated, meaning that this area would need to remain exposed for focussed drying.
Once the survey was complete, we contacted the owner & explained our findings. Between the owner and the tenant, we discussed the possibilities. Unfortunately, because of the current Covid-19 lockdown, there was no alternative accommodation for the tenant. We devised a plan to:
- deep-clean the affected areas
- sanitise all surfaces
- leave the affected areas exposed for drying
- while still allowing the tenant to sleep in her bedroom!
Now it was time to get the machines out and begin the cleaning process. We moved the bed (in what is quite a tight area) and conducted a full deep-clean on the carpet, using an anti-microbial solution that will kill and continue to suppress any potential mould growth.
Once the carpet & underlay had been cleaned and got as dry as possible, we exposed the sub-floor as far as necessary.
We put the bed back into place and positioned a commercial dehumidifier & air-mover to allow for maximum recovery of water from the concrete, carpet, underlay & the room in general.
We will be able to monitor how much water we remove using the following measures:
- How much water the dehumidifier removes from the air
- The relative humidity in the room compared to Day 1 of the work
- The moisture content of the concrete (as well as any visible change in appearance)
The work took about 2.5 hours for both of us to complete.
Once we were done, we explained to the tenant how to turn the drying machinery on & off, so that she would be able to sleep comfortably without the noise of the kit. This may also have helped her feel empowered and part of the process. We had explained the methodology from start to finish so that she had the peace of mind that the room had been throughly cleaned and any microbial action stopped in its tracks using an eco-friendly solution that poses no risks to her health.