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The Science Of Drying

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage The Science Of Drying IICRC

Quite frequently we are asked how do we know how long it will take to dry a structure after it has sustained water damage. Our clients want to know that there is scientific research to back this up our estimates and that we are not simply pulling numbers out of thin air. The reality is that, yes, there is extensive and well-documented scientific research ranging over many years related to drying technology of various products. That research, and the subsequent industry guidelines which we follow, is conducted and produced by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC).

The IICRC was formed in 1972 as an independent, certification body that sets and promotes high standards and ethics within the inspection, cleaning, restoration and installation industry. The IICRC is regarded as the international industry standard to be used by restoration companies. All of our technicians are IICRC certified. When you hire us to do a job you can rest assured that our work will be completed in accordance with the industry’s “standard of care”.

So how do we determine what equipment to use and how long the drying process will take? Structural drying is a process that utilizes evaporation, the process by which water changes from its liquid phase to its gaseous phase. Evaporation is influenced by several factors:

  • The level of moisture (i.e. relative humidity) in the air
  • Water vapor pressure differential between the surface of the wet material and the surrounding environment
  • Temperature of the wet material
  • Air movement across the surface of the wet material
  • Access to surfaces of wet materials

The application of air movement at the surface of wet materials is a critical component to the drying process. Evaporation is a surface phenomenon, and surfaces are measured in area (e.g. square feet). Therefore using linear feet of wall as the primary criterion for establishing air movement requirements is illogical.

  1. Drying is the process of removing excess moisture both at the surface and from within the materials and assemblies.
  2. The conditions conducive to effectively and efficiently drying at the surface of some materials and assemblies differ from the conditions conducive to effectively and efficiently moving excess moisture within the materials or assemblies.
  3. Rapid air movement across wet surfaces of materials or assemblies is a critical component of effectively and efficiently drying the surface of those materials and assemblies.
  4. Rapid air movement across the surface of materials becomes less important relative to vapor pressure as the focus of removing surface moisture gives way to reducing moisture content in low evaporation materials.
  5. Using the same criteria to establish air movement during the constant and the falling rate drying of materials and assemblies does not consider changing conditions.
  6. The linear foot formula for air movement of a room fails to consistently account for the actual surface area of wet materials and assemblies in different classes of water intrusion.

Humidity, airflow and temperature influence the movement of moisture within a material as well as the evaporation rate from the surface of material. These properties greatly impact the overall drying time for a project.

It is important to quickly control the moisture in the air and use sufficient airflow to dry the surfaces of materials to reduce water activity thus lowering the potential for microbial growth (mold). To ensure rapid, cost effective drying without secondary damage specific types and quantities of airmovers are recommended, depending on the type, porosity, location and square footage of the surface being dried. … The minimum quantity of airmovers recommended for various flooring surfaces are as follows:

  1. Non-porous and semi-porous flooring – at least one airmover per 400- 500 square feet is recommended. Give consideration to closets or small storage areas where airflow may be restricted.
  2. Direct-glue carpet installations – in installations where disengagement normally would damage or destroy carpet or cushion, at least one airmover is recommended per 300 square feet of carpet area, or one per room if smaller than 300 square feet. Give consideration to closets or small storage areas where airflow may be restricted.
  3. Stretch-in carpet – a minimum of one airmover is recommended per 300 square feet of carpet surface area, or one per room if smaller than 300 square feet. Give consideration to closets or small storage areas where airflow may be restricted.

As you can see there is a significant knowledge base which we pull from to ensure that we completely remove all excess moisture, both the visible standing water and the subsequent elevated levels of humidity, during our structural drying projects. If you would like to learn more about the science of structural drying and why we do what we do visit www.IICRC.org

National Preparedness Month

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month. The best way to survive a disaster is to have a plan in place prior to such an event happening. These past couples of weeks have put on display the importance of knowing what to do should disaster strike. Fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards all can put you and your family at risk. Nowadays we take for granted the ability to communicate with our loved ones at anytime and from anywhere.  As we have learned, communication channels can be brought down. If disaster strikes would you be able to communicate with all the members of your household? More importantly would they know how to reach each other and where to meet up?

The following is an outline, published by the Department of Homeland Security on their website, which can be used to guide you and your family as you created your own plan.

Planning starts with three easy steps:

  1. COLLECT. Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers.
  2. SHARE. Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. If you complete your Family Emergency Communication Plan online at ready.gov/make-a-plan, you can print it onto a wallet-sized card. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.
  3. PRACTICE. Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.

To view the complete outline visit our blog, SERVPROnorwoodwestroxbury.blogspot.com

National Preparedness Month

9/14/2017 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month. The best way to survive a disaster is to have a plan in place prior to such an event happening. These past couples of weeks have put on display the importance of knowing what to do should disaster strike. Fires, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and blizzards all can put you and your family at risk. Nowadays we take for granted the ability to communicate with our loved ones at anytime and from anywhere.  As we have learned, communication channels can be brought down. If disaster strikes would you be able to communicate with all the members of your household? More importantly would they know how to reach each other and where to meet up?

The following is an outline, published by the Department of Homeland Security on their website, which can be used to guide you and your family as you created your own plan.

Planning starts with three easy steps:

  1. COLLECT. Create a paper copy of the contact information for your family and other important people/offices, such as medical facilities, doctors, schools, or service providers.
  2. SHARE. Make sure everyone carries a copy in his or her backpack, purse, or wallet. If you complete your Family Emergency Communication Plan online at ready.gov/make-a-plan, you can print it onto a wallet-sized card. You should also post a copy in a central location in your home, such as your refrigerator or family bulletin board.
  3. PRACTICE. Have regular household meetings to review and practice your plan.

To view the complete outline visit our blog, SERVPROnorwoodwestroxbury.blogspot.com

3 Categories of Water Damage

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

According to IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500), there are three categories of water that cause damage in buildings. They are summarized as follows:


Category 1 Water – That which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans. Category 1 water may become progressively contaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings or building assemblies (walls, decking, subflooring). Time and temperature, which promote the growth and amplification of microorganisms in water can cause Category 1 water to degrade. Examples: burst water pipes, failed supply lines on appliances, vertically falling rainwater.


Category 2 Water – That which begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans. As with Category 1 water, time and temperature can cause Category 2 water to become progressively more contaminated.


Category 3 Water – That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Examples: sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes. There are two ways in which water enters a building as a result of wind storm damage:

Do you have hidden mold in your home?

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

You may suspect hidden mold if a building smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, or if you know there has been water damage and residents are reporting health problems. Mold may be hidden in places such as the back side of dry wall, wallpaper, or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).


Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. For example, removal of wallpaper can lead to a massive release of spores if there is mold growing on the underside of the paper. If you believe that you may have a hidden mold problem, consider hiring an experienced professional. Call our Disaster Recovery Team today – 781-769-9125!

Mold 411

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture. Can mold cause health problems? Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. The key to mold control is moisture control. It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust. The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present. Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.

Do You Have Mold?

5/10/2017 (Permalink)

Do you think that you may have mold in your home or place of business? While mold spores exist naturally everywhere high levels in contained spaces can cause serious health issues. Mold spores are airborne particles which can be eliminated by creating a negative air chamber. One piece of equipment that we often use is the DefenderAir HEPA 500 is ideal for handling indoor air-quality needs on every restoration job.  This unit address these air-quality issues quickly and effectively, helping you to maintain a clean indoor environment. The DefendAir has an efficiency rating of 99.97% against 0.3-micron oily aerosol particles and meets first-pass filtration requirements for even the most sensitive jobs. If you think that you may have an infestation of mold give our Disaster Recovery Team a call today! 

What Are the Potential Health Effects of Mold

5/10/2017 (Permalink)

According the CDC mold exposure does not always present a health problem indoors. However some people are sensitive to molds. These people may experience symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation when exposed to molds. Some people may have more severe reactions to molds. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Immunocompromised persons and persons with chronic lung diseases like COPD are at increased risk for opportunistic infections and may develop fungal infections in their lungs.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.

Water Main Run Off

4/26/2017 (Permalink)

What would you do if a water main burst and covered over 30,000 square feet of your warehouse with almost an inch of water? You would want someone to arrive onsite fast and remediate the entire problem, not just the visible water, but also the excess moisture that could ruin a product line with mold and mildew. That is exactly what happened to a local sporting apparel manufacturer. From Air Movers to Dehumidifiers, Generators to Power Distribution Boxes we have access to a wide array of water remediation equipment and the certified technicians to get the COMPLETE job done right! We began the drying process in the middle of the week and completed it by the very next weekend. All of our equipment was removed over that weekend and the warehouse space was ready to receive deliveries that very next Monday morning. How are we able to accomplish this, we offer our commercial clients flat rate pricing which allows our technicians to take whatever steps necessary to expedite the drying process with minimal disruption to business operations. Does your commercial property need remediation services? Call our disaster recovery team today!

Mold Removal

4/13/2017 (Permalink)

When approaching mold clean up a lot of people wonder which method is best, “Dry Blast” vs “Sand Blast”, The answer is neither , the reality in today’s world is this is unnecessary because; dry ice is costly, it only removes surface mold, and porous materials require a deep cleaning. SERVPRO technicians use anti-fungal and anti-microbial treatments that kill mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming


When tackling mold we make it a priority to set up containment. All remediation companies will set up containment, but when and how is the issue. We set up containment prior to applying the “eyeball test”. Which is as follows



  • The “Eyeball Test” – Assessing the Environment


    • Has there been a previous water damage

    • Do you smell musty odors of mold

    • Do you see areas of mold contamination

    • Our competitors cut 4 x 8 holes in the wall from the ground up

    • We cut a 2 x 4 in the center of the wall