Can’t I just rent some fans and a dehumidifier?

Posted by Matt Buchanan

As regular readers know, we often times like to highlight scenarios that play out with potential customers, and specifically their initial call to us. Today we had a great example of a person with a flooded basement that was finished. She called us wanting to rent a dehumidifier. We don’t rent out equipment, but that’s not the point. Our blog is designed to help people avoid costly mistakes, and this lady was walking right into a very costly one. Here’s why…

First and foremost, her basement was finished. If we were just talking about a concrete basement where water had pooled in a small area, and it wasn’t toxic water, we wouldn’t be making this blog post. But the reality is she had wet carpets, wet walls, insulation, possibly electrical, as well as mechanical systems that took on water. And that doesn’t even include all of the furniture and other items that were soaked in the flood. As our dispatcher tried (unsuccessfully) to explain, that isn’t a job that should be left to someone that isn’t a certified and experienced water damage mitigation technician. There’s simply too many things that can go wrong, and if you think that you can just turn on some fans and fire up a dehumidifier to trap the evaporated moisture, you’re in for the same surprise this poor lady will be.


Why you can’t properly mitigate substantial water damage


This blog post could easily reach 10,000 words if we let it. But let’s boil things down into a nice, simple warning:

Finding and removing moisture quickly enough that mold doesn’t set in is a very difficult thing to do.

In fact, we see water damage companies using certified techs screw it up all the time. So what chance do you have without the proper equipment and training to do it right? It’s impossible to put a number on it, but let’s just say you might as well go out and buy a Powerball ticket.

mold-behind-water-damaged-wallMost people think you can just see and feel the moisture. That leads them to believe that they can just dry any areas where they notice moisture. Even assuming they can properly dry out those areas quick enough before mold sets in, the problem lies in the fact that most water damage can’t be seen or felt. Instead, you have to use various equipment to spot the damage wherever it may be hidden. Only then can you begin to get a complete perspective of where the water has travelled and the amount of damage that has occurred. But that’s just problem #1.

Problem #2 is figuring out what can be safely salvaged, meaning dried in place, versus what should be removed and replaced. There are many different factors that go into making that decision, and a novice making those decisions without the proper training is like shooing free throws in the dark.

Oh yeah…and problem #3. Actually drying the area properly. The caller that prompted this blog post mistakenly thought that was an easy solution. Just rent some fans and dehumidifiers…wrong! The challenge with structural drying, and why technicians should always undergo rigorous training and certification for the drying process itself, is that you don’t have long to properly remove the moisture before mold takes over and begins growing everywhere. And once you have a mold problem, you’ve gone from a troubling water loss to a health threatening environmental issue. One that can be extremely expensive to have properly remediated.


Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s an easy job!


We see this happen all of the time and it’s sad because by the time the homeowner realizes they are in over the head and they have much bigger problems than they originally thought, we have only more bad news for them. Yes, it can get fixed but the costs just went up exponentially AND there’s a good chance any insurance claim that could have been filed would now be denied. It’s a double whammy for the homeowner at a time when their nerves are already frail.

If you have a basement flood or any other type of water damage, please just give us a call. You are not obligated to use our services. But at the very least, wouldn’t you like an experts opinion on the situation, along with a better understanding of what you’re up against? If so, please give us a call and we can schedule an appointment around you!

About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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