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Flood of the Century
An editor's experience
by Rick Smith (May 26, 2002)

Introduction

I don't wish anyone to have the experience of having over five feet of water in their house and seeing their possessions floating around in the basement. This happened to me earlier in 2002 when I had to get the house dry, start to rebuild it and try to get back to normal.

Luckily, (if you can even mention the word flood and luck in the same sentence) what happened was technically called a Category 1 (clean water) flood by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration), in contrast to a the worst Category 3 (nasty sewage backup) flood.

At the end of March, my house had a major flood, which took nearly a day just to pump out the water. I fought the problem myself and made good headway, but felt that I needed the financial and technical assistance of my insurance company. While they brought in a "restoration" company, this proved to be a complete disaster in a matter of days. They appeared to be more concerned about adding more workers who could be employed, instead of creating a plan to get the entire house dry as quickly as possible, using the most efficient technology.

When they couldn't give me any estimate of how long this process would take, or how much it cost so far, I fired them. I then took charge again and have progressed quite well. I now know more than I ever wanted about psychometry and dehumidification.

During this process, I used several different technology products and have decided to write about each one to show how they worked -- good or bad. This information should be helpful to you, in case you find yourself in a similar situation. (But I hope you never have to go through this miserable experience.)

Products

After a flood, you need to be able to determine which walls and floors are really wet and which ones aren't. While their surfaces may look dry, they can be wet underneath. To accurately determine the moisture level of building materials, you must use a moisture meter. I used:

Tramex Survey Encounter digital moisture meter

Tramex Moisture Encounter analog moisture meter

To dry the house, you need to use fans and dehumidifiers. I used:

Dri-Eaz DrizAir 2400 and DrizAir 2000

Whirlpool 55 pint basement dehumidifier

Copyright 2002 Rick Smith All rights reserved.

   
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