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The causes of water damages are varied. Water may enter a structure from broken water pipes, leaking water heaters, washing machine overflow, roof leaks, fire-fighting efforts during a fire, sump pump failure, flooding, sewer backups, and many other sources. If the water is from a clean source, such as a broken water pipe, restoration of materials is much more likely. If the water is from an unsanitary source, however, such as sewage, many materials cannot be saved, and health and safety issues become critical.
The length of time the water is in the structure before restoration begins is another critical factor. If water has been in a structure for an extended period of time, the damage is much more severe, and restoration may be limited to materials impervious to water. Even if the water was a clean source originally, bacteria, mold, and other microbiological growth may create an unsanitary condition that poses a threat to the health of occupants and workers.
Water damage restoration requires specialized equipment and training. Moisture detection sensors and meters are required to locate the pockets of moisture trapped in wall cavities, ceilings, the flooring system, and other locations not visible from the exterior surface. Once damaged areas are identified, water should be removed and effective drying techniques used to ventilate, evaporate, and dehumidify the environment.