How Much Time After a Flooded Home Until Mold and Other Damage Sets In?
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The first 24 hours of exposure to the effects of Water could determine if electronic equipment can be saved. This plan is intended only as a guideline for deciding if professional restoration services will be required. Testing will help to determine the extent of exposure from the following potential sources of damage:
Examples of electronic equipment that may have a limited life if not treated within 24 hours:
• Telephone Switching
• Test Equipment
• Fax Machines
• Medical Equipment
• Processing Equipment
• Sound Equipment
THE FIRST ACTION IS TO DE-ENERGIZE ( Turn Off)
The first action is to immediately de-energize and disconnect all equipment including any battery backups. Not only is there a danger to personnel working in the area and a danger of fire from electrical shorts, but electrochemical action can plate contaminants onto printed circuit boards and associated connectors and backplates. The reverse action may permanently remove metals.
CONTROL THE HUMIDITY
The first objective of restoration is to remove the contaminants. If all of the equipment cannot be cleaned simultaneously, it is important that immediate steps be taken to arrest the corrosion process. The most important step is to control the humidity !! Corrosion occurs very slowly if the relative humidity is below 50%. Testing will help determine which dehumidification process is best suited; Refrigerant or Desiccant, both have advantages if properly utilized.
• Maintain the electronics in an area where the relative humidity is below 50%.
• Move to another area if necessary to maintain the humidity and temperature balance.
• If you cannot move the electronics, seal each piece from the outside elements. Be careful not to trap moisture inside the chassis. Desiccants may be required.
• If water or liquids from the fire suppression systems are visible, perform the steps outlined under the heading “Water Damage” first.
TESTING TO ASSESS THE DAMAGE
Two basic measurements should be made to assess the corrosion potential in a loss involving electrical / electronic equipment. The first is a surface concentration of halogenidesto determine the chloride corrosion potential. The second test is pH, a measure of acidity of the contaminant. These tests are run on hard horizontal surfaces not disturbed by cleaning efforts. The importance of these tests and their interpretation is critical for establishing a baseline and a cleaning protocol.
In cases of severe contaminant concentration, a special non-petroleum preservative may be sprayed on the equipment to exclude moisture and air. This very thin film is designed to be removed easily in the restoration process later.
ESTABLISH A CLEANING AND QUALITY PROTOCOL
Once the corrosion process is stabilized, the appropriate cleaning and quality protocols will be applied by Certified Technicians. A written Scope of Work will detail specific concerns to assure quality compliance to industry and Mil Spec. Standards.