Problems with a water heater leaking will always leave you cold, but sometimes it will also leave you with a huge mess! We recently had a mold remediation and water damage repair job in a Boulder mobile home caused by a bad water heater leak.
Our client called and told us their water heater had “exploded” and spread water all around. They needed us to come dry out the water damage. Water heaters are one of the most common causes of water damage in a home. Replacing a water heater is a job for a certified licensed plumber but water damage repair is our expertise.
When we arrived at their home, we started investigating inside the home. We discovered that the water heater had not actually exploded, but rather it had been leaking for a while and might still be leaking. Moisture meter readings indicated a lot of water in the walls and floors in this part of the home.
We measured the amount of moisture in the walls and floors in the house to begin establishing the baseline moisture map but we needed access to the water heater room itself to check moisture there and to see if was still leaking. Due to the fact that this was a mobile home, the water heater itself was in a separate space and could only be accessed from a door on the outside the home. Once in there, we discovered a real mess. The water heater was still leaking, so we needed to get the leak stopped before we could start any drying. Not only was the utility room severely water damaged but a there was a lot of mold as well. We could tell by the amount of mold this had been going on for a while and the damage to the subfloor and walls was extensive. We would need to get the water heater replaced, dry the water damage and remediate the mold, this would be a big job.
We called one of our trusted plumbing partners to come out and remove the damaged water heater. We then got to work drying the water damage and cleaning up the mold. We build an enclosure made of heavy plastic and poles. This enclosure surrounds the damaged space and encloses our equipment. This enclosure does two things for us; it concentrates the effectiveness of our dehumidification effort into a small space accelerating the drying process. It also encloses the mold-contaminated materials and prevents the further spread of mold.
Once we had the drying structure in place and the drying equipment focused on the area water had damaged, the space and remaining structure dried out very quickly. Cleaning up the mold required that we remove some materials such as the paneling on the wall inside the house where we found mold inside the wall cavity as well. Ultimately, we had to take out a lot of drywall to remove the mold and some of the sub-flooring as well. The sub-floor in this home was made of particle board. Once it is saturated and infested with mold particle board looses all structural integrity and has to be replaced. This home had suffered a lot of damage due to a small but persistent leak. Unfortunately for these Boulder residents, this small problem escaped notice for a while and quickly escalated into a lot of damage to the home.
Often we are asked what it will cost to repair water damage, this job is a prime example of why we can’t always give you a good cost estimate over the phone. We need to see the damage and assess the extent before we can accurately estimate time, equipment and cost to repair water damage or mold damage. Our initial conversation on the phone indicated this job sounded like it would be small and routine and move very quickly for the homeowner, but once we assessed the situation in person it was obvious that it was so much more than a little water damage to repair. This was a much bigger job than we had originally expected. It took more time and more equipment.