. When was the loss identified? – this helps us determine how big of an area we need to look for affected material and the type of damage. If the answer is unknown given that the homeowner was not in the house when it happened, or on vacation, this will be a bigger undertaking since we would need to know when was the last time that the homeowner was in the house and assume that it happened right after that. A home has a lot of materials that absorb or repel water, any organic material will absorb water (i.e., wood, drywall, some flooring, cabinets, baseboards, doors, insulation), and other material will repel more water (i.e., tile, concrete, glass, metal, stone). This means that if a loss happened for a longer period of time, water had a higher chance of travelling and affecting more materials, hence making the drying process longer since there is a higher amount of water in the affected materials. If there is less porous, non-organic material, that means the water loss will affect a bigger area since water will keep flowing and affecting more spaces in the home. In this day and age of home renovation, having open floor plans, lead to more areas being affected given that there is no material to direct the water or hold the water “in place”. Also having open plans means that the science of drying an open area, will require more equipment or creating a smaller room to reduce the amount of equipment needed. This understanding of the affected area and moisture map will help us with the science of understanding the rooms affected, the amount of moisture in the area and the amount of drying equipment needed.
By answering all these three questions, what could be seen as a simple job could turn into a more complicated, and longer job due to the nature of the loss, the type of loss, the affected area and materials, and the need for addressing the structure, drying and treating of the structure.
Understanding the reason for these questions and the reason why pricing is not as clear cut as buying a car with a couple of options, or a range of pricing, is one of the reasons why we do not know the cost of a water loss from the get go. Not to include, difficulty in the drying process, amount of electricity available in the home, ability to dry with people living in the home (noisy equipment), and other factors make the cost higher or lower. Our company uses industry pricing for an equipment, for example a fan will cost the homeowner/insurance company between $30-$40 per day per equipment, so in a regular 10 x 10 x 8 square room that flooded no more than an inch from the floor, there would be a minimum of 4-6 fans in that room per day, in addition to a dehumidifier ($75-$100 per day per equipment). If you take that room into account, the less equipment you are able to install, the homeowner is looking at around $200 per day just for the equipment (and with the minimum amount of equipment it could take additional days for drying), that does not include technician labor, water extraction, and any removal of material (furniture or building material). This is how a water loss estimate is an unknown, but the science behind the drying process works.