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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Is It Possible to Completely Eliminate Bad Smells Associated with Flood Damage?

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

Woman holding nose because of bad odor After the flood, odors remain. SERVPRO has the know-how and tools to restore your home to its preloss condition.

Although It May Seem Unlikely at Times, Flood Damage Remediation Companies can Eliminate Unwanted Flood Damage-Related Smells.  

In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall just to the south of Point Pleasant Beach. While the storm itself was bad enough, its flooding effects were substantially enhanced because the moon was full at the time. As a result, the storm surge caused by the hurricane was as much as 20% worse than otherwise. Many area homeowners suddenly faced feet of floodwaters in their homes. In particular, one resident suffered a submerged basement and feet of standing water on the first floor of his home. He had a local flood damage cleanup and restoration company remove the water and clean up the mess but, months later, unpleasant smells still lingered in the Point Pleasant home. Fortunately, another local remediation service, SERVPRO, was able to eliminate the lingering unwanted smells.

What Causes Odors Associated with Floodwaters?

Experts classify floodwaters as “black water,” or water contaminated with human feces, dangerous chemicals, or medical waste. Therefore, flood damage in Point Pleasant Beach requires professional water removal and restoration services, which is because disease-causing microbes, like viruses, bacteria, and fungi, pollutes blackwater. It may even contain harmful parasites like tapeworms, which live in the intestines of humans. Odors arising from flooding events generally originate from one or more of the following sources:

  • Trash washed away by floodwaters
  • Sewage picked up by stormwaters flowing through sewers
  • Microbial waste from microorganisms living in moisture-saturated materials
  • Dead bodies of animals and humans that have been swept away by raging waters
  • Soils with organic materials that microbes feed on

The longer these odor sources remain in your home, the worse smells become because odor-causing microbes proliferate over time.

Another essential thing to note is that poorly remediated flood damage can result in recurring smells months after restoration efforts have ceased. These odors are a result of workers failing to clean and treat surfaces with appropriate agents effectively, causing microbes to remain. While the initial treatment reduces the number of microorganisms present in your home and makes smells undetectable, these microbes are still around. Their colonies can rebound in the future under the right conditions. Since these microscopic creatures are moisture-loving, preferring a relative humidity above 59%, and thrive in warm temperatures exceeding 68F, their numbers increase in the hotter, more humid summer months. These conditions can cause previously remediated odors to return.  

How Does SERVPRO Eliminate Odors?

To eliminate unpleasant odors, SERVPRO technicians first locate and remove their source. Our experts in Point Pleasant Beach remove the source by disposing of affected debris and killing odor-producing microbes. When getting rid of these offending microorganisms, we do one or more of the following: treat impacted materials with chemical agents, cut-off microbe food sources, reduce interior relative humidity to below 60%, and keep temperatures below 68F for an extended period. When treating your home, we use a wide variety of chemical agents to neutralize odors. These include:

  • Disinfectants and antifungals to hinder the growth of bacteria and fungi
  • Pairing agents that combine with airborne odor particles, forcing them to fall onto surfaces and making them easier to clean up
  • Absorption agents to absorb moisture and reduce humidity
  • Masking chemicals that cover unpleasant odors with pleasing smells

While these products are highly effective in odor remediation, we also make sure residents like their smell. Their approval is vital because we want the replacement smells to be more pleasant to the homeowner than those they replace.   

There are several ways in which SERVPRO removes unwanted smells from your Point Pleasant Beach home. These include methods of drying, as well as ways of applying disinfectants, antifungals, and deodorants to affected surfaces and materials. Some of our methods are:

  • Using high-velocity box fans to quickly ventilate your home, before and after we employ chemical agents
  • Employing high-tech air scrubbers to remove odor-causing particles and chemicals from the air
  • Wet fogging, where ultra-low volume foggers inject solvent-based deodorants and other agents into difficult-to-reach areas
  • Directly spraying disinfectants onto affected surfaces

Most times, these tools and measures solve residents’ odor-related complaints. We can use them at the time flood damage occurs or later when issues arise.

Sometimes it may seem like certain unwanted smells are impossible to eliminate, but this is certainly not the case. If you ever experience an ongoing flood-related odor issue, remember some companies can help you. They can solve your problem, just like SERVPRO helped the Point Pleasant Beach resident suffering the lingering malodorous effects of Hurricane Sandy.

If you ever need assistance dealing with unwanted smells from prior flooding, contact SERVPRO of Point Pleasant at (732) 202-3001.

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