Glossary of Terms Used By Fire and Water Damage Companies

Air Mover

An air-moving device designed and used by water damage professionals. 

Air Flow

The flow of air through a property. It can be affected by ventilation. 


A group of microscopic organisms that can negatively impact a healthy environment. 

Black Mold

This type of mold is known for being especially harmful to indoor environments and should only be handled by a professional.

Carpet Cleaning

This service is performed to remove dirt, stains, odors, and allergens from a carpeted area. It can be a hot water extraction, dry cleaning, or vacuuming. 


An appliance used to remove excess humidity to help dry an indoor environment. 


The process of removing excess moisture from the air, which helps dry an indoor environment.


The process of removing water and moisture from materials and spaces.


A material mixture of gypsum core enclosed in a paper envelope used for walls and ceilings. It can be installed with nails, screws, or an adhesive. 


The process of spraying surfaces with a liquid solvent or cleaning agent and vacuuming immediately after to capture dissolved soils or residues. 


The process of changing any remaining water into a vapor by using air movers. 


A general term used to describe a complete or partial inundation of two or more acres of land. 


The gutter is an attachment used at the end of roofs to help channel water down and away from the property’s foundation. 

Fire Damage

The physical damage resulting from a burned property. 

Fire Damage Restoration

The process of repairing and returning a fire-damaged property to its pre-loss condition. During the process, damaged materials will be cleared, irreparable materials will be disposed of, and any salvaged items will be cleaned. An odor remover and cleaning solvent will be used for smoke odors. 

Homeowner’s Insurance Claim

A property owner’s request to their insurance provider regarding coverage for any repairs and damages following an event like fire, smoke, or water damage. 

Homeowner’s Insurance

A type of insurance policy that helps homeowners recover after a loss due to natural disasters, appliance defects, or other disastrous events. Coverage can extend from the property, to items within the property and its occupants. A homeowner’s insurance policy premium (the portion you pay monthly) and its coverage are determined by the provider. 


A measurement of moisture content in the air.  Relative humidity indicates the amount of moisture present in the air compared to the maximum amount that could be held at that temperature. 


Unintentional loss of a liquid due to various factors like a crack in a water line, malfunctioning appliance, or roof damage.

Leak Detection

A method used to find the cause(s) of a leak in a water-containing system. This can be done by hydrostatic testing, infrared, or laser technology. 


An event or occurrence as it relates to fire, smoke, or water damage.

Indoor Air Quality Testing

The process of collecting ambient air samples and their contents from an indoor environment. The sample is then analyzed further for biological and non-biological contents. 

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

See Indoor Air Quality Testing

Infrared Thermal Imaging

Specialized digital infrared imaging equipment used to detect variances in the infrared light spectrum. This can signal the presence of moisture, mold, or water-damaged building material.


A service offered to thoroughly check a property for any signs of water, fire, or smoke damage. 

Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC)

A certification and standard-setting non-profit organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. 


The upkeep performed on a property and its surroundings can help prevent damage or deterioration. 


A surface protection layer is installed to keep the paint and other odors from getting onto adjacent surfaces. 


A form of mold or fungus that thrives on organic materials exposed to heat, moisture, and stagnant air. 


A type of fungus that feeds on organic materials, requires moisture to grow and promotes a potentially unsafe indoor environment. Mold can grow on building materials, furniture, and personal items. 

Mold Remediation

The process of thoroughly removing, cleaning, and treating mold growth in an indoor environment. It can be done with special fungicides, antifungal solutions, and commercial-grade equipment.


The passage of water, moisture, or smoke through materials due to absorption or via air pressure.


To lessen or compensate for a previously significant event that impacted a structure or area.


The process of making something less severe, dangerous, or damaging.


A diverse class of compounds produced by mold and other fungi that are poisonous or hazardous to healthy indoor environments. 


The smell emitting from a surface or substance. Odors can be pleasant or unpleasant depending on the cause and surroundings.


The step that typically follows remediation, restoration is the activities performed to return a property to its pre-loss condition.


The activities performed to rebuild areas that are too badly damaged by water or fire. The process may involve the demolition and removal of damaged areas and materials.


A reddish or yellowish flaky or powdery formation on the surface of irons due to oxidation after exposure to moisture.


A type of wastewater containing solids and is produced in commercial, domestic, and industrial settings. Sewage is a major hazard to an environment, and cleanup should only be handled by professionals. 


Used to remove microorganisms and their spores and is effective against 99.9999% of target organisms

Sump Pump

An electric pump installed to prevent or remove water from the basement.

Smoke and Soot

The solid, liquid, and gaseous products of combustion released into the air. Soot can be powdery, oily, or tar-like depending on the type of combustion fuel.

Thermal Imaging

The technique of producing an image of or locating an object by the heat it’s giving off.

Thermal Imaging Camera

A Device used to detect temperature change and locate points of water intrusion.


An engineered framing device in which smaller and lighter lumber is assembled to support loads normally requiring heavier and more costly solid lumber, often performing the combined function of rafter and ceiling joist.

Water Damage

The destructive effects of water or moisture on residential or commercial property.

Water Damage Restoration

The process of returning a property to its pre-loss condition. It typically involves extracting and drying any remaining water, dehumidifying indoor air, cleaning, and salvaging any household items, deodorizing, and/or rebuilding any irreparable sections of the property.

Water Extraction

The process of taking water from any source for flood control.

Water Migration

The action of water to flow, seep or move in and out of a porous material’s structure.

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Mold can start to grow within 24 hours of a water problem, don’t delay, call DRIRITE® today!