Not Knowing Your s500 Is Costing You Money


Everyone in your company should read and know the s500.


Why? Because that is how we establish proper standard operating procedures. Each time the IICRC s500 is updated, we should be looking over it and learning the changes. It is imperative the techs know the standards to make sure your company is performing up to the ANSI standard. The estimator needs to know this standard as well when justifying services performed in the field.

For example, how do you know if you should be using CAT3 line items in your estimate? Because the technicians said so? Well, where will they be when the adjuster says it wasn’t a CAT3 claim… you will be on your own my friend. 

Do you know the definition of a Category 3 claim? On page 14 of the IICRC s500, the definitions for each category are listed. This is important information to use when justifying a claim. It gives specific examples of each category. But that’s an easy one.

But what about this? Let’s say you’re sitting at your desk and receive a water damage report from your techs. It says in the Living Room they placed 10 air movers for 4 days. In the bathroom, they placed 3 air movers for 4 days. In the Hallway, they placed 3 air movers for 4 days. 

If an adjuster told you they put too much equipment in the home, what would you do? I will tell you that many will say… “Ok…” and reduce the number. Or maybe you push back and say our techs are all certified and trained. You trust them more than any adjuster, right?

But how do you know they are right and how can you prove it? You need to know the formula for placing air movers.


Get certified at our IICRC WRT/ASD combo course to really learn about drying.

Complex Formula on white board


What is the 2015 IICRC s500 standard formula to determine air movement?


Add one air mover:

  1. Per each affected room.
  2. For every 50-70 sq. ft of affected wet floor in each room (to address floors and lower wall surfaces up to approximately 2 feet)
  3. For every 100-150 sq. ft of affected wet ceiling and wall areas above approximately 2 feet
  4. For each wall inset and offset greater than 18”


When a calculation for a room or space results in a fraction, the indicated number of air movers should be rounded up.

Put this info somewhere easily accessible. Put the formulas for air scrubbers and dehumidifiers somewhere close too. 

Want an air mover, dehu, and air scrubber calculations cheat sheet? Download one for free HERE

If an adjuster says you have too much drying equipment, run the calculations.

But there are so many other questions answered if you just read the s500 and understand what you’re reading.

For example, what is the proper procedure and billing for cleaning after a category 3 claim? Is there justification for using air filtration devices more than we are in the s500? Pricing? Is that discussed in the s500? I’m sure you’ve gotten pushback from someone claiming your dry times are too long. What does the s500 say about that?

This is a great reason estimators should be certified from the IICRC. For a further discussion on application of the s500, you can attend the Estimating and Negotiating course here at Reets Drying Academy. Not only will we discuss it together, you will receive an s500 Reference Guide. This guide is only a few pages long but it is invaluable. It breaks down the most commonly used items and says the page and section these items can be located. Lastly, you could sit in your office and look at the Reets TV Estimating Pro Series.


Click here to get that s500 Reference Guide


In the end, you have to keep training! Know your s500 and keep up to date with any potential changes coming in the near future.

The s500 will be revised every few years. Staying up to date will help with your negotiations.

nick sharp xactimate course

Written by: Nick Sharp

Nick Sharp has worked with Jeremy Reets for over a decade now. He started in carpet cleaning and mitigation before moving to the construction side as a project manager. He then was the senior estimator for Champion Construction for over 8 years. Since its inception in 2015, Nick has been an instructor of our Restoration Estimating & Negotiating course. His most recent venture is as a restoration estimate consultant. Nick is an Xactware Certified Trainer and is also has his Level 3 Certifications in Xact 28 and X1. He’s a bad boy on that sketch but better at finding lost money!


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