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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Fire Damage - Where to Begin

5/10/2019 (Permalink)

About 380,000 people needed fire damage repair in their homes after an accidental or unintentional fire, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration. Cooking accidents, heating issues, and electrical malfunctions account for close to 70% of all residential home fires. If you need fire or smoke damage repairs, there are some steps you can take before calling a professional fire and smoke restoration specialist to make your home safer. The fire department determines whether it is safe to stay in your home or not.

Fire Damage Repair

Often, with smoke and fire damage, there is also water damage hidden behind the walls. After a fire, call a professional fire damage repair company to ease your worries and take care of all the heavy cleaning, drywall replacing, and mold and mildew preventative maintenance.  However, follow these steps to start the fire damage repair yourself. First, put on some protective clothing including rubber gloves, protective eyewear, and a face mask to prevent breathing any debris particles.

  1. Soot that has collected like dust requires a special vacuum. You should avoid using your own household vacuum.
  2. Use the following formula to clean surfaces. Pick up some TSP, or trisodium phosphate, and mix 5-tablespoons into 1-gallon of water with 1-cup detergent or bleach. Wash the floors and walls in small sections and complete the ceiling last. To prevent mold, rinse off this solution and dry at least 24-hours before you try repainting.
  3. You can wash clothes with TSP, about 5-tablespoons per load, and detergent to remove the smoke odor.
  4. Wash kitchen utensils and cooking items in hot soapy water.
  5. Wipe down leather furniture and bags with a wet cloth followed by a dry wipe using a dry cloth. Keep them in a cool dark place while drying and use saddle soap on dried items.  

Fire Prevention

Removing fire damage, soot, and smoke from walls, ceilings, and floors is a not a simple task. Take the following steps to minimize the risk of fire and smoke damage to your home in the future.

  1. Electrical - Check and replace damaged electrical outlets, plugs, cords, and wires regularly and do not keep them covered or pinched against a wall. Avoid overloading your homes circuit system and use surge protectors rather than unprotected power strips.
  2. Kitchen – Often overlooked as part of a kitchen setup is the fire extinguisher. Keep one in close reach and prepare yourself to use it. Most ovens have a self-cleaning button; use it regularly to prevent buildup. Keep the stovetop clean to minimize grease fires.
  3. Appliances - A clothes dryer holds lint and many other appliances with a fan or motor suck in dust and other particles. Clear the filter of lint after each load and the dryer vent often. Clean under all appliances regularly to prevent buildup.
  4. Other fire causes include smoking, placing grills less than 10 feet away from your home, and children’s curiosity.

After you start your own fire damage repairs, contacting a professional fire damage company helps ensure proper repairs to your property, as well as mold and mildew prevention.  

What Happens to My Belongings After A Fire

5/10/2019 (Permalink)

Here’s a look at how it all works:

  1. The Packout: A crew will come in and methodically box up your home, room by room, using a careful labeling and organization system.
  1. Cleaning: Restoration companies with full contents restoration capabilities have a large assembly line process for cleaning. It also means your items will all be inventoried and carefully kept track of during each step of the cleaning process.

While the cleaning process varies depending on the item, you can rest assured that only proven effective techniques are used that won’t do further damage to your items. For hard goods like dishes, they will be thoroughly washed and dried. If there is a noticeable odor, they will be placed in a special room with equipment that has the ability to remove that odor. For textiles like clothing, they will be carefully washed using unique odor and stain removal solutions, dried, and pressed, then carefully boxed back up.

There are also proven processes in place to restore expensive electronics like computers and even restore meaningful items full of sentimental value like photos or books.

  1. Stored during restoration: Depending on the severity of the fire, your contents may need to be stored at our facility while your property is restored. Again, rest assured your items have been carefully inventoried and will be stored in a climate-controlled environment until your home is livable again.
  1. Items returned: This has to be the most exciting part of the process, right? Just as crews carefully boxed up items by room, the boxes will be strategically returned to those rooms for you, rugs placed back in their original places, and window treatments rehung.

How to Check for Storm Damage

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

What Does Commercial Flood Insurance Cover?

Commercial Flood Insurance helps protect your business from the damage costs that come from floodwater. A commercial flood insurance policy will not only protect the location of your business but also the physical contents and assets. A commercial flood insurance policy is designed to protect your business if your floors, walls, ceilings, equipment and fixtures as well as furniture, inventory and business property sustain floodwater damage. Call today to get a quote and find out how easy and affordable it is to add flood insurance protection to your portfolio of business coverage's. 

Do I Need Commercial Flood Insurance?

If your business property insurance doesn’t cover flood damage – and most don’t – you should consider adding a commercial flood insurance policy. Start with a commercial flood insurance quote. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t flood, you’ll need a policy if: 
  • You run your business in an area that has cold, snowy winters and warm springs. Fast melting snow is one of the top causes for commercial flooding.
  • You experience moderate rainfall during the year. Even with moderate rainfall, a drain could become clogged and eventually overflow into your place of business and cause flood damage.

How Does a Commercial Flood Insurance Policy Work?

Flood insurance from The Hartford is provided through the National Flood Insurance Prodgram managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Typically, the government requires a 30-day waiting period on new flood insurance policies. So it’s important to buy a commercial flood policy well before a potential flood event is headed your way.

Tree Maintenance

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

Preventative Tips

Throughout the year there are steps you can take to prevent (or at least reduce the amount of) damage to your roof, home, deck/patio and yard when the weather brings heavy rain and wind. Homeowners can take care of most tree maintenance, but when dealing with tree removal, dead or diseased trees or insects/pests, it's best to call in the professionals for help. Depending on your situation, you may need to contact a certified arborist who can thoroughly assess the condition of the trees on your property, or a tree removal service that can perform a thorough assessment of any storm damage and cut down and remove any trees that are a potential hazard.

TRIMMING AND PRUNING

Any branches close to your house should be trimmed back on a regular basis. This will help protect against potential roof damage from fallen limbs if severe weather hits your area. Heavy rain, hail and powerful winds can easily snap and break weak branches off, which could result in major storm cleanup efforts if they fall. Pruning to remove dead limbs can be done any time of year, but is typically recommended during the winter and spring months.

TREE REMOVAL

Tree removal is a necessary part of tree maintenance, especially if there is a tree posing a risk to your home that could fall during a storm and cause damage. If you suspect you have a dead tree, you should hire a tree removal service for an assessment and they will recommend next steps. If you have a diseased tree, it may be beyond trying to save. A certified arborist can assess the tree and recommend whether or not it can be rehabilitated.  

WATER AND SOIL

Every tree species has specific needs, so make sure you know what type of trees are in your yard in order to care for them appropriately. Some trees are drought-tolerant and can go for long periods of time without water. However, for trees that do need water more consistently—and if they aren't receiving enough rain—they should be watered until the soil is moist. Newly planted trees will need more water and attention, especially during the first two years, to help foster root establishment. To help trees retain enough water, cover the soil with wood mulch.

There are six main types of soil—sand, silt, peat, loam, chalky and clay—and each requires different types of care, as soil and root management are essential to good tree health. If soil composition is too compact, it will prevent trees from growing and should be aerated. Soil should also maintain the right level of moisture and nutrients in order to keep trees healthy, otherwise trees could develop disease, become weak or die, making them a potential hazard to your home during a storm.

Commercial Flood Insurance

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Flood Insurance

What Does Commercial Flood Insurance Cover?

Commercial Flood Insurance helps protect your business from the damage costs that come from floodwater. A commercial flood insurance policy will not only protect the location of your business but also the physical contents and assets. A commercial flood insurance policy is designed to protect your business if your floors, walls, ceilings, equipment and fixtures as well as furniture, inventory and business property sustain floodwater damage. Call today to get a quote and find out how easy and affordable it is to add flood insurance protection to your portfolio of business coverages. 

Do I Need Commercial Flood Insurance?

If your business property insurance doesn’t cover flood damage – and most don’t – you should consider adding a commercial flood insurance policy. Start with a commercial flood insurance quote. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t flood, you’ll need a policy if: 
  • You run your business in an area that has cold, snowy winters and warm springs. Fast melting snow is one of the top causes for commercial flooding.
  • You experience moderate rainfall during the year. Even with moderate rainfall, a drain could become clogged and eventually overflow into your place of business and cause flood damage.

How Does a Commercial Flood Insurance Policy Work?

Flood insurance from The Hartford is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Typically, the government requires a 30-day waiting period on new flood insurance policies. So it’s important to buy a commercial flood policy well before a potential flood event is headed your way. It’s easy to get a quote. Just contact your local agent or call 1-800-296-7542 to speak with one of our flood insurance specialists. We’re eager to answer your questions and quickly assist you in getting the right flood coverage at the right cost for your business.  The Hartford is a participant in the federal Write Your Own (WYO) Program, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Flood Insurance Program http://www.fema.gov/protecting-your-businesses. WYO flood policies are underwritten by the federal government and issued, sold, and administered by authorized private insurance companies, including Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest and Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company. Accordingly, Hartford WYO flood policies are written subject to the rules, regulations, terms, conditions, and availability of the National Flood Insurance Program. All policies must be examined carefully to determine suitability for your needs and to identify any exclusions, limitations or any other terms and conditions that may specifically affect coverage. In the event of a conflict, the terms and conditions of the policy prevail.

Does My Business Need Flood Insurance?

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

Natural disasters can be devastating to businesses. While damage caused by some types of natural events—such as lightning or wind—will usually be covered by commercial property insurance, you need a special policy if you want protection from flood damage. This Q&A will help you understand this type of coverage and determine if your business needs it.

Frequently asked questions about flood insurance

Q. Does my commercial property insurance include flood coverage?

A. No. Damage from flooding, including flooding generated by hurricane-generated storm surge, typically is not covered under a standard commercial policy, including a Commercial Package Policy (CPP) or a Business Owners Policy (BOP). Flood insurance is available from the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Q. What does flood insurance cover?

A.Flood insurance covers damage to your building and contents caused by flood. This includes losses resulting from water overflowing rivers or streams, heavy or prolonged rain, storm surge, snow melt, blocked storm drainage systems, broken dams or levees, or other similar causes. To be considered a flood, waters must cover at least two acres or affect two properties. Generally if water comes from above—for instance from rain or melting snow overflowing gutters and leaking onto your inventory—you’ll be covered by your standard commercial property insurance.

Q. What isn’t covered by flood insurance?

A. Property outside your building generally will not be covered. For instance, landscaping and septic systems will not be covered. In addition, flood insurance will not cover damage to your business vehicles, but this can be included in the optional “comprehensive” portion of your business vehicle insurance. Financial losses caused by business interruption or loss of use of insured property are also not covered.

Q. Do I have to purchase flood insurance?

A. If your commercial property is located in a high-risk flood area and you have a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, you are required to purchase a flood insurance policy.

Q. How do I determine my risk for flood damage?

A. Location is the most important factor for weighing your risk for flood damage. Is your business located in or near a flood zone? (Flood map search tools can be found online.) In what part of the building is your businesses equipment and inventory located? Anything housed on a lower floor, for instance, will be at greater risk.

Q. Where can I purchase flood insurance?

A. Flood insurance is available from the NFIP and some private insurers. However, NFIP coverage can only be purchased through an insurance professional; you cannot buy it directly from the federal government. To find a local insurance professional who is familiar with the National Flood Insurance Program, contact the NFIP at 888-379-9531 for an agent referral.

Q. How long does it take to get flood coverage?

A. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period from date of purchase before your policy goes into effect.

Q. Does my flood policy cover mold?

A. Damage from mold and/or mildew resulting from the after-effects of a flood is covered, but each case is evaluated on an individual basis. Mold/mildew conditions that existed prior to a flooding event are not covered, and after a flood, the policyholder is responsible for taking reasonable and appropriate mitigation actions to eliminate mold and mildew.

Q. How much flood coverage can I get?

A. Commercial flood insurance provides up to $500,000 of coverage for your building and up to $500,000 for its contents.

Q. What if I need more coverage?

A. You can purchase what’s called excess insurance coverage to rebuild properties valued above National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) limits. Excess coverage includes protection against business interruption.

How Experts Prevent Mold Damage

5/2/2019 (Permalink)

Hiring Professional Mold or Flood Clean Up Experts

After a flood the best thing you can do is contact a mold remediation company or water damage specialist who performs clean ups of flooded homes.

This way you can be sure that all mold problems will be properly taken care of. You will also have the peace of mind of knowing that your home will be completely safe to continue living in after it's been professionally remediated.

Preventing Mold After a Flood

Mold can start to grow after just a day or two so it's important to act as quickly as possible if your home has been flooded. Make sure you only enter your home once it's safe though.

If you're going to perform the flood clean up yourself then you should begin my moving things outside that didn't get wet. This is to protect them while you clean up the rest of the house.

Drying out Your Home After a Flood

The sooner you can dry out your home after a flood the better. This way you can minimize any mold problems and perhaps even prevent mold growing at all.

Using things like dehumidifiers, fans or heaters helps to dry out your home faster. First make sure it's safe to use electrical appliances though. If the air outside isn't very humid then open windows to ventilate your house.

Preparing Your Home for Flood Damage

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Preparing Your Home for Flood Damage This customer's basement was flooded by ground water through a window.

How to Protect Your Home from Flood Damage in the Future

  • Consider flood insurance (especially if you live in areas where weather-related flooding is common). Government-issued disaster assistance doesn’t always cover the cost of damage from a flood, so it’s important to consider a supplemental insurance policy.
  • Bring appliances such as utilities, broilers, window air conditioning units and other HVAC equipment to higher ground if possible, as these items are particularly vulnerable to flood damage.
  • Hire a trusted plumber to install a sewage water backstop or sump pump. Some cities offer programs to fund the installation of these types of valves. Check with your local official to see if this is offered in your area.
  • Fill any holes or cracks in foundation with caulk or patching to prevent potential leaks.

Making a Water Damage Claim

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

3 Things Homeowners Should Know About Making A Water Damage Claim

1. Understand What Is Covered

When damage has already occurred to a home, it’s often not possible to change your insurance plan immediately after the fact. Choosing an insurance policy that will cover common types of damage is generally helpful. By knowing what your insurance policy will cover, you can be more prepared for a disaster, and you can quickly make a claim and spend less time worrying about the financial aspect of the damage.

2. Documentation Is Key

After you’ve made the insurance claim, your insurance company will likely request documentation in order to know how to compensate you. Many insurance companies send an adjuster to photograph the damage that has occurred from the bursting pipes or flooding. However, it can also be useful for you to provide additional documentation to the insurance adjuster and your insurance policy, as more information can often be useful.

3. Time Matters

After a claim has been made, the next priority is to the issue and clean your home. However, spending time attempting to fix a broken pipe or trying to clean your home on your own can be both time-consuming and hazardous. Standing water can cause structural damage and can result in mold growth, making it important to quickly clean your home. Making the most of the time you have and calling in professionals is often the best way to ensure your home doesn’t become more damaged.

Understanding what insurance policies tend to cover, knowing how to document the effects of bursting pipes or a flood and understanding the importance of reacting quickly can make the claims process easier. Homeowners with damaged homes might find it helpful to contact water damage restoration experts.

Protection For Businesses When Fire Damages Causes Closure

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

What Does Business Interruption Coverage Cover?

If your building catches fire, your property insurance coverage may help you replace the building, your desks and copiers, and inventory from your warehouse. It may also cover the cost of hiring a fire restoration company. However, this type of coverage doesn't cover your lost revenue. What does interruption insurance cover?

• Employee wages and other routine operating expenses
• Profits you would have earned if your business hadn't been affected by fire
• Costs related to moving to a temporary location
• Lease payments for the property affected by the fire
• Loan and tax payments

What Isn't Covered by Interruption Coverage?

It's important to understand that there are exclusions to this type of coverage. For example, some fire restoration services may be covered, but the expenses that result from a flood or earthquake probably won't be covered.Water damages are often paid for out of your business budget. Other costs that may not be covered include

• Utilities, which are usually stopped after a disaster
• Undocumented income, such as a recent increase in income
• Losses due to voluntary or partial closures
• Losses related to power outages and downed power lines

Who Pays During Apartment Fires

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

An apartment fire can cause panic and undoubtedly create extensive fire damage. However, some landlords and renters worry more about the financial burden of the recovery than the immediate loss. Thankfully, fiscal responsibility is pretty cut and dry, especially when the fire is deemed accidental.

1. Facility 

The actual building is the responsibility of the owner. This means that the renter is not obligated to pay for structural damage, even if it occurs in their apartment. However, the landlord’s insurer may challenge the renter’s insurer if the fire is caused by tenant neglect or ill-will.

2. Function

Also, any utilities – water, gas, electric – that are damaged in the apartment fire are the responsibility of the property owner. A landlord is responsible for the functionality of a building, meaning that the tenant is not responsible for ensuring the utilities work properly.

3. Personal Property

While a landlord must take care of the structure and functionality of their property, they have no responsibility for the personal property of their tenants. Therefore, tenants must cover the costs of replacement themselves. However, most tenants will have renter’s insurance which should help cover this expense.

4. Construction

Lastly, the rebuilding of the property is the responsibility of the property owner. Likely, their insurance will cover any restoration efforts, but they may require that the owner call a disaster restoration specialist in the Charlotte, NC, area, and receive an estimate for the work to be completed.

An apartment fire is scary and confusing, but despite the confusion, there are clear lines of responsibility when the fire is deemed an accident. However, the loss of property is still devastating, and it may evoke feelings of desperation. Fortunately, if you have adequate insurance coverage, the stress of the impending financial burden may be alleviated. Insurers account for fire loss in most policies and are ready and willing to help you through this crisis.

Landlord Mold Responsibilities

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Quick Response

The hallmark of a great landlord is that he or she is readily available to tenants. While it is not necessary for you personally to be on call 24/7, responding to complaints in a timely manner can foster a great relationship with them. Consider making multiple reporting tools available:

  • Office phone with reliable receptionist
  • Email response within 24 hours
  • Form posted on website 
  • Online portal where maintenance process can be tracked
  • 24-hour emergency line

Preventative Measures

The need for mold cleanup can often be avoided by taking care of leaks and water damage as soon as they occur. Ideally, your tenants will report problems like this as soon as they notice them. Since mold can start to grow quickly once excess moisture is present, you should consider it a high-priority issue. By fixing it before mold contamination has a chance to infest your property, you serve your tenants well.

Outside Help

If a problem does persist long enough for mold spores to settle and grow on a surface, it is in your best interest to hire mold remediation experts to get rid of the growth. These certified contractors have the specialized skills and equipment necessary to thoroughly mitigate mold issues. Regular cleaning methods will not be sufficient to remove the growth.

Fast response and resolution are the keys to mold cleanup. Both are necessary to provide great service to your tenants.

Sewer Backups and Home Owner's Insurance

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Home Insurance And Sewer Backups

A sewer backup can be an extremely messy problem for any homeowner in Charlotte, NC To further complicate the situation, your home insurance policy may not cover cleanup and restoration costs, forcing you to fund repairs out-of-pocket. Carefully reviewing your current coverage may spare you considerable frustration in the long run.

A Costly Problem

A sewage overflow inside your basement or bathroom is highly unsanitary and can cause significant destruction. Depending on the specific cause of the backup and the extent of the damage, you may face numerous cleanup and repair requirements, such as the following:

  • Disinfecting the contaminated area
  • Removing saturated drywall and insulation
  • Repairing broken sewage lines
  • Replacing destroyed personal property

Without adequate home insurance coverage, these expenses can quickly mount and become extremely costly.

Potential Causes

A sewer backup often strikes unexpectedly. If your community’s storm water and sewer lines converge, your home may be particularly vulnerable, particularly if the area becomes inundated with rainwater that overwhelms the system.

If you are fortunate, you may notice subtle symptoms of a plumbing issue that may cause a sewage backup. Examples of specific signs include consistently slow-flowing drains and a lingering sewer gas odor. If you experience either situation, you may have a clogged or damaged pipe. Contacting a licensed plumber may allow you to resolve the potential issue early, sparing you from a messy sewage cleanup.

Safeguarding Your Home

You can minimize your risk of clogged or broken sewage lines by planting trees and shrubs away from pipes and throwing diapers, feminine hygiene products, wipes and paper towels in the trash instead of your toilet. Installing a back-flow valve can also prevent sewage backups. 

However, possibly the most efficient way to safeguard both your home and financial security is to update your home insurance policy to ensure you are adequately covered against a sewer backup. Insurance can be a valuable financial safety net, but insufficient coverage can be extremely costly. If disaster strikes, having both your insurance company and a professional cleanup and restoration team on your side can make all the difference. 

Commercial Storm Preparation

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

  1. Check your insurance coverage. Make sure that your business or commercial property is protected against the most common types of storm damage in your region, including flood water. This may involve taking additional riders or endorsements on top of a standard business insurance policy.
  2. Check stores of emergency supplies. A commercial property should have a store of sandbags and polyethylene sheeting, hand tools, and possibly a generator and fuel supplies in the event of a storm.
  3. Have a data protection plan in place. Insurers can replace equipment that sustains storm damage, but it is much more difficult to restore corrupted or lost data. Businesses should have data backup plans in place well before a storm and follow protocols to prevent information loss.
  4. Come up with plans for evacuation and property safety. You should have a plan to limit damage as a storm is approaching. Lift and disconnect appliances, fixtures, and wiring. Shut off the flow of electricity to non-necessary appliances. You should also have a detailed evacuation plan for all occupants and visitors in the building posted in visible areas throughout the structure.

Who to Call When Trees Fall on Your Home

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Whether it was caused by root rot or strong winds, if a tree has fallen on your house, there’s a series of steps you’ll need to follow to get your house and property back to normal. Hurricanes, floods and snowstorms are a few types of weather conditions that can cause trees to fall, which could result in roof and interior damage. While older and diseased trees are more vulnerable to extreme weather and high winds, remember that even strong, healthy trees can topple under these conditions. Fallen trees are one of the main causes of roof damage, according to the National Storm Damage Center, costing more than $1 billion in property damage each year. From tree removal to roof repair and everything in between, learn what you need to do and who you need to contact to recover from storm damage.

1. Contact SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte immediately. They will send a project manager out on site quickly. Once on site they will determine what equipment is needed to get the tree off of your home. 

2. If there is a lot of rain the inside of the home might be damaged. SERVPRO can handle all of the cleanup and drying to get your home back to pre loss condition. 

3. If there is rebuilding necessary in results of the tree damage, SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte's construction team will be able to handle the job from start to finish. 

Cleaning Up Your Business After Storm Damage

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Living in North Carolina there are many cases where storms cause significant damage to your business or the building you operate your business out of. If that is the case SERVPRO of northwest Charlotte is here to help. We want to make sure that you have help from start to finish getting your business back up and operational again. 

In most cases high winds will cause significant wind damage. This can cause shingles to come off, trees flying into windows and other types of high impact damage. SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte has a team in place that can handle all of the situations 24/7, 365 days a year. 

It is important if you have any questions to reach out to us at anytime. We hope you don't experience a severe storm, but if you do know that we are here for you. 

Why Sewers Backup

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

1. Roots can penetrate and clog the sewer line. Trees and shrubs can send out thousands of feet of tendrils a year in search of water. A small crack in a pipe can be an open invitation to the plant to spread the crack and enjoy the water. As the roots enter the pipe, they often spread quickly until the roots have created a mass that can easily block the pipe and cause a sewer backup.

2. Clogs can form in drain pipes or lateral sewer lines. A sink, tub, or toilet can easily clog over time as the sewer pipes corrode or fill with sludge. This is especially true if pipes are used to discard household debris from garbage disposals and toilet flushes. Hair buildup can also easily clog drain pipes.

3. Heavy rains can cause city-wide sewer malfunctions. As rain water or melting snow enter over-taxed sewer lines, there can be nowhere for the water to go. The liquid can fill streets and drainage lines until finally, a cesspit backup is often the result. As the water levels rise, so can the sewage levels.

4. Sewer lines can break or collapse. The lateral line between the building and the street were often historically built from clay or cast-iron pipes. The fragile pipes can sometimes collapse as they crack with age and can often cause in sewer problems. 

When a sewer backup occurs, it can fill the building with black water, fecal matter, and bacteria. It can also lead to the destruction of possessions and damage to the building structure. Contact a water damage repair team at the first sign of sewer problems. The professionals can take immediate action and protect the property from further water damage.

Get Your Commercial Automatic Toilet to Stop Flushing

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

1. Uncover the screwdriver slot. Most flushometers have a screwdriver spot for a flat head screwdriver. You may have to uncover this spot. Once you do, use a screwdriver to turn off the water coming from the flushometer.
2. Remove the top lid. Once you have the water stopped, you need to make sure you won't be dealing with this toilet flood issue in the near future. Your toilet-fixing expert can use a wrench to remove the top lid of the flushometer. Some water may come out when you remove the cover.
3. Clean the gasket. With the lid removed, you can now see the gasket. You may notice built up sediment or a clogged weep hole. This device should be able to stop a toilet, but if it is too dirty it may cause a toilet overflow.
4. Get the flushometer ready again. After the gasket has been properly cleaned, you need to get it ready to function again. Replace the cover and top lid. Then turn the water back on.

Taking care of your commercial property means fixing toilet overflow issues and reacting quickly to other potential hazards. No matter what kind of water-related issue you have, you should make sure to react quickly to avoid major water damage to your business. Knowing who to call in a time of crisis can save you a lot of time.

Getting Rid of the Smell After a Fire

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke is Sneaky

Once you've been given the go-ahead to reenter the building, you may need the judgment of fire damage professionals to determine what items can be salvaged. Because smoke can permeate various parts of an indoor space, it's essential that you get a proper inspection. Smoke also produces small amounts of carbon in the air, ultimately creating soot, and completely removing the odor from some items can prove challenging.

There Are Different Types 

In addition, be aware that there may be multiple soot damage culprits, as there are different types of smoke: 

• Dry smoke
• Wet smoke
• Protein fire residue

Although any kind of smoke damage is a hassle to deal with, wet smoke – involving plastic or rubber – can be sharper in odor and harder to address. Dry smoke involves wood or paper and can also be difficult to clean. Protein fire residue, which can be subtle, has a familiar, pungent odor. 

Porous Materials are Vulnerable

Every surface likely needs attention after a fire, but the permeable ones are usually trickiest. Items such as curtains, rugs, and other upholsteries probably need to go to the dry cleaner. Another task on your list should involve keeping your cleaned items out of the building until a proper smoke cleaning is complete. 

Spring Cleaning Outside

4/11/2019 (Permalink)

General Spring Cleaning Outside SPRING CLEANING OUTSIDE

When making your spring cleaning list, remember your home's exterior.  A few hours of attention could save you a bundle in unexpected repairs. 


Roof & Chimney
Examine your roof for cracked or missing shingles and damaged flashing around vents and chimneys. Check chimney caps and roof vents for bird nests and debris.

Gutters & Downspouts
Clogged gutters lead to rainwater back up and rot under shingles, waterfalls that cause window leaks and pools that drain into your crawl or basement and soften soil around tree roots causing them to fall.  Consider installing gutter screening and downspout extensions.

Foundation Vents & Drains
Look for missing or damaged screens, debris, signs of insect or rodent infestation, or other issues.  Unclog drainage systems designed to channel water away from the foundation, including city sewer drains.

TIPS TO AVOID PIPE BURSTS

2/27/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage TIPS TO AVOID PIPE BURSTS Tips to avoid pipe bursts

TIPS TO AVOID PIPE BURSTS


When temperatures drop, pipes can freeze. Freezing water expands and cold pipes contract. The result, pipe bursts and water damage.  Follow these tips to keep your house safe this winter:
 

  1. Disconnect outdoor hoses & cover spigots with insulated covers
  2. Drain in-ground sprinkler systems
  3. Show family members where the water main is and how to shut it off
  4. Insulate pipes in unheated spaces
  5. Caulk around holes where pipes come through walls
  6. Stop cold air in your crawlspace by closing vents & sealing cracks
  7. When it drop below freezing, keep your faucets lightly dripping.
  8. Keep house temperatures above 55 & don’t turn it down before travelling
  9. Open cabinet doors so air can keep pipes warm
  10. Keep a light on in crawlspaces, attics & well houses

Prevent Winter Fires

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Prevent Winter Fires Prevent Winter Fires

Preventing Winter Fires

Most home fires happen during the winter season.  Follow these fire safety tips to keep your home and family safe:

  • Keep area around heating equipment clear of flammables.
  • If you use a fireplace, have the chimney swept yearly, use a sturdy screen to stop sparks and store ashes outside at least 10 feet away from the house. 
  • Use space heaters with automatic shut-offs and keep pets & children 3 feet away.
  • Test smoke & carbon monoxide alarms and make sure batteries are fresh.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on each floor and teach family members how to use it.
  • Keep baking soda by the stove to combat grease fires.
  
Heating

Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%). More statistics on heating fires.

Carbon Monoxide

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. More statistics on carbon monoxide incidents.

Winter storms

Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.

Generators

Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools. 

Candles

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. Each year between 2012 and 2016, an average of 8,200 home candle fires were reported each year. More statistics on candle fires.

Electrical

Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters. More statistics on electrical fires.

When Your Home Needs Water Damage Repair

3/31/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage When Your Home Needs Water Damage Repair When Your Home Needs Water Damage Repair

How Water Damage Occurs

Water Damage occurs for any number of reasons and sometimes it goes on long before you notice it. The most common ways in which water damage occurs are the following:

  • Pipes – Leaking, burst, or cracked pipes are common in homes, especially older homes where pipes might need replacing. Spots with prior repairs are more susceptible to future damage with time and use. Weather changes and weakened areas of pipe can all lead to water damage in your homes.
  • Flooding – Flooding whether caused by heavy rain, plumbing failures, or groundwater exposure, causes extensive damage and affects many surfaces and items in your home from the floor to ceiling including electrical outlets, TV’s and appliances, and furniture.
  • Basements and Crawlspaces - Accumulating water can sit and collect in damp and cool places like a basement or crawlspace. 

Results of Unrepaired Water Damage

Even the smallest amount of water damage can lead to deteriorating housing materials and fungal growth like mold. Mold loves to multiply in damp, moist, and dark locations. Areas in your home that were not properly cleaned and dried are perfect hosts for mold. Humid locations are especially susceptible to mold growth. Mold spores are also airborne, spread quickly, and toxic to your health.

You Have Water Damage. Now What?

First, when accessing if you should attempt water damage repair before calling a professional also determine whether it is safe to remain in your home. The biggest concern is your electrical system and the potentials for injury from slipping. Then,

  • The sooner you clean the better. If the water damage is manageable and your safety in check, begin the clean-up process right away.
  • Water is heavy. Removing water logged and soaking wet items is a laborious task, therefore be aware of your own abilities and safety when removing wet items.
  • Leave your vacuum in the closet. Your household vacuum is not equipped to handle water removal. Use a mop and bucket, or another absorbent cloth, to soak up and dispose of the water manually. Blot rugs and furniture with absorbent material to soak up the water.
  • Hang up those wet fabrics. Leaving any fabric material soaking in water is a fungus breeding ground. Remove cushions, curtains, blankets, and throw rugs to dry elsewhere.
  • Keep those appliances and electronics off. Your electronics could have water damage where you cannot see it.
  • Clean up. Clean up and remove everything from the waterlogged area that isn’t bolted in place.

Leaving any water damaged areas unrepaired leads to further damage and toxic living situations.

Lastly, call a well-trained water restoration professional with industrial equipment to ensure water damage repairs happen immediately and properly. A water damage professional handles the entire repair process from removing the water to ensuring everything in your home is dry; preventing mold growth and further material damage, protecting your health and making your home safe again.