Recent Water Damage Posts
Water Damage Repair: When It’s Time to Ditch the DIY and Call the Pros
Water Damage Repair: When It’s Time to Ditch the DIY and Call the Pros
After working a 60-hour week, all Joan wanted when she left the office late Friday night was to unwind by taking a hot bath with a mug of chamomile tea, hummus and cracker platter, and the latest Patricia Cornwell mystery.
But things took a “wet” turn when she fell asleep in the bathtub with the water running. Joan awoke in a panic hours later to her husband, Steve, screaming her name. He had come home from bowling night to a flooded living room and water flowing down the stairs. The couple assessed the water damage and *thought* they could handle it themselves with help from DIY YouTube videos and bribing their friends with pizza and beer.
Do-it-yourself vs. calling the pros
What if a tree falls on your home and a storm dumps an inch of water in your now-exposed attic? Or, if your condo’s bedroom shares a wall with a neighbor’s living room that catches fire and is doused with 300 gallons of water? Or, if the dark stain on the ceiling in your daughter’s bedroom is expanding by the day?
In each of these instances, the wisest decision you can make is to pick up the phone and call in the pros. Or the SERVPROs, if you will.
Not only does water damage affect your home’s structural foundation, but it also creates an ideal environment for mold and mildew to grow, termites and carpenter ants to move in, and powerful odors to fill your living spaces. To fully restore and dry your property - and have the validation and documentation to back it up - you need specialized training and equipment. And that’s where SERVPRO comes in.
Ongoing training + latest technology = bye-bye moisture
Our local technicians are well-prepared to tackle any water damage emergencies - long before they ever set foot in your home. In addition to earning the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, they complete Employee Certification Training and a 15-day hands-on course. Continuing education classes keep the water restoration team informed on scientific drying principles and the latest technology.
Their extensive education and training come into play when they arrive at your home with all the tools they need to restore it to pre-water damage condition: Moisture detection and measurement equipment, including an infrared camera. Powerful water extraction pumps and vacuum units to speed the drying process. Industrial strength air movers and dehumidifiers to pull water vapor from the air. And thermal foggers, deodorization machines, and sanitizing agents and treatments to eliminate odors.
Tips to help prevent water damage
While our specialists are available at a moment’s notice for any water damage or restoration emergency, there are a few DIY steps homeowners can take to avoid them.
- Clean - Keep those gutters clean to ensure proper drainage and direct downspouts at least five feet away from your home. Whenever possible, slope your yard away from the foundation.
- Test - At least once a year, check your sump pump. During heavy storm seasons, test it more frequently.
- Fix - Keep on the lookout for dark spots under pipes and on ceilings. If you notice leaks or dripping pipes, get them fixed. Also, repair cracked caulking and inspect for missing, loose or damaged roof shingles.
And for Joan’s case, we’ll add one more tip: Self-care is important, but please don’t fall asleep in the bathtub with the water running!
24/7 water damage and restoration assistance
Although SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte is part of a national network of 1,700-plus franchises, we’re locally owned and operated and part of the Mecklenburg, Lincoln, and Gaston communities. Our water damage and restoration experts are employees, not contractors, which means our team can respond faster to emergencies with a proven water damage restoration process and the most advanced technology and equipment. For questions, contact us anytime at (704) 393-7890 or request help online.
Winter Weather Home Hazards
Winter Weather Home Hazards
When we think about winter, it is generally skiing or tubing, or that dreadful drive to work in the snow. We often forget how important it is to protect our homes.
Frozen Pipes and Prevention
One of the ways to protect against damage to your home during the winter is to makes sure your pipes and faucets are properly prepared for the colder weather. When it comes to any outdoor faucets it is important to make sure you detached any hose and apply a faucet cover. When it comes to interior pipes there are a few options; allow warm or hot water to run through the pipes by letting them drip overnight, insulate interior piping or if you are going out of town for an extended period of time, you can shut off water supply and drain the system. Frozen pipes can cause pipes to crack or burst, and this can allow up to 250 gallons of water to spew into your home causing significant water damage.
Home Fires and Prevention
Another common cause for home damage during the winter is house fires. Insurance companies and fire departments prepare for an influx of fire claims during the winter months because the number of home fires increase drastically. The leading causes are the way we heat our homes, electrical fires, and candles. The way we heat our homes are common causes of house fires. Space heaters and baseboard heaters need to be cleaned and failure to do so is the leading contributor, as well as placing objects too close to the equipment. Electrical fires are extremely common in the winters due to overloading circuits with certain appliances. Candles in the winter are commonly used and often cause fires from being knocked over or having flammable objects too close. Garage fires are a top source of house fires in the winter because the number of items stormed in the garage and they are generally highly flammable. Flammable materials should be stored in a shed away from the home.
Roof Leaks and Prevention
Leading causes for roof leaks in the winter include ice damming and loose or missing shingles. Ice damming happens when snow accumulates on the roof and begins to melt, the water runs down the source of the roof and as it hits the bottom edges of the roof the cold air causes it to freeze and build up. Once there is a build up of ice, the water has no where to go but underneath the shingles and it will trickle inside the home. To prevent ice damming, you can get an ice rake to remove the ice. Missing and loose shingles can also cause interior water damage. You can prevent water damage from missing or loose shingles by checking your roof periodically before and during the winter to make sure no shingles have become loose and brittle during the cold weather.
Returning After Hurricanes
Clean Up Safely After a Natural Disaster
When returning to your home after a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster protect yourself and your family by following these tips. Reentering Buildings
• Stay away from damaged buildings or structures until they have been examined and certified as safe by a building inspector or other government authority. You may want to wait to return to buildings during daylight hours, when it is easier to avoid hazards, particularly if the electricity is off and you have no lights.
• Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises that signal that the structure may fall or if you smell gas or suspect a leak. If you smell gas, notify emergency authorities and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe to do so.
• Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed. General Safety Measures
• Have at least two fire extinguishers, each with a UL rating of at least 10A, at every cleanup job.
• Wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank) for cleanup work.
• Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.
• Use teams of two or more people to move bulky objects. Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).
• When using a chain saw, operate the saws according to manufacturer’s instructions, wear appropriate protective equipment, avoid contact with power lines, be sure that bystanders are at a safe distance, and take extra care in cutting trees or branches that have gotten bent or caught under another object. Use extreme caution to avoid electrical shock when using an electric chainsaw.
• If there has been a backflow of sewage into your house, wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of the affected area.
• In hot weather, try to stay cool by staying in air-conditioned buildings, taking breaks in shaded areas or in cool rooms, drinking water and nonalcoholic fluids often, and wearing light and loose-fitting clothing. Do outdoor activities during cooler hours.
Carbon Monoxide Exposure
• Never use generators, pressure washers, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage, or camper—or even outside near an open window, door, or vent. Carbon monoxide—an odorless, colorless gas from these sources that can cause sudden illness and death—can build up indoors and poison the people and animals inside.
• Remove and discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foamrubber items, books, wall coverings, and paper products).
• Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
• Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces (such as flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures) with hot water and laundry or dish detergent.
• If electrical circuits and electrical equipment have gotten wet or are in or near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off.
• Never turn power on or off or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
• Do not connect generators to your home's electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard and it may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area.
Hazardous Materials Issues
• Call the fire department to inspect or remove chemicals, propane tanks, and other dangerous materials.
• Wear protective clothing and gear (for example, a respirator if needed) when handling hazardous materials.
• Wash skin that may have come in contact with hazardous materials.
• Wear insulated gloves and use caution if you have to remove a car battery. Avoid any acid that may have leaked from a car battery.
Hygiene and Infectious Disease Issues
• After completing the cleanup, wash with soap and water. If there is a boil-water advisory in effect, use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing). Or you may use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene use (solution of ? teaspoon of household bleach. Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use a solution of ¼ teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
• If you have any open cuts or sores that were exposed to floodwater, wash them with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection.
• Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.
• Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
• If the building is flooded, the waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater.
• If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection.
• To reduce cold–related risks when standing or working in water which is cooler than 75 degrees F (24 degrees C), wear insulated clothes and insulated rubber boots, take frequent breaks out of the water, and change into dry clothing when possible. Monitor your radio or television for up-to-date emergency information.
After a Flood
Electrical power and natural gas or propane tanks should be shut off to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions. Try to return to your home during the daytime so that you do not have to use any lights. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company or the police or fire departments or State Fire Marshal's office, and do not turn on the lights or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe to do so. Your electrical system may also be damaged. If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning but no visible fire, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the circuit breaker. Avoid any downed power lines, particularly those in water. Avoid wading in standing water, which also may contain glass or metal fragments. You should consult your utility company about using electrical equipment, including power generators. Be aware that it is against the law and a violation of electrical codes to connect generators to your home's electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard. In addition, the improper connection of a generator to your home's electrical circuits may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area. All electrical equipment and appliances must be completely dry before returning them to service. It is advisable to have a certified electrician check these items if there is any question. Also, remember not to operate any gas-powered equipment indoors.
Cleanup Walls, hard-surfaced floors, and many other household surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with a solution of 1 cup of bleach to five gallons of water. Be particularly careful to thoroughly disinfect surfaces that may come in contact with food, such as counter tops, pantry shelves, refrigerators, etc. Areas where small children play should also be carefully cleaned. Wash all linens and clothing in hot water, or dry clean them. For items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned, such as mattresses and upholstered furniture, air dry them in the sun and then spray them thoroughly with a disinfectant. Steam clean all carpeting. If there has been a backflow of sewage into the house, wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during cleanup. Remove and discard contaminated household materials that cannot be disinfected, such as wallcoverings, cloth, rugs, and drywall.
Immunizations Outbreaks of communicable diseases after floods are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a flood may increase because of decreased sanitation or overcrowding among displaced persons. Increases in infectious diseases that were not present in the community before the flood are not usually a problem. If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a doctor or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records. Specific recommendations for vaccinations should be made on a case-by-case basis, or as determined by local and state health departments.
Swiftly Flowing Water
If you enter swiftly flowing water, you risk drowning -- regardless of your ability to swim. Swiftly moving shallow water can be deadly, and even shallow standing water can be dangerous for small children. Cars or other vehicles do not provide adequate protection from flood waters. Cars can be swept away or may break down in moving water. Chemical Hazards Use extreme caution when returning to your area after a flood. Be aware of potential chemical hazards you may encounter during flood recovery. Flood waters may have buried or moved hazardous chemical containers of solvents or other industrial chemicals from their normal storage places. If any propane tanks (whether 20-lb. tanks from a gas grill or household propane tanks) are discovered, do not attempt to move them yourself. These represent a very real danger of fire or explosion, and if any are found, police or fire departments or your State Fire Marshal's office should be contacted immediately. Car batteries, even those in flood water, may still contain an electrical charge and should be removed with extreme caution by using insulated gloves. Avoid coming in contact with any acid that may have spilled from a damaged car battery.
Floods: Sanitation and Hygiene
It is critical for you to remember to practice basic hygiene during the emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected:
• before preparing or eating food;
• after toilet use;
• after participating in flood cleanup activities; and
• after handling articles contaminated with flood water or sewage.
Flood waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems, and agricultural and industrial byproducts. Although skin contact with flood water does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is some risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with flood water. If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to flood water, keep them as clean as possible by washing well with soap to control infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention. In addition, parents need to help children avoid waterborne illness. Do not allow children to play in flood water areas, wash children's hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with flood-water contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water.
Be Safe AFTER
Be Safe AFTER
- Listen to authorities for information and special instructions.
- Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
- Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
- Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
- Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not drive around barricades.
- If sheltering during high winds, go to a FEMA safe room, ICC 500 storm shelter, or a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor that is not subject to flooding.
- If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
- Listen for current emergency information and instructions.
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
Storm Surge Prep
Storm surge is water from the ocean that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around a hurricane. Storm surge is fast and can produce extreme coastal and inland flooding. When hurricanes cause storm surge, over 20 feet of water can be produced and pushed towards the shore and several miles inland destroying property and endangering lives in its path.
Storm surge is historically the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States.
Water weighs about 1,700 pounds per cubic yard, so battering waves from surge can easily demolish buildings and cause massive destruction along the coast.
Storm surge undermines roads and foundations when it erodes material out from underneath them.
Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to your home. Homeowners and renter’s insurance do not typically cover flood damage.
When a Hurricane is Scheduled to Hit
When a hurricane is 36 hours from arriving
- Turn on your TV or radio in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- Restock your emergency preparedness kit. Include food and water sufficient for at least three days, medications, a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
- Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.
- Review your evacuation zone, evacuation route and shelter locations. Plan with your family. You may have to leave quickly so plan ahead.
- Keep your car in good working condition, and keep the gas tank full; stock your vehicle with emergency supplies and a change of clothes.
- If you have NFIP flood insurance, your policy may cover up to $1000 in loss avoidance measures, like sandbags and water pumps, to protect your insured property. You should keep copies of all receipts and a record of the time spent performing the work. They should be submitted to your insurance adjuster when you file a claim to be reimbursed.When a hurricane is 18-36 hours from arriving
- Bookmark your city or county website for quick access to storm updates and emergency instructions.
- Bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
- Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
When a hurricane is 6-18 hours from arriving
- Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- Charge your cell phone now so you will have a full battery in case you lose power.
When a hurricane is 6 hours from arriving
- If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know where you are.
- Close storm shutters, and stay away from windows. Flying glass from broken windows could injure you.
- Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to be able to check the food temperature when the power is restored.
- Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
Are You Hurricane Ready?
Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters and move toward land. Potential threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, tornadoes, and landslides. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. The Pacific hurricane season runs May 15 to November 30. Hurricanes:
- Can happen along any U.S. coast or in any territory in the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.
- Can affect areas more than 100 miles inland.
- Are most active in September.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A HURRICANE WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY
- Determine how best to protect yourself from high winds and flooding.
- Evacuate if told to do so.
- Take refuge in a designated storm shelter, or an interior room for high winds.
- Listen for emergency information and alerts.
- Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
- Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
- Know your area’s risk of hurricanes.
- Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
- If you are at risk for flash flooding, watch for warning signs such as heavy rain.
- Practice going to a safe shelter for high winds, such as a FEMA safe room or ICC 500 storm shelter. The next best protection is a small, interior, windowless room in a sturdy building on the lowest level that is not subject to flooding.
- Based on your location and community plans, make your own plans for evacuation or sheltering in place.
- Become familiar with your evacuation zone, the evacuation route, and shelter locations.
- Gather needed supplies for at least three days. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets.
- Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies.
- Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.
Hurricane Awareness Month
SERVPRO of NW Charlotte wants to remind you that hurricane season is in full effect. The month of October is about ensuring the safety of our customers by making sure they are aware of the potential risks, how to prepare for a hurricane and ensuring they are fully aware of how to stay safe during these massive storms.
In the event that your home is unfortunately effected by the weather, SERVPRO of NW Charlotte is faster to any disaster, 24/7, and prepared to help you and your family
While hurricanes pose the greatest threat to life and property, tropical storms and depression also can be devastating. The primary hazards from tropical cyclones (which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes) are storm surge flooding, inland flooding from heavy rains, destructive winds, tornadoes, and high surf and rip currents.
- Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water generated by a storm's winds. This hazard is historically the leading cause of hurricane related deaths in the United States. Storm surge and large battering waves can result in large loss of life and cause massive destruction along the coast.
- Storm surge can travel several miles inland, especially along bays, rivers, and estuaries.
- Flooding from heavy rains is the second leading cause of fatalities from landfalling tropical cyclones. Widespread torrential rains associated with these storms often cause flooding hundreds of miles inland. This flooding can persist for several days after a storm has dissipated.
- Winds from a hurricane can destroy buildings and manufactured homes. Signs, roofing material, and other items left outside can become flying missiles during hurricanes.
- Tornadoes can accompany landfalling tropical cyclones. These tornadoes typically occur in rain bands well away from the center of the storm.
- Dangerous waves produced by a tropical cyclone's strong winds can pose a significant hazard to coastal residents and mariners. These waves can cause deadly rip currents, significant beach erosion, and damage to structures along the coastline, even when the storm is more than a 1,000 miles offshore.
Water Damage Clean Up
Tips for cleaning your home after water damage
Water in unwanted places can cause a lot of damage. Not only can it ruin your prized possessions, but also the house in which they are stored. If you’re able to act quickly, you can minimize the damage and possibly save some of your possessions. Some of your success depends on how long the water’s been around, there might be pieces of furniture that can be saved, and sometimes, even carpet, but any electronics hit by water are probably doomed.
Don’t treat flood water in unwanted places lightly: even if your basement only has an inch of water in it, or is even just damp, it is the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold growth not only ruins walls, furniture, carpets, flooring, etc., it can lead to poor indoor air quality causing respiratory problems including asthma, and can lead to severe illness. Preventing mold growth is key to keeping your home’s air clean and healthy. So in addition to calling your insurance company, here are a few tips to deal with your flooded basement and minimize the water damage. (Call your insurance company before you do anything, and tell them what you want to do.)
- Disconnect the power, unplug any electronics, and remove electronics, furniture and movable items immediately. The faster you get items out of water’s way, the more likely you’ll be able to save them. Definitely move all electrical items first, and if you can, turn off your power leading into the affected area, especially if water rises above electrical outlets. Pull up any carpets (wall to wall and area rugs) and underpadding. You may be able to save the carpet if you get it cleaned and disinfected, however, it may shrink and be better off as an area rug afterwards. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to save the underpadding, which acts like a sponge and absorbs a lot of water.
- Get rid of the water. There are several ways to get rid of the water. If you don’t have power, or are worried about loose wires, the old-fashioned, manual way will work. Use old towels, buckets and mops to soak up as much water as possible. As long as sewers in your neighborhood aren’t backed up, you can pour the water down the drain, otherwise, pour onto your lawn or other permeable surface. A wet/dry vacuum can be used too, note: be very careful to plug it into outlets far away from water. Don’t use an extension cord as the connection could also short out and give you a nasty shock. Water and electricity don’t mix! If your basement or other flooded area is overwhelming and you have power, consider renting (if available) a sump pump from your local Rent-all or hardware stores. Getting rid of all the water and drying out the area is the most important thing you can do to prevent mold growth.
drywall cutaway, after flood waters are mopped up
- Dry out the affected area. Once you’ve mopped up all the water, use fans and a dehumidifier to help dry out the area. If it’s stopped raining, open windows to allow for air circulation and faster drying. You want to dry the area out as soon as possible. If you have a finished basement and the drywall was affected, you’ll probably have to cut away the areas that were touched by water as the drywall will crumble and the paper backing is a good source of food for mold. If you have baseboard trim, take it up first, and if it’s made from pressboard it will likely not be salvageable. If it was wood, you might be able to save it.
- Disinfect. After the area has dried out, including wood beams, insulation, drywall, etc., use a good disinfectant to get rid of any bacteria that might have come up through sewers, toilets, etc. Disinfect all areas affected by the flood waters including walls and wood and non-upholstered furniture that sat in flood water.
- Prevent mold growth. After you’ve disinfected and let the area thoroughly dry out, apply Concrobium throughout the affected area according to directions. I can’t say enough good things about this product; it is non-toxic, made with distilled water and inorganic salts. You can use it on furniture, walls, floors, basically anything that is susceptible to mold growth. Once a thin layer of Concrobium Mold Control is applied, let it dry overnight. As Concrobium dries, it forms a thin layer over any mold that may be growing and actually crushes the roots of the spores. Wherever it’s sprayed will prevent any mold from growing, providing continued resistance. If you’re spraying an entire room, you might want to consider renting a mister from a hardware store such as Home Depot. It’s easy to use and very fast.
- Dispose of damaged items responsibly: you’ll be tempted to throw everything into a dumpster and send it all away and out of site. But if you can organize damaged goods into piles and take what you can to recycling centres, you will help alleviate the pressure on your local landfill site. Go to your city or town’s waste management website to find out where to recycle old paints, stains, adhesives and other toxic liquids, any damaged electronics from cell phones to TVs and computers, furniture, and even drywall.
The First 48 Hours After a Basement Flood
Act fast. The sooner you clear the contents out of your basement during a water incident, the more likely you will be able to restore the condition to your items and possessions.
When a finished basement experiences significant water damage, such as a basement flooding or a water pipe burst, timing is everything. Where the sooner you begin the disaster recovery process, the more likely you will be able to restore the condition of your possessions and the finished basement environment.
The first 48 hours are considered the most important time period to react, as it is crucial to preventing further damage to the basement and the items within, as well as preventing a wide spread mold problem. Below are the first steps to take, preferably within these first 48 hours.
- Turn Off the Power. Never enter a flooded basement or touch the flood waters without cutting off the power.
- Call your insurance company. Policies differ. Most require special flood insurance to cover ground water leaks, but homeowner’s insurance may cover damage from indoor plumbing and hot water heater leaks.
- Get the water out as soon as possible. Call SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte to extract any standing water. If there isn’t a lot of water, you might try to get it out yourself, with a “floor sucker” or a shop-vac.
Dry everything out as quickly as possible
To prevent items and building materials from becoming ruined, dry your basement as soon as the water is removed. Ideally, the basement should be completely dry within 48 hours. After that, the potential for mold growth increases considerably. A professional restoration company might help expedite this process. Alternatively, you can consider acquiring a powerful basement dehumidifier.
SERVPRO of NW Charlotte is trained to respond to any disaster of any size. We have someone from the office on the phone 24/7 so you speak to a real person, in real time with the ability to respond to your emergency any time of the day. Within 1 hour of the call we are able to get you an ETA for a crew. With our on-site response time being less than four hours, we are able to prevent further damage and prevent any extra expenses. We work with your insurance company as needed to make sure you, your family and home are taken care of!
Most Frequently Asked Question During Water Damage Restoration
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about water damage restoration.
- What happens and what are the effects when water floods my home or business?
- First, when water contacts drywall, it sags and disintegrates. Then you’ll see paint bubbles and peeling as the water wicks up the drywall. After that, water saturates the insulation behind the drywall.
- Next, if water dwells in your property for any length of time, wood structures begins to swell. The glue holding your particle board kitchen and bathroom cabinets dissolves, causing them to crumble. The longer the water dwells in your property, the more likely it is that the hardwood floors will buckle and warp. Wood exposed to long-term water damage rots.
- Third, water-soaked carpets “delaminate.” Delamination is the term for carpet that pulls away from its backing. Once this happens, the carpet is permanently ruined.
- Fourth, water damage can short-out electrical systems. This can cause fire and shock hazards and damage to electronic equipment.
- Why can’t I clean up and dry out the damage myself?
Quickly wiping or mopping up a small spill in the middle of the floor is okay.
But the problem is, if water flooded a large portion of your home or office, it’s the water you can’t see, the water that wicks up behind the wall or under the floors, that causes problems.
These dark cavities are the perfect place for mold and mildew to grow. And, without meters to measure the moisture, you won’t be able to find and remove the water you can’t see hiding in the structure.
All that excess water promotes mold and mildew growth and compromises the structural integrity of the materials.
In addition, if the water damage comes from a contaminated source like a sewage backup, it presents an imminent health threat. In this case, you especially want to AVOID ANY CONTACT and call us immediately.
So, no matter what caused the water damage, to prevent future health or structural problems, water damage restoration should always be handled by a licensed, insured, IICRC certified professional water damage restoration contractor like SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte
- What does a professional water damage restoration contractor do differently than I would do to dry water damage?
- First, after we extract the water, we contain the affected area.
- Second, we remove any non-salvageable damaged materials.
- Third, we photo catalog every part of the damage and all damaged items.
- After that, we spray anti-microbial solution on the affected area.
- Shop vacs and common household fans just aren’t designed to remove enough moisture or generate enough air movement to dry your home or office completely after a flood. So, we use specialized, high-speed, industrial air movers and dehumidifiers. We set up the equipment in a specific pattern, creating the most efficient drying system for your property.
- While the equipment removes and controls the humidity and moisture levels in the air, we monitor the progress on a daily basis with specialized meters to measure the moisture.
- Finally, we communicate with your insurance company using the latest technology to facilitate efficient processing of your insurance claim. We’re experts at this, and we’ve helped hundreds of homeowners in the Greater Philadelphia and Cherry Hill area recover quickly from water damage loss.
- How long does it take to dry my home or business?
The only answer to this question is It depends.
It all depends on the size and scope of the loss.
Completely drying a structure depends on the type of water damage, how bad it was, how long the water was sitting, and the type of building materials involved. For example, concrete takes much longer to dry than wood.
Many times, water damage to your home or business takes 2 to 3 days to dry. However, properties exposed to water damage for a long time will take longer to dry!
- Do I have to leave my home or close my business during the restoration?
If the property damage doesn’t require a lot of reconstruction, you can stay in your home or office. However, the equipment we use during the drying process can be noisy. And it creates a lot of air movement which may be considered as unlivable or unworkable conditions. If the bathrooms in your office, or the kitchen in your home are a part of the damaged area, check with your insurance company for reimbursement of alternate living expenses or business continuity expenses until the restoration job is complete.
- Why does SERVPRO need access to my house or business?
Once the water is extracted and we begin the drying process, we need to monitor and control the moisture and humidity levels in the home. By doing this, we can prevent the growth of toxic mold. In addition, insurance companies require daily monitoring reports to justify your claim for damages.
- Why is my property monitored so often?
We place our industrial sized equipment so it will operate as efficiently as possible according to the moisture mapping. We monitor and check the progress of every job regularly so we can make any adjustments as needed. Remember our job is to get you clean, dry and sanitized as quickly as we can. So monitoring helps us do that.
- Why does the air in my home or office feel so dry?
We set up the equipment we use during the drying process so it will remove as much moisture from the affected space as possible. Our equipment creates an atmosphere that’s as dry as possible. This is just temporary. Once the drying process is complete, and we remove the equipment, the air condition will return to normal.
- Is it okay to leave the equipment running all the time?
Absolutely! Our specialized equipment is made to run continuously without overheating or causing safety problems. Remember, we position the equipment in a particular way to promote the drying process. So please don’t move it.
- Can I turn the equipment off at night to save money or to reduce noise?
The drying process requires running the equipment 24 hours a day for several days.
Our equipment is designed for efficiency.
And because we know the noise might be problematic, for sleeping purposes or the quiet enjoyment of your home or office, we often suggest you call your insurance agent to see if your policy covers alternate living expenses or business continuity expenses.
- Is it okay for me to open the doors and windows?
Because our technicians have set up the best conditions on your property for drying it efficiently, if you open windows during the drying process it causes problems. Depending on weather conditions, opening windows slows down the drying progress. So, the best rule of thumb is to keep doors and windows closed, and don’t turn off air conditioning or heat without talking to us first.
- If I filed a claim, do I have to wait for an adjuster to come out before I call you?
The answer to this question is usually no.
Most homeowner and business policies require you to do whatever you can to prevent further damage.
- The first step is to stop the source
- Next, call your insurance company. Ask them if you have coverage. They will probably issue you a claim number at this time. And, they will probably give you 2 or 3 names of restoration companies to call.
- After you call us, take pictures of the damage. Even though we will take pictures when we arrive, we tell our customers they can’t take enough pictures!
- After that, if you can, remove or separate any personal items and furniture from the damaged area and do what you can to remove the standing water. Just don’t throw anything away.
- Do I have to use the restoration company the insurance company recommends?
Nope. You don’t have to use the company the insurance company recommends. You are free to hire whoever you want.
As with every profession, there are good water damage restoration professionals and not so good ones.
Remember: Most reputable water damage companies have worked with the major insurance companies and are experts at dealing with adjusters and claims.
The benefit to you of hiring us: Once we have the information about your claim, we’ll communicate directly with your insurance adjuster to make the process smooth and easy for you.
- If materials need replacement, can I replace them with something different?
Our job in water damage restoration is to return your property to you in its pre-damaged condition. Your insurance company will pay to replace “like-with-like.” However, after large water damage to your property, when many items have been removed, it makes the perfect time to renovate and update. But if you want to upgrade, you’ll need to pay the difference out of pocket from what your insurance company allocated.
- Will the carpet need to be replaced?
In some situations where carpet has been wet for an extended period, water damage will cause what is called delamination (the backing separates from the fibers) and will usually require replacement. Or if the water was from a non-clean source like sewage, the carpet will most likely need to be replaced. But in most cases, if carpets were saturated by clean water, and if we get to them right away, they can be dried, sanitized and cleaned without damage.
- Do I need to find a reconstruction contractor to do the repairs after the water restoration is done?
If you hired us to handle your loss from start to finish, you don’t need to worry about finding a general contractor. We have a team of qualified, experienced professionals to do the reconstruction needed, or we use sub-contractors as a part of the restoration package.
- Are there any chemicals used that could be harmful to me or my pets?
We use several different anti-microbials or biocides during every water damage mitigation job. These prevent mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. And most of them are rated safe for pets and children. But, if you have concerns about toxicity or chemical exposure, ask the technician on call which anti-microbial solution he will be using. You can also ask him to provide you with the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS sheets) for that product. But to be safe, it’s wise to keep yourself, children, and pets away during the drying process.
And, our most favorite of the frequently asked questions about water damage restoration:
- Can water damage be prevented?
There’s not a lot you can do to prevent water damage from an act of nature. Water damage from severe storms that cause over-the-ground flooding happen. But not as often as you might think.
Although all 50 states experience flooding, most water damage to properties is caused when indoor plumbing fails. And, while there are some types of indoor plumbing issues that can’t be prevented, many can.
The key to prevention is regular maintenance.
So check back with us often. In our blog, we post information homeowners and business owners to use to prevent all different kinds of property damage.
But in a nutshell, here are the 5 basic steps to prevent water damage you can take each month:
- First, make sure all your appliances (e.g., dishwasher, clothes washer, and water heater) are in good working order. Check all water connections and hoses.
- Second, check under your kitchen and bathroom sink for signs of corrosion and make sure connections are tight.
- Third, check the toilets in each bathroom for any signs of leaking.
- Fourth, monitor your water bills. A sudden, unexplained increase in water use can be caused by a leak.
- And last, make sure everyone knows how to shut off the water supply.
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.
Will You Be Ready When Disaster Strikes?
If a disaster strikes, will you be ready?
It is important to prepare before a disaster occurs; one way to do that is by building a basic emergency kit. The following items are recommended for your kit.
- Water, one gallon per person per day
- Food, non-perishable 3 day-supply
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferably an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags, and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, if necessary
- Local maps
- Hygiene items
- Important documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account information
- Fire extinguisher
Emergencies can happen anytime to anyone. Take action now to protect yourself and your property.
Tips To Prevent Water Damage
Prevent Water Damage in Your Home
Water damage is something no one wants to deal with, large or small. It can wreak havoc in your home or business, and the cleanup required can be both time consuming and expensive, especially in cases where large areas are effected, or damage that later results in mold. When water damage occurs, it not only compromises part, if not all, of the structure of the dwelling, but the furnishings, appliances, collectibles and a number of other things.
Many times water damage comes from leaky or busted water pipes in a bathroom or kitchen. In the bathroom, there are a few simple things you can do to possibly prevent future problems. For one thing, if you don't have an exhaust fan, install one. Steam and humidity that results from your baths and showers provide a perfect environment for mold to grow; exhaust fans will control this. Also, watch for stains or spots forming on the walls that could indicate leaking pipes behind the sheet rock or other wall coverings. You might want to repair the grout or chalking around your tub, shower, or toilet that is beginning to get loose, especially if you are noticing small puddles of water around these areas.
Though you cannot see below the tiles, the moisture could be causing damage to the wood flooring beneath. If this is happening, it could also be a breeding ground for wood damaging insects. One other thing you definitely need to do is check the pipes located under the counters in not only the bathroom, but kitchen as well. Since you have to get down on your knees and move items that may be stored in front of, or under them, you don't know there is a problem until it is too late. If you see the fittings, or the pipes are getting rusty and worn, you should replace them.
Here are a few significant and handy protection tips:
- Check to make sure the water hoses running from the washing machine are in good repair
- Dishwashers should be checked regularly as they have a high potential to leak. Installing steel braided hoses on appliances may be worth looking into.
- Pipes and connections should be checked regularly
- Avoid flushing foreign objects down the toilet
- Remember to clean out roof gutters as this is a major cause of water damage
If water damage has already occurred, here are some tips to help minimize damage:
- Turn off the source of the water intrusion
- Remove furniture and rugs off the floor or they may leave permanent stains
- Avoid lifting up carpets from edges as this may cause shrinkage which is virtually impossible to repair.
- Use foil to put between furniture legs and carpet
- Wipe down your furniture
- Don't use an ordinary vacuum cleaner to suck up water
- Put down towels and mop to soak up excess water
- Turn on air conditioning to dehumidify air and turn on fans (if safe to do so)
- Call an IICRC qualified water damage business as soon as possible.
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
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.
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:
- Disconnect outdoor hoses & cover spigots with insulated covers
- Drain in-ground sprinkler systems
- Show family members where the water main is and how to shut it off
- Insulate pipes in unheated spaces
- Caulk around holes where pipes come through walls
- Stop cold air in your crawlspace by closing vents & sealing cracks
- When it drop below freezing, keep your faucets lightly dripping.
- Keep house temperatures above 55 & don’t turn it down before travelling
- Open cabinet doors so air can keep pipes warm
- Keep a light on in crawlspaces, attics & well houses