Tips For Homeowners Facing Fire Or Smoke Damage
When disaster strikes, severe fire damage can be the most devastating thing to happen to any property. As fire becomes an increasingly prevalent threat, insurance companies are constantly trying to cut corners on fire insurance claims in an attempt to save money. After a fire, you've most likely lost some personal belongings and areas of your home are completely destroyed. The last thing you need is a homeowners' insurance company giving you a hard time regarding your claim.
First Things First, Check Your Policy
Even if you have replacement coverage for your home you actually may only have "actual cash value" for the personal items that were lost. When you call your insurance company, your agent should notify you about this and suggest buying an endorsement so that your belongings will be covered under a replacement policy.
Secure Your Property
The majority of homeowners coverage policy requires you to take reasonable steps to minimize more harm on your property. In short terms, this is known as your duty to mitigate damages. These steps are fairly small and easy to do, such as covering leaking areas with plastic wrap or turning off the water if you discover a huge pipe burst. Your insurance company will most likely pay these costs when you make your claim.
File Your Claim Immediately
Every homeowner policy will require you to report your loss as soon as possible. You will need to make a call to your agent and submit a "proof of loss claim" in which you will itemize your losses in detail and list the value of each. The longer you wait, the further you fall down the list when it comes time for the company to send an adjuster to deal with your claim.
Always Keep Track Of Your Living Expenses
Every homeowners policy will include a loss of use clause, which entitles you to adequate reimbursement for living expenses while you're out of your home. Keep in mind, these expenses only include additional living expenses, meaning the difference between what it costs you to live on a daily basis and what it is costing you now. For example, if you ate the majority of your meals at home and your groceries cost you $400 a week and now, after a fire, you're eating out and spending $500 a week, you can claim only that additional $100.
Prevent Water Damage to Your Furnace This Winter
Water Damage to Furnace
Every winter, especially if you live in a cold climate, your home is under assault from the elements. Eventually, that constant assault can cause your home’s systems to fail. One common result of these failures is water damage. And while any type of water damage is bad, there are certain types of damage that can be worse than others. That’s especially true in the winter.
Perhaps no system in your home is more important in the winter than your furnace. Without it, you’d be in big trouble. So while the impact of home water damage is bad no matter how you look at it, having your furnace damaged when the temps are freezing outside can be catastrophic. So let’s talk about things you can do to protect your furnace from water damage should the worst case scenario happen to you this winter.
Furnaces are hidden from view for a reason. They’re not exactly focal points of a home you want people’s eyes drawn towards. Whether it’s in a crawl space, basement or mechanical closet, it’s typically in a place you naturally don’t find yourself visiting very often. One way to help protect your furnace from water damage is to create an elevated platform upon which the furnace can sit. If it’s the case your furnace is found in an unfinished basement, you can simply pour a concrete block and install the furnace there. If it’s in a closet, it may make more sense to create a wooden box to hold the furnace. In either case, having the additional 18-24″ of height can typically protect against most types of home water damage. Granted, in massive flood events this isn’t going to have much effect, but then again there isn’t much you can do from a preventative stand point when mother nature decides to take charge.
Please call SERVPRO for any restoration needs that you may have. 757-431-1400
Commercial Restoration Services
Your commercial property is always at risk of being damaged by natural elements. If your business gets hit by a disaster, you’ll need a commercial restoration company with real-world experience and the resources to return your property to its normal state. SERVPRO Restoration has over years of experience in residential and commercial restoration services. Our team of experts offers:
- Commercial water damage restoration
- Commercial fire damage restoration
- Commercial mold damage restoration
- Commercial storm damage restoration
Our professionals have the training and equipment needed to restore your business after common issues with minimal interruption to your daily operations. SERVPRO also provides disaster planning to ensure that your property fortified in case future damage strikes.
At SERVPRO, we offer 24/7 commercial restoration and reconstruction services for damage caused by water, fire, smoke, mold, storms, and other disasters.
Why SERVPRO Commercial Restoration?
What makes SERVPRO Restoration different from other commercial restoration services? We offer multiple services through one point of contact. This means you only need one number to reach our reconstruction, emergency services mitigation, contents cleaning, training, insurance claims assistance, and disaster planning teams. You can depend on us for additional commercial damage services like cost savings, streamlined catastrophe planning, and minimized disruption.
SERVPRO has a longstanding heritage dedicated to innovation, resourcefulness, empathy, and outstanding customer service. Our franchise organization is proud to provide fast, high-quality cleanup and restoration services to both commercial and residential properties. We always put your property first at SERVPRO.
Call SERVPRO ! 757-431-1400
Signs of Storm Damage
- Roof: Look for shingles that have discoloration, tearing, or even holes in them. These can all be signs that your roof has been damaged. Another sign is if there are leaks in your roof or your ceiling.
- Gutters: After a hail storm, looking for dents or dings can also give you a better picture of what the storm did to the rest of your home. Your gutters can also give you insight to whether you have roof damage. Check to see if there are granules from the asphalt shingles in your gutter.
- Windows: Look at each of the windows at your homes and note any signs of shattered or broken windows and frame damage. This is especially important after a hail storm or a strong wind storm.
- Exterior: Not only is it important to look at the siding of your home to check for damage, it is also important that you check any appliances. Inspect your AC/HCAC unit as well as items such as a barbeque grill.
After your inspection, if you notice any signs of storm damage follow up by checking the area for signs of mold, mildew, pests or other secondary damage. If damage has occurred have it repaired immediately. Call SERVPRO at 757-431-1400 for any restoration needs you may have.
6 Facts About Commercial Water Damage
Commercial Water Loss
When it comes to water damage to a residential or commercial property, there is more than meets the eye.
Here are some water facts and figures as they pertain to the restoration industry:
1. Water is capable of dissolving a variety of different substances. In fact, water is known as the “universal solvent” because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid.
2. A sheet of drywall standing upright with its edge sitting in a ½” of water can wick water up to 6 inches in less than three hours.
3. Mold typically begins to grow in 24 to 48 hours in an untreated moist environment.
4. A good indication of a failing hot water heater is a puddle of water underneath it, indicating a slow leak, or rusted or corroded fittings on the top of the heater. If you don’t investigate the leak ASAP, you may quickly flood your home because water heaters are under a great deal of water pressure.
5. There are three categories of water contamination defined in the restoration industry:
- Category One – Water from a clean water source with no substantial risk of causing sickness or discomfort. Examples include water from a broken water supply pipe or an overflowing bath tub.
- Category Two – Water that has a significant degree of chemical, biological, and/or physical contamination. Examples include water from aquariums, dishwasher or clothes washer leaks, and water entering the structure from below grade. Discharged Category One water that sits untreated more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Two.
- Category Three – Water emanating from a grossly unsanitary source or carrying disease causing agents. Examples include discharges from sewer or septic systems/pipes and flood waters. Discharged Category One water that sits more for more than 48 hours becomes Category Three. Discharged Category Two water that sits more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Three.
6. Controlling pathogenic microorganisms during a restoration project may require the use of chemical agents that act as biocides. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defined three levels of biocidal activity:
- Sanitizers – Designed to reduce the number of microorganisms.
- Disinfectants – Designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms but not necessarily their spores.
- Sterilizer – Designed to destroy all microorganisms (fungi/molds, bacteria, viruses, etc.) and their spores.
Facts About Fire Restoration
While it’s true that a house fire can be an extremely difficult and overwhelming experience, professional fire restoration companies are available to help you deal with the aftermath. When fire damage is the result of fire in our home—one of the scariest and most devastating events we can face—it can make us feel panicked, vulnerable, and helpless. The good news is that you don’t have to deal with it alone when you have the right fire restoration services to guide you.
What professional fire restoration companies do is a science designed to provide the most effective restoration and resolution after a fire to get your home back to its original condition and get you back to life as you know it.
Here are 3 amazing facts about fire restoration, and #3 just might surprise you:
#1: With a House Fire, Smoke Goes Everywhere
Even if you have a tiny kitchen fire with minimal damage, you will experience the smell of smoke and have the potential for smoke damage throughout other areas of your home, or maybe even throughout your entire home. Smoke travels everywhere. It’s made up of particles of the fuel that burned in the fire combined with chemicals and particulates that become airborne during the fire and then move throughout your house.
Smoke damage restoration is one of the primary concerns during fire restoration. If smoke damage is not treated properly it can cause more and more problems as it sits on surfaces throughout your home. And the odor lingers long after the fire is out and can make a home unlivable if it isn’t dealt with successfully. It takes the proper tools, equipment, products, and know-how to get rid of smoke damage.
#2: Fire Damage Is Often More Extensive (and More Dangerous) than It Looks
When the fire is out and the smoke has cleared, the danger isn’t necessarily over. Fire damage is often more extensive than it first appears. A small fire can damage not just the surface where the fire occurred but can damage the interiors of walls and ceilings and can affect the electrical and the structure of your home in unexpected ways.
When fire burns, the temperature and ferocity often depends on the fuel. In a home fire, that often includes lots of synthetic and petroleum based products like carpet and flooring, toys and furniture, and plastics and artificial laminates. This type of fire creates smoke and soot residue that is greasy and smeary and can be difficult to remove as well as toxic to handle.
When there is a fire against a wall, it can also burn the interior support structure and the floor below. This is another danger you could be facing if you choose to enter the home before it’s deemed safe by the fire department. Use caution when dealing with the interior of your home as well as the residue left behind by the fire. Call in a professional before you do anything.
#3: House Fires Lead to Water, Water Everywhere!
One of the most damaging things about a house fire isn’t necessarily the flames but the water used to extinguish them. Surprised? You’re not alone. Most homeowners expect to find fire damage after a fire, not water damage. The truth is that water can often cause more damage after the fact than the fire itself.
The water, though essential to put out the fire, is used in massive quantities and will run down through your home, pooling in the lowest areas of each floor. Not only can this cause damage to your belongings and the structure of your home, but it can cause an even more dangerous situation as it creates the perfect environment for mold growth.
Dealing with mold after a fire is more common than you might think. Mold is damaging to your home and belongings but it can also pose a huge health risk and needs to be dealt with by an experienced professional. This is why the fire restoration process generally includes water damage restoration to ensure a successful and safe repair.
Fire damage is something we all hope we never have to deal with, but if you should be faced with a fire in your home, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with and why you should put the care of your home in the hands of a restoration company.
Contact SERVPRO for any restoration needs you may have at 757-431-1400.
Mold Removal and Mold Remediation
Any home or business can quickly become infested with mold with the introduction of a water source, like a roof or plumbing leak. Mold can spread throughout a property in as little as 48-72 hours, and can produce allergens and irritants that have the potential to cause other health effects.
If you suspect that your home or business has a mold problem, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can inspect and assess your property. If mold is found, they have the training, equipment, and expertise to handle the situation.
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals
- Provide 24/7 Emergency Service
- Highly Trained Water Restoration Specialists
- Faster to Any Size Disaster
- A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry with over 1,700 Franchises
If You See Signs of Mold, Call SERVPRO 757-431-1400.
Microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, outdoors and indoors, making it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or on a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
Common Mold Misconceptions
With sensational news stories and misleading advertising, you can easily understand why so many people are misinformed about indoor mold. Learn the facts about mold and the mold remediation process.
Storm & Wind Damage
There are many areas of the United States that have experienced heavy winds and storms this season and the strong powerful winds can cause significant damage to a home. Wind damage and water damage are the most common results of a heavy storm and it is important to contact SERVPRO as soon as the storm is over to help limit and repair the damage. Wind damage can happen to your home directly from the strong wind or indirectly from the wind blowing debris into your house. These wind damage facts will help you better understand the potential for wind damage and how to prevent it.
Storm Damaged Roof
Wind Type Varies by Storm and Causes Different Degrees of Wind Damage
Thunderstorms are the most common source of wind and storm damage but winds from hurricanes or tornadoes are stronger and can cause more severe damage. It is important to know when a storm is approaching your area and what type of storm it is so you know the potential and level of damage to expect. Thunderstorms are responsible for over half of all wind damage cases in the U.S. but the storm damage repair may be more costly for hurricane or tornado wind damage.
Characteristics of the Wind Affect the Wind Damage
The wind has many characteristics that differ depending on the situation. Some characteristics to take into account include speed, direction, and duration of the gusts and recognizing them can help you protect your home and property effectively from wind damage. Recognizing the characteristics of the wind can also help you determine how much potential damage to expect.
Preventing Wind and Storm Damage
Most wind damage is caused by flying debris either from plants or other structures and objects that are not secured. If a storm is approaching your area, make sure any potential debris around your home such as patio furniture, toys, garbage cans, and other objects are either secured or brought inside. Your doors and windows should also be secured to help minimize the potential storm damage to the home.
Wind and Storm Damage Repair Costs
Wind damage can cause a range of destruction to your property from broken windows and fallen tree branches to more severe damage to the roof, garage, or car. Billions of dollars are spent on wind damage repair and storm damage restoration each year and understanding the nature of wind damage can help you limit the amount of damage to your home and save on restoration and repair costs. The cost of wind damage repair generally ranges from about $880 almost $11,000 with most homeowners spending on average between $4,600 and $7,000 for repairs. Make sure to contact SERVPRO on the wind damage repair for your home.
Wind damage from different types of storms is a major cause of destruction to homes and by understanding the characteristics of wind damage, you can help keep your home protected during a storm. Different types of storms bring different types of winds and the storm damage caused by the wind can range from minor damage to more costly structural damage. If your home sustains wind damage during a storm, make sure to call a wind damage restoration professional immediately. These qualified technicians can provide effective wind damage and storm damage repair.
Please give us a call at 757-431-1400.
5 Things You Need To Know About Water Damage
When a pipe bursts, a drain backs up, or a flood occurs in your home, it can be hard to see past the mess. A million questions will run through your mind.
What do I do now?
What’s going to happen?
Is my stuff ruined?
And the most important question of all: Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the damage?
There’s no doubt about it. Water damage is extremely stressful, and the more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to decide how to address it. Here are five things that every homeowner needs to know about water damage.
1. There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.
You might think that water is water, whether it’s from flooding or a burst pipe, but flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. If you live in an area likely to experience flooding, you will probably already have a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP). When you report the claim to the insurance company, make sure to specify whether the claim is for water damage or for flood damage, so they can begin adjusting your claim correctly.
2. Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.
It is a good idea to look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.
3. Once water damage has happened, the clock is ticking before it gets worse.
When your property has been water damaged, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a convenient time to start the cleanup. Secondary damage from mold growth can present serious health risks associated with mold in the living environment.
Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.
There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time something gets wet until mold CAN begin to grow. After that time, mold will multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of SERVPRO mold remediation service to safely treat and remove the mold.
To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry again within that 48-hour window. To do this, you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration and emergency water extraction. They will have the professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. Many have 24-hour a day emergency hotlines, so you can start recovering your property almost immediately.
4. Your insurance company needs to know right away.
It’s a good idea to call your insurance company right away when you discover water damage. Your insurance agent can start the claims process immediately, as well as guide you through the first steps you will need to take to protect your property from more damage, like stopping the source of the water at the main water turnoff.
5. The pollution level of the water is important.
Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.
Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. This water will not cause illness or any ill effects.
Category 2: Water that may cause illness through contact. It may have bacteria in it,
Category 3: Water that is highly contaminated.
Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination that the water touches, such as dirty carpeting or soil from the ground, can change water damage Category to 2 or even Category 3. And since standing breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.
More contamination can mean that the restoration team will have to use more aggressive measures to clean your structure and property, and it might mean that soft furnishings, like your carpet and the carpet pad, may have to be discarded for your safety.
Water damage can be dangerous and expensive, so preventing water damage is an important part of home maintenance. But if you know the basics of what to do once it happens, you can prevent it from doing its worst.
Call SERVPRO for any water damage restoration you may have. 757-431-1400
Water Damage Statistics
Water Damage Statistics
Water damage covers a broad range of potential loss. Homeowners understand that wear and tear will occur in any circumstance; however, there are a variety of unforeseen events that may trigger water damage. Natural disasters are often given the most blame for water damage, and they should, considering that the majority of damages due to water stem from some sort of outside environmental factor.
Nevertheless, water damage may come in a variety of forms. Understanding the sources of this type of damage is important to not only potentially preventing an incident, but more importantly, to understand where you stand in the eyes of your insurance provider. Water damage in homes most typically comes from the following causes:
- Frozen pipes
- Leaking pipes
- Leaky roof
- Broken washing machine hose
- Plumbing problems
- Insulations issues
The water damage statistics below will highlight the widespread nature of this issue. While many people do not view this as a common occurrence, water damage accounts for a significant number of homeowners insurance claims. The following are some of the most interesting water damage statistics:
- Almost 40 percent of all homeowners have said that they have experienced loss from water damage
- About 93 percent of all water damage can be prevented
- Water damage is the second most frequently filed insurance claim in the United States
- 250 gallons of water is released a day due to a 1/8-inch crack in a pipe
- About 20 percent of all insurance claims related to water damage of some kind
- Billions of dollars in property losses are spent each year as a direct result of water damages
Those homeowners with an understanding of the prospective damages associated with water are much more likely to stop problems before they become major issues. Hopefully these water damage statistics were able to shed some light on the vast complications that may arise from water in the home. If you or your family has experienced water damage and are looking to file a claim, contact Arguello, Hope & Associates for more information.
To get started today, simply fill out a Free Case Review form on this page.
Water Damage Insurance Coverage
First and foremost, homeowners must maintain an understanding of exactly what is and is not covered under their current insurance policy. Without this knowledge, homeowners will be left in shock when disaster strikes and they must pay for these damages out of pocket. Besides purchasing a flood policy for protection, you may be able to add coverage to your existing policy. These additions may cover things such as the following:
- Mold remediation (varies on state)
- Backup of drains or sewers
- Plumbing water damage
- Air conditioning damages
- Water heater damage
Homeowners must be astute in recognizing water damage as early as possible. When a sudden storm, plumbing issue, or sewer backup occurs, knowing what will be covered will ease stress and make the entire repair process much more fluid. To find out more, contact our SERVPRO franchise at 757-431-1400.