Steps of the Professional Fire Cleanup Process
Commercial smoke damage in Pasadena, TX.
Steps of the Professional Fire Cleanup Process
When your business sustains a fire in Pasadena, TX, it can be an overwhelming experience that's filled with many unknowns. What happens after the flames are finally out? Between the fire damage and the smoke damage, there's a lot of work to complete to get your building back up to code so your business can return to normal. When you hire professionals to handle the post-fire cleanup, there are some basic steps you can expect.
The process begins with an inspection that looks for the fire's origin and the extent of the loss. The professionals will take photos of the affected area for the insurance company.
Next, the fire damage restoration professionals will remove all unsalvageable items to prevent further loss. You'll probably have to discard soaked drywall and flooring (especially carpeting and padding). Severely burnt materials will also be unsalvageable. The team will also eliminate standing water and debris.
During the containment phase, the professionals will secure the property and seal off the affected area from unaffected areas. These precautions will ensure the avoidance of cross-contamination from moisture, mold and other results of smoke damage or soot damage.
The next step of the process is drying all remaining contents. This drying includes removing the excess moisture from the air. The experts will also clean the area of all smoke and soot residue. The smoke cleaning phase is typically the most time-consuming part of the process. Smoke and soot can penetrate even the tiniest of spaces. The team will even clean inconspicuous areas like HVAC vents. A smoke smell will probably still be lingering, so the professionals will then use various methods to deodorize the property.
Smoke damage is just one type of loss that can result from a building fire. You must also be concerned with water damage and burned materials. It's essential to begin remediation immediately to avoid additional damage to your property and its contents.
4 Essential Things To Do When Filing a Fire Damage Claim
House fire in Lynchburg, TX.
Four Things To Do When Filing A Fire Damage Claim
If a fire occurs in your Lynchburg, TX, home, you may be at a loss for what to do next. One of the most important tasks to complete is filing a fire damage claim. Doing this can allow you to cover the fire restoration process. If you're unfamiliar with this task, here are four essential things to do when filing a fire damage claim.
1. Study Your Coverage
To make the most out of your insurance policy, you must study your coverage. These are particularly important factors to investigate:
- What damages are covered
- How soon your claim should be filed
- What your next steps are
If you need more thorough information, you can call your insurance company for help. Just be sure beforehand that you're planning on filing a claim.
2. Ask About Assistance
If your home is uninhabitable after the fire, you may be able to receive assistance from your insurance company. Part of your fire insurance could include housing, at least until your home has been restored. You may also be able to get essential products replaced. Keep in mind that these expenses may be taken out of your claim.
3. Document the Damage
Your fire restoration costs won't be covered unless the damage can be located and proven. If it's safe, walk through your home and look for damaged areas or items. Be sure to document what you see, preferably with visual proof. This will also be useful when an adjuster comes to inspect your home. When this happens, you can be sure every bit of damage is noted.
4. Keep Your Claim Open
While it may be easy to close your claim after getting the initial fire restoration payment, this could become problematic after a while. You may find that further damage has occurred since the accident. In case this happens, consider keeping your claim open for a while afterward.
Covering smoke cleaning and other aspects of the restoration process is essential. Therefore, it's important to file a claim as soon as possible.
Do I Need Commercial Flood Insurance?
Flooded commercial building in Mcnair, TX.
Does My Business Need Flood Insurance?
Your business is your livelihood, and you want to be certain that you have all the right insurance in place to protect that livelihood if something goes wrong. Most likely, you’ve purchased at least one commercial insurance policy, such as commercial property insurance, commercial liability insurance, or business interruption insurance. What about flood insurance? Depending on your location and risk factors, you may want to invest in a flood policy.
Is Flood Coverage Required For My Business?
To determine whether your business is required to have a flood policy in addition to your commercial property insurance, ask yourself these three questions:
- Is there a mortgage on the property?
- Is that mortgage with an FDIC-insured lender?
- Is the business property located in a high-risk
- FEMA flood zone? (You can check your flood zone designation on the FEMA website.)
If you answered “yes” to all three questions, then flood coverage is likely mandatory for your business property. Of course, even if you’re not required to maintain flood insurance, a flood policy may still be a wise decision.
What Counts As a Flood?
Commercial property insurance specifically excludes coverage for “flood” events. A flood, in the insurance world, means water that comes from sources such as:
- overflowing lakes or rivers
- broken levees
- storm surges
- heavy rain
- failed dams
In addition to coming from an eligible source, the water must also either cover two acres or more of land or affect two or more properties.
What Does a Flood Policy Cover?
Coverage varies somewhat from policy to policy, but generally, flood policies cover damage to your business property, equipment, and inventory when the damage is caused by an eligible flood event. Most policies will also cover the cost of professional mold remediation if you act quickly enough after the flooding.
If your Mcnair, TX, business is in a flood zone, flood plain, or at risk of flooding, or even just as a protective measure, flood insurance may be a smart choice to protect your assets.
Why You Should Not File an Insurance Claim After Every Water Loss
You should avoid filing claims unless absolutely necessary.
You may be tempted to file an insurance claim following any water damage to your Highlands, TX, home. However, if you make too many claims over a short period of time, your insurance company may refuse to renew your policy. Excessive claims could also raise your insurance rates.
When Insurance Rates Increase
There are several factors that determine the rates you pay on your insurance policy. Obviously, if the damage to your property was the result of your negligence, the insurer will charge you more money in the future. Other circumstances that could cause your rates to rise include:
- A high number of previous claims
- A low credit rating
- Frequent natural disasters near your home
The rate hike could be as much as 40 percent. This increase could stay in effect for several years.
When To File a Claim
Before you make an insurance claim, you should check your policy to see if filing such a claim will increase your rates. Ideally, you should understand the consequences of making a claim well before your next water emergency.
Since a large number of claims can hike your rates, you should avoid filing claims unless absolutely necessary. If your home only sustains minor flood damage, you can afford cleanup and restoration services without involving your insurance provider.
Filing claims for large disasters only can save you money, as well. Decide how much you can afford to spend on any one loss. You can then put that amount into a savings account and increase your deductible to that same number. The savings account can collect additional interest, and your higher deductible should reduce your rates.
Making an insurance claim can cause your bill to increase. You should thus only file a claim following a large home flood or similar disaster. Minor repairs should not cost you that much money, so save your insurance for the major restorations.
What Is a Preferred Vendor?
Ask your insurance agent to call SERVPRO.
With a big commercial disaster claim, there’s often a lot on the line. Everyone involved, from the property manager to the business owner to the commercial property insurance agent, has an interest in making sure that the restoration work is completed competently, on schedule, and at a fair price. In many cases, this is most easily accomplished by using the insurance company’s preferred vendors.
What Is a Preferred Vendor?
Insurance companies have extensive experience handling disaster-based claims and working with various disaster recovery companies. Over time, some restoration companies begin to stand out as consistently delivering quality work and reasonable estimates on time. Insurance providers often designate such restoration companies as “preferred” vendors.
How Does a Preferred Vendor Program Work?
Most commercial insurance companies have some sort of process for selecting vendors for preferred status. Typically, these vendors must meet exacting guidelines for quality and performance to be selected as preferred vendors. Insurance companies ordinarily monitor these vendors to ensure that they continue to consistently meet these standards and maintain compliance with all requirements. For an insurance agent, working with a preferred vendor usually means a shorter turnaround time for approving estimates, since the vendor’s billing practices have already been approved by the insurance provider.
How Does SERVPRO Ensure Compliance?
SERVPRO is not only one of America’s largest restoration companies, but also has some of the industry’s highest internal performance standards. Every franchise must comply with 21 different performance guidelines, covering such matters as:
- minimum insurance requirements
- employee background checks
- bookkeeping and data reporting procedures
- equipment training and maintenance
These extensive requirements help ensure that every franchise continues to live up to the company’s high standards for quality and professionalism.
In the aftermath of a disaster in Cloverleaf, TX, working with a respected and reliable preferred vendor typically makes things easier for the assigned insurance agent. The result is that restoration begins sooner, which is good news for the property owner as well.
5 Facts About Commercial Water Damage
Commercial water damage in Channelview, TX.
Facts About Commercial Water Damage
Every building is in danger of water damage. Whether it comes from a broken pipe or roof leak, it can cause serious damage to your business. Here are a few facts business owners should know about commercial water damage.
1. Regular Maintenance Can Stop Damage
Regularly inspect your building for problems. This includes checking for a clogged gutter, roof damage, and broken pipe. You may even want to have a professional come out and examine your building yearly.
2. Leaking Roofs Cause Problems
A tiny leak in your roof can cause more damage than a broken pipe. Even buildings with new roofs can leak due to freezing temperatures, high winds, and hail.
3. There Are 3 Different Categories of Water Damage
There are 3 different categories of water, including clean, black, and grey water. What is necessary to clean the damage up and the safety precautions used is based on the water category. Therefore, it is a good idea to have water restoration professionals clean up the damage.
4. Insurance Doesn’t Cover All Damage
Most insurance companies cover unexpected water damage if it comes from within your building in Channelview, TX. Typically, they don't cover floodwaters that occur due to natural disasters. For this reason, you should read your insurance policy and make sure it offers the coverage you want.
5. Flood Insurance Policies Are Available
There are insurance policies available specifically for flood zones. If your business is in an area with a high risk of flooding, purchase a flood policy. You can have this coverage added to your standard policy, or you can purchase a separate one from a different insurance company.
Water damage can strike at any minute. Therefore, it is important to know a little about this and the water repair process. It is also important to know what your insurance covers and if you need an extra policy. This can help protect your business from water damage.
3 Common Effects of Water Damage on Ceiling Tiles
Water damage on ceiling tiles caused secondary damage
3 Common Effects of Water Damage on Ceiling Tiles
Water damage can have telltale effects on the appearance and condition of the tiles on a ceiling. Short of tile mold, visible signs of disintegration, distortion or staining may be evident. Find out more about three common effects leaks can have on commercial ceiling tiles at a building located in Baytown, TX.
1. Causing Stains To Appear On Tiles
As soon as water makes contact with expanded polystyrene, fiberglass, cork, or other ceiling materials, stains may start to become apparent. Tile discoloration may not be immediately discernible, but dried damage from water on various ceiling styles tends to turn the tiles brown over time. Signs of problems may become more visible in the following days, weeks and months if the owner or building manager fails to undertake water damage restoration.
2. Distorting the Texture of the Ceiling
Nearly any type of ceiling material becomes distorted in appearance after moderate to major damage involving water. Fast leaks from plumbing supply lines or a big breach in roofing materials may cause ceilings to sag or swell. A slow leak may not show signs of a distorted texture until tile mold starts to grow. Mold may be fuzzy, spongy, or slimy in appearance and tends to grow in patterns.
3. Undermining the Ceiling Materials
Porous ceiling materials will not be the same after saturation with water. Ceilings may start to crack, crumble or flake and leave behind residues on floors and surfaces. It is often necessary to replace absorbent ceiling materials such as polystyrene, cork, or fiberglass. It may be possible to clean mold off of plastic or metal commercial ceilings.
Commercial property owners or managers may notice a distorted texture or staining before ceiling tiles start disintegrating. It is important to act quickly to limit damage and risks of occupant exposure to tile mold. Schedule an inspection to determine the cause and degree of damage to a building in Baytown, TX.
How To Prevent Mold After Water Damage
Water damage restoration services in Liberty, TX
After experiencing water damage at your business in Liberty, TX, you should do everything you can to prevent mold growth. These tips will help you clean up standing water and prevent molding.
To prevent molding, you should perform the following steps as soon as possible:
- Remove standing water
- Dry the area
- Disinfect surfaces
Without quick mitigation, mold will grow within 24-48 hours of a flood, so you have to act quickly.
You must first remove water from the building. How this is done depends on the amount of water present. If there is only a small amount, you may be able to clean it up with towels, a mop, or a wet-dry vac. If there is an excessive amount of water, you will likely need pumps or industrial vacuums. You should also make sure the liquids are not in contact with any electrical wiring or contaminated with any harmful bacteria. If there are excessive amounts of water, an electrocution risk is present or that water is contaminated, you should call a water damage restoration service to assist you.
Drying the Area
Opening doors and windows will help dry the area more quickly. Once the bulk of the water and any wet items have been removed, you can set up fans to aid in the drying process. Fully drying the area will prevent mold growth and further damage.
After surfaces are dry, they must be disinfected to kill bacteria and prevent the growth of mold. Any surface that the water touched should be thoroughly disinfected, including flooring, furniture and belongings.
Flooding can cause mold growth in addition to other types of water damage. To mitigate the development of mold, you should remove standing water, dry the area completely and thoroughly disinfect surfaces. If there are excessive amounts of water or risks of electrocution or contamination, you should contact a professional to help clean up and repair the damage.
Why Should You Worry About Water in Your Crawl Space?
To fix a wet crawl space, you need to prevent water from entering your home
Your crawl space includes that small spot below the first floor of your home. It is generally big enough for one person to crawl inside. However, it gives you the ability to see the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems for your home. It is also a cheap option for homes in Pasadena, TX. The main problem with these areas is that they are subject to a flood. If you have a wet crawl space, you should be concerned and remedy the problem.
What’s the Problem With Water in Your Crawl Space?
You may find water in your crawl space due to heavy rains, excessive groundwater, or plumbing leaks. A wet crawl space can raise the humidity in your home. This can cause several issues, including:
- Higher electric bills
- Wood rot in your floor joists
How Can You Fix It?
To fix a wet crawl space, you need to prevent water from entering your home. Check your home's foundation for cracks. These are the most common water source. Otherwise, it could be from a leaky pipe or condensation on water pipes that are uninsulated. Water leaks from pipes can also lead to wet insulation, which you will need to replace. If you still haven't found your water source, you should check for grading or drainage issues. Whatever your water source is, you should have it fixed immediately. If you don't, you will likely have extensive water damage and be forced to hire a professional remediation team.
How Can You Encapsulate Your Crawl Space?
The best way to protect your crawl space from groundwater or other sources is to encapsulate it with a plastic vapor barrier along the ground and walls. When doing this, be sure to leave the vents open to let any extra moisture out.
While it may seem like an extensive operation to prevent your crawl space from flooding, it is worth it to protect yourself and your home from the problems associated with higher moisture levels. Encapsulation and remediating any obvious water sources are the best ways to prevent water damage.
Secure Your Commercial Property After a Fire
Board up services in Galena Park, TX
Key Steps To Prevent Your Property From Further Fire Damage
When you are dealing with the aftermath of a devastating fire to your commercial property in Galena Park, TX, it's critical to take some key steps to prevent your property from further fire damage. You should also collect information to make the insurance adjuster's job a little easier.
Secure the Property
If your building has sustained extensive damage to the roof, windows, or exterior walls, you will need to work quickly to protect it from further damage. Your insurance company will want to see that you have done everything you could to mitigate the situation.
Protect the interior from rain and wind — Board up broken windows and put tarps over damaged roofing materials and other structures. This will protect the interior of the building from further damage caused by rain, snow and strong winds. Fire cleanup is difficult enough without adding the element of inclement weather.
Discourage vandals and onlookers — Buildings that have sustained fire damage can be tempting for curious onlookers who may be injured and attempt to sue. Damaged buildings are also an invitation to vandals. Looting will create further headaches when you file your insurance claim. Since your security equipment may have sustained damage during the fire, it's a good idea to install a security fence around the property.
Once you have secured the property, contact a fire cleanup service to assess the damage and help with the restoration process.
Your insurance company will need to see proof of the damage caused by the fire. Take pictures as soon as possible. Keep receipts of any expenses you incurred while securing the property. All of this documentation helps your insurance adjuster determine your total loss. It may also provide concrete evidence if litigation is initiated.
Fire damage is devastating to any business owner. You can make the process go smoother, however, if you follow some key steps as soon as possible after the event.