Understand the 3 Categories of Water Damage
Sewage backup in a home in Lynchburg, TX.
Three Types Of Water You May Encounter After a Flood
All flood water is not created equal. Some types are more hazardous than others. If you experience flooding at your Lynchburg, TX, home, it's important to know what type of H2O you've got on your hands. In fact, if you're dealing with contaminated water, you don't want that on your hands, period. Here's a quick overview of the three types of water you may encounter after a flood.
Category 3: Black Water
This is the gnarliest water of the bunch. Its nickname has little to do with its hue, and everything to do with the number of pathogens and toxins it contains.
Spoiler alert: It's a lot, so this type of water should always be handled by an experienced water damage mitigation company. The most common sources of this Category 3 water are:
- Sewage backup
- Broken sewage lines
- Flash floods
- Overflowing rivers and streams
- Hurricane-related floods
Category 2: Significantly Contaminated Water
This middle category of water, sometimes known as greywater, is also contaminated, though not as severely as Category 3. Still, it's dirty water cleanup that you'd be wise to leave to professionals.
Common sources of Category 2 water are:
- Washing machines
- Overflowing toilets (urine-only)
- Sump pump failure
- Seepage is related to a loss in hydrostatic pressure
Category 1: Sanitary Water
Water in this category contains negligible toxins, if any, which means it's safe for you to clean it up on your own if you're so inclined. The most common sources of this inside your Lynchburg, TX, home are toilet tanks and the water supply line. Rain and melting snow are also examples of Category 1 water.
After flooding in your home, the urge to dive into cleanup straightaway is understandable. In order to minimize damage, expedite the restoration process and tidy things up in the safest manner possible, it's important to recognize if you're dealing with contaminated water and make the smart call.
3 Warning Signs of a Bad Fire Cleanup Estimate
Smoke damage in Highlands, TX.
Three Signs Your Fire Cleanup Estimate Isn't Up to Par
While it is possible that your company in Highlands, TX, will never face a damaging fire, this is not a certainty. The National Fire Protection Association reported that in 2020 nearly 500,000 structure fires occurred in the U.S. If a fire does break out in your facility, you will have to deal with an assortment of complicated tasks, from working with your insurance company to reviewing an estimate from a fire restoration team. When looking over the details of a bid for services, keep an eye open for certain warning flags.
1. A Brief Description of Services
If the document you receive is short on details, it could be a bad sign. This could either indicate that the contractor is inexperienced or is looking for an excuse to overcharge. The bid should include information on most if not all of many essential services: roof board up, roof replacement, security guard surveillance, damage restoration, smoke odor removal and debris removal. The estimate should also include itemized costs for restoration services.
2. A Failure To Designate a Primary Contact
It is always advantageous to have a specific person to contact for questions and concerns after a commercial fire. After all, the very survival of your business could be at stake. If this isn't included or offered, it could be a sign that you will have difficulty reaching a knowledgeable person. The project manager should be listed on the bid as well as his or her contact information.
3. A Mention of Other Fire Damage Contractors
If the bid mentions a series of contractors, it might be a good time to look elsewhere. A full-service contractor will likely be more knowledgeable and experienced and the overall cost will likely be lower. Even the claims process with insurance is apt to go better with one contractor.
A professional estimate should give you a sense of confidence. It should spell out the details of the cleanup process.
3 Reasons Why Pretesting Matters
Commercial water damage in Cloverleaf, TX.
Why Is It Important To Pretest Your Space?
Once you've discovered water damage to your commercial property in Cloverleaf, TX, it's important to get the cause of the damage, usually a leak, under control right away. The next most important step is getting a complete understanding of the extent of the damage and how much it will cost to complete all of the repairs. To do this, the pretesting process is essential. While you may want to get started on remediation right away, here are three reasons why it's important to pretest your space.
1. Identify the Type of Water
The type of water that caused the damage is an important factor in how long it will take to clean up the damage and how much it will cost. There are three categories of water — white (1), gray (2), and black (3). Black water, or Category 3 water, is the most highly contaminated. Without pretesting, you may be quoted for a Category 2 cleanup, but the reality of cleaning up Category 3 water will impact the final cost on your insurance claim.
2. Manage Furniture
Filing cabinets, desks, shelves, and other furniture that can't be easily removed have to be factored into the cleanup process. The furniture will need to be raised in order to clean underneath, and restoration of damaged furniture will show up on your final bill. Make sure to take pictures of everything for your insurance agent.
3. Inspect the Area
The extent of the overall damage will be the biggest factor in managing your remediation. The water damage experts will be able to tell you exactly what has been damaged, where, and what steps will be needed to correct everything. Safety is the main priority, and the team will work to clean up your space so that you're able to safely conduct business again.
Without pretesting, it's easy to underestimate the hazards that must be managed and the total materials that will be needed to complete the project. Always take the time to understand the scope of damage before undertaking any remediation project.
Mitigation Versus Restoration: How Do They Differ?
Storm damage in a commercial property in Channelview, TX.
What Are the Differences Between Mitigation and Restoration?
When flooding and violent storms strike your Channelview, TX, business, the aftermath can leave you reeling. Between damaged inventory and ruined building materials, you may not know where to begin when it comes to salvaging your property. Working with a flood cleanup company may help you to better understand the process, especially when it comes to the differences between mitigation and restoration.
What Is Mitigation?
When your property first suffers from storm damage, your emergency response team will come out and perform mitigation tasks that may help reduce the effects of future damage. This may involve a variety of processes, including:
- Using tarps to cover leaks in the roof
- Removing standing water
- Blocking off areas to protect them from secondary flooding
Mitigation protects your business from suffering further damage before the restoration process begins. Your restoration company will likely advise you about which steps they plan to take so you remain in the loop and can better plan an eventual reopening strategy.
What Is Restoration?
Restoration takes place once your flood cleanup company has reviewed all the damage and taken steps to reduce its effects. The restoration process will probably include actions such as flood cuts, which include cutting into the drywall approximately a foot or so above the flood line to inspect the interior for any problems, such as wet insulation. Existing wet insulation cannot be dried, so your restoration professionals will likely replace it instead.
How Far Apart Does Each Action Happen?
Depending on the degree of storm damage your property suffers, mitigation and restoration may take place close together, such as in the case of minor flooding paired with roof damage from high winds. The greater the damage, the longer it may take for restoration to begin. Your flood cleanup company representatives can help guide you through the process so you feel more comfortable about the outcome.
Your Channelview, TX, business is likely a major financial and emotional investment, and both can take a hit when storm damage strikes. Understanding the mitigation and restoration process may offer you peace of mind when you need assistance after a major storm.
3 Tips To Keep Your Pets Safe During a Fire
Are you prepared to help your animal friends if a fire strikes?
Three Fire Safety Tips for Your Pets
When people are asked what they would save in the event of a fire emergency, family members and pets are always at the top of the list. Are you prepared to help your animal friends if a fire strikes? Here are the tips you need.
1. Have an Evacuation Plan
Your pets are part of the family. Include them in the family disaster plan. You can:
- Teach commands
- Have a transport crate ready to go
- Keep leash and harness accessible
- Have extra food, water, and medicine ready
- When away from home, keep pets near exits
Pet preparation includes teaching animals to come when called and having their essentials ready to go. Also, think about how to best evacuate them out of windows and doors.
2. Make Your Pets Known to First Responders
Unfortunately, sometimes you won't be able to tell firefighters or other responders about pets trapped inside. For this reason, it's best to make it clear now, before anything even happens. A "Beware of Dog" sign may be enough if you have one dog in the home. If there are more pets of different types, it's best to attach a window cling or sticker. You can write the number of animals in your home on the pet alert. First responders will know to look for this as well.
3. Prevent Pets From Starting a Fire
You can sometimes stop a fire emergency from happening in the first place. Loveable pets can, unfortunately, cause fires, as certain things left unattended around animals can be a fire hazard. Consider:
- Getting flameless candles
- Replacing easy-to-reach stove knobs
- Containing electrical cords
- Extinguishing open flames
Younger puppies and kittens especially are prone to chewing on things or knocking them over. This is another reason why training is crucial for pet safety.
Now you are prepared to keep your pets safe in a fire emergency. Keep in mind that fire damage can make structures unsafe to enter. If you have a house, condo, or apartment with pets in Baytown, TX, local fire damage assessment along with these tips can keep all of you safe, even after the fire occurs.
Can Mold Grow Inside Your Building’s HVAC System?
The presence of dust speeds up mold growth.
Mold spores are everywhere in your commercial building. They typically aren’t cause for alarm unless they gather into mold clusters and start spreading throughout the facility. Mold thrives in a warm, moist environment and grows even more quickly in dark places. These conditions make your building’s heating and cooling system a prime area for mold growth. It’s critical to schedule an HVAC cleaning periodically to keep mold under control.
How Mold Grows Inside Your HVAC System
Your building’s HVAC system is made up of many different parts, including:
- Exhaust outlets
As dust settles, it begins to accumulate inside the air ducts, filters and coils inside your HVAC system. Since dust is a food source for mold, the presence of dust speeds up mold growth. When combined with the other perfect conditions like humidity and darkness, mold can grow unchecked in your HVAC ducts.
An HVAC system is designed to blow warm and cold air into your building, forcing these mold clusters to settle on all surfaces and structures. Over time, mold can cause significant damage to these structures, which is why an HVAC cleaning is so critical.
How To Detect Mold
Hidden mold can grow unchecked. The process of cleaning vents is the only way to know for sure if you have mold inside the HVAC ducts. It’s critical to note, however, that this maintenance must be performed by professionals. They have the equipment and cleaning supplies necessary to do the job thoroughly and carefully.
Frequently, hidden mold can also be detected by its unpleasant odor. If you suspect serious mold growth, you should contact a mold remediation specialist right away to inspect the building and develop a comprehensive plan to remove it.
Reduce the risk of mold damage inside your commercial building in Liberty, TX, by scheduling an HVAC cleaning as soon as possible.
3 Ways to Mitigate Roof Damage
Take care of any problem you have found on your roof.
Three Ways to Prevent Roof Damage
When you live in Galena Park, TX, roof damage may occur due to varying weather conditions. It's important to do what you can to mitigate any potential problems before they leave lasting damage to your home. Some things you can do include
1. Regularly Inspect your Roof
Performing a regular inspection of your roof can allow you to look for any water, storm or wind damage that may have occurred. Many experts recommend having an inspection performed biannually. You may also want to look a roof over after any severe storms or weather.
3. Take Care of Problems As they Occur
One important mitigation tip to keep in mind when dealing with roof damage is to take care of any problems as they occur. This may keep a small problem from turning into a larger issue down the road, and also keep you in compliance with your homeowner’s insurance policy. Additionally, making small repairs as necessary may help prevent a costly roof replacement down the road.
4. Contact a Professional
If you are unsure how to properly care for a roof, or what repair sets may be necessary for any damage you may find, then you may want to contact a storm damage restoration professional. A professional service often has the equipment, materials and tools necessary to perform any repairs as efficiently and safely as possible. They should also be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your roof.
If you're worried about roof damage to your Galena Park, TX, home, you may want to consider taking some of these steps mitigate potential problems. Doing a regular roof inspection will it allow you to be aware of the condition of your roof and take care of any problems as they occur. If you have any doubt as to the severity of the damage or what steps may need to be taken, a professional may be able to help.
Preparation Is Important When Filing an Insurance Claim for Fire Damage
Commercial smoke damage in Pasadena, TX.
Filing an Insurance Claim for Fire Damage
If the worst happens and your commercial property experiences a fire, you should act to file a fire claim as quickly as possible. To keep the process smooth and ensure that you are receiving full coverage, there are several steps you can take to keep your insurance company happy in Pasadena, TX.
Secure the Property
Once the fire trucks are gone and the fire has died, you will want to keep the fire damage from getting worse. However, only do what you feel comfortable with, and if a situation feels unsafe you should leave it to the professionals.
If certain areas have been exposed or the windows have blown out, try to board them up as best you can.
If part of the roof is gone, it is a good idea to tarp it up to prevent rain and other elements from entering.
If pipes are burst you should shut off the water.
Gather Your Records
So you aren't left scrambling later, you should gather all documents relevant when assigning value to items that have been damaged or lost. You should keep a record of all expenses incurred from the moment the fire started. It is best practice to photograph all the damage, even before you start securing your property. Making a fire claim is even easier if you also take the initiative to get estimates for all your repairs.
Get Ready for a Visitor
Typically insurance companies will send one or more claims adjusters with specialized knowledge to investigate the claim and assess various forms of damage in order to determine your coverage. They may keep in touch in order to receive updates on the fire restoration process and make payments to your account. Payments are usually sent via direct deposit or check.
When making a fire claim to your insurance, the more information you have at the ready, the easier it will be for everyone involved. This will also make it more likely that you get adequate coverage. Going through a disaster is tough, there's no reason to make it tougher.
Five Safety Tips to Prevent a Dryer Fire
Clean the lint filter and dryer vent regularly.
Five Fire-Prevention Tips for Dryers
A clothes dryer is a common and convenient household appliance, but it can be dangerous if not properly maintained. Not only can the dryer break and need replacing, but it can also cause a lint fire in your Mcnair, TX home. Follow these safety tips to help prevent any emergency situations.
1. Have Your Dryer Professionally Installed
Having your dryer installed by a qualified professional can put you on the right path to keeping your home safe. They can make sure that everything is installed correctly and working as it should, preventing any potential safety hazards.
2. Clean the Lint Filter and Dryer Vent Regularly
The most common cause of a dryer fire is not keeping the unit clean. You should remove lint from the filter before and after each use. Lint can also build up in the back of the dryer, so be sure to clean that area as well. The dryer vent should be cleaned at least every three months to prevent blockages.
3. Have the Dryer Serviced Regularly.
It is a good idea to have your dryer serviced on a regular basis. Hiring a professional to clean and inspect the appliance at least once a year can help minimize any problems and keep the unit safe to use.
4. Keep Flammable Items Away From the Dryer
A lint fire is not the only kind of fire that can occur when using your dryer. If a flammable liquid has been spilled on an item, you should never put it in the dryer. Be sure to keep any flammable materials away from the surrounding area as well.
5. Make Sure the Dryer is Off Before You Leave the House
If you are leaving your house or going to sleep, make sure that you turn the dryer off beforehand. If a fire were to start while the unit was unattended, it could spread and cause a lot of damage before you were aware of it.
You can hire fire remediation specialists to help in case of a lint fire, but keeping your dryer cleaned and properly maintained can help keep your unit safe.
3 Ways an Electronic Claims System May Help
The use of an electronic claims system can both keep data organized and help save time when it comes to processing an insurance claim.
Three Ways an Electronic Claims System Could Be Beneficial
When processing your client’s insurance claim in Cloverleaf, TX, you may find yourself sifting through a lot of information to find the most recent data. In cases like these, an electronics claim system may help. These systems are databases comprised of the information related to your client’s claim along with their updates, provided by professional restoration companies like SERVPRO. Here are a few ways this system can benefit you.
1. It Keeps the Information You Need Together
As an insurance agent, you understand the importance of having your client’s claim information organized. The claims system provided by the restoration service can help. Not only does this system allow you to look at the original estimates and recent updates, but you can access the data based on location, claim type, loss type, or even an individual file review. This means you can pull up all the data together, or just the pertinent details, at need.
2. It Allows for Quick Access from Anywhere
In some cases, processing an insurance claim may mean you have to work from several locations. Whether you're in the office with your client, or at the property looking over the damage, an electronic claims system may allow you to access the database from any location you have internet service.
3. The Information Stays Up-to-date
As the restoration team works on your client’s property, they can make updates to the data in the claims system at need. This means that as new information becomes available you can access it to inform your client. It also allows you to have all the recent information you need to answer any questions.
The use of an electronic claims system can both keep data organized and help save time when it comes to processing an insurance claim. The system can organize the information so that all the data you need is together, allow you to access it from anywhere you have internet, and stay updated regularly.