How Water Damage Claims Work
Lets set a scenario and say that you're in your home in Ocoee, FL and you've had a significant water damage at your home. Multiple rooms are flooded, there is water coming out of your light fixtures downstairs, and then only thing you've been able to do it turn the water to stop the leak. What do you do next? Who do you call?
The good news is that you've turned off the water, so you have started the process of mitigating your loss. The following are some steps you can take to prevent secondary damage from occurring to your belongings while you wait for SERVPRO to arrive.
- Call SERVPRO so that we can send a technician to your site immediately.
- Contact your insurance company (if you haven't already) to report the loss and notify them that you have contacted SERVPRO and that we are in-route.
- Begin removing excess water by mopping and blotting
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs
- Hang furs and leather goods separately at room temperature
- Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting
- Do not use a household vacuum to remove water
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water
- Do not leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpeting
We our technicians arrive on site they will access the damages and being extracting water from porous surfaces. They will also place equipment and explain the drying process. If you have questions at any time during the process of drying your home or business, please call us!
Why You Should Always Use A Professional Company For Carpet Cleaning
The following tips for finding a reputable company to help you with your carpet cleaning needs were found on IICRC.org, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification web site. SERVPRO of West Orange has many highly trained professionals that can assist you. Give us a call today!
“Cleaning Carpet Can Be a Dirty Business” “Not All Scum Is In the Carpet” “Don’t Let them Pull The Rug Out From Under You” “Clean Your Carpets Without Cleaning Out Your Wallet” “Don’t Get Taken To The Cleaners.” These clever phrases have appeared recently in newspaper articles and televised news programs across the nation warning consumers about carpet cleaning scam operations. The media has related horror stories of trusting consumers who have responded to low-price carpet cleaning specials only to become victims of unethical cleaners who refuse to honor the advertised price, intimidate the consumers and do poor quality work.
Bait-and-switch operators are prevalent in many industries, and the carpet cleaning industry is no exception. This does not mean that all carpet cleaners are rip-off artists. How do you know who is and who is not? The professional carpet cleaning industry has cited these scam activities as a major industry concern and is taking action to help eliminate unprofessional workmanship and unethical tactics. One of the leaders in this campaign is the IICRC, an international, non-profit organization that certifies cleaners who meet prescribed levels of technical proficiency and pledge to operate by a Code of Ethics.
To help educate consumers so they will not become victims of fraudulent practices within the cleaning industry, the IICRC has released a list of guidelines to consider when selecting a carpet cleaner.
- Price – If an advertised price sounds too good to be true – it is! Often carpet cleaners advertise a low price just to get their foot in the door. Use common sense; a low price usually equates to low quality for any product or service. Legitimate business people have expenses they must cover, including license, taxes, insurance, employee wages, and benefits, and quality tools of the trade. A professional carpet cleaner who must cover all of these business expenses and make a profit to stay in the business cannot afford to drive to your house for $5.95, much less clean a room of carpet when there.
- Quality – Never should the price of cleaning services be the sole criterion for selecting a carpet cleaner. A price that sounds high may not be a signal of a rip-off. In all professions, quality work deserves a quality price.
- Truth in Advertising – Read the fine print in advertised specials to find out exactly what the price includes, and request a firm price in writing before the work begins.
- Training – Professional cleaning firms require management and employees to engage in formal training in a variety of cleaning disciplines, and these educational efforts will be ongoing. Consumers should ask about the formal training background of technicians who will be cleaning their carpet.
- Certification – Professional firms require technicians who have certification from organizations like the IICRC or through comparable franchise or independent training and testing organizations.
- Experience – The years of experience a firm has, combined with formal training programs, contribute significantly to the experience and proficiency of its employees.
- Knowledgeable – Professional firms employ and train technicians who have the ability to answer basic questions regarding carpet performance and maintenance, as well as spotting and cleaning.
- References – Consumers should ask for references from previous customers, and they should consult friends and business acquaintances about the reputation of the cleaning firm they are considering. Do not hesitate to call the Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau.
- Trade Associations – Professional cleaning firms are members of regional or national trade associations or other organizations that promote high ethical standards and continuing education. Look for trade association logos in advertising.
- Credibility – Community involvement through the Chamber of Commerce and/or professional business, charitable or similar organizations will be undertaken by concerned, caring professionals. Look for logos indicating involvement in these organizations.
- Method – Ask the cleaner which method of cleaning will be used and the advantages and disadvantages of this method compared to other methods.
- Proof – Never hesitate to ask for proof. Ask to see the cleaner’s certification card, business license and insurance certificate.
- No Pressure – Technicians must be courteous and willing to take the time to thoroughly explain the cleaning and to answer all questions. The consumer should never feel pressured.
There is no single criterion for selecting a carpet cleaning service. Several combined factors must be considered in the selection decision.
How Much Does Water Damage Restoration Cost?
When a customer has a water loss, they are often overcome with emotions. One of the biggest concerns is how much the loss or damage will cost. Typically we can't answer that question over the phone due to many unforeseen circumstances. This article found on home.costhelper.com/water-damage helps to shed some light on this difficult subject. Our team of professionals will be able to assist in restoration of any water damage, anytime, day or night. Give us a call today with any questions you might have. As always, coverage for a loss under an insurance claim would be determined by your insurance company's assigned adjuster.
Water or excess moisture can harm a home and its contents, and cleanup should be started as soon as possible.
- The cost of water damage restoration is based on several factors. These include the size of the affected area, the extent of the damage, the materials and water type. There are three categories -- the least expensive to clean up is category 1, which is clean water from a faucet or supply pipe. Category 2 is gray wastewater with minor contaminants, such as overflow from a dishwasher or washing machine. Category 3 is black water, containing sewage or other toxic debris.
- Fixing a small area of water damage in a ceiling due to a leaky roof can be $100-$300 to patch the sheet rock, or $30-$50 for do-it-yourself materials -- not including the cost of fixing the roof and repainting the ceiling.
- Drying a flooded basement can cost $500-$10,000 or more, depending on the size of the basement, the depth of the flooding and the water type (clean, gray wastewater or black/toxic). Depending on where the appliance is located in the house, cleaning up after a faulty water heater, washing machine, dishwasher or air conditioner averages about $5,000, according to HomeOwnerNet.com .
- Damage from a burst water pipe can cost $5,000-$70,000 or more with an average insurance claim costing $15,000.
- If an entire house is flooded with storm water, the National Flood Insurance Program provides a flood damage simulator to predict the total cost based on the height of the water. For 1-4 inches of water, the estimated cost is $7,800. For 9-12 inches, the estimate is$18,930. At 18 inches, the estimated cost is $26,285..
- Water damage might be covered by insurance. Flood insurance typically covers damage from a natural disaster, when outside water or mud overflows an otherwise dry house. Homeowners insurance does not cover floods, but may cover water damage caused by minor individualized disasters, such as a hailstorm smashing a window or a broken water pipe spewing water -- as long as the problem wasn't caused by a lack of standard maintenance.
Why You Need A Professional For Smoke Remediation After A Fire
It can be confusing trying to deal with the damages from a fire at your home or business. The IICRC has provided the following helpful information on handling this. Due to the intricate measures needed to properly clean up after a fire loss, having a trained team of professionals will help alleviate some of the stress. Give us a call and we will send someone out to help.
When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.
While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.
These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.
If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.
The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.
This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative.
What Equipment Will Be Used for Water Damage Remediation?
When a water damage occurs many customers feel blindsided by the many steps involved in remedying the situation. The task of removing the water, drying out the home or business, and then putting things back into place can seem overwhelming in the initial moments of finding the loss. That’s where we can help. Our team of highly qualified technicians take great care in walking a customer through the steps necessary to dry and repair their property.
Many different types of equipment are utilized in the drying and restoration process. Here is a glimpse of what you can expect:
Air Mover and/or Axial Fan: Professional grade air movers and axial fans produce more air movement than a standard household fan. The higher volume of air being moved increases the rate of evaporation, helping to dry the structure as quickly as possible.
Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier removes water vapor from the air by condensing it out against refrigerated fins. The water is stored and then periodically purged from the machine by use of plastic tubing. The tubing will generally be run so that it dumps water down a drain, such as a bath tub or sink, or sometimes out a window or door. Professional dehumidifiers pull much more vapor from the air than a household dehumidifier. In this way they are generally more efficient.
Air Scrubber: An air scrubber might be used if your loss is a result of water classified as grey or black, which means that it came from a contaminated source or through building materials. These machines remove airborne particulates by trapping them in HEPA filters. Air Scrubbers are also used in cases where a customer has a health condition that requires the air quality be monitored.
Specialty Drying Equipment: There are a variety of different tools available to our technicians for use in specialty circumstances. For instance, a floor drying mat system allows the technician to create a vacuum system for removing moisture from hardwood floors, in order to try to dry them in place. This helps the floor dry faster, and generally gives us a better chance of saving the hardwood flooring.
Many customers are concerned about the cost of their power bill when they see the amount of equipment needed. This is an understandable concern. Your insurance adjuster can discuss how to handle this with you.
Keep Your HVAC System running Great!
Have you ever wondered as your AC unit kicks on, just what are some of the most common issues people have with their HVAC? You haven't? Well....Allow me to answer your now burning question.
- Dirty Air Filters. Air filters should be changed regularly.
- Clogged Drain Lines.
- Blown Fuses.
- Low Refrigerant.
- Dirty Condenser Coils.
- Electrical Problems.
- Frozen Evaporator Coil.
Briefly, let’s discuss how SERVPRO can solve some of these issues, and keep others from happening.
I'm sorry, but dirt happens. Not only that, dust is made up of dirt as well as pet dander and skin. Yes skin. We are constantly making our homes dusty. Regular dusting and cleaning helps cut down on a lot of that, but the air is full of small particles that are being pulled into your HVAC's and it starts with the filter. If you have dirty filters you are circulating dirty air into your vents. Your vents are connected to a maze of ducts in the home and office. This debris collects in spaces we normally can't get to. SERVPRO of West Orange and Apopka-Wekiva can help here. We offer a comprehensive cleaning team for your in home or in office duct systems. We will deed clean your system and seal it to protect from fast buildup of debris. The HVAC air handler is pulled apart and cleaned piece by piece.
This simple solution can save you from possibly needing to deal with the rest of that list. It can also improve air quality in your home or office. Feel free to give us a call today for an estimate!
Always Use a Professional to Clean Your Upholestry
Professional upholstery cleaning services are much more effective than do-it-yourself options or treatment performed by untrained personnel. That’s because certified professionals know how to use the latest equipment and practices to great effect, removing even the most stubborn soils deeply embedded in the fabric. Homeowners often ignore the need for furniture cleaning, but if it is not performed regularly, families may have to get rid of their favorite sofa or chair long before it is necessary.
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) teaches technicians the best way to approach upholstery cleaning services in any setting. They know how to identify and clean every type of fabric, including delicate fabrics like silk and leather.
In general, the process is the same no matter what kind of furniture the technician is working with, though it still requires a great deal of precision and effort. The fabric is first vacuumed to get rid of all dry, loose soils. This ensures they are not matted during water application. Pretreatment sprays are then applied and help break down stubborn soils like body oil and liquid stains. The technician will then apply a combination of water and cleaning agents, either by scrubbing or with a special wand tool. The furniture is rinsed lightly and excess water is extracted before the fabric is allowed to dry.
This form of treatment reaches all layers of the fabric and can greatly extend the furniture’s life. For that reason, it should be considered an investment in the furniture. SERVPRO of Apopka/Wekiva is proud to have fully IICRC trained technicians on staff to help you with your upholstery cleaning needs. Feel free to give us a call for a quote today!
Do I Have Bats? How Can I Remove Them?
Contributed by Michael Johnson. Production Manager
Bats. Bats are the only flying mammal and like to have a private space away from predators and bad weather. Where is a good Place? You’re Attic of Course! Here is a list that may be helpful in determining if you have an issue at your property with bats:
· Are there a large number of bats outside the building?
· Has anyone heard scratching or squeaking noises from walls, the chimney, or attic?
· Are there unexplained stains on walls and ceilings?
· Are there rub marks on the outside of the building around areas with holes or cracks?
Bats can carry different diseases that can harm humans in many ways. Rabies being one of the illness. The other is Histoplasmosis. The Mayo Clinic defines it as:
An infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when these spores become airborne, often during cleanup or demolition projects.
As a side effect of bats living in a home, mold can start to grow in the bat droppings
There is a specialized remediation process to remove the bat droppings from the attic space and dispose of them. SERVPRO Is highly trained in the remediation process for buildings and homes affected by bat infestations. We have completed everything from single family homes to major hotels.
During the removal process all materials that have come in contact with the bat droppings would have to be removed and disposed of under state regulations for bio Hazardous waste. The Items include:
Drywall, insulation, cloth materials, cardboard and wood (depending on the saturation of droppings)
If you have any concerns or think you may have had an infestation of bats, Please call us for an inspection.
Hurricane IRMA-Destruction in Central Florida
Hurricane Irma swept through Central Florida causing devastation on many levels. We were fortunate enough to not have the maximum amount of damage forecasted, but that doesn’t mean that the damage wasn’t enough to hurt.
As a restoration company, we received THOUSANDS of phone calls. In general, people know that they need to call a company like ours for help after a natural disaster like Irma. We actually received some phone calls before the storm hit, because people understood the need to be prepared. With everything going on, there are some things that go unnoticed, and as I write this, I find the need to share those things. They are important because they truly show the spirit of our company.
Before the storm hit we had a plan in place that would allow us to help as many people as possible, as fast as possible. We are a 24/7 service company for emergency service, but typically, after 5:00 in the evening and until 8:00 in the morning, we have our calls answered by a service. That way we can allow our staff time to sleep! We knew though, that we needed to have someone on staff answering the phones once the storm hit, because they would be the best ones to answer questions, offer some hope, and get people in line for service. We had two employees that agreed to do this. They tirelessly answered calls for days.
Because we are part of a national system of franchises, SERVPRO corporate called in the cavalry to assist the local franchises. Once each local office was at their limit, we could easily dispatch out one of our sister franchises. That allowed us to get someone out as soon as possible, instead of having to turn people away or wait for weeks for service. There were franchises from all over the country that came in to help, many of them even came directly from helping in Texas after Harvey.
From a business standpoint, right after a storm is a time for restoration companies to make money. What I found interesting though, was that instead of sending people out to try to secure the biggest jobs, Scott Tracy, the owner of our franchise, was busy making sure that the employee’s families were safe. He even went out and bought additional generators for those families to use so that they wouldn’t have to be without power at their home. He was busy with trying to take care of those around him.
Our office was without power for 9 days. We serviced as many people as possible by working from our General Manager’s home. Her kitchen table was turned into a mobile office. We could do almost everything we needed to in order to help our customers and get the information to our production team that they needed.
These things all add up to one big picture, our franchise is led by a team of people who CARE, not just about the bottom line of the business, but about the community and their staff. When the next storm hits, remember that a company that cares about their employees will care more about their customers too. SERVPRO is always here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
What to Look for After the Storm is Long Gone
It’s been weeks since we had our brush with Hurricane Irma in Central Florida. How did your home do? Did you have minimal damage? Some missing shingles? Maybe some slight water intrusion from windows? Did you think that you had it all cleaned up but now you are starting to smell something funny? Here are a few things to look for that will help you decided if you have an area that needs to be investigated further by a professional.
- Musty smell-many people report this after there has been a water intrusion in their home or business. If it goes away in a couple days, then it probably isn’t a big issue. If you notice that the smell lingers, and is even a bit stronger in a specific area, this would be a cause for further investigation.
- Water marks that seem to have come out of nowhere. This could be a sign that the area you thought was dry, is actually still wet. Modern building materials can hold water in them for longer periods of time, making it harder to find right away.
- Bulging floors, buckling floors, “squishy” floors, these are all signs of a water intrusion issue. Many times, when your floor is showing those signs, there will be other areas affected also.
- Drywall that is crumbling or bulging. This can be a sign that the drywall was wet at one point, or still is, and that it needs to be checked further.
These are three simple things, but added together they can be a sign that there might be mold growth or even some areas that need proper drying. If you’ve noticed that your home or business is being affected by these or similar things, feel free to give us a call to discuss them. Our team is available to answer questions for you or schedule an inspection. You can reach us at 407-352-1569.