Saturday, October 29, 2011

Smoke Damage Cleanup - A Daunting Task Without Professional Help

Smoke damage cleanup can be a harder task than most people realize. Unless you have had a fire in your home before, you may not realize the time and effort that smoke clean up actually takes. We all know that when we go camping and sit next to a camp fire everything we own smells like smoke. The tent will trap that smoke smell and a year later you unwrap the tent and it smells even stronger than it did a year ago. Now think about having that camp fire in your house. Everything the smoke touches will hold the smell, and the sooner it is properly cleaned the better.

The second problem with smoke damage cleanup is the water that is used to put out the fire. So on top of having smoke penetrate every fiber and material in your home, you also have water damage to deal with. It's like having two disasters hit at once. When it first happens the problem seems overwhelming. The first thing you have to do is dry out the water, to prevent further damage from water and mold. So as soon as you are allowed back in the home safely, think of drying out the home as fast as possible. If it's warm out opening the windows may bring in too much heat and cause humidity so a dehumidifier will be the best option. If it is cool out, getting the windows open and air flow to the damp areas would help dry them out fast. To dry a home efficiently, it is highly recommended to enlist a professional service; most cleanup specialists are available 24 hours a day to get the process started as soon as possible.

Smoke damage cleanup professionals are in the business to deal with this damage from the very beginning. They also keep up on the latest tools and techniques to get the job done correctly and efficiently. A cleanup professional will also have experience dealing with the insurance claims and get you the most money back to help with expenses. We all know that the longer it takes to get your life and home back to normal the more damage to the sanity, so act fast and get professional help right away.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Water Damage Restoration 101 - Why Use a Water Damage Restoration Company?

While in the midst of a recent job, the insurance adjuster came out and asked why we are continuing to dry when the floor looked dry upon the adjuster's visual inspection. An insurance adjuster, presumedly, is better qualified and has more experience in water damage restoration than a homeowner who is dealing with an emergency remediation service for the first, and hopefully final, time. The sincere question of said adjuster prompted this article as if someone who is supposed to be professionally educated and experienced in this arena does not understand what dry means, then it stands to reason that the in duress homeowner does not know and can reasonably question the time and effort we expend in doing a professional water damage remediation.

Let's face it, money is always a consideration. Any person, in a purely fiduciary and cost accounting point of view, could make the reasonable determination that removing water from a structure can be accomplished by simply using a store rented machine, a shop wet vacuum, or by any carpet cleaning service found in the phone book. This reasonable and cost controlling assumption that any of the water removal methodologies just outlined is correct as any of the aforementioned water removal methods should be able to remove the top layer of water but NONE of those water removal methods can remove the water that has penetrated the flooring, base boards, or drywall. Unfortunately, the moisture not removed by these methods is, often times, the underlying catalyst for costly structural damage and can create the optimal conditions for mold growth. While this approach to save money is understood and appreciated, this approach is unnecessary as, in many cases, a professional water damage remediation company can handle such work for little to no out-of-pocket cost to the homeowner.

In addition to the cost savings the professional water damage remediation company may afford the homeowner, a professionally trained and intra-industry certified company will know the industry established dry standard for the region they serve and will ensure that the moisture content of the affected area will be dried to the established drying standard and not to a level that looks, feels, and otherwise appears dry upon a casual inspection. The benefit of this is simple... the potential for structural damage is abated and the potential for mold growth is minimized thus saving the homeowner untold expenses in home repair and medical costs.

So what does dry mean? When is something dry? Dry does not mean a moisture content of zero as even in the desert there is moisture - if you know where to look and how to extract it. Dry, in the context of water damage remediation, refers to a point in the intra-industry drying standard at which the moisture content is stated to be dry. Each region, by virtue of its unique ecology, has its own established drying standard. The outline of each region is beyond the scope of this article but any interested party can easily find the established drying standard for their region online. It is to this point that a professional water damage remediation company will dry to, or beyond, to ensure your home indemnified to its preloss condition. Then, and only then, is your affected home / structure able to be deemed as dry.

As outlined in this article, there really is a lot that goes into a water damage remediation service... far more then is apparent at first glance. Now that you have a reasonable understanding of the time, money, and risk you can offset via the contracting a professional water damage restoration company, you now know that your fiduciary responsibility and cost saving intent is BEST served by using a professional water damage remediation company whenever water damage occurs.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fire Damage Clean Up: Restoring Your Home With the Help of an Expert

Having a flooded home is never a great experience, especially if the damage is too much that you'll have to spend weeks to work on it. Water damage is not only a source of frustration, it could also threaten you and your family's health. Just to think of mud-soaked carpet and cracked walls makes you very, very upset. But what is more difficult is to repair and restore a flood-damaged home since it may cost you a small fortune in remodeling or even rebuilding your home, depending on the severity of the damage.

No matter what your neighborhood handyman is capable of doing, always remember that water damage clean up is always an overwhelming job that is best left in the hands of expert professionals. Since restoring damaged property usually calls for time and expert attention, water damage clean up could be done faster with the help of someone who knows how to do it best.

The Need to Call a Water Damage Clean Up Expert

Should there be water damage in your home, a damage restoration specialist or company should be called immediately to remedy this condition. Using proper equipment, a restoration professional will not only restore your home back to its former glory, he could also see to it that your home's indoor environmental quality (IEQ) stays at a safe level.

Ideally, a restoration process should begin 24-72 hours after the water damage. This is to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. If a sewage leak causes the damage, extra care should be taken to prevent toxins and bacteria from contaminating the home environment. Remember, water extraction and restoration does not end up the process; your home still needs disinfection to keep it free from harm brought by the growth of mold and mildew.

Other than moving out the furniture and fixtures out from the room, you also need to remove carpets and padding and disinfect the area using strong disinfectants and chemicals. The work may also call for the removal of molding and the lower parts of the wall or coverings. The affected area - the walls, ceilings, floors, and vents - should also be dried using high-power air movers and dehumidifying equipment to hasten the work. Since this job requires a lot of care and expertise, tapping the service of a restoration expert or company is most practical.

Since neither you nor your ever-reliable handyman could do much to restore your home after a flood or water damage, the best thing that you can do is to hire a reputable flood cleanup professional. You could ask for referral from your neighbors or friends who, like you, also experienced the same devastating situation. In this way, you can have the hand of a reliable, experienced, and skilled individual who will restore your home to an even-better look.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Storm Damage: Dealing With The Aftermath

Storm damage of any kind whether it is high winds, hail, floods or lightning it all make a mess out of your home and life. It is hard to look at the mess that surrounds what used to be your home and not dive right in to start the clean up. Believe it or not you will not want to do that. Initially you should contact your insurance company. A representative will come out to your home and evaluate the damage that the storm has created. They should also lay out a detailed plan to help get your life restarted. You will have to continue living even though storm damage has turned your life topsy-turvy.

How do you get started? Is it possible to tell who is actually going to help you and not scam you or rip you off? Is it possible to completely trust your insurance agent? Who do you contact for expert advice? These questions are hard to answer when you are sitting there vulnerable after a natural disaster of any magnitude. Here is a list of advice to get you started in the long and overwhelming process of repairing storm damage to your home.

Storm Damage Checklist

Contact your insurance agent. This is of course the first and most important advice anyone can give you. Your insurance agent is your ally. Make sure when you are purchasing insurance in the first place that you research local insurance agents. A good rate is one thing but an insurance company that you can count on in a time of need is something completely different. The cheapest might not always be the best way to go.

Don't start any repairs or cleanup efforts until you have had the damage accessed by the professionals. First you don't want to get hurt, second you don't want to make things worse and third you need to give the adjuster the full scope of damage. It is important that you do document in video and film the damage from your prospective. Just in case later on down the road the adjuster gets shaky with his evaluation.

No repairs should be started before you have agreed upon a settlement with you insurance company. If you do something like boarding up windows and such make sure to save receipts. Materials will often be reimbursed. That is the only type of work that should even be contemplated before a final approval has been gone over.

Your homeowner's insurance policy should cover a temporary home for you. Make sure to check with the agent when they arrive to scope out the damage. They might have special restrictions on where you are allowed to stay and for how long, make sure you are aware of these things in advance if possible.

It is so important that you fully understand and are aware of the limitations that the insurance company has in place regarding the coverage on your home in regards to different events. You want to know how you are covered and the differences in coverage for floods, fires, natural disasters, storms, hail, lightening and all that loveliness that storm damage brings. You should also be aware that if you move to another state or another area in your state you could need special coverage for that area. The best advice any homeowner can receive is to find a trustworthy and reliable insurance agent. They will be your best ally if storm damage ever affects your household.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Dealing With Fire Damage

The cost of paying for fire damage is at an all time high according to insurance companies. Interestingly, one of the reasons cited for this is the fact that open plan living is more popular than ever and this layout is particularly conducive to fire spreading quickly, making fire damage more serious. Of course, this underlines is the importance of making sure that you are properly insured to cover potential damage.

Providing you are insured adequately, the costs of hiring a fire restoration company should be covered. Depending on the severity of the fire damage, you may not feel that you need to employ professionals, but at this distressing time it can certainly help in making sure that the property is safe and that losses are minimised, allowing you back into your home or office as soon as possible.

The first priority of dealing with fire damage should be ensuring that the property is safe and secure. Dedicated fire restorers are experienced at liaising with building contractors in order to get the place structurally sound as quickly as possible. They are also able to quickly secure locks and windows on the property so that further losses are prevented and other people are unable to enter.

One major problem after a fire is that high chlorine levels pose a corrosion risk to electrical equipment. Fire restoration companies can use specialist equipment to test chlorine levels in a fire affected building and will take action where appropriate to minimise damage to appliances and subsequent loss.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Different Types of Water Damage

Basically water damage is confined to three different categories: clean water, gray water and black water.

Clean water means pretty much what it says. The water than has done the damage is clean, and relatively safe to work with during restoration. There are no impurities in the water that is going to be harmful to humans or pets.

Grey water is water that has harmful agents in it that can make anyone coming in contact with it ill, or at the very least very uncomfortable to work with.

Black water is definitely the worse of the three. It is known to have bacteria, chemicals or fungi that can not only be very harmful to humans and animals alike, but in some instances could cause death. Black water should always be handled by professionals who have the equipment and knowledge to deal with it effectively.

Most types of water damage can be prevented by an awareness as to what causes it, plus a minimum of two yearly inspections to see that your plumbing facilities, your foundation and roof are in good order.

Though many of us think of water damage as something that happens on a large scale, there are many times water damage can be happening on a much smaller, but still very serious scale.

If you notice even small amounts of water on the inside surface of exterior walls or on plaster sheet rock, there is a moisture problem that is causing slow but costly damage. These problems are usually caused by a small leak inside the wall coming from the roof or a rusty pipe with a slow drip.

If there is moisture on your foundation walls, you need to apply a damp proofing compound. The moisture is eventually going to cause rot to any wood framing that it is in contact with.

Many times a serious water damage problem will occur simply because the structure does not have a sufficient amount of insulation. When a home or other structure is under insulated, water vapor forms inside the walls or in the attic and sooner or later will do a lot of damage as well as being a haven for insects. To prevent the problem from getting any worse you may need more insulation or need to install an attic fan. Fans keep the air circulating, which will dry the moisture as it forms.

The installation of exhaust fans in the bathrooms is also a needed necessity to help prevent water damage. When you take a shower or bath water vapors form in the air, and over a period of time your wallpaper will start peeling off the wall and you will need to repair or replace it often. Also, it is a ripe environment for mold to develop.

On the outside of your house rotten or stopped up gutters will eventually cause the eaves and wood trim around your roof to rot. If it gets bad enough, it could even allow water to enter the walls of your home.

As you see there are many types of water damage that can occur in many different ways. You don't necessarily need a pipe to burst or a storm to damage your roof to incur a costly amount of damage.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Kitchen Fire Safety

Most home fires begin in the kitchen, and Home Safety Council President Meri-K Appy demonstrates how quickly a kitchen fire can get out of control. With a live fire burning as the backdrop for the segment, Appy offers critical tips to put out stove top fires and demonstrates the slide a lid technique.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How Fire Sprinklers Have Made Things Safer

Henry Parmelee

Fire sprinklers are one of those items that is out of sight and out of mind. Through the years, however, advancements in these devices have made surviving fires much more likely.

The story of fire sprinklers begins with a piano factory, and a man named Henry. Henry Parmelee is credited with creating the first fire sprinkler around the year 1864. He was tired of watching large buildings go up in flames due to unforeseen fires, and he wanted a way to protect his own piano factory. Parmelee got in touch with a few creative individuals, expressed his concerns and ideas, and eventually came up with a product that he could patent and sell.

Unfortunately for Henry, the model fire sprinkler that he came up with was rather expensive to purchase, which turned a lot of individuals off of his idea. Rather than giving up, Henry took it upon himself to take his idea to various insurance companies - they listened. Thanks to two of Parmelee's friends (Major Hesketh and James North Lane), Parmelee was able to talk to many different insurers, and he was also able to put his plan into motion. Though Parmelee enjoyed some success, his invention was improved upon by another man who became wealthy thanks to Parmelee's ideas.

Parmelee had hired a man by the name of Fredrick Grinnell to sell his sprinklers throughout the United States. Even though Grinnell did manage to sell some of the product, he also figured out a way to make it much more effective. Thus, Grinnell created his own version of the sprinkler, and took it to Europe where he was able to become rather wealthy. Fire sprinkler history really stops at this point, as many other people began to create different types of this contraption. Still, without Henry Parmelee, many types of businesses would not stand a chance against fire today.

Although the general public never really thinks about it, a sprinkler system can really save plenty of merchandise and lives in the case of a fire. These small devices tend to blend into the ceilings of many different buildings, though they are entirely necessary for any large business. It's interesting to think that an invention created in 1864 is still in use today (though today's devices are high tech in comparison).

As you can see, fire sprinkler history is, indeed, curious. Though it all began with one man seeking to protect his piano factory, the very same invention is used throughout the world today. These sprinklers are now a mandatory part of owning most types of business, and no insurance company in the world would go without them.

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Very Large Hail Can Be Dangerous

Tennis ball size hail in Woodson, TX

We don't think so much about hail damage in northern California, though it has been known to do some damage, but take a look at this from Texas!