Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why You Should Repair Water Damage Quickly

It is an unfortunate reality that many people underestimate the potential damage water can cause with even limited exposure time. Chemistry teaches that water can be a base or an acid depending on environmental factors meaning that in high acid environments, water acts as a base and in low pH environments, water is slightly acidic. The mutable nature of water affords water the ability to carve through solid rock to create beautiful natural wonders but this same ability can also destroy drywall, plumbing materials, and other common building materials. This point, however, is often forgotten when people deal with water damage.

When dealing with water damage, many people simply focus on the top layer of water and neglect to do anything for the layers of water that have penetrated the subsurface or been absorbed in to the gypsum board (aka drywall and sheetrock) and sill plates usually due to the double whammy of they do not understand the risks and they do not have the proper extraction equipment. Wikipedia reports that gypsum board is "easily damaged by exposure to water" and "supports the growth of mold." While gypsum board is treated to make it more water resistant, should the gypsum board be punctured or should water, as in the case of water damage, collect around the unprotected area of the gypsum board, the porous gypsum board will then readily absorb and hold the water. The longer this absorbed water stays inside the gypsum board the more damage it causes.

Unlike fire damage that leaves a visible and generally static path of damage, water damage can be subtle and can manifest its destruction over a period of time. Opposed to the immediate destruction caused by fire, water, similar in many ways to stress, can slowly chip away at the host until it requires extensive repair at a cost that is MUCH higher and over an area MUCH larger than initial exposure would have been required to treat. The subtle nature of water is what causes water damage to be regularly underestimated and, therefore, undertreated in real world case scenarios.

Unfortunately, despite the best intention and valiant effort of many honorable do-it-yourselfers, their efforts are for naught as they simply lack the equipment needed for remediation and such equipment is not commonly available at your local rental shop. At best these people may have access to a commercial carpet cleaner which can effectively remove the top layer of water but does little to penetrate the subflooring or remove the absorbed water so they will stop when the area feels dry and will leave a fan on. This method is very similar to the method employed by remediation professionals in the infancy of the water restoration profession but this was soon sent to pasture as it was quickly shown to be ineffective, at best, and a catalyst for decomposition and mold growth, at worst.

The best way to combat water damage, and to prevent the short and long term devastation caused by water damage, is to call a professional water damage restoration company as soon as the damage is found. While the honorable do-it-yourselfer will have the unrelenting urge to break out their equipment and assist the professional water damage restoration company, the best way a do-it-yourselfer could assist the company is by disabling the source of the water damage (if possible), ensuring the area is free from electrical risks, and ensuring the affected area is free of debris and physical hazards (if possible) so that the professionals can extract the water as quickly as possible to minimize the restoration time.

Proper timing is essential for the fastest restoration. Now you know.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Emergency Restoration Services - What Are They?

ERS or Emergency Restoration Services are clean up and restorative services for your home, business, and personal property that are provided by experts and after such catastrophes as flooding, storm or fire, mold, crime or bio-hazard damage has occurred.

Emergency restoration experts are on call 24/7 and are experienced in working with insurance companies or public adjusters. Many ERS providers include the transporting of your personal property to their temperature controlled, secure storage facility as well as restoration of that property and your home or business building. Some Emergency Restoration Services even possess the expertise to restore fine works of art.

Here are some emergency restorative actions that you can take yourself immediately after a disaster or accident has occurred and as long as it is safe to do so. These fast actions can actually help minimize damage and insure your safety. Don't forget to phone your insurance company as soon as possible.

Flood - Water Damage

First move people and pets to a dry, clean environment. Never use food items that have been exposed to water. Don't use electronic or electrical devices that have been exposed to water until they are been checked. Wipe water from all wood surfaces but do not attempt to wash surfaces. If it is summer and safe to do so turn on air conditioning to assist the drying process and if it's winter, alternate between opening the windows and turning on the heat to promote drying.

Even if the water spill is small, leave it to the professionals to check out and do the actual structural drying as they possess the technology to do so, so that mold and mildew do not occur and add to the damage.

High Wind and Storm Damage

Make sure that people and pets are removed to a dry, clean environment. If the roof has been damaged, cover it with plastic or tarps as long as you are certain it is safe to do so. If possible, board up any broken windows. If you have any doubts as to the safety of the structure or roof, wait for the professionals to get there.

Fire and Smoke Damage

Move all people and pets to a safe, dry, clean air environment. Close doors where the fire was to prevent other rooms from spillover smoke damage. Open windows to ventilate if it is safe to do so. Never use electrical devices of any kind until they have been checked out and declared safe.

If it is winter and the electricity is down, empty any refrigerators and freezers and move food stuffs to a safe location. If heat is down, pour anti- freeze in sinks, toilet bowls and tubs to insure pipes don't freeze. Never ingest food that have been exposed to smoke or fire damage. And don't attempt to wash smoke or fire damaged surfaces.

If you have any doubt that taking any of the above actions is absolutely safe, it is always best to wait for an emergency restoration service provider.

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dealing With Disaster and Planning Restoration

Disaster can strike any commercial building or residence at anytime. Whether it is a storm that strikes or a fire that engulfs the building, disaster in any form is often severely damaging to the property, as well as to the people who live or reside inside it. However, for a quick and efficient recovery, restoration needs to be taken up in a professional manner, at the earliest possible time.

All across the US, there are thousands of commercial and residential buildings that fall prey to unforeseen disaster, like fire or water that infiltrates walls and floors, and floods the entire facility. If your home or office has suffered from mishaps like these, then you are at the receiving end of emotional trauma and financial loss. A water or fire disaster may lead to destruction of interior structural materials, furnishings, and electrical equipment and in the worst case, precious metals, jewels and cash. That is why, in the case of any sort of disaster, you need to gather your wits and focus on restoring as much as you can.

You need to act immediately to stabilize the loss and mitigate damage. Only then can you achieve the maximum recovery of items like furniture, carpeting, electronics, machinery and documents. Rapid action is needed to minimize replacement costs, as well as prevent the facility or home from getting exposed to further damage like mold. In most cases, restoration is best handled by professionals. They can carry out the entire task speedily and effectively. Add to that their trained crew who use the latest equipment, and you will see the logic behind hiring a restoration company as soon as damage occurs on your property.

However, when one does need to look up a disaster restoration company, they are often quite shaken up, even more so in the case of residential disasters. However, choosing a restoration company needs to be done very carefully as it is probably the one chance you get to fix whatever you can, post disaster. That is why we've listed below a few essential services that you must expect from a damage restoration and maintenance company.

• Providing The Solutions: The company must have skilled staff that can judge the amount of damage and determine what can be saved. They must also be able to recommend the equipment required for restoration, the process and the expected results of the same.

•Managing The Operation: The damage control company must be able to have a dedicated team that will be able to handle your case. They must also define a time period within which the restoration work will be completed with guaranteed results.

• Using The Latest Techniques: Whether it is to remove soot and clean the smoke laden walls after a fire,or dehumidification and drying of a facility post a flood or seepage, they must be able to limit indoor air quality problems and make the room/office/facility habitable quickly.

• Comprehensive Cleaning and Disinfecting: Post disaster, there are chances of allergies and infections due to remnants left behind. The company must sanitize, disinfect interior surfaces, and also eliminate contamination from mold, bacteria, mildew, and other potential biological hazards.

• Efficient Disposal and Minimal Demolition: The company must try to save as many items as it can. If however, certain portions have to be demolished, then that needs to be done in a cautious manner.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Water and Fire Damage Restoration Calls for Professional Service

According to statistics from 2009 published by the National Fire Protection Association, in the U.S. a total of $12.5 billion in property damage was due to 1.3 million fires throughout the nation. In 2003, every 20 seconds a fire department was called to respond to a structural fire. When faced with the unfortunate and frightening experience of a fire in your home or business, water and fire damage restoration needs are immediate and demand professional services.

Water and fire damage restoration is best left to the professionals with years of experience. Fire and water damage is progressive and affects more than just the items on the surface of your home or business. Smoke residues are acidic and will cause surfaces to corrode and stain permanently. Smoke residues pressurized during a fire will permeate every crack and crevice of your home or building and deposit odor causing residues as well.

Water - whether through natural disaster, home accidents and even from fire departments putting out a fire to save your home can also cause a great deal of damage. Mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours and can cause severe health issues. Respiratory illnesses, asthma and severe allergic reactions are all known risks from exposure to mold. After a fire, try to stay calm and call in a professional water and fire damage restoration service.

Do NOT enter the damaged building until cleared to do so by fire authorities in your area. Once allowed back in the building, take an inventory of your home's contents and open all the windows. Empty the refrigerator and freezer - especially if the electricity is turned off and be sure to remove all pets to a clean environment. Do NOT begin to wipe down or wash walls and other surfaces and try not to use any upholstered furniture if possible. Also, do not use foods or canned goods which have been exposed to extreme heat or excessive smoke. You will also need to avoid use of the TV or any other electrical device until they have been cleaned and the electrical system has been checked. When taking your garments to be cleaned, you will want to ensure they are taken to a dry cleaner that specializes in cleaning smoke damaged garments as improper cleaning will only set in the smoke. Be sure you do not turn on any heating or air conditioning units until those have been checked, cleaned and cleared as well.

A professional water and fire damage restoration service will provide cleaning for all upholstery in the home as well as drapes, carpets, walls, ceilings and all contents. They will clean and protect the trim and hardware in your kitchen and bathroom as well as cleaning and protecting all fixtures from smoke damage. They will also deodorize the entire home to permanently remove all smoke odor as well as musty water damage odor caused by mold and mildew.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

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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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hail and Storm Damage Repair

Storm damage is the versatile expression that covers the many weather conditions harming your property including; lightening, hail, ice damming, tornado, and strong winds. Although you may see no significant or even noticeable damage, it is very important to have someone trained in this area to take a look. Whatever the damage, as little as it may seem, report it to your insurance company.

Storm damage is categorized as such:

Wind damage - Wind storms or, straight-line winds often reach high speeds resulting in the damage of your property.

Tornado - A rotating column of air ranging in width from a few yards to more than a mile and whirling at destructively high speeds, usually accompanied by a funnel-shaped downward extension of a cumulonimbus cloud.

Ice Damming - Ice damming occurs when a barrier of ice forms near the edge of your roof, preventing any melting snow from draining off and potentially seeping into the home resulting in damage.

Lightening - Very destructive electric discharge.

Hail - Precipitation that freezes and forms into sphere-like figures prior to falling to earth and damaging your home.

Procedures for handling each of these types of losses are different and will vary with each home or business. Storm damage restoration is best performed by professionals who understand the difference in not only your type of loss but the best ways to repair that loss. The average roofer likely does not have the experience, knowledge, or tools necessary to fix problems caused by nature. Confide in restoration professionals. Those whom specialize in storm damage restoration.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Emergency Restoration Services, Reduce Further Damage

When your home experiences a fire or flood, professional assistance in restoring your home from the damage, reducing further damage, and minimizing losses is vital. Emergency restoration services exist to help in both fire damage repair and water damage repair. From roof tarping to board-up services, an emergency restoration service can attend to all the details you may not even have realized needed attending.

The right emergency restoration service will not only reduce further water and fire damage and restore the property to the condition it was in prior to the incident, but it can also do it with a minimum of disruption to your household and all due haste, while being sure to follow all the necessary procedures to ensure and total repair and restoration.

Getting adequate professional fire damage repair and water damage repair services can be costly. Fortunately, depending on the source of your damage and what types of homeowners insurance you have, you can file an insurance claim for these types of incidents and have many, if not all, of the costs paid for.

From the outset a good emergency restoration service will pay strict heed to health and safety, conducting an in-depth risk assessment of the home to be sure that all structural concerns and health risks are identified before they call the job complete. Following this and before beginning any serious work on the job, an emergency restoration service should immediately implement any stabilization procedure that might be necessary. Fire and water damage both can rot walls, ceilings, and floors, any of which may need immediate reinforcing. And by using dehumidifiers and such to regulate the ambient environment, the possibility of mold is significantly reduced.

To give yourself the opportunity to file an insurance claim to pay for emergency restoration services and reduce further damage and losses, make sure you have the right types of insurance. Read your current homeowners insurance policy to see if it has any provisions for fire damage repair and water damage repair. If not, take action to supplement that insurance for those purposes before you may need them, and then it would be too late.

When experiencing fire or water damage there is no time to waste, and suffering an emergency like a flood or a fire in your home is traumatic enough without having to suffer further damage after the incident. The quickest way to cause yourself further grief is to try to handle all the emergency repair and restoration yourself. The quickest way to relief and getting your life back is with the aid of the right expert professionals

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Water Damage Restoration 101: The Dangers of Water Damage

In this, our 20th public service article, we looked back and asked ourselves the best and most basic question of all, who cares? How does the intra-industry information we have shared with the public benefit the public and why would someone take time from their busy schedule to read what we have freely presented? The answer, of course, is self interest. In this "ah-ha" moment we realized that we are missing a key component in our article database... the health risks and financial dangers posed by and created by exposure to water damage.
So then, why is water damage a concern to me and why should I care about it?
1. Water damage can destroy the structural integrity of your structure rendering it unusable and inhospitable. Even a small amount of water can wreak havoc with your drywall, flooring, and infrastructure as it penetrates and is absorbed into the structure.
2. Such penetration and absorption can easily become an ideal environment for health risks and financial challenges associated with the unconstrained growth of mold, bacteria, and structural degradation.
3. Water conditions can quickly degrade into Category 2 or Category 3 water conditions. Category 2 water, also referred to as "Grey Water," is known to carry microorganisms and can be caused by reasons as common as a sump pump failure or a compromised dishwasher. Category 3 water, or "Black Water," poses serious human health risks and can carry a wide range of life threatening fungi, bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.
4. Any category of water that is not removed properly and by a trained professional can penetrate and poison or infect local sources of clean water.
5. Water damage that is not cleaned professionally can have devastating long term health and financial consequences. Unless the structure owner is a trained restoration professional, the admirable and laudable American original Do-it-Yourself attitude should not be used in this situation and at no time should any one cut corners to cut costs.
Only a professional restoration company is equipped and trained well enough to remove the water, restore your structure to its preloss condition, and dry the structure to a level that adheres to the structure's normal dry level, thereby, circumventing all of the issues we have outlined.
While any one can easily suck the top layer of water off a floor using a simple grocery store rented wet/dry vacuum cleaner, for example, this can, and will, miss the water that has penetrated the inner layers of the structure including the subflooring and inside the wall cavities. This is the real threat of water damage and is the reason you should only use an independent water damage restoration company to handle all of your water damage restoration needs.
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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hiring Professionals for Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration

Having a house fire is almost one of the worse things that can happen. Not only do you lose property and other household items, you also lose personal effects that can never be replaced. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the pain, loss, and frustration, there are steps that need to be taken sooner rather than later to get the recovery ball rolling. One of those steps is to hire a professional fire damage restoration company to assess and repair the damaged areas.

It is very understandable that, after a house fire, many people would think that taking care of something like this themselves would be more financially feasible. After all, you are already going to have to shell out a good amount of money to take care of whatever it is you are going to have to take care of due to the fire. Well this could prove to be a big mistake. And if you look at the big picture, another accident is probably not exactly what the doctor ordered for this situation.

First of all, in nearly every case, your insurance provider will recommend you hire a professional fire and smoke damage restoration company rather than do the work yourself. The cost to hire one of these companies may seem steep at first but the services they provide will definitely end up being well worth the price. The most obvious thing to keep in mind is that these are the professionals. They have all the knowledge and experience required to take care of the restoration in the most effective and efficient manner possible. Restoration companies can provide you with advice and insight into aspects such as what is and isn't salvageable. They can also help with insurance paperwork.

Restoration companies understand that not all fires are the same. Every fire is going to be its own unique entity. There will be differences ranging from house materials and amount of damage to how the fire was put out. Did you know that many times the smoke damage is actually the worse part of a fire? Even with a small fire the smoke can find its way into any porous material such as carpet, wood, and walls, just to name a few. There are also different types of smoke. There's wet, dry, protein, and even oil smoke. These all need to be treated in a different way.

Look, nobody wants to go through a house fire. And hopefully this is a situation none of you will ever have to experience. But if you do, wouldn't it be beneficial to have an expert on hand that can help you begin the recovery process? You will have your plate plenty full dealing with the emotional damage as well as the insurance company. Let the professionals handle the fire and smoke damage restoration for you.

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