How to Inspect Your Home for Water Damage

How Can You Ensure Your Finances and House Are Adequately Restored After A Home Fire?

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Can You Ensure Your Finances and House Are Adequately Restored After A Home Fire?

A home fire can be one of the most devastating situations a family ever has to endure. The loss of priceless possessions (and sometimes even pets) and your family’s displacement for weeks or months while your home is restored can be devastating. You may also find yourself worried about the financial cost of an insurance claim or struggling to pay bills before a settlement is reached. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to help ensure both your finances and you home are adequately restored after a fire. What fire restoration services should be performed to your home? When remediating fire damage, time is of the essence. And if fire hoses or other fire suppression devices have been unleashed within your home, you could also be contending with potential water damage. The longer your personal items remain within the home and are subject to smoke fumes and moisture, the less likely they are to be saved. Contacting a restoration company as quickly as possible after your fire can ensure that the damage to your home and belongings is limited. It’s likely that fire marshals will prevent you and your family from re-entering your home to get any personal belongings. However, if you are permitted to briefly return to your home, you may want to take this opportunity to move any valuable papers, soft-surfaced items (like upholstered chairs, clothes, or blankets) and other fragile items to a room of your home that was less affected by the fire. This can help limit any smoke damage and possibly prevent these items from being disposed of. Once the fire restoration crews arrive, they’ll quickly air out your home by opening all vents and windows and using industrial fans to move the air from within the home. Any soft items will be removed from the home and placed in a secure location, and power will be shut off to the home to ensure that there is no risk of electrical shock. Crews will then scrub down walls and any other hard surfaces within the home with a special solution designed to remove soot particles. Industrial wet/dry vacuums will soak up any water that remains from the fire’s extinguishing, and carpet may be torn out (to be replaced later) if it has sustained serious water or smoke damage. When this procedure is undertaken shortly after the fire has stopped, soot particles and water have had less time to permeate the structure of the home, and damage is therefore minimized. How will you pay for these services? If you have a mortgage on your home, you’re generally required to carry an adequate amount of homeowner’s insurance to rebuild or restore your home to its former condition if it is flooded or suffers a fire. This is good news, as it means your out-of-pocket expenses should be limited.  Once you and your family are safe, you’ll want to call your insurance company to report the claim and to request an advance on your eventual insurance settlement. This allows you to pay for temporary lodging or purchase supplies (including clothing, food, and other necessities) that you need immediately. In some cases, an insurance representative will physically bring you a check, while in other cases, the money may be electronically transferred to your bank account. Be...

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White, Chalky Powder On Your Foundation? Your Home May Have Water Damage

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on White, Chalky Powder On Your Foundation? Your Home May Have Water Damage

Water damage is something that every homeowner wants to avoid because it could lead to expensive repairs. It’s important to stop water damage to foundations as soon as the damage is noticed. You don’t want the damage to get worse, because you might end up dealing with severe structural damage. Most homeowners, however, don’t know how to recognize when there may already be a significant problem with water damage to the foundations of their homes. One red flag to look for is white powder on your foundation. The discovery of white powder can lead to several concerns. Here’s what you need to know. White, Chalky Powder on Your Concrete Foundation Rub your hand along one of your concrete foundation walls. If your hand picks up a white, chalky powder from the concrete, what you have is called efflorescence. The white powder is basically salt that has dissolved from moisture (from the ground water) that has gotten through the porous concrete of your foundation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your foundation is water damaged. Concrete is porous and this is a natural reaction. However, what you should be concerned with is the fact that the porous concrete material can allow water to wick upwards, which could result in water damage to your home’s structure and framing. Capillary Action in Concrete This is called capillary action and it works similarly to how an entire tree gets water from its roots. Water moves upwards through the porous concrete until it reaches an obstacle or material that is denser. This is where you would find the most dry rot, corrosion or mold within the walls of your home. To test if your home has this capillary action, you’ll want to determine whether or not the moisture in your concrete foundation is an ongoing problem or not. You can determine this by the amount of efflorescence that is occurring on your foundation walls. In other words, the amount of white powder on your foundation walls can be a red flag that there’s capillary action going on inside your home’s structure. When the concrete was first poured it was mixed with water, so you’ll want to determine if the salts that are currently on your foundation walls came from the initial construction of your home. To do this, wash down the walls to remove the salt and wait to see if the salt returns to the surface. Use plain water and a sponge to remove the salts. There is no set time frame to wait for the powder to reappear. It depends on weather conditions and how much ground water is in the soil around your home. Make Repairs & Prevent Future Damage If the salt returns, then you can safely assume there is a continuing problem with water infiltrating your concrete foundation. You may want to consider hiring a structural engineer or a home inspection contractor if the white powder returns. Either of these professionals can check for structural damage that may have occurred from the capillary action. To repair the damage that is found, hire a water damage restoration company. You’ll also want to prevent future damage by having your home’s foundation waterproofed in some way. If there is capillary action going on in the structure of your home, you will need to...

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Flood Damage And Your Health: How To Combat Mold After The Emergency

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

While floods may come and go quickly, the damage they leave behind can be long-lasting. From the trauma of the experience to the mold in your home, you have a lot of work to do to restore your life and home to their previous states. Information is key, and the following tips will help you combat mold after a flood. What Should Be Disposed Of As costly and emotionally painful as throwing away your household belongings may be, it’s in the best interest of everyone living in the home to dispose of anything possibly harboring mold. Damp and smelly items, as well as anything that was likely underwater should go, along with: Carpeting and rugs Furniture covered in upholstery Small appliances with fans, such as your microwave Books and papers It’s important that items damaged in a flood be disposed of properly. Consider what might be suitable for recycling and organize everything accordingly. Your local town or city offices may schedule a pickup of residential trash under these circumstances. Otherwise, a professional mold removal team will dispose of the corrupted items. What You Can Likely Keep Fortunately, some items can be salvaged if you clean them properly. While it’s best to use your individual judgement piece by piece, the following should be safe to retain, provided there isn’t any visible water damage: Solid washables, such as dishes, glasses and jewelry Wood furniture Art which hung above flood levels Clothing if properly cared for Important documents (if these need to be copied or restored later, they should be immediately sealed in plastic) Since mold is the playground of bacteria, disinfecting is essential for anything you intend to keep. If applicable, lay the item outside to dry and thoroughly decontaminate prior to returning it to the home. Wood furniture will likely require refinishing, so decide if the piece is of enough financial or sentimental value to retain. Where Mold Is Likely To Creep Even if flood waters simply swept through your home at the ground level, mold is capable of growing and spreading anywhere. Although you may not be able to see it, mold will likely fester in these locations: Your HVAC drainage system Ceiling tiles Behind walls Wallboard Electrical outlets Ductwork The average homeowner isn’t likely to be capable of detecting mold growth in many of these hard to reach and awkward areas. Professional inspection is recommended if the affected area is greater than 10 square feet. Because mold growth is a health concern, don’t take chances or short-cuts. Additionally, in the event that you decide to sell the home in the future, this problem may come back to haunt you. Symptoms To Watch Out For After the clean-up, your home should be free of mold. However, since mold can be such a threatening and persistent problem, it’s important that all occupants be aware of symptoms of possible reactions to any lingering mold. Pay attention to any unusual complaints and be aware of the body’s natural response to the presence of mold, including symptoms like: Stuffy nose Sore throat Watery eyes Coughing Rash People with existing health problems, such as asthma or COPD, will likely experience greater difficulty in an environment where mold growth is prevalent. Also, at its most extreme, mold can evolve into a toxic-level threat, even to...

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