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Advice During your Water Damage

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

There are some small steps you can take to ensure that your water damage dries as quickly and hassle-free as possible. We will be coming every day to monitor the equipment and check on the drying, but in between those visits are 24 hours where the actual drying occurs.

First, our technicians place our equipment in strategic locations for your benefit. We will try to create a cylinder of airflow that leads back to the dehumidifier to maximize the effectiveness of our drying equipment. Therefore, we ask that you do not move or reorient the machines if at all possible. We understand that at times the optimal placement is in a location that is inconvenient. If machines do need to be moved, please place them as close to their original position as possible to maintain the airflow we were hoping to accomplish.

Next, it is important that if the water damage is in a single room and our technicians close the door to that room it is because it will help the drying process immensely if the room is contained and the air in that room is constantly cycling through the dehumidifier. For this reason, we ask that any rooms with equipment remain shut if possible. These rooms will probably be slightly warmer than the rest of the house, which is a good thing. Warmer temperatures allow for more condensation to transfer into the air, and makes it easier to remove via our dehumidifiers. While we don’t expect you to live in persistent heat, it would be beneficial if the temperature in your home were raised a few degrees to promote quick drying.

However, the number one thing that you can do to ensure a quicker drying time is to let the machines continue running. While there are a couple of things that you could do to help the drying of your floors and walls, there is one thing that many customers do that will harm our drying attempts. That is, of course, turning our machines off. Some customers, depending on the amount and location of our equipment, find them to be too loud and a nuisance during their daily lives. While we strive to be as minimally invasive as possible during our water mitigation, sometimes with equipment placed in living rooms and kitchens, there is no way around it. The worst thing someone can do it to turn off our equipment.

Keeping in mind that these air movers and dehumidifiers are being rented by you, the customer, it is simply a waste of time and money to turn off the machines. These were designed for and work best when they are allowed to run continuously until the affected material is dry.

Our biggest advice to you is to let the machines do their intended work, and hopefully, we can dry your home and have everything picked up and back to new before you know it!

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Different Types of Water Damages

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Not all water damages are created equal. In fact, beyond the various sizes and severity of water damage you have, there are 3 distinct categories that we use to differentiate water damage based on the source of the water. It is important to understand the different categories because this has a direct effect on the work we perform in your home or property.

Category 1

Category 1 water damages, shortened to Cat 1, are water damages that involve completely clean water. A rule of thumb for this water damage is water that is perfectly fine to drink. This could come from a busted pipe underneath the sink, a failed supply line, or any other source of water that is free of contaminants. This water is the easiest and fastest to clean, however, expediency is still necessary for this category can turn to category 2 as quickly as 24 hours after the damage occurs if not properly handled.

Category 2

Category 2 water damages have what we consider a small number of contaminants. These are the result of washing machine leaks, dishwasher leaks or overflows, sump pump failure, and many more. This water is generally grey in color, can contain chemicals as well as bio-contaminants, and while it should not be consumed by any means (no water that is on your floors should be!), it poses a small health risk to those exposed to the water for a short time. These contaminants will require that we properly sanitize the affected areas to prevent the situation from getting worse. Similar to category 1 turning to category 2, if left untreated this category can escalate rapidly into a much more hazardous situation.

Category 3

Category 3 water damages are classified as the worst type of water. These are completely unsafe to be near and contain many contaminants that you will want to be cleaned properly and quickly. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, toilet backups that include waste and flood waters bringing contaminants from outside your home. These are serious health risks, and often they require what we call a ‘flood cut’. This includes removing floors and drywall up to 2 feet up to ensure no contaminated materials remain. The nature of the source requires the use of Proper Protective Equipment to clean, and multiple applications of sanitization.

Knowing about these categories is important should you have water damage so you understand the different steps we are taking, and why they must be taken. We do not expect you to become an expert at recognizing the intricacies of each category, but basic understanding can go a long way when you are explaining your water damage to our dispatcher. 

SERVPRO of Ellis County is here to help no matter the category, no matter the time, and no matter how large.

We are ready to make your property like it never happened!

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Insurances and Water Damages

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

If SERVPRO of Ellis County isn’t your first call when you come home to discover the water heater has burst, then it is probably to your home insurance.

We work with various insurance companies, and in doing so have experience working with all types of adjusters and requirements to complete your job in a satisfactory manner.

It is important to be aware of a few things regarding insurance companies so you can efficiently navigate the often confusing world of water damages.

Forms and Paperwork

There are a few forms that need to be signed prior to beginning your water damage. These outline the expectations and protect all parties involved during the process.

Our forms include Authorization to Perform Services and Direction of Payment which is an agreement to perform water mitigation and also an agreeing upon who will be the paying party.

There is the Equipment Rental Agreement simply outlining that you will take care of (you can simply not touch it and be fine) the equipment that is rented and left on your property.

Finally, we have a Customer Information form that is simply gathering the best contact information and information regarding your house so we here in the office can contact you.

Your insurance, however, depending on who you are insured with, may have their own version of these forms and may have further forms that are required before we can start the job.

We understand you are anxious to begin mitigation services, and understanding these necessary forms is a huge step in expediting the process so we may begin.

Estimates and Pricing

When we are doing your water damage, you or your insurance may want an update on what the total costs are going to be. This is especially true if demolition is required and there will be a rebuild in the future.

A lot of factors go into the estimate and approval process when your job is going through an insurance agent/adjuster. At the end of the day, almost all demo and rebuilds have to first be approved by your insurance adjuster before we can begin this work. We do our best to get this all done in a timely manner by the ever-helpful administrators here in the office, but at times this may cause a slight delay in your job until we manage to get approved.

Sometimes the adjuster requires they be onsite to do measurements and observe the damages themselves before work can be approved. Sometimes adjusters need time to look over our estimates before they approve them. All of these are facts of life that we work with in order to complete your water job as soon as we can.

In regards to pricing and payment, insurance companies handle these in different ways. Some will send the agreed upon amount minus your deductible to you, the homeowner, and we will collect the payment from you directly. Others will mail us the check and require us to collect just your deductible. Even others will mail us the entirety of the payment and collect the deductible from you themselves.

Whatever the situation is, we will remain in contact with you and the adjuster to make sure we are all in agreement about the final bill.

Should you have a question regarding payment status after your job, the best person to contact is your insurance adjuster and ask them for that status. 

Written by: Brendan Gillette

What you need to know about water damage

2/10/2019 (Permalink)

Let’s discuss the basics of a water damage. This information is useful for anyone who rents or owns property, seeing as a water damage could happen at any time. We’ve written other more specific blogs about different types of damage and different scenarios that you may face.  For now, we are going to go over just the basics.

What is Water Damage?

Water damage is a term used to describe damages to your floors, walls, ceiling, and contents caused by an unintended intrusion of water. There can be many causes of water damages, which we will go over, but first, we must establish exactly what is and is not considered water damage.

You do NOT have damage if:

  • Your daughter gets the floor in the bathroom wet after a shower.
  • You spill a glass of water on the carpet in your living room.
  • You accidentally splash water on the kitchen cabinets and floor while doing the dishes.

In these instances, you can simply clean the affected area and wipe up all moisture that is spilled. This doesn’t require a professional. Simply get a towel and you are good to go!

You DO have damage if:

  • Your bathtub was left running, leaving an inch of water standing in your bathroom.
  • A pipe underneath your sink broke, and you didn’t notice for hours.
  • Your hot water heater leaked or burst, emptying its water inside your home.
  • Water is accumulating somewhere in your house but you are not sure of the cause.

There are many more potential causes, but the point here is that you cannot simply use a towel to soak up these problems. If you do find yourself in a situation where your hot water heater burst, you might be presented with more water than you thought was inside your house now spilling across your living room, kitchen, or any room in your house.

This is, understandably, a frantic and alarming thing to happen, but our team at SERVPRO of Ellis County sees these cases and much worse on a daily basis and we are ready to help!

A good rule of thumb: if you are not sure whether your water emergency requires the assistance of professionals is it is better to be safe than sorry.

Give us a call at (972) 935-0827 and we can come to do a moisture check for you and find out if the extent of moisture is enough to require professional assistance.

Read our next topic:

Why do you need to have your water damage addressed?

Why You Need Water Mitigation Services

2/10/2019 (Permalink)

After getting a clear understanding of what constitutes water damage, your next thought may be, “Okay, but why do I need to hire someone to do water mitigation?”

This is an understandable line of thought, and we’ll shed some light onto the necessity of the services we provide here at SERVPRO of Ellis County.

We Perform Water Mitigation Services

When we dissect what it is we do, the purpose and need for water mitigation become clear. We mitigate further damages, further problems, and as a result, mitigate further costs.

Being a liquid, water has a tendency to spread and seep into more items, walls, and floors the longer it is left unattended in your home. What might have started out as a small water heater closet getting soaked can, unheeded, travel through walls, into other areas of your home damaging floorboards, drywall, and insulation in the process.

It goes without saying, there is a need to stop the spread of water and mitigate the potential damages when you are faced with water damage. Left unchecked, water damages can buckle floorboards, soak carpet, and require complete removal and replacement of flooring and walls.

Luckily, SERVPRO of Ellis County is available 24/7  with crews ready to respond to your emergency in a timely fashion and begin mitigation work before a small water damage becomes a large one.

Growth: An Unwanted Visitor

Another key reason we strongly recommend water mitigation is because of the potential of growth.

Cold, wet, damp locations, such as those found beneath your floorboards, and inside of your drywall when you leave areas wet, are the perfect scenario for the growth of mold and other potentially harmful substances.

We see unmitigated water damages turn into a completely avoidable amount of growth very quickly. Unfortunately, the protocol for safe removal of growth can be much more costly than the initial water mitigation, and the price of not doing so is a potential health hazard to you and your family.

Our goal for your water damage is to mitigate the spread of water and dry all affected material to a suitable level without doing any demolition, but if the problem is allowed to turn into a growth remediation, there is little hope to fully remediate the growth without having to cut into drywall and dispose of affected material.

These are two of the largest reasons you need to have your water damage properly mitigated through the services of professionals like SERVPRO of Ellis County.

For your own safety, cutting corners is not an option when dealing with water damages inside your home or business.

Next, we will be discussing the specific work we perform when we are called out to handle your water damage.

What SERVPRO does during your water damage

2/10/2019 (Permalink)

Now that we have established what water damage is, and why it is necessary to have SERVPRO of Ellis County come to do the water mitigation, it is important to take a look into what work we will be performing to better familiarize yourself with the world of water mitigation.

First thing is first

The first thing we do is get an accurate picture of the affected areas. After extracting any standing water, we use moisture readers to measure the moisture content in your floors, walls, ceiling, and whatever else might be affected by water damage.

Our trained technicians have seen a myriad of different damages ranging in size and source and can get a basic understanding of your damages after a short time reading the moisture inside your affected and non-affected areas.

Keep in mind, you may not be able to see or feel that any surface is wet, but inside your floorboards or behind your drywall, there may be moisture trapped there that can cause more problems down the line.

Once we have a clear picture of the water damage at hand, we plug our readings and measurements into proprietary software to accurately gauge the drying requirements. This allows us to easily and automatically know how much equipment we will need to place.

Drying equipment

Now that we understand how much equipment needs to be placed for proper and expedient drying, the next step is to unload all required equipment from our trucks and place them in your house.

Water damages require the use of dehumidifiers and air movers. A dehumidifier is self-explanatory; we use industrial grade dehumidifiers to suck the moisture content out of the air, the very same air that comes into contact with the affected surface and attempts to reach an equilibrium between the wet material and dry air, removing some of the moisture that then gets fed back into the dehumidifier.

Our air movers are placed strategically around the room to create a circular vortex of air flow. The natural air flow combined with intentionally feeding air into dehumidifiers works in tandem to greatly assist the drying process.

Once our equipment has been placed, we must leave it running around the clock for the best results.

Then, the next step to do is monitor our equipment and the drying process. Our technician will ask when you will be available for an equipment check the following day, and we will arrive within a 30-minute window in order to take new moisture readings and assess how the floors, walls, and any affected area is drying.

Our typical jobs require 3-5 days of drying to reach acceptable levels of moisture.

When equipment doesn’t quite do the job

I wish it were as simple as place equipment and wait a few days, however certain circumstances may not allow us that luxury. If, for example, the affected drywall remains wet and doesn’t show an indication that it will dry, we might have to pull the baseboards off and drill holes in the wall to allow proper ventilation.

If wooden floors are buckling from water damage when we arrive on site, or if they are so saturated with water that our best efforts will not sufficiently dry them, they will have to be removed.

Certain material, such as sewage, is categorized as a Cat 3 water damage, and any affected areas must be replaced.

All of this falls under the term ‘demo’ and is sometimes a necessity. Do not worry, however. Whatever wall or flooring we have to remove, we will be able to rebuild for you and make it, “Like it never even happened!”

With the general water damage proceedings understood, the next thing to do is take a look at the different types of water damages and explain what they mean for you.

Keep a lookout for our next blog about the different water damage categories!