Water Damage…What Can I Do Until Help Arrives?
At SERVPRO of Sooland we are available 24/7/365 days a year for your water damaged home or business. When it comes to water damage quick action is crucial and a delay, even a small one can cause more serious damage to your property.
We understand that during this stressful time you need someone to walk you through this process. SERVPRO of Sooland has the specific water damage training to walk you through the difficult and often times confusing moments following a disaster in your home or business. If you need emergency services, we recommend calling our team immediately to get this process under way.
Here are a few tips of what you can do before help arrives.
- Ask yourself, is it safe to stay in this home or property?
- If it is safe to stay remove any slip and fall hazards.
- Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floor; wet materials may be heavy, be careful!
When you call our SERVPRO Representative will ask you some quick questions, these questions will help us know what equipment and tools to bring with us. Here is an example of what they will ask:
- Name & Contact Information.
- Street Address of the affected home or business.
- Insurance Information if applicable.
- Cause of water damage.
- Approximate time water damage occurred.
- Is there electricity available on site?
Once our SERVPRO Priority Responder is on-site they will walk you through the entire process of restoring your property while our highly trained technicians get to work quickly working on mitigating damage and restoring your home or business.
What to do about frozen pipes
A burst pipe can cause a lot of water damage, so call on our team when you are experiencing the damage in your home or business.
Frozen pipes can cause a lot of issues and cost a lot of money! One pipe burst in a home at 4-8 gallons of water running per minute. This can cause thousands of dollars worth of water damage. If not taken care of and mitigated properly, then this can then lead to mold issues.
- Locate and identify any and all shut off valves in the home and make sure they work properly. (Everyone should know where their "Main Water Valve" is at and how to operate it)
- Identify any potential problems. (Areas where pipes are on an outside wall, ceiling, attics, crawl spaces, etc)
- Seal any gaps around the home where cold air has a chance to come in contact with pipes. In extreme cold temperatures, especially wind driven, even a tiny opening can let enough cold in to cause a pipe to freeze. (Dryer vents, windows, cable penetrations, etc.)
- Turn off and drain all standard outside hose bibs.
When the temperature is expected to drop:
- Open kitchen sink and any vanity doors of the areas that are at risk for problems.
- With pipes that are on outside walls that may be a freeze problem, leave a small trickle of both of the hot and cold water running.
- Temporarily seal off any crawl space vents that may be around the foundation.
- Keep the house warm.
What to do if you experience a frozen pipe: (The first sign of a "frozen" pipe is reduced or no flow at all)
- If you experience a "no flow" situation (First turn off the "Main Water Valve" to the house and leave the faucets "open", Second DO NOT use any open flame to attempt to thaw the pipes, Third DO NOT use any electric heater, hair dryer applied directly to the piping as any leaking water may cause electrocution, and Forth turning the water back on is best handled with (2) people. One person turning on the water SLOWLY and the other walking about the house to be sure no water is running).
- Heat and patience is the best way to get frozen pipes thawed out. We do recommend that if a frozen pipe happens to find the source and correct it so it will not happen again. (If you were lucky enough for the frozen pipes not bursting this time, you may not be so lucky the next time.)
**Please be advised if the water to your house is shut off, it may also turn off any fire prevention system you may have hooked up to your water
What to do if you leave your home during the winter months:
- Turn the Main Water Valve off to your home**
- Leave the heat on to the house and set it NO LOWER than 60 degrees.
- Have a neighbor stop by daily, especially when the temperatures are in the 20's or lower.
**If your home has "hot water and/or steam heat", the water must remain on even when you are not there. A neighbor stopping by is critical if this applies to you.
The Principles of Drying
Our team of trained professionals utilize their expertise to make sure your home or business can get back to normal.
The restorative drying process is meant for restoration professionals and is designed to ensure that each component and variable is considered to achieve all drying goals.
Principle 1: Provide for the safety and health workers and occupants
Principle 2: Document and inspect the project
Principle 3: Mitigate further damage
Control the spread of contaminants
Control moisture intrusion
Principle 4: Clean and dry affected areas
Our team uses cleaning procedures whenever soils and debris must be removed to expedite the drying process. Restorative drying for professionals is used to control as many factors as possible to complete the most efficient drying process. Once enough water is extracted, evaporation is enhanced by:
- Lowering humidity
- Increasing airflow across wet surfaces
- Controlling temperature of air and surfaces
- Using outside air when possible
- Creating a drying chamber
Principle 5: Complete the restoration and repairs
How To Protect Your Building Envelope
Protect your building envelope
3 Steps To Repair The Envelope Of Your Building
Find Moisture Leaks
Wear and tear, damage from pests, missing roof shingles, and sagging doors and windows could all provide a way for moisture to get into your building. A visual inspection may be enough to find out how water is getting into the building. Inspect flashings, edges of doors and walls, expansion joints, and everywhere that one material meets up with another material. Remember that some water damage, such as black mold growth, can't always be found with a visual inspection. Once or twice a year, you should schedule professional inspections.
Contact Repair Professionals
Sometimes property owners are tempted to ignore leaks until substantial problems arise. This can become a very expensive mistake. Instead, it's best to contact professionals with the training and supplies necessary to repair existing rain damage and prevent more water from getting past the building envelope.
Improve Preventative Measures
One area of damage is usually a sign that there's widespread damage. It's rare that one spot of damage is an isolated occurrence. A single gap between the window corner and the exterior wall should prompt you to update the sealing around all of the windows. Make sure that routine maintenance and professional inspections are scheduled consistently throughout the year.
The best way to protect the protective envelope of your building from rain damage is regular inspections and repairs completed by water damage repair and reconstruction professionals. Be proactive when it comes to protecting your building from expensive damage.
The Purpose of Flood Cuts
Heavy storms can lead to severe flooding damage.
When Is a Flood Cut Necessary?
A flood cut is the method the cleanup team uses to tear out materials that can't be salvaged. Technicians will probably need to use a flood cut if the water damage meets certain criteria:
- High levels of contamination
- Suspected damage in hard-to-reach areas
- Compromised structural integrity of the wall
Flooding from a storm almost always leads to a flood cut because the water is contaminated. If the standing water in your home comes from a clean sources, however, technicians may try to save the wall, even if there is a lot of water.
How Is a Flood Cut Measured?
When removing drywall, the mitigation team wants to make sure that it tears out all the damage. Specialists typically make a flood cut at least 12 inches above the spot where the water damage ends. This ensures that any unseen damage is also removed.
What Happens After the Flood Cut Is Made?
Once the cut is made, the technicians remove the drywall. They take out all the damaged material, including any damp insulation behind the wall. Before they rebuild, they have to make sure the area is clean and dry so that no secondary damage occurs.
If a storm causes flooding in your home, it may take more than simply removing the water and wiping down surfaces to complete the repairs. Technicians may have to make flood cuts on your walls to remove all the damage.
3 Tips for Preventing Post Flood Mold
Mold growth in a Colorado Springs kitchen.
3 Tips for Preventing Post Flood Mold
Thoroughly Dry the Area
The first step to take care of in the event you may have mold damage is to completely dry any area affected by water. In many cases a professional restoration company may use a dehumidifier. Getting rid of the water can help make the area inhospitable to mold spores.
- Have an Expert Test for Mold
On some occasions the potential mold growth may not yet be visible. If you believe you may have mold in your home, even after drying and sanitizing the flooded area, then a professional may be able to perform a test. Testing can include taking air samples, pulling a sample from an at-risk material, or taking a surface sample. If mold has been found, then your mold remediation professional can formulate a plan for mold removal.
- Clean Any Water Damaged Items
Another common tip for complete mold removal includes thoroughly cleaning any items that may have been affected by the storm damage. Mold spores can grow on any organic material that contains moisture. This can include carpeting, wood, upholstery, and even drywall. Fortunately, there are a number of methods to properly clean and sanitize these items.
Because mold growth usually occurs in damp areas, thoroughly drying any flooded areas can help prevent this type of problem. If you believe mold has already set in you can have a professional test for spores. It is also a good idea to properly clean any items affected by the water damage as well. If you have any questions a professional may be able to help.
What to Do After a Fire
Board up after suffering fire damage.
Immediately after a fire is a very stressful time. With all of the fire damage and loss, it can difficult to see what to do next. The first thought on most people's minds is to repair the damage, but there are a few things that you should consider doing even before that. The very first thing you should do is call your insurance company. The second is to secure your home.
3 Steps to Follow After a Fire
Secure Your Home
Securing your home does not mean lock your doors. Remember that there could be hundreds of access points after a fire. Between the flames, smoke and the fire department, the damage can be extensive. When you secure your home, you will need to board up holes, windows and doors.
Here's why you need to tarp or board your home:
- Vacant homes are catnip to vandals and thieves
- Your insurance may require it
- Rain, wind and sun can make the damage worse
- Someone could go in and hurt themselves
You must cover all the exposed areas of your home as soon as possible.
Take an Inventory
When you are allowed back in your home, you will need to take an inventory. Take a look at what you need to throw out and what can be salvaged. Make sure you board up or tarp anything exposed to the elements while you are doing this. It is far easier to assess the damage and cover things that need to be covered simultaneously.
Find a Restoration Company
You should also find a restoration company as soon as you talk to your insurance company. Some companies will even offer emergency board up services if they have to wait to start the repairs and remediation. Some of the reasons they may have to wait are delays with insurance or fire inspectors. This service will reduce the cost of your repairs and help to keep your home safe.
Fires are devastating. Just remember to board up, take inventory and find a remediation company that can help you. These steps can help you avoid any additional damage.
Frequently Lost Items During a Fire
A fire in your home may not result in a total loss.
List Of Items That Are Frequently Lost During a Fire
The good thing about replacing important documents is that you can find almost all of them online. You likely have digital copies of your income tax records, insurance information and legal documents. However, you need to have hard copies of certain documents:
- Drivers license
- Titles and deeds
- Social security cards
- Health insurance cards
If these items are listed as part of the fire damage to your home, start the process of replacing them right away.
You will likely need to throw away all food if the fire was anywhere near your kitchen. The refrigerator and freezer may keep food fresh under normal circumstances, but it is unlikely that they were able to withstand the fire's blaze well enough to protect the food inside during a fire. Non-perishable items must be tossed as well. Plastic and cardboard are no match for smoke and soot. Even the food in glass jars and aluminum cans can be spoiled by the high heat of a house fire. It is better to get rid of food altogether than take chances that it has gone bad.
Just as you would not want to consume anything that the fire or extinguishing agents have touched, you also don't want to put anything from the fire on your body. This includes cosmetics, soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and hair styling products. It's also necessary to throw away any medication that could have been subject to high temperatures or toxic fumes.
Many items in your home can be salvaged after a fire, but some must be replaced. Mitigation professionals can help you determine what to throw away and what to keep.
Beyond the First Steps of Responding To Burst Pipes
Bursting pipes can cause your business to face days or weeks closed.
4 Further Steps To Respond To Bursting Pipes
1. Locate the Broken Pipe
There may be water still draining from the pipes, but more importantly, you need to know where to fix broken pipe elements. Even a minor crack could lead to a lot of damage, and you may have the skills necessary to prevent further breaks.
Remove Items From the Flooded Area
If it's safe to walk into the flooded room, carry out furnishings, equipment, and other valuable items. You may possibly prevent papers, inventory, and belongings from getting damaged.
2. Record Damages
Carefully make a record of the damage. Use photographs and write down values of damaged items to be sure your insurance claim is accurate.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
There's a good chance that the damage will be covered by the business' insurance policy. The first step in getting your claim moving is contacting your agent. It may be important that an insurance adjuster goes through the building before cleanup and repair professionals get started.
4. Understand the Risk of Mold Growth
Mold growth is a common occurrence after bursting pipes. This is because moisture gets under carpeting and inside the walls. When you hire cleanup technicians to handle repairs, there's a better chance that you'll avoid secondary damage. Be sure you know what to watch out for.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do after managing existing damage is taking steps to prevent bursting pipes in the future. Discuss potential improvements with your custodial staff or local experts.
3 Steps of Roof Restoration
3 Basic Steps to Repair and Restore Your Roof
The first thing experts do is examine the damage. Whether you have missing shingles or just broken or cracked ones, either problem can allow water to seep into your building's interior. As a result, several items may need to be torn out:
- Roof support beams
- Ceiling tiles
Removing water damage is vital. Taking care of this step quickly can help you avoid secondary problems such as mold growth. The sooner you call the technicians, the smoother the cleanup process will go.
Flood water, particularly that which has run into your building through a roof leak, is considered contaminated water. It can contain dirt, debris and bacteria. It is necessary, therefore, to not only dry out the affected area but also to disinfect it so that microscopic organisms in the water don't lead to further rot or bad air quality in your building. Technicians may use special machinery and industrial cleaners to sanitize the space.
Once all traces of damage and filth are gone, the restoration stage can begin. Specialists rebuild the interior portions that were destroyed, replacing walls, ceilings and insulation. Then they repair the damaged roof so that it can get back to protecting your building.
Even a small roof leak can cause serious damage to your commercial building. A professional team that has the knowledge and experience to handle the cleanup process from removal to restoration is essential for getting your roof back to normal.