Water Damage Questions

What are the major causes of water damage?

There are many ways that water can find its way into your home.  The most common are from water leaks associated with burst pipes or valve failures.  Foundation leaks and poor drainage around the home can also cause similar problems.  Burst pipes and sewage backups are particularly challenging, as they can accumulate several inches of water at a very rapid rate.

What can I do to stem the damage while waiting for a technician?

The most important step is to cut off the water supply as quickly as possible.  The safest route is to shut off the main water supply valve.  If you don’t know where it is located, spend some time getting familiar with the plumbing layout in your home.  That’s a scavenger hunt you don’t want do while water is filling up your living room floor.  Steer clear of the pooled water areas as there is no way of knowing if the water has made contact with any electrical outlet.  Shut the water off and get to a safe, dry area.

What other dangers are associated with water accumulation in the home?

Water can pool quickly and soak through anything it comes into contact with.  This becomes a major issue when the water is from sewage backups or flood waters, as it can contain many harmful contaminants.  Any organic materials like wood or textiles soaked with this liquid would need to be removed, restored or replaced.  Even in cases with clean water supplies, mold is a major factor that can have many adverse health effects.  The key is to get the water out as quickly as possible.  The longer the water remains, the more problems it will cause.

What is the water damage repair process?

The first step is to stop the source of the flooding.  Pumps are brought in to remove the standing water while all compromised materials are removed from the home.  This includes furniture, carpets, padding and even construction materials like wood, sheetrock and insulation.  Once all the water and compromised materials are removed, commercial dryers are brought in to throughly dry out all the affected areas – a process that can take several days.  In addition, the area will be inspected for mold and other microbes.  Disinfectants are used for basic cleanup, but more material repair or removal may be necessary for larger mold colonies

How long will the entire process take?

This all depends on the amount and location of the water damage.  Smaller floods can be resolved in a day or two while extensive flooding can take as many as 7 days.

Fire Damage Questions

My home caught fire and the fire department saved it.  Where do I begin?

The first step is to secure the home.  By all means contact your insurance company to get the claims process started, but don’t wait to get the house sealed up and secured.  Give us a call and we will send a technician to evaluate the damage and get the house protected from any further damage.  We know the claims process inside and out, and will work with you and the insurance company to get the most out of your policy.

Can I do my own repair work?

Possibly, but your insurance company covers the cost to get your home professionally repaired, so why not take full advantage of it?  Fire damage can go well beyond basic cosmetic repairs, and having a professional perform the work is the best way to get the most comprehensive repairs from your insurance claim.

What are the steps to getting my home restored?

An essential first step is the repair or replacement of your HVAC system.  Smoke particles have accumulated in the system during the fire, and running it can release these harmful particles back into the air.  The next step is to remove all the burnt furniture, fixtures and building materials in the home.  This includes a thorough inspection of framing and subfloors to determine what needs to be repaired or replaced.  Framing materials are dried throughly and sealed before replacing drywall, panel or flooring.  The deodorization process is continuous throughout the reconstruction project.  All undamaged drywall is sealed and repainted using multiple coats of paint.  All of the salvaged furniture and fixtures are treated throughly before returning them to the restored home.

How long before we can move back in?

This all depends on the extent of the fire damage.  Smaller fires contained to single room will have the fastest recovery times, but could still take weeks to properly repair, reconstruct and deodorize the home.  Larger restoration projects can take months – this is not a job to be rushed, as your family’s long term health and safety is our primary concern.  We leave no stone unturned when it comes to returning your home to its original condition.

Can you help us deal with the insurance claim?

Absolutely.  Dealing with the insurance company can be challenging – how would you know all the intricacies of claim management when you’ve never experienced a fire loss?  Luckily, most people never have to go through this process, but it puts you at a distinct disadvantage when dealing with your claim.  Let us go to bat for you – we know how to get the most out of your policy and will advocate on your behalf.

What about my living expenses while my home is being restored?

This is a key part of your insurance policy – known as additional living expense coverage. It will differ from one insurance policy to another, but essentially it covers the difference between your normal living expenses and any additional costs you may incur.  Your policy may have several limits in place, and we would be happy to review this with you to let you know what to expect.  Be sure to keep all receipts during the time you are displaced.

What about my damaged personal property?

Again, this is going to be detailed in your policy coverage, and we would be happy to review this with you.  A key distinction is the Actual Cash Value (ACV) versus Replacement Cost Value (RCV) for your belongings.  ACV is the value of the property when the damage occurred.  If you have older appliances, they would not be worth what you paid for them originally.  RCV is what it would cost to replace that item today, regardless of its current worth.  In either case, a thorough inventory is essential, and we will help you prepare this information to get the most out of your claim.