Types of Soot:
In my last blog post, I discussed how soot is made as a byproduct of a fire. Below are the different types of soot that exist and why you should call SERVPRO.
1. Wet Soot
Wet soot is a result of oxygen starved, smoldering fires. The lack of oxygen increases the amount of soot in the area. This occurs when there is low heat and high moisture content. Typically when there's a fire that produces wet soot, it was produced from burned synthetic materials, such as vinyl, plastics, and polyester.
2. Dry Soot
Dry soot is made when there are oxygen rich fires. The fires have burned natural materials and the fire itself was really hot, which increases the degree of penetration of soot into surfaces. This can be sticky and cause discoloration on surfaces.
3. Oil Soot/Protein
This is typically a light amber or yellow color. These fires are a result of grease fires in kitchens.
Our firm has experts that are trained to be able to properly restore after any home catastrophe. These incidents are unfortunate, and we do our best to help our customers get through the process as easy as possible. Call us today so we can help you get your home back, and most importantly, your life back.
Leaky, Squeaky, and Sneaky!
Where does water damage come from? While SERVPRO is the biggest brand in the industry, many people don't know what water damage restoration is until they experience or know someone that experiences it. The most common issues that we get calls for are leaky pipes and water heaters. As a home ages, pipes will get older and water heaters get weaker, so if they aren't checked and maintained every so often, they could leak or burst. Other sources of damage or leaky hoses, such as those that connect to a toilet or a sink. We recommend that a licensed plumbing company checks your water pressure regulators, water supply lines, and angle stops every year or two years to prevent any damage.
Another common source of water damage is faulty appliances, such as a washer or dishwasher. In those cases, the insurance could purse the installers or the appliance company for reimbursement. We also get calls for overflowing bathtubs, pool parties gone wrong, and construction mishaps.
Pipes can also be sneaky! Sometimes homeowners don't know that there's a water damage. One homeowner gave us a call recently after they went into a guest room to get something from the closet, when they smelled something musky. After we inspected, it turned out that a connecting wall had a pipe that was slowly leaking and the homeowner never knew!
If any of these instances occur, give us a call! We are always ready to respond to any emergency.
Pools and Summer Fun
Now that California is reopening, families are starting to get together more and have some backyard fun. One family recently called us after an above-ground pool that they purchased was filled too high. The family left the garden hose inside the pool attempting to fill the water, and after coming back from some errands it was too late. The water entered into an entry hallway and affected the flooring and the drywall The air also smelled saturated with humidity. We were able to help the insured dry the water damage with our extractors as soon as we arrived. Once we were done doing the extraction, we set up a couple of fans and a dehumidifier to take care of the rest.
We hope that everyone has some good fun now that Summer is starting, just make sure to be careful when going in the pool.
Air Quality After Fires
Something very dangerous when there's a house fire is the quality of the air. After a traumatic experience like that is over, something left to deal with is cleaning the contents of your home. We get calls for fires often and when they happen, we always bring our respirators in case there are areas that are really dangerous to breathe in.
One of the best explanations I've found is the following from indoordoctor.com:
Hundreds of reaction products are created during and after a fire. Modern furnishings, building materials, and insulation material contain toxic properties. These cancer causing chemicals become airborne during a fire and bind with the smoke properties.
When there's a fire, give us a call and we can provide respirators to assist you get through the process safely. We can also remove debris, clean the air, and restore your home back to it's original condition. Our team is always ready to respond to any emergency.
Link to article is here.
Storms and Floods, What's Covered?
With our recent efforts to help out with the polar vortex that happened in February, we noticed one huge difference between this storm and others.
In many instances where there is a large storm or hurricane in the US, water often rises from the ground up. Water rising can come from overflowing lakes from major rain or a tsunami. While insurance companies and circumstances can differ, in most cases where there is water damage as a result of water rising from the ground, home insurance will not cover the claim. Homeowner's insurance will typically cover water damage resulting from a leaky pipe, which is what happened during the polar vortex. The storm froze the water in the pipes and made them to burst, which caused it to rain inside many people's homes. All of the clients that we worked with in Texas had covered claims, but during other catastrophe's this may have not been the case. If the city you live in is prone to major storms, we recommend getting flood insurance, as that will give you peace of mind during any major catastrophe.
Why Property Managers Call Us
Everyday, we receive new work orders from property managers that have tenants with water related issues. These tenants can have some growing mold, a bathtub that overflowed, or a major water emergency. We have great relationships with all of our property management friends and the biggest reason why they keep using us is because of our service. We put real effort into making sure to be available when there is an issue in a property. Tenants may be fearful of water damage or small leaks. Before there is any insurance claim or major work, it's best to give us a call because we can go inspect the property and give a professional assessment about the damage. Our team can go into someone's home or business, find all of the affected areas, and provide guidance on how to clean up the damage if it's small, or start working if the tenant needs urgent help.
If you're a property manager, give us a call today and we can be anywhere in San Diego within the hour to assist with your needs.
Certifications and CE Credits
The primary board for the water damage restoration industry is the "Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, also known as "IICRC." The IICRC sets the standards for the correct protocol to follow during water damage restoration, mold remediation, and fire clean up, and a broader scope of trainings that encompass textiles, and inspections. SERVPRO is the leader in the industry because they make it a standard for operators to be certified in numerous topics. Some of these certifications that we learn from the IICRC include:
WRT - Water Damage Restoration
ASD - Applied Structural Drying
AMRT - Applied Microbial Remediation
FSRT - Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration
The classes are rigorous in nature and require a lot of material to understand. Once the classes are complete, we must take an exam to prove that we understand the material. Since the industry is always evolving, these certifications are not lifetime certifications. We must take Continuing Education Credits or "CE Credits" to make sure that we stay competitive and so we can always hold up our "experts" belt proudly for the world.
Recently, our team went out to a major fire at a retail store in Chula Vista. I saw how knowledgeable the owner was in this topic, so I just registered for my FSRT class next week, so that next time we go to something like this, I can follow in their footsteps and be a resource for anyone that needs our help.
Keeping Claims Low
One major debate when there is water damage in homes and businesses whether a claim should be opened. Many insurance agents give us a call, stating that there's a water damage in their insured's property and they are unsure if they should open up the claim. Although claims make the process of water restoration easier for us and the insured, it is never the ideal decision to make initially. Opening up a claim and help alleviate an unexpected bill, when water and fire emergencies can cost thousands of dollars, but they can in the long run raise rates. According to Policygenius, a single claim can cause homeowners insurance rates to go up by as much as 7-10%, and potentially more for business owners.
The most effective solution that we have found in our experience with many claims, is for us to inspect the property before there is a claim. Some claims are smaller and might not even exceed the cost of the insurance deducible. Many policy owners set high deductibles so that they may save the most on their monthly insurance bill. As professionals, it is our mission to be a resource when people need our services. Our transparency shows when we go to see the damage; if the damage is small we can advise on how to properly clean up the damage. If the damage is larger, we can work together on pricing so that you don't have to break the bank.
A couple of weeks ago, there was a business owner that gave us a call which specializes in enhancing the lighting for retail businesses. The valve in a sink leaked, damaging a small portion of drywall in their warehouse. The business owner expressed to us that they felt uneasy about opening a claim, since their high deductible could affect their ability to buy new inventory. Our firm was able to work with the insured on pricing and set up some equipment to dry the walls to proper standards. We're happy to have helped this business owner during their time of need!
How Long Will it Take to fix my Home After A Storm
Back in February, our team went to Texas to help out with the Polar Vortex that happened in the Midwest. Our crew decided to go to the storm approximately two weeks after it had finished, since we were wrapping up a large San Diego project. As soon as we got settled into our hotel, we called the homeowners that had been assigned to our team and had quickly found out that most of them had not received any plumbing service at all.
Now to clarify, SERVPRO doesn't do plumbing. Typically, when there's a water damage, one of the first steps is to turn off the water in your home so that no more leaks out, from there we start our restoration work. Somewhere in between, a plumber usually goes out to fix the leak and turn on the water again.
When the storm hit, hundreds of plumbers, roofers, restoration companies, carpet cleaners, etc. came to town to assist everyone that needed help. Even so with all of the help, these homeowners would call for service and be put on a list, waiting for when they get a call back. Our team would do an inspection and start working within the next two days, and in between our crews would be working overtime so they could help everybody. I'm sure all of these companies that were in town were doing their best to help everybody, and the reality is that no one knows when these storms are going to happen.
If there's ever a storm and you need help, call SERVPRO, since our storm teams are trained to be faster to any disaster.
Who Pays When There's A Leak In A Condominium
If there's a water damage in a condo, there are issues that can come up since the HOA and the homeowner are going to have to figure out who is responsible for the water leak. The issue can also get confusing when the pipe is in a shared wall between you and a neighbor, and the damage affects both of you.
Typically the main concern is if the pipe that was at fault is in a shared wall. While CC&R's can vary (the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions), often if the pipe is primarily in your residence, then the HOA will claim that the liability is yours. If there is a shared wall between you and a neighbor, then the HOA might take responsibility, or split the liability between the both of you. This entire process may involve HOA board meetings, and even opening a claim with your insurance while both parties debate over the responsibility.
We're very experienced in this situation, so give us a call for help!