Recent Water Damage Posts

The water damage process

8/2/2019 (Permalink)

Do you have a Water Damage in your home and don’t know what to expect? Well let SERVPRO® of Charles County and SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill walk you through it!

  • Inspection: Let SERVPRO® assess the water damage in your home. During this inspection SERVPRO® will determine the severity, class of water and outline the next steps!
  • Water Removal: SERVPRO® uses the latest technology to extract water from your property, rather it is 2 feet of standing water or just enough to soak your carpet and pad, SERVPRO® can take care of it for you.
  • Drying: After the water is extracted drying is begun with air movers and dehumidifiers. This step may seem fairly easy but it is completely scientific in nature. The appropriate amount of fans, dehumidifiers, room temperature and air humidity is needed to dry out the remaining moisture in your property.
  • Cleaning: Your things in this area need to be determined as salvageable and unsalvageable depending on the class of water damage you have. SERVPRO® believes in a Restore VS. Replace system so we will try to save the items that can be safely restored. The area will also be cleaned with anti-microbial if necessary! BENEFECT™ is an amazing all natural product that disinfects.
  • Restoration- This is the final step in getting your home back to normal. SERVPRO® of Charles County and SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill now offers reconstruction so we can repair anything that needed to be replaced.

If you experience a water damage in Southern Maryland give SERVPRO® a call today @ 301.753.8313.

How many gallons of water per person per day do you need for an emergency?

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

How many gallons of water per person per day do you need for an emergency?

When the weather around us gets crazy it has the tendency to disrupt our day to day lives. Natural disasters, water main breaks and contaminated water is not so uncommon in today’s world. If this occurs in your life you and your family could be without water for 48 hours or more. In this situation would you be able to continue your day to day?

The rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water per person per day. The Center for Disease Control and prevention suggest drinking a half gallon of water a day and using the other half gallon for hygiene. You should always be prepared for at least three days of water per person or pet.

In my household we have Three humans and a fur baby. This would mean that we should stock 56 gallons of water for two weeks of disruption. That sounds like an abundance of water right? Where would I keep this much?

Did you know that in a 24 pack of bottled water there is slightly over 3 gallons of water? With this said it would require for my family 18 cases of water to meet our water needs for two weeks. The great thing about cases of water is they can be easily stored in a closet, garage, under the beds and of course in the pantry. I believe this is worth it to make sure your family prepared in the face of disaster.  

If you find yourself in an emergency situation and need water assistance call SERVPRO® of Charles County and SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill @ 301.753.8313, as most of the time is we have cases of water on hand.

Seven signs that you may have a water damage in your home

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Seven signs that you may have a water damage in your home

Knowing the signs of water damage in your home could potentially save you hundreds even thousands of dollars.  Most people overlook everyday things that should raise red flags and alert you to a problem. Here at SERVPRO® of Charles County and SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill we want you to be aware of these signs.

  • Sudden unusual dampness or humidity
  • An unexplained increase in your water bill
  • Hearing running water when all faucets are turned off
  • Damp, musty, moldy or even sewage smell
  • Puddles or west spots around plumbing
  • Cracked or flakey drywall
  • Dark or wet spots on the walls or ceiling

Seeing any of these things in your h9ome should alert you to the possibility of a problem. The faster you respond to this potential problem the less risk for secondary damage. Reducing the amount of damage to your home will greatly reduce the amount of money spent to fix the issue.

If you notice any of these 7 things please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO® of Charles County, 301.753.8313, or SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill, 301.292.4447, TODAY!  

6 Signs to call a professional!

6/15/2019 (Permalink)

Often times we find ourselves trying to fix things around the house to save a little money. There are definitely some task that we can handle ourselves but when it comes to plumbing we should rely on the professionals. These are the top 6 situations in which you SHOULD call a plumber!

  • Your water isn’t running!

If your water isn’t running, you need to call a professional immediately. There are a multitude of reasons that your water is not flowing, and this would require professional attention. 

  • Do you have hot water?

If you don’t have hot water first check your hot water heater. If there is no signs of trouble there, call the professionals. There are many possibilities as to why you do not have hot water but you should let the professionals determine the cause as it can get costly.

  • Are you pipes draining slowly?

If you have a pipe that’s draining slowly you can by all means try your home remedies! But let’s say this doesn’t work… Call a professional. If your home remedy doesn’t correct the issue this could mean you have a bigger issue somewhere in your drainage system. You do not want to wait because this could cause the water to come back up your pipes and into your home!

  • Is your water off but you still hear it running?

I know this sound like a bad joke but it is not. If you can hear water running when its not this is a possible sign of a leak somewhere. Inspect your home for visible signs of a leak immediately. Call the professionals and give them any information you can.

  • Are your pipes frozen?

If you have frozen pipes, STOP! Call the professionals. End of story!

  • Do your drains smell?

If your drains smell you can attempt a home remedy solution. If the problem persists please call a professional immediately.

All of these things if caught early can be corrected before suffering a major water damage in your home. If you happen to not get to it in time and you do suffer a loss, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO® of Charles County, 301.753.8313 or SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill®, 301.292.4447.

Water Backup Coverage?

6/1/2019 (Permalink)

Water Backup Coverage?

Water Backup Coverage is an option that you can add on to your insurance policy that protects you from the potentially costly repairs of water damage due to sump pump failure or drain backups.

Sump pumps are designed to remove water that accumulates around your home’s foundation. If the system fails or power goes out, overflow may occur. Most insurance policies do not have this as a covered loss without the added protection of Water Backup Coverage. Water backup coverage will help cover the cost of the water damages from an unexpected backup and it may also help cover the cost in replacing furniture and other belongings lost.

Your home or businesses is the largest purchase you will make in a lifetime for most people. Are you covered properly in case of a disaster? Over the last year we have seen an influx in water damages due to Sump Pump failures and we want to make sure our customers are educated when it comes to this topic.

SERVPRO® of Charles County and SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill recommends talking with your insurance company today to make sure that you and your home or business is protected today!

Do you have a water damage?

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Do you have a water damage?

Your home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Protecting that investment is a top priority and you should be aware of things to look for. Catching an issue before it worsens will save you a lot of time, money and headache.

A Water damage left unattended can impact the structure of your home and could cause other issues such as organic growth. Here are some tips from SERVPRO® of Charles County and SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill to help catch water intrusion early!

Pay attention OUTISDE!

Yes I said it, OUTSIDE! Look for standing water outside of your home. This could indicate poor drainage in you yard or gutters that aren’t properly moving water away from the house. These things could threaten the foundation of your home. Also look above to your roof for missing or damaged shingles and water puddles.

Watch your flooring

Your floors will be sure to show signs of water damage. Tile and wood floors will have cracks or warping. Carpet is obvious as it will be wet and begin to smell!

Stains and Damage

Looking for water stains on drywall or cabinets is the easiest way to see a water damage. Peeling paint is another indicator that there could be a water intrusion behind the drywall. There could also be water stains on the floor in the kitchen or bathroom. Keep your eyes open!

Mold

Mold growth is caused by moisture and humidity. Now this does not always indicate that there is a water damage but it is imperative that you investigate where the moisture is coming from.

Three Categories of Water Damage

4/1/2019 (Permalink)

When a home is flooded, water is the only thing that comes to your mind. Many people do not realize that there are actually classifications when is comes to the water that floods their homes and businesses. Water damages fall into three main categories according to the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification).

The first category is Clean Water. The classification of clean water means that the source of the water is from a sanitary place. This could be drinking fountains, faucets, or water lines. Even though the source is sanitary, it must not be taken lightly. Without proper remediation, clean water can become unsanitary and poses the possibility of causing health issues to anyone who lives in the affected home.

The second category is Grey Water. The classification of grey water is water that can cause illness or discomfort if ingested. The source of the water could come from “used” water, overflowing toilets with urine (not feces), dishwashers, and washing machines.

Lastly, the third category is Unsanitary. The classification of Unsanitary water in a water damage means that the water contains contaminants that are not only unsanitary but dangerous. If ingested, it may lead to serious illness or death if ingested. The sources could be sewer back up, flooding from rivers or streams, or stagnant water that has become a habitat for bacteria.

Therefore, it is important to contact a Service Professional such as SERVPRO® of Charles County or SERVPRO® of Oxon Hill to assist with your water damage. In the time of need, you want to make sure you have experienced professionals to help you through hard times and safely remediate your home.

Charles County Water Damage

1/1/2019 (Permalink)

Charles County Water Damage

Water damage to a residential or commercial location can be very devastating to those involved. The problem is that water damage is one of the leading causes behind building damage that is irreversible. Damage to a building that is not taken care of properly might lead to further loss and damage to the building or location. SERVPRO® of Charles County is a professional water damage company that takes pride in providing high quality service to all their clients in a very timely manner.

Home owners and business owners first step is to seek the services of a professional water damage team like SERVPRO® who are involved with complete water damage restoration, complete cleanups, debris removal, water extraction, drying out the building, cleaning carpets, odor control, sanitizing the building, and more.

Home owners and commercial building owners require a reliable service that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to handle the situation which could easily get out of hand. Our company hires only the best people to work with clients who are in a very stressful situation. Our team understands how to work quickly with removal and cleanup of the property. The team of specialists will work to bring the property back to normal and livable. Today, water damage is a very prevalent problem for home owners and business owners. It pays to hire the best qualified specialists who guarantee satisfaction.

It is important for our customers to understand that they should follow a few basic guidelines before the specialist arrives for the cleanup. Wait for the cleanup and damage control team to arrive. Never attempt to cleanup with a wet vacuum or electrical cleaning device while the carpets are soggy or there is a lot of water in the room. If possible, shut off the water to the building at the source. Here at SERVPRO® your safety is always a priority.

For water damage cleanup and restoration call us today @ 301.753.8313.

Water Damage and Your Policyholder or Property Owner

11/15/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage and Your Policyholder or Property Owner

When they have water damage, your policyholder or property owner looks to you to handle the situation. You collect information and provide reassurance everything will be returned to normal. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals understand your priority is helping restore the property and the insured’s or owner’s peace of mind, while minimizing the loss on a claim.

The first 24 hours following a water incident are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of loss notification, a SERVPRO® Franchise Professional will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled properly by completing the following steps.

INSPECTION

SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will inspect affected areas of the property to determine the extent of damage. They will also review the inspection with you, your insured, or property manager and answer any questions before beginning work.

EMERGENCY SERVICES

Next, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will take immediate steps to protect the home or property and personal belongings from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing for drying. They will explain in detail the needed emergency services step-by-step.

MONITORING

To help ensure your insured’s or owners home and personal belongings, or property are dried to appropriate industry standards, a SERVPRO® Franchise Professional will monitor the drying process. The results will be consistently communicated to you throughout the monitoring process.

RESTORATION SERVICES

SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will replace structural materials such as drywall and baseboards, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of the property and belongings. A final walk-through of the jobsite will be conducted with you, your insured, or owner to help ensure their property was returned to preloss condition when possible.

IT’S THE WATER YOU DON’T SEE

9/1/2018 (Permalink)

IT’S THE WATER YOU DON’T SEE

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.

The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO® of Charles County has the equipment, training and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss.

When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. SERVPRO® of Charles County will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools used by SERVPRO® of Charles County.

Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.

Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO® of Charles County to monitor the drying process.

Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can calculate and create an environment most condusive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized.

Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers (pictured below) will atomize liquid deodoraizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas.

Thermal Foggers dispense solvent based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor causing particles to deodorize structures, garments, automobiles and other places where cleaning cannot reach.

The bottom line? SERVPRO® of Charles County has the training and equipment to make it “Like it never even happened.”

When Water Strikes Charles County

8/15/2018 (Permalink)

When Water Strikes Charles County

The first 24 hours following a water incident are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of loss notification SERVPRO® of Charles County will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled properly by completing the following steps.

INSPECTION

SERVPRO® of Charles County will inspect affected areas of the property to determine the extent of damage. They will also review the inspection with you and answer any questions before beginning work. 

EMERGENCY SERVICES

Next, SERVPRO® of Charles County will take immediate steps to protect the home or property and any personal belongings from additional or secondary damage by extracting the excess water and preparing for drying. They will explain in detail the needed emergency services step-by-step.

MONITORING

To help ensure your home and personal belongings, or property are dried to appropriate standards, SERVPRO® of Charles County will monitor the drying process. The results will be consistently communicated to you throughout the monitoring process.

RESTORATION SERVICES

SERVPRO® of Charles County will replace structural materials such as drywall and baseboards, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of the property and belongings. A Final walk-through of the job site will be conducted with you to help ensure the property was returned to preloss condition when possible.

Call us today 301.753.8313!

Understanding Water Types

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Understanding Water Types

When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup.

There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rain water is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemical and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals.

Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.

DAMAGE FROM CLEAN WATER

  • Shut off water source if possible or contact a qualified professional.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building id access to the panel is safe
  • DO NOT enter rooms with standing water as electrical shock hazards may exist.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying
  • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place
  • Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets as they may cause staining.
  • Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electric shock.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet.

DAMAGE FROM CONTAMINATED WATER

  • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you do come in contact with contaminated items.
  • Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
  • Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
  • Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
  • Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to contaminated areas.

When you have a water damage, don’t leave you property to chance. Call SERVPRO® of Charles County at 301.753.8313.

Prevent water damage in your home this summer

6/21/2018 (Permalink)

Prevent water damage in your home this summer

This year in Southern MD has seemed to be one of rain and flood. We have seen an above average amount of precipitation in our area which causes flooding all around. We have had 25-30 inches already this year in SOMD alone. With all of this rain and flooding the last place you want to see water is in your home. Here are some tips to help prevent water damage in your home.

  1. Clean out roof gutters. We know it is always on your to do list and you just brush it off and you’ll get to it next time. On a rainy day a clogged gutter can force water to spill into your homes foundation, through your roof, or down to your basement and can cause serious damage. So next time, make sure that your gutters are cleaned out and if they are too high to reach seek professional help.
  1. Keep an eye on your water bill. Water pipes are hidden behind your walls and in the floors in your house. If there is a leak you may not know until the damage has been done. Keep an eye on your monthly water bill, if things are starting to look unusual or the cost has gone up it is a pretty good sign you may have a leak somewhere.
  1. Test your sump pump. Checking your sump pump once a year can prevent water damage to your house. Also test it more frequently during storms to make sure nothing has changed or is broken.
  1. Fix any water leaks. Whether it is a dripping pipe, a leaking roof, your roof is missing, has loose, or damaged shingles. Fixing these now can save you a costly fix later.
  1. If you go on vacation, close and lock all doors, windows, skylights, and vents to keep out water and wind. If you are leaving for an extended period of time shut off the gas to the water heater or turn to vacation setting.

If water does make it into your home please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO® of Charles County, 301.753.8313. We are available 24/7 for your emergency needs.

Prevent Frozen and Bursting Water Pipes

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Frozen Pipes

Prevent Frozen and Bursting Water Pipes

Due to the unusually cold weather temperatures, residents are experiencing frozen and busted water pipes.  Please be aware that indoor pipes can freeze, depending on temperatures, insulation, and placement in the building. Pipes in attics, above ceilings, in crawl spaces and basements, and near exterior walls are highly vulnerable to freezing, especially where there is poor insulation, wall cracks, or other openings that allow entry of cold outside air. 

It is important for owners to know where the main water shut-off valve(s) are located, in case of a pipe break. Never attempt to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame.
Monitor water-based fire protection systems such as automatic sprinkler systems, fire pumps, hoses and hydrants.   These systems must remain heated and ice-free to minimize losses from fire and water damage. 

To prevent pipes from bursting or ice formation within the pipes, considerer these preventive measures: 

•Always place piping in heated areas of a building.
•Properly insulate attics, exterior walls, and other areas lacking adequate heating. 
•Repair broken windows, ill-fitting doors, and other conditions that allow heat loss. 
•Keep exterior doors closed, even if not in the immediate vicinity of piping. 
•Maintain heat in buildings at all times. No area with piping should be allowed to fall below 40°F (4°C). (This requires regular maintenance, inspection, and servicing of existing heating equipment, and safe emergency measures during a prolonged power failure.) 
•Shut off water lines and drain all pipes if the building is to be left unattended for an extended period. (The exceptions are sprinkler systems unless all combustible materials are removed and the building is noncombustible or fire-resistive.) 
•Provide insulation around a pipe sufficient to reduce heat loss, or provide heat tracing, if the pipe might be exposed to freezing temperatures.
•Install low temperature alarms (with remote monitoring) in cold-prone areas. 
•Adequately maintain and prepare dry-pipe sprinkler systems for cold weather (drain low points, etc.). 
•Properly service and winterize private yard hydrants. 
•Clear snow and ice from private yard hydrants, outside hose connections, and fire protection system valves to help prevent freezing of these systems.

If adequate heat cannot be maintained, the main domestic water supply valve should be shut off and all water from piping should be completely drained by a qualified plumber. Sprinkler systems and other water-based fire protection systems are a special case. Every effort should be made to keep these systems in service for your safety.

http://www.charlescountymd.gov/news-releases/prevent-frozen-and-bursting-water-pipes-0

Facing Water and Mold after a Fire sounds like a nightmare!

12/2/2017 (Permalink)

Fire- Water- Mold

Facing Water and Mold after a Fire sounds like a nightmare!

So there were some events that occurred in Southern, MD last week that really got my mind thinking. When you think of a Fire breaking out in a home you instantly hope that everyone is safe and that the home is not burnt to the ground. Once you find out that everyone is safe and the home is still standing you tend to have a sigh of relief. Unfortunately there are so many other scenarios that most people do not stop to think about.  

So your home catches on fire but your sprinkler system is activated and puts the fire out almost immediately! GREAT! Well not so great. Now you have a home that could have extensive water damage from the sprinklers putting out the fire. WOW! Catch 22! Now you have minimal fire damage but a large water damage!

This is where hiring a professional to handle the work in your home is so important. You need to make sure that they can not only handle the Fire but the Water damage as well. As we all know if water damage is not treated properly it could result in microbial growth! (MOLD) This then opens another wound in an already frustrating scenario.

Here at SERVPRO® Charles County we hate to see anyone experience these losses but we also are glad that we can be of service during these difficult scenarios. Sometimes people just need someone to listen to them vent and tell them that it will be ok. Here at SERVPRO® we are ALWAYS “Here to Help.”

SEWAGE BACK-UPS TIPS

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

SEWAGE BACK-UP

SEWAGE BACK-UPS TIPS

Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter homes or buildings. It contains fungi, bacteria and viruses, many of which are disease-causing. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the hazards that sewage presents, particularly for the very young or very old, or for those with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems.

The IICRC complied guidelines for professional sewage clean-up called the Standard for Water Damage Restoration (S500).

Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups:

  • Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic – disease causing – fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
  • Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
  • It is not safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
  • Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly.  This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too.  There’s simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
  • Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy.
 

How A Water Restoration Technician Assists After Disaster

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO

How A Water Restoration Technician Assists After Disaster

A water restoration technician has an extremely important job when a home is affected by excess moisture or fluid. Certified professionals in the industry can quickly reverse the extensive damage that a flood or sewage backflow can cause, and save as many items as possible in the process. And when dealing with contaminated fluids, especially when it has pooled in the home, only certified professionals should be allowed to manage the cleanup. Attempting to perform cleanup efforts without expert assistance can lead to injury or illness, both of which can be severe.

A certified water restoration technician will usually be on call around the clock, except for those times when an entire community has been affected by a major disaster. As soon as a professional is on site, they will assess the situation and determine what items need immediate rescuing. If fluid has pooled in areas around the home, then pumps will be used to remove it.

The home will be dried using a configuration of heavy duty air movers and dehumidifiers, and while it dries, the firm will move through the building and look for any evidence of mold or pathogen contamination. If pathogens or mold are present, they will be eliminated using special  procedures. This will ensure the home is safe to return to, and with concerted drying efforts, the building will as good as new once professionals have completed their work.

 

Damage From Water Should Be Cleaned By Certified Professionals

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO

Damage From Water Should Be Cleaned By Certified Professionals

The amount of damage water can cause is amazing, and often underestimated by homeowners. Excess moisture is bad enough, but when a home is flooded or hit with a plumbing disaster (like a burst pipe), the situation can quickly get out of hand. There’s a reason why these incidents are among the most expensive problems a homeowner can face. Contaminated water not only creates immediate structural problems, it can leave serious biological threats behind after it has been removed.

Floods, sewage backflows, and other sources of contaminated fluid usually cause the worst damage. Dirty water is filled with all kinds of deadly substances, ranging from chemical residues to animal feces to parasites. Bacteria, viruses and fungi grow explosively in contaminated fluid, and severe health risks, like salmonella and hepatitis, are common in flood waters.

This problem is compounded by the composition of most homes, which are filled with organic materials. Drywall, wood and the matter that is trapped in carpet fibers are just a few examples, and they can give pathogens room to grow. Within 48 hours, mold may begin creeping behind the walls and releasing spores, and any organic materials that have been soaked through by contaminated fluid will usually have to be destroyed.

That’s why restoration firms, in addition to surveying the home for structural problems, will dry the home quickly and apply antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water. This ensures the family can return to a safe home, and not one harboring a collection of deadly pathogens.

Alway

What is water damage restoration?

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

What is water damage restoration?

Water damage restoration is the process of restoring a property back to preloss condition after sustaining any level of water damage. While there are currently no government regulations in the United States dictating procedures, two large certifying bodies, the IICRC and the RIA, do recommend standards of care. Most companies use the IICRC procedural standard, which is the S500. It is based on reliable restoration principles, research and practical experience with extensive consultation and information gathered from numerous sources. These include the scientific community, the international, national and regional trade associations serving the disaster restoration industry, chemical formulators and equipment manufacturers, cleaning and restoration schools, restoration service companies, the insurance industry, allied trades persons and others with specialized experience. The S500 water damage guide is subject to further revision as developments occur in technology, testing and processing procedures.

The IICRC S500 provides a specific set of practical standards for water damage restoration. It does not attempt to teach comprehensive water damage restoration procedures, rather it provides the foundation and basic principles of proper restoration practices. Prior to specifying the job scope and procedures, the S500 must be reviewed. This is important so that the individual circumstances of each restoration job is taken into account. Users of the S500 must be in pace with technology and follow all rules and regulations of a country whether it may be federal, state, provincial or local law. Federal, State and local laws might also determine who can do the water damage restoration assessment and who can authorise remediation procedures. In British Columbia (Canada) the Insurance Council of British Columbia has determined that an Insurance Adjuster working for an Insurer (to mitigate a loss or potential loss) can authorise restoration efforts on private property even though it may not be a covered peril; but, the Adjuster is not accountable for the outcome of any restoration effort, even if the Insured party was, or could be, knowingly placed in harms way. Each case of a water damage may be unique and common sense may require deviation from the S500.

The procedures to be followed and the precaution to be observed when performing water damage or sewage damage restoration of homes, buildings and other structures, and their contents describes specific guidelines or steps.

Loss Assessment and Evaluation

A professional water damage restoration service will document the materials which were affected by the water damage and refer to industry standard pricing guides such as The Blue Book in order to determine the proper value of the residence's materials lost and their service.

Water damage services include the inspection of the affected area(s) with water sensing equipment such as probes and other infrared tools in order to determine the source of the damage, and possible extent of area affected. Restoration services would then be rendered to the residence in order to dry the structure, sanitize any affected or cross contaminated areas, and deodorize all affected areas and materials. After the labor is completed, water damage equipment including, but not limited to, air movers, air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, wood floor drying systems, and sub floor drying equipment is left in the residence. After a period of two to three days are the labor is completed, a reevaluation of the residence is taken to monitor the drying process, and any equipment not further needed is removed as to keep the charges under control.

Categorization of Water in Water damage

Water , under the IICRC's S-500 Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration, has been broken off into three categories. These categories are based upon the level of contamination present, or presumed present, in the source water.

Category 1 is water from a clean or sanitary source. Previously known as clear water, this descriptor has since been removed to reduce confusion. These can include water from broken clean water supply lines; clean water from toilet tank or bowl; faucets; and bottled water. Although the source may be from a clean source, category 1 water can quickly degrade into category 2 or 3 depending upon such factors as time and contact with contaminants.

Category 2 is water with some level of contaminants that could cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Previously known as grey water, this descriptor has since been removed to avoid confusion. Sources for category 2 water may include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; dishwasher overflow. Category 2 water can quickly degrade into category 3 depending upon such factors as time and contact with contaminants.

Category 3 water is grossly unsanitary, and could cause severe illnes or death if ingested. Previousy known as black water, this descriptor has since been removed to avoid confusion. Sources for category 3 water include, but are not limited to, sewage; flooding from rivers or streams; water from beyond the toilet trap; water from the toilet bowl with feces; and standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.

Principles in Drying

Structural and Contents Consideration

When working within a residence, it is often the case that those whom are performing the water damage restoration must work with and around the contents of the home. This includes, but is not limited to, furniture, electronics, books, and any other materials that may have been affected by the water damage. The moving around of the said contents is often referred to "contents manipulation." Water damage restoration firms often bill contents manipulation on a per hour basis.

Contents may also require treatment due to the affects of water damage. This may include, but is not limited to, sanitization, deodorization, drying, and storing of said contents. Other contents may simply be unsalvageable or the cost of having it salvaged would exceed its current value. In these cases, the contents would be discarded.

Monitoring

It is important to be proactive in the monitoring process. Many questions have to be asked and answered: Is the drying equipment set up properly? Is the personnel qualified to relocated equipment and conduct new techniques? Are the machines in good working order and are they maintained properly? Check the work of professionals it is important and dont assume their interests are yours.

After professional water damage equipment is left for two to three days after the labor was completed, firms will return to the residence to monitor the temperature, humidity, and moisture content of the affected walls, contents, or other affected materials. Should one area be dry and another affected area still wet, the firm will relocate or remove equipment as they see fit.

Final Inspection and Completion

Once the temperature, humidity, and moisture content is deemed acceptable and safe according to industry standards, the water damage restoration equipment would be removed and the water damage restoration process would be complete.

Some homeowners, property managers, building maintenance operators use their own personnel to perform water damage restoration to save on the growing costs, it is prescribed to hire a professional water damage restoration company to perform these services since there are defining criteria's and methods to be used for assessing water damage and establishing restoration procedures. Because of the unique circumstances of every water damage restoration project, it is impractical to issue blanket rules intended to a situation. In extenuating circumstance, deviation from portions of the S500 may be appropriate. In performing a job, carelessness is never acceptable and common sense should always prevail.

5 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

5 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage

Has water damage happened to you? Here's what to do next to keep it from getting worse.

By Lisa Appel

February 20, 2015

When a pipe bursts, a drain backs up, or a flood occurs in your home, it can be hard to see past the mess. A million questions will run through your mind.

What do I do now?

What’s going to happen?

Is my stuff ruined?

And the most important question of all: Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the damage?

There’s no doubt about it. Water damage is extremely stressful, and the more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to decide how to address it. Here are five things that every homeowner needs to know about water damage.

  1. There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.

You might think that water is water, whether it’s from flooding or a burst pipe, but flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. If you live in an area likely to experience flooding, you will probably already have a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP). When you report the claim to the insurance company, make sure to specify whether the claim is for water damage or for flood damage, so they can begin adjusting your claim correctly.

  1. Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.

It is a good idea to look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.

  1. Once water damage has happened, the clock is ticking before it gets worse.

When your property has been water damaged, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a convenient time to start the cleanup. Secondary damage from mold growth can present serious health risks associated with mold in the living environment.

Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.

There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time something gets wet until mold can begin to grow. After that time, mold will multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of a professional mold remediation service to safely treat and remove the mold.

To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry again within that 48-hour window. To do this, you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration and emergency water extraction. They will have the professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. Many have 24-hour a day emergency hotlines, so you can start recovering your property almost immediately.

  1. Your insurance company needs to know right away.

It’s a good idea to call your insurance company right away when you discover water damage. Your insurance agent can start the claims process immediately, as well as guide you through the first steps you will need to take to protect your property from more damage, like stopping the source of the water at the main water turnoff.

Your insurance company may also direct you to a water damage restoration company that they have worked with in the past. Keep in mind that you do not have to call the company that they recommend. You may choose any reputable restoration specialist to restore your property for the insurance claim.

  1. The pollution level of the water is important.

Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.

Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. This water will not cause illness or any ill effects.

Category 2: Water that may cause illness through contact. It may have bacteria in it,

Category 3: Water that is highly contaminated. Contact can cause severe illness or death. Think sewage backup, an overflowing toilet, or storm waters.

Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination that the water touches, such as dirty carpeting or soil from the ground, can change water damage Category to 2 or even Category 3. And since standing breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.

More contamination can mean that the restoration team will have to use more aggressive measures to clean your structure and property, and it might mean that soft furnishings, like your carpet and the carpet pad, may have to be discarded for your safety.

Water damage can be dangerous and expensive, so preventing water damage is an important part of home maintenance. But if you know the basics of what to do once it happens, you can prevent it from doing its worst.

3 Types of Water Damage: Water Backup, Overflow, Discharge and Flood

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

3 Types of Water Damage: Water Backup, Overflow, Discharge and Flood

Are You Insured for Water Damage to Your Home?

By Mila Araujo

Updated July 25, 2017

Is Your Home Insured For Water Damage?

Water is one of the most common causes of damage in homes, and it represents a large number of insurance claims. Water damage to your property can happen from any number of sources, such as plumbing, appliances, storms, accidents and infiltration. 

Causes of Water Damage in Insurance: What's Covered?

If water damage is sudden and accidental, there's a good chance you are covered by most standard home insurance policies.

Depending on your policy, you might have coverage for damage caused by water. Some coverage is included in a standard home policy like an HO-3; other sources of damage might not be covered unless you add an endorsement to your policy. It really depends on the type of home, condo insurance or renters insurance you have.  Your standard homeowner policy will include:

  • Damages caused by the weight of ice, snow or sleet. This can cause roof collapse or water damage, among other problems.
  • Discharge and overflow of water, even if it is an accident.
  • Tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system. 
  • Freezing of plumbing and pipes.

However, if you opted for the least expensive type of policy, or if you're restricted to a policy like an HO-1 or HO-8, you might have very limited coverage. Unlike the other standard policies, these cover a very limited set of perils and will not normally include the items listed above.

Understanding the Differences in Insurance Water Damage Coverages

If you're frustrated or confused by water damage coverages and insurance, you aren't alone. Here are some explanations and definitions of the most often confused water damage terms and what you need to know about your coverage if you have to make a claim. You won't want to have your water damage claim denied

Types of Water Damage in Insurance

Some types of water damage are pretty straightforward. It's helpful to be familiar with three of them. When you call to make a claim and to find out if you're covered, the insurance company may use terms like:

  • Sewer backup or water backup 
  • Overflow and discharge
  • Flood

The source of water damage is not always obvious, so the insurance company might throw some of these terms around when you call to ask if you're covered. For example, many people use the term "flood" to explain any kind of water in their house, but ?a flood is very specifically defined when it comes to insurance. It helps to understand insurance jargon for different types of damage so you can understand if something might be covered or not.

The insurance company will send an adjuster to manage the claim and will investigate the source of the damage to see if it is covered.

Water Damage May Be Limited on Your Insurance

In some cases, water damage coverage may be added onto your policy. You can check to see if you have special water damage coverages like sewer backup added as an endorsement by looking at your policy's declaration page.

1

 Sewer or Water BackUp Coverage — Home Insurance Claims

 How to know when water damage is covered by insurance or not. RuslanDashinsky / GettyImages

Sewer backup describes what happens when water comes up or is pushed into your home through the pipes from sewer or drainage systems. It is a very unpleasant type of water damage because it often involves dirty water from the sewers that will not only destroy your personal property but can also impact your health because it's so unsanitary. 

Most people don't know a lot about sewer backup coverage if they've never had to make a claim. Sewer backup can cause thousands of dollars in damage. The Civil Engineering Research ?Foundation, indicates that the rate of sewer backup incidents is increasing at a rate of 3 percent a year, so this is one coverage you don't want to do without.

There are several potential sources of sewer backup:

  • Blockage of a city sanitary main: If the city main gets blocked, it may cause water to back up into your home through your pipes. 
  • Aging sewer systems that require updates or repair. 
  • Tree roots: When you have older pipes, sewer ?lines and water entry pipes, tree roots can find their way into the pipes and cause blockages. You can check for this problem on your own lines by having a plumber check your pipelines with a camera and do some basic preventative maintenance on your home. 
  • City-related pipeline issues like combined pipelines or problems in the sanitary main: When the system you are using combines the sewage and storm water into one pipeline instead of having a separate pipeline for each, these are combined pipelines. The system can get overwhelmed in a storm and the water can back up into your home. 
  • Overflow or back-up of the drainage systems in your home. If your gutter systems or rainwater pipes are blocked or overwhelmed by debris or sudden water flow it may cause a back-up into your home. 

Sewer backup is not automatically included in most standard homeowner policies. You must add it to your policy by endorsement to make sure you're adequately protected. 

Sewer backup coverage can be added to a policy for as little as $40 to $50 a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Contact your insurance company to find out the specific cost, but considering the aging sewer systems in many areas and the increased incidence of severe weather and storms causing claims, it's worth finding out. 

2

 Overflow Water Damage and Discharge Water Damage

 Appliances breaking down may cause water damage find out what's covered. Sturti/ Getty Images

Overflow and discharge water damage is the type of water damage most people think about when they imagine a water damage claim in their home.

Overflow involves water escaping or overflowing from appliances, pipes or water outlets in your home. Some examples include your bathtub or washing machine overflowing.  

Discharge is what happens when water is released from plumbing or appliances and then floods your home. For example, if your water heater gives out or a pipe bursts, there is a sudden discharge of water. 

The key to coverage in these cases is it must be sudden and accidental, not a maintenance or wear-and-tear issue.

Another type of damage that people often have a hard time understanding is seepage. Seepage is not sudden, therefore it is not usually covered. Overflow and discharge are often sudden and accidental and they usually cause large amounts of water to enter your home.  More 

3

 Flood Insurance Water Damage

 Understanding Flood vs Other Water Damage. PICIMPACT / GettyImages

You would generally use the term "flood" to define that you have water in your home. You might say, "My basement got flooded." It can be confusing when you're told that insurance doesn't cover flood damage, yet people get paid for "water damage floods." Insurance doesn't cover flood damage because there is a difference between water damage and flood damage. 

Insurance would view a flood claim as a body of water overflowing so the level of water outside your home rises to a point where it enters your home. The official definition of a flood states that it's "a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres and two or more properties of normally dry land."

A good way to understand whether you have a real flood claim or a water damage claim is to determine if more than one home is affected. If so, you may be looking at a flooding situation or a flood claim. If only your home is affected, you probably don't have a flood claim even though you feel that you are "flooded." The source of water and cause of damage is likely one of the scenarios described above. If it is sudden and accidental and not due to maintenance, it could be a covered water damage claim. 

A flood is generally not covered by home insurance policies. If you have concerns specific to your area, contact your local state commissioner's office for details about what insurance is available in your area. It can vary from state to state. 

Understanding What Water Damage Coverage You Need

The most difficult thing to deal with when you have water damage can be figuring out if you're covered. Now that you understand the different kinds of water damage commonly covered in insurance terms, you can discuss your coverage with your personal insurance representative to find out what is covered on your policy type. You can also use this information as a tool to help you figure out if you need to add additional endorsements to add water damage to your policy. Every insurance company is different. This information is a guide to help you understand your options. Your insurance representative is not only in the best position to give you the specifics of what's covered on your policy, but is also an excellent source of information when it comes to the risks in your area. He may have access to information about local claims and water damage trends that could affect you. If you want more information from another source, you can always contact your state insurance commissioner's office to find out more about what is available in your state and city.

Faster to your Charles County Water Damage Event

7/12/2017 (Permalink)

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Charles County provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of Charles County arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 301.753.8313

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Charles County

SERVPRO of Charles County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.