Will Insurance Always Cover House Fires?
If you have the correct insurance coverage, you can have enormous peace of mind after a home fire.
Will House Fires Always Be Covered By Insurance?
As a homeowner, you never want to have to make an insurance claim for damage to your place. Recovering from a catastrophe can be stressful and devastating. However, you’re relieved that a good insurance plan can help cover the costs of any damage. It’s important to know, though, that in some cases, an insurance policy won’t cover a home fire. Be aware of thee guidelines so you don’t make a bad decision or so that you’re not caught off guard.
No insurance policy will ever cover damage to your home due to an act of arson. Arson insurance fraud is a crime and could land you in prison.
- Homeowners who commit this are trying to collect money from the insurance company.
- The insurance company will investigate any house fire.
- If the investigation reveals arson was the cause, the insurance company will not cover any loss or damage to the Riverside, CA home
If you leave your home vacant, and a fire occurs, the insurance company will not cover the incident. Insurance companies have specific definitions for what constitutes a vacant home fire. First, most insurance companies consider a home to be vacant if the owners haven’t occupied the property for more than 30 days. Also, the home fire must have occurred during this vacancy period. This doesn’t mean if you’re away for an extended vacation, or if you only live in the home for part of the year, that you can’t get coverage. In these cases, simply apply for vacant home insurance or get an endorsement on your current policy.
You can have tremendous peace of mind after a home fire if you have the right insurance coverage. If you plan on vacating your home for more than a month, make sure you work with your provider to ensure you have coverage. Also, remember that no plan will cover a fire that results from a criminal act.
How To Disinfect After a Residential Flood
Flood clean-up in a North Riverside, CA home.
When a storm hits and your house floods in North Riverside, CA, you cannot simply dry the area out and move on. Storm water is contaminated and mud-ridden. Which areas in your home need dried and sanitized? What procedures get the job done right? Follow the cleaning requirements below to disinfect your home.
What Needs To Be Disinfected?
The short answer is, anything that touched flood water or mud necessitates sanitization. Not every item can be saved. Toss and replace belongings such as soiled toys, stuffed animals, mattresses and carpet padding. There are areas that can be restored with proper flood disinfectant procedures. They include:
- Ceilings, walls, plaster, paneling and insulation
- Floors, subfloors, rugs and carpeting
- Furniture, bedding and clothing
- Appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, televisions and vacuum cleaners
- Kitchen items including dishes, silverware, counters and cupboards
- HVAC and electrical systems
How Do I Sanitize the Items?
Cleaning requirements are dependent on the type of item. There are several methods to sanitize your home properly:
• For most surface cleaning, sanitize with a combination of ¼ cup bleach in a gallon of water.
• For non-metal kitchen items, use two tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water. Metal kitchen items should not be exposed to bleach, rather use boiling water. A good rule of thumb is to let the items soak or boil for at least 10 minutes to sterilize.
• Use two tablespoons of bleach per wash cycle to disinfect your clothing. Use the hottest temperature that the clothing can handle for washing and drying. Another effective method is to take your clothes to a professional dry cleaner.
• Upholstered materials and electrical appliances most often require professional cleaning.
The cleaning requirements for disinfecting after a residential flood in North Riverside, CA, can be overwhelming and time-consuming. You don’t have to go it alone. Work with a professional storm and flooding expert to help you properly flood clean your home.
Sourcing by Smell: How To Find Mold
Mold smell may be unpleasant.
It’s unmistakable, it’s musty, it’s overpowering, and it’s proven impossible to pinpoint: It’s a mold smell. When your Old Town Riverside, CA, business has been overtaken by the malodourous sensation, it’s a sure sign of mold growth – but where? Using the five common senses and some modern technology, you can pinpoint the location and perform remediation to leave the building safe, clean, and odor-free (at least from a fungus smell).
Using the Five Senses
While all senses can affirm the presence of mold, only a few should be utilized to confront the growth. After assuming its presence due to the suspicious mildew smell, it can be frustrating to not see any visible signs of growth. Keep in mind that mold may be invisible to the human eye because it develops in dark, moist places:
- Behind walls
- Underneath carpet or floorboards
- Inside heating and ventilation ducts
Following the mold smell should lead you to an area where it is most pungent, even if that may be the ceiling or an interior wall. From there, it is important to protect the other three senses by limiting exposure to the infected area.
The sooner the mold problem is remediated, the sooner business can return to normal operation. A mold remediation team can utilize infrared cameras to check for mold growth in the areas invisible to regular sight:
- Infrared cameras can cover large areas in a short amount of time, efficiently identifying the growth and allowing remediation to begin sooner.
- Images of heat radiation can identify areas of moisture (a necessary element for mold growth).
- Temperature gauges can also be read, identifying areas that may be encouraging spores to develop.
Once the location has been identified, pictures can be taken to measure the impacted area and present options for remediation. Mold smell may be unpleasant but is a key indicator of its even more unpleasant source. Follow your nose, and call the pros!
How To Keep Your Pets Safe During a House Fire
When you make your escape strategy, do not forget about your furry friends.
Take The Steps Below To Keep Your Pet Safe
You have probably prepared your family for a fire emergency. Your children likely know how to escape a burning home. Pets, however, usually do not understand what to do during a blaze. You should thus take the below steps to keep them safe.
1. Include Pets in Your Fire Escape Plan
When you make your escape strategy, do not forget about your furry friends. Practice bringing your dog or cat with you as you leave the burning home. As part of your pet preparation plan, you should also keep a separate supply kit that includes the animal's food and other essentials.
2. Keep Your Pets in Easily Accessible Areas
Of course, a fire emergency can also occur when your pet is home alone. If this happens, rescuers will try to save any trapped animals in your Downtown Riverside, CA, house. To make the firefighters' job easier, keep your pets near an entrance when they are home by themselves. You may want to keep their leashes in an easily accessible location, as well.
3. Ensure Firefighters Know How Many Pets You Have
Firefighters also need to know exactly how many pets may be inside. You may not have time to tell the firefighters this key information when they arrive at the house.
You should thus put up a piece of static cling in your front window that states how many pets you have. Update the list every time you get a new pet.
4. Make Sure Your Pets Have a Place To Stay
You and your family may have to temporarily move into a hotel while fire restoration professionals clean up your damaged home. Call in advance to find out which hotels in your area allow pets.
You should consider pet safety when making your fire preparation strategy. While you should not risk your life to rescue your dog or cat during a fire emergency, you can increase the pet's chances of survival by planning ahead.
3 Things To Know About a Noisy Water Heater
A water heater may make noises for a number of reasons.
Is It Normal For a Water Heater To Make Noise?
If the water heater in your Calimesa, CA, home makes noises you may be wondering if it’s an issue for concern. Over the course of a lifetime of use, there are a number of sounds you may hear from this appliance. Here’s what you may want to know.
1. Many Noises May Be Normal
In many cases, a humming sound may occur as the water flows around the heating element. This is a normal sound, but may be corrected by ensuring that the element is secured tightly. Similarly screeching sounds may occur and are not indicative of a damaging problem. This sound occurs as water tries to fit through a tight space, and ensuring that the valves are properly opened should correct the noise issue.
2. Some Noises May Indicate Issues
In some cases you may hear rumbling, cracking or popping sounds coming from your water heater, these sounds can indicate that sediment may have gotten into the tank. This sediment can cause damage if left in the tank such as a leak which may lead to flooding. If flooding does occur it’s best to contact a water damage restoration service to help with any repairs.
3. Regular Maintenance May Fix the Problem
One of the main ways to ensure that your unit is not experiencing problems is to perform regular maintenance on the unit. This may include asking a professional to conduct a water heater flush, which is the process of washing out any sediment or other debris from the tank. Regularly maintaining your unit will allow you to spot and fix any problems that may occur in a timely fashion, as well as help prevent long-term damage.
A water heater may make noises for a number of reasons. Some of these sounds may be normal depending on your heater type, but others could be indicative of a problem. If you have questions or concerns about your heater model it’s best to contact a professional.
Keep Your Business Operational During a Power Outage
Buy a portable generator and make sure you get one that is strong.
A big storm in Beaumont, CA, can shut your business down for days, maybe even weeks. A power outage will shut down computers, affect security systems, shut off refrigeration capability and turn your building dark. It's always a good idea to have a backup plan and to prepare for the worst. Business interruption insurance can reduce the impact on your company's bottom line. Contact with a local storm remediation team allows you to get to work on recovery in a matter of hours. Anything you can do to minimize the scope of storm damage is time and money well spent.
The Importance of Keeping Your Business Going
With some forethought and consultation with experts, a power outage can be handled with some grace and style. Consider these steps to protect your business from a major storm:
- Install an uninterrupted power supply source for all computers; this allows the computer to run on battery power and at least allows time for saving critical files.
- Make use of the pervasiveness of WiFi; this enables you to use your phone for emergency communications.
- Buy a portable generator and make sure you get one that is strong enough to power up critical systems such as computers or refrigeration.
Keeping part of your business going is better than having everything shut down. A good plan may still allow you to service customers, keep employees occupied and save vital inventory.
The Value of a Plan
There are many facets to a storm preparedness plan. It's not something you can make up under pressure. Some things to consider include making sure your insurance protection is current and will cover losses. Employees can be a big asset if they are trained in what steps to take during a power outage. Knowledgeable employees will also increase the safety of customers. Finally, make sure you have a plan in place to speed up the storm damage recovery process.
Smoke and soot
Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and Soot Facts
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of North Riverside City will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Part Five: Reputation and Hiring the Right People
I came across a well worn quote recently, it was by the famous and highly successful Warren Buffet,
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.
Pat Padgett the Carpet Cleaner wasn’t Warren Buffet and he wouldn’t have put this thought exactly the same way, but he also knew this to be true. Spending decades as the local serviceman was all about reputation. Communities are small, even our big ones. What was true then is still true today, reputation matters. A Vulnerable ReputationThere are two primary aspects of a business that are most vulnerable to depleting a reputation, the quality of work accomplished and the people who represent the company, your employees. If I were to heed Warren Buffet’s words I’d have to focus on my hiring. I’d have to hire the right people. Because Pat Padgett had a simpler operation, the company's reputation fell onto his shoulders. My dad’s proximity to his reputation guarded his reputation. But, I was trying to do something different, I was building a company intentionally larger and more complex and so I had to walk carefully and make intentional decisions along the way. Over time I learned that hiring the right people had a lot to do with being the right company. And so, I pursued after this goal. Building systems, making good hires, focusing on culture, and pursuing everything we do with excellence. It worked. Progress and Growth: Building a Winning TeamOur team continued to expand and continued to grow. Few managers develop the talent and skill necessary to realize full and maximum return from their employees. The managerial task is to take a newly hired person and make them fully productive as quickly as possible. This has a two-sided benefit: the company benefits, produces new revenue quickly, the employee benefits, it provides gratification. Pat Padgett the Carpet Cleaner employed 4 people, by 2015 I was employing 45 people, now SERVPRO Team Jeffrey Padgett has 30 in just 5 short years. Early on I developed a strategy for hiring good people and keeping good people. I found that my best applicants came from two sources: people looking for work (at this point I know there are levels of motivation) and employee referrals. I especially valued employee referrals because I know that if someone I already trust is willing to back another with their reputation, they’ll likely fit in well. I made sure that every hire had clear expectations and even wrote out explicitly what these expectations were, I still do this. I found this to be important because, if a difficult conversation needs to be had, it can happen maturely. I had this somewhat unorthodox interview strategy that I found effective. I’d present a potential candidate with a group of blocks, each with one letter of the alphabet. I’d ask them to order them in alphabetical order — yes, I did receive a few cock-eyed looks. But what I found was this. I was able to glimpse the character of a person, if only for a moment. There is something about this task that tests a person’s patience. I’d glimpse the thought process, see how they approached a problem and then see their willingness to receive instruction. Reflections on Building the Right TeamIn those years I was trying, attempting and implementing. Not everything I did was a success, some things were outright failures. But I found the failures were equally important, the wrong hires taught me lessons for the future. In those early years I plowed forward, I still am. I think back to dad, to what Pat Padgett would think. Would he give me that attaboy, would he be proud of the progress I made? I know he would. He’d laugh with me at my mistakes and give me his onerous opinion where he felt it was needed. My Dad was worried about the reputation of Pat Padgett the Carpet Cleaner, but he was also concerned about the reputation of the Padgett name. I wasn’t my fathers employee, though at times I was, I was his son. And he invested himself in me, he taught me the ropes and I continue on, continuing the work, furthering the reputation with each new hire made.
4 Ways To Prevent Mold From Spreading in Your Home
Mold containment in a Downtown Riverside, CA home
Mold Outbreak In A Home
The fungal growth known as mold exists just about everywhere on the planet. It only becomes a problem when it grows into unsightly and damaging colonies in your home in Downtown Riverside, CA. When this happens, one of your first concerns is not spreading mold throughout the home. The more mold in your home, the bigger the problem. Here are some important principles to keep in mind when containing a mold outbreak.
1. Understand mold. This organism spreads and reproduces through tiny spores. They can be as small as four microns or as large as 20 microns (which is still very small). Because of their tiny size, spreading mold is incredibly easy.
2. Limit airflow. These tiny spores can be moved around by the gentlest of air currents. Therefore, fans and air conditioning units should be turned off or limited. Even breezes from windows can contribute to mold spores being carried from one room to another.
3. Clean carefully. Whether you have a form of black mold or some other type, it is important to resist disturbing the mold. This can allow the mold to drift into other areas of the home. Even if you carry mold spores on your clothing, it could spread. Before you begin any work yourself, make sure you understand the process.
4. Hire professionals. A significant mold outbreak calls for the services of an experienced mold cleanup company. Trained technicians understand exactly how mold spreads and they will employ physical barriers and air filtration devices to contain any spread. They will remove mold spores with the use of HEPA vacuums as part of the mold remediation process. The restoration process includes repairing and replacing any damaged items in the home, as well as cleaning and sanitizing the home.
Eradicating mold from a home is a complex process partly because spreading mold is so easy to do. A professional approach is often your best option.
Part Four: Casted Shadows and Resting in the Shade
Jeff & Pat Padgett.
Rightfully so, Pat Padgett cast a long shadow, in a similar way any patriarch of a family does. And, it’s the responsibility of young men to stand in that shadow for a time and then eventually “venture off.”
By 1991 I had built something meaningful. But that year was a fork in the road. It was a year to build something larger, or a year to play it safe, stay in the right lane, and only merge when the road requires it. But a 25-year-old Jeffrey Padgett wasn’t looking to play it safe, he was hungry and ready to prove himself, ready to test the boundaries of that shadow and to set off on his own journey.
In hand I had a business consultant, Mack Clark, I had a management book, Small Business Management by H.N. Broom, popular at the time but has since faded into obscurity, and ambition. These were together a dangerous combination: a coach, resources, hunger.
From Mack, I had caught the vision of expansion. Up to this point, I had grown a business, I had managed a business, but I had yet to expand a business; this moment was a real test for me. H.N. Broom’s book was helpful because it filled in the details.
Early on Mack helped remove the blinders. In many ways, I was like that carriage horse with his periphery cut off. I saw what was in front of me, but I wasn’t able to see the edges. As the blinders were removed I learned that there were more opportunities out there, in related fields that would, if I allowed it, expand the business.
The opportunity was emergency restoration work.
The first step to expansion was research. I had to do a market study. I had to answer basic questions about my neighborhood: Who is my customer? Does this business make sense for them? Is there enough potential work to support a new business in town?
As I asked these questions and did my own research the answers I found were encouraging. The customers did exist because they were the same people I was already servicing. My target customer-owned a home that they valued and put their blood, sweat, and lives into — a highly motivated group of people.
But could they pay for the services?
This is always the hanging question. By this time H.N. Broom’s words were seared in my mind. I had spent countless hours scouring these pages, his book was an old friend, dog-eared and worn edges. Broom’s reminder was ominous and I took heed of his warning, “customers who have unsatisfied needs but who lack the money and/or credit are poor markets because they have nothing to offer in exchange for a product or service.”
Broom was trying to protect me from heartache, in plain speech, “people may have needs, but if they do not have the capacity to fund these needs, the business fails.”
But this herculean hurdle was different for me. Because I did have customers with needs, but these customers also had insurance policies on their homes. And there it was: need plus funding capacity, both these answers were now a yes.
I was on to something and I was committed to plowing forward. And I did. In 1993 I ended the chapter of Jeffrey Padgett the Carpet Cleaner and opened Padgetts’ Cleaning & Restoration, Inc. then eventually in 2015, SERVPRO Team Jeffrey Padgett.
As I think back, I wonder what was going through the mind of Pat Padgett the Carpet Cleaner as he saw his son running and working. I know he was approving and I know he was proud. He didn’t always say so, I didn’t always receive the attaboy, but that’s how his generation was. Pat Padgett’s generation is remembered as the Greatest Generation, so-called because they experienced the turmoil of the 20th century, the poverty of the Great Depression, the faint memory of the Great War, the turmoil of a second World War, and then came out on the other side in one piece and went to work. He was a man who fought and worked not for fame or recognition, but just simply because it was the right thing to do for his family.
As time progresses I test the edges of Pat Padgett’s shadow, at times thinking I’ve ventured off, only to realize in my more cognizant moments, that I do not need to venture from the shadow, only embrace it and realize the shadow is fine enough for me.