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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Filing an Insurance Claim After a Home Fire

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

Home Destroyed By Fire With Caved In Roof Vacant home fire in Calimesa, CA

A home fire can be a very upsetting ordeal. Fortunately, homeowners' insurance will cover many fire losses.

What Homeowners Insurance Does Not Cover

There are a few instances where most homeowners insurance will not cover fire damage, including the following:

  • Arson
  • Wildfire
  • Vacant home fire

In addition to the above exclusions, insurance policies have coverage limits. This means that they will not pay for damages above a certain amount. It is important to talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate homeowners' coverage and determine whether you need an additional policy, such as vacant home insurance.

How To File a Claim

After the home fire has been extinguished and all family members are safe, it is time to call the insurance company. The agent will let you know what information you will need to submit. Take detailed photo or video evidence, and make a list of all items that will need to be repaired or replaced. If you have original receipts or a record of how much the items cost, include this information. Additionally, keep detailed records of all the expenses you incur, including those for repairs and temporary housing. Finally, do not let the insurance company close out the claim until you are sure all the damage has been discovered and documented. Often, homeowners find damage later on that they were unaware of when initially filing the claim. The insurance company is not obligated to cover damage discovered after the claim has been closed.
After you have filed an insurance claim, it is time to begin repairing your property. It is important to act quickly because water from the extinguishing efforts can begin to grow mold, and smoke and soot can cause permanent damage if left for too long. You may wish to hire an experienced restoration team to help you get your Calimesa, CA, property back to normal after a home fire.

3 Ways To Avoid Mold-Related Lawsuits

2/21/2020 (Permalink)

black spots on a white wall Commercial tenants may want to obtain environmental insurance coverage that extends from pollution to a mold claim.

The presence of mold can make a building potentially unsafe for commercial tenants. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Act does not set precise standards for mold contamination, property managers and owners can still be liable for mold infestations, particularly if they do not take timely action to restore water damage or maintain coverage that extends to mold insurance claims. Here are three ways to avoid lawsuits related to mold damage at a building in Riverside, CA.


1. Quickly Mitigate and Restore Water Damage


Mold can start to form within 48 to 72 hours following water damage. Commercial tenants should be able to quickly notify property owners or managers about damage. Water damage mitigation and cleanup is more cost effective than waiting until damage becomes more severe and mold remediation may be needed.


2. Regularly Inspect Commercial Properties


Some types of water damage, such as slow roof leaks, may not be immediately apparent to tenants. Regular inspections are the best way for owners and managers to stay apprised of any risks and observe signs of mold sooner rather than later. Plan to inspect a commercial property at least once a year, and document each inspection to support future property damage or mold insurance claims.


3. Protect Businesses With Environmental Insurance

These policies protect enterprises from third-party claims that are not covered by general commercial property or liability insurance. Environmental insurance can be especially helpful for businesses located in structures undergoing black mold cleanup.


These measures may help property owners and managers deal with legal liability for mold. Mitigating and restoring water damage as soon as possible may eliminate the need for making mold insurance claims. Regularly monitoring the condition of commercial properties in Riverside, CA is the most effective way to resolve potential problems before mold cleanup is necessary.

3 Things To Know About a Noisy Water Heater

2/17/2020 (Permalink)

Water temperature controls on a hot water heater A water heater may make noises from a number of reasons

3 Things To Know About a Noisy Water Heater

If the water heater in your Downtown Riverside, 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 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 your 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 from 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.

What Is Category 1 Water Damage?

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

It can be difficult to tell whether water in your building is contaminated or not.

If your business in Riverside, CA has experienced any flooding, you may have heard the phrase "Category 1 water damage." Simply put, this label means that you are dealing with clean water, as opposed to contaminated water in your building. While you will still need water damage restoration services to quickly address any harm that has occurred, you can take a sigh of relief knowing that the area is sanitary and acceptable to enter. Here is some general information about how flood water is categorized and how you can tell if it is contaminated or not.


The Three Categories of Water Damage


When flooding occurs in a structure, it is important for the restoration company to categorize the type of water damage for insurance purposes and so the specialist knows how to best proceed. There are three main categories water is put into depending on the level of contamination:

Category 1 Water: Clean water that is free from all contaminants
Category 2 Water: Contaminated water that may be harmful if ingested
Category 3 Water: Severely contaminated water that is severely harmful or even lethal if ingested

While all three situations need to be handled immediately by remediation experts, Category 3 Water poses a serious threat to the wellbeing of anyone it comes into contact with and needs to be treated as an emergency.


Determining the Level of Contamination


First, you need to determine the source of the flooding. While water from a supply line: broken pipe is sanitary, water from a clogged toilet or from outside are a few examples of contaminated sources. Additionally, water that has been sitting for a long time, especially in elevated temperatures, is likely hazardous.


If flooding occurs in your building, it is unsafe to assume that you are always dealing with clean water. If you are not sure if the water is contaminated, your best bet is to wait for professional help.

What To Do When There Is Mold in Your Apartment

1/30/2020 (Permalink)

The first thing you should probably do if you discover mold is to notify your landlord.

Mold spores can spread rapidly if mold cleanup is not done promptly. For this reason, it can be important to immediately address any mold concerns in your apartment. Familiarizing yourself with your rights and responsibilities and with the steps you should take may help you avoid unnecessary mold damage.


Tenant's Responsibility


Landlords are generally not responsible for mold damage that results from a tenant's actions. Tenants may wish to avoid the following conditions that can promote mold contamination:

Lack of ventilation
High humidity
Lack of cleanliness
Unreported leaks
Spills or floods that are not cleaned up promptly

Landlord's Responsibility


There is no federal law and only some states and localities have laws that specifically govern permissible mold exposures in rental units. However, many states have laws that require landlords to maintain their property to a standard that provides safe and livable housing. In some instances, these laws may require landlords to be responsible for mold cleanup in their rental units and to be liable for any damages that result from failure to address mold issues.


What To Do If You Find Mold


If you notify your landlord by phone, it may be a good idea to follow-up by e-mail so you have a written record that you contacted them about the problem. You may want to include photos of the mold in your e-mail. If your landlord does not respond to your phone calls or e-mails, you may want to send a certified letter advising them of the issue. Include a deadline for them to respond by. Follow up with a second letter if they still don't respond. If your landlord remains uncooperative you may wish to consult an attorney in Riverside, CA to discuss your options.


Your landlord's legal obligations depend on the laws in your Riverside, CA but most landlords will probably want to know about any issues with their property so that they can address mold cleanup. Notifying your landlord promptly whenever you discover mold or conditions that can lead to mold is usually the best course of action.

How To Address Mold in Your Air Conditioning Ducts

1/27/2020 (Permalink)

Black mold damage in Riverside, CA

When you think of mold damage in your building, you probably picture large spores lurking on the walls or ceilings. Sometimes, however, the black mold is less obvious. It may be hiding somewhere in your Riverside, CA, commercial property.
Air ducts are a common location for mold. They feed off the dust and moisture that is common in HVAC systems.
Musty odors and black dust near the air vents are signs of a possible mold problem. If the issue is not properly handled, the mold could spread and cause severe harm to your property.

Removing Air Conditioner Mold

Mold thus needs to be addressed immediately. Below are the basic mold cleanup steps:

  • Have a certified inspector check the property for mold
  • Replace the insulation, if necessary
  • Disinfect the ductwork
  • Find and address the source of the mold growth

Cleaning black mold improperly can just cause additional damage. Instead, you should use specialists who know how to remove the mold and prevent it from coming back.

Limiting Mold Growth

Because the black mold cleanup process can be costly and time-consuming, you should take steps to prevent an infestation before it starts. That means making sure your property has clean ducts. Bring in a technician at least twice annually to perform maintenance and fix any issues.
Dust and debris within the air conditioning vents can also promote mold growth. You should thus get the filters changed regularly.
There are also steps you can take to limit mold growth in the rest of your building. Be sure to dry wet areas immediately, clean clogged gutters and lower the indoor humidity.
Black mold can damage building materials and temporarily shut down your commercial property. Since mold often grows in damp places, you should regularly clean and inspect your air conditioner ducts. If you see spores or smell an unusual odor, mold remediation specialists can address the problem before it gets worse.

Why Insurance Agents Prefer Dealing With Professionals

1/27/2020 (Permalink)

Flooded building in Riverside, CA

To be honest, a commercial flood is a big mess, and in more ways than one. First and foremost, of course, is the damage caused to a building. Excess water where it doesn't belong often involves safety issues with black water, as well as the potential for electrical damages. The job of storm restoration is a big one. A nearby, highly-trained storm mitigation team is up to the task. Insurance agents know trained and certified professionals will yield the best results, work safely, make good decisions and finish the job quickly. That's why a SERVPRO franchise is a preferred vendor for many agents and adjusters.

The Traits of a Professional

Rapid storm response is not for the faint of heart or for the person with a little bit of knowledge. A valued professional has the following characteristics:

  • Highly trained
  • Certified in several areas
  • Trustworthy
  • Efficient
  • Safe
  • Properly equipped

Storm restoration in Riverside, CA, often involves unique challenges. Each situation is different. A flood may envelop an area of sensitive electrical equipment or it might degrade important documents or even artwork. In many cases, flooding involves the presence of black water, which could be contaminated with harmful materials. A professional will know how to deal with each situation and will have access to equipment that aids in cleanup, water removal, and mold containment.

The Results of a Professional

Flood damage is not easily managed. It's a major problem that should be entrusted to a trained team. A water damage restoration technician and an applied structural drying technician are just two examples of certifications that help in dealing with storm restoration. Flooding comes in many shapes and forms, from hurricanes and tornadoes to broken pipes and heavy rain events. Insurance agents prefer working with a company that can handle each disaster with success, and that will make smart decisions to minimize costs and a business interruption.

What to Expect During A Sewer Damage Restoration

1/27/2020 (Permalink)

Carpet damaged by water in Calimesa, CA

Three Things Professionals Do When it Comes To Restoring Your Property

After a sewer cleanup at your Calimesa, CA, your company property may be in need of a sewer restoration. Fortunately, a local restoration service should be able to help. Here are three things you may see these professionals do when it comes to restoring the property.

1. Safety Gear

The use of safety gear in a restoration is especially important when dealing with sewer contamination. You may see the crew conducting the project wearing gear such as coveralls, gloves, shoes covers, and face masks. This is because sewer water has been contaminated by a number of bacteria causing substances, and the cleanup needs to be handled safely.

2. Water Removal

One of the first steps for a sewer cleanup is water removal. This needs to be done quickly as allowing water to stand can lead to additional damage such as warped or swollen wood, or foundation cracking. In many cases, professionals will use a water rated pump of vacuum for the bulk of the removal, but you may also see the use of squeegees or rags for harder to reach locations. Once the water is removed the drying process can begin, often with the help of a dehumidifier.

3. Sanitizing

After a sewer backup, flooded toilet, or other sewer related flooding, it's important to thoroughly sanitize the affected area. Because sewer water is contaminated with fecal mater and other bacteria causing materials, sanitizing is an important step in the cleaning process. It helps ensure the space is free of possible pathogens to keeps your workplace healthy and safe.
During a sewer cleanup and restoration after damage on your business property, you may see the professionals in charge wear various safety gear. They will also use special equipment to remove the water and dry the area. The restoration crew should also sanitize the affected space to help remove any possible sewer contaminants.

Smoke and soot

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows 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.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us Today – (951)977-5294

The Mold Remediation Process

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Sample of mold

Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our “typical” process:

  1. Emergency Contact - (951)977-5294

The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will ask a series of questions to help us determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel.

  1. Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment

We carefully inspect your property for visible signs of mold. Mold feeds on cellulose and water and can be hidden from plain view. We use various technologies to detect mold and hidden water sources.

  1. Mold Containment

Our professionals use various containment procedures to prevent the spread of mold. We may use advanced containment procedures like negative air chambers to isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. All fans and heating and cooling systems will be turned off to prevent the spread of mold.

  1. Air Filtration

Our specialized filtration equipment allows our Professionals to capture microscopic mold spores out of the air. We utilize powerful “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process.

  1. Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials

The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. We’ll use anti-fungal and antimicrobial treatments to eliminate mold colonies and to help prevent new colonies from forming. It may be necessary to remove and dispose of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and carpeting.

  1. Cleaning Contents and Belongings

We clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, clothing, and other restorable items affected by mold. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and disinfect your belongings. We’re also trained to remove odors and deodorization using fogging equipment.

  1. Restoration

Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, sub floors, and other building materials may have been removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. The restoration step gets your home or business back to normal.