Water Damage Restoration

Dealing with Water Damage After a Hurricane

Hurricane season is in full swing throughout Florida and the Caribbean and it’s important for homeowners to know what to do and how to handle any damage to their home caused by the storms. As South Florida and the Caribbean braces itself for Hurricane Matthew, residents will be boarding up windows and stocking up on essentials. There’s plenty of literature out there on what to do before a hurricane, yet many homeowners still won’t know what to do after storm damage occurs on their property.

Tropical storms alone can cause billions in losses and damaged property, let alone a much more powerful hurricane. While some of the damage may come from storm winds, it is more often the water damage inflicted by flash floods, heavy rainfall and storm surge in coastal areas that tends to wreak the most havoc on a property. Water damage is often the culprit that causes the biggest insurance claim headaches for homeowners or the biggest losses, sometimes. It’s important to handle it carefully and correctly to ensure that your property is protected and salvaged.

Insurance Coverage

Many homeowners’ insurances won’t cover what they consider to be flood damage. Flood damage is often the type of water damage inflicted by storm surge. It would be in your best interest, especially if you live in a coastal area, to have flood insurance specifically. Even if you don’t live directly on the coast, storm surge can go miles inland, backing up rivers, lakes and other bodies of water, thus causing widespread flooding. In places that are high-risk and prone to floods, tropical storms and hurricanes, like Florida, many residential lenders actually require homeowners to carry flood insurance.

When preparing to file an insurance claim on a property that has sustained a hurricane or storm, first gather this information:

  • Is the type of damage your home or property sustained is covered?
  • Does the damage exceed the deductible on your policy?
  • How long will it take to process the claim?
  • How long you have to file the claim?
  • Will you need to get estimates for the repairs?
  • What possessions and property have been damaged or need to be replaced? It would be a good idea to take inventory of this and make a list with dollar amounts assigned to each item before filing your claim.

Take Precautions When Heading Back Home After a Storm

If you are heading back to your home after a hurricane, remember to approach your home with extreme caution. Keep an eye out for fallen power lines on or around your home; if there are any, let the local power company know right away. Once inside, (if it’s safe to enter) shut the power off from the main circuit breaker or fuse box to avoid an electrical hazard. Avoid standing water at all costs, as this is a major hazard after a hurricane. It could be hiding debris, broken glass, fecal matter or other bio-hazards due to broken pipes and sewage spills. Downed power lines or frayed, live wires in the water could cause electrocution.

If your home might be unstable or you are unsure about the severity of the damage, it might be best to wait for professional help to show up and handle the clean up instead of risking your own safety. Apart from the safety factor, it will be in your best interest to allow an adjuster to take inventory of all the damage so that your insurance claim is complete and all your losses are accounted for accurately. If any repairs are done on the property and paid for already, you’ll want to save receipts or invoices to make sure those repairs are covered by your insurance.

Cleanup

When it comes to cleaning up after a hurricane, it can be difficult to fight the urge to go in and start cleaning up yourself. It can feel like it’s an easy enough task and that you’d be wasting time when you could be fixing and replacing things. Even though it can be nerve wrecking to wait, it’s often the best idea to allow professional help to show s sup and handle it. Just as the power company will be called to come out and take care of downed power lines, so will a professional restoration company come out, assess the damage and begin formulating the game plan to repair it.

The insidious nature of water damage requires immediate action if you want the best chance of preventing more damage and salvaging the property. Take reasonable steps to protect your property from sustaining further damage. This might include protecting or patching up broken windows so as to keep the elements from getting in; it might also include protecting the roof, as this is where more water would pour in from directly, especially if there are residual rain showers lurking around, adding insult to injury.

South Florida based company Liberty Extraction and Drying offers free roof tarp installation services to help stop any more water from leaking into your home or property. One less thing to worry about here will be the bill, as this company bills the insurance company directly so that you pay exactly zero dollars out of pocket and show that you are taking action to help prevent further damage from being incurred on the property you insured.

They also specialize in extracting the water and moisture as well as thoroughly drying out your property. They use advanced technologies and drying methods to fully dry the property and thus preventing mold from forming and causing further damage to your property and health. Lastly, this is a service that won’t keep you waiting and wishing you could jump in and do it yourself; they boast an impressive 5 minute response time across South Florida. Not only does this help ease your worries but more importantly, it will keep more water from getting in, mold from forming or multiplying and ultimately, more damage from occurring.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, after a hurricane, you’ll want to be two things: speedy with the reaction time and careful across the board. Be meticulous and cautious as you assess the damage, attempt to clean or repair and as you collect inventory of your losses. Be speedy with the action; the longer your property or possession stay wet, the less chance you have of salvaging it.

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5 Things to Check Before Leasing a Commercial Space

If you’re in the market for a commercial space to lease, you’ve likely been reading up on what to look for. From finding the right broker to finding the right amount of square footage to the appropriate zoning for the type of business you’ll be conducting, there’s plenty to think about when deciding on where to run your business.

While some of the more obvious aspects to consider might be crossed off your list, like rent, the location, who will be paying for what, the stipulations of your leasing contract, and more, it’s important to leave no stone unturned all the way until you get those keys in hand. This will help you foresee and avoid any potential problems in your day to day workflow, identify any repairs that need to be done in the space before you take occupancy and it will allow you to allocate the work expense to the appropriate party (you as the tenant or the landlord,) detailed in the lease.

One of the make-or-break moments where many tenants drop the ball and end up creating headaches for themselves later on is during the walk-through. Before you sign that lease, you’ll need to make a note of some very important details that will affect the ergonomic functionality and even the safety of your business, within the terms of its day to day operations.

Electric Wiring Check

Another essential aspect to running your business smoothly will be the electrical aspects. Check the space for sufficient and well placed electrical outlets. Inspect static light fixtures and look for any broken, frayed or otherwise damaged electrical cables in or leading out of the building.

Data Connectivity

In today’s business world, everyone relies heavily on internet connection no matter what their business model consists of. Unfortunately, internet capacity isn’t equal across the board and can often vary widely from building to building. The location you’re considering might be a dream space, flaunting a cool look, great price and whatever else you’re hoping for, but if internet providers do not offer high speed internet in that area, you’ll be setting yourself up for some major setbacks and frustrations.

Slow loading, excessive buffering times and frequent internet drops could translate to hundreds of lost dollars and eventually, lost customers, regardless of the nature of your business. Ask the landlord, check with providers or even interview neighboring business owners to be sure your new commercial space is up to speed.

Plumbing Inspections

Unless you happen to also have plumbing expertise yourself, you likely won’t have the in-depth know how and insight to fully inspect a premises for proper plumbing layout. You can, however, focus your attention to certain things that will reveal whether or not the plumbing deserves a closer look from a professional. Make sure all faucets and toilets are in good working order, with no water pressure issues.

Looking under cabinets or places where pipes are found may reveal cracks or signs of water damage that point to previous or current leaks. You can always hire a plumber that has no stake in the deal to do a walk-through with you and point out any possible issues before you sign the lease.

Mold Inspections

One huge problem that could arise, if not detected before moving in, is mold. The undetected presence of mold in a commercial space could reveal damage to the property later on that you will be blamed for and expected to pay for. It could also result in penalization for building code violations, legal issues from employees or customers who may be affected by breathing in the mold, and an overall blow to the image of your business if customers start detecting the mold when they visit your establishment. All of these possibilities translate to dollars lost and serious harm to your business.

A business with toxic mold can lead to serious problems, even high profile lawsuits that will inevitably shut down the business. It is imperative that a commercial space be inspected by a certified professional prior to the lease signing; the professional will point out if there is mold, the type, and the level of damage it may have caused. It is then crucial to have mold remediation performed properly, also by a certified mold remediation company, to rectify the problem.

Acoustics & Shared Walls

Unforeseen by many commercial tenants, one potential disruptor of day to day operations is noise; depending on the nature of your business, the acoustics of a space could have a large impact on your team’s efficiency. Make sure the room you select as a sales office does not echo. This will eliminate any communication issues on calls with potential clients and, if there are multiple sales people in one room, it will keep calls from getting mixed up with each other.

Also, be sure to check out who you share walls with; if your business is a spa, for example, that calls for a relaxing, quiet space and shares a thin wall with a recording or dance studio, you may run into serious problems in the future.

While you may be eager to move into your new commercial space and it may seem tedious to go through all these additional checks, taking the extra time to inspect these aspects thoroughly, with the help of professionals, can end up saving you countless hours, dollars, and headaches down the road.

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Water Damage Restoration FAQ

Taking instant action is crucial when dealing with water damage. Water damage can occur due to many reasons such as a pipe leakage, overflowing toilet, leaky roof, sewer blockage, and storms. The extent of the damage may be small or it may be so extensive that the house becomes inhabitable. No matter what is the cause or extent of water damage, you must call a specialist water damage restoration firm to fix the problem.

We have compiled frequently asked questions about water damage restoration that will help you in taking appropriate actions in case of water damage to your home.

Water Damage Q&A

Why Should I be Concerned about Water Damage?

Water damage can cause serious problems for the property owners. It can cause long-term property damage if not removed immediately. This may also depreciate property values. In addition, water damage may result in mold infestation that poses a significant health risk to the individuals in the form of increase in respiratory problems.

Should I Contact my Insurance Company in case of Water Damage?

Yes. The home insurance usually covers new roof leaks, plumbing problems, or overflowing toilet. An insurance company representative will assess the water damaged home and provide information about the procedure to claim the insurance. The representative will also inform you whether the claim will cover the cost of water damage restoration.

p>Home insurance contracts include a section known as ‘loss mitigation clause’ that require homeowner to take prudent and responsible action to protect, preserve, and secure the property from further damage. That is why it’s important that you contact a professional water restoration specialist immediately. You may have to assume financial responsibility of damage incurred due to not taking appropriate action within a reasonable period.

Will the house flooring, walls, and/or ceiling have to be demolished to fix water damage?

Due to advances in drying technology, little or no demolition will take place to fix the problem that occurs due to water damage. However, demolition may be necessary in case the flooding occurs due to contaminated sewer water that has seeped through the walls, floors, and ceilings.

Why does the house smell after the water damage?

Excessive moisture due to water damage results in formation of bacteria in the wet building materials. The smell will subside after the building materials dry out.

How is it possible to know whether the home has dried out or not?

A trained technician can tell just by the smell when the home has dried out completely. However, in order to verify that the building has dried down, the water damage restoration experts utilize specialized equipment such as temperature/humidity meters, Infrared cameras, and non-penetrating and penetrating moisture meters. The technology ensures that the house is again restored to its pre-loss condition.

Is standard procedure followed in restoring water damaged houses?

Yes, water restoration experts follow ANSI/IICRC S500 standard for water restoration. The licensed and trained technicians know standard procedures that are followed when restoring the water damaged home. They attend specialized training sessions to update their knowledge about the latest water damage standard procedure.

What steps are required in water damage restoration?

The general process involved in restoring water damage property includes the following:

  • Extraction of water from the home
  • Installation of equipment for accelerated drying
  • Demolition if required and necessary
  • Assessment and monitoring of condition using specialized equipment
  • Documentation of process

Note: The exact procedure that is used in water damage restoration varies depending on the type and extent of damage to the property.

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What You Need to Know about the Dangers of Mold

When it comes to mold in the home, it’s important to remember that looks can be deceiving. Your home may be clean and well kept, but what’s lurking in the basement, walls, ductwork, floors, or ceilings, could be causing you harm. Mold growth may not always be obvious, but if it’s present in your home, you want to contact a professional mold remediation company. The dangers of mold extend beyond cosmetic issues, as it can be causing serious and sometimes fatal health problems.

Common health issues associated with mold exposure

One of the most obvious and common signs of mold exposure is breathing issues. It can cause asthma attacks, respiratory problems, coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, and shortness of breath, just to name a few. Depending on the severity of the mold growth, you could experience lung infections, wheezing, headaches, muscle aches, etc. It’s nothing to take lightly, and if anyone in the home has a compromised immune system, it could be made much worse. Mold spores spread easily throughout homes, so even if you think that the problem is confined to one area, like the basement, those spores can actually make their way into other areas.

The most likely places for mold to appear

Mold needs moisture to thrive, and it can commonly be found in basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. If you’ve ever had a flood due to inclement weather, or even just a small leak in your plumbing system, you could have mold. That’s why it is so important to call in the experts after experienced flood and water damage, whether it’s from heavy rains, a burst pipe, a damaged roof, or a backed up septic system.

Mold spores can actually be present in the home for a long time before they can start to infest and thrive. We often find mildew in the dampest areas, like in the bathroom, where it can be difficult to keep humidity and moisture levels down. If you notice a musty smell in any area of the home that just won’t go away, there’s a very good chance that mold is growing. It’s not enough to simply mask the smell; you need to make sure that it’s taken care of in order to ensure that the air in your home is as safe and healthy as possible.

When to call in the experts

If you do find mold in your home, you want to call in a professional mold removal expert as soon as possible. Save yourself the time, money, and effort of attempting to clean away the mold on your own. As a professional service, we have the right equipment and the skills needed to get rid of the problem safely. You want to make sure that the mold is completely gone, rather than simply spot treating the area where it’s visible. This can mean removing damaged carpeting, drywall, floorboards, and ceiling tiles. A mold remediation service knows what to look for, and how to go about fixing the problem, once and for all.

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