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Types of Water Damage Property Owners Should Know About

3/15/2019 (Permalink)

What’s The Difference Between Flood Damage and Water Damage?

If you have homeowners insurance you might think your home is safe, but are you confident that your home is protected against flooding and/or water damage? It’s important to know the difference between both types and whether or not you’re covered.

For starters, it’s good to know the difference between flood damage and water damage.

What is Home Flooding?

A flood is external, resulting from heavy rains, tsunamis, storms, mudslides, hurricanes, and overflowing rivers. Basically, if there is a natural disaster your home may be in danger.

Flooding is a type of water damage, but is not referred as that because it is very specific. Since water damage is a general term, you can not substitute it with a more specific term, but flooding (being a branch of water damage) can be substituted with the more general term.

This can be very helpful when you are calling for repair services because if you let them know what kind of incident you have, they will come more prepared to solve that problem.

If you are experiencing abnormally aggressive weather, you should keep yourself updated on the National Weather Service. They may advise you to seek higher ground or even an evacuation if things are really bad.

What is Home Water Damage?

Simply speaking, this is any harm that is caused by water, which technically includes flooding. This is a general term compared to other terms that specify what kind of damage has happened.

That being said, this general term can be more easily applied to more internal incidents, resulting from leaks, pipe bursts, appliance malfunctions etc. This can be mixed up with more specific kinds of damage since both cause damage to your home in similar ways.

When communicating about this kind of incident in your home, it’s appropriate to refer to it just as water damage. If you’re speaking to someone in hopes of helping you with your problem, you need to specify by first introducing the problem and then include the source or affected area, e.g. “I have water damage from a heater leak” or “I have water damage on my ceiling”.

Flood Damage Insurance

This kind of insurance is not typically covered by any home insurance policy. Instead, it is offered through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or private insurers. Since the number of people who are actually at risk is very small, it’s not covered by most insurance policies. If you live in an area that is normally or constantly affected by flooding, it might be a good idea to apply with the NFIP.

Water Damage Insurance

Most homeowners insurance policies cover water damage. However, it never hurts to make sure that you are covered. Some policies only cover specific types of damage, so it’s good to make sure what is and is not covered. It can also be covered individually by normal insurance providers.

How We Can Help You When You Have Flooding in Your Home

At SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City, we offer guidance through the filing process. We’re experienced in dealing with small to large insurance companies. If you ever need water damage restoration or unsure of the insurance claims process, contact us (702) 564-8508.

5 Things You Need To Know About Water Damage

3/15/2019 (Permalink)

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

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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Has water damage happened to you? Call SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City today at: 702-564-8508

Facts About Mold and Dampness

3/15/2019 (Permalink)

There is always some mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. Molds have been on the Earth for millions of years. Mold grows where there is moisture.

Mold and Your Health

Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold. These people should stay away from areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children.

In addition, in 2004 the IOM found sufficient evidence to link exposure to damp indoor environments in general to upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people and with asthma symptoms in people with asthma. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking exposure to damp indoor environments in general to shortness of breath, to respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children and to potential development of asthma in susceptible individuals. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould Cdc-pdf[PDF – 2.65 MB]External. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard.

A link between other adverse health effects, such as acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage among infants, memory loss, or lethargy, and molds, including the mold Stachybotrys chartarum (Stachybotrys atra), has not been proven. Further studies are needed to find out what causes acute idiopathic hemorrhage and other adverse health effects.

Mold and Your Home

Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors.

Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

You Can Control Mold

Inside your home you can control mold growth by:

  • Controlling humidity levels;
  • Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes;
  • Thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding;
  • Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas.

If mold is growing in your home, you need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water.

Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you can not rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk. Also, good sampling for mold can be expensive, and standards for judging what is and what is not an acceptable quantity of mold have not been set. The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth.

Think you may have a Mold Issue? We can Help! Call SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City to schedule a walk through today at: 702-564-8508

Water Damage in Commercial Buildings

3/15/2019 (Permalink)

While focusing on water damage and prevention tends to favor the home, it is necessary to be vigilant about the position of commercial buildings as well.  In many cases, commercial buildings have the same risks as private homes.  If left unchecked, water damage in commercial buildings can lead to structural damage and mold.  All of these can contribute to damaging the structure and creating very expensive repairs.

When dealing with large commercial buildings such as warehouses and hotels, it is necessary to continuously inspect the property.  While some would suggest a monthly rotation, it would be most beneficial to inspect the property on a weekly basis.  This could be the job of a department manager.  Inspect the parts of the building that would be most susceptible for moisture buildup.  This would include areas with extensive piping or ceilings.  It is essential to look for drips or other evidence of pooling.   HVAC systems are also areas where inspectors will want to focus their efforts. If there are low-lying areas of the property, such as underground storage or garages, it is essential to make sure that these areas have effective methods of drainage to prevent accumulation of water.  In order to accomplish this, it is necessary to outfit these sections with pumps in case of periods of heavy rain when water may accumulate.

When dealing with water in commercial settings it is essential to develop and adhere to a plan for employees to follow if water damage is found.   A basic plan should be written down and available in a variety of locations for the use of management and employees.  The plans should include training measures so that employees know where to look for common areas of water damage, and if necessary, employees should be knowledgeable of the location and proper procedure for shutting off the water to the building. With all the plans for the guidelines, contact information should be made available for access for maintenance, plumbers, electricians, water clean-up services in order to facilitate the repair of water damage.   The information of the water company and insurance should also be present to make sure that water is cut off and that all damages are assessed for payment if necessary.

The guidelines for response should be kept in a safe location that puts it above the water damage.  The guidelines should also have plans for the relocation of records off-site for their preservation, but also for the temporary halting of operations until the site can be restored.  Once the water damage is repaired, then the commercial building can be opened once more. Maintaining a commercial building can be a tricky endeavor with water damage.  If one remains vigilant in maintaining sight on leaks and sources of water damage, then perhaps large problems can be averted before they become large problems.

For more information on Commercial Emergency Services call SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City at: 702-564-8508

Spring Storm Preparedness

3/15/2019 (Permalink)

Be Prepared when Spring Storms Become Severe

Each year a startling 10,000 thunderstorms and 1,000 tornadoes impact the United States. Potentially deadly severe weather impacts everyone. Here's what you can do to prepare yourself and your family.

Before Severe Weather Strikes

  • Keep an eye on the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of light or increasing wind. Listen for the sound of thunder.
  • Go to a safe shelter immediately!
  • Listen to Local/National Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for the latest weather forecasts.
  • Unplug appliances. Avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances.
  • Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
  • Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor.
  • Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind, the shades will prevent glass from shattering into your home.

Protecting Yourself Outside

  • If you are in the woods, go to a safe building. Make sure it is fully enclosed with a roof and four walls. Tents, shelters, pavilions, or dugouts will not keep you safe.
  • If you are unable to find a shelter, find a low-lying, open place away from trees, telephone poles, or metal objects.
  • Get low to the ground, on the balls of your feet in a crouching position. The goal is to get as low as possible, while minimizing your contact with the ground. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them.

After the Storm Passes

  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
  • Listen to the radio for information and instructions.

If Someone is Struck by Lightning

  • People struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely.
  • Call or have someone dial 911.

For more information on severe weather, please call SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City at:  702-564-8508

Ideas for Protecting Your Business From Fire

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

If you are a business owner, there are plenty of safety issues that must be considered regarding risks to your business, staff and visitors as well as the day-to-day running of your business. One of those issues you need to work on is fire prevention.

Leading Causes of Commercial Structure Fires

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007–2011 were (listed in order):

  1. Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
  2. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
  3. Heating equipment, 11% of fires
  4. Intentional, 10% of fires
  5. Smoking materials, 9% of fires
  6. Exposure, 4% of fires
  7. Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires

From that list of causes, intentional accounted for 20% of the most property damage, exposure accounted for 18%, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment accounted for 15%.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in 2007, fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities.

When you take a look at more recent numbers, the NFPA estimates that from 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year. Those fires were the cause of an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.

Ways to Protect Your Business

There are steps you can take to protect your business from the risk of fires. If you focus on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, you will help reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.

First, you must assess the risk of fire hazards. In some areas, the local government may even offer a visit from a fire marshal to help identify these risks and provide guidance on your fire prevention plan.

Next, you’ll want to make sure that the right fire protection equipment is in place. This includes an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Finally, plan for the protection of your people, aka the employees. By creating a fire plan and reviewing it with your staff, you’ll be making sure everyone knows what to do in the case of a fire. Conduct fire drills at least once a year to keep the fire safety protocol fresh, and take time to review evacuation plans and first-aid kits locations.

Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO® of Henderson/Boulder City is available to help make it "Like it never even happened." Call 702-564-8508

Checking Your Home after a Fire

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Taking the appropriate steps to stay safe.

Do not cut or walk past colored tape that was placed over doors or windows to mark damaged areas unless local authorities advise that it is safe to do so. If a building inspector has placed a color-coded sign on the home, do not enter it until you get more information, advice and instructions about what the sign means and whether it is safe to enter your home.

If you have children, leave them with a relative or friend while you conduct your first inspection of your home after the fire. The site may be unsafe for children, and seeing the damage firsthand may upset them and cause long-term effects, including nightmares.

Check for Structural Damage
  • Check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks, missing support beams or other damage. Damage on the outside can indicate a serious problem inside. Ask a building inspector or contractor to check the structure before you enter.
  • If the door is jammed, don’t force it open – it may be providing support to the rest of your home. Find another way to get inside.
  • Damaged locks should be taken apart and wiped with oil. If locks can’t be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt opening or keyhole, and work the knob to distribute the oil. Hinges should also be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.
  • Sniff for gas. If you detect natural or propane gas, or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and get well away from it. Call the fire department after you reach safety.
  • If you have a propane tank system, turn off all valves and contact a propane supplier to check the system out before you use it again.
  • Check for smoke and embers throughout the home, including the attic.
  • Beware of animals, such as rodents, snakes, spiders and insects, that may have entered your home. As you inspect your home, tap loudly and often on the floor with a stick to give notice that you are there.
  • Damaged objects, such as furniture or stairs, may be unstable. Be very cautious when moving near them. Avoid holding, pushing or leaning against damaged building parts.
  • Is your ceiling sagging? That means it got wet – which makes it heavy and dangerous. It will have to be replaced, so you can try to knock it down. Be careful: wear eye protection and a hard hat, use a long stick, and stand well away from the damaged area. Poke holes in the ceiling starting from the outside of the bulge to let any water drain out slowly. Striking the center of the damaged area may cause the whole ceiling to collapse.
  • Is the floor sagging? It could collapse under your weight, so don’t walk there! Small sections that are sagging can be bridged by thick plywood panels or thick, strong boards that extend at least 8–12 inches on each side of the sagging area.
  • If the weather is dry, open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
  • If power is out, use a flashlight. Do not use any open flame, including candles, to inspect for damage or serve as alternate lighting.
  • Disconnect and check all appliances for water damage before using them.
  • Make temporary repairs such as covering holes, bracing walls, and removing debris. Save all receipts.
  • Take photographs of the damage. You may need these to substantiate insurance claims later.
Checking Utilities and Major Systems

Telephones

  • Check each telephone to see if it is still on the hook. Hang up any phones that aren’t. Wait a few minutes, and then pick up one phone to listen for a dial tone to know whether you have working telephone service.
  • If you don’t have a dial tone, try unplugging all the phones. Plug in one at a time and listen for dial tone. This will help you determine if the phone itself is broken or the service is completely out. If it is, contact the telephone company to report the problem and request repair.

Electrical, Plumbing and Heating Systems

  • If you see sparks, broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker.
  • If there is a pool of water on the floor between you and the fuse box or circuit breaker panel, use a dry wooden stick to try to reach to turn off the main fuse or breaker, but do not step or stand in water to do that. If you cannot reach the fuse box or breaker panel, call a qualified electrician for assistance.
  • Inspect the panel box for any breakers that may have tripped. A tripped breaker may indicate damaged wiring inside your home. Do not turn them on. Call an electrician.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect fuses. Replace broken fuses with exactly the same amperage rating and never use an object such as a coin or strip of metal to bypass the protection that fuses provide.
  • If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using sinks, showers or toilets and call a plumber.
  • If water pipes are damaged, turn off the water at the main valve. Call a plumber for assistance.
  • If you have a heating oil tank system, turn off all valves and contact a professional specializing in maintenance of such equipment before using it again.

Checking Household Items

  • Normal household items, such as cleaning products, can cause toxic fumes and other hazards if they mix. See our household chemical safety tips.
  • Spilled chemicals that don’t pose a health risk must still be carefully cleaned up. Wear rubber gloves and discard spilled chemicals and rags used for cleaning according to the advice of local authorities.
  • Throw away food, beverages and medicine exposed to heat, smoke or soot. Food that was in the freezer can be used if it still has ice crystals on it. If not, discard it.

Make Sure to:

  • Stay out of any building that has water around it.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines. Report them immediately to the power company.
  • Contact your insurance agent. Do not discard damaged goods until an inventory has been taken. Save receipts for money spent relating to fire loss. Your insurance agent may provide immediate help with living expenses until you are able to return home and may offer assistance for repairs.

SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City is always here to help! Call today 702-564-8508

What To Do If A Fire Starts

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

If a Fire Starts:
  • Know how to safely operate a fire extinguisher
  • Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency phone number.
  • Yell "Fire!" several times and go outside right away. If you live in a building with elevators, use the stairs. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.
  • If closed doors or handles are warm or smoke blocks your primary escape route, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
  • If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Close doors behind you.
  • If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
  • Once you are outside, go to your meeting place and then send one person to call the fire department. If you cannot get to your meeting place, follow your family emergency communication plan.
If your clothes catch on fire:
  • Stop what you’re doing.
  • Drop to the ground and cover your face if you can.
  • Roll over and over or back and forth until the flames go out. Running will only make the fire burn faster.

THEN:

Once the flames are out, cool the burned skin with water for three to five minutes. Call for medical attention. For more Fire Safety Tips call SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City Today at:702-564-8508

Identifying A Black Mold Problem

3/6/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Identifying A Black Mold Problem Mold Damage No Problem

Identifying a Black Mold Problem

You need to perform a black mold inspection of your home if you think you may have a mold problem. Identifying black mold once you find it is not that difficult,  but finding it can be tricky.

Conducting Your Mold Inspection

Look for mold in all of the following areas:

  • Areas that have a lot of moisture or dampness, like bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements and crawl spaces.
  • The grout between your bathroom tiles.
  • Above any ceiling tiles that have water stains, or in the attic above any spots in the ceiling that have water stains.
  • Above any ceiling tiles or in the attic above any areas where the roof leaks.
  • Around any leaky pipes or behind and around any leaky toilets.
  • In any areas that have a musty smell or smell of mildew.
  • Any areas that have been subjected to flooding.
  • Under carpets that have gotten wet and stayed wet for even a short while.
  • Any cardboard boxes or stacks of papers that have gotten wet and stayed wet for a while.

You may also need to remove drywall to look behind it if walls have water stains or paint is cracked and peeling.

If you find yourself identifying black mold in any of the above areas, or anywhere else in your home, you’ll then need to check the entire house because mold spores spread easily.

If you suspect you have a black mold problem in your home but have trouble locating the source of the problem, you can call in a professional to assist you. CALL SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City trained Professionals at 702-564-8508.

Storm Preparedness Tips

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Storm Preparedness Tips Flooding due to Storm Event

April showers bring May flowers is a popular saying, it is also a reminder to make sure your home is safe from unpredictable rain and wind storms. 

A good rule of thumb is to perform inspections on your home before a storm hits. Sit down and go over some questions to ask yourself, such as, do all of your windows and doors fit to create a tight seal? When was the last time you had the roof inspected? Are the trees in the yard trimmed and cut back enough, so they are not hitting your dwelling repeatedly should high winds surface? 

In the event of a bad storm do you have an emergency plan in place? Do you have an emergency ready bag for you and all family members living with you, in case you need to leave your home? Is there a designated meeting spot secured? Having an emergency plan for communication may be a good idea as well. 

SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City is here to help for any of your storm damage needs. We do board ups, roof tarpings, water damages, as well as fire damages that may result from storm damage. We are always ready and #HereToHelp. 

Call today at 702-564-8508 and ask about our FREE Emergency Response Profile for your home.