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Items To Throw Away After a Fire

10/18/2021 (Permalink)

Home destroyed after a fire. Some items, after a fire in your Clearfield, UT home, should be thrown away.

When your home in Clearfield, UT, catches fire, you may have to replace a lot of things. Important documents may be destroyed, and it may be less expensive to replace certain textiles rather than pay to have them cleaned. Fire restoration experts can help you determine which items are salvageable. There are some items, however, that you must always throw away after they are exposed to a house fire.

Items To Throw Away

Food Damaged by High Heat

It makes sense that perishable food that clearly smells like smoke or is packaged in a porous container such as cardboard would need to be thrown away after a fire. Even items that look ok on the surface may need to be tossed in the trash, too, though. If your pantry and refrigerator were exposed to high heat, you need to throw out everything in them:

  • Canned foods
  • Dry goods
  • Spices
  • Oils
  • Condiments

While it is certainly disheartening to have to get rid of so much food, it is better to waste it by throwing it in the trash than to eat it and make yourself sick. Food that is exposed to the conditions of a house fire often starts to grow bacteria and spoil, even if its packaging still looks intact. To be on the safe side, toss it out and rebuild your pantry stash.

Medicine Exposed to Flames

The chemical composition of medication is uniquely formulated to produce specific health benefits. A fire changes all of that. If your medication was close enough to the fire for the packaging to melt, you definitely need to get rid of it. It is no longer safe to take.

In fact, unless the fire in your home was in a very small, contained area, you can't guarantee that the room where your medication is stored remained cool enough to keep it safe. It's best to throw away all pills and other drugs in the house, even if they don't show signs of burning or smoke damage.

Cosmetics Stored Near Affected Area

The same rules apply to your cosmetics and toiletries. Regardless of what the expiration date on the container says, if they were exposed to the heat of the fire in any way, you should consider them collateral fire damage and toss them out.

If the fire was near the bathroom or vanity where your cosmetics are stored, they have probably been ruined. Take pictures and make a list of all the items as you pitch them into the trash so that you know what you need to replace. This may be helpful information when you are filing your insurance claim. Depending on your policy, you may be compensated for the cost to replace them.

A house fire can be devastating in many ways. Some of your belongings may be able to be saved, but that doesn't apply to everything. Perishable items such as food, medicine, and cosmetics are sensitive to the heat produced in a house fire. You must throw away anything that could have been chemically altered by the presence of fire and replace it with something new.

How To Perform Pipe Burst Cleanup

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

Burst pipe. When a pipe bursts, clean the water to avoid further damage in your Clearfield, UT building.

Freezing weather or aging or damaged pipes can cause a pipe to burst, creating a messy situation that requires pipe burst cleanup to avoid additional damage. This guide will walk you through some steps you can take when you are dealing with a burst pipe.

7 Step Water Cleanup Process

Whatever the cause of your burst pipe, it is important to perform water cleanup within 24 to 48 hours. After that point, even clean water can become hazardous to come in contact with and mold growth may because an issue. These seven steps can help you get your property cleaned up and dried out.

1. Shut Off the Water

Whether you have a broken pipe or a supply line leaking, the first step is to mitigate the damage by turning off the water supply. Make note of the location of the main water shut-off valve at your facility so that you can access it quickly when a problem occurs.

2. Remove Wet Contents

The longer anything that is wet stays in your building, the more likely you are to have problems with mold. Move wet furniture and other contents out of the building. Items that can be salvaged can be left in the sun to dry out. Other items, such as wet carpet or drywall, should be thrown out.

3. Remove Standing Water

A submersible pump is the most effective tool to use for removing water. If you don't have one, you may be able to rent one. Alternatively, you can contact a water remediation company in Clearfield, UT, to handle the job for you. For smaller amounts of water, you may be able to remove it using a wet-dry vacuum, a bucket, or a mop.

4. Dry Out Your Property

Once the water is gone, the next most important part of pipe burst cleanup is to dry out your property. Fans and dehumidifiers are useful tools for this process. If the weather permits it, open windows and doors to get some air circulating.

5. Tear Out Damaged Materials

Some materials are difficult to salvage once they get wet. You may need to remove and replace carpeting, carpet pads, flooring, drywall, cabinets, hardwoods, and ceilings.

6. Fix the Broken Pipe

Before you can turn the water back on, you need to cut out the section of the broken pipe and replace it. You can tackle this job at any point in the restoration process, but it is usually easier after you have removed damaged materials, but before you have started replacing them.

7. Clean and Disinfect Surfaces

Water from a burst pipe is usually clean water, but it is still a good idea to clean and disinfect surfaces that were in contact with the water. Use a mild detergent to clean surfaces and then apply a disinfectant, such as diluted bleach. Opening windows can help remove odors. If odors linger, you may want to use an ozone machine.

Once you have completed the pipe burst cleanup process, you can begin repairing your damaged property. Regularly inspecting your plumbing may help you avoid a recurrence of the problem.

How SERVPRO's Insurance Claims Inventory System Helps Reduce the Stress of Managing Your Claim

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Insurance claim form. Insurance claims inventory system facilitates the process of managing your claim.

An insurance claim is sometimes a tricky undertaking for your average homeowner. Most people have little experience with the process, meaning they are out of their depths when speaking with an insurance agent. Thankfully, SERVPRO is a company familiar with the disaster and remediation game. The company's teams understand the vulnerability on the homeowner side and the research needs of the insurance side, which is why it created the claims inventory system — a system designed to make the entire claims process more transparent and approachable; it does this in several ways:

  • Access to estimates
  • Access to timetables
  • Access to reports and communications

The Importance of Transparency

When a homeowner begins the claims process, they can feel overwhelmed and left out of the discussions surrounding their property. SERVPRO's stance is that the customer deserves to know what is happening with their claim and project every step of the way.

Through the company's innovative system, clients can see everything related to their project. Additionally, the company works as a sort of intermediary between the insurance company and the client, explaining everything in detail and in terms the client can understand.

Transparency breeds trust, and it is crucial when entering someone's personal space — their home. A homeowner can feel more confident in the restoration process when they are made equal partners in the discussion.

The Importance of Comparable Estimates

Homeowners are not the only ones who require transparency. The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim will also need access to files and paperwork to make a decision regarding your claim. SERVPRO's system provides access to research and comparable job reports to help the adjuster develop an accurate assessment of the damage done to the homeowner's property.

Being able to search a system and find reports for various jobs and across various states, allows the insurance agent to make accurate and fair calculations about a claim receipt. Ultimately, the system helps insurance establish estimates for coverage while ensuring homeowners receive a fair analysis through current reports.

What You Can Do To Make Insurance Claims Easier

If you want to make an insurance claim easier, it comes down to preparation. After any disaster, you will need to create a loss inventory — a list of all property damaged or destroyed in the disaster. It is best to find receipts for all damaged and lost goods and to take pictures of all the damage. You can present all of this information to the adjuster when they arrive.

The disaster restoration service can help you compile all necessary information. The teams working for these companies understand what is involved in the claims process and will have no problem walking you through it.

How SERVPRO's Claims Inventory System Helps

The primary benefit of the claims inventory system is that it places all pertinent information in one place. There is no need to dig around filing cabinets or do exorbitant amounts of off-site research.

The insurance claim process can be overwhelming if you are not used to it. Thankfully, SERVPRO's system and technicians in Clearfield, UT, can help make the entire process easier.

Tips for Handling Water Damage

9/14/2021 (Permalink)

A person in a flooded living room. Knowing how to handle a leak will minimize the water damage in your Clearfield, UT home.

A broken pipe can cause a huge water loss in a short amount of time. What you do right after it happens can determine how much damage it ends up causing. 

How to minimize leak damage

Don't Ignore Signs of Water Damage

One of the problems with a pipe break or any water loss that happens behind a wall or inside a cabinet is that you may not discover it until damage has already been done. Watch for common signs that you have a leak:

  • Dark spots on walls or ceilings
  • Bulging drywall
  • Swollen floorboards
  • Excessive humidity levels
  • Unusual spraying or dripping sounds

Do Turn off Water

If you see a spot on the wall suddenly darken and spread, or you hear something inside the wall that spells trouble, the best thing you can do is turn off the water main. While inconvenient, temporarily turning off the flow for the whole house minimizes the amount of water in your home in Clearfield, UT. Once a plumber has repaired the pipe, the water can be turned back on.

Don't Wade Through Standing Water

A large water loss will often result in standing water. Fight the urge to wade into it to retrieve items, particularly if you cannot see below the surface or you don't have the proper personal protective equipment to do so. Sharp objects or tripping hazards may be present. More importantly, if the water has come into contact with electrical items, it may also be charged.

Do Contain the Flow

When a broken pipe floods your home enough to cause pooling, there are still steps you can take to keep it from spreading. Try to seal off the area as well as possible by using barriers such as rolled towels, sandbags, or tarps. You may not be able to prevent damage to the main flood area but you can block the path of the water into other spaces.

Don't Clean Contaminated Areas Yourself

A backed-up sewer or flooding from a storm can leave a big, smelly mess behind. When this happens, it can be tempting to grab the disinfectant and clean everything immediately. Unless you know the full extent of the damage, though, this may make the problem worse and affect the preliminary tests on the area when the mitigation team arrives.

Do Call Professionals Immediately

The best thing you can do when you have a flooded home is to call flood damage remediation experts as soon as you are aware of the problem. Within hours, they can come to your home, inspect it and give you an overview of what the cleanup process entails. They have the equipment and the expertise it takes to address the issues caused by the water loss and to prevent further damage.

Fast mitigation is the key to dealing with damage left by a broken pipe. The sooner you call certified professionals to repair the damage and restore the structure, the better. Start the cleanup process quickly, and your home can get back to normal in no time.

7 Mold Prevention Tips

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth. Controlling water damage will prevent mold growth in your Clearfield, UT building.

Mold occurs naturally in the environment and can grow almost anywhere. Water damage can accelerate mold growth because mold tends to thrive in moist environments. These seven tips can help you avoid mold in your buildings.

How to avoid mold

1. Identify Problems and Correct Them

Inspect your buildings and look for conditions that could promote mold growth, such as areas that tend to flood, leaking pipes, condensation, leaks in the roof, or other sources of moisture. Remove and discard any wet carpeting, drywall, or ceiling tiles. Repair leaking pipes and equipment. Take steps to reduce flooding, such as installing sump pumps or regrading outdoor areas to direct water away from your buildings. Have your HVAC system inspected and repaired if condensation is a problem.

2. Remove Excess Moisture Promptly

Most mold growth results from excess moisture in the environment. If you have had water damage in your building, contact a remediation company in Clearfield, UT, to quickly dry out your property. Aim to completely dry your property within 24 to 48 hours. Remove wet furniture, carpets, and other difficult-to-dry items from the building. Some items may be able to be dried and restored. Others will need to be discarded.

3. Install Proper Ventilation

If your business engages in activities that produce moisture, a key part of mold prevention is ensuring proper ventilation. Any bathrooms, kitchen areas, laundry facilities, and other high moisture areas should have ventilation systems to remove excess moisture to the outside. You can also reduce moisture by using dehumidifiers. Energy-efficient buildings can sometimes trap moisture inside, so it may be useful to occasionally open windows or doors.

4. Monitor Indoor Humidity

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends humidity levels be kept between 30% and 60%. Excessive humidity can cause condensation on pipes, walls, and windows. Purchase a humidity monitor and take steps to adjust the humidity levels in your buildings as needed. Humidity levels change throughout the day, so take multiple readings at different times. You can use air conditioners and dehumidifiers to reduce humidity levels.

5. Use Mold-Resistant Materials

If you need to construct a new building or remodel an existing one, use mold-resistant materials. Mold-resistant drywall and sheetrock are available for interior walls and you can cover these materials with mold-resistant paint.

6. Use HEPA Filters and Ultraviolet Lights

If your buildings have carpeting, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter when you clean to remove mold spores from carpets and flooring. You can also use these vacuums to clean air vents. Installing ultraviolet lights in mold-prone areas, such as HVAC systems, can also help.

7. Don't Store Materials in Damp Areas

Cardboard boxes and other items made from paper or fabric are particularly susceptible to mold. Avoid storing these items in damp areas. Throw out anything that has mold on it that can not be restored.

Because mold needs water to thrive, controlling water damage is the key to avoiding mold problems. However, it is not always possible to completely avoid mold, so if you do encounter it, take steps to remove it before it can spread to other areas of your building.

Don't Wait for an Insurance Adjuster To Take Action After Storm Damage

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

A storm. You can minimize the damage after a storm by taking simple steps to protect your insurance coverage.

Storms can wreak havoc on residential properties; wind and flood damage can lead to significant primary and secondary damage. Even if you have flood insurance, it is crucial you do everything in your power to minimize damage and protect your claim, especially since insurance adjusters will likely be delayed following significant storm surges.

Water and storm mitigation experts in Clearfield, UT, recommend taking a pre-emptive approach to storm cleanup. Instead of waiting for an adjuster, reach out to a remediation specialist to start the restoration process, including:

  • Mitigation
  • Cleanup
  • Restoration

Prevent Further Damage With Mitigation Protocols

If you want to protect your insurance coverage, you will need to take action after a storm. Most insurance companies require policyholders to mitigate further loss and damage in order to receive the total value of their coverage.

If you fail to clean up excess water or take action to minimize the risk of further damage, like mold damage, an adjuster can deny your claim altogether. Thankfully taking action does not have to be challenging. You can contact a mitigation company for assistance. The business will send out a team to assess the damage and take any necessary mitigation measures.

These services commonly work with insurance companies, so it is not unusual for them to understand what is needed to protect your policy and ensure you’re covered. You might want to contact your insurer to explain that you are calling a service, just in case there are any requirements in your policy you need to know about.

Mitigation Services Can Help With Cleanup While Keeping a Record of Loss

Most flood insurance companies will require a loss statement, including pictures and receipts of items damaged in the flooding. While homeowners can be hesitant to clean up after a disaster, worrying the cleanup will undermine the valuation, a mitigation and restoration service will document everything and help you establish a thorough report.

Restoration service will also create an itemized list of the services rendered or recommended, providing you with justification for any and all expenses. Ultimately, using a service helps ensure there is a record of every detail of a disaster for the adjuster when they arrive.

Rebuilding After Storm Damage

Once the adjuster has time to assess your property and claim, the restoration company should have a projection of the total cost of restoration. Your adjuster will be able to review all of the recommendations and determine whether the quote is fair and feasible.

The adjuster can then determine the amount you are covered for and provide approval for the continuation of work. Obviously, as the homeowner, you have a say in which company completes the restoration, but your insurer might have suggestions.

While flood insurance is helpful, especially after a storm surge, the homeowner needs to understand that response times after a flood can be slow. You do not have time to wait for an adjuster. You will need to take action to protect your policy and claim. After a flood or storm damage, make sure to take mitigative steps to protect against secondary damage.

Home Fire Safety Tips

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

A person putting out a fire. If you can't control the fire with a fire extinguisher in your home in Clearfield, UT, call professionals to avoid further damages.

Every homeowner likes to believe that his or her house is safe from fires. A fire in your home in Clearfield, UT, can break out much more easily and quickly than you think, though. The smallest error, such as leaving a candle burning too long or forgetting a burner on the stove is on, can ignite a larger flame in no time. When this happens, you should have the security of knowing that every family member knows the proper procedure for handling it. This starts by teaching everyone how to use a fire extinguisher.

The PASS Method

The moment an emergency happens is an unfortunate time to discover that you don't know how to address it. It doesn't do you any good to have a fire extinguisher near your kitchen if you don't know how to use it. Fortunately, all it takes is following an easy four-step process:

Pull - Take the pinout of the top of the extinguisher to unlock it and ready it for use.
Aim - Point the nozzle at the base of the fire.
Squeeze - Apply pressure on the handle to release the agent inside the extinguisher.
Sweep - Slowly but steadily move the stream from the nozzle back and forth along the base of the fire.

If done correctly, the PASS method should put out most small fires that occur in your home. If the flames still persist after you have emptied the canister of the fire extinguisher, don't reach for another one to try again. It's time to let the professionals take over. Call 911 and evacuate the house.

The Right Extinguisher

Not all fires are the same, so it makes sense that different extinguishers would need to hold different types of agents. When you are choosing the right fire safety equipment for your home, look at the ratings. An "A" rating means it is most useful for trash, paper, and wood fires. A "B" rating means that it contains an agent that works best on flammable liquids. A "C" rating is what you need for areas where electrical fires are possible. According to fire damage mitigation experts, the best extinguisher to fight a kitchen fire will have at least a "B-C" rating, if not all three.

The Best Prevention

One of the goals of fire safety is to prevent as much fire damage to your home as possible. Of course, the best prevention is to avoid circumstances that cause the fire in the first place. Since the kitchen is one of the most common places where home fires occur, it's imperative that everyone who uses the kitchen understands basic safety measures. For example, remember to turn the oven and stove off when you're not using them. Don't keep items on top of the stove that are likely to ignite. Clean up oil and grease messes as soon as they occur.

Having a fire extinguisher handy in every area of your home is an essential part of any solid fire safety plan. If you can't prevent a fire altogether, knowing how to handle it quickly and efficiently is the next best option.

What Is Category 1 Water Damage?

8/11/2021 (Permalink)

Broken pipes. Category 1 water damage in a Clearfield, UT, building.

When you have water damage in your building, it is important to clean it up and dry your property out as quickly as possible to avoid additional damage. The type of restoration that needs to be done can vary depending on whether the damage is from clean water, grey water, or black water. Different types of water damage are classified according to category.

What Category 1 Water Damage Is

Category 1 water damage is usually the easiest type of water damage to deal with because it is water from a clean source. There are multiple examples of sources of category 1 damage:

  • Broken pipe
  • Broken supply line
  • Overflow from a clean sink or tub
  • Some appliance leaks

The distinguishing feature of this type of water damage is that it doesn't contain harmful bacteria or chemicals that require protective gear when cleaning it up.

What To Do When You Have Category 1 Water Damage

The first thing to do is shut off the source of the clean water. If the water is coming from a broken pipe, shut off the water to your house. If it is an overflowing sink or tub, turning off the tap should work. If you have an appliance that is leaking, unplug it, shut off the water and disconnect the supply line. You may need to place towels around the base to soak up any water that is still coming out.

Once you have shut off the source of the water, clean up the water damage as soon as possible. You can use a mop and bucket, sponges, or a wet/dry vacuum. Wet carpeting can be difficult to fully dry and may need to be replaced. If there is a lot of water damage, you may want to contact a water restoration company in Clearfield, UT. Some types of water damage may be covered by your insurance company. Contact your insurance professional to find out if you should file a claim.

Why It is Important To Dry Your Property Quickly

Mold and mildew thrive in wet conditions and can begin growing in 24 to 48 hours after water damage. The faster you can dry out your property, the less likely you are to experience mold growth. This may also help you avoid other problems, such as warping and rot. Additionally, standing water that sits for too long can become contaminated and may require professional cleaning services to be safely removed.

How You Can Avoid Future Problems

Avoid overflows by not letting sinks and tubs run while unsupervised. Have your appliances regularly maintained. Check for signs of a water leak, such as musty odors, unusual sounds, water pressure issues, stains, discolored water, or unexplained increases in your water bill. Fix or replace leaking pipes promptly. Insulate your pipes in cold weather to avoid potential damage caused by freezing temperatures. Drain your pipes if your building will not be in use for extended periods.

Water damage from clean water is the easiest type of water damage to deal with. However, it still requires prompt attention to avoid unnecessary additional damage to your property.

How To Minimize Water Damage After a Burst Pipe

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

Broken pipe. A broken pipe can make appear moisture and mold problems.

Discovering a broken pipe in your Clearfield, UT, commercial building can be an anxiety-provoking event. Seeing standing water inside might have you in a panic, wondering what to do next. You probably won't be able to prevent water damage after a pipe burst, but there are steps for keeping it to a minimum.

1. Shut Off the Building's Main Water Supply

First, you need to shut off the building's water supply at the main valve to stop the influx. This action will minimize the flooding and standing water as much as possible.

2. Examine the Area for Damage

After you've stopped the water flow, it's essential to examine the area thoroughly. Be sure to locate all the affected areas and materials.

3. Extract the Water

Next, the standing water inside needs to be removed as quickly as possible. Every minute counts when it comes to a moisture problem, whatever the size. Typically, the most efficient way of extracting standing water is by using a wet/dry vacuum. It can safely and quickly remove the liquid and smaller floating debris.

4. Dry the Area

You must dry the area thoroughly after water pipe cleanup. The more prolonged moisture lingers in the area, the more damage will occur from water and mold growth. Mold can begin growing within 24 hours of water contact, so it's essential to dry it as quickly as possible. Use dehumidifiers, fans, heat, and open windows and doors.

5. Contact Professionals

After a pipe burst of any size, it's most beneficial to call professionals, such as plumbers and flood damage restoration professionals. They'll thoroughly inspect the area and repair any damage, from the broken pipe itself to mold remediation.

Flowing water inside your building is never a good thing if it's due to a broken pipe. You can't always prevent these occurrences, but knowing what to do beforehand helps minimize the loss.

Can Wet Materials Be Salvaged?

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

Leaking pipes. Avoid your Clearfield, UT, home get damaged by a leaking pipe.

Routine home maintenance is a good way to identify a water loss. If a sudden loss occurs in your clients' home in Clearfield, UT, however, it can cause a lot of damage such as swelling wood in a short amount of time. The water restoration experts you recommend to your clients can lower the cost of their claim by identifying materials that can be dried rather than replaced.

Identifying Contamination Level

One factor that determines whether materials must be torn out is the level of bacteria present in the water. There are three main levels of contamination that can occur in homes:

  • Category 1 - clean water from a pipe or supply line
  • Category 2 - dirty water from an appliance leak
  • Category 3 - contaminated water from sewage or storm flooding

The cleaner the water, the more likely it is that affected materials will be able to be saved. For example, wet drywall can usually be dried thoroughly. If, however, the wall is also laden with bacteria, it may need to be torn out and replaced, which will likely result in a higher claim cost.

Determining Saturation Level

Hardwood floors are particularly susceptible to water damage. Swelling wood or buckling floorboards are both telltale signs that the flooding has damaged the floor beyond repair. In addition to quick water pipe repair, early detection is the key to minimizing the risk of this happening. The longer standing water sits on the floor, the more damage it causes. When you make SERVPRO a preferred vendor, you can rest assured that the technicians will arrive in a timely manner so that they can catch water damage before it goes too far.

Your clients may not be able to avoid replacing swelling wood or contaminated materials, but a lot of water damage can be repaired if they catch it early enough. Referring them to reliable mitigation experts reduces their claim and thus your payout.