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5 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage

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.

Flood Damage ProPhoto courtesy of Flood Damage Pro

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.

Flood Damage ProPhoto courtesy of Flood Damage Pro

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.

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What To Do When A Home Suffers From Water Damage

When a major storm passes close to the house, the home may suffer water damage that is difficult to repair. There are many things a family can do to begin repairing any destruction, but a certified professional will likely be needed to get rid of any serious health or structural threats. Contaminated storm surges or floods can carry pathogens and become a breeding ground for mold. If allowed to fester, these mold spores can spread throughout the building and become even more difficult to remove. In many cases,  governmental agencies could condemn the structure if the microbial threat is too great.

The main reason why a home is sensitive to water damage is because moisture is difficult to detect once the floods recede
. Standing liquids can encourage microbial growth within 24 hours and can saturate all kinds of textiles and seep through drywall. Moisture may collect behind the walls, where mold and bacteria may multiply out of sight. If a family reacts quickly enough, clothes and furniture may be saved. However, people must be careful when entering a building that has recently been flooded. Exposure to wildlife and contaminated liquids can result in serious injury.

Before entering a home affected by water damage, make sure the electrical power is shut off
. Exposed wires or plugged in devices can electrocute people, resulting in major injury or even death. Also, it’s best to move slowly through the building when re-entering it for the first time. Snakes, reptiles or rodents may be hiding under debris and could lash out and bite suddenly. To protect against wildlife and airborne contaminants, wear protective clothing from head to toe, including a vapor respirator, rubber gloves and eye protection. Also, wear thick boots that can withstand puncturing and animal bites.

Professional restoration services can quickly identify what items in the home are compromised by water damage. Normally, anything that is porous may need to be discarded if it has come in contact with contaminated fluids. These items, like mattresses, box springs, pillows and particle board, trap more moisture than other materials and foster the growth of microbes. A family can prepare for professional cleaning by getting rid of these items before the technicians arrive, butbe sure to properly record and itemize the items for insurance purposes prior to disposing.

Once professionals arrive at the building, they will be able to track down any pockets of excess moisture and remove them
. Certified technicians can locate these pockets of moisture using equipment that measures the moisture in hidden pockets and behind tile and other materials that may not feel wet on the outside.  When these moisture pockets are found, the technicians will expose them to air by removing any drywall or other materials in the way. Once the location of the moisture has been determined, the professionals will begin the clean-up process that may include pressure washing the area with powerful detergents. These technicians are also able to speed up the drying process to prevent the growth of any molds or other harmful bacteria. If the professional locate mold or bacteria colonies, they will know how to identify and remove the threat using chemical or mechanical methods.

It’s important for a family to hire professionals that are certified through a reputable organization
. Technicians trained in this area know how to find compromised areas and do what it takes to restore them.

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Tips for Cleaning Your Home After Water Damage

Tips for cleaning your home after water damage

Water in unwanted places can cause a lot of damage. Not only can it ruin your prized possessions, but also the house in which they are stored. If you’re able to act quickly, you can minimize the damage and possibly save some of your possessions. Some of your success depends on how long the water’s been around, there might be pieces of furniture that can be saved, and sometimes, even carpet, but any electronics hit by water are probably doomed.

Don’t treat flood water in unwanted places lightly: even if your basement only has an inch of water in it, or is even just damp, it is the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold growth not only ruins walls, furniture, carpets, flooring, etc., it can lead to poor indoor air quality causing respiratory problems including asthma, and can lead to severe illness. Preventing mold growth is key to keeping your home’s air clean and healthy. So in addition to calling your insurance company, here are a few tips to deal with your flooded basement and minimize the water damage. (Call your insurance company before you do anything, and tell them what you want to do.)

  1. Disconnect the power, unplug any electronics, and remove electronics, furniture and movable items immediately. The faster you get items out of water’s way, the more likely you’ll be able to save them. Definitely move all electrical items first, and if you can, turn off your power leading into the affected area, especially if water rises above electrical outlets. Pull up any carpets (wall to wall and area rugs) and underpadding. You may be able to save the carpet if you get it cleaned and disinfected, however, it may shrink and be better off as an area rug afterwards. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to save the underpadding, which acts like a sponge and absorbs a lot of water.
  2. Get rid of the water. There are several ways to get rid of the water. If you don’t have power, or are worried about loose wires, the old-fashioned, manual way will work. Use old towels, buckets and mops to soak up as much water as possible. As long as sewers in your neighbourhood aren’t backed up, you can pour the water down the drain, otherwise, pour onto your lawn or other permeable surface. A wet/dry vacuum can be used too, note: be very careful to plug it into outlets far away from water. Don’t use an extension cord as the connection could also short out and give you a nasty shock. Water and electricity don’t mix! If your basement or other flooded area is overwhelming and you have power, consider renting (if available) a sump pump from your local Rent-all or hardware stores. Getting rid of all the water and drying out the area is the most important thing you can do to prevent mold growth.

    drywall cutaway, after flood waters are mopped up

    drywall cutaway, after flood waters are mopped up

  3. Dry out the affected area. Once you’ve mopped up all the water, use fans and  a dehumidifier to help dry out the area. If it’s stopped raining, open windows to allow for air circulation and faster drying. You want to dry the area out as soon as possible. If you have a finished basement and the drywall was affected, you’ll probably have to cut away the areas that were touched by water as the drywall will crumble and the paper backing is a good source of food for mold. If you have baseboard trim, take it up first, and if it’s made from pressboard it will likely not be salvageable. If it was wood, you might be able to save it.
  4. Disinfect. After the area has dried out, including wood beams, insulation, drywall, etc., use a good disinfectant to get rid of any bacteria that might have come up through sewers, toilets, etc. Gloves Off Disinfectant, is a non-toxic but powerful disinfectant. Disinfect all areas affected by the flood waters including walls and wood and non-upholstered furniture that sat in flood water.
  5. Prevent mold growth. After you’ve disinfected and let the area thoroughly dry out, apply Concrobium throughout the affected area according to directions. I can’t say enough good things about this product; it is non-toxic, made with distilled water and inorganic salts. You can use it on furniture, walls, floors, basically anything that is susceptible to mold growth. Once a thin layer of Concrobium is applied, let it dry overnight. As Concrobium dries, it forms a thin layer over any mold that may be growing and actually crushes the roots of the spores. Wherever it’s sprayed will prevent any mold from growing, providing continued resistance. If you’re spraying an entire room, you might want to consider renting a mister from a hardware store such as Home Depot. It’s easy to use and very fast.
  6. Dispose of damaged items responsibly: you’ll be tempted to throw everything into a dumpster and send it all away and out of site. But if you can organize damaged goods into piles and take what you can to recycling centres, you will help alleviate the pressure on your local landfill site. Go to your city or town’s waste management website to find out where to recycle old paints, stains, adhesives and other toxic liquids, any damaged electronics from cell phones to TVs and computers, furniture, and even drywall. You can also look through Earth 911 to find recycling centres in your neighbourhood.
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Mold Remediation and Restoration

Mold-Removal-Remediation-Kahului-Maui-1Any home or business can quickly become infested with mold with the introduction of a water source, like a roof or plumbing leak. Mold can spread throughout a property in as little as 48-72 hours, and can produce allergens and irritants that have the potential to cause other health effects.

If you suspect that your home or business has a mold problem, TSC Restoration can inspect and assess your property. If mold is found, they have the training, equipment, and expertise to handle the situation.

Please refer to our Mold Damage Tips to learn more about mold and what to do until help arrives.

TSC Restoration

  • Provide 24/7 Emergency Service
  • Highly Trained Water Restoration Specialists
  • Faster to Any Size Disaster
  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry with over 1,700 Franchises

If You See Signs of Mold, Call 1 (619) 596-3888

Understanding Mold

Microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, outdoors and indoors, making it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or on a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

Common Mold Misconceptions

With sensational news stories and misleading advertising, you can easily understand why so many people are misinformed about indoor mold. Learn the facts about mold and the mold remediation process.

  • What is “Black Mold”
  • “Mold Removal” versus Mold Remediation

Why Choose  TSC Restoration?

fast response to mold damage

They’re Faster to Any Size Disaster

TSC Restoration  are dedicated to responding immediately when you contact them. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost.

 

highly trained mold remediation technicians

They’re Highly Trained Mold Remediation Specialists

They specialize in water and mold damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business. TSC Restoration have the training and expertise to safely handle any mold situation.

  • Applied Microbial Remediation Specialist
  • Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • Applied Structural Drying Technician

 

fast mold damage cleanup

They Use Advanced Mold Remediation Techniques and Equipment

TSC Restoration use advanced equipment to detect the source of water feeding the mold. Next, they isolate the affected area using a negative air pressure chamber.

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What Is Water Damage Restoration?

water_7When you’re dealing with water damage it’s crucial that you act quickly in order to minimize the destruction. Your first port of call is to avoid further damage by plugging the leak or stopping the flooding. From there, you and your water damage restoration company can get to work undoing any damage and making repairs to your belongings and your property.

 

In this detailed overview, we’ll look at what water damage restoration services entail and how you can go about preventing further damage to your things.

What Is Water Damage Restoration?

 

Water damage restoration refers to the process of reversing the damage done to a property by water. This damage might be caused by a leak, by flooding or by another event. At any rate, a number of different procedures and tools can be used in order to minimize the cost of the water damage and to salvage belongings that may be financially or sentimentally valuable. When it comes to water damage restoration there are two large certifying bodies that oversee procedures and that ensure everything is handled as it should be. These are the IICRC and the RIA. The majority of water damage restoration companies will use the procedural standards laid out by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) which is called the ‘S500′. Looking for a service that adheres to these guidelines is a good way to ensure a certain quality of service and the best possible outcome. The S500 uses reliable and standardized restoration principles based on research and experience.

What Is Water Damage Restoration For?

If your business or residential property has been affected by flooding of any kind, then your belongings and property will be at risk.

Water can cause severe damage to a building and home. Common problems include water logging for your carpets and furniture, the destruction of electrical equipment, damp seeping into your building leading to subsequent mold, corrosion of other materials, degradation of documents, photos and other printed materials, discoloration of paints, damage to foods and much more. This can be highly traumatic if it results in the destruction of personal affects but it can also cost a huge amount of property damage – particularly for businesses that perhaps depend on certain tools and documents. In some cases, water damage restoration will be used in response to an obvious incident such as a burst pipe. In other cases, though, water damage can be more subtle and gradual. If you have a leak or mold, then water damage can be caused by moisture on a less noticeable scale. This can still be just as dangerous potentially even leading to the softening of building materials which could lead to issues with structural integrity. You might not see the signs of water damage in your home or business initially but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there and that it isn’t potentially a big threat. Sometimes, water damage can even come ‘from within’. This is the case when your bathroom doesn’t have enough ventilation for instance, in which case you can end up with a build-up of condensation and steam. Or, water damage might be very localized and specific to a certain set of documents or an item of furniture. If you drop a large bucket of water, this can cause a significant amount of destruction!

Water damage restoration services then can be used in any manner of situations – from large, dramatic flooding to subtle basement leaks. They can also be used by everyone from families, to landlords to businesses.

This is a crucial service that can save businesses, families, and individuals huge amounts of money and distress when used correctly.

How To Spot Water Damage

Water Damage Restoration Services
Water Damage

As water damage can sometimes be subtle, on occasion it is necessary to look for the signs and symptoms. The sooner you catch water damage, the more of your property can be saved and the less it will cost you – so be vigilant and ever on the look-out for these signs:

 

Water Drips and Puddles

This is an obvious sign that you have water in your property. If you notice puddles building up on your property, then this can be a clear indication of a leak or of seeping/lack of ventilation.

Smell

Sometimes you will be able to smell moisture or even mold in the air. This is again a sign that you may have a leak or a puddle. The amount of moisture in the air does vary, of course, depending on your location and your property. If you suspect you simply live in a very humid area, then you may choose to use a dehumidifier to address the problem without needing restoration services.

Discoloration

Water can cause paint to fade and can also drain the dye out of carpets and furniture. Alternatively, mold might lead to dark patches of green fur.

If your walls or furniture appear light this could also be caused by other things. Sunlight, for instance, can bleach carpet and furniture when it hits them directly for extended periods. This is a sign to be looked for in combination with other issues.

You may even notice water marks on your walls or windows where water has been running down the surface. This is particularly common where you have issues with eaves troughs overflowing or leaking – which commonly lead to other problems such as damage to the foundations or leaking basements.

Soft Patches and Peeling

If moisture has gotten into your walls or flooring, then it can gradually break down the fibers that hold it together. If you notice a dip around your toilet for instance, then you might have a leak. Similarly, if tiles are coming off of your wall, or the wall is soft and crumbling in certain patches, this can similarly indicate a moisture problem.

Cold

If you have a lot of moisture on your walls then this can make your property much harder to heat as it reaches ‘dew point temperature’. This also creates something of a ‘vicious cycle’ where the cold temperature of the walls attracts more moisture and condensation. If your heating bill has gone up inexplicably or the house feels constantly cold, this could again indicate moisture issues of some kind.

There are many other potential signs that you have moisture in your home. If you’re unsure, consult with a specialist who can let you know for certain and provide a quote for restoration services where necessary.

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Extensive Fire Damage and How Fire Damage Restoration Deals With It

Fire alone is incredibly formidable and can cause drastic destruction to any premises. If you have a blaze in your home that goes on long enough, then your belongings will be burned for fuel leaving only ash behind until the entire property is little more than a memory.

If that’s all that extensive fire damage represented then that would be bad enough. In fact though, fire damage is far more extensive and multi-faceted than that and it can impact on your home in ways that you might find almost entirely unexpected. Read on and we will look at the other types of damage caused by fires. To end on a positive note though, we’ll also look at how a good fire damage restoration company will go about undoing each one of these types of damage to get a property back to full health as quickly as possible.

Air Pressure and Shattered Windows

broken glass from extensive fire damage

You might at this point be wondering what’s so interesting and complicated about extensive fire damage. A good example to start off with then, is the way in which extensive fire damage can lead to shattered windows through the power of air pressure.

How does this work? Well essentially, when you have a fire raging in your property, this will be burning by using oxygen for fuel. Oxygen is reactive and when you see a fire, this is actually caused by that reaction.

Extensive fire damage then, removes the oxygen from the air in your home and this in turn creates a ‘vacuum’. That means that there are now fewer air particles in your home and around the fire than there are outside the property. This then causes the air in your other rooms to rush to the fire to feed it – this is due to something called ‘equalization’ which essentially is a fancy way of saying that gas particles in any container always spread out evenly (like a puddle). Remove the air from the living room and more air will rush in from upstairs to even things out.

Eventually though, all the air in your home will have been gobbled up by the fire which will create a massive difference in the air pressure in your home compared to outside. When this pressure difference becomes big enough, this is actually strong enough to cause the air from outside to burst in through the windows causing them to shatter inward. This then showers your property with glass and also causes a hot wind to blow in forcefully to your home!

Water Damage

It might seem like a contradiction but often times extensive fire damage will also lead to water damage. This is why most water damage repair companies also work as fire damage restoration companies.

There are many reasons that extensive fire damage can cause water damage. One is that the fire can burn pipes and cause them to boil and burst. Another is that it can burst water tanks. Less obvious perhaps is that it can burn holes in the roof (and break the windows as we’ve seen) thus causing rain water to come in and cause more damage.

In case you’re thinking that water damage ‘pales’ in comparison to the damage caused by the fire itself, bear in mind that much of this will be contaminated water that can lead to serious illness. Furthermore, this water can come into contact with sockets and extension cables causing electricity to run across your entire property.

Water damage also leads to mold. In as little as 24 hours, a wet surface can become a moldy surface and this means that long after the fire has gone, your home can continue to become more and more unlivable. Especially if the mold that grows is ‘toxic black’ mold.

Bear in mind too that this isn’t just water – it’s boiling water.

Explosions and Rubble

Similar to the way that burst pipes can lead to water damage, extensive fire damage can also burst gas lines and thereby cause gas leaks. This can be dangerous on its own but even more-so when it is in the presence of a huge naked flame likely to cause a massive explosion. It’s no exaggeration to say that an explosion caused by a gas leak in this way can be serious enough to potentially level an entire neighborhood!

At the very least, the explosions and the fire itself can cause severe structural damage to your property making it likely that your roof will collapse, that walls will give way or that the stairs will come away. All these things cause tons of destruction themselves as your property and belongings becomes crushed under the weight of the rubble. Even if it’s something as relatively ‘minor’ as a kitchen cabinet falling off the wall, this can destroy everything that was inside that cabinet and everything that was underneath it. And did you think about your soup and chopped tomatoes boiling inside their cans?

Smoke

Smoke itself is also a big part of fire damage restoration. Smoke is such a big problem because it can get everywhere and it can create a terrible odor and stain things black permanently. Smoke is also terrible for our lungs and quite often it’s the smoke that is actually first to cause serious personal harm rather than the fire.

Fire Damage Restoration Services

As you can see then, extensive fire damage is far more extensive than you might originally have imagined. It’s not just a case of things being burned, but of things being burned, crushed, flooded and blown up.

The good news is that as long as you’re away from your property at the time, you can undo all this damage with a fire damage restoration company. These companies specialize in all kinds of restoration which should include everything from water damage restoration, to mold remediation to home renovations. These companies can go about undoing all the damage caused to your home to the point where you’re able to move in again and get on with your life.

San Diego Gas Hits $3 a Gallon

Gas hits $3 a gallon in San Diego

$3 a gallon is back in San Diego for the first time since the beginning of December. We had a good run of gasoline prices but it looks like that has all come to the end. According to survey publisher Trilby Lundberg in Camarillo, California prices across the country have risen 13 cents a gallon over the last week. That’s two weeks in a row that prices have risen, but it’s not due to a lack of gasoline. The actual culprit here in San Diego, a lack of refineries. Continue reading