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Making a Water Damage Claim: Five Steps

11/23/2021 (Permalink)

Two people walking by a kitchen floor that has suffered water damage Water damage in a kitchen in Guthrie, OK.

Five Steps to Filing a Water Damage Claim

If a burst pipe has led to flooding and related damage to your home, you are probably interested in the process involved when making an insurance claim. Read on to learn about 5 important steps you need to take to submit the claim and prepare for an insurance adjuster to arrive.

1. Check Your Insurance Policy

One of the first things that you will want to do after a pipe burst in your Guthrie, OK, home is to review your homeowners insurance policy. Water damage is covered by some policies and not others.

2. Call the Insurance Company

If you have learned that you do indeed have flood coverage, the next step is to call your agent to make an insurance claim with the company that handles your policy. If all goes well with your report, an appointment will be set to have the damage surveyed.

3. Take Pictures and Record Damage
Once you learn that an adjuster is coming to evaluate the situation, you will need to get working. Take pictures and record any issues that you find, as these will be valuable resources for the claims team to take into account.

4. Fill out Forms

You may have to fill out claim paperwork before the adjuster arrives. Be as thorough as you need to be, and make sure to meet the stated deadline.

5. Make Repairs

It is usually a good idea to make at least some repairs when you can to preserve your property to the best of your ability before the adjuster arrives at your home. Contacting water damage specialists is often your best bet to get the work completed quickly and accurately.

Filing an insurance claim can be difficult after water ruins your valuables and property. The emotional effects of having your home in danger are challenging enough without going through complicated insurance processes. Remembering the steps above will help you to better understand what is involved and how to accurately file a claim so you can figure out a way to move forward.

Understand the Danger of Flood Waters

11/15/2021 (Permalink)

Wet carpet, flooded office building Office flooded in Perry, OK.

Flooding brings many dangers with it but when the water rises in Perry, OK, you may be tempted to make the best of a bad situation. After all, who doesn't enjoy a day playing in water? However, in addition to the dangers inherent in cold, racing waters, there are hazards that have to do with contaminants in flood water.

Levels of Flood Contamination

Health authorities provide measures and labels to describe the danger of water from flooding.

• Level I: A small amount of water inside a single building that can be cleaned up before it soaks into building materials
• Level II: Overflow within a single building that covers a much larger section of the interior and soaks into carpeting, drywall, etc.
• Level III: Black water from outside the building with significant damage and flooding

Heavy storms or rains could cause many types of flooding, but when they bring water into your properties, always treat the water as if it were category 3 black water. Take appropriate precautions to protect the health and well-being of your staff and any of your customers or clients.

The Dangers of Black Water

One of the most serious aspects of storm damage is black water. Because of contamination, flood water is a category 3 health hazard. Some of the pollutants in the water include raw sewage, human and animal waste, seepage from septic tanks, chemicals, drainage backflow, and fuels from vehicles. Without knowing where the water has been, it's best to assume that it has been contaminated with very hazardous substances. Avoid all contact with this water.

How to Recover From Contamination

If flood water has risen through your business properties, contact a flood remediation company to address the damages. These professionals have the tools and training necessary to thoroughly clean your premises without leaving any harmful contaminants behind. Instead of trying to DIY this serious issue, turn your focus to keeping your personnel and clients safe.

6 Leading Causes of Home Fires

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

Inside of a home completely damaged by fire A home fire in Navina, OK.

Common Fire Causes

A home fire can be an extremely devastating experience for any homeowner in Navina, OK. Understanding common fire causes can help you evaluate and safeguard your home.

1. Faulty Wiring

Faulty wiring inside your walls or appliances can be a significant fire hazard. Symptoms of damaged home wiring include frequently blown fuses or lights spontaneously dimming when appliances are in use.

If you have concerns about your home’s electrical wiring, promptly contact a licensed electrician. You should also avoid using any appliances that have frayed or damaged cords.

2. Overloaded Outlets and Extension Cords

Most outlets are designed to accommodate two electrical plugs. Attempting to plug additional items into a single outlet can overload it, increasing the risk of a home fire. As an added precaution, you should also limit the use of extension cords and avoid placing them under rugs where they may overheat.

3. Cooking Accidents

To reduce the risk of a damaging kitchen fire and the need for extensive fire cleaning, you should never leave your stove unattended while cooking. Remaining attentive can prevent pots and pans from overheating and grease or other flammable liquids from igniting.

4. Portable Heaters

Portable heaters are another leading cause of fires. To operate your heater safely, refrain from placing it near curtains, blankets, paper or upholstered furniture.

5. Cigarettes

Improperly disposed cigarette butts can also ignite a fire. Smoking outside helps minimize this risk. If you choose to smoke inside your home, refrain from doing so while in bed and ensure you carefully extinguish butts inside an ash tray.

6. Matches and Candles

Matches and candles can also be dangerous. Never leave a burning candle unattended and ensure that children in the home understand that candles and matches are not toys. These items should be used only with adult supervision.

A home fire can result in significant damage necessitating extensive fire cleaning and restoration. Although no homeowner can completely eliminate their home’s fire risk, remaining vigilant in the kitchen and taking precautions with heaters, cigarettes, candles and extension cords can help prevent a potentially destructive fire.

Commercial Fire Sprinkler Maintenance

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

automatic fire sprinkler in an office A commercial fire sprinkler system is one of the best ways to prevent damage to property.

Commercial Fire Sprinkler Maintenance

A commercial fire sprinkler system is one of the best ways to prevent injuries, save lives and decrease damage to property. That’s why it’s important to keep up on regular maintenance and ensure that your fire suppression system is working properly. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), recommends the following schedules for inspection and testing.

Inspection

• Weekly to monthly: In most systems, sprinkler gauges should be visually inspected weekly. Gauges in wet pipe systems should be checked monthly.

• Quarterly: Alarm instruments associated with water flow detectors and valve supervisory switches should be checked every three months. Hydraulic nameplates, control valves and supervisory signals should also be examined.

• Annually: All pipes and fittings, in addition to spare sprinklers, should be inspected. Seismic and hanger bracing systems, as well as hydraulic nameplates, should be checked.

• Every five years: Sprinkler piping should be inspected internally. This inspection is important for preventing obstruction caused by foreign materials.

Testing

• Quarterly: Mechanical devices, such as water flow detectors, should be tested every three months. Waterflow switches should be tested.

• Semiannually: Pressure switches should be tested every six months to ensure setting accuracy. Vane switches should also be tested twice a year.

• Annually: Every 12 months, the entire fire sprinkler system should be tested. This should include testing of water flow, alarms and fire pumps. Antifreeze concentration should also be tested.

• Every five years: In harsh environments with extreme temperatures, sprinklers should be tested every five years. Gauges should also be tested or replaced.

• Every decade or more: Fire suppression systems using dry sprinklers should be tested every 10 years. Sprinklers using fast-response technology should be tested 20 years after installation and then every decade. Sprinklers using standard response systems need to be tested 50 years after installation, followed by 10-year intervals.

If you have the unfortunate experience of dealing with a commercial fire in Perry, OK, you may have some water damage from your fire sprinkler system. However, you can call a professional water and fire restoration service for fire sprinkler cleanup, which is preferable to the mess you could have if the fire department must use mass amounts of water to put out the fire.

What Does Mold Containment and Remediation Involve?

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

Green mold growth on drywall Mold found in a home in Guthrie, OK.

So you’ve found mold in your Guthrie, OK, home. While your first step should be to contact a mold remediation specialist, while you wait for help you need to stop the spread of mold contamination and initiate proper containment prior to remediation. Containment can keep mold from spreading to uncontaminated areas – but what does mold containment and remediation actually entail?

Steps to Take for Mold Containment

Mold contamination is so serious even the CDC addresses it with guidelines for containment and remediation. For containment, you should:

1. Immediately shut off water around the affected area. Water feeds mold, and you may have a leak or broken pipe that’s making the issue worse.

2. Blot the affected area as dry as possible. Any standing water is just giving mold more fuel to breed, so dry up any water. Use gloves, as the water may contain mold contamination.

3. Shut off HVAC systems. Mold spores can spread through HVAC systems and contaminate other areas of the house.

4. Remove contaminated materials and dispose of them appropriately. Your carpet may have picked up a mold infestation, or items of clothing lying around. You may need to wait for remediation for a full tear-out, but get rid of anything disposable ASAP.

5. Seal off the area. If possible, close off the area with an airtight seal. Tape windows and doors, and close and cover air vents.

6. Use antifungals and mold prevention solutions on the rest of the house. You can use off-the-shelf antifungals as a spray defense toward the rest of your house against the spread of mold.

What Remediation Involves

A mold remediation specialist will not only check the discovered infestation but inspect your entire house thoroughly to identify any other sources of mold. The type of mold and the depth of the contamination will determine what remediation may involve, from the use of HEPA air filters to a complete tear-out of infested drywall, flooring, or carpeting.

Getting Your Business Back on Track After a Fire

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

Apartment building damaged by fire, firefighters present on scene Fire damage in Stillwater, OK area.

Returning Your Business to Normalcy After a Fire

When you’re dealing with fire damage to your Stillwater, OK, business, you should get back up and running as soon as possible. Completing the maze of paperwork, meeting with an insurance adjuster, and getting estimates on repairs can consume all of your time when all you really want to do is get back to work. Once the flames are out, take these steps to make your way through the process as efficiently as possible.


1. Call your insurance company as soon as possible. It should open a claim and send out an adjuster to evaluate the fire damage. Depending on your policy, it may also provide an up-front cash payment so you can hire a cleaning crew and/or restoration service to start making repairs.

2. Take pictures and document all the damage you can. Do this only after the fire department says it’s safe for you to go back onto the property. Wear gloves and a breathing mask while you’re doing this.

3. Contact a professional company to help you start on the road to reopening. Often referred to as disaster restoration providers, these are specially trained teams that know how to put things back together structurally and cosmetically. They can even remove smoke odor, which is bad for your health and continues to damage surfaces if not cleaned properly right away.

4. Consider hiring a fire mitigation company once you’re up and running again. This is strongly recommended, especially if you’re in an industry with an above-average risk of fire, like handling flammable chemicals or working with materials at high temperatures. These consultants can evaluate your workflow and space and give you tips on how to avoid future fires. If you can find one company to do the cleanup, restoration, and mitigation, you can speed up the recovery process considerably.

Fire damage doesn’t have to be catastrophic to your Stillwater, OK, business. Now you know the right steps to take once the flames are out.

The Ins and Outs of Black Mold

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on a wall If you have mold issues you should contact professionals to address the issue.

The Facts About Black Mold

Black mold is a type of microscopic fungus that often grows in large quantities. It’s generally found outdoors, but it can also make its way indoors. It reproduces by releasing spores into the air that settle on surfaces, and it quite often appears as an innocent little black, blue or green stain that quickly proliferates.

Ideal Conditions

Mold’s favorite places to reproduce are showers, baths, toilets, kitchens and basements – in other words, places that normally contain the three necessary conditions for it to grow and flourish.

• Water: Moisture from leaks, flooding, condensation and high relative humidity has to exist for spores to grow and reproduce. This is especially true in Navina, OK.

• Food: Like every living creature, spores need food, which they find in organic materials such as cotton, paper, leather and wood.

• Temperature: Optimal temperatures for proliferation must be warm, ranging from between 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mold also likes to proliferate in dusty and dark environments containing stagnant air.

Telltale Signs

It’s not necessarily easy to tell if black mold or other fungi are invading your home because visual signs may be absent. However, a reliable clue could be a whiff of a musty, earthy scent. This specific smell almost always guarantees mold, especially if you’ve suffered a leak or flood that hasn’t dried out properly.

Control of the Problem

Since mold requires some form of water to propagate, the best way to keep it from trespassing is by solving any indoor moisture problem with the help of a knowledgeable and reliable company. If mold cleanup is necessary, or if you suspect the fungus will invade at any moment, rest assured that you can rely on professionals located in Navina, OK, to take care of your worries.

Keep an eye on any areas of your home that are especially prone to moisture. If you suspect black mold in your home, or if you notice its telltale signs, contact professionals to address the issue.

The 4 Steps of Storm Damage Remediation

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Drywall and carpet removed, dehumidifier and a camera set in the middle of the room SERVPRO can respond to your home after a severe storm in Perry, OK.

The Four Steps of Storm Damage Repair

Storms can be scary while they're happening. They are loud and they may cause your whole house to shudder with each gust of wind. Another thing that many people find daunting is taking care of the damage the storm left behind. The idea of people coming in to tear out walls and rip up carpet may fill you with stress. By understanding the steps that storm restoration experts take when you hire them to fix your home in Perry, OK, however, you can probably calm some of those fears.

1. Water Extraction

The first thing technicians do is remove the remnants of the flood that caused the water damage to your house. They may use industrial pumps to extract the water from your home in order to reveal the extent of the problems underneath.

2. Material Removal

After all the water is gone, the next step is removing all the materials that the water destroyed. Specialists may have to tear out walls and insulation, basically gutting the area the flood affected. This part of the process may seem extreme, but it's better to replace a ruined wall than ignore it.

3. Structure Drying

While the large volume of water in the area is long gone, the damp surfaces and any water that's hiding in a secret corner still need to be addressed. Leaving the surface of the counters and cabinets wet throws out the welcome mat to mold.

4. Home Restoration

Mitigating the damage caused by the flood is commendable, but without full restoration of the area's aesthetic and function, the job isn't quite done. If they have to remove portions of the wall, restoration specialists will replace the wall and make sure that the wall paper or paint job matches consistently.

Knowing what will happen during the mitigation process can answer some of your questions and calm your nerves. The specialists you hire should also sit down with you and walk you through the process before beginning.

The Importance of a Regular Sprinkler Maintenance Schedule

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Irrigation system Having an irrigation maintenance schedule is a smart choice.

The Importance of a Scheduled Sprinkler Maintenance

Your sprinkler system is designed for your convenience. You likely had it installed so that you wouldn't have to worry about whether or not the landscaping on your commercial property in Guthrie, OK, gets watered frequently enough. You set the schedule, and the sprinklers do their job. Proper irrigation maintenance, however, is essential to ensuring this happens. Without regularly scheduled maintenance, your sprinklers could malfunction and flood your building.

Monthly

You should check sprinkler heads, valves, nozzles and pipes on a regular basis. You may think your sprinklers are just sitting out on the lawn, waiting to be enacted, but there are many things going on that could damage a sprinkler:

  • Environmental hazards, such as high winds, blowing debris in to damage or clog the system
  • People kicking the sprinkler heads as they trudge across the lawn
  • Dogs or other animals chewing or digging around the sprinkler
  • Cars jumping the curb and running over a sprinkler

Because so many things can happen when you're not looking, your irrigation maintenance schedule should include an inspection of the working parts of your system at least once a month.

Seasonally

In most places, the weather can change drastically with the season. This includes precipitation levels, which directly affect your need for irrigation. Adjust your watering schedule to the season to avoid sprinkler flooding that may necessitate water mitigation services.

Yearly

Auditing your system once a year to ensure that everything is not just functioning but working efficiently helps you keep track of when system parts may need updates. Check for broken sprinkler heads and leaks. You can save money not only on the costly repairs that result from a long-term problem but also on your water bill.

Having an irrigation maintenance schedule is a smart choice. It takes a little time and organization, but it pays off in the amount of money you save by avoiding large repairs.

Furnace Maintenance Tips

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Home furnace air filter replacement Change the filters on your furnace on regular basis.

Make Sure Your Furnace Stays In a Good Shape

One of the main ways to ensure that your home in Austin, TX, is a comfortable place to live is by maintaining your furnace and air conditioning systems. Regular maintenance of the furnace is necessary to avoid breakdown. Furthermore, if you neglect your furnace, you may end up needing fire cleaning services from restoration specialists when the system causes fire damage. Here are a few ways to ensure that your furnace stays in good shape.

Preliminary Checkup

Before the first cold snap is expected, you need to check to make sure your furnace is working. You don't want to wait until you need it to discover that it requires repair. Turn the unit on to see if it generates heat. If not, one of three things could be the problem:

  • Lack of power to source
  • Obstruction in air distribution
  • Thermostat issues

A qualified technician can accurately and safely diagnose the problem. If the furnace starts to smoke during an inspection, he or she can also probably handle the smoke cleaning.

Ongoing Maintenance

During the season the heater is used, regular care can help you avoid having to hire fire cleaning services. The simplest way to maintain your furnace is by changing the filters on a regular basis. If too much dust builds up on the filter, it can start to break down. When that happens, there's nothing to keep the dust out of the furnace itself, which can be a significant fire hazard. Excessive dust can also keep the air from flowing through like it needs to.

Post-Season Service

When spring has sprung, you may have little need of your heater for a few months. This is a great time to schedule its yearly tune up. Maintenance professionals can pinpoint and fix problems before you turn the furnace off for a while rather than letting them go undiscovered for months on end. As an added bonus, warmer weather means you may get a discount on off-season furnace maintenance.

Professionals who specialize in fire cleaning are also great at helping with preventative maintenance. Maintaining your furnace is necessary for your home's safety.