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Mold Damage and Homeowners Insurance

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

Home insurance form and dollars on the table. A homeowners policy will typically cover mold remediation

When you discover fungus growth in your home you will have a number of concerns right away. One series of questions will be about the costs associated with this problem. Will you have extensive damage to belongings and structures in your home? Will you have to pay for cleanup and replacement of belongings? What role will insurance play? The issue of homeowners insurance for mold problems is a bit tricky. In general, a policy will not cover mold damage if the presence of the fungus is caused by a preventable plumbing leak, high humidity or flooding. If a homeowner in Winter Springs, FL, has been remiss in home maintenance, resulting in mold growth, the problem is not likely to be covered.

More on Mold Insurance

A homeowners policy will typically cover mold remediation if the cause of the fungus growth was from a covered peril. These instances include the following:

  • Snow or ice problems that result in water damage and subsequent mold growth
  • Frozen pipes that burst and bring standing water into the home
  • Sudden or accidental plumbing problems such as a hose that springs a leak

The key here is that these incidents were not caused through negligence on the homeowner. In these cases, the mold coverage will pay for aspects of the problem. To learn more about your policy contact your insurance agent or work with a mold mitigation franchise that coordinates with insurance companies.

More on Mold Cleanup

A professional mold cleanup plays a large role in keeping costs down. A company that offers a rapid response can limit the spread of the fungus growth and prevent additional damage. A restore versus replace philosophy could also limit expenses. A thorough cleaning and the elimination of any moisture issues can prevent mold from returning. Coordination with insurance providers allows for a systematic billing system that results in claims being paid out more quickly.

Handling a Fire Loss in Oviedo and Winter Springs Florida

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

Burned TV cabinet Fire damage in an Oviedo, FL home

Handling a Fire Loss in Oviedo and Winter Springs Florida

Whether you live in Oviedo, FL, Winter Springs, Orlando or anywhere else in Florida, a house fire can be devastating. However, once you and your loved ones are okay, you must take steps to secure your valuable and start the process of rebuilding. Once the fire is out, you should secure your home and call your homeowners insurance company. You should also contact a company with the experience and equipment to handle fire damage, smoke damage and soot damage cleanup and remediation.

Assess The Damage Once it's safe to go into your home, do a walk through. This will allow you to assess, take pictures, document the fire and water damage and gather any family heirlooms, important documents and other valuables you can carry. Ideally the cleanup and remediation company can be there within a few hours. The longer the smoke, soot, fire retardants and water remain in your home the more damage they will do to your property.

Do not stay in there very long as the indoor air quality may be poor. Contact Your Insurance Company Immediately after the fire in your Florida home, contacting and maintaining communication with your insurance company is your next important step. They will decide if your house is too badly damaged to be repaired or work with you to hire a remediation company in the Oviedo, Winter Springs, or Orlando, FL area to take care of the fire damage, soot damage, smoke damage and water damage from fire.

They can also begin an accounting of the things that need to be cleaned, repaired and replaced, what it will cost and how long it will take. Contact Your Loved Ones As soon as possible after the fire you should contact your loved ones. It's important to let your family members know what happened and that everyone is okay. You can also give them a basic assessment of the damage and make them aware of any other important information they may need to know.

You can let them know if you need to stay with them until your home is cleaned and repaired or if your insurance company will pay for a hotel and cover living expenses. Important Steps Be sure to complete a fire report with the fire department and keep a copy. Let emergency services show you how to secure the property. Discuss the extent of the damage and the plan for repairing it with your insurance company. Water damage from fire can lead to mold and mildew if not quickly and properly cleaned and dried. The air quality in the home may be poor until it's thoroughly cleaned, so stay in it as little as possible. Living through a fire can be traumatic.

Seek counseling and reassure your children if necessary. Keep an accurate inventory of the personal property that's discarded by the clean up company. If you think the insurance adjuster is minimizing the claim, contact a certified public adjuster. They can be your advocate in dealing with insurance companies. 

Professional Storm Remediation for All Storm Types

3/24/2020 (Permalink)

View from a window rising water Rising floodwater in Oviedo, FL

Professional Storm Remediation for All Storm Types

Hurricane damage that requires a major roof repair because of a rook leak and wind damage that tears down any shingles and causes other types of roof damage are just two examples of the damage that a storm can do to a home or business. Storm remediation often involves an initial inspection followed by a plan that includes elements of home restoration and some water restoration. A storm restoration plan will address all damages done by the storm.

Securing the Property

One thing that storm damage professionals can do is provide help to secure the scene. Flood water that comes in because of river flooding as well as ground water that flooding brings can damage the floors and require that those who live or work there jump over the puddles that form. Frozen pipes can also break open and cause flooding. Before using a flood pump, the storm damage company will secure the scene and limit access. They might use methods to block off any entrance points.

Fixing Ice Damage

Ice damage can range from an ice dam spotted on the house's exterior to frozen pipes tucked deep inside the walls. It may go along with other types of storm damage too. Wind damage can cause the melting ice to land on other parts of the ice and cause ice damming in other areas or worsen an existing ice dam. Hail damage can make frozen pipes split open and cause water to spill inside the walls. As soon as winter temperatures fall below freezing, ice damming and frozen pipes can form. Any type of ice damage, especially that combined with hail damage or wind damage requires immediate attention.

Rising Flood Water

Anyone who ever experienced hurricane damage before knows that they will deal with more than just flood water and that they need more than a flood pump. Wind damage commonly occurs during a hurricane and can spread dirty ground water to move through a neighborhood. As this flood water rises, it can cause more than just some minor hurricane damage. There is a risk of river flooding occurring during a hurricane or any other type of storm. Storm remediation techniques can include a flood pump that removes the ground water and other storm restoration methods.

Roof Damage Solutions

While a roof leak is one of the more common types of roof damage those most notice after a storm, a roof leak can form because of an untreated roof repair, a roof repair that came undone or an ice dam located on the roof. Ice damming can cause so much damage that it requires storm damage professionals to protect the home from any upcoming storms.

River Flooding and More

Before launching a complete home restoration job or designing a basic storm restoration plan, professionals will need to know if the home needs any other work. Those professionals will look for signs of:

  • flooding in the home caused by a roof leak or another problem
  • roof damage on the outside
  • hail damage on the walls
  • ice damming on the gutters

Some of the techniques they use include water restoration methods that remove all signs of river flooding and home restoration methods to take care of a roof repair that causes a roof leak. They can help with all types of roof damage, including problems caused by hurricane damage, hail damage or ice damage like ice damming. While they may need to remove an ice dam and use water restoration methods to dry the water near the foundation, they also offer home restoration support inside the building.

Home and business owners may need help removing flood water after flooding, ground water after a storm and flood water caused by frozen pipes with a flood pump and offer other storm remediation help. Storm restoration companies respond to calls quickly and bring the tools needed to do water restoration and home restoration after creating a storm remediation plan.

We are Cleaning Experts

3/20/2020 (Permalink)

green graphic We are here to help for your commercial cleaning!

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need 

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. 

Specialized Training 

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis. 

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include: 

  • Kitchen/Food Areas 
  • Bathrooms 
  • Schools/Classrooms 
  • Offices 
  • Retail Spaces 
  • Water Fountains 
  • Shelving/Racks 
  • Sales Counters 
  • Carpets and Rugs 
  • Stair Handrails 
  • Elevator Cars 
  • Playground Equipment 
  • Fitness Equipment 

Specialized Products 

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities. 

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning 

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Oviedo/ Winter Springs East- (407) 542-0000.

It’s Your Responsibility to Prepare Your Business for a Disaster

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

A yellow sign that says ARE YOU READY? Are you ready?

The world is changing at an unprecedented pace. For a variety of reasons, officially declared major disasters have almost doubled since the 1990s. This impacts everyone, everywhere, and Oviedo, FL, is no exception. If you own or manage a business, there’s no excuse not to have a plan for disaster preparedness.

Disasters Come in Many Shapes and Sizes

There are so many conceivable disasters that no one can be fully prepared for everything. However, it’s entirely worthwhile to develop business preparedness for the most common types of catastrophes. The three main areas of disaster to plan for are

  • Technological Disaster
  • Manmade disaster
  • Natural disaster

Technology Is Your Friend – Until It Isn’t
The information technology that’s now essential for virtually all businesses has a nasty tendency to break down. If you haven’t developed disaster preparedness for the loss of some or all of your files and hardware, you’re likely to eventually pay a terrible cost. Back up everything constantly to the cloud and use a tape backup once a day or more.

Manmade Disasters Are Often the Bitterest
When the disaster is caused by someone’s carelessness or bad intent, it can feel very personal. A virus attack, ransomware or vandalism all are intrusions into your life, and a single internet crime aimed at a company can bankrupt it unless you’ve consistently backed up everything possible. Vandalism is harder to stop but typically easier to fix with insurance.

Natural Disasters Can Be Survivable
If you’ve planned for all the major natural disasters you’re likely to face and kept all key employees informed and prepared, you have an excellent chance of your business bouncing back. Having effective disaster preparedness isn’t a matter of luck; it’s the result of doing some basic research and practicing how you and your employees will respond.
FEMA has excellent resources for recovering after a disaster. Their business disaster planning handbook is free to everyone and is a relatively quick read. Once you’ve had storm damage, a restoration company can then take over the process. They’ll help you with insurance forms and rapidly develop a plan to get your company back to full functionality.

Quick Guide to Black Water

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

Cars in a flooded parking lot Category 3 damage is known as “black water”.

If you experienced a flood at your Geneva,FL, home recently, you might have been told that you have sustained Category 3 water damage. This is damage involving what is known as black water. Here is some important information on what this water is and how you can eliminate it from your home.

Damage Categories

There are three categories of destruction from water. They are classified as follows:

  • Category 1 damage, also known as “white water” (clean water)
  • Category 2 damage, also known as “gray water” (clean water that sat for a while)
  • Category 3 damage, which is known as “black water”(usually stems from flood water)

Category 3 water is not only contaminated, but it can also cause damage to your home. In most cases, professionally trained technicians can, fortunately, help you clean and decontaminate the building when such an issue is present.

Cleaning Procedures

Your safest plan when facing water damage caused by a contaminated liquid usually involves contacting a local restoration company. These professionals can normally arrive quickly, work efficiently and assess any damage. After the assessment, the following cleaning steps typically occur:

  1. Removal of water
  2. Humidity reduction and drying of wet surfaces
  3. Sanitation and cleaning of damaged areas
  4. Remediation of damaged property

Many companies also offer digitization services for special situations, such as when a wet financial document or photograph needs to be preserved. Additionally, if a valuable or special part of your property cannot be salvaged, the trained technicians on the scene may have suggestions for a preservation method or a long-term storage situation to remedy the problem.

Being Prepared

Water damage can be a serious situation that no homeowner deserves to experience. However, preparing for the possible event and accepting the disaster at hand if it occurs can help concerned Geneva,FL, residents like yourself persevere in the face of such a nightmare. It can also allow you to better protect your investments.

How To Deal With Sewage Problems in the Home

2/27/2020 (Permalink)

Overflowing toilet You can face a toilet overflow at home due to a few causes

Most homeowners in Geneva, FL, contend with issues such as slow drains, poor water pressure or blocked pipes. If these problems sound familiar, you've probably used household solutions to overcome them. For more serious concerns, like a backed-up sewer or major blockage in your plumbing lines, you may need more professional help with sewage cleaning.

Common Causes of Plumbing Issues

Even small plumbing problems can frustrate you, so it is helpful to know how these start. Once you know the root of the concern, you can develop a game plan to solve it. Here are are few:

Buildup in pipes from sediment, human waste, hair, and food, causing a clogged pipe.
Faulty appliances
Cold weather freezing pipes, causing them to burst

Overflowing Toilets
You can face a toilet overflow at home due to a few causes. Sometimes, you may even see this happen when you turn on the water in the shower. This indicates blockage somewhere between the toilet and the sewer. Water will back up in the waste lines and exit the first place it can: the toilet. Repairing this could be as simple as using a plunger. If that is ineffective, you could try using a sewer snake tool. You might have to call a plumber if the job gets too big. If you don't resolve this overflow, you could face significant damage and end up hiring a professional sewer cleaning crew.

Sewer System Backup
If the main sewer line into your home backs up, you'll notice it pretty quickly because of the foul odor. Sewage cleaning is something you should leave to the pros. The line can clog due to a collapse or from tree roots growing into the pipes. Luckily, if the blockage is under the street and not on your property, your local water and sewer company should take care of it.
The prospect of sewage cleaning can be scary. Pay attention to these common issues and how you can spot and repair them.

Practicing Fire Prevention in Your Home

2/27/2020 (Permalink)

Burned outlet Do not overload electrical outlets

You protect your family by locking doors at night, monitoring who they spend time with and where they are going. It may be a good idea to add fire preparation to your regimen. There are over 360,000 home fires in the US every year, and in the event, one breaks out in your home in Oviedo, FL, your family is much more likely to survive if you are educated as to how to escape a fire as well as how to avoid one.

Tips for Home Fire Prevention

Most of the things that help your family stay safe against the threat of fire are just common sense. Nonetheless, it is important to make sure they are formally addressed as a household so household members can avoid unsafe practices. Following are several areas that should be addressed:

  • Do not overload electrical outlets
  • Learn safe cooking practices, especially when using grease
  • Do not leave space heaters turned on or candles lit without supervision
  • Regularly remove dryer lint buildup
  • Fully extinguish cigarettes and avoid smoking in bed

Further Measures
In addition to the above fire safety tips, it would also be wise to set up an escape plan for all household members; both from the main living areas and from each individual room, in two different ways if possible. Practice your fire preparation plan a few times a year so that each person understands how to stay as safe as possible in the event of an actual home fire.

If a fire should break out, first make sure the family all escape the home safely, then call 911 for help to extinguish the fire. Once it is under control, get help from a professional fire and water restoration service in Oviedo, FL  to renew the damaged areas of your home.

Fire preparation is not something that should be neglected, but instead something that should become routine in your home. If you are doing the things that are needed to prevent a fire from happening, you will sleep better and be able to enjoy your home life more.

Why is My Fire Alarm Beeping?

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

a fire and smoke detector Have you changed the batteries recently?

In addition to potentially causing significant fire damage, flames and smoke can endanger the lives of everyone inside your home. A properly functioning fire alarm can alert you to danger and help save lives. For this reason, every household in Chuluota,FL, should have this extremely beneficial device.

Sometimes, however, a smoke detector may act sporadically, chirping loudly or going off despite the absence of smoke. Often, there is a simple explanation for this erratic behavior.

1. Weak Battery

Most batteries have a limited lifespan. A chirping alarm may indicate that your device needs a new battery.

2. Improperly Installed Battery

It’s important to ensure you properly install the new battery. A loose battery or terminal obstruction may cause your fire alarm to intermittently chirp.

3. Dirty Sensing Chamber

Dust and dirt can sometimes obstruct the sensing chamber, resulting in a false alert. To help prevent this problem, you should routinely wipe your detectors with a dusting cloth.

4. Interference From Steam

Steam can also interfere with your detector’s sensing capability. This may be a particularly challenging problem for units located near bathrooms. To help reduce the likelihood of an inadvertent alert, close the bathroom door while showering and turn on the fan.

5. Interrupted Power Supply

An interrupted power supply may also cause erroneous beeping. You should examine each detector’s wiring for loose connections. If you notice lights dimming spontaneously, especially when an appliance is in use, contact a licensed electrician to help you inspect your home’s wiring.

6. End of Lifespan

The average lifespan for most smoke detectors is 8 – 10 years. After this period, the unit’s sensing capacity may diminish, reducing its effectiveness. If an older device is chirping, it may be time to replace it with a new one.

A fire alarm may not spare your home from a destructive fire, smoke damage or the need for extensive cleanup and restoration, but this valuable safety device may one day save your life. To help safeguard your well-being, you should promptly investigate a chirping detector and replace batteries, or the entire unit, as needed.

What to Know About Fire Sprinkler Flooding

1/29/2020 (Permalink)

Active fire sprinkler Active fire sprinkler in Chuluota, FL

Here Are Three Things You May Want to Know

If your Chuluota, FL, has a fire sprinkler system installed you may be wondering about the risk of flooding and what to do if that does happen. Here are three things you may want to know.

1. Sprinkler Systems Can Flood

While fire sprinklers can lead to flood damage this is most likely to occur during an actual fire suppression effort rather than accidental triggering. The exact trigger for your suppression system will depend on its type, but in most cases, during a fire, a system will release suppressant over areas of flame. While this can pool and lead to water damage the amount of water used in a sprinkler system is much less than that used by a fire hose.

2. Flooding Can Lead to Damage

Any standing water can lead to possible water damage. This is why it’s important to get the water cleaned up and the affected area dried as quickly as possible. Many professionals use a water rated vacuum or similar pump to remove the water. You may want to consider the use of a squeegee to pull water away from the walls, or towels to create a barrier until the bulk of the water is removed.

3. A Restoration Service Can Help

If a fire sprinkler related flood were to occur it may help you to know that a damage restoration service can help. These professionals have the tools and experience necessary to clean up and repair a variety of water damage related issues, and can also look for related problems such as mold.
If you're worried about flooding from fire sprinklers it may help to know that this most often occurs when there is an actual fire and the sprinklers are doing their job. Fortunately, these sprinklers use a lot less water than a fire suppression hose, so that when a flood does occur a restoration service can quickly clean it up before any long term damage takes hold. If you have more questions about your system a professional may be able to help.