How To Determine if Your Flooded Basement Is Covered by Insurance
This basement flooded after a severe storm hit the Pico Rivera area
Water can do great damage to your home, including the loss of personal items, and may uncover previously unknown structural issues or deterioration. Even with prompt removal of the water, your home may incur costly damage. Will your insurance company be there in the event of a basement flood? There are several factors that determine what is and what is not covered.
1. Where did the water come from? Most homeowner's policies typically cover damage from water that originates from the top down, such as rain or melting ice. If the water comes from the bottom, such as from the overflow of a nearby river, you will likely need specific flood insurance.
2. How fast did the flooding or water damage occur? A poorly maintained faucet or toilet that slowly leaked, for example, would not qualify for insurance coverage. However, if a pipe suddenly bursts and leaves your basement flooded, this is likely to fall within your coverage limitations.
3. What type of policy or policies do you have? A basic homeowner's policy with dwelling coverage will extend to water damage as described above to your flooring, drywall, and many other structures in your home. Furniture, appliances, and other personal items will probably not be covered. Personal property insurance is likely to cover items beyond your home’s structural elements in the event that your basement becomes flooded.
4. What else do you need to remember? All insurance policies have deductibles and coverage limitations. Read the fine print and consult your insurance company to be sure your situation in Pico Rivera, CA, will be covered.
If the worst happens to your basement, be sure to consult a professional to minimize damage, regardless of the cause or your insurance coverage. Dealing with a basement flood is no picnic, but with proper cleanup and drying, damages can be reduced to limit your out-of-pocket costs and to preserve the structure and aesthetics of your home.
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Minimize the Damage: Start Flood Cleanup Today
Few scenarios are more stressful for a homeowner than the immediate aftermath of a significant flood event. If you are one of the fortunate ones with flood insurance, your first move likely will be to contact your claims adjuster. Of course, you won’t be the only one in Pico Rivera, CA making that call. With insurance companies stretched thin by the sudden demand, it could be days or even weeks before an adjuster makes an onsite visit to assess the flood damage to your home.
Don’t Wait on the Adjuster
Your flood insurance company will likely expect you to secure the property, so don’t wait on the adjuster before you begin cleaning up. At this stage of the process, every hour literally counts. Here are some early steps you should take while you are waiting for an official assessment:
• Assess the damage and call a restoration specialist in Pico Rivera, CA if needed.
• Take pictures of the damage and document the losses.
• Remove excess water from the house by mopping floors and wiping down furniture.
• Remove wet upholstery and rugs.
• Turn on air conditioning to help speed the drying process.
• Gather loose items from the floor.
• Remove damaged items from the house but do not throw away. Retain for proof of loss purposes and store outside on the property, if possible.
Stop the Mold Before It Starts
Amidst the obvious destruction caused by flood waters, the threat of possible mold damage is often an afterthought. But left unchecked, mold can take root on even slightly damp surfaces within the first 24 to 48 hours. Once mold has started, it is difficult to remove and can cause thousands of dollars of damage.
Stopping mold in its tracks is an important step in the process of repairing and renewing your home, and a speedy response after a flood is crucial. Following the steps above to clean up your property is a good beginning. Don’t wait on your flood insurance adjuster before getting started. Visit http://www.SERVPROpicoriverasantafesprings.com for more information on storm damage.
How To Create a Home Fire Escape Plan
Whether from faulty wires or a candle left burning, any Pico Rivera, CA residence is at risk for the possibility of a home fire. The National Fire Protection Association estimates two minutes to escape a building once the fire alarm sounds. Rather than wait for those crucial seconds, create a fire escape plan now to ensure everyone in your home knows what to do.
Survey Your Home
The first step to creating an effective fire escape plan is knowing when and where you can escape. Walk through your home and look for these three crucial factors:
• Fire alarms should be installed on every level, as well as within every sleeping area and connecting halls. Mark the location of each and check they are all functioning.
• Every room should have two ways out, including doors and windows. Windows should be easy to open, and any security screens or bars should be simple to release.
• There should be no blockage in front of the two routes of every room. Ensure bookshelves, storage or home decorations don’t slow down your ability to escape quickly.
Once you have established the layout of your home you can create an effective plan. Gather everyone in your household and consider drawing a floor plan, marking all fire alarms and escape routes. Select an outdoor meeting location such as a neighbor’s house, lamp post or stop sign and ensure everyone knows where to meet after leaving the house. Next, it’s time to put it to the test.
Practice the Plan
Everyone in the household should be able to successfully complete your fire escape plan, from smoke alarm going off to meeting at the preestablished outdoor location, within two minutes. Practice waking up to the sound of the smoke alarm, walking through the plan, and meeting outside.
Twenty minutes to create your home emergency escape plan now can make all the difference in the two minutes you could be faced with then. Ensure everyone in your household knows how to contact emergency services and keep the number for your local fire restoration company nearby should the need arise. Visit http://www.SERVPROpicoriverasantafesprings.com for more information on fire damage.
Why Mold Has an Odor and What You Can Do
Mold in Pico Rivera, CA is not uncommon, but it is still unexpected, and special care must be taken to have it remedied. Even before the professionals arrive, your nose may be the first to alert you that mold is alive and growing, even if not visible by the naked eye, and the mycotoxin is to blame. Mold thrives in damp, confined environments, which can be the result of anything from natural disasters to faulty plumbing. If left unchecked, it can become increasingly challenging to tackle. If you suspect you have mold, it is likely that your business will need to turn to a mold remediation service to assess and treat the situation.
What Are Mycotoxins?
That distinctive, musty odor can be attributed to MVOCs, or microbial volatile organic compounds. Because of the many effects it has on humans, one type of those MVOCs, the mycotoxin, is of particular concern:
• It's a toxic byproduct released by mold.
• It produces varying scents depending on mold type.
• It has different degrees of potency depending on type/amount.
• It's transferred to humans externally on skin and hair.
HEPA Air Filtration Device
While some may believe that the scent emitted by mycotoxins can be improved simply by masking it with fragrances, ventilating the area, or removing moldy items, it is much more effective to use specialized technology. The effects of mold go beyond the damage physically seen on furniture, flooring and walls. Measures also need to be taken to remove particles in the air. That’s where a High Efficiency Particulate Air filtration device may come in handy; it pulls the surrounding air through a fine filter that can trap any mold spores and each mycotoxin left behind.
The next time you smell that familiar musty odor wafting through the air, you can thank your nose for helping you take the first step in resolving a problem that can easily escalate without the proper attention. Visit http://www.SERVPROpicoriverasantafesprings.com for more information on mold.
Is Flood Insurance Necessary?
If you own a business on a flood plain or near a large water source, there’s always a chance of your workplace being flooded. Federal law requires some form of flood insurance for high risk areas in Pico Rivera, CA and in moderate to low-risk areas it can still be necessary to keep your company protected from disaster.
If you own a business in a high-risk area for flooding, there are several steps you can take to prepare for worst-case scenarios:
• Always have an action plan in place, and ensure that your employees know what to do in an emergency. For businesses, clearly marked emergency exits are a federal requirement, and having a back-up plan should something happen to your building is a necessity.
• For natural disasters or situations where you need to evacuate, a designated place for everyone to gather will help keep people calm and organized. In a flood, however, high ground is the way to go, and never drive unless absolutely necessary.
• Have a buddy system to ensure no one gets lost or left behind.
• Prepare nonperishable supplies ahead of time, and keep them in an easy-to-access but secure area.
Flooding Happens More Than You Think
FEMA states that floods are the most common natural disasters in the United States, causing millions of dollars in damages to businesses and infrastructure. Flood insurance may cover workplace damages in case of flooding or other natural disasters, but many other types of insurance policies don’t cover these types of damages. A commercial insurance policy is a good idea in high-risk areas, and business owners in these areas should consider a separate policy.
The key to preventing severe damage and loss in a flood is preparation. A good flood insurance policy, a disaster recovery plan, and an action plan should disaster strike are all necessary for high- or even moderate-risk areas. Your first priority should always be to keep your employees safe, and worry about restoration later.
Visit http://www.SERVPROpicoriverasantafesprings.com for more information on storm damage.
Don’t Let Water Damage Your Rental Income
Having a rental property in Pico Rivera, CA can be an excellent source of secondary income. Older houses and buildings are timeless, classic and make a good investment. However, don’t let your dream become a nightmare due to water damage in an old home. If your property was built from 1978-1995, you need to especially be on the lookout for popular polybutylene pipes made during that time. Fortunately, continual maintenance is your best bet against damage incurred by water. There are three steps you can take to prevent clogs in the main pipe line, a common source of flooding in older homes.
1. Trees and Roots
Older homes mean older trees, and older trees means roots. Roots can damage pipes and clog the main line that goes from the house to the street, causing water to back up in the house. To prevent this from occurring, one choice is to cut down any trees that are near to the property. Another choice, if you are attached to the trees, is to put root killer down the drains. Doing this in spring and fall will prevent roots from growing in the drains without damaging the trees.
It would benefit both you and your renters to avoid water damage in the rental home. Have a conversation about what is and is not appropriate to put down the drains. For example, food, hair and lint all do not agree with older pipes. An inexpensive solution is to use lint catchers and drain traps in sinks and tubs.
A great preventative measure for polybutylene, or any older pipe, is a monthly enzyme treatment. The enzymes eat away at soap scum and any other accumulated debris in the drains, using a bacteria in powdered form. A once a month treatment in all drains at the property should keep them clear.
Taking some preventative steps at your rental in Pico Rivera, CA will help prevent water damage. However, as the polybutylene pipes age, it is possible that damage could still occur. In that case, immediately contact a water restoration company to assess the damage and begin efforts to minimize loss. Visit http://www.SERVPROpicoriverasantafesprings.com for more information on commercial water damage.
Drying Out Your Home After Water Damage
One of the most common questions insurance adjusters hear is one regarding the length of time it will take to dry and repair the damaged property. Although hundreds of bursting pipes cause water damage each year near Pico Rivera, CA the best answer an adjuster can give would be a guess. The reason is simple, no two homes are the same, and every flood can rush through damaged areas very differently. Additionally, repair and restoration times can depend on how long the water made contact with the structure of the building and how well maintained the home is.
Remove and Discard
After the water repair and restoration team fix the broken pipe, cleanup can begin. The team can eliminate the bursting pipes water and then your personal possessions, furniture, and other items need to be removed from the floor. If left in the wet room, the water could continue to soak from the item into the flooring or walls. Remove the items and make a pile in the backyard or garage and request a meeting with your insurance adjuster to evaluate the damage and confirm your losses. This pile may include:
• Personal Items
Dry and Clean
Once the floors are clear, the professionals can begin drying the area. Many companies do this with large industrial-grade fans and dehumidifiers. Cutouts are typically made near the floor to allow air flow, to check for water inside the walls, and to remove wet insulation. If the gypsum wallboard has been in the water for more than a few hours, it must often be removed because it can crumble and buckle when dry. To dry the property out enough to begin restoration assessments usually take three to five days. If flood waters have been standing on wood floors for more than 24 hours, the drying time may increase to up to two weeks.
Cleaning after bursting pipes flood your home requires sanitizing every square inch of the area to prevent bacteria and mold from colonizing. Cleaning can be a critical step in restoring your property and preventing future damage.
Visit http://www.SERVPROpicoriverasantafesprings.com for more information on water damage.
Commercial Water Damage
Recently, we received a commercial water job after hours. A warehouse got completed flooded, about 8000 sq ft. was affected including offices and a bathroom. The different steps that we applied for water mitigation included:
Containment to prevent spores and dust escaping to clean areas. Removal of wet drywall and insulation. Cleaned and disinfected to prevent bacteria growth. Set up equipment to fully dry the affected area.
After the drying process is completed, a test needs to be done to ensure its dry and bacteria won't grow. Final step is construction.
Our job is to help people restore their lives after a catastrophe. Give us a call at any time if you or one of your clients needs our help.
SERVPRO of Pico Rivera/ Santa Fe Springs
"Like it never even happened."
A containment is the first step in restoration process. However, little mention is given to the first part of a disaster. According to a Restoration & Remediation magazine article
“The restoration professional is likely to encounter substances like mold, microbials, toxin-producing pathogens, meth lab residues, fire residues and friable lead and asbestos…without containing these potentially toxic substances, at the source and within a confined area, they are likely to end up creating a significantly larger mess than first encountered and quickly saturate the air being inhaled by workers, homeowners and occupants of the affected buildings” (Scott Lavelle).
Our picture shows our employee during a containment process that needed to be done to protect the non-affected areas from dust. This took place before the demolition process of drywall, insulation and floor.
Equipment set up to complete the drying process.
Our heroes responded promptly after a client called us to request our services after they came home from a weekend trip to find out their house was completely flooded. Three bedrooms, hallway, bathroom, living room, entry and closet were affected. In this case, a test for asbestos and led was required before proceeding with our services. Test came back negative. The source of the problem was the toilet, which is consider category 3 meaning it came from sewage. Therefore, all materials touched by the water needed to be disposed of, causing flooring and 2 feet of plaster to be removed. After demolition was completed, the next step was to disinfect. Lastly, the equipment was set up to complete the drying process and bacteria clearance test was performed to assure air was clean.