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3 Ways SERVPRO Can Help Your Insurance Agent With Your Claim

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

Roof building damaged by storm Storm damage in a commercial building

Three Ways A Storm Restoration Team Can Help

During a storm restoration your local Prescott, AZ, SERVPRO restoration team may have several ways they can help your insurance agent with your claim. These tools and procedures are designed to help ensure that your agent gets everything they need to efficiently process the claim without jumping through multiple hoops chasing information. Here are three ways the restoration team can help.

1. Damage Assessment

The first step in many restorations is a damage assessment of the affected area. A quick storm response may help prevent additional flood damage which is why you may see the team also take mitigation steps such as covering over at risk areas with protecting tarping as they go. Everything in the record can then go in an assessment document which can be sent to your insurance agent so they can begin working on your claim.

2. Electronic Inventory System

Another tool your SERVPRO crew can provide during the storm restoration is the electronic inventory system. This is a database that can be accessed remotely by anyone with permission to do so. It commonly stores documentation important for the restoration as well as the insurance claim. These may include photographs of the damage, itemized lists, cost assessments, repair schedules, and progress reports.

3. Progress Reports

One of the things your restoration crew can include in the database’s inventory is regular progress reports. This will allow anyone with access to the inventory system to check in on what repairs have been made and what still needs to be done, without running the risk of interrupting the team’s work. This can be especially useful for your agent who may need to keep tabs on progress.

During storm restoration, your SERVPRO crew can document the damage assessment process so that your agent knows exactly what’s going on with your business property. This assessment can be stored electronically along with many other important documentation which your agent can access remotely from their own office. Among the information may also be regular progress reports so that when working on your claim your agent knows exactly where everything stands.

Is Drain Cleaner Damaging Your Pipes?

6/3/2020 (Permalink)

Drain cleaner ads, water pipe detergent with clear pipes section in 3d illustration Is it safe to use drain cleaners in our pipes?

If you have a clogged drain in your home in Prescott Valley, AZ, you may be wondering how to tackle the problem. Perhaps you've seen an advertisement for a drain cleaner that will miraculously flush the clog away, but is it safe to use? While many products work to a certain extent, you should be aware of the negative consequences of using chemicals in your pipes.

Disadvantages of Using Chemicals in Your Drains

Chemical cleaners produce heat to remove the clog, so if your pipes are old, weak or made of plastic, they can be easily damaged.
The toxic chemicals in the cleaners are harmful to the environment.
A completely clogged drain can't be cleared using cleaners. The chemicals will just sit there in the pipes and eat away at the metal, eventually causing the pipe to leak.

Safer Ways to Remove a Clog
There are several non-toxic cleaners on the market that use enzymes to dissolve the clog. These enzymatic cleaners take a little longer to unclog the drain, but they are safe on the environment, and they won't damage your pipes. They work best on organic materials, such as soap and hair.
A plunger will loosen many clogs, but if that doesn't work, try using an auger. You can rent one cheaply at your local hardware store. The auger, or snake, is fed into the drain to pull out the clog.
If the clog gets backed up far enough into your sewer pipeline, a sewage cleaning may be necessary. The sewer pipes carry wastewater from your home, and if they get backed up, they can cause flooding. You will need to contact a professional to clean out your sewage pipes right away to avoid extensive water damage repairs.
It's important to work on that clogged drain as soon as you discover it. Waiting can cost you a lot of money down the road.

What Can You Keep After a Home Fire?

6/3/2020 (Permalink)

Broken windows in a home, fire damage in a home Residential fire loss in Bagdad, AZ

A home fire can cause a lot of significant damage. In addition to the harm done to your home, many of your furnishings and belongings will also be damaged by flames, the heat and smoke of the fire, and the water from fire fighting efforts. You may find some items that don't look damaged but may still be ruined.

How Can You Tell What You Need To Throw Away and What Can be Salvaged?

Permeable items may have absorbed contaminants from soot and water.
Discuss the potential dangers with experts such as firefighters or your insurance agent.
Compare the cost of cleaning and repair versus the cost of replacement.
Keep your family's safety and health as your primary focus.

Remember that fire damage isn't limited to those areas affected by the flames. High heat, water, and soot can all cause potentially harmful situations.

First Things First
During the first few days after the fire, you should talk with your insurance agent about how to assess the value of your home, furnishings, and property. It's important to immediately begin replacing documents such as your driver's license, birth, and social security records, deeds to your home, and auto registration, for example.

Throw These Things Out
When it's safe to return to your Bagdad, AZ, home, you can begin the task of deciding what to throw away and what to keep. There are some items that should be thrown out immediately:

  • Any open containers of food
  • Food stored in permeable containers
  • Charred, rusted, or bulging cans of food, medicine, and cosmetics
  • Containers with evidence of fire extinguisher residue
  • Food in a fridge that smells like smoke or has soot inside
  • Food that smells bad or doesn't feel cold anymore
  • Clothing that has been damaged

The high heat of a fire can affect foods, medications, and cosmetics even when the products are in airtight containers. Don't put your health at risk; just replace these items.

Focus on Safety
It can be difficult to throw away food and medication that looks fine, but it's more important to be sure that you and your family members are safe and in good health as you recover from the experience. While home restoration experts work to return your home to its pre-fire condition, you can focus on cleaning and replacing the items inside.

Can Cleaning Restore Smoke-Damaged Electronics?

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Electronics damaged by fire will likely need to be replaced, but it may be possible for fire cleanup experts to restore appliances and devices that have only sustained smoke damage. There are several methods that may restore the functionality of items exposed to smoke.

Clearing Out Corrosion

Smoke contains acidic compounds and water vapor that combine to cause corrosion on metal components such as circuits. Electronics cleaning experts may:

• Remove corrosion
• Prevent short-circuiting
• Reduce the risk of an electric fire

It is unsafe to use electronics that have corroded components. It is safest to rely on the expertise of fire cleanup experts in a controlled off-site location than to attempt to clean corrosion.

Cleaning off Black Film

Another telltale sign of smoke damage is a black film that forms across internal electronic components. This film is caused by smoke and soot and:

• Adheres to dirt or dust
• Can cause overheating
• May prevent devices from functioning

Cleanup professionals can also safely remove this black film, which may restore the normal functionality of electronics. It is important to use specialized cleaning and repair equipment to avoid further damaging delicate parts.

Safely Testing Electronics

You may run the risk of starting another fire by attempting to test electronics damaged by excessive heat or smoke. It is safer to allow experienced professionals to attempt to clean damage and then test items in an off-site facility. In addition to testing, these specialists can provide:

• Data recovery or backup
• Proof of damage or loss
• Restored electronics

It is best to hand off electronics to a content cleaning service to have restoration attempted elsewhere. Items with irreparable damage should be claimed as losses and replaced.

Electronics cleaning experts are likely to have the best results when it comes to restoring electronics. Rely on a fire cleanup firm that provides off-site content cleaning and storage in Prescott, AZ.

What To Do With Your Electronics After a House Fire

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

After experiencing a home fire in Prescott, AZ, you might feel overwhelmed trying to figure out what in your home is still salvageable and what needs to be thrown out for good. If any of your electronics have been affected by smoke, fire, or water, you might assume they’ll be too damaged too function. However, with the help of a fire cleanup company, your electronics can potentially be cleaned and restored to working condition. For the best chances of saving your items, keep in mind the following tips.

Important Tips for Handling Electronics Right After a Fire

While a professional can potentially clean your electronics and save them from harm, it is important you handle all electronics correctly to prevent causing irreversible damage or even harming yourself.

  • Never turn on or use an electrical device you feel has experienced water, fire, or smoke damage
  • If possible, unplug all electronics and appliances
  • Avoid handling electronics visibly burned by fire
  • Locate warranty records
  • Don’t attempt to clean electronics yourself
  • Immediately contact a professional for assistance

The Electronics Fire Cleanup Process

The first step a restoration specialist will take when attempting to restore your electronics is to perform a surface clean of the device. They will wipe the exterior of devices to prevent more damage from occurring and will carefully clean all metal components. They’ll also use a vacuum to fully remove all ash and soot.

After assessing the amount of damage to the device, the specialist will back up data if possible. This can involve transferring data to a completely new device or storing it using a cloud storage solution. Once this is complete, they’ll make any necessary repairs to restore the device.

Your electronics may be very valuable or contain important information you don’t want to lose. With the help of a fire cleanup specialist, it is possible your electronics can be saved even after a house fire.

Can a Water Leak Cost My Business Thousands of Dollars?

5/14/2020 (Permalink)

Leaky faucet Water leaks can cause major damage in your home

A water leak can be obvious, like after a pipe break or water main accident. Other leaks may be so low-key that they aren’t detected until they become a huge problem. Below are some tips for discovering hidden leaks before they cost you a ton of money in water damage repairs.

Ways To Check for Hidden Leaks

Check the water meter. This is one of the easiest ways to detect a water leak. Turn off all the water in your building and watch the meter. If it begins to change, this signals a leak that is moving fast. If the meter doesn’t change right away, leave it for 2 hours and then check again. If it changed after 2 hours, you likely have a slow leak.
Look at your water bill and usage. Compare your current bill and usage with previous months’ information. If your usage and bill have increased substantially, without any significant changes in habits, this would indicate a leak somewhere in the building.
Inspect the building’s exterior. Make sure that water hose connections are tightly secured and there is no pooling water anywhere on the lawn. A professional should inspect the irrigation system at least once a year to make sure there are no leaks in the system.
Test for toilet leaks. Grab some liquid food coloring and put a few drops into the toilet tank. After 10 minutes, check the toilet bowl. If the food coloring appears in the bowl, you have a toilet leak.

How to Handle Leaks
A leaky faucet may be easy to fix by replacing seat washers or reinforcing a seal. Most hidden leaks, however, take the eye of an experienced plumber to remedy the situation.
If you suspect a water leak in your building in Black Canyon City, AZ, don’t hesitate to call a professional. You will reduce the risk of water damage by tackling the problem head on.

How Mold Spreads Through an HVAC System

5/14/2020 (Permalink)

Technician working on air duct Clean ducts to prevent a building from becoming recontaminated

By spreading mold spores throughout a building, an HVAC system can lower air quality and raise the risk of a widespread infestation. Air circulation is particularly risky for infestations involving toxigenic species such as black mold. Learn more about how an HVAC system can complicate a mold problem.

Spores Enter the System

Mold spores may start growing in ducts dampened by a plumbing or roof leak or enter ductwork through return vents. Several components in a central air conditioning unit are also prone to develop mold without regular maintenance:

  • Coils
  • Drain pan
  • Ducts
  • Evaporator coil

Spores in an HVAC system will circulate throughout a structure. Mold growth and residual spores must be eliminated to reduce the risk of re-contamination after mold removal.

Spores Spread Through Ductwork
Whether spores travel through air ducts or settle down in ducts and start to multiply, these HVAC components can put an entire building at risk of becoming infested with mold. The problem may be even more severe if black mold or another toxigenic species of fungi is present. In addition to intensifying a mold problem, spores diminish air quality throughout a building.

Mold Grows In Conducive Environments
An infestation can spread wherever moisture levels are elevated and food sources are available. This can cause a minor mold issue to quickly become a major problem that requires extensive cleanup and remediation.
No matter how spores end up in an HVAC system, it is important to limit circulation to stop the spread of an infestation. A building owner or manager who suspects that mold may be present should turn off climate control and fans at a building in Yava, AZ, arrange for a mold inspection, and take steps toward remediation. Regardless of whether black mold or a less toxigenic species is present, it is still necessary to clean ducts to prevent a building from becoming recontaminated.

How Property Managers Can Handle Hurricanes in 3 Steps

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

Hurricane Maria makes landfall in Puerto Rica in September 2017 - Elements of this image furnished by NASA Preparing for natural disasters like hurricanes can be tricky

Get Ready For Hurricanes by Implementing the Following Steps

Preparing for natural disasters like hurricanes can be tricky, especially if you work in property management. You are responsible for overseeing multiple units, your employees, and your tenants. To reduce hurricane damage and save countless lives, you will need to prepare before hurricane season hits Dewey- Humboldt, AZ, from June to November. Get ready for hurricanes and other incidents by implementing the following steps.

1. Create a Hurricane Emergency Plan
Before the season starts, take an inventory of the properties under management, create an updated list of renters and take note of resources important for recovery, such as insurance providers and professional storm damage restoration companies. After that, review your current storm policies, and see if they match the needs and concerns of the employees and occupants. Make the necessary corrections and craft a plan that covers evacuation, damage remediation, and the roles individuals play in ensuring safety and repair assistance.
2. Inform Employees and Tenants
Now that you have created a hurricane preparedness plan, it is time to communicate it to your crew and tenants. Prioritize using the direct approach when discussing finding safety resources, minimizing hurricane damage, and fulfilling responsibilities inherent to their roles. Remind them of resources available to them, such as renters' insurance, information about flood zones, and remediation services. When discussing these plans, remember to prioritize their safety above all else.
3. Handle the Aftermath
A crucial element of a hurricane plan involves dealing with the storm's aftermath. Go through your tenant and employee contacts, and call them to confirm their wellbeing and current status. Show compassion and empathy throughout these conversations. Afterward, once the hurricane has passed and the area is safe, go through the property and record all existing damage. This information will be useful when talking to your insurance provider and repair crew.
Managing several rental properties in Dewey- Humboldt, AZ, can be difficult, especially during the middle of a weather event. Work with your organization and tenants to create a plan that mitigates hurricane damage, saves lives, and more.

Prioritize Fire Safety With These Four Tips

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

Three Red tank of fire extinguisher Stock fire extinguishers in your building

Prioritize Fire Safety With These Four Tips

If a business fire strikes in Lake Montezuma, AZ, do staff members know how to act quickly, safeguarding themselves and others? It's pivotal that proprietors proactively inform and prepare employees. The right equipment should be in place, and the managers should consistently educate others about procedures.

1. Stock Fire Extinguishers
A big part of fire preparation is mitigating the flames. If you can safely reduce the blaze before the fire department arrives, then you are a step ahead of the game. That means ensuring that fire extinguishers are readily available throughout the building. Keep in mind the following:

  • They are mounted for easy accessibility
  • They are less than a year old
  • They are placed one for every 75 feet
  • They are near any chemical or electrical hazard zones
  • They are free from obstructions

Don't risk your safety, though. Leave when you need to and allow a fire restoration company to handle whatever destruction occurs.

2. Look Over Electrical Equipment
Sparks can start in seconds, so, to avoid a business fire, monitor your electrical activity. Are the outlets working properly? Ensure wires are not exposed and all covers should are tightly secured. In addition, extension cords should not be used permanently.

3. Store Items Properly
Chemical reactions can create fire damage quickly. Therefore, ensure that substances are stored properly and that the company has established regulations and protocols for how to handle and store these materials. All of the combustible items should be labeled clearly and kept far away from your electrical panels and sources. In addition, they should be left in particular locations.

4. Practice Evacuations
When you were little, the alarms went off and you followed your teacher in a straight line out the door. You knew that drill so well because you practiced it often. Just because people are older doesn't mean they don't require a plan. Therefore, have clear procedures for emergency departures. Discuss it in meetings, post maps around the offices and run through drills periodically.
In the midst of a business fire, people need reassurance that they have the resources and knowledge to protect themselves and others.

Mold Prevention Strategies

4/12/2020 (Permalink)

Digital temperature and humidity control Keep humidity below 50%

If your Chino Valley, AZ, home is prone to water damage or located in a humid area, you may experience frequent mold infestations. Fortunately, with a little preventive maintenance, you can help your home stay mold-free.

Keep Your Home Dry

Mold needs three things to grow: adequate warmth, a food source, and a water source. Unfortunately, many homes have all three. Most indoor locations are warm enough to support mold growth, and homes have a variety of food sources, such as dust and paper products. The easiest of the three requirements to eliminate is the water source. The following actions can help you keep your home dry enough to avoid a mold problem:

  • Keep humidity below 50%
  • Dry up spills immediately
  • Clean up water damage as soon as possible
  • Run a dehumidifier in wet areas like bathrooms and basements

Other Mold-Prevention Techniques

Although keeping your home dry is the most important component of mold prevention, there are some other steps you can take to minimize the chances of a mold infestation. Reducing the number of mold spores in your home is a particularly helpful goal. Although the spores are invisible and nearly everywhere, it is possible to trap them using HEPA filters. HEPA filters can be found in air purifiers and vacuum cleaners. Additionally, you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system. Make sure to change or clean all filters regularly according to the manufacturer's directions.
Another method for decreasing the likelihood of a mold infestation is using anti-mold products. You can install mold-resistant drywall, insulation, carpet, and other materials in areas that are especially prone to mold growth. Additionally, you can apply a mold-inhibitor to some surfaces such as upholstery and wood. Make sure to follow manufacturer's instructions to avoid damaging delicate surfaces.
Even the most fastidious homeowner can experience a mold infestation. If you need help cleaning up water damage or mold growth, a professional restoration service can help you get your home back to normal quickly and safely.