4 Steps To Take When Preparing For An Insurance Adjuster's Visit
Here are four steps to take to prepare for an insurance adjuster's visit.
When you have a homeowners insurance claim, it's important to be prepared. The adjuster will want to know what happened and how much of your home is damaged. You need to be ready with the facts and documentation so that the process can move forward quickly and easily. Here are four steps to take to prepare for an insurance adjuster's visit.
Take photos of the damage.
Before an insurance adjuster visits your home, it's critical that you take pictures of all of the damage. This will help them determine the cost of repairs and how much they should pay out on your claim.
- Take photos of any broken items or furniture lying around your home.
- Take photos from different angles (up close, far away) so that they can see what kind of damage has been done to each item in detail.
- Take photos showing all sides of each piece of furniture or appliance that was damaged by water or fire etc.,
Make temporary fixes to prevent more damage.
A temporary fix is a quick and easy way to repair your home that will prevent further damage. For example, if there is a window broken in your house, you could board up the hole until the insurance adjuster has visited and you can begin making a permanent fix. If your home has suffered from a water leak, another example of a temporary fix could be to shut off the main water supply to prevent more water from damaging your property or place a bucket under a leaking pipe.
A temporary fix does not have to be expensive or difficult; it just needs to hold up until you're able to get a real repair done by professionals.
Keep receipts and other documentation.
The most important thing you can do is to keep receipts and other documentation of everything that happened. This will help you make an accurate claim, and it will also help your adjuster if there are any discrepancies later on in the process.
Create a list of damaged belongings.
Next, you need to create a list of your belongings. This step is also known as creating a "Home Inventory" list. This includes not only the items that have been damaged but also any receipts for those items. You may also want to take photos of these items so that they can be included on this list as well. This will help them determine the value of any damaged belongings as well as how much money is owed by the insurance company.
Be sure to give detailed descriptions of each item on your list--this will help ensure that there is no confusion between similar pieces (e.g., two televisions with different screen sizes).
An insurance adjuster visit can offer insight into your claim process, so be prepared! Make sure that you have all of your documents ready. An adjuster will want to see receipts, invoices, and other proof of damages before they give you any money on your claim.
If you're in the middle of a home or business insurance claim, an adjuster visit can be a stressful experience. But if you're prepared and know what to expect, it can actually be beneficial for both parties involved. By knowing what questions will be asked, how long this process takes, and how much money could potentially be covered by your policy, you'll have more peace of mind when faced with making decisions about coverage or repairs.
6 Common Causes of Water Damage
Water damage can happen unexpectedly, give SERVPRO a call at the first sign of damage.
Water damage can happen to anyone at any time, and it's important to be prepared for it. The best way to prevent water damage is by knowing the common causes of it. Below is a list of some of the top reasons you might have experienced water damage in your home or business.
Water Damage From Faulty Pipes
One of the most common causes of water damage is faulty pipes. If you have a leaky pipe or faucet, it can cause serious damage to the walls and floors in your home. The most common types of damage are:
- Leaking pipes
- Clogged pipes
- Burst pipes
When the pipe is worn or damaged, it loses its ability to move water. This means that it can leak or burst, causing a flood and potentially damaging your home.
To avoid this problem, it's important to check the pipes in your home regularly. If they look damaged or have leaks or other signs of wear, call a professional plumber to have them repaired or replaced.
Water Damage in the Gutters
Leaves and debris can clog the gutters, causing them to overflow and cause water damage. If you don't regularly clean your gutters, you may not be aware of any potential problems until it's too late. To prevent your gutters from causing water damage, it is important to clean your gutters at least once per year.
Water Damage From Appliances
Appliances that use water can leak, resulting in damage to your home or business. Leaks are often caused by faulty valves or seals, which may need to be replaced by a qualified technician. The following appliances can cause water damage:
- Water heaters
- Washing machines
- Furnaces and hot water heaters
Water Damage From Supply Line Leaks
Water damage from supply line leaks is a common problem. Leaks can be caused by loose fittings, corroded pipes, or defective valves. If you suspect a leak in your home's plumbing system, call in a professional to investigate.
Water Damage From Clogged Drains
The most common cause of water damage is clogged drains. This can happen for a number of reasons, including:
- Hair and other debris getting stuck in the drain
- A blockage due to foreign objects or food items being flushed down the toilet
- Grease buildup in pipes
Severe weather is a common cause of water damage. This can include floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. When inclement weather occurs in your area, it could cause water damage from leaks or flooding. It can also cause significant structural damage such as roof damage.
During these events, you should take extra precautions to ensure that your property is protected from any storm damage or flooding that might occur.
Water damage can be a serious problem that must be dealt with immediately.
Water damage is a serious problem that must be dealt with immediately. It can cause a lot of damage to your home and lead to mold, mildew, wood rot, and electrical problems.
If you find yourself in this situation, it's important to act quickly. The longer you wait before contacting a professional water damage restoration company, the more likely it is that mold will start growing in your home or business and cause long-term damage.
Reasons for Water Damage from Washing Machines
Washing machines are convenient household appliances, but they can also be a source of water damage if they are not properly maintained.
Washing machines are convenient household appliances, but they can also be a source of water damage if they are not properly maintained or if they malfunction. Leaks, overflowing, and other issues can cause water to seep into floors, walls, and other areas of the home, resulting in damage to the structure and belongings. It is important to be aware of the signs of washing machine water damage and to take steps to prevent or mitigate it, such as regularly inspecting and maintaining the machine, being alert for signs of leaks or other issues, and taking prompt action if water damage does occur. Here are some reasons your washing machine might cause water damage in your home.
Faulty Drain Hose
The main cause of washing machine water damage is the drain hose. This part connects to the bottom of your washer, and it's responsible for draining both water and waste from inside the machine. A faulty drain hose can be clogged or disconnected, which will prevent it from draining properly. It can also become damaged by rodents or insects that chew on it, or by other components within your washing machine (such as a broken pump).
Overloaded Washing Machine
Don’t overload your washing machine. If a load of laundry is too big, it can cause the unit to shake, spin out of balance and vibrate heavily during the cycle. This can cause damage to the bearings in your washer's tub and transmission shafts, as well as other vital parts that allow for the smooth operation of your device.
If you're using an electric model with a direct-drive motor (instead of belt drive), don't overload it with more than 8 pounds per cubic foot capacity—this means 3 cubic feet of space should be left empty so there's room for water flow inside your appliance when it spins around at high speeds while doing its job!
The best rule of thumb: always follow manufacturer recommendations on how much clothing capacity should be used before adding new items into each load.
There are several ways to check the seal of your washing machine. If you have a front-loading washer, remove the front panel by unscrewing it counterclockwise. If you have a top-loading washer, locate the screws underneath and remove them using an Allen wrench. Next, lift up on the top of your washing machine until you can see where it connects to your wall bracket; this is usually located at either end or in between depending on how tall or wide your model is.
Once you've found where your washer is attached to its base, look for any holes or gaps in its sealant around the outside edges: if there are any cracks or tears visible here then water can seep out of them during use and cause minor damage over time (if not fixed immediately). If these holes exist then call in a professional plumber immediately!
There is one thing that can make all the difference when dealing with a washing machine leak: hiring a professional. The longer you wait before hiring SERVPRO of Boston Downtown/Bay Back/South Boston, the more likely it will be that mold will grow and other areas will be damaged as well. By calling us right away, we are able to respond quickly—before any further problems occur—and begin working on restoring your home back to normalcy once again!
The 4 Most Common Types of Mold
Mold can grow almost anywhere.
Mold is a type of fungus that grows in damp areas. When it starts to multiply on walls, ceilings, and floors, mold can cause structural problems. It's important to understand the different types of mold and how they affect your home so that you can take action before the situation gets worse.
Mold spores are everywhere, but they only grow if there are the right conditions—dampness and high humidity being the two biggest factors. If you have excess moisture in your home due to leaks or a lack of ventilation, you're at risk for developing some undesirable molds such as Aspergillus and Cladosporium species.
Penicillium is a common type of mold that grows on food and in soil. It's usually found in homes, especially near windows and doors, where it can enter through cracks or openings. Penicillium can grow on bread and other foods. Penicillin is produced by this type of mold, which was originally discovered in 1904 when Alexander Fleming noticed that mice were dying after eating bread with mold growing on it.
Penicillin kills bacteria by breaking down their cell walls, so it can be used to treat infections caused by viruses or bacteria as well as fungi.
Cladosporium is a common type of mold and can be found in soil, air, and on plant surfaces. It lives in areas with high humidity like houses, schools, and offices. Cladosporium is most likely to grow after flooding occurs when there are high levels of moisture in the air or on surfaces such as walls. This type of mold grows well if you have pets that shed fur indoors because it feeds off pet dander.
This mold is found in soil, decaying plant material, hay, grains, and straw. It also grows on food that has been stored for too long or was not properly processed or packaged before being sold at the store.
Stachybotrys chartarum, also commonly known as black mold, is a toxic mold that can cause extensive damage to homes and businesses. This type of mold can be found in water-damaged buildings or homes and should be treated quickly.
There are many types of mold
There are many types of mold, and they all look different. Some have flat-leaf shapes or tiny hairs that grow in clumps; some look like fuzzy green or brown spots, and others have thick tentacles or hair-like structures called “rhizoids” that allow the mold to attach itself to various materials.
When to call a mold remediation specialist
If you suspect that you have a mold problem, it's important to call a professional as soon as possible. Remediation efforts should always be taken if you notice any signs of mold in your home — especially if you see growth on wet surfaces such as linoleum floors or carpets because these areas will likely have other issues as well!
If you have mold, don’t panic. It can be easy to take care of if you know what type of mold it is and how to deal with it. If you aren’t sure about the type of mold or don’t feel comfortable dealing with it yourself, contact an expert, such as our team here at SERVPRO, who can help you get rid of it safely and effectively.
Steps To Take To Avoid Frozen Pipes
Let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.
How to Prevent Freezing Pipes
Winter is an exciting time of year, but it is also be a time when you have to worry about frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can cause household plumbing problems that range from inconvenient to costly and even dangerous. As unpleasant as this situation may be, there are some steps you can take to prevent it or at least minimize your risk. Here are some tips for avoiding frozen pipes.
Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
If you have an oil or water supply line in the garage, it's best to keep your garage door closed. This will help prevent the pipes from freezing up as much as possible. If you have a water supply line in your garage and you're not sure whether or not it's frozen, contact a professional for advice.
Open cabinet doors
Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. The repeated opening and closing of the cabinet’s doors creates a cold-air pocket that can cause pipes to freeze. If you have children, be sure they understand not to close these doors while they're in the room.
Let water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes.
If you have exposed pipes in your home, let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. This will prevent freeze damage and help protect your plumbing system from freezing.
Maintain the same setting on the thermostat
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. This will help keep your pipes from freezing as quickly. If you're using heat, make sure it's turned on no lower than 55° F.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home.
If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F. It's best not to lower the temperature at night—when it may be warmer inside your home than outside—and when you're asleep and not monitoring it closely. This will prevent pipes from freezing.
It's also important not to turn off the heat when you're away (unless there is an emergency). If nothing else, this can help protect those items that are most likely to freeze: pipes leading into the water heater and any exposed water lines, such as those located near windows or doors that don't get much direct sunlight.
Take steps now to avoid expensive emergency repairs later
In addition to the steps above, you can also take some preventive measures to keep your pipes from freezing. For example, insulate your water heater with a blanket or towel, and check the temperature gauge regularly. If it gets too cold in your home, consider turning on extra heating sources. You may also want to install a space heater near any exposed pipes, so they stay warm enough not to freeze.
If you think that your pipes might have already frozen due to an electrical outage or lack of heat in your home, don't wait until it thaws out—call a plumber immediately! Frozen pipes will often burst when thawed out too quickly; this can lead to a flooding situation that could cause significant damage inside or outside of your house.
We hope that we’ve given you some great tips for escaping the frozen pipe trap and avoiding costly damage to your home. As always, we want to help you stay warm and dry during the winter months. So, if you have any questions or concerns about your own pipes and would like a professional opinion on how best to protect them from freezing—give us a call!
What To Do If Your Business Has Smoke Damage
Smoke damage in a building in Boston, MA.
What to Do If Smoke Damage Occurs in Your Business
Smoke damage is something that can be difficult to clean up. The truth is that the damage caused by smoke has the potential to spread over large portions of your home and office building. That’s why it’s important to get help from professional cleaners, like our SERVPRO of Boston Downtown team, as soon as possible after a fire occurs. We know how overwhelming it can be when tragedy strikes in your home or business in Boston, but there are steps you can take right away that will make things easier down the road.
The process of cleaning up after a fire can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be.
When a fire occurs, there are a few things that you need to do right away. The first thing is to make sure everyone is out of harm’s way, and then call the fire department. It’s also important to shut off any sources of power in your building so that they don’t reignite the fire or cause you other problems while you wait for help.
Next up: after the emergency services have come through, it’s time to start cleaning up the mess! How do we know when smoke damage has been done? There are two signs—soot damage on walls and ceiling surfaces as well as visible smoke residue on surfaces like floors, walls, ceilings, and carpets. When these elements combine with bacteria from dirty hands and feet (even shoes left outside), it can create an environment where mold can form rapidly—causing further damage to your property.
Smoke damage and soot damage will quickly spread throughout your property
Smoke damage will be present in your building no matter where the fire occurred. Soot damage is damage that has sunk into porous materials, such as carpet and upholstery, wallboard, and drywall.
Your building will likely require professional cleaning of soot and smoke-damaged areas before they can be reoccupied. Soot can also cause problems if it turns out to be toxic or if it contains asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers need special handling to prevent health problems for future occupants. The process of cleaning and restoring these areas requires highly trained and experienced professionals.
Time is of the essence
Smoke damage is a serious problem, as it can cause permanent discoloration and odor. The soot that you see on walls and ceilings is a fine black dust that can be seen by the naked eye. Smoke particles are extremely small, making them far more difficult to remove than other household dust.
Smoke particles tend to stick to the surfaces in your building more than they would otherwise, including vents and air conditioning ducts. Therefore, it’s important not just to clean up smoke damage quickly before it sinks into more porous materials like drywall or wood; but also, because removing these particles requires specialized equipment that isn’t as readily available as a vacuum cleaner would be!
We are here to help with the process of smoke damage restoration.
We are here to help with the process of smoke damage restoration. Smoke is a very difficult substance to remove and can cause serious harm to your building. Don't worry, though; we've seen it all before. Our technicians will be there for you during this difficult time, including after hours and on weekends and holidays.
We hope this article answers some of your questions about smoke damage in buildings. We understand that the process of cleaning up after a fire can be stressful, but we want you to know that we are here for you when tragedy strikes. If disaster strikes, don’t hesitate and give our SERVPRO of Boston Downtown team a call today!
What To Do When Your Business Loses Power
Take a working lunch to a restaurant with a strong Wi-Fi signal.
Three Ways To Continue Working When You Lose Power
Storm season in Neponset, MA, can cause unplanned interruptions in your utility service. When power lines are down, you need a way to continue your business without losing important information. A power outage doesn't have to bring your operations to a halt. Here are three ways you can continue working even if you are temporary without your normal power or internet sources.
1. Seek Alternate Locations
One convenient thing about the internet is that you can access it from almost anywhere. If you know your business is going to be without power for a few hours, use some creative restructuring to get work done. Allow employees to work from home until power is restored in your building. Take a working lunch to a restaurant with a strong Wi-Fi signal. There are many places where you can work comfortably while technicians are repairing power lines and restoration experts are fixing anything wrong with the building.
2. Use Backup Power
If you are able to stay in the building to work, a backup power source can help you do so. A portable generator or battery backup can get you through a temporary power outage. Use an uninterrupted power supply to avoid losing data on an unsaved document during a sudden outage.
3. Follow Internet Tips
If you have a data plan on your phone, you can use your plan as Wi-Fi by turning on the personal hotspot. This can help you finish what you have started if you experience a momentary lapse of service in your building. If power is limited, make sure that you only use the essential services you need. You may be tempted to log on to check social media or play games while you are waiting on the power to come back, but this can drain the small reserves you have quickly. Conserve energy by only using what you need until you have full service again.
A power outage can be frustrating, but it doesn't have to be devastating. Having a backup plan can save data and allow your business to continue functioning.
3 Common Pitfalls of DIY Mold Testing Kits
Home mold testing kit
Mold Kits Are Subject To Some Big Problems
Some homeowners buy home mold testing kits as a budget-friendly alternative to a professional mold inspection. Others use these tests to confirm their suspicions about mold in their homes before they call the professionals. Before you buy a home mold kit, for any reason, you should be aware that these kits are subject to some big problems.
1. Test Samples Must Be Shipped to a Lab
A typical DIY mold kit comes with a petri dish. You leave the dish open in your home for a specified amount of time, then seal it, capturing any mold spores inside. Next, you ship the sealed petri dish to a lab for analysis. The shipping step is problematic because you have no control over the sample while it’s in transit. For example, your sample could be exposed to extreme heat or cold during shipping; since mold spores are sensitive to temperature, this could skew your test results. Furthermore, the glass slides in most mold testing kits break easily, even with protective packaging.
2. Lab Results Are Often Inconclusive
At the lab, scientists analyze your test sample and generate a report indicating the type and number of mold spores found on the slide. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do with this information. The lab report can’t tell you key information, like:
- the density of mold spores in the air
- whether that density is considered hazardous
- the cause of the excess mold growth
3. Mold Kits Are Time-Sensitive
The Petri dishes in most home kits contain a testing medium called agar. Agar is inexpensive and widely available, but it has a limited shelf life. Many DIY mold tests do not have an expiration date or a manufacturing date, and you have no way of knowing how long a kit has been sitting on a store shelf in Ashmont, MA.
The problems inherent in home mold testing kits have led trade groups and consumer advocacy organizations to discourage homeowners from using them. Even the best DIY kit is not a reliable substitute for professional mold testing.
3 Tips for Avoiding Cigarette Fires
Don't smoke indoors
Consider The Following Tips
If you or one of the residents in your home currently smokes, it's important to be informed on how to prevent a cigarette fire. After first checking with your local fire department in Dorchester, MA, for any pointers they might have, consider other tips, as well.
1. Don't Smoke Indoors
There are a surprising number of flammable materials in your home. Any type of fabric will burn easily, so, if an ashtray gets knocked over, a stray cinder could easily start an ashtray fire and severely damage your home. In addition to the risk of fires, smoke from cigarettes can also damage the fabrics in your home and cause them to smell bad. This smell is difficult to remove with conventional laundry detergent.
2. Wear Removeable Clothing
If you or a family member smokes, make sure to wear clothing that can be removed easily after smoking and before entering the home. A jacket or a hoodie would be a good choice. This way, any odors are likely to soak into the removable item, rather than being tracked in and soaking into your furniture or drapes. It's also wise to wash this removable clothing often, as the odor will build up in these garments.
3. Consider Professional Odor Removal
If someone has smoked in your home for a while, or if there has been a cigarette fire, it's time to consider calling in odor removal and fire damage specialist. Hiring a professional will ensure that your home is cleaned from top to bottom with the best equipment suited for the job. This thorough home cleaning can include your carpet, drapes, air ducts, upholstery, and more. There is equipment meant for every job, whether you need full fire cleanup or an odor removal detail.
With a conscientious mind and some knowledge, it is possible to prevent a cigarette fire before it happens.
Tips for Preventing Sewage Backup
Sewage backup in Back Bay, MA
A regular flood can cause enough damage on its own, but a sewer flood is its own beast entirely. Sewage water is a Category 3 biohazard that can cause a lot of damage to your property. It's a good idea to take the proper precautions and prevent sewage backup before it occurs. These tips may benefit you if you believe that your home in Back Bay, MA, may be at risk.
Upgrade Your Drain
Investing in an upgrade for your drainage system is significantly less expensive and stressful than dealing with flooding and sewer cleaning. There are 4 main devices that you can choose from, based on your home's needs:
The Back Flow Prevention Valve: Also known as a backwater valve, this handy device reverses the flow of sewage to prevent the black water from flowing up into your basement.
The Overhead Sewer: This device is going to be a bit more costly than the others on this list. It works by collecting excess sewage and redirecting it into the building's main sewer line.
The Floor Drain Plug: On the other side of the coin is this neat little contraption. Floor drain plugs are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. They're installed directly beneath the drain and function by floating up to plug the drain hole when excess water begins to build. Once the water levels decrease, the drain is automatically unplugged.
The Standpipe: A standpipe is another device that works to redirect water flow, as opposed to blocking it. The pipe is installed sticking up out of the floor, hence the name. Any backup water that rises out of the drain is redirected into the pipe instead of flooding out onto the basement floor. If the water rises above the top of the standpipe, then the contraption won't work.
Storm damage and sewage backup are not to be taken lightly. Preventative methods can reduce your risk, but they won't provide 100% protection. Be sure to consult storm remediation experts if your home does experience a basement flood.