Is It Your Decision?
No matter the time of year or the season, flooding can happen to any home or business. When it does, the immediate thought most have is, “Who is going to pay for all of this?”
Most then call their insurance company, since events like flooding is why insurance is purchased in the first place. For some reason, many flooding issues occur at night or on the weekend, when your local insurance company is closed, if you have a local agent. You call, leave a message, and wait. And wait. They may never call you, or at best call you when you are solidly in panic mode, and the reason may be because they aren’t the ones to handle your claim in the first place. They sell the insurance. They may not service the insurance claim. Most likely, you need to call a national emergency hotline number. You should always have that on file and ready just in case something happens to your home.
When you reach your insurance company, or at least the part of it that makes decisions on paying for the repairs, you may be told to use a specific contractor, a local firm the insurance company has a special relationship with. It may not be the company you want to use. But always remember this: It’s your decision who you use to work on your home. Of course, you may have to fight for your rights.
This being said, using the contractor recommended by the insurance company may not be a bad idea. That company may be completely qualified and know exactly what your home needs to get back to pre-flood condition. But no matter what, it’s your decision. Getting references and looking at reviews should always be a priority when hiring a contractor to work on your home.
Be sure to document everything, including the time you spend on cleaning up the mess. Take pictures. The more documentation and pictures you have, the better you can negotiate how much of the damage will be covered by your insurance policy. You will have to pay the deductible, but often the time you spend and the resources of your own you use to work on the flood is credited to you. It’s a conversation to have with your insurance company and your contractor.
No matter what, though, do the right thing. Call your restoration company immediately when a flood occurs. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Water Intrusion Precautions
When water finds its way into your home, in the form of a flood, plugged drain that backs up, or a pipe breaking, it takes just seconds for some serious damage to occur.
Water intrusion, especially over time, affects all types of building materials. It can quickly leave you with a big mess to clean up, and sometimes the damage is more significant than what you originally thought.
Some water intrusions you can handle yourself, such as water on a concrete floor in the basement. Many homeowners have simply pushed that type of water into floor drains or used wet/dry vacuums to suck it up.
But if there is significant flooding, or if it has affected building materials, that’s a different story. You want to first think about the type of water that has caused the damage.
Types of water
It could be “clean” water, such as from rain or leaky pipes, which is a type of water you can sometimes clean up yourself. It could be “gray” water, which might come from a dishwasher, a washing machine, or an overflowing sink, and may require professional cleanup. Or — worst case situation — it could be “black” water, which you should not attempt cleaning because that means it came from a sewer, a flood, or some other situation that could have heavily contamination and health hazards. With most gray and with all black water flooding situations, it’s best to call a disaster restoration company.
But no matter what, be sure to be safe. With any type of flooding, turn off the power to affected areas and unplug electronics and appliances, in that order. Never step into standing water if there is any danger of electricity being on. Nothing is worth a trip to the hospital — or worse.
Working in a structure with black water also can be a safety issue — to your health. The reason you should always call a pro with black water is because of the bacteria and contamination that can make you sick, really sick. Cleaning and restoration professionals have the personal protective equipment needed to do the job right and do it safety. We aren’t talking about gloves and goggles, but about complete body protection, respirators, and more.
Water damage is a stressful situation, for anyone affected, in any situation. But it can all be fixed. Do the right thing and reach out to your favorite restoration company when anything happens to your home. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Inspections that Prevent Restoration Efforts
As we look at spring in the rear-view mirror of life, it’s time to think about what a tough winter and spring season may have had on our home.
Now is the perfect time of year to take a stroll around your home and see how things look. Yes, you may have already put in a few plants and run the lawn mower a time or two, but have you really looked closely at the exterior of your home? What you may discover — and subsequently repair — will keep the weather elements outside and your home safe and snug inside.
Go ahead, put on your shoes and head outside. Scroll around the house. Here’s what you should look for.
Stand back and really look, even with a pair of binoculars. Do you see any shingles or other roof materials popping up a bit? Look at transition areas. Any damage you see just might be covered by insurance, especially if there was a recent windstorm. Any damage should be repaired immediately before you suffer from water intrusion. Roof damage is really serious business.
Freezing temperatures, age of the gutters, and the elements can take their toll. Get underneath the gutters and look up. Do they pull away from the home? Look for daylight between the gutters and the roof. You don’t want to see that. And the next time it rains, grab an umbrella and take another tour outside — except when there is lightning! If any water is spilling out the side of the gutter, it’s time for a closer look.
Standing at each corner of the house, look along the side. There are many types of siding materials but what you want to look for is anything wavy, not flat like it should be, and perhaps pulling away. This might mean a repair job is in order, and you should do it before the next storm.
Around windows, doors, and ventilation pipes, the caulking should be in good condition, not cracked and damaged. Caulking can easily be replaced but be sure to purchase a caulking product intended for your purpose, such as one that can withstand outdoor elements and wind/rain. The experts at a home improvement store can point out what’s best for your situation.
But no matter what happens to your home during any type of storm, you have professionals ready to help. Do the right thing and reach out to your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!