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Wildfires and Flooding: How To Protect Your Home

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a wildfire reaching houses Wildfires can increase the risk of flooding.

Wildfire damage affects Colorado Springs, CO, residents in many ways. One of the most significant causes of further damage is the increased risk of flooding:

  • The charred ground doesn't absorb water efficiently.
  • Instead of soaking into the ground, rainwater gathers and runs, picking up soil and debris as it floods into communities.
  • After-fire flooding can occur for up to five years after the wildfire.

Before wildfire affects your home, learn how the FEMA NFIP, or Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program, can help keep your home safe.

Insurance Coverage

If your home survives the flames of a wildfire, your next main concern should be flooding damage. Unfortunately, many general homeowners' policies don't cover this type of damage, and additional policies may be expensive. The FEMA NFIP is an affordable option that may provide you with the funds necessary to hire fire and flood damage cleanup and restoration professionals.

Fire and Flood Damage Prevention

In addition to purchasing necessary insurance, you can prepare your family and home against damage from fires and flooding:

  • Clear brush away from your home. Keep trees, bushes, and other combustible items at least five feet away from the home.
  • Remove dead plants, branches, leaves, and clutter away from your yard.
  • Don't store firewood next to your home.
  • Keep downspouts and gutters clean to allow for water flow.
  • Improve the grade on your property, so water flows away from your home.
  • Create a landscape that allows water to be absorbed.

You can also reach out to your insurance provider for other steps that reduce the risk of flooding and other fire damage. With these steps complete, spend some time backing up any vital paperwork, such as the deed to your home and family documents. It's also a good idea to create a family emergency plan for evacuation, communication, and meeting places.

Peace of Mind

While you can't anticipate all the dangers that wildfire brings to your community, your access to FEMA NFIP can help you decrease the fallout. Any steps you take to prepare for wildfires or flooding can help you respond calmly and confidently in an emergency.

3 Ways To Prevent Water Damage During New Construction

5/25/2021 (Permalink)

Image of construction workers Protect your construction site from water damage

While new construction is exciting, especially for a business owner, there are potential risks when it comes to water damage. A water pipe repair might sound unlikely for a new build, but in the process of establishing new plumbing systems mistakes and accidents can happen. It is also plausible that storm or weather issues might lead to flooding and the need for a water mitigation service in Black Forest, CO. There are at least three ways to prepare your construction site for potential water damage.

3 Ways to Prepare Your Constructions Site for Water Damage

1. Ensure Quality Control at Every Stage

Prevention efforts can begin in the design phase of a new building and new systems. Make sure that blueprints accommodate the right sizing of pipes and mechanicals. You always want to review building plans to ensure that the fixtures you install can handle the water pressure your system needs, avoiding the risks of a broken pipe.

2. Designate a Water Protection and Prevention Team

Beyond staying updated with all plans, it is wise to install a protection and prevention team. This team will focus on handling water prevention strategies. They will have plans for dealing with a water pipe repair or an external flood. By remaining prepared for emergencies, these teams can minimize potential losses in the field.

3. Test and Verify

Even with new construction, a flooded property is a problem. While you cannot control the weather, you can control how you move on from one task to the next. Granted, you will have inspections, but beyond that, you can test the systems to ensure everything meets your standards and those of the city and state.

While business owners do not like to believe that water damage is possible in new construction, a water pipe repair or shifts in the weather can result in flooding. The key to reducing overall risk is to prepare for potential accidents or mishaps.

3 Times When Fire Damage May Not Be Covered by Insurance

5/25/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a building on fire A fire can leave severe damage to your building.

Property insurance usually provides coverage for damage caused by a home fire. However, there are circumstances where most property insurance policies will not cover the damage. These are three of the most common.

3 Most Common Times When Fire Damage May Not Be Covered by Insurance

1. The Fire Was Deliberately Set by the Homeowner

Arson is a criminal act where someone deliberately sets fire to their own property or the property of another. Almost all insurance policies exclude coverage for intentional and criminal acts. If you or a member of your household deliberately set fire to your property, then your insurance company will probably deny the claim and you may face criminal prosecution. However, the insurance company has to be able to prove that the fire was started by arson.

2. The Fire Was Caused by an Act of War

Most insurance companies also exclude coverage for damage from a home fire that occurs because of an act of war. Fortunately, there are few times when this exclusion would ever come into play. Actions that may be considered acts of war include insurrections, revolutions, invasions, military coups and terrorism. This exclusion exists because of the potential cost of claims and the difficulty involved in computing an appropriate premium to charge.

3. The Property Is Vacant

Most insurance policies exclude damage caused by a vacant home fire if the fire was deliberately set. This is because policies exclude damage caused by vandalism or malicious mischief when a building has been vacant for more than 30 days before the loss. However, this provision is a topic of legal debate and whether your insurance company can exclude coverage for fire restoration largely depends on the legal interpretation of the courts in Black Fores, CO.

Most damage from a home fire is covered by property insurance; however, there are times when exclusions may apply. Your insurance company must be able to prove that the damage falls under one of the exclusion clauses in your policy to successfully deny a claim.

How To Keep Mold Out of the Bathroom

5/6/2021 (Permalink)

Image of mold growing on white bathroom wall Mold thrives in moist, humid areas.

Bathroom mildew and the buildup of mold in the restroom can be frustrating issues for homeowners and renters in Colorado Springs, CO to deal with. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent mold from growing in this area of a residence. Here are three suggestions to consider.

3 Ways to Keep Mold Out of the Bathroom

  1. Limit Moisture and Dampness

The bathroom may be one of the most humid areas of a residence due to steam and water from a shower, for example. The restroom may also not have much ventilation or many windows to allow moisture to escape. Therefore, to handle moisture and deal with a humidity problem, limiting the amount of moisture in the area is key.

Consider utilizing an air conditioner to reduce dampness in the restroom. If the bathroom is equipped with windows, opening them can help to allow moisture to escape the bathroom. Allowing fresh air and sunlight to permeate the area may also be beneficial. If a ventilation fan is installed, using it during and after a shower may also help allow for more airflow and a reduction in humidity.

  1. Keep the Shower and Sink Dry

In addition to reducing humidity, keeping a bathroom as dry as possible may prevent mold from growing. After using the shower or tub, or after washing hands in the sink, residents may consider using a towel to thoroughly dry the surfaces. The less moisture that is in the area, the harder it will be for bathroom mildew to grow. Remember that moisture can be present on walls in the bathroom after a shower. Therefore, consider drying the walls with a towel as well.

  1. Clean Regularly

Residents who clean the bathroom regularly may be able to get a handle on reducing bathroom mildew. For individuals who experience lots of mold or mildew issues, professional mold remediation services can be very helpful.

What Secondary Damage Is and How SERVPRO Can Help You Avoid It

5/1/2021 (Permalink)

Image of 2 persons dealing with a leak from the ceiling of their house A leaky rood can lead to secondary damage

Water from a flood, leaky roof or broken pipe can cause direct damage when it comes in contact with the structures of your home. Additionally, water that remains in the home for an extended period can lead to secondary damage such as black mold. This guide will explain what this damage is and how SERVPRO can help you avoid it.

Guide To Secondary Damage

What Is Secondary Damage?

This type of damage is caused because of the initial water event, but not directly by the water. For example, if you have a pipe break in your kitchen, the water may directly cause several types of damage:

  • Peeling tiles
  • Peeling paint
  • Electrical system short

If that water is allowed to stand it may also lead to indirect damage such as a rotten subfloor, musty odors or mold growth. This damage is considered secondary.

How Can SERVPRO Prevent Secondary Damage?

The main cause of this damage is high humidity. When your home has excess moisture caused by standing water, saturated carpets, wet furniture and other wet items in your home, the evaporation from that water increases the humidity level in your dwelling. This causes it to take longer for your home to dry out and can lead to condensation on surfaces. This can cause wood surfaces to rot and black mold and other fungi to grow.

A SERVPRO franchise in Peyton, CO, can help prevent this problem by quickly and thoroughly drying out your home. Speed is of the essence and SERVPRO professionals are Faster to Any Size Disaster. The sooner your property is dry, the less damage will occur.

Black mold, rot and other types of damage can occur when homes remain wet after a water emergency or flood event. SERVPRO professionals can help quickly dry out your home and reduce the amount of damage that occurs so that it is "Like it never even happened."

Replacing a Toilet

4/20/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a leaking toilet Replace a leaking toilet to avoid further damage.

No homeowner wants to deal with water issues, especially when it comes to their toilet. A leaking toilet can be the result of numerous issues, but if the water is seeping out around the base of the fixture, you might have a broken seal or need a replacement. While you can call on a water mitigation company in Colorado Springs, CO, the removal and replacement of a toilet is straightforward and involves three steps.

3 Steps to Replacing a Toilet

1. Remove the Toilet

You will need to start by removing the old toilet, but before you start disconnecting elements, turn off the water supply line. The shut-off should be at the back of the tank. Turn the valve until the line is closed. You will know it is closed by flushing the toilet. If the tank does not refill, the line is off.
Next, you remove the water line going into the tank and disconnect any bolts. Some toilets are one-piece and other two. With a two-piece, the tank might remove from the base. With all bolts, lines, and nuts removed pull the toilet free and discard. You can also peel off and discard the wax ring because you should replace that with the toilet.

2. Replace the Toilet

After removing the leaking toilet, you can bring the new toilet into the bathroom. You want to replace the wax seal and then seat the toilet correctly. With the toilet in place, you can snug up all the nuts and bolts and reattach the supply line. However, do not turn the water on just yet.

3. Sealing the Base of the Toilet

Many professional installers do not like to seal around the base of the toilet with caulk because they believe it makes it more difficult to tell when something is wrong and in need of a toilet repair. Unfortunately, building codes may dictate the use of caulk. Before turning the water back on, determine the regulations for your area. If the caulk is required, use a mildew-resistant product and then turn the supply back on.

A leaking toilet does not always require professional help. However, sometimes the problem might be bigger than expected.

How Frozen Pipes Cause Water Damage

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a frozen faucet Freazing temperatures can damage your pipes

When you think of storm damage, you may naturally think of rain-related flooding. However, this isn't the only cause of water damage. Freezing temperatures can lead to a burst pipe, but you can protect your facilities from this issue when you know more about how this happens.

Water Damage Caused by Frozen Pipes

Exposed, Unheated Pipes

There are several areas in buildings where you're more likely to find a frozen pipe:

  • Unheated spaces, such as garages, basements, unused upper stories
  • Plumbing and other water systems on exterior walls
  • Fire suppression systems
  • Outdoor spigots

Any systems throughout your facilities that transport water could be affected by the low temperatures of winter storms. The risk is greater when sections of those piping systems have standing water.

Expanding Ice

There are two common ways that freezing temperatures can lead to a burst pipe in your Black Forest, CO, facility. The first is through expansion. As water freezes and becomes ice, it expands. If there's enough water in the pipes, it will cause the plastic or metal of the pipe to weaken. Eventually, it could weaken to the point of bursting. Additionally, the pipes themselves may expand as they freeze, further complicating the issue.

Thawing Temperatures

The second way a frozen pipe can lead to water damage happens when temperatures warm up, and the frozen water in the pipe begins to melt. If the ice stressed the pipes to the point of failure but didn't expand further, small cracks and leaks could form without notice. As the temperatures rise, and the ice turns to water, those leaks allow water to flood into basements, bathrooms, and other areas of your building.

Damage Prevention

It is possible to prevent these damages by adding insulation around exposed pipes. Consider reaching out to water damage cleanup and repair technicians for pro tips appropriate for your neighborhood. Consistent inspections and repairs will also prevent damage.

The more you know about how extreme weather and temperature changes can affect your pipes, the better you can avoid damage, such as a burst pipe. What are some problems you've experienced? How did you recover from the resulting damage?

4 Steps To Take When Pipes Burst

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a person fixing a leaking pipe Shuf off the water supply when a pipe bursts

A quick response to water damage is crucial for the well-being of your Black Forest, CO, home. However, professionals usually can't arrive within seconds. In those crucial moments between the burst pipes and the arrival of water cleanup and restoration technicians, take the following steps.

Steps to Take When a Pipe Bursts

Assess the Risk to Your Family

Immediately decide whether the water comes from a clean source or a contaminated source. For example, water flowing from the pipes directly connected to the kitchen sink is probably clean. However, water containing sewage from the toilet is hazardous; your family should be evacuated from the home.

Turn Off the Power to Your Home

It takes a tiny amount of water mixed with electricity to create the risk of electrocution. It's hard to know how far the water has traveled in those first moments, but if any water has come into contact with outlets or wiring within the walls, there is a dangerous risk of harm.

Shut Off the Water Supply

With your family safe and the power turned off, you're ready to stop the flow of water from the broken pipes or overflowing toilet. If you can quickly spot the shutoff valve closest to the source of the flooding, use that to halt the supply of water. If you don't know where that valve is located, use the main shutoff. This is often found in the basement or lowest level of the home on the perimeter walls, usually on the side facing the street.

Start Removing Water

If it's safe (water is clean, power and water are off), gather your friends and family members to bail water, vacuum, mop, and dry up as much water as possible. Carry curtains, furniture, appliances, and other household belongings to a dry location. Remember that water is heavy, so avoid injuries when handling these items.

As long as the water in your home isn't contaminated, you can take steps to protect your home from serious water damage through your water cleanup efforts. Remember that a quick response is vital.

4 Crucial Elements of a Fire Preparation Plan

3/26/2021 (Permalink)

Image of an emergency exit sign with flames rising. Conduct fire drills frequently

If a fire breaks out in your Black Forest, CO, business, you and everyone else in the building may have just a minute or two to escape. This is a sobering consideration and should lead to serious fire preparation plans.

Fire Preparation Plan

Make sure that your disaster preparation plan includes the following elements:

Create and Post a Disaster Plan

This plan must include fire prevention steps, a schedule for fire drills, and evacuation routes with multiple exit paths. Your insurance provider, the local fire department, and the American Red Cross are all valuable resources when creating this plan.

Install Fire/Smoke Alarms, Fire Extinguishers, and Sprinkler Systems

Each one of these elements reduces the risk of harm during a fire. The National Fire Prevention Association has established guidelines for where and how many alarms and fire extinguishers must be installed. As you develop your fire preparation plan, strive for compliance with the NFPA standards. Once installed, clean and test alarms frequently. Review appropriate maintenance for extinguishers and sprinklers with fire professionals.

Complete Fire Prevention Steps

There are several precautions that decrease the likelihood of a fire emergency:

  • Make sure facilities are properly cleaned and maintained.
  • Use electrical cords properly to avoid overloading outlets.
  • Store flammable and combustible materials appropriately.
  • Use furnishings and décor that are fire-safe and less likely to burn.
  • Keep evacuation paths clear.
  • Educate staff, personnel, and any renters on proper fire safety behaviors.

Effective fire prevention depends on people understanding how fires start and the effects of fire damage.

Conduct Fire Drills Frequently

Some people suggest conducting drills twice a year, but many experts recommend holding drills much more often. During a fire, the resulting smoke makes it very difficult to see, so familiarity with all evacuation routes is crucial.

A complete fire prevention plan is the best way to protect both people and property. If your Black Forest, CO, property does suffer from fire damage, reach out to fire cleanup and restoration professionals to get your facilities back up and running.

Mold and Moisture Bring Trouble to Your Home

3/26/2021 (Permalink)

Image of mold growing around a window Mold thrives in moisture.

Mold occurs naturally in the environment and plays a crucial role in breaking down dead trees and other organic matter. Although mold is beneficial to the natural world, it can wreak havoc in your Black Forest, CO, home. Black mold, in particular, can leave your home looking and smelling unpleasant.

Mold Facts

Spores Become Colonies

Why does mold grow inside? Tiny mold spores are released into the air, landing on people and animals who carry them inside. Some spores are carried on the wind through open windows and heating and cooling systems. Under the right conditions, those spores quickly establish colonies and start causing trouble. Molds break down the surfaces where they grow. Structural elements, furnishings, and other household belongings are often destroyed slowly.

Moisture Is the Primary Culprit

When you know how to control mold, you can avoid much of the mess, smell, and appearance of black mold that comes with spreading colonies:

  • Control moisture levels in your home.
  • Immediately address any moisture problem, such as a dripping faucet.
  • Diligently clean up spills when they happen.
  • Thoroughly dry any water-damaged areas of the home.

There are quite a few types of mold, and, fortunately, none of those can survive without a source of moisture.

Cleanup Efforts Begin Where Moisture Is Heavy

If you've already found mold in your home, begin your mold cleanup efforts by reducing humidity levels in the home and reducing the amount of moisture in rooms such as the kitchen, laundry, and bathrooms. Without addressing the moisture problem, your black mold problem is sure to return.

A Quick Response Prevents Damage

The more you know about how mold gets into your home and which conditions in the home are most likely to encourage mold growth, the better you can avoid the unpleasantness of black mold.

It only takes a couple of days for a few spores to become a colony, so reach out to water and mold damage cleanup and recovery professionals for quick corrective action.