Content Cleaning: What To Keep and What To Toss
Know better what to Keep and what to Toss if a Storm happens in your Colorado Springs, CO, house.
The recovery process after a significant storm can be daunting, especially as you consider all of the steps involved in content cleaning. The good news is that Colorado Springs, CO, storm and water damage cleaning and recovery teams can help you through the process with professional equipment and techniques:
- Dry and foam cleaners
- Immersion cleaning equipment
- Spray and wipe supplies
The more you know about how to respond to a flood, the better you'll be prepared to avoid problematic damage and expensive repairs.
The Ins and Outs of Content Cleaning
One of the first areas of concern after your home is affected by flooding, especially black water, is content cleaning. This refers to all of the contents in your home that can be salvaged. Once your home has been inspected by the appropriate professionals, you can begin sorting belongings into a pile of things that must be thrown out and an assortment of items that can be cleaned and repaired.
Things To Throw Away
Some items absorb contaminants or leach toxins as they become waterlogged. These porous items should be thrown out:
- Furniture left in water for multiple days
- Carpets that come apart in your hand
- Furnishings with running dye, especially blue
- Items that smell bad or have evidence of mildew
- Swollen or warped wood pieces.
Other items, such as mattresses and books, are usually cheaper to replace than to try to clean and repair. For your safety and your family's safety, always throw out food that has come into contact with water (including pet food) and medications that have been exposed to the water.
Things You Can Salvage
Although any type of water can cause serious damage to your property, some water is dirty enough that you should throw out anything that has been affected. That being said, if your flood consisted of clean water, there are many things you can keep:
If Colorado Springs, CO, water damage cleanup and mitigation crews arrive quickly to clear away water and dry your home, it is possible for you to save carpets and furniture. If you own something that is expensive or has a lot of sentimental value, reach out to specialists in restoration and repair for help.
Areas of Concern
While you're focused on moving furnishings and belongings out of your home, there are some things you should be aware of:
Floors and walls could have been weakened; be careful where you step or lean.
Porous materials may become moldy. If there is any evidence of mold contamination, these items should be thrown out.
Floodwater may carry hazardous contaminants; wear protective clothing while you work.
When handling appliances or fragile belongings, further damage could occur. Be very careful when lifting and transporting belongings.
Moisture and mold spores can be spread from the affected areas of your home into areas that were initially unaffected. Take care to seal off those separate areas to prevent causing new damage.
You may be anxious to get into your home and begin the cleanup process after flooding. Your first concern, however, should be safety. Wait until you have permission from local authorities before you begin working on content cleaning and other recovery efforts.
When To Get Flood Insurance for Your Business
Investing in the right flood insurance policy can help your business recover from potential devastation.
Businesses rely on commercial insurance providers to help them out in times of need. Insurance for flood damage usually requires a policy separate from any general business plan, so it can be easy to overlook. However, water damage repair expenses can accumulate rapidly, so depending on the situation of a business, it is a good idea to prepare for the worst and invest in a smart insurance plan.
Why Getting a Flood Insurance
Extreme Weather Threat
Many parts of the country pose flooding risks. If you live in areas that feature any of the following yearly weather patterns, you should consider getting flood insurance:
- Winters with heavy snowfall and warm springs that result in rapidly melting snow
- Coastal areas with a high risk of experiencing hurricanes
- Other regions of the United States prone to extreme weather
Severe weather can be unexpected but cause excessive damage to a commercial building and its contents. Even a small insurance policy can save businesses thousands in repair expenses.
Commercial buildings and assets located near rivers and lakes can suffer massive damage in seasons with torrential downpours. Rivers and lakes rise and expand in years of abundant rain, allowing water to creep into and even submerge surrounding properties. Most of these areas will be required to carry flood insurance policies, but for businesses that are not, these policies are still a wise investment.
The development of roads, businesses, homes, and other municipal buildings can alter the landscape of a region, making it more prone to flooding. Even modest amounts of rainfall in Black Forest, CO can result in dangerous flooding given the correct circumstances.
Federal government regulations require some companies to purchase insurance. If a business is deemed to be in a high-risk flood area and a federally regulated or insured lender controls its mortgage, then the business will be required to own insurance for flood damage.
Protecting the assets and finances of your business are paramount to its success. Visit us for more information on commercial storm damage.
How To Prepare for a Winter Storm
Keep an emergency kit stocked with three days' worth of essentials
From frozen pipes to black ice and flood water, extreme winter weather in Colorado Springs, CO, can wreak havoc on your home. Here are four ways you can prepare your family for a winter storm.
Tips For Winter Storm
- Draft Communication and Evacuation Plans
All members of your household should know how to get in touch with each other and where to go in the event of a winter storm. Ideally, your communication plans should address a variety of specifics scenarios. Similarly, your evacuation plan should incorporate not just the safest route to your local emergency shelter, but also a viable alternative. If local authorities tell you that you should get out, get out.
- Winterize Your Car
Fleeing a blizzard is not the time to have your car refuse to start or run out of gas. Have your mechanic perform a thorough check before winter hits. Make sure your winter tires have good treads. Keep your gas tank full, and stash winter supplies in your trunk, such as a windshield scraper, matches, a first-aid kit, blankets, an emergency signal, and sand or kitty litter for creating traction if you get stuck.
- Protect Your Pipes
Frozen pipes can burst and lead to a flooded building. To avoid needing the services of a water damage recovery company, you can help prevent broken pipes and flood water by a variety of means:
- Leave cabinets under sinks open to allow warm air in
- Insulate pipes with heat tape, pipe sleeves or — in a pinch — newspaper
- Close interior valves that provide water to outside hoses
- Prepare Your Home
Keep an emergency kit stocked with three days' worth of essentials:
- Nonperishable food
- First-aid supplies
- Pet food and supplies
Bring pets inside, and make sure any alternative heat sources such as space heaters, generators, fireplaces, and stoves are clean, functioning properly, and well-stocked with fuel or materials.
Winter is inevitable. Severe winter storms are not. Expecting the unexpected can help you ride out a winter storm safely and with minimal flood water, frozen infrastructure, or other damage to your home.
What Do I Do if My Fire Sprinklers Accidentally Discharge?
Consider these tips if your Fire Sprinklers Accidentally Discharge.
Many commercial building owners are wary about having a fire sprinkler system in their commercial buildings because of the risk of it accidentally discharging and flooding the building. Although the chance is minuscule, there are no guarantees that something won't happen at some point.
If your Colorado Springs, CO sprinklers do go off for whatever reason, getting the water deluge stopped quickly is the primary goal. If you can contain it right away, you can typically avoid significant water damage. There are various reasons why fire sprinklers sometimes discharge unexpectedly.
- Defects and Damage
Steps To Take After an Accidental Discharge
Getting a fire sprinkler inspection once a year can help prevent accidents. An inspection can also ensure your sprinkler system will work properly if you need it. If, by chance, you've experienced this misfortune, you know it's essential to understand what steps to take to immediately begin mitigating the damage.
1. Cut Off the Water Supply
First, shut off the sprinklers' water supply. If it's just an accidental discharge, you can do it yourself. However, if they went off due to a fire, the fire department would have to turn them off.
2. Call For Help
Most likely, you won't be able to shut off the water in time to avoid a lot of water in your building. It's best to hire flood damage restoration specialists to handle the job. This company can do most of the work, such as extracting the standing water, removing unsalvageable materials, cleaning, sanitizing, drying, and repairing structural damage. They have industrial-grade equipment such as water pumps, fans, and dehumidifiers for fast, effective remediation. They can also perform an inspection when they finish the job to make sure you can avoid mold growth. Hiring professionals can give you peace of mind knowing your building is returned to its preloss condition.
3. Detail the Damage
As soon as you get everything under control and can safely do so, it's best to document the flooding and other damage with notes, photos and videos to show your insurance adjuster for a more accurate claim. They will want proof of the damage from as close to the time of the occurrence as possible.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
Next, contact your insurance company to commence the claim process. They will probably send an adjuster to survey the damage in person. The restoration company will likely bill your insurance company directly for the work they perform; this should avoid out-of-pocket costs, at least in the short term.
5. Salvage the System Parts
In the case of an accidental discharge, it's helpful to save as many of the sprinkler parts as you can. Doing this can help professionals determine why the system was activated. When your fire sprinklers go off for seemingly no reason, you can incur a significant loss.
However, the risk of a fire is greater than the risk of flooding from an accidental discharge, so it's definitely preferable to have a sprinkler system in your building. At the same time, it can also prove beneficial to know what actions to take if the worst happens. Taking quick action can help you mitigate the loss as much as possible.
What Are the Leading Causes of Home Fires?
Take into account the Most Common Fire Causes and avoid Fire in your Black Forest, CO house.
There are many potential causes of house fires. Homeowners can learn ways to prevent a home fire by becoming familiar with the most common reasons that fires start.
Most Common Fire Causes
Fires can be caused by disasters or system failures. However, they are often caused by everyday activities. These are some of the most common causes of fires.
The top cause of house fires is unsupervised cooking. While it may be tempting to put your food on the stove and head to the living room to watch TV, this is not a good idea. Stay in the same room as your food while it cooks. If you need to do something else, ask another adult to keep an eye on the food or turn the heat off until you can come back. Set a timer when you are cooking food that takes a long time so that you don't forget about it.
Keep a residential fire extinguisher in the kitchen and learn how to use it. Remember to never throw water on grease fires. Instead, smother the fire with a non-flammable lid, sheet pan, baking soda or salt. If a fire damages your kitchen, consider contacting a fire remediation company in Black Forest, CO to do fire cleaning.
2. Heating Equipment
Space heaters are another common cause of a house fire. If you use a space heater, position it so that it does not come in contact with flammable materials, such as laundry, curtains, furniture or blankets. Do not run space heaters unattended. If you need to leave the area where the heater is located, turn it off and unplug it. Avoid placing space heaters where they can easily be knocked over.
Furnaces can also cause fires if they do not function properly. Have your furnace inspected once per year.
3. Faulty Wiring
Faulty wiring can cause a fire if the wires get too hot or generate sparks that catch other materials on fire. Watch for signs that your wiring doesn't work properly, such as lights that dim when you are using appliances, frequently blown fuses or tripped breakers and only being able to run one appliance at a time.
Smoking can cause fires when people fall asleep with lit smoking materials in their hands or mouths or discard smoking materials improperly. You can reduce the risk of fires caused by smoking materials by using only fire-safe cigarettes. Smoke only outside your home.
Keep smoking materials out of the reach of children. Use a sturdy, deep ashtray and keep it away from anything flammable. Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation or other flammable materials. Douse cigarette butts in sand or water before throwing them out. Never smoke around anyone who uses medical oxygen.
Be cautious with e-cigarettes. Battery failures can cause explosions. Do not leave e-cigarettes unattended while charging.
Residential fires can be a safety hazard and result in severe property damage. Educating yourself and your family about the most common reasons a home fire may start can help you reduce the risk that a fire may occur.
Ways Companies Can Conserve Water
Commercial water damage in Black Forest, CO.
For a business in Black Forest, CO, the bottom line is always a consideration. Every little part of operations can affect that, including items related to the building the business operates out of. A building’s water system is an intricate system that could potentially be flushing money down the drain. From simple water issues like a leaky faucet or running toilet to how it's used can all beef up the water bill.
While newer structures may not have as many water issues, older buildings could potentially be hiding leaks that could pose bigger problems. Left unchecked, a leak can cause extensive water damage, resulting in expensive repairs and potential short-term closing for those restorations. Signs of a leak include:
- Increased water bill
- Noticeable wet areas
- Water stains on the ceiling
- Formation of mildew or mold
- Water damage on floors and walls
Ways to Save
For businesses that are on top of potential water issues, there are other ways to dwindle down the utility bill. An audit will help you determine where and how water is being used. From this, a water upgrade or incorporating water-saving procedures can make a big difference.
- If your business has a water cooler or has other appliances that use water, they have come a long way. Many are available that can self-monitor and are designed to enhance energy efficiency.
- Have an open dialogue with employees. Educate and encourage them to use be water conscious.
- If not already, install low-flow toilets. They are designed to use significantly less water.
- The right landscaping can water the grass and reduce the need for a sprinkler system, as well as make it known that your business is doing what it can to help the environment.
Whether your water bill is skyrocketing because of a leak or you are ready to take a step toward enhanced conservation, you don’t have to go it alone. A professional can provide guidance in repairs and the newest technology to keep water usage down.
Is Your Water Heater Making Strange Noises?
Make regular maintenance on your water heater to avoid damage in your Black Forest, CO, home.
Water heater noises are not unheard of, but they can definitely be not only annoying but also worrisome. Is the noise indicative of a problem with the appliance, or is it just getting older? You should hire professionals to regularly maintain your Black Forest, CO, home's appliances to keep them running at their best. However, there's a good chance at some point in your water heater's life you'll hear it making sounds.
What Is Causing All the Noise?
1. The Top Heating Element Is Loose
The top heating element on your electric heater could make a humming noise. When cold water flows into the tank, it can cause the heating element to vibrate, which causes humming. This issue can usually be solved simply by tightening the heating element.
2. Sediment and Minerals Have Accumulated
Mineral deposits and sediment can begin building up in the heater's tank, gradually accumulating over time. The mineral deposits tend to coat the tank's interior while the sediment will settle at the bottom. Mineral buildup is more of an issue in locations with hard water. When the water heats, the minerals traveling within the water will separate and stick to the inside of the tank (i.e., limescale buildup). As the water heats up, steam builds up underneath sediment. The bubbles can make a loud popping noise. A water heater flush should be performed occasionally as part of the maintenance process so that this buildup doesn't get out of control. A rumbling sound can happen due to similar circumstances, indicating that the sediment buildup has become significant.
3. Water Pressure Is Fluctuating
If you hear a ticking sound, your plumbing could be experiencing pressure fluctuations. It could be coming from one of the water inlet or outlet nipples if they have a heat trap. These types of nipples improve the energy efficiency of a water heater but can cause noises at times.
4. Water Flow Is Being Blocked
Do you hear your unit making noise when you run the hot water? If you hear a sizzling noise, it could mean that water flow is being restricted.
5. The Water Source Is Causing Issues
Maybe you hear a popping sound coming from the water heater. In this case, it could be the anode rod if it's made of aluminum. Aluminum can react with a high pH level, causing aluminum hydroxide to form a gel-like material in the tank. If this happens, you'll need to flush the tank and replace the anode rod with one made of magnesium that won't create a reaction.
6. Condensation and Leaks Are Occurring
If you hear a sound like running water coming from the unit, you may have a pipe leak. You could also get a sizzling sound from the appliance if you have a gas heater with a condensation problem. If you don't catch this issue right away, you may not only need a plumber but also a water damage restoration professional.
Water heater problems can be annoying and possibly even damaging to the unit and your home. Anytime you hear strange noises, be on the safe side and have someone inspect your heater and plumbing.
Learn More About the Preferred Vendor Chosen by Your Insurance Agent and Provider
If you've experienced property damage in Colorado Springs, CO, contact your insurance agent to start the restoration.
If you've experienced property damage, your insurance agent may have steered you toward a specific cleanup and repair business. Insurance companies choose these preferred vendors to ensure top-quality results at affordable prices. Property restoration companies, such as SERVPRO of Colorado Springs, CO, must meet specific qualifications before becoming part of a preferred vendor program. If you're unfamiliar with this type of situation, you may have several questions:
- Why would the insurance company prefer vendors?
- How does the program benefit property owners?
- What's the value of the qualification requirement?
It's natural to want answers to the questions you have about insurance companies and their preferred vendors.
Answers to Questions You Might Have for Your Insurance Agent
The more you know about the relationship between the insurance company and the cleanup and restoration company, the easier it is to make educated decisions. Here are some common questions from property owners, as well as answers to those questions.
Why Do Insurance Companies Choose Specific Vendors?
One of the main reasons that insurance companies create relationships with preferred vendors is to keep costs within specific boundaries. It allows the insurance company to make a quick referral to a damage restoration company because a quick response to water, fire, and mold damage is crucial. When insurance companies choose specific vendors, they do so to have a consistent working partnership. This means there are fewer questions and unknowns. This is good for the property owner, the insurance company, and the restoration company.
How Do You Benefit as a Property Owner?
When you need cleanup and restoration professionals for your property damage, you are not required to use one of the insurance company's preferred vendors. However, there are important benefits to hiring the recommended cleanup and restoration company:
- Confidence that the insurance company and vendor have a positive working relationship
- Paperwork takes less time, so work is completed more quickly
- An expectation of good quality results that protect the company's reputation
- The cost of the work will be kept within set boundaries
Remember that insurance companies establish standards of professionalism and specific qualifications to which vendors must adhere.
Why Are Qualification Requirements Important?
There are several requirements that property restoration companies must meet to become part of a vendor program:
- Background checks for employees
- Routine equipment maintenance
- Regular safety training
- Compliance with IICRC standards
This shortlist is just a sample of the requirements established by insurance agencies. If you want to know the specific qualifications required by your provider, reach out to your insurance agent. SERVPRO, for example, meets at least 21 qualifications. These requirements ensure that you receive a high standard of professionalism, reasonable prices, and quality assurance.
Cooperative Partnerships for Mutual Satisfaction
When your insurance agent makes a recommendation, you can rest assured that the insurance companies expect the vendor to do great work without waste. You can trust the results of the restoration work and have a reasonable expectation of what the work will cost. Your agent can feel confident that you will be satisfied, and the entire restoration process can be less frustrating for everyone involved.
Understanding the Mold Removal Timeline and Process
Hire a professional team to remove the mold in your Black Forest, CO building.
The last thing any business owner wants to deal with is business interruptions. Unfortunately, when it comes to mold removal, there are few options for companies. Thankfully, the removal process is often straightforward, and depending on the extent of damage, it can be completed in as little as three to seven days.
Mold Removal Process
The week-long timeline is uncomfortable for some owners, and they may not understand why it would take so long. What they must realize is that mold remediation in Black Forest, CO, is a process, and it includes several steps:
- Identification of the mold species and locations
- Prevention of further mold growth
- Removal of affected materials
- Cleaning and disinfection of the affected area
- Restoration of the facility
Mold Removal Timeline Depends on Growth and Species
What type of mold is in your facility? If it is toxic black mold, the removal company will need to take extra precautions. These precautions have to do with safety and government regulations. The additional steps necessary to prevent the further spread of the mold will require more time and patience.
The good news is that toxic mold species are rare, and in most cases, you are only dealing with common mold growth. Common mold does not require as many precautions and can often be removed quicker, but the removal speed will depend on the severity of the growth.
If an organization fails to contact a remediation specialist at the first sign of growth — the odor — it will often deal with rampant spread. Mold spores can travel through HVAC systems to multiple rooms and floors.
Organizational Prevention Methods To Limit Mold Development
Mold develops because of three key elements: moisture, darkness, and humidity. Most commercial facilities will recognize several potential problem areas, such as the basement, attic, kitchen, bathrooms, etc.
To prevent mold, a company must focus on preventing the three causes of mold. There are several ways a company can prevent growth from occurring, including:
- Installing ceiling fans
- Using dehumidifiers
- Having routine plumbing inspections
For mold to grow, humidity levels need to remain high. A commercial facility should make sure that humidity stays below 50% to avoid any significant problems.
Business Interruption Is Not a Guarantee
While mold remediation can take up to a week, that does not mean operations need to shut down. Depending on the extent of the infestation and the type of business, it is possible that a remediation company can seal off the affected area only, leaving the rest of the facility free to operate. However, do not assume operations can continue.
The extent of disruption will depend on the mold species and the level of growth. A remediation specialist is likely the only professional capable of telling you the extent of interruption and how long it will take to get back to regular business hours.
Mold removal is a necessary process that will take three to seven days, depending on the severity of growth. When you smell that musty odor in your building, contact a remediation company for testing immediately. Early identification is key to speedy removal and recovery.
Why Cleaning Flood Damage Is Different
Use the correct method of cleaning your home after a flood in your Black Forest, CO home.
There are many different types of water damage, ranging from a leaking supply line to flooding from a major storm. The process of cleaning up the water varies depending on what the cause of the water damage is.
What Makes Flood Damage Different?
The primary difference between cleaning up flood damage and other types of water damage is how the water is classified. Water is classified in one of three ways:
1. Category 1
Category 1 water is also called clean water. It is water from an uncontaminated source, such as a broken pipe or supply line. Overflow from a sink, tub, or toilet that contains no chemicals or biological contaminants may also be category 1.
2. Category 2
Category 2 water is called gray water. It is water that may contain chemicals or biological agents but is not considered grossly unsanitary. Examples include water from a washing machine, rinse water from a bath or shower, and water from a toilet that contains urine, but not feces. It can also be Category 1 water that has been standing for too long.
3. Category 3
Category 3 water is water that is grossly contaminated. Examples include sewage backups, water from flooding, and Category 2 water that has been standing too long.
Different Cleanup Methods Are Required
Different categories of water require different cleanup methods. Category 1 water generally does not have any special requirements for cleanup. Category 2 water may require the use of protective gear. Category 3 water is not safe to handle without the right training, equipment, and safety gear. Additionally, surfaces that come in contact with Category 3 water need to be both cleaned and disinfected. Because of the safety issues, it is recommended that homeowners utilize a storm damage restoration company in Black Forest, CO, to do flood cleanup, rather than attempt it themselves.
The Damage Is Usually More Extensive
In addition to the risks involved with handling contaminated water, damage from floods is usually more extensive than damage from a household situation such as a broken pipe. There may be fallen trees, downed power lines, and other obstacles. Industrial equipment, such as submersible pumps, fans, and dehumidifiers may be needed to dry out the property. Because flood events are usually widespread, it may be difficult for homeowners to find rental equipment to use.
Mold May be a Problem
Extensive flood damage also poses a mold risk. While drying out the home as soon as possible can reduce the chance of mold occurring, it may not be safe to re-enter the home until after the 24 to 72 hour period when mold may begin to grow. Homeowners attempting to do cleanup themselves may not get the home dried out fast enough to avoid mold problems. Additionally, a restoration company can address any signs of mold issues already occurring early in the process to prevent mold from spreading.
Small amounts of water from broken pipes or leaking appliances may be able to be cleaned up by homeowners. However, flooding often creates conditions that are difficult for homeowners to contend with without assistance.