WHAT TO DO AFTER A FLOOD:

If your home or business has experienced damage from flooding, you need to act fast to save as much as possible. When it comes to flood cleanup, there are some things you can and should do immediately, and other things you’ll need help doing. To ease your stress and guide you through what to do after a flood, the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore® put together a list of five critical flood cleanup tips.

1. CHECK FOR SAFETY HAZARDS

If you have flood insurance, call your insurance agency first to report your flooded home. Then, start to assess the damage. Here are a few questions you should ask to ensure your safety:

Is your home structurally secure? Call the experts for a safety inspection. Water damage can threaten the stability of your home, from its foundations and floors to its supporting beams and ceilings. If the flood water level is significant or you are concerned the structure might collapse, do not risk entering your home.

 Is your power still on? Standing water mixed with electricity puts you at risk for an electrical shock – so don’t proceed without taking a few precautions. If you have safe exterior access to your breaker box, turn off the power before coming into contact with any standing water. If you don’t have access, contact your local power company before going inside. If you’re unsure whether your power is still on, do not enter your house, especially if the water level is above your outlets.

Is there a gas leak? If you smell any gas, do not enter your home. Gas leaks are extremely hazardous and potentially deadly. Alert your utility company right away if you suspect there is a gas leak in your home.

Is the flood water contaminated? Sewage and harmful chemicals often contaminate floodwaters, which can put your health at risk. If you suspect contaminated floodwater, seek help to assess the damage, start the cleanup, and protect your health and belongings.

Related: FLOOD AWARENESS AND PREPAREDNESS TIPS

2. REMOVE ITEMS WITHIN YOUR REACH

When it is safe to return to your home, remove as many items as you can to prevent further damage. Even items not in immediate contact with water can be damaged by increased humidity and moisture after a flood. The faster you remove items, the more likely they can be repaired or restored. Take particular care removing electronics – they too can create electric shock if powered up or plugged in, yet they are often the items you want to save most. Do not attempt to remove submerged electronics unless they are unplugged and your power is off. Dry any recovered items completely to prevent mold growth and water damage, then store in a secure, dry area. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can send a team out to help you recover as many items as possible.

3. EXTRACT WATER AND PREVENT MOLD

Depending on how high the water level is and whether you have carpets, you can attempt water extraction on your own or call in flood damage restoration specialists. If attempting to remove the water yourself, rent a wet vacuum or submersible pump and remove as much of the water as you possibly can. To prevent mold growth, it’s absolutely critical to keep the humidity level as low as possible while you dry your home and furnishings. Open as many windows as you can and run fans and dehumidifiers to increase the ventilation around your house and accelerate the drying process. We can exponentially accelerate the drying process by bringing in our specialized drying equipment.

4. CLEAN, SANITIZE AND RESTORE

Once water damaged areas have dried out, including wood beams, carpets, and drywall, you must clean and sanitize the surfaces to avoid toxic mold growth, infection, and disease. All carpeting and upholstery need to be thoroughly cleaned and dried, as well, including carpet padding and cushions. Carefully wash and sanitize anything touched by floodwaters. You’ll need different techniques and approaches to clean floors, countertops, carpets and furniture, clothes, and personal belongings. Some items may be beyond saving and should be replaced. Once your home is dry, assess the level of damage to prioritize what gets cleaned and what gets replaced. We are able to thoroughly sanitize to prevent any mold growth, as well as remediate any mold that is already present.

5. KEEP A RUNNING INVENTORY

Keep a careful record of all damages, including pictures, videos, and any estimates and receipts for restoration or repairs. You’ll need these items for any insurance claims (this is something we are happy to help with as well!). Flood Cleanup and Expert Guidance ServiceMaster Restore® is by your side with our genuine commitment to getting you safely and effectively from crisis to resolution after a flood. If your home is flooded and you need guidance and expertise, call the professional water damage repair experts at ServiceMaster Restore® as soon as possible to handle the initial assessment, water extraction, and drying. We provide written estimates every step of the way and have technologically advanced tools to ensure proper flood cleanup. ServiceMaster Restore® also offers document restoration, electronics recovery, carpet cleaning, and mold remediation services to save your home and as many of your memories as possible after a flood. It’s never easy to clean up after a flood, but it’s easier with help from the experienced professionals at ServiceMaster Restore®.

HOW TO PREVENT A WATER HEATER FAILURE

Imagine waking up to a strange sound. You walk through your home, searching for the source of the popping, hissing, humming, or rumbling noises. With further inspection, you realize the sound is coming from straight from your water heater. What do you do? If you want to avoid the damage and headache that comes with a water heater failure, learn the signs that your water heater is failing, how to turn it off if you suspect a problem, and what you should do if it does end up breaking.

WHAT CAUSES A WATER HEATER TO BREAK?

Whether gas or electric, water heaters typically last 10-13 years – if you pay attention to them. Sometimes, a water heater will start leaking near the supply lines, and if you don’t correct the leak, it could not only damage your surrounding floor and drywall but also lead to corrosion and failure. Other common causes of water heater failure are internal rust, sediment buildup, and high water pressure. Improper sizing can also cause your water heater to burst unexpectedly, leaving you with a huge, expensive mess.

HOW CAN I KEEP MY WATER HEATER FROM BREAKING?

As with any appliance, frequent inspection can make your water heater last longer. Set an annual reminder to check for moisture or pooling water around the water heater, and tighten any loose fittings you find. If you see signs of water or mold damage, call the experts at ServiceMaster immediately. The faster you fix the issue, the less damage and cleanup you’ll have.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK MY WATER HEATER MIGHT BREAK?

First thing’s first – turn it off. If you notice any signs that your water heater is about to burst, including any strange noises, immediately shut it off. If it’s a gas water heater, twist the dial on the top of the thermostat from the ON to the OFF position. If it’s an electric heater, switch the circuit breaker to the OFF position.

AFTER YOU TURN OFF YOUR WATER HEATER:

  • Turn off the water supply. Turn the water valve located on your water heater clockwise until it stops. If it doesn’t move or turn off, shut off your home’s main water supply.
  • Drain your water heater. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of your water heater’s tank. Run the other end of the hose to a lower area where you can drain dirty water without risking more damage. Then, open the drain valve. You may need to use a screwdriver or another tool to open it.
  • Open the pressure relief valve. Flip the relief valve handle to prevent a vacuum from forming while the water heater drains. Be careful – the water may be hot.
  • Rinse with cold water. After your water heater is finished draining, open the water supply for a few minutes to flush any remaining sediment out of the water heater.

Even if you think your water heater is in good condition, you should drain and refill it once a year as part of your regular water heater maintenance to keep it working properly and efficiently. Simply follow the steps above, and then close the relief and drain valves and turn the water supply back on to refill it.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY WATER HEATER BREAKS?

If your water heater is broken, find a professional to assess the problem right away. If your water heater has burst or you know there’s water or mold damage to the area, call the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®. Our water damage services are available 24/7/365 to ensure you get the help you need, right when you need it.

TOP CAUSES OF WATER DAMAGE AT HOME AND HOW YOU CAN PREVENT THEM

Water damage can happen at any time. From plumbing leaks to faulty or broken appliances, water overflow has the potential to cause some serious damage, especially if it’s not taken care of right away. In order to reduce common risks like mold growth, foundational issues, and flooding caused by water damage, use these tips from ServiceMaster Restore to effectively maintain your fixtures and appliances.

BROKEN OR LEAKING PIPES

Leaking or broken water pipes are among the most common causes of water damage to a home. If a pipe ruptures in your home, serious water damage can occur. Sometimes, all it takes is a change in water pressure or freezing temperatures to cause pipes to burst. Even a minor dripping leak can lead to substantial water damage over time. However, not all water damage is visible. Plumbing or drain damage can often be unseen and can go unnoticed within the walls of your home, or in areas that are not highly trafficked.

To guard against leaks, inspect your home often for signs of leaking pipes. Early moisture detection can prevent more extensive damage down the line. If a pipe does burst, call a professional immediately. Early moisture detection can prevent more extensive damage down the line. If you suspect there may be an unseen leak, there are some signs of water damage to watch out for. This includes listening at night for any sounds of dripping water and looking out for water rings or stains. If a pipe does burst and there is considerable damage to your home, call a water damage professional to ensure that the proper steps are taken to restore your property to normal.

WATER OVERFLOW

Forgetting to turn off the sink or tub faucet can lead to a soggy problem fast. Water overflow caused by sinks or toilets can wreck flooring and carpeting- and even break through a downstairs ceiling if ignored long enough. If not completely cleaned up and restored right away, you may also experience permanently damaged wood and mold growth. Remember to always keep an eye on running faucets. To ensure your toilets don’t overflow, know how to turn off the water supply on each toilet at the valve located on the wall.

If you’re unable to reach your faucet or the taps won’t close, turn off the main water supply lines to your home to avoid further damage. If the damage is minor, you can call a plumber and a repairman to help fix the issue and the related minor damage, but extensive damage may require calling a water damage restoration expert. Acting quickly is key to avoid costly damage to your home and belongings.

FAULTY HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES

Malfunctioning and clogs can cause appliances to leak. A dishwasher leak, for instance, can cause water damage to cabinetry and lead to warped wood or mold growth. Refrigerators may have a clogged pipe or leaking defrost pan that needs to be addressed. Likewise, washing machines and HVAC units can become worn with time and start to leak unless they’re regularly maintained.

The fact is, if there is water where you can see it, there is very likely water where you can’t. That’s where the serious water damage can occur. If your dishwasher or other appliance has a leak, clean up the leakage as quickly as possible and have your appliance repaired or replaced. Calling a professional for regular maintenance is the first step to preventing water damage to your home. If the leakage is extensive, you’ll need to call emergency mitigation services to ensure that the water flow is stopped and the damage is contained and restored.

CLOGGED GUTTERS

Gutters are meant to direct water away from your home during a severe storm. A clogged gutter can cause water to overflow and slowly seep into your property through roof leaks, damaged siding, or a damaged foundation. Periodic cleaning is important to ensure that your gutters are free of any debris. Twice a year, take the time to remove any leaves, twigs, seedpods, and other blockage from your gutters. A gutter specialist is recommended, but if you’re planning on cleaning your own gutters, follow proper safety precautions.

SEWAGE BACKUPS

Sewer backups are either caused by brutal storms or tree roots blocking your home’s pipes. Both of these instances can lead to catastrophic water overflow, especially if you aren’t able to act fast.

To guard against the risk of tree roots blocking your pipes, have a sewer expert clean out your sewer line every other year. While you can’t combat a storm, we recommend contacting your insurance agent to discuss which homeowner policy can protect you against water damage caused by sewer backups.

PREVENT LONG-LASTING EFFECTS FROM WATER DAMAGE

Even with the best precautions, it can be difficult to guard against all the causes of water damage in the home. If damage does occur because of plumbing leaks or water overflow, call on ServiceMaster Restore to act fast and restore your home back to normal. Our experts will analyze your damage and create a unique, comprehensive restoration plan to get your home up and running as soon as possible.

DIY: REMOVING WATER FROM BASEMENT

 

After a heavy rain, flood, or burst pipe, you may be in a situation where you need to remove standing water from your basement. There are some important things to take into consideration and only a short amount of time. Here are some tips to ensure you know what to do if disaster were to strike.

With a lot on the line, we recommend contacting a professional water damage restoration service when you have water in your basement. Experts at ServiceMaster Restore® know how to clean up a flooded basement with the right safety measures and equipment to do the job properly.

Immediate Steps After a Basement Flood

  • Turn off the power. When your basement fills with water, the first thing to do is safely turn off energy sources around the area. This includes electricity and gas. If you can’t do this without going through standing water, stay safe and leave it to a professional.
  • Wear boots and gloves. It is wise to assume that floodwater can be tainted with sewage or other pollutants. You should keep clear of the area, but if you have to go near the basement for something, cover up. Use waterproof boots and gloves to protect your skin from anything harmful in the water..
  • Call your insurance company. Homeowners’ policies typically don’t cover natural floods, so check with your insurance provider to see what your coverage is. If you live in an area where flooding from natural disasters is common, you should consider adding flood insurance to your policy. Remember – it’s never good to find out after the fact that you don’t have adequate insurance.

Dangers of a Flooded Basement

There are a number of dangers associated with DIY basement water removal. The average homeowner can easily get in over their head in trying to figure out how to remove water from a basement. Because of this, we always recommend letting the experts take care of any flooding/water damage you may be facing. We know what to do with a flooded basement to mitigate damage as much as possible and help keep you safe. However, if you ever are dealing with a flood, these are some possible hazards to be aware of:

  • Graywater or blackwater. This is ground water or rain that swells up and seeps into basements. It’s full of ground pollutants, biological agents, bacteria and other hazards to your health. Unclean graywater or blackwater can cause serious illness and must be cleaned up carefully.
  • Electric shock. Submerged appliances or outlets in your basement pose a risk of severe electric shock or even death. Never wade into water where there might be live electricity.
  • Structural rot. Drywall, insulation, and beams weaken more and more as they remain underwater, putting the very structure of your home at risk. Only professionals have the right equipment to fully dry out your basement and prevent potentially catastrophic damage from occurring.
  • Buckling walls. Walls can buckle when pressure in the surrounding soil builds up due to over-saturation and inadequate drainage. An expert will be able to spot the warning signs.

If you experience flooding in your basement, don’t let a DIY job put your health and the well-being of your home at risk. Instead, contact the experts at ServiceMaster Restore. We’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to handle disasters large and small. When a flood happens, your best bet is to have professionals on-site as quickly as possible, so your home can be properly restored.

SEWAGE BACKUP CLEANING SERVICES

Experiencing a sewage backup or overflow is more than damaging to your home. It can be dangerous to your health. Whether it’s a sewer backup from a breakdown in a neighborhood sewer system or water runoff from a storm, we respond with the right tools, expert training and techniques to remove the hazards and water from your home and repair the damages.

WHAT CAUSES BACKUPS?

Blockages are often caused by:

  • Soil settlement
  • Misaligned joints
  • Root infiltration
  • Pipe collapses
  • Grease buildup
  • Items flushed down a drain

Remember, it could look perfectly fine, but germs are invisible. Make sure the job is done right with the experts from ServiceMaster Restore.

OUR CLEANING PROCESS:

 

Water Removal in 7 Steps

You Called For Help With Drying Your Flooded Home – Now What?

DRS explains damage and how to restore return your home to pre-damage condition.
Disaster Restoration Specialist assesses damage and explains plan for mitigation of damage.

You just made the horrifying discovery of water creeping, spraying or flooding into your home. Then you made the call to your disaster restoration company. Now they’re on their way to perform an initial inspection. But there you are waiting for water removal with soggy carpet and no running water. You probably wonder what happens now? What will they do? How long will this take?

You were wise to call quickly. Your certified Disaster Restoration Specialist (DRS) will assess your situation and ask questions. How bad is it? How long has it been wet? What materials are wet? Here’s a general picture of mitigation and restoration of most water losses.

1. Address possible dangers

Water in the home doesn’t only damage building materials. It can also present dangerous conditions to your health and safety.  A few possible risks could be electrical shock and gas leaks, compromised ceilings and floors, and asbestos containing materials. Other threats are pathogens in sewage and airborne mold. Each of these and other possible dangers can be an even greater issue than the water flooding your home.

2. Find the water and identify the source

There are many types of water losses. Maybe you have sewage covering the whole basement. Or possibly you had an upstairs bathroom sink overflowing for the entire tenth inning. Where did all that water go? Water migration follows certain habits, but a good technician seeks out the not-so-predictable. Sophisticated instruments find and measure moisture levels in materials such as drywall and wood. These tests define the line between wet and dry materials. An effective drying strategy can now begin.

3. Control mold and microbial growth

DRS applies anti-bacterial product to stop mold growth.
Anti-bacterial applied frequently throughout job process discourages mold growth until materials are dry.

Mold spores were already present in your home (and everyone else’s home) before this disaster. They may have been dormant. But now, those spores have the moisture needed to begin growing and does so at an alarming rate. Timely application(s) of professional grade antimicrobial products are applied to keep mold at bay during the drying process.

4. Manipulate contents to access affected areas

Your DRS needs access to floors and drywall to remove water and dry them. The goods you live with everyday like furniture, cabinets and appliances must be moved. Depending on your situation, they can be moved to another part of your home or packed and stored off-site until restoration is complete.

5. Demolition of water damaged materials and contents

Crew removing vinyl plank flooring.
Vinyl plank flooring may need to be removed in order to dry sub-floor.

A responsible DRS always considers saving your home’s materials and contents first. However, not everything can be salvaged. Non-salvageable items are sorted from salvageable items.Unfortunately, items tainted with sewage can absorb pathogens and therefore cannot be cleaned and dried.

6. Water removal process

A Disaster Restoration Specialist uses many types of equipment to address a water emergency. There are many choices available to the DRS: Water extractors, fans, dehumidifiers, mat systems, and “dragons”. Generally, heaters warm the air, air movers stir up water droplets and dehumidifiers pull that moisture out of the air and drain it away. The amount of water and wet materials determine how long this process takes. Choosing just which pieces of equipment to use – including the size and placement – makes a big difference in how quickly things dry out. You can trust your DRS to choose well and make adjustments as necessary.

7. Monitor progress of water affected materials

Nick uses a hammer probe to read moisture levels in subfloor beneath carpet.
Moisture meters help answer the question “Where is it wet?”

Once equipment is running, your DRS will visit your home daily in most cases, to assess the drying progress. They do this by taking multiple moisture readings to gauge drying progress. The equipment is monitored daily so it can be adjusted and removed as soon as possible.

You made the right choice! A certified, experienced Disaster Restoration Specialist is your best first call when water threatens your home. They’re there for you.