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.

KITCHEN FIRE CLEANUP AND PRECAUTIONS

Your kitchen is a hub of daily activity. It’s a place to nourish your family, entertain friends, and even retreat for a secret midnight snack. The kitchen is the heart of any home, which is why a kitchen fire can be especially devastating. Even a small fire has the potential to cause significant damage and interrupt your daily routine. The most important thing during a fire is to protect yourself and those who depend on you. Plan and practice your fire safety plan regularly. After the fire is contained, use these tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore to stay safe, clean up, and get the heart of your home healthy again.

  1. Take Precautions

Even small kitchen fires can have unforeseen consequences. Follow the advice of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (PDF) to stay safe. Even if the damage doesn’t look severe, you should have professionals check for damages in areas you can’t readily see, including the electrical system, gas lines, and ductwork. Once the fire department or safety inspector confirms it’s safe to enter your kitchen, wear gloves, masks, pants, long sleeves, and boots to prevent injuries and the transfer of grease, smoke, ash, or soot.

  1. Assess the Damage

Before moving or cleaning any items, take pictures of all the damage. Capture details and keep lists of anything impacted to support any insurance claims you make. Call your insurance company, and file your claim immediately. Your insurance provider may want to send an agent out to assess the cost of necessary repairs. Avoid cleaning or repairing damages until your insurance company completes its evaluation and says you can move forward.

  1. Tackle the Cleaning

Expansive or challenging fire damage should be handled by professionals who have the tools, processes, and experience to restore your kitchen safely, quickly and effectively. That said, there are some ways to clean up after a kitchen fire that are less likely to make the problem worse or put you in harm’s way. You should:

  • Always wear protective gear when cleaning up after a fire
  • Avoid eating or drinking around hazardous materials
  • Open windows to ventilate the area and let smoke and odors escape
  • Remove salvageable, valuable, and meaningful items first
  • Throw out debris and unsalvageable items
  • Remove kitchen cabinets and drawers to access the interior space
  • Wipe down stainless steel appliances and other metallic surfaces
  • Clean plastic and painted surfaces using an alkaline (soap-free) detergent
  • Change your air filters

Cleaning requirements will vary depending on the source and severity of the fire. Smoke and soot particles that pass through your vents can attach to fabrics and surfaces anywhere in your home – not just in the kitchen. If sprinklers went off during the fire, you’ll also need to mitigate water damage to prevent mold growth. If you aren’t sure what to consider, or need help cleaning up after a kitchen fire, call the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore. Our experienced teams are available 24/7/365 with the advanced tools and proven processes you need to get your home and life back to normal as soon as possible after any disaster.

DIY MOLD REMOVAL: PROCEED WITH CAUTION

Mold can thrive wherever there’s moisture, which means it’s right at home here in the Pacific Northwest. While you may be tempted to tackle a mold outbreak on your own, it is not a safe nor an easy cleaning process to take on. Between the health dangers involved and the risk of exacerbating the problem, this is a job best left to the professionals. Here are just a few reasons why DIY mold removal can do more harm than good:

Mold is Dangerous to Clean

Indoor mold damage is a threat to the health of everyone who comes in contact with it. Mold spores irritate the respiratory system and can cause symptoms that include sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, and aggravation of asthma symptoms. Those with compromised immune systems are especially at risk of illness caused by mold exposure.

When you attempt to clean mold by yourself, you risk not only your own health but also that of those around you. Mold spores can easily become airborne without the right cleaning tools and techniques. With so many severe health threats in play, it’s always best to rely on a professional mold removal service to tackle any mold you encounter in your home or business.

You Don’t Know What is Causing the Mold

The surest way to combat mold is to eliminate the moisture that is allowing it to thrive. Sources of excess moisture can include humidity, leaking pipes and appliances, spills, wetness in bathrooms, and more. You cannot simply clean up the symptoms of a mold outbreak without addressing the cause. A mold remediation company, on the other hand, knows how to diagnose and eliminate the source of the problem, including hidden trouble spots you might easily overlook.

You Don’t Know What Type of Mold You’re Dealing With

Not all types of mold are the same. Some are more dangerous and difficult to clean than others, and only a professional mold inspection and testing service can accurately determine the type and severity of a given outbreak. You may be able to detect mold growth visually or by the musty aroma that it gives off, but knowing how to eradicate the problem takes expert equipment and methods. Mold spores must be sent to a lab to be identified, and not all types of mold react to the same cleaning agents. In the case of a particularly dangerous growth such as toxic black mold, the last thing you want to do is exacerbate the problem by failing to adequately get rid of it.

You Cannot Eliminate the Entire Problem

On that note, it’s vital to understand that many DIY mold removal methods can not only fail to fully eliminate a mold problem, but can even make them worse. Oftentimes, mold will eventually return if painted over, sprayed with bleach or non-commercial mold-killing agents, or scrubbed with simple soap and water. What you risk doing in these instances is disturbing mold spores and sending them airborne, which triggers health dangers and only helps the mold spread. Mold is stubborn, which is why a professional mold remediation company is really your best defense when an outbreak occurs.

With decades of experience in identifying and eliminating mold at homes and businesses of all sizes, ServiceMaster Restore® has the know-how and equipment necessary to tackle even the toughest of mold challenges. If you believe you have mold in your home or business, contact us to discuss a customized mold remediation plan to stop the problem in its tracks, before it gets worse. With not only the appearance of your building but also health on the line, this is definitely a job you’ll be glad to leave to the experts.

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.

DRYER FIRE PREVENTION TIPS: DOS AND DON’TS

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 dryer fires are reported each year. These fires lead to a staggering national average of 35 million dollars in property damage, 100 injuries, and 5 fatalities annually. With so much at risk, it’s important that you understand what causes dryer fires and how you can prevent them from happening in your own home. To protect yourself, your family, and your house, read the dryer dos and don’ts from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore®.

DO: CLEAN THE LINT FILTER

A clogged lint filter is the leading contributing factor in residential dryer fires. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that failing to clean out the lint trap causes 34 percent of reported dryer fires every year.

Each time you unload the dryer, clean out the lint trap. Before putting the next load of clothes in, double-check that the lint trap is completely clean to lower your risk of fire. A clean lint filter also allows the dryer to run more efficiently, thus drying your clothes faster while preventing your machine from overheating.

DON’T: DRY CLOTHES WITHOUT THE LINT FILTER

A dryer without its lint trap is an accident waiting to happen. The filter protects the dryer’s inner workings from collecting lint. Without this defensive shield, a buildup of lint in the ducts can easily lead to a dryer vent fire.

To lower your risk, always use your dryer with the lint trap in place. In the event that your existing lint trap is worn or develops any holes, replace it immediately at your nearest home supplies store.

DO: INSPECT THE DUCTS REGULARLY

Blocked ducts frequently cause dryer fires. To ensure your dryer is running properly, check your ducts about once a month to ensure there are no blockages. Some telltale signs that your ducts are clogged include the following indicators:

  • Your laundry is taking longer to dry
  • Exhaust air is failing to exit the vent
  • You suspect that your machine is overheating

Sometimes, a blockage occurs because the venting system is damaged. Other times, blockages may be occurring because of an accumulation of lint, animals building nests in the vents, or snow building up over the outside vents.

If you notice any blockages, clear them out before using your dryer again. To clean your ducts, simply disconnect them, remove the blockages, and reconnect. If you notice any damage to the venting system, call in a professional to repair the issue.

DON’T: OVERLOAD THE DRYER

Stuffing too many wet clothes or bedding into a dryer can cause an excess of lint to accumulate. Since lint buildup reduces a dryer’s ability to ventilate, the machine may quickly overheat and cause a fire to break out. Read your owner’s manual to determine your machine’s maximum hold to ensure you aren’t overstuffing it.

DO: REPLACE OUTDATED DUCTS

Older ducts made of plastic or foil are prone to sagging. These accordion-style ducts can easily trap lint in hard-to-reach spaces, increasing your risk of fire. To keep your home safe, replace your older models with new ducts designed with heavy-duty metal.

DON’T: LEAVE THE DRYER RUNNING UNATTENDED

Never go to sleep or leave the house while your dryer is running. If a fire breaks out, your ability to extinguish it or call emergency services right away can make all the difference between damage to your laundry room and the entire loss of your home.

Despite our best efforts as homeowners, accidents still happen. If your home has been damaged by fire and smoke, call ServiceMaster Restore. Our residential fire and smoke damage removal services can help get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. With the proper training, innovative equipment, and helpful guidance, our expert technicians will be with you every step of the way to get you back on your feet.

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.

HOW TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher Video

Portable fire extinguishers are designed to help control small fires that may break out in a home, business, school or other setting. From an errant fireplace spark to an overturned candle, knowing how to properly use a fire extinguisher is essential to containing a fire and minimizing fire damage.

WHEN TO USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER

Only attempt to use a fire extinguisher if you are not in any imminent danger. Never allow smoke, heat or fire to cut off your evacuation path. If it is safe to try and contain the fire, make sure you have the correct fire extinguisher for the job. Only use the fire extinguisher if it’s the correct one for the fire. For example, a Class A air-pressurized water (AWP) fire extinguisher can only be used on paper/wood/trash fires. It must never be used on a grease or electrical fire.

Here is a quick guide to the different types of fire extinguishers and which fires they can be used for:

 

STEPS FOR USING A FIRE EXTINGUISHER

Step 1:

Prioritize everyone’s safety.

Sound the fire alarm and call 911/fire department if appropriate. Have others in the room/building evacuate as needed and identify your own escape path.

Step 2:

Identify the type of fire and select the appropriate the fire extinguisher.

All homes should be equipped with a standard ABC fire extinguisher. This model can be used to douse Class A (wood/paper/trash), Class B (flammable liquids) and Class C (electrical) fires. A Class D fire extinguisher is needed for combustible metals. All commercial kitchens should have a Class K fire extinguisher to specifically fight any deep fryer (cooking oils/fats) fires.

Step 3:

Quickly inspect the fire extinguisher before using.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings, check that the pressure gauge needle is in the green, check for cracks along the hose and make sure the nozzle isn’t clogged.

Step 4:

Use the P.A.S.S. acronym to discharge the fire extinguisher.

  • P = Pull the pin, which also breaks the tamper seal (this is okay.)
  • A = Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire, taking aim from about six to eight feet away.
  • S = Squeeze the handle to release the dousing (extinguishing) agent.
  • S = Sweep the hose back and forth at the base of the fire until it appears out or until the fire extinguisher is empty.

Safety tip: If using a CO2 (carbon dioxide) extinguisher, avoid touching the plastic discharge horn as it becomes extremely cold and can harm bare skin.

Step 5:

Asses the situation.

If the fire extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out, evacuate immediately. If it seems like you’re not gaining control of the fire by using the fire extinguisher, evacuate immediately. Never put your life in danger.

After the fire has been completely extinguished and it’s time to assess the damage, let ServiceMaster Restore help. Our professional teams are fully trained for all levels of smoke and fire damage remediation.

DOES RENTERS INSURANCE COVER WATER DAMAGE?

 

 

 

Renters insurance helps protect you and your belongings when you’re renting an apartment, house or other living space. Rates for renters insurance vary by company and also range in price depending on the amount of coverage purchased, the deductible amount and the type of coverage selected. While many renters focus on coverage for belongings if their rental is burglarized, it’s also important to consider coverage for water damage.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage?

A basic renters insurance policy may provide coverage for personal property losses caused by the following:

  • Windstorm or hail
  • Weight of sleet, snow and/or ice
  • Smoke
  • Fire and/or lightning
  • Explosions
  • Freezing of plumbing systems
  • Fire sprinkler failure/accidental discharge
  • Accidental or sudden discharge of water from a plumbing system or other appliance

This list will vary depending on the insurance company and the policy purchased by the individual renter. It’s a good idea to check your policy before damage happens to ensure you have the scope of coverage that’s right for you. When damage does occur, for example, if a pipe breaks under your sink and floods the kitchen, in most cases your landlord would be responsible to repair the broken pipes and any structural damage. You would be responsible for repairing or replacing any damaged personal property. If something like this happens, call your property manager immediately and then place a call to your renter’s insurance agent to make sure your personal property is covered.

How ServiceMaster Restore Can Help

When your furniture and other personal belongings suffer water damage, look to the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore for safe, thorough water damage cleanup and restoration of your personal belongings. We’re here for you, whether it’s to clean your rugs and upholstered furniture or to provide pack-out services.

FIREWORK SAFETY

National Fireworks Safety Month occurs every June and runs through the Fourth of July to remind communities that setting off your own fireworks could be deadly. According to recent statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over one-quarter of fires started by fireworks were reported on the Fourth of July. Almost half of the fires reported on Independence Day were started by fireworks. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) even reported that in 2016 alone, an estimated 11,000 injuries were treated at hospitals due to fireworks-related injuries, mostly to the hands, fingers, head, face and ears. That’s why it’s so important to follow the advice of the NFPA: leave the fireworks to the professionals.

If you haven’t purchased any fireworks for this year’s events, consider watching the professional displays that occur in several places around your city. That way, your friends, family and pets can stay safe from any potential injuries. However, in the event that you insist on setting off your own display, read the following fireworks safety tips from the experts at ServiceMaster Restore® first.

OBEY YOUR LOCAL LAWS.

If fireworks aren’t legal to buy in your area, they are illegal for a reason. Do not set off your own display. Instead, let the experts impress you with their safe fireworks shows. If they are legal in your area and you choose to use them, do so safely with the rest of these tips in mind.

For specific information on what is allowed in your area, here are reminders for Skagit and Whatcom County.

READ ALL DIRECTIONS AND CAUTIONARY LABELS ON THE PACKAGING.

Never light a firework without first reading its directions. Responsible usage is key to avoiding the burns, cuts, sprains, fractures or worse injuries associated with amateur fireworks. While you’re examining the packaging, pay attention to warning labels, too. As a general rule, these explosive devices aren’t intended for children to handle, and firework products typically recommend keeping pets safely inside and away from the show.

ONLY USE FIREWORKS OUTDOORS.

Setting off a firework in your home is asking for a fire. If you choose to do this, you may potentially face fire and property damage, damage to your neighbor’s property, city fines, increased risk of injury and even death. To avoid all these risks, only use fireworks outside in an open area. The space should be far away from buildings, vehicles, children and animals to keep everyone safe.

DO NOT USE FIREWORKS NEAR DRY GRASS OR FOLIAGE.

The summer sun has a way of drying out grass, leaves and plants. If recent temperatures are especially scorching, take a close look at the area where you plan to launch the fireworks. We recommend performing this examination in daylight for a full, clear understanding of the area’s risk of fire. If dry grass or foliage is found, do not light off your display there. These items will behave like kindling if touched by any stray sparks, putting you at risk of fire.

DO NOT SET OFF FIREWORKS NEAR BUILDINGS.

A rogue firework could easily set a building on fire, shatter its windows, injure residents and much more. Respect your neighbors’ properties by keeping your fireworks away from their homes and businesses. You should also keep fireworks away from power or gas lines, as these can ignite a fire upon impact. Instead, only use fireworks in a wide, open field that’s free from any dried or otherwise combustible materials.

KEEP A LARGE BUCKET OF WATER CLOSE BY.

If things go awry, it’s necessary to be prepared. During your fireworks show, make sure to always have a bucket of water, a hose or a fire extinguisher on hand. That way, if a fire starts, you can put out the flames immediately.

If you choose to set off your own fireworks displays, do your part during National Fireworks Safety Month first. Read up on all the fireworks safety tips you should know before lighting off any fireworks to prevent the worst from happening. From the members of ServiceMaster Restore, we hope you have a fun, happy and safe Fourth of July!