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The 2 Most Important Things You Should Know About Water Damage

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

Two air movers placed on carpet drying up affected area after water damage Water damage in a Casco Bay Islands, ME home

Two Things You Should Know About Water Damage

Virtually no expects to spend the weekend dealing with the fallout from a pipe burst, but that doesn't stop water lines from breaking and homes from flooding. When it comes to unexpected water in Casco Bay Islands,ME, knowledge is power. Here are two things you should know about water damage.

1. It Might Go Deeper Than You Think

When water surges in your home, it's imperative to clean up the water and begin drying the area as quickly as possible. Be aware, however, that water may have penetrated your home's porous surfaces more deeply than is visually apparent.
When water creeps under baseboards, into carpeting, and up drywall, it needs to be handled by a professional water damage restoration company. It will have the drying and cleaning equipment necessary to remove moisture completely and repair or replace damaged items after a pipe burst or storm surge. If left untreated, these concealed yet damp areas can lead to mold and other potentially hazardous conditions in your home.

2. It May Not Be Covered by Your Insurance Policy

Not all water damage is created equal in the eyes of most insurance companies. If the water damage was due to conditions beyond your control, such as a storm or flood, it'll likely be covered under your policy. If the water damage was due to a lack of intervention or carelessness on your part, however, it's unlikely that it will be covered.
In short, if your insurer feels that you could've prevented the water issue, it probably won't cover your expenses. That's just a general guideline, though; be sure to consult your insurance policy to understand its terms and conditions in full.
A pipe burst or supply line break doesn't have to spell disaster for your home. When flooding happens, enlist the help of an experienced water damage restoration company to return your home to normal quickly and safely.

The 3 Most Common Causes of Home Fires

10/9/2019 (Permalink)

house on fire and a lot of smoke in the air Home fire in North Deering, ME

Understanding The Most Common Sources of Home Fires

Items you use daily can be the most common sources of fire in your North Deering,ME, home. It may be hard to imagine that the space heater you have always loved could cause a home fire, but that is just what can happen. Understanding the most common sources of home fires can help you reduce your risk of injury and property damage.

Cooking Equipment Building codes require smoke detectors near kitchens because fires related to cooking represent nearly half of all residential fires and often result in the need for complex fire restoration services. Several kitchen scenarios can create the dangerous combination of high heat and combustible materials.

A hot stove burner can cause grease on a pan or a burner to ignite.
A hot oven can ignite grease that has splashed or dripped onto the oven interior.
Food in close proximity to a glowing broiler coil is susceptible to combustion.
Small appliances, such as toasters and griddles, can ignite crumbs or grease.
A hot barbecue grill can ignite a nearby item, such as a landscape plant or wooden fence.

Frequently cleaning your cooking equipment and appliances, and observing all cooking activities will significantly minimize the likelihood of a cooking-related home fire.

Heating Systems

Space heaters can overheat, igniting various internal components and nearby items such as drapes, upholstery or carpets. Following the instructions on the appliance carefully and making sure the heater is never unattended can reduce your fire risk from these sources.

Human Carelessness

Human error contributes to each category of common fire causes, but certain behaviors are known to raise fire risk dramatically. Unattended lit cigarettes cause more residential fire fatalities than any other source; consequently, smoking in the bedroom is strongly discouraged. Unattended burning candles pose a similar risk.

Much of fire safety is common sense. The primary goal is to keep fuel sources, such as grease or textiles, separated from flame or high heat. Equally important is being present to observe anything that is burning or has an active heating element. These precautions are simple and may save you from experiencing a home fire and a disruptive fire cleaning and restoration process.

How To Protect Your Plants From Mildew

9/23/2019 (Permalink)

Plant with mildew Plant mildew is easier to prevent than it is to remove

How To Protect Your Plants From Mildew

The labels on many household cleaners claim that they can be used for mildew cleanup. Most of these cleaners, however, are for household surfaces and address mold growth that may be better handled by mold remediation specialists. Mildew, on the other hand, is a specific fungus that grows on vegetation. When the humidity is high in Munjoy Hill,ME, you may find plant mildew on many of your shrubs or the leaves of your potted flowers. To protect your greenery, there are a few steps you can take.

Mildew Removal

Once you have a problem with mildew, it can be a challenge to get rid of it. There are several factors that can contribute to mildew growth on a plant:

  • Proximity to other infected plants
  • Plant weakness due to other maladies
  • Overcrowding in pots
  • Excessive dampness

You may be able to salvage a plant that is affected by mildew. Start by moving it outdoors so that it can be in more direct sunlight, as this will reduce the moisture, making mildew less likely to grow. You can wash the plant with plain water to remove large patches of mildew, but be sure to dry the leaves as well. You may be able to save the whole plant by pruning the portions with the heaviest plant mildew.

Mildew Prevention

The best solution to mildew growth is to keep it from happening in the first place. Make sure your plants stay healthy, as a healthy plant is less likely to develop a fungus problem. It is a good idea to use a mildew-resistant soil. Avoid watering plants from the top down; instead, apply water to the soil itself to keep the leaves dry. Try to plant it in an area that gets the most amount of sun it can handle, as sunlight is a natural mildew deterrent.
Your plants are vulnerable to their environment, so it's important to make sure that environment is resistant to mildew. Plant mildew is easier to prevent than it is to remove.

What To Do If a Toilet Overflows on the Top Floor

9/23/2019 (Permalink)

A toilet with sewage water Overflowing water in North Deering, ME

Handling an overflowing toilet is a frustrating situation enough on its own, but the issue can become even more complicated when dealing with a multi-floor building. If the bathroom is located on one of the higher floors, sewer damage can make its way into the ceiling of the lower floor and start to leak. Even if you can’t tell by inspecting the area yourself, a flooded toilet in your business in North Deering,ME, can cause substantial problems that require specials steps to remedy.

Always Start by Getting Help

Since it can be difficult to determine the extent of the problem without the proper equipment on hand, it always best to get help from a water restoration company to assess the situation and take the appropriate next steps. It is very important to leave the area and immediately call a sewage company if there is any raw sewage in the water to avoid coming in contact with harmful bacteria.

The Water Damage Cleanup Process

A flooded toilet on the top floor can lead to several types of sewer damage including:

  • Damage to drywall and flooring
  • Soaked insulation or subfloor
  • Exposure to electrical wiring
  • Water damage to cabinets
  • Staining, leaking, and cracking of the ceiling below
  • Mold growth

If no sewage is present, you should immediately stop the source of the overflow by turning off the water supply valve and mop up as much water as possible. After the water restoration company arrives and inspects the area, they will start by using pumps, industrial vacuums, and other drying methods to remove all water from walls, floors, and ceilings. Once all wet materials are removed and the area is dried, the area will be sanitized and disinfected as necessary. Following this step, restoration can begin which may include installing new walls and floors, repairing the subfloor, and painting walls.
Sewer damage caused by an overflowing toilet might cause more damage than you’d imagine. However, a water restoration company can tackle situations that may seem beyond repair.

Determining Your Home’s Risk Level During a Flood

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

A house surrounded by flooded water Flood zone in West Falmouth, ME

When a major storm hits your neighborhood, the results can be devastating. For those living in a flood zone in West Falmouth,ME, the risk of serious or total loss of your home and possessions is significantly higher. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has mapped out these areas, since your home’s location will help determine whether you need flood insurance and how much assistance FEMA will provide.

Understanding Flood Risk Levels

FEMA has built an ever-evolving map, called the Flood Insurance Rate Map, that allows homeowners to easily see whether they live in a flood zone. There are three main designations in which your home can fall:

  1. Special Flood Hazard Area: Homes in this area have a 1 percent chance of flooding in any given year, often referred to as the 100-year flood
  2. Moderate flood hazard area: Often more inland, homes in this area have a 0.2 percent chance of flooding, known as the 500-year flood
  3. Minimal flood hazard: Those homes located in higher elevations are considered unlikely, though not impossible, to fall victim to floods with a probability higher than 0.2 percent

Note that the 100-year and 500-year flood designations do not indicate that these types of storms are expected to only happen once every 100 or 500 years. While unlikely, they can happen multiple times a year, but the designation comes from the probability that flooding will occur in any given year, so a 1-in-a-100 and a 0.2-in-a-500 chance, respectively.

Where To Determine Your Risk Level

The FIRM mentioned above can be found on the FEMA website. Here you will be able to input your address and easily see the flood zone in which your home is located. This site also has valuable information, including insight on obtaining flood insurance, which you will need when you begin the flood cleanup and restoration process.
Knowing the risks associated with your home’s location will allow you to have a plan of action ready in the event of a major flood, which will help you get your home, and your life, back to normal more quickly.

A Professional Response to Smoke and Fire Damage

8/21/2019 (Permalink)

employee on lift cleaning ceiling Cleanup process in a Windham, ME commercial building

Fire has a tremendous capacity for destruction and is one of the most widespread and common risks when it comes to commercial properties. As a result, most businesses have insurance coverage that includes protection against fire losses. When flames do break out, business owners contact professionals to respond to the fire and smoke damage. With the right equipment, these professionals help business owners get their properties back into working condition.

The Scope of Destruction

Experienced fire and smoke cleaning technicians understand that fire damage goes beyond the direct destruction. They take quick action to respond to several fire-related issues:

  • Stains left behind by soot resting on porous surfaces
  • Mold and mildew growth after the use of water to put out flames
  • Corrosion on metal surfaces exposed to water and oxygen
  • Poor air quality as smoke and mold particles hang in the air

The longer commercial properties sit after smoke damage occurs, the more likely it is that the extent and scope of the destruction will increase. The best response to fire and soot damage is to act as soon as possible.

Assessment of the Damage

As professionals arrive at a commercial property to respond, they'll assess the amount of fire, smoke, and water damage. As they begin their inspections, technicians also focused on safety. There are several safety risks inherent in the destruction left after a fire. Experienced fire damage cleanup and remediation professionals are certified and licensed to enter the property. In addition to training and authorization, they have the proper protective equipment to enter weakened structures.

The Cleanup Process

With safety procedures underway, cleanup and restoration professionals are ready to secure entry points and property breaches (such as broken windows and holes in the roof), establish security against further destruction, and begin removing debris. Technicians also remove as much equipment and inventory as possible. At this point, water removal and deep cleaning can begin.

The end goal of the cleanup work is to remove all evidence that a fire took place. When Windham, ME, properties are affected by the fire and smoke damage, the work of professionals begins with safety and results in pristine buildings.

Why Your Business Needs Flood Insurance

8/21/2019 (Permalink)

flood insurance document with glasses and a pen Storm damage can be devastating to a commercial building. However, with proper flood insurance, your losses will be covered.

With Proper Flood Insurance, Your Losses Will be Covered

If you own a business in Falmouth Foreside,ME, you may think that regular property insurance for your office building is sufficient. However, general commercial insurance policies, including Business Owners Policies and Commercial Package Policies, do not cover flood damage.
That is why you need to buy separate flood insurance for your building. This insurance provides coverage for flood damage, which can be caused by:

  • Snowmelt
  • Prolonged or heavy rains
  • Broken levees or dams
  • Storm surges
  • Overflowing streams and rivers
  • Blocked storm drains

Flood cleanup after any of these disasters can be extensive. Insurance, however, can cover the cost of replacement items and any water damage repair. In fact, if your property is in a high-risk zone, you may have to buy a flood policy as part of the terms of your mortgage.

What Isn't Covered

While a flood policy is a great way to protect your business in case of a storm, this type of insurance doesn’t cover everything. Most policies do not cover damage to septic systems, business vehicles or landscapes.

How To Get a Flood Policy

To protect your business from flood damage, you can contact a private insurer. You can also get coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. While you cannot buy insurance from the NFIP directly, the organization can refer you to a qualified agent who can get a policy for you.
A typical flood policy usually provides $500,000 in coverage for the contents of your building and another $500,000 for the structure itself. If you think your property is worth more than this, or if you are worried about an expensive storm cleanup, you can also purchase excess coverage. Excess insurance may even compensate you for the temporary closure of your business following a flood.
Storm damage can be devastating to a commercial building. However, with proper flood insurance, your losses will be covered.

What Steps Should I Take After a Sewage Backup?

8/21/2019 (Permalink)

man wearing white protective gear Use of protective gear while cleaning sewage backup

Initial Steps o Take In a Sewage Cleanup Process

The moment you discover a sewer backup at your home in West Falmouth,ME, panic is likely to set in. A flooded toilet is one sign that a disaster is looming. Your floor may already be flooded with water and debris, accompanied by a foul odor. It’s overwhelming, but immediate action must be taken to minimize damage. Here are the initial steps to take in the sewage cleanup process:

Get Ready for Cleanup

First, it’s important to turn off the electricity if there are any appliances or other electronics in the standing water. Wear protective gear such as safety goggles, rubber gloves and boots. Do not flush toilets.

Start the Drying Process

Standing water is best removed with a wet/dry vacuum; it can quickly eliminate water and debris. Soak up the remaining water with a mop or towels. The area will need to be thoroughly dried. Turn up the heat in the area, use space heaters and dehumidifiers.

Discard Contaminated Property

Any porous items that aren’t easily sanitizable should be thrown out. This includes big items like mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpeting and rugs. Toys such as stuffed animals should also be discarded. Affected drywall will need to be cut out above the waterline.

Sanitize Everything

During the sewage cleanup process, it’s critical that everything is thoroughly sanitized, even tiny crevices, furniture, walls and appliances. You can mix up your own disinfectant (one part bleach to nine parts water) or use a commercial heavy-duty disinfectant.

Call Professionals

Unless you have professional equipment, you probably won’t be able to sanitize everything as well as it should be. It‘s likely that a stench will still be present after the cleaning. Now it’s time to hire sewage cleanup specialists to complete the job.

Call Insurance Company

If you have enough damage to file an insurance claim, take pictures of the damage. Call your insurance company to get instructions on how to navigate the claims process.
The faster you act after a sewer backup, the less damage to your property. It’s imperative that the sewage cleanup process is completed as quickly as possible.

Should You Buy a Property Without a Mold Inspection?

7/25/2019 (Permalink)

Windows - Rainwater leaks and condensation from humidity can cause mold formation

As you consider purchasing a commercial property in Gorham, ME, you likely have a checklist of things to look for. The building should suit all your business needs, but you also want to ensure that it is in good structural condition. This means checking for signs of mold and knowing when you may need a mold inspection.

Know Where to Look

Mold grows best in damp, moist conditions. As you walk through the property, consider any areas of the building that fit this description, and keep an eye out for signs of water damage. Some notable places to look for visible mold include:

  • Bathrooms - Check near showers, sinks, tubs and toilets.
  • Basements - Pay attention to signs of leakage or condensation on pipes, as well as flood-prone areas.
  • Windows - Rainwater leaks and condensation from humidity can cause mold formation.

Of course, not all mold is outwardly apparent. It can lurk within HVAC ducts and behind walls, ceilings or floorboards. If you notice any current or previous signs of water damage, you may want to have a professional mold inspection done.

Inspection and Remediation

If there are no signs of mold or water damage, it may not be worthwhile to pay for a mold inspection. However, if you suspect a problem, trained inspection and restoration experts can help you determine the extent of the issue and figure out a cleanup method. The good news is that even if your ideal property has a slight mold problem, this does not mean it is out of the running. With the assistance of skilled mold remediation specialists, you can fix the source of water fueling the mold growth and move ahead with a full cleanup and mold removal.

Whether or not an inspection is necessary depends on the condition of the property and if there are signs of water damage. In either case, it is important to know that with professional help, many buildings can make a full recovery in the aftermath of a mold problem.

The Purpose of a Flood Cut

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

Flood cuts performed in a Portland, ME home.

After a storm rages in Portland, ME, it is likely that your home will experience a bit of flooding. When this happens, you will probably hear the water remediation technicians you hire talk about making a flood cut. A flood cut is a mark that is made 12 inches above the spot where the water damage stops. Specialists tear out everything below the flood cut to stop the spread of contamination and prevent mold growth.

Q/A Regarding Flood Cuts.

Here are some common questions about this process.

  1. What Circumstances Require a Flood Cut?

Any time there is damage that cannot be dried with a fan, professionals are probably going to use a flood cut to be on the safe side. Insulation cannot be dried, so if there is wet insulation, the wall has to be cut out and the insulation removed. If the water is contaminated by storm-related debris or sewage, the wall must be discarded. If tests show any harmful microbes, the affected area must go.

  1. Why Does the Flood Cut Have To Be a Foot Above the Damage?

Water damage from flooding does not like to stay politely in its place. What technicians can see with the naked eye may only be the beginning of the story. Placing the flood cut 12 inches above the visible water damage ensures that everything affected is remediated.

  1. Is There Any Way To Save the Wall?

If the water damage is minimal and no insulation is affected, it is possible that quick removal of water and fast drying techniques can allow the wall to be salvaged. The water in question must also be clean. If it is contaminated at all, the wall has to be replaced.

Flooding in Portland, ME, may cause damage to your home. While technicians will do everything they can to avoid removing walls, a flood cut may be required to make sure your home is completely restored.