Educational Corner

How to Choose a Restoration Professional

  • 01/15/2021
  • 4:18:34

When you purchase a home, the last thing on your mind is all of the different damage types that it can incur.  When water enters a home, whether from weather, burst pipes, or broken appliances the damage is often extensive and overwhelming.  Water damage left unaddressed can cause a complete loss to your structure and contents.  Fire damages, even small ones, can cause devastating damage.  Mold in a home is unsightly, damaging to the structures, and a health concern.  No matter the damage to your home, calling a professional restoration company is imperative to getting the home back to its pre-loss condition.  But how do you decide who to call?  There are several different things to consider when choosing a restoration company to handle the damage to your home. 

Certification

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC, is the non-profit certifying and standard-setting body for the restoration and cleaning industry.  The IICRC maintains strict standards for member companies and their employees in regards to on-going training in order to re-certify year by year. For water damage restoration, the "Water Restoration Technician" certification is obviously required, but other certifications are helpful as well, like Applied Microbial Remediation and Applied Structural Drying.   

Insurance Compatible

Any restoration company worth its salt will be able to work directly with your insurance.  If the company you’re interviewing says otherwise, that should set up red flags.  The project manager for your job will be able to work directly with your insurance adjuster to streamline the restoration process for you, and excellent managers will help ensure that you’re getting the industry standard of care within the confines of your insurance limitations.  Communicating directly with your insurance adjuster allows your restoration team to expedite the process and get your job done as quickly as possible. 

Reputation and Business Rating

When researching restoration companies, ask around and look at online reviews.  A restoration company that’s been around for a while should have good online reviews for a variety of the services they offer.  Even if they have a few negative reviews, take time to read the company's response. How a bad review is handled shows a lot about the attitude and professionalism of the company. Additionally, word of mouth is a big deal in the restoration industry.  Whether a company did a good job or a bad job, someone is likely to tell you all about it if you ask.  In addition to online reviews and an overall good reputation, the company should be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. 

Response Time

A good restoration professional understands that time is of the essence when dealing with water or fire damage.  Because of this, most restoration companies offer 24/7 emergency service and are committed to quick response times.  If a company is taking too long to respond, barring extenuating circumstances like an overload of calls during a bad storm, they aren’t showing professionalism or consideration for the emergency at hand.  Even in overloaded situations, many companies will create a waitlist and even offer the number of other reputable companies to ensure your emergency is addressed as quickly as possible. 

Damage to your home can be exceedingly stressful to deal with, but knowing what to look for in a restoration company can take a lot of the guesswork out of it.  The right company will be able to calmly and professionally guide you through the entire process leaving you with peace of mind you didn’t think was possible in a crisis.

Preparing For Possible Winter Damage

  • 10/16/2020
  • 12:55:02

Whether you’re a massive Game of Thrones fan or you’ve never heard the name Stark in your life, one thing is certain: winter is coming.  With colder weather comes increased chances of fire and water damages from various sources.  The last thing you want to do is be caught unprepared.  Fortunately, there are a few, simple things you can do to help prevent and prepare for any possible damages.

  • Before the negative temperatures hit, take the time to clean your air ducts, furnaces, and fireplaces to prevent any fire, soot, and smoke damage.
  • Take a minute to check all of your plumbing to ensure it’s not currently leaking and that your pipes are good to go for the subzero temperatures that are on their way.
  • Pull out the paperwork and glance over your insurance policy so you know what coverage you have and who you should contact if damage does occur.  Update your policy if you need to.
  • Take a general inventory and/or pictures of your property to help streamline the process if damage occurs.

Cold weather has an unfortunate propensity for causing damage to the home.  Scott and the restoration crew at Master Clean is on standby all winter long to help if a fire or water damage strikes your home this winter.  Keep our number close by and call us for 24/7 emergency service all year long. 

Taking Care of Your Crawl Space

  • 10/15/2020
  • 10:20:19

Crawl spaces are areas of a home that are similar to a basement, but usually smaller.  They are unfinished areas located below the ground floor of the home and are typically vented to the outside of the home.  The two main benefits of a crawl space are cost effectiveness and convenience.  Building a crawl space is not as expensive as a full basement.  It can be more expensive than a slab foundation, but it negates the need for grading for a slab on a sloped property.  They’re also very convenient places for plumbing, electric, and HVAC access.  Unfortunately, crawl spaces are very susceptible to water and mold damage.

Water Damage

Standing water can easily accumulate in a crawl space from multiple sources including:

  • Sewer drain backups and leak
  • Waste line leaks
  • Flooding
  • Lack of rain gutters and improperly positioned downspouts
  • High groundwater tables
  • Pipe breaks

When water damage occurs in a crawl space, it’s important to have the area professionally cleaned as soon as the damage is discovered.  Unfortunately, damage in crawl spaces often goes undiscovered for a long time because people don’t enter their crawl spaces often.  Even water that was initially clean can grow stagnant when left alone and cause structural damage and health risks over time.  When the source of the water was sewage, the water contains bacteria and other contaminants that will eventually make their way into the home above, posing serious health risks. 

Mold Growth

In addition to being susceptible to water damage, crawl spaces are also very prone to mold growth due to being common locations for water damages as well as having high levels of moisture and humidity.  Mold growth in the crawl space, like water damage, can cause structural problems and pose a risk to your family’s health.  Although a professional remediation company can solve your mold problems and get your crawlspace cleaned up, it’s best to always try to prevent mold growth in the first place. 

  • Regularly check your crawl space for leaks and standing water.  One of the most common reasons mold damage occurs in a crawl space is unnoticed water.  Most homeowners rarely have a reason to enter their crawl spaces, so if they aren’t regularly checking water damage can go unnoticed for months leading to massive mold growth. 
  • Be aware of your gutters and downspouts.  If rain gutters and downspouts aren’t placed properly, precipitation may flow directly back towards your home and into your crawl space. 
  • Ventilation is important.  An improperly ventilated crawl space will have excess humidity which means excess moisture leading to mold growth. 
  • Consider encapsulation.  This is the process of using vapor barriers to trap moisture that evaporates from the soil and walls to prevent moisture buildup in the crawlspace itself. 
  • If your crawl space is insulated, inspect the insulation a few times a year.  Missing or sagging insulation is a sign of water intrusion. 
  • Ensure that your clothes dryer is vented properly and does not vent into your crawl space or any other part of your home, for that matter.  Dryers push out a huge amount of warm, moist air and should always be vented to the exterior of the home. 

Crawl spaces come with a wide variety of pros and cons.  If your home is on a crawlspace, make sure that you’re taking care of it properly and doing regular checks for damage or issues.  Damage in these areas often goes unnoticed and can easily cause damage to the living areas of your home if not addressed.