Who's Responsible for Water Damage: Tenants or Landlords?
Whether your landlord or you are responsible for paying for water damage depends on the circumstances that caused it.
Water damage can occur without warning, and it can be costly to fix. But who exactly is responsible for the damages? Is it the landlord or the tenant? This is what today’s blog will try to answer.
Signs of Water Damage
Water damage is every landlord’s worst nightmare. Even a tiny leak or a plumbing problem can lead to serious and costly damages. This event is especially true if the problem is left unattended for quite some time.
Some signs of water damage are easier to spot than others. They include:
Have you noticed an unusual puddle somewhere in your rental property? If so, get it fixed immediately. Even when it is just a minor problem, it is unlikely to reoccur. If it comes back, it may be an indicator of a leakage or seepage problem.
Is your home feeling unusually cold? If so, your walls are likely damp. Damp walls draw out heat from the walls leaving your home difficult to heat.
This is also another common sign of water damage. Mold and water do not go hand in hand—one cannot exist without the other. If you spot a mold growing anywhere in the property, it means there is unwanted moisture somewhere in the property.
Discoloration is commonly a sign of overflowing gutters. Inspect them as soon as possible.
Spotting any of these signs can be a sign of trouble. Call your landlord as soon as you can.
When does your landlord become responsible for water damage?
Your landlord ensures you live in a safe and habitable environment. This includes ensuring your rental unit is free from any plumbing problems, says Uptown Dallas Properties.
That being said, it also befalls on you to prevent further damages. For example, a supposed serious plumbing leak occurs. Your landlord makes sure you live in a habitable environment.
In the same regard, as a tenant, it is your responsibility to notify your landlord of any kind of problem that threatens your safety. This can help stop problems from getting worse that will eventually cause serious damage to your home.
If you fail to notify your landlord quickly enough, the liability for damage caused to your personal property may be yours to take.
When does a tenant become responsible for water damage?
You may also become responsible for water damage especially if the damage occurs as a result of negligence or carelessness. An example would be if you are out of town and leave the property under the care of a friend.
For whatever reason, your friend forgets to shut off the bathroom faucet and water flows all over the floor. By the time the problem is discovered, the damage has already taken place, and everything has been soaked.
In such a case, who do you think will assume the responsibility? It is definitely going to be yours to take. Your friend’s carelessness or negligence will have nothing to do with your landlord.
Another common sign of water damage is overflowing toilets. In this case, the problem must first be established. Is it because of poorly maintained plumbing pipes or is it a result of diapers and facial tissues being flushed down the toilet?
Of course, if the problem is as a result of misuse by the tenant, then the responsibility lies solely with the tenant. However, if it’s because of poor maintenance, then the responsibility becomes your landlord’s.
Can renter’s insurance help?
A renter’s insurance covers your personal property and will normally replace items if they get damaged or stolen. It covers personal items like furniture, electronics, small appliances like toasters, microwaves, coffee pots, and all other belongings.
Nowadays, more and more landlords require insurance as a pre-leasing requirement. For this reason, will a renter’s insurance help? Yes, it can. It is a beneficial backup strategy in the event of property damage as a result of negligence on your part.
Can you break the lease agreement?
Yes, you can. Your landlord is responsible for providing safe and habitable living conditions, at least as per the Implied Warranty of Habitability law. If your landlord ignores your requests to fix, say, a plumbing issue, then you may be able to break your lease.
Can you withhold rent from your landlord?
It may be possible. However, be sure to check what your local laws say first. Some states allow tenants to withhold rent until the landlord acts on a repair problem, while others don’t.
Back to the original question: who’s responsible for water damage? Is it you or your landlord? Clearly, there is no direct answer here. It just depends on the circumstances that brought about the problem in the first place.
How to Prevent Mold from Growing or Spreading
Ugh — mold. Outside of eating fancy blue cheese, there aren’t many instances where it’s welcomed with open arms.
Of course, this isn’t to say that when you’re faced with a mold situation, it’s the end of the world. While it does take some effort to remove mold from clothes, carpet, upholstery, drywall, and other items, it’s a manageable process (a professional mold remediation firm like SERVPRO can offer assistance with this). However, undoubtedly, you’re not hoping to find yourself in this position. Luckily, there are numerous preventative strategies that can help you steer clear of a mold problem.
Keep An Eye Out
Awareness is key! It’s a good idea to regularly check a home or structure for evidence of leaks and mold. Several areas tend to be culprits:
- Plumbing fixtures and leaky appliances
- Poorly sealed windows, doors, showers, and tubs
- Foundation problems
If you notice water stains or splotches of mold growth, it should be addressed immediately. Obviously, if there is visible water seepage or damage, you should fix the source of the leak right away so it doesn’t encourage mold growth. If signs of mold are present (i.e. musty smells, significant condensation/dampness, or fuzzy patches of black, blue, green, white, or yellow), you may need a mold inspection. Mold can turn up in spaces that are invisible to the naked eye.
Ensure There Is Proper Ventilation and Air Flow
Where there’s moisture, mold finds a way. Many areas require proper ventilation including
bathrooms, kitchens, basements, crawl spaces, and laundry rooms. It’s important to note that this isn’t an exhaustive list. Really, mold enjoys moisture in any setting. If you notice any water stains or condensation where there shouldn’t be, it’s an indication there’s a moisture issue.
A solution is to utilize ventilation fans in high-moisture areas. The capacity of these fans is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). For instance, a fan for a small bathroom should operate at one CFM for every square foot of space. The Home Ventilating Institute is an excellent source for fan guidelines.
Moreover, you can facilitate airflow throughout a building or home. This helps cut down on moisture. When it’s possible, open your windows to allow fresh air inside. Also, try keeping your closet and bedroom doors open. And, leaving some space between your walls and furniture can promote better air circulation.
If you should find a humid environment has caused mold growth on your belongings, it may be time to call in an expert. In many situations, there are specific processes to remove mold from clothing and other items.
Understand And Control Humidity Levels
Taking ventilation and airflow a step further, it’s wise to monitor the humidity level. Generally speaking, you want to keep humidity at around 30 to 50 percent. Moisture meters can give you a reading of the moisture content in various materials. These devices are available for purchase at your local home improvement store.
To better control humidity, It may be worth your while to invest in dehumidifiers. Plus, it’s not a bad idea to couple dehumidification with air filtration. An air purifier with HEPA filter works well for cleaning the air and removing some airborne mold spores.
Keep Everything Clean And In Working Order
Not too hard, right? If you keep your home or business tidy, it can help reduce the chance of mold growth. When there are conditions that mold likes, it can start growing in 24 hours! Fortunately, there are some simple steps for battling a potential mold invasion:
- Fix leaks as soon as possible
- In high-moisture areas, keep all surfaces clean and dry
- Make sure water is drawn away from the building structure (the ground slopes away from the foundation)
- Clean and dry shower and tub walls with a squeegee
- Re-caulk and re-seal plumbing fixtures when necessary
- Dry out wet materials as soon as possible (towels, mats, rugs, loofahs, etc.)
- Inspect your roof and crawl spaces at least twice a year
- Clean downspouts and gutter guards
- Check houseplants for mold
Also, if you have wet clothing, don’t let it sit in an enclosed space. You don’t want items to become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. As touched upon earlier, it is possible to remove mold from clothes; however, you may not want to experience what happens before that point. You could end up dealing with anything from fabric discoloration to skin and breathing problems.
Prevent Mold In The Refrigerator
It happens to the best of us. We forget about the leftovers shoved in the corner of the refrigerator until a gross discovery — a once delicious meal has turned into a moldy mess.
Certainly, we’re not saying that food mold is always dangerous. However, given the transient and airborne nature of mold spores, it can cause further problems like mold growth in other parts of the refrigerator. Additionally, spores can also travel into your respiratory system and cause irritation.
If you find moldy food items, don’t open the container. Place the items in a sealed bag and discard it as soon as possible. As far as fresh food, try to always store it in a sealed container.
Also, surely, you’ve heard the old trick of placing an open box of baking soda in the fridge. This is still a viable preventative measure. The pH composition of baking soda is such that mold is unable to thrive. It helps clean air as it moves through the appliance.
When Mold Has Already Invaded Your Home
If you got to this article a bit too late and you fear you’re in the midst of a mold intrusion, don’t worry. There’s support out there!
When you entrust a licensed mold company like SERVPRO of North Irving to perform remediation services, you can feel rest assured that the job will get done quickly and correctly. Our IICRC certified technicians use the latest technologies and processes to properly treat mold. Furthermore, our firm is the only SERVPRO in Dallas who is certified to use the Esporta Wash System, the leader in textile restoration.
If you’re in the Dallas area, you never have to battle mold on your own! SERVPRO is a full-service firm and can handle anything from removing mold from clothes to tearing out and rebuilding mold-infected parts of a structure. Contact SERVPRO of North Irving to learn more!
7 Most Common HVAC Issues & How To Solve Them
How often do you think about your HVAC system? If you’re like most people, probably not too often. The home is a place of comfort. It’s where you go to retreat from all the stressors of life.
It’s easy to forget the air in your home is highly regulated by a complex system. But, don’t let the word “complex” fool you. While intricate technology is certainly a part of any cooling and heating unit, it’s not difficult to make sure it’s functioning as best as possible. Once you understand the common HVAC problems and how to deal with them, you can greatly reduce the chance of an expensive and uncomfortable ordeal.
1. Common HVAC Problems: Neglecting Regular Maintenance
This is a big one that gets the best of a lot of people. Don’t feel bad if it has happened to you. Again, when you’re in the serenity of your home, it’s easy to forget things go on behind the scenes. Plus, even with regular maintenance, normal wear and tear can cause issues. If you notice any of the following, it may be an indicator that repairs are needed:
- A sudden increase in heating and cooling bills
- Low or no airflow
- Hot and cold spots in one area
- Air conditioner is blowing warm air
- Unusual noises (i.e. whistling or squealing sounds)
- Unpleasant smells
These issues should be checked out as soon as possible since it may mean your HVAC is under too much stress. If it continues in a weaker state, the heart of the system (aka the compressor) could fail. Unfortunately, a dead compressor often results in the need to replace an entire unit. To avoid common HVAC problems, it’s recommended to have your unit inspected by a professional every year.
2. Clogged Filters and Vents
Your HVAC filters have the important job of “grabbing” debris out of the air before it reaches the ducts. When dust and other particles collect in your ductwork, the unit can become clogged. This causes the system to work harder because the airflow is restricted. What’s more, if the filters aren’t properly catching pollutants, you could end up with poor indoor air quality. In addition, if vents are closed or blocked by furniture or other items, airflow can be compromised. The solutions are simple:
- Replace your filters at least every quarter.
- Have your vents and ducts inspected and cleaned every three years.
- Make sure all your vents are open and free of obstructions.
Another one of the most common HVAC problems is leaking refrigerant and/or water. Refrigerant is a substance in the evaporator system that’s essential in dehumidifying, absorbing heat, and cooling air. When refrigerant levels are low, the air pushed out will be warmer than it should be. If left in this state, the unit will start to work harder than it should. A technician should be able to pinpoint the cause of the low levels.
Also, if you notice water around the evaporator area (located near the blower fan on the inside of the unit), it could be because the drain line is clogged. Cleaning the line yourself is an option; however, it might be a good idea to have a technician take a look to see if there is anything else causing the leak.
4. Dirty Coils
In your unit are two coils — evaporator and condenser. Simply put, the evaporator coil picks up heat from indoor air while the condenser coil transfers the heat to an outside environment. Dust and particles can collect on these coils, causing a decline in the system’s efficiency. In many situations, this is a result of not cleaning the coils at least once a year and/or not changing filters regularly.
If you have an outside AC unit, you might’ve heard you can hose down your coils. The process is a bit more complicated than this. While you can employ DIY cleaning strategies, we must put out the warning that condenser coils have fins that can bend under water pressure. For safe, thorough cleaning, try to find a reputable air duct and HVAC cleaning company.
5. Thermostat Failure
In some cases, common HVAC problems such as uncontrollable temperature fluctuations may come from a malfunctioning thermostat. Luckily, this is often a quick and easy fix. First, check the owner’s manual to see if the thermostat runs on batteries; it may be as straightforward as replacing them. Next, if it’s not a battery issue, reference the manual again to see if there’s an issue with programming (if your thermostat is programmable).
Of course, if the problem consists — you guessed it — it’s probably time to call in a technician to investigate.
6. Blower Fan Issues
HVAC units have fans that blow air through ductwork. As you can probably surmise, when those blower fans stop working, the air stops flowing. This can be caused by the buildup of dirt or a blower motor failure. A trained tech should be able to find the exact cause of the issue.
Another complication is the blowers running constantly. Prior to hiring a technician, check your thermostat; it could be the fan is set to “on”. In this instance, it’s as easy as turning the fan off.
7. Other Common HVAC Problems
Obviously, what we’ve provided today is not an exhaustive list. An HVAC system is an impressive piece of technology with many moving parts. In addition to the complications listed above, there are some other issues that may be culprits:
- The valves that block or regulate airflow in the ducts (dampers) are imbalanced
- The furnace or AC unit has tripped a breaker or blown a fuse
- The furnace has a pilot light that’s out or its ignition device is malfunctioning
- A gas or electrical problem
For The Texans Out There…
If you’re in the Dallas area and need help with inspecting and cleaning your HVAC system, get in touch with SERVPRO of North Irving. We’re licensed, certified, and understand how to handle common HVAC problems. Plus, we work on both residential and commercial projects. We’re a breath of fresh air in more ways than one (sorry…we couldn’t help ourselves)!
Feel free to reach out by filling out an online form or calling us at (972) 986-7677.
The Typical Tools Professionals Use for Mold Treatment
Technology is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? From personal assistant robots to intelligent refrigerators, we’re all surrounded by devices that make our lives more convenient.
As you’re probably aware, there are many instances where innovation extends beyond convenience and into the realm of health and safety. This is the case in the mold remediation industry. Over the years, experts have perfected the process of inspecting and treating mold. It’s helped protect a countless number of folks from the harmful effects of dangerous fungus.
As Dallas mold remediation specialists, SERVPRO of North Irving utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to ensure treatment is done quickly and safely. If you should ever find yourself with a mold problem, below are some of the tools you should expect will be fighting on your side.
When water finds its way into carpet and furniture, the lifecycle of mold can begin. A vital first step is to get rid of rogue water. At SERVPRO, we utilize industrial-strength machinery to ensure water and other troublesome liquids are properly extracted.
1. Submersible Pumps
When submerged, this device manipulates the water pressure in a way that causes the liquid to be pushed into the pump. It can then be safely disposed of.
2. Industrial Wet/Dry Vacuums
A professional wet/dry vac provides powerful suction for heavy-duty water and soil pickup.
3. Truck-Mounted And Portable Extraction Units
The vacuums within these units can quickly remove excessive amounts of water from a flooded structure.
A moisture meter is something North Irving SERVPRO experts regularly use when performing mold remediation in Dallas. The device detects the moisture content in materials such as drywall, wood, fiberglass, and plaster. It’s a non-invasive way of seeing how much moisture is present. It’s key to get readings as soon as possible since a moist environment can cause mold to grow within 24 to 48 hours.
An infrared camera is essential in the inspection process. It’s another non-invasive device that measures the heat signature of a scanned area/surface. The device provides a highly-trained technician with a thermogram, which is essentially a colorful display of the readings. This tells the tech where moisture and humidity are high. Simply put, it finds moisture in places that are hidden to the human eye.
Once the water is properly removed, affected items must be fully dried. If any moisture is left behind, mold finds its way in. With a proper mold remediation company, here is what you should expect as far as the drying process:
- High-volume air movers for blowing air over concerning areas and evaporating the moisture
- Dehumidifiers for reducing the humidity in the air
- Desiccant (a drying agent) for absorbing moisture
- Moisture detection equipment for monitoring the moisture daily until the drying goal is reached
When mold spores find moisture and start to colonize and spread, that’s when you might find yourself with a significant problem. If there are mold-infested spots in your property, it’s imperative to contain the area so the spores don’t travel through the air.
With over 30 years’ experience providing mold remediation services in Dallas, we have perfected the process of safely isolating problem areas. If necessary, SERVPRO techs will carefully set up physical barriers around mold-affected regions. The “chambers” create negative pressure which allows air to move through, but not out of, the isolated spaces.
Containment is usually coupled with HEPA filtration installation. These devices “grab” the microscopic mold spores flying through the air to prevent them from traveling during the remediation process.
A hygrometer helps with determining relative humidity. In layman’s terms, it measures the water-air mixture as it relates to the temperature. It calculates a figure based on how much water vapor the air could hold at a specific temperature.
If the relative humidity is high, there is an increased chance of mold growth. A thermo-hygrometer can be used to continuously measure relative humidity. It shows when proper dehumidification levels have been reached.
A borescope gives a technician the ability to thoroughly inspect hard-to-reach areas for mold. Basically, it’s a digital camera that has a flexible, snake-like tube attached to it. It’s excellent for viewing spaces like HVAC ducts and pipes.
Esporta Washing System
The Esporta system is crucial in cleaning, sanitizing, and restoring clothing and textiles. The machine utilizes hydraulic pressure and specialized detergents to gently (but effectively) force contaminated particles out of soft contents.
SERVPRO of North Irving is one of the only Dallas mold remediation firms who are Esporta certified. We’ve used the system to successfully clean over 100,000 items.
It’s probably not a surprise to hear that safety equipment is necessary when dealing with mold. The point here is to explain that most professionals will utilize personal protective equipment for any size job. Don’t stress out if you see a technician wearing the following gear:
- Hazmat suits
- Safety goggles
- Safety gloves
- Protective boots
- Respirators with filters
These items are to ensure the tech’s health and safety in the case they find something hazardous while working. It’s not because your mold problem is out of control.
Odor Removal, Cleaning, And Sanitation
If water damage has caused mold, you may find yourself with an odor issue. A qualified remediation firm will use air scrubbers that pull in and filter pollutants. Additionally, they may use thermal foggers and deodorization agents for capturing airborne contaminants. And, if necessary, they also employ OSHA-approved disinfectant products to stop the growth of harmful microorganisms. Overall, the goal is to control air quality and remove stubborn odors.
Word Of Advice: Mold Remediation vs Mold Removal
We’ve decided to leave you with a bit more guidance. At SERVPRO, we’re always honest and upfront with our customers. “Mold removal” and “mold remediation” shouldn’t be used interchangeably. This is because mold is everywhere in nature; there are harmless forms that surround us all the time. It is not possible to remove 100% of mold from the environment. The purpose of remediation is to get mold down to the “natural” levels that are safe. Be cautious of a company that tells you they can guarantee complete mold removal.
If You’re In The Dallas Area And Have Mold Problems…
For mold remediation in Dallas, contact SERVPRO of North Irving. We’re available 24/7 for emergency contact and can get immediately started on your job. With over 300,000 restored properties under our belts, we know a thing or two about mold cleanup!
10 Steps You Should Take After a Fire
Fire is not something that people think about too often. That is until it affects them in some way.
When fire ravages your home or office, it can be a stressful and confusing time. It can leave you feeling vulnerable and alone. However, you don’t have to deal with the aftermath of a fire on your own. There are fire cleanup companies who can help you understand and navigate the entire process.
If you ever find yourself in the midst of a fire disaster, don’t lose hope. Stay calm and remember the steps to take following a fire. Before you know it, things will get back to normal and you’ll be “back on your feet”.
1. Initiate Emergency Contact
First things first, when dealing with a complicated fire situation that’s out of your control, it’s best to call in emergency responders. It’s not the same for all parts of the world but in the U.S., you should dial 911. When your local fire department responds, they should eventually compile a fire report. Don’t forget to ask how to get a copy of this report.
Next, research the fire cleanup companies in your area. There is one thing to remember here: Don’t settle for anything less than 1 company who can provide 100% restoration. In the Dallas area, SERVPRO of North Irving is a full-service fire and water damage restoration firm. With a wide range of services, we’re a one-stop-shop for customers:
- 24/7 emergency service available
- Board-up and roof-tarp services
- Water damage remediation
- Cleaning and taking inventory of belongings
- Help with moving in, moving out, and storage
- Restoration of textiles and electronics
- Removing smoke and fire odors
- Roof replacement
- Reconstruction (if we tear it out, we’ll rebuild it)
- Live, 24-hour security
During initial contact, we ask questions about the fire event to determine what equipment and resources are appropriate. Then, we arrange to begin the cleanup and restoration job immediately.
2. Make Sure It’s Okay To Enter The Building
Before you or anyone else enters a fire-damaged building, make sure to get the go-ahead to do so. Depending on the severity of the fire, the structural integrity could be compromised. Emergency responders should advise when it is safe.
3. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Let your homeowners' insurance company know about the fire. This is when you should give them the details of the disaster restoration company you want to use (i.e. tell them you’re using SERVPRO for cleanup and reconstruction). The adjuster should give you a claim number to pass along to the cleanup company. Always remember that it’s your right to go with a fire damage restoration firm of your choosing.
4. Schedule An Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
Once you’re given the okay to re-enter a structure, it’s time to get to work (or rather, put the fire cleanup companies to work). An inspection should be completed to identify the extent of the fire damage. This is key in establishing the right plan of action.
When our SERVPRO technicians visit a property, they conduct a comprehensive inspection. They document the scope of the damage and prepare an estimate for the client’s insurance company. From there, our team works with insurance adjusters to get the claim approved as soon as possible. After claim approval, we can move forward with additional fire damage services.
5. Secure The Property
As previously mentioned, fire can result in damage to the structural integrity of a building. In some situations, the walls, windows, and roof are weakened to the point where belongings are exposed to the elements (and possibly criminals).
The solution here is to immediately tarp the roof and board up the exposed areas of the building. This not only protects the structure from further damage but also provides some security. Fire cleanup companies like SERVPRO of North Irving are experienced in board-up and roof-tarp services. Moreover, if it’s necessary, we’ll send a security guard to watch your property while it’s exposed.
6. Find Shelter
Unfortunately, a fire can do so much damage to a home that it’s deemed temporarily unlivable. In this case, you’ll want to organize for a place to stay. If you don’t have family members or friends who can provide shelter, there are other resources available such as Insurance policies with short-term housing options, disaster relief organizations, and government programs dedicated to large-scale disasters (i.e. FEMA or state agencies)
7. Employ A Water Removal and Drying Service
If water is present, it should be handled in a specialized manner. Hidden moisture can cause a whole mess of problems including mold and bacteria growth.
When considering fire cleanup companies, look for a firm who has extensive experience in water removal and extraction. For example, SERVPRO of North Irving utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to ensure water is properly removed and items are effectively cleaned. Additionally, we are the only SERVPRO in Dallas who is Esporta certified (we can clean textiles affected by contaminated water).
But wait, there’s more. We carry a whole host of other certifications as well:
- WRT (Water Damage Restoration Technician)
- ASD (Applied Structural Drying Technician)
- FSRT (Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician)
- IICRC Certified Firm
- OSHA (10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program)
- RRRP (Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation)
- ECTP (Employee Certification Training Program)
8. Remove Smoke and Soot
After a fire, there’s a ton of cleaning work to do. More than likely, you’ll find soot on belongings. And, there may be an overwhelming odor of smoke. Qualified fire cleanup companies should be well versed in the specific procedures to clean smoke and soot.
At SERVPRO, we use propriety chemicals to remove smoke and soot. We clean the entire property as well as the items inside to ensure all smoke particles are eliminated.
9. Clean and Sanitize Structure and Belongings
If items and structures are salvageable, they should go through a heavy-duty cleaning and sanitizing process.
After we remove smoke and soot, we clean, sanitize, and disinfect belongings to bring them back to pre-fire condition. This includes using ozone, air scrubbers, or foggers to deodorize property and possessions.
10. Restore The Structure
Restoration involves anything from minor repairs to reconstruction. Keep in mind not all cleanup firms can provide full restoration services. Many companies will tear out damage, but they’ll leave the homeowner or business owner deal with reconstruction.
As a full-service restoration firm, the techs at SERVPRO of North Irving can rebuild anything that needs to be torn out. We work hard to ensure properties get back to their former glory.
Rely On Fire Cleanup Companies You Can Trust
Really, it comes down to finding a company who can do all the heavy lifting for you. As you’ve probably gathered by now, SERVPRO of North Irving is that company for folks in Dallas. Our goal is to take as much weight off our customers’ shoulders as we possibly can. You should expect nothing less than this!
If you’d like to learn more about SERVPRO of North Irving, get in touch!
The Most Common Causes of Fire Damage (and How to Avoid Them)
The Most Common Causes of Fire Damage (and How to Avoid Them)
We’re not going to mince words here: Fire damage sucks. As we all know, a fire can be detrimental to your property, health, and pocketbook. But, we can tell you that fire damage is not the end of the world. It’s possible to bounce back.
Of course, we understand that you’re probably not here for advice on the aftermath of fires. Certainly, you’re here for recommendations on how to prevent fire damage from happening. Well, we can help with that as well!
You see, the techs at SERVPRO of North Irving have been in the fire and water cleanup biz for over three decades. When folks are looking for fire restoration in Dallas, we’re the ones they call. For this reason, we’ve decided to share the most common causes of fire damage as well as how to prevent them.
We’re starting with the leading cause of home fires and fire-related injuries. It’s no wonder why kitchen fires pose a fire threat. After all, it’s where open flames and heat live. It’s relatively easy for items such as oil, food, clothing, and paper towels to quickly catch fire.
Fortunately, the best way to prevent kitchen fires is simple: Pay attention to what you’re cooking. If you have to walk away when the stove or oven is on, make sure someone else is watching it in your absence.
(In case you’re wondering, yes — kitchen fires are the main reason why we’re called in for fire restoration in Dallas.)
It’s not pleasant to talk about it but smoking is the number one cause of residential fires resulting in death. You’ve probably heard the stories before: Someone falls asleep while smoking and wakes up to a burning bed or couch. Or, a cigarette doesn’t get fully extinguished so it continues to burn until it turns into a big fire.
Simply put, smoking indoors is not a safe practice. And, it’s not just cigarettes that we’re talking about. E-cigarettes also pose risks since some malfunctions can cause them to explode. If you need a cigarette or e-cig, try only using them outdoors. And, when putting out a cigarette, ensure that it is properly extinguished.
Following cigarettes, the portable heater is the next major cause of fire-related deaths. It’s all innocent enough. It gets cold in the winter so you fire up the furnace or heater. But, you may also break out the space heater to help you get a little toastier. This is fine but just be careful while it’s on.
When using a portable heater, place it in an area that’s free of curtains and furniture. Also, keep your clothing and body parts away from the heating elements. And, don’t leave a small heater running if you’re not around to keep an eye on it.
4. Malfunctioning Appliances and Wiring
Appliance and/or wiring issues are the leading causes of electrical fires. A significant problem that arises here is that these fires are often hard to extinguish since water conducts electricity.
There are many possible culprits of electrical fires:
- Faulty outlets
- Frayed cords
- Aging appliances
- Running cords under carpet or rugs
- Too many plugs in one outlet or power strip
Obviously, you have the ability to control what appliances you use and how many electrical items are plugged in. When it comes to wiring issues, however, it’s wise to enlist the help of an electrician to figure out the problem. The best preparation for electrical fires is to make sure you have a fire extinguisher that handles class C fires (there should be a label on the cannister).
If an appliance catches fire, unplug the device as soon as you can (or turn off the electricity if you can’t get to the plug). If you find yourself sans an extinguisher when a small electrical fire breaks out, try pouring baking soda over the flames.
If you’re like a countless number of homeowners and business owners, you probably have a spot where you keep chemicals. There’s a good chance that a flammable liquid is lurking around in there somewhere.
While we’re not suggesting that you run to a trashcan and dump out all your chemicals, we do suggest reading the labels. Pay attention to the storage recommendation and follow it accordingly. And, when you’re using a flammable chemical, handle it with care.
Fireplaces are excellent for setting a cozy mood. But, a fireplace holds a hidden danger: Buildup. Creosote is a flammable matter that can build up and cause a fire to spread from a chimney to other parts of a building or house. Also, animals can get into chimney spaces and leave behind fire-catching debris.
Luckily, there aren’t too many steps involved in fireplace maintenance:
- Look for brown or black buildup in the fireplace and chimney.
- Check for critter nests and debris.
- If you notice any problematic material, utilize a chimney sweeping service.
- Perform a fireplace inspection at least once a year.
Candles are delightful. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the smell of cake and cookies without eventually ingesting calories! However, an open flame is always a hazard.
Responsible candle ownership is key here. Never leave your candles unattended, always blow out lit candles before you leave a room, and make sure there are no flammable items near your candles (i.e. paper, facial tissue, and chemicals).
8. Childhood Wonderment
We’re sure your children (and the children you know) are little angels. But, it’s just the nature of kids to be curious (and sometimes even a little mischievous). It’s not unheard of for a child to light a small fire that quickly rages out of control.
Teaching kids the dangers of playing with fire is important. If you have matches, lighters, or flammable liquids, put them in a safe place that’s not accessible to children. Additionally, regularly check your smoke detectors to make sure they’re functioning correctly.
Need Fire Restoration in Dallas?
Get in touch with us! For over three decades, SERVPRO of North Irving has been a go-to fire damage expert. We’re a full-service agency who is available 24/7, and we specialize in fire damage assessment, smoke and soot removal, emergency board-up and tarp services, and cleaning and repair. Plus, if there is water present, we handle water removal and drying as well.
Home Upgrades to Protect You From the Next Big Storm
Home Upgrades to Protect You From the Next Big Storm
You know how the old saying goes: It’s better to be safe than sorry. No matter where you live, there’s a decent chance that harsh weather will affect you at some point. It’s just the nature of, well, nature.
It’s impossible to predict exactly when a storm is going to hit and how bad it’s going to be. Sure, meteorologists and doppler radars give it a good go; however, Mother Earth doesn’t always enjoy playing by the rules of others.
As water damage inspection specialists, we at SERVPRO of North Irving have dealt with a lot of nature’s handiwork. We’ve found that the best defense against a storm’s destruction is preparation. Below are some easy steps you can take to help ensure your home is ready to “battle” severe weather.
Stabilize Your Roof
It can be argued that in a wind situation, the roof is the most vulnerable part of a home. Obviously, one reason is that it’s generally the first structure to be hit with the elements. But, more importantly, strong winds can affect the air pressure in a way that causes a roof to be lifted from its support. If that wasn’t clear, we’ll say it in another way: Wind can rip your roof right off of your house.
First and foremost, regular roof maintenance is key. Clean your downspouts and gutter guards. Also, check on your roof at least twice a year. Look for issues like moss, cracks, or damaged/missing shingles. Any problems should be addressed as soon as possible. If you notice evidence of water leaking into your attic (i.e. stains on sub roofing or moisture on attic walls), you should consider a water damage inspection.
When it comes to upgrading a roof for protection, a good strategy is to utilize roof to wall attachments. A simplified way of explaining this is it’s the process of attaching heavy-duty straps or clips from the roof of a house to its structure.
In addition, you may also want to employ a sealed roof deck. Basically, this is a layer of protective material that stays in place underneath your “main” roof. In the unfortunate situation of a roof being blown off of a structure, it helps prevent water and debris from getting into the home and causing undue harm.
Understand Your Insurance Coverage
We’ll admit this isn’t necessarily a home upgrade in the traditional sense. Adding a change, also known as a rider or endorsement, to a home insurance policy probably doesn’t make you feel like you have a newer house. However, it’s worth mentioning that it’s vital in protecting you against devastating renovation costs.
You can’t assume your policy is going to safeguard your home from any type of weather. Homeowners insurance policies vary in the kind of disaster events they cover and it’s up to you to purchase what’s right for your home and location. In general, a homeowners policy does not automatically cover hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods. If you’re not comfortable with reviewing your insurance documents to locate the specific coverage or exclusions, you can simply ask your insurance agent or underwriter about it.
Also, while we’re on the subject of insurance, it’s recommended you should document your belongings (take pictures and note what each item is, where it is in the home, and any applicable model or serial numbers). When SERVPRO techs perform a fire and water damage inspection, they take photos and measurements of your possessions to assist in the claims process; however, you should still do your own home inventory before dealing with an emergency situation.
Seal Your Doors and Windows
If there’s any part of your home that’s exposed, wind and water are going to do their best to exploit it. Prior to a storm, it’s important to properly fortify your windows and doors. This includes a garage door and any skylights.
It’s not hard to find storm shutters and doors at your local home improvement store. If you’re a DIY-type person, you can make your own shutters with plywood (if it’s at least 3/4 inches thick) or corrugated metal. Also, you can place braces behind your garage door and doors.
Secure Outdoor Items
Yup, one of the best ways to protect what’s inside is to pay special attention to what’s outside. Strong winds can turn objects of any size into dangerous projectiles.
Try to keep all of your bushes and trees trimmed and neat. Clean up any debris so it’s not scattered about. If you have large furniture or equipment in your yard, consider using stakes and anchors. If it’s possible, bring all smaller items inside. This may be your garbage cans, lawn ornaments, plants, or any other object that can’t be securely anchored down.
Prepare An Emergency Kit
We’ve discussed the subject of preparing emergency kits before. While our advice was specifically about hurricane kits, the concept applies to any storm or natural disaster event.
Here are some of the items you should keep in a basic emergency kit:
- First-aid kit
- Garbage bags and ties
- At least three days of water (one gallon of water per person, per day) and non-perishable food
- Manual can opener
- Cell phone batteries and car charger
- Hand-crank or battery-operated radio
- Extra batteries
- Soap, toilet paper, and wet wipes
- Emergency preparedness documents
Know That You’re Not Alone
Yes, we know this isn’t an upgrade or preventative measure but it still matters. An emergency situation can leave you feeling confused and defenseless. It can be overwhelming and keep you from taking steps that are immediately necessary. When you have the support of an expert cleanup and restoration company, you get back to your pre-storm life faster.
In the Dallas and Fort Worth area, the company of choice is SERVPRO of North Irving. We have a reputation for providing our customers with impeccable service and a keen sense of understanding. Not only do we provide 24-hour emergency disaster restoration services, but also we work with a customer’s insurance company to help speed up the claims process. Ultimately, we strive to take as much stress off of a storm victim’s shoulders as we can.
To speak with someone about fire and water damage inspection, cleanup, and repair, send us a message or give us a call at (972) 986-7677.
Commercial Air Duct Cleaning in Dallas Fort Worth
SERVPRO of North Irving offers commercial air duct cleaning in Dallas Fort Worth. Call today for a free inspection and estimate: (972) 986-7677.
Commercial Duct Cleaning in Dallas
Commercial air duct cleaning requires specialized tools, techniques, and training to get the job done right. Our technicians are trained to handle air duct cleaning of any size in all kinds of facilities, including manufacturing facilities preparing for inspections by the FDA.
SERVPRO of North Irving makes the Commercial Air Duct Cleaning Process simple and convenient for our clients.
Step 1: Call Us to Schedule A Free Inspection and Consultation
Call us right now and let us know what you’d like to get done. We’ll typically ask you:
- How many HVAC units do you have?
- How many duct openings are there?
- How high are your ceilings?
- What size filters do you have?
Answering these questions helps us show up at your property prepared for your inspection. While we’re there, we’ll ask you to walk us through your property and answer any more follow-up questions we might have.
We’re available by phone 24-hours a day, and we’re waiting for your call right now.
Step 2: Receive Your Commercial HVAC Cleaning Estimate
We’ll get right to work preparing your estimate. In just a short time, it’ll be emailed to you for your consideration. The project can start as soon as you give us permission to begin work.
Step 3: Schedule Service - Also Available After-Hours and Weekends!
Business interruption is expensive. We’re a business, too, and we understand the importance of finding a solution that allows your business to continue operations as quickly as possible or, even better, not stop them at all.
We make ourselves available to clean commercial air ducts when it’s most convenient for our clients, including:
- Regular business hours
If your commercial property requires special considerations, just let us know. We’re happy to find a solution that works for you.
Ready to Get Started?
We’re ready when you’re ready. Give us a call or contact us now to schedule us to visit your property. We service all
Commercial Cleaning Before An FDA Inspection
We have helped commercial properties, including manufacturing facilities, help prepare for FDA inspections. Our cleaning package includes:
Do you need other specialty cleaning services to prepare for your inspection? Just let us know.
Mold in Commercial Air Ducts
Mold in commercial air ducts often grows in buildings with high moisture or those with inadequate ventilation. Finding mold in air ducts isn’t what anyone wants, but it can be taken care of.
If we find mold during our inspection of your property, we can take care of it, too. Our franchise is a licensed Texas Mold Remediation Contractor, and we’ve helped remove mold from commercial air ducts for many businesses and commercial properties in Dallas Fort Worth.
Every commercial mold remediation project is custom planned for our clients. Just like with regular cleaning, mold remediation can happen:
- Regular business hours
Need more details on commercial mold remediation? Give us a call. Our mold remediation experts will be happy to answer your questions.
Multi-Stage Air Duct Cleaning
Many businesses choose to clean their air ducts in stages. The reasons for this vary from budgetary to simply being unable to close their entire facility down at one time. We are happy to grant these special requests from our clients.
If your commercial air duct cleaning project needs to be staged, we’ll create a schedule to take care of you.
Simultaneous Commercial Carpet Cleaning
As our commercial air vent technicians get to work on your ducts, we can also perform other commercial cleaning services on your property. The most popular add-on is commercial carpet cleaning. Our cleaning technicians can work on your floors and rugs at the same time. Many businesses bundle our services to refresh their entire space.
- Commercial Cleaning Bunding Discounts Available
- Happens Simultaneously with the Air Duct Cleaning
- Clean and Refresh Your Entire Workspace
We’re a Full-Service SERVPRO in Dallas
Our franchise has been serving our home of Dallas Fort Worth for over 30 years. We are a full-service SERVPRO in Dallas available to clean and restore any business and commercial property in North Texas.
Call us today to schedule a free consultation!
In Need of Repairs? Know When to Use Homeowners Insurance
For some folks, insurance is a double-edged sword. They know they need insurance in case there’s a disaster, but they certainly don’t want to be faced with a disaster despite the “investment” in insurance. But, the fact of the matter is it’s a necessity and every homeowner should have it. It is a good thing.
Generally speaking, a covered insurance claim is designed to “make you whole”. In other words, it gets your home to the pre-damage condition. In insurance-speak, this is called indemnity. The problem that arises here is claims can result in higher premiums or possible policy cancellations. There are some situations in which an insurance company may question the validity of a claim:
- The costs of repairs or replacement do not exceed the policy deductible.
- The damage and claim fall underneath the exclusions section of the policy.
- The damage and claim could’ve been prevented.
It’s possible the last point gave you pause. Surely, a natural disaster isn’t preventable. However, let’s say a natural disaster causes damage to a roof that’s in obvious disrepair. This may end up a denied claim. For this reason, we’ve decided to share some preventative measures and fixes that are more cost-effective to handle yourself versus using home insurance.
Take Care of Your Roof
Remember when we mentioned the hypothetical roof problem?
If maintained properly, roofs should last about 25 to 30 years. The first inspection should occur 10 years after installation with additional inspections happening every 3 to 5 years.
As far as what you can do on your end, try to look over your roof at least twice a year. Check for damaged or missing shingles. Also, make sure to clean any gutter guards and downspouts so water can flow easily from the roof.
When it comes to a roof, you typically have a good idea of when to use homeowners insurance. For example, if your roof is in great condition and damage is caused by a what your insurance policy considers a covered peril (i.e. fire, wind, hail, etc.), there’s a decent chance a claim is in order. On the other hand, if the damage is due to wear and tear or poor maintenance, a claim denial may be on the way.
Prevent Water Leaks
At SERVPRO of North Irving, we have extensive experience in dealing with water damage. It’s one of the most common house problems out there. Luckily, there are several relatively easy tasks you can take on yourself to prevent a water and insurance mess:
- Properly caulk and seal showers and tubs.
- Inspect pipes for leaks and cracks (have pipes repaired or replaced if needed).
- In colder temperatures, insulate your pipes.
- If you use a sump pump, test it every year.
- Install sewer backwater valves in your drainpipes.
It’s worth noting that sewage backup, as well as the replacement and repair of sewer lines, tend to be excluded by insurance companies. But, some companies give the option to add specific endorsements that extend coverage to certain sewer issues.
Maintain Your Water Heater
Here’s the deal, water heater repairs and replacements are not usually covered by insurance. It’s also safe to say that if damage results from an old or malfunctioning water heater, your policy is not going to cover it. You have to stay on top of maintenance and replace equipment when necessary.
Depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations, test your pressure-relief valve and flush the tank on a regular basis. If you hear the unit making loud or strange noises or you see rust-colored water leaking out, there’s probably an issue. Also, if the water heater is around 10 years old, it may be time for a new unit.
Protect Your Foundation
Many insurance policies exclude problems caused by cracks in the foundation which means proper care is key. Ensure the soil around your house slopes away from the foundation (6 inches over a distance of 10 feet). Additionally, safeguard your foundation from excess water by pointing sprinkler systems away from the home.
If you start to notice signs of water in your basement (musty smell or water stains), apply water sealant to the walls and floors. Also, be on the lookout for evidence of mold. If it exists, it may be in your best interest to hire a mold remediation specialist. Mold is a pathogen that can be harmful to your health, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Care For Your Appliances and HVAC
In general, an insurance company is not going to cover claims involving the malfunction or the normal wear and tear of HVAC units and appliances. If there are issues, you usually have to either troubleshoot it on your own or hire a technician to make repairs. If your appliances shock you, it may be indicative of an electrical issue. Unless you are an electrician, it’s a smart idea to hire a professional to inspect.
While it’s true there’s not a one-size-fits-all care manual for all appliances and HVAC units, there is one task that’s consistently recommended by all manufacturers: On a regular basis, check for damaged hoses and replace them immediately. With an HVAC unit, don’t forget to replace all the hoses every five years.
Connect With A Professional To Handle Repairs And Inspections
As you’re probably well aware of, insurance companies vary in what they do and don’t cover. It is good to seek advice from an insurance agent or consultant to get a definite answer as to when to use homeowners insurance.
That being said, there is a chance your policy may cover various services offered by fire and water damage restoration companies. While wholly contingent upon the provisions of your policy, there could be coverage for services like biohazard cleanup, mold remediation, and fire and water damage inspection, cleanup, and restoration. It might also provide cover for reconstruction services as well.
How do we know all this? At SERVPRO of North Irving, we’ve helped tons of customers navigate insurance claims related to our services. We accept all insurance and work with companies to ensure the claims process and paperwork go as smoothly as possible.
If you’re in the Dallas area and looking for certified professionals who handle fire and water cleanup, look no further! Connect with SERVPRO in North Irving today!
6 Steps to the Water Damage Restoration Process
Water is everyone’s best friend — except when it’s not! When you own a property, sometimes water sneaks in uninvited. Unfortunately, if not treated properly, it can wreak havoc in more ways than one.
Whether it’s because of an appliance malfunction or a full-blown natural disaster, a water emergency can leave you feeling vulnerable. From damage to your belongings to serious issues with mold, there’s a lot to consider. But, trust us, it’s not the end of your world.
You see, we’ve seen our share of water atrocities. For over 30 years, SERVPRO of North Irving has been a go-to source for water damage restoration in Dallas. We know how water “thinks” and we’ve perfected the process for dealing with the problems it causes. If you find yourself in the midst of a water emergency (and you hire the right cleanup and restoration firm), here is what you can expect.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
A water issue can happen at any time. Sadly, it’s not one of those things you can sleep on before you make a decision on what to do. You need to act quickly.
At SERVPRO, we have technicians available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week because a plan needs to be formulated as soon as possible. This may involve carpet restoration, mold damage mitigation, and even reconstruction. When you get in touch with us, we ask the important questions that help us understand the severity of your dilemma.
Step 2: Inspection and Damage Assessment
Water is a trickster. It’s not always easy to see what it’s doing behind the scenes. Often, it takes a trained eye to see the situation for what it actually is.
When enlisting the help of an experienced firm, there are several actions you should see occur. When we’re asked to perform water damage restoration in Dallas, we work through an efficient inspection and assessment process:
- Within 2 to 4 hours, technicians armed with the appropriate equipment are dispatched to your home.
- Technicians inspect the home to pinpoint problem areas, stop the leak source, and identify the level of water contamination (clean, gray, or black).
- An inspection is conducted to see how extensive the moisture damage is as well as if there are any safety concerns.
- Photos and measurements are taken for the purpose of insurance claims.
- Affected items are moved or blocked so rust and stains don’t set in.
Step 3: Water Removal/Water Extraction
Wouldn’t it be lovely if dealing with a flooded home or building was as simple as sucking out the water? Well, it’s not that easy BUT it doesn’t mean it’s incredibly hard. With the help of a professional, you can ensure the water extraction step is done quickly, smoothly, and correctly
Our SERVPRO techs begin the water removal process immediately. Using moisture detectors, hygrometers, or other detection tools, we’re able to determine the extent of saturation. Infrared cameras may be used to “see” into the walls and ceiling. Additionally, carpet and carpet pads are inspected and removed if it’s necessary (if removed, a sample will be saved for your insurance company for their assessment on replacement). And, depending on the amount of water present, we utilize industrial wet/dry vacuums, submersible pumps, or both.
Step 4: Drying and Dehumidification
In some cases, water may be gone but it’s not forgotten. When water mitigation isn’t done right, it can seem like water is no longer present; however, there might be more lurking in walls and other places. This is when mold and other serious problems start to rear their ugly heads. Don’t let this happen to you! Only after water has been properly removed can the drying process begin.
After a SERVPRO team ensures water is removed, a drying plan is formulated. This includes setting professional equipment:
- Moisture detectors to find hidden moisture
- Air movers to help with evaporation by creating airflow across furniture, carpet, and walls
- Dehumidifiers and desiccant machines to pump dry air and absorb humidity at the same time
- Monitoring technology to “keeps an eye on” the moisture levels
Also, we visit your property on a daily basis to check the atmospheric pressure and make sure we reach our drying goal.
Step 5: Cleaning and Repair
The next job to be done is cleaning and repairing items such as clothing, textiles, electronics, and furniture and upholstery. With our water removal and drying processes, it’s possible to restore over 90% of your home’s water-damaged belongings.
Our specialists are trained in recognizing what items can and can’t be salvaged. If anything needs to be disposed of, we work with you and your insurance adjuster regarding the optimal removal process. From there, we restore contents using a variety of cleaning techniques (i.e. dry/wet cleaning, sprays, foam cleaning, abrasive cleaning, immersion cleaning). We also identify and remove unpleasant odors utilizing air scrubbers and fogging equipment. And, we decipher and implement the appropriate sanitizing treatments (i.e. antimicrobial, antibacterial, or disinfectant).
Step 6: Restoration
Not to toot our own horn, but this is what sets us apart from other companies. As a full-service firm, we can rebuild what needs to be torn out. Of course, we perform several other restoration services as well:
Emergency Building Services
If your property was damaged by a storm, we provide emergency building services such as tarping a roof or boarding up windows.
If we can’t move affected items to another part of your property, we can move belongings to our secure storage facility.
We attempt to bring your property to the state it was before the damage. This may include hardwood and tile floor repairs, drywall removal and installation, painting, and carpet repair and installation.
It’s worth noting that from step one, we carefully document everything we do so it can be turned into an insurance company. We make a water damage dilemma as painless as possible.
We’ll leave you now with a word of advice: Don’t accept any less than what is described here.
You deserve to get your home back after a water intrusion!
If you’re ever in need of water damage restoration in Dallas, contact us! We’re IICRC certified and the only SERVPRO in Dallas who is Esporta Certified in textile restoration. Plus, we accept all insurance.