Do's and Dont's of Water Damage
Water damage can be the cause of many issues throughout your home, whether affecting floors, walls, or damaging personal items. It would make sense that once a homeowner experiences a flood or leak, the initial thought may be to immediately begin taking care of the issue. While limiting the amount of damage and items affected in the home is the ultimate goal, it truly does take a professional damage restoration company to manage such a situation. Lack of understanding of the water damage restoration process, water categories, or needed equipment may simply exacerbate any damage that has already occurred. After any emergency damage, there are a number of tips of what to do or what not to do.
Upon the first sign of water damage, DO:
- Turn off water, if possible.
- Identify source, if possible.
- Remove and secure any dry sensitive, high-value items.
- Call a damage restoration company.
- Call your insurance company.
While waiting for assistance, DON’T:
- Try drying the water up yourself. Water comes in three different categories based on its source. Wiping up a category 2 or 3 with your personal towels may not be ideal.
- Try vacuuming up any water, even with a wet vacuum.
- Use any appliances or electrical outlets until it has been deemed safe to do so. Based on the size of the leak or flood, unless a professional assesses the entire house, there is no knowing where water has touched and where it has not.
- Open any windows or turn on a fan to dry things out. With tons of moisture present, the chances of mold growing are high; fans and open windows may kick up spores.
- Use or touch any items that have been contaminated by the water. Again, based on the category of water, touching wet items may not a good idea health-wise.
- Walk around in the wet areas. Aside from a potential safety hazard, this may spread more damage than intended.
- Turn the HVAC system on or off as adjusting air temperatures may extend damage.
Professional water damage restoration companies exist for a reason. They have the training, skills, equipment, and experience to handle any damage done by water, mold, or fire. They know what to look for, how to classify the damage and determine the extent of loss.
A restoration company’s job is to mitigate as much damage as possible, while protecting the home and the customer’s safety and health.
What to Expect From Water Damage Restoration With SERVPRO of West Palm Beach
When your home is suffering water damage, getting a restoration company out to your home quickly is imperative to preventing any additional loss to the structure or contents. However, knowing which company to call that is trusted, reliable and professional can be overwhelming. We know how important it is to have a reputable company in your home and want our customers to know what they can always expect from us.
Credible & Certified
Our production crew, production managers and even owners, are IICRC certified in Microbial Remediation, Odor Control, Water Damage, Fire and Smoke Damage and more. Being IICRC certified ensures that we have the knowledge to provide damage restoration services and adhere to the right guidelines. Our Operations Manager, is also a Certified Building Contractor; we have the guidance and experience from a licensed CBC during any reconstruction, whether residential or commercial.
SERVPRO has an extremely positive reputation nationwide and each location is expected to add to that reputability. As leaders in the restoration industry, we hold ourselves to high standards to be faster to any size disaster, well-trained, and trusted.
We have had the chance to provide damage restoration to many homes and businesses that have each required unique approaches and solutions. This means we have experienced multiple floors of a condo flooding, houses on Palm Beach Island suffering from mold, or even hotels that have caught fire affecting multiple rooms. Each job has not only built trust as a local restoration company amongst homeowners and businesses, but has also provided us with the experience needed to get the job done right, every time. We understand what each emergency disasters calls for, what is right for the customer, and what will mitigate any more loss.
National and Local Preferred Vendor
SERVPRO has the privilege of being a preferred vendor for many national and local insurances, allowing us to build strong relationships with agents, adjusters, and other contractors. We are the #1 choice for many commercial customers as well. These connections enable us to further provide personalized experiences each home or business requires.
When in need of a damage restoration company for your home’s emergency water damage, you can rely on SERVPRO of West Palm Beach. We have the reputation, training, and the experience.
How Much Damage Can a Small Leak Cause in Your Home?
Water leaks are a pretty common occurrence, stemming from pipes or appliances that are either old, broken, or improperly installed. Typically small water leaks are manageable upon first notice and not really cause for concern. Yet, on occasion, leaks do go unnoticed and can cause some heavy water damage to the area around it.
Know the Signs
Indicators that a leak is present aside from pooling or consistently wet surfaces can be:
- Damp, humid air – this is especially common when plumbing is under a cabinet or enclosed area.
- Water Stains- look for discoloration that grows or worsens over time.
- Mold or Mildew – seeing signs of fungi growth near water sources should be concerning.
- Foul Odors
- Increased Water Bill
- Strange Plumbing Noises
Understand the Potential Damage
Ignoring signs of a leak or failure to properly fix the leak can cause more costly damage than just a high water bill.
- Damaged Flooring – water damage to different types of flooring may cause weak warped or stained floors.
- Mold Damage – mold needs only as little as 24 hours, moisture, and a food source to grow. Typically many of the materials found around your home by water sources, especially drywall, are perfect for mold to colonize.
- Stained or Saggy Ceilings – if the leak is on a second floor, the ceiling of the first floor is likely to be damaged over time.
- Damaged Walls – whether walls are saturated with water or affected by mold, either type of damage can compromise the structural integrity of drywall and other materials.
Leaks can be a mere nuisance, quickly fixed, if they are detected with time. However, if allowed to go on unnoticed, even slow, small leaks can cause major problems. We often see customers who have warped floors from water damage coming from a dishwasher or refrigerator that was not addressed. We have also seen many customers dealing with serious mold issues under their kitchen or bathroom sinks because they did not realize they had a leak. Knowing the signs and being proactive can be a huge aid in mitigating damage caused by a leak in your home.
Design & Construction Changes That Help Protect Against Flooding
Hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding from each may not be likely to slow down in the coming years. Take the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season for example; the season was expected to have 16 storms and it far surpassed that. Like the most recent storm, Tropical Storm Eta, much of the 2020 season has brought about a significant amount of property damage. This is not surprising as just in 2018, 24% of all property loss insurance claims were attributed to water damage.
Flooding, the biggest water damage risk, is only becoming an even more prominent problem. In the past two decades, there has been more than sixty-five billion dollars worth of flood damage worldwide. The challenge many cities face, especially in South Florida, is the challenge of living near beaches, rivers, and lakes. These bodies of water can quickly flood neighboring homes and buildings during a particularly heavy bout of rain. There are also many areas that are flood zones due to the lack of proper infrastructure (think the ease in which Miami streets flood during storms). With potentially many more active storm seasons ahead of us and the risk of flooding only growing, is there a solution to avoiding water damage to homes and buildings?
1. Amphibious foundations, a brain child of Professor Elizabeth English, is one potential way of combatting the damage of flooding. English and her students created foundations that respond to floods, moving the home with the rising and lowering of water levels. While this concept has not been considered a widespread solution, many countries are beginning to implement the idea.
2. Flood-proofing, an adopted but not complete solution, are measures taken to prevent the damage floods cause. When building a home or other structure, they may be designed to be elevated, built as waterproof, or even built with additional features that will allow some water in but allows only minimal damage.
3. Changes in land use and development are also critical in combatting flooding. Many developers are either building new areas or retrofitting established neighborhoods in ways that can alleviate the amount of water that is allowed during a storm. This might be through creating wetlands that will collect additional water and slow flooding into neighborhoods. Some developers are even embracing flooding and rising sea levels by including elevated landscapes or retrofitting vulnerable areas.
While there is no single sure-fire solution, adapting the design and construction of new structures with anticipation of flooding, especially in South Florida, may prevent the increasing water damage claims and the amount of damage residents face.
Why SERVPRO is the #1 Choice for Commercial Restoration
When it comes to commercial restoration in West Palm Beach, we are experts and well known throughout Palm Beach County for the solutions we offer to our commercial clients. Our biggest advantage has been the range of commercial clients in which we have provided emergency damage restoration services. In fact our experience from over 750 projects along with the myriad of solutions we offer, has helped multiple businesses in varying industries in our area including:
- Property Managers
- Government and Education Facilities
- Warehouses and Distribution Centers
- Business Parks & Corporate Buildings
- Hotels, Convention Centers & Entertainment Venues
- Retail & Restaurant Space
The above list is a mere glimpse into who we have worked with but does not limit us to who we can work with in the future. Each project has provided us an insight into the needs of each industry, ensuring we properly respond no matter the service that is needed. These services have ranged from fires, water damage, mold remediation, storm response or biohazard cleanup.
Our commercial clients trust us to provide white-glove, quality experiences bringing efficiency to any job so that they may return back to business as soon as they can. As our past clients also know, we will work to create a business plan that minimizes business disruption in the case of an emergency disaster. Aside from our experience, what sets SERVPRO of West Palm Beach apart from other commercial restoration companies?
1. Restore Vs. Replace Mentality
Our priority is to always reduce the amount of damage a commercial space has endured. Rather than considering the entire job a loss, we enlist our expertise to properly determine what is salvageable and what will need restoration.
2. Large Loss & Disaster Response Team
Though we are a local franchise, our enterprise capabilities and resources positions our team to handle any size disaster efficiently.
3. Trusted National & Local Vendors
SERVPRO is a preferred vendor for multiple national commercial clients including insurance companies, retail spaces, management properties, hospitality groups and more.
4. Reconstruction Capabilities
SERVPRO of West Palm Beach has the licensure, experience, and resources to provide reconstruction services for any commercial or residential site.
SERVPRO of West Palm Beach consistently meets high performance guidelines for all of our commercial clients, providing seamless communication and timely mitigation.
What to Know About Water Damage and Buying a New Home
If you are in the process of buying a new house, congratulations! New home ownership can be extremely exciting. However, water damage is a prominent issue that many homes deal with. Before finalizing any payment or paperwork, alway be sure to have an inspection scheduled. An inspection for the following can you save your home and your wallet.
If the house had previous owners:
1. Ask if any damage has occurred to the home and where.
This includes whether there has been any water, mold, storm, sewer, or fire damage.
2. Ask the extent of the damage and what was done to restore and mitigate future damage.
This question will save you a lot of money down the road.
3. Ask/Inspect for any other problem areas or structural integrity.
This should include looking for leaks, doors or windows not properly sealed, plumbing issues etc. These issues can lead to future emergency disasters.
If the house is brand new:
1. Check for any defects in the construction.
This is especially important around doors and windows to ensure they are properly sealed and will not allow any moisture in
2. Look at your roof and gutters.
Make sure these areas are able to properly shed water away off the roof and away from the home.
3. Look for potential flooding areas around the home.
Be aware of areas around your home, either part of the home’s construction or your actual land, that may flood during heavy storms.
Buying a home with damage can be off-putting and a hinderance. With water damage so prominent and often leading to mold, hiring a professional inspector is the best route. With A professional home inspection will always provide an accurate report of any past water damage and its extent or potential areas that may cause future water damage.
Are Your Employees Prepared for an Emergency to Happen to Your Business?
As a business owner in West Palm Beach, having set plans in place in case of an emergency, a hurricane, and now COVID-19, is essential to keeping the doors open and continuity of business. As a business owner, you may also have the entirety of these plans memorized or in a convenient location in the case it is needed, but do all of your employees know exactly what to do in the case of an emergency?
While you can plan for an emergency, you can never plan when the emergency will occur. This means that you may not always be available during an emergency to put your plan into action. Ensuring your employees know what to do when an emergency disaster occurs is important to keeping your doors open.
- Establish a Chain of Command
If there is someone beside you, whom you trust or whose direct responsibility it is to take charge in your absence, make sure they are fully aware of what a plan of action looks like. Have a second employee as an option in the line of command in the case your first choice is also not available.
- Keep Your Plan Organized & Easily Accessible
Have a list of all of your vendors, access points, important contacts like an insurance agent or emergency services, and utility shut-off locations in one document. Include pictures, contact information, and important need-to-know details. Make sure this document is neatly stored in a file or on a shared computer network for quick access.
- Consider Alternative Ways of Sharing a Plan of Action
While having a file in office is not always ideal and a shared network is not always an option, consider using a program that all employees can access via their own computer or smart phones. SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Plan is available via an easy to navigate mobile app, making it extremely convenient for more than one employee to access. The ERP app can hold all of the necessary information a hard copy plan would including contacts, vendors, access points, instructions, photos and more. A SERVPRO team member will always help set up your app and profile making sure all pertinent details are recorded. Once set up is complete, you are free to share the app and access with any employee you choose!
Having a thorough, well-communicated plan will get you back to business quickly and provide a peace of mind. Many business owners may be apprehensive of taking a day off or vacation time in the case they are needed should an emergency disaster occur. With SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Plan, not only will your employees be extremely prepared but your local vendors, including SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, will have easy to follow instructions and plan as well!
Dealing with Mold in a South Florida Winter Home
When temperatures begin to cool up and down the east coast, many people, or “snowbirds”, begin to return to states like Florida for the winter. It’s no surprise that these homeowners are likened to a snowbird as the warmer weather is the main attraction to move south during the winter months. But with warm, humid weather practically year-round, the escape from frigid temperatures can also bring its own set of issues. It is not uncommon for snowbirds to discover their winter home has been infested with mold.
A home that has been vacant and unattended to for months in some cases, is the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Many factors contribute to mold found in a winter home including:
1. Hot and stormy summer months
Summers in South Florida are filled with lots of rain and humidity, especially when a Tropical Storm or Hurricane hits the area. This can lead to damage or leaks, allowing water to find its way into a vacant home with no attention to it until the owner’s return.
2. Additional moisture found in ocean and lake-front homes
Homes by any large body of water, especially those that tend to have a more swampy, humid environment like a lake, are much more susceptible to additional moisture and water damage.
3. Lack of air circulation
Many homeowners may choose not to run their HVAC systems as not to incur any electricity bill charges. No air flow combined with drawn shades, humidity, and raised interior temperatures, mold has the perfect playground to run rampant.
When returning to a winter home, any owner should be diligent in inspecting for mold or other damages and aware of what these signs may be:
1. Visible mold growth
Some mold may present itself on surfaces and is clearly seen. Though it is always best to have a mold specialist perform actual tests as mildew can often be mistaken for mold.
2. Unpleasant Odors
If the home has an earth-like or musty smell that does not clear, this may be an indication that mold is present.
3. Moist, humid feeling
If upon stepping inside the home, the interior feels humid or almost wet, there is unwanted moisture somewhere either from a leak or stagnant air. Since it can be hard to tell how long the air has been in this state, it is always safe to suspect mold and call for testing.
4. Leaks, flooding, or other water-related damages
If there are any leaks from any appliances or plumbing, broken seals on windows or doors, or any kind of flooding or wet material, water has found its way into the home and has likely sat for some time. Mold takes only 24-48 hours to begin colonizing so calling out a water damage expert as well as a mold specialist is highly recommended.
Discovering a mold infestation is not the ideal warm welcome back. If a home is experiencing the usual signs of mold, it is better to deal with mold testing and mold damage remediation right away. Enjoying the winter in sunny South Florida is more enjoyable without mold in your home.
What to Expect During Winter in South Florida
After months of rain and humidity, cooler temperatures and some breeze is very much welcomed in Florida. West Palm Beach and the rest of South Florida is not exactly known for sweater weather but the weather overall can be much more pleasant. Some days may call for a light jacket while others are still perfectly acceptable to spend at the beach. The winter months in South Florida can be confusing for those who are not used to dealing with it, so here’s what to expect in the coming months!
Though November is still technically part of storm season, large storm activities tend to slow significantly. Temperatures can range from the mid to high 70s which can be extremely pleasant weather to enjoy many outdoor activities. Low humidity, lower chance of rain and sunny days makes for an incredibly great start to the holiday season during November.
Unfortunately, December does not bring any colder weather than that of November. Some days may drop in temperature by a few degrees, though cold fronts are not long lasting and do not call for warmer clothing like the cold days that places in the Florida Panhandle might experience. Even the most southern tip of Florida, Key West, may likely only reach 65 degrees during a cold December day.
January’s weather pattern follows that of December as far as temperature is concerned in South Florida. January does tend to have less sunlight though and have days that are a bit cloudier, which can in turn make them slightly cooler, however sunshine filled days are still ever-present. January is part of Florida’s dry season so humidity levels tend to float around 80% in the morning and drop to the low 70s and high 60s as the day progresses.
Winter in Florida means a reprieve from cloudy, storm-filled skies. With cool days and plenty of sunshine, it is no wonder South Florida is the ultimate getaway during fall and winter!
Rebuilding Your Home After Fire Damage
After a fire has damaged your home, restoration and repairs will need to occur for a home to return to preloss conditions. Based on the size of the fire and what areas in the home were affected, homeowners will need to decide on whether they will rebuild parts of their home and understand what that entails.
What Does An Inspection Of My Fire Damaged Home Entail?
At this point in the process, the property’s insurance provider has been contacted and will likely require a full inspection of your home.
Based on the damage, an inspection may be conducted by your restoration company, an engineer, or general contractor who may evaluate all of the following and more:
- Flooring and Walls
- Electrical circuits/wires
- Windows, Doors, Door Frames
- Systems in the home like water heaters, pumps, HVACs
What Does Restoration Look Like?
After consulting with the restoration company or third party vendor, your insurance will likely provide an estimated coverage per your policy.
- Any areas of the home that need to be secured like broken windows, exposed roofing, or enter ways will be boarded and tarped. This will help to prevent any other elements from entering in your home and causing further damage.
- Water removal is typically always necessary as water is used to extinguish a fire. Smoke, soot, and odor removal will also occur in affected areas.
Some homeowners may choose to sell their home for what is valued at after a fire, should their insurance provide coverage for this. However, that is not always an option. Repairing more than just drywall and floors is necessary for maintaining your home’s structural integrity. As fire can weaken and warp certain building materials replacement may occur
SERVPRO of West Palm Beach has the ability to provide repairs/reconstruction for your home where needed whether it is structural, drywall, or flooring damage. In fact, our team is highly experienced when it comes to many reconstruction projects, working with many insurances and homeowners throughout West Palm Beach. A fire can be devastating but does not always amount to complete loss of your home. Reconstruction is possible and can have your home back to comfortable living conditions.