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Property Damage Restoration Blog | ServiceMaster of Tacoma

How to Spot Spring Water Damage

The official start of spring brings warmer temperatures and often milder weather conditions. However, melting snow and spring rain showers can lead to water, mold and flood damage. Your home or business may have experienced damage during the winter. Now is the time to repair the damage your property may have sustained and pay attention to water-related damage that may appear throughout spring.

Water Damage

Look for signs of water damage in your home. Water damage is not always obvious so it’s important to keep an eye out for it, especially this time of year. The indicators can occur both inside and outside of your home.

  • Walk the outside of your home and look for pooling water. Downspouts should divert water away from your home.
  • While you’re outside, check gutters, roof doors and windows for damage or any gaps that water could seep through.
  • Start indoors by looking for warped or cracked hard flooring.
  • Water spots on your ceilings and walls are sure signs of water damage.
  • Look under your sinks for warping and discoloration.
  • Soft spots in your floors near toilets, bathtubs, sinks, dishwashers and washing machines are also an indicator.

Mold Damage

Even small amounts of moisture can cause mold growth. If you find water damage in your home, you most likely also have mold damage. Use the following tips to find mold in your home. It’s not always obvious.

  • Visible mold is usually just the tip of the iceberg. If you see mold spores, always investigate further and contact a professional mold damage restoration team.
  • Your sense of smell can be a useful tool. Take note of damp or mildew smells.
  • A lingering cold or flu can be a sign of mold.
  • If you experience respiratory or breathing issues, you might have a mold problem in your home.

Flooding

The combination of snowmelt and spring rain can lead to flooding. Even a few inches of water can cause very expensive damage. Use the following flood damage prevention tips.

  • Consider buying flood insurance. Floods usually aren’t covered in a typical homeowner’s insurance policy.
  • Create a disaster plan with your family. Decide on meeting places, communication and assign responsibilities.
  • Keep digital copies of your important documents like birth certificates, insurance plans and social security cards. Protect the originals by placing them in a waterproof container on a high shelf.
  • Pay close attention to weather warnings and follow directions issued by the National Weather Service.
  • When a flood occurs bring outdoor furniture indoors, roll up rugs, secure breakables and place electronics and sentimental items in a waterproof container on a high shelf.
  • Evacuate when instructed to, never drive through flooded streets and only return to your home once authorities have given an all safe.

ServiceMaster of Tacoma has been serving our local community for 38 years. We care about our neighbors. That’s why we stand for the highest quality standards possible all year long. Contact us to restore your peace of mind. We’re available 24/7 for emergency restoration services. When you need water damage restoration from Seattle to Tumwater, you can count on us. The quicker you call the more damage we can prevent.

 

Photo by brenkee

How to Prepare for a Snowstorm

Rainstorms aren’t the only winter weather hazard that the PNW is likely to see this year. Storms of all types including wind and snow are possible this winter. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, this region will see the most snow from mid-December to late January. No matter which storm event ends up being the most prevalent this season, it’s important to be ready before it occurs. Use the following preparation tips to help you withstand a snowstorm with minimal damage.

 

Before

Before a snowstorm, stock up on essentials and be prepared to be confined to your home for an extended period of time. It’s important to put your winter storm plan to use in advance to avoid a last-minute dash to an empty grocery store.

  • Create an emergency kit containing non-perishable food and water that will last you a few days. Also include a flashlight, battery-operated radio and extra batteries. Don’t forget any medications or other personal necessities either you or your family members may need.
  • Subscribe to your local weather warning system.
  • Keep the cold air out by weather-stripping your doors and windows.
  • Fill your gas tank, keep blankets and some emergency supplies in your car.
  • Gather extra coats, gloves, hats and other warm clothes for your entire household.
  • Communicate with all of your family members about what to expect during a snowstorm.

 

During

Stay out of harm’s way and pay attention to snowstorm updates on your radio. Try not to wander outdoors until the storm warning is lifted.

  • Avoid driving or walking outside. Stay indoors if possible.
  • Pay attention to storm updates.
  • Check on neighbors. The elderly and young children may need extra help during severe weather.
  • Allow pets easy access to food, water and warmth. Setting up extra pet beds, blankets or even dressing them in boots and sweaters may be a good idea.
  • Make sure you set up generators correctly and limit their use to essential appliances.
  • Keep a close eye on space heaters. They use a lot of power and are highly flammable.
  • Learn the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia. Take steps to prevent cold weather-related injuries by drinking plenty of water, taking breaks indoors and staying active when you are outside.

 

After

Even though the snow has stopped falling, icy roads or melting snow can still be hazardous.

  • Use caution when venturing outside for the first time.
  • Use sand or ice melt on sidewalks and driveways.
  • Avoid driving until road conditions improve.
  • If you decide to shovel snow, do so with care. It’s easy to overexert yourself with a task you’re not used to.

 

ServiceMaster of Tacoma has been serving our local community for 38 years. We care about our neighbors. That’s why we stand for the highest quality standards possible all year long. Contact us to restore your peace of mind. We’re available 24/7 for emergency restoration services. When you need winter weather restoration from Seattle to Tumwater, you can count on us. The quicker you call the more damage we can prevent.

 

Photo by Wolfgang Lützgendorf

Toys for Tots 2019

‘Tis the season for Toys for Tots! Donate your new, unwrapped toys to a dropbox near you.

Case Study: Flood Damage

Project Manager: Jeff Filmer

THE DISASTER

A 3,800 square foot 2-story home suffered a water loss due to a failed toilet supply line. The homeowners were on vacation when the loss occurred and came home to standing water throughout a large area on the main floor. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that most of the storage and 3 car garage below the source of the loss were affected as well. Emergency water mitigation was contacted and the dry out process began immediately. There was an extensive amount of content in all rooms that required pack out. All hardwoods were buckled along with insulation and drywall hanging in the garage as the water had been sitting in the home while the customers were gone for an extended period of time. Once the non-salvageable drywall was removed, technicians found large areas of growth throughout the lower level, which required remediation.

THE PROCESS

Pack out crews began working along with water mitigation technicians due to the amount of content affected by the loss. All content was processed, inventoried, and packed out to be transferred to our facility while the dry out continued. Once the content was packed out, water mitigation continued upstairs, all carpets were lifted and addressed using specific drying techniques to salvage those rooms. Dehumidifiers, air movers, and drying plates were placed on tile and hardwoods upstairs. A containment was set in the garage below the source of the loss along with air scrubbers to help ensure proper air quality during the remediation process. Technicians successfully removed the affected material and remediated all affected material at the lower level. Upon completion of the remediation, drying equipment was set below and technicians were able to utilize a “sandwich” drying process to speed up dry out of the subfloor separating the garage and affected rooms above.

THE RECOVERY

All salvageable items were transported to headquarters to be cleaned, dried, and placed in storage for the remainder of repairs. Some memorabilia required the use of subcontractors to address, such as fine textiles, antique furniture, and high-end electronics. Remaining non-salvageable items were inventoried and processed with the customer prior to disposal in order to assist with the claim process. The contractor was contacted following the completion of water mitigation, remediation, and pack out to begin the repair process. Once construction was complete, all items were transferred back to the customer. Technicians were able to successfully complete all the processes mentioned above while allowing the customer to live in the home. This would not have been possible if it was not for the ability of crews to communicate and work with the customer throughout the process.

One of the drying techniques used.

Growth found in the lower level.

Remediation.

Case Study: Content Recovery

Project Manager: Courtney Reese

THE DISASTER

An electrical fire on the front porch caused fire and smoke damage to the whole 3800 square foot home. All contents in the home needed to be evaluated for smoke and fire damage. The home included a rec room with full-size arcade games, an entire room with NASCAR memorabilia that required extreme care with cleaning and inventorying, a weight room with several large pieces of equipment, and a full built-in bar needing to be disassembled.

THE RECOVERY

We coordinated the move out with various subcontractors on-site, including Golden West Games to handle the arcade games and pool table, World Wide Moving to dismantle the custom bar and bed frames, a specialty gym equipment company that could dismantle the work out equipment and reassemble once complete, a furniture refinisher for several wooden furniture pieces, and a textile company was contracted to handle soft goods throughout the home.

We evaluated and inventoried all content for salvageability. All salvageable content was brought back to our facility to be cleaned and stored until repairs were completed, roughly 15 months.

Arcade games in rec room.

Custom bar.

NASCAR room.

Collector NASCAR items including soft textiles.


October is National Fire Prevention Month

Do what you can to protect what matters most. Practice the following fire safety tips to help prevent a disastrous fire in the home.

  • Create a fire escape plan and make sure that everyone is familiar with the steps, including kids. Take the time to practice often, so that no one forgets what to do in case of a real fire.
  • Replace batteries in every smoke detector when Daylight Savings ends and begins (only a few more weeks!). According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA.org), 3 out of 5 home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with either no smoke alarm or homes with alarms not in working order.
  • Don’t overload an electrical outlet and go easy on your surge protectors.
  • If you have an in-home fireplace, have your chimney inspected before you make your first fire of the season.

If your home does have a fire, get out, stay out, and call for help.

DIY Fall Inspection Checklist

Fall has arrived! The cool weather is part of what makes tailgating, pumpkin carving and baking holiday treats so special. It might also be the breath of cool air you need after a hot summer. However, crisp air, wind and rain can also cause weather-related damage to your property. Before the sun is completely covered by grey clouds, prepare your home or commercial property for the cool months ahead with ServiceMaster of Tacoma’s DIY Fall Inspection Checklist.

Heaters

  • Dust your vents and turn your heater on. If you see debris fall from your vents or smell a musky scent, consider scheduling a professional air duct cleaning. Ensuring your vents are clean can improve your indoor air quality.

Portable Heaters

  • Always watch portable heaters while in use to avoid a fire disaster.
  • Make sure your heater’s cord is in good condition. If it’s frayed, stop using immediately.
  • Set up your portable heater on a flat, stable surface like wood or tile floors.
  • While your heater is running, check the outlet and cord. If it’s hot to the touch, turn off your heater and consult an electrician.

Chimney

  • Inspect your chimney for excess soot.
  • You should conduct a thorough chimney cleaning at least once per year depending on use. Call a professional chimney sweep to remove flammable soot.

Plumbing

  • Inspect areas that are prone to water leaks like bathrooms and laundry rooms. You might have to look behind appliances and observe them in use.
  • Consider wrapping exposed pipes with pipe insulation to prevent frozen pipes during the cooler seasons ahead. You’re most likely to find exposed pipes in your basement or attic.

Roof

  • If possible, break out your ladder to inspect your roof.
  • Look around the outside of your chimney to ensure the caulking is in good condition.
  • Replace missing shingles and fill cracks, especially around your chimney. Gaps in your roof will allow water to seep under your roof, often causing mold growth.

Gutters

  • While you’re at it, take a look at your gutters.
  • Remove debris with a small shovel or plastic spatula.
  • Check downspouts to make sure they’re directed away from your home and toward a path that allows it to escape from your property.

Windows & Doors

  • Make sure all openings to your home can close securely. Inspect your windows and doors for gaps.
  • If you find gaps, seal with weather-stripping that can be found at your local home improvement store.

Lawn Mower

  • Remove leftover gas from your lawnmower either by mowing your lawn one last time or storing it in a gas canister.
  • Store your lawnmower in a shed, away from the elements.

Yard

  • Trim trees and other large greenery. Gusts of wind can sweep branches into windows causing extensive damage.
  • Disconnect, drain and store hoses.
  • Use outdoor faucet covers to prevent them from freezing in low temperatures.

ServiceMaster of Tacoma has been serving our local community for 38 years. We care about our neighbors. That’s why we stand for the highest quality standards possible. Contact us to restore your peace of mind. We’re available 24/7 for emergency restoration services. When you need weather-related restoration from Seattle to Tumwater, you can count on us. The quicker you call the more damage we can prevent.

 

istock.com/schulzie

Case Study: House Fire Pack out

Project Manager, John “Scooter” McDonough

Before pack-out services.

THE DISASTER

1300 sq.ft. home suffered fire and smoke damage throughout the structure. The cause of loss was a cigarette left on the back porch. The upper level suffered an extensive amount of fire damage, while the lower level had significant water damage.

 

THE PROCESS

ServiceMaster was instructed by the insurance adjuster to pack out the entire home of salvageable content. In

After pack-out services.

addition, the customer’s grandson wanted a best effort on items that were damaged by the fire. Due to a large amount of content in the home, we utilized a moving company to assist with transporting the items back to our facility for cleaning.

 

 

THE RECOVERY

The items brought back for cleaning were completed within a week of arrival. These items will be stored in our secure, climate-controlled warehouse for approximately 10 months while the customer’s home is being repaired.

 

Case Study: Consignment Shop Fire

Take a look as the crew performs a pack out at a local consignment shop. The shop had a significant fire, and being an older building, showed traces of mold and asbestos, which is why our crew is decked out in PPE gear. These items will be inventoried and transported back to our facility for professional cleaning, and then stored until the shop is restored and ready for inventory again.

Restoration Relay

In case you wanted to see more of our “Restoration Relay” from the BBQ last Friday… things got a little competitive.