Fire Restoration and How It Works

Often times, after a fire, once the emergency has been dealt with, the homeowner may be worried about what they should do next. Although the fire itself has been dealt with, new problems may start to present themselves. This is the time when the homeowner should contact a restoration services company who can now begin to work on assessment of damage and repair processes.

Assessment of damages from the fire:

Once your restoration team arrive to the home, they will start off by making an inventory of all the fire-related damages. They will have a thorough inspection of your home, documenting all the problems and how they plan on fixing it. This can also help you out when you file your insurance claim, as they need an inventory of damages.

Assessment of potential water damages:

The next thing the restoration company will work on will be potential water damages to your home. Water is often used to put out fires, and as a result, can be left standing. In such cases, the water can cause severe problems in the future, such as mold development and growth. This is why after assessment of damages, the team will work quickly to remove the water and prevent any further problems from emerging.

Assessment of damages to the structure of your home:

The team then starts work on the foundation and structural stability of your home. Often, this time is also used to inspect the items in the home and to discard any damages items. As anyone with precious possessions can tell you, this is often difficult for the families as they have to lose a lot of their personal and dear belongings. Although restoration companies can help out with the repair of slightly damaged furniture, those items that are badly damages cannot be restored and have to be eventually discarded.

Professional cleaning of smoke odors, soot and developing mold:

Cleaning the soot from the house after a fire can be very difficult, but it is also vital to prevent any mold development in the future. This is why the restoration company will focus on the cleaning out of your home next. This cleaning is done using professional tools such as dehumidifiers to ensure that no water is left standing and no soot is left unattended. Smoke odors can also be dealt with effectively to remove the horrible smell after a fire using effective tools.

Repairs to the structure of your home:

Now that the home has been cleaned out, the next thing to do is to clean up the structure of the home, and to make sure that it is sound. An unstable structure can cause you a lot of problems in the future so this should be dealt with quickly. Finally, the team will return any items they have restored.

Fire damages can be difficult to work with, but with knowledge and a professional restoration team on your side, your home will soon go back to the way it was once before.

How to Permanently Remove Smoke Odors

As a result of a fire starting in your property or home, you may have to deal with a lot of problems that result from the fire. These fire and smoke damages can be a difficulty, but out of them, the biggest nuisance can be of smoke odors. These are smells that ate left behind in the home as a result of the fire, and they can be very difficult to deal with. This is because they get everywhere, and they refuse to leave. Even though the process is hard, it’s not impossible, and can be dealt with using the steps below.

Smoke and its contents:

Smoke is a mixture of various substances and chemicals that can be solid, liquid, or gas. The smoke particles are created after a fire, and its contents are based on what the fire was burning on. Smoke itself is produced when incomplete combustion takes place. This creates a very dangerous gas, which is why smoke is very dangerous for anyone exposed to it. It suffocates anyone who is exposed to it and reduces oxygen availability for them.

Why smoke smells the way it does:

A fire in the house has a bad smell because it burns mostly synthetic substances, such as plastic, appliances, and furniture. These are commonly found inside the home and can cause the production of smoke that contains synthetic substances. This smoke can be toxic and can contain harmful compounds, which can harm anyone that is exposed to it.

Why smoke odors linger in your home:

Smoke odors tend to linger. This is because when the smoke was spread through your home, the odor went with it. This odor settles everywhere in the home in the form of particles, which can become very difficult to remove. Although opening your window may reduce the smell, it cannot effectively remove it. To remove the smell, you will need to contact a professional clean-up services company.

How to remove lingering smoke odors:

Lingering smoke smells can be difficult to remove, but they can be removed using appropriate techniques and tools. A professional restoration can do this, if they follow certain steps and use the right equipment.

Emergency responses by restoration companies:

When you first call up a restoration company, they will undertake some processes. Firstly, soot can be cleaned using the proper tools and techniques. This is based on the kind of fire. Secondly, cleaning of your home will be done using the proper techniques. Finally, techniques like ozone treatment can be used to further remove smoke odors. Air filtration systems can also be used to deal with smoke residues and odors.

Dealing with smoke odors in the home can very difficult, and you shouldn’t be doing it on your own. If you have recently dealt with a fire, the most effective thing you can do to remove the smoke odors is to call up a professional restoration company to assess your damage, and to help you fix the problems.

Avoiding the dangers of water damage

Water damage is bothersome, expensive, and takes time to fix. We already know potential causes of water damages such as storms, floods (by nature), and other “acts of God”.   Here we are going to explore preventable water damage that comes from inside the home.

 Use appliance (w/water supplies) warranties properly

The first step in preventing costly water damage in your home is by maintaining your appliances.  Double Check warranties when you purchase an appliance and understand the warranty- that it covers everything you need it to. Periodically check on your appliances, especially hoses and water connections (this can usually be done just by looking).  Yearly maintenance by a technician is sufficient for most appliances. If a problem crops up, call them right away.

Inspect your roof and foundation regularly

Slow leaks from your roof can destroy your attic area, walls, ceiling, and floors.   It can also destroy insulation, paint, tile, carpet and woodwork in record time. Not only does this breed mold and mildew, it leads to warping and rot, which can make your house structurally unsound. If it goes too far, there is no way to recover from this type of damage without demolition.  Have a qualified professional inspect your roof on a regular basis, at least once a year, more if you suspect a problem.

Prepare your pipes for winter

One of the greatest causes of home leaks is burst pipes. This happens when water in the pipe freezes. The expansion that is caused by freezing ruptures the pipe. When it thaws, the water gushes out and can lead to lots of damage and trouble as well as a huge water bill.  Proper insulation is inexpensive, easy to do, and can keep your pipes safe in freezing weather.

In case of flood, act quickly

You can prevent water damage by quickly cleaning up any spills and leaks. If you notice a leak, shut off the water (if possible) then work on thoroughly cleaning up the water, and dry the area. If you cannot stop the leak (say it’s raining) try to at least slow it down using buckets or tarps.  If you find that the leak has been ongoing, or damage is extensive, might need to call a professional service. A water restoration team will come in and Have you dry and good as new in no time.


Steps to winter proof your home

With the onslaught of cold weather facing us, you need to think about steps to winter proof your home.  Your pipes are a good place to start. There are many DIY ways to protect you and avoid costly plumbing bills.  Here are some tips to help you

  • Be ready for it

Insulating your exposed pipes with foam insulation like a popular spray brand, or to blocks that you can purchase almost anywhere is a good start.   Cover vents that lead to crawl spaces where pipes run.   Make sure you know where your home’s water shutoff is in case pipes do break.    Shut shed and garage doors that contain exposed pipes, and try to keep as temporary patch kit on hand to cut off any ruptured pipes until they can be properly repaired.

  • Turn Up the Heat

If you house is an older style that is built over crawl space that is not insulated, by Turning up your thermostat you will increase the ambient temperature thus warming the crawlspace and inside cabinets where pipes might be hiding.

  • Make Fiberglass blankets

Pick up a roll or two of fiberglass insulation at your local hardware store. You should also get gloves, and dust mask, a utility knife, and rolls of duct tape.  Wrap your insulation around pipes in the attic, tucked into crawl spaces or against outside walls.  If a pipe looks unprotected and vulnerable, wrap it!

  • Pull out the big guns with heat blankets or heating cable

Installing a heat cable can keep a pipe from freezing and bursting.  Just follow the instructions included on the package for best results.  Some heat tape is made to be wrapped around the pipe itself, while some types run alongside it.     You can buy the cable “ready to use”, with an electrical plug in large rolls that you can cut to desired lengths and add your own ends.

  • Space Heaters work a treat

Keep your unprotected pipes from freezing by using an electric heater to warm the air around them. It does not have to be kept at a temperature comfortable to you- it only needs to be above freezing to be effective.

  • Turn your Water off

In case of extreme freezing and no way to protect your pipes, turn off the water main.  Be sure to open all taps and drain the pipes of any residual water.

  • Leave Cabinet Doors open

The plumbing that runs under your kitchen or bathroom sink is usually on an exterior wall.    This can be an extremely vulnerable area because these walls may not be insulated.  Leaving the cabinet doors along these walls open to project heat into the space can help.   Placing an electric heating unit in front of the cabinets is also helpful.

Reduce Carpet Damage by Cleaning Out Air Vents

Many of us use forced air based systems in our homes and workplaces. However, a lot of times, these systems are not appropriately cleaned out and maintained. If not done properly, the system can, along with the warm air, push out harmful objects like dust and particles, which can harm your health, furniture, and cause carpet damage.

Building up of dust:

With the coming of winter, air vents are often used to warm up homes and offices. This can cause dust and particles to build up in the air vents. When air blows through them, this can cause health problems like Asthma and can collect in your carpeting. Not only does this cause a hygiene problem, it can also be unhealthy for the dust to collect in your carpeting, as it can further encourage carpet damage, along with propagating infections and diseases.

Development of molds:

In the winters, there is a climate of moisture, humidity, and particularly in the air vents, it is relatively warm. This is the ideal environment which encourages the development and growth of molds. As a result, your air vents can become infected with molds, which can be difficult to see and in the form of pores. When the mold is blown out through the air vent, it can be inhaled and if it lands on your carpeting, can cause serious damage.

Vermin infestations and costs:

With the build-up of molds and unhygienic conditions, the air vents can become a target for potential vermin infestation. These vermin, such as rats, can be extremely unsafe and can also cause damage in the home like carpet and furniture damages and the spreading of infections. This is why at the earliest sign of droppings or at any sighting of vermin, you should immediately have your air vents inspected and cleaned out. This will not only reduce your chances of infection, it will also reduce your long-term costs.

Why you should get your air vents cleaned out:

Although it can be tempting to ignore all warning signs, it si generally a good idea to regularly clean out your air vents. You can, as a result, reduce chances of being in contact with dust, molds, mildew, and vermin. And although it seems like an expensive project, in the long run, you are saving money on health problems and furniture and carpet damages.

Who should you contact to clean out air vents?

Cleaning out air vents seems like a simple enough job, but most people are not qualified to do it efficiently. This is why you should consider contacting professionals to do the work as they are trained to look for potential areas of harm that you might not even notice. In addition to this, they have access to correct instruments and tools that they can use to properly ensure your home’s air vents are clean and as a result can reduce any chances of carpet damage.

So if you haven’t had your home’s air vents inspected and cleaned out recently, do so as soon as you can and make sure you can avoid carpet damage and health risks.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

A broken pipe can lead to water damage which can surmount to thousands of dollars in restoration. Adding insult to injury, excess water in a basement or other enclosed area can breed things like black mold; then you are looking at health issues and even more money. Spending a little on insulation, foam pipe sleeves, and other preventatives could save a lot more in the long run. All things considered, that proverbial ounce of prevention is usually the best way to go.

  • An ounce of prevention:

Keeping your faucets open to a rapid drip on a really cold winter night could at least spare you from forthcoming problems. Better yet, opening your faucet to a slow trickle can help because flowing water is less likely to freeze. However, the best prevention measure is to insulate all pipes that run through an outside wall, a basement, or an attic. Any exposed pipe is prone to freezing.

When the extreme cold blows through, there are other things you can do to avoid frozen pipes, such as keeping the sink cabinet doors open and put a space heater nearby, being careful no flammable material is close. This will allow the air beneath your sink and around the pipes to remain a little warmer. If you plan to go out of town for the holidays, don’t turn your thermostat down below 55 degrees. The heating bill might cost you a little extra, but it can you a fortune in the end.

Next you should go outside, where water pipes are directly exposed to the elements. Take your hoses off the outside spigots and store them away. Then be sure the spigots are protected with foam caps, towels or some other material that will protect them. Even a thick layer of newspaper can substitute for insulation in an emergency. Also, use silicon or caulk to seal any holes or cracks in your outside walls. Finally, any waterlines going into and out of a swimming pool should be drained then covered.

  • What causes a break?

Even a very short un-insulated length of water pipe can cause a great deal of trouble if it freezes. The freezing itself doesn’t really hurt the pipe, contrary to popular belief. The problem is the unfrozen water between the icy blockage and the faucet. Water expands as it freezes which builds up pressure if your water outlet is shut off completely. The added pressure will strain any weak point in the pipe or joints. If that is not released somehow, it will cause a break.

  • Unfreezing pipes

There are easy ways to unfreeze a pipe if you know where the blockage is located and can get to it easily. First, make sure your faucet is fully opened. So the trapped water will be able to escape, relieving any pressure in lines. Next, find a way to heat up that frozen pipe. This can be done with a standard hair dryer, or by taping a heating pad around the pipe. A bath towel soaked in very warm water would suffice. A space heater could be placed near the pipe. After your heating item is in place, stay near the faucet. When the ice blockage begins to melt, you will observe a slow trickle that will speed up rapidly because flowing water will erode the ice faster.

In Case of Fire, Reduce Damage with Restoration Companies

Fire is a kind of hazardous event that cannot be fully controlled no matter how many prevention techniques are used and can affect you even if the fire isn’t actually occurring in your own house. One of the first things that you will need to do is to contact restoration companies in an effort to reduce further damage to your furniture and loss of possessions.

Types of fire damage:

All kinds of fires can start in the house. The most obvious type of fire, of course, results in the house being burned down completely. In such a case, you will most certainly require the help of a restoration company. However, even with small fires, a lot of damage can occur. This damage may not be apparent, but you will still need help with professional restoration companies to reduce damage to furniture.

Putting out the fire:

When faced with an ongoing fire, you should first contact your fire department. This way, the first action will be for the fire to be put out and to make sure that everyone in the house is safe. You will then need to contact a damage restoration company.

Be prepared:

No one wants to lose their home and all the precious memories associated with it. This is why it is best to be prepared for a potential fire and have a restoration company number already saved in case of emergencies. You can compare companies online and choose one that is best suited to your needs. Another good idea is to make sure that you are already insured against any potentially damaging fires.

What to expect from your restoration company:

Although the main objective of all restoration companies is the same, you should try and look for companies that offer emergency services throughout the day so they can be contacted during emergencies, and offer a lot of other services and facilities that you will most certainly require, such as restoration, cleaning, and even replacing your home’s damaged posessions.

Restoration company services:

Any company whose help you enlist will carry out a range of activities, from assessing damage, fixing any immediate problems, all the way to complete cleaning of your home, such as cleaning off the soot from your carpets. You should also expect the company to clean out any standing water as a result of the fire being put out, and to deal with the disposal of unwanted items damaged by the fire. One of the most important services offered is that of replacement and repair and they should help you in redecorating to make your house look the way it was before.

How to prevent fire damages:

Although restoration companies can offer great help after the fire has happened, the best way to reduce damages to your furniture, carpeting, and home is to try your best to prevent fires. This can be done by using devices like smoke alarms to detect smoke and hence beware of fires, and by carefully maintaining your household electrical devices to quickly pick up on potential fire hazards and by reducing the risk of a fire altogether.

Factors that Influence the Length of Emergency Damage Restoration

After a storm causes severe damage, you want life to get back to normal as soon as possible. The severe damage from a storm is traumatic. However, restoring order helps heal not only your home, but any fears you may have. That means you want a restoration team to come in and repair what they can as fast as possible. Don’t let your emergency damage restoration get slowed due to various factors after a storm. Today we discuss some of these factors.

Type of Storm

The first factor that influences emergency damage restoration depends on the type of storm that has occurred. While you have damage, such as flooding, many others may have it as well. This damage may have occurred from massive thunderstorms, tornadoes, blizzards, ice storms or even tropical storms. If paths to you are made unsafe by damage from these storms, emergency damage restoration is going to be delayed, and potentially prolonged. Thunderstorms, tropical storms, and tornadoes can bring flooding, but also cause damage to power lines which makes taking care of that flooding unsafe if we’re unsure about electrical lines.  Blizzards and ice storms may also drop power lines while freezing pipes, often leading to burst pipes. However, the safety issue with winter weather storms is often iced or un-plowed roads and sometimes even white out conditions if the blizzard conditions persist.

Size of the Restoration

When we gain access into your home and see the damage caused by the storm, we evaluate the amount of damage caused. This tells us the size of the restoration. Each emergency damage restoration job is different because each home is different, and thus it takes a different approach. When you have a large area to take care of, it also takes longer to restore. This means the length of the job is longer. Furthermore, when we begin to restore what we see as damaged, it often reveals more damage than what was previously thought. Of course, this happens for many reasons, but it also means extending the job.

Insurance Company Contact

We coordinate with your insurance agent. This takes the headache out of the work for you, but this can also prolong the length of storm damage restoration. If you have storm damage, it is likely others have damage as well. Your insurance agent will likely be trying to coordinate with other restoration companies that his other clients will use. That does not make it easier for us to get into contact with him or her, particularly if a fairly bad storm has come through. We get through to your insurance agent as soon as possible, however, this can sometimes prolong the emergency damage restoration.

There can be various factors that affect emergency damage restoration. From the type of storm that blows through causing you to need restoration services to the size of your restoration, we do our best to be fast and efficient. Sometimes it isn’t even the storm or the size of the restoration, it may just be a contact that’s out of contact. Whatever it is that may prolong the restoration process, we try our best to make life back to normal as fast as possible at Rainbow International of Northeastern Maryland.

Will Homeowners Insurance Cover My Water Damage?

No one enjoys calling their insurance company to file a claim. What’s worse, is not knowing whether your insurance company will cover the claim. Imagine you have just come home to a flood caused by a burst pipe. Fighting with the claims department is the last thing you want to do. How do you know if your homeowner’s insurance will cover your water damage insurance claim? Today we will discuss just what constitutes a flood, and what insurance companies cover.


The Flood


The homeowner’s insurance dilemma that plagues all people when they file a claim is: what caused the water damage? Was it a broken pipe, a faulty sump pump or a roof leak? Worse, was it a natural disaster such as a flood? Perhaps you’re in a specific situation where your home has both fire and water damage because the fire was put out with fireman’s hoses. Then, after you have water damage, you worry about mold. It’s not just a flood you have to worry about. Unfortunately, unless you have special flood insurance, your water damage insurance claim won’t cover a flood. It’s the flood of worries that come after discovering something has gone wrong with your beloved home.


What is a Flood


While you’re dealing with a flood of emotions you may also ask what is considered a flood. This can change to each insurance company. However, an overflowing river, overflowing lake, a hurricane, a tsunami, a mudslide and maybe even heavy rains can be considered flood causing. In northern states, ice jams on rivers often cause flooding in the spring as well.


Working Fast is Best


It’s important to work fast when you find you have water damage in your home. If you discover you have water damage you need to call your insurance company and restoration company immediately. Once you hear that about the instructions for your water damage insurance claim, you should call a water loss mitigation contractor. Rainbow International Restoration is an excellent choice in Northeastern Maryland. We serve you 24/7 and are certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning & Restoration Certification.


How Water Damage is Repaired


Usually, water damage is assessed on a case by case basis. While every case is different, certain tools are used to determine if water damage should be considered clean water or dirty water. If is determined to be dirty water, then it is considered sewage. This type water damage insurance claim would be cleaned up by using a vacuum unit and air movers. Additionally, dehumidifiers are also used. The drywall is also tested to see how much moisture seeped into it. This is done with a moisture reader. This is notable because it helps to ensure that mold is prevented.


Peace of Mind for Insurance and You


At Rainbow International Restoration of Northeastern Maryland, your insurance company will have peace of mind knowing that our technicians document every stage of work. With photographs and written documents, they know how important it is to you, and your insurance water damage claim. We work so that you are reimbursed, and help to make your home whole again.preview-full-water-damage

Five Ways to Protect Your Home From a Flood

It is inevitable, even if you think you live on high ground, that you will receive a flood warning. You may not live anywhere near large bodies of water, or even small ones. That leaves you with the question of how you may protect your home from a flood. The following are five tips to keep the flood at bay and protect your home from flood damage.


Tip One to Avoid Flood Damage


When you’re thinking about moving, or building your home, the best course of action is to stay at high elevations above any sort of bodies of water. If that isn’t possible, then you need to make sure any electrical in your home is safe. Water and electricity don’t mix. If you plan on building a home, or do any sort of renovations to your current home, it’s advisable to move any electrical sockets, switches or wiring to at least a foot and a half above your flood area. This prevents flood damage to something costly. While you’re considering this, it may be a good idea to move a furnace or other such fixture to the working parts of your home, well above your flood level, too.


Tip Two to Avoid Flood Damage


While you worry about the fixtures inside your home, the outside fixtures are just as important. Many homes also have outside outlets. These too need to be adjusted so that if the flood is limited to the outside of your home water does not seep in through these small places. Many homes also have air conditioners and other equipment outside of their home. It is necessary to elevate and stabilize these units, and protect any lines that lead into homes. Floods will find a way in through these places. Fuel tanks especially, need to be carefully anchored to their attached lines. If the fuel tank breaks free during a flood it can contaminate an area and lead to more consequences.


Tip Three to Avoid Flood Damage


Routine cleaning is a cost effective and easy way to avoid flood damage. Many homeowners forget that some floods can be avoided by maintaining the area where water collects. That may mean gutters, drains and downspouts in your area. You can also keep an eye on storm drains in your neighborhood. If they are blocked it would be beneficial to put a call into the city. Leaves and other seasonal debris often block storm drains, and hinder your efforts to avoid flood damage.


Tip Four to Avoid Flood Damage


A potential solution for your home, that doesn’t require a renovation, would be a ‘dry proofing’ of walls. Dry proofing is an application of some sealant material that is intended to keep out flood waters. This helps for home owners who cannot update homes for other reasons, avoid flood damage to their homes.


Tip Five to Avoid Flood Damage


It’s beneficial to talk with city employees where you live about the importance of how water flows in your area. If it’s known in your area, that water remains for a long time, there may be a case to get a grading or slope added to your street. If it’s not possible for your city to do this, you may try to create a better slope in your immediate property area. For example, your driveway or lot.


When you seek to avoid flood damage in your home, there are many things you can do. Start by elevating your electrical circuitry. Next, be sure to secure other fixtures indoor and outdoors, such as fuel tanks. By doing so, you prevent rising flood waters from causing more damage. Last, remember to seal walls and maintain clean drainage pipes around your home. By following these steps, you limit the flood damage to your property, and protect your ho