5 things you can do to help prevent water damage events at home!
No one wants to deal with water flooding issues in the home. Sometimes they are caused by events that are unavoidable and unexpected. There are, however, 5 areas in your home that you can routinely check to help avoid the majority of the water loss jobs we deal with.
1. Check your Toilet supply line and flush valve
The most common causes of water loss/damage that we see are issues with the toilet. Either the supply line has come loose or cracked or the flush and fill valves are not working properly. Faulty flush valves can also cause unusually high water bills when they go undetected. Checking upstairs bathrooms is essential because a flooding issue from an upstairs source will generally affect the upstairs and downstairs area of the home. If you need help with regular maintenance of your toilet, here is a great resource from Fluidmaster (Toilet Upkeep Guide)
2. Make sure that washing machines are installed and working properly
We recently had 2 water extraction jobs here in Mesa, AZ where the washing machine was the cause of loss. In the first case, there was something wrong with the regulator sensor on the washer and the water overfilled the washing tub and filled up the pantry and kitchen in a ton of water and soap. At least the floor was ready to mop after hundreds of gallons of water were extracted. Luckily, we were on site quick enough to extract the water before any damage was done to the house.
In the other case, the installers had nicked the water supply line when installing the washing machine. The issue was not discovered until the first load of laundry was done and the homeowner got a lot more than just a clean load of clothes.
This can also just happen over time. We had an issue where one night we kept walking into the garage and the floor in the laundry room was wet. We cleaned it up thinking the kids had just spilled something. About an hour later we had to go back through and it was wet again. We were baffled. After about an hour of looking for the issue, we found that there was a very small crack in the water supply line that was lightly spraying water out behind and then under the washer.
Luckily we caught it in time. That could have caused some major issues.
3. Make sure your water heater is working properly and doesn’t need to be replaced
Water heaters are one of the most appreciated yet under maintenance household appliance. It usually sits out in the garage, so its, “out of sight, out of mind.” Having a water heater that is not in proper repair can cause high monthly energy bills, rusty water, and can cause severe water damage. Luckily, most of the time the water damage is done to the garage area and does not filter into the home. But a lot of the time it will affect the walls that separate the garage from the home. Because the garage is not a high traffic area, water issues are not discovered right away. That means damage to drywall and usually a breeding ground for mold.
4. Make sure your dishwasher is connected properly
Water issues from dishwashers are usually caught pretty quickly because the kitchen tends to be a high traffic area in most homes. Especially in a home like ours where kids are constantly searching for cookies, juice boxes and granola bars that we try to keep well hidden. We have had a few jobs in the past where people woke-up to kitchen floors fully flooded after leaving the dishwasher to do its work right before heading to bed. Similar to the washing machine, do periodic checks of the water supply line to the dishwasher to make sure there aren’t any loose connections and that the hose is in good condition and not cracking.
5. Make sure water hoses to the fridge are not kinked and are in good condition.
So, any fridge that has an ice maker or water dispenser is obviously going to have some type of water supply line connected to it. We don’t usually see issues from those supply lines because they don’t have the amount of water running through them as other supply lines do. However, we did have one case where a property owner called us out to a house where the renter kept smelling an odd smell by the refrigerator and after completely cleaning out it out still couldn’t find the source of the odor. We recognized the smell as a potential mold issue right away. After moving the fridge out of its space, we could instantly see huge water damage and mold issue that was infecting the whole drywall and cabinet area that was around the fridge. It was caused by a crack in the water supply line.
So, there is really no way to totally eradicate the possibility of having a water loss on your property. Weird things happen every day. Hopefully, they don’t happen all that often. But checking these 5 areas on a quarterly basis can help to avoid major water issues. One of the reasons this is so important is that Homeowners Insurance policies are generally very specific about what they will and won't cover. Most of the people we deal with just assume that since they have insurance they are good to go. Insurance mostly only covers water losses where the loss was caused by a sudden and unexpected event. So, a slow leak here or there or an issue where the loss could have been avoided by general routine maintenance are generally not going to be covered by insurance and will have to come out of the property owner’s pocket.
Why SERVPRO? - We Exceed Client Expectation!
Here in the marketing department, one of the questions we are asked the most it, “Why SERVPRO?” The fact is that there are a ton of restoration companies you can choose from? It can be a daunting task to find a company to come into your home or business to take care of your things! We know that. So, we have decided to create a 6 part blog post to talk about why you should use SERVPRO of North Central Mesa for your water, fire, and mold remediation, biohazard clean-up, ozone treatments, vandalism cleanup, etc.
This is part 1 of the 6 part series of “Why SERVPRO”
We Exceed our Customer’s expectations
We were just in a meeting with other marketing agents for different businesses and one of the most common concerns that the marketing agents had was that once the marketing was successful and customers and clients were using their business that they would have a good experience with the actual service their company provided. As marketers, we work hard to acquire new customers and clients, so it is disheartening to see business not return after the initial use because of a bad experience with the service provided. I have certainly been in that place with other companies, so I understand!
Our Owner and Service Techs are awesome!
Luckily I haven’t had to worry about that at all since coming here. Paul Frost, the franchise owner, is one of the most honest people I have met and he routinely goes out of his way to help people both in the course of his business and in his personal life. Levi Frost and Adam Bello, our main technicians get nothing but praise from the jobs they go on. In fact, we generally get follow-up reconstruction jobs from the mitigation jobs they are on because our clients are so impressed with their work. They are professional and meticulous and they are both IICRC Certified! Bridget Bello, our Packout Manager, has a spitfire personality with a genuine heart and loves people. When dealing with pack-out issues these are unique and important characteristics to have. Pack-outs often involve dealing with sensitive and personal items and Bridget is very sensitive to that. During the pack-out, content cleaning, and content storage process she makes sure that items are handled with care. She personally invests herself with our clients to make sure their needs are taken care of.
Our Office Staff
Our office staff is pretty good too! Denise Frost handles the finances with a fine tooth comb and Cary Schellenberg, Denise’s sister, handles all of the paper/computer work (and there’s a TON of it…) and helps manage the job loads to make sure the company is running efficiently. This is important because it allows us to offer our top of the line services at very competitive prices. Denise is also the “Mother” of the business. (Quite literally, This is a family run local franchise and Paul & Denise started it all). Denise and Cary help keep us grounded when things get all crazy, especially around monsoon season.
Our Reconstruction Dept.
Adam Boynton is the manager over reconstruction. Our biggest joke running in the office is that he never has anything to do. The opposite is actually the reality. Between the reconstruction jobs we get from Levi and Adam’s work, Paul’s background (over 30 years in the construction industry) and reputation, referrals from all of the insurance agents and property managers who love us, and the online leads that come in from the awesome marketing department, we keep Adam busy and growing more gray hairs! He is an expert at managing all of the work along with all of the subcontractors we use to get our work done.
The Marketing Department
Now, this may seem a little self-serving, but our marketing department is pretty good too! Kevin Frost is the Marketing Manager and Brian Ford is his marketing partner in crime. We love to be in front of people representing our business because we really love and trust the people we are representing! We also spend a lot of time doing nerdy stuff behind computer screens. Brian and Kevin (yes,... we’re going 3rd person on ya…) are both Google Trusted Street View Photographers (We’ll talk more about that in another post in the series… stay tuned). We have the task of marketing our services, which usually involves misfortune on the part of our future clients. Talk about awkward… Kevin also spends time working as a volunteer for the local American Red Cross while Brian spends a lot of his off-duty hours trying to make sure his kids don’t terrorize the neighborhood.
There are a lot of ways that we could have started this “Why SERVPRO” series. We could have started out talking about all of the technology we use to make sure jobs are done right and efficiently, we could have talked about the Parent company and other supporting franchises around us, we could have talked about the hours and hours of education we go through to stay on top of the latest trends and industry innovations. But when it really comes down to it, we think that the people who work here make us successful. We have a 4.9-star rating in Google, 5-Star Rating on Facebook, and a 5-Star Rating in Yelp! And it’s because of our people!
Document Restoration Services in Mesa Arizona
SERVPRO's Document Restoration Team's Vacuum Freeze Drying Chamber
Do you own a paper or x-ray document driven business in Mesa Arizona? Have you wondered what would happen if a monsoon or other flooding incident occurred and caused your important documents to become saturated with water? Lawyers, loan specialists, medical offices and a number of other businesses could have a massive problem on their hands if their paper and/or x-ray documents became compromised. SERVPRO's Document Restoration Services can restore your paper or x-ray documents.
SERVPRO uses a document restoration technique called Sublimation, through vacuum freeze drying, to restore documents for its legal, medical, loan and other small business clients. Sublimation is the processes of a substance directly from a solid state to a gas phase skipping the liquid phase. The liquid phase of the cleaning process is the phase where the most damage is done to paper and x-ray documents. By skipping this phase, we significantly increase the probability of restoring paper and x-ray documents to usable conditions!
The MedPro Group, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, encourages businesses to contact a restoration company as quickly as possible and to have a HIPAA agreement in place. All employees of SERVPRO’s Document Restoration Team are HIPAA Master certified, and once materials arrived at the SERVPRO facility they are under 24/7 surveillance!
Along with using Vacuum freeze-drying to dry out documents and x-rays, many times documents are exposed to CAT 3 water. CAT 3 water is the designation for sewage or flood waters and they generally carry all types of bacteria that could also pose a risk to documents. The SERVPRO Document Restoration Team uses a process called gamma irradiation to decontaminate documents and other goods of harmful bacteria. Don’t worry, the gamma irradiation process does not create radioactive elements and won't turn you or your documents into a green monster…
Water damage creates a perfect breeding ground for mold growth.
With all of the storms we have been having lately we have been inundated with water damage jobs and a lot of Restoration companies in the Mesa, AZ area are backlogged. If you are having to wait for someone to come to take care of your water damage areas the is a good chance that mold growth can occur and create a larger, more serious issue. Mold and mildew can start forming in as little too 24 to 48 hours. Make sure to keep the area as clean and ventalated as possible. Keep in mind that just because you don't see mold, doesn't mean it's not there.
If there has been more than 24 to 48 hours that the water damage was discovered or tended to you really should consider having a hygentist come out and perform a mold inspection.
Will You Home Owners Insurance Cover Your Water Damage?
Residential Water Damage
What will Insurance Cover?
We have had 2 jobs come in the past two weeks where there was a water damage issue inside the home that was caused by an issue outside of the home. One issue was a busted pipe right by the outside wall of the home. In the second case a sprinkler head busted, the water shot up like a geyser, and entered through a grated area under the roof and flooded a bedroom. In the first case, the insurance company denied the claim. In the second case, the insurance company initially said they were going to deny the claim, but we are working with the homeowner to try to dispute their argument.
A summary of the usual language in homeowners insurance contracts reads something like this. If the water source of the damage was from inside the house (a broken pipe, toilet flooding, bathtub flooding, etc.) it would be covered as long as the issue wasn’t caused by faulty repairs, poor maintenance or neglect. If the source of the water was from the outside it would have to come from anywhere other than the ground to be covered. Even rain water, if it touches the ground before entering the home, would not be covered. That would generally be considered flood damage and would have to be covered through flood insurance. Another issue dealing with broken pipes is that insurance generally won't cover the loss if it wasn’t “sudden and accidental.” So, if the cause of loss was from a slow leak in a pipe, chances are it won’t be covered.
In the second case, as was previously mentioned, we are working with the homeowner to dispute the coverage denial. The argument here is that the source of the water, though it was from the ground, was actually caused by a pressurized line in the ground and not a traditional flooding issue. This is where the fine print comes in, and I have not had a chance to review the policy directly. But you should know what the fine print of your policy says. For example, Progressive Insurance’s website lists 3 different levels of homeowners insurance, that cover different things (“perils”).
The “perils” are generally listed as follows. Some coverages cover all of them, some only cover a portion of them.
- Steam or hot water heating systems and water heater
- Smoke damage: sudden and accidental
- Weight of ice, snow or sleet
- Artificially generated electrical current
- Freezing of plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, fire protection systems or appliances
Make sure to ask your insurance agent, or a prospective insurance company, specific questions about what is and isn’t covered under your policy. This can help you know what to expect when you have a water damage issue ahead of time.
Your help can bring HOPE
Local American Red Cross Chapter
Flooded home, uninhabitable, a charred apartment complex, being devastated by flames.
This is a message sent out from the American Red Cross. In the Past SERVPRO was a Partner with ARC. Now Kevin Frost our Marketing manager is a Disaster Action Team Member with the Local Chapter.
Today their goal is Money how can you help.
A flooded home, uninhabitable. A charred apartment complex, devastated by flames. A frightened family, terrified by tornadoes ripping through the neighborhood. These are the heartbreaking scenes we see every day, all across the country. GIVE NOW GIVE MONTHLY
And every single day, nearly every 8 minutes, we are there.
Whether its providing shelter, serving a hot meal or connecting families to the resources they need to start rebuilding their lives, our support depends on the generosity of donors like you. Can you help us reach our goal of $25,000 by July 31, so we can be there for families in communities when they need us most?
Disaster season is always upon us. Red Cross employees and volunteers need to be there, every moment of every day to helpthose affected.
Thanks to supporters like you, we’re able to provide care andcomfort as soon as we are on the scene.
Your tax-deductible donation can help at every level:
When you give to the Red Cross, you’re helping people in their darkest hour, standing with them to make sure they’re not alone.
Please don’t wait to donate – make a generous gift and help us reach our $25,000 goal today.
VP, Humanitarian Services
American Red Cross
Monsoon Microburst Damage Cleanup in Mesa AZ
Monsoon season has started in Arizona! Last week a huge storm hit the Phoenix and Mesa areas! One of the big issues that come with the monsoon storms are microbursts that can cause a ton of damage to homes in their paths!
This weekend we were performing a packout job for a home in East Mesa that had a huge tree from a neighboring school fall right through the roof! Luckily no one was home, but it did a good amount of damage to the structure of the home. What may be unnerving to their neighbors is that the school has 2 more trees about the same size (they are pretty huge) right along the same wall. I was talking with the contractor who was working for the school, he stated that while they were working to haul away the tree that fell, the wind kicked up again and the other trees started swaying. He said they hightailed it out of there until the wind died down again.
The same storm sent a 70-year-old lady to the hospital after a huge tree fell on her home.
Make sure that if you have trees in your yard that they are kept up and trimmed properly. A lot of the calls we get during monsoons either deal with water damages or trees falling through homes. The local roofing companies love it, insurance companies... not so much!
Tornadoes in Arizona? Here's what to do!
Since 1950 there have been 244 tornadoes recorded in Arizona. 9 of those happened in the Mesa AZ area from 1967 to 2014. Because they rarely happen in these parts, people are generally not prepared for them and don't know what to do when they do hit. I grew up in Florida where hurricanes and tornadoes were a common occurrence. I was happy to learn they weren't too common out here after moving here. I had my share of them.
So, here are some things to think about if you find yourself in the rare path of an Arizona tornado.
- Don't run outside and stay away from any window.
- Don't open any windows. It will not decrease air pressure.
- Winds increase in narrow spaces such as under bridges and underpasses. Don’t seek shelter under them.
- Don’t try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle
- Don’t stay in mobile units.
- Find the nearest shelter or low lying area
- Try to find a room with exterior walls
- Cover yourself with bedding
- Seek shelter in a permanent structure.
Here is a link to a Google map that lists all of the tornadoes that have been tracked in Arizona since 1950: Arizona Tornado Map
If you have damage to your property, give us a call and we can help you deal with your insurance and answer any questions you have! (480) 553-7103 - SERVPRO of North Central Mesa
The Toilet is the Main Suspect....
The Toilet is the Main Cause of Residential Water Damage We Deal With
The leading cause of residential water damage issues we deal with is from toilet issues. More specifically faulty toilet shutoff valves and fill/flush kits. It is important to check them at least once a year, but preferably every quarter.
When checking the shutoff valve make sure that there isn't any leaking at the shutoff valve or any of the pipes or lines attached to the shutoff valve. One of the other issues with the shutoff valve is rust. Rust on the shutoff valve can prevent you from being able to turn the valve off. Because rust can make it hard to turn the valve off, there is also a chance that putting too much force on the valve can cause attached pipes to break. If you are having a hard time turning the valve, try to use WD-40 to loosen the valve up.
Another issue that can cause the toilet to flood are issues with the fill and flush kits. The fill and flush kits regulate the amount of the water that fills the toilet tank after a flush. When there is a break in the line between the flush and fill kits it throws off the regulator and the water will keep filling into the tank without turning off when it’s full. To keep this from happening regularly check the line between the kits when you are checking the toilet shutoff valve.
If for some reason there is a toilet flooding issue and you are not able to turn the water off at the point of the toilet, immediately turn the water off at the main water shutoff valve for the property. A good way to prepare ahead to know where the main shutoff valve is use SERVPRO’s free ERP (Emergency Ready App) to log where all of the shutoff valves are in the house. You can see more about the ERP here: www.ready.SERVPRO.com
3 Leading Causes of House Fires
No one wants to have to deal with a house fire. I have personally had a kitchen burn out and have dealt with several houses suffer a total loss from fires while working with SERVPRO of North Central Mesa. We have noticed a few things people should look at when trying to prevent the possibility of a house fire.
Some of the most common causes of house fires are:
- Cooking Equipment
- Heating Equipment.
Cooking equipment such as microwaves, cooking oil and turkey fryers (Or a slow cooker if you are a This is Us Fan) are the leading cause of house fires at 47%. They also cause 20% of home fire deaths and 45% of fire injuries. Always watch food that is cooking and make sure that flammable items are kept away from heating elements. Also, avoid cooking while sleeping or intoxicated with alcohol or medication.
While smoking materials only account for 5% of house fires, it causes 21% of home fire deaths which causes it to be the most deadly cause of house fires. Faulty lighters and cigar/cigarette butts that have not been extinguished are the leading culprits. Of course, the best way to avoid a fire from smoking materials is to not smoke. But if you do smoke, make sure lighters are put in areas where they are less likely to ignite (ie: extreme heat) and make sure all butts are extinguished after use. Also, with the rise of vaping, make sure batteries are removed from vaping devices while not in use.
Space heaters and uncleaned chimneys are the leading causes of house fires from heating sources. To avoid this, make sure that chimneys are cleaned out regularly (click here to find a chimney sweep near you in Mesa, AZ) and don't leave space heaters unattended. According to the National Fire Protection Association, from 2011-2015 fires from home heating sources caused about "$1.1 Billion in direct property damage."
*blog information from 2011-2015 statistics from the National Fire Prevention Association.