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.
Mold Removal vs. Mold Remdiation
Interesting Fact! In the Mesa AZ area, On average, there are about the same number of searches per month on Google for "mold removal" and "mold remediation." (Around 20) As marketers with SERVPRO of North Central Mesa, Kevin and I sometimes get asked what the difference is between "mold removal" and "mold remediation." The answer is quite simple. They are pretty much the same thing.
In reality, it is nearly impossible to remove all mold in a particular area. That's not a bad thing. Mold in and of itself is not bad as we generally have it thought out in our heads. For example, Some molds are used to make some delicious types of cheese. Mold generally becomes a problem when it starts to grow on surfaces inside buildings. But outdoors, we encounter mold spores almost on a continual basis.
Inside exposure to mold is most dangerous to small children, those with severe respiratory issues, and those with weakened immune systems (for example someone receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer.) It should also be noted, that in some cases exposure to mold can lead to the development of asthma.
According to the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the three main contributing factors to mold growth are humidity, temperature, and poor ventilation.
The 5 best way to avoid the development of mold are (Better Homes and Gardens):
- Use dehumidifiers, fans, and open windows to help reduce the moisture in your home. Be especially vigilant during hot, humid months.
- Fix plumbing leaks as soon as possible.
- Do what you can to prevent rainwater from seeping into your home. Check potential problem areas regularly.
- Clean the fabrics in your home routinely and keep them dry.
- Store items in dry, well-ventilated areas.
Arson House Fire
In December of 2017, a homeowner in here in Arizona had her shower interrupted by furious knocks on her front door. As she rushed to the door in her towel she was greeted by her neighbors who informed her that her house was on fire. Because of an ongoing investigation, specific details of the incident won’t be reviewed here. But what can be said is that the fire was an arson and had the neighbors not notified the homeowner that the house was on fire there is a good chance that she wouldn’t have made it out of the house alive.
As I walked through the house the past Friday (5 months after the fire) to try to assess what would need to be done to restore the property I was confronted with the remnants of a family room and dining room where the family spent time together. Around the hall was a bedroom where children slept whos beds and toys were still in place covered by insulation and ash that had fallen through the ceiling. The kitchen where family meals were prepared was recognizable, but far from usable and food sat still in the fridge which had been there since the day of the fire. These types of events put people’s lives on hold and leave lasting damaging emotional and mental damage that sometimes never go away. Acts of a selfish person thinking that this was the appropriate response to their feelings of anger.
Here we see the best and worst in our society. The best in the neighbors who rushed to help their neighbor and the worst in the selfishness of the arsonist. This is different than most of the blogs I put together. Most of them are informational type blogs with actionable steps. What to do when this, of that, happens. In our line of business we deal with a lot of sadness and difficult situations: House fires, suicide clean-ups, houses flooded, lives disrupted and lost. Then after the initial event, the pain is re-visited over and over again by dealing with insurance policies, police reports, sometimes news reporters and explaining over and over again what happened to other family and friends. It’s a delicate issue. If you have or family who is dealing with a similar event please keep this in mind. Let them have their space until they are read/able to talk about what happened and be whatever they need at that moment. And be the neighbor who cares enough for your neighbors to act.
Microburst Storm Damage Restoration in Mesa AZ: SERVPRO of North Central Mesa
SERVPRO of North Central Trucks in front of Gold Pawn Brokers in Mesa AZ after a microburst storm damage restoration.
Storm Damage Restoration for Gold Pawn Brokers in Mesa AZ
It’s not too often that the state of Arizona has natural disasters. Every once in a while we get hit by Microburst storms. This one had actually blown off the roof to Gold Pawn Broker's commercial property. It’s a good thing that Gold pawn was prepared for the worst. They called SERVPRO of North Central Mesa and we were there for them in a blink of an eye. If you would like to see the Owners comments here is a link to a video of the owner talking about what had happened.
Gold Pawn Broker's SERVPRO Testimonial
Stuck in a bad situation, and don’t know who to turn to. Just give a call at (480) 553-7103 we’ll be happy to take care of you, just like we did for this happy customer. We'll make things “Like it never even happened.”