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Balancing Restoring Property Damage and Insurance

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

Hands of two people on a table Let us handle the negotiations for you, nobody wants to deal with insurance claims

Properties in College Station, TX, faced with unexpected damage from flooding, storms, fire or a burst pipe can easily be overwhelmed. Once the situation truly sets in, the next stressful task can be filing the claim. SERVPRO understands how overwhelming it can all be. That is why we provide claim services to ensure the restoration process goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

First Steps

At the first signs of damage, restoration and mediation experts are highly trained and provide a fast emergency response. The sooner the damage is addressed, the fewer problems there will be down the road. Below are tips to ensure that your restoration claim can happen as quickly as possible.

File Claims Quickly – The faster you contact your insurer, the fast the process can start. Additionally, the longer you wait, the more chances of the damage spreading.
Understand Your Policy – No policy is the same. Having a complete understanding of what is and isn’t covered can help you avoid headaches during the process.
Documentation Matters – The minute it is safe to enter a property, take pictures of the damage. Keeping receipts and logs of inventory is also helpful.
Trusted Professionals Only – Unfortunately, some people try and take advantage of people facing a disaster. Only use trusted, certified professionals with a proven track record.
Mitigate the Damage – After documenting the damage, take temporary steps to reduce further damage. This could include tarping over roof damage or boarding up a hole. Be sure to leave major repairs to the experts and document the steps you have taken.

Here to Help

Along with having certified technicians to handle mold, water, and fire damage, we also have claim services to assist in the process. The delicate balance between getting a property repaired while keeping costs down is another area of our expertise. We document the inspection process and work closely with customers and insurance adjusters to ensure a smooth process for everyone involved.
After a disaster, don’t go it alone. From quick response time to claim services and restoration, we strive to get things “Like it never even happened.”

What Is Black Water?

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

Six air movers placed in an office Commercial water damage in Bryan,TX

What Is Black Water?

When preparing your business to handle floods in Bryan, TX, you may have heard of the dangers of black water. But what is it, and why is it called that?

Blackwater isn’t necessarily black, though it can be dark or cloudy in color. The term refers to water that has been contaminated by a source of sewage, such as toilets or wastewater mains. When floods mix with water from unclean sources, or water damage causes leaks from unclean sources, this can lead to black water. There are a few important things everyone should know about this contaminated fluid.


1. Why It’s Unsafe


Contaminated water is unsafe because it exposes you to the bacteria and other disease agents in fecal matter. Because black water comes from toilets and wastewater lines, it is generally contaminated with high levels of feces and other bodily wastes. Exposure to this can cause severe health problems, especially if the water has been standing long enough to stagnate and breed bacteria. Because of the high risk of water damage, most flood water is considered black.


2. Black vs. Gray


Not all contaminated water is considered black, however. Dirty water from other appliances, such as washing machine water or water mixed with coolant from a refrigerator, is considered gray water. Gray water poses its own risk but is not the same sort of health hazard as its black counterpart.


3. How To Avoid It


When waters start to rise, it’s best to avoid coming into contact with the water if at all possible. Any flood water, whether moving or standing, may have come in contact with a contaminated source. To try to prevent water contamination, however, always check that your structure’s water and sewage lines are appropriately reinforced against water damage. Shut off water to the building if necessary if you are capable and if you know that a flood will soon strike.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPRObrazosvalley.com.

3 Ways To Prevent Mold From Spreading During Cleanup

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Specialist wearing protective clothing during mold cleaning Anyone present during mold cleaning should always wear protective gear

Ways to Reduce the Chance of Spreading Mold

If there is mold growth in your Brenham, TX, building, you will need to have it removed as soon as possible. However, during the removal process, it is sometimes possible to spread the mold even more. For this reason, mold cleanup should always be done by a professional, and certain procedures should be followed. The following are some ways to reduce the chance of spreading mold.

1. Contain the Area

One of the most important things to do during mold removal is to properly contain the area of the growth. This will keep mold contamination from easily spreading to other places in the building. Plastic tarping, as well as negative air pressure, may be used to keep the spores from leaving the containment area.

2. Wear Protective Clothing

Anyone present during mold cleaning should always wear protective gear. This may include gloves, face masks and Tyvek suits that are worn over your regular clothing. Not only will this help to protect you from the mold and keep it from causing any health issues, but it will also help to keep you from carrying mold spores throughout the rest of the building. Removing the protective gear before you leave the area will allow you to walk through other spaces without carrying stray spores with you.

3. Reduce Air Circulation

Because spores travel through the air, it is important that circulation is limited during mold cleanup. If your building has an HVAC system, this should be turned off during the process. You should also make sure that there are no fans in use. Keep windows and doors closed to prevent any wind from stirring up the mold.
Because it is so easy to inadvertently spread mold, you should be sure to hire a professional mold remediation service to perform the mold cleanup for you. They will be able to locate all instances of mold growth in the building and can remove them thoroughly and safely. Once the mold has been removed, you should perform maintenance regularly and manage moisture levels to keep it from returning.

Tips To Avoiding Storm Damage in Your Building

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

The exterior of a building with a window covered with plywood Cover your building with plywood to protect it from weather damage

Tips To Avoiding Storm Damage in Your Building

Anyone who has ever dealt with the damaging effects of a heavy storm knows that preparation is the best way to minimize damage. It's impossible to control the weather, but there are things you can do in your building to get ready for events such as a major winter storm or severe rainfall. If you are conscientious and vigilant, you can protect your property and important assets.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Living in College Station, TX, can bring some nasty weather. Though some things may come by surprise, most of the time, you can anticipate oncoming storm damage by watching the weekly forecast. When you know fierce winds or downpours are coming, you do some of the following to protect your building:

  • Cover windows with plywood or shutters.
  • Bring any outdoor furniture or other items inside or tie them down.
  • Make sure your building's rain gutters and downspouts are in good shape and will divert water away from the property.

Winterize

As the winter months approach, you'll need to start getting ready for freezing temperatures. Cold weather can cause issues such as a pipe break. If you have a sprinkling system on the property, make sure you blow out the lines to remove any water from inside.

Look at the Landscaping

Have a look at the trees close to your building. If any of them are old or at risk of falling, considering trimming or removing them. Strong winds could blow trees over onto your building, causing massive damage.

Inspect the Roof

A roof leak during a winter storm could be devastating and require the cleanup from a professional water removal company. If your roof is damaged or weak in any areas, repair it quickly. It will be too late to do this once the storm comes, so examine it annually.
Whether from a winter storm, summer thunderstorm or any other form of Mother Nature's fury, weather can cause terrible damage to your building. Don't neglect these important maintenance steps.

How Business Interruption Insurance Can Help After a Loss

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Causes of business interruption insurance Keep your company financially secure in the event of a business interruption

When a fire or other disaster strikes your Brenham, TX, business, your income flow may be disrupted for a while. Some companies go out of business in such a situation. Fortunately, you can invest in interruption insurance to keep your company financially secure in the event of a business interruption.

What Is Covered?

When purchasing insurance, it is important to keep in mind what expenses your business is likely to incur during an interruption. Insurance can cover many different expenses, including the following:

  • Payroll
  • Temporary relocation
  • Operating expenses
  • Profits

Your insurance agent can assist you in selecting the best coverage types and limits for your business. Also, understand that this type of insurance is generally sold as an add-on to other business insurance policies and will only apply to covered losses listed in the policy. Make sure you talk to your insurance professional and carefully read the policy so that you know exactly what is and is not covered.

How Long Do Payments Continue?

Some insurance types, such as car insurance, will often pay out once per claim. Business interruption coverage is a bit different in that the payments usually continue for the length of the interruption up to the coverage limits. For example, if a business experiences a fire, the interruption insurance will likely pay for lost income and other covered expenses from the date of the fire until the fire restoration process is complete or the coverage limit is met, whichever comes first. Many business owners underestimate the time it will take to recover from serious damage, so research and talk to your insurance agent to make sure your coverage limits are appropriate for the types of losses covered.
Every year, many businesses experience fires, flooding and other disasters. It is important to have coverage not only to restore the property, but also to keep your business afloat in the interim. Interruption insurance can keep your business financially sound while you or a certified restoration company get your commercial building back to preloss condition.

What to Do After a Basement Flood

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Flooded basement in Bryan, TX

Take the Following Steps to Minimize Any Further Water Damage

Discovering that your basement in Bryan, TX, is flooded may cause you to panic. However, by taking the proper steps to remedy the situation, you can find peace of mind and bring your home to a restored state. Immediately after a basement flood, it’s vital to contact emergency restoration services as soon as possible. In the meantime, be sure to take the following steps to minimize any further water damage.

1. Remove Valuable Items

If any of your valued belongings are located in the affected area, make sure you remove them immediately. Once they are out of harm’s way, place them carefully in an area that will permit them to dry completely. It’s important to choose a spot that is far away from the basement, such as a garage or a room located on the second floor. If you’re concerned about whether you’ll be reimbursed for your damaged belongings, look into your insurance coverage policy.

2. Dry Out the Room

Once you’ve removed all your belongings after the basement flood, you can begin to dry the area. While this is a job that a professional can do more thoroughly, it’s crucial to do what you can to prevent additional damage. Use a strong fan or dehumidifier to thoroughly dry out the area and check for any signs of mold growth.

3. Inspect Your Gutters and Drains

A flooded basement can often lead to damaged gutters and drains. When inspecting these areas, be sure to carefully remove leaves, twigs and other forms of debris. After your gutters and drains have been properly cleaned, take a moment to scrub the drain screen. Maintaining clean drains and gutters can help to keep significant water damage at bay.
By properly taking control of your basement flood, you can help to prevent further harm to your living space. Remember to do your part and leave the rest to the experts for lasting results.

How To Identify Mold Indoors

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Mold in the corner of the window Mold in the corner of the window

Here Are Some Ways To Identify Indoor Mold

When it comes to homeownership, mold can be an unwelcome guest. If you suspect mold growth in your Burton, TX, home, don't panic. It can feel overwhelming, but mold spores actually live everywhere, and they're not always problematic. Many types of mold do not affect humans, but it's still important to regularly check susceptible areas. Here are some ways to identify indoor mold, either on your own or with the help of an indoor environmental specialist:

1. Visual Inspection The simplest way to detect mold is by sight. If you find green, black, or white spots around water sources, it's likely mold. Mold can develop in any place where moisture is trapped, so be sure to inspect areas that are often damp. If you catch it early and it's contained in a small space, mold cleanup can be simple. If the mold damage has spread, however, you may need to call in experts in mold remediation.

2. Odor Inspection Many people associate damp spaces such as basements with a musty smell. That musty odor is more than likely undetected mold. The source of the water and thus the mold could be hidden behind walls or simply not taken care of, which leads to that mildewy smell. If you detect that all-too-familiar musty odor, it's time to clean up the mold.

3. Mold Test An indoor environmental specialist can be a valuable asset for identifying mold. As mold damage may go deeper than you expect, a professional mold test can help expose the severity of the issue. When mold growth is uninhibited, the cleanup process can require expert services. They can create a custom remediation plan, from common mold to black mold cleanup.
Discovering mold in your home isn't fun - but it needn't be a crisis, either. Many mold types are safe and it's only unchecked mold growth that becomes an issue. Take the time to inspect your home and when in doubt, keep your home safe with the assistance of an indoor environmental specialist.

Do I Need Content Cleaning Services After a Home Fire?

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

A wall from the living room has a big hole and is black due to fire in the home Residential fire damage in Brenham, TX

Content Cleaning Services

After the flames of a home fire are extinguished and you are finally able to enter the structure again, it can be devastating to find many of your belongings burnt by fire. Even items that were left untouched by flames can be affected by smoke and soot, and a burst pipe or fire hose can cause extreme water damage. Fortunately, you do not need to face the task of sorting through your things on your own. A fire damage cleanup specialist in Brenham, TX, can offer content cleaning services and professional dry-cleaning to help with the process.

Why You Should Consider Professional Cleaning Services

If only a small section of your home was affected by fire damage, you might wonder if you can tackle the task of sorting through and cleaning your items on your own. However, there are several reasons you should always seek professional help:

A professional will know which cleaning method is best for each item, such as dry-cleaning or abrasive cleaning
Restoration specialists can clean or repair items you might otherwise throw away
Damaged electronics require special handling to avoid device failure
A specialist will know which items pose a potential risk to you and your family

An Overview of Content Restoration

Before cleaning or repairing any of your belongings, the restoration specialist begins by evaluating and testing your items to determine what can be salvaged and what needs to be thrown out. If the structure of your home is under repair or unsafe to work in, it might be necessary for the specialist to take your items off-site for content storage. They might also take an inventory of your items, which can help make the insurance claim process easier. Salvageable items will be evaluated and restored using dry-cleaning and other methods if necessary.
Consider content cleaning services to avoid having to part with many of your items. Knowing your most-valued possessions are in capable hands can help put your mind your ease in the aftermath of a house fire.

What to Avoid During and After a Flood

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

flood waters overtake house Flood waters surrounding a house in College Station, TX

Things You Should Avoid During and After a Flood

When a severe storm is headed your way, you have to consider the threats of flood water, wind damage, and hail damage. Depending on the extent of the storm, you might be anticipating a lot of destruction. It can take weeks or months for your storm damage experts to make all of the repairs. Despite how worried you may be about the state of your home and property during a storm, it is even more important to consider your safety. There are a few things you should avoid during and after a flood.

Don't Stay Home If It's Not Safe

Nothing is more important than the safety of you and your family, so don't stay at your home if it might not be safe. There are a few things to keep in mind when you are evacuating your flooded home in College Station, TX:

  • Make sure there is enough gas in your vehicle to get you safely out of harm's way.
  • Keep cash on hand, as it may be hard to access your bank accounts during a severe storm.
  • Try to keep your phone as charged as possible, and bring a car charger along if you can.
  • Communicate with your friends and family, so they know your plans and can check on you.

Be Aware of Mold

Mold can thrive in warm, moist and dark environments, which can make a home damaged by flood water a perfect place for it to grow. It can spread quickly as well. It's important to keep a look out for it, particularly where there is water damage.

Stay Away From Standing Water

When you return after a storm, you should avoid standing water as much as possible. With downed power lines, there could be electricity running through standing water. Not only is that a potential danger, but there could be bacteria, which can cause infection.
Flood water is not something to mess around. Keep you and your family safe by staying as far away from the danger as possible.

How To Prepare Your Business for a Power Outage

10/26/2019 (Permalink)

Broken snapped wooden power line post with electrical components on the ground after a storm A power outage can be an unpredictable interruption to your business operations

A power outage can stop your business dead in its tracks, but it doesn’t have to. Properly preparing your business can help you avoid safety concerns or lost business when the power goes out.

Have a Plan in Place

Having a plan in place before an outage occurs, can help you minimize the consequences. These are some of the items you may wish to include in your plan:

  • Procedures for your employees to follow
  • Safety measures for employees and customers
  • Contact information for utility providers, emergency services and disaster recovery services in  Bryan, TX

Install a Generator

One of the most effective ways to prepare for a power outage is to install a generator. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may wish to install a permanent generator, purchase a portable generator or both. Whichever type of generator you go with, it is wise to ensure that your employees have been properly trained to safely operate it. You may also want to test the unit regularly, to make sure that it will function when needed and that it supplies enough power to operate your vital equipment.

Protect Your Data

Installing uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) on all your computers can help avoid data loss. A UPS unit can serve as a battery backup, allowing you to continue operating your computers for a limited amount of time, depending on the unit. This can give your employees time to save anything they have been working on and then safely power down the machine. Power surges sometimes precede or follow a power loss. Installing surge protectors on your equipment can help prevent data loss from electrical damage. Another option to consider is utilizing off-site data backup services.
A power outage can be an unpredictable interruption to your business operations. Planning for potential outages can help you continue smooth operations, even when the lights go out.