Posts Tagged ‘water damage repair’

Where to Locate the Water Shut-Off Valves in Your Home

Monday, September 30th, 2013

burst water pipeFew things can cause more water damage more quickly than a damaged fixture, burst pipe or other event that allows your water supply to pour into your living space. You'll need to act quickly to stop the flow, and that means knowing where your water shutoff valves are. Knowing these locations may also save you time during future home repairs. Before we discuss where each valve is located, here are three recommendations that apply to each one:
  1. Make sure multiple members of your family are aware of these locations. You may find yourself in a situation where you need to send someone to shut them off, and when water damage is happening, seconds count.
  2. Consider putting brightly colored tags or even a sign on the valves to save even more time in a crisis.
  3. As you hunt down each of these, examine the area around them closely for leaks, damage, condensation, cracks or bulges in rubber or ribbed supply hoses, etc. You may be able to head off a major water damage restoration effort just by looking in the right spots.
Now, let's locate each valve:

How to shut off water in the kitchen

The kitchen sink cutoffs are the easiest to find. They're usually just under the sink or near the bottom of the cabinet and have pipes leading straight up to either side of the faucet. kitchen water supply shutoff valve The dishwasher cutoff may be more complicated. Look for a second shutoff valve on the hot water supply line for your sink with horizontal pipe leading away from it. If you don't find it there, check the basement ceiling directly below the dishwasher.

Bathroom water shut-off

If you have a bathroom vanity, your sink cutoffs will be similar to the arrangement in the kitchen. Pedestal type sinks require more investigation. The water supply lines usually come in through the rear of the sink basin, so plumbers often install the cutoffs on the other side of the wall to avoid ruining the sleek lines of the sink. You may even find them above the ceiling in some houses so there isn't a set of valves or an obvious hatch in the wall in the next room. If you have a suspended ceiling, check behind the ceiling tile directly above the sink; otherwise, look for other ways to access that area. In bathrooms where the tub and shower are near the sink, you may find an access hatch to the tub shutoffs in the sink vanity. If not, look in the basement between the floor joists directly under the tub. The shutoff valve for your toilet is almost always in the open right under the toilet tank. The water line is usually a ribbed type and the handle is usually an oval. toilet water shut-off valve

How to shut off water to the laundry room

The cutoffs in your laundry room are probably right behind or above the washer. While you're there, give the supply line hoses a close look for bulges or cracks, especially if they're the rubber type. Make sure they're sufficiently tight on both ends.

Outside hose water shut-off

Now, grab a flashlight and let's find the three important basement shutoffs. If you have an outside faucet, it's likely there's a shutoff in the supply line. Trace the line back from where it goes out through the basement wall until you find the valve.

How to shut off water to your water heater

Your water heater has a valve a few inches above the top, which will shut off all hot water. In most situations it will make more sense to just use the main house shutoff (see below) but it's still a good idea to know where this one is.

How to shut off all the water to your house

The most important shutoff is your home's main valve. Usually this valve is located low (waist level or so) on the inside basement wall closest to your street. When looking for it, start with your water softener; they're often installed near the main. The water meter is always mounted right near the main, and the valve itself will be large, metal and have a very sturdy handle. main water shutoff valve If you need water damage restoration after you shut off the flow, call a qualified water damage restoration contractor and your insurance carrier. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan


 

5 Ways to Make a Water Damage Insurance Claim Stress-Free

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Water damage insurance claimNeed a little more stress in your life? Probably not. So, when a stressful event like water damage in your home occurs, one way you can dial down the tension is to use the best possible approach to handling the aftermath. In our previous look at dealing with insurance after water damage, we discussed the importance of preparing a home inventory (and how to use cloud storage to make it bulletproof), the importance of choosing your water damage restoration company before disaster strikes, knowing what your policy covers and taking protective action to make sure your home doesn't suffer further damage. Let's take a look at some other ways to make your claim more successful and problem free. Water damage and flooding are different things, so don't say “flood” or “flooded” This is one of those “better safe than very, very sorry” tips. Most insurance companies won't play games and pretend that when a pipe burst in your basement it was the same as the Mississippi overflowing its banks and submerging your whole region. However, no standard homeowner insurance policy covers floods, so protect yourself by making sure you don't describe any water flow or damage as a flood, flooding or the consequence of a flood. Even if your insurer bows to common sense eventually, a challenge might take months, leaving you to take care of bills you should have already been reimbursed for. Be careful what you clean up This tip is related to the one above. If there's clear evidence that your damage was caused by an accident, storm damage, etc., leave it in place if possible. You'll have to balance this with the need to “mitigate loss” by preventing further damage, but don't create a situation where what caused the damage is your word against the adjuster's. If you have to move something or repair it, take a photo as proof, which leads us to... Take lots of photos In the smart phone age, this one is easier than ever. Document the damage carefully, as well as your efforts to reduce the loss. You can expect the insurance adjuster to take plenty of pictures as well; the combination will tell the whole story. Even better, if these “after” photos can be compared to “before” photos from the photographic home inventory you took, it will strengthen your case if there's a dispute over how much something was damaged or what shape it was in before the incident. If in doubt, shoot a picture. Fully document any involvement by others If your water damage was caused by the actions or negligence of another person—say, your new water heater blew a fitting or an upstairs neighbor had a burst pipe—document what happened and their vital information. You'll want their name, contact information, insurance company name and policy number, contractor license number, etc. Get the license number and (if possible) VIN number and insurance information of any vehicle that caused the water flow or was damaged by it. If others caused the water damage, their insurance will naturally be responsible for paying for it, so you may get your deductible back from your carrier. Know what you can expect for temporary housing Either well in advance of a disaster or during the first call to your insurer's claim department, find out what your insurance company will pay for meals and temporary housing (motel, etc.) if you have to leave your home while your damage restoration company does its work. Often, this “loss of use” compensation will be capped at 20% of your total coverage, but be sure you have a firm number from your carrier. Keep detailed records of what you spend from when you evacuate to when you return home. Following these tips might make that claim check from the friendly folks at your insurance company bigger, and it will certainly make getting it anxiety-free. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


 

4 Things You Can Do to Minimize Water Damage Repairs

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

trouble free water damage repairWhen water damages your home, one thing is certain: your insurance company and the process of filing a claim will suddenly be a big part of your life. Here are some tips for making sure your experience is as trouble-free as possible. Create a home inventory—and make it easy on yourself A home inventory will not only ensure all your possessions are accounted for and you get proper compensation for them, it will probably speed up the claim process. Instead of depending on an insurance adjuster or your memory to provide specific details about your valuable possessions, like models and serial numbers, you can provide your insurer with a detailed list of items and an idea of their purchase price and condition. Even better, use online file storage to easily create and manage your home inventory. Backup and cloud storage technology like Carbonite, Mozy and Google Drive make keeping a proper home inventory easier and more reliable than ever before. It saves the data online where you can access it from your computer or phone, and you can save your list of possessions along with photos of each one. Go through each room in your home systematically, taking photos of your possessions with your smart phone or digital camera as you go. If you have receipts, scan them or take photos of them. After a water damage incident, you'll be able to retrieve them all and forward them to your insurance underwriter. You won't need to rely solely on your memory at a stressful time or deal with a paper inventory which may itself have water damage. Choose your water damage restoration company ahead of time Depending on the laws in your state, your insurance agent may be prohibited from recommending a specific company to repair your water damage. However, they can likely provide your with names and numbers of reputable disaster repair contractors. It's best to choose a company carefully while you're stress-free. Check their references and capabilities carefully and ask if they have an emergency response program, which puts you at the top of the priority list in the event of a problem. Know the exceptions in your insurance policy Coverage of water damage varies widely from policy to policy, so be certain you know exactly what's covered. If you don't like what you find, get in touch with your agent immediately and see if it can be changed with a rider or by moving to a different type of policy. Also, remember that natural flooding will not be covered under your homeowner policy, so flood insurance must be purchased separately. When you consider the cost of potentially extensive repairs to your home, or even replacing it completely, the few hundred dollars per year you'll pay for most flood insurance policies is a minor cost. Take protective actions as soon as possible after an incident Insurance claims are sometimes denied because the homeowner did not engage in "mitigation of loss." In other words, your insurer will expect you to take any action you can to minimize the damage to your home. Do whatever you can safely do to prevent more water from entering the affected area and/or reduce ongoing damage. For example, if you need to board up a section of damaged roof or have an area pumped out, do so and keep track of the cost so your insurer can reimburse you. With a little preparation and care, you can deal with your insurer with very little stress and much success. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


 

How to Minimize Property Damage by Planning for Flood

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

flood damage repairFlooding is the most common disaster in the United States, one that virtually every community deals with at one time or another. How you approach it can not only make the difference between life and death, but make a great difference in how quickly your life returns to normal. Let's review some actions you can take to prepare for a flood event, ride it out successfully and experience a smoother recovery when it's all over.

Before the flood

Make sure you're familiar with the terrain around your home or business. You may be high on a hill, but are you on a slope that may experience flash flooding? Do you live in an area that hasn't flooded in decades, but could flood under the right conditions? What is the best evacuation route? What in the surrounding area will help or hinder you if you need to evacuate? Be aware of outlets your local government and media will use to warn you of possible flooding. Make sure you'll be able to follow these outlets even if you've lost power or are away from your home or business. Make a disaster plan and involve everyone at your location. LDR offers two free manuals on how to make a disaster plan for your home and business. As part of your plan, choose a restoration company in advance that comes recommended and has plenty of expertise in water damage remediation. This will save you from having to choose a company under stress later. As part of your plan, prepare a getaway bag to use if you evacuate. Full details on what to include in the bag are in our free guide Plan, Prepare and Pass the Test. Pre-pack it in a sturdy duffel-type bag and store it in a place where you can get it quickly. Make sure you include some cash, important personal information (such as medical insurance numbers) and a sleeping bag or blankets. Place a local map in your getaway bag and in your vehicle. Make sure you have a full tank of gas.

During the flood

Monitor media and government sources and pay close attention to any announcements, especially if you're ordered to evacuate. Authorities may instruct you to take (or avoid) certain routes out of the flood zone. If you're able to do so safely, turn off the power to your house at the main electrical breaker before evacuating. Exercise great caution if you must cross flood waters. If you're on foot, don't go through running water if you can avoid it; flowing water as shallow as six inches can knock you down. Remember that any water you encounter might be contaminated. If you're driving and encounter a blocked road, don't risk crossing it, especially if the water is flowing. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has found that 39% of those killed in floods were driving. No matter what, remain calm and follow common sense. If in doubt, stay put.

After the flood

If you had to evacuate your home, do not re-enter it until authorities say it's safe. Even after that, be careful of areas that may have been weakened by the floodwaters. Guard against infection and contamination. Chemicals or biological contaminants may have been carried into your home and wet areas are excellent for growing mold and bacteria. Don't drink from household taps until you're certain the water is safe, and if you have a well, have it checked by a well contractor or local health authorities. Contact your insurance company and your restoration company as soon as you can. Follow your insurance company's instructions carefully to ensure your claim process goes as smoothly as possible. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


 

6 (more) Reasons for Professional Mold Removal

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

mold remediation rockford ilIn a previous post we gave you five reasons to hire a mold removal professional. It turns out bringing in the pros is such a good call we have six more reasons to share with you.

A professional team will find everything...

Because of the potential for structural damage and health problems (ranging from irritated skin to migraines to fungal infections), it's absolutely essential that you remove all major mold infestations from your home or business as soon after a disaster as possible. One missed or improperly-removed mold colony could cause untold inconvenience and expense. Because they bring technology, training and personal job experience to the table, professional mold removal specialists will be far more able to find everything growing in your building than you, your family or employees.

...and they'll find it faster.

After a flood or other major water disaster, you may be putting your entire life back together. Or, you may be on the other end of the scale, dealing with a smaller water emergency like a burst pipe or even a toilet overflow. In either case, your life can't just stop while you search for mold and remove it. Mold remediation professionals will be able to complete their work while you're focused on other tasks and they'll be able to start immediately. That gets you back to normal sooner.

Mold removal is a big hassle.

Depending on what has caused the mold, you're going to be required to deal with dripping, slippery surfaces and/or with crawling into inaccessible areas and removing materials and fixtures between you and the mold. Before you do so, you'll need to suit up with eye protection, a mask and protective clothing. Then there's the mold itself, which will be unpleasant to deal with, to say the least. If you're sensitive, you could have a lingering reaction as a result of any exposure to spores or dead mold. You can avoid all that hassle by hiring a team experienced in professional mold remediation. As we pointed out previously, it's likely that your insurance company will be covering the mold removal, so taking the easy route won't even raise your costs.

Disposal of damaged material can be a big hassle, too.

Everything that's been damaged by mold and many of the materials damaged by water will have to be removed and disposed of. In the case of a bad infestation, the resulting debris and garbage may be much more than you usually handle. On top of that, local codes or the rules set by your disposal contractor may prevent you from disposing of building materials in your normal trash pickup. Suddenly you're arranging extra pickups at extra cost, and moldy material may be sitting around onsite. A professional mold removal company will already have disposal procedures set up for anything they may have to remove.

Employee time is better used elsewhere.

If your commercial property has mold, there's a temptation to point maintenance staff at the problem and consider it solved. However, every moment they spend on that task is one they aren't spending using the skills you hired them for. In fact, no matter how sharp your staff is, they also almost certainly don't have the training and equipment of professional remediators. Imagine the resulting hassle if the removal takes longer, other work gets piled up and the mold comes back anyway. In the short and long runs, a professional team will cost less in time and money.

When you do it yourself, there are literally no guarantees

Whether it's a written guarantee, a 100% customer satisfaction policy or even just good old-fashioned work ethic, your remediation contractor has a solid incentive to make sure your site is completely mold-free. You'll be able to rest assured they won't quit until it's gone. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


 

How to Get Rid of Mold Yourself and Why to Hire a Pro

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

mold contractorWhen you think of mold, you may think of a household nuisance, something that creates a musty odor in your shower. You can easily remove small areas of mold with a spray bottle of bleach and some paper towels. But mold can destroy building materials and create miserable health problems for those encountering hidden colonies or scattered spores. Just like water damage or smoke damage, mold remediation requires a professional touch. Here are five reasons why:

Your problem may be too big to do it yourself

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends homeowners handle any moldy area less than 10 square feet by themselves. However, that's the equivalent of a square a bit more than 3 feet 3 inches on each side. A small roof leak might provide that sort of area before you notice, but most serious sources of water damage—flooded basement, storm damage, burst pipes, etc.—can easily cause a far larger mold infestation.

If you have mold, you probably have structural damage

Some mold infestations are due to excess humidity in the home or poor ventilation. But in cases where mold grows after water pours into your home or business, mold may not even be your main problem. Water itself is an emergency. If mold is growing on or in drywall, insulation, flooring or ceilings, they can be structurally compromised, especially if it's been more than 24 hours since they became wet. It could be necessary to remove and replace these materials for safety.

The health effects can be serious

Mold can cause serious health problems up to and including fungal lung infections or poisoning from mycotoxins, but a far more common response to mold spores is a simple allergic reactions. These reactions can range from irritated skin and eyes to a runny nose, sinus problems, hoarseness and throat irritation, headaches, wheezing or chronic coughing and sneezing. Mold can also trigger migraines and asthma attacks. It's essential that all the mold is removed as quickly and completely as possible, especially if anyone who spends time in the building is allergic, asthmatic or has a weakened immune system. Bringing in a mold removal specialist ensures it will be completely gone on the first pass.

Killing surface mold is not enough

The Centers for Disease Control recommend donning proper gear (rubber boots, rubber gloves, goggles, dust mask) and cleaning moldy items with a bleach and water mixture. But to guarantee safety, mold needs to be removed completely. Allergic reactions and asthma attacks can be caused by dead mold as easily as live mold. On top of that, mold often grows through or inside building materials and fabrics, so killing the visible mold on the surface leaves the rest of the colony free to grow, destroy more materials and spread more mold spores into the air. It may be some time before you're aware of the full extent of the mold infestation, even when you assume the problem is solved. True mold remediation—like true water damage repair—requires the full removal or restoration of all damaged materials. A surface treatment can't accomplish that, but mold removal experts with the best training and equipment available can.

Peace of mind is worth its weight in gold

Wondering whether there's mold lurking in your home or facility, continuing to cause damage day in and day out isn't going to help your stress level, or help you return things to normal after a disaster. To have peace of mind, you need certainty, and unless you can be absolutely sure you've found and dealt with every place where excess moisture has given mold a chance to grow, you won't have that. Bringing in a professional mold remediation contractor will not only give you peace of mind, it may be covered (or required!) by your insurance carrier. Professional mold contractors will work with your insurance adjuster to carefully document the extent of the damage and what items need to be replaced. For all but the smallest mold infestations, bringing in professionals is the common sense, zero stress solution to get you back to normal as soon as possible. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan  


 

6 Common Sense Tips for Mold Removal and Prevention

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

mold intruderMold is one of the most common consequences of water damage in American homes and businesses, and one of the most insidious. It can damage parts of your home while lurking unnoticed for weeks or months. Worse, it can cause health problems ranging from allergies and infections to asthma attacks. Some molds even excrete a type of poison called "mycotoxin." The good news? Mold removal, indeed preventing the growth of mold in the first place, is a relatively simple process. Here are some tips to beat that sneaky little intruder: Keep water away from your foundation Though they're cool compared to the rest of your house, a wet basement can a great environment for mold growth, so preventing seepage is key to prevent mold in your basement. Here are a few places to check for water seepage:
  • Check and clean your gutters regularly. Clogged gutters almost always deposit water against the foundation of the building.
  • Watch out for other conditions, which can leave water pooling against the foundation such as sloping ground such as leaky faucets or misdirected sprinklers.
  • Check the drip pans and drain lines on any air conditioning units.
  • Check out our recent blog for a full set of tips to prevent water damage in your home.
Watch for condensation Another source of water which mold can use is condensation, especially from pipes. Again, this can be a significant problem in your basement, because of the relatively cool temperature. Use a dehumidifier to prevent condensation on all surfaces and pipe insulation to deal with condensation on your basement plumbing. Pay special attention to areas where a pipe moves from one environment to another, such as passing through a wall. If you're not careful, condensation can drip undetected from the pipe inside the wall. When water does get in, move quickly to dry it out Mold can easily establish itself and grow within 24 to 48 hours, possibly creating a long-term health concern. If you notice a leak, clean up the water as soon as you can, within the first 24 hours if at all possible. Remove and dispose of items (especially fabric items), which have been damaged unless you can dry them completely. Quick water damage repair goes beyond mold removal. When structural materials like drywall and flooring are left wet too long, they can be compromised and will need to be removed and replaced by professionals, greatly increasing your cost and inconvenience. Keep your house ventilated If air is being circulated—and more specifically, if moist air is sent outside—mold spores will find it difficult to gain a foothold. Any time you're introducing moisture into the air of a room inside your home (by cooking, washing dishes, taking a shower, etc.) make sure you either have a window open or an exhaust vent moving the moist air out, or both. Keep air moving inside the home as well Fresh, dry air is mold's enemy. Look around at how your furniture is arranged. Can some items be moved apart and moved away from walls, allowing air to pass between them? Keep your interior doors open as much as possible so that air can flow between rooms. Keep the air dry We mentioned humidity in the basement, but addressing it in the rest of your home is one of the best steps you can take to prevent mold growth. Indoor humidity should be somewhere between 30 and 60 percent, and you can check it with a moisture meter available at any hardware store. It's almost impossible to eliminate mold completely, but if you follow these tips, you can keep it—and its damaging effects—to a bare minimum. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of chanpipat / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Save $25 on Air Duct Cleaning - Free Coupon  


 

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