Posts Tagged ‘water damage restoration’

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 / 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 / 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  


7 Safety Tips for Flooded Basement Cleanup

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

flooded basement cleanup mopThere's no doubt a flooded basement is aggravating, inconvenient and costly. Unfortunately, we need to add "potentially dangerous" to that list. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe and avoid further costs of mold removal.

1. If your basement is flooded because of widespread flooding in your region, be careful of structural issues.

Floods can shift massive amounts of earth, leaving foundations unsupported. Waterlogged soil also tends be to far less stable than dry soil. What does that mean for you? The water in your flooded basement may be doing more to hold up your foundation than the ground around it. If you pump it out too soon, the foundation could shift, doing serious damage to your home. If you have any doubt about the structural state of your home, call in a professional. It will be worth every penny if it saves you from injury or costly structural repairs.

2. Make absolutely sure the electricity is off.

It's just plain common sense that if there's any possibility the water in your basement is in contact with a live electric current, you should not enter the water. Still, you need to take full precautions. Don't assume if the power is out in your area it will stay off for any length of time. Imagine what would happen if power were restored suddenly while you're knee deep in water that's covering an outlet. One solution is to shut off your main breaker box, but only do so if you can reach it without standing in water or on any wet surfaces. If in doubt, don't touch it. If you can't shut off power yourself, call your power company and have them shut off service to your home until you have everything dried out.

3. Use generators and pumps wisely.

With no power to your home, you'll need a generator or gas powered pump to remove the water. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, and locate the generator or pump as far from your home as you can to avoid fumes coming into the house. Never run a generator or motorized pump inside your home no matter how good the ventilation seems; deadly carbon monoxide buildup can result.

4. Look out for flammable substances.

If you're the victim of a regional disaster, floodwaters may have carried gasoline or other flammable chemicals into your basement, and any type of flooding could release flammable chemicals stored in your home. Watch out for fumes from these substances. Flooding can also shift natural gas lines or damage propane equipment, releasing gas into your home. If you smell any of these chemicals, especially gas, evacuate immediately.

5. Suit up.

Make sure you're wearing boots with a good grip and thick soles. Not only will you have "slippery when wet" conditions to deal with, you may find mold or mildew adding to the slip hazard if it's been some time since the flooding occurred. Keep in mind that you can't be sure what the water has moved around, so be careful where you step. At a minimum, you should be wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands from contaminants. Depending on how deep the water is, you may need other waterproof clothing. Make sure that you wash your skin thoroughly with soap if you come into contact with standing water from your basement. A mask may be necessary if there has been time for mold to grow in the flooded area.

6. Check your water supply.

This step is best left to a professional. If any part of your water supply system has been submerged in the flood, it may be contaminated with chemicals, dirt, mold or bacteria. Have it checked out to ensure the system is clean.

One last tip

When in doubt, call a professional. If a professional electrician, plumber and water damage remediation crew are involved, you can be sure your home will be safely and properly restored. 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 artur84 / Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan  


3 Ways to Prevent Water Damage Inside and Out

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

water damage restorationWater damage is one of the most common disasters affecting homes and can be the most expensive. Let's look at three main areas where you can prepare for or prevent the damage entirely:

Exterior preparation

Take a turn around the outside of your home. Check the roof for worn or missing shingles, cracks and other damage. Make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris, and not just in the Spring. Debris can collect in them at almost any time and cause runoff to pouring onto your foundation or onto a part of your house that's not designed to handle water flow. Look carefully for cracks in your siding and places where it's come loose. Make sure all flashing—metal stripping used where two different building materials meet—is secure. These areas are especially vulnerable to water. Inspect every opening into your house, from windows to dryer vents. Seepage often appears at the corners of doors and windows. Flaking or peeling paint on a window or doorframe may indicate the wood is swelling from water. Pay special attention to any window or door that's suddenly difficult to open or close; this may also be due to water swelling. Make sure all vents have a hood to prevent water from entering. If pipes or cables pass through exterior walls, check that the openings are properly sealed and there are no cracks. If you find some, an inexpensive off-the-shelf sealant from your local hardware store can usually solve the problem. Lastly, check your landscaping. Make sure no tree branches are close to or touching the house or roof. Water can run along them and so can insects and animals such as ants or squirrels. If you use sprinklers, check them as well to ensure they aren't causing water to pool against your foundation or spray into vents or other openings.

Interior preparation

As you look inside your home, check for discoloration (especially on ceilings) and be aware that if water is leaking in through your roof, it may travel for some distance along a truss or duct before it reaches a ceiling or wall. Also check your floors for deformations and color changes. Be aware of the smells around you; you may detect a musty smell well before structural or mold damage becomes visible. Check under each sink and around each toilet for possible leaks. Also check near your washer. Check the water line into your refrigerator if it has one, and check your dishwasher carefully for leaks. The dishwasher's position under a counter can sometimes hide a leak for months. Check the hoses and lines at each appliance and plumbing fixture for leaks or damage. Where you can, replace rubber hoses with steel braided lines. It's a good idea to check your water heater for leaks and rust, especially if it's been a few years since it was installed. Make sure you're familiar with all the water shutoffs in the house, from the main shutoff to the hot water shutoff on top of the water heater to the individual line shutoffs for each sink and toilet. Getting these turned off in a timely manner if a leak breaks out can save a lot of hassle and expensive repairs. Speaking of shutoffs, make use of them anytime you go out of town. If an appliance leaks or a pipe bursts while you're away, it could go unnoticed for days or weeks and cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Before you leave home, turn off the main valve. If for some reason (such as an irrigation system) you need the water on while you're away, find and shut off supply valves between the main and various parts of the house, or use the individual shutoffs.

And if the worst happens...

Keep your insurance information in an easily accessible place so you can call your agent immediately. If you experience flooding, a pipe leak or other water damage, it's important to respond quickly to the disaster. It's also important to have a professional cleaning and restoration company, like LDR Cleaning and Restoration, chosen well ahead of time so you can get them on the job as soon as possible. Make sure you choose one with excellent references, extensive experience and up-to-date technology so they can get your home back to normal in short order. 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 remediation, 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 Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


6 Reasons Why Immediate Disaster Response Is Key

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

business emergency response planWhen damage from disaster strikes your business, it can take many forms: Fire (and the water damage that results from fighting it), smoke damage, flooding from nature, accidental discharge of a sprinkler system, chemical spills, tornadoes and other severe winds, storm surge, burst pipes, roof leaks, sewage backup, vandalism—even an overflowing toilet. As the old business mantra goes, “time is money.” Every hour your business is closed because of an emergency is lost revenue. In fact, 25% of businesses that close because of a disaster never reopen. And 80% of businesses that do not recover within one month after a disaster close their doors for good. If you have not considered an emergency response plan for your business, you're rolling the dice. But no matter what the damage or its source, speed is your friend to getting back up and open for business. Here are 6 reasons why:
  1. Your insurance policy probably requires that you take as much action as possible as early as possible to secure your property from further damage. If you fail to do so, they may not cover some claims.
  2. Water itself is an emergency. It can compromise structural components such as drywall, insulation, flooring and even ceilings to the point that it might be necessary to remove them, especially if it's left more than 24 hours.
  3. If water is addressed within 8-16 hours it can be dried with very minimal structural damage. This will save you repair costs and time as well as reducing the inconvenience for your employees or tenants.
  4. Dealing with the water in 12 hours or less can reduce your drying time by a whole day and reduce structural damage further.
  5. Significant mold growth can occur in any water-damaged area not dried and repaired within 72 hours, adding time and cost to your total cleanup.
  6. As previously mentioned, the longer your location is closed, the greater the chance it will be closed permanently.
You can't predict when disaster will strike your commercial property, but you can make sure you're ready for it when does. Lost time reduces your bottom line and can end your business. Getting your business back to pre-loss condition as quickly as possible can make all the difference. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / download the free Emergency Response Plan guide.  


3 Spring Cleaning Tips to Prevent a Flooded Basement

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

leaves in gutterIt’s that time of year, and in case you’ve just had too much on your plate to get around to spring cleaning around the yard, just remember one thing – leave the leaves. All those oak and maple and birch leaves that fell last fall – the ones you didn’t quite rake out of the bushes or scoop out of the gutters – can cause more trouble than just being an eyesore.

Unclog the gutters

Ensuring good water flow away from your home is probably the top mandate of any spring-cleaning yard job. So if you don’t have screens over your gutters, you should definitely invest the time necessary to clear old leaves out of your gutters and downspouts, no matter how clear you think they are. The work you do on your gutters can actually save problems with your foundation, even prevent water from seeping into your basement. “If your downspouts are plugged, water's going to come over the edge of the roof or overflow the gutter and just come down along the foundation,” says Bob Alexander, foreman with Feste and Co., Inc., a landscape service provider in Byron, Ill. “And if you have issues with your foundation leaking, it's just going to go right down through there. That would be the main issue in terms of water control.”

Clean the shrubs

Even after you’ve cleared out the gutters, the tedious work isn’t over. Now you should look to the health of your shrubs, evergreen and deciduous. The reason? Those palmate leaves form a wet blanket over the root bases of those shrubs and provide a perfect breeding platform for molds and other pests that can damage the plants that create a big part of your home’s curbside appeal. “The important thing is to get them out from underneath the evergreens, like junipers and ewes, and one of the reasons why is that you want to get good airflow underneath them,” Alexander says. “If you're trying to spruce up your yard for spring, it just looks better to get all the leaves out of there. And with dogwoods and viburnums and larger shrubs, down inside where the roots come up out of the ground, it's good to clean them out of there because it doesn't stay wet in there.” That’s especially important for viburnums, which often get attacked by borers. Clearing the leaves out gives the insects one less place to lay their eggs and kill your plants.

Keep good bed lines

In addition to leaves, clearing grass out of your flower beds will also help to ensure that your plants remain healthy and get the nutrients they needs. For flower beds, reestablish the bed line by cutting down 2 or 3 inches into the soil along the line you want and then scoop out the area of the flower bed where your lawn has invaded. Maintaining the bed line is especially important in areas where you have planted groundcover plants such as dichondra or vinca.  The groundcover plants make it especially difficult to remove the grass without damaging the groundcover, too. All in all, maintaining good water flow away from your house and maintaining the health of your landscaping not only gets your yard gets off to a good start this spring, it can help prevent basement flooding. Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan  


5 First Steps to Cleaning Up a Flooded Basement

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

emergency callHeavy rains fall, the river rises, and your neighborhood floods. Before you know it, you’re a storm damage statistic. That’s right -- you have a flooded basement. What. Do. You. Do?

Call your insurance company

If your home lies in an area that’s been flooded by spring storms, chances are that your insurance company already is dealing with other angry, frustrated and (frankly) scared people just down the street. So stay calm and tell the claim rep on the other end of the line exactly what you’re dealing with so that you can make sure that the necessary repairs will get covered. If necessary, get an insurance adjuster over to your house as soon as possible to detail your coverage options – including area contractors who can do the repair work well and on time. In any case, getting a claim filed and a case number in hand is your first big step to sanity.

Turn off the power

Now -- if you can do it safely – turn off the power to your house. That may mean having to walk through standing water in your basement. Do not do that until you are sure that the water isn’t carrying loose electrical current. If you’re not sure, it’s time to gulp hard and call an electrician. Look, that floodwater in your basement is probably going to cost you money, at least up front.  The call to the electrician is only the first of several calls you’re going to make over the next couple of days, so get used to it. And besides, if you have homeowners or renter’s insurance, you probably won’t end up paying more than your deductible, anyway.

Do a damage inventory

After you get the power turned off and before your adjuster shows up, the first step in getting your storm damage repair job done right is to go through the damage thoroughly. This is probably going to be tough, maybe heart-breaking. But go through every item -- including fixtures such as walls and carpet – and take lots of photos of the damage. Then try to get every item that you can out of the water.

Sump pump on?

And speaking of water, and getting it the heck out of your basement, make sure your sump pump is working. If you have a sump pump installed but it’s not working, try loosening the rod (it might be stuck). If your unit is broken or inadequate to the task (you should have at least a ¾-HP motor on it), you can purchase a new one for about $150 that will do the job if your current unit has given up the ghost. If you don’t have a sump pump installed, you will need to get a professional emergency restoration company on the job immediately to start clearing the water out and begin your flood restoration process.

Beginning the cleanup process

Basement flood cleanup is nothing short of an epic pain. But that pain can be alleviated by having a professional service remove, dry and store your property while your basement is getting repaired. Talk with your insurance company about your options here right away – it’s critical that your property gets removed and dried as quickly as possible. Service providers such as LDR also can act as a liaison to your insurance company and ensure that the work done in your home and on your personal effects gets covered. They also have high-tech drying equipment that will restore your photos, memorabilia and furniture to the best extent humanly possible. Remember, flood damage restoration can be tricky. You can think you have something dried when, in reality, it is still soaking wet under the surface. If insurance will work with you, get all the help you affordably can. Having a partner in the restoration process can save you immense headaches later. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan


3 Simple Steps to Avoid Water Damage

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

flood damage repairSpringtime brings more than sunshine and rainbows. It also hits thousands of homeowners every year with water damage – losses that can be prevented with a few simple prevention measures. For starters, make sure that everything around your house that can drain water, does. That means ensuring:
  1. Downspouts are on.
  2. Gutters are clean.
  3. Your yard is sloped away from the house.
  4. Window wells are clear of debris that can cause water buildup.

Two prime prevention measures

After that, homeowners can save themselves a mountain of grief with two prevention measures that can allay a host of problems – checking their sump pumps and turning off their household water supplies during extended trips. Sump pump check. Checking to make sure your sump pump is operating usually means nothing more than pouring a bucket of water into the sump pump well to see if the pump kicks in automatically. If it doesn’t, check the pump’s rod or float to see if it is sticking. If it is, give it a simple jiggle – sump pumps that haven’t run for a year or two sometimes stick from simple underuse. If that doesn’t work, you need a repair or a new pump. Fortunately, a good sump pump will run you only between $150 and $250, depending on the horsepower. And the horsepower does matter. A ¼- or ½-HP sump pumps doesn’t really do the job; a ¾- or 1-HP pump is what you want. “A quarter-horse is a little pump that you’re not really serious about,” says Steve Poyner, vice president and general manager for LDR Construction Services Inc., Rockford, Ill., a provider of cleaning and restoration services for fire and water damage. “Do something that’s going to take care of the job if we get a prolonged rain.” The price difference between a ½-HP and 1-HP pump is negligible – perhaps as low as $100 – compared to the damage suffered in a basement if the pump can’t keep up. Turn off the water. Another simple but underused water damage prevention tool is turning off the water supply to your house before you leave for an extended trip, even two or three days. Poynor says broken refrigerator water lines cause more damage than almost any other culprit. To nix that possibility, just turn off the main water supply, then open up any spigot to relieve the pressure from all the house’s pipes. For wintertime trips, just remember: Keep the heat on, turn the water off. Call in the pros. So what do you do when you take all the right measures, and natural forces like hydrostatic pressure still conspire with a small crack in your foundation to fill your basement with 2 or 3 inches of water? Well, you get some help. For homeowners looking to clean up flood damage or find water damage repair services, calling a service provider like LDR can save quite a few headaches, from not-quite-dry carpets to slogging through insurance company red tape. In the event of water damage, especially in a finished basement with water-absorbing carpet and ceiling tiles, a professional cleaning and restoration company can bring in high-speed fans that blow up to 160 mph, professional-grade dehumidifiers and the testing equipment to make sure that those tools are actually drying out your basement. The service company will also remove damaged articles from the basement, clean them and dry them – all the way down to freeze-drying critical documents and removing individual photos from albums and drying them in a drying chamber. And because insurance companies are the ones actually paying the bills, your professional water damage repair company will act as a liaison to insurance adjusters so that homeowners get what they need and the insurance company gets what it wants. “It’s your house, you hired us; but who’s paying us?” Poynor says. “The insurance companies are paying us because most people don’t have a pocketful of money to pay for it. I know I don’t. You depend on your insurance. You want to play by their rules and you tend to get better results.” Image courtesy of Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan  



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