Your Questions Answered

Water Damage FAQs

The time it takes to complete a water restoration project depends on the extent of the damage, the materials involved, and how long they have been wet.

We use a variety of tools and instruments designed to detect the moisture content of building materials, like thermal imaging cameras and penetrating meters. Because some structural materials may hold excess moisture but not show signs, if these materials are left to a “slow dry,” they can produce odors and rapidly grow mold. We will try to bring the moisture levels down to a normal pre-loss condition.

Replacing wet sheetrock is always an option. Several factors like cost, time, and convenience may play a role in your decision. Generally, drying is the cheaper alternative and is a 1-2 day process. With drying, you also avoid the mess that comes with replacing the sheetrock.

Our Refusal of Recommendations document is a written agreement confirming that you understand our recommendations, and you are choosing to go in another direction. We will always follow your instructions. If a problem should arise as a result of incomplete drying, this document serves as a reminder to us that we followed your direction concerning the services at your property.

We recommend that you let us determine when the drying is complete. We use moisture detection equipment to monitor the drying process. Rental fees are based on the number of days the equipment is on-site. We will review any rental fees if we are unable to pick up the equipment due to a scheduling conflict.

No. Anytime building materials are wet they are in a damaged state. Being left to dry slowly will present a high potential that your water damage will become a mold problem.

Secondary damage is damage to materials that were not directly wet, but were exposed to high humidity. This can cause swelling, cupping, buckling, rusting, or mold growth. If left untreated, secondary damage can lead to more serious problems and higher costs.

Depending on the amount of moisture involved, what is at risk goes beyond the carpet and pad, as moisture will begin to wick up into the base trim and sheetrock. Your list of replacement items will continue to grow beyond just carpet and pad as the structure remains wet.

Fire Damage FAQs

Small fires result in smoke damage and odor due to the presence of soot residue. Soot particles are microscopic and become visible in mass when they fill the air. Airborne pressure causes soot to rise and move towards colder oxygen. Smoke damage in a structure is challenging to confine to a single room or floor.

Yes, in most cases, depending on how aggressive the odor is. Many times, a simple washing or dry-cleaning will knock the smoke odor out. In more extreme cases, we would need to deodorize the clothing using ozone gas before laundering or dry-cleaning.

It depends on the amount of smoke in the attic and the intensity of the smoke odor. Minimal smoke with no odor is less concerning, but strong signs of soot or smoke odor require treating the attic as a livable area. The unconditioned attic is prone to heat and humidity, which can intensify and make odors more noticeable. Wind blowing outside creates pressure inside the structure, potentially bringing smoke odor into the living space.

It doesn’t matter if we come to evaluate the damage before or after your adjuster comes.  The advantage of having an inspection before your adjuster comes out is for you to have a better understanding of the complete scope of damage and the steps necessary to restore your home, allowing you to offer input when you meet with your adjuster.  

Maybe. Slightly overcooked should “air out” in hours or a couple of days. Severely overcooked food is what is generally referred to as a protein fire, which is a result of overheating a solid mass of protein to the point of turning it into a vapor. These do not air out in days or sometimes even months.

 Sealing over soot residue and odor is not recommended for two reasons. Firstly, applying a sealer to cover up the odor may result in lingering odors later. Secondly, surfaces with soot residue can be difficult to seal properly. The instructions for using paint or sealer typically require applying it to a clean, dry surface. Soot, being a greasy and oily residue, hinders the sealer's ability to adhere effectively to surfaces.

In professional fire restoration, the objective is not to "seal odors in," but rather to significantly reduce or eliminate the odor first. Sealing should only be done as a preventive measure after thorough cleaning of the surface.

We inspect each room to evaluate the scope and extent of the smoke damage within the structure, including both visual and physical verifications.

When we inspect for smoke damage, we use different methods to identify trace amounts of soot that clings to vertical and horizontal surfaces. That soot residue will be a grayish color to black, which would be consistent with something that has burned.

Yes, it will eventually dissipate. But, depending on how aggressive the odor is, it could be weeks, months, or even longer.

There can be many potentially harmful toxic particles that are produced as a result of some products burning. Many times, the answer as to whether something is detrimental to us or not depends on our health status. Some individuals with respiratory issues, small children, and the elderly would have a lower tolerance for such toxins. You should consult with your healthcare provider for an opinion on the potential health effect soot residue and odor may have on you.

Insurance FAQs

Many times, that is the impression that is given, but you are not required to get other estimates, nor are you required to accept the low bid for the work that needs to be completed.  If there is an excessive amount of pressure placed on finding lower estimates, that may tell you that your insurance company is more concerned with saving their money than they are with correctly restoring your property.

Most insurance companies have adopted standard restoration software for pricing, which is widely used by many restoration companies. Sometimes we are seen as more expensive because when speaking with our clients we will advise of a complete picture of both the damage, and the solutions for restoration. As a company practice, we work with the insurance company and with our clients.

Some insurance companies have what are known as preferred vendor programs. These programs are based on the same principle as health insurance HMO programs and are pre-arranged contracts with their service providers designed to save the insurance company money.

There are some inherent conflicts with every system. Each situation depends on the contractor, and if they can give a real assessment of the needed repairs while avoiding cutting corners to fit the program’s guidelines. Ideally, you will want to find a contractor that will work for you and with your insurance company. Having a qualified independent contractor can be critical to finding a fair settlement.

Damage assessments of any size really should not be done by phone, especially for the final settlement. If you are uncomfortable working with a phone adjuster, ask them to send an adjuster out to inspect the damage in person. Many times, the bulk of the training phone adjusters have is in administrative cost control. Astonishingly, many have never actually seen water or fire damage in person. Requesting an adjuster to be on-site for an assessment can be an important step in making sure your loss is handled correctly.

Many times, speaking with your agent can help resolve critical issues. Unlike the adjuster, your agent is directly affected if you are unhappy and choose not to renew your policy with their company, so is driven to find a resolution when these situations arise.

Your agent should be beneficial for solving any problems you have with your company or vendor. They should be more than a check collector and should be willing to earn your business when needed.

Not necessarily.  If your insurance company’s vendors can respond to your needs promptly, determine the proper scope of damage, and complete the needed work with quality workmanship, then it is probably a good thing. The problem is it doesn’t usually work that way. It is hard for a company vendor to work independently from their client, your insurance company.

Most vendor programs are made up of nationally franchised companies. Some of the individual franchises are very good, but unlike fast-food franchising, the quality and experience of restoration franchises vary widely. Some franchises will go through as little as a two-week training course and then are turned loose to start their business. Typically, the less experienced and less reliable restoration companies are cheaper and work below the standard restoration rates.

Any time a company can stay in business that long, it has achieved a great accomplishment.  You must realize that many times, franchises use their franchisor years in business for marketing purposes, which can be misleading. Ask yourself how long you remember seeing them working in your community. If you can only remember them from the last couple of years or if the franchise has changed hands recently, you many have a company with limited experience.

Realize that most insurance companies, agents, and adjusters, want you to be satisfied when you have a covered damage claim. They realize that you have paid for that right, and that you are entitled to use your policy to restore your property to a pre-loss condition.

Any of these situations should warrant a call to your insurance company:
-If you feel coerced or intimidated into using their suggested vendor
-If you feel like their lack of service has to do with the size of your home, the neighborhood you live in, or the value of your home
-If their vendor’s assessment of damage and repair is not accurate or incomplete
-If you feel their vendor is cutting corners to keep the costs down
-If their vendor does not include you in the repair plan regarding your property

Environmental Cleaning FAQs

Environmental Cleaning is our name for cleaning things that cannot be seen, like microorganisms. Typically, our cleaning services revolve around cleaning for appearance.  Environmental Cleaning is a reduction of organisms that may be potentially troublesome allergens. This can include pollen, household dust or dust mites, animal dander, mold, bacteria, viruses, and tobacco smoke residues.

Each occupant will have a varying degree of tolerance or intolerance to specific allergens. A “problem” is a relative term as every home will have an abundance of allergens within the structure. Your immune system or overall health will guide you in determining if there is a problem for you.

We guarantee all of our services will be performed in a professional manner, which will serve as an overall reduction of the microscopic contaminants.  It would be impossible to guarantee any health benefits or overall results.  We can verify post-cleaning results with meters designed to identify unwanted contaminants, or you can have post-cleaning air testing done.

We have a variety of services that range from typical services like carpet cleaning and air duct cleaning to specialized cleanings such as H.E.P.A. cleaning of structure, ambient air filtration, bacterial and virus reduction, or control.  All services are designed to reduce unwanted contaminants. Services can be completed on a standalone basis or in conjunction with other services.

Our cleaning is designed to reduce potentially harmful contaminants whether they are in the air or on surfaces. These irritants act as triggers for those with hypersensitiveness. Reducing the number of contaminants reduces the load that those individuals’ immune systems must combat.

Anybody that suffers from a respiratory illness, such as asthma or allergies would benefit from environmental cleaning. Those with compromised immune systems, small children or newborns, people recovering from major illness or surgery are also good candidates for environmental cleaning.

The cost of services will vary from home to home. Our services are customized to meet the needs of individual clients. We have services or plans available to meet every cleaning need or budget.

The amount of time the cleaning will last would depend on the source, how in-depth the cleaning needs to be, and the level of ongoing maintenance. Also, it would depend on the level of hypersensitivities of the occupants.

Our goal or measurement of success is achieved by reducing the total number of potentially troublesome allergens like plant pollens, molds, household dust (dust mites), animal dander, molds, bacteria, viruses, and tobacco smoke residues within your residence.

H.E.P.A. is an acronym and it stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air, which is the highest rating for air filtration, capable of removing 99.97% of airborne particles that are 0.3 microns or larger.

That would be impossible to know, as there are many variables that would factor in that equation. That answer would depend on the level of hypersensitiveness of the occupants, level of ongoing maintenance, sources, and contaminants.