How Can We Help You?

Q: How long does your drying process usually take?

A: The amount of time it takes to complete a water restoration project depends on the extent of the water damage, what materials might be wet, the length of time they have been wet, and how much the building materials can absorb.

Q: How do you know what is wet?

A: We use a variety of tools and instruments designed to detect the moisture content of building materials. One such tool is a thermal imaging camera which helps us find trapped pockets of moisture within the building structure. Penetrating meters are also used to find moisture that has passed below the surface material. Most structural materials (wood, plaster, sheetrock, etc.) will hold excess moisture but will not show visible signs. If these materials are left to “slow dry”, this can produce odors and can rapidly start to grow mold. Our goal is to bring the moisture levels down to a normal pre-loss condition.

Q: If my walls are wet, isn’t it cheaper to replace the sheetrock compared to the cost of drying it?

A: Replacing wet sheetrock is always an option. There are several variables that you would want to factor into your decision. Cost – Usually drying is a cheaper alternative. Even though sheetrock as a commodity is relatively inexpensive, a more substantial cost involved is the labor to sand and then finish the sheetrock. Time – Drying sheetrock walls or ceilings is usually a 1-2-day process. You would have to factor how soon a contractor would begin their tear-out, and if not removed timely, wet sheetrock could pose a mold problem. Once the sheetrock has been removed, the wall cavity would still have to be dried before the new sheetrock should be hung. If sheetrock is replaced, you will also need to factor in the time to refinish (paint, wallpaper, etc.) the room. Convenience – By drying, you avoid the mess that comes from the tearing-out of the old sheetrock and the sanding of the new sheetrock. This dusting may not only affect the water damaged room and its contents, but it could also get picked up in the HVAC system and be redistributed throughout the house.

Q: I am not having you complete the drying on my property, and your technicians are asking me to sign a “Refusal of Recommendations” document, why?

A: Our Refusal of Recommendations document is a written agreement that confirms that you understand our recommendations, and you are choosing to go in another direction. We will always follow your instructions, even if we don’t think it is the best answer for your restoration. If a problem should arise as a result of incomplete drying, this document serves as a reminder to us that we followed your direction in the restoration process of your property.

Q: I turned off some of the drying equipment early, yet I am still being charged for the rental, why?

A: We always prefer that you allow us to determine when the drying is complete as we monitor and confirm the actual drying process has taken place with instruments designed to detect moisture content. Regarding the charges, the actual rental fee is based on the equipment being on the job site. The daily rental charges accrue as the equipment is placed on-site and continue until each piece is returned from the site. Naturally, we would review any rental charges if we were unable to pick up the equipment because of a scheduling conflict on our end.

Q: My insurance company has sent out their preferred vendor to assess the damage, and they think some of the structure will dry out on its own. Does that sound right?

A: No, it does not sound right. Any time building materials are wet they are in a damaged state. If they are left to dry slowly, there is a high potential that your water damage will become a mold problem.

Q: Your crews mentioned using dehumidifiers to avoid “secondary damage”. What exactly does that mean?

A: Secondary damage would be considered the moisture damage to all surfaces that didn’t get wet, but as a result of exposure to high humidity, they might receive swelling, cupping, buckling, rusting, or mold damage. Prolonged exposure to this high moisture or elevated humidity situation will lead to environmental problems of a much higher cost if left in that condition.

Q: I got an estimate for $1,200.00 for drying out my basement, but the carpet new was only $1,000.00. Wouldn’t it be better to replace my carpet again?

A: There is no doubt that restoring a finished basement from water damage can be an expensive proposition. If you look at what is at stake, restoring your structure compared to replacing it or doing nothing at all can seem like a much more reasonable way to protect your investment. 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.

Q: Why do you recommend cleaning after a small fire, even if I only have a smoke odor?

A: When you have even a small fire, the resulting damage will be smoke (soot) damage and odor. The odor is a result of the soot residue being present. Soot particles are microscopic and can be seen only in mass once there are enough to fill the air. Once airborne, pressure causes the soot to rise and move toward colder oxygen. Smoke damage within a structure is tough to contain to a single room or a single floor.

Q: Can you get the smoke odor out of my clothes?

A: 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 to get the best results.

Q: We had a house fire, should I be worried about smoke in my attic also?

A: That depends on how much smoke has entered the attic, and how heavy the resulting smoke odor is. Trace amounts of smoke with little or no odor are not as concerning, but heavy signs of soot or smoke odor would warrant the attic being treated as a living space. As the attic is an unconditioned area, heat and humidity are common and will make odors more active and more noticeable. Additionally, when the wind blows outside it creates pressure inside the structure envelope, which can also bring smoke odor into the living space.

Q: I had a small fire in my house. Should you come out for an inspection before or after my adjuster comes out?

A: 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. Sometimes it is better to be knowledgeable of the process before your adjuster decides what actions are warranted so that you may offer input on the restoration of your property.

Q: I overcooked a dinner one night and haven’t been able to get rid of the odor, do I need professional help?

A: Maybe. There is a difference between slightly overcooked and severely overcooked. 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. We see fire damage in several ways; paper/wood, plastic, metal, and protein. Each of these types of fires will leave you with their own thumbprint of damage. Protein fires will usually not leave you with much of a black sooty residue, but they have a very high odor content associated with them. Many times, it is deceiving how big a problem protein fires can be because the do not show the visible black soot damage.

Q: My contractor is planning on sealing over my smoke damaged walls to deodorize, is that a good idea?

A: Depending on how much soot residue there is and its odor content, there are two reasons that sealing over is a bad idea. First, if a sealer is applied to cover up an odor, it can create an issue with a lingering odor later. Second, the surfaces may be hard to seal. The directions for use of any can of paint/sealer is going to say, “apply to clean, dry surface”. Soot is a greasy/oily residue and will make the sealer less likely to adhere to any surface as it was intended to. The goal in professional fire restoration is not to “seal odors in”, but instead significantly reduce or eliminate the odor first and seal only as a preventative measure after the surface has been thoroughly cleaned.

Q: How do you determine what rooms are affected, since they don’t appear to be soot damaged?

A: We inspect each room to evaluate the scope and extent of the smoke damage within the structure. Our inspection process includes both visual and physical verification of the vertical and horizontal surfaces of each affected area.

Q: How do you know you are finding soot residues on the walls and not dust or something else?

A: 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.

Q: Will my smoke odor go away in time?

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

Q: Should I be concerned with smoke odors in my home, are they harmful?

A: 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.

Q: I might have mold in my home, should I be concerned?

A: Keep in mind that we all deal with mold spores daily in both our indoor and outdoor environments. It is never really a question of whether you have mold in your home, but more a question of “is the mold in my home out of control?”.

Q: Why don’t you guys test for mold?

A: As a property owner, it may sound more straightforward to have one company do both air testing and remediation, but keep in mind that both testing, and remediation revolve around something that you can’t see. Since your remediation estimate will be derived from the results of the air sampling, we feel this leaves room for an enormous conflict of interest. This conflict of interest will rise again if you plan to have a post-remediation verification or a clearance test done. Our supervisors have the training and experience with both testing and remediation. As a company, we recommend an Indoor Environmental Professional (IEP) to complete the air testing and design a remediation plan and then confirm that we have done our job properly. Using an independent third-party evaluator gives us credibility and gives our clients confidence that the job is done right.

Q: Does professional mold remediation remove every mold spore in my home?

A: It is not reasonably possible to rid a structure of all mold spores since they are part of our everyday air. Mold remediation is about reducing elevated mold spore levels to what is considered reasonable or acceptable levels, or standards that would be considered normal.

Q: I have had mold remediation done in my home. Do I have to worry that it would ever come back?

A: At some point, excess moisture triggered the growth and amplification of normal mold levels within your structure. Mold remediation brings elevated spore counts to what is considered a reasonable level. If the excessive moisture situation returns, the same cycle of growth and amplification will begin with different spores.

Q: How do I know if I have black mold?

A: Mold identification should never be determined by just color. Actual mold species and their toxicity can only be determined through microscopic analysis by a qualified mycologist or an Indoor Environmental Professional. The term “black mold” is usually used to describe a particular type of mold called Stachybotrys, which is known as toxic mold. However, not every mold that is black is Stachybotrys and to add to the complexity, not all toxic molds are black in color.

Q: What kind of experience does your company have with mold?

A: We started our initial training with mold remediation in the late ‘90s and have successfully completed hundreds of projects, both commercially and residentially since then. We will work with your Indoor Environmental Professional until final clearance has been achieved. You can be confident that Chavez Inc. has the training, the experience, and the specialized equipment to return your home or business back into a safe and healthy environment.

Q: What are some health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposure?

A: Some general effects and symptoms associated with mold exposure may include respiratory issues such as shortness of breath and asthma, allergic reactions, headaches, fatigue, memory loss, nose bleeds, nausea, bleeding lungs, etc. If you think you may have a mold problem and are also having issues with your health, you should speak with your healthcare professional to discuss your specific concerns.

Q: Who is at the highest risk for suffering effects from mold exposure?

A: Many times, the answer to whether something is detrimental to us or not depends on our health status. Some individuals with respiratory issues or compromised immune systems, pregnant women, small children, and the elderly would have a lower tolerance for mold contamination. You should consult with your healthcare provider for an opinion on the potential health effects mold spores may have on you.

Q: Are there any tell-tale signs that I can look for if I feel that I may have a mold problem?

A: Many times, mold problems can be identified by tell-tale signs of odor or visual (red, green, black, etc.) signs of growth. Hidden issues inside ceilings and wall cavities will not be as apparent. Many times, mold problems can only be detected by professional air sampling in finding airborne contaminants.

Q: What is the key to controlling mold growth?

A: The key to avoiding a mold problem begins with controlling excess moisture. Respond to water intrusions immediately, repairing the source of excess moisture and completely drying out all affected areas. The standard target for ideal indoor humidity is 30% to 55% RH.

Q: My contractor is ready to start my mold remediation project, but I am unsure of his training. Should I be concerned?

A: Yes, it is in your best interest not to allow those unfamiliar with mold remediation to disturb contaminated areas. If the proper measures are not taken before they disturb the affected area, you will have mold spores lifted and carried throughout your entire home or business. They should never spray bleach or other chemicals on colonized mold contamination, as spores could be released and become airborne. Additionally, using biocides to kill mold does not reduce the airborne or “breathable” mold spores in contaminated air. We utilize the industry standard protocols to keep areas with elevated mold spore counts contained and use specialized equipment to remove or reduce the number of airborne mold spores, ensuring that we do not cause contamination to travel into new areas.

Q: My insurance company says I need to get other estimates. Is this true?

A: 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.

Q: My adjuster says that you guys charge too much for your services. Are you more expensive than their guys?

A: Most insurance companies have adopted standard restoration software for pricing, which is widely used by the majority of 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.

Q: What has changed with my homeowner’s insurance, why do they want me to use their selected restoration company?

A: 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.

Q: Are vendor programs a bad choice?

A: There are some inherent conflicts with every system. Each situation depends on the contractor, and if they are able to 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.

Q: I don’t feel the insurance company’s phone representative understands my loss. What should I do?

A: 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.

Q: What if I am unhappy with my insurance company or their vendor’s assessment of my damage?

A: 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.

Q: What role should my agent play in helping me with a problem?

A: 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.

Q: Are you saying that my company’s vendor program is terrible?

A: 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.

Q: Why do they use restoration companies that are less than reliable?

A: 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.

Q: Their vendor advertises that they have over 50 years of experience, that’s got to be good, right?

A: 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.

Q: What are some signs of vendor problems?

A: 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

Q: What does Environmental Cleaning mean?

A: 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.

Q: How do I know if I have a problem?

A: 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.

Q: Can you guarantee your service?

A: 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.

Q: What exactly do you do?

A: 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.

Q: Why do you say it is cleaning for health?

A: 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.

Q: Who might need these services?

A: 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.

Q: What is the cost for Micro Cleaning?

A: 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.

Q: How long does the cleaning last?

A: 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.

Q: How do you determine if a job is successful?

A: 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.

Q: What does H.E.P.A. mean?

A: 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.

Q: How often will I need to Micro-Clean my home?

A: 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.

Still Have Questions?

Phone Numbers

Topeka (785) 232-3779

Lawrence (785) 843-1515

E-mail Address


2400 South Kansas Topeka, Kansas