The first action after an emergency any homeowner should take is to contact a restoration company. The next would be to contact your insurance carrier. Contrary to popular belief, mitigating the loss whether it is fire, flood or sewer back up, it is the sole responsibility of the insured. The insured and the restoration company are the first line of defense in preventing further damage from occurring. It is very common for the insurance company to deny coverage due to inaction by the homeowner.
Your home is like any investment; it must be safeguarded and protected. Insurance companies often create vendor list to help them mitigate such loses. It serves the carriers well to have one of “their” people come out and minimize the amount of damage sustained and the cost of repairs to the carrier. In these cases, often times it is the insured that is left holding the short end of the stick. Insurance adjusters work for the carriers and their job constitutes on minimizing the mitigation cost and repair bills.
At Enviral Restoration Fire and Water Corporation, we believe that after paying insurance premiums for years and some cases decades, the homeowner should expect and receive top quality work, without compromise.
In the recent past, restoration and repair contractors wrote detailed proposals. The insurance adjusters would meet with said contractors at the loss site and hammer out a repair scope which was typically just and fair. Using the contractor’s field knowledge, they were able to restore the property to a pre loss condition. Over time and many losses, it became clear as to what standards were needed to be met by the adjuster in order to assure a quality product.
This arrangement was superseded by insurers who also required the adjuster to write an estimate, a task easily accomplished by rewriting the contractor’s original estimate. Soon after, programs like Xactimate arrived and one would think that these programs would facilitate relationship between a contractor and the adjuster. As adjusters became more adept and expected to write restoration estimates, the differences between the experienced contractor and the theoretical knowledge of damage repair became a frustrating experience for both the contractor and the insured. As many contractors can tell you, insurance company estimates tend to be very conservative and lack attention to detail.
This raises an important distinction between those who only write estimates and those who actually perform them. Contractor’s estimates are tested by actual results and job costs. Many contractors will opt out of a process that puts their standards in a continuing conflict with an insurance carrier’s estimate. Let’s face it, in order for a company to survive, it must report profit and insurance adjusters don’t have to worry about profits. Often times adjuster’s estimates reflect a theoretical knowledge of damage repair as expressed by the estimating program used in his company. Whether a job is profitable, is often overlooked or disregarded by the carrier. These insurance companies understand that for those who choose to follow their short sighted evaluation, they still have an avenue available to “make it work”. At this point, profit can be derived from short cutting the work scope and sacrificing the quality of the finished product, all at the expense of the claimant.
Enviral Restoration Fire and Water Corporation
Fire restoration refers to smoke odor removal, removal of soot and other contaminants and increasing the indoor air quality. The kind of fire determines the kind of smoke that causes the damage. Even though the science of a fire remains the same; the decomposition of any material caused by the process of fire is known as Pyrolysis (the action of heat transforming a substance). The substance being altered by the fire will determine the fire restoration procedures that are utilized.
Synthetic and natural items have burned. There will be black smoke residue on the surfaces and contents. The smell of synthetic smoke will be present. Emergency corrosion mitigation is necessary to protect any surfaces that are at risk.
Is easily identified by the odor emitted by the fire, this type of fire is typically fueled by the slow carbonization of most every type of meat. The protein particles are released into the air and attached themselves to just about every surface. The residue is often unseen and has an oily feel to it, it will typically attach itself to furniture, carpeting and most porous surfaces.
This fire includes the burning of bushes, shrubs and trees. The smoke will have penetrated from the outside. There will be smoke residue with odor present. As high pressure travels toward low pressure and visa versa, the evidence of the fire will be found in the cooler places of the house (closets, between the walls, and any other area with a temperature variance).
Furnace Malfunction or Puffback
When heating appliances have malfunctioned causing smoke to be dispersed throughout the property is known in the industry as a puff back. The premature explosion inside an oil furnace will result in a black smoke accompanied by fumes, chemicals and oil being distributed through the dwelling. The various kinds of smoke are listed below:
- A hot & fast fire creates dry smoke.
- A low, smoldering heat creates wet smoke, which has a strong odor.
- Protein smoke is hard to see, but has an extremely strong odor.
- Fuel oil soot is created by furnaces, extinguishers, etc.
Smoke odors penetrate and absorb into the building’s materials, which makes them difficult to remove. A service provider has the knowledge and products necessary to remove the stubborn odors smoke creates.
Emergency Corrosion Mitigation
Soot is the by-product remaining from the smoke residues and have the ability to cause irreversible damage. Typically plastic and metal objects attract this soot, it attaches itself and becomes engrained unto the surface. Removing smoke residue and then treating surfaces with a corrosion inhibitor will protect these surfaces.
Emergency Water Damage Mitigation
Excess water that remains from fighting the fire needs to be extracted. Using the latest techniques in structural drying, including moisture mapping ensures a proper drying standard which is then compared to the relative humidity of an unaffected area of the residence. Drying and dehumidification equipment will be utilized.
Ultrasonic cleaning uses high frequency sound waves to agitate in a liquid. Cavitations bubbles induced by the agitation act on contaminants adhering to substrates like metals, plastics, glass, rubber, and ceramics. This action also penetrates blind holes, cracks, and recesses. The intention is to thoroughly remove all traces of contamination tightly adhering or embedded onto solid surfaces. Water or other solvents can be used, depending on the type of contamination. Contaminants can include dust, dirt, oil, pigments, rust, grease, algae, fungus, bacteria, lime scale, polishing compounds, flux agents, fingerprints, soot wax and mold release agents, biological soil like blood, and so on. Ultrasonic cleaning can be used for a wide range of contents, shapes, sizes and materials, and may not require the part to be disassembled prior to cleaning. An ultrasonic tank is used to clean delicate items, such as collectibles.
Upholstery & Furniture Cleaning
Specialty equipment and products are necessary and must be utilized by technicians that are trained and certified in the restoration of furniture. With extensive knowledge of textiles and new methods of treating these items at Enviral Restoration Fire and Water Corporation we are able to remediate most of these items.
After Cleaning Odor Removal
Various professional products, specialty equipment and systems are required for odor removal.
This process is used to neutralize odor. It uses a strong deodorizer thermally charged that will penetrate everywhere that the smoke has traveled.
This is a process used to trap the smell of smoke with an odor blocking paint. It also prevents the leeching of odor over time.
Air scrubbers utilize HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration to eliminate particles. This is effective in improving the indoor air quality.
This is produced via a portable ozone generator. It is an oxidizing agent.
Fire restoration can be successful if the proper equipment and techniques are utilized. It is also guaranteed if the specifications set by Enviral Restoration Fire and Water are followed.
When water damage occurs, responding to the situation in a fast and appropriate manor can prevent further damage, and keep insurance restoration costs down. The number one priority when responding to flood damage is to locate the water intrusion and to correct the water source in order to prevent any further damage. If you cannot stop the leak it is imperative to get help immediately. The ultimate goal is to prevent any further structural damage. At this point you might be able to cut some of your losses by moving your belongings to an area that is not affected by the flood so they can begin to dry. Contact your insurance company to report the incident as soon as possible; several insurance companies have a 24 hour claims department. Now it is time for the experts to come in mitigate the loss and to produce a scope for repairs of the damaged area. Enviral Restoration is an insurance restoration company that will restore your damaged structure and to bring your property to a pre-loss condition.
Upon arrival, the technicians will assess the problem. With the help of moisture reading equipment and moisture mapping the mitigation technician can properly put in place a drying protocol. They need to know exactly how much damage the flood water has caused to the structure. Generally the restoration process will begin with locating the source, removing damaged materials, and applying an anti-microbial treatment for mold prevention. Mold can cause serious breathing / respiratory problems. This is the purpose of applying the anti-microbial treatment solution. The structural drying process will include industrial fans designed to force air behind tight spaces to aid in ventilation and a quick drying time; other drying methods may include dehumidifiers and air movers. These two tools are used to keep down high moisture levels that can otherwise damage a building structure. The goal is to remove the water damage, and restore it to pre loss condition.
When dealing with the insurance company it is beneficial to take advantage of direct billing. By using direct billing you can simplify the claims process by allowing the insurance restoration company to negotiate a reasonable settlement all while taking care of much needed repairs. Direct billing will also allow you to focus your full attention on repairing the damages to your homes and get back to living your life.
No one wants to deal with flood damage and the aftermaths. Being prepared when it happens and knowing what to do after it happens will help to eliminate stress and uncertainties. Having an experienced insurance company and working with an expert restoration company makes a huge difference in restoring your home.
Mold that exists within a building is extremely unhealthy and can cause serious illnesses after prolonged exposure to it. After a water intrusion occurs, mold growth will occur within 72 hours in the wet and humid climate. A mold remediation protocol has to be implemented and followed in order to insure proper removal and to prevent cross contamination of un-affected areas. Proper structural drying is the first step in eradication of mold, all wet cellulose material must be removed. Unlike most people think mold has to be physically removed, spraying with an anti-microbial will only retard its growth. All affected materials must be removed, bagged and sealed prior to disposal. Encapsulating the wood framing with and microbial inhibitor sealant is a cost effective way to prevent future growth of structural components.
Once the structure has reached a dry standard; which is measured by relative humidity, and the affected materials are removed then the remediation begins. By setting up critical barriers and containment chambers using air scrubber to create negative pressure will prevent cross-contamination. Porous materials that have gotten wet and now are dried have to be vacuumed with a hepa filtered vacuum. The next step is to physically scrub every affected surface, wipe it down with an anti-microbial agent and the vacuumed again, this a time consuming and very tedious work that must be performed. Typically after the cleaning is done these surfaces must be sealed with a mold inhibiting agent. This includes hidden surfaces such as the inner sides of wallboards and wooden structures.
Mold prevention: Microbial agents
After the cleaning process is complete, porous materials need to be treated so that mold growth will not return. An encapsulating anti- microbial will accomplish this. This type of treatment is very successful. Microbial agents are used to coat porous materials that have somehow previously gotten wet. They should be permeable, water based, have very little odor and applied with a volume fogger. All vapor barriers must be removed to prevent future mold growth. It‘s very important to hire a IIRC certified company in order to insure that the proper protocol is put in place and followed. Air quality testing is also recommended to insure that the mold situation has been eradicated.