Water Damage: How We Work With Your Insurance Company
The SERVPRO of North Hollywood team is here for you, 24/7/365. Let us help lessen the stress of a water damage loss.
Many water damage disasters are covered by your homeowner's insurance, though not all. If you're not sure what is, and is not, covered by your policy, be sure to consult with your insurance agent to ensure you have the coverage you need. You certainly don't want to be worrying about whether or not you're covered when a disaster strikes.
Assuming your insurance policy provides the necessary coverage for a water damage claim, here are the steps SERVPRO of North Hollywood will take to work with your insurance company to assess the damage and restore your property following a disaster.
Pretesting to Determine Restorability
First, the source of the water damage must be identified and stopped. Second, standing water should be extracted to minimize further damage and prevent mold growth.
Only after these steps are completed can our certified water restoration technicians inspect and assess the damage to your property. Based on a variety of factors, from the type of water and the extent of the saturation to the type of materials damaged, our team can assess and test whether or not damaged items can be restored.
Restoration is typically more cost effective than replacement, but only an inspection by a qualified water restoration specialist can truly make help you and your insurance company make the right decision.
Claims Inventory Service
It is important to be accurate and thorough when assessing the extent of a water loss to your property. Our team can create and provide an itemized list to your insurance company to ensure your claim is processed fully and efficiently.
Electronic Mitigation Management
After assessing and estimating the costs to restore or replace your damaged property, SERVPRO of North Hollywood can upload the complete details of the water loss to an electronic database. This database is securely maintained and provides centralized access to the information your insurance company needs to process your claim, reducing paperwork and the risk of delays because of missing or inaccurate information.
Insurance agents and adjusters appreciate working with SERVPRO of North Hollywood because they can count on us to provide timely and accurate damage assessment. And homeowners prefer SERVPRO of North Hollywood for our fast response, highly-trained technicians and advanced restoration technology.
Combined, SERVPRO of North Hollywood strives to lessen the stress of a water damage loss and ensure the best possible results for all parties.
What are IICRC Standards for Water Damage Cleanup?
Why SERVPRO? Because we not only have the technology to effectively clean up water damage, we know how to use it.
One of the reasons to choose SERVPRO of North Hollywood is that our technicians are trained and certified to IICRC standards for water damage cleanup and restoration. But you might be wondering what, exactly, are IICRC standards and why does it matter when choosing a water damage restoration company?
What is the IICRC?
IICRC stands for Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. They are the certification and standard-setting non-profit organization for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. As such, much of what SERVPRO of North Hollywood does, from water damage restoration and fire damage repair to mold remediation and trauma and crime scene cleanup is covered by IICRC standards.
What are IICRC Standards?
The IICRC is an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) accredited organization. ANSI accredited organizations set voluntary standards for everything from food and water quality to building and construction materials handling to cutting-edge technologies like the RFID chip in your credit card.
The purpose of these standards is create consensus around the health and safety of consumers and environment while also safeguarding the integrity and effectiveness of the standards. Often, individuals or organizations who are trained to meet these standards are then certified by the governing organization as a testament to their level of education and knowledge of the standards.
Why is Certification to IICRC Standards Important?
By having our technicians trained and certified to meet IICRC standards, SERVPRO of North Hollywood ensures that we are most capable of safely and effectively restoring your damaged property.
For example, knowing how the composition of the damaged materials, be it carpeting or upholstery, wood or corrosive metals, is affected by water helps us determine the best way to dry and restore your water damaged property.
Indeed, every variable, from the type of damaged material, to the duration of water exposure, to the source of the moisture itself (rain water vs sewage, for example) should be properly accounted for when prescribing restoration methods.
Our training to IICRC standards ensures that we are well-versed in all of these variables and that we will select the appropriate technologies, treatments and methods for the specific kind of damage we encounter.
Further, to remain certified, the IICRC requires regular continuing education classes. This ensures that our team is always up-to-date on the latest in restoration techniques and technology.
Ultimately our goal is to make the repair and restoration of your water, fire or mold damaged property as painless and stress free an experience as possible. So when you choose SERVPRO of North Hollywood, you can be confident you are choosing a team of technicians that are true experts in the industry with the technology, experience and knowledge to help make the damage from a disaster "like it never even happened."
Preparing for a Cold Snap
Property managers should have HVAC systems inspected and cleaned regularly to keep it running efficiently and to save time and money in the long run.
A cold snap is making its way across the country, and while there's no risk of freezing here in the Los Angeles area, this winter has brought its share of chilly temps.
If you're in charge of a commercial property, whether an office building, retail location or warehouse, now might be a good time to ensure you're prepared to heat things up inside, safely, while temperatures drop outside.
Air Ducts and HVAC Cleaning
A friend of ours (not a customer) turned on their heat in response to complaints from patrons of their business that it was unbearably cold in their building. This heating system hadn't been used in longer than the building's manager could remember. So along with the blast of heat came wisps of smoke and an acrid odor, necessitating a call to the fire department and evacuation of the building.
This unfortunate incident could have been avoided if they'd asked us to come inspect and clean the HVAC system.
Over time, dust, dirt and other contaminants build up and hide in air ducts and other elements of your HVAC system. Having it inspected and cleaned on a regular basis improves air quality, helps it operate at peak energy efficiency and extends the life of your equipment, maximizing your investment and minimizing the inconvenience of problems arising during business hours.
Space Heater Safety
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires are associated with space heater use annually. So while employees might desire the added warmth from a nearby radiating space heater, some commercial buildings restrict or ban their use completely.
There are no federal workplace safety rules that prohibit space heaters, so if you decide to allow them to be used in your building, be sure to document and communicate the specific rules for use to your employees.
Building managers should inspect both the space heaters themselves as well as their placement to ensure they do not pose a health or safety hazard. And, as always, your commercial property should be equipped with up-to-date fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and sprinkler systems to mitigate the risk of fire damage to your property.
Because it's made to last for a very long time (up to 100 years in some cases), your building's insulation is usually out of sight, out of mind. Still, you should have it inspected from time to time to make sure it's still doing its job as intended. Age and pests such as rodents can wear insulation and create enough gaps to cause problems.
More importantly, if you've discovered leaks in your roof during recent rain storms, not only should you have the storm damage repaired, you should also have your insulation inspected for mold and mildew growth. While the insulation itself may be mold resistant (e.g. fiberglass), dirt and other contaminants can support mold growth if the necessary moisture is also present.
And should you need help preparing for cold weather and storms, or cleaning up following one, SERVPRO of North Hollywood is always just a phone call away. Whether it’s a fast response to a disaster or a less urgent, but no less important, inspection and cleaning of your commercial property, we're here to help you keep your business operating at peak efficiency, warm or cold, rain or shine.
Fire Pit Safety Tips
It's fun to roast marshmallows over a fire pit. Just be sure to properly extinguish your fire to mitigate the risk of fire damage to nearby property.
Even though Los Angeles is well known for its sun and surf, it can get chilly at night, particularly during the winter months. Whether you are camping or just hanging out in your backyard, it's nice to keep warm by a cozy fire, perhaps while roasting marshmallows for s'mores.
But wildfires are becoming a year-round concern across California. With the devastating Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires so fresh in our memories, please keep these tips in mind to safely enjoy your next outdoor fire.
Softer woods, such as pine or birch, tend to crackle and release more sparks than hardwoods. Oak and hickory are better choices, particularly "seasoned" firewood, which has been left out to dry for a period of time. Avoid burning wet wood or composite woods like plywood as they produce more smoke, which may contain toxic chemicals, than dry hardwood.
Keep Fire Suppression Tools Handy
In addition to a fire extinguisher with a Class A classification (which is most effective on wood and wood products), keep other fire suppression materials nearby. A bucket of sand or a fire blanket can help quickly douse wayward sparks.
Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Planning ahead is often the best way to prevent problems from flaring up. Make sure your fire pit is at least 10 to 20 feet away from combustible objects, both natural (trees, bushes) and man-made (houses, sheds). Enjoy the fire from chairs positioned on stable ground and keep an eye on children.
Most importantly, when it's time for the evening's fun to end, be sure to properly extinguish your fire. Most fire pit manufacturers specify a preferred method to avoid cracking or damaging the pit itself.
Of course, should you become the victim of fire damage, don't hesitate to call on SERVPRO of North Hollywood. We're dedicated to responding immediately and specialize in water and fire damage restoration. We have the experience, training and advanced technology to restore your property quickly, thoroughly and safely.
SERVPRO of North Hollywood Sponsors Mobile MozArt Paint Night
SERVPRO of North Hollywood is more than a restoration company. We're honored to be a part of the community we serve.
When a disaster strikes, it is natural to focus on the process of repair and recovery that follows. Indeed, SERVPRO of North Hollywood is proud to be able to assist property owners across Los Angeles with water damage and fire damage restoration services to make it like such disasters "never even happened."
Often, however, the healing process requires more than patching drywall. Recovery from a disaster is also emotional and sometimes the best thing we can do is step away from the restoration of our property to instead focus on the restoration of our hearts.
With that in mind, SERVPRO of North Hollywood was happy to recently sponsor a paint night with Mobile MozArt, complete with food, friends and, of course, lots of paint. It was truly a "starry night" as the residents of a local community affected by flood damage joined several of members of our hard-working SERVPRO team in creating their own version of van Gogh's masterpiece.
Why Choose SERVPRO?
When your home or business suffers from water damage or fire damage, there's no shortage of restoration companies you can call. But SERVPRO of North Hollywood is more than a restoration company. We are members of the community we serve. Every opportunity to give back is an opportunity to help our community grow and thrive.
We look forward to sponsoring more such events in the future. In fact, if you are interested in having Mobile MozArt bring a paint night to your community, enter our photo contest. Just visit our Facebook page and share your best beach photo with the tag #MobileMozArt by January 31, 2019. We'll choose a winner for an evening of paint, food and fun later in the year*.
*Photo Contest Rules
One winner will be selected from all eligible entries submitted by 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2019. To be eligible, the entrant must live within 25 square miles of North Hollywood, CA. Entrants do not need to be current or former customers of SERVPRO of North Hollywood to be chosen. Entrants must be at least 21 years of age. Entrant must submit an original photo and own the rights to the photo or have written permission from the copyright owner. No stock photography etc. Selected winner's photo will be painted during a Mobile MozArt paint night party at a date and location TBD in 2019. Multiple entries from the same individual are allowed, but please do not spam our Facebook page. A minimum of 10 and a maximum of 30 individuals are required to host a paint night party and permission of the property owner and/or management company may be required.
California Wildfires: Cleanup & Recovery Tips
Soot tracks are the last thing you want to worry about when evacuating a home from a wildfire. SERVPRO of North Hollywood took care of the clean up.
Hopefully the recent California wildfires spared you from the most devastating fire damage, though obviously many were not so fortunate.
We at SERVPRO of North Hollywood express our deepest condolences to those who suffered serious property damage or worse and support the American Red Cross in their recovery efforts.
However, even if your property escaped the wildfires' flames, there are still several things you should do to effectively clean up following a wildfire.
Here are a few wildfire cleanup and recovery tips to help ensure you and your home or business do not experience any lasting damage from the smoke, ash and debris generated by a wildfire.
Purify The Air
While air purifiers and other ventilation systems can help with improving the air quality inside of buildings that are close to burning wildfires, the sources of smoke damage odors need to be properly cleaned to prevent air quality problems from lingering. A thorough inspection and cleaning of carpets & upholstered furniture, drapes, bedding and other porous materials should be handled by a certified and experienced fire restoration company to keep air quality issues from sticking around. HVAC systems and duct work should also be inspected and cleansed of ash, soot and other fire residue and debris.
Further, some smoke odor issues require more intense treatment. Ozone generators and HEPA vacuums, for example, may be recommended for persistent air quality issues, but they should only be operated by a qualified professional.
The soot and ash that spews from wildfires is highly acidic. If left unaddressed, it can corrode metallic surfaces and electronics or discolor and stain painted surfaces such as walls, ceilings and furniture.
Therefore the sooner that soot and ash damaged property is cleaned and restored, the better.
Clear Your Mind
With any major disaster, you are likely to have too many worries at once to focus on any one effectively. Putting the cleanup tasks in the hands of a team of certified and highly trained fire restoration specialists can relieve you of many of the stresses and associated with wildfire recovery. We'll work to restore your property and possessions to their previous condition so you can focus on your family or business during this most difficult time.
In the event of a wildfire, the most important thing is your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Once the flames are extinguished, the clean up and recovery process can begin and the pros at SERVPRO of North Hollywood stand ready to assist you whenever and wherever you need us.
Storm Damage Inspection Checklist
SERVPRO of North Hollywood can clean up and repair even the worst water damage and restore the drywall to make it look like new again.
Storms may be an infrequent threat to Los Angeles area homes and businesses, but it never hurts to prepare for the rainy season even while it's dry.
When the heavy rains and winds do come, be sure to review this storm inspection checklist to discover any water damaged areas before they become an even bigger problem.
High winds, rain and falling tree branches can dislodge shingles, gutters and other protective elements. Visually inspect your roof and look for anything that's loose or missing, as well as any remaining debris. If you have access to the attic, be sure to also check for leaks or other signs of water damage.
Foundation and Crawl Space
Heavy rains can cause water to pool near the base of your building and increase the pressure on your foundation. Look for cracks where water might seep into the foundation and escape into your crawl space or basement. Be sure to also inspect and keep gutters clean and in good working order to limit water soaking into the soil around the building, which can cause rapid foundation settling.
Outlets and Electrical Fixtures
Most people know that water and electricity are a bad combination. Water can cause an electrical outlet to spark and start a fire. And because water conducts electricity, there is risk of electric shock if your skin comes in contact with damp areas around electrical units.
Water damage can also cause electrical wires to become corroded over time, so proper drying and replacement of damaged wires is vital. If you discover moisture anywhere near an outlet or electrical fixture, cut the power to the area and call SERVPRO of North Hollywood ASAP.
Carpets and Flooring
If it goes unnoticed, storm water can seep into floorboards, discolor baseboards and rot and weaken the wood. Moisture can also collect between carpeting and floorboards, causing mold growth. So it's important to look for standing water or damp spots have them dried quickly and properly.
Walls and Ceiling
As with your floors, water leaking through your roof or between windows and trim can discolor ceilings and walls. Or worse, they can become weakened until the wear becomes holes in the drywall and plaster.
Unseen leaks can also cause mold to grow on or behind your walls. You should inspect for visible discoloration or damage, but if you suspect there may be leaks you cannot see, there are leak detection specialists who can help find problems before they cause major damage.
As with any damage to your property, the safety of you and your family should be your first priority. Beyond that, if you find signs of storm damage around your home or business, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. Our highly trained and experienced technicians are available 24/7/365 to clean up, repair and restore your property faster than you can say "but it never rains in Los Angeles."
What Damage Can Water Cause?
Items that may benefit from the use of a freeze drying vacuum chamber include books, legal documents, financial papers, parchment and more.
Because our work revolves around repairing damage caused by water (not to mention fire and mold), we at SERVPRO of North Hollywood sometimes forget that home and business owners don't always realize just how much damage a little water can cause to their property.
If ignored, water damage can grow more severe over time and become more difficult and expensive to repair. It can also cause additional problems, such as mold growth, so it's important to have the cause of water damage both quickly and properly assessed to prevent the damage from becoming worse.
Here are a few examples of the kind of damage even a little water can cause to your property if left unchecked.
Pipes and Plumbing Fixtures
Leaks from pipes and other plumbing fixtures such as faucets, shower heads and toilets are a common cause of water damage. So before the water has even spread, damage has likely already happened in the form of rust and corrosion to pipes, fittings or other metal that comes in contact with the water.
To mitigate further damage from plumbing leaks, be sure to have a licensed plumber inspect and repair or replace damaged plumbing systems as soon as possible.
Walls, Ceiling and Floor
Whether it is the slow drip from a leaky pipe or duct work or the rush of flood water from a storm or a sewage and toilet overflow, your walls, ceiling and floor are likely targets for water damage. Drenched plaster, soaked carpets and ceiling tiles weakened by the flow of water are obvious areas in need of repair and restoration, but don't overlook what you cannot see.
Water can also cause damage inside of walls and under carpet, risking rot to the wood frames and floors if not properly dried out. And, of course, perpetual dampness can also create the perfect conditions for mold to grow and spread, requiring professional mold remediation.
Furniture and Other Possessions
While repairing or replacing water damaged pipes and carpets can be aggravating, dealing with the loss of personal items can be heartbreaking. Once water seeps into furniture or worse, papers and treasured photographs, the clean up should only be handled by a highly-trained and certified team of professional restoration experts.
Before the worst water damage happens, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood. With years of experience and advanced technology, we'll work to clean and restore your water damaged property and preserve your precious keepsakes.
What Do Fire Restoration Companies Do?
When your home suffers damage after a fire, SERVPRO of North Hollywood can clean and restore your property to its pre-fire condition.
When fire threatens your property, the first and most important thing is to ensure you and your family are safe. The second most important thing is to alert the local fire department so they can respond quickly and minimize the damage to your home and belongings.
Once the flames are out and the smoke clears, however, many homeowners are left with more questions than answers. Is it safe to re-enter your property? Which of your possessions can be recovered and restored? Will my insurance company cover the costs of repairing the damage?
To answer these questions, we recommend calling a professional fire restoration company such as SERVPRO of North Hollywood right away. Here's why.
We Inspect the Damage and Can Protect Your Property
Before you return to your home, an experienced team of technicians should carefully assess the damage caused by the water, fire, smoke and soot. Besides evaluating the extent of the damage for insurance purposes, it is important to also assess the risks for additional harm to the property.
Since fire damage can compromise windows, walls and roofs, our team will board up openings and place tarps to help protect your property from further loss.
We Remove and Dry Out Fire Hose Water
Sometimes the worst fire damage isn't caused by the flames themselves but from the large amount of water necessary to douse them.
Fire restoration companies such as SERVPRO of North Hollywood can also work to quickly mitigate water damage by extracting any standing water and drying and dehumidifying the remaining moisture in flooring, walls and furniture.
We Properly Clean up Smoke and Soot Damage
Even when a structure escapes the wrath of a fire's flames (such as with nearby wildfires), it can still bear the brunt of damage from smoke and soot. While less frightening then the fire itself, the damage caused by smoke and soot can still be extensive, especially if left untreated.
Porous surfaces, such as stone tile or countertops can become discolored from the acidic chemicals found in soot. Smoke, of course, can contain toxic gases which can then be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. In short, it is just as important for your health and safety to properly clean smoke and soot damage as it is to address damage cause by actual flames.
We Restore Your Property
Ultimately your goal is to return your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Because SERVPRO of North Hollywood is licensed in the state of California as a general building contractor, we can go beyond mitigation and clean up from water and fire damage to replace drywall, install new carpet or other construction services and restore your property "like it never even happened."
Where to Look for Mold in Your Home
If you find or suspect mold growth in your kitchen, call SERVPRO of North Hollywood right away.
According to the documentary film Moldy, more than half of U.S. homes have a mold problem. While homeowners often know they need mold remediation following flooding and water damage caused by water leaks, burst pipes, sewage backups or storms, many don't realize mold can still be found in your home without a precipitating disaster.
In fact, many homeowners are unaware that mold could be present even if there are no obvious signs such as visible staining or a musty odor. So here are a few places you should look for mold in your home, even when you don't see or smell it.
Window Sills and Trim
Aside from a dusting during spring cleaning, you probably don't pay much attention to your window sills and trim. They are, however, prime areas for capturing moisture, particularly if your home has central heating and air conditioning. When the temperature indoors is significantly higher or lower than it is outdoors, condensation can build up on your windows. Mold can grow on your window sills and trim if this moisture leaks on to or soaks into them.
While it might be tempting to try and resolve the problem yourself, say with bleach (don't), keep in mind that mold can also find its way into and behind wallpaper and walls, and the cracks around a window's trim present a golden opportunity for mold to spread to where it can't be easily wiped away.
If you discover mold around your windows, give SERVPRO of North Hollywood a call so we can inspect and assess the damage right away.
Washing Machines and Refrigerators
Both of these household appliances are notorious for providing the perfect conditions for mold growth. In particular, front-loading washers, especially older models, have a gasket around the door that gets wet when in use and then stays wet because the door is usually closed (and sealed) when not in use.
Likewise, refrigerators feature drip pans to collect condensation from the unit. If bits of food also drop into the pan, the underside of your refrigerator becomes an all-you-can eat buffet for mold spores.
While discovering mold in these specific areas may not require professional mold remediation, it is important the affected areas be properly cleaned and treated to prevent mold spores from spreading into other areas of your home.
Many Los Angeles area homes feature central heating and air conditioning and your HVAC system is another important place to inspect for signs of mold. If your air conditioning unit is not draining properly, not only can it cause water damage, it can also create the conditions for mold growth. Or if mold is present in your air ducts, use of your AC or heating system can then spread mold spores throughout your home.
Having your HVAC system routinely inspected and professionally cleaned can not only improve air quality and prevent the spread of mold but can also save you money by extending the life of the equipment.
In short, mold growth can be a serious concern for homeowners, even if you're unaware of its presence. If you discover mold or otherwise suspect mold growth in your home, don't wait for the problem to get worse.
Get help from SERVPRO of North Hollywood and let our certified restoration team take care of you. We specialize in water and mold damage remediation and have the training and expertise to safely handle any mold problem.