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Category 3 Water Cleanup FAQs

1/13/2022 (Permalink)

Restroom. If you experience water damage in your Ogden, UT commercial, please contact us.

A clogged sewer line can cause overflow in the restroom of your commercial building in Ogden, UT. It may look like you just need to mop up the standing water, but it is likely that more issues persist under the tile where you can't see them. The floodwater from this type of accident requires professional cleaning due to Category 3 water damage.

For best results, you must contact water damage mitigation experts to assess and fix the problem. Here are some other questions you may have about the cleanup process.

FAQs related to the issue of Water Damage

What Are Sources of Category 3 Water?

Not every flood is the result of contaminated water. Sometimes, a simple faucet leak can be fixed easily with relatively little cleanup required. However, there are several common sources of Category 3 water that occur in commercial buildings:

  • Sewer backup
  • Toilet overflow
  • Broken sewer lines
  • Storm flooding

In contrast to the clean water that comes out of faucets or directly from the supply line, Category 3 water has the potential to contain grime, bacteria, and other microbes. Therefore, it's not enough to dry the area where the flood occurs. It also must be cleaned.

What Damage Can Category 3 Water Cause?

When a toilet overflows, the resulting floodwater puddles around the base of the toilet. It doesn't stay there, though. It can seep under the floor tiles and into the structure beneath them. If the restroom is on an upper level, it may even leak into the floor below it. All of the damage must be repaired to safeguard the structural integrity of your building and prevent further problems.

Why Do You Need Mitigation Professionals?

There are several reasons to call mitigation experts as soon as you know you have a flooding problem. First, you get a correct assessment of the whole scope of the problem. They can also help prevent secondary damage such as mold growth by removing affected items and materials quickly. If the fungus has already started to grow around the area, they can also include that issue in their overall cleanup plans. Finally, they not only handle the cleanup but can also restore your building to its previous state.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Mitigation?

Most basic property policies cover the damages caused by a sudden and unexpected event, such as an overflowing toilet. You will likely need to pay the cost of repairing the toilet itself if a plumber is needed. If Category 3 damage comes from flooding due to a natural disaster, you may have to rely on your flood policy. The best resource for questions about your insurance coverage, of course, is a representative from your provider.

Any time your building floods, it's important to know the source of the floodwater. From that point, you can make an informed decision about the best method for cleaning it up. For Category 3 water damage, you need certified mitigation experts who can clean up the mess, remove ruined materials and restore your building to its former state. The sooner you call for help, the less damage you are likely to have in the long run.

5 Tips for Maintaining Smoke Alarms

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

Smoke Alarm Checking your smoke alarm can be key for preventing fire damage in your Ogden, UT home.

Smoke alarms are essential for keeping a safe home in Ogden, UT. A properly working fire detection system can potentially mean the difference between incurring no damage and sustaining a devastating total loss. Unfortunately, simply having a smoke alarm system isn't enough; you must ensure each unit is always operational and regularly maintained.

Important advices for your family's safety

Put these safety tips into practice to keep your family safe and your structure standing.

1. Invest in Good Quality Detectors

When it comes to your family's safety, penny-pinching is not an option. Research good quality smoke detector systems that have gotten good reviews from users and avoid ones with consistently bad reviews.

2. Test the Units at Least Once a Month

People often forget about their smoke detection system when doing their usual housekeeping. However, testing the units at least once a month can keep you aware of any potential issues with the system so you can correct them immediately. After all, taking a few minutes each month can potentially keep emergency services and the fire damage restoration company away.

3. Replace the Batteries at Least Twice a Year

Replace the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice a year. This can provide peace of mind knowing your system will be there when you need it. It'll also reduce the risk of that annoying beeping sound that signals a low battery. Keep extra batteries on hand in case you discover you need them.

4. Clean the Units Annually

Dust and debris will accumulate on the individual units over time. This can block the sensors, making the smoke alarm malfunction. Once or twice a year, clean the units carefully with a vacuum hose or damp cloth.

5. Replace the Units Regularly

Unfortunately, like any electronics, your fire detection system won't last forever. Therefore, it's vital to replace the units regularly. Newer fire alarms are built to last longer, with a life expectancy of about 10 years. If you've had your fire detection system for a while, check to see when you purchased them and when the manufacturer suggests replacing them.

Ensure Proper Smoke Detector Installation

  • Install units inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Install detectors on every floor of the home, including the basement.
  • Place basement alarms on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairway that leads to the next floor.
  • Install detectors close to but at least 10 feet from any cooking appliances (if placed closer, false alarms could go off with regular cooking).
  • Since smoke rises, install detectors on ceilings or high on walls. They should be placed no further than 12 inches from the ceiling. Never place smoke alarms near windows, doors, vents, etc. Drafts can interfere with the detectors' sensors.
  • A system of interconnected units is the best type to install because all the alarms will sound when one goes off.
  • Dual sensor smoke alarms are also recommended to detect both flaming and smoldering fires.

One of the most critical things you can do now is to check the functioning of your smoke alarm units. Ensuring they work today could mean the difference between no damage and pure devastation tomorrow.

How To Care For Burns

12/10/2021 (Permalink)

Red aid kit A first aid kit in your Ogden, UT can be helpful for treating minor burns.

Measures to Care for Burns Caused By a Fire At a Commercial Building

Burn first aid is critical knowledge for business owners and employees. Every workplace should have a complete first aid kit. It is also important to have a safety plan and detection and suppression systems in place to limit the extent of fire damage. Take the following measures to care for burns caused by a fire at a commercial building in Ogden, UT.

Assess Burn Severity

The severity of a burn should determine the approach to aid. A major burn can be

  • 3 inches or larger in diameter
  • Deeper than the dermis
  • White or charred

Emergency assistance may be necessary for extensive second-degree or any third-degree burns. It is important to monitor the injured individual until help arrives. Depending on the extent of fire damage, it may be advisable to administer care outside or in a safe structure nearby.

Retrieve a First Aid Kit

An emergency kit should contain burn cream, sterile gauze bandages, and other necessities. These items can be helpful for treating minor burns and protecting more severe burns until emergency responders arrive.

Cool and Moisturize

Hold a minor burn under cool running water or apply a damp compress to limit damage and relieve pain. Do not immerse burns in water and exercise caution when cooling severe burns.

Bandage and Keep Clean

Apply burn cream and loosely wrap a minor burn in sterile gauze. Cover more severe burns with a cool, moist bandage or clean cloth. Avoid breaking blisters, and cleanse any blisters that break with water and mild soap if desired. Reapply burn cream before re-dressing the injury.

Business owners may want to schedule a burn first aid training session. If a fire breaks out at a commercial building in Ogden, UT, the owner or occupants should contact the fire department and emergency medical assistance if necessary. A fire damage restoration company can help a business resume operations.

Understanding How Filing an Insurance Claim Can Raise Rates

11/25/2021 (Permalink)

Insurance claim. File an insurance claim only when it is essential to avoid increased rates.

Home insurance is often necessary, and most homeowners do not mind paying the premiums because having a policy gives them peace of mind. However, while an insurance policy is welcome after experiencing a home disaster, like water damage, most people worry about filing an insurance claim because they are unsure how it will affect their premiums. While it might seem unfair, any mitigation professional in Ogden, UT, will tell you that you need to understand a few things before making a claim:

  • Claims are necessary for financial protection
  • Claims can affect rates regardless of circumstances
  • Claims are advisable for large-scale losses

Understand the Rates of Filling Out an Insurance Claim.

Why an Insurance Claim Can Result in Rate Increases

When you signup with an insurance company, your premiums or rates are tied to your level of risk. Unfortunately, filing a claim increases your risks to the insurance company, regardless of the reason behind the claim. For example, your claim might be for a home flood resulting from a sudden pipe break. While your insurance might cover the damage, the expense still represents a loss and a risk to the insurer, meaning when it comes time to reassess your rates, your premiums might go up.

Essentially, your insurer performs a cost-benefit analysis every time they refigure your premiums. There is typically no reason for rates to climb if you make it through the year without filing a claim or using your policy. However, if you used your policy multiple times in a year, your account costs the insurer more than expected, meaning they will recover their losses by increasing your premiums.

Preventing Rate Hikes Because of Claims

The obvious solution to preventing rate hikes is never to file a claim, but this solution is impractical. Sometimes, you will need to make a claim because making the repairs alone is not financially possible. The key is to handle minor issues on your own whenever possible, limiting the number of times you use your policy.

If you experience damage that is not costly to repair, or if something does not even meet the deductible for your policy, then pay for it out of pocket. By paying for minimal expenses out of pocket, you can protect your insurance rates.

Rate Hike Circumstances

While your rates can increase regardless of the cause, some situations are more likely to result in an increase than others. For instance, if you file a claim and during the course of the investigation it is determined that you were at fault for the damage, your rates will typically always increase.

However, if you are not at fault and rarely use your policy, the insurer may or may not raise your rates. The primary takeaway is only to use your policy when it is absolutely necessary.

An insurance claim can lead to increased rates regardless of your responsibility or the extent of the damage to your property. To protect your current rates, you should only file claims when it is essential. Contact your insurance representative if you want to know how your rates might be affected by making a claim.

How To Avoid Frozen Pipes

11/15/2021 (Permalink)

Man screaming because of a broken pipe. Water damage caused by burst pipes it can be expensive and catastrophic for your Ogden, UT home.

Frozen pipes can cause a lot of damage to your home if they burst. In addition to having to repair or replace the pipe itself, you must also contend with the damage to the structure around it caused by the surge of water it releases. To protect your home in Ogden, UT, from extensive water damage caused by a frozen pipe, take the following precautions.

6 Tips to Prevent Frozen Pipes

Proper Insulation

You probably pay close attention to general insulation for your home, but what about insulating the pipes themselves? Even if you have a layer of protection from the extreme winter cold, it may not be enough to protect your home from a pipe freeze. Add extra insulation to pipes located in specific areas:

  • Attached to an outside faucet
  • Along an external wall
  • In the crawl space or attic

You can purchase heat tape or cables directly to vulnerable pipes. Most hardware stores have these items in stock. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when applying them for optimal results.

Protection From Outside Air

No matter how well insulated your home is, pipes can still freeze if you have spaces where cold air can leak in. Check your windows and doorways for drafts during regular inspections, particularly right before the first freeze. Any appliances that vent to the outdoors are also common sites of leaks. Use caulk to seal any gaps you find.

Steady Stream

Sometimes a simple solution is the best one. A slow drip from your faucets can prevent frozen pipes. The steady stream of water keeps the pipes warm enough to stay intact. While you may worry that this wastes water and drives up your utility bill, think instead of how much money you save by not suffering the immense water loss caused by a broken pipe.

Warm Home

Keeping your home warm can also keep your pipes warm. Some homeowners lower the thermostat overnight when the family is bundled up in bed, but this can lead to water damage from a pipe burst. Set your thermostat at a consistent temperature throughout the day and night to keep pipes warm at all times.

Vacation Preparation

If you are not going to be at home for several days or weeks, you must protect your pipes so that you don't come home to a big mess. Set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees so that the house stays warm. Turn off the water main. That way, if a pipe does break, there is nothing in it to flood your home. Ask a neighbor or a friend to check on your house occasionally while you're gone to make sure everything is as it should be.

Quick Response

Even if you take all of these precautions, a pipe may still freeze and release water. A fast response is key to minimizing the damage it leaves behind. Call your plumber to repair the pipe and water damage mitigation specialists to provide the cleanup.

Taking care of your pipes is important, particularly when it's cold outside. Know how to prevent frozen pipes and what to do if a break does occur.

Why Your Building Smells Like Mold

11/8/2021 (Permalink)

Man cleaning black mold. If you smell a musty odor, you probably have mold damage in your Ogden, UT building.

A mold smell that you can't find the source of can be frustrating for property owners. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to identify and eliminate the problem.

How To Eliminate Mold Smell

The characteristic fungus smell caused by the presence of mold or mildew is the result of gasses, called microbial volatile organic compounds, that are produced when molds reproduce. Not all MVOCs have an odor, but mycotoxins are responsible for the musty smell of mold. Eliminating the odor involves getting rid of the mold.

1. Identify Sources of Mold

Sometimes the source of a mildew smell is obvious. You may see patches of green, black, brown, pink, grey, or white mold or mildew growth on surfaces such as walls, ceilings, windowsills, and carpets. Other times, mold is more difficult to locate. Check hidden areas with high moisture, such as under sinks and inside HVAC vents. Mold can sometimes grow inside of walls or other places that are difficult to check. An infrared camera can be useful for detecting hidden mold and moisture.

2. Get Rid of Mold and Mildew

You may be able to remove small areas of mold or mildew by scrubbing with diluted bleach or using cleaners specifically intended for removing fungus. However, for larger jobs, you may need to contact a mold remediation company in Ogden, UT. The mold that is behind walls or beneath surfaces can be difficult to remove with do-it-yourself solutions. If you don't remove all of the molds, it is likely to come back.

3. Let in Some Fresh Air

Open some windows and doors to get the air circulating. This can help remove musty odors and may assist with drying out wet areas.

4. Use Odor Absorbers

If you still have lingering odors after mold removal try using odor absorbers or ozone machines to remove odors from the air. If the smell persists, you may still have hidden mold somewhere.

5. Eliminate Excess Moisture

Prevent future mold problems by controlling sources of moisture. If your property is located in an area with high humidity, install dehumidifiers. Make sure any industrial equipment, kitchens, showers, and other areas that produce moisture have proper ventilation. If there is any standing water in your building, remove it with a wet/dry vacuum. Have your HVAC system inspected and keep it regularly maintained to avoid accumulations of moisture in the vents and other areas. Repair leaking plumbing, roofs, appliances, and equipment promptly.

6. Use Mold-Resistant Products

You can reduce your chance of future mold issues by using mold-resistant products whenever you replace existing materials or construct new buildings. Mold-resistant drywall, sheetrock, and paint can help prevent mold growth in and on walls. It is particularly beneficial to use these materials in areas that tend to have high moisture levels.

If you are noticing a mold smell, you probably have mold, even if you can't see it. The key to getting rid of the smell is to get rid of the mold. Because mold isn't always easy to find, you may need to utilize special equipment or hire a professional to perform an inspection.

Why You Shouldn’t Drive Down a Flooded Street

10/23/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded road. A flooded road can damage your car leading to permanent damage.

Floodwaters in Ogden, UT, can arise from heavy rainfall, broken water pipes, or overflowing bodies of water. When you have somewhere you need to be, and you're just ready to get there, driving down a flooded street can be tempting. It may look OK from your steering wheel, but it can actually be perilous. Here are just a few reasons why you should never drive down flooded roads.

1. It Can Be Deeper Than You Realize

It can be challenging to determine how deep water is when you encounter it on the road. Even if it appears shallow, the road surface and underlying ground could have washed away, making the water much deeper.

2. You Can Quickly Lose Control

Six inches of water can touch the bottom of the typical car and cause stalling and even loss of control. Most vehicles will float if they come into contact with one foot of water, and two feet of rushing water can sweep away even large trucks and SUVs.

3. You Can't Always See What's Below

You can't see what's underneath murky floodwaters. Therefore, it can be frightening to think about having no control over where your car is being carried and not knowing what you could run into that could hurt you, your vehicle, or others.

4. It Can Destroy Your Car

Floodwaters can not only do immediate damage to your car, but they can also have lingering effects that may not show up for months. You may have everything from cosmetic damage to engine damage and electrical short-circuiting.

Flood damage experts will tell you to never drive in water that you don't know the depth of. However, there are times when you may already be in it when it floods.

Travel Tips for a Safe Journey in Bad Weather

1. Turn Around

Avoid fast-moving floodwaters. They can carry even large vehicles with ease. Floodwater can even flip a car in as little as 12 inches.

2. If There's No Alternate Route, Take Shelter

If there's no alternate route to take, get out of your vehicle and move to higher ground. Wait until you can safely travel to get back in your car.

3. Travel Slowly

Enter a road as slowly as possible, usually at 1-2 mph). Cross a flooded street at a maximum speed of 3-4 mph. Cars should take turns crossing the road one by one, providing plenty of room and time for each vehicle to pass through.

4. Watch for Obstructions

Floodwaters are usually murky, meaning you won't be able to see what's underneath the water. You will not only have to worry about what is underneath but also what is floating at the surface. Large tree branches, other vehicles, and various other hazards could be floating in the water. You also need to look out for obstacles, such as trees, buildings, and parked cars, that you could run into after losing control of your vehicle.

5. Dry Your Brakes

Once you're out of the water, lightly tap the brakes slowly several times. This will help dry the brakes.

You should avoid traveling down a flooded street at all costs. Now you know why it can be hazardous and how to navigate enough to safely make it to a stop.

Learning To Create an Effective Fire Escape Plan

10/18/2021 (Permalink)

Firefighter in a burning house. A fire escape plan can save your life during an emergency in your Ogden, UT residence.

Do you have a fire escape plan? If not, you are not alone. Many families fail to plan for fire disasters, which makes the disaster even more dangerous. Having an emergency escape plan significantly reduces the risks of injury or death, but it is not enough to have a plan; it must also be an effective plan designed for your specific home and circumstance. You can contact the local fire department or a fire remediation company in Ogden, UT, for assistance.

4 Steps for the Ideal Fire Escape Plan

An escape plan is all about accessibility and ease of use. If you make your plan too complicated or your designated exit points too complex, you risk injury or worse. Every plan is only as effective as its weakest exit strategy, so make sure you can find and acquire the necessary tools to make escape easy and convenient. There are at least four steps for developing the ideal escape plan.

1. Rooms Need Two Exits

While most people feel that having two designated exits from their home is enough to keep them safe during a fire emergency, they are mistaken. You never know where a fire will start or how it will spread. If you only have two exits from your home, you up the chances you will become trapped.

An effective escape plan requires a minimum of two exits per room, meaning bedrooms, basements, attics, kitchens, bathrooms, etc., need two manageable exits. You do not have to get overly creative here. A window and a door are good escape routes; just make sure that every space in the home has a minimum of two ways out, including hallways.

2. Escape Routes Must Remain Clear

As you design your escape routes, remember the paths need to remain clear. Do not place bookshelves in front of windows or couches in the direct line to the front door.

While this seems like a simple rule, it is easy for people to become complacent, especially if they do not practice their routes at least once per month. When too much time passes, it is easy to forget about routes and clear paths. People become more interested in design and style, leading to clutter and potential barricades to your escape.

3. Communication Is Key

Do not underestimate the power of communication, especially repeated communication. When you come up with an escape plan, please do not shy away from talking about it. Quiz your kids on the routes out of their rooms and the house. Ask your spouse to explain to your children how to make quick choices during a fire. By having conversations, even repetitive ones, you ensure your escape strategy remains a priority in the minds of your family.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

Similarly, the physical practice is crucial to developing muscle memory. In a genuine emergency, your brain can freeze, wasting the few precious moments you have to escape a fire. By practicing at least once per month, you ensure your family knows how to get out of the house.

A fire escape plan is a crucial part of family safety. Follow the steps above to create and practice your ideal plan.

How To Mitigate Sewer Damage to Two or More Floors

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

Woman cleaning a restroom. An overflowed toilet means sewer damage in your Ogden, UT commercial building.

Restrooms in your commercial building in Ogden, UT, are designed for easy cleaning. Every surface is easy to wipe down, and toilets are often self-flushing to prevent backup. When overflow does occur, however, it can make a big mess that doesn't necessarily stay in the room itself. Any space adjacent to or under the restroom may have sewer damage after a toilet malfunction. Water damage mitigation specialists often must address the issues in the restroom as well as the materials and floor beneath it. The typically simple remediation process gains a few steps when damage to multiple floors is involved.

1. Assessment of Sewer Damage

The first thing that technicians do when they arrive on site is to assess the extent of the damage. Because much of the overflow from the flooded toilet is likely to seep in between the tiles on the floor, they may have to remove portions of the material to see how far the problem goes. At the end of the assessment, they should be able to provide a report that provides useful information about the rest of the process:

  • Cause of the problem
  • Repairs the sewage company needs to provide to prevent further damage
  • Areas affected
  • Level of contamination and damage
  • Tasks involved in mitigation
  • Estimated cost of repairs

2. Extraction of Water

Once the members of the remediation team know what needs to be done, the next step is extracting any excess water or sewage from the affected area. Industrial pumps and various other drying methods may be used to remove water, thus stopping the damage in its tracks.

3. Removal of Materials

Having extensive sewer damage that affects the floor beneath the restroom means that technicians will probably need to remove a lot of materials. Not only must they rip out ruined pieces of flooring under the toilet itself but they also must tear out drywall, insulation, and ceiling tiles from all surrounding areas that have been contaminated by the flooding.

4. Disinfection of Surfaces

Since damage from a flooded toilet most likely has a Category 3 contamination level, all remaining surfaces must be disinfected. This part of the process removes any harmful microbes or bacteria, protecting your building and the people in it.

5. Drying of Area

Unmitigated water damage can lead to secondary issues such as mold growth. Therefore, ensuring that the entire area is completely dry before the structure is rebuilt is essential for preventing additional problems. All remaining materials must be free of damage and excess moisture.

6. Restoration of Building

The final step in the mitigation process is restoration. The team doesn't just leave your building gutted and clean. They replace the ceiling, walls, and flooring materials, matching them to the existing structure so that no one can tell there was damage.

Sewer damage from an overflowing toilet may seem like a small problem on the surface, but it can have far-reaching effects, particularly if the water seeps into the floor below it. A trustworthy mitigation team can find and fix all the damage caused by the overflow so that your building's structure remains secure and strong.

How Can an Electronic Claims Service Help?

9/29/2021 (Permalink)

A person using a notebook. Electronic claims service makes the process easier and faster.

If your home sustains loss from a disaster in Ogden, UT, whether a pipe burst, fire, or mold infestation, you're probably going to want to file an insurance claim. Thanks to modern technology, the claims process is easier than ever. SERVPRO offers an electronic claims service that extends many benefits in addition to its ease of use. This service is just one reason the company is on the shortlist of your insurance agent's preferred restoration providers. In addition to being a locally owned business with corporate reach and resources, industry competitors can't beat SERVPRO's electronic claims service.

Why Choose SERVPRO's Electronic Claims Service?

1. It's Convenient and Readily Accessible for Everyone Involved

People can access the electronic claims system remotely, from anywhere with an internet connection. They can also access and edit it on various devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones. This easy access makes it super convenient for an adjuster or restoration professional to upload information about and photos of the damage to the system as soon as they take them.

2. It Preserves Multiple Types of Information

Digital files are very similar to paper files, containing all of the information you would've found as paper documents in the past. This variety of data often includes itemized lists of damaged contents, photographs of the damage, the plan of action for restoration and repair, and progress reports from various contractors. To be put simply, everything you would find in a tangible file is now stored electronically.

3. It Creates a More Efficient Claims Process

Thanks to the electronic claims service, the insurance claim process is more efficient than ever. In the past, once completed, paper documents had to be shared by hand. They would move through multiple hands of different professionals and clients, and some required them to be mailed, which takes more time. Then, they had to be filed. There were risks of the documents becoming damaged or misplaced. Filing your claim electronically with SERVPRO makes the process virtually seamless and shared nearly instantaneously amongst everyone involved. Everything is in one location and can be viewed and updated by anyone with authorization at any time. Even better, the changes are made and seen in real-time.

4. It Improves Accuracy

Because the information is in a digital format and stored in a virtual file, accuracy is strengthened. As various professionals, such as insurance adjusters and fire damage restoration experts, add and subtract information to the claim, the computer is good at catching errors that the insurance agent or other people might miss.

5. It Requires Less Paper

The electronic claims service is not only user-friendly, but it's also eco-friendly. No longer is there a need for vast shelves of boxes and long rows of file cabinets packed with paper documents. The electronic storage system digitally saves, encrypts, and backs up for even more security. It has also reduced administrative costs and decreased the need for paper correspondence.

Whatever type of disaster your home experiences and whatever the damage, SERVPRO's electronic claims service makes filing an insurance claim super simple. Technology is improving all the time, and SERVPRO will continually be on top of it.