How Should Fire Damage Cleanup Be Handled

If a house sustains fire damage, proper cleanup is crucial as the ash, soot and water will wreak havoc on what remains.  It’s bad enough there was a fire, but the water and chemicals used to extinguish it can cause secondary damage.  The remnants will continue to do damage long after the flames are extinguished.

The average person will attempt conventional cleaning methods like renting a steam cleaner and using common cleaning agents available at the store.  Unfortunately, this will barely make an impact on the problem and could cause bigger issues.  Chemical agents could react with the residue and cause permanent damage, and in some cases, they may cause toxic fumes.  Fire damage cleanup is one of the most difficult jobs out there, and it should be left to a professional for the best results.

When selecting a firm that does the restoration, consider what type of training they have. Do they have health and safety certifications? Are they experienced in a wide range of repair? Do they have proof of proper insurance and licenses?  The company that has the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) fire and smoke restoration Certified Firm meets all of these expectations and conditions. An IICRC-certified firm understands the need for a quick response.  Immediate action is necessary because the longer the delay, the harder and more costly the job will be as reactions within the damaged material can continue to occur. The fire may be gone, but the ash, soot and smoke odors that remain can continue to do harm.  Certified firms will use their knowledge of fire restoration to accurately test the damage and apply the proper repair techniques to bring the items back to pre-loss condition when possible.

Also, when hiring an IICRC certified firm you can be sure that they are up to date with the latest technologies and techniques. In order for these firms to keep their certification, they are required to take continuing education programs.  So when confronted with fire damage cleanup, choose an IICRC-certified professional.

What To Do When Water Damage To Carpet Happens?

How To Handle Water Damage To CarpetCan water damage to carpet be repaired?  Some homeowners may think that this type of loss cannot be recovered.  Fortunately, in many cases with the right process, the carpet can be restored.

What should a homeowner do if this happens?  The most important step is to contact a specialized technician that is trained to handle this type of situation.  When a company is found, make sure that that business is associated with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning, Restoration and Certification, or the IICRC.  The IICRC is a non-profit organization that sets the standards for the industry.  This non-profit also provides certification to technicians.  IICRC-certified technicians are highly skilled and know what to do when flooring in a home is in need of repair.

Time is of the essence when water damage occurs. Mold can begin to grow if the water is left standing for long.  The experienced technician will come out and assess the damage and determine whether or not the carpet can be salvaged.  There are a number of factors that go into deciding this. One of the factors to consider is the source of the water.  Is it clean and pure, or did sewage get mixed in during the incident?  If the water contains harmful bacteria and is allowed to sit for an extended period of time, carpeting may need to be replaced.  Only a trained technician can accurately assess the damage and determine what steps need to be taken. Water damage to your carpet is a frustrating situation.  To ensure peace of mind, contact a certified technician that can handle this type of situation and get things back to normal.

Photo Credit: Justin Awad, Maize & Blue Water Restoration, Ann Arbor, Mich.

How To Choose Water Damage Restoration Services

When a storm leaves a home flooded, or a burst pipe causes serious issues in the house, getting water damage restoration services from a respected company should be considered a top priority. Unfortunately, this industry is not regulated, and there are people out there who pose as professionals or overstate their qualifications. Therefore, homeowners should be mindful of who they hire, as an untrained technician may do more harm than good or delay repairs, resulting in a higher degree of destruction. Before selecting a company to handle the job, keep in mind these points of emphasis:

  • Only choose certified professionals to perform water damage restoration services. Even though the industry is not regulated, technicians who have received certification have made the effort to get the best training possible, proving that they take their job seriously. Certification through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a sign that a professional has received the most up to date training and is knowledgeable in the latest techniques and technologies employed during repairs. The IICRC operates a Certified Firm registrant-only database on its site, making it easy to find a local, certified professional without trouble.
  • Do not select a technician based only on the price or an insurance company’s recommendation. When possible, speak to neighbors or friends who have had to hire a technician recently and try to get a recommendation from them. Insurance companies often select a restoration company based on price, and unusually low pricing suggests the company does not use modern drying or repair methods.
  • Choose a company that offers a range of water damage restoration services. The easiest way to determine the expertise of a firm is to see if they provide a full range of options for homeowners. Mold remediation, for example, is often needed given how quickly mold can set in. This is a standard field of knowledge that advanced technicians should possess. If a company doesn’t offer mold remediation, it may not be prepared for all job settings.
  • A company that is available 24/7 is a good sign. Stay away from any firms that are reluctant to start right away. In many cases modern equipment can enable near-complete drying in as little as 36 hours,  although many situations require longer. Also, a homeowner should not have to wait before repairs begin. Every minute counts when there is standing water present, and reputable professionals understand this. If a technician insists on waiting to begin the  remediation portion of the loss, they probably cannot be trusted to see the job through in a reasonable timeframe.

Using these guidelines, a homeowner should be able to find a technician that can be trusted and is equipped to do the job the right way. A storm or other disaster is hard enough to deal with, and a remediation firm should do everything in its power to make this difficult process easier.

Why Use Water Restoration Companies When Damage Occur

If you face the devastation of flood damage to your home or property, you need to seek the professional assistance of water restoration companies.  The dangerous effects of flood damage to the house  can be long lasting and quite serious if not dealt with by a trained professional.  In order to repair your property and bring it back to its original state, the services of specialists are necessary.  The monumental impairments to your house will not all become immediately apparent and trained experts who are able to predict these outcomes will be best able to guide you through the repair process.

Once you begin working with water restoration companies the initial problem that a certified technician will typically combat is standing  water, which can be extremely hazardous.  Proper safety equipment must be donned to protect individuals from bacteria and other contaminants while they assess standing liquid for threats.  The technician will also test to see how much moisture has permeated the walls, carpet, and other areas of the home.  They will perform these tests with tools that keep invasive disruptions to a minimum, and they are essential in forecasting damage to the building materials, which is often invisible from the surface.  These procedures are time sensitive, and the need to act quickly is critical.

Once the structure is evaluated for compromised areas, treatment can begin.  Items that hold water over time will need to be dried quickly or disposed of, as they will become breeding grounds for mold, including carpet, drywall, and mattresses.  In addition to this, more integral components of the building, mainly flooring and walls,  may have to  be deconstructed to eradicate saturated areas of mold.  All affected zones will require treatment with specific  professional compounds to restore their safety.

The road to recovery from  water damage to your residence involves a long and sometimes arduous journey.  It is, therefore, paramount to undertake this task with water restoration companies that employ trusted and certified technicians.  You need to inquire about a business’s accreditation and reputation.  All employees dispatched to treat your dwelling should be certified through the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or the IICRC.  This organization sets the industry standards for treatment and repair, and they do so while keeping safety the highest priority.  To become certified through the IICRC, a professional must take comprehensive classes and engage in hands on  training.  Knowing that you are working with a reputable expert will offer you peace of mind, which is certainly welcome during the difficult process of restoring your home. To find an IICRC-certified technician, visit their website today.

Why Professionals Should Handle Flood Damage Restoration

Flood damage restoration is an involved process that has to be done professionally to avoid a number of ongoing problems. During a heavy storm, rising waters from ditches and lakes are unsafe for homeowners and their families. Known as black water, they are normally contaminated with pathogens, fungi, chemicals, and animal feces. Allowing this water to stand in the home for long can result in serious health risks, even after the water is removed. For this reason, certified professionals should be hired to neutralize standing water and address any associated health risks as soon as possible.

How long does flood damage restoration normally take?

The time the clean-up takes will depend on the scope of the problem. After just 48 hours, standing water can cause mold to grow, which will take more time and effort to remove. For most remediation projects, it will take a few days to remove the water and dry everything out after the storm. If the home’s drywall has been soaked through, it will likely take an extra day to remove or dry out the drywall. In general, organic materials like carpet, drywall or clothing  may need to be disposed of if they have been soaked for longer than 48 hours. It is therefore extremely important to call in a professional as soon as possible.

What does flood damage restoration normally involve?

The first thing a remediation company will do is remove excess water from the home. Water has a tendency to reach areas that are not normally accessible, like inside wall cavities, so professionals will often use water detection technology to locate sources of moisture. Once standing water has been removed from the home, the remediation company can remove any soaked furniture, carpet padding, baseboards and household items.

Certified professionals are trained to identify which items are beyond repair and which can be salvaged. Those that must be disposed of will be done in a responsible way, reducing the ecological impact of a storm. Anything that can be salvaged will be thoroughly dried. Furniture may be placed on blocks to help encourage air flow through the furniture, speeding up the drying process.

Inside the home, the team of remediation professionals will use a combination of commercial air movers and dehumidifiers to quickly reduce the amount of moisture present. Remediation experts are equipped with moisture detectors that allow them to precisely measure the amount of moisture in various areas. By using this specialized equipment, a technician can determine when materials have been dried properly.

If, however, water has been allowed to stand for several days, technicians will need to inspect the home for mold. Mold is a common, but serious problem that can cause lingering health problems in people. Mold can infest most organic materials and can even work its way into the air ducts, spreading it throughout the building. Certified professionals are able to quickly detect, identify and remove mold contamination, followed by cleaning up the infested area to prevent re-infestation.

Handling the aftermath of a nasty storm is a time sensitive process and requires a quick response from a dedicated team. With their expertise, remediation experts can have the home back to normal before long.

What Is Required For Water Damage Restoration?

Companies that perform water damage restoration have to be skilled in a number of areas to stay current in their field. Technicians in the industry have to combat a number of threats, some visible and some invisible, before their job is done. Structural weakening, chemical runoff, electrical hazards, dangerous wildlife, and deadly microbes are all common risks technicians have to contend with. Without the proper education and equipment, a technician risks grave injury and may leave health risks behind for a family to encounter. Fortunately, technicians in the industry have access to the educational resources offered by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC.

After getting certified in water damage restoration and a number of related fields, a professional in the field will be able to identify and neutralize any problems they are likely to face at a job site. In most cases, a technician is called to a home following a flood or plumbing disaster. In either case, the initial threat a technician has to encounter is hazardous standing liquid. Floods and sewage backups are normally host to dangerous chemicals, like oil runoff, bacteria and viruses. Before any repairs can be done on the home, a technician will need to be outfitted with the proper safety wear and begin investigating where the liquid is pooling. Moisture meters can detect the level of moisture in and behind drywall, carpet, and other areas. Using minimally-invasive tools, a technician can quickly find pockets of heavy moisture in areas not readily accessible.

This is important because only thorough drying will ensure that further destruction does not occur. Most companies use a combination of industrial  air movers and dehumidifiers to extract moisture from both materials and the air. This process can take some time, but diagnostic tools like moisture meters help technicians monitor the drying process. Once all of the materials inside the home have reached safe levels, mold and other microbial growth can be halted.

The most severe threats a water damage restoration company has to deal with are molds and other pathogens. These  contaminants can remain a major hazard for years after they have taken root, and can cause insidious health problems while remaining hidden in vents or behind walls. Trained technicians are capable of neutralizing molds and other pathogens by utilizing special  cleaning products and quickly removing compromised materials. Being able to identify mold growth is an important skill for a professional, and stemming the growth of a colony can be the difference between saving a home and having to condemn it. Certified firms are capable of quickly working through a property and disposing of anything that is beyond repair. Anything that is salvageable but soaked is separated, cleaned properly, and promptly dried. If the building’s structural integrity has been affected, these technicians can identify it and alert the homeowner and the insurance representative to its presence.

Without professional help, a homeowner will never know for sure that their home is safe to live in again. This is why the help of a certified technician is so valuable. They don’t just repair homes, they restore normalcy.

How Can Fire Damage Be Harmful To Homeowners?

Some of the biggest challenges associated with fire damage occur after the flames have gone out. During combustion, water vapor and intense heat are generated, both capable of causing extreme destruction. On top of this, smoke and soot will result in ongoing problems as they both contain toxic chemicals and pungent odors.  Just how bad the odors and toxic effects are will depend on the composition of the fuel used for combustion, the intensity of the heat, and the length of time the fire ran before it was extinguished.

Plastics and other synthetic materials can leave behind chemical residues that are harmful if inhaled. Wood smoke, usually the greatest contributor to the amount of smoke in the building, contains methane, carbon monoxide, benzene, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, formic acid, acetic acid, and traces of heavy metals. This toxic soup will cause major problems for anyone who inhales the smoke or comes in contact with surfaces harboring smoke residue. Soot and smoke particles have a tendency to settle on carpets, furniture, countertops and walls in the hours following combustion. Before the flames go out, they will send smoke throughout the home, into ductwork, and into wall cavities. In short, there  may be no place in the building untouched by smoke, and its presence means trouble.

Smoke particles are incredibly small and may be smaller than .01 microns in size. This is typically too small for standard residential air filters to catch. If the smoke particles are allowed to settle inside the home’s walls, they will create odors that are difficult to track down. Smoke is also acidic in nature, so it will slowly deteriorate various materials within the home. What this means is that a homeowner should contact a professional fire damage restorer as soon as possible. Acting quickly is the best defense in reversing the damage.

Removing smoke and soot requires  the proper machinery and expertise. Homeowners should only consider professionals who have been certified through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC. This agency has overseen the certification of fire damage restoration companies for decades and is responsible for regularly updating the best practices in the industry. Technicians with IICRC certification are aware of the most advanced techniques and technologies in the industry. They are among the most knowledgeable members of their field.

During restoration, the technician will need to remove any items that have been destroyed and address any standing water left behind. Pooled water can foster the growth of mold and mildew in carpets and other textiles, so it must be removed quickly. The technician will also have an arsenal of counteractants capable of breaking down any soot or smoke they come in contact with. This is handy for removing ash and soot residue left behind on surfaces. Neutralizing odors left behind will be more difficult, but new methods, including thermal fogging or ozone treatment can break down smoke particles and force odors to dissipate.

It may seem like life will never return to normal following a disastrous fire, but with the help of IICRC certified technicians, a family can get back on track before long.

Why Flood Restoration Should Be Handled By A Technician

Technicians in the flood restoration industry have to combat a number of dangers while working on the job. These dangers come in many forms and without professional training they can be tough to overcome. While the average homeowner may be able to repair minor water damage to the home or do some basic cleaning, entering a waterlogged home without the proper precautions can be extremely dangerous. When water enters the home, whether from a burst pipe or rising water, it brings with it many potentially harmful substances and life forms. Also, when a structure is compromised, merely moving around in the building can result in an accident.

Perhaps the greatest threat that flood restoration technicians have to worry about is the building itself. Homes that have been damaged by water often behave similarly to those damaged by fire. What this means is that the structure may be compromised and parts of it can possibly fall down at any moment, often with little warning. For this reason, one of the first things a technician will do is assess the structural integrity of the building. If it appears the building has received catastrophic structural damage, it may have to be condemned outright. However, even if the building appears to be stable, the crew will have to be careful not to place too much stress on the home. Technicians have to pay close attention to any electrical hazards that may be present. Water is a ready conductor of electricity and can kill if there are any exposed wires in the home.

Technicians also have to worry about any wildlife that may have been carried into the home with the water. Wild animals may seek shelter in the building if the damage is not addressed right away. Snakes are a significant threat because they are drawn to water and can hide under debris or behind a waterlogged wall. The movement of humans, especially those engaged in active cleanup, may cause the snake the go into defense mode and strike.

The water itself is also a hazard to the flood restoration technician. Water that enters the home is  sometimes the product of a drainage ditch or river overflowing. This water is contaminated and often contains a variety of pathogens and chemicals. Oil, fertilizers and pesticides are found on residential streets and in yards, and these are extremely toxic if ingested or improperly handled. Bacteria and fungi are also an immediate threat and  could cause major illness if they enter the body.

Finally, various types of mold are an ever present concern and have to be dealt with immediately. While they aren’t usually a threat right away, after just a few days, they can form dangerously toxic colonies that can be inhaled if the technician is not wearing proper gear.

A homeowner attempting to enter and repair a home that’s water damaged takes a huge gamble. Without the proper equipment and knowhow, it is easy to get hurt or become ill. Technicians trained through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) are familiar with these dangers and are equipped to handle them. Protective gear, respirators and drying equipment allow technicians to move about the property without coming into contact with any toxic or dangerous materials or organisms. Also, their specialized training allows them to quickly spot structural problems and areas that are likely to foster mold growth. This allows a technician to quickly assess threats and overcome them.

Having Smoke Damage Clean Up With A Professional

After a fire, smoke damage and subsequent clean up can change lives. Yet it is possible to get back to normalcy. Most homeowner insurance policies will cover the cost of the restoration and repair, so the homeowner does not have to spend much if any money out of pocket.

Whether the project is small or enormous it is important to remember that time is of great importance. Seemingly minor damages can cause irreversible destruction within a matter of days. In fact, the caustic nature of the ash residue causes injury within just a few hours. Over time the deterioration will become permanent and extremely costly.

Clean up that is necessary in the wake of a fire can seem like a daunting task. However, it is important to contact an Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC, technician as soon as possible. IICRC is a name trusted in the industry for excellence. It trains, certifies, and monitors technicians that carry its CleanTrust™ logo. Through extensive training and hands on experience the technician learns how to properly and professionally tackle any job requiring restoration after a fire. Through different levels of mastery the technician is able to learn how to evaluate the scene, prepare a plan of action, and implement the plan.

The first step to hiring an IICRC technician is to contact the insurer. The name is a highly respected symbol in the restoration and repair industry. The homeowner can visit IICRC’s website or call to obtain a list of active members in good standing, or the insurer may be able to point the homeowner in the right direction.

While a fire causes smoke damage, quick clean up by an IICRC-approved technician can have the homeowner back at home in a healthy environment fast.

Find A Certified Water Restoration Company

Standing liquids can cause catastrophic damage to a home and everything inside, which is why homeowners rely on a water restoration company to fix everything quickly and thoroughly. Among carpet and textile technicians, these professionals are perhaps the most knowledgeable and versatile. They must be able to assess and repair damage to carpets, upholstery, and other textiles. In addition, trained professionals must be able to identify structural damage to the home, fight microbial infestation, and eliminate the source of the problem. Handling all of these processes requires extensive training from a respected organization.

There are several oversight agencies in the industry, but the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC, is likely the most revered. More than 50,000 registrants and firms are part of the IICRC, and the organization is recognized around the world. Any water restoration company that wants to improve its knowledge and standing in the field can do so through the IICRC.

The institute’s classes are taught through approved instructors that are spread throughout the country. This means a technician can easily find and attend nearby courses, and get their career going right away. Relevant courses in this field include mold remediation, structural drying, carpet cleaning, and carpet repair. However, the most important class will teach the technician how to identify excess moisture and remove it, how to assess the extent of liquid contamination, how to remove structural hazards, and how to repair any damage done by the liquid. Technicians in the industry are expected to work in many different environments, so students will also learn how to handle the unique threats caused by sewage backflows and major pipe leaks.