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Can a Toilet Overflow Cause (or Be Caused By) Sewer Damage?

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

Overflowing broken toilet A toilet overflow can be a nasty mess

Can a Toilet Overflow Cause Sewer Damage?

A toilet overflow can be a nasty mess. Sewage water, also called black water, gets everywhere. Unless the flooded toilet was unused since the last full cleaning, areas where the black water reaches should be considered a biological contamination zone.
Sewer damage or septic problems are a possible cause of toilet flooding. However, in most cases, the issue is with the toilet itself.

The three most common causes of overflow are:

  • A blocked drain
  • A malfunctioning float
  • A blocked vent pipe

What Should You Do First? 

If you can access the toilet shutoff valve, turn the water off immediately! Every ounce of water creates a much larger mess.
If there’s no shutoff valve, open the tank lid and carefully lift the float up. Don’t yank it —it could break off, causing a worse disaster. Once the float is high enough, you can prop it up using whatever is handy. However, always use the shutoff valve if one is available.

What Next?

You can now consider what to do with the water in the bowl, but be careful what you stick in the toilet! It can cause sewer damage. If the sewage company finds things you shoved down the toilet, they may conceivably bill you for damages.
If you have a plunger, carefully use that. Follow good practices for use, because if used incorrectly, a plunger is often useless — or it could even make the mess larger.
If a plunger doesn’t work and you know how to use a snake (and have one available), go ahead and carefully try to snake the toilet. A blocked vent pipe can also often be cleared by a snake, so they’re very handy to keep in your toolkit.
If you’ve avoided sewer damage, you can concentrate on cleaning up the black water. Because of the pathogens, this should be left to a certified sewage cleanup company. Professionals have commercial disinfectants that can make quick work of toilet overflow damage.

3 Ways Renters Insurance Covers Mold Damage

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

Renters insurance form and dollars on the table. Renters insurance can protect it against the ravages of mold damage after a flood

3 Ways Renters Insurance Covers Mold Damage

When your Rockvale, TN, rented property suffers water damage, you may wonder if your rental insurance covers costs for secondary damage, such as mold growth. You may encounter different types of fungi growth after a flood, many of which can take hold as soon as 24 hours after a flood. Understanding coverage circumstances for such an issue may help you maintain peace of mind in the wake of mold and water events.

1. Internal Flooding
Indoor flooding, such as water from burst pipes, leaking appliances or water lines and malfunctioning air conditioning units, can all cause mold growth soon after. Even if you dry the area with fans or towels, mold damage might still occur under cabinets or carpeting, which makes it difficult to spot. You may want to report the presence of mold to your insurance representative and your landlord as soon as you discover it.

2. Water Heater Damage
Rental insurance is likely to cover any mold problems caused by your rented apartment’s water heater. These appliances can crack and leak on occasion, which may cause mold growth at the source. Over time, spores become airborne and can travel to other parts of your home and find warm, moist places to grow anew. You can ask your insurance representative about the extent of your coverage for this circumstance.

3. Property Damage
Furniture, clothing and other personal belongings can be severely damaged by mold growth. A mold removal and remediation service may be able to restore some items, and your insurance will probably cover the cost. However, because insurance companies and policies vary, speak with your local agent before you commit to any type of restorations.
Rental insurance for your Rockvale, TN, apartment or other rental property can protect it against the ravages of mold damage after a flood. The better you understand your coverage, the faster you may be able to act when these problems arise.

Smoke Removal After a Fire

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

Restoration technician cleaning air area of a building damaged by smoke Smoke odor removal in Smyrna, TN

When a fire loss happens, no matter how big or small, the cleanup process often means replacing drywall, carpeting and other materials in your Smyrna, TN, building. Even after everything looks like its back to normal, there may still be lingering effects. A professional fire damage and restoration professional will ensure that proper smoke cleaning and soot removal are completed.

Smoke Removal Process

Unfortunately, smoke damage can last a long time. Along with soot, many of the burned materials produce gases while burning that can penetrate materials without leaving a visible sign of an issue. Removing the residue and odors means cleaning burned items to restore them back to normal. Below are steps taken to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Salvageable Items – Depending on what the belonging is, an array of methods or used to clean items. Oftentimes it will involve pressure washing, scrubbing and disinfecting surfaces.
Air Ducts – Since smoke and soot are in the air, particles can easily make their way into an HVAC system. Cleaning the air ducts is necessary to avoid contaminating other areas of the building and eliminating the problem.
Tackling the Air – Airborne odor requires innovative methods to get rid of. Certified professionals have high-tech tools on-hand to make the interior air fresh again.

Air Cleaning Techniques
To completely remove smoke odor, the smoke cleaning techniques used include:

Air Scrubbing – This involves a HEPA scrubber that removes airborne particles.
Thermal Fogging – A device is used to fill the air with a deodorizer. It creates a chemical reaction with odor molecules to eliminate them. This method does require leaving the property when in use.
Vapor Modification – A mineral oil-based compound is released into the air to combat the odor. It also penetrates affected porous materials.
Ozone Generation – Some types of smoke are harder to eliminate. This method oxidizes molecules via releasing oxygen. It often requires 24 to 48 hours in a controlled environment.

Fires can be an overwhelming experience, even long after the flames are out and repairs are done. Smoke cleaning services can help ensure the problem doesn’t linger.

How To Write a Business Continuity Plan

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

Business Continuity Plan Concept A business continuity plan is vital

Steps To Develop Your Emergency Response Plan

Sustained business interruption can cost your business thousands of dollars in lost revenues. Having a business continuity plan in place can help you mitigate your losses during a natural disaster, fire or another event that may interrupt your normal operations. These steps can help you develop your emergency response plan.

Set Realistic Goals for Your Plan
Before you begin writing your plan, you need to determine what you want to accomplish with it. The overall goal of your plan should be to keep your business running as efficiently as possible during a disruption event; however, it is a good idea to set smaller goals that will help you achieve your larger goal. You should consider and prioritize essential business processes:

  • Operations
  • Human resources
  • Administration
  • Maintenance
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Information Technology
  • Shipping and Receiving
  • Billing

Complete a Risk Assessment and Business Impact Analysis
Completing a risk assessment and business impact analysis will allow you to determine what the most severe possible risks are to your business during a disruption event. You should talk to key stakeholders to determine what the impact on your business would be if key business functions were interrupted and prioritize addressing these functions in your business continuity plan by how likely disruption to that function is likely to occur and how severe the impact is likely to be.

Write a Plan for All Essential Functions
Once you have established which functions are essential and how to prioritize them in your plan, you should write a plan for dealing with disruption to each essential function. Consider including the names and contact information of professional disaster recovery services in La Vergne, TN, that can be called upon to help get your business running again during a disaster.
A business continuity plan is vital to minimize revenue loss and keep your business functioning during a disaster or other business interruption. These steps can help you get started on your plan.

Who Pays For Flood Damage to a Rental Property?

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

Flooded homes in the Chicago area on a cloudy day. Flood damage in Christiana, TN area

Understand Each Party's Responsibilities

When a rental property floods, it’s not always clear what happens next. Many leases don’t include any provisions addressing potential disasters. It’s helpful to understand each party’s responsibilities, as well as the roles that property insurance and renter's insurance play in covering the costs of flood damage.

Owner’s Responsibilities
After a flood, it’s ultimately the landlord’s responsibility to get the property back into a habitable condition. This means the owner must

Repair any structural damage to the building.
Ensure that the property has been fully decontaminated in accordance with applicable health and safety guidelines.
Replace or repair any damaged appliances or other fixtures that were included in the lease.

Most restoration expenses and repair costs should be covered by the landlord’s property insurance; however, some property insurance policies specifically exclude flood damage caused by rising water or storms. If the property is within a federal flood zone, the landlord will typically have a separate flood insurance policy to cover those expenses.

Renter’s Responsibilities
In the event of flooding, a tenant is responsible for anything inside the property that was not included with the property as part of the lease. In most cases, renter's insurance will cover damage to things like furniture and clothing. Rental insurance typically also covers the cost of alternate housing, if necessary, until flood damage remediation is complete.
Like property insurance, most rental insurance policies do not cover flood damage caused by storms or rising water. However, there are specific flood policies available to renters, especially for properties in flood-prone areas. FEMA also offers some disaster relief options for renters impacted by storm-related flooding. Renters can check FEMA’s website to see whether Christiana, TN, is included within a federally declared disaster area.
Flooding can be a gray area when it comes to insurance coverage for property owners and for tenants. If the rental property is in a flood zone, tenants should consider purchasing a flood policy to cover flood damage not covered by ordinary renter's insurance.

How To Prevent Mold Growth After Water Damage

10/20/2020 (Permalink)

Drying equipment on the floor Drying process in a Murfreesboro, TN home

Water Cleanup Process

If your Murfreesboro, TN, home experiences water damage, it is important to act quickly to prevent mold growth. The following steps outline the water cleanup process. These steps apply regardless of the source of the water.

1. Make sure it is safe to begin work. Water and electricity can be a dangerous combination. Make sure the power is off in all the affected areas. If you cannot do this yourself, call an electrician.

2. Document the damage. Before you begin repairs, be sure to take photo or video evidence of the damage. This will help the insurance company properly compensate you for the loss. Call your agent and ask if there are any special instructions regarding documentation.

3. Dry the property. Because standing water can lead to mold growth within 24 hours, it is important to complete this step as quickly as possible. You can use specialized pumps and vacuums to extract the water. If necessary, you can also use buckets to scoop out the water. After the standing water has been removed, there will still be moisture left in porous surfaces. Dehumidifiers and fans can speed the drying process for these items. If the humidity outdoors is low enough, you can also open windows and doors to increase airflow.

4. Clean the affected areas. Depending on the source of the water, it may be contaminated with bacteria. Fortunately, there are many cleaning products on the market today. Choose one appropriate for the surface and contamination level you are dealing with.

5. Repair and replace damaged items. Everything that cannot be fully cleaned and dried should be thrown away to prevent contamination, mold growth, etc. Other items may be restorable. Delicate items, including electronics and antiques, will likely need professional restoration. Depending on their skill level, homeowners may be able to complete some of the other repairs.
The water damage restoration process can be overwhelming, especially if it has led to mold growth. If you need help getting your home back to normal, a certified restoration service can do the job quickly and safely.

When To Update Bathroom Supply Lines

10/14/2020 (Permalink)

Water piping tube installed externally along the bathroom wall to supply water for a heater. Supply line damage has the potential to cause considerable destruction

Homes in Milton, TN, use lines made of plastic or metal to connect plumbing devices to the main water line. These vital components should be checked frequently for supply line damage. They are installed during these important times:

  • Initial construction
  • Renovations or additions
  • Repair of deteriorated lines

The lines connect bathroom fixtures to the home's plumbing system. Steel braided supply lines can wear out, especially older hoses that weren't made as durably as the hoses are today.

What Causes Supply Line Failure?

Supply line damage results when the steel braided sleeve experiences corrosion caused by a chemical reaction from chlorine in the water. This can occur during a supply line leak where the hose connects to the fixture. The corrosion destroys the stainless steel metal strands until they break. Once broken, they no longer support the interior lining that is made of polymer. The water pressure becomes too much for the polymer sleeve, and it also gives.

Who Is Liable for Supply Line Failures?
Today, supply lines are made with stronger interior linings to prevent breakage if corrosion does take place. Should a supply line fail, the homeowner's insurance should cover any water damage that occurs; however, most homeowners have deductibles they'll need to cover first. For this reason, they can hold the supply line manufacturer liable if the damage happens within the warranted timeframe.
The type of supply line that is used in the home will determine the warranty period. Plastic lines usually have five to eight-year warranties while steel braided lines carry lifetime warranties.
If you experience a bathroom leak, and the culprit appears to be the supply line, call your insurance company to get the incident documented. Contact a remediation company to mitigate the situation until the insurance company can determine the right path forward with pursuing any claims against the supply line manufacturer.
Supply line damage has the potential to cause considerable destruction to a dwelling. Understanding how supply line failures occur can help with preventing foreseeable damage. Homeowners should also be on the lookout for moisture occurring near supply lines.

2 Ways to Safely Dry Wet Documents

10/14/2020 (Permalink)

Wet documents Documents damaged by water

Methods You Can Use To Restore Wet Documents

There are a lot of tasks to keep track of when attempting to restore your commercial building in Murfreesboro, TN, after a flood. Attempting to salvage wet documents after the incident can be frustrating, especially if you neglected to make backup copies. Luckily, there are multiple methods that you can use to restore important papers:

Air Drying Documents
Using this natural document drying method is ideal if you only have a small amount of papers that need to be restored:

  • Spread your wet papers out on a flat surface where they'll be able to sit undisturbed for a few hours. Make sure the area you select is in a room with adequate air circulation.
  • Gently dab the wet documents with a towel.
  • This can help soak up excess moisture, ultimately aiding the drying process.
  • Set up an oscillating fan to aid with air circulation.
  • Once your papers have dried a bit, weigh them down with a sturdy object, such as a book, to help prevent the edges of the paper from curling.

Freeze Drying Documents
You should use this method if you have 200 or more separate documents to salvage after severe flooding:

  • As soon as you notice the water damage, wrap the papers in a ziplock bag. Do not try to separate any pages that are clearly soaked.
  • Place the ziplock bag in the freezer. Leave the papers alone for several hours to allow them to freeze completely.
  • Remove the bag from the freezer and take the papers out. Repeat the steps from the previous method to air dry the documents.

Wet documents can cause problems for your commercial business, especially if you don't have any backup copies. The above methods can certainly help salvage these important documents after a flood. If these tactics are unsuccessful for any reason, you need to contact flood remediation experts as soon as you can for additional help.

3 Steps to Ward off Mold in the Wake of Water Damage

9/30/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on the corner of a wall Mold damage in Blackman, TN

Three Simple Mold Prevention Steps

Has your Blackman, TN, home been flooded, or has a pipe burst? The water damage you're facing now might feel overwhelming, but if you don't take these crucial precautions, you'll have the nightmare of mold growth on your hands soon enough. Mold is a nasty fungus that requires professional mold expertise to remove and can grow on almost any moist surface, including:

  • Ceilings and walls
  • Wooden floors
  • Carpeting and rugs
  • Curtains
  • Upholstery

You'll be thanking yourself later for taking these three simple mold prevention steps.

1. Sop Up the Water
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often homeowners waste precious time before cleaning up the flooded area. The first step in mold prevention is to collect all the surface water, using mops, rags, and if possible, a wet vacuum. If you let the water stand, mold is almost certain to crop up in the surrounding areas on top of the worsened water damage.

2. Dehumidify for Days
No mop or wet vacuum can sop up every bit of water, as it's sure to have sunk deeper into the nooks and crannies of the surface. As soon as the surface water is taken care of, crank up your heat or AC and set up a dehumidifier. If you're worried about whether these measures are doing the job, pop over to your local home goods store and purchase a humidity meter.

3. Ask for Help
From here, you may feel safe from mold, but this is a dangerous misconception. Sometimes mold is only identifiable through professional analysis, especially in the early stages. If you can catch the mold growth before it's even spread far enough for you to see it, your mold remediation process will be a piece of cake!
Water damage is a disaster on its own, so don't let it evolve into a mold growth as well.

3 Important Tips for Smoke Alarm Maintenance

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

Man Installing Smoke Or Carbon Monoxide Detector Smoke alarm maintenance in a Walterhill, TN

Smoke Alarm Maintenance

When you have a smoke alarm in your Walterhill, TN, home, it’s important to properly maintain the unit. A functional alarm helps you prevent large-scale damage by alerting you to the danger of a house fire in time to call the fire department. Afterward, a local fire restoration service can help with repairs. Here are three important tips for maintaining any alarms located in your home.

1. Regularly Change the Batteries

One way to help keep your smoke detector working so that it can alert you in time to avoid fire damage is to replace the batteries regularly. This should be done at least once a year. Most people choose an easy day to remember, such as daylight savings, on which to change their alarm batteries and inspect the unit.

2. Keep the Unit Clean

Keeping your smoke alarm clean can also help it retain its functionality. In many cases, you can clean the unit at the same time you change the batteries. A damp cloth can be used to carefully wipe off the outside, while compressed air can be used to clean the inside. This is also a good time to check if the unit may need to be replaced.

3. Replace Old Models

If your smoke detector looks to be in poor repair or if it has been in service longer than the recommended usage date, then it’s important to replace the alarm as quickly as possible. On average the lifespan of these devices is around eight years. However, if you experience problems with anyone in your home, it’s a good idea to choose a new unit as well.

Maintaining a smoke alarm by changing the batteries, cleaning it, and replacing it when it is expired is an important part of protecting your home against a fire. A little maintenance now can prevent a disaster in the future.