4 Tips to Protect Your Home from a Flooding Disaster

A significant flooding event in your area can bring destruction to your home. Rising floodwaters can sweep through your home, destroying your possessions and damaging your home’s structure. Although making your home immune to flooding isn’t possible, there are ways to minimize the damage from a catastrophic event.

Retrofit Your Home

Making some structural changes to your house can protect it during a flood. Some homeowners who live in areas with high flooding risks choose to elevate their homes onto columns. However, a task of this magnitude can cost you significantly. Other options including installing vents in your foundation. These vents allow water to flow through the foundation instead of rising up through your home. Sealing your home’s exterior by applying special coatings to the walls can also minimize flooding damage.

Keep Your Roof in Good Condition

Your roof is an essential part of your home’s structure; failure to keep it in good shape can increase the damage your home bears during a major storm. Check your roof for issues regularly, and have a professional roofing team fix problems promptly. Make sure that your home’s gutters are installed properly as well. Don’t forget to keep your gutters clear of debris.

Protect Major Appliances

Elevating your home’s appliances above the flood level can prevent the need to replace the appliances after a flood. Even a one-foot elevation can give your appliances protection from all but the most catastrophic floods. Cinder blocks can serve as a temporary pedestal, but you may want to build a permanent solution in the future.

Use Water Alarms

Placing water alarms around your home can immediately alert you to a flooding issue. To effectively protect your home, place water alarms near sources of water, such as by your water heater and the bathroom plumbing. Put several in your basement so that you’ll know if flood waters have entered your home during a storm.

For our neighbors in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Paul Davis Restoration is here to help you get back on your feet after a major catastrophe in your home. We offer services in a range of areas, including storm and fire damages. Contact us today to get help putting your home back in order.

Extreme Weather Damage

 

Dealing With Extreme Weather Damage to Your Home

When winter weather gets more extreme, so do the consequences of not preparing for the worst. Small issues like an overhanging tree can turn into a tree in the living room after a cold-snap and strong winds. Foundation cracks can turn into foundation failures when exposed to freezing ground-water. Pipes can burst in winter, leaving you without hot water, or causing damaging flooding, which can be incredibly dangerous in cold weather. Regardless what kinds of catastrophes you face, a disaster restoration plan are something that no homeowner should be without. Here are some of the risks that you could encounter and ways to cope effectively.

Flooding
Don’t believe that Indiana homeowners are at risk of high-water events in the midst of cold weather? Just look back to 2005, when severe winter storms and flooding in the state prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to declare a major disaster that lasted for the entirety of January and much of February. Or consider the fact that the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program says that floods are the number one natural disaster in the country.

With dangers like ice jams that cause rivers to spill over and snow-melt that can overwhelm normal drainage channels, flooding hazards are real. Even if you follow FEMA’s advice by purchasing flood insurance, you’ll need to consult with restoration experts right after your disaster to get the most out of your policy.

Fires
Indiana winters can make you think of moving somewhere much warmer, but the frigid cold doesn’t protect your property from blazes. For a variety of reasons, such as increased cooking and heating activities, house fires are more common in winter than at any other time of year.

Fires can be worse in inclement weather because they eradicate your property’s barriers against the outside world. For instance, flames that burn through roofing or exterior walls subsequently allow moisture to get inside and cause additional damage by freezing. Without expert disaster management assistance, repairs may also take longer.

Ice and Snow
Ice storms don’t just cause water to freeze uncomfortably close to your home. While these events can indeed result in the formation of ice dams that tear roof shingles apart or make gutters fall, they can also impact the trees and power lines around your property. When these features collapse, the aftermath may be even more catastrophic.

In some cases, snow buildup itself damages homes. This is especially concerning with older properties that may not be quite as structurally sound as they once were. Heavy snow that causes your roof plane to bend or warp can create weaknesses that worsen with every passing season. No matter how minor the problem seems now, failing to take immediate action is almost certain to cost you down the line.

In winter, rapid emergency restoration needs to be one of your primary concerns. The risks of waiting around after an incident are undeniable, and your real estate’s equity will suffer for every second you delay. To learn more about extreme weather disaster restoration, contact a Paul Davis expert now.

Is Mold Hiding In Plain Sight?

What You Don’t Know Could Harm Your Home and Health

If you’re suffering from inexplicable sneezing, congestion or other common allergy symptoms, the cause may be unseen mold inside your home. Mold thrives in damp, dark places, so it should be no surprise that most mold problems go undetected. If you’ve ever had significant water damage, fire damage or smoke damage, the chances of mold living in your walls or carpet are very high. If you suspect that a fungal colony is growing in your home, you need a professional inspection right away before it inflicts lasting harm on your property and your health.

The Health Hazards of Hidden Mold

According to the CDC, allergic reactions to mold spores can trigger headaches, asthma attacks and chronic sinus complications. In worst case scenarios, mycotoxins from specific molds like stachybotrys chartarum can cause problems including depression, difficulty concentrating and even memory loss. If your symptoms are more noticeable while you’re at home but improve when you go out, it’s very possible that household mold is keeping you sick.

Signs of Hidden Mold

Mold often has a distinctive pungent, musty smell, but mold may still be present even if you can’t smell or see it. People sometimes mistake small mold growths for dirt or rust. Mold may appear black, brown, white, orange and even pink or purple when it grows behind wallpaper. Large amounts of condensation on your windows or pipes means that there is a lot of moisture in the air, which makes ideal conditions for mold growth.

The Causes of Mold

Mold needs moisture to grow, so water damage (including residual damage) provides a fertile ground for fungi. A common sign of moisture problems is discoloration of your walls, floors or ceilings. If you notice your paint or wallpaper peeling, cracking or warping, that could also be indicative of water issues. Anytime you have flooding, you should have your home inspected for mold damage as soon as possible. If you suspect mold in your home, contact Paul Davis for a consultation today.

Flood Preparedness

Is Your Home As Ready For Summer As You Are?

Most people look forward to hot weather with great enthusiasm, but as a homeowner, summer also means you have a seasonal routine to maintain. In addition to keeping the lawn well-manicured and fighting pest incursions, you need to fortify your property against potential high water.

Even if you’re not anticipating a deluge of mythical proportions, it’s critical that you adopt a proactive stance. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of flooding to cause serious material damage. For instance, the National Flood Insurance Program estimates that a single inch of flooding in a 1,000 square foot home could result in more than $10,000 of financial loss. Getting ready in advance is definitely worth it, so keep the following steps in mind.

Assess Your Water-Management Fixtures

Gutters and roof systems are designed to divert excess rainwater in a constructive fashion. While extensive flooding can overcome such protections, they’ll resist the flow of water longer when they’re maintained properly.

A well-cleaned system of gutters and downspouts can redirect more moisture away from your building and its foundations. Check around welded pipe joints, mounting brackets and other fixtures for leaks, rust or signs of pooled water. This could help you catch a small problem before it leads to a disaster in the middle of a serious downpour.

Poke Around Your Foundation

Flood waters don’t always enter buildings via the most obvious paths. For instance, a longstanding crack in your concrete basement wall might weaken gradually for years. Water accumulation during your next storm could exert enough pressure to weaken the existing fault in a single catastrophic burst. If you weren’t aware of the problem in advance, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.

It’s vital to inspect your basement on a regular basis. Check features like sealed joints and high-stress points, such as corners, for signs of stress. One good sign of excessive moisture in the earth surrounding basements is efflorescence, or built-up powdery substances and tiny crystal deposits that occur when water evaporates through your walls and leaves behind salt and minerals.

Repair Current Damage

Finally, don’t neglect problems you already know exist. If you already experienced flooding or excessive moisture that caused damage, letting the material deficiency sit uncorrected is a prime way to leave your property vulnerable to future floods.

Take immediate action by contacting a restoration expert so that they can assess and fix the issue. This is also a good way to spot related faults that might indicate the existence of structural weak points, such as bowed basement concrete walls or warped timbers. To become better prepared for flooding or just fix existing problems, get in touch with Paul Davis right away.

Full-Service Emergency Restoration

Experiencing a fire or weather disaster is traumatic, and the aftermath can transform even the calmest of lives into stressful chaos. Water, fire and smoke damage is often overwhelming, and structural instability or collapse may lead you to believe that your home or place of business is hopelessly lost. In most cases, this isn’t true. Experienced restoration specialist Paul Davis can quickly assess damages and put even worst case scenarios on a smart and sound path to recovery by restoring normal living conditions, managing secondary problems and helping you find your way through the confusing recovery process. Here are the steps Paul Davis takes to ensure the best possible outcome.

Paul Davis Full-Service Emergency Restoration

1. Emergency Board-Up and Structural Stabilization

As soon as you and your family are safe, stabilizing your property is an essential task. Paul Davis understands the importance of promptly boarding up windows and providing structural stabilization to prevent further destruction caused by hidden damage to framing and walls.

2. Water Damage Control

Whether it’s due to broken pipes, storm damage or fire extinguishing efforts, water infiltration can quickly deteriorate building materials and create conditions favorable to dangerous mold and mildew growth. Addressing water damage quickly can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs. Paul Davis uses industrial-grade water extractors, air movers, dehumidifiers and other professional equipment to efficiently remove water from rooms and damp materials. To prevent mold and mildew disasters, disinfectants and antimicrobial products are used to sanitize affected areas.

3. Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration

Paul Davis uses environmentally friendly methods to conduct fire and smoke damage restoration processes such as soot removal, odor elimination and air purification. All affected items including furniture and personal possessions are removed and carefully inventoried for cleaning and restoration.

4. Reconstruction Services 

Unfortunately, if severe damage has occurred, some areas of an affected building may need to be reconstructed. Paul Davis is fully qualified to conduct reconstruction and meets all state licensing and insurance requirements. A variety of reconstruction services are available for home and commercial projects.

5. Assistance With Insurance Claims

Filing insurance claims can be confusing for the average person, especially when extensive property damage has occurred. In the midst of dealing with the fallout of a disaster, the last thing you need is to be overwhelmed by a complicated claims process or unfamiliar terminology. Paul Davis will help you with the insurance claims process so that you can focus on getting other aspects of your life back to normal.

When Disaster Strikes, Paul Davis Is Here to Help

Disasters happen, but having the right people in your recovery plan greatly reduces the negative impact they have on your life and your future. Don’t let a fire, weather catastrophe or other chaotic event disrupt your peace of mind. Contact Paul Davis for a consultation today.

Top Tips for Removing Mildew Odors from Home

Clear Away Mildew Odors Fast

In the aftermath of a flood or other water- or moisture-related mishap, mildew odors often linger. Everything may look spic and span, but that telltale scent remains. Needless to say, cleaning and restoration work can’t be considered complete until the premises not only look clean and dry but smell that way too. If you’re still detecting mildew odors long after the area has been thoroughly dried, you have a little more work to do. Fortunately, however, removing mildew odors from a home once and for all isn’t too difficult. Keep these tips in mind to help your home smell as good as it looks after flooding or other damage:

Thoroughly Clean the Affected Area – Mildew odors originate in some pretty surprising places. Often, objects in the affected area are to blame. Old cardboard and paper, in particular, tend to hold onto and emit these odors, so throw away any that you find. Fabrics should be thoroughly washed or thrown out. Upholstered items can sometimes be salvaged, but they might just as well be thrown away too. From there, use a mixture of bleach and hot water to scour the area, and allow it to dry. Finally, open windows and run fans to promote ventilation.

Use Odor Absorbers – Odor-absorbing products work wonders when mildew scents remain. There’s no need to spend a fortune on them. A tray of clean cat litter should do the trick, but make sure to replace it every two weeks or so. Charcoal briquettes can be placed in an old coffee can to absorb moisture and odors; replace them every month or so. Finally, baking soda is a tried-and-true way to absorb and eliminate nasty odors. Just open a few boxes in the affected area, and replace them every few months.

Prevent a Recurrence – Even after carefully following the steps above, mildew odors may creep back. Ward this off by consistently and thoroughly cleaning the area again as described. Further, ensure the area is properly ventilated, and take advantage of nice days by opening windows to allow fresh air into the home.

Run a Dehumidifier or Ionizer – If the affected area is prone to moisture, mildew odors may stubbornly persist. Keep it fresh and odor-free by investing in a decent dehumidifier or ionizer. The former removes moisture from the air to keep humidity levels in check; the latter removes damp ions from the air for similar results.

Don’t resign yourself to living in a home that is plagued by the smell of mildew. The above tips should rid you of the issue once and for all. If you still have water-damaged areas in the home and are located in northeast Indiana, Paul Davis can help. Learn more by visiting our website today.

Avoid Burst Pipes this Winter

It Pays to Be Cautious

Cold winter weather has the potential to freeze pipes in your home. At a minimum, this will disrupt your water supply. Plastic or metal pipes could also burst and cause costly damage. Indiana Public Media reported that this happened in a number of buildings during January 2014; a Bloomington homeowner’s ceiling collapsed after pipes ruptured in the attic. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent such disasters.

Insulate

Consider adding more insulation to your home’s walls. Focus on cold places that contain pipes, such as the basement, crawlspace and attic. You can cut foam boards or fiberglass insulation with a utility knife. These products deliver the best results when homeowners also seal cracks and drafty windows with caulk. For even greater protection, wrap moisture-resistant insulation around vulnerable pipes.

Faucets

A dripping faucet can keep your pipes from freezing overnight. If the outdoor temperature drops near or below zero, open a tap on each story. Prioritize sinks with plumbing near outer walls. It’s worth paying slightly higher utility bills to prevent severe water damage. However, extra insulation will prevent waste and provide a more economical long-term solution.

Cabinets

If a sink has cabinet doors under it, open them during chilly weather. The same goes for any doors behind a shower stall or bathtub. This becomes particularly important when fixtures are located along a home’s outer walls. It helps expose the pipes to warmer air.

Heat Tape

When you’re concerned about a specific pipe, consider using a heat tape to keep it warm. Remember to carefully read the directions. Depending on the brand, you might need to attach a heating cable to the side of a pipe or wrap the tape around it. You may install some cables immediately; others require that you cut them and connect separate components.

Thermostat

A central heating system will keep most or all pipes warmer when you turn up the thermostat. The state government recommends setting it above 54 F at all times. If the system fails to heat a certain pipe, think about putting a space heater next to it. Select a model with a thermostat that you can set to a low temperature that’s just warm enough to function. This will help you avoid a high electric bill.

If a pipe bursts despite your best efforts, engage the main water shut-off valve as soon as possible. Don’t try to melt ice with open flames. Patch kits can help you temporarily fix a pipe until a professional conducts repairs. Remember that the water damage experts at Paul Davis know how to repair homes quickly and affordably. Please contact us today to learn more.

Safely Resuming Business After a Flood

Getting Back on Track After the Path Has Been Washed Out

Natural disasters make it difficult to resume business as usual, and the interruptions could easily exceed your expectations. You obviously know you can’t open for business while there’s still a foot of water in your sales room, but you may not be aware that there are plenty of dangers that persist after the immediate threat has passed.

What’s at Risk Following Floods?

The floodwaters that inundated your office or shop most likely carried contaminants; if you don’t eliminate these, they might infect your unwitting consumers. Toxins could include everything from infectious agents and sewage to bacteria or industrial waste. That’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that companies like restaurants and grocers perform thorough decontamination and sanitation using agents like bleach prior to reopening or even restocking.

If you store perishable stock, floods that knock out the power could jeopardize its safety. While it’s a hard pill to swallow, throwing out damaged items is way less painful than fighting a liability lawsuit after you sell them or they harm your employees.

Decontaminating Your Premises

Unfortunately, wiping down your sales counters with bleach and mopping the floors isn’t enough. Hazards can hide in spots you can’t necessarily see or access readily, such as the inner volumes of walls or beneath laminated flooring. Debris that attracts pests might have collected behind furniture and inside vital machinery. Spores from mold growth or other contaminants could have taken up residence in your HVAC system and water piping. Restoration is a highly involved process that requires extensive cleanup, and to minimize your legal risk, it should only be performed by a licensed professional.

In many cases, Indiana business owners find it necessary to reconstruct their buildings. Structural components like drywall and wooden beams, which are more than porous enough to absorb significant volumes of water, don’t dry out nearly as quickly as they get soaked. Even if they weren’t originally contaminated, they now serve as breeding grounds for mold and insects. These building materials must be replaced or treated before you can start hosting customers again.

It’s also critical to inspect your equipment. Electrical devices like air handlers aren’t made to operate in flood conditions, and they may have sustained internal damage when they were exposed to high water. Soft mechanical components, such as air filters, hoses and gaskets, are at particularly high risk, so you’re better off simply replacing them. Even sinks need to be sanitized and cleaned, otherwise you’re just spreading contamination around.

Post-flood decontamination, recovery and reconstruction are all big tasks, but with assistance, businesses can tackle these jobs and get back to serving their communities. Learn how by contacting Paul Davis Restoration today.

Stay Out of the Basement: Post-Flood Safety

scale of a House fully flooded during the flooding of the river

Understanding and avoiding common flood hazards

Flooding can create extensive damage to your home. Caution is essential when re-entering any structure once flood waters recede. Practice these safety tips to prevent injury and health problems for you and your family.

Be Mindful of Electricity

Water can damage electrical appliances as well as wiring throughout the house. Live wires and water are a disastrous combination, so make sure that the electricity is off before setting foot inside. Have the entire system professionally inspected to identify damage and shorted circuits prior to turning it on. Dry all appliances thoroughly before plugging them back in.

Be Smart About Heat

If you use gas heat, check for a smell inside your home and don’t go in if you detect one. As with the electrical system, your furnace should be inspected for dampness and damage after a flood. Alternative heat may be used in the meantime, but avoid anything that gives off fumes. Place electric heaters well away from water and flammable objects to avoid potential disasters.

Be Wary of Structural Damage

Flooding can cause the floors or walls of your home to buckle and create unexpected sinkholes around your property. Keep an eye out for these and other structural problems as you make your way through the house. If you see any damage to the foundation or the frame, stay out until you can have someone come and do an inspection.

The dampness left behind after a flood may result in the growth of mold, which in turn can cause serious health problems. Start cleanup as soon as possible to prevent a hazardous situation from developing.

Be Discerning About Food

In addition to problems with utilities and home structure, flooding can also ruin a great deal of your food supply. Most types of food containers should be considered a total loss if touched by flood waters. Jars, bottles, boxes, bags and anything with a pop-top should be thrown away. Check the contents of your refrigerator and freezer for food that may have spoiled during long periods without power. Never eat anything with an “off” smell or that came into contact with water. Some commercial canned goods can be disinfected, but if you’re not sure about the safety of a food item, throw it away.

For help reclaiming your home after a flood, contact us at Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling. We serve homes in the Fort Wayne Indiana area, providing cleanup, restoration and rebuilding after floods and other disasters. You can rely on Paul Davis to return your home to its former condition so that you can get back to your normal routine as soon as possible.

Thunderstorms, Snowstorms, and Hurricanes: Managing Seasonal Storm Damage

Strong seasonal storms have an amazing ability to bring disaster into our lives, and sometimes it seems like they target only those who own homes and businesses. Hurricanes, snowstorms, and even simple thunderstorms can produce enough damage to keep you and your insurance company busy for months. Fortunately, if you keep a close eye on weather reports, and you know how to prepare for the worst, you can minimize a storm’s ability to wreck your life. Here’s a rundown of potential storm damage and advice for keeping your property safe.

Damage Caused by Seasonal Storms

• Wind damage is a threat in any type of severe storm. Protect your windows by installing permanent storm shutters, or provide temporary protection with plywood covers. Consider replacing existing windows with impact-resistant varieties. Secure your entry door with a three-hinged deadbolt lock. Airborne glass is lethal, so don’t forget to cover glass sliding doors, French doors, and skylights. Put away outdoor furniture, toys, grills, and any other items that could become dangerous in flight. Purchase a fitted brace kit to protect your garage door, or replace the door with one designed to withstand high winds. Have your roof inspected regularly to ensure it’s in top shape.

• Falling tree limbs can produce serious damage to your home and vehicle. Keep trees trimmed year-round, and consider removing large limbs that are positioned above your house.

• Freezing conditions during winter storms routinely cause burst pipes and the formation of ice dams. Start your freeze-prevention plan outdoors by cleaning your gutters. Leaves and debris can block water flow, and when the trapped water freezes, it may damage your roof and walls. To prevent damage inside your home, make insulation your new best friend. You’ll need about 12 inches in your attic for maximum protection. Be sure to also insulate your pipes, and disconnect outdoor hoses from spigots to prevent water backup. In severe conditions, allow your indoor faucets to drip slowly to further prevent pipes from freezing.

• The weight of heavy snow and ice can damage your roof. Remove snow from your roof as soon as possible.

• Heavy rain and melting ice leads to flooding, which can cause both structural damage and mold growth. If you live in an area where flooding is common, have a home inspection to determine how well your house can withstand excess water. Install a sump pump to divert ground water away from your home. Consider permeable outdoor paving options to allow water to seep into the ground. If you store items in a basement, place them above ground level, and pack them in plastic bins or waterproof containers.

When It’s Too Late to Prevent Damage, Call Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling

If your Northeast Indiana home has already been affected by storm damage, Paul Davis can help. As innovative leaders in property damage mitigation, reconstruction, and remodeling, we have served commercial and residential clients across America since 1966. When seasonal storms result in chaos and loss, we can help restore calm in your life. Contact us today for more information.