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.

How to Be Calm before the Storm

Preparation is Essential

When a hard storm is on the way, you need to be ready to keep your home, your family, and yourself safe. You may even need to plan ahead in case of evacuation. If you have everything you need packed in a backpack, you won’t be scrambling at the last minute to find the following necessary items.

• One or two flashlights with extra batteries
• Portable battery-powered radio
• Drinking water for each person in the family
• Nonperishable food
• Medications and prescriptions
• First aid kit
• Emergency phone numbers list
• Cash
• Personal documentation such as passport, social security cards and other important papers.

You should also have access to pictures of your home before any flooding or water damage. Most importantly, make sure everyone knows where the emergency supply kit is stored for a quick evacuation.

Protect your Home

Not only should you have a storm safety plan for your family, you should also write out a storm preparedness checklist for your home. If a severe storm is expected in your area and you are waiting for an evacuation order, you can prepare your house by:

• Shutting off gas and water mains
• Filling bathtubs with clean water
• Securing storm shutters on your windows
• Bringing in outdoor furniture and loose items from your yard.

Restoration after the Storm

If your home has been damaged by a flood or severe storm, there is help available. One important resource is the National Storm Damage Center, where you can learn how to protect yourself and your home before and after a storm. If your home has suffered damage, contact Paul Davis to begin the restoration and reconstruction process for any water damage within your home.

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.

Water Damage from a House Fire? Find Out How

The Unexpected Destroyer

When firefighters are called to the scene of a building fire, everyone is on high alert. First and foremost, these brave men and women need to ensure that nobody is still inside the burning structure. Once everyone is safe, firefighters diligently work to distinguish the damaging flames. Unfortunately, the extreme amount of water required to put out a fire can actually cause damage to the interior of your home, your furniture and personal items. In most cases, water damage is the unexpected destroyer in a house fire.

What Can You Do?

Even if you have been cleared to re-enter your home, you need to extremely careful around weakened support structures from the fire and water damage. According to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), your best bet is to immediately seek professional help with the restoration process.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to minimize the extent of the fire, water and smoke damage.

1. Protect yourself – Only enter your home if you have been authorized to do so by professionals. You need to ensure that you are fully protected from dangerous fumes and chemicals when re-entering your home. Start with thick clothing, protective gloves and a face mask. In extreme cases, you may have to use an oxygen tank.

2. Ventilate the house – It’s important to get fresh air moving through your home to clear out any residual smoke and begin to dry out your house. If you’re lucky, a windy day can really help as you open all your doors and windows. Otherwise, use strategically-placed fans to clear away any remaining smoke and standing water.

3. Preliminary cleaning – This is where expert fire damage restoration professionals can help you out the most. From removing soot, smoke and excess water with a high-efficiency vacuum and industrial equipment to scrubbing the inside and outside of your house, a professional service understands how to properly clean your house.

4. Restoring your home – Water damage can lead to mold, mildew and fungus problems if not handled immediately. While setting up dehumidifiers can help dry out your house temporarily, professional restoration companies have the best equipment and drying techniques to protect your home from any further damage. The last thing you need to deal with is mold remediation on top of everything else.

Who Can You Call?

With the emotional trauma of experiencing a house fire and the overwhelming task of restoring and reconstructing your home, contacting trained professionals is the smartest thing to do. At Paul Davis, we know how to properly assess the extent of the fire, water and smoke damage. In addition, our skilled team understands that fire and water damage restoration needs to be completed right away. If you have questions or want additional information on our restoration and reconstruction procedures, visit our website today.

When the Snow Falls, Water Damage Begins

Inspect Your Home for Signs of Water Damage This Winter

People typically associate water damage in a home with leaking pipes and excessive rainfall. So when winter rolls around, homeowners often let their guards down. However, water damage is just as likely to occur during the winter as it is during the rest of the year. In fact, the risk is often even greater. Depending on where you live, snow may fall, ice may develop and everything may melt all at once. This can happen again and again, and whenever it does, water can seep into a home through cracks and crevices. Worse still, if the gutters get clogged by ice, runoff has nowhere to go and may seep through walls and ceilings. This is known as an ice dam, and it is of particular concern during icy-cold weather.

How to Check Your Home for Signs of Water Damage

It’s crucial to take a proactive approach to water damage. In other words, you should be on the lookout for signs of it instead of waiting until it’s readily apparent. During the winter, inspect your home every few weeks. Here are a few tips:

Ceilings and Walls – Look for telltale water stains on ceilings and walls. They may also appear around door and window frames. Additionally, walls and ceilings that have been damaged by water may exhibit cracks or swollen spots that are soft to the touch.

Floors – All types of flooring are susceptible to water damage. Water may even seep below to damage the subfloor as well. Look for signs of buckling or warping on floors throughout your home, including in the basement. In carpeted areas, look for signs of dampness or odors of mold. On wood floors, look for dark or white stains.

Basement and Attic – In the basement, look for signs of rust, mold, mildew odors, cracks and stains on walls and floors. Up in the attic, make sure the insulation is dry and in good shape. Check valleys where roof planes meet for stains and mold, and pay close attention to flashings along vents, chimneys and where walls meet the roof.

Exterior – Finally, walk around the exterior of your home looking for signs of roof damage or for cracks along the foundation. If you notice standing water near the house, it could be that your gutters are in disrepair or are clogged. They may also just not be directing water far enough away from the home. Ideally, a home should be raised relative to the ground, and the surrounding area should slope down to encourage proper drainage.

If you encounter signs of water damage and live in northeastern Indiana, Paul Davis can help with the cleanup and restoration efforts. Learn more by visiting our website today.

Top Home Improvements for Preventing Water Damage

Stop This Common Occurrence Before It Happens To You

Whether you live in an area that experiences heavy rains throughout the year or you’re surprised by a torrential storm, you should always be prepared for the possibility of water damage. Water damage can affect everything that holds your home together. If you can prevent water damage, it will save you money in the long run and give you peace of mind.

Keep Drainage in Mind

If water collects around your house, it can weaken the foundation and make your home a prime target for termites, carpenter ants, mold and mildew. Keep the rain away from your house by properly cleaning your gutters and by directing downspouts away from the foundation. Add extensions at the output of your downspouts to direct water at least 10 feet away from your foundation. In addition, make sure your property is appropriately graded to slope away from the home.

Deter any Drips

It’s obvious if you have a leak when you notice water droplets dribbling from the sealing or soaking a wall. However, small dark spots that appear slowly and spread over time can also be an indicator of moisture getting into areas where it’s not supposed to be. Regularly inspect your home for damaged or missing shingles on the roof and reapply caulking around your windows yearly.

Check your Plumbing

Mother Nature is not the only cause of water damage in the home. Plumbing leaks can lead to mold growth and structural damage. This kind of damage can also have consequences such as unexplained increases in your water bill and damaged or warped flooring or cabinet panels. Whether it’s a large leak or a tiny hole, fixing faulty plumbing can be a small home improvement that yields significant results when it comes to preventing water damage.

If you do notice water damage, contact Paul Davis today can help you restore your home to its original state. We can help you remediate mold issues or get to the bottom of your moisture problem, whether you experienced damage from a flood or a simple storm. Our experts provide emergency services, remodeling services and large loss services to make sure you can continue life as usual even if you’ve experienced damage to your home or business.

Electrical Safety Tips to Follow After Flooding in a Home

Stay Safe with These Pointers

Flooding in a home is among the most stressful things that can happen to a homeowner. In the immediate aftermath, it’s natural to want to get inside and start getting things back to normal right away. However, flooding also means water and electrical components come into contact–a very dangerous mix. It’s crucial to take steps to protect yourself before getting down to business. Keep the following points in mind to stay safe:

  • Don’t enter the home until it’s been disconnected from the grid – Electrocution is still a major risk even when the power is out in a home. All it takes is someone operating a generator nearby and back feeding electricity into a storm-damaged grid. This causes damage to disconnected switches and circuit breakers–the very components that are designed to protect you. To ensure safety, the home’s electrical meter must be removed from the socket, which is a job for a licensed electrician, the fire department or the utility company.
  • Never enter a flooded home alone – Even after the meter has been disconnected, never enter a flooded home by yourself. In such a dark, wet environment, it’s all too easy to get seriously hurt–or even killed. Bring someone along to stand by in case something goes awry, and wear chest waders and a clip-on flashlight for optimal safety.
  • Be cautious with electrical equipment – After things have dried up a bit, you’ll hope against hope that your electrical equipment and appliances still work. Chances are that most won’t. Very few household items are designed to survive even brief submersion. Everything from fuse boxes to fans and blowers are likely to be completely destroyed. The heating and cooling system may be damaged too, and a licensed contractor can tell you for sure. Even when electrical appliances appear to have survived, they are often dangerous to operate, so take care using them as well.
  • Have the grounding and bonding system checked – In addition to the electrical system used for normal operation, a home has a grounding and bonding system that carries currents to the ground if something goes wrong. It is a crucial safety feature, and it should be checked by a licensed electrician right away. If it is damaged enough, it may not function properly and could put your entire family at risk.

As upsetting as a flooded home or basement can be, it can be handled and put behind you. In the meantime, however, make safety a top priority. Fixing things up is important, but avoiding electrocution is even more crucial. When in doubt, always have a licensed professional look things over. With electricity, there aren’t often second chances. As far as your restoration needs go, Paul Davis has you covered in northeast Indiana. Visit our website today to learn more.

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.