Winter weather can cause serious damage to your property if you aren’t prepared.
If you are a property manager, then you probably dread the winter time. Winter weather can cause serious damage to your property if you aren’t prepared. Fortunately, there are things that you can do in order protect your property against the cold and snowy winter months.
Reserve Your Snow Clearing Contractor
It should be on your priority list to receive snow removal, plowing, and de-icing solution when managing residential properties. You can avoid a headache and save time by reserving a snow cleaning contractor ahead of time and remaining loyal to them over the months and years for repeat business. It is important for rental property management companies to be proactive about weather concerns, rather than reactive… ie: Late to make important calls.
Inspect the Outside of Your Property
If you will be expecting cold weather, then it is important for you to make sure that your property is in tip-top shape inside and out. Seemingly harmless imperfections can create major problems later on down the road from roofs, HVAC, exposed pipes, chimneys, windows, and doors, etc. There are so many facets to a home that can lead to not keeping that cold air/snow out while maintaining the warm air inside.
Check for Snow on the Roof
Roof problems are one of the biggest property issues that our Raleigh property managers have to deal with. Most of these issues depend on the age of the home and prior condition of the roof structure. There are some things that can be done to prevent issues from occurring in the future, like checking to make sure all the vents are free of debris so that the melting snow can drain properly. This is also a great time to check and clear all gutters on the home.
Take Fire Prevention Steps
Holiday activities increase the risk of fires such as space heaters, candles, and interior/exterior lights can all increase the risk. It’s highly important to check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in full working order. Also, have wood-burning fireplaces inspected regularly. It’s never a bad idea to review fire safety guidelines with your tenants.
Stock up on De-Icing Products
You can prevent falls by using de-icing and anti-icing products on walkways and sidewalks and patios. As the name suggests, de-icing products melt the ice and snow for more traction. Anti-icing products prevent the snow from building up. Our property managers recommend using a combination of both in order to get the best results.
Drying out the remaining moisture is a critical step for mitigating water damage in your home.
After removing the standing water left behind by a flood, drying out the remaining moisture is a critical step for mitigating water damage in your home. To aid you in your efforts to quickly dry out moisture in your home after a flood, here are five drying techniques from our experienced water damage experts at SERVPRO of Kendall County.
Industrial humidifiers are capable of taking massive amounts of moisture out of the air in just a single day. Thus, they are a huge help for speeding up the drying process after a flood. However, you should be careful about the type of dehumidifier you use. Household dehumidifiers are typically too small to be effective so relying on a SERVPRO of Kendall County for access to an industrial humidifier is the way to go.
Desiccants are materials designed to absorb large amounts of moisture. They are ideal for quickly absorbing the moisture left behind in a flood. Desiccants are most commonly found in the form of sandbags. Sandbags are typically placed around the outside of a home to keep flood water from getting in, but they are also great for absorbing moisture that has already entered the home. While it may cost you a little more up front to purchase sandbags, it is often well-worth the quicker clean up that they afford.
This technique helps the drying process inside of walls without removing drywall. In this process, baseboards are removed, and small holes are drilled through walls near the base. Technicians then push air into the cavity behind the wall. This dramatically reduces drying time for the wall, often to less than half of what it would take to dry it by other methods.
Rescue Mat Systems
Today’s powerful water extraction equipment is far more effective at removing moisture than simple vacuum units. Rescue mat systems can extract water from hardwood floors efficiently, leaving the underlying pad slightly moist but not wet. This is a huge help during the restoration process since drying out padding under the floors is one of the most difficult aspects of drying.
Air movers are a huge benefit for quickly drying out your home after a flood. Essentially, they are super-powered fans specifically designed to dry out a flooded area. Access to high quality air movers is one of the biggest benefits of hiring a professional water damage restoration company after a flood since it will significantly speed up the drying process.
You might find yourself wondering what questions to ask a restoration company.
Though you may experience building damage from a disaster, whether it’s from smoke, water or something else, there’s always the potential for recovery. But if you’ve never been in this situation before, you might find yourself wondering what questions to ask a restoration company in order to make sure your expectations are met. That’s where we can help you.
1. OUR COMPANY IS LICENSED AND BONDED?
Don’t think that just anyone is equipped to handle your restoration needs. A restoration contractor should be licensed to operate in your state. We have the proper licensing, insurance, and certifications to work on homes and businesses in your area.
2. OUR TECHNICIANS ARE CERTIFIED?
Not only do you want the company handling your property’s restoration to be legit, but also the people doing the actual labor. For example, services like professional mold remediation require the correct training and educational background. The minimum standard in this industry says that each technician should be certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Being an IICRC certified firm means that the restoration company meets a threshold for the number of certified technicians in each location. Our technicians are certified, specifically for water restoration, fire and smoke restoration, applied structural drying, microbial remediation, and more.
3. WE HAVE THE RESTORATION EXPERIENCE?
Every situation is unique, but that doesn’t mean others aren’t similar to your own. SERVPRO of Kendall County has handled a situation like yours. Some restoration companies specialize in single family home/residential insurance work, while others specialize in the commercial or multifamily industry; some only perform emergency services while others are full service companies that provide both emergency response and reconstruction; and some restoration companies are experienced with small losses but are not equipped to handle large scale, catastrophic losses. For example, SERVPRO of Kendall County is a full service company and has decades of working in single family homes and with insurance companies but we also have members of our staff who specialize in managing commercial and multifamily work. We can handle small, everyday losses like a toilet overflow affecting a single room but we also have a large loss division that can handle six and seven-figure projects.
4. WE ARE AVAILABLE 24/7?
Disaster can hit at any time. SERVPRO of Kendall County is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
5. WE WILL COMMUNICATE WITH YOU?
Contractors can very easily earn a bad reputation because they fail to communicate progress and next steps. SERVPRO of Kendall County will provide you with regular updates so you are informed throughout the entire process.
6. HOW LONG WILL THE RESTORATION TAKE?
Don’t be left in limbo. SERVPRO of Kendall County is reliable and reputable, we will be able to give you a realistic expectation as to just how long it will take for them to finish the job.
Most don’t usually relish discussing how the weather can damage their home.
Here are seven different ways that weather can cause damage to your home.
1. Wind. This is probably the most obvious type of damaging weather pattern. Extremely powerful winds from tornadoes and hurricanes can scrape the shingles off the tops of roofs and pull gutters away from rooflines. But even wind gusts that aren’t as strong can cause large tree limbs to break and fall onto homes, which can cause roof leaks and bring down gutters.
2. Hail. Millions of dollars in damages are common from just a single hailstorm. If the hailstones are even moderately sized, their weight — coupled with the force at which they fall from the sky — can poke holes in the shingles of a roof. Large hailstones can even dent or bend gutters as well.
3. Rain. Though the rain itself usually doesn’t cause structural damage, any water that leaks into a home through gaps in the roof or walls can lead to messes that can be costly to clean up. This water can also lead to damage to walls, ceilings, and floors; as well as mold and mildew problems throughout a home. Also, too much rainwater in a short period of time can overload gutters, causing the rain to fall onto the ground where it can damage the foundation over time. (And of course, rain tends to cause flooding, which has its own problems.)
4. Cold. Wintry temperatures (usually below 20 degrees) can affect a home even when there is no precipitation. Frigid conditions can cause pipes to freeze; and if they burst, flooding can occur in basements or rooms. Pipes that are most susceptible to freezing include those connected to outdoor spigots and/or run through uninsulated walls and attics.
5. Snow. A little bit of snow usually doesn’t cause any problems. But multiple feet of snow can weigh on a roof or gutters and overwhelm physical support systems; causing buckling or holes in roofs and bending or breaking gutters. The same effect can be seen on overhanging tree branches, which can fall onto houses and wreak additional havoc.
6. Ice. During prolonged periods of precipitation and/or cold temperatures, ice can build up a gutter to form an ice dam. These dams, which are fed by snowpack on roofs, can not only buckle and dislodge gutters; but the ice can also creep underneath shingles to damage the roof. This, in turn, can lead to leaks through which eventually melting ice can enter a home’s attic or interior.
7. Sun. Even when the sun is shining, certain parts of your home could be susceptible to damage. During prolonged periods of heat, the sun can damage furniture, rugs, and artwork by fading colors and making fibers brittle. But wise usage of shades and drapes (or even tinting windows) can keep this from happening.
Four simple best practices to ensure safety in the laundry room
1. Clean the Lint Filter
Not once a month, or even once a week: “Clean the lint from the dryer’s lint screen after every load,” says Richard Handel, the test engineer who oversees CR’s laundry appliance lab. “This helps prevent a fire, and it also helps your laundry dry faster.”
2. Replace Accordion-Style Ducts
Generally, dryers are equipped with a 4-inch vent in the back, which homeowners or installers connect to the exterior vent with a duct. But not all ducts will do.
If you see a plastic or foil accordion-style duct connecting your appliance to the vent, it’s a good idea to replace it. These are risky because they can sag, allowing lint to build up at low points and trapping lint in their ridges.
Handel recommends a rigid metal duct. “The smooth walls allow the air to flow, and also reduce the buildup of lint,” he says. “A flexible metal duct should be your second choice.”
One other tip: Use duct connectors and metal clamps or foil tape to join sections of duct rather than sheet-metal screws, which can catch lint and cause buildup inside the duct.
3. Clean the Dryer Duct Annually (at Least)
If you notice that your dryer takes longer to dry laundry than it used to, that’s a clue that there may be a blockage in the dryer vent system. When you’re drying a load, go outside and look at the vent. Do you see or feel exhaust air? If not, the vent or the exhaust duct may be blocked with lint.
Start by disconnecting your dryer from the power source. And if you have a gas dryer, also turn off the gas valve near the dryer.
“Carefully slide the dryer away from the wall so that you can access the vent that’s typically in the back of the dryer,” Handel says. “If you have a gas dryer, take care not to overstretch or damage the gas line.”
Disconnect the duct from the dryer, and vacuum both the dryer and the duct—as much as you can access. Where possible, separate the duct into shorter sections for better access, then reassemble and attach the duct to the dryer. Be sure all joints in the duct are properly connected and held together with clamps or foil tape. Then return the dryer to its original spot and reconnect the power.
While you’re at it, clean behind the dryer and underneath it—lint builds up there, too. In winter, check after windy weather or snowstorms to be sure that snow isn’t blocking the outdoor vent.
4. Handle Chemical Stains With Care
Clothes stained with gas, cooking oil, cleaning agents, or other flammable chemicals or substances need special care. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends washing such stained clothing more than once to minimize volatile chemicals, then hanging to dry.
If you must use a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that concludes with a cool-down period.
In the event that a fire does start, keep the dryer door closed to limit its oxygen supply—a fire needs oxygen to keep it going.
UNDERSTANDING COMMERCIAL BUSINESS INTERRUPTION INSURANCE
Business interruption insurance is a type of commercial insurance and falls into two categories. There is standard business interruption insurance that covers direct loss, and there is contingency business interruption insurance which deals more with indirect business loss. Both are subject to specific terms and conditions, so be sure to read through your policy thoroughly. The bottom line is important when running a business. We here at SERVPRO of Kendall County know that disaster can strike at anytime, so business interruption insurance can be crucial when deciding your insurance needs.
Business interruption insurance may seem like planning to fail, but any good business owner will tell you to hope for the best and plan for the worst. When assessing your business, it is a good idea to establish what could possibly interrupt your business and what the consequences of that are. Are losses likely to be more direct or indirect? This will help inform you regarding your choice of business interruption insurance. Never assume that it is part of standard commercial insurance. There are several further subcategories of business interruption insurance including, for example, event cancelation insurance. Business interruption insurance can be a complicated beast.
The answer to the original question, do I really need business interruption insurance, is an unequivocal yes. It is essential insurance. No matter what business you are in there is always the chance that there may be physical loss due to unusual weather patterns, freak accidents, or similar.
Prepare today with these home storm preparation tips.
Spring and summer are notoriously stormy. Your home could be at risk of flooding or wind damage. Don’t wait until a severe storm warning is issued in your area—prepare today with these home storm preparation tips.
Inspect the gutters and downspouts: Gutters must be clear of debris to drain properly. Clean them twice a year or consider installing a gutter guard system. Also, set up downspout extenders that deposit water at least 6 feet from your foundation.
Have your roof inspected: Every few years or following a hailstorm, hire a roofing company to check for damage. Patching up holes before it rains again can prevent destructive roof leaks.
Check water flow on your property: During heavy rain, go outside and observe how water flows around the house. With clean gutters and extended downspouts, rain should run away from the foundation. If the soil grading slopes toward your home, correct this before the next storm.
Inspect the crawlspace: Another place to check during heavy rain is the crawlspace. Look for evidence of water intrusion, such as discoloration, staining, musty odors and/or mold growth. Clean up the damage and correct the drainage on your property to prevent a recurrence.
Trim your trees: If any branches overhang the roof or brush the side of your house, they could cause damage during a storm. Prune your trees to help protect your property and consider re-grading the soil to give the roots something sturdier to cling to in high winds.
Secure your home: Consider installing window shutters or temporary plywood to keep your home tight and secure against the wind. If the windows break, your roof and garage door are more likely to fly away. Roof clips and garage door braces can also help secure these parts of your home.
Install a generator: Long-term power outages can be inconvenient or even dangerous. Keep the lights on, food chilled, and HVAC system running with a backup generator.
Install a sump pump: Flooding is one of the most common types of storm damage. Prevent groundwater from rising into your home by installing a sump pump in the basement. Include a battery backup to ensure continued operation during a blackout.
Unplug electronics: When a storm starts to pick up, it’s best to unplug small appliances and electronics. Lightning strikes can cause serious power surges and damage sensitive gadgets, even if they’re plugged into surge protectors.
Clear clutter from your yard: If a storm warning is issued, bring any loose outdoor objects inside. Patio furniture, potted plants, toys and trashcans can be swept away if left at the mercy of a tornado or hurricane.
Steps to Take Immediately Following Water Damage to Commercial Property
Business owners need to know what to do in these scenarios, especially while waiting for the commercial restoration services team to arrive.
Many events could result in serious water damage, but all of them require a prompt commercial cleaning service to set the property right again.
#1 Switch Off the Water Mains
When a property owner discovers water damage, Step One is always to find the source. If the problem is still active, such as a burst pipe or leak, shut down the water source. The company may need to call a professional plumber to control the water or close the water main before continuing.
Water leakage can happen anywhere in a commercial or residential building for various reasons. If the source is not apparent, a professional service may need to help with a diagnostic search through the area.
#2 Confirm the Water Source
If a leaking or a burst pipe is the issue, closing the water source will prevent further issues. If not, Step Two is finding other possible sources of the water damage. Important checks include walls and the roof, where pipes pass through, and various openings could present challenges.
Enlisting a water damage cleanup and restoration professional is crucial when a commercial building has suffered water damage. It can be dangerous with floors weakened by standing or running water, and collapse could result in possible injuries. There are also risks with fiberglass insulation, asbestos, and mold spores.
#3 Call the Insurance Company
Step Three is for the business owner to notify their insurance company about water damage and start a claim. Some commercial property policies may not cover water damage, so it is crucial to ask for details about the building’s policy coverage. Documenting the damage with photographs is also essential.
#4 Contact A Water Damage Restoration Expert like SERVPRO
Step Four is to find reputable commercial restoration services in the area, like SERVPRO of Kendall County.
We have years of experience to cover cleanup, water removal, drying out processes, and tear-out aspects of commercial restoration services in Kendall County. They safely complete dry out and removal tasks, minimizing damage and the risk of exposure. We also offers emergency service and mold remediation as one of the industry’s most reliable fire restoration companies.
Few things are as stressful to homeowners as water damage.
Few things are as stressful to homeowners as water damage.
At its worst, moisture has the potential to damage your home beyond affordable repair, with heavy structural consequences that include mold, wood rot, and even foundation cracks. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch it early and stop it before it spreads. But even small leaks that allow rainwater into the house can require major repairs to keep moisture at bay.
The best way to deal with water damage is to stop it before it starts. Here are measures that you can take to prevent water from entering your home from outside.
Waterproof your homes exterior
The exterior of your house is its first line of defense against water damage. Protect your home from the outside by maintaining the exterior.
Maintain Your Roof Properly handling the water that flows down your roof is essential.
Your roof’s primary purpose is to keep water out of your house. Neglecting it could lead to a whole host of problems, the worst of which includes extensive water damage that could compromise the structure of your home. Most roofs have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, so it’s easy to think that if yours is still within its period of usability, it’s fine. But that’s not necessarily true.
Climate, weather conditions, and even nearby trees can cause damage to roof shingles. Periodically inspect your roof damaged, loose, or missing shingles. Replacing any shingles that are missing or in poor condition is a quick and inexpensive project that can extend the life of your entire roof.
Seal Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are common vulnerable sites for water leakage. Water can seep in through the space around window and door frames if they’re not properly sealed. Don’t wait for a leak. Ensure that the weatherstripping and sealing around your windows and doors are in good shape.
Inspect the outside of your windows and doors. Any large cracks between the frame and the house can be injected with insulating foam sealant. Prevent other leaks by applying a fresh bead of caulking where the window meets the siding. Even a fresh coat of paint on window and door frames can block moisture from penetrating the wood.
Maintain Your Home’s Exterior Finish
Signs of water damage on your house’s interior walls that don’t seem to have a source, such as a mold, peeling paint, or discoloration, could be due to water entering through holes in your exterior walls. If your siding and exterior paint aren’t well-maintained, water could be leaking through to the inside of your home.
Periodically inspect your exterior walls. Look for signs of damage in your sidings, such as holes, wood rot, or warping. If caught early enough, you may be able to clean out the wet materials and repair only the affected siding.
Most common exterior siding, including stucco, aluminum siding, wood siding, and cedar shingles, need to be painted in order to protect your home properly. Paint adds more than just aesthetic appeal—it seals and protects your siding against rain, sleet, and snow.
Ensure proper drainage
You can take measures to keep water out of your home, but waterproofing alone isn’t enough to protect your home from water damage. If water isn’t properly diverted away from the base of your house, your foundation could be at risk. And even the best waterproofing measures are no match for standing water that collects on or around your house in areas of poor drainage.
Clean Your Gutters
Making sure your gutters function properly is critical to protecting your home from water damage. If your gutters are full of leaves and pine needles, or not angled properly to funnel water to the downspout, then water will run down the side of your house and collect at the base, which could put your foundation at risk.
Check Your Downspouts
Functioning gutters send water out through the downspout, which should funnel the water away from your home.
If the downspout doesn’t extend far enough, then it could instead be funneling water directly into a puddle at the bottom of your house.
Downspouts should extend at least two to three feet from the house. However, the length of the downspout extension you need depends on your house and surrounding property. If your downspout is long enough, but you can still see water collecting at the base of your house, then you may need to install a drainage pipe—a relatively simple and inexpensive DIY project.
If your home sits on the bottom of a slope, water runoff from your yard should be channeled away from your home. If it isn’t, then you probably have problems with standing water near your foundation. Over time, this can cause the ground near your foundation to erode, making it vulnerable.
A French drain could be a simple solution to direct runoff away from your home. At its most basic, a French drain is a simple trench filled with gravel; you could install one with or without a pipe. For an average cost of $1000 to $1500, this solution could save you a lot of money on foundation repairs in the future.
Of course, water damage isn’t limited to rain. Leaking pipes and valves inside your home can cause problems just as severe as rainwater intrusion, but your home’s protection begins with its exterior. Ensure that your roof, exterior walls, gutters, and landscape are working as they should keep your home high and dry.
Learn to detect sneaky leaks inside your home and on your property to prevent water damage and waste.
Plumbing leaks, unfortunately, are pretty common, even in newer houses, and it’s likely that every house will suffer from at least one. What’s more, not all leaks are obvious; in fact, they can be awfully insidious, making it crucial to catch and repair a leak as soon as possible. Every homeowner should know how to find a water leak.
Monitor the Water Bill
Monthly water bills are fairly predictable, so if you receive one that’s unusually high—and you haven’t been using excess water—you may have a leak. The EPA suggests that a family of four will typically use no more than 12,000 gallons per month, except perhaps during the summer if you water a garden or lawn. Even small leaks, such as a faucet with a steady drip, can waste as much as 10,000 gallons of water per year, so keeping an eye on your water bill is a smart, proactive practice.
Watch the Water Meter
If you suspect a leak, monitoring your home’s water meter will give you a definitive answer. The meter is often located beneath a manhole-type cover near the street or (in areas where temperatures don’t dip below freezing) on the side or back of the house, near to where the water supply line enters the house. Follow these steps to monitor the meter:
Turn off all water faucets in your home and make sure the washing machine and dishwasher are not running.
Check the water meter and make a note of the numbers you see. Come back in an hour and check again. If the numbers have changed, there’s a leak somewhere.
To determine if the water leak is in the house or outdoors (only for homes with meters located at the street), turn off the shut-off valve on your home’s main water supply pipe. This is either located in a basement or a utility room where the water pipe enters the home.
Check the water meter, write down the numbers, and wait another hour. When you check again, if the numbers have not changed, the water leak is inside your home. If the numbers have changed, the leak is in the buried water line that runs to the house.
Check for Patches of Greener Grass
Everyone wants a lush lawn, but if an area in your yard is much greener (and grows faster) than the rest of the grass, it could indicate the spot where a buried water line is leaking. If the leak is profuse, you might even see some puddles on the surface of the ground.
Investigate Appliances and Fixtures
If the water meter test indicates a leak inside your home, check the cabinets under the kitchen, laundry, and bathroom sinks to make sure they’re dry. You’ll also want to look for puddles around the bases of tubs, toilets, and showers and beneath the water heater, dishwasher, and clothes washer. If you find any puddles, turn off the water supply valve to that appliance or fixture and call a plumber.
ADVERTISEMENT Stay Alert to Leaking Clues
If a fitting on a supply line under your sink breaks and a spray of water comes shooting out, you know immediately where the trouble is, but some leaks are a lot sneakier! At worst, water may be trickling slowly from pipe fittings within a wall and go unnoticed and it can cause extensive damage. Even if the water meter test indicates that you don’t currently have a leak, one could develop at any point in the future, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for:
Wall discoloration. This could indicate water leaking from behind the drywall and soaking through to the front side. Water stains on ceilings and walls are usually yellowish or brownish in color.
Bubbling paint or bulging wallpaper. Both are signs that the wallboard is wet and the paint or wallpaper is no longerattached tightly. In some cases, you may also notice a bulge in the wallboard, which indicates the water damage is more extensive and the wallboard will have to be replaced.
A dripping sound. While some leaks are totally silent—for instance, if water is traveling along a wall stud—other leaks can sometimes be heard, giving you a clue as to the leak’s location.
A musty smell. Over time, a persistent leak provides the perfect humid environment for mold to grow. In some cases, you may notice black splotches on the outside of the wall, but often, mold will grow inside the wall where you can’t see it, so a musty smell is a red flag.
All of the above are signs of a leak, but keep in mind that not all water leaks are plumbing leaks. The water could also be coming from a leak in the roof or around a window. Either way, leaks should be addressed promptly to reduce the risk of water damage.