Category Archives: Disaster Restoration

Winter Tips

State Farm posts this advice for cold winter temperatures and storms-

When the mercury plummets

Even if you’ve taken the right preventative steps, extreme weather conditions can still harm your pipes. Here are a few more steps you can take:

  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature—more common overnight—could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Before you skip town

Travelling in the winter months might be good for the soul, but don’t forget to think about your pipes before you leave. What can you do?

  • Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C).
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it may be deactivated when you shut off the water.

If your pipes do freeze

What if your pipes still freeze, despite your best preventive measures? First step: Don’t panic. Just because they’re frozen doesn’t mean they’ve already burst. Here’s what you can do:

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water. You could be electrocuted.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe using a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it.

Real Estate Ethics

Property inspection is fundamental to successful real estate purchases. A competent inspector, completing an objective assessment, will identify apparent/potential deficiencies and save prospective buyers untold future expense and lingering unhappiness.

Competence and unbiased opinion is also a quality cornerstone in selecting a licensed real estate agent for representation. Truthful disclosure is absolutely necessary to protect all parties, including the realtor.
Realtor Mag from the National Association of Realtors offers the following-

“Dilemma 1: Should I Disclose That?

“REALTORS® shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction.” (Article 2)

The scenario: Your seller client tells you that a home inspector recently was suspicious of insect damage when he saw the home’s damaged siding. However, the seller disputes that notion, saying he’s never had an insect problem in or around the home.

The risk: Withholding pertinent facts from buyers.

What to do: Disclose anything that affects the value or desirability of the home, says Bruce Aydt, ABR®, CRB, general counsel and senior vice president of St. Louis-based Prudential Alliance, REALTORS®. That may include insect damage, water leakage, structural problems, and more.

Otherwise, you’re putting yourself at risk of serious legal action. “I think some agents are unaware of the potential liability and might agree with the home owner and keep quiet,” Aydt says.

Practitioners may be stumped because they don’t know whether or not a particular fact is important enough to share with prospective buyers, Aydt says. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to err on the side of disclosure.

You’re not the expert; the home inspector is. So if a home inspector says there’s a problem, but the seller disagrees, you have to stick with the assessment of the inspector.

What if sellers refuse to disclose, and urges you to do the same? It’s the safest practice to surrender your listing, Aydt says. The legal risks to you are simply too great.

 

Salvaging Books, Records, and Photographs

Records Solutions (207) 942-4545 of Bangor, Maine offers document restoration service statewide.
From their website-

Salvaging Memories. Saving Records.

Remediation. Reclaiming. Restoration

“Records Solutions specializes in reclaiming paper documents which are water soaked, stained, or contaminated with mold or mildew. Whether your books, photographs, or documents are damaged by floods or sitting unprotected in a moist environment growing mildew and dangerous mold, Records Solutions has the capability of reversing the effects of water damage. Document mold remediation will protect your health and restore contaminated documents.

Beyond office files, film-based documents, such as X-rays, and documents that have been damaged by sewer water or gray water may also be recovered and restored.”

Preparing for Cold Weather

Temperatures are dropping and systems maintenance is fundamental in efficient operation. Seasonal properties should be winterized to prevent pipe breaks and winter water damage. Occupied properties will benefit from routine maintenance, filter changes as well as an examination of ducts, vents, and connections should be included. ENERGY.GOV offers tips on heat pump maintenanceBuilding Green also lists suggestions for winter heat pump operation.

Insurance Claims

Winter weather can cause a lot of property damage, especially from frozen pipes resulting in water damage with associated loss. Insurance policies can be very confusing to property owners in the midst of the chaos of property damage. Typically, insurance agents are very good at explaining policy coverage and initiating claims. Another informative resource for property owners is United Policyholders an organization dedicated to advocating for policyholders of all sizes, from individuals to corporations.

Insurance Advice from Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports published the following regarding insurance companies’ approved contractors: “Richards thought he could rely on the insurer’s approved contractor. But he says the contractor did shoddy work, didn’t get proper permits, and took three months to finish work that was supposed to take three weeks…”

Consumers are not required to hire contractors from an insurance company’s preferred providers list. Consumers are best served when they hire a contractor with a reputation for quality work and attention to detail.

Water Damage Roof Ice Dams

Temperature is rising, snow is melting, and water damage may be occurring in attics as the result of roof ice dams. Melting roof snow and ice can infiltrate exterior siding, entering wall cavities. Melting snow can find its way from gutters into soffit boxes. The damage can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. Water damage mitigation is a process that consists of a number of steps. The first step in snow melt water damage mitigation is removing the snow and ice from the roof and gutters.