Recent Posts

How Can I Determine The Differences Between Storm Damage Vs Flooding And Water Damage To My Property?

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

One easy way to tell the difference between water damage from flood damage is to answer this simple question: is your home the only one having any issues in your neighborhood? If your house is the only one affected, you are probably not looking at storm damage. 

Flood damage is generally considered damage caused by rising or overflowing water entering your home due to a storm surge or rain-induced flooding after building up on once-dry land.

Water damage is when water damages your home before it comes into contact with dry land, including heavy rainstorms or hail storms that allow water to leak through broken windows or damaged roofing.

What Are Some Causes Of Water Damage To My House?

Your home can incur water damage from: 

  • A burst sewer line 
  • An overflowing toilet
  • A malfunctioning water heater 
  • A broken pipe under a sink
  • A malfunctioning household appliance
  • Dozens of other sources inside your home.

What Are Some Of The Causes Of Flood Damage To My House?

A flood is defined as a temporary situation where two or more acres of dry land, or two or more property units, are covered in water from one of the sources listed below.

According to FEMA, flood damage is caused by:

  • overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
  • mudflow
  • Collapsing land along the shores of a lake or a similar body of water. the collapse is a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water that have exceeded anticipated levels 

How Are The Dangers Of Flood Water Different From The Dangers Of Water From My Residence?

  • Category 1: CLEAN WATER. It comes from supply lines, faucets, and other sources that aren't contaminated and can usually be cleaned with extraction, drying, and dehumidification.
  • Category 2. GRAYWATER. This water will come from dishwasher leaks, sump pump failures, and other sources that can include contamination. It typically requires a degree of sanitation and decontamination.
  • Category 3. BLACKWATER. This comes from sewage, standing water, and other sources that can be seriously contaminated by pathogenic and toxic material. It requires an extreme degree of sterilization before people can safely re-enter the structure without safety gear. NOTE: Floodwater is always category 3.

How Can SERVPRO Help To Clean Up Water Damage?

  • We will remove mud and debris. Dirt and sediment will be carried in with water, whether from a natural flood or a burst sewer line. All mud must be removed from your home before we can begin the disinfecting process.
  • We will disinfect surfaces and contents. Many of your items, including toys, rugs, and furniture, may have to be disposed of completely.
  • We apply biocide, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial to every surface. Contamination by black water and flood water damage can contribute to mold growth. 
  • We will repaint and refinish surfaces. The powerful disinfectants necessary for this water and flood damage class may discolor walls, floors, and other interior features more than lower classifications of water damage.
  • We will repair any roof leaks or storm damage. Flood damage will often come with extreme weather, so the exterior of your home has likely experienced issues, too. 

SERVPRO of Baldwin and Monroe is here to help you when the worst happens. In addition to storm damage, we manage fire damage, mold remediation, and more. Visit our website for information about all our services.

We can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, too.

This franchise is Independently Owned and Operated. 

Can Water Damage The Foundation Of My Commercial Building?

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

A typical building foundation will be a thick slab of poured cement set into the ground or heavy mortar blocks, and it doesn’t sound as though it would be vulnerable to the effects of water damage. However, water can negatively affect your foundation both directly and indirectly and make expensive foundation repairs necessary. The water can seep into your home or business and cause problems indoors, as well. 

What Are Some Ways Water Can Damage The Foundation Of My Location?

  • Rainwater will usually penetrate the ground quickly and be carried away. Still, if the soil is already saturated - as can often be the case during rainy seasons - it can add to the pressure already coming to bear against the foundational walls. This pressure may create cracks and gaps, allowing water to seep into your basement or crawl spaces. Such conditions can then cause the foundation walls to tip or rotate inward, requiring major foundation rehab work.
  • Suppose the local water table rises near the surface. In that case, it may push against the underside of the foundation - a condition called “hydrostatic pressure” - and the force of rising groundwater is powerful and continuous. Such a situation can infiltrate water into your basement through cracks and joints that widen over time, even sometimes permeating your solid concrete. 
  • Pooling water on the surface around the perimeter of your location will eventually degrade concrete and mortar foundations and is often caused by landscaping that slopes down toward the building. Rainwater will then pool around the foundation and seep in. Other damages can be caused by clogged, overflowing rain gutters that direct water to the ground or downspouts that allow discharged water to flow back toward the house.

How Can I Protect My Property From Water Damage To Its Foundation?

There are a few preventive measures you can take to protect your house or business from foundational damage:

  • Clean rain gutters regularly, and replace both your gutters and rain-spouts ahead of wet weather if they look like they won’t function properly. 
  • Adjust any landscaping that slopes towards your building to direct water away from it instead. 
  • Ensure that your foundation is always visible. At least six inches of foundation should be visible for brick or cement exteriors, while eight inches of foundation should be visible for wood exteriors. If soil, mulch, or other materials are too high, moisture can more easily penetrate the top of your foundation, creating some of the above issues.

Whenever you experience water damage to your property, remember that your friends here at SERVPRO of Baldwin and Monroe are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week to help! We can be onsite right away if the worst happens. We can assist you in assessing your property to find vulnerabilities and establish ways to prevent future accidents. 

We can get your home and business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, as well. Ask us how!

Spring/Summer Cleaning Checklist

5/13/2021 (Permalink)

sign that says Spring Cleaning Ahead It's never too late to get a jump start on that DEEP cleaning!

It’s the perfect time to capitalize on that fresh feeling and give your whole house a much-needed spring clean. Sure, the idea sounds nice, but what are you actually supposed to clean during “spring cleaning”? It sounds like you need a spring cleaning checklist. Well, look no further. Around here, we take a 5-rooms-in-5-days approach.

In this article, we’ll give you checklists for every room type in your house:

1) bathroom
2) kitchen
3) bedrooms
4) kid areas and
5) living spaces

Monday’s Spring Clean Checklist: clean your bathroom

  • Disinfect doorknobs and light switches. Tip: check the labels of sprays and wipes to make sure they’re approved disinfectant by the EPA and to understand exactly how to use them to take advantage of their disinfecting power.
  • Organize cabinets and drawers. Take the time to sort through all your makeup and meds and throw away anything that’s expired.
  • Scrub your shower, bathtub, and sink, paying close attention to any mold or mildew buildup. 
  • Wash your shower curtain and bathmat. Make sure to read the care instructions so you don’t end up ruining them.
  • Give the toilet a much needed deep clean. Don’t forget near the floor and around the hinges where dirt and grime can buildup.

Tuesday’s Spring Clean Checklist: clean your kitchen

  • Clean the stovetop with soap and water. If it’s still worse for the wear, break out the trusty Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get rid of caked-on-food bits fast.
  • Clean your oven. Most ovens have a cleaning cycle, so this step is mostly hands-off.
  • Clean your microwave. 
  • Clean and descale your coffee maker. Your taste buds will appreciate the extra effort.
  • Clean out your fridge and freezer. Now’s the time to throw away the freezer-burned frozen fruit you bought a year ago when you decided to be healthy, but never used. Once you’ve gotten rid of all expired food, make sure to wipe down all the shelves with soapy water.
  • Degrease cabinets and walls. If you cook with oil, chances are, you’ve got little grease spatters everywhere. Enter: Dawn, an amazing grease-fighting soap. Get a cloth wet with soap water and scrub away.
  • Move your stove and fridge away from the wall and sweep and mop behind them. Try not to be too horrified by what you find.
  • Empty out and organize your pantry. Throw away expired items and put everything else back neatly where you can see it.
  • Empty the toast tray in your toaster.
  • Disinfect cabinet handles, light switches, sinks, and countertops.
  • Sanitize your sink. The sink can harbor all sorts of bacteria, so it’s important not to skip this step.

Wednesday’s Spring Clean Checklist: clean your bedrooms

  • Sort, launder and organize your clothes. This is the perfect time to get rid of clothes that don’t fit anymore or items that you just don’t like. Are you feeling lighter already?
  • Wash your bedding and pillows. Yes, you can wash your pillows. Just make sure to read the care and cleaning directions.
  • Rotate your mattress. It’ll extend the life of your mattress and help out your back.
  • Shampoo any rugs or carpets. A big undertaking, but well worth it. SERVPRO can help in this department!

Thursday’s Spring Clean Checklist: clean your living spaces

  • Move furniture to vacuum and mop underneath. Pro tip: bribe a housemate to help you so your back isn’t sore the next morning.
  • Vacuum couches, chairs, and curtains. This one’s especially for all you pet owners. 
  • Dust in all the places you normally overlook like shelves, the ceiling fan, lampshades, etc. A Swiffer duster makes this easier because it traps and locks dust rather than spreading it around the room.
  • Wash cushion and throw pillow covers, just be sure to read the care instructions first. If you can’t wash them use a product like Febreze Fabric to clean way odors and leave a fresh scent.
  • Disinfect remotes and other high-touch items and areas like doorknobs, and light switches.
  • Shampoo rugs or carpets.
Friday’s Spring Clean Checklist: clean the kid areas

Bonus: if you’re living a kid-free life, celebrate because you’re done a day early.

  • Move furniture and vacuum underneath it. You know the drill.
  • Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get rid of those crayon marks that have accumulated over the last year
  • Sanitize plastic toys. Truth be told, this should probably be done more than once a year.
  • Wash soft toys that can’t be sprayed down.
  • Donate the toys your kids have outgrown. Less clutter for you and another kid gets to enjoy a new-to-them toy.
  • Organize toys and play areas and enjoy the brief moments of calm and order before your kids come back to play.

Keep Your Family Safe From Fire

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

Minimize Your Risks

The good news: Over the past several decades, deaths from home fires in the U.S. have steadily gone down – from 5,200 in 1980 to 2,820 in 2018, according to Injury Facts.

But even one death from a preventable fire is too many. While fire doesn't discriminate by age, it is the third leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 14. In 2017, 127 children in this age group died from fire and smoke inhalation.

When cooking, make fire safety a priority by keeping these tips in mind:

  • Be alert; if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the oven or stovetop
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food
  • When simmering, baking or roasting, check the food regularly, remain in the kitchen while cooking and use a timer
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from your stovetop

Heating is the second leading cause of home fires. Follow these tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Keep all flammables, like paper, clothing, bedding, drapes or rugs, at least 3 feet from a space heater, stove or fireplace
  • Never leave portable heaters and fireplaces unattended; turn off heaters and make sure fireplace embers are extinguished before leaving the room
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, nonflammable surface, like ceramic tile, not on a rug or carpet
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters
  • When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over

In addition to cooking, other top causes of fire include smoking, electrical problems and candles. To minimize risks:

  • Institute a “no smoking” policy in the house
  • Check all cords and replace any that are frayed or have bare wires
  • Switch to flameless candles
  • Keep matches and lighters high and out of children’s reach in a locked cabinet

Working Smoke Alarms Are a Must

About three out of five fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan providing early warning reducing your risk of dying in a fire. The National Fire Protection Association recommends you:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas on the ceiling or high on the wall
  • Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen, at least 10 feet from the stove, to reduce false alarms
  • Use special alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers for people who are hard of hearing or deaf
  • Test smoke alarms monthly
  • Replace batteries annually, and change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector at the same time
  • Replace smoke alarms that are 10 or more years old

Make an Escape Plan

A home fire is reported every 88 seconds. Once the smoke alarm sounds, a fire can spread quickly, leaving only a minute or two to escape. That's why it's so important to have a home escape plan.

Start by drawing a map for your home and following these guidelines from the NFPA:

  • Plan two ways to escape from each room
  • Make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily
  • Identify secondary routes – a window onto an adjacent roof or a collapsible ladder from upper-story windows
  • If you live in a multi-story building, plan to use the stairs – never the elevator
  • Designate an outside meeting place a safe distance from the house where everyone should meet

Now Practice Your Home Fire Escape Plan

A safety observance developed by Nationwide in partnership with NSC and other organizations, is held during Fire Prevention Week in October. Everyone – even children – need to know your family escape plan in case of a fire. The National Fire Protection Association indicates that 71% of Americans have a home fire escape plan but only 47% have practiced it. Practice your fire drill with everyone in the house at night and during the day, twice a year.

Remember to:

  • Practice getting out with your eyes closed, crawling low to the floor and keeping your mouth covered
  • Practice closing doors behind you
  • Practice how to “stop, drop and roll” if your clothes catch on fire
  • Practice testing door handles to see if they are hot before opening them
  • Teach children never to hide during a fire, and how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them

When and How to Use Fire Extinguisher

Always put your safety first; if you are not confident in your ability to use a fire extinguisher, get out and call 9-1-1. The American Red Cross cautions you to evaluate the situation and ensure:

  • Everyone has left or is leaving the home
  • The fire department has been called
  • The fire is small, not spreading, and there is not much smoke
  • Your back is to an exit you can use quickly

Learn about the different types of fire extinguishers; not all will work on every fire. For home use, the National Fire Protection Association recommends a multi-purpose device large enough to put out a small fire but not so heavy that it will be difficult to handle. 

Review the instructions once a year. If you need to use a fire extinguisher, there won’t be time to learn how to do it.

Cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires and fire injuries, and winter months are the peak time for fire-related deaths. Now is the perfect time to review and practice fire safety.

If you or a loved one experiences the catastrophic effects of a fire, call SERVPRO of Baldwin and Monroe at 478-452-8000.

5 Critical Facts and Stats on Restaurant Fires

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

1. According to the NFPA, approximately 61% of all restaurant fires between 2010 and 2014 were caused by cooking – with cooking equipment or materials being the most frequent items initially ignited and therefore the cause of the fire. This makes up three out of five fires and 38% of direct property damage.

It makes sense that cooking equipment results in the most number of fires and property damage for eating and drinking establishments since it is a constant source of heat and fuel throughout the day. A major factor to also consider is why these fires aren’t properly contained or how they spread to the point of resulting in direct property damage. This leads us to our next important fact.

2. Approximately 22% of these fires were a result of failure to clean, 14% electrical failure or malfunction, 12% mechanical failure or malfunction and 8% unattended equipment.

If cooking appliances are not cleaned and maintained at regular intervals, excessive grease can build on surrounding surfaces. These collections of grease buildup exist very close to the cooking surfaces, and if not removed can present a dangerous fire hazard. As well, failure to properly clean your commercial kitchen and associated vents and ductwork can cause large amounts of liquid grease to accumulate and has been directly related to the leading cause of eating establishment structure fires. This truly details the importance of keeping your commercial kitchen clean and maintained.

3. Deep fryers were involved in one of five fires (21%), ranges or cooktops in 14% of fires, cooking grills in 6%, and ovens or rotisserie ovens in 5%.

Deep fryers deal with hot oil and grease more than any other piece of cooking equipment. This statistic illustrates how grease and vaporized oils are powerful fire igniters and fuel sources for uncontained fires. Proper maintenance and cleaning of deep fryers are essential to proper operation and to prevent misuse that could lead to a fire.

4. These fires resulted in direct property damage of $165 million annually.

Excluding the potential lives and injuries affected as a result of the fire, your property and livelihood are at stake. The more neglected and grease laden your kitchen is, the more likely the fire can spread to other parts of the building, or worse, to a building nearby. According to national averages, flame damages often remain contained to the building of origin where the fire started, but not the object that caught fire. This means that oftentimes other cooking equipment or property not directly involved in the fire become damaged. The cost of replacing equipment or restoring structural damage far exceeds the cost of regular equipment and vent hood cleaning.

5. In eating or drinking establishments, direct property damage per reported fire was 75% lower when wet pipe sprinklers were present, compared to fires with no automatic extinguishing equipment present.

Outside of required services, current codes, or “grandfathered” buildings, it is important to note how important it is to have fire preventative services/equipment in place. It is a direct factor in saving property as well as lives.

IN SUMMARY, it’s important to have your kitchen equipment and exhaust system regularly inspected to ensure you are up to current fire safety codes. By sticking to a routine maintenance schedule both for your cooking equipment and for your hood, vents, and ductwork, you are keeping your employees, patrons, building, and community safe.

Source: NFPA Research – Structure Fires in Eating and Drinking Establishments.

7 Critical Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

Year after year and home after home, water damage is among the most common claims filed by homeowners. Renters, condo owners and landlords each year. While many water damage claims are covered by their home insurance policy, many need to be handled by flood insurance.

The Insurance Information Institute reported that water damage claims have only beat out by wind and hail damage over the allotted period of observance, leading to the second-highest percentage of losses as well.

Since water knows no bounds and can easily sneak into your home through many different forms, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of water damage claims and seven critical tips you should know when dealing with water damage claims.

Common Types of Water Damage Claims

Preventing water damage claims from occurring is the first step in the process, but some just can’t be predicted beforehand. The most common type of water damage is flooding, which is also the most common natural disaster on earth.

Flooding isn’t covered by home insurance. Instead, you must purchase flood insurance to properly protect your home, belongings and financial future.

Aside from flooding, many instances of water damage are covered by your home insurance policy. Things like your home’s structure, other structures on the property and your personal belongings are among those items protected by insurance.

Additionally, if water damage temporarily forces you out of your home, loss of use coverage can help to reimburse you for additional living expenses you incur. The following 10 scenarios are among the most common water damage claims filed each year.

  • Flooding
  • Sewer Backup
  • Clogged Toilets
  • Heavy Rain
  • Melting Snow
  • Leaking Roof
  • Foundation Cracks
  • Plumbing Leaks
  • Bursting Pipes
  • Broken Appliances

1. File a Claim Quickly

The first thing you’ll want to do when you notice any water damage in your home is to file a home insurance claim. If the water damage was due to flooding, you’ll need to file a claim with your flood insurance provider.

But whatever you do, file a claim first because it gets the ball rolling with your insurance company. Remember that they may be dealing with a lot of similar claims (especially if the water damage was due to a heavy rainstorm, melting snow or flooding), so they’ll likely be working on a first-come, first-served approach.

The quicker you file a claim, the quicker an adjuster can survey the damage and the quicker you can get a check for the repairs to get your life back to normal.

2. Move Undamaged Possessions From Harm’s Way

After filing a claim, you’ll want to move any of your undamaged possessions out of harm’s way so you’re not dealing with a bigger headache than you need to. If you’re filing a water damage claim, there’s a good chance that you may have many damaged items, so salvaging those undamaged items before the water gets to them will limit your claim and your headaches.

Moving undamaged items out of harm’s way also allows you to see what’s damaged and what’s not damaged. The chances are good that items near the water damage may need to be repaired or replaced even with slight water damage.

3. Document All Damages

After the water damage claim has been filed, you’ll want to document all the damages by taking photos and videos. This means you must document the standing water, if any, and every single item that was damaged by the water.

While it may be tough for you to determine how much water damage you’re facing, documenting everything can make sure you can rebuttal any damage that may be unaccounted for during the claims process.

Having a proper home contents list in place can help you more accurately document the possessions you own, how much you paid for them and the value they still carry. It’s simply a document listing all your possessions, when you bought them, how much you bought them for and any pictures of the items if you have them.

4. Drain Standing Water

After documenting all of your damaged possessions and the areas of your home, you’ll want to drain the standing water. Draining the water helps to prevent further damage, such as the water seeping into your floors and walls and spreading through the wood and flooring.

5. Dry the Water-Damaged Areas

When you drain the standing water sufficiently, your possessions and the floors and walls of your home will likely still be water-logged, especially if you have carpeting. To dry the water-damaged areas, you’ll need to lift a few corners of the carpet and place fans around the room to dry the affected areas.

Drying the area, especially the walls and carpet, can prevent mold growth. The last thing you want to do after filing a water damage claim is to have black mold spread throughout the affected area and have to file another home insurance claim for mold remediation and removal.

6. Keep All Damaged Items

Even after you dry the area affected by water damage, you’ll want to keep all of your water-damaged possessions until your insurance adjuster has had a chance to thoroughly examine them and make an assessment as to how much money you’ll get to repair or replace your items.

The last thing you want to do is throw away your items prematurely, so it’s best to wait until you’re authorized by your insurer in writing that it’s OK to dispose of the items. After all, they may need to determine how much you’ll get for your items, especially if they’re factoring in depreciation.

7. Begin the Recovery Process

Unless something like your roof or walls have been extensively damaged and continue to allow water inside your home, you’ll want to hold off on making any repairs until you’ve been authorized to do so by your insurer.

Waiting for their authorization prevents the risk of making repairs that aren’t factored into the total claim value. But if your roof or walls are leaking, it’s OK to throw up a tarp or plywood to prevent further water damage.

Once you have reached a point and you've spoken with your insurance provider, it's time to call the restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Baldwin and Monroe at 478-452-8000.

Dealing With Insurance Adjusters After Water Damage (5 Pro Tips)

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

Dealing with an insurance adjuster after water damage sometimes feels like dealing with a detective.

When they come out to inspect your property, they’ll look for evidence of where the damage is, how it happened, and whether or not your policy covers it.

You pay your insurance every month, so why does it feel like you’re in the hot seat?

Not all insurance adjusters are out to get you, but at the end of the day, it’s their job to protect the insurance company’s bottom line and determine the least amount of money they’re legally obligated to pay you. 

To help you avoid low-ball offers and get the payment you deserve, we created this step-by-step guide on dealing with adjusters after water damage has ruined your home. 

Pro Tip #1: Don’t Be Intimidated By The Adjuster

As part of the water damage claim process, an insurance adjuster will be sent to your house to assess the water damage and write an estimate or denial based on what they find. Unfortunately, they’re going to be looking for any reason to deny your claim, like poor home maintenance on your part.

Take a deep breath. There’s no reason to be intimidated.

Remember, you and your insurance provider entered a legally binding agreement where they promised to cover certain water damage accidents. If your insurance company is refusing to cover a legitimate water damage claim, that means they’re not acting in “good faith” and are liable for a lawsuit.

Pro Tip #2: Know Your Policy

Before you even file a claim in the first place, you should review your policy to see what’s covered and what’s excluded.

For instance, most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover water damage from natural flooding or from lack of maintenance, like failing to address a leaking pipe. 

Insurance policies aren’t the easiest of reading materials. If you’re having trouble deciphering the details on your homeowners insurance policy, you should ask your agent to explain any ambiguities.

Pro Tip #3: Make the Insurance Adjuster’s Job Easier

Insurance adjusters have to handle several claims a week, and the number can go up tenfold if a storm or other natural disaster struck the area.

You, however, only have to deal with one claim. Before they arrive, you can prepare ahead of time— and have a hand in getting the most out of your losses— by doing the following:

  • Take photos of both interior and exterior property damage. Make a list of the damages you want to show the adjuster, like cracked drywall and mold patches.
  • Provide photos of what the property looked like before, if you have them on hand.
  • Call the realtor that assisted you in the purchase of the property and ask for the property inspector’s report and appraisal.
  • If you refinanced your home, call and ask your lender for copies of any recent appraisals. 
  • If you had to make emergency repairs before the adjuster arrived, keep receipts of those expenses.
  • Create an itemized list of damaged belongings. This list should include photos of the item, a description, the brand, the cost and copies of receipts. Do this for everything in your house, down to the rolls of toilet paper in your bathroom. If you don’t have receipts, check to see if your bank can track the charges.

BONUS TIP: The more information you have on your home’s preloss condition, the better your chance of receiving better compensation. If the item is not listed in the initial estimate, the cost to cover it will not be listed in the final estimate total. 

Pro Tip #4: Choose Your Words Wisely When Speaking With the Insurance Company

Let’s start off by saying, we’re absolutely not advocating for anybody to lie to their insurance company (see: insurance fraud A.K.A. jail time); However, you should really think about how you phrase things if you want to don’t want to have any problems with your claim later on.

Examples of What You Should and Shouldn’t Say

Don’t say “I think” when your trying to explain the water damage situation to your insurance agent, instead, you should say “I don’t know”

Avoid the word “flooded”. There is a very specific definition of “flood” in the insurance industry, and most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover water damage due to flooding.

Actually, you shouldn’t guess at all if you’re not 100% certain about the cause of water damage. 

For example, when the adjuster arrives you don’t want to say “I think the water damage is from some sort of construction defect”. That might be an exclusion under your policy, so you’ve essentially give then insurance company an out when you don’t even know if that was the true cause or not. 

You should also avoid the word “flooded”. There is a very specific definition of “flood” in the insurance industry, and most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover water damage due to flooding. In the insurance world, flooding is defined as external, ground water entering a building structure (e.g. hurricanes, tsunamis, river overflows, etc). This entirely different from a home flood caused by an internal source of water, like a washing machine overflow.

For instance, never say “My basement is flooded”. Instead, you should say “my basement is full of water.”

Another tip: when you call them, don’t ask “my house has water damage, what’s my deductible?”. Let’s say you decided not to go ahead and file the claim because it actually costs less to pay out of pocket to fix the damage yourself. Oops! You already slipped and told them about the damage, which could go on your record. Instead, you should ask “how much is my deductible?”

Pro Tip #5: Don’t Settle Too Early

Most insurance companies initially provide a low offer, because they expect you to accept it and not put up much of a fight. It’s the oldest negotiation tactic in the book and it’s a win-win for the insurance company.

If you accept it, then then insurance company avoids a long, back-and-forth, negotiation process, all while saving money. If you reject it, they might have a slightly higher offer they’ve been keeping in their back pocket.

This is where having a water damage restoration contractor on your side comes in handy. If the insurance company offers a low-ball claim, the restoration company in the meantime has been gathering evidence and has been itemizing the damages on their own. Armed with the facts, they can negotiate with adjuster to get them to increase their offer.

When disaster strikes, the most important thing to know is who to call - and that is the pros at SERVPRO of Baldwin and Monroe.  We are ready to make your disaster look "Like it never even happened."

4 Important Air Duct Cleaning Facts

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

Duct work before and after You never know what's lurking in those ducts!

Indoor air is dirty.

According to the EPA, indoor air can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air. Indoor air contains concentrated amounts of dust, debris, mold, mildew, and other things you don’t want to be breathing all day long. Many people experience allergies to indoor air, and children are even more likely to be affected by indoor allergens than adults. On average, the air ducts in a 6 room house collect 40 pounds of dust and debris per year! Without being cleaned, those pollutants stay in your home or office’s air – and you breathe them in.

Dirty ducts are a fire hazard.

In addition to circulating pollutants and allergens, air ducts collect highly flammable dust that can be a huge fire hazard. A fire that starts anywhere in the building, whether from an electrical issue, cooking incident, or candle being knocked over, can be fueled by dust in the air ducts. Once a fire reaches a duct, it can be quickly carried throughout the entire building. Clean air ducts help stop the spread of fire.

Dirty ducts mean less efficient heating and cooling.

Contaminated ducts mean extra strain on the HVAC system. It takes more energy to operate the system at regular settings than it would if the ducts were free and clear. That means dirty ducts put more pressure on your wallet.

Nobody should DIY air duct cleaning.

Effective air duct cleaning involves specialized heavy equipment and a team that has extensive experience. Trying to DIY means you won’t be able to reach every inch of your ducts, so pollutants and allergens will remain trapped inside. Ducts can be easily damaged, which means costly repairs. In addition, working with dirty air ducts can be hazardous to your health. A specialized team like Induct Clean knows how to clean air ducts safely and thoroughly.

Clean duct work is a priority at SERVPRO of Baldwin and Monroe.  Give us a call today at 478-452-8000 and let us help you regain clean air in your home and/or business.


4/8/2021 (Permalink)

mold on wall from water damage Mold grows within 24-48 hours following a water damage. Don't wait! Call the pros now!

Water damage in the workplace may not only prevent you from doing business. It can also put the health and safety of your employees at risk. The moment you spot signs of commercial water damage, it’s important to take action immediately.

Commercial water damage restoration is often more complex than residential water damage restoration and usually requires an intensive approach. The size and structure of commercial buildings, the extent of damage, the varying uses of space, and the number of occupants all affect the restoration process. Aside from these, there’s usually always a time constraint for the job because business has to continue as soon as possible.

While some water damage issues are inevitable, most problems can be prevented when the cause of water damage is found earlier.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the most common causes of water damage in commercial properties and how to deal with them.


Here are the common causes of commercial water damage:


In commercial buildings, water damage is often caused by windows that are not properly sealed. Damaged windows can cause moisture to seep in, which triggers a lot of problems including mold build-up and warped wood and drywall. Resealing windows regularly is important as caulk can break down over time.


Broken pipes can stem from many reasons, such as changes in pressure, deteriorated water supply lines and sewer drains, and cold weather (freezing temperature can cause pipes to burst). Bulging walls, water stains on walls or floors, cracked or loose tiles, and musty smell – these are all signs of damaged pipes. Detecting leaky pipes is challenging and it usually requires some specialized water leak detection equipment.


If gutters are not cleaned regularly, they can get clogged, causing water to leak into the property through the roof or the foundation. One of the most common signs of leaks in building foundations are puddles nearby or framing that has become wet. Poor drainage systems can also lead to water damage in your foundation.


A leaky roof can cause ceiling damage, mold or mildew issues, fire hazards from shortened wires, and compromised structural integrity. Exposure to heavy rains and snow make roofs vulnerable to damage. Moreover, incorrect snow/ice removal can also trigger water damage in roofs.


HVAC systems work by heating or cooling the air through a series of ducts. Over time, these ducts wear out and get damaged, resulting in leaks. The HVAC system needs to be cleaned regularly and the excess water from the condensation reservoirs has to be removed to prevent water damage.


Sewer water contains bacteria and other pathogens that cause illnesses and infections. If you see signs of sewage damage, such as gurgling sounds or water backing up out of the drain or toilet, you should call water damage and restoration professional immediately.


Other causes of water damage in commercial buildings are leaks in sprinkler systems. Signs of sprinkler leaks include wet surfaces like drywall and carpets, presence of mold and mildew, and standing water. Regularly inspect your sprinkler systems for leaks and moisture.


Taking the necessary measures to prevent water damage can save you from costly repairs and business interruption in the future. Since water damage can come from a variety of sources, it’s essential to have the building inspected regularly to prevent leaks and related issues. Having an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) is a great way to identify each of the possible water sources so they can be stopped immediately.


Regardless of whether your business is located in a flood-prone area, make sure you have an efficient flood warning system in place. Flooding can result from other causes, including plumbing failures, overflowing rivers, and melting snow.


Flooding is not usually included in property insurance policies. Water damage restoration can be very expensive. Water damage insurance can you deal with the costs if ever your property gets damaged by a flood in the future.


Water damage prevention is a lot cheaper than restoration. To prevent water damage from getting worse, have professionals inspect your property at least once a year. Leak detection is performed in several ways, such as humidity monitoring and the use of spot sensors.


A preventative maintenance plan should keep your commercial building safe and secure and contribute to your water leak prevention efforts. Different parts of a commercial building should be inspected at different intervals. For example, doors, windows, and gates should be checked each year for weariness while the roof can be coated every five years or so to prevent damage.


Water damage and mold go hand in hand.

One of the most common effects of water damage in commercial buildings is mold and mildew build-up. It only takes 24-48 hours of exposure to water damage before these dangerous microorganisms start growing.

To stop mold growth, the source of water damage should be fixed right away. It’s imperative to contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Baldwin and Monroe to conduct commercial mold cleanup and mold mitigation to ensure that no trace is left.


Commercial water damage restoration is a job that is handled by professionals like SERVPRO of Baldwin and Monroe.  Restoration specialists are well-versed in dealing with insurance companies nd can help you navigate the waters as the process unfolds.


Water damage in commercial buildings is a serious problem that should be addressed as soon as possible. There are many causes of water damage, like damaged windows, roof leaks, damaged pipes, sewer clogs, HVAC leaks, and sprinkler system leaks.

Thankfully, water damage can be prevented by creating a flood monitoring system, getting an insurance plan that covers flood damage, and conducting regular property inspection and facility maintenance.

If you see signs of water damage in your commercial property, call the professionals at SERVPRO right away. Fixing the root cause of water damage should stop it from getting worse.

Always be prepared!

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

tarped roof with SP logo Keep your home safe by tarping after a storm!

No one knows for sure when the next severe weather event will hit, but we do know that we will surely see several storms annually - especially during the warmest months.

Every time a major storm blows through, we brace ourselves for the potential impact on our homes, businesses, automobiles, or even our personal well-being. While we hope that everyone is spared, SERVPRO is prepared to come to the aid of those who weren’t so lucky.

What is Secondary Damage and Why It Matters

The property damage you see immediately after a storm event can easily turn into more if preventative measures aren’t taken. When you file a claim with your insurance company they are likely to look into what was done to keep more damage from happening. 

To protect your property from further damage from exposure to more rain, moisture, wind, and vandals we set up the following barriers:

  • Roof tarps - Protects the exposed roof from water and moisture.
  • Board up - In place of windows, doors, and walls that have been ripped out by storm damage.
  • Security fence - For long-term and large-scale jobs.

We want to keep repairs to a minimum and we want to ensure that your insurance claims process proceeds without a hitch, so we are proactive in safeguarding your property.

3 Reasons to Choose SERVPRO for Storm Damage Restoration

Close to You

SERVPRO of Baldwin and Monroe is locally owned and operated. Because we are right down the road from you, we respond sooner and are close by for return trips.

Full-Service Restoration

Your average storm damage site needs cleanup, recovery of materials, and contractors to rebuild what was lost. With SERVPRO you get all of these services in one unit. 

Our goal is restoration over replacement. We work tirelessly to recover as much as possible. Meanwhile, construction that cannot be saved will be rebuilt to match the original as closely as possible.

Work with Insurance

SERVPRO works with all insurance. We work directly with adjusters on your behalf to keep the process as easy and hassle-free as possible for you the customer. Because we have so much experience working with insurance companies, we know how to save time on the process so you get back to life as normal sooner than later.

Because we are a full-service restoration company that works directly with insurance, you have only one call to make. No need to keep a list of contact numbers as we assign all clients a single point of contact for all communications and updates. 

With SERVPRO f Baldwin and Monroe's restoration experience, you can expect a careful and complete recovery of your home. Call for the emergency contact around the clock at 478-452-8000.