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Tip: Water Damage and Insurance

Written by WSI Genesis on . Posted in , .

Water damage is one of the leading causes of property damage. Water damage can result from a broken pipe, roof damage, malfunctioning appliance, flooding from ground water, etc… The mitigation process can be time consuming and expensive if you are not properly prepared.

The first step in preparation is insurance. We encourage all our clients to have a conversation with their insurance agent over what their policy covers and what it excludes. Make sure to take the time and really understand your policy. Know that there is a difference between homeowners insurance and flood insurance.

In typical circumstances, a homeowner’s policy should cover water damage situations resulting from roof damage, such as a tree falling or wind blowing shingles off. It should also cover something like a hot-water tank failing or washer machine overflow. Homeowner’s policies typically do not cover ground water entering the basement through the foundation. These occurrences typically take place in the spring when snow-melt and heavy rains combine to raise the water levels in bodies of water and the ground. Separate flood coverage may be available and worth considering if this is a concern. Bring it up to your insurance agent to understand your options.

The final step in preparing for water damage cleanup is to build a relationship with a certified, reputable water damage restoration company. You do not want to be caught off guard in the event you need emergency water damage or flood cleanup. Soil-Away’s water damage mitigation team serves south/central New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. In the first quarter of 2014, Soil-Away restored hundreds water damaged properties in towns such as Manchester, Hampstead, Portsmouth, Concord, Bedford, Moultonborough, and Laconia, NH.

100_0490 Water damage in basement

Tip: Chimneys, Soot, and Fires. Oh my!

Do you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove? If so, it likely gets a lot of use during the cold New Hampshire or Massachusetts winters. When was the last time you had your chimney inspected or cleaned? If you cannot answer this question, it has been too long.
Hundreds of chimney fires occur every year. Many of the fires are a result of built up soot and creosote. Creosote is the thick, slimy material that is a byproduct of burning wood. When it cools off it can solidify and accumulate on the interior of your chimney and become a clogging hazard. If a fire burns too hot, creosote combustion can be a major concern as well.
Chimney fires are extremely dangerous and destructive to properties. Often times they can go unnoticed for a period of time because they are hidden behind walls. They can also spread to other parts of the house by breaking through weak points in masonry or flue pipe joints. Indications of a chimney fire occurring have been described as the following: loud cracking and popping noise, increased volume of dense smoke, and intense/hot smell.
What can you do to prevent a chimney fire? Regular maintenance is the solution. Having a certified and licensed chimney firm inspect and clean your chimney on an annual basis will drastically reduce the threat of a fire. Simply put, clean chimneys don’t catch fire. If you need an inspection or cleaning, please contact Soil-Away for a referral to a qualified chimney company.
If your property has sustained fire, soot, or smoke damage from a chimney fire, Soil-Away can help. Soil-Away’s team of certified fire restoration technicians will clean, deodorize and restore your property to pre-loss condition. We will work with your insurance company to process the fire damage claim and ensure life gets back to normal as soon as possible. Soil-Away’s fire/smoke damage cleanup team serves south/central New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. In the first quarter of 2014, Soil-Away restored chimney-related fire damaged properties in Windham, Franklin, Sunapee, Nashua, Dover, and Salem, NH.
 

Caution: “Fire Chasers”

It is a distasteful practice that is unfortunately common in our industry.  Some call it “ambulance chasing” while others may call it “fire chasing.”  The essence of the activity is that firms will hunt for property disasters and prey on victims of fires or floods.
How is this done? Information about a property fire or disaster is obtained by listening to emergency service (Police/Fire) scanners or through notifications from special smart phone apps.
Who does this? Many large (often franchise) mitigation companies use this practice along with some public adjustment firms. They have “marketing” departments on call 24/7 to take advantage of unfortunate situations.
What is the goal? Ultimately, “fire chasers” want to obtain business from the situation. By being the first-to-the-scene, these firms want to obtain the property owner’s signature on a work authorization form and start the work immediately to ensure they get the job for the fire, smoke, and water damage cleanup.
Does it work? Unfortunately it does enough of the time to see the practice continue in the industry. Property owners are under distress, anxious, and do not understand the whole scope. Often times they may feel pressured by the pursuing party and are not prepared to handle the situation.
Is it ethical? We will let you answer that, but let it be known that Soil-Away does not and will not participate in such activities.
What should I do? If you have a fire or property disaster in which emergency services are involved, rest assured that you will be pursued by these companies. Stand strong and decline their services. Would you hire an unfamiliar lawyer at the hospital after you have been injured in a car accident? The best thing is to build a relationship with a firm you trust BEFORE anything happens. Another step is to reach out to your local insurance agent. They can navigate you through the proper channels of claims processing.
Please note that Soil-Away is an approved vendor for numerous national and local insurance carriers. We ask you to consider connecting with Soil-Away today regarding an emergency property damage mitigation plan. You do not want to be caught off guard in the event of water, fire, or mold damage situation.

Winter Tip: Ice Dams and Water Damage

Written by WSI Genesis on . Posted in , .

Snow is accumulating on your house. Ice is building up on the edge of your roof. Icicles are growing larger and larger. This is just a part of winter in New England, right? While all of us must combat the harsh realities of cold temperatures and freezing precipitation, we should not succumb to the damaging tendencies of ice dams.
Ice dams, if left unattended, can lead to exterior and interior property damage. Roof shingles can peel and wood can rot. This may lead to leaks inside the house. Water pouring into your home in the middle of winter is not a fun situation. There are a couple of things you can to do to help avoid costly water damage from ice dams…
1)                  Minimize snow accumulation on your roof– Following each significant snow fall; carefully remove as much snow as possible. Tools such as a roof rake with extension poles allow you to reach areas from the ground. No climbing on ladders in icy conditions. Roof rakes can be purchased for roughly $50 to $100. Make sure to read and follow all the safety instructions.
2)                  Create channels in ice for water flow- For existing ice dams, you need to create a place for the melting ice to go. One way to do this is to fill a pair of panty hose with calcium chloride ice melt. Carefully position the panty hose perpendicular to the edge of the roof. As the calcium chloride works, it will create a channel for water to flow instead of continuing to compound with the existing dams.
If you have sustained water damage from ice dams at your home, please call Soil-Away. We will identify all affected areas and efficiently dry your property to prevent further damage. We work with all national and local insurance carriers and will assist you through the claims process. We are an IICRC certified firm. Please remember to keep our contact numbers available in the event of a water loss relating to ice dams.
P2030045
 

Winter Tip: Frozen Pipes, Big Problems

Written by WSI Genesis on . Posted in , .

It is winter and the New England weather can be very unforgiving for properties. Bitter cold temperatures and driving snow storms wreak havoc on homes. Frozen pipes cause thousands of dollars in property damage every year. A tiny pipe crack can result in countless gallons of water flowing into your home affecting the structure and contents. This kind of situation can be devastating to a home or property owner. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to prepare for, or even help prevent, these occurrences…
–          Pipe inspection (professional recommended)

  • Are pipes properly insulated?
  • Are there any leaks that can be sealed/repaired?
  • Focus on attics and crawlspaces where pipes are most vulnerable
  • Know where your main water shut-off is in case of an emergency

–          Winter game plan

  • Maintain sufficient house temperature
  • Allow for heat to circulated throughout house (don’t block off rooms)
  • Turn off outdoor faucets
  • Have a friend inspect house daily if you are out of town
  • Have pipes professionally winterized if property will be vacant

If you have sustained water damage from a broken or frozen pipe at your home, Soil-Away can help. Our highly trained team of structural drying technicians will mitigate your water loss. We can detect moisture issues on the interior of your home with our array of moisture meters and infrared cameras. Using commercial drying equipment, we will safely and efficiently dry your structure back to pre-loss condition. If you are submitting a claim, we will also work with your insurance company throughout the entire process. Tell them you want Soil-Away! Please remember to keep our office number available in the event of an emergency water loss. 603.641.6555

Holiday Tip: Extinguishing a Grease Fire

Written by WSI Genesis on . Posted in , .

Stove top fire
Can you believe the holidays are here? Tables loaded with food are just around the corner. With that comes a lot of cooking. Home cooked meals bring a lot of joy to a home, but they also can pose serious danger. Every year thousands of damaging fires are started as a result of cooking. One of the most common threats is a grease fire. So how do you deal with a grease fire if it should happen to you?
–          Never use water on a grease fire
–          Never carry a flaming pot or pan outside. This will likely cause additional property damage from spills and possible personal burns.
–          Heavy amounts of baking soda can help suppress the fire
–          If possible, cut off the oxygen supply to the fire by covering with a metal lid.
–          Class B or Class K (commercial grade) fire extinguishers are best suited. Their chemicals will ruin food.
–          Do not forget to call 911 if needed
Please note that Soil-Away can help in the event of fire/smoke damage to your property. Soil-Away is an approved vendor for numerous national and local insurance carriers and will manage the entire claim process for you. We ask you to consider connecting with Soil-Away today regarding an emergency property damage mitigation plan. You do not want to be caught off guard in the event of water, fire, or mold damage situation.

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