Smoke and Soot Damage
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Mt. Laurel / Moorestown will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – Mt. Laurel / Moorestown 856.778.4055
How to Test Your Smoke Alarms and When to Replace Them
Smoke alarms are crucial to preventing fire deaths and injuries during a home fire. However, you need to maintain and test them regularly to ensure they're working properly at any given moment. Here are the steps involved in testing a smoke alarm in your home.
First, make sure everyone in your household test.
Have someone stand in the room farthest way form the alarm you are testing to ensure that the alarm is heard in all rooms of your home.
When everyone is ready, use a sturdy chair or ladder to reach the alarm. Locate the test button, then push and hold it for a few seconds to trigger the alarm.
In addition to testing your alarm manually, you should also check that the sensors are working. Use an aerosol smoke detector tester and spray it towards the alarm; it should go off after a few seconds.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that you should test your smoke alarms monthly and replace them every 10 years. Batteries should also be replace at least once a year.
Is Water Damage Hiding from you?
Signs of Water Damage
No one ever truly understands the power of rain or water and the damage it can do to your home or business. Once water has found its way inside your house, it can travel anywhere, creating hidden problems. So, even after that big puddle recedes, there may be some underlying problems lurking behind the scenes. here with some helpful tips on how to identify water damage, SERVPRO of Mt. Laurel/Moorestown urges you to pay attention,
- Smell the air!
- Spot the stains!
- Peeling pain.
- Sagging spaces and finicky floors.
If you notice any of these signs, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Mt. Laurel/Moorestown to investigate and avoid further damage. SERVPRO is here 24/7 to help you breath a little easier.
Mold Removal vs. Mold Remediation
What is the difference?
Since microscopic mold spores exist naturally almost everywhere, indoor and outdoor, removing all mold from a home or business is impossible. Many restoration business advertise "mold removal" and even guarantee to remove all the mold. This is a fallacy. We understand that mold and mold growth. SERVPRO of Mt. Laurel/Moorestown has the training and expertise to remediate the mold in your home or business.
When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours.
The Mold Remediation Process
Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same.
- Contact SERVPRO of Mt. Laurel/Moorestown
- Inspection and Mold Damage Assessment
- Mold Containment
- Air Filtration
- Removing Mold and Mold-Infested Materials
- Cleaning Content and Belongings
Sewage Cleanup and Restoration
Water from the sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. This water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination.
Three types of contaminated water:
Category 1 "Clean Water"
This is water from a clean water source, such as a broken clean water supply line or faucet. If left untreated, category 1 water can quickly degrade into category 2 or 3 water depending upon such factors as time, temperature, and contact with contaminations.
Category 2 "Gray Water"
This waster has a significant level of contamination that could cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Source for category 2 water may include washing machine overflow; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces; or dishwasher overflow.
Category 3 "Black Water"
This water is grossly unsanitary and could cause sever illness or death if ingested, and any contact should be avoided. Sources for category 3 water could include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
Contact SERVPRO of Mt. Laurel/Moorestown to make your sewage damage look "Like it never even happened."
Floods - The Most Common Natural Disaster
Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Whether you live near a coastline, near a river or eve in the desert, there is a potential for suffering flood damage. Unlike any other natural disaster such as hurricanes that have typical peak season, floods can occur anywhere and anytime.
Therese are some of the flood terms used to identify a flood hazard.
A flood watch indicates that conditions are favorable for flooding to developed. Be prepared to move to higher ground.
A flood warning means that flooding is occurring or will occur soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
A flash flood warning means that flash flooding is occurring or imminent. Move to higher grounds immediately.
Use Food Coloring to Diagnose a Leaking Toilet
If you have a heavy leak in your toilet, it's easy to diagnose - the faint sound of the toilet tank constantly replenishing is a dead give away. What about a slow leak? Diagnose it with food coloring.
If you have a slow leak in your toilet tank, hundreds of gallons are just slowly and silently cascading down the side of your toilet bowl every month. Fortunately you can easily detect if the uptick in you water bill is from a slow leak or not.
A simple test for toilet water leaks, place a half a dozen or so drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. Leave the toilet alone for a half hour or more. Come back and check to see if the water in the bowl of the toilet has become tinted with the food-coloring dye from the tank. If it has, you've got a leak between the tank and the bowl.
How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Attic
Water and moisture in your attic can cause you headaches and costly repairs. Mold can grow and compromise your indoor air quality, and water can weaken the structural integrity of your home. To stop water damage in your attic, you need to know what causes moisture in your attic - roof leaks, improper attic ventilation and insulation and appliance failures.
- Look for Roof Leaks in Your Attic
Check the insulation and wood for signs of water damage, such as discoloration and mold growth.
Make sure your attic vents - soffit, ridge, and gable-mounted vents - openings are not blocked by something like insulation.
- Insulate Your Attic
- Vent Appliances to the Outside
- Maintain Attic Appliances
Contact your local SERVPRO of Mt. Laurel/Moorestown for all of your water damage needs.
Do You Need Flood Insurance?
The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically. Signup to receive email updates.
I don't have flood insurance--Why do I need it?
FACT: Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year.
FACT: Homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage.
FACT: Floods can happen anywhere--More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high risk flood zone.
FACT: Flood insurance can pay regardless of whether or not there is a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
FACT: Most federal disaster assistance comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans from U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and you have to pay them back. FEMA offers disaster grants that don't need to be paid back, but this amount is often much less than what is needed to recover. A claim against your flood insurance policy could and often does, provide more funds for recovery than those you could qualify for from FEMA or the SBA--and you don't have to pay it back.
FACT: You may be required to have flood insurance. Congress has mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on mortgaged properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. But even if your property is not in a high risk flood area, your mortgage lender may still require you to have flood insurance.
Flood insurance helps more: Check out your state's flood history with FEMA's interactive data visualization tool. Roll your cursor over each county to see how many flooding events have happened. The tool allows you to compare how much FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration have provided in terms of federal disaster aid after Presidential Disaster Declarations to the amount the National Flood Insurance program has paid to its policyholders. It's easy to see that having flood insurance provides a lot more help for recovery.
If you are a renter or homeowner (residential policy); or business owner (non-residential policy) and your property is located in a NFIP-participating community, you can purchase a policy. Contact your insurance agent to find out if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flood insurance from the NFIP is only available in participating communities. Ask your agent if your state and community participate, or look it up online
Did you know? An elevated home, with a first floor elevated 3 feet above the base flood elevation, can expect to save 60 percent or more on annual flood insurance premiums.
Did you know? Elevating just one foot above the Base Flood Elevation often results in a 30% reduction in annual premiums.
Water Damage In Your Property?
Water damage describes a large number of possible losses caused by water intruding where it will enable attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, and many others.
The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface, or it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to loss of property.
An insurance policy may or may not cover the costs associated with water damage and the process of water damage restoration. While a common cause of residential water damage is often the failure of a sump pump, many homeowner's insurance policies do not cover the associated costs without an addendum which adds to the monthly premium of the policy. Often the verbiage of this addendum is similar to "Sewer and Drain Coverage".
Those individuals who are affected by wide scale flooding may have the ability to apply for government and FEMA grants through the Individual Assistance program. On a larger level, businesses, cities, and communities can apply to the FEMA Public Assistance program for funds to assist after a large flood. For example, the city of Fond du Lac Wisconsin received $1.2 million FEMA grant after flooding in June 2008. The program allows the city to purchase the water damaged properties, demolish the structures, and turn the properties into public green space.
Water damage can originate by different sources such as a broken dishwasher hose, a washing machine overflow, a dishwasher leakage, broken/leaking pipes, and clogged toilets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 13.7% of all water used in the home today can be attributed to plumbing leaks. On average that is approximately 10,000 gallons of water per year wasted by leaks for each US home. A tiny, 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day.According to Claims Magazine in August 2000, broken water pipes ranked second to hurricanes in terms of both the number of homes damaged and the amount of claims (on average $50,000 per insurance claim costs in the US. Experts suggest that homeowners inspect and replace worn pipe fittings and hose connections to all household appliances that use water at least once a year. This includes washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories, refrigerator ice makers, water softeners and humidifiers. A few US companies offer whole-house leak protection systems utilizing flow-based technologies. A number of insurance companies offer policy holders reduced rates for installing a whole-house leak protection system.
As far as insurance coverage is concerned, most damage caused by bad weather is considered flood damage and normally is not covered under homeowners insurance. Coverage for bad weather would usually require flood insurance.
Category 1 Water - Refers to a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as "clean water". Examples are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involves water supply lines.
Category 2 Water - Refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to. Known as "grey water". This type carries micro organisms and nutrients of micro organisms. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.
Category 3 Water - Known as "black water" and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affects the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination regardless of visible content or color.
Class of water damage is determined by the probable rate of evaporation based on the type of materials affected, or wet, in the room or space that was flooded. Determining the class of water damage is an important first step, and will determine the amount and type of equipment utilized to dry-down the structure.
Class 1 - Slow Rate of Evaporation. Affects only a portion of a room. Materials have a low permeance/porosity. Minimum moisture is absorbed by the materials.
Class 2 - Fast Rate of Evaporation. Water affects the entire room of carpet and cushion. May have wicked up the walls, but not more than 24 inches.
Class 3 - Fastest Rate of Evaporation. Water generally comes from overhead, affecting the entire area; walls, ceilings, insulation, carpet, cushion, etc.
Class 4 - Specialty Drying Situations. Involves materials with a very low permeance/porosity, such as hardwood floors, concrete, crawlspaces, plaster, etc. Drying generally requires very low specific humidity to accomplish drying.
See also: Convectant drying
Different removal methods and measures are used depending on the category of water. Due to the destructive nature of water, chosen restoration methods also depend heavily on the amount of water, and on the amount of time the water has remained stagnant. For example, as long as carpet has not been wet for longer than 48 hours, and the water involved was not sewage based, a carpet can usually be saved; however, if the water has soaked for longer, then the carpet is probably irreparable and will have to be replaced. Water damage restoration can be performed by property management teams, building maintenance personnel, or by the homeowners themselves; however, contacting a certified professional water damage restoration specialist is often regarded as the safest way to restore water damaged property.
Standards and regulation
While there are currently no government regulations in the United States dictating procedures, two certifying bodies, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the RIA, do recommend standards of care. The IICRC-recommended standard is IICRC S500.
Fire and Water Restoration companies are regulated by the appropriate state's Department of Consumer Affairs - usually the state contractors license board. In California, all Fire and Water Restoration companies must register with the California Contractors State License Board. Presently, the California Contractors State License Board has no specific classification for "water and fire damage restoration."
Water damage restoration is often prefaced by a loss assessment and evaluation of affected materials. The damaged area is inspected with water sensing equipment such as probes and other infrared tools in order to determine the source of the damage and possible extent of area affected. Restoration services would then be rendered to the residence in order to dry the structure, sanitize any affected or cross contaminated areas, and deodorize all affected areas and materials. After the labor is completed, water damage equipment including air movers, air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, wood floor drying systems, and sub floor drying equipment is left in the residence. Industry standards state that drying vendors should return at regular time intervals, preferably every twenty-four hours, to monitor the equipment, temperature, humidity, and moisture content of the affected walls and contents.