Water Damage Assessment: Using Technology to Quantify Damage

There are many new ways to detect water damage

If you’ve never experienced a flood disaster personally, you may think flood damage is easy to detect. Drips or pools of moisture, swollen baseboards, soft spots in walls, peeling paint, visible mold growth and other obvious signs speak for themselves, but moisture can also be hiding under dry carpets or behind water-resistant structures.

If serious flood-related structural problems aren’t addressed, they could become safety or health issues. Fortunately, today’s technology offers accurate and non-invasive ways to test for the presence of moisture, and determine the extent of water damage without causing further harm to your home.

Today’s Water Damage Detection Methods

Accurate assessments begin with advanced tools, and restoration specialists have several at their disposal. Radio-frequency Moisture Detectors are versatile instruments that measure internal moisture content in a non-destructive fashion. Unlike meters that use pins or probes, they work by penetrating materials with radio-frequency energy.

Thermal imaging technology enables technicians to detect water intrusion without removing drywall or carpeting. With help from a thermal camera, assessments are highly accurate, and repairs take less time and cost less money. Because it works by identifying specific heat signatures, thermal technology can even help reveal electrical problems and foundation leaks. Moisture just can’t hide from an infrared camera.

Data and test results collected by electronic moisture detection tools are often analyzed and monitored by sophisticated computer programs. The software typically assists in tracking restoration progress and processing insurance claims.

When you add all the technological advances together, they equal a faster and smoother recovery from the chaos and heartbreak experienced by flood victims. If you’re ever faced with a waterlogged home, take heart. Flood damage is never good news, but it’s easier to survive than it was just a few decades ago.

Paul Davis Restoration Offers Leading-Edge Technology

Paul Davis Restoration has been helping Northeast Indiana homeowners put their lives back together after water, mold, and fire damage since 1993. Using cutting-edge technology and a scientific approach is integral to our success; we make sure your property is assessed, repaired and monitored efficiently and accurately. In fact, our commitment to innovation has led to technological breakthroughs that have helped set industry standards. Our leading role in the development of MICA, a web-based monitoring tool that gives insurance clients convenient access to collected data, has significantly reduced the time and cost involved in settling claims.

Contact us today to learn more about our water damage restoration services, and discover the integrity, efficiency and technological expertise that has helped build our solid reputation.

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Avoid Burst Pipes this Winter

Cold winter weather has the potential to freeze pipes in your home. At a minimum, this will disrupt your water supply. Plastic or metal pipes could also burst and cause costly damage. Indiana Public Media reported that this happened in a number of buildings during January 2014; a Bloomington homeowner’s ceiling collapsed after pipes ruptured in the attic. Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent such disasters.

Insulate

Consider adding more insulation to your home’s walls. Focus on cold places that contain pipes, such as the basement, crawlspace and attic. You can cut foam boards or fiberglass insulation with a utility knife. These products deliver the best results when homeowners also seal cracks and drafty windows with caulk. For even greater protection, wrap moisture-resistant insulation around vulnerable pipes.

Faucets

A dripping faucet can keep your pipes from freezing overnight. If the outdoor temperature drops near or below zero, open a tap on each story. Prioritize sinks with plumbing near outer walls. It’s worth paying slightly higher utility bills to prevent severe water damage. However, extra insulation will prevent waste and provide a more economical long-term solution.

Cabinets

If a sink has cabinet doors under it, open them during chilly weather. The same goes for any doors behind a shower stall or bathtub. This becomes particularly important when fixtures are located along a home’s outer walls. It helps expose the pipes to warmer air.

Heat Tape

When you’re concerned about a specific pipe, consider using a heat tape to keep it warm. Remember to carefully read the directions. Depending on the brand, you might need to attach a heating cable to the side of a pipe or wrap the tape around it. You may install some cables immediately; others require that you cut them and connect separate components.

Thermostat

A central heating system will keep most or all pipes warmer when you turn up the thermostat. The state government recommends setting it above 54 F at all times. If the system fails to heat a certain pipe, think about putting a space heater next to it. Select a model with a thermostat that you can set to a low temperature that’s just warm enough to function. This will help you avoid a high electric bill.

If a pipe bursts despite your best efforts, engage the main water shut-off valve as soon as possible. Don’t try to melt ice with open flames. Patch kits can help you temporarily fix a pipe until a professional conducts repairs. Remember that the water damage experts at Paul Davis know how to repair homes quickly and affordably. Please contact us today to learn more.

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Electrical Safety Tips to Follow After Flooding in a Home

Flooding in a home is among the most stressful things that can happen to a homeowner. In the immediate aftermath, it’s natural to want to get inside and start getting things back to normal right away. However, flooding also means water and electrical components come into contact–a very dangerous mix. It’s crucial to take steps to protect yourself before getting down to business. Keep the following points in mind to stay safe:

  • Don’t enter the home until it’s been disconnected from the grid – Electrocution is still a major risk even when the power is out in a home. All it takes is someone operating a generator nearby and back feeding electricity into a storm-damaged grid. This causes damage to disconnected switches and circuit breakers–the very components that are designed to protect you. To ensure safety, the home’s electrical meter must be removed from the socket, which is a job for a licensed electrician, the fire department or the utility company.
  • Never enter a flooded home alone – Even after the meter has been disconnected, never enter a flooded home by yourself. In such a dark, wet environment, it’s all too easy to get seriously hurt–or even killed. Bring someone along to stand by in case something goes awry, and wear chest waders and a clip-on flashlight for optimal safety.
  • Be cautious with electrical equipment – After things have dried up a bit, you’ll hope against hope that your electrical equipment and appliances still work. Chances are that most won’t. Very few household items are designed to survive even brief submersion. Everything from fuse boxes to fans and blowers are likely to be completely destroyed. The heating and cooling system may be damaged too, and a licensed contractor can tell you for sure. Even when electrical appliances appear to have survived, they are often dangerous to operate, so take care using them as well.
  • Have the grounding and bonding system checked – In addition to the electrical system used for normal operation, a home has a grounding and bonding system that carries currents to the ground if something goes wrong. It is a crucial safety feature, and it should be checked by a licensed electrician right away. If it is damaged enough, it may not function properly and could put your entire family at risk.

As upsetting as a flooded home or basement can be, it can be handled and put behind you. In the meantime, however, make safety a top priority. Fixing things up is important, but avoiding electrocution is even more crucial. When in doubt, always have a licensed professional look things over. With electricity, there aren’t often second chances. As far as your restoration needs go, Paul Davis has you covered in northeast Indiana. Visit our website today to learn more.

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Extreme Weather Damage

When winter weather gets more extreme, so do the consequences of not preparing for the worst. Small issues like an overhanging tree can turn into a tree in the living room after a cold-snap and strong winds. Foundation cracks can turn into foundation failures when exposed to freezing ground-water. Pipes can burst in winter, leaving you without hot water, or causing damaging flooding, which can be incredibly dangerous in cold weather. Regardless what kinds of catastrophes you face, a disaster restoration plan are something that no homeowner should be without. Here are some of the risks that you could encounter and ways to cope effectively.

Flooding
Don’t believe that Indiana homeowners are at risk of high-water events in the midst of cold weather? Just look back to 2005, when severe winter storms and flooding in the state prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to declare a major disaster that lasted for the entirety of January and much of February. Or consider the fact that the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program says that floods are the number one natural disaster in the country.

With dangers like ice jams that cause rivers to spill over and snow-melt that can overwhelm normal drainage channels, flooding hazards are real. Even if you follow FEMA’s advice by purchasing flood insurance, you’ll need to consult with restoration experts right after your disaster to get the most out of your policy.

Fires
Indiana winters can make you think of moving somewhere much warmer, but the frigid cold doesn’t protect your property from blazes. For a variety of reasons, such as increased cooking and heating activities, house fires are more common in winter than at any other time of year.

Fires can be worse in inclement weather because they eradicate your property’s barriers against the outside world. For instance, flames that burn through roofing or exterior walls subsequently allow moisture to get inside and cause additional damage by freezing. Without expert disaster management assistance, repairs may also take longer.

Ice and Snow
Ice storms don’t just cause water to freeze uncomfortably close to your home. While these events can indeed result in the formation of ice dams that tear roof shingles apart or make gutters fall, they can also impact the trees and power lines around your property. When these features collapse, the aftermath may be even more catastrophic.

In some cases, snow buildup itself damages homes. This is especially concerning with older properties that may not be quite as structurally sound as they once were. Heavy snow that causes your roof plane to bend or warp can create weaknesses that worsen with every passing season. No matter how minor the problem seems now, failing to take immediate action is almost certain to cost you down the line.

In winter, rapid emergency restoration needs to be one of your primary concerns. The risks of waiting around after an incident are undeniable, and your real estate’s equity will suffer for every second you delay. To learn more about extreme weather disaster restoration, contact a Paul Davis expert now.

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Flood Preparedness

Most people look forward to hot weather with great enthusiasm, but as a homeowner, summer also means you have a seasonal routine to maintain. In addition to keeping the lawn well-manicured and fighting pest incursions, you need to fortify your property against potential high water.

Even if you’re not anticipating a deluge of mythical proportions, it’s critical that you adopt a proactive stance. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot of flooding to cause serious material damage. For instance, the National Flood Insurance Program estimates that a single inch of flooding in a 1,000 square foot home could result in more than $10,000 of financial loss. Getting ready in advance is definitely worth it, so keep the following steps in mind.

Assess Your Water-Management Fixtures

Gutters and roof systems are designed to divert excess rainwater in a constructive fashion. While extensive flooding can overcome such protections, they’ll resist the flow of water longer when they’re maintained properly.

A well-cleaned system of gutters and downspouts can redirect more moisture away from your building and its foundations. Check around welded pipe joints, mounting brackets and other fixtures for leaks, rust or signs of pooled water. This could help you catch a small problem before it leads to a disaster in the middle of a serious downpour.

Poke Around Your Foundation

Flood waters don’t always enter buildings via the most obvious paths. For instance, a longstanding crack in your concrete basement wall might weaken gradually for years. Water accumulation during your next storm could exert enough pressure to weaken the existing fault in a single catastrophic burst. If you weren’t aware of the problem in advance, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.

It’s vital to inspect your basement on a regular basis. Check features like sealed joints and high-stress points, such as corners, for signs of stress. One good sign of excessive moisture in the earth surrounding basements is efflorescence, or built-up powdery substances and tiny crystal deposits that occur when water evaporates through your walls and leaves behind salt and minerals.

Repair Current Damage

Finally, don’t neglect problems you already know exist. If you already experienced flooding or excessive moisture that caused damage, letting the material deficiency sit uncorrected is a prime way to leave your property vulnerable to future floods.

Take immediate action by contacting a restoration expert so that they can assess and fix the issue. This is also a good way to spot related faults that might indicate the existence of structural weak points, such as bowed basement concrete walls or warped timbers. To become better prepared for flooding or just fix existing problems, get in touch with Paul Davis right away.

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Full-Service Emergency Restoration

Experiencing a fire or weather disaster is traumatic, and the aftermath can transform even the calmest of lives into stressful chaos. Water, fire and smoke damage is often overwhelming, and structural instability or collapse may lead you to believe that your home or place of business is hopelessly lost. In most cases, this isn’t true. Experienced restoration specialist Paul Davis can quickly assess damages and put even worst case scenarios on a smart and sound path to recovery by restoring normal living conditions, managing secondary problems and helping you find your way through the confusing recovery process. Here are the steps Paul Davis takes to ensure the best possible outcome.

Paul Davis Full-Service Emergency Restoration

1. Emergency Board-Up and Structural Stabilization

As soon as you and your family are safe, stabilizing your property is an essential task. Paul Davis understands the importance of promptly boarding up windows and providing structural stabilization to prevent further destruction caused by hidden damage to framing and walls.

2. Water Damage Control

Whether it’s due to broken pipes, storm damage or fire extinguishing efforts, water infiltration can quickly deteriorate building materials and create conditions favorable to dangerous mold and mildew growth. Addressing water damage quickly can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs. Paul Davis uses industrial-grade water extractors, air movers, dehumidifiers and other professional equipment to efficiently remove water from rooms and damp materials. To prevent mold and mildew disasters, disinfectants and antimicrobial products are used to sanitize affected areas.

3. Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration

Paul Davis uses environmentally friendly methods to conduct fire and smoke damage restoration processes such as soot removal, odor elimination and air purification. All affected items including furniture and personal possessions are removed and carefully inventoried for cleaning and restoration.

4. Reconstruction Services 

Unfortunately, if severe damage has occurred, some areas of an affected building may need to be reconstructed. Paul Davis is fully qualified to conduct reconstruction and meets all state licensing and insurance requirements. A variety of reconstruction services are available for home and commercial projects.

5. Assistance With Insurance Claims

Filing insurance claims can be confusing for the average person, especially when extensive property damage has occurred. In the midst of dealing with the fallout of a disaster, the last thing you need is to be overwhelmed by a complicated claims process or unfamiliar terminology. Paul Davis will help you with the insurance claims process so that you can focus on getting other aspects of your life back to normal.

When Disaster Strikes, Paul Davis Is Here to Help

Disasters happen, but having the right people in your recovery plan greatly reduces the negative impact they have on your life and your future. Don’t let a fire, weather catastrophe or other chaotic event disrupt your peace of mind. Contact Paul Davis for a consultation today.

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How to Be Calm before the Storm

When a hard storm is on the way, you need to be ready to keep your home, your family, and yourself safe. You may even need to plan ahead in case of evacuation. If you have everything you need packed in a backpack, you won’t be scrambling at the last minute to find the following necessary items.

• One or two flashlights with extra batteries
• Portable battery-powered radio
• Drinking water for each person in the family
• Nonperishable food
• Medications and prescriptions
• First aid kit
• Emergency phone numbers list
• Cash
• Personal documentation such as passport, social security cards and other important papers.

You should also have access to pictures of your home before any flooding or water damage. Most importantly, make sure everyone knows where the emergency supply kit is stored for a quick evacuation.

Protect your Home

Not only should you have a storm safety plan for your family, you should also write out a storm preparedness checklist for your home. If a severe storm is expected in your area and you are waiting for an evacuation order, you can prepare your house by:

• Shutting off gas and water mains
• Filling bathtubs with clean water
• Securing storm shutters on your windows
• Bringing in outdoor furniture and loose items from your yard.

Restoration after the Storm

If your home has been damaged by a flood or severe storm, there is help available. One important resource is the National Storm Damage Center, where you can learn how to protect yourself and your home before and after a storm. If your home has suffered damage, contact Paul Davis to begin the restoration and reconstruction process for any water damage within your home.

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How to Winter-Proof Your Home Against Water Damage

Seven Ways to Keep Your Property Safe

With winter storms on the horizon, many homeowners are getting furnace tuneups and purchasing emergency power generators. However, water damage from melting snow and leaky or burst pipes can be just as bad as furnace breakdowns and power outages. Here are seven ways to prevent winter water damage in your Fort Wayne, Indiana, home:

1. Invest in Sewer Backup Insurance

Excessive water from melting snow can overtax a sewer system to the point where it backs up into your home. Raw sewage can destroy your home and everything in it. Sewer backup damage isn’t covered under most homeowners’ policies, but it can be purchased as an additional product.

2. Locate Your Water Shutoff Valves

If your pipes freeze or burst, being able to turn off the water quickly can prevent excessive water damage. You can also install a pressure release valve to reduce pressure caused by frozen pipes and keep them from bursting.

3. Have Your Pipes Checked for Leaks

Most plumbing companies offer plumbing inspections and leak detection services. Locating and sealing cracks and leaks in pipes can prevent thousands of dollars worth of damage. Even a small leak could allow up to 250 gallons of water to flood your home in just one day.

4. Insulate Pipes

Keep pipes warm in freezing weather with a plug-in heating cable or with extra insulation. Pipes in attics, basements, behind cabinets and in crawl spaces are most likely to freeze or burst. Drip your faucets when the temps are below freezing and leave cabinets open to keep the pipes behind them warm.

5. Clean Rain Gutters

Rain gutter debris prevent melting snow and ice from draining off the roof. Dirty gutters also cause ice dams to form because water melting on the roof has nowhere to drain. Instead of draining, it forms a dam around the edges of the roof that traps the remaining water on the roof. Trapped behind ice dams, this water can seep into your home and cause leaks in walls and ceilings, damage your insulation and cause mold to grow. 6. Remove Snow From the Roof

6. Remove Snow From the Roof

Snow buildup on the roof can also cause ice dams, so it should be removed promptly. You can purchase an implement called a roof rake or use a push broom to remove the snow. Ice dams form when heat from your home melts the snow in the center of the roof and it reforms into ice along the roof’s perimeter. To prevent this, keep your attic no more than 10 degrees warmer than the temperature outside, and seal any holes in the attic to keep warm air from leaking out.

7. Inspect Your Home’s Exterior

If your Fort Wayne, Indiana, home has sustained water damage, the pros at Paul Davis Restoration offer 24/7 emergency water damage restoration service. The faster the problem is treated, the less damage it will cause.

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How Water Damage Can Weaken Your Home

How can water damage affect your home?

When you think about water damage, what do you picture? If you’re like most folks, you probably imagine a flooded home that stinks to high heaven and is ripe for the growth of mold. While that wouldn’t be inaccurate, standing water can also have a more insidious effect that isn’t readily apparent. Learn how the structural components of your home may actually be weaker in the wake of a water damage event.

Clear Signs of Water Damage

Some water damage incidents are obvious. For instance, standing water in your home or visual confirmation of a burst pipe is apt to leave little doubt in your mind about what’s happening. For less dramatic events, however, there are a few ways to determine whether water damage has actually occurred:

  • Earthy or rotting odors
  • Visible signs of mold on walls and ceilings
  • Cracked, warped or soft floors
  • Stains, discoloration and blistering on your walls

By working their way through your walls and floors, water can slowly eat away at the load-bearing interior walls, exterior walls and structural supports. Over time, this can damage their integrity and create a serious hazard.

Signs of Structural Damage

Not every water damage incident causes serious structural damage, but the problem may be more common than you think. Signs of structural damage caused by water include:

  • Your home’s floors are uneven, suggesting that the house is sagging or leaning
  • The walls are warped or bowed
  • You notice racks in your foundation, drywall, walls and floors
  • Your windows and doors don’t seem to close properly

Solutions to the Problem

Any of these symptoms can present a daunting and potentially overwhelming challenge. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that the problem is brought under control without incurring astronomical costs or rendering your home unlivable:

  • Invest in foundation repair that patches cracks in your foundation and mortar.
  • Repair the aboveground structural components of your home, including load-bearing walls, doorways and window frames, floors and exterior walls.
  • Waterproof key elements of your home to reduce the likelihood that the problem repeats itself.

Your Source for Water Damage Restoration and Water Damage Repair in Northeast Indiana

Whether you’re dealing with serious water damage in your home or simply wish to prepare in the event that something does go wrong, we’re happy to guide you through the process of water damage repair and restoration. Our experts know exactly what to do in the aftermath of a water damage event, even if you’re still reeling from the impact. To learn more about what we can do for your home and family, give us a call or fill out our online contact form.

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Is Mold Hiding In Plain Sight?

If you’re suffering from inexplicable sneezing, congestion or other common allergy symptoms, the cause may be unseen mold inside your home. Mold thrives in damp, dark places, so it should be no surprise that most mold problems go undetected. If you’ve ever had significant water damage, fire damage or smoke damage, the chances of mold living in your walls or carpet are very high. If you suspect that a fungal colony is growing in your home, you need a professional inspection right away before it inflicts lasting harm on your property and your health.

The Health Hazards of Hidden Mold

According to the CDC, allergic reactions to mold spores can trigger headaches, asthma attacks and chronic sinus complications. In worst case scenarios, mycotoxins from specific molds like stachybotrys chartarum can cause problems including depression, difficulty concentrating and even memory loss. If your symptoms are more noticeable while you’re at home but improve when you go out, it’s very possible that household mold is keeping you sick.

Signs of Hidden Mold

Mold often has a distinctive pungent, musty smell, but mold may still be present even if you can’t smell or see it. People sometimes mistake small mold growths for dirt or rust. Mold may appear black, brown, white, orange and even pink or purple when it grows behind wallpaper. Large amounts of condensation on your windows or pipes means that there is a lot of moisture in the air, which makes ideal conditions for mold growth.

The Causes of Mold

Mold needs moisture to grow, so water damage (including residual damage) provides a fertile ground for fungi. A common sign of moisture problems is discoloration of your walls, floors or ceilings. If you notice your paint or wallpaper peeling, cracking or warping, that could also be indicative of water issues. Anytime you have flooding, you should have your home inspected for mold damage as soon as possible. If you suspect mold in your home, contact Paul Davis for a consultation today.

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The Invisible Danger: Common Signs and Health Symptoms of a Hidden Mold Infestation

Mold is dangerous business. Young children and people who already suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions are naturally more susceptible to the effects of mold damage, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the warning signs if you’re a healthy adult. While most molds are perfectly harmless to humans, some are extremely toxic, causing problems that run the gamut from minor respiratory irritation to severe allergic reactions.

Despite their potential to cause serious health risks, mold infestations aren’t always obvious, hiding in damp nooks and crannies that rarely catch the human eye. Getting to know the early signs of mold damage can make all the difference in protecting your family from this invisible threat.

Mold damage isn't always immediately apparent

What Exactly Is Mold?

Molds are common fungi found all over the natural environment. For detailed information on how molds form, grow and reproduce, check out the mold growth guide from the Florida Solar Energy Center.

What Are the Signs and Health Symptoms of a Hidden Mold Infestation?

1. Strange smell. Indoor molds tend to have an earthy, natural smell. If you notice a new scent that reminds you of taking a walk in the woods, let your nose guide you to the problem area.

2. Unexplained respiratory symptoms, including coughing, sneezing and sore throat.

3. Unrepaired water damage. Although water damage in itself isn’t indicative of a mold problem, it makes the perfect home base for mold spores that are already in your air.

4. Ongoing allergies with symptoms like sore eyes, shortness of breath and itchy skin.

5. Severe asthma attacks or a worsening of symptoms in people with respiratory conditions.

What to Do When You Have a Mold Problem

If you know or suspect that you have a mold infestation, don’t wait to act. Molds reproduce very fast, and without proper water damage restoration, the same spot will keep attracting mold spores faster than you can remove them. Not to mention that mold sometimes hides in spaces you can’t see, so don’t assume your home is all clear if you can’t find any signs of danger on the surface.

While you can scrub off ordinary mold and mildew with a powerful cleaning solution, don’t take on the job of handling toxic mold or looking for hidden infestations within your home’s structure. For safe mold removal in complex cases, always call the pros.

Need help with mold removal and water damage restoration? Call Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling or visit our homepage for more information about our home services in Northeast Indiana.

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The Worst Mistakes You Can Make After a Home Flood

Find out how to minimize water damage and keep your family safe after a serious flooding emergency.

Your actions in the hours and days following a flooding emergency can make all the difference when it comes to reducing restoration expenses and preventing personal injuries. Even if your home isn’t officially in flood’s path, being prepared is always a good thing. After all, some storms are so severe that they can do just as much water damage as floods in coastal areas. No matter where you live, learning a few tips on what not to do after a flood can help you take control in case the unexpected happens.

Rushing to Do a Home Inspection

While your first instinct after a flood may be to run back in to check on your possessions, leave the damage assessment up to the professionals. If the water is still in your home – and even if it’s no longer visible, there’s a good chance more moisture is hiding behind walls and floors – you can put yourself at risk for serious injuries. Electrical problems and gas leaks are frequent during floods and not something you want to handle without extensive professional training.

If you do suspect a gas leak, shut off the outdoor gas valve, leave the area, and call your gas company. Gas accumulation can instantly spark a deadly explosion, so it’s very important to get expert approval before you go inside.

Waiting for Wet Areas to Dry Over Time

If you want to avoid mold damage, start the recovery process as soon as your home is cleared of dangerous living conditions. Dampness and standing water make ideal habitats for free-floating mold spores. In addition to removing any remaining water immediately, be ready to part with items that can’t be dried in a day or two. The quicker you get your home back in shape, the less likely you’ll be to wake up to an ugly mold infestation. For more tips on preventing mold growth, head to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Drinking Tap Water

Flooding can contaminate an otherwise healthy water supply with sewage, food waste, chemicals, and other disease-causing materials. While you can usually tell if your tap water isn’t pure by its odor or color, that’s not always the case. To be on the safe side, boil water for cooking and drinking until you hear from your health department. If you want to speed things up, you can always buy a do-it-yourself test kit or call in a professional restoration crew.

Need expert help with flood restoration? Visit Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling online or contact us to learn more about our trusted services in Fort Wayne, IN.

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Thunderstorms, Snowstorms, and Hurricanes: Managing Seasonal Storm Damage

Strong seasonal storms have an amazing ability to bring disaster into our lives, and sometimes it seems like they target only those who own homes and businesses. Hurricanes, snowstorms, and even simple thunderstorms can produce enough damage to keep you and your insurance company busy for months. Fortunately, if you keep a close eye on weather reports, and you know how to prepare for the worst, you can minimize a storm’s ability to wreck your life. Here’s a rundown of potential storm damage and advice for keeping your property safe.

Damage Caused by Seasonal Storms

• Wind damage is a threat in any type of severe storm. Protect your windows by installing permanent storm shutters, or provide temporary protection with plywood covers. Consider replacing existing windows with impact-resistant varieties. Secure your entry door with a three-hinged deadbolt lock. Airborne glass is lethal, so don’t forget to cover glass sliding doors, French doors, and skylights. Put away outdoor furniture, toys, grills, and any other items that could become dangerous in flight. Purchase a fitted brace kit to protect your garage door, or replace the door with one designed to withstand high winds. Have your roof inspected regularly to ensure it’s in top shape.

• Falling tree limbs can produce serious damage to your home and vehicle. Keep trees trimmed year-round, and consider removing large limbs that are positioned above your house.

• Freezing conditions during winter storms routinely cause burst pipes and the formation of ice dams. Start your freeze-prevention plan outdoors by cleaning your gutters. Leaves and debris can block water flow, and when the trapped water freezes, it may damage your roof and walls. To prevent damage inside your home, make insulation your new best friend. You’ll need about 12 inches in your attic for maximum protection. Be sure to also insulate your pipes, and disconnect outdoor hoses from spigots to prevent water backup. In severe conditions, allow your indoor faucets to drip slowly to further prevent pipes from freezing.

• The weight of heavy snow and ice can damage your roof. Remove snow from your roof as soon as possible.

• Heavy rain and melting ice leads to flooding, which can cause both structural damage and mold growth. If you live in an area where flooding is common, have a home inspection to determine how well your house can withstand excess water. Install a sump pump to divert ground water away from your home. Consider permeable outdoor paving options to allow water to seep into the ground. If you store items in a basement, place them above ground level, and pack them in plastic bins or waterproof containers.

When It’s Too Late to Prevent Damage, Call Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling

If your Northeast Indiana home has already been affected by storm damage, Paul Davis can help. As innovative leaders in property damage mitigation, reconstruction, and remodeling, we have served commercial and residential clients across America since 1966. When seasonal storms result in chaos and loss, we can help restore calm in your life. Contact us today for more information.

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Top Home Improvements for Preventing Water Damage

Whether you live in an area that experiences heavy rains throughout the year or you’re surprised by a torrential storm, you should always be prepared for the possibility of water damage. Water damage can affect everything that holds your home together. If you can prevent water damage, it will save you money in the long run and give you peace of mind.

Keep Drainage in Mind

If water collects around your house, it can weaken the foundation and make your home a prime target for termites, carpenter ants, mold and mildew. Keep the rain away from your house by properly cleaning your gutters and by directing downspouts away from the foundation. Add extensions at the output of your downspouts to direct water at least 10 feet away from your foundation. In addition, make sure your property is appropriately graded to slope away from the home.

Deter any Drips

It’s obvious if you have a leak when you notice water droplets dribbling from the sealing or soaking a wall. However, small dark spots that appear slowly and spread over time can also be an indicator of moisture getting into areas where it’s not supposed to be. Regularly inspect your home for damaged or missing shingles on the roof and reapply caulking around your windows yearly.

Check your Plumbing

Mother Nature is not the only cause of water damage in the home. Plumbing leaks can lead to mold growth and structural damage. This kind of damage can also have consequences such as unexplained increases in your water bill and damaged or warped flooring or cabinet panels. Whether it’s a large leak or a tiny hole, fixing faulty plumbing can be a small home improvement that yields significant results when it comes to preventing water damage.

If you do notice water damage, contact Paul Davistoday can help you restore your home to its original state. We can help you remediate mold issues or get to the bottom of your moisture problem, whether you experienced damage from a flood or a simple storm. Our experts provide emergency services, remodeling services and large loss services to make sure you can continue life as usual even if you’ve experienced damage to your home or business.

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Top Tips for Removing Mildew Odors from Home

In the aftermath of a flood or other water- or moisture-related mishap, mildew odors often linger. Everything may look spic and span, but that telltale scent remains. Needless to say, cleaning and restoration work can’t be considered complete until the premises not only look clean and dry but smell that way too. If you’re still detecting mildew odors long after the area has been thoroughly dried, you have a little more work to do. Fortunately, however, removing mildew odors from a home once and for all isn’t too difficult. Keep these tips in mind to help your home smell as good as it looks after flooding or other damage:

Thoroughly Clean the Affected Area – Mildew odors originate in some pretty surprising places. Often, objects in the affected area are to blame. Old cardboard and paper, in particular, tend to hold onto and emit these odors, so throw away any that you find. Fabrics should be thoroughly washed or thrown out. Upholstered items can sometimes be salvaged, but they might just as well be thrown away too. From there, use a mixture of bleach and hot water to scour the area, and allow it to dry. Finally, open windows and run fans to promote ventilation.

Use Odor Absorbers – Odor-absorbing products work wonders when mildew scents remain. There’s no need to spend a fortune on them. A tray of clean cat litter should do the trick, but make sure to replace it every two weeks or so. Charcoal briquettes can be placed in an old coffee can to absorb moisture and odors; replace them every month or so. Finally, baking soda is a tried-and-true way to absorb and eliminate nasty odors. Just open a few boxes in the affected area, and replace them every few months.

Prevent a Recurrence – Even after carefully following the steps above, mildew odors may creep back. Ward this off by consistently and thoroughly cleaning the area again as described. Further, ensure the area is properly ventilated, and take advantage of nice days by opening windows to allow fresh air into the home.

Run a Dehumidifier or Ionizer – If the affected area is prone to moisture, mildew odors may stubbornly persist. Keep it fresh and odor-free by investing in a decent dehumidifier or ionizer. The former removes moisture from the air to keep humidity levels in check; the latter removes damp ions from the air for similar results.

Don’t resign yourself to living in a home that is plagued by the smell of mildew. The above tips should rid you of the issue once and for all. If you still have water-damaged areas in the home and are located in northeast Indiana, Paul Davis can help. Learn more by visiting our website today.

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Water Damage from a House Fire? Find Out How

When firefighters are called to the scene of a building fire, everyone is on high alert. First and foremost, these brave men and women need to ensure that nobody is still inside the burning structure. Once everyone is safe, firefighters diligently work to distinguish the damaging flames. Unfortunately, the extreme amount of water required to put out a fire can actually cause damage to the interior of your home, your furniture and personal items. In most cases, water damage is the unexpected destroyer in a house fire.

What Can You Do?

Even if you have been cleared to re-enter your home, you need to extremely careful around weakened support structures from the fire and water damage. According to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), your best bet is to immediately seek professional help with the restoration process.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to minimize the extent of the fire, water and smoke damage.

1. Protect yourself – Only enter your home if you have been authorized to do so by professionals. You need to ensure that you are fully protected from dangerous fumes and chemicals when re-entering your home. Start with thick clothing, protective gloves and a face mask. In extreme cases, you may have to use an oxygen tank.

2. Ventilate the house – It’s important to get fresh air moving through your home to clear out any residual smoke and begin to dry out your house. If you’re lucky, a windy day can really help as you open all your doors and windows. Otherwise, use strategically-placed fans to clear away any remaining smoke and standing water.

3. Preliminary cleaning – This is where expert fire damage restoration professionals can help you out the most. From removing soot, smoke and excess water with a high-efficiency vacuum and industrial equipment to scrubbing the inside and outside of your house, a professional service understands how to properly clean your house.

4. Restoring your home – Water damage can lead to mold, mildew and fungus problems if not handled immediately. While setting up dehumidifiers can help dry out your house temporarily, professional restoration companies have the best equipment and drying techniques to protect your home from any further damage. The last thing you need to deal with is mold remediation on top of everything else.

Who Can You Call?

With the emotional trauma of experiencing a house fire and the overwhelming task of restoring and reconstructing your home, contacting trained professionals is the smartest thing to do. At Paul Davis, we know how to properly assess the extent of the fire, water and smoke damage. In addition, our skilled team understands that fire and water damage restoration needs to be completed right away. If you have questions or want additional information on our restoration and reconstruction procedures, visit our website today.

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When the Snow Falls, Water Damage Begins

People typically associate water damage in a home with leaking pipes and excessive rainfall. So when winter rolls around, homeowners often let their guards down. However, water damage is just as likely to occur during the winter as it is during the rest of the year. In fact, the risk is often even greater. Depending on where you live, snow may fall, ice may develop and everything may melt all at once. This can happen again and again, and whenever it does, water can seep into a home through cracks and crevices. Worse still, if the gutters get clogged by ice, runoff has nowhere to go and may seep through walls and ceilings. This is known as an ice dam, and it is of particular concern during icy-cold weather.

How to Check Your Home for Signs of Water Damage

It’s crucial to take a proactive approach to water damage. In other words, you should be on the lookout for signs of it instead of waiting until it’s readily apparent. During the winter, inspect your home every few weeks. Here are a few tips:

Ceilings and Walls – Look for telltale water stains on ceilings and walls. They may also appear around door and window frames. Additionally, walls and ceilings that have been damaged by water may exhibit cracks or swollen spots that are soft to the touch.

Floors – All types of flooring are susceptible to water damage. Water may even seep below to damage the subfloor as well. Look for signs of buckling or warping on floors throughout your home, including in the basement. In carpeted areas, look for signs of dampness or odors of mold. On wood floors, look for dark or white stains.

Basement and Attic – In the basement, look for signs of rust, mold, mildew odors, cracks and stains on walls and floors. Up in the attic, make sure the insulation is dry and in good shape. Check valleys where roof planes meet for stains and mold, and pay close attention to flashings along vents, chimneys and where walls meet the roof.

Exterior– Finally, walk around the exterior of your home looking for signs of roof damage or for cracks along the foundation. If you notice standing water near the house, it could be that your gutters are in disrepair or are clogged. They may also just not be directing water far enough away from the home. Ideally, a home should be raised relative to the ground, and the surrounding area should slope down to encourage proper drainage.

If you encounter signs of water damage and live in northeastern Indiana, Paul Davis can help with the cleanup and restoration efforts. Learn more by visiting our website today.

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Will Your Water Damage Insurance Claim Be Approved?

If you’re like most insured homeowners, you may believe you don’t have to worry about water damage coverage. In reality, however, water damage can occur in many different forms that might not all be covered under the terms of your existing policy. The actions you take following an incident also impact your coverage eligibility.

While you may not be expecting a big flood in the near future, it’s best not to wait until after the fact to discover what your coverage means. Here are some proactive tips for getting the most out of your water damage insurance.

Understanding How Insurance Works

Water damage insurance usually doesn’t apply to floods from nearby bodies of water or storms; you may need to purchase additional flood insurance for these contingencies. It’s important to examine your policy in detail to find out what it actually covers, and make amendments as necessary.

According to one insurance claim adjuster, most home insurance clauses aren’t designed to save their policyholders from continued or ongoing damage. While it’ll probably cover the initial accident that caused the problem, your policy is unlikely to pay for subsequent moisture-related degradation that occurred over months or years.

In short, insurance companies want to minimize their losses. It costs them less to reimburse you for repairs to a burst pipe than it would to cover the expense of replacing an entire water-damaged bathroom wall after you let the same pipe leak for a few weeks.

Of course, you most likely wouldn’t let a broken waterline go unattended for very long if you knew about it, but you won’t always have the benefit of such knowledge. Unseen fascia damage or hidden foundation cracks, for instance, might be causing additional problems that your insurance won’t pay for even if it covers the cost of repairs to the fascia or foundation in question.

So What Is Water Damage Coverage Actually Good For?

Water damage claims do come in handy following a number of common occurrences. For instance, floods caused by pipes that freeze and burst during cold weather are commonly eligible for payouts. Similar events related to broken appliances, like hot water heaters, ice makers and laundry machines, are usually included in policy terms. The water damage that may occurs after a storm damages part of your roof or breaks a window may even be covered as long as you take action rapidly.

The secret to utilizing your water damage coverage is to have any issues you find assessed and corrected without delay. If you need water damage repair, contact Paul Davis Restoration today, and for more helpful tips for homeowners, visit our blog.

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Winning the Battle Against Moldy Invaders

Learn what measures you can take today to protect your family from the dangers of mold exposure.

While most mold species aren’t harmful to human health, a rare few can be extremely dangerous, especially when they’re left untreated for long periods of time. Researchers say that continuous exposure to some of the biggest offenders – like the infamous black mold – can cause a host of unpleasant side effects, ranging from mild allergic reactions to chronic respiratory disease.

Prevention is always the best strategy for a mold-free home, but getting the hang of it can be tricky. Since mold spores are everywhere in our environment, convincing the tiny invaders to steer clear of your home’s surfaces isn’t easy. Eliminating water, the life force for floating mold spores, is the perfect place to start.

Mastering Moisture Control

Water damage and mold growth go hand in hand

Mold spores love damp surfaces. In fact, they need them to grow into full-blown fungi. That’s why moisture control is always your first – and best – line of defense against stubborn infestations and lasting mold damage. If dampness is an issue in your home, here are some easy steps you can take to keep mold growth at bay:

1. Clean up all spills right away. When left to seep into floorboards over time, spilled liquids can contribute to new mold growth.

2. Keep your air conditioner in good shape. Units that aren’t functioning properly can start to collect excessive moisture on the inside or in the attached drip pans, creating the ideal living conditions for mold and mildew.

3. Check the ground around your foundation. It should be sloping away from your house for adequate water drainage.

4. Get professional treatment for severe water damage. Whether you had a flood or a plumbing disaster, water removal following any type of emergency should be handled by restoration experts. Only they have the knowledge and the tools to fast-track the drying process before a new mold infestation takes hold.

5. Invest in a dehumidifier. Because they remove excessive moisture from the air, dehumidifiers naturally help prevent mold and mildew.

Removing Existing Mold

Once you eliminate the source of the problem, you can go ahead and tackle leftover mold growth. To make an effective do-it-yourself cleaning solution, mix a cup of bleach in a gallon of water. As a precaution, wear gloves and put all waste into an airtight garbage bag.

Keep in mind that you should only attempt to remove growth on your own when you’re positive that you’re dealing with a harmless, garden-variety mold species. If you’re fighting a severe infestation or suspect that you have toxic mold, call in a professional crew for a safe and guaranteed removal.

Need professional help? Visit Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling online or give us a call today to learn more about our mold removal services in Fort Wayne, IN.

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