Water Damage Q & A: How Long Does it Take for Water Damage to Dry?
Even with a lot of equipment, the amount of time a water damage incident will take to dry will vary on different factors!
When disaster hits your home, your priority is to get everything back to its original condition. So when you have water damage, you want to know how long it will take until you have your peace of mind.
How Long Does It Take for Water Damage to Dry?
We’re often asked this question, but the answer is tricky. In fact, it really depends on the situation.
For a typical water loss, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to return your home to normal moisture levels. But there are many factors that can extend—or in some cases, shorten—the overall drying process.
For example, if the area isn’t well-enclosed and is exposed to the outside elements, it can be very difficult to maintain humidity levels. Or in some cases, the homeowner will turn the drying equipment off, which can dramatically hinder the process. And of course, it also depends on how wet the area was to begin with.
Because of these potential factors (and more), it can be difficult to give you an exact completion date. Having said that, our technicians are able to give you an estimated timeline based on their scope and understanding of the job.
What to Do During Hurricane Florence
Hurricane Florence is a major event in North Carolina, but there are steps you can take to minimize your risk!
Hurricane Florence is just around the corner, and it’s already dominating headlines. With powerful winds and some waves seen as high as 83 feet, Florence is already being deemed “a storm of a lifetime” for certain parts of North Carolina. While the impact on western North Carolina is still uncertain, it’s important that you prepare for the worst. That’s why in addition to making preparations, it’s important that you know what to do once the storm arrives.
- Stay Inside. Strong winds and heavy rain are ingredients for a deadly combination. It’s important that you remain indoors and keep away from windows, skylights, and other glass structures until officials have announced it is safe to do so otherwise.
- Regularly check for updates. If you still have cell service, you can use your phone to monitor the storm’s progress. If you do not have cell service, use a battery-powered radio or TV. Local and national stations are great sources of information!
- Keep Your Refrigerator Closed. In the event your power goes out, it’s vital that you keep your fridge closed so the cold air does not escape. Depending on how long the power is out, your food may spoil anyways, but if it’s only a short period of time, keeping the door closed could be the thing that saves your food.
- If your home floods, shut off your electricity. Water and electricity are not a great combination. If your home is threatened by flooding, shut your electricity off by the breaker. It’s important you identify where the breaker is long before Hurricane Florence arrives.
- If it floods, get to higher ground. Flood waters are fast and strong, so don’t try to swim in them. If your home or building begins to flood, immediately head to higher ground. However, do not go into a closed attic because you could become trapped!
- Do not enter flooded roads. If you have to go outside for any reason, do not enter flooded areas. If you’re driving and encounter flooded sections, turn around and find an alternate route. Also, do not attempt to swim or wade through waters; the waters are fast-moving and will likely pull you away.
Hurricane Florence is one of the biggest storms to hit North Carolina in decades, and will likely cause tremendous damage. If you are in an affected area, follow the advice above and adhere to official instructions as they are provided. After the storm subsides, if you’re in Hickory or the Catawba County area, call SERVPRO of Catawba County West if you need assistance recovering from storm damage!
Fire Damage Q & A: Is It Safe to Go in My Own Home
Fires can cause structural damage, even when it isn't as apparent as the photo above. Always get permission to enter from your local fire department!
When your home has a fire, your only goal is to get everything back to normal. There are a lot of questions that the typical homeowner has after a fire, but some of them are more pressing than others.
Is it Safe to Go Back in My Own Home?
While we understand that you want to get back and assess the damage, safety comes first. That’s why it’s imperative that you do not re-enter your home until you’ve been given explicit permission by the local fire department.
In addition to possible structural damage, will examine other possible dangers that need to be addressed before the home is habitable again. Even after having permission to enter, follow any instructions they may have given you.
Once the all-clear is given, our team will also go in to assess the damage and begin any necessary work to make it “Like it never even happened!”
Mold Q & A: Is Black Mold Toxic?
Black mold may seem scary, but that's because of false information and scare tactics! Black mold is not toxic or dangerous!
We’ve all heard it before: black mold is dangerous, black mold will make you sick, etc. But is there any truth to these statements? The problem is that in recent years, black mold has been the target of false information and conspiracies both in the news and in online circles. In fact, even some professional companies seem to be missing the facts when it comes to black mold.
Is Black Mold Toxic and/or Dangerous?
The truth is that black mold is no more dangerous than any other species of mold.
First, according to the CDC and other reputable organizations, no known species of mold is toxic, black or otherwise. That’s why we can confidently tell you that black mold is not toxic (or mold in general).
Second, there are many species of mold, and many of them happen to be black. In fact, some species can be different colors (including black) depending on certain factors at play. So simply saying “black mold” does not indicate a particular species. The species most commonly associated with black mold—stachybotrys chartarum—does create byproducts known as “mycotoxins,” but there are many other such species. Even so, these species are no more dangerous than any other species.
Third, reactions to mold are generally akin to the way people have reactions to pollen and other allergens, particularly in the way that two people can have very different reactions (or none at all) to the same species of mold. So while a person may have an allergic reaction to a species of mold that happens to be black, it is not a reflection of the mold’s actual color.
The point is that there’s a lot about mold that gets left out or is misconstrued. Regardless, mold growth can be a nuisance that is generally best taken care of—black, green, white, or any color.
Water Damage Q&A: Can I Turn Off the Air Movers?
Air movers are an essential part of any water damage mitigation process. Turning one off prematurely can lead to additional and unnecessary damage!
When you have water damage on your property, you’re likely in unchartered territory. Your local restoration and cleanup company will help you recover from the incident, but there are sometimes questions that haven’t been answered. One of the most common questions we’re asked by our customers regards our air movers, which are high-powered fans that speed up the drying process.
Can I shut the air movers off for the night? They are very noisy.
While we acknowledge that air movers can be kind of loud, they play a crucial role in the drying process and should be constantly running until the process is complete. It’s for this reason that we strongly recommend that you allow the air movers to run undisturbed. Should you decide to turn them off anyways, you run the risk of facing a couple of different problems.
First, the longer moisture is present, the more likely you are to have mold growth on your property. Because moisture is an essential part of mold growth, it’s best to address water damage as soon as possible. When you turn off the air movers, you slow the process and allow more time for potential growth to occur.
Second, this disrupts your insurance company’s proposed coverage. Your insurance expects the drying process to be completed within a certain amount of days based on the type and severity of the damage. When you turn off the air movers, you’re extending the total drying process, which equates to more money from your insurance. You may end up on the hook for the costs, plus any mold growth that occurs as a result.
Air movers are an essential part of the water damage mitigation process, so it’s important they are allowed to function the entire time as intended. If you decide to turn them off anyways, please let your water restoration and cleanup company know so they can act accordingly.
Water Damage Q&A: Who Pays for the Electricity?
We had to plug in a lot of equipment for this job! They don't use much power, but you may be able to talk to your insurance for reimbursement!
When you’re in the middle of a water damage, your only real goal is to get everything back to its preloss condition. But we also know that these kinds of incidents can be costly, so when your local cleanup and restoration company plugs in a bunch of equipment for multiple days of use, you’re probably wondering about your electricity bill.
During the water mitigation process, who pays for the electricity used by the drying equipment?
In general, the customer is on the hook for all electricity used for the duration of the water mitigation process. While this may seem unfair, the overall usage is generally minimal, similar to if you had left all your ceiling fans on for the same duration.
Having said that, it’s very possible that your insurance adjuster will cover the cost of the added electricity costs since the equipment is necessary for the drying process. It’s recommended that you speak to them regarding this or any other costs that you think should be covered. After all, water damages and other disasters can be stressful, but you shouldn’t have to worry about hidden costs!
If you have a water damage, contact SERVPRO of Catawba County West and we’ll make it “Like it never even happened!”
3 Online Resources for Storm Events
Storms can happen at any time and can be of any category of strength. This building was heavily flooded by an abrupt storm!
Storms of different types occur throughout the entire year, which is why it’s important to stay vigilant. Fortunately, we’re in the age of information, which means most of the legwork regarding preparation is already taken care of. Whether you’re curious or are trying to prepare for an upcoming storm, below are some great online resources for storm events.
- Ray’s Weather. If you live anywhere near the Unifour area, you probably already know about Ray’s Weather. But in case you don’t, it’s a local weather website that offers current weather-related information. Many locals swear it’s the most accurate source for weather in the area. Use this resource for tracking storm patterns and forecasts!
- Ready.gov. While Ray’s Weather is great for weather updates, Ready.gov is a great tool for planning and preparing for storm events and other potential disasters. This government website details important safety steps for all phases of a storm (before, during, and after).
- FEMA. If your area gets hit particularly hard by a storm, you’ll find important information regarding safety and formal announcements. In the event that you need assistance following a storm event, you can find the appropriate avenue on their website. In addition to a website, FEMA also has a mobile app where you can get real-time updates.
With the amount of information and tools available online, it’s much easier to plan and prepare for a storm than it ever was before. Check out the above websites periodically so you’re ready for potential disaster. If you end up needing our help, know that we’re here to make it “Like it never even happened.”
4 Ways to Protect Your Home from Storm Damage
Most storms that pass through Catawba County are mild, but it only takes one to cause massive damage!
Since storms have started to become a regular occurrence in the Hickory area, it’s a good time to take some preventative steps to mitigate potential disaster. In case you’re not sure where to start, below you’ll find 4 ways you can protect your home from storm damage!
- Remove dead or sick trees and branches from close proximity to your home. Storms can bring heavy winds, some of which can topple trees and branches. In some cases, this debris can knock holes into your roof or walls and expose your home to further damage.
- Clean out your gutters. Water damage can be a sudden and expensive problem, so it’s best to avoid it if possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to make sure your gutters are clean and properly working so water can be directed away from your home. Gutters are your first line of defense!
- Address any drainage issues in your yard. Heavy rains can quickly become a problem for homeowners when the water doesn’t have anywhere to go. This water can flood homes or cause other problems, so it’s best to address these issues as soon as possible.
- Make sure all doors and windows are properly sealed. Winds can be very destructive to a home, but properly sealed doors and windows can help prevent winds from damaging your structure. This also helps prevent water from seeping in and creating a suitable environment for mold.
We endure storms without incident every year, but without routine maintenance and inspections, your home is at a greater risk of suffering from disaster. If you follow the above tips (you can find more tips here), you’re less likely to have storm damage to your home. But if you do have damage and you need help with cleanup and restoration, call SERVPRO of Catawba County West today!
What to Do if Your Business Faces Disaster
Your business might suffer from disaster, but hiring a high-quality disaster restoration company can drastically improve recovery times.
Nobody really likes to think about it, but what do you do when your business suffers from disaster? If you’re like most people, you’ll probably stress yourself out and worry about getting everything back to the way it was before. After all, it’s like a baby to you.
We can offer prevention tips all day long, but ultimately, your business is still at risk for all kinds of disaster. If that time comes, you’ll certainly be looking for answers, and fortunately, we’re here to provide them.
Consult Your Emergency Readiness Plan
If you don’t know what an Emergency Readiness Plan is, it might be too late to explain. An Emergency Ready Plan is a detailed document that outlines everything you need to know to respond to an emergency. It includes emergency shut-off locations, contact information for emergency personnel and other relevant people, and much more. It’s an essential outline for any business to have.
If you have one and you’re in an emergency situation, locate it and act accordingly. If you do not have one and you’re not in an emergency situation, contact us and we’ll put together an Emergency Readiness Plan for you free of charge!
Contact Your Insurance
This information should be in your Emergency Readiness Plan, but if not, then find their information and contact them immediately. Besides getting the ball rolling on the process, your representative will also provide you with other important information for you to get your operations running again.
However, be aware that although your insurance representative will make recommendations about who you should use for services, you ultimately get to make those decisions, so feel free to use somebody you know and trust!
Call Your Local Cleanup & Restoration Company
You want your business to be up and running again, but if your place of operations has severe water, fire, or storm damage, then you’ll have to address that first. There will likely be several different cleanup and restoration companies in your area, but consider looking for these qualities in a company:
- They have a great reputation
- They have the people and resources to handle the job quickly
- They are responsive, patient, and friendly
If you haven’t called anyone yet, we at SERVPRO of Catawba County West have all of the qualities listed above and are ready at a moment’s notice, so we encourage you to call us now at (828) 322-4400!
Make Alternative Arrangements
Depending on the amount and type of damage your business has endured, it’s possible that you’ll have lost a lot of assets. So while that might mean you can’t operate from your building or use damaged equipment/machinery, it doesn’t mean you have to sit around and wait! While there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution, there are a few different options to consider:
- Use an alternative space while yours is being restored. This isn’t possible for every business, but consider temporarily using a different space so you can keep operations running. For example, one baker rented out a local church’s kitchen while she waited for hers to be restored. If you’re a retail location, it will be difficult to set up in a temporary new space, so consider selling your merchandise online!
- Contact your customers (if applicable). If you get routine business from customer orders, let them know up front what happened. Depending on your current relationship with them, they may be willing to wait for a new order or pay up front to help you out. At the very least, communication with your customers will let them know that you care.
- Look for outside help. The sad reality is that about 40-60% of small businesses will never reopen their doors after a disaster, according to FEMA. It’s for this reason that we encourage you to utilize all available resources—including family, friends, and community members. There’s no shame in asking for help!
Focus on Reopening
There are a lot of obstacles that arise after a disaster, but it’s not impossible to reopen your business! Take things one step at a time and work with your staff and customers as much as possible. Between you and your staff, your insurance, and your local cleanup and restoration company, you can be back open in no time!
3 Tips for Preventing Kitchen Fires
Kitchen fires are the most common type of home fires, but they can be easily prevented!
Every year, kitchen fires top the list as the most common source of home fires. These fires might remain limited to the kitchen, but many of them affect entire homes, sometimes leading to a complete loss. Since everyone uses the kitchen, here are 3 tips for preventing kitchen fires:
- Never leave your kitchen unattended when using a heat source. Many people leave their kitchen while they are waiting for something to cook, but that leaves them susceptible to uncontrolled fires. If you have to step away from the kitchen—even for a moment—turn off the heat source.
- Clear off your kitchen counters. Keep flammable objects (plastic bags, pot holders, etc.) off your counters while you are using any heat source. If a minor fire does start, these materials can jumpstart the spread rate and increase the chances of a major fire breaking out.
- Regularly clean kitchen surfaces. Besides just keeping a clean home, cleaning kitchen surfaces prevents grease buildup. Because grease is highly flammable, removing excess stains from the area will help prevent a fire.
Kitchen fires are incredibly common, but with vigilance and proper cleaning, you can prevent one from happening! If you do have a kitchen fire, call your local restoration company to make it “Like it never even happened.”