Recent Storm Damage Posts

What to do When Sewer Backup Threatens Your Business Property

8/20/2022 (Permalink)

Two man removing wood flooring in a home Sewage cleanup in Sanibel, FL.

If your business is located in Sanibel, FL, it may be at risk for flooding and sewer backup during the next storm. Knowing what preventive measures to take, and what to do if your business does flood, can help you in the event flooding does occur.

Reasons Backup Occurs

There are a number of factors that can play into sewer backup. These may include:

  • Excessive storm and rain water which can cause overflow
  • Recent construction that changes the landscape and redirects water into the sewer
  • Fresh pavement with a new drainage grade can change the runoff flow
  • Failure to regularly clean a septic system can cause a backup

If you think there’s a chance your business might face sewer back up with the next storm, it’s best to take preventative measures.

Take Preventive Measures

Flood water is classified as black water because some of it can come from contaminated sources such as a sewer. This means clean-up can require extra sanitation steps. Taking preventive measures beforehand may help mitigate the damage. Ensure then trap plugs are clean, snug, and secure as these can filter debris that may back up in your pips. Some buildings may also qualify for a backwater check valve.

Conduct Cleanup as Quickly as Possible

In the event you do find flooding its best to take care of the cleanup process as quickly as possible. Remember to turn off the electricity to the flooded area before entering. Remove items from the flooded area and be sure to clean and dry them. Because flood water is classified as black water, everything should be sanitized as well. You will also need to clean, dry and sanitize the flooded area after the water has been removed. A professional service may also be able to help.

Flooding from sewer backup can cause a number of problems for your business. This is why it’s important to take preventive measures beforehand. If excessive rain water does lead to sewer flooding at your business, knowing what to do beforehand can help save valuable time.

Will Insurance Cover My Business After a Storm?

7/29/2022 (Permalink)

Man holding a bucket toward a leaking a roof Roof damage due to a storm.

Business owners may find themselves wondering if their property in Iona, FL is covered if the building is damaged by a storm. If you have commercial insurance, the short answer is yes, in most cases. However, it's worth taking a look to see what exactly your storm insurance covers.

What Does a Standard Policy Cover?

Typically, commercial insurance will cover losses or damage caused by:

  • Fires
  • Wind storms other than hurricanes
  • Hail storms
  • Tornadoes

If your roof sustains damage from a storm and water gets in the building, most policies will include insurance coverage on this type of water damage if the roof was in good condition prior to the storm.

What Is Not Covered in a Standard Policy?
Most commercial policies will not cover damage from hurricanes, earthquakes or flooding. Water damage caused by rising water or heavy rain will require coverage from a supplementary insurance policy. Sewage backup may also fall into the category of flooding, as heavy rains can cause sewer mains to back up into buildings. If you do not have separate insurance for flooding, consider purchasing it for your property. Flooding can happen in any geographic location, and having coverage available for emergency restoration services is a good idea.

What Are Hurricane and Windstorm Deductibles?

Businesses in coastal areas covered by storm insurance may have a wind damage deductible. Hurricane deductibles apply to damage caused solely by hurricanes. Wind storm or wind/hail deductibles apply to any kind of wind damage. In most cases, the insurance company will determine which deductible will apply to a claim. Deductibles may be a dollar amount or a percentage of the property's value. Options vary by state and are subject to regulations, so be sure to review your policy with your agent if you need information about your insurance coverage.

It's best to know your storm insurance coverage before a disaster strikes. Review your policy with your agent to make sure you are prepared for a weather emergency.

The Cleanup Process After a Flood

5/25/2022 (Permalink)

Drying equipment in a bathroom, plastic tube attached to drying equipment and bathroom window Don't let standing water take over any part of your home.

After a Flood, How to Clean Up

Dealing with the aftermath of a flood can be devastating for homeowners. Looking at the remnants of their lives as they float contaminated by potential black water is a struggle most people fear. Thankfully, floods do not have to destroy all memories; through content cleaning and the disaster cleanup process, water remediation services in Captiva Island, FL, claim more than you think can be salvaged.

1. Water Excavation

Still, before a company or homeowner can discover what contents are potentially salvageable, they must remove the water from the property. Excavation can begin immediately if the flooding is only located on the property. However, if the area is flooded, you will likely have to wait until exterior water levels recede.
Once water can be removed, it is performed by equipment and not manual means. Services will use pumps and shop vacs to eliminate the water as quickly as possible.

2. Debris Elimination

Following the water excavation, a remediation service will walk the disaster site to process all debris. Anything that is clear trash or unsalvageable will be appropriately discarded. If contents were affected by black water, the service would take special precautions to ensure everyone's safety.

3. Property Drying

When the site is clean of water and debris, the company you choose can begin drying the structure. Drying time will vary based on the extent of the flooding. The team will use fans, air movers, and dehumidifiers to help speed the process along.

4. Content Cleaning and Restoration

Any items that can be salvaged will likely be moved offsite to be cleaned and treated. The restoration company will focus on restoring the house to pre-disaster conditions by installing new drywall, flooring, etc.
Dealing with the aftermath of floods is about more than content cleaning. With the help of mitigation service, homeowners can successfully navigate the cleanup and restoration process.

Understanding Mold in Your Business

5/5/2022 (Permalink)

Two green vans parked outside a building, air scrubbers placed beside vans If you are in need of a fungus cleanup for your business in Sanibel, FL it is important to take the proper steps to remove the mold properly.

Understanding Mold in the Workplace

Mold growth can appear on damp surfaces within 24 to 48 hours. Mold reproduces by tiny spores that travel through the air. Once they land in a new location with moisture, they will start to destroy your building in Fort Myers, FL. This can cause a lot of expensive damage. Here are some questions that you can use to understand this fungus.

Why Is There Mold?

Buildings can develop mold growth after a storm that causes flooding. Some of the big problems that occur during storms that lead to mold include:

  • Flooding
  • Sewage backups
  • Roof leaks
  • Flooded basements
  • Open windows
  • Foundation problems

How Do You Dry a Building?

The best way to dry your building is to hire a storm restoration company. Otherwise, you can do this on your own with some bleach, fans, and dehumidifiers.

What Do You Need To Clean It?

You will need personal protective gear to clean mold yourself, such as gloves and a mask. Aside from this, you will need standard cleanup items, including buckets, scrub brushes, brooms, trash bags, shop vacs, and sponges. Finally, you will need something to kill the mold, like a detergent or bleach.

What if You Have Health Problems?

Everyone is regularly exposed to mold spores inside and outside of buildings. However, standing water makes the risk from mold spores much greater, so it is better for people who have health problems to avoid working inside buildings that have recently experienced flooding.

How Can You Prevent Mold in the Future?

It is not possible to remove all mold growth from your business. However, there are many ways that you can limit the amount of mold that grows in the future. The best methods include stopping any leaks, keeping your business clean, keeping surfaces dry, and routinely disinfecting areas at risk for mold.
While bacteria may be the first contaminant on your mind after a storm floods your business, you should also be concerned about mold. This fungus can do costly damage, so you need to take the proper steps to dry your building and prevent mold in the future.

After the Flood: Make the Most of Your Insurance Claim

1/5/2022 (Permalink)

Floodwaters enters a home, water reaches the stairs from the house Flood damage in Estero Island, FL.

Flood Claim

Now that the flood waters have receded, it’s time to survey the damage and take steps to restore your property. As the holder of a flood insurance policy, you are already ahead of the curve—but there still may be significant work to be done before you can collect on a flood claim. Here are some steps that can help guide you through the process in Estero Island, FL.

1. Stay safe. Take every precaution to be certain your home is safe to enter and that there is no threat of further flooding, electrical mishap or collapsing infrastructure. Assume that water is unsafe for human consumption.

2. Contact your insurance company. Contact your insurance claims adjuster as soon as possible. Provide him or her with cell phone and/or email contact information so you will be readily available for an onsite visit.

3. Document the damage. Take photos of the damage to document your loss. If you have pictures of the areas prior to the flood, it would be useful to have them on hand for comparison.

4. Start the cleanup. Begin the cleanup process and call a restoration specialist in Estero Island, FL, if needed. If the adjuster has not yet made his or her assessment, be sure to note everything you intend to include on the flood claim. Make a list of lost and damaged items and include dates of purchase, estimated values and receipts, if possible.

5. Retain evidence. Keep any damaged materials you may remove from the house as the adjuster may need to see them for proof of loss purposes. If possible, store these damaged materials outside on your property.

6. Work with your insurance company. Once the adjuster arrives and finishes the assessment, you will likely be asked to sign a proof of loss statement that will follow specifications as set forth in the insurance policy.

Be sure to file your flood claim within 60 days of the actual flood event. By following these steps, you can be assured of the greatest possible chance for a successful insurance settlement.

Mold Always Follows a Flood

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded bedroom. Before you start the final restoration, you want to make certain that mold growth is no longer a problem.

Once a flood invades your home, the mold isn’t far behind. It won’t wait for the water to recede or for your home to dry out. In 24 to 48 hours you can expect that mold growth has begun and there is only so much you can do until the moisture is removed. Before you start the cleanup, contact your insurance agent and take pictures of the damage.

Following that, there are several things you can do to hurry the cleanup along.

• Eliminate standing water using pumps and wet/dry vacuums.
• Discard items in the flooded area that will not be restored.
• Send items that are to be restored out for restoration.
• Put undamaged items into storage to be brought back later.
• Treat wet areas with disinfectant to minimize the negative effects of bacteria.
• Tear out damaged sections of walls and floors but not structural components.

Remove the Moisture From What Remains
Typically, this means opening windows and operating fans to circulate the air and send the moisture out of the house. You can find nearby restoration specialists in Sanibel, FL, who will bring their experience and specialized equipment to help with the drying process.

It Is Never Too Soon to Start Looking for Mold
While this moisture removal is underway, use your eyes and nose to look for evidence of mold growth. Assume you will find some. A mold problem can be addressed even if your house Is still wet, but removal cannot be declared complete until the house is dry and carefully inspected. Also, bear in mind that mold needs to be removed. Covering mold with caulk or paint is not an effective method of control.

Don’t Finish the Restoration Until You Are Certain That the Mold Is Gone
Before you start the final restoration, you want to make certain that mold growth is no longer a problem. You didn’t go through all this effort only to bury mold behind walls and under floors. Your restoration specialists can help you determine that you are ready to complete the restoration.

Flooded Homes Have an Unpleasant Odor

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Flooding outside home. The key to flood cleanup and the prevention of mold growth is knowing how to deal with the several different aspects of flood damage.

Although the smell of your flooded home in Estero Island, FL, may be repulsive, that is not your biggest problem. Your biggest problem has to do with the source of the odor. Frequently, that is mold growth. No two flooded homes have the same issues, but they all have things in common.

1. Floodwater Sets the Stage for a Massive Mold Problem
From a property damage perspective, this may be your biggest threat. If the odor you smell has a musty component to it, you may already be well on your way to a mold problem. The only way to remove the musty odor is to quickly dry out your home and remove any mold that has started to grow.

2. Sewage Backup Is a Serious Health Hazard
Sometimes, flood water will cause sewage to back up from the sewer system into your home. The pungent odor it brings with it is a reminder of the bacteria and other dangerous organisms that the sewage contains. It is a risk to humans and animals and can result in significant property damage and sewage system loss. Left untreated, sewage can also be the source of mold growth. This odor will not disappear until the sewage is removed and the affected areas are cleaned, disinfected, and deodorized.

3. Floods Bring in Other Sources of Odor
When the water recedes, you can expect to find that the flood left just about everything imaginable behind including topsoil, garbage, and other debris. There may also be traces of gas, oil, and other petroleum residues. In small quantities, none of this poses a significant hazard. They can be easily cleaned up and deodorized.

The Foul Odors Are Gone, and a Fresh Smell Has Returned
The key to flood cleanup and the prevention of mold growth is knowing how to deal with the several different aspects of flood damage. Consider bringing in a team of local flood remediation specialists with the experience and equipment to do the job right. Your home will thank you for it.

3 Things You Can Do To Help Your Business Survive Hurricane Floods

4/30/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo and here to help hashtag. Commercial owners in Fort Myers Beach, FL can defend their properties, hopefully minimizing the devastation and expediting the cleanup.

Whether a Category 1 or 5, a hurricane is a powerful gale, capable of wreaking havoc on a building. Intense winds, flood water and tornadoes are all possible, leading to various structural damage that costs upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. Commercial owners in Fort Myers Beach, FL can defend their properties, hopefully minimizing the devastation and expediting the cleanup. The following are three things to do before any sign of a storm.

1. Create an Action Plan

Prepare for both the best- and worst-case scenarios. Put together an action plan for various storm systems detailing how to handle different events. For instance, if you experience a flooded building, employees should understand not to enter until permitted by restoration professionals.
Share the following information with staff:

-How to safely exit during severe weather
-Where to seek shelter in the building
-How to fortify the property from flooding
-How to contact a water restoration company
-Where to locate supplies and how to use them

2. Collect Documentation

Regularly upload your company's significant paperwork onto a server or the cloud. Flood water poses a risk, destroying financial statements, contracts and insurance policies. These papers are essential to operations and insurance claims. Pick a day once a month to safely store them online.
Also, keep crucial documents in one location so that the hard copies are easy to grab. If you have time before the evacuation, take what you can. If not, relocate them to higher ground.

3. Invest in Supplies

Stock up on materials that make the early days efficient. Have a generator on hand so crews can immediately evaluate and tend to water damage. Be aware that this device gives off carbon monoxide. Read the directions, and understand where to use it for appropriate airflow.

In addition, have flashlights, batteries, clean towels, soap and tools. For personal use, have plenty of clean bottled water and snacks. Hand sanitizer and hygiene items should be stocked as well.

If flood water breaches your establishment's walls, know how to act to mitigate the harm. Call in the professionals, and have supplies on hand to get started with the cleanup.

Can I Claim Commercial Property Losses on My Taxes?

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

ceiling tiles removed, insulation hanging, roof damage Ceiling damaged due to storm in Ft. Meyers Beach, FL.

Unexpected commercial property losses have the potential to be devastating financially, mentally and time-wise. They can massively derail operations and cause a great deal of hassle. Even if you have coverage, it can be a big headache to deal with the insurance adjusters, filling out paperwork, contacting a professional cleanup and restoration service in Ft. Meyers Beach, FL, and/or handling anything else that needs to be done in the wake of an incident resulting in one. One thing you may be glad to know is that storm damage, fire damage and other business-related losses are tax-deductible regardless of whether they are in a federally declared disaster area or not.

Casualty Losses

These include damage, loss or destruction arising from any kind of unexpected or sudden incident like a natural disaster (storm damage, smoke damage and etcetera). Normal wear and tear or time-related deterioration are not casualty losses. The three kinds (labeled as federally declared disasters) are:

  • Qualified disaster losses
  • Federal casualty losses
  • Disaster losses

Since it involves income-producing property, your loss amount is the adjusted basis of said structure/possession (your cost, with deductions and additions for things like depreciation or renovations).

Theft Losses
If someone steals from your business, the theft loss is also the adjusted basis. If it is due to a Ponzi scheme, the rules may be slightly different.

Tax Claims Facts
Any expected or received payout from insurance companies or salvage value lowers your loss amount. You must prove any loss you claim, so detailed documentation is important. You also run the risk of acquiring capital gain if you end up with insurance reimbursement that is higher than your adjusted basis.
Storm damage and other forms of harm to your enterprise's property from events like hurricanes are tax-deductible. Theft is as well. It pays to be careful when claiming them on tax forms, especially if you do not know how much your indemnity policy will pay out as it can lead to you owing taxes again instead of gaining a deduction for a loss.

4 Sump Pump Maintenance Tips

1/6/2021 (Permalink)

A sump pump installed in a basement of a home with a water powered backup system. A sump pump system is a critical tool for preventing extensive water damage to your home

Sump Pump Maintenance Tips

A sump pump can be an invaluable tool for directing water away from your home during a flood situation. However, for your pump to work effectively, it needs to be properly maintained. Consider these four maintenance tips when planning your maintenance routine.

1. Clean Your Pump
Regularly cleaning your pump is an important part of pump maintenance. If you use your pump to dispose of water from your washing machine, clean the pump screen or inlet opening every month. Otherwise, clean the screen or inlet opening once every three to four months. Remove the pump and clean both it and the pit once a year.

2. Have Your Pump Inspected Annually
A once annual professional sump pump inspection can help ensure that your pump is functioning correctly. Contact an inspector in Ft. Meyers Beach, FL, to examine the pit, backup power source, check valve, cover, alarm, and discharge location. Any problems noted during the inspection should be addressed promptly to reduce the chances of flood damage that may require professional water damage restoration services from occurring.

3. Perform Annual Maintenance
At least once per year, you or a professional should unplug the pump and examine it for rust and corrosion, lubricate the parts if necessary, check the float switch and check the discharge pipe for debris, dirt or vegetation.

4. Replace Your Backup Batteries
If you have a battery backup for your pump, be sure to check the battery level and replace the batteries whenever there is a low battery warning. If you haven't changed the battery in a while, it is a good idea to also test the pump to make sure it is still working.
A sump pump system is a critical tool for preventing extensive water damage to your home during heavy rainfall or other flooding situations. Regularly maintaining your pump will help ensure that the pump is ready for action when you need it.