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Understanding the Flood and Fire Mitigation Process

After a fire or flood, homeowners are left wondering what they have to do to get their home back in working order and who will help them.

The 3 Different Stages of Mold Sickness

Mold is a fact of life. It can grow in any damp part of your home, and even on your food. Now the question becomes, is mold safe for your health? The answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no regarding mold sickness.

What to Do In Case of Flood or Water Damage to Your Home or Business

If your home or business has suffered flood or water damage, call your insurance agent or broker as soon as possible, and be sure to take pictures of the damage to your building’s structure and its contents before you start the cleanup process.

Fire Damage Restoration Pros Offer Advice on Fire Safety for the Elderly

When it comes to the elderly, the importance of fire safety can never be understated. According to statistics, Americans over the age of 65 are the group with the largest number of fire fatalities. Every year, more than 900 Americans aged 65 and up die in fires

Remediation Work, Treating Dangerous Materials and Reducing Harm to the Environment and Humans

Umpire works with local experts to help with fire, mold and water damage cleanup, drying & prevention.

Have you experienced Fire or Smoke Damage in your home? Response Time Is Critical

After the experience of a devastating fire in your home, one of the first questions that come to mind is if the home could ever look the same again. The walls, ceilings, and furniture are often burnt, while almost all surfaces are either smoldered or covered with black ash, and the unmistakable smell of smoke due to smoke damage seems to be all you can smell.

What to Do In Case of Flood Damage to Home or Business

Floods can also leave other harmful effects in their wake, including moss and mildew growth and contamination of drinking water. As you can imagine, human health is at serious risk whenever floods and flood damage occurs.

How You Can Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly

There are many incentives for making your home more environmentally friendly. Not only will you be helping the planet and doing your part to keep our ecological footprint down, but there’s also real health benefits for you and your family as well. Why You Should...

How to Spot Water Damage

Water damage; two words that strike fear into the hearts of homeowners. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t. In addition to the unattractive staining that’s common with visible water damage, materials that have been exposed to excessive moisture can also be...

How to Choose a Flood Mitigation Company

Dealing with cleanup after a flood is a nightmare for most homeowners. Many of us go our entire adult lives without having to call a flood mitigation company, and if we ever do, we’re not sure where to start. It can feel like one of those unfortunate times when you...

Why House Fire Smoke is so Dangerous

The fire itself isn’t the only dangerous and damaging aspect of a house fire. There’s also smoke, and it shouldn’t be underestimated. When a home is on fire, the flames are usually preceded by an abundance of smoke drifting under doorways and through the halls....

Repairing Water Damage Yourself Can Cost You Later

Facing water damage in your home can be overwhelming and scary. Dollar signs start flashing in your mind, and you imagine the worst possible scenario. It can be tempting to save a few dollars by trying to repair water damage yourself. But be warned, that can cost you...

Your Pocket Guide to Itemizing Valuables

Itemizing valuables can be done in different ways. You can make a numbered list with as many details as you can think of and take pictures of each item. Or you could create a video as you walk around your house and explain what you’re looking at. Both of these methods...

5 Things You Need to Understand About Mold

Three words you never want to hear from an inspector: You’ve got mold. Those three short words can strike fear into the heart of any homeowner and send you into a tailspin of worry if you don’t know what you’re up against. That ends today. 5 Things You Need to Know #1...

Be on the Lookout for these 3 Signs of Mold

No one wants to find out that there’s mold in their house. But in many ways, it’s just a fact of life. Mold spores exist all around us. They’re on our clothes and shoes, floating in the air, and many other places. We’re constantly exposed. So it’s natural that some...

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent after a Flood or Fire

Your mind is understandably scattered after natural disaster rips through your property. We’d like to help take some of the headache out of your next steps with a short list of questions you’ll want to ask your insurance agent after a flood or fire damages your home....

How to Choose a Fire Mitigation Company

If a fire has recently damaged your home and you’re struggling to figure out what’s next, this article is for you. Chances are you haven’t had to choose a fire mitigation company to work on your home before, and that’s ok. We’re going to share with you what you should...

5 Flood Survival Must-Haves

There’s never a convenient time for awful weather to strike and it’s tough to navigate the days after a major disaster regardless of how many times you’ve experienced one. For those of us who live in an area where flooding and flash flooding is commonplace, being...

5 Smells In Your House You Don’t Want to Ignore

Scent is a powerful trigger that can either fill us with joy or send us running for the hills, and it doesn’t take a natural disaster to cause seriously stinky issues. Often the biggest headaches we face in our home are the result of ignoring little hints for too...

How Insurance Agents and Mitigation Companies Work Together to Restore Your Home after a Disaster

After a fire or flood damages your home, your first reaction is probably to get on the phone and call your homeowners insurance company. Once you contact them and file a claim, you might be wondering what’s next. Whatever you do – do not begin the cleanup process...

Understanding the Flood and Fire Mitigation Process

After a fire or flood, homeowners are left wondering what they have to do to get their home back in working order and who will help them. The last thing you need is more stress. This short guide will help you understand the flood and fire mitigation process and what...

Are Small Leaks a Big Problem?

We all know that stormy weather and floods can wreak havoc on our homes. But few people recognize the damage a small leak can do over time. Today, by reading this article, you’re going to become one of the 10% (we’re just guessing) that understands how even little...

3 Things You Can Do Today to Reduce Your Fire Risk

No one wants to imagine that there’s danger lurking all throughout their home, but often there is. And while many of us will never have to deal with the worst-case-scenarios, that doesn’t mean the risk isn’t real. To help you protect your home and family, we’ve...

Understanding the Flood and Fire Mitigation Process

After a fire or flood, homeowners are left wondering what they have to do to get their home back in working order and who will help them. The last thing you need is more stress. This short guide will help you understand the flood and fire mitigation process. This will help with what steps you can take to restore your home back to its former glory.

So your home has fire or flood damage. Now what?
Therefore, the first step to getting your house back to order is reaching out to our team directly or to your property insurance agent. If you reach out to us first, we can answer any mitigation questions you may have. We also coordinate with your agent so we can bill your insurance directly.

Once you or your insurance agent has requested a service call, we will send out a team of restoration experts to assess the damage. This allows us to determine what the extent of the damage is. This also helps determine if we’ll need any specialized tools or equipment to repair and restore the property. After we’ve assessed the damage and have a plan for restoring the property, we connect with your insurance company (or you if you’re dealing directly with us) and discuss the timeline for completion.

After the inspection, we get to work.
Step 1. Depending on the extent of the damage, we may have to secure the home before we begin the actual restoration process. In the industry, it’s referred to as “boarding up” because in some cases (like a raging fire) we literally have to board up broken doors and windows. The idea is to keep out anything or anyone who may cause additional damage to the already compromised structure.
Step 2. The next step is the same whether we’re dealing with flood damage or fire damage. We start with water cleanup. It might sound funny to associate water cleanup with a fire, but if you think about it, anytime a fire crew is called out to battle a blaze, they douse the burning structure in water. And usually a lot of it.
If it is a fire we’re dealing with, once we remove any standing water and excess moisture, we can begin to address the more direct outcomes of the fire. Outcomes like smoke and soot damage. After we’ve cleaned up the smoke smell and soot, we can get started restoring the property.

If it’s a flood, the process is similar – water damage mitigation. We jump right in and deal with the most immediate problems first (standing water and moisture). Once we have effectively stopped any ongoing damage, we can move on to the restoration stages.

Step 3. Once the moisture, smoke, and soot damage is dealt with, we begin removing debris and repairing structural issues.
Step 4. After the debris are removed and structural repairs have been made, we begin restoring your home and recreating its original feel by making cosmetic repairs. There’s a lot that falls under the umbrella of “cosmetic”. However, some examples of more common repairs would be replacing drywall, paint, flooring, and fixtures.
This last step is equally as important as the structural repair stage, and we take it very seriously. Cosmetic repair is a big part of what allows people to return to their home or business with some sense of normalcy and relief. It makes your property look more like you remember, and that’s priceless after a disaster.

Do you have specific questions about fire or flood damage to your home or business? Contact our team today https://www.umpiremitigation.com, and we’ll answer your questions and do everything we can to help you get your property back to normal.

The 3 Different Stages of Mold Sickness

The 3 Different Stages of Mold Sickness
Mold is a fact of life. It can grow in any damp part of your home, and even on your food. Now the question becomes, is mold safe for your health? The answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no regarding mold sickness. The risks aren’t worth leaving mold alone; however, so if you see it growing anywhere in your home, it’s best to have the issue taken care of immediately.

Whether it’s a mushy formation on your juice, a powdery black spot on your bread, or a fuzzy white patch on your basement floor, mold is more than just an unsightly annoyance. In fact, it can make you sick, especially if you have asthma or allergies. For those who are sensitive to mold, ingesting, inhaling, and even touching mold spores can lead to allergic symptoms such as skin rashes, red eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. People with severe mold allergies can have more serious reactions, including shortness of breath and massive asthma attacks.

Mold Sickness
Early stages
In small doses, mold merely acts as an irritant. This is why the beginning stages of mold sickness can be similar to a basic cold or allergy attack. If you frequently suffer from these symptoms when you enter your home, it’s a sign that your home could very well have a mold problem. Contact a mold remediation professional to confirm whether or not this is the case.

Late stages
For mold-sensitive people, staying in a contaminated area for a long period of time may lead to the following conditions: constant headaches, vomiting, constant fatigue, diarrhea, weight and hair loss, sinus infections, sores, skin rashes, sexual dysfunction, and short-term memory loss.

Advanced stages
Staying in a mold-infested environment for a long period of time, and not seeing a doctor when symptoms have worsened can lead to the following: blindness, bleeding lungs, short-term memory loss, brain damage, cancer, and even death.

Mold removal
If you suspect mold growth in your home, don’t wait until your symptoms get worse. Set up an appointment with a specialist, like Umpire, for efficient mold remediation and comprehensive removal services.

Source: https://goo.gl/sQLDmJ

What to Do In Case of Flood or Water Damage to Your Home or Business

Floods can arise due to natural or man-made causes. Aside from causing catastrophic loss of lives and property, floods can also leave other harmful effects in their wake as well as water damage, including moss and mildew growth and contamination of drinking water. As you can imagine, human health is at serious risk whenever floods or water leaks occur.

Keeping the effects of flood and water damage at bay
If your home or business has suffered, call your insurance agent or broker as soon as possible, and be sure to take pictures of the damage to your building’s structure and its contents before you start the cleanup process. If you had to leave your property temporarily, check for structural damage prior to re-entry, and confirm that the foundations are not in any danger of collapse. Meanwhile, let the property air out for several minutes to remove foul odors.

Proceed immediately with cleanup to prevent any health hazards. Throw out any food and medicine that may have come in contact with the water or mildew. Boil water meant for drinking and food preparation. Any partially damaged items should be dried and aired. Don’t throw them away yet, as the insurance adjuster will be the one to make recommendations as to their repair or disposal.

Most importantly, call a restoration company. Water has a way of penetrating nooks and crannies and causing damage where you cannot see it, that’s why it’s vital to have a professional take care of your water damage problem. Look for established water damage companies like Umpire that will go out of their way to ensure your insurance claim is handled swiftly and efficiently.

Source: https://goo.gl/3Qrwyg

Fire Damage Restoration Pros Offer Advice on Fire Safety for the Elderly

Fire Damage Restoration Pros Offer Advice on Fire Safety for the Elderly

When it comes to the elderly, the importance of fire safety can never be understated. According to statistics, Americans over the age of 65 are the group with the largest number of fire fatalities. Every year, more than 900 Americans aged 65 and up die in fires.

Fire Risk Factors for Older People

Every person has different physical and mental capacities, which may decline as we age. Some senior citizens swim laps and run marathons. While others in their 80s and 90s have minds that remain as sharp as ever. Yet these seniors tend to be the exception, not the norm. Most people of advanced age suffer from some form of physical and/or mental decline that limits their mobility. This can be to varying degrees and makes an escape from a fire all the more difficult.

Fire Education for the Elderly

It is important to inform and educate the elderly about the increased risk of fire for their age group. It is also equally important to do the same for their families and caretakers. National Fire Prevention month may be over, but it’s never too late to visit your local fire department to obtain fire safety education. In addition to fire hazard knowledge, the elderly and their families need to know the importance of having smoke detectors and replacing their batteries each year.

Restoration after the Fire

With your family safe and sound, fire damage restoration professionals such as Umpire, can help you get your life back to normal after a fire by removing water and residual moisture, drying the affected areas, and cleaning your home.

Source: https://goo.gl/K6QgjD

Remediation Work, Treating Dangerous Materials and Reducing Harm to the Environment and Humans

Remediation described in a technical term means treating dangerous materials to eliminate or reduce harm to the environment or humans. For instance, removing black mold from a basement or sewage from the result of a pipe burst are good examples of the proper use of the term remediation.

Umpire works with local experts to help with fire, mold and water damage cleanup, drying & prevention. Most importantly, we offer instant booking and flat rates with big savings. We coordinate with local experts you can trust to get your home cleaned and restored quickly with as little stress as possible. Meanwhile, we throw some social good and give back in the mix. Last of all, we dry and clean your home, prevent water damage, protect the roof, and safely remove mold.

Above all, call the Remediation Specialists with Umpire! (703) 665-1129

Have you experienced Fire or Smoke Damage in your home? Response Time Is Critical

After the experience of a devastating fire in your home, one of the first questions that come to mind is if the home could ever look the same again. The walls, ceilings, and furniture are often burnt. Therefore, almost all surfaces are either smoldered or covered with black ash. Because the unmistakable smell of smoke due to smoke damage seems to be all you can smell.

Therefore, in such dire circumstances, it is imperative to stay as calm as possible and remember that it is indeed possible to restore your home. This can be accomplished by calling for the services of a fire damage contractor immediately. You need to do so within 24 hours of a fire disaster in order to prevent widespread secondary damage.

Fire damage restoration is a crucial process that must be undertaken straightaway to salvage what may still be saved. Everyone knows this. Battling the fire requires drowning the flames with water. You’re often forced to address both water and fire damage issues simultaneously. On one hand, you need to douse the fire. On the other, the water you use will cause a secondary problem after the flames have died down.

If that wasn’t enough, there is always the problem of smoke to contend with. This is why it is best to leave all forms of restoration to the pros. Umpire is the answer. Not just because they have the right equipment, experience and expertise, but also because of their rapid response time.

The importance of fast response time is not limited to rescuing people and pets. The potential to restore your home also depends on taking quick action. The average time it would take the restoration experts to arrive and begin working is equally decisive.

Umpire responds quickly – We offer instant booking, flat rates with big savings, and local experts you can trust to get your home cleaned and restored quickly with as little stress as possible.

Source: https://goo.gl/EEFJn8

What to Do In Case of Flood Damage to Home or Business

Floods arise due to natural or man-made causes. Aside from causing catastrophic loss of lives and property, floods can also leave other harmful effects in their wake. Human health is at serious risk whenever floods and flood damage occurs.

Keeping the effects of flood damage at bay If your home or business has suffered flood damage, call Umpire Mitigation as soon as possible. Be sure to take pictures of the damage to your building’s structure and its contents before you start the cleanup process. If you had to leave your property temporarily because of the flood, check for structural damage prior to re-entry. Also, confirm that the foundations are not in any danger of collapse. Meanwhile, let the property air out for several minutes to remove foul odors.

Proceed immediately with cleanup to prevent any health hazards. Throw out any food and medicine that may have come in contact with floodwater. Most importantly, boil water meant for drinking and food preparation. Any partially damaged items should be dried and aired. Don’t throw them away yet, as the insurance adjuster will be the one to make recommendations as to their repair or disposal.

Most importantly, call a flood damage professional. Floodwater has a way of penetrating nooks and crannies and causing damage where you cannot see it. That’s why it’s vital to have a professional take care of your flood damage problem. Look for established flood damage companies like Umpire Mitigation that will go out of their way to ensure your insurance claim is handled swiftly and efficiently.

Umpire Mitigation works with all Insurance Companies, so it’s no hassle for the homeowner. Call us today! (703) 665-1129

Source: http://www.ecopurerestoration.com/blog/what-to-do-in-case-of-flood-damage-to-your-san-diego-home-or-business/

How You Can Make Your Home More Environmentally Friendly

There are many incentives for making your home more environmentally friendly. Not only will you be helping the planet and doing your part to keep our ecological footprint down, but there’s also real health benefits for you and your family as well.

Why You Should Consider Choosing Green Materials

Less chemical exposure

We already know that modern day building materials are designed to last a long time and because of that, they are often made with synthetic materials and treated with chemicals. When you opt for more natural alternatives, you can cut your chemical exposure significantly and reduce the likelihood that sensitive individuals experience discomforts like headaches, skin irritation, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing.

Cleaner air inside your home

Quite a few manufactured materials have a period of what’s called “off-gassing” when installed. For less sensitive people, it may only affect them for a few days or weeks. For more sensitive people, it could affect them for months or longer. When you choose green products, you will have a good chance of reducing exposure since many manufacturers make it a point to create products with no or limited off-gassing.

Ease of use

Since many “green” products have limited chemical agents and off-gassing, the ease of use is higher. Much like how painting a room with low-VOC paint is a whole different experience than with traditional paints, using earth-friendly materials in other parts of your home can be simple & straightforward and the benefits are usually immediate.

More affordable now than ever

Thanks to technology and some excellent resource management, accessing and affording green materials is easier than ever. There’s been a push for safe and sustainable products, and more companies have entered the market. All that added competition equals better selection and price shopping for savvy consumers like you.

Going green is a selling point if you ever list your home

Consumers appreciate earth-conscious materials. The marketing around sustainability and renewable resources is strong, and home buyers are paying attention. Even if your whole house is not green, you can point out what is and sometimes achieve a higher selling price because of it.

Just as shoppers readily recognize that double-pane vinyl windows are more energy efficient than old wood or metal ones, more people are coming to understand that reduced chemical exposure is a benefit. It also doesn’t hurt that a lot of green products (like bamboo flooring and reclaimed wood) are trendy too.

Green Options Everyone Will Love

Low-VOC paint: reduces volatile organic compounds in the air during and after painting your home.
Bamboo flooring: fast-growing bamboo is both strong and beautiful. It’s available in a variety of finishes, it’s very durable and even resistant to termites.
Cork flooring: softer underfoot than traditional hard flooring, cork is a happy compromise for people who like the more cushioned feel of carpet but want something durable and easier to clean like laminate & hardwood.
Reclaimed wood & metal: attractive recycled products are usually well received. Reclaimed wood and metal can be stylish additions to a contemporary interior.
Passive heating & cooling: keeping those energy bills down is a big plus for homeowners, and passive heating and cooling does just that. Solar energy systems can offset your utility bill and reduce the cost of both heating and cooling. By using sun shades and awnings or a strategically-placed tree, you can keep your cooling bill down.
For more ideas on how you can make your home safer and more efficient or learn about flood, fire, and mold mitigation and how you can be a proactive homeowner, visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com .

How to Spot Water Damage

Water damage; two words that strike fear into the hearts of homeowners. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t. In addition to the unattractive staining that’s common with visible water damage, materials that have been exposed to excessive moisture can also be magnets for other undesirable things – like mold. Yuck. Let’s look at how you can spot water damage in your home, and hopefully remedy it before it gets worse.

Common Signs of Water Damage

Pooling – Just like it sounds; if you find an area in your home where water is pooling, look around. Sometimes it’s coming from above, sometimes it’s seeping out from behind a wall. If you’re not sure if it’s a one-time spill or a leak, clean it up and watch the area closely to see if the pooling water returns. If you notice the pooling after it’s rained, make sure you pay attention after the next rain in case it’s an exterior leak and not interior (like a leaky pipe).

Staining – This is one of the most common ways that people figure out they have water damage because once it changes color (usually a rusty brown shade), it’s hard to miss. Especially if it’s on an unadorned and relatively flat surface, like your ceiling. Staining can also be found on walls, floors, and exterior siding. It just may be a little tougher to spot since it often follows corners and seams.

Texture changes – Usually if there’s enough damage to change the texture of a wall, there’s also staining. But not always. And sometimes people will paint over stains to try and hide the damage. If you find a wall in your home that looks a little different and you suspect water damage, give it a little poke. If it feels rubbery, springy, or squishy, it’s most likely water damaged.

Warping, buckling, sagging and expansion – After a while, even hidden water issues can become apparent once the fixtures in your home are affected. If you spot a warped wall that bows in and out, a piece of siding that’s buckling, or if you notice your floors are sagging in spots, you might have water damage. Water can cause wood and pressboard materials to expand as it soaks up the moisture. If it dries out, it can contract and cause cracks, splits, and buckling and a spongy feel.

Peeling paint – That peeling paint might not just be wear & tear. Saturated drywall expands and can cause the adhesion properties of paint to fail. If you find an area of your home where the paint comes off the wall easily or readily peels away, it may be because there’s moisture or water damage.

For more home safety and maintenance tips & tricks and to learn more about fire, flood, and mold mitigation, visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com.

How to Choose a Flood Mitigation Company

Dealing with cleanup after a flood is a nightmare for most homeowners. Many of us go our entire adult lives without having to call a flood mitigation company, and if we ever do, we’re not sure where to start. It can feel like one of those unfortunate times when you really wish you had a playbook to follow so you don’t make a mistake or forget something important (that you probably didn’t even know was important).

Good news, you aren’t in this alone. We’ve created this short guide to help you choose a flood mitigation company and get your home and life back in order. Dealing with fire damage and got here by mistake? Then this is the article you need.

Before you choose a flood mitigation company to work on your home ask…

How long have they been in business?

We see it all the time after a populated area experiences a natural disaster like a flood, contractors from all over and out of state migrate to the area to offer their services. That’s not necessarily a bad thing when there’s a lot of work to be done. Unfortunately, some of these contractors are brand-new to the business and just capitalizing on an opportunity. That doesn’t mean they will do shoddy work, but choosing a provider with a history of business and good references is a safer bet, especially if they aren’t local and would be leaving after the work is completed.

Are they certified?

Above all else, choose a certified restoration specialist. We are specially trained and use techniques and practices that help us to secure and protect your home and property before and during the mitigation process. Certification also means we’re held to a standard that requires us to restore your home to pre-loss condition.

Do they have positive reviews from previous clients?

In this day and age, it’s hard to find a company that’s been around for a while and doesn’t have any reviews or references. If you can’t readily find customer reviews, ask the mitigation company to share contact info for previous clients so you can check on their quality of work and operating practices. Knowing how they behave after they win the business and secure a job is very important. Pre-restoration is the honeymoon stage, so to speak.

How quickly do they respond to questions?

You should get an idea of how the company or contractor operates by reading reviews or talking to past clients. One of the things you’ll want to look for is; how responsive are they when customers ask a question? Do they make it a point to reply within 24 hours? Do they point their clients to the correct information so they feel confident and secure throughout the cleanup and restoration process? Are they slow to reply and short with their answers?

Will they work with your insurance company?

This is another crucial question for every potential flood mitigation company you interview. Can they work with your insurance directly and will they. At Umpire Mitigation, we have created an extremely straightforward and streamlined process that homeowners and insurance companies appreciate. Our team understands this is a stressful time for you and that you just want your home or business restored quickly. We coordinate with your insurance agent throughout the process and make sure you have as stress-free an experience as possible.

Visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com to learn more about fire, water, and mold mitigation as well as industry news and tips for keeping your home safe and protected.

Why House Fire Smoke is so Dangerous

The fire itself isn’t the only dangerous and damaging aspect of a house fire. There’s also smoke, and it shouldn’t be underestimated. When a home is on fire, the flames are usually preceded by an abundance of smoke drifting under doorways and through the halls.

Unfortunately for us humans, we have sensitive respiratory systems. It’s very easy for our body to get overwhelmed by the smoke long before we come face to face with the fire. After all, in a modern home, it’s not just untreated wood burning. There’s a lot that contributes to the toxicity of house fire smoke in 2018, and today we’re going to look at why smoke is so incredibly dangerous.

With the advancement of technology, we’ve learned how to create materials and textiles that last longer than ever. But the longevity comes at a cost. Many of the products we use to build and remodel our homes are made with or treated with chemicals. Without a fire, common complaints are relatively minor such as headaches or skin irritation. However, once the materials burn, they release compounds so quickly and in such high concentrations that it can affect anyone from the unsuspecting occupant to the fully-suited up firefighter.

Common household materials that can unleash toxic fumes:

Furniture (particularly heavily manufactured and press-board style pieces)
Carpets
Old tile
Insulation
Plastic (including the ones you don’t think about like PVC piping)
Paint
Flooring (laminate, vinyl, linoleum, etc.)
Particles that can be released into the air when a house burns:

Asbestos
Fiberglass
Cyanide
Formaldehyde
Heavy metals
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Dioxins
Benzene
Acid gases
Sulfur dioxide
Nitrogen oxides
And many more
Short-term & long-term effects of exposure to house fire smoke:

Trouble breathing and shortness of breath
Burning eyes
Runny nose
Decreased cognition
Reduced alertness
Delayed reaction times
Headaches
Decreased lung functioning
Permanently stunted cognition
Cardiovascular disease
Lung disease
Cancer
How You Can Protect Yourself and Your Family from Fire & Smoke

Educate yourself and your family on the most common causes of house fires and encourage smart, safe practices in your home to reduce the likelihood of a human-caused fire.

Learn about things you can do, right now, to reduce the fire risk in your home.

Purchase at least one fire extinguisher for your home (and keep it where it’s easily accessible and most likely to be used). For example, in the kitchen. If you have a two-story home, you should have at least one on each level.

Consider purchasing each member of your family an emergency smoke hood like this one, which is American certified by the Safety Equipment Institute.

For more tips and tricks to help you keep your home safe and family safe, visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com.

Repairing Water Damage Yourself Can Cost You Later

Facing water damage in your home can be overwhelming and scary. Dollar signs start flashing in your mind, and you imagine the worst possible scenario. It can be tempting to save a few dollars by trying to repair water damage yourself. But be warned, that can cost you later.

The average person doesn’t realize how extensive water damage can be. You may see discoloration, staining, and standing water on the surface. Nine times out of ten, unless your home is made of some impermeable material, the water has traveled deeper and further than you’d probably expect. Getting it out without causing more problems takes skill and the right equipment.

Lack of Proper Equipment

You may think you can get that water up and out of your floor with a carpet cleaner or a few fans set on high, but if the water sat for any length of time, it probably wouldn’t be enough. Subfloor material can suck up moisture and hold it, most subfloors are plyboard, after all. And if you happen to have particle board, look out. That stuff is a sponge! Let’s hope you don’t.

Regardless of what your subfloors are made of, our equipment is designed to get moisture out as quickly and thoroughly as possible. And it’s much more powerful than the typical household fan. Combine our specialized equipment and seasoned expertise, and you’re looking at a much more streamlined and effective cleanup and restoration. Plus, we can help you save time and money by telling you what can be saved and what (if anything) can’t be.

Warm Air = Fungus

Sometimes we see well-meaning people trying to use a bit of heat with their fans to try and get moisture out. The logic probably goes something like blow dryer = dry hair. Warm air blowing around = dry floor. Unfortunately for those folks, warm air combined with moisture can actually encourage fungus. Nobody wants to create a mold problem in their home. Yuck!

The professional equipment and process we use don’t encourage mold growth. Instead, the combo of tools and technique allow us to rid your home of excess moisture quickly and with no ‘collateral damage’ like fungus or mildew.

No Liability

L-I-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y… not a word you want to be on the wrong end of. If you “clean” and restore your water damaged home yourself, no one is on the hook if something goes wrong. Except you. That means if you inadvertently create a mold or mildew problem, you get to deal with it at your own expense.

We do our job right the first time; it’s part of our commitment to service. We like to think all other mitigators do too. If you work with a professional mitigation company, they should be liable in the case of an incorrect or incomplete cleanup and restoration. That’s peace of mind you just don’t get doing it yourself.

Want to learn more about flood, fire, and mold mitigation? We know you do! Visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com for more articles like this and to read up on home safety, disaster prep, and more.

Your Pocket Guide to Itemizing Valuables

Itemizing valuables can be done in different ways. You can make a numbered list with as many details as you can think of and take pictures of each item. Or you could create a video as you walk around your house and explain what you’re looking at. Both of these methods work well; it’s just a personal preference as to what works best for you. The key is, pick the one you will actually DO.

We would recommend either a list and pictures (keyword: and) or a video. Why not just a handwritten list? Because photos and videos act as documented proof in when you don’t have receipts. Regardless of if you choose to document your possessions with a list & photos or video, follow our guide to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Items to Include in Your Home Inventory

Art and collectibles
Jewelry
Antiques
Electronics
Appliances
Clothing and heirlooms
Indoor and outdoor furniture
Sport and exercise equipment
Expensive or custom fixtures
Power and hand tools
Inoperable vehicles (like a “project car”)
Garden and yard (established plants & trees, outbuildings, equipment, etc.)
Your medicine and dosages
Keep an updated list of your current medication with dosage instructions and RX #’s so you can get a refill right away in an emergency situation. Your medication list can be separate from the other inventory, for example, as a handwritten note. However, store it with your main inventory so you can grab everything quickly if you need to.

Important Details to Include in Your Home Inventory

What each item is – Even if it’s common (like a TV) and you’re videotaping, say something like “Here’s our living room TV.”
The make and model – The best way to get this info is to look on the item itself and write it down or take a photo. Most electronics will have the make & model listed somewhere on the body of the product, usually on the back. It could be a sticker or embossed into the metal or plastic.
When you bought or received it – This is particularly important for electronics.
Any additions or upgrades you’ve made – Let’s say you have a home entertainment system and you’ve added speakers, a receiver a subwoofer or all three. This is all critical information you want to mention so that the insurance company knows it wasn’t just a basic setup.
Guess how most people spend the first few weeks after a disaster? Trying to remember and note every important possession they’ve lost. As if coming home to a severely damaged or totally leveled home wasn’t bad enough. Now you get to wrack your brain to make a list for your insurance company. Let’s avoid that scenario altogether. Hopefully, none of you will ever need this itemized record of your possessions. But if you do, you’re going to be relieved to have it already done.

Stop by our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com to learn more about disaster preparation, smart tech for the home, and flood, fire, and mold mitigation.

5 Things You Need to Understand About Mold

Three words you never want to hear from an inspector: You’ve got mold. Those three short words can strike fear into the heart of any homeowner and send you into a tailspin of worry if you don’t know what you’re up against. That ends today.

5 Things You Need to Know

#1 Mold is literally everywhere.

Yuck. You read that right! Spores are everywhere. Inside, outside, on your clothes, on your dog. The spores are microscopic and float in the air until they land on something and stick.

Sometimes they get into your home from outside via an open window or your AC unit. Other times, they grow and thrive inside your home in places where moisture accumulates. This is a little uncomfortable to think about, but it’s also normal. Mold is a fact of life, and it doesn’t always equal trouble.

#2 Mold can produce a strong odor. But not always.

Many of us think we’d know if we have a mold issue because we’d smell it. That’s partially true. Mold can produce a pretty intense odor, but that’s usually once the problem is more significant.

Since mold is attracted to moisture, bathrooms tend to be a magnet for it. However, there are a lot of other scents in the bathroom, and sometimes, if you aren’t very sensitive, you can miss it. Shower soaps, body washes, perfume, and air fresheners can all mask the musky odor of mold.

#3 If you don’t address moisture, mold will hang around.

If you find mold and try to eradicate it (for example, by washing with bleach), but you don’t address the moisture problem that allowed it to colonize in the first place, chances are the mold will return. Mold and moisture are like two peas in a pod. If you have water droplets in the air and not enough ventilation, eventually, you’re going to get mold.

#4 Too much humidity inside can encourage mold.

Your bathroom isn’t the only place in your home that has the potential. Anywhere in your home can become a hotspot if the humidity in your air is too high. But you also don’t want it too dry, that’s not good either. Generally, the experts say you should keep the humidity between 30-50% in the warm months and between 30-40% in the winter to avoid condensation.

#5 Mold can cause big problems.

Mold can do more than bring allergens and irritants into your home. It can also damage furniture, building materials, and, in extreme cases, even the structure of your house. This is because as it grows, it’s digesting particles of whatever it’s growing on. Whether that’s your favorite wicker chair or your bathroom ceiling. All the more reason to watch for signs, treat any you find right away, and control moisture levels in your home.

Visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com to learn more about common household hazards and how you can prevent them, preparing for natural disasters, and things you didn’t know about flood, fire, and mold mitigation.

Be on the Lookout for these 3 Signs of Mold

No one wants to find out that there’s mold in their house. But in many ways, it’s just a fact of life. Mold spores exist all around us. They’re on our clothes and shoes, floating in the air, and many other places. We’re constantly exposed. So it’s natural that some ends up in our home. The key is to know what to look for and act fast if you uncover a problem. Read on for three signs of mold you should be aware of.

#1 Discolored Nooks & Crannies

You’d think if people saw mold they would get rid of it right away. And they probably would, if they knew what they were looking at was mold. Unfortunately, not all mold presents as you’d expect. Sometimes it’s as simple as a little crack or crevice in the corner of your bathroom baseboard that appears to be gathering dust. Only it isn’t dust… it’s mold beginning to accumulate.

If you see some gray, brown, or even reddish looking buildup in your home, it could be mold. Err on the side of caution and wipe it down with distilled white vinegar.

#2 Sweet & Musky Scent

The good thing about a mold problem is it will usually give itself away with a strong, unmistakable scent. The bad thing is, by the time you smell it, it’s usually pretty advanced.

If you have a room or spot in your house that continually smells musty, there’s a good chance you have mold. You can try following the scent and see if you can find where it’s strongest.

If you can’t see any signs of mold (or discoloration as mentioned above), it could be inside the walls. At that point, some people stop looking, assume they just need to crack a window and forget all about it. What you should actually do is call up an inspector and have them check for you. The pros can usually do an air test and tell you definitively whether or not you have a problem.

#3 Condensation

In the 21st century, condensation is part of our daily life. In a bathroom without enough ventilation, condensation can run down the walls after a steamy shower. Cooking on a cool night can fog up cold windows. Drying laundry inside can fill the air with moisture.

Control condensation and reduce opportunities for mold growth with simple habits. If you have a window in the bathroom, leave it open at least a few inches when you bathe and for a few hours after. Crack the windows when you cook so the warm, moist air has somewhere to go. If you don’t have an exhaust fan in your laundry area, consider adding one complete with a ventilation duct to take the air up and out through the roof when the dryer is in use.

Now that you know what sign to look for, here’s five things you should understand about mold and how it can affect your home.

Learn more about flood, fire, and mold mitigation and how you can be a proactive homeowner when you visit our blog at https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com.

Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent after a Flood or Fire

Your mind is understandably scattered after natural disaster rips through your property. We’d like to help take some of the headache out of your next steps with a short list of questions you’ll want to ask your insurance agent after a flood or fire damages your home.

What does my policy cover?

First things first, you need to find out what your policy covers. Asking for a printed copy of the policy details is always a good idea, but it’s also nice to speak with your agent one on one and have them review your coverage with you. That way you can ask questions about anything you don’t understand and clarify any industry terms or policy language that might seem unclear.

How quickly can I begin work to restore my house?

Before you clean, teardown or repair anything on your own, you should find out if it’s ok to start the process and how quickly you can get started, if it’s not right away. Some insurance companies will let you get started; for example, pulling up damaged carpeting, but they will usually ask you to hold on to a certain amount of carpet and padding to verify the level of damage. Most of the time there are guidelines to what you can and can’t do right away, and you’ll want to make sure you follow them.

Do I need to wait to have an insurance adjuster inspect my property before I can hire a mitigation company?

Many companies will allow you to work directly with a well-regarded mitigation company right away; others prefer to send out an adjuster to inspect the property before anything else is done. If you have your insurance agent on the phone, it’s worth asking if you can go ahead and hire a mitigator asap or if you need to wait until they’ve looked at the damage themselves.

If you’re working with a company like ours, you can let your agent know we can and will communicate with them directly to make sure they have everything they need to process the claim quickly.

Does my policy cover temporary housing?

If your home is significantly damaged, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to stay in it while it’s being cleaned and repaired. Making sure you have temporary housing coverage (and finding out the details) can help take some stress out of wondering where you are going to stay while the experts restore your home.

How long will it take to wrap up my claim and get my house back to pre-loss condition?

A standard insurance claim process takes about 30-days from the time you file for claim processing and approval. Some companies can move a bit faster, others a bit slower. Cleaning, repairs, and restoration time varies depending on the extent of damage. Asking what you can expect at the beginning of the claim and mitigation process can help you understand all the “next steps” and get an idea of when you’ll be back in your home for good.

Have additional questions about the flood and fire mitigation process or how we work with your insurance provider? Contact us today at 703-665-1129, and we’ll do our best to address any lingering concerns and put your mind at ease.

How to Choose a Fire Mitigation Company

If a fire has recently damaged your home and you’re struggling to figure out what’s next, this article is for you. Chances are you haven’t had to choose a fire mitigation company to work on your home before, and that’s ok. We’re going to share with you what you should be looking for so you can make a smart decision.

Before you choose a fire mitigation company to work on your home ask…

How long have they been in business?

Everyone gets a start somewhere. However, knowing how long a mitigation company or provider has been in service can tell you a few things. If they’ve been around for many years, chances are they do good work (and that’s how they stay in business). If they are new to mitigation it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just make sure they work with or partner with someone more experienced.

Are they certified?

Certified restoration specialists are well trained and follow strict practices and guidelines to keep your home and property safe and secure while they mitigate damage and restore your house. They are also held to a set of standards meant to ensure your home is restored to pre-loss condition, not just “good enough.”

Do they have positive reviews from previous clients?

Reviews are the modern equivalent of referrals. They’re the next best thing to getting a word-of-mouth recommendation. Make sure you read the company’s reviews and, if possible, read about what they do to ensure you will have a good experience. For example, all the mitigators we work with must have a minimum of ⅘ stars for their overall review score.

How quickly do they respond to questions?

It’s always important for a service provider to reply to messages in a timely fashion. Even more so when you’re in a panic and worried about the state of your home after a fire. Choose a mitigation company that is not only available but also communicative and responsive when you reach out. If a company isn’t quick to respond when they’re still trying to earn your business, imagine how they’ll be when they already have it.

Will they work with your insurance company?

A big part of our industry is working directly with insurance companies to make sure the property and homeowner are well cared for throughout the mitigation and restoration process. The last thing you want to do is work with a mitigator who won’t communicate with your insurance agent – that can be a huge nightmare for you and could lead to unforeseen or non-covered costs.

Not only do we work directly with homeowners, but we will also communicate with your insurance provider throughout the process to make sure they have everything they need to resolve your claim quickly and get your home back to pre-loss condition as soon as possible.

Visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com to learn more about fire, water, and mold mitigation as well as industry news and tips for keeping your home safe and protected.

5 Flood Survival Must-Haves

There’s never a convenient time for awful weather to strike and it’s tough to navigate the days after a major disaster regardless of how many times you’ve experienced one. For those of us who live in an area where flooding and flash flooding is commonplace, being prepared and keeping a kit stocked and ready can offer peace of mind, even if we can’t control the weather. Read on for five things that should definitely be in your flood survival kit.

5 Flood Survival Must-Haves

Airtight Food and Water

Warm Clothes and Bedding

Fire Starter

First Aid Kit

Essential Tool Kit

Airtight Food and Water

It’s not enough to throw some bottled water and dried food in a corner. You need to make sure your water and food supplies are kept clean and dry in case water breaches your storage area.

Food options that stand the test of time and tend to hold up well include Meals Ready to Eat, freeze dried fruits and veggies, jerky, canned meats, and plain granola bars. Having clean, fresh water on hand is also a good idea. Packing some water purification tablets along with the ready-to-consume water can help stretch your supply and will take up a fraction of the space.

Warm Clothes and Bedding

Many times we overestimate what we can accomplish in a few minutes. But sometimes, that’s all the time you have. Instead of hoping you will have a chance to gather up your bedding and clothes, pre-pack some warm, clean items and vacuum seal them so they’ll be ready when you need them most. Space blankets can be a great alternative in a pinch, and they don’t absorb water. The bonus is now you might have time to grab some valuables and important documents instead!

Fire Starter

Light and heat are a good thing. Make sure you have both by packing some waterproof matches. A lantern and enough headlamps or flashlights for everyone in the family isn’t a bad idea either.

First Aid Kit

You had to see that one coming. Every household should have an emergency kit. Make sure it’s fully stocked and hasn’t been picked over for burn gel and band-aids…

Essential Tool Kit

You probably have a regular tool box full of all kinds of things for keeping a home in working order. An essential tool kit doesn’t require as much. Some good things to have packed and ready include a multitool, foldable shovel, duct tape, rope, plastic bags, a can opener, and a radio – hand crank preferred.

Stay safe and informed. Visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com to learn about flood, fire, and mold mitigation, disaster preparation, industry news, and more.

5 Smells In Your House You Don’t Want to Ignore

Scent is a powerful trigger that can either fill us with joy or send us running for the hills, and it doesn’t take a natural disaster to cause seriously stinky issues. Often the biggest headaches we face in our home are the result of ignoring little hints for too long. Here are five fairly common household scents you don’t want to ignore because they can be your first sign of a serious problem.

Smoke

Unless you’ve just sent a grilled cheese sandwich up in flames, smelling smoke in your house can be instantly alarming. Usually, people have one of two reactions; there’s a lot of smoke smell, and we look for the source until we find it. That’s the safest course of action. But sometimes, there isn’t a lot of smoke smell. Instead, we get a little whiff of something smokey and then it goes away. Maybe we smell it again later or every now and then, yet we ignore it because it’s gone just as fast as it came. That’s the wrong decision.

If you smell something smokey from time to time and you aren’t burning your dinner, it could mean trouble. Be on the lookout for a light fixture, appliance, or other electronic items that may be short-circuiting and causing intermittent smoke. It’s much better to catch it early and prevent significant damage (or, heaven forbid, a bonafide house fire).

Mustiness

Musty smells are the great equalizer. Even the tidiest homes can have the occasional musty odor, hence the success of Febreeze. But if your house frequently smells a bit musty and opening the doors and windows for a bit doesn’t air it out, you might have a leaky pipe or standing water somewhere. Good places to start looking are the garage (you’d be surprised how far musty smells can travel), the attic and the basement or crawlspace.

Gas

Barring the occasional “whoopsie” when the stove is on but the pilot light didn’t engage, there’s no Ifs, Ands, or Buts about it; if you smell gas, grab your kids and pets and get out of the house on foot. Don’t turn on or off any appliances. Don’t turn on your car in the garage. Just get out. Once you’re outside, call your gas company and report the smell. Always use an abundance of caution when it comes to gas smells, it’s so much better to be safe than sorry.

Bathroom Odor

It might sound comical to think of bathroom “odors” being a big deal (we’ve all got that one family member…), nevertheless it really can signal a problem. If your restrooms are clean and there are no apparent signs of an issue, yet you still smell a strong bathroom odor, it could be a sewer gas leak or a sewer line leak. If you can’t find the source of the smell with a little DIY investigation, we recommend you call a plumber.

Pet Odors (when you don’t have a pet)

Walking down a hallway in America it’s not uncommon to get a whiff of Eau de Dog, after all, 60% of Americans have a pet in their home. The trouble is when you smell pet odors, and you don’t have a pet. If you’re wandering around your house and you suddenly smell dirty dog, you might have a pest problem. Rats, raccoons, squirrels and other rodents can create very similar smells when they burrow and defecate in your space. Getting an expert to check your property for these unwelcome guests at the first sign of trouble might save you from a repair bill down the line. Rodents are known to gnaw on electrical wires and structural materials.

Want more articles like this one? Visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com to learn about flood, fire, and mold mitigation, keeping your home safe and protected, and more.

How Insurance Agents and Mitigation Companies Work Together to Restore Your Home after a Disaster

After a fire or flood damages your home, your first reaction is probably to get on the phone and call your homeowners insurance company. Once you contact them and file a claim, you might be wondering what’s next.

Whatever you do – do not begin the cleanup process yourself. It can be dangerous and interfere with the claim process. The insurance company wants to be able to assess the total damage and document it. You can help by taking photos of the damage (if it’s safe). Otherwise, leave it to the pros.

What happens after you file your flood or fire damage claim

Once you reach out to your insurance agent and file a claim, the insurance company has a certain amount of time to respond to it, usually 30 days. During those 30 days, they’ll be reviewing whatever information and data they get from you as well as external sources to help them analyze the claim. They’ll also review your coverage and select the best path forward.

Typically, your insurance company will reach out to us directly, and we’ll visit the property to assess the damage and create a plan for cleanup and restoration. Unlike most other mitigation companies, we offer flat rates which can help expedite the claim and cleanup process.

If you’re curious to know more about the step by step process of fire and flood cleanup and restoration, check out our short guide Understanding Flood and Fire Mitigation http://www.umpiremitigation.com/understanding-the-flood-and-fire-mitigation-process.

Restoration begins after your insurance company gives us the green light

After we’ve assessed the damage for your insurance company and submitted our plans, we get to work with the actual cleanup and restoration.

We begin with preventing further damage to the property by closing off any points of entry for the elements like broken windows and holes in the roof. Once we’ve secured the building, we can begin dealing with any standing water, excess moisture, smoke or soot damage.

As soon as the initial stages of cleanup are complete, we can tackle any structural damage. Lastly, we’ll repair cosmetic damage and restore creature comforts like drywall, paint, carpets, fixtures, and so forth.

Throughout the process, our expert mitigators stay in touch with your insurance rep and make sure they have everything they need from us to process the claim quickly and get you back into your home or business as fast as possible.

You do have the option of contacting us first if you prefer https://www.umpiremitigation.com. If you do, we can handle the claim process and subsequent back & forth communication with the insurance company on your behalf.

Understanding the Flood and Fire Mitigation Process

After a fire or flood, homeowners are left wondering what they have to do to get their home back in working order and who will help them. The last thing you need is more stress. This short guide will help you understand the flood and fire mitigation process and what steps you can take to restore your home back to its former glory.

So your home has fire or flood damage. Now what?

The first step to getting your house back to order is reaching out to our team directly or to your property insurance agent. If you reach out to us first, we can answer any mitigation questions you may have and coordinate with your agent so we can bill your insurance directly.

Once you or your insurance agent has requested a service call, we will send out a team of restoration experts to assess the damage. This allows us to determine what the extent of the damage is and if we’ll need any specialized tools or equipment to repair and restore the property. After we’ve assessed the damage and have a plan for restoring the property, we connect with your insurance company (or you if you’re dealing directly with us) and discuss the timeline for completion.

After the inspection, we get to work.

Step 1. Depending on the extent of the damage, we may have to secure the home before we begin the actual restoration process. In the industry, it’s referred to as “boarding up” because in some cases (like a raging fire) we literally have to board up broken doors and windows. The idea is to keep out anything or anyone who may cause additional damage to the already compromised structure.

Step 2. The next step is the same whether we’re dealing with flood damage or fire damage – we start with water cleanup. It might sound funny to associate water cleanup with a fire, but if you think about it, anytime a fire crew is called out to battle a blaze, they douse the burning structure in water. And usually a lot of it.

If it is a fire we’re dealing with, once we remove any standing water and excess moisture, we can begin to address the more direct outcomes of the fire like smoke and soot damage. After we’ve cleaned up the smoke smell and soot, we can get started restoring the property.

If it’s a flood, the process is similar – water damage mitigation. We jump right in and deal with the most immediate problems first (standing water and moisture). Once we have effectively stopped any ongoing damage, we can move on to the restoration stages.

Step 3. Once the moisture, smoke, and soot damage is dealt with, we begin removing debris and repairing structural issues.

Step 4. After the debris are removed and structural repairs have been made, we begin restoring your home and recreating its original feel by making cosmetic repairs. There’s a lot that falls under the umbrella of “cosmetic,” but some examples of more common repairs would be replacing drywall, paint, flooring, and fixtures.

This last step is equally as important as the structural repair stage, and we take it very seriously. Cosmetic repair is a big part of what allows people to return to their home or business with some sense of normalcy and relief. It makes your property look more like you remember, and that’s priceless after a disaster.

Do you have specific questions about fire or flood damage to your home or business? Contact our team today https://www.umpiremitigation.com, and we’ll answer your questions and do everything we can to help you get your property back to normal.

Are Small Leaks a Big Problem?

We all know that stormy weather and floods can wreak havoc on our homes. But few people recognize the damage a small leak can do over time. Today, by reading this article, you’re going to become one of the 10% (we’re just guessing) that understands how even little leaks can become a big problem and what causes them.

How do little leaks create big problems?

There are a few reasons leaks get out of hand. Sometimes, the leak is so intermittent or insignificant that you just don’t notice it until it’s too late. Other times you know you’ve got a leak, but you figure its small enough that you don’t have to worry, at least not right away. Then you find out you’re wrong when damage seemingly appears overnight. Occasionally, people know they have one water-related issue or another (like knocking pipes) yet don’t realize that they also have a leak because it’s hidden behind a wall or under their house. In that instance, the leaks can go undetected for years.

Any time a leak exists is time that it has to damage your home. Water may take the path of least resistance, but it can still break down organic material. If you’re like most people, your home is made primarily of wood and cement, and leaks are not your friend.

What Causes Leaks in the Average Home?

Water Pressure

Turning on the faucet and enjoying instant water is a pleasure, which comes at a price. All those pipes and fittings throughout your home are under constant pressure. Water pressure from the street to your home can fluctuate, which is why many homes built today have what’s called a pressure regulator where the public water connects to the property.

If you don’t have a pressure regulating valve, or if it’s broken, the pressure of the water coming into your house can fluctuate. If it tends to run on the high side, which is anything over 80 psi, then you can run into problems. The high pressure creates extra stress on your pipes and fixtures, and over time can cause leaks to spring up.

Faulty or Worn Out Materials

Polybutylene is a type of plastic that was used for residential piping from about 1978 through 1995. It was cheap and easy to install, and because of that, it got a lot of play. Unfortunately, polybutylene is sensitive to the oxidants in public water (like chlorine). As the year’s pass, the fittings can become brittle, and the whole system can begin to fracture and leak.

Though most of the materials used for household plumbing fare much better than polybutylene, they can still become tired and weak after decades of use. Supply lines (bringing water to your house) typically last anywhere from 20-50 years for galvanized steel, 50+ years for copper, and 40-70 years for brass. That’s a long time, but it’s not forever.

Temperature Fluctuations

When the temperature drops, unprotected pipes can crack or burst. But you probably already knew that. What you may not think about is, your pipes are constantly contracting and expanding to accommodate your hot and cold water needs. They are made to tolerate the use, but it still takes a toll.

Can’t get enough information about keeping your home safe and efficient? Visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com for more articles like this and to learn about flood and fire mitigation.

3 Things You Can Do Today to Reduce Your Fire Risk

No one wants to imagine that there’s danger lurking all throughout their home, but often there is. And while many of us will never have to deal with the worst-case-scenarios, that doesn’t mean the risk isn’t real. To help you protect your home and family, we’ve compiled a list of three common fire safety issues in the typical American household and how you can correct them.

3 Surprising Fire Hazards That Are Probably in Your Home

Clothes Dryer Lint Traps
Old Smoke Alarms
Cluttered Kitchen Counters

Clothes Dryer Lint Trap

It might be strange to think about, but dryers actually present a very real fire hazard. For example, the little vent that is responsible collecting lint from clothes as they tumble dry can easily become overburdened. Little bits and pieces of fluff float down and around the screen and out of sight. Worse than even free-floating lint is a sheet of the fluffy stuff quickly accumulating on the screen itself, which is definitely happening if you’re one of the many people who only cleans the screen periodically. But we’re not here to point fingers.

Believe it or not, that lint can act like fluffy kindling and ignite under the right conditions. You can easily prevent this from happening by cleaning the dryer screen and the area around it after every load. It’s also a good idea to check your external dryer vent for lint. What isn’t trapped within the machine clogs up the exhaust and can be just as dangerous.

Old Smoke Alarms

Do you know when your smoke detectors were installed? When was the last time you checked the batteries in each unit? Some of us are lucky; we’re masters at burning toast and know without a doubt that our smoke alarms work. Others go on with their busy lives and disregard these quiet little safety controls operating in the background. But this is a massive mistake. Smoke detectors aren’t meant to be forgotten. The average life expectancy for a smoke alarm is only 8-10 years.

Take a moment after you read this article to test all the smoke alarms in your house. Even if they’re newer. Once you’ve established that they work (or that they don’t), go to your favorite calendar and choose a day next month that you’re going to test them again. Repeat indefinitely, replace as needed.

Cluttered Kitchen Counters

There’s a classic fire scene that plays out in cinema year after year – the dreaded rag catching fire on the stove. It seems so silly and far-fetched, but it actually happens more than you’d think. It’s not always a rag; sometimes it’s a paper towel or a magazine or a food wrapper. Anything that’s dry (or can dry out when exposed to heat) and ends up near your stove, hot plate, or any other kitchen appliance that heats up, is a potential fire starter. Even dry noodles and plastic can catch fire. It’s a jungle out there.

Avoid kitchen fires by keeping your counters free of unnecessary clutter and small appliances. It may seem harmless, but the less space you have to work, the more likely it is that you’ll set something in a less than ideal place. While you’re cooking, it’s also a good practice to periodically pause and scan the counters for anything flammable that’s close to a heat source.

For more tips and tricks to help you keep your home safe and efficient and to learn about flood and fire mitigation, visit our blog https://www.blog.umpiremitigation.com