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Water Damage: 5 Important Facts

Water Damage; sometimes it can be hard to see the forest for the trees.

Likewise, when you have water damage to your home from a backed up drain, burst pipe or some other kind of flood, it can be very hard to see past the mess.

You will have a ton of questions running through you mind, not the least of which being ‘What do I do now?’

Probably the most important question that needs to be answered sooner rather than later is:

‘Will my homeowner’s or renter’s insurance cover the damage?’

It is stressful to be in these types of situations when your possessions are cover in water and your floors and carpets and walls are soaked.

However, the more you know about these kinds of problems, the better off you will be and the easier it will be for you to address the issues at hand.

Here are five things that every homeowner should know when it comes to dealing with water damage.

 

water damage restoration billings mt
water damage restoration billings mt

1. As far as your insurance goes, flood damage is much different that water damage.

To the average person, water is water. It doesn’t really matter where it originated from, it still damaged your home and it still has to be cleaned up.

However, to an insurance company, a burst pipe and water damage from a flood are two different things and are handled in two different ways.

Flood damage is NOT covered under your normal homeowner’s insurance. In fact, if you live in an area that is likely to experience flooding or is a high flood risk, you will probably have a separate insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy or NFIP.

When you first report water damage to your insurance company, make sure you specify if it is water damage or a flood so that they can adjust your claim properly.

It doesn’t do you any good to have your insurance company starting a claim for water damage only to find out later that it was actually a flood.

This will just delay your claim and confuse the issue. Be specific from the get go, and things will go much more smoothly.

 

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2. Flooding aside, not all water damage will be covered by your insurance.

Sometimes you will find things that have been excluded within your insurance policy and it is a good idea to have looked it over in advance to find out anything that you are not covered for.

Most policies will cover sudden, more catastrophic damage such as an overflowing washing machine or a bad rainstorm.

However, they may not cover things that happened over time due to a lack of maintenance.

Gradual leaks can not only cause damage over time, but they can also cause a major problem all at once if they have been left unaddressed for a period of time. In other words, if you didn’t fix your roof that has been leaking for years on end, and all of a sudden the ceiling caves in due to water damage, you may not be covered.

Lack of maintenance is not an excuse that your insurance adjuster is likely to accept.

If you have some type of gradual leak, take care of it before it is too late.

 

Water Damage Restoration
Water Damage Restoration

3. Once water damage has occurred, the longer you wait to address it, the worse it becomes.

Once you have water damage, the clock is ticking.

You just can’t wait around before starting the cleanup. Mold and mildew will start growing in as little as 24-48 hours.

Mold spores are everywhere and all they need is moisture and a source of nutrients to grow. Wet carpet and wet drywall (sheetrock) is the perfect source for that.

As a rule of thumb, you’ve got 24-48 hours to address water damage or otherwise the mold will start to grow rapidly.

Once it becomes widespread, you will most likely need the service of a professional mold remediation service to treat and remove the mold.

So basically, you have got to get the area completely dried out within that 48-hour window or you are going to have problems that can damage the health of you and you loved ones.

You can get drying equipment and many water removal companies even have a 24-hour emergency hotline so that you can start recovering your property right away.

 

4. Call your insurance company immediately. Your insurance company needs to know right away.

Call them ASAP when you discover water damage to your home.

Not only will they start the claims process right away, but they can help guide you through what needs to be done and the steps that need to be taken to keep your property from being damaged even further.

Your insurance company will also have a list of water damage restoration companies and can help direct you to the best one available in your area.

Chances are, they have worked with various companies in the past, and will know which is the best one to deal with and which will take care of your issues in the most expedient manner.

 

water damage billings mt
water damage billings mt

5. Watch out for polluted water.

The level of pollution in the damage is very important.

If you have water damage that contains contaminated water there can be severe health risks.

If you have water damage from a clean source like a broken pipe or water line, it probably won’t present a huge danger to your health.

However, if you have something like sewage backup or water from an overflowing toilet, this type of water can and will be highly contaminated and you should leave the clean up to a professional company.

The restoration team will have to use more aggressive methods the more contaminated the water is and it may mean some of your furnishing, particularly the soft ones like carpet, may have to be thrown away for safety reasons.

You don’t want to dry out carpet that was submerged in highly contaminated water and then experience health problems later on because of it.

If you have questions about how to handle water damage, fire damage, or mold related issues, contact us today.  Or, give us a call at (406)  672-3200.

 

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Supporting the Susan G. Komen foundation

Van-hoseFaithful Cleaning & Restoration proudly supports the Susan G. Komen foundation and breast cancer awareness! Everyone at Faithful has had a friend or family member affected by this horrible disease. As a symbol of our support and to raise awareness, our vans use pink vacuum hose. Many of our customers notice the bright pink hose. That brings up a great opportunity to chat about breast cancer awareness, and what they can do to help!

We can all make a difference to wipe out this horrible disease!
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Faithful Restoration

Volunteers help clean up storm-damaged home

June 19, 2010 8:04 pm • ZACH BENOIT Of The Gazette Staff

About 30 minutes was all it took on June 16 to throw the Christensen family into a squall that threatened to leave them homeless.

On Saturday, it took a crew of 20 volunteers about four hours to help them take a big step toward ensuring that doesn’t happen.

A short, violent storm blew through town Wednesday and dropped nearly an inch of rain and large hail on the area. As a result of the storm and what they say was faulty work by a contractor, the basement of the Christensen’s home, on Vista View Circle in Blue Creek, flooded with hundreds of gallons of mud and water.

“It was like a big old volcano effect and it was shooting water and mud out of a pipe,” Robin Christensen said.

Saturday morning, about 20 people pitched in to clean out the basement and much of the damage in an effort organized by Nick Lambert, owner and operator of Billings-based Faithful Cleaning Company, which provides water damage restoration services.

The concern was that the water and mud would begin to mold, making the home unlivable. The Christensens — parents Robin and Jai and kids Trey, 8; Marcus, 6; and Leeland, 3 — contacted Lambert after the storm about repairing the basement.

However, the Christensens’ insurance company probably won’t cover the damage because it said the problem was a contractor’s fault.

The family believes the flooding happened because a contractor who worked on the house — which the Christensens moved into last August — didn’t properly compact the ground around a pipe leading from the home’s cistern. A pipe leading into the home’s basement wasn’t sealed, Robin Christensen said, and allowed the water and mud to flow in.

“I started to leave after talking to them and thought, ‘You know, there is something I can do,’” Lambert said. “I saw a family that was in need and they obviously didn’t have the funds to hire me or anybody else, even at a discounted rate.”

He asked the Christensens if he could organize a volunteer cleanup for Saturday and, after getting their blessing, started getting the word out. With a crew of about 20 people, they removed at least 100 5-gallon buckets of mud — 13 inches deep in some places — from the basement along with several hundred gallons of water using only shovels, buckets and manpower.

“We had a big, huge assembly line,” she said.

They also had to haul out, and throw away, most of the personal belongings in the basement, including the kids’ beds, toy boxes, bookcases and furniture — all of which was loaded into the back of a large truck Saturday to take to the county landfill.

Lambert estimated the cleanup efforts would have taken two or three weeks had he been hired for it, and without the volunteers, and would have cost between $15,000 and $18,000.

Robin Christensen said it couldn’t have happened without Saturday’s volunteers. While the unfinished basement now sits empty, the family hopes to be able to start replacing the basics — mainly the boys’ beds and bedrooms — within the next few weeks.

“We went from having a family that essentially thought it could be homeless soon to being able to have their house and being able to live there again,” Lambert said.

Read more on The Billings Gazette

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Entrepreneurs: Cleaning service thrives in recession

April 26, 2009 12:00 am  • 

There hasn’t been much good to say about the recession, although people seem to be taking care of their stuff better.

At least that’s been Nicholas Lambert’s experience. He runs Faithful Cleaning, a company that specializes in cleaning carpets, fine rugs and upholstery.

“It seems like some people are not buying new carpet and furniture. Instead, they’re paying to have it cleaned, hoping to make it last until the economy eases up and they feel OK about replacing it,” Lambert said.

He has also noticed that people have been comparing prices more assertively.

“We get a lot more price shoppers than we used to,” he said. “They seem like they’re not so much interested in quality as in price.”

That has forced him to do a better job of explaining his service and emphasizing his experience.

“Some people can do it cheaper than we can,” he said. “But, I think people understand, on some level, that you get what you pay for, and we’ve had to work a little harder making sure people understand the level of what we’re offering.”

Faithful Cleaning can be reached at 672-3200. Here’s what else Lambert had to say about starting and running his own business.

Nature of the business?

We provide professional textile cleaning throughout your home. We clean carpet, upholstery, tile and grout and fine rugs. We also do water damage and other restoration.

Why start this business?

I am a clean freak. I try to keep things neat and tidy. I thought that because I enjoy cleaning so much, why not do it for a living? I started out cleaning houses and offices, and eventually got into textile cleaning. I wanted to be more than just a cleaning company to my clients. I wanted to be the type of owner that builds a relationship with people. I like to talk to my clients, and get to know them and their families. Most of my clients know me and trust me. It has been a great part of our success. Most of our work comes through referrals from my clients that I have built a friendship with.

Where did startup funding come from?

Personal savings.

How long have you been in business?

Almost four years.

Biggest challenges in running the business?

Finding the right marketing niche that will make our company successful.

What was done to overcome those challenges?

We were at the Spring Home Improvement Show this past March. We plan to be at the Fall Home Improvement Show as well. We have a great referral program that rewards our clients for telling their friends about us. We started a Web site and also are advertising in the phone books.

Your best business decisions?

Not being a company that “does it all.” I have only been in business four years, but I have seen many companies start up and quickly go out of business. Too many companies rush out and buy every piece of equipment they need, just so they are able to offer a larger selection of services to their clients. They have too high of an overhead and never make it. I decided early on to stick with a few services that I am really good at and leave the more difficult stuff to other experts. I am not the type of person who pretends to know it all. If I don’t feel comfortable performing a service for a client, I refer another company here in town that can get it done and do it right.

Your worst business mistake?

Every time I have done something wrong, or something that sets me back, I chalk it up to experience. I have learned so much from making mistakes. You just push on and hope to God you don’t make the same mistake twice.

What is being done to expand the business?

We are getting ready to start an aggressive marketing plan that will get our company’s name out in front of people. Also by continuing our education through the IICRC, we will be able to offer more services to our clients.

What advice do you have for someone running a business?

Always be honest with your clients and yourself. Set realistic goals and work hard to achieve them. Always have faith that things will work out, even when they seem impossible.

Number of workers?

I have none right now, although I am very thankful for my wife and all the hard work she does helping me with promoting our business.

What’s your five-year plan for the business?

We would like to add a couple of employees and continue to offer the highest quality of service possible. We want Faithful Cleaning Co. to become a local household name.

A question you would ask other entrepreneurs?

Do you really love what you do? If your heart isn’t in it, you won’t go far.

If you weren’t doing what you are now, what would be your dream job?

I have always wanted to be a musician or the general manager of a professional football team.

Read more at The Billings Gazette