Just last week SERVPRO of Coeur d"Alene received a call from Mrs. homeowner who had a dishwasher malfunction on the main level. She was told to by her insurance provider to call us to inspect the damage. The water proceeded to obey the laws of gravity and went into the basement below affecting the drywall ceiling and a small amount of flooring. She had laminate flooring in the kitchen on the main level. SERVPRO arranged to come by after 5:00 PM when she was home from work. Enter Mr. homeowner on stage left. The following conversation followed the lines of "well I don't really see that much damage," and "I don"t want to pay a deductible". SERVPRO stressed that our visit, even on after hours time, was FREE of charge. In the end, SERVPRO was not allowed to look at the loss. So what next? It is a fact that before the sub floor under the laminate in the kitchen dries, there will be mold growth. It is highly likely that there will be mold growth on the back side of the ceiling drywall in the basement and walls behind the main level kitchen cabinets before it dries. At this point, any material removed by a mitigation company would result in full replacement. If we had to pull any laminate flooring in the kitchen, all the corresponding laminate in the kitchen/dining room, and living room would be replaced to match. Any drywall removal would result in new drywall, texture, and painting of all the affected area. All affected materials left in place would be dried to eliminate the chance for mold growth. So, two weeks down the road, maybe something starts to smell. If SERVPRO is called back, the loss then is considered not sudden and catastrophic as the homeowners decided not to take action. There is a very high probability of absolutely no coverage at all at this point and the homeowner is stuck with paying out of pocket, or permanent home damage. In addition, SERVPRO documents the drying process, keeps all photos and drying logs in a file, and leaves the homeowner with drying documentation. Now, when the home is sold and water damage has to be disclosed, the potential buyers can see it was handled professionally and the sale can proceed. Remember, free is free, let SERVPRO at least help you determine your best options.
What is dry?
It is amazing how many people become "drying experts" when a water loss happens. Contractors will tell a water mitigation company what is wet and dry, home owners will let a mitigation company know that there is no water in this room, and commercial building owners afraid to infringe on a tenant will inform the mitigation company that the water definitely did not affect the space on the other side of the wet wall. Fortunately, mitigation companies like SERVPRO have a variety of gauges and tools at their disposal. As a SERVPRO owner, I have had employees tell me "that looks dry", or this "seemed to be dry." There is no "looks' or "seems" when it comes to being dry. Dry is dry. Now, the actual dry standard may be different in various places of the home, say like a basement vs. an upstairs area, but dry is still dry.
"Mrs. Smith, would you please allow me to check the closet on the other side of this wall just in case?". This scenario happens quite a bit and it is amazing how many times a homeowner is shocked as to how far the water ran. Failure to be thorough in the initial investigation can result in many long term issues.
A healthy sense of curiosity needs to be in every water mitigation person. Permission to find the "edge" of the water migration needs to be given to mitigation team. It is not a matter of making the job bigger than it is, it is protecting the property owner and mitigation company from future issues.
SERVPRO personnel will have multiple tools including invasive and non-invasive meters, hydro-sensors, hygrometers, and FLIR cameras to help determine the extent of the loss and monitor the progress of drying to get the property back to "dry". Just remember, "dry" can be proved, don't leave it up to chance.
A few years back SERVPRO of Coeur d'Alene was called out to a fire here in town. Upon our arrival, we discovered that the fire started in the garage and burned up into the master bathroom, master closet, and master bedroom. Gone also were two Cadillacs and everything in the garage. There was extensive smoke damage throughout the home. The husband was in the room by the garage entry door watching TV when he heard crackling noises. Upon discovering the source of the noised, he proceed to wake up his wife and they both exited safely.
The fire investigation revealed that the home owner had a refrigerator in the garage. Since it was to far away from the outlet, the homeowner proceeded to find one of those small two wire extension cords that one would use to power Christmas lights or a small lamp. The cord was to long, so the homeowner rolled it into a neat bundle an put a twist tie on it. Over time as the cord heated up, the wire from the twist tie melted into the cord insulation and well, the rest is history. Fortunately, insurance usually covers those kind of honest mistakes.
It was fortunate that the homeowners were home to discover the fire. SERVPRO was able to clean and restore most of their contents, as well as some valuable Native American artifacts. Remember to always use proper grounded and sized cords for plugging in appliances. When in doubt, bigger gauge wire is always better.
So, school is back in session and your daughter is back in her pack of girl friends. Now whether in person or over social media, there is never a lack of conversation and drama with this group. So, she runs the tub water up to the optimum temperature, puts in the drain plug, and proceeds back to her bedroom to wait out the agonizing 3 minutes that it takes for the tub to fill. All of a sudden her phone lights up with the amazing news that so-and-so may have a crush on her and, well, you know where this is headed. Thirty minutes later her younger brother wonders why there is water dripping from the light fixture over the kitchen table. Now before you spend countless hours trying to mop up water and wonder if and where the mold may grow, remember that insurance usually covers "OOPS." One call to SERVPRO may be all that you need to help you through the process. We are always here to help!