Recent Posts

Is Water Damage Covered Under My Homeowners Insurance Policy?

3/16/2023 (Permalink)

insurance claim paper Water damage is common, make sure to have the right homeowner insurance.

Water damage can be a stressful and expensive experience. If your home was damaged by water, you may be wondering if your homeowner's insurance policy covers the cost of repairing the damage. Here, we'll take a look at how water damage is covered by home insurance policies and how to protect yourself from this risk in the future.

Is Water Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Most homeowners insurance policies will cover water damage to your home, but not all of them do. And even if your policy does cover it, that doesn't mean you're off the hook for paying out-of-pocket expenses.

The first thing to know is that there are two types of water damage: external and internal. External means rain or snow coming through the roof; internal means a burst pipe or leaky faucet somewhere inside your house.

The answer to this question depends on three main factors: your policy type, where the water damage originated from, and whether it was accidental or wear-and-tear.

What is your Policy Type?

If your policy is a standard one, then you may be covered. A standard homeowner's insurance policy is designed to cover losses from water damage, fire, theft, and other perils that are common to most homes. If you have a named peril policy or an umbrella policy, there are certain exclusions that apply which could mean that water damage is/isn't covered under these types of policies either. At the end of the day, coverage depends on your policy type. Understanding your policy and its coverage is important in order to be prepared for unexpected losses.

Where did the Water Damage Originate from?

If you're wondering whether your homeowner's insurance policy covers water damage, the next question to ask yourself is: where did the water damage originate from? In other words, was it caused by a storm or natural disaster or by a burst or leaking pipe?

If you are dealing with water damage from a burst pipe or a leaking appliance, then this is likely covered by your homeowner's insurance. However, if the source of the water loss is a flood--then there's no guarantee that your insurer will cover any repairs needed as a result of this type of incident.

Was it Accidental or Wear-and-Tear?

The difference between accidental and wear-and-tear water damage is in the cause. Accidental damage happens when a sudden, unexpected event like a burst pipe or an appliance leak causes water damage. Wear-and-tear water damage occurs because of gradual deterioration to your property's structure or foundation over time, such as cracks in the walls or foundation, or leaks that go untouched for extended periods of time.

Water damage is a common problem and one that can be very expensive to fix. If you have water damage, your home insurance will most likely cover it, but there are exceptions. You should always check with your agent when buying homeowners insurance.

What are the 3 Categories of Water Damage?

2/13/2023 (Permalink)

Standing water in a small room. Many people don't know all three categories of water damage that are commonly found in homes and businesses after an unexpected flood or leak happens.

When someone experiences water damage, it can be a significant inconvenience. The clean-up process is often expensive and time-consuming, which can make water damage feel overwhelming. To make matters worse, many people don't know all three categories of water damage that are commonly found in homes and businesses after an unexpected flood or leak happens. However, understanding these categories will help you grasp what you need to do to eliminate the problem before it becomes more serious than it has to be.

There are 3 Categories of Water Damage

There are three categories of water damage:

  • Category 1 – This is the least severe type of water damage, known as "clean water."
  • Category 2 – The second category is more severe because it involves contaminated water, also known as "grey water."
  • Category 3 – This third category is the most severe type of water damage, also known as "black water."

Category 1

Category 1 is the least severe category of water damage. It is also known as "clean water" and can be caused by leaking pipes or supply lines, overflowing bathtubs, sinks, or toilet bowls, and even melting ice, snow, or rainwater. 

Category 1 water damage is not necessarily dangerous to your home or belongings, but it should be addressed as soon as possible. If left untreated for too long, Category 1 water damage can cause significant damage to your property and can lead to a mold infestation.

Category 2

Category 2 water damage is also known as "grey water" and comes from water mixed with chemicals or other contamination. It can be the result of broken appliances such as a dishwasher or washing machine, sump pump failures, overflows from toilet bowls, and even condensate water.

Category 2 water can be harmful to humans and pets if they come into contact with it. Because of this, it requires professional decontamination during the mitigation process to ensure that your property is clean and sanitary.

Category 3

Category 3 water damage requires immediate professional attention. This category of water damage is the most severe and can be caused by sewage, floods, or other heavily contaminated water sources. It is also known as "black water."

As contaminated as this kind of water is, you should not even consider attempting to clean it yourself. To keep yourself and others on your property safe, contact a team of experts right away if your home has been affected by category 3 water damage.

Water damage can be devastating. It is important to know what category of water damage you are dealing with after a loss to ensure that your property is getting the proper care. Restoration professionals, such as SERVPRO of Tyler, Lindale, Palestine, are highly trained in all 3 categories of water damage and will take care of your property from start to finish.  If you’re dealing with water damage in the Tyler, TX, area and would like more information, don't hesitate and contact our SERVPRO of Tyler, Lindale, Palestine team today!

How to Inspect Your Home After a Storm

1/10/2023 (Permalink)

Stain ceiling, leaking roof Roof leak found in a home in Tyler, TX.

A storm is powerful. It can knock over trees, blow out windows and doors, and cause damage to your home. If a storm is coming your way, it's important to prepare for it by securing loose objects outside the house and making sure all household members know where to go during an emergency (the basement or an interior room away from windows). It's also important to inspect your property after the storm has passed. Here are some things you should check in order to make sure your home isn't damaged:

Roof Leaks

After a storm, it's common to find your home has been damaged in some way. A roof leak is one of the most common types of damage and can cause serious problems if left unattended. If you notice any signs of a leak in your roof, take action immediately! 

If you notice water stains on the ceiling, it is likely that your attic has a leak. The first step in determining whether this is true, or if the stains are simply due to condensation, is to visually inspect your attic. Look for any signs of damage or leaks such as molding or insulation that may be wet and discolored. If there are no visible signs of leakage, check around the perimeter of your roofline for drips coming from seams in shingles or flashing materials such as metal flashing or roof vents.

Look for damp insulation or interior walls. If you have discovered that there is water coming through the ceiling in one area of your home, it's time to act fast! Many homeowners don't realize how much damage can be done by even small leaks until they've soaked into their walls and insulation for several days or weeks—so if you find any signs that moisture may have gotten into these areas (such as discoloration), call someone who specializes in flood damage extraction immediately.

Damaged Siding and Gutters

Cracks in the siding are are a sign of water damage to the wood framing behind it and should be repaired immediately. A leaky roof or gutter can cause the exterior walls of your home to crack and warp from exposure to moisture. If you find any cracks in your siding, carefully remove any debris that may be blocking them so that they can dry out properly.

Leaking gutters can cause water damage to your home and personal belongings. Make sure to inspect the gutters for any damage, debris, or missing pieces. If you find any of these issues, you will need to replace the gutter system altogether or repair it before heavy rain comes again. Look for leaks at every connection point between your gutters and downspouts to ensure there are no gaps where water can seep into your attic or crawl space below. Make sure all fasteners are secure and tighten loose ones as needed; replace any missing pieces if necessary.

Damaged Windows and Screens

Windows are vulnerable to damage during a storm. If you have any broken windows or cracked glass, look for leaks and cracks around the frame of the window as well.

If your screens have been damaged by flying debris or falling branches, make sure to replace them as soon as possible. Screens that are torn can allow insects and other pests into your home and cause health issues in warmer months if left untreated.

The most important thing you can do to protect your home is to inspect it after every storm. If you notice any damage, get it fixed as soon as possible. Remember that a little bit of work now could save you from costly repairs later on down the line! If you do experience storm damage in your Tyler, TX home, SERVPRO of Tyler is here to help you get back on your feet. Give us a call!

Understanding How Mold Spreads in a House

12/29/2022 (Permalink)

wall covered with mold growth Mold damage in a Whitehouse, TX home

How Mold Spreads in a House

Mold is a common household problem. Each year, 9 million homes across the U.S. have water damage that causes mold growth. Mold can enter your house through cracks in the foundation or walls, gaps around pipes and wires, or even tiny openings in windows and doors that weren’t properly sealed during construction. Once it’s inside your home, mold spores can spread quickly throughout the building because they get everywhere.

How Mold Spreads

Mold spreads through spores. Spores are tiny pieces of mold that are released into the air or on surfaces in your Whitehouse, TX home, and they can travel quite a distance before they land. Spores are invisible to the naked eye so you may not know that they're floating around your house until they've already begun to grow into new molds.

Active vs. Inactive Mold

Active mold is known as a "hyphal" form of the fungus. This is what you see growing on your moldy bread, or in the corner of your shower stall. In fact, if you open your bathroom cabinet and see what looks like white cotton balls growing on some old papers inside—it's more than likely that you have active mold in there.

If left alone, this type of fungal growth will continue to spread across surfaces until it reaches every nook and cranny of your home (which means it can grow behind walls too). If any part of its "root system" gets exposed to moisture or warm temperatures (like those found near furnaces), it's likely that other sections will begin growing again as well!

Inactive mold doesn't look quite as gross when compared with active mold; however it can still cause health problems if ingested by humans or pets who may come into contact with contaminated surfaces/dust particles floating around them (such as cats licking themselves after rolling around on bedsheets covered with spores). This type usually occurs during rainy seasons because rainwater contains nutrients needed for survival amongst different types of organisms such as fungi species.

Mold Spreads Quickly

Mold spreads throughout a house quickly. It can travel through the air, water, or people's clothing. Mold spores are microscopic and can float in the air for several days before landing on an object to begin growing. They also float around in water and attach themselves onto wet surfaces like walls and floors - even if those surfaces aren't visibly damp anymore!

Preventing Mold Growth

In order to prevent mold growth, you should keep your home clean. Mold spreads quickly in a dirty environment. It also thrives in places with high humidity and moisture content. You should make sure that there is enough ventilation in your house so that the air can dry out properly, preventing mold from growing on surfaces such as carpets or furniture.

Mold spores are everywhere but only grow into colonies if their conditions are right. Keep pets out of affected areas until they have been cleaned up; they will often track spores throughout the house on their paws or fur!

If water damage occurs (such as leaks from roof top downpipes), clean it up immediately before it has time to seep into wall cavities where it won't be noticed until later when there's already too much damage done by then.

How To Use a Plumbing Snake

11/12/2022 (Permalink)

a new plumber snakes on a white background The process of using a plumbing snake is not complicated, but it does require some practice.

Using a Plumbing Snake

If you're having problems with your plumbing, the first thing to try is to use a plumbing snake. A plumbing snake is a long cable that has a handle on one end and an attachment for inserting into drain lines at the other end. It's an inexpensive tool that can save you from having to call in expensive professional plumbers or even tearing apart your walls in order to fix them. Just follow these steps:

Step 1: Choose Your Plumbing Snake 

To begin, you will need a plumbing snake. You should choose the appropriate size for your pipes so that it can easily slide through them. The first thing you'll want to do is make sure the snake is in prime condition. The last thing you want is your new tool breaking down on its first day in action! To do so, take out any hair or debris clogging the tip of the pipe cleaner and carefully wipe down any dirt that may have gotten inside your tool (or caused an air bubble). You don't want this stuff flying into any other parts of your house!

If there is no water in your pipe, use a plunger first to clear any clogs or debris that may be blocking it. A bucket should be placed under the area where you are working to catch any water that comes out during this process. If using a wet/dry vacuum is not possible, consider using an alternative method by turning off your main water supply before removing clogs from toilets or sinks. This prevents damage if something goes wrong with your plumbing system during this process!

Step 2: Insert the snake into the pipe until you feel resistance. 

Place one end of the snake over where there might be an obstruction blocking water flow in your system. Most likely this will be near where water enters or leaves from underground pipes; these areas tend not only to be more prone to clogs but also easier places through which mice can crawl if they've made their way into our systems as well (even though we'd rather them stay away). Make sure that both ends are pointed upwards towards where debris could be lodged within pipes; then gently push forward until resistance is felt on one side.

Step 3: Turn the snake clockwise. 

Once you’ve inserted the snake, slowly turn the crank clockwise. You should immediately feel resistance as it encounters a clog in your drain. If you can’t feel any resistance at all, stop using the snake and call a professional plumber to remove whatever is blocking your pipe.

If you do feel some resistance from a clog but can't get it out with one try, keep going—it will come through eventually!

If nothing happens when turning this wrench and pulling on the cable with force doesn't help either, then it's likely stuck inside of whatever's causing the blockage in your drain pipe and may need to be removed manually by someone qualified for such work who has experience dealing with such plumbing issues.

Step 4: Extract the Snake

Once the cable has been pushed through and its entire length is in the drain obstruction, you'll need to let go of your plumber's snake. If there is too much tension on the line, start cranking counterclockwise to extract your plumbing snake from your pipe. This will pull any debris out with it and allow for easier removal in later steps.

The process of using a plumbing snake is not complicated, but it does require some practice. You will need to learn how much tension you can apply before it becomes too much for your line and the proper way to extract whatever was clogging up your drain. Once you have mastered this skill, however, it will be an invaluable tool when dealing with clogged drains or any other issue related to pipes in your home or office building.

If you find yourself in a water damage event because of the clogged drain, give SERVPRO of Tyler a call! We will get your Tyler, TX home back to normal as quickly as possible. 

How Do I Protect My Business From Fire Disaster?

10/16/2022 (Permalink)

Fire sprinkler system Install a fire sprinkler system

Fire Disaster and Your Business

Fire prevention is important to any business owner. You can protect your business by installing a fire sprinkler system, having a dependable fire alarm system installed, and having fire-resistant walls and ceilings. By taking these steps and more, you can prepare your company for the worst in case of emergency.

Install a Fire Sprinkler System

You should install a fire sprinkler system in your business. Fire sprinklers are an essential part of any building and can save lives, property, and money.

If you don't have a fire sprinkler system installed in your building yet, now is the time to get one. A fire sprinkler system will allow you to sleep at night knowing that your business is protected from a costly disaster. It also makes sense financially; if there's ever a fire at your place of business, installing a fire sprinkler system now will save you money down the road by reducing insurance premiums for years to come (and sometimes permanently).

Install a Dependable Fire Alarm System

You should always have an effective fire alarm system in place to keep your business safe, especially if it’s a large or high-risk location. If you do not have one yet, install one immediately!

Types of fire alarms

There are two main types of fire alarms: manual and automatic. 

Manual systems require someone to pull the lever when there is a potential threat of fire, which then triggers a call for help from local authorities and other emergency responders if necessary. 

Automatic systems detect smoke or heat signatures automatically without requiring human intervention; thus, they can be more efficient at detecting fires than manual ones. However, automatic systems can be more prone to false alerts due to their sensitive technology—especially if they're older than ten years old—and may not always reach authorities quickly enough in case of emergency situations such as earthquakes that cause structural damage but not necessarily fires themselves (although these events would still qualify as emergencies). 

If possible, choose an automatic system with cellular backup capabilities so that even in cases where there's no power outage due to natural disasters like hurricanes Katrina and Sandy happening nearby - which happened near New Orleans back in 2005 - it'll still get signals out through radio waves instead via Wi-Fi connections being cut off by water damage caused by flooding during those storms

Install Fire Resistant Walls and Ceilings

One of the most important things you can do to protect your business from fire disasters is to install fire-resistant walls and ceilings. Fire-resistant walls and ceilings are designed to resist or prevent the spread of flames, smoke, and hot gases. They’re also useful in containing a fire if it does get started, which gives you more time to evacuate safely.

There are several types of fire-resistant materials available for walls and ceilings:

  • Gypsum board (drywall) with a plaster finish applied over it
  • Plasterboard (also called gypsum board) with an integral intumescent coating
  • Rock wool insulation behind drywall with an intumescent coating applied over the top layer of plasterboard (gypsum board).

Always Have a Fire Extinguisher Handy

Use a fire extinguisher when needed. Read the instructions carefully and understand how to use your fire extinguisher before you need it. Know where your extinguishers are located and that they are in good working order. Check them at least once a year, or more frequently if you have reason to believe they may need it (e.g., if they were dropped). The manufacturer's instructions will tell you how often they should be checked or serviced by a professional, but every few years is probably fine as long as you keep an eye out for any signs of wear or damage, like cracks or rust spots that could cause leaks when you try to use them—and don't forget about those visual inspections. Make sure that all staff knows where the closest fire extinguisher is located and how to properly operate it in case of emergency—and make sure everyone understands its limitations: A fire extinguisher can only prevent fires from getting worse; it cannot put out an already raging blaze.

Fire prevention and preparation can save your business from suffering heavy losses. The importance of fire prevention can not be overstated. Fire damage can be very costly; if you have a small business, it may even put you out of business. Some types of businesses are more susceptible to fires than others. For example, restaurants and bars often have grease fires due to cooking equipment or flammable liquids like alcohol used in drinks. But any type of business could suffer from a devastating fire if they don't take the proper precautions against one happening:

Hopefully, we have shown you just how important it is to take fire safety seriously. The last thing that any business owner wants is to lose everything they’ve worked for. With these tips, you can rest easy knowing that your business will be safe from fire disasters.

If your Tyler business does catch on fire, SERVPRO of Tyler is here to help you clean up the mess and get back to normal. 

What To Do When You Lose Power

8/31/2022 (Permalink)

Fractured timber power line bridge with electrical components on the ground after a storm. Power outage in Whitehouse, TX area

What To Do When You Lose Power

Ice, snow, and high winds can wreak havoc upon power lines. Storm season means an increased chance of a power outage. Losing power at your business in Whitehouse, TX, doesn't have to mean losing valuable data or working hours, though. There are a few things you can do to make sure all your files are saved and accessible for workers.

Have a Generator

Every building should have at least one portable generator that can keep the power going when the municipal supply is cut off. A backup generator can help maintain electricity to various items:

  • Basement sump pumps
  • Office equipment
  • Lights
  • Computers
  • Heating system
  • Fire system

A generator not only keeps your business running but also keeps your building protected from certain hazards that may accompany the storm. If the basement floods, for example, remediation experts can resolve your problem faster if you have a working sump pump to remove most of the water before they arrive. You can save a lot of money on repairs and lost revenue if you can maintain basic functions after a power outage.

Seek Alternate Sources

Between the time when the power goes out and the generator kicks in, it's helpful to have sources that can help employees save what they're working on. Plugging each computer into an uninterrupted power supply does just that. The UPS lets the device run on its battery until another power source can take over. Because it's difficult to predict how long you may be without power, especially if you don't have a generator, it's important to make sure that the battery is strong and that employees only use their computers for essential functions so that it can last as long as possible.

A power outage doesn't have to spark widespread panic as employees lament the loss of documents they worked hard to create. By taking a couple of precautions, you can implement solutions that outlast the blackout.

Places in Commercial Buildings Where Mold Is Likely To Grow

8/29/2022 (Permalink)

Mold growth on a wall Mold growth in commercial property

Areas Where You Can Find Mold

Mold is in every building, a presence in the air people breathe even if its growth cannot be perceived by the naked eye. Once it becomes visible, it poses a risk overtime to the structural integrity of commercial property because it degrades construction materials like wood, glue and fabrics. This can be financially costly to business owners, so the discovery of mold growth usually prompts them to contact a professional cleanup service in Troup, TX, for mold remediation. The fungus is not always in an easy to spot location, but there are certain areas where it is more likely to be found.

Locations With Moisture
Besides causing water damage, leaks and large inundations of water also cause harm by promoting mold growth. The invasive mold loves dark, wet and cold spaces. Any place with a lot of moisture and/or high humidity carries a high likelihood of having it, including public or employee bathrooms or around pipes.
Locations Associated With HVAC Systems
HVAC systems themselves and places connected to them are mold breeding grounds because of condensation. This includes:

  • Ducts attached to HVAC systems
  • HVAC terminal units
  • HVAC drain pans
  • Ceiling tiles around HVAC systems

Locations That Trap and Hold Water
Building materials often trap and hold water, creating environments conducive for the development of the ubiquitous fungus. Carpets and the lightless spaces behind walls, for example, often hold mold that goes unnoticed for long periods of time. It is also not uncommon to find it in insulation or wallboard.
Mold growth is bad news for a building. It eats away at materials, creating a need for repairs and, in some cases, replacement. It is also impossible to fully remove, though qualified professionals can remove the parts that can be seen. It is important to know where mold may grow, especially the less accessible areas that may not be looked at as often. This way such areas can be checked, and mold discovered and dealt with before spreading further.

Can a Fire-Damaged Home Ever Get Back to Normal?

8/24/2022 (Permalink)

Kitchen cabinets burned, Burned kitchen Fire damage in a Tyler, TX home.

Four Steps Fire Restorers Use To Fix Fire Damage

Few things are more heartbreaking than going through a home fire. If your home in Texas has gone through ablaze, whether due to bad electrical wiring or oil fire, it may be a literal shell of its former self. You may wonder if your smoke-damaged home can ever get back to normal. Fortunately, by working with a fire restoration company, you can increase your chances of returning your home to its pre-burn state.

1. Survey the Damage

As you may know, fire restoration firms play no part in extinguishing your home’s blaze. Instead,
firefighters work hard to check your house for inhabitants and stop the destructive fire. After firefighters leave, restorers survey damage. They also board up doors and broken windows to keep criminals from causing additional damage.

2. Clean Personal Belongings

Because your smoke-damaged home is likely not safe or inhabitable, restorers remove salvageable
belongings to clean them off-site. Then, using specialized cleaning products and techniques, restoration technicians remove smoke from your keepsakes.

3. Restore Walls and Floors

Homeowners are often surprised to realize that fire-suppression activities can cause more damage than the fire itself. Restorers work hard to remedy smoke and water damage. Often, they must paint walls and renovate flooring.

4. Tackle Lingering Smoke Odor

Even weeks after a fire, smoke odor can linger in your smoke-damaged home. To encourage a fresh,
clean scent, restorers use ozone and thermal fogging techniques. They also spend time deep cleaning your home’s heating and air conditioning systems. Likewise, with the help of high-powered filters and fans, fire restoration techniques remove small soot particles from your home’s air. After workers finish, homes often smell like they never burned.
Returning your fire-damaged home to normal involves more than simply cleaning soot from walls. When you work with a skilled restoration service, you take advantage of expertise and equipment to recover from your devastating Tyler, TX home fire.

The Relationship Between Fire Damage and Water Damage

7/31/2022 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a big building Commercial fire damage in Arp, TX

You've probably heard the saying, "Where's the smoke, there's fire." In the case of an office building fire, you could say, "Where's the fire, there's water." Experiencing a fire can be a scary event. Even small blazes can cause extensive fire damage. Thankfully, fire crews have the skills and equipment to extinguish the flame. However, this can introduce a new set of problems.

How Fires Start

If there is fire damage in your office, there are a few likely culprits for the incident. Office fires commonly start in the following ways:

  • Electrical system problems
  • Improper disposal of flammable materials
  • People smoking cigarettes on the premises

The Consequences
A fire can rage through your office quickly and destroy building materials, furniture, documents, and electronics. The smoke damage can be just as harmful. Smoke leaves soot and ash on the floor, equipment, and other surfaces. You'll need to hire a professional disaster mitigation company to handle the cleanup and restoration efforts. The pros will tear out ruined building materials and other items. Technicians can salvage some equipment and supplies.

Water: A Help and a Hindrance
You'll be grateful for the firefighters in Arp, TX, and the water they use to put out the fire. These responders put out a lot of water from each fire hose. This method can be effective at eliminating the fire, but it also can cause further damage to your building. The water left behind can destroy computers, printers, carpets, and documents. If you don't clean up the water quickly, mold can start to grow.

A Professional Touch
The good news is professional cleanup technicians are experienced and skilled in removing any standing water. The company will mitigate the water damage in your office while cleaning up after the fire as well.
Along with fire damage, water can cause problems after a fire in your office. Be aware of the possible consequences and enlist the help of a water removal team.