4 Causes Of Water Damage To Your Home & How to Prevent It

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4 Causes of Water Damage To Your Home & How to Prevent It 

Water damage, at best, is an expensive annoyance, and at worst, can compromise the structural integrity of a home. The most obvious types of water damage come from incidences like a flooded basement, but more covert water damage, like a discolored ceiling, could be hiding something just as serious. Here are a few warning signs to look for and preventative measures to take to protect a home from water damage. 

1. Test Your Sump Pump 

A sump pump drains water that has collected in a basin that would have otherwise ended up in the house’s basement. This water typically comes from rainfall but can also come from other sources like the condensation created by an air conditioner. If the sump pump is not working, the water will accumulate and overflow, causing flooding. It is better to test out a sump pump before the rain starts rather than find out there is something wrong after the basement floor has already gotten soaked.

To test your sump pump, go to the basement and pour some water into the basin. The basin contains a floater, much like in a toilet, that measures how much water there is in the basin and when the water gets to a certain height, the water will start to drain. Finish pouring the water to the point where the floater will react and wait. If the water begins to drain than the sump pump is working fine, if not, there might be something clogged.

Problems That Can Happen

If the sump pump did drain than it is time to go outside and see if the external drainage system is clogged or damaged. There should be an outside pipe that drains from the pump and leads water away from the house. Take a look inside the pipe if you can, and see if it is clogged. There might be debris from the street such as leaves, newspapers, or sticks blocking the drain. If there is something in it, remove it and see if the water from the pump drains. However, if it doesn’t, there might be a more serious problem.

If there are no physical issues seen with the pump, and the water still won’t drain even with the debris removed, it is time to call the experts. A plumber can identify the problem with the pump and fix it before the rain comes. 

2. Check for Pipe Leaks 

A leaky pipe can cause serious damage to a house, but it’s also one of the hardest issues to identify as a house’s plumbing system is located mostly within the walls. To check for a leak, the first step is to see if the house has a leak indicator on its water meter. If it does, simply stop using water for about half an hour and then go back to check the indicator. Leak indicators all have different methods of indicating a leak, for example, some have a triangle system that points to a different color if it detects a leak. Finding out how to read a leak indicator can usually be done with a simple google search of the specific model.

The trouble comes if a house does not have a leak indicator. The best thing to do if a house does not have one is to be vigilant and about changes in water pressure. If there is a consistent drop in water pressure, it is better to be safe than sorry and call a plumber. They can check for leaks using gauges and can identify the problem quickly. It is better to have this issue fixed before there is a water damage in the ceiling or walls, as behind the discoloration there could also be dangerous mold. 

Roof Rain

Roof Rain

3. Keep your Roof Updated 

The part of a house that gets the most abuse from the rain is the roof. Over time it will wear down and let water seep in through weakened shingles. If it has been a long time since a house’s roof has been repaired or replaced, it is a good idea to look into getting it updated.

To check if water has already gotten through the roof and is damaging the inside of the house, check the ceiling in the attic. You can also check the upper floor for discoloration. It is unfortunate that when water has already entered the house, it is often too late. Also it may be hard to get out the water, but it is important to call a plumber as soon as possible to stop the situation from getting worse.

It will save money in the long run. Check out this great article on how to find and fix leaking roofs.

If you encounter any of these issues, call the professionals at Total Care Restoration in Miami, for 24-hour emergency services. 

4. AC Leaks Can Cause Water Damage 

Also make sure you change your filter and service your AC. One of the most common causes of water damage is AC leaks. These leaks can be avoided by servicing your AC regularly.

Here are a few steps that will help:

  1. Shut Off The Power.
  2. Remove Debris.
  3. Clean The Fins.
  4. Straighten The Fins.
  5. Clean Area Around The Unit.
  6. Level the Unit.
  7. Clean the Evaporator Coil.

Ready this DIY article for more information on how to service your AC.

In addition, most people notice AC leaks when the damage is already done. 

Working on a Mold Remediation in Miami

Working on a Mold Remediation in Miami

Many times mold may already be forming, so you will have to do a mold test. If your mold test is positive, you may need a mold remediation.

Final Word 

There are many causes of water damage to your home, so be careful and inspect your home regularly.

If you have any water damage in Miami contact us, and we can give you a free estimate. We service all of Miami and Broward for residential and commercial properties. Some of your water damage repairs may be covered by your home owners insurance.


What Causes Mold & 5 Tips How To Prevent Mold

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How To Prevent Mold

How To Prevent Mold

Mold is a natural substance that’s existed since the beginning of time, but it doesn’t belong in your home. Mold can cause or worsen the symptoms all sorts of health problems, including asthma, respiratory diseases, skin irritation, allergies, fever, eye irritation, and sore throat. The health effects of mold are still being researched by various government agencies and healthcare providers, most notably the Environmental Protection Agency, so its important to understand what causes mold growth and how you can prevent can prevent it. 

Common Causes of Mold

Mold spreads via tiny spores that are invisible to the naked eye. They float through the air, growing in places with plenty of moisture, which can include food, damp fabric, wood, and other places where excess condensation and moisture tends to collect.

Mold usually starts to grow within 24 to 48 hours, so it’s important to act fast if you notice water forming inside your home. 

Some common situations that can lead to mold include:

  • Water damage from a leaking pipe
  • Flooding from a natural disaster or excess rain
  • Spoiled food
  • Excess humidity
  • Leaks in the roof or foundation of your home
  • Excess condensation from cold surfaces such as a window, pipes carrying cold water, cold concrete floors and other metallic surfaces
  • Wet clothes that haven’t properly dried
  • Pools of water around the sink or bathtub that fail to properly evaporate
  • Lack of ventilation so wet surfaces can’t dry
  • Basements with poor ventilation or excess humidity

If you have mold growing in your home, you might notice a few white spores on a piece of fabric, on the wall, or in the corner of a room. Remember, do not touch or inhale the mold. Use proper mold remediation techniques or contact a mold remediation specialist immediately for further assistance.

How to Prevent Mold from Growing in Your Home

There are many steps that you can take to prevent mold from growing in your mold. Mold is the result of moisture, so it’s important to keep an eye out for water damage and excess humidity. Use these tips to prevent mold growth based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control
  1. Keep Humidity Levels at 50% or Below

Unlike water damage and leaky pipes, humidity can be hard to detect on your own unless you have the proper equipment. If you’re serious about preventing mold growth, get a humidity meter and keep the level in your home at 50% or below. Humidity levels can change on a dime, so you’ll need to check up on the meter at least several times a day. You can turn up your air conditioning or use a dehumidifier to keep levels under the 50% threshold. 

  1. Use Exhaust Vents

Not having proper ventilation in your home will make your mold problem much worse. All the steam from your morning shower and bath routine can lead to excess pockets of moisture and humidity. Try adding a bathroom or an exhaust vent to the bathroom and kitchen.

You also need to make sure that your clothes dryer vents outside, not into your basement or another room in your house.

  1. Use Mold-Killing Cleaning Products

When you’re cleaning your bathroom and kitchen, there’s bound to be traces of mold in the corners of your tub and sink. To stop the mold in its tracks, use mold-killing cleaning products to make sure that these moisture-ridden areas don’t develop into a full-blown mold problem.

  1. Fix Leaks Right Away

Thoroughly inspect the plumbing in your home to make sure there aren’t any leaks around. Even the tiniest crevice can lead to some big problems down the line. You can also call your local plumber for a thorough inspection once or twice a year for some added peace of mind. 
  1. Remove Wet Carpet or Switch to Hard-Surface Floors

Carpet can be a breeding ground for mold because it’s so difficult to keep dry. If you’ve experienced some water damage, remove the moist carpet entirely before the mold can spread. If you really want to mold-proof your home, consider removing the carpet from your home all together. Especially remove carpets from high-traffic areas like the living room or dining room where people tend to eat and drink.

If you suspect or notice mold growing in your home, act immediately. Don’t wait to start the cleanup process as the mold will spread to other areas of your home.

Contact the mold remediation professionals at Total Care Restoration for fast mold cleanup services in Miami and South Florida.

7 Things To Do When You Have An AC Leak

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7 Things To Do When You Have An AC Leak

You live in South Florida and your AC leaks…Of course its August and about 99 degrees with 110% humidity. You need your AC to function so that you don’t melt. Not only has your AC leaked you think it may have caused some water damage. Now what are supposed to do? Here are 7 simple ways to know if you have water damage and need to call in a professional water restoration company.

  1. Don’t Ignore the Problem

Maybe you think it’s not a big deal. But if your AC is leaking a little bit now, it is only going to get worse. AC units should not leak, and if it continues, it could cause further damage to your home that will be costly.

Do I have water damage? Can you spot the signs of water damage?

  1. Fix the Air Conditioning Leak

Some DIYers can diagnose and fix the routine reasons for AC leaking. If you have a clogged condensate line, a hole in the overflow pan, or need to change the filter, you might be able to fix it yourself. If, however, you are like most of us, you need to call in an AC repair company to stop the leak.

If the leak is large and threatens the electrical components of the AC unit, you need to turn it off before it can cause a short or other problem. No matter what you do, you have to get the AC fixed.


Next, look for any water damage. The most obvious clue that you have a problem is if there is ponding or pooling of water near the area of the AC vent. When you see that, there is a problem and you may want to seek help right away.

  1. Check for color changes

If your ceiling is no longer that beautiful color of white that you painted it, you may have a problem. If there is an area around the vent that is a tan, brown, or yellowish color you can be sure that there is a water leak and you need to get the damage repaired.

  1. Inspect the surface texture

Look at the area around the AC vent; is the texture the same as the rest of the wall or ceiling? If you have water damage you might see bubbling of the paint, peeling paint, or even your dry wall or plaster falling apart. If your vent is near the floor and you think there may be water damage, you may start to see your wood floor buckle or lift. If you have carpet, you may not see the buckling or lifting but you may start to see the carpet deteriorate or change in color.

  1. What’s that Funny SMELL?

If you walk into your house and wonder if you forgot to take out your garbage you may have water damage that is now beginning to grow mold. Mold may not always be visible to the naked eye. However, there are some molds that you can clearly see. Mold can grow inside of the wall and not be known for quite sometime. So if you see signs of water damage but not signs of mold, you should still call in the professionals.

Obviously, if you see the mold you need to call a professional company right away. Even the smallest of the leaks can lead to a mold issue.

We all know how scary and dangerous prolonged exposure to mold can be to our health. This may not be the time to try your hands at DIY mold removal. Mold is trickier than you think, and if you don’t get all the mold out, it will just continue to grow and infect your house.


At this point, you are going to want to do some research to make sure you are getting the best company to do the work for you. Mold and water removal is nothing to leave to just anybody, you will want to make sure you are choosing a reputable company.

A mold remediation and water restoration company should undergo industry training to stay at the forefront of advanced techniques. The company should also be able to use the latest tools in the mold remediation and water restoration industry.

The best companies can even bill your insurance, so you have no out-of-pocket expenses. Don’t count out the importance of a business that has superior customer service making a stressful situation a little less stressful. Total Care Restoration has all of these qualities and more.



Assignment Of Benefits – What Is It & Does It Help You?

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Do You Have A Claim?

If you find yourself in need of home restoration, be it because of a natural disaster or normal wear and tear problems that can arise over time, it is helpful to have someone turn to for honest advice about how to proceed. The first thing many people do is to pick up the phone and call their insurance company.

But, as the insurance company most likely has their own best interest in mind, this is not necessarily the best course of action. Several things can happen if you do this, including getting an inaccurate or incomplete assessment of the damage by a contractor hired by the insurance company specifically to keep costs low, or have the insurance company flat out refuse to cover the issue, essentially leaving you in the lurch.

Hire An Adjuster

If you are not aware of the specifics of exactly what your insurance policy covers, you could also end up getting stuck with a bill for something you are not liable for. That is why it is best to hire a public adjuster who can give you an unbiased assessment of the damage, so that you can proceed with confidence and get everything repaired the right way with no out of pocket expenses for you. 

Assignment of Benefits

Assignment of Benefits is a method by which a restoration company will assess the damage for you and deal directly with your insurance company so that all the details are taken care of by experienced professionals with your best interest in mind.

Total Care Restoration will provide a broad and accurate assessment of what needs to be restored and make the insurance claim for our clients. If an insurance company refuses the claim, we have attorneys that work on behalf of our clients at no cost to them, and we always win our claims. 

Florida allows AOB

Brief description on AOB and not all states have AOB. But Florida does.


What to expect when you do AOB?

If you choose to do an assignment of benefits, the process of getting your home repaired will be streamlined, as all communication occurs directly between our contractors and the insurance company. We do our absolute best to get all of the damage covered, at no cost to you. That means that the whole process will be taken care of start to finish by us, and you will incur no additional out of pocket expenses.

You will not have to spend hours on the phone arguing with the insurance company, and pouring over the fine print because we will take care of all of those details for you. Put your claim in the hands of experienced professionals who will have your best interests in mind.

If you are in the midst of dealing with damage to your home or business, Total Care Restoration can help. Call to make your appointment today. 

Will I still get paid when I do an AOB?

Yes you will get paid for all repairs that are covered under your home owners policy.

This is why we recommend getting a public adjuster, as they will help you file the claim correctly. This way you will get paid as much as possible.

Contact us to get an estimate on your repairs after a water, mold or fire damage. 

Cast Iron Pipes

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The Cast Iron Pipe Problem

If you live in a home that was built before 1975, chances are your plumbing system consists of cast iron pipes. Cast iron pipes can corrode over time compromising their structural integrity.

It is estimated that about 76 million homes in America have cast iron pipes that must be replaced or risk severe plumbing problems. Common problems like a potentially catastrophic sewer backup into the home, roach/pest infestation, slow or clogged drains, and other types of damage due to pipe corrosion. 

Cast Iron Pipes In Florida

In Florida alone, nearly two and a half million homes suffer from this problem and need urgent attention. Although cast iron pipes have been used in many different water systems throughout the United States in the last hundred-plus years, they do deteriorate over time. In addition they have a lifespan of only between 40 and 50 years. They can even begin to develop problems at 25 years old, depending on their certain circumstances.

Because of the salt and moisture rich environment, Florida homes are especially susceptible to this type of pipe corrosion.  Many residents are finding that their insurance companies are not covering costs related to water damage due to corroded plumbing. Even if the effects of water damage can be quite significant and cost upwards of $10,000-$30,000 to repair or more.

A sewer backup into the home can be particularly detrimental to your property as well as to your health because you could potentially be exposed to harsh chemical additives, bacteria, pathogens and other harmful substances. 

Water Damage Caused By Cast Iron Pipes

Water damage is the second most common type of insurance claim. Between 20-30% of all property damage is caused by water.

cast iron pipes

Cast Iron Pipes Can Cause Severe Water Damage

Ignoring a faulty plumbing pipe system is just an accident waiting to happen, and it could only be a matter of time before you are faced with having to deal with an expensive emergency due to compromised cast iron pipes.

There is an ongoing lawsuit in Florida fighting to get insurance companies to replace cast iron pipes with new pipes, and you may have a claim for damages if you have experienced monetary loss or health issues caused by water damage from corroded pipes. 

Know Your Insurance Coverage

If you had no previous knowledge that your pipes could deteriorate because they are made of cast iron, then you could have a claim. Insurance companies are notorious for giving lower reimbursements for this type of damage. Sometimes the insurance company can deny a claim completely, even though the policy technically covers it.

So you have to know your insurance coverage, and how to process the claim correctly.

TIP: Always hire a public adjuster for a cast iron pipe claim

Because of how many claims are denied, there is a class action law suit that has been filed. So many people have experienced this problem that insurance companies are scrambling to stem the tide of claims and minimize their losses by denying claims and re-writing policies to exclude coverage for this very problem.

To top it off many policy rates are increasing, and providing minimal stop-gap coverage for the issue that does little more than put a bandaid on it. 

Be Careful

They are instead framing policyholder claims as fraudulent and using that to justify the denial of claims. You can be left holding the bill even though you should be covered.

Policyholders have oftentimes been awarded insurance payouts 3 times higher than those without representation.

Contact us as Total Care Restoration for an estimate, and help protect your rights as a consumer. 

Get A Second Opinion

If your insurance company has sent a plumber or hired an engineer to go to your home and evaluate your property, it is in your best interest to get a second opinion. If you have experienced minor leaks, or have seen rusty pipes, dimpling, discoloration or flaking on your pipes, then there is a good chance that they are corroding.

The inevitable remedy will be to replace them so that you can be sure they will not be causing water damage in your home. If you think that your pipes are corroded, the best thing is to hire a professional. You need to get an expert assessment of the situation. 

How Can You Tell If You Have A Cast Iron Pipe

If you have any of the following you may have a cast iron pipe that is causing a problem:

  • Bad smell that you can’t tell where it is coming from
  • Leaks
  • Roaches
  • Frequent Backups 

How Much Does It Cost To Replace?

Replacing a cast iron pipe without water damage will be much cheaper. However, most people realize they have a problem when it is to late.

Replacing all of the plumbing in a 1,500 square foot could cost between $8,000 and $10,000. This doesn’t include water damage which could add another $10,000 – $30,000. 

Plumbing Repairs

Our friends at Hernandez Plumbing can do an inspection to find out if you have a cast iron pipe that is corroding.

With this type of work it is extremely important that you use a license plumber with experience. This is not a simple job an it requires very technical knowledge.

In most cases, cast iron sewer pipes should last 75 years in a residential application. In commercial applications, the lifespan of cast iron drain pipes is 30-50 years

Final Word

Contact us, at Total Care Restoration for an unbiased opinion. If you didn’t know that there is was a problem with your pipes, then you could have a claim. Nearly 40% of Florida homes have a cast iron pipe issue. So it pays to find out now, rather than later, if your home has an issue.

Was Your Home Built Before 1975?

If you have insurance, your policy might cover the replacement of  your old plumbing.

Contact us for a free consultation. We have helped many clients with their water damage cause by cast iron pipes in Miami and all over South Florida.

Hurricane Damage To Property Thumb

12 Tips To Prepare For A Hurricane

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If a hurricane is heading your way, the best thing you can do is to be prepared. Hurricanes can cause extreme flooding and high winds over 156 miles per hour. Hurricane preparation requires forethought, planning, and action. Our offices are in Miami, so we have had our share of hurricanes. However we learned a few things about how to better prepare for them. 

If you live in a low lying zone where flooding is a regular occurrence then you must prepare your valuable possessions, or risk severe damage. Sign up for emergency alerts so you are aware of the status of the weather event as it progresses. Here are some basic tips you can use to prepare for a hurricane. 

Flood Insurance

If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes, it’s a good idea to purchase flood insurance. It is usually not included in most property insurance, so you will most likely have to purchase it separately. It’s always better to have insurance and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Even the most inexpensive coverage can help in a catastrophe. 

Tarp The Roof

If you have a small leak or any signs of a leak, you should consider putting a tarp on your roof. Installing a roof tarp will help you prevent any further damage.

In addition it is a very cost effective way to prevent a more severe damage.

Evacuation Routes

Your evacuation route will largely depend on your specific location. Make sure to have several options in case some are too flooded to travel. You can contact your local emergency management agency to find out more information. 

Emergency Shelters 

If your home is in a low lying area, then it’s best to be aware of the locations of nearby emergency shelters. If you live in a mobile home, and the winds and rains are very strong then you will most like have to go to a shelter to stay safe.  

Family Communication Plan

The most heart wrenching outcomes of a natural disasters are the lives lost due to unpreparedness. If you make a plan with family and friends ahead of time then you will be able to keep track of anyone that goes missing and take steps to have them rescued by emergency personnel. Make sure to keep all important phone numbers written down on paper in your wallet. 


It’s important to have an array of emergency items on hand to keep you and your loved ones safe. Batteries of all sizes, gasoline for your vehicle, flashlights and backup bulbs, a battery powered radio, cash, and a fully stocked first aid kit will be the bare necessities that you will need to prepare for this kind of emergency. 

Food and Water

Non-perishable foods such as canned goods and dry goods, and lots of drinking water are essential in this type of situation. You must prepare for stores to be closed and basic necessities to be unavailable for extended periods of time. Include pet food if you have pets. 

Emergency Bag

Fill a large backpack or two with items such as a change of clothes, first aid kit, food and water that you can grab in a hurry and get out the door if need be.  

Secure Your Property 

This includes boarding up windows, moving furniture away from windows. Secure important documents in waterproof containers and put them in a safe place. Secure the perimeter of your property by trimming low hanging branches, and storing away anything, such as outdoor furniture, that could be taken away by high winds. 

Backup Power Source

If you will be staying in and hunkering down, then having a backup power source can do wonders for your level of comfort. If you have a generator then you can still cook and refrigerate food. 

Make Plans With Neighbors

Many people rely on neighbors during a natural disaster as a last resort. Sometimes your best option will be to call on the help of those nearby, so it’s wise to have their contact information available, if you don’t already have it. Make a plan to check on each other if you call and don’t get a response. You could help save a life. 


Make sure your pets are wearing identification tags on their collars. You will be more likely to be reunited with a lost pet if they are microchipped, and registered in your name. Another thing you can do is to put your cell phone number on your pet’s tag. Make sure that you can bring your pet to emergency shelters on your evacuation routes. Don’t assume you can, and have a backup plan if not. Research hotels, motels, vet’s offices, or pet boarding facilities that you can bring your pet to in an emergency. Also consider boarding them with a friend or relative out of the storm’s path of danger. Remember, if you evacuate, always bring your pet. 

Now you have a few tips that should help you be prepared for the coming storm. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or if you would like our help.  

Hire Public Adjuster

Should I Hire An Adjuster For My Claim?

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In the wake of a natural disaster or event that requires an insurance claim on your home or property, it can be difficult to go about adding up the value of all that was lost or ruined.

You are dealing with the physical and oftentimes emotionally traumatic aftermath of the catastrophe, and at that moment, dealing with an insurance company can be too much to handle on top of everything else. 

Experience Is Key

When you need an experienced professional who knows the ins and outs of the industry enough to advocate for you and the wellbeing of your family, this is when hiring a public adjuster can pay dividends. Just as insurance companies are well versed in how to keep money in their pockets, a public adjuster is well versed in how to do just the same for you, and help you get the most out of your claim. In other words, they will help you get the maximum value of your assets based on your insurance policy.

Based on the evidence of insurance claims statistics, many times it can be at least 10-15% more than what an insurance company will initially estimate and sometimes much more. 

Should I Hire A Public Adjuster?

So What’s The Difference?

Ask More Questions Small

An Adjuster Know What Questions To Ask

You may be wondering why is there so much of a discrepancy between the figure an insurance company will generate for repair or replacement of valuables versus what a public adjuster would come up with. Many times it’s just plain and simple research.

In addition, a public adjuster can ask all the right questions. You may all types of specialized and custom built items to account for in an insurance claim. Most of the time, things like these either goes unnoticed, or conveniently ignored by insurance companies. 

You May Get More Money For Your Claim

An Adjuster Will Get You More Money

An Adjuster Will Get You More Money

For example, one homeowner who suffered damage from a hailstorm, had to replace custom copper dormers and specialized roofing and tiles among other things. The insurance company calculated the retail value and labor installation costs to replace these items. And their results were less than half of what they would really cost to replace.

This is why you cannot rely upon the logic of their insurance company to account for your losses. We have seen many clients receive much less than what they should. 

But, instead, since they hired a public adjuster, they were able to get the full value of damage costs. And the damages ended up being over $200K!

This is only one example of why it’s important to have someone on your side. Most public adjusters are willing to go the extra mile, so you don’t end up paying out of pocket to replace what your insurance policy covers. 

When Not To Hire One

In not every case is it necessary to hire a public adjuster though. If you are dealing with a smaller claim, and you can do the research yourself, you may not need an adjuster. In addition, if you have had experience in the past doing claims, then you may already know what you will need. 

A public adjuster will usually charge a percentage of the claim, and somewhere in the ballpark of 10-20% of the entire claim, depending on how much it is. But remember, it’s very likely they will be able to get more from the claim that you would. 

An Adjuster Will Help With All The Process

The public adjuster should be licensed to work in your state. In addition, he/she should be familiar with the true cost of things, such as hiring a restoration company to do repairs. An insurance company will oftentimes try to cut as many corners as they can– whatever is best for their business. Some times the insurance company can bring in an insurance adjuster who is not familiar with the cost of doing business in your city. Also, their adjuster will look for the companies best interest. 

Who will be looking for you best interest?

They may make generic estimates based on outdated figures. Their adjuster may even suggest to replace your damaged items from cheaper sources.

For example, they may suggest you replace your damaged rugs with items from Wal-Mart, when you actually bought them from Macy’s.  

Additional Benefits Of Hiring An Adjuster

Catastrophic damage will often result in an insurance claims process that can take up to a year to process. In that time, it’s important to be aware of all the things that your policy covers. If you suddenly find yourself without a place to sleep, you may even be entitled to “additional living expenses”. Your policy may include hotel and food expenses while your home is being repaired.

It’s the little things like this that hiring a public adjuster can help with. If you hire one with many years of experience, they will be able to give you priceless advice that will make all those years of high insurance premiums really pay off. It’s wise to hire a reputable public adjuster early in the process though. This will ensure that they have enough time to assess the damage, and file paperwork according to deadlines so as to maximize the return on your coverage.

Final Word

We recommend hiring an adjuster for any of the following:

We have personal experience working with clients that do claims with adjusters. They often get more money with less stress.

So everyone wins. If you need help picking an adjuster, we have worked with many in the past. Just contact us and we can help.

Hurricane Damage To Property Thumb

Did You Have Hurricane Damage To Your Property?

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Weather patterns have shown a dramatic uptick in the occurrence of catastrophic storms in the last few decades. For many coastal regions, a sad fact is that it is only a matter of time before disaster strikes.

If you have been in the path of a hurricane, and have sustained damage to your property it can be a shocking experience. In addition, it can be hard to think logically and swing into action when such a devastating event happens.

Here are some basic guidelines that you can use to deal with the situation effectively. 

Assess the damage

The process of assessing hurricane damage can be quite dangerous because there are many factors to be aware of on the surrounding property. Working around downed power lines and live wires can pose serious harm to you and your neighbors. When cleaning up around the property, you must also beware of damaged trees or dangling tree limbs that could be hiding these live wires from view.

If it looks like the property has sustained structural damage, do not enter the building. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a building has sustained that kind of damage, so it’s wise to use caution when entering any building after a storm.

Once it is safe to enter the property, work on getting an accurate assessment of the damage so that you can notify your insurance company. Be sure to consider sources of hidden damage as well, such as water damage, which could cause mold growth if not dealt with in a timely manner.

Most likely the power will be out at the very beginning, so it’s good to have a flashlight available. Use extreme caution when using an open flame in a place that has sustained hurricane damage. You never know if there is a gas leak. To be even more safe, you should have a fire extinguisher handy at all times. 

Mitigate further damage

Once the storm has passed, and it’s safe to enter the property, you can begin to do some things to help mitigate the damage. In addition, a good water damage restoration company can help you prevent more damage. We work with most insurance companies, so we can help mitigate damages and the insurance company will cover the cost.

If trees, branches or debris have fallen around the property you can begin to clear it away. If the roof of the property has been compromised, cover it with a tarp to prevent more water from getting inside.

Remove wet rugs or carpets from the property to prevent water damage to the subfloor. It’s a good idea to open windows and doors to get air flowing into the property if possible to help dry the area. Always wait until you contact the insurance company before hiring any contractors unless it’s an emergency situation that requires immediate repair. 

Consider Hiring An Adjuster

We always recommend hiring an adjuster. An adjuster will work on your behalf to make sure the claim goes smoothly. In addition, they will know how to properly do the claim so you get the most amount of coverage.

If you decide not to use an adjuster then: 

Call the insurance company

The sooner you call the insurance company, the better. If you are serious about getting reimbursed for damages, you definitely shouldn’t wait until the roof is caving in. Or even worse, if mold growth has taken over your home or business. Not to mention the fact that many insurance companies limit the time you can file a claim after a catastrophic event has occurred.

In preparation for contacting your insurance company there are a few things you need to have ready so that the process can be as efficient as possible. 

Home or Business Inventory List

Hopefully you are one of those people who is very meticulous about keeping track of your valuables. This is one instance where it will really come in handy. If you are able to present a list of your damaged home or business inventory, you will be able to file claims much more easily than if you are still scratching your head trying to figure out what to include in the insurance claim when the insurance adjuster arrives.

As we already mentioned, you could also opt to hire a public adjuster, which is a person who can come and help you accurately assess the value of your property and the repair costs. 

Questions for the Insurance Company

If you are not fully aware of what your policy allows for, then having a list of questions for the insurance company can be a great idea. Many times, insurance policies allow for things such as an additional living expense allowance while your home is being repaired.

If you don’t already know, it’s also smart to find out what the hurricane/windstorm deductible is on your policy. That way you will be prepared for the cost when the bill comes in. 

Contact Us For Water Damage Restoration

Our home is Miami, and it’s been years since we had any hurricane damage in Miami. However, we understand that every hurricane season is different, and we can get hit at any time.

Good luck, and contact us if you have had any hurricane damage to your home or business.

Miami Smoke Damage Restoration Miami

Top 7 Residential Smoke Damage Tips

By | Fire | No Comments

Top 7 Residential Smoke Damage Tips

When dealing with smoke damage after a fire, it is key to take action as soon as possible because the longer the odors linger, the harder they will be to get out.

This is especially true with furniture upholstery which is notoriously difficult to clean once it has been exposed to extremely smoky conditions.

Experts often recommend professional help to deal with smoke damage, but if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do some hard work, you may be able to clean up some or all of the damage yourself. Make sure it’s safe to enter your home again after the fire before you begin.

1. Assess the Damage

If more than one room in your home has been exposed to the smoke, you will most likely need to call on the help of someone to assist you. Make a list of what needs to occur so you are organized and ready to work as efficiently as possible. In order to remedy the damage, you will need to clean smoke and soot from your walls, ceiling, furniture, and any personal items that were exposed.

You may also want to consider disposing of or replacing some items that are beyond repair as well. This includes drywall that has been soaked by fire hoses. Often times it will need to be replaced because it will not maintain structural integrity or resist mildew and mold growth after having been exposed to so much water.

2. Get Some Ventilation

If your home is still wet from putting out the fire, the first order of business is to begin drying it out. Even if there is only smoke damage without moisture, open as many windows as you can to get some air flowing. Use fans and dehumidifiers to help dry the area, and start clearing out some of the odors. It is a good idea to change your furnace filter everyday in this situation until it is clear of soot and debris.

3. Clear the Area

Remove as much debris and as many loose items from the area as possible so you can begin the cleaning process. Separate what needs to be discarded from things you intend to clean or repair and get them out of the area to be dealt with after you clean the room itself.

4. Clean and Disinfect

To clean and disinfect you will need:

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Big sponge
  • Trisodium
  • Phosphate Cleaning Solution
  • Bleach or Household Cleaner
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Warm Water
  • Ladder
  • Drop Cloth
  • Bucket
  • Protective Mask and Goggles
  • Vacuum With Nozzle

5. Walls and Ceilings

You will need to use a cleaning solution containing 4-6 TBSP of trisodium phosphate. Plus 1 cup bleach or household cleaner for every gallon of warm water to clean soot from the walls and ceilings.

Wear gloves and protective gear when using harsh cleaning chemicals like trisodium phosphate because it is very caustic to your skin and eyes. First, put a drop cloth down to cover your floors or carpets so the solution does not damage them. Then use a bucket, cleaning solution and large sponge to clean the walls and ceilings, one area at a time. Then rinse with clean water and dry.

Make sure you don’t saturate the walls so much that water leaks in through the walls and baseboards. This is very important because it could lead to mildewing and mold growth. After you go through the initial step of cleaning the soot, you can further disinfect the smoke odors using a sponge dipped in vinegar applied to your walls and ceilings. Dry thoroughly afterwards. Depending on how successful this process was, consider whether you will need to repaint the walls as well.

6. Furniture

Disinfecting upholstery from smoke damage can be a challenging task. You will first want to vacuum the soot up using a nozzle. Be cautious that you are not rubbing the soot into the fabric, and hover just above the material to make sure you are sucking it up into the vacuum.

After you do this, sprinkle baking soda all over the surface of the upholstery. Then leave it to absorb odors over 24 hours, and then vacuum it up. You may be able to use the trisodium phosphate cleaning solution on certain pieces of furniture. However, you will need to research the material you are working with beforehand to make sure it is safe.

A solution of vinegar and warm water applied to wood surfaces can be very beneficial for removing odors. Make sure you dry the items thoroughly after cleaning.

7. Carpets and Flooring

Have your carpets professionally cleaned after a fire to completely deodorize them. Although, depending on the level of damage, you may need to consider replacing the carpets instead. In addition, wood floors can be treated with a vinegar and water solution.

Also linoleum can be treated with bleach and water to disinfect them. If you have other types of flooring in your home such as tile, call the manufacturer to find out the best way to clean them after smoke damage.

Call the Experts

While you may be able to clean a lot of the smoke damage yourself, to get the job entirely done you may need to call professionals. Look for a reputable company who has ample experience dealing with smoke damage and fire restoration for residential homes.

Smoke Damage Restoration Miami

We service Broward, Palm Beach and Miami for any smoke damage restoration jobs.

Do not hesitate to contact us!

We can work with your insurance company, so you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. We can also help with any fire restoration in Miami or Broward.

commercial water damage restoration

Commercial Water Damage – 9 Steps To Take After It Hits Your Business

By | Water | No Comments

Commercial Water Damage

Commercial water damage can be caused by everything from severe weather to faulty plumbing, but whatever the reason, it will always require prompt attention. This is because every hour that passes without mitigation has the potential to cost much more in repairs down the line.

It’s the property manager’s responsibility to take emergency action in dealing with the situation because the insurance company is more likely to cover restoration costs if the damage was dealt with in a timely manner. Depending on the amount of damage done, there are some things you can do to help mitigate the situation while you are waiting for a restoration company to arrive and give a broad assessment on repairs and track the source of the damage. 

This is how a commercial water damage cleanup looks like!

Here are the steps to take after any water damage to your business or property. Remember, it’s always better to call professionals to help you restore your business.

 1. Shut Off Water

If the source of the damage is faulty plumbing, then it will be necessary to turn off the main water line to prevent further damage to the area.

2. Turn Off the Power

The area that is damaged by water could be dangerous if there are exposed outlets or appliances in the pathway of standing water. If it’s safe to do so, shut off power at the electrical panel to minimize the risk of electric shock.

3. Stay Clear of Black and Grey Water

If you encounter discolored water pooling in the area, stay clear of it. It could be very toxic and would need to be dealt with by professionals. If you do decide to go ahead and remove it, ensure that you wear protective gear so as to minimize and prevent exposure. Wear goggles, gloves and protective coverings on your face and exposed skin.

4. Remove Furniture

From the Area If it’s safe to do so, and you have followed the above recommendations, then consider removing anything that could be damaged by standing water such as furniture and rugs and curtains. Put them in a place where they can dry out if possible.

5. Mop or Vacuum Excess Water

If you can, try and remove as much moisture from the area as possible. You can use a mop and a bucket or a wet/dry vacuum to suck up some of the moisture while you are waiting for the restoration company to arrive.

6. Pull Up Carpets

If there are obviously wet carpets with moisture pooling underneath, then you will need to pull up the carpets to prevent further damage to the subflooring. This is a crucial first step because if you have wood flooring underneath the carpets, it can be very difficult to repair once the water damage has accumulated over time.

Thankfully, many times all you will have to replace is just the carpet padding. Once the carpets dry out, you can oftentimes reinstall them after they are cleaned.

7. Use a Fan and Dehumidifier

If possible, get some ventilation into the area by opening windows. You can also use a fan and dehumidifier to dry out the area as much as you can. This will help stop the propagation of mold growth. In reality, you will probably need multiple industrial grade dehumidifiers to properly dry any area.

8. Watch Out For Toxic Mold

You will want to wear protective gear while working on the water damage area. You should wear:

  • Googles
  • Gloves
  • Face Mask

This is because you could potentially expose yourself to toxic mold spores which can begin growing in as little as 24 hours.

Black toxic mold, one of the most toxic molds to humans, takes about a week to start growing. If you suspect the water damage has been happening for a while, then take special care not to expose yourself to this sometimes deadly form of mold. If you find mold contact us to help you with a commercial mold remediation.

9. Call A Restoration Company

Restoration companies can help mitigate serious commercial water damage, but it’s imperative to call them as soon as you realize there is water damage because the faster they respond, the less it will cost you down the line. Water restoration technicians have special procedures and state of the art tools to remedy the situation. They utilize modern drying machines and dehumidifiers that can get the job done quickly and efficiently.

They can also lookout for signs of water damage that is occurring outside of view behind walls and underneath flooring.

Here are tell tale signs of water damage:

  • Peeling Paint
  • Peeling Wallpaper
  • Visibile Moisture
  • Mold Spores
  • Dampness
  • Musty Odors

It’s always best to get a professional opinion to help with restoration so no damage goes unnoticed, causing further issues in the future.

We can help you with a full commercial water damage restoration in Miami, Broward and all of South Florida.

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