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Handling apartment water damage steps - who is responsible?

11/8/2021 (Permalink)

First actions to take for apartment water damage

  • Call your renters insurance and landlord to make them aware of the situation.
  • Take pictures for proof of damages quickly, their causes, and the timeline of damages.
  • Look into the lease agreement for the responsibility of belongings versus building and appliance damage to understand your responsibilities. 
  • Be proactive in making sure other damages do not occur by taking belongings out of the damaged or risk area and repairing what you can. Moving valued items lowers the claims amount and possible risk of damages, further reducing restoration time and insurance costs. Once you ensure no more damage can occur, you can take these items to a storage unit. By being proactive, you can further reduce the risk of your responsibility. Insurance and landlords can put you at fault for being negligent for allowing more water damages to occur when you could have prevented it. 
  • If you are responsible for the water damage, call a water damage restoration company to prevent further damage and get the apartment up to living conditions as quickly as possible. 
  • After everything is dry and repaired and ensure no mold is growing, you can move in your items.

Who is responsible for paying for apartment water damage

Responsibility for paying is based on fault and if they have insurance that covers the damages. Try to read the lease to understand what parts of the apartment the landlords say you are responsible for. In the lease, renters are usually responsible for personal belongings, and landlords are responsible for building and appliance damages. However, these can be overruled when negligence is extremely bad for one side. You can prove extreme negligence for neighbors and roommates. Still, it is even harder to prove which roommates are responsible for water damage originating from common areas, and responsibility may be split evenly.  

At the end of it, most responsibility is determined by the contract before moving in and then the compromise of all parties involved on who is responsible plus their insurers. Check below to see the causes and who most likely has to pay. These are common reasons for water damage in apartments and who is responsible for paying for them. These aren’t always right, and many more factors and investigation must go into each case. 

Landlord pays for these apartment water damages

  • Broken pipes
  • Leaking from the ceiling
  • AC unit leak
  • Malfunctioning washing machine 
  • Malfunctioning dishwasher
  • Leaking refrigerator

Renter pays for these apartment water damages

  • Leaving water running 
  • Overloaded washing machine
  • Misused washing machine 
  • Open window 
  • Clogged toilet 

Why SERVPRO for water damage in apartments 

  • Works with renters insurance 
  • Get your belongings dried, not replaced
  • Can clean clothes from mold and contaminated water without damaging them
  • 24/7 so you can clean up quickly before you get more problems 
  • Being local means we are most likely already handling other properties near you, making the process even quicker 
  • IICRC certified so the finished job will be up to standard 

Can you cover up soot with paint and primer

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

You cannot cover up soot damage with paint without leaving a bad odor and bad paint job. The large particulates will cause the paint to peel easier and texturize the finish. The odor will also remain and seep through if you simply paint over.

Why you can’t cover up soot with paint 

The odor and color will seep through, and soot under the paint will cause discoloration, unpleasant textures, and peeling. The soot is not just on the paint. It is in the paint and sometimes in the drywall. There will be a thick layer of large particulates on top and smaller particles that stain the paint itself or beyond. The top layer has to be removed, and the smaller layer needs to break its bond with the paint with the help of chemicals cleaning solutions. By simply painting over the soot, the paint will not be able to adhere properly, causing discoloration, unpleasant textures, and peeling. By painting over the residue, you will only be masking the odor. There is a good chance that the smell will seep through the paint and other walls by only masking it. You may be used to the smell, but it will be apparent to others.

How to easily clean soot 

Removing furniture and belongings- Remove anything that is covered in soot from the room. You can clean it outside or have SERVPRO clean it. You can ensure that airborne soot does not recontaminate your belongings by not having belongings inside the room during cleaning. 

Remove top layer of large particles- First dry clean with a soot sponge, vacuum, other scraping tools, and brushes to remove the larger soot particles without getting any back into the air to fall onto the floor. If the large particles aren’t professionally cleaned, it can double the cleaning time because of the fallout from airborne particles caused by cleaning.

Use soot remover for finer staining particles- Wet cleaning with a soot cleaning solution or soot remover will be the best way to remove the final stains and odor on the wall. SERVPRO has a proprietary blend that is formulated for this step.

Remove odor with air scrubbers- Air scrub the room to trap airborne soot that causes lingering odors. SERVPRO has in-house air scrubbers and can run these while cleaning to reduce airborne soot and odor effectively. Running a fan pointing outside can help, but air scrubbing in a closed environment is more effective.   

Prime and paint- After the odor, airborne soot, and wall staining soot is gone, you can now paint for a cleaner look. Use good primer and paint to cover up any final stains. The darker the stains, the more layers of primer you will have to put on. Using a darker color can make it less visible if you do not want to use as much paint.  

What causes outlet fires

10/20/2021 (Permalink)

All electrical outlet fires are caused by short circuits, leaked currents, or surges, coupled with combustible building materials near the energy leak. Short circuits are when the path of electricity wants to move out of the insulation because there is less resistance due to a shorter path or shorter circuit, causing a loose spark that isn't guided by wires. This arc is exposed and can burn combustible material in the outlet. Leaked currents occur when the energy gradually escapes from the insulation. This can take the form of heat and result in a combustible material being heated to the point of combustion. A surge is when a wave of too much electricity goes through a wiring system or outlet that cannot handle it, the extra energy is forced out to complete the circuit and then causes a free arc, damaging the components of combusting material.

The wrong Wattage or overloading the outlet

The wrong Wattage or an overloaded outlet can cause a house fire. You may have too many plugs with miss-matched Watts caused by large appliances or daisy chains. The appliances will require more Watts than the outlets can give out. After that happens, an overload occurs, and if the outlet doesn't trip, then the outlet will carry too much electricity through the wiring, causing it to overheat, get damaged, and then allow for combustible material to overheat through a spark or energy leaks.  

Damaged wires

Once wires are damaged, they can let out energy from the wire. Free energy can make short-circuiting easier, can make energy leaks easier, and can make overloading more dangerous. Damaged wires can happen from moisture deteriorating insulation, loose wiring caused by home vibrations or poor installments, older wiring that has had little things compounding over time, overloads, and surges.

Combustible material near electricals

Simply having combustible materials like cloth paper or wood near an outlet can increase the chances of a fire. Sparks from short circuits or heat from overloads can ignite easier the more combustible material is around it. Wood chippings and other construction material can also reside in the housing of outlets, so cleaning them out may be a good practice. 

Short circuits 

Short circuits can cause outlet fires and are when the circuit is broken, causing a wild arc or spark. Basically, a short circuit is when the electricity finds an easier path outside of the wires, causing an open spark. This can happen from damaged insulation so the electricity can seep out easier, or from there being too much energy in the wires, so the energy has to travel somewhere else. These sparks will be out in the open, being able to touch and ignite combustible material around them.  

How can you tell if there's been an electrical fire

  • Browning inside the breaker box
  • Melted wire nuts
  • Charring or compounds inside the breaker box and near wiring

What to do after an outlet fire 

  • Keep wiring up to code 
  • Always check Wattage compared to outlet Wattage
  • Turn off breaker during fire or spark
  • Call an electrician for regular maintenance
  • If there was fire damage, call a fire restoration company. SERVPRO of Dothan is a 24/7 fire restoration company that can get your fire and soot damage cleaned up.

Differences in mold and how to tell which kind of mold you have

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

There are many types of mold, and they are constantly growing in the Dothan area, like all areas. For most people in Alabama’s slightly humid climate, it is not worth your time to know all of the genera or types of mold and how to prevent each one. Still, there are certain types and classifications that you can know so you can better understand how to treat or prevent these molds, especially the more harmful ones. 

Difference between black mold and white mold 

The most common way people see mold is black and white mold. Black mold is often harder to get rid of, spreads easier, and may have worse health effects. Black mold can be black to brown to green with a slimy texture. White mold is often on food, less harmful, and is easily bleached away. White mold looks white and grey with a fuzzy texture. Still, the color of molds varies dramatically, and the structure and properties of the mold are ultimately what differentiates them. These properties are what will determine effects, testing, treating, and prevention. 

Difference between mold and mildew

Mildew is a type of mold, often called white mold. It is a thin white to a gray layer of fungi that takes the appearance of fuzz because of its longer structure. On the other hand, black mold is black or dark green with a slimy texture, is often worse than mildew, grows quicker, and is harder to get rid of. Still, the color of molds varies dramatically, and the structure and properties of the mold are ultimately what differentiates them. These properties are what will determine effects, testing, mitigation, remediation, and prevention. 

Testing for different molds 

Using bleach is a common way to test what type of mold or mildew you have. If the bleach can get rid of the mildew, then your problem is solved. If the bleach does not get rid of the spot, then it is a more resilient mold, and specialized cleaning and mitigation are required. There are specific test kits that SERVPRO of Dothan has that test the type of mold it is. Some kits can test if there is mold present on the walls, some tests if there is mold present in the air, and some tests if the mold is toxic. You do not necessarily need to know the genera or type of mold, just how much there is, where it is, and if it is toxic so you can treat it as safely as possible. 

Mitigation for different molds

Certain genera or types of mold are harder to get rid of and require different mitigating tactics and cleaning solutions. Mildew, the white and grey fuzzy mold, is easier to get rid of than the black or green slimy mold. Certain types can also spread at different rates, which is why it is important to be on the lookout for certain colored mold, like black mold, and act as soon as possible. You want to act fast for black mold because it usually spreads faster than white mold. Still, the color of molds varies dramatically, and the structure and properties of the mold are ultimately what determines how mold mitigation and mold remediation must occur. 

Toxicity of different molds

Certain genera or types of mold can cause health effects, while others can cause no effect at all. Different genera or types can share the same environment together, so these effects and toxicity can mix. Black mold is often one of the most common mold types to have adverse health effects. Still, mold color does not directly indicate the toxicity or production of mycotoxins from the mold. 

Appearance of different molds  

Colors of different molds

Mold is different colors because of the organic food source it consumes, showing through its transparent cell wall. Light and humidity also affect their ability to grow and their food type, further affecting their color. The color of the same spot can also change in time. The color change can happen from a different type of mold is overtaking the colony, from the influence of the environment, or from the colony maturing. The appearance of the mold cannot necessarily determine the type of mold; the appearance can only point towards the type of mold. Still, mildew is usually white and black mold is black or green. 

Textures of different molds

Molds have different textures because each type has its own structure. The structure is the most common way to identify a type. However, the structure is not visible to the naked eye. Typically, black mold has a shorter sporangiophore or stem that holds the spores, so the colony has a slimy flat texture. On the other hand, white mold has a longer sporangiophore, so the colony has a fuzzy texture. 

Effects different molds have on your home 

Homes in Houston County often are struck with high humidity, and residents that are not actively trying to prevent mold will inevitably encounter it. The damage can range from slight to extreme based on the type of mold, the humidity, the organic material mold is able to grow on, and how long it’s grown before you spotted it. Usually, black mold will have a worse effect on your home due to its growth rate, and you will have to get professional mitigation to restore the mold damage.

Why is my roof leaking

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

Storms are the most common cause of roofs leaking, usually damaging shingles, rotting seals, cracking the flashing, denting the roof causing puddle buildups. Still, there are other forms, and most have to be fixed on the top of the roof by professionals.  

Causes of leaky roofs 

Shingle damage 

Winds, falling trees, hail, sun, and rain are the most common causes of shingle damage. Most of this damage is caused during storms. Like when the rain gets under the shingles, evaporating, building up pressure, then cracking the shingles. When hail or trees fall, and the impact dents the shingles, allowing rainwater to seep further through. The sun and rapid drying can also cause reactions in the shingles that cause curling and flaking.  

Attic moisture buildup up

Moisture buildup in the attic can result in moisture seeping through to the roof, warming, buckling, and cracks structural parts of the roof. This can cause uneven surfaces and separation in the roof. This can allow for the rainwater to buildup in the recesses caused by warping and also further damage shingles, making it worse. 

Rapid changing in temperature 

The rapid change in temperature can cause reactions in the shingles and moisture buildup in the attic. The change in temperature in the shingles can cause cracking and buckling. The moisture buildup can warp the roof and cause further damage. The rapid changes can also crack sealants to keep moisture out.  

Shingle valleys are not properly sealed

A rapid change in temperatures can crack sealants on the roof. The shingle valleys are often hit with the most force of rainwater valley down, making it even more vulnerable to water damage. If the seals are cracked, water will have access to underneath the shingles. 

Flashing is cracked 

Most flashings are metal connectors that connect shingles from one angle to the other. Most of the time, they will not crack, but they can be bent from impacts. They are often different types of flashings causing different things to worry about. Metal can rust if not galvanized, and plastics can crack easier from impact and sun rot. Cracking the flashing can leave the shingles vulnerable.

Storm damage 

Storm damage, in general, is the most common reason for leaking roofs. Wind, debris, hail, and flash floods all some from storm damage which can result in leaks.  

Structural damage

Structural damage can come from rotting support beams, warping of wood, and other reasons why the contact points are separating, causing an opening for water to penetrate. This means you should often check the source and see if there is a bigger underlying factor. 

Puddle build-up 

Puddles building up on the roof caused by impacts and warping can lead to oversaturation of the shingles and wood in a certain spot over a period of time. This oversaturation will result in accelerated deterioration of that spot and possibly result in your leak. 

How to fix a leaky roof 

Finding the hole

Finding where the leak is coming from can be difficult and must be done. You can often tie this service in with professional service to fix your leak.

Investigating leak damage

Assess all the damage that occurred. You often will want to call a professional to assess the damage just in case. 

Sealing and repairing the hole

After you assess the damage, you will be able to tell if you have the skills, means, and time to repair the hole. Often times this takes a crew on top of your roof with special equipment to repair roof damage. Filling the hole from the bottom will often bring the same problem back in the future. 

Fixing the leak damage

After the cause of the leak is dealt with, it is now time to fix any damage caused by the leak. You will be able to tell if the problem can be repaired easily, but if there is a lot of damage, it is best to call professionals at SERVPRO. 

Classifications of fire damage

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Types of fire damage 

Class A- solid non-metal and non-kitchen fires caused by materials like plastics, paper, rubber, wood, cloth 

Class B- liquid fires like gasoline, petrol, diesel, paint, oils, waxes, not cooking oils and grease 

Class C- gas fires like oxygen, hydrogen, propane, butane 

Class D- metal fires like magnesium, potassium, and sodium 

Class E- Class A and B fires combined along with electrical elements 

Class F- kitchen fires with proteins, fats, and often oils, also known as class K

Why is it important to know the different classes of fire?

The fire classes help determine the best method of extinguishing the fire, help insurance companies understand loss, and help you understand the best method of cleaning the fire damage.  

Why can’t you use certain fire extinguishers on certain fires?

Certain fires result from chemical reactions and adding other chemicals can cause further reactions to take place. These reactions may combust the fire further. 

Why can’t you use certain chemicals to clean fire damage?

The residue from fire damage can be made up of toxic chemicals and can react with cleaning products to cause harmful reactions or toxic chemicals. Some of these byproducts can be airborne, and some can be surface-bound. 

Cross-contamination of mold

9/3/2021 (Permalink)

Can mold travel from one apartment to another

Yes, it can because apartments' conditions are usually similar, like a leak or flood, and they usually share ventilation spreading their spores. When the spores are shared in the right conditions, they are more likely to germinate. So, if an apartment near yours is beginning to show signs of mold, make sure to begin proactive measures as soon as possible. 

Can mold travel from one house to another 

No, it is not likely for mold to travel from one house to another. However, it is possible if each household comes over to the other household frequently or if you are moving your belongings from one house to the other. It is highly unlikely that the wind or animals will cross-contaminate the other houses nearby. Still, if you are abandoning a house for mold cleaning, it is also important to clean your belongings. 

Can mold come in through the patio 

Yes, residents can track mold through the patio, and doors can be left open with the wind drafting mold from the patio to the house. This cross-contamination is a problem that residents should continuously maintain because of the high chances of your patio or deck molding. Mold usually has the perfect conditions to grow on the patio since it is exposed to the outside while also having dead organic material on it from residents and building materials. 

Can mold travel to other rooms 

Yes, mold is very likely to travel to other rooms. Normally the same conditions are met like flooding, leaks, and high humidity from one room to the next. The venting and traffic then spread mold spores from one room to the other if they aren't already in there, to begin with. If you spot mold in one room, you must act quickly to mitigate further mold growth in the other. The mold growth can take around 24-72 hours to germinate and get in other rooms, increasing the spore count in your property by multiples. 

Can mold spores follow you

Yes, mold spores can follow you from other houses that were contaminated. Once there is the sight of mold germinating, millions of spores are already on surfaces and in the air. By traveling through this environment, spores are likely to attach to clothing, skin, and hair. You may then track these spores into your own home, either increasing the amount of spores you already have or introduce new strains into your home. 

How to stop mold from spreading to another house, apartment, or room

It is nearly impossible to stop mold spores from spreading into another area due to cross-contamination. However, you can mitigate the amount of spores and the germination of those spores through simple means.

Here are some ways to mitigate the spread of mold:

  • Kill the obvious spots of mold as soon as possible
  • Get an inspection on the other side of the molded area
  • Inspect for and repair leaks
  • Get dehumidifiers and research how to use them properly
  • Ensure doors and windows are always closed on humid days
  • Do routine checks to ensure that your house is sealed from the outside to prevent moisture and rainwater from entering 
  • Act as soon as possible, do not wait, or think it it will go away

Restoration services for Dothan real estate investors, landlords, and owners

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

We are here to help you as a property owner by providing you with restoration services all bulked into one. With our vast experience and training, we can be on the call and ready for any job 24/7. This way, it is easier for you as a property owner to put your time into other things, allowing us to get the job done quicker and more effectively with our industrial scope of equipment and our proprietary cleaning products.  

All in one restoration

What SERVPRO does for your property:

We will include robust services to get the jobs done simultaneously to save the customer time, reducing their delegation and logistics planning. Offering these services gets the property back to “Like it never even happened.” 

15+ years of experience  

SERVPRO of Dothan is the oldest fire water cleanup and restoration service in Dothan, Al. We first opened our doors in 2005, consolidating the local franchises into one to provide Dothan and the surrounding areas with the most value possible. While we are the oldest, we still push the envelope with the most up-to-date learning. You can trust you are getting top-tier service when you put the learning alongside our expertly experienced crew with years of experience.    

Top of the line training  

Along with our expert experience, we have in-house ongoing learning and classes that keep all employees trained and up to date on new procedures. Our training is developed by SERVPRO for SERVPRO. This way, you can ensure that you have well-trained and knowledgeable technicians on your property armed with top-of-the-line classes.   

24 hours and on call

We know that timeliness is the most important factor in saving your belongings from fire and water damage. That is why we are open and on-call 24/7. You do not have to worry if you can reach us when a new problem occurs and you need us to act fast. 

Industrial grade equipment 

Your common hardware stores cannot supply you with the type or scope of equipment we have. We are equipped with a fleet of powerful and quick equipment to get any job done. Our drying fans, dehumidifiers, vapor barriers, PPE, other equipment give us the ability to get the job done right and on time.  

Proprietary cleaning products 

No other company has all the treatments that we have. We have numerous proprietary treatments within our sanitizing agents, germicides, and antimicrobial treatments that give a superior cleaning and restoration.

Dothan, Al Coronavirus Cleaning Services and Biohazard Experts

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

Expert Level Cleaning Services

The SERVPRO of Dothan franchise are professionally trained and uniquely prepared during this unprecedented time to clean and disinfect your home or business according to the protocols set forth by the CDC. We have been building our professional experience dealing with biological contaminants since 2005, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff performs on a daily basis. Our professionals are trained to perform a proactive cleanup that involves facility or structure cleaning and disinfection. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for the cleanup process, and disposal of waste.

The CDC encourages the cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

We use specialized products

The CDC recommends the usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against these current strains of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

For specialized cleaning services, including the new Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned defensive pathogen cleaning program, CALL US TODAY AT (334)-699-5961

3 different water categories and when they change categories

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

Types of categories of water    

Category 1 - clean, non-contaminated water. This water does not threaten humans and comes directly from the source, and has not yet touched contaminated or toxic material. The sources are often from sinks, showers, and ice makers straight from the city’s water supply. Toilet water or water that has come in contact with toxic material is not in the clean category. 

Category 2 - gray water, used water with no toxic chemicals or bodily fluids. Often called greywater, this water is water after it has left the source and has been used or came in contact with contaminated surfaces, like the floor. This water may cause sickness or ingestion from microorganisms. Greywater usually comes from broken toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, and broken sump pumps. Still, once the toilet has excrement in it, it turns into blackwater.  

Category 3 - black water used with toxic chemicals or organic waste. This water category is contaminated with toxic chemicals or biohazards, like feces. This type of water most often comes from contact between water and sewage. This type of water is unsanitary, as it contains bacteria, pathogens, and biohazards that can cause extreme sickness.  Even standing water can become black water over time.