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Don’t Flush Your Savings down the Drain: Understanding Sewer Backups and Homeowner Claims

9/13/2021 (Permalink)

Standing water in basement. Nobody wants to experience a sewer backup, but it is necessary to understand the basics and to know what your homeowner policy covers.

The rainy season in flood zones can produce a lot of anxiety for homeowners. Especially, when you consider that basic home insurance policies may not cover damage incurred by a sewer backup, meaning that if sewage starts spilling over your toilet, contaminating and damaging your home, you may be left footing the bill; however, even if your policy covers backups, there are still some things that you should understand.

1. Understand the Potential Causes of a Backup

A sewage backup typically doesn’t happen without reason, and sometimes these reasons are things you have control over. For instance, one of the main causes of a backup is a blockage in the line due to roots. Shrubs, bushes, trees can produce roots that are dense enough to break through your sewer lines, clogging the pipes and ultimately causing a backup.

2. Understand Common Prevention Tactics

Understanding how a sewer backup occurs enables you to perform preventative maintenance. For instance, you can ensure that no trees or shrubs are encroaching in areas where the waste lines run. You can also ensure that you dispose of things like grease and paper properly, and you can install a backwater prevention valve.

3. Understand the Cleanup Process

In the unfortunate event that you experience a sewage backup, you should familiarize yourself with the cleanup process, which includes a lot of wet vacuuming, mopping, disinfecting, and any other contaminant removal. However, it may be a good idea to call in restoration specialists to assist you in this process, and it will likely be a requirement by any insurance coverage you may have.

4. Understand the Process of Filing a Claim

Most insurance companies expect certain things when clients file claims. For instance, you should have before and after photos of the damaged area. You should itemize a list of property that was damaged or lost. And, you should contact your insurance representative immediately. It is also a good idea to save any receipts related to any restoration work.

Nobody wants to experience a sewer backup, but if you are in Gladstone, MO, it is necessary to understand the basics and to know what your homeowner policy covers.

When Renters Insurance Will and Will Not Cover Mold Damage

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth behind wall. If you discover mold on your rental property, reach out to the mold remediation experts in Kansas City, MO, to discuss remediation options.

Instead of asking whether or not rental insurance covers mold damage, you should consider rephrasing the question to "Does renters' insurance cover mildew damage or mold remediation?" Phrased like this, you have a better idea of what to look for when perusing your renters' insurance policy. During your review, you should look for the following items:

• Exclusions
• Duty to mitigate
• Mold caused by a covered peril

Within each of these sections, you should find information regarding what type of damage is and is not covered.

Exclusions

Typically, the limits on mildew damage in a rental insurance policy are relatively low, at right around $5,000. This should be enough to cover the cost of damage. If the damage is more than $5,000, the insurance company might assume that the damage was present for a while and that you failed to mitigate it in time.

Duty To Mitigate

If the mold was present before you moved in, or if it’s a result of an inherent defect with the property, then mold removal is likely the landlord's responsibility. However, if the damage was caused by a covered peril, and if it could have been stopped from spreading, the insurance company may only cover it up to the point where you should have known about it. For instance, if the damage was caused by a leaky pipe, and if you knew about the leaky pipe but failed to inform your landlord of it so he or she could make the repair, damage caused to your belongings may not be covered.

Mold Caused by a Covered Peril

If the mold damage was caused by, say, the water from a hose used to put out a fire, and if a fire is covered under your policy, then the damage should be covered by your policy. However, you likely must prove that you made a good faith effort to prevent the damage from becoming worse.

If you discover mold on your rental property, reach out to the mold remediation experts in Kansas City, MO, to discuss remediation options. The experts can also help you examine your rental insurance policy and determine whether or not the damage is covered.

What You Should Know About Basement Flooding

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

A Flooded Basement in Smithville being clean up and restored This basement in a home in Smithville, MO, experienced flood damage after recent heavy rains.

What You Should Be Aware Of Regarding Basement Flooding

If you have a basement in Kansas City, MO, you know minor foundation leaks, rain water, and broken pipes can cause flooding. As maddening as it may be, you are not alone. Insurance companies report that home flood waters are the number one disaster reported in America. But that doesn’t help when you are standing in six inches of water on brand new soaking wet carpet. You need answers about where the water came from and how to keep it from happening again.

Finding the Cause

You don’t have to live near a swollen river to find standing water all over the basement. Since water moves from high ground to low, any water source above the basement floor could be the problem. Rain, broken pipes, ground water, or even a forgotten irrigation system can all flood your home with unwanted water. It could also be a broken sump pump or a sewer problem.

Calling for Help

Removing the flooding water is only the beginning of the property clean up. Depending on the amount of water that seeped into the foundation of your home, the walls, and earth surrounding the house, it may take quite a while to restore your home. Additionally, there are three types of flood water, and each has a different method necessary for cleanup. Calling a disaster restoration specialist to identify the basement flood water can save you time and money in repairs. The restoration team can also document the steps taken in restoring your home, which can help prove your claim with the insurance company.

Dealing With Repairs

Contamination and mold spores are common issues after a flood. The restoration team can make sure the area is properly dehumidified, ventilated, and disinfected. Contractors can assess foundation, wall, and flooring damage. The actual repairs may take months.

Flooding water can be as easy to fix as a pipe repair or as difficult deal with as a broken levy. No matter what the cause, knowing who to call for help, and how to protect yourself, can help you deal quickly, and efficiently with the basement flood water in Kansas City, MO.

Understanding How Floods Create Consequential Mold Problems

8/5/2021 (Permalink)

Drywall was removed and mold growth was discovered Water damage leads to mold growth.

A flood is like a disaster that hits you with multiple attacks. The first round of moving water is actually dangerous and damaging in its powerful movement, the second attack is in the exposure of water contaminated with bacteria and other biohazards, and lastly, there is the sneak attack of mold growing in moist materials. Fast action is the key to prevent water and mold damage after a flood in Kansas City, MO.

Mold Facts

Mold growth happens rapidly. Spores are all around us in the air we breathe and when they settle in a damp area with a good food source they can start forming colonies. When you know what mold needs to reproduce, you'll understand why a flooded home is a ticking time bomb for mold development. Here are some fast facts about mold:

  • Mold is a fungus that reproduces by spores
  • Spores float through the air and enter buildings through windows, doors, and HVAC systems
  • Mold needs moisture
  • Mold needs an organic food source, such as cellulose found in wood and paper
  • Mold growth begins in about 48 hours after a flood

By the way, most of those wet building materials in your home are made with wood and paper. Once the colonies begin, it's very difficult to prevent mold from developing in nearby areas since spores will be in an even higher concentration in the air. With more spores in the air and plenty of wet building materials, your flooded home is a breeding ground for mold.

Clean and Dry

So now that you understand how quickly these flood dangers can escalate, you understand that water removal and drying are the keys to preventing subsequent damage from standing water. The job is huge, but you can count on professionals to apply their knowledge and resources to get it done right. They will use special equipment to extract water and dry building materials and personal items all while monitoring moisture levels to ensure thorough drying. Quick and efficient water restoration will help prevent mold growth.

Mold Problems: At the Intersection of Water and Dirt

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on ceiling tile Ceiling tiles are frequently composed of porous materials, allowing mold to grow.

Top Places Where Mold Hides

Your commercial property in Liberty, MO, can easily become a breeding ground for mold growth. Even with regular inspection and maintenance, mold problems can still occur. Excess dust and moisture can linger in hidden places and combine forces to cause a fungal infestation that can only be remedied by mold remediation experts. Here are the top four places mold likes to hide in commercial buildings.

1. Carpet

Carpet has many crevices where mold spores can hide and many surfaces to which it is easy for mold to adhere. While you can't prevent all spills and can't always control how well people clean up after themselves when they do spill, you can dehumidify the room by increasing airflow to the area. This can help dry out the carpet and prevent mold growth.

2. Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling tiles are often made of porous material, which allows mold to take root. Watch out for water damage in ceiling tiles and get it fixed as fast as possible. It only takes a day or two for mold to start to grow in places where leaks have occurred. Because the growth usually starts on the side of the tile that is hidden, it can become a big problem before it is noticed.

3. Walls

Walls present the same difficulty that ceiling tiles do. The moisture problem contributing to the mold issue is often inside the wall and thus can become significantly moldy long before it is detected. When this happens, it is best to let remediation experts handle the problem to ensure it is resolved completely.

4. Air Ducts

The dust in air ducts can attract mold spores and give them a place to grow. When coupled with high humidity, the mold problem gets larger. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the HVAC system is necessary to detect or prevent mold problems in the ducts.

Since mold spores are everywhere, you can't always prevent mold growth. You can, however, stop the problem before it gets out of hand if you are vigilant.

How To Maintain a Dryer Vent

7/21/2021 (Permalink)

Cleaning a dryer vent Clean the lint filter after every load and dispose of lint.

How to Keep a Dryer Vent Clean

It is important to maintain a dryer vent on a regular basis. Completing several tasks that range from clearing the lint filter to snaking out the vent pipe can significantly reduce the risk of a lint fire. Clearing excess lint from the filter, pipe, and area surrounding your dryer is the best way to prevent a dryer fire form breaking out in your home.

1. Clean the lint filter after every load and dispose of lint. This simple step can reduce the amount of lint buildup in the dryer vent pipe and around the dryer.

2. Inspect the back of the dryer for buildup twice a month. Even if you dispose of lint, it may still gather around a dryer. This combustible material raises the possibility of a lint fire breaking out.

3. Snake out the vent pipe every three months. A backed-up vent pipe is a common cause of dryer fires.

4. Brush out the lint filter every six months. Even if you regularly clean the lint filter on your dryer, lint still gets impacted into the mesh of the filter. Using a firm bristled nylon brush can eliminate all traces of lint buildup and keep your filter working at optimal efficiency.

5. Schedule a professional cleaning as soon as your dryer starts taking longer to dry clothes. If your standard cycles are no longer getting your clothing dry, this can be a sign that your dryer is due for more thorough maintenance.

Homeowners report nearly 3,000 dryer fires in the United States every year. These fires are also seasonal, and tend to break out in the fall or winter months. The month of January is notable for a record number of dryer fires. If a lint fire breaks out in your laundry room and damages your home, contact a fire and smoke restoration service located in Liberty, MO.

3 Sources of Basement Flooding

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. A visible line is showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Flooded basement in Liberty MO.

Four Potential Causes of Flooding

When you bought or built your home with a basement in Liberty, MO, you may not have considered the different ways it could flood. A basement flood can happen from any side, including the floor, walls or ceiling. Here are four potential causes of flooding in your basement and tips on how to fix them.

1. Clogged Sewer Lines

Most clogged sewer lines are out of your control. Heavy rain or debris in municipal lines can cause the sewer lines in your house to back up, and the lower levels tend to be affected first. If sewage backs up into your basement, you must hire water restoration specialists to remedy the problem, as you do not need to handle contaminated water. They can dry and clean your basement effectively.

2. Storm Water

During regular rainstorms, your home's drainage system is probably sufficient to keep floodwaters away from your basement. Heavy flooding around your home, however, can trickle in from the place where the foundation meets your exterior walls or through cracks in the foundation itself. A drain system connected to a sump pump can help you with this problem, but it's still a good idea to have professionals make sure the area is clean and dry.

3. Pipe Problems

If a pipe bursts anywhere above your basement, it is possible for the resulting flood to end up in the basement through the ceiling or the walls. Turn off the water source to the pipe as soon as you discover the problem, and call professionals who specialize in pipe repair. They can fix the pipe and replace the damage the leak caused. A quick response is the best way to keep this problem from getting worse.

Flooding in your basement can occur from several sources. It is a good idea to take precautions to prevent it, but it's also important to know whom to call and how to fix it when a basement flood does occur.

What To Do if You Smell Natural Gas in the Home

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Natural gas burning on kitchen gas stove in the dark. A gas fire can be extremely dangerous and cause major damage to your home.

Is It Bad If You Can Smell Gas In Your Home

If you are home and smell natural gas, your first instinct may be to panic. After all, you have heard horror stories about homes that have spontaneously combusted because of an undetected gas leak. While you are right to be cautious, you can save your home from a gas fire by acting quickly. The Kansas City, MO, fire restoration team recommends doing the following when you smell gas in your home:

  • Check the stove to make sure that it’s off.
  • Open all windows and doors to help flush any gases out.
  • Keep the lights off.
  • Locate your gas meter and check it.
  • Get out.

Check for Possible Causes


Oftentimes, the smell of gas isn’t anything to be concerned about. If you have a gas stove, check it first and foremost. Somebody may have bumped a knob in passing or accidentally left a burner on. Turning it off could save you a lot of panic.


Ventilate Your Home

Whether or not you discovered the cause of the smell, open all windows and doors to begin airing out your home. The less gas sitting in your home, the better. A home in which gas is allowed to build up is prone to a gas fire.


Keep the Lights and Electronics Off


Even when you don’t see a visible spark, turning a light switch on generates outward electricity. Even a single spark can ignite the gas and result in a gas explosion. If it’s dark out, use a flashlight.


Check the Gas Meter


If the situation isn’t an emergency one, go outside and check your gas gauge. Turn the valve off until help arrives.


Get Out


The best thing you can do if you smell gas in your home is to get everyone out. Do not take chances on you or your loved ones’ safety and go to a neighbor’s home. Call 911 once you are a safe distance away.

A gas fire can be extremely dangerous, which is why you should act quickly when faced with the smell of natural gas. Be smart in your actions, and a situation doesn’t feel right, get out.

4 Things You Need to Know About the National Flood Insurance Program

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Two air movers placed in the entrance of the door of an office Office suffering from storm damage.

The National Flood Insurance Program

As a commercial property owner in Gladstone, MO, you may protect your investment with a commercial insurance policy. The National Flood Insurance Program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency may provide you with some coverage. Your commercial storm damage remediation professional may be able to help you learn more about the NFIP.

1. It covers building property damage. This type of flood policy is designed to help you pay for the structural damages done to your building. This means the general policy does not cover the personal belongings within the building. Instead, it helps cover damages done to the foundation, plumbing, awnings, HVAC systems and other permanent fixtures of the property.

2. It won't help pay for damages that could have been avoided. Like other commercial insurance policies dedicated to flooding, this one won't pay for any water issues that you neglected to fix. For example, if a leaking pipe caused major flooding on your property, the damages may not be covered if you knew about the leak beforehand but chose not to fix it.

3. The value of damages is based on actual cash value. When an assessor comes out to your property, he or she will consider how much it will cost to replace the items that were destroyed in the flooding. That cost minus the physical depreciation of the item will equal how much you could get.

4. It can save you from the sole financial burden. While this policy through FEMA may not cover all issues caused by a storm, it can help you with the financial aspect of the repairs. Having any type of flood policy can make you feel more secure when a bad storm rolls through the area.

Not all commercial insurance policies are the same. If you want to understand the coverage you have for your commercial property, you need to contact your insurance provider. 

How To Keep Your Front-Loading Washing Machine Fresh and Clean

6/15/2021 (Permalink)

Low angle view of baking soda with vinegar, natural mix for effective house cleaning You can eliminate mold odor by mixing baking soda and vinegar.

Does your washing machine produce an offensive odor each time you open its door? Do your clothes smell of mildew and mold immediately after being washed and dried? If so, your washer might be due for an extensive cleaning to ensure no mold or mildew growth is present. Read on to learn some helpful tips on why your washer gets that mold smell and how to keep it odor-free in the future.

Why Does It Smell

Do you have a front-loading washer? Front-loaders are superior for various reasons:

  • Highly water-efficient
  • Gentle on clothing
  • Much less expensive to operate

Though front loaders in Liberty, MO, use less water than conventional washers, they also create fewer opportunities for water to rinse away suds. The residue that remains collects dirt, lint, and other types of debris that grow mold and mildew over time, generating foul odors and dirty laundry.

Eliminate the Odor
The first step to a clean washer is to eliminate the unpleasant smells. You will need to collect several household items to get started, such as baking soda and distilled white vinegar.
Begin by filling your front loader's detergent compartment with a mixture of baking soda and water. Pour two cups of white vinegar into the dryer's drum, and run the empty machine through a single cleaning cycle. If any pesky debris remains, spray it with vinegar and scrub it with a soft kitchen sponge. Remember to contact a mold remediation specialist if residue remains after careful and proper cleaning.

Keep Your Machine Fresh
To maintain freshness, ensure you use only high-efficiency detergent in your front-loader. Conventional detergent will generate too many suds, leaving a perfect environment for future mold growth.
Always dry the drum following a wash cycle, and leave the door open when the machine is not in use. This habit will allow the washing machine to dry completely between uses.
Finally, front loaders feature a rubber seal to keep the door airtight. Regularly clean this gasket to ensure no mold or mildew is growing beneath the seal.
Proper care will keep your washing machine spotless and odor-free. Follow these tips and enjoy fresh smelling clothes for years to come.