The public adjuster is the claims adjuster who has the legal ability to represent a homeowner during any sort of insurance claims process. There are certain situation where it might be considered ideal to work with a public adjuster and some instances where it could become problematic. Understanding what a public adjuster is, what role they play in the claims process, and when it is a good idea to hire one is important for the homeowner during a restoration process. Types Of Adjusters There are three types of claims adjusters that may be involved with the insurance claims process: The first is the claims service representative or claims adjuster. This is the standard claims adjuster who works on behalf of the insurance company. Insurance companies employ their own adjusters to represent their interests during the claims process. The second type of adjuster that may be present is an independent adjuster. These adjusters are independent contractors who are hired by insurance companies. They still represent the interests of the insurance company, but don’t work solely for that company. Independent adjusters will usually represent many different companies throughout the year. The third and final type of adjuster is the public adjuster. This is the only adjuster who can represent the homeowner during the claims process. Both of the previous adjusters work entirely for the insurance provider, but the public adjuster is there as an advocate for the homeowner. The homeowner must contact the public adjuster themselves and hire them for the job. The insurance company or restoration company never hires the public adjuster themselves. The Role Of The Public Adjuster The job of a public adjuster isn’t always easy. They must represent the homeowner and ensure that the claim is being handled properly and in a timely fashion. They are also there to help establish the value of the lost or damaged property and to make sure the homeowner is paid the money they are owed. Without a public adjuster, the insurance provider may attempt to undervalue the damaged property or to prolong the insurance claims process for long periods of time. Public adjusters are most useful when the homeowner feels as though the insurance provider isn’t handling their case properly. They are also useful when the homeowner is certain the insurance provider will cover the loss, but wants to be certain the damaged property is valued properly. The Good And The Bad Just as with any type of adjuster there are both good and bad public adjusters. Homeowners must be extremely careful when choosing the right adjuster for their case or it could make the situation worse. Only 44 states have laws regulating the work of public adjusters, which means people who do not live in those states are at greater risk of hiring an inexperienced adjuster that doesn’t operate in an ethical or beneficial fashion. The public adjuster is always paid a percentage of the claim received by the homeowner. They may attempt to drive the claim up higher than…

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  There are few things that are more disheartening than figuring out that you have a mold infestation in your home. Mold is dangerous to inhale, and if left untreated it could cause significant damage to your health. There are a lot of methods out there to control mold; but very few are actually going to be helpful for you in the long run. Read on to figure out the proper way to control mold in your home. Clean Your Home Properly The most common place for mold to appear is in areas that retain a lot of moisture. The bathroom, kitchen, and any other area near water pipes are the most likely to be home to an infestation. Cleaning a mold infestation will depend on the surface type. Soft surfaces usually need to be thrown away. The cost of cleaning a carpet of mold often costs more than removing it. Counters, sinks, and tubs can be cleaned, usually with a bleach solution. Preventative maintenance is the most important thing when it comes to dealing with a moldy area. Once you clear an area of mold, you need to create a scheduled cleaning for the affected area, at least once a week. It is going to take a bit of work; but if you keep up with the cleaning process then disinfecting an area usually only takes a little bit of time. Keep An Eye On Your Walls And Pipes There are few mold problems that are more annoying than when it gets into and on your walls and pipes. This will require either a deep cleaning process, or a complete replacement of the affected area and equipment. If you have mold growing into the paint and drywall, your first step is going to be to isolate the spread. The best way to do this is to get a small utility knife or power saw, which you will use to cut out the affected area. Once you’ve removed the bad wall, find the moisture source that is causing mold to grow and do what needs to be done to clear it out. From there, it is a simple matter of cutting a new piece of drywall and plastering it into place. Have a professional handle this step if you don’t think that you can do the job yourself. Once your wall is back in one piece, it would be wise to paint over the area with mold resistant paint. This type of paint comes in all of the shades and colors that you would want for your home, so don’t worry about sacrificing fashion for function. If you ever feel like your mold problem has gotten to be too much, don’t be afraid to call a professional. Mold can cause serious health problems for anyone living in your home, it isn’t worth the risk to leave the issue untreated. There are many affordable options out there, regardless of whether you do things yourself or hire an outside source. The important…

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  If you’ve recently suffered from water or flood damage, then it is very likely mold is growing somewhere on the premise. Even if it is not visible to the naked eye. Water may be absorbed by the drywall, which provides a perfect breeding ground for mold out of sight. Once it is safe to enter the home again you should first visually inspect for any signs of mold. Mold tends to have a noticeable odor as well. You could also hire a mold remediation company to come and test the home for mold growth. Mold can lead to several adverse health effects. It is even more harmful to occupants with serious allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. It’s a good idea to work with a professional team, but it is possible to remove small amounts of mold on your own. Here are some simple tips for safely removing mold from the house. 1. Get The Proper Safety Gear Remember, mold can be dangerous. You should never handle it with your bare hands and you should avoid breathing it in. It does the most damage once it is inside the lungs. This means you’ll need protective gloves, protective clothing, and a high quality respirator. Never attempt to clean mold without putting on the proper safety gear first. 2. Isolate The Areas With Mold Next, you need to locate and isolate all of the areas with mold in the home. Any rooms with mold should be closed off to the rest of the house. Open windows and use fans to ventilate the room. Fans should blow mold spores out the window and prevent them from spreading to new rooms. 3. Moldy Porous Materials Must Go Porous materials, such as drywall and concrete, cannot be saved once mold has started to grow. You cannot clean these items and must instead remove the affected areas completely. 4. First Clean And Then Disinfect Mold removal has two key phases: cleaning and disinfecting. You’ll need the proper cleaning solutions and disinfecting chemicals for the job. Clean the areas with mold and then properly disinfect. Remember to wear your respirator and protective clothing at all times. 5. Consider Borate You may choose to apply a borate treatment to any exposed wood in the home. It isn’t mandatory, but can really help. The borate will help protect against rotting, water damage, and future mold growth. 6. Flush Out The Air It’s likely the mold spores will become airborne during and after the cleaning process. Ventilate the rooms and use fans to keep the air blowing outside. Leave them running around the clock to ensure no spores remain. 7. Use Dehumidifiers Dehumidifiers are a great tool to have after the cleanup and disinfecting is finished. Use them to speed up the drying process. You can also use your home’s heating and cooling system. The faster it dries the better. Otherwise, new mold may form because of the residual moisture. 8. Keep An Eye Out For New Mold You…

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A flood is a devastating occurrence. It can be costly to repair, take weeks, and you may never be able to regain some lost items with sentimental value. Once the flood is over and it’s safe to return you will be eager to get back into your home and return to your normal lifestyle, but it will take some time. It’s important to return home as soon as possible to gauge the damage and create a plan for restoring the property, but it may be some time before it’s safe to live in once again. Here are some guidelines for returning home after a serious flood. Return To Evaluate The Damage You will immediately want to assess the damage caused by the flood. However, there are some safety concerns you should keep in mind to prevent further damaging the home or harming yourself in the process. The first thing you will want to look for is fallen power lines. It’s much more likely there will be down power lines if the flood was accompanied by strong winds or storm weather. For example, it’s very common to see down power lines immediately following a hurricane. Do not approach or touch fallen power lines. While still outside you need to take a step back and examine the home for any visible signs of instability. This may include leaning walls or sagging in the roof. Separation in the foundation or diagonal cracks are also signs of structural damage. Make sure there are no fallen trees leaning against the home either as this could pose a serious threat if you were to go inside. Avoid Any Possible Contaminants Flood water is considered contaminated water and could pose a risk to your health. You want to avoid flood water wherever possible as well as other harmful contaminants. You should always assume that flood water is contaminated and toxic. Potential contaminants include mold, debris, and asbestos. If your home was built before 1978 then it’s likely to contain lead based paint, which is also harmful. Flood water can bring with it all sorts of large debris. Keep an eye out for sharp objects, fiber glass, or other potentially harmful items the water may have pulled into your home. Flooding may also lead to an infestation of pests. Snakes, rodents, and even fire ants may take up residence in your home directly after a flood. If you see any of the contaminants or signs of damage mentioned above, then you should not enter the building until it is examined by a professional. Using The Utilities You should never drink or use your water directly following a flood. Assume the water source is contaminated and wait until you receive notice from the city. If you rely on a private well, then you’ll need to hire a professional to flush and disinfect the water before it is safe to use or drink again. The electrical breaker and gas supply should both be shut off before inspecting the heating system…

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  Restoring a home after a natural disaster is a big job. More often than not, it is in your best interest to work with a professional restoration company. Employing contractors who have the tools and experience to handle the required restoration can make the job go by much faster. Don’t Wait To Begin The Restoration Work One of the biggest mistakes you can make after a natural disaster is waiting to call a restoration company or even to start the restoration yourself. Whichever route you are taking, you need to start working fast. This is especially true of a home that has suffered from flood damage. Water damage only grows worse with time and can lead to mold formation very quickly. You should begin the clean up and restoration process as soon as it is safe to enter the home. Use this time to decide what work, if any, you will handle yourself. Do you have skills or experience that could be useful in the clean up and restoration process? If not, then you should instead work with a professional contractor. The Problem With Flood Water Many times homeowners will clean up visible water, but forget water that has been absorbed into the floor or the walls. The drywall tends to absorb a lot of moisture and pull it away from the ground. It can remain hidden for some time, which allows mold to begin to grow. If you are cleaning the water yourself you should remember that flood water is classified as contaminated black water. It may contain a variety of different contaminants, bacteria, sewage, or chemicals. As such, you should always wear proper protective gear including gloves and respirators while working in or near the water. Getting Rid Of Mold It only takes a couple of days for mold to begin forming in a moist environment. Serious exposure to mold can pose health risks for kids and adults. Even small amounts of mold can cause problems in people with respiratory problems like asthma. Mold can be cleaned from some surfaces, but others must be removed entirely. Porous materials, such as drywall, cannot be properly cleaned and disinfected so they must be removed where there is mold growth. Once the mold is gone you must examine the home on a regular basis for new mold growth. Is There Lead Based Paint In The Property? If the house was built before 1978, then you should assume it was painted using some form of lead based paint. Lead based paint can lead to many serious health problems in people of all ages, but is especially harmful to young children. High exposure can cause lifelong problems in adults as well. You should only work with a contractor who has been trained and certified to handle lead based paint. Otherwise, their work could actually cause bigger problems. Resources At Your Disposal The best resource at your disposal is your insurance policy, but only if it covers the particular type of damage that occurred….

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  There’s nothing fun about a house fire. It’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to damage everything in the house, including the structure itself. At the same time, it’s putting everyone in the home at risk as well. Not only is there the damage from the fire itself to worry about, but also the smoke. Smoke damages the walls, ceiling, upholstery, and could harm you as well if you were to inhale it. Knowing what to do and what not to do can make all of the difference during a house fire. Of course, one of the best things you can do to survive a house fire is prevent one from ever occurring in the first place. Most house fires are caused by very simple mistakes that turn into big, dangerous problems. Whether it’s electrical wiring, candles, or a stove. There are several potential sources of fire in the home and you should be aware of them at all times. Many fires have started because the homeowner left a pot or pan unattended on the stove. You should always stand by your pan when cooking. Never leave the room to hang out somewhere else when the stove is working. Drinking while you cook is another bad idea. A stove may not be “heavy machinery”, yet drinking still impairs your ability to properly use it. Save the drinks for after you’ve finished cooking or you could find a fire growing and no way to stop it. Once a fire does break out the biggest mistake you can make is waiting to contact the fire department. Don’t attempt to put the fire out yourself. Fires grow at an alarming rate and can only be properly controlled if the fire department arrives on time. The longer you wait to make the call the bigger the fire and greater the loss. Attempting to put the fire out with household items could cause the fire to grow even larger. If you hear the smoke alarm and see a fire then you need to get to safety and make the call. Getting to safety can be tricky as well. Smoke is a serious threat, especially after the has started burning household items. Once this happens the smoke will contain a variety of toxic pollutants. Inhaling even a small amount may leave you unconscious. To avoid the smoke you need to get low and go. This means crawling beneath the smoke line. Don’t attempt to stand and run through the smoke or you may not make it outside. Get Out And Stay Out. Your goal should be to reach the nearest exit. Whether it’s a door or window, once you’ve made it outside you’ll be safer than you could possibly be anywhere inside the home. It’s a good idea to keep a fire escape plan memorized for such an occasion. Once outside, find a phone and contact the fire department. Wait outside and don’t attempt to reenter the home under any circumstances.

  A lot of building suffer from musty mildew smells and those who occupy them simply have no clue how to get rid of the odors. Unfortunately, this is a problem that faces a lot of homes and the key to getting rid of them is by thoroughly cleaning the rooms affected by this on a daily basis. You do not want to give the bacteria and mold a chance to multiply and grow. We will be discussing some tips below that should help you get rid of the smell. Mold and mildew is a common problem that a lot of people might face in their bathrooms. The problem is, the bathroom is usually where the shower is located and because of that, it is a room that is constantly exposed to humidity. The problem with this is the fact that humidity actually encourages mold and mildew, and they need a moist environment to grow. Because of this, it is important to clean your bathroom more frequently than you would other rooms in your home, so that you can get rid of the mildew build up that can spread easily. Mildew can typically be found on your shower walls, the caulk sealant around the edge of the bathroom tiles and even on your shower curtains. If you are experiencing a musty mildew smell in your bathroom it is imperative that you get rid of the mildew first before trying to remove the odor. Once the mildew has been completely removed, a good way to get rid of the smell is to place a bowl of vinegar somewhere in the bathroom. A good idea would be to place it in a cupboard somewhere, so that is doesn’t get knocked over or disturbed. Vinegar is the perfect solution for getting rid of all kinds of smells and even for cleaning the bathroom. The vinegar is going to eventually evaporate. However, in the process, it will work to absorb the smell of the mildew and take it with it as it evaporates. For a while, you might notice a slight smell of vinegar. However, you do not have to really worry about this because the smell won’t last too long. This is not a remedy that is confined only to the bathroom. This will actually work in any room where you are suffering from the smell of mold and mildew. Just be sure to utilize enough vinegar when you are placing it into larger rooms, as you may need to increase the volume of vinegar to make it work effectively.  While there are other ways to get rid of mildew smells, this is probably the quickest, easiest, and cheapest solution that you can utilize.

  Flooding can occur for a variety of reasons, from plumbing or appliance failure, to a weather or construction related problems. Regardless of the underlying cause, proper cleaning and drying are essential to preventing mold from growing, leading to long term problems with the building. The following tips can help efficiently dry and treat flood damage to prevent mold growth. The first step to getting started is ensuring you have the proper tools and safety gear in order to avoid accidents or accidental exposure to dangerous substances. These items should include: Rubber Gloves Safety Goggles N95 Face Mask Rubber Boots Once you have the necessary safety equipment, it’s important to check the external structure of the home before going in, especially if the flooding was severe and long lasting. If the house was in a disaster area it might also be a good idea to make sure the electricity is off in the building to avoid accidental electrocution. Make sure you work with a partner to ensure you have help in case of an accident, or exposure to fumes that can cause you to pass out or become disoriented. The first step is to promote air movement by opening up the windows and doors and bringing in as many fans as are available to keep air flow strong and speed up drying time. Dehumidifiers are also important to help draw the moisture out of the air and bring the house back to dry. Once that is done, you can begin with the cleaning of the house to remove dirt, residue and buildup that can lead to mold growth or hazardous living conditions. It’s important to check hidden insulation cavities that might be soaked through, holding water for weeks and causing problems down the line if they aren’t dealt with. Check duct cavities as well for signs of moisture, and if they have been flooded they should be cleaned thoroughly in order to avoid bringing mold spores into the house through the ventilation system. Plywood and Sheetrock should also be checked to determine damage level, and in the event of long standing flooding they will most likely have to be changed as they will not survive or dry out properly. Interior basement walls will also have to be removed in order to properly clean and treat the outer concrete walls to remove residue, properly dry, and avoid mold growth. The exterior wall will need to be dried, and cleaned thoroughly before rebuilding. The basement is an area that is prone to moisture build up, so using a dehumidifier there is a good idea to speed up drying time, minimizing the chance of mold settling in and becoming an issue. If your home, office or other building has been damaged due to flooding, proper clean-up is essential to preventing mold, and ensuring it is a safe environment for people to be in. Proper cleaning, drying, and ensuring air circulation is all essential to avoiding long term mold problems.

Mold Remediation Signs To Look For It’s time for spring cleaning and this is a common time of the year for people to discover mold in their home as they start to declutter from a long and wet winter. Whether you’re cleaning out the garage or under the kitchen sink and discovered mold, it should be addressed by a mold remediation professional who can either perform the remediation, or advise you how to safely and effectively remove it yourself. The first thing to know when you discover mold is that the presence of mold itself is not harmful, it is when the mold spores from a colony become airborne and can be breathed in when there is the potential for harmful effects to one’s health. If you discover mold, don’t touch it. Another common misconception is that bleach will safely remove mold. This is NOT true. Bleach does not kill mold spores it only removes the color, and as you scrub on the mold colony you disperse the spores into the air contaminating the surrounding area you are working in. So, if your considering putting on a mask and some rubber gloves to start bleaching the walls covered in mold, please reconsider as this can pose risks down the road. You may have also heard that black mold is the dangerous mold. While this is true, it is misleading as all types of mold can be dangerous whether its green, grey or black. Color is generally more of an indication of age not toxicity. It is also worth considering why the mold grew in the first place. Whether it is a leaky roof, pipe or window, it is important to identify a source of water or moisture that allowed the mold to grow in the first place. If you discover mold during your spring cleaning, please consult a mold remediation professional. Most mold remediation companies will offer a complimentary inspection to assess the extent of the damages and provide you with an estimate and scope of work.  If you think you might have mold in your home Call ServiceMaster Restoration by Elite For a FREE Estimate (916) 245-8862

If you’ve had a water leak and shop vacuumed and mopped up the standing water you may think that your property is dry because there is no longer any standing water and it feels dry on the surface. Not being able to see or feel any water can be misleading, as there could still be water under the flooring, cabinets or inside the wall cavity that you will not be able to see. Water that is not obvious and remains trapped under flooring or inside a wall cavity can cause bigger problems down the road such as mold and rot. These are long term damages that can be avoided by having your home serviced by a professional water mitigation company. Most reputable water mitigation companies will provide a complimentary inspection of your property within 24 hours. During this inspection the mitigation company will be able to detect areas and materials that are still wet using special meters that detect levels of moisture that cannot be detected visibly or by touch. They will be able to determine a scope of work and estimate based on this inspection. If you think you might have mold in your home Call ServiceMaster Restoration by Elite For a FREE Estimate (916) 245-8862