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Titan Restoration of Arizona Launches a New Company for Environmental Services

Press Release

Contact : Rachel Stewart, General Manager
Phone : 480-649-5050
Email : rachel@titan911.com

Titan Restoration with its newly launched Environmental Services is offering helping hand to valley home and business owners

[MESA, ARIZONA, September 20, 2018—] Titan Restoration of Arizona announced to expand the restoration services to the Phoenix Valley with the launch of a new company today, Titan Environmental. Titan Environmental is planning to provide environmental cleanup and restoration services which also include asbestos abatement, lead abatement, contaminated soil remediation, hazardous waste removal and management and many other environmental services.

Titan Restoration, a longtime leader and believer in the restoration industry presents this new enterprise allowing them to better address health and safety risks that accompany environmental services projects.

“We are excited about this new venture,” said the owner and CEO, Russ Palmer, “Titan Environmental  will allow us to offer more in-house services to meet the sufficient needs of our clients, with great service and expert levels which they can expect under their name.”

Titan Restoration, being Arizona’s leading restoration experts, is willing to expand their services to meet the needs of the valley’s complicated environmental restoration. Also, Titan is excited to have Mike Moore, an experienced and well-known asbestos professional, working and guiding the team.

Titan Restoration of Arizona is a full-service restoration company, skilled in commercial, residential, and environmental restoration and dedicated to minimizing loss for our clients.  No matter the size and scope of your project we have the advanced equipment, technical expertise, and professional experience to restore your property and your peace of mind. Find us at www.titan911.com.

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Rachel Stewart at 480-649-5050, or email rachel@titan911.com.

How to Get Rid of Mold

How to Get Rid of Mold:

12 Useful Tips for Prevention and Removal

In the restoration industry, one of the biggest threats to health and safety for home owners and businesses alike is mold.

Without proper clean up and containment, mold can lead to compromised health conditions and respiratory illnesses.

But there are effective ways to get rid of mold and leave your property uncontaminated and clean.

In this article we will provide twelve tips to help you get rid of mold and eliminate the danger from your home or business.

This past week, Hurricane Florence barreled its way through the Carolinas, bringing with it substantial amounts of rain, high winds, and subsequent flooding. Though the actual hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm over the weekend, the impact and damage have continued.

Most significantly, the entire coastal area has been hit with widespread and catastrophic flooding from a combination of record rainfalls and massive storm surges.

Water has filled streets, homes, basements, and businesses, leaving residents stranded and overwhelmed by the magnitude of the destruction and the cleanup.

As the water recedes, the threat of mold will be very high. Mold grows in damp and wet conditions, and the drying process for building materials and furnishings takes time. Mold will be a natural result of the flooding in these areas, especially given the amount of standing water and time it takes to remove it.

But no matter where you live, it’s important to know how to properly get rid of mold whenever and wherever it is found and these tips will help you in that process.

1. Don’t Panic

In recent years there have been widespread, panic-inducing, fear-based stories regarding the catastrophic effects of mold on human health.

In many cases, these cases are anecdotal, have been embellished and inflated for the sake of litigation or by the media, and they are not actually substantiated by scientific research.

While it is important to be aware of the very real health risks mold presents, it is also important to seek out the truth, understand the scientific evidence, and not exaggeratethe health dangers that mold can create.

First, recognize that mold is old. It is one of the simplest and earliest forms of life. It has existed for hundreds of thousands of years and is as present in our regular, everyday lives as dust or pollen. Mold is a member of the fungi kingdom, which also contains yeast, mushrooms, and mildew.

“Mold is everywhere,” said Gailen Marshall, director of the University of Texas Medical School, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in Houston. “For most, mold is a mostly ignored part of their lives.”

Mold spreads from area to area by releasing spores into the air, much like a plant spreads its seeds. When these spores accumulate in large quantities and you breathe them in, they can trigger allergies and asthma, and in some cases, even more severe respiratory problems. Additionally, it is common for the spores to irritate the eyes and skin.

“Mold only becomes a health issue when there is too much of it,” said Harriet Burge, a mold expert from the Harvard School of Public Health and the chair of the committee that conducted reviews on mold for the CDC.

Scientists are discovering that the “too much” threshold varies from person to person and mold spores impact every immune or respiratory system differently. Obviously, those with weak or susceptible immune systems are particularly sensitive to the effect of these accumulated spores.

There are about a dozen mold species (including the black mold species, Stachybotrys)
that secrete mycotoxins which are known to be deadly to animals that eat them in large quantities, but most scientists agree that toxins from mold are not readily airborne—meaning that unlike spores, they are contained in the mold itself and not toxic unless ingested.

According to industrial hygienist, Coreen Robbins, of Global Tox, “Even if the toxins piggyback on spores, it’s nearly impossible for them to enter the human body in large enough quantity to cause illness.”

Despite this, there is a widespread fear that unseen mold might be quietly and deviously poisoning you or your family without your knowledge. Keep in mind that toxic poisoning from mold won’t just sneak up on you out of the blue.

Very moldy conditions are required in such cases and enormous amounts of mold particles would have to get into the air before you could breathe in enough to be toxic. Robbins points out that first that much mold would trigger allergic reactions or eye irritation long before toxic doses were inhaled.

So, don’t panic.

2. Understand the Threat

While you do not need to panic, recognize that mold is by no means harmless.

There is a strong link between mold and respiratory problems, such as worsening asthma.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, also independently determined that molds may be responsible for the majority of sinus infections in the U.S. And it’s important to note that a connection between mold and other more serious neurological and systemic problems have not been conclusively ruled out.

Mold spores can also cause skin and eye irritation. Sometimes these are the first signs of a mold problem.

As it stands, the scientific and health communities advise cleaning up mold, regardless of the type, and to fix any ongoing, continuous water leaks that contribute to mold growth. Always quickly dry or remove water-soaked materials to prevent the spread of mold.

Molds thrive on moisture. It grows in wet, damp, humid, or moist conditions. Removing the moisture kills the mold and doesn’t allow it to grow and spread. Mold will not consume and take over a house or a property unless there is a constant supply of water allowing it to spread its spores and grow.

3. Identify the Source of the Problem

As we said, mold cannot grow without moisture.

If you can’t seem to halt the spread of mold on your property, you need to correctly identify the ongoing source of the water, dampness or excess moisture.

Even when mold grows in places that you can’t see—behind drywall or under building materials—Harvard’s Harriet Burge points out that there are still “a lot of clues if you pay attention” that you might have a mold problem.

For example, if you find a musty smell when you enter the property or go into a basement, there is likely to be an abundance of mold.

This means that somewhere there is excess water or moisture keeping building materials wet.

It could be plumbing leaks or flooding, poor ventilation, or seepage of ground water through the foundation or walls of a basement.

Check the seals around windows, doors, and roofs, as well as flashings around vents or air conditioner equipment for possible leaks that allow moisture into your property.

Before you start getting rid of mold, you need to find the source of the problem so that you can stop ongoing growth and prevent any future reoccurrence.

In one case, an office manager noticed that there was a musty smell in the office but could not see any evidence of water or water damage.

Air quality equipment showed the spore count was tens of thousands of units above normal, indicating mold growth somewhere in the building.

When the problem was investigated with moisture reading equipment, we found that the air conditioner units had been leaking very slowly for years, with the water accumulating under the carpets and carpet padding. There was now a significant mold problem underneath the carpet.

Once the source of the moisture problem was accurately identified, the air conditioning units were repaired and reinsulated and checked for leakage.

After this was completed the rest of the work could then move forward, including disinfection and removal of contaminated flooring and carpets and removal of all the mold from the office.

4. Act Quickly

If you have a mold problem, one of the most important things to remember is to act quickly.

Mold not only puts mold spores into the air causing health problems, but it actually damages the surface it grows on.

The longer it is left to grow, the more damage occurs.

Mold will negatively impact the air quality in your property. The EPA estimates that we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, and that the air in our homes and businesses is actually more polluted than the outdoor air.

Having good indoor air quality is an important component of good health. If you suspect or know you have a mold infestation, address the problem as quickly as possible so that health complications can be avoided.

When a leak or flooding occurs, remove the water as quickly as possible to reduce the chance of mold growing in the first place. Once materials have been exposed to water for more than 24-48 hours, mold will start to grow and the materials may no longer be salvageable.

One of the reasons that hurricane damage leads to such rampant mold problems is because the water cannot be removed in a timely manner. It can be days or weeks before the water recedes and drying can begin.

Home and business owners are often not allowed back into the area for many days following flooding. This creates ideal conditions for mold to flourish.

We had a client who had a flood in her basement. Unfortunately, a different restoration company was hired to address the water damage and they did not arrive to begin the drying process until 6 days after the flood occurred.

This allowed time for the moisture to travel up the porous insulation behind the wall. When they arrived, the restoration company did not remove any of the wall or flooring materials, instead electing to drill aeration holes in the drywall and install fans and dehumidifiers.

This is a common water damage mitigation technique that can work if the problem is addressed quickly, but is no longer effective after 72 hours of water infiltration. Unfortunately, that window had long since closed for our client.

As a result, mold had already started to grow inside the basement walls and the fans only served to blow the spores throughout the entire basement area.

Because quick action was not taken, a full-scale mold remediation project had to be undertaken for a job where simple but effective drying techniques would have sufficed.

5. Dry Things Out

Before cleanup can begin, you need to completely dry the damp, mold infested area and materials.

Remove unsalvageable items from the property and dispose of them in thick plastic bags to reduce the spread of mold spores.

Improve the ventilation of the area by opening windows and using fans or industrial drying equipment and dehumidifiers to speed the drying process. Remember the faster the drying can occur after exposure to water, the less chance there is for the mold to grow.

Keep in mind that moisture may not necessarily be visible. Porous surfaces like wood, fabric, and even cement, can hold moisture for a long time and it may not be apparent to the eye.

Water travels easily through these materials from one area of a property to another. Use moisture readings to ensure the wood or other building materials are completely dry.

Whenever flooding occurs, remove the standing water as quickly as possible and then use industrial fans and dehumidifiers. This will go a long way to preventing a mold infestation.

In Arizona we have a summer monsoon season that brings high winds and dust storms that can be accompanied by very heavy rains. Our restoration company gets water damage calls with every storm.

We dispatch crews around the clock, 24/7 to begin the water removal process as quickly as possible by installing pumps and siphoning off the excess water. Fans and dryers are set up immediately after that.

Completely drying out all building materials is absolutely essential for effective mold management and elimination.

6. Size Up the Problem

Next, you need to figure out how big the problem is because this will help determine who should do the mold cleanup.

According to the EPA, if the mold is contained in an area less than 10 square feet (like a 3 ft. x 3 ft. patch of mold), then you can handle the job yourself.

However, if the growth is bigger than that, the EPA recommends that you have a professional with experience and knowledge in mold remediation address the cleanup.

Likewise, if the mold has contaminated the heating/ventilation/air conditioning system you need to have a professional clean up the mold before you run the HVAC.

Turning on the system before complete and proper cleanup could spread the mold throughout the entire home or building.

And whenever the mold or water damage was caused by sewage or contaminated water, a professional mold remediator with the right tools and expertise in containment and safety needs to handle the cleanup.

Hire a company with experience in dealing with hazardous materials.

If your property has a moldy smell (as mentioned in tip #3) and you suspect but cannot see the source, the mold may be hidden behind building materials like dry wall, wallpaper, tile, paneling, under floorboards or carpets, etc.

Mold may also be hiding in wall spaces near leaking or condensing pipes, in roof materials or attic insulation—wherever there is a hidden water source.

Investigating the hidden mold problem requires careful work because disturbing the building materials can release a huge amount of mold spores in to the air.

If you suspect a hidden mold problem, it is recommended that you hire a professional who can do tests on the air quality and carefully remove the mold without disturbing the spores more than necessary.

7. Get Dressed Up

If the moldy area is small and you decide to clean it yourself, you need to wear the proper clothing and use the right equipment to keep yourself safe and reduce exposure to and inhalation of mold spores.

To avoid breathing the mold spores into your lungs, wear a respirator.

You can find one at most hardware stores for about $15-20 dollars. Look for an N-95 respirator that is equipped with removable cartridges that trap mold spores from entering your respiratory tract.

Always wear gloves and avoid touching moldy surfaces with your bare hands.

Depending on the surface you are cleaning, you may need to use a disinfectant like bleach, so make sure the gloves are made from natural rubber, neoprene, nitrile, or polyurethane.

Wear goggles. Many times, when mold spores are in abundance, people complain of eye irritation.

Wear a pair of non-ventilated goggles to avoid getting mold spores in your eyes as you work.

When mold remediation professionals do their work, they usually wear protective suits to cover their clothes and skin.

This reduces the chance of irritation from mold spores and the likelihood of transferring mold spores off-site.

8. Assess the Surface

If you have decided to clean up the mold yourself, the cleaning solution you use will be determined by the surface you are working on.

Some hard, non-porous surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water, but usually it will require more stringent chemicals to kill the mold.

Many of these chemicals work to kill the mold by interfering with the proteins in the cells either by raising or lowering the pH in the environment.

Understand that absorbent or porous materials like carpet, rugs, furniture, ceiling tiles or drywall, may have to be removed and thrown away if they become too moldy.

These materials have lots of empty spaces that can fill with mold, and these items may be impossible to clean completely.

Also, keep in mind that even after cleaning, mold can leave staining and cosmetic damage. While you may be able to clean an item and remove the mold, you may not be able to restore the surface’s former appearance.

You can scrub small areas of mold by yourself with a combination of water, detergent, and household chemicals, depending on the type of material you are cleaning, as indicated in the chart below. Always dry the surfaces completely after cleaning to inhibit further mold growth.

Cleaning Agent Ratio to Water Surface Caution How it Works
Bleach 1:16 Non-porous Caustic “Cooks” the mold’s proteins
Vinegar Do not dilute Non-porous Non-toxic pH 2.5
Baking Soda 1:2 Non-porous Non-toxic pH 8
Hydrogen Peroxide Do not dilute Porous and non-porous Non-toxic Oxidizes the surface of the mold
Borax 1:16 Porous and non-porous Non-toxic pH 9.5

Since most molds thrive in environments with a pH range of 3 to 7, many household chemicals are effective in removing small, mild mold growth. Of all the solutions, bleach and borax are probably the most effective and the most often recommended, but be mindful that bleach does not work on porous surfaces unless combined with a detergent as well.

Carefully monitor the result of your cleanup. Many times, do-it-yourselfers will inadvertently miss spots, fail to kill all the spores, or even transfer mold spores while they are scrubbing, resulting in additional, more serious infestations. Watch the area to make sure that the mold does not reappear.

9. Don’t Cover Up the Problem

Cleaning up a mold problem can seem overwhelming.

There can be a temptation to simply want to cover up the problem by painting or caulking over the mold.

Remember you need to find the source of the moisture first. Then completely clean and dry the surface before you paint or caulk.

Paint that is applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel and you will still have the underlying health threat contaminating the air of your property. Out of sight does not mean the problem has been eliminated.

One of our customers was renting a property that had been newly repainted. After a couple of weeks in their new apartment, he noticed the bathroom paint was peeling and there were dark black spots appearing on the walls.

The landlord thought he could just ignore the mold problem caused by a leaking pipe by repainting the apartment after the plumbing repairs had been made.

We removed the drywall with its mold and peeling paint, both hazardous and unsafe conditions. Once we determined that the plumbing problems had been resolved sufficiently, we completely dried the bathroom and restored the damaged wall.

10. Get Help with Contents Cleaning

Sometimes when there is mold, it is not only on the building materials, but on the “contents” of a property as well.

Each category of contents—like electronic equipment, furniture, toys, rugs, books, clothes, dishes, etc.—all have their own specific cleaning requirements.

Many times, the cost of cleaning or salvaging the items, far exceeds the actual worth of the item. In these cases, mold remediators recommend carefully discarding and disposing of the item unless it was irreplaceable or had significant sentimental value.

In these cases, you may need to consult a specialist in order to restore the item.

There are organizations and businesses that specialize in the restoration of specific items like art, rugs or furniture, books, documents, or other items.

Always ask for references when seeking the help of specialist to restore your irreplaceable property contents.

11. Avoid Cross-Contamination

When home or business owners try to clean up mold by themselves, one of the common mistakes they make is failing to set up a containment area when they are cleaning.

Once you start scrubbing or wiping the mold, the spores will become airborne and can easily travel and contaminate other parts of your home or office.

This is why calling a professional mold remediation specialist can be so valuable. Mold removal experts set up negative air flow environments with carefully constructed containment areas to ensure the mold spores will not spread.

They are also experts at disposal of containment, cleaning, and unsalvageable items so that future mold outbreaks are avoided.

12. Call an Expert

While it may be possible to clean up small mold infestations yourself, because of the risk of mold spores spreading and the possibility of future, worsening infestations, it is recommended that you seek professional help when dealing with a mold problem at your home or business.

Especially in cases where the mold may be hidden or the area is larger than 10 square feet, the job should be left to a professional.

But no matter the size or scope of the job, their knowledge and experience of a reputable mold remediation contractor can be invaluable. When you find a mold removal expert with a proven track record, they can give you incredible results and significant peace of mind.

At Titan Restoration we have been eradicating mold from homes and businesses for over twenty years. We have the equipment, knowledge, and expertise, to avoid cross-contamination and completely kill and remove the mold from your property.

The following video will give you an idea of the methods and techniques that we use when getting rid of mold on a property:

First, we identify and resolve the moisture source and then dry the work site completely with efficient, industrial equipment and specialized tools. The work area is completely sealed and contained with plastic sheeting to prevent the spread of spores to other areas of the property.

We run HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) vacuums and air scrubbers to clean the air of airborne mold spores and prevent unintended transfer or contamination. Only HEPA filters are designed to capture particles as small as mold spores. Regular filters will not work and can actually make the problem worse.

The affected area is then completely cleaned and sanitized with industrial-strength disinfectants and antimicrobial chemicals, as we simultaneously employ HEPA air scrubbers with the proper number of air exchanges to trap the airborne mold and spores in the HEPA filter.

If any porous materials like drywall cannot be entirely sanitized and salvaged, they are properly disposed of and replaced. We follow industry standards and remove all dry wall 2 feet from the appearance of any mold.

Once the drywall has been removed, we check the inside of the wall, the insulation, and the wood studs for evidence of mold and remove those or sand down as needed.

Titan then uses an industrial hygienist, a third party, to determine if we adequately cleaned and disinfected area before we do any repairs to the structure. If the Hygienist determines that the area is not clean enough or there are too many mold spores, they will have us re-clean the area until they are satisfied with our efforts.

HEPA air scrubbers are put in place for 24 hours to ensure the air is free from mold spores, and then the area is sealed and treated with to prevent any possible future mold growth.

We also schedule regular checks after the mold removal to ensure that no new growth has occurred and all mold and spores have been completely eliminated without cross-contamination.

Throughout the process, the utmost care is taken to thoroughly eradicate your current mold infestation according to the highest safety and industry standards and preventing any and all subsequent outbreaks.

Your health and safety are important to us, and so is the careful restoration of your property. Our training and our technical expertise allow us to provide the very best service as we guide you through the mold remediation process.

Mold can be persistent and pernicious. But our record and our reputation can give you complete confidence in our team’s ability to completely eradicate it from your property with efficiency, care, and meticulous workmanship.

Conclusion

While mold has been a part of human history since the beginning, harmful amounts of concentrated mold spores needs to be a thing of the past in all our homes and businesses.

By following these tips you can help prevent mold infestation and remove the threat if it appears, reducing potential respiratory illnesses and helping you, your family, your employees, and your customers to breathe a little easier.

About Fire Damage and Restoration

18 Tips for Everything You Need to Know

About Fire Damage and Restoration

Fire damage can happen to anyone at any time.

Just last week, on August 2, 2018 a large monsoon storm rolled through the Phoenix valley bringing wind, dust, rain, and lots of lightning.

One of those lightning strikes hit a friend’s tall queen palm tree and lit it up like a torch. In the blink of an eye, the tree was a 30-foot blazing totem throwing sparks into the air.

And then, just as fast, those sparks landed on the roof, catching it on fire as well. Soon the flames had spread to the entire house.

One moment this family was gathered in the kitchen watching the storm; the next their house was on fire and they were standing on the street as it burned to the ground.

The loss felt as surprising and sudden as the lightning strike itself. Flash! And then there was nothing.

So what now?

After a fire, big or small, where do you start? How do you restore what’s been lost? What do you need to know to rebuild your property and your life and start fresh? In this article, we will give you 18 important steps to take after a fire to restore the damage.

1. Grieve and Breathe

There are few things more devastating than a house fire.

When it seems like your whole world just went up in smoke, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, grief-stricken, and anxious.

First, take a deep breath. You have experienced a great loss and it can be shock, both mentally and emotionally.

As tragic as it feels, try to remember that everything is going to be okay. The combination of the loss and the uncertainty of what lies ahead, can be extremely stressful. Do your best to calm your fears by recognizing that while today might feel truly terrible, things will get better, they will improve, and eventually return to normal.

In the case of large fires, this stress may also be accompanied by a deep sense of grief over the widespread damage and loss.

That is perfectly normal. The property and irreplaceable possessions that you have loved and cared for have sustained substantial damage. Let yourself grieve and process the loss.

Understand that all of this may take time. It will take time and it will take work, but, again, everything is going to be okay.

Just breathe and grieve. Try not to let your mind run away with anxiety and fear. You have a long process ahead of you and you don’t have to do it all at once. Focus on one step at a time.

2. Remember You Are Not Alone

For most people, thankfully, house fires are unchartered territory.

This experience is all new and can be stressful or very frightening.

While it may be all new to you, you are not alone. You are surrounded by people who have lots of experience, expertise, and understanding.

The firefighters, police, and other first responders who work on your fire are there to help and guide you. They can tell you the next steps to take and ensure your safety throughout the experience.

The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army have experience with large-scale losses and can be great resources for housing and other assistance.

Your insurance company, agent, and adjustors all have experience and knowledge and can answer questions and guide you through the process of restarting and rebuilding.

Additionally, your restoration company has years of experience and training to be able to know exactly what steps to take to effectively clean and eliminate both the obvious and invisible threats that can occur because of fire damage.

They will help you every step of the way, until things are restored to normal.

If you don’t know the answer or the next step, you have someone around you that does. Ask for help and remember you are not alone in this process.

3. Find a Safe Place to Stay

After a fire, you will need a place to sleep for at least a few days.

Even small fires must be inspected and thoroughly cleaned of smoke, ash, and soot before it is safe to reenter and occupy the home.

In some cases, a more long-term housing situation will need to be obtained because, when a fire is large, the cleaning, restoration, and rebuilding process can take many months.

For now, find a place to stay for a few days as the damage is assessed and safety concerns are minimized.

You have a big job ahead of you that will be physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing. Get plenty of rest and take care of yourself and your family.

Staying with family or friends can make recovery easier and can be very comforting.

If you don’t have that option, contact your local disaster relief service, like the Red Cross or Salvation Army.

4. Don’t Forget to Eat

In addition to providing temporary housing, disaster relief organizations can also help you get food, clothing and medicine.

Remember that everything in your house has sustained some damage, even in the event of a small fire, because smoke quickly infiltrates everything.

The air in your home is now full of chemicals and particulates that have contaminated the things inside your home. It is unsafe to eat, drink, or breathe in anything that has been near the flames, smoke, soot, or water used to douse the fire.

Everything will need to be thoroughly cleaned or replaced before they can be used. All food and medicine will need to be thrown out.

You may not feel like eating. Again, remember you have had a traumatic experience and it’s important to take care of yourself.

When we lived in our first home, our neighbors at the end of the cul-de-sac had a grease fire in their kitchen. I remember standing out on the street for hours with our friends as the firefighters worked, putting out the fire and checking for flareups and hot spots.

After a few hours, one of the firefighters brought us a few big bags filled with Whoppers. I didn’t even know I was hungry until they handed us one and told us all to sit on the curb and eat.

Suddenly, I was ravenous from all the worry and grief and anxiety. And nothing had ever tasted as good as that Whopper. In that moment, it felt almost life sustaining. I was so grateful for firefighters that had the understanding and experience to have us sit down and eat something when that was the last thing on our minds.

5. Help Your Pets

If you have pets, find and comfort them and take them with you. Keep in mind that scared animals often react by hiding, biting, or scratching.

Handle them carefully and gently and speak to them calmly. Like you, they have been through a stressful, traumatic experience. They may act uncharacteristically for a little while.

Leave your pets with a friend or family member when you need to return to your property for cleaning or other work. Keeping your pets out of the house until the cleanup is complete is much safer for them because of the debris and chemicals.

6. Safety First

It is important that you fully understand the risk to your health and safety even after the fire has been put out.

As we noted previously, the air, soot, and dirty water left behind contain dangerous chemicals that can make you sick.

There can be significant, hidden structural damage as well. Roofs or floors may be damaged and could fall down or have weak spots.

Do not reenter your damaged home or property unless the fire department has given you permission to do so. Fires can start again, even if they appear to be out.

The fire department will also ensure that all utility services (water, electricity and gas) are safe to use. If they are not safe, the firefighters will have your utilities turned off or disconnected before they leave. Do not ever try to turn them back on by yourself.

Use caution when you are allowed to reenter the property, especially when touching and handling fire-damaged items. Follow the advice of the experts in fire cleanup—the firefighters, local building officials, your insurance agent, and your restoration team—before you begin any cleanup or start repairs.

7. Understand the True Dangers

When you think of a fire, the most dangerous part appears to be the flames or the smoke.

But you should understand that some of the most dangerous parts of the fire are found in the ashes and the aftermath—long after the flames are extinguished and the smoke has cleared.

When materials burn they create toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), which are extremely hazardous to your health and even lethal if inhaled, ingested, or absorbed into the skin. These effects can occur immediately or can take days, weeks, or months to take an effect.

In one case, a California fire chief was making a fire inspection after a residential fire, but became very sick as he was returning to the fire station. A HAZMAT team was called and found containers of liquid sodium cyanide on the scene.

The fire chief was immediately put in a hyperbaric chamber and was able to make a full recovery, but it was later determined that he had inhaled a near-lethal dose of sodium cyanide from the off-gassing of a jewelry refinishing business that was operated out of the home and had burned up in the fire.

Even when the fire department allows you to reenter your property, VOCs, particulates, and other chemical compounds are still present and represent a real threat to your health and safety.

Many of these toxic particles are so small they easily pass through the lungs into the bloodstream and then make their way to vital organs.

They are also small enough to enter through the nose and directly to the brain through the olfactory nerve, bypassing the protective blood-brain barrier.

Always wear protective clothing, masks, and gloves when visiting your property or handling any combustible material.

8. Secure the Property

Your home owner’s policy will cover the items and property damaged by the fire.

However, after the fire, most policies require you to make certain the house or property is secure against possible intruders or additional damage.

Contact your local police department and inform them that you will be away from your home. Where possible, board up openings with plywood to prevent unauthorized entrance. Cover the roof or other open areas with tarps to prevent rain from getting in.

Your insurance agent can tell you what you need to do to secure the property and your restoration company will have the equipment and knowledge to prevent additional damage from the elements.

Be aware that when you board up your home, the VOC’s, particulates, and toxic compounds will not be able to dissipate.

The combination of the lack of ventilation after a board-up and the poisonousness of the burned materials classifies this environment as “immediately dangerous to life and health” (IDLH) by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Extreme caution and preventative measures need to be taken by anyone enter the house after it is boarded up.

9. Call Your Insurance Agent

After the fire department and the police, the next call should be to your insurance agent.

Start by asking about the immediate needs of your home, including pumping out water, covering doors and windows, and securing the property.

Some of this damage is a result of the firefighters doing their job. Breaking windows or cutting holes in the roof or walls allows for ventilation which slows a fire’s growth. It also allows the very dark smoke to escape, making it easier for firefighters to see and do their work.

Both water and ventilation will cause damage to your property, but ultimately, they help put the fire out more quickly and save lives and property.

Your insurance agent will lead you through the process of filing a claim, first by addressing the more urgent water damage and security concerns, and then eventually creating an itemized list of everything irreparably lost in the fire.

Remembering, cataloguing, and itemizing all your possessions may seem overwhelming. Again, this will happen one step at a time.

Start the claim as soon as possible, so that further damage can be minimized as much as possible, and then your agent can lead you step by step through the rest of the process..

10. Call a Restoration Company

After your insurance agent has authorized you to begin cleanup, call a restoration company with a superior reputation and years of experience in fire damage.

They need to be licensed, bonded, and insured, with a proven track record.

The restoration company will send an emergency response team to assess the damage to your home, secure the property from future weather damage or intrusion, begin pumping out water and drying where necessary, as well as estimating the total extent of the damage.

They will also probably begin ventilation, to air out the house as much as possible, using industrial-strength fans and air scrubbers to help reduce the amount of smoke damage your home and possessions are exposed to.

These first, immediate steps will go a long way to preventing and minimizing further damage. What happens after that will depend on the extent of the fire damage, but it will likely be a combination of cleaning and salvaging where possible, demolition and disposal where necessary, and rebuilding and restoring the home’s function and beauty.

Using specialized equipment, filters, alkaline cleaning solvents, and trained expertise, restoration companies who have experience in fire damage are able to safely remove all the traces and corrosive elements of smoke and soot damage without causing harm to their technicians.

Again, do not try to do this yourself without proper training, protective clothing, masks, or specialized equipment.

11. Be Aware of Prolonged and Hidden Smoke Damage

Fire damage is especially insidious to remove because some signs of damage are obviously apparent—such as piles of ash, discoloration on walls and ceilings, and dark stains from smoke on household surfaces—but others are not as visible.

Damage that is more hidden includes smoke odor that has seeped into porous surfaces like wood and even cement.

Soot can hide in tiny cracks in walls and under baseboards, and even very small amounts can corrode microprocessors and delicate circuit parts in appliances, computers, and other electronics.

Air conditioning vents, the empty space behind walls, and even the outside walls of your home are all areas where smoke, ash, and soot can cling and quietly continue to cause damage through chemical corrosion if they aren’t removed and sanitized in a timely manner.

It’s important to ensure that the HVAC system, vents, the attic and roof, and all the exterior walls are inspected and professionally and properly cleaned.

Until the soot is completely removed by fire damage restoration specialists, your home will not only smell bad, it will be unsafe for habitation, and the caustic chemicals will continue to inflict corrosive damage to your home.

12. Call Your Mortgage Lender or Landlord

As soon as you are safe, your property is secure, and you claim has been started, it’s wise to contact your mortgage company and let them know about the fire.

It’s also a good time to contact your bank and credit card company to report any cards that were lost in the fire and request replacements.

13. Keep Good Notes

The process of restoring your home and replacing your possessions after fire damage is long and involves lots of details.

It is wise to keep a notebook or binder with all your necessary information in one place.

Keeping a record of your conversations with your insurance company and restoration contractor can help you resolve misunderstandings and reduce confusion. Also, keep a list of everything removed from the home for disposal or cleaning. This will help you make sure your claim is accurate.

Save all your receipts for any money you spend, as they may be needed later as part of your claim with the insurance company. You will also need your receipts to prove any losses you claim on your tax return.

14. Create a Loss List

Depending on your insurance policy requirements, it is likely that you will need to create an itemized list of the unsalvageable and destroyed household and personal items that were lost in the fire.

While this can feel extremely overwhelming, it is important to start. Every time you think of or remember something, record it. The insurance company will probably need you to provide an estimate of the value of the item and the amount you paid for it. If you are able to recover any receipts for items this can also be helpful. Your insurance agent can tell you exactly what the company needs to fulfill the claim.

Then go through your house, room by room, in your mind. Think about what was in that corner, what did you keep in that desk or in that particular dresser. Try to picture the room itself. What was on the walls? What furniture was kept in that room?

Break it down into individual rooms and then break it down even farther. Step by step, you will gradually start to generate a significant list.

This process can be hard, not only because of the magnitude of the job, but because it can make the feelings of loss even greater. Go slowly and let yourself grieve as you need to, especially for unique and irreplaceable items. Take breaks when necessary. Recognize that this is an emotional process even more that a physical one sometimes.

15. Replace Important Documents

As you clean up, try to find your family’s important documents and records.

If you had a significant fire, it’s possible that many of these have been damaged or destroyed.

If any of the following documents were destroyed you will need to obtain new copies:

  • Driver’s license, auto registration
  • Bankbooks (checking, savings, etc.)
  • Birth, death and marriage certificates
  • Social Security or Medicare cards
  • Mortgage papers
  • Insurance policies
  • Passports and citizenship documents
  • Divorce papers
  • Titles to deeds
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Wills
  • Medical records
  • Income tax records
  • Animal registration papers
  • Military discharge papers

16. Talk to Your Accountant

This may be the only good news you’ve heard since the fire alarm went off, but there are special tax considerations for people who have had fire damage and loss.

As previously mentioned, keep any receipts related to the fire and keep and accurate account of your expenses and losses.

Then talk to an accountant or contact the IRS about how to take advantage of the tax laws and benefits available after a fire.

17. Trust the Experts

Experiencing fire damage is a unique and difficult experience.

Your instinct will be to try to fix things immediately so that you can feel better and so that things can feel normal again.

But because of the dangerous nature of both the fire itself and the chemical cleanup involved, the “fix” will not be quick and you will be unable to do much of it yourself. You will need to trust the experts and their years of knowledge and experience. In most circumstances you will need to wait for professionals with the right equipment, clothing and disposal techniques to do their job.

Much of the frustration and anxiety that people experience after fire damage can be mitigated through managing expectations and thoughts. Don’t think and expect things to go a certain way, the way you think it “should,” or the way it did for your neighbor or brother-in-law.

Every fire is different. Every fire burns different materials, at different temperatures, at different rates, and was extinguished in different ways. All of these factors make a difference in the cleanup and restoration.

Your fire is unique. Trust your restoration team to return your property to its safest, cleanest, most beautiful condition, and try to be patient in the meantime. When you choose a reputable, expert restoration team, you can rely on them to do what’s best for you and your home throughout the process.

At Titan Restoration we are committed to producing exceptional work at the highest safety and industry standards. We will do our best to make the fire damage restoration process as easy, efficient, and straightforward as possible.

18. Create a New Normal

You have gone through an experience that is anything but “normal.” You are most likely living in a temporary housing situation without your usual clothes or furniture or other comforts of home.

Your life has been turned upside down. Remind yourself that while this isn’t “normal” it can still be “okay.”

As a restoration company, we can tell you from experience that as fast as we work, it is still not fast enough for things to be immediately back to the “way they were.” Accept that the entire process will take time. It will take more time than you want, because even one day living in limbo feels too long.

Instead of waiting for things to be exactly as they were before you can feel okay, try to think about this time as a “new normal.” It is different for sure. But that doesn’t mean you have to put your life, your happiness, or your personal peace on hold.

Remember that eventually everything will be made right. But you don’t need to wait to return to your home to feel “normal,” but instead try to embrace this “new normal” and look for little ways to find joy even in these very unusual circumstances.

Also, be aware that in some ways, your life may never be exactly the same as it was before the fire. Something significant has occurred in your life.

I have a friend whose family had a house fire when he was a teenager. It was caused when some lint in the dryer vent caught fire. The experience left such an impression on him that when he grew up and had his own home and family, he vacuumed out his dryer vent every Saturday. It was like mowing the lawn to him…just something that had to be done every week.

What my friend learned through his experience as a teenager affected the way he lived his life. What you learn as you go through your own fire damage experience will undoubtedly affect you and change you and all of this will be part of your “new normal.” Allow yourself to adjust and learn as you enter this unchartered territory.

At Titan Restoration, we are here to guide you and assist you through every step of the fire damage restoration process, from those initial devasting moments to the final completed restoration. You are not alone. With us, you have a partner with years of fire damage experience and understanding. We’re always here to help.

Conclusion

Have you experienced fire damage?

What helped you the most as you were going through it?

Share your story with us below.

12 Tips to Keep a Roof Over Your Head

After a Monsoon Storm:

12 Tips to Keep a Roof Over Your Head

This week I have spent the week on a California beach having a little family reunion with my family, my parents, and my siblings and their families.

Last night my brother received a call from a friend who informed him that the roof on my brother’s home in Arizona had partially collapsed as a result of the latest monsoon storm.

The air conditioner, covered in dust from the latest storm, had frozen over and then the ice had melted in the desert heat.

The weight of the melted water and the frozen air conditioner was too much for the roof and the air conditioner sunk right through.

My brother was not alone.

Thousands of homes throughout the valley sustained damage in this week’s storms.

We have been dispatching crews to assess damage and mitigate losses all week and my phone is filled with pictures of the aftermath left in the wake of these powerful storms.

During monsoon season, Arizona roofs are especially susceptible to damage.

Here are twelve tips that can help you keep a roof over your head this summer.

After a Monsoon Storm:

1. Know Your Enemy

On Monday afternoon, July 9, 2018, a massive monsoon storm tore its way across Phoenix, leaving no part of the valley unscathed.

Walloping a powerful punch of rain, dust, hail, and severe winds, the storm knocked out power to over 100,000 homes and caused damage to thousands of valley homes and businesses.

More dust and rain blew in again today, in another monsoon storm just two days after the last one.

And they will likely continue to roll in, one after another, for the next month or so as we work our way through this year’s monsoon season.

It’s important to understand the cumulative and ongoing nature of the storm patterns during monsoon season.

Then carefully and regularly assess your home and property for damage after every storm to prevent escalating issues. As the storms pile up, so can property damage.

After a Monsoon Storm:

2. Understand the Threats

There are a variety of ways monsoon storms can damage your roof, including wind, rain, dust, and hail.

Roofs are designed to have a wind resistance rating of up to 60 mph, but during storms like the one we had on Monday, it not unusual to get wind gusts above 75 or 80 mph.

Winds this strong can easily loosen or remove roof tiles, damage flashings and gutters or cause debris to penetrate or damage a roof structure.

Monsoons carrying heavy rains make your roof susceptible to moisture damage.

If the water makes it past the roofing materials to your roof deck, the moisture will eventually cause rot in the wood and lead to extensive damage.

Dust is another, less obvious, threat to your roof.

The coating of dust can cover air conditioner coils causing them to freeze and leak.

Over time dust can also erode and undermine roof sealants leaving you more exposed to wind and water damage.

Additionally monsoon storms can sometimes carry hail, which can break or crack roof tiles, and even puncture roofing materials, leaving the roof and home exposed to future water damage.

After a Monsoon Storm:

3. Inspect for Damage

Some damage is obvious.

It’s hard to miss the two-story tree uprooted and relocated to your driveway, or your neighbor’s trampoline that has taken up rent-free residence in your pool.

The damage on your roof may be less obvious.

As you know, heavy rain, wind and hail can loosen roofing materials.

When the outer shingles or tiles are damaged, lifted, or cracked there is greater possibility of water damage, so it is important to check your roof after every serious storm and regularly throughout monsoon season.

Be aware that walking on your roof to check its structure and look for damage can actually cause more damage and is risky.

Binoculars are the best way to check your roof after each storm.

Look for loose or missing tiles, any cracks in the tiles, or areas where the tiles are lifted or not lying flat and straight.

After a Monsoon Storm:

4. Flat Roof Considerations

Depending on the type of roof you have, you should be on the lookout for different things during your visual inspection.

With a flat roof you want to ensure that there is no debris or branches or other large objects, blocking or plugging where the water needs to drain off the roof.

Always remove any debris or foreign objects blown onto the roof by the storm.

Check for open or vulnerable seams where water can get underneath the roofing system and into your home or business.

If you see an opening or crack, have it repaired immediately.

Many flat roof systems can be easily repaired by a professional with an acrylic or silicone coating.

After a Monsoon Storm:

5. Pitched Roof Considerations

Pitched roofs have long valleys where water runs down.

Check that these canals are clear of any debris or rubble that might block the flow of water.

Again, carefully remove any debris deposited onto your roof by the storm.

Also, periodically have the seals checked to make sure they are watertight and haven’t eroded from dust or heavy rains.

After a Monsoon Storm:

6. Check Gutters

In your inspection, be sure to inspect your rain gutters and downspouts for blockages or damage that may have occurred as a result of the latest storm.

Make sure the gutters are hanging properly and that they are clear from debris, leaves, and branches that might have been relocated and deposited by severe wind gusts.

When the next storm arrives and the rain is coming in torrents, these are the most important tools to get the water off your roof and away from your home’s structure and foundation as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Your gutters and downspouts can prevent foundation damage and flooding.

After a Monsoon Storm:

7. Check Flashings

As you conduct your roof inspection, look for missing or lifted or bent flashing.

These are the metal strips that cover the edges of the roof and areas on the roof near an AC or heating unit, vent, skylight or a chimney.

These areas are particularly susceptible to water damage if the flashing is damaged or missing and will be the first place water enters.

After a Monsoon Storm:

8. Reevaluate Landscaping

As a general rule, it is better to plant trees and shrubbery farther away from the house and roof.

While they can look attractive, trees and plants that grow too close to the home endanger the roof anytime there is a serious wind storm.

If you decide to plant your trees or shrubbery close, be sure to keep them properly trimmed and the branches lightened to reduce the chance of damage to your roof.

After a Monsoon Storm:

9. Look for Watermarks

Watermarks or dark spots are evidence that there is already a leak and water is sitting or was sitting in that area.

Use a flashlight to check for suspicious marks and stains in the attic and ceilings and in other areas of your home.

If you find water damage, it’s important to get the area and materials completely dry as soon as possible.

Even small leaks can lead to serious problems.

Wet and moist materials that are left untreated can deteriorate and decay easily and are extremely susceptible to mold and fungal growth.

Use fans and dehumidifiers to accelerate the drying process, especially in humid, monsoon conditions.

An experienced restoration contractor is an invaluable resource when you have water damage. At Titan Restoration, we are experts in water removal, water damage mitigation, and in-place drying.

We have decades of experience, a warehouse of the best equipment available, and we respond immediately to emergency calls.

We actually pioneered an effective, in-place drying procedure that is now an industry standard and we understand the techniques and timelines to completely dry your property.

After a Monsoon Storm:

10. Call a Professional

If you find damage or areas of concern on your roof, avoid common mistakes by hiring a professional to repair the damage rather than doing it yourself.

Many homeowners who try to do small roof repairs themselves can make common mistakes that can actually lead to more damage.

For example, if you inadvertently overlap the roofing material from the low side to the high side, the water will actually crawl underneath the loose flaps instead of merely running down the roof.

Another common mistake homeowners make is trying to seal up penetrations and accidentally sealing it so water can’t get out, causing the water to run into the house as a result.

Left unattended these “repairs” can lead to severe water damage and even a collapsed roof.

After a Monsoon Storm:

11. Avoid Storm Chasing Scams

Unfortunately, once a severe storm has blown though the valley, you can count on storm chasing scams to quickly follow.

These are generally, out-of-town contractors that do quick and often shoddy work.

Be aware of the increase in scams after a monsoon storm and always use licensed, established contractors to work on your home.

Generally, these irreputable contractors will knock at your door and use scare tactics to convince you that you need their services right away.

The storm chasing roofer will claim that they work directly with insurance companies, and they will say that it will cost you nothing. Sounds good so far, right?

However, the way the scam works is that they take the total amount paid out from the insurance while charging the insurance company for good material, but they only complete the bare minimum work with poor quality materials.

The homeowners that turn to storm chasers are left with an incomplete job, or a poorly repaired roof, done with inferior materials.

Many times these roof repairs only last a few years.

Avoid these scams by only working with contractors who have an established business in the community, with years of experience, reviews, and references for the work they have done.

After a Monsoon Storm:

12. Prepare for the Unexpected

No matter how vigilant and careful you are about inspecting your roof and watching for possible damage after a monsoon storm, it is still possible for unexpected damages to occur.

Microbursts can do incredible damage even to new roofs and flying debris or branches from the surrounding neighborhood can penetrate any roof structure.

When this happens, dust, rain and storm debris will also quickly find their way into your home.

When you find yourself in an emergency situation like this, have a plan in place. Know who to call for immediate help. The faster you can get a temporary tarp in place, the less water damage and structural harm will occur.

Titan Restoration is fully prepared to answer emergency calls and dispatch a crew to mitigate any water damage, limit your home’s exposure to the outside elements, and restore your home to pre-storm conditions.

Whether the damage is large or small, occurs on a residential or commercial property, Titan Restoration has the equipment, expertise, and experience, to prevent further damage and restore any losses.

Titan Restoration has over two decades of experience with the Arizona monsoon season. We have seen the incredible power of these storms as they have damaged roofs, homes, and commercial properties throughout the valley. From flooding to microburst destruction, from hail damage to complete roof collapse, over the years, we have seen it all.

No matter how unpredictable the monsoon season is or how significant the resulting damage is, we are ready to help Arizona home and property owners rebuild and repair. We are a dependable, qualified restoration contractor committed to restoring properties, from the roof to the foundation, exactly as they were before the storm hit.

Your roof is your biggest source of protection during a storm, but it can also be the most vulnerable to damage. Taking care of your roof and watching for potential problems, can help prevent flooding or more extensive damage when the next storm rolls through.

Given the importance of having a solid, secure roof over your head, it will be extremely valuable to use these twelve tips throughout the monsoon season to protect your property and your family, no matter the weather.

So Wrapping up for now

Conclusion

So, how were the storms in your neighborhood this week?

What are you doing to protect your home and property this monsoon season?

Tell us what’s working for you! Do let me know in case of queries in the comment section below and share it with your friends.

20 Steps to Take Before and After a Monsoon Storm

Important Things to Do in Monsoon Storm

20 Steps to Take Before and After a Monsoon Storm

Last summer we hosted a student from France who lived with us in Arizona throughout the month of July.

Unexpectedly, the biggest surprise for her was not the heat, but the lightning. She told us they rarely have lightning in Paris.

But July in Arizona is smack dab in the middle of monsoon season, which always comes with lots of lightening and even thunder. It was a whole new experience for our French friend.

One night, we were driving back from San Diego, when a huge monsoon storm rolled over us between Phoenix and Casa Grande. In addition to blinding dust, huge wind gusts, and torrents of rain, there were thousands of lightning strikes all around us as we drove back to the valley.

Our little French student’s eyes were as big as saucers as the sky flashed and cracked around us.

Monsoon season in Arizona officially starts on June 15th and runs through the summer months until the end of September.

The monsoon storm pattern is caused by high dewpoints, above 55 degrees, which come from water rising from low pressure zones in the Gulf of Mexico.

This water combined with our high temperatures creates the unique monsoon weather pattern.

The monsoons can bring rain with them (but they don’t have to) which can cause flash flooding and water damage, but they are especially characterized by high winds, dust storms, microbursts, and even tornados all resulting from the high dewpoints recorded here in Arizona during the summer months.

With monsoon season upon us and the first storm already on its way, there are some important steps you can take to protect your home and yard and ensure you are prepared for both before and after the storms.

Here are the 20 steps before and after the storm hits

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

1. Tree Care

It’s hard to predict when a monsoon storm will hit, but it’s wise to be prepared all season long for the possibility one will develop.

A little work before the storm, may save you big repairs and costly problems after.

Before storm hits the first step is to take care of your plants and trees.

When you drive around town after a monsoon storm, there are downed trees everywhere.

These fallen trees can cause additional damage to property, homes, and power lines.

Because high winds are one of the biggest factors during a monsoon, you need to prepare the trees on your property to better withstand their heavy gales.

Always loosely double-stake small and newly-planted trees.

The support should be loose enough to allow the tree to bend in the gusts, but staked securely to give the young trees added support and prevent them from being uprooted or snapped off in the wind.

Trim and thin branches from mature trees to reduce the weight of the limbs.

Branches that are too heavy are especially susceptible to strong winds and microbursts, as the trunk cannot bear their weight under the force of the blowing wind.

If a limb comes off a tree, it can cause damage to nearby houses or vehicles and large trees can even be uprooted when their limb structure is too top heavy.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

2. Check the Soil

During monsoon season the ground can quickly become oversaturated especially after several consecutive days of rain.

This leads to much higher chances of runoff and flooding.

Unmonitored, automatic sprinkler systems can exacerbate the problem.

You can check the moisture content of your soil by pushing a screwdriver into the dirt.

If the screwdriver easily slides into the soil, turn off the water system to your sprinklers until things dry out a little more.

This not only saves water and money, but it can help diminish the chance of flooding by reducing oversaturation of the ground.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

3. Inspect Windows and Doors

During monsoon season, huge dust clouds engulfing the Phoenix valley are not uncommon.

Check all your windows and doors before the season starts to make simple repairs that will prevent water and dirt from entering your home.

If there is space around the seals on your doors, or you can see light around the door frame, replace the worn weather stripping to completely seal the door.

Even small amounts of water that come through the cracks in your doors or windows, can cause water damage to wood and drywall, which is more difficult to dry out completely when dewpoints and humidity are high.

This dampness can lead to warping and encourages mold and fungal infestation.

Additionally, by sealing off cracks and spaces, you can prevent large amounts of dust from getting inside your house and covering your furnishings and contaminating your inside air.

Dust can irritate the skin and lungs, and the dirt and allergens kicked up by the monsoons frequently cause allergies and breathing difficulties for many people.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

4. Examine your Roof

Regularly examine your roof for loose tiles and shingles both before and throughout monsoon season.

You can have a professional give you an assessment or you can visually inspect it yourself.

Tiles can easily shift or loosen due to high winds, leaving you exposed to additional wind damage and water penetration.

Checking for loose tiles can prevent collateral damage from falling roof tiles and obviously thwart any water from entering the home.

Monsoons are notoriously good at creating and exploiting roof damage.

In the middle of a fierce storm, you won’t be able to climb up onto your roof and tie a tarp in place. Do what you can before they hit to make sure your roof is in good shape.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

5. Install and Clean Out Rain Gutters

Rain gutters and downspouts divert the rain from a monsoon downpour or microburst away from your home and your home’s foundation.

Make sure the gutters are clean and free of obstructions so that they can do their job and prevent pooling and flooding around the perimeter of your foundation.

The more barriers you have in place to prevent flooding, the better off you will be.

Monsoon rains can be very intense, dropping as much as 2 inches of rain an hour.

Blocked gutters can quickly be overwhelmed by this much water, causing water to pool on the roof or overrun the gutters to collect at the foundation of your home.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

6. Assess your Home's Drainage Patterns

In addition to having properly working rain gutters, you can reduce the chance of flooding by evaluating the current drainage patterns in your yard.

If you’ve noticed any drainage issues that causes water to pool and gather, make sure you have it attended to before the monsoons arrive.

Flood damage is not covered by your standard home owner’s policy and you want to do everything you can to prevent water from entering your home.

You can regrade, add a new drainage system, or even plant and build barriers to ensure the water flows away from your house rather than pooling next to it.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

7. Clean Out the Garage

Before the monsoons come, it is the perfect time to clean out your over-stuffed garage.

Parking your car or bicycles outside the garage, in the driveway or street, puts them at risk of flying debris and falling trees.

Clear out enough space in your garage to park your cars and bikes where they will be better protected when the wild winds and choking dust start blowing.

Go through the boxes in the garage.

Rally the kids and sort through the stuff that has accumulated. Have a yard sale.

Donate unwanted items. Remove the items you no longer need, use, or want, to make room to protect more valuable items like your cars and bicycles.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

8. Move Furniture

Microbursts and high winds are very powerful and can easily move light patio furniture or yard equipment and send it flying into your neighbor’s yard or even through your kitchen window.

Over the years we have lost more than few pool umbrellas and towels to an unexpected storm.

Unbelievably, last year my neighbor’s full-sized trampoline was picked up in a microburst and dropped into the yard of the house behind his like it weighed nothing at all.

Move or secure light patio furniture, umbrellas, pool toys, and other unsecured property into the house or garage before the storm hits.

(Yet another reason to clean out that garage!) Winds during a monsoon storm can range anywhere from 40-100mph, with violent updrafts, and are extremely strong and powerful.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

9. Prepare for Power Outages

Prepare ahead of time for power outages by storing enough water, non-perishable food items, and energy sources to sustain you and your family for three days.

Make sure your kit includes:

  • #1.
    3 gallons of water in clean, closed containers for each person and pet
  • #2.
    A first-aid kit
  • #3.
    Food for three days that requires no cooking or refrigeration
  • #4.
    Flashlights
  • #5.
    Batteries
  • #6.
    Charged auxiliary power packs for cell phones
  • #7.
    Necessary medications and back-up power sources for life support or other medical equipment

Extended power outages are less and less common as the old wooden poles and above-ground lines are systematically being replaced by underground lines.

In 2008, parts of the Willo neighborhood in Phoenix was without power for three days due to all the power poles in the area going down.

Microbursts can cause the power lines to snap and generally wreak havoc with above-ground utilities.

Power can also go out from lightning surges or the monsoon storm can cause a transformer to blow or catch fire, so it’s good to always be prepared.

BEFORE THE STORM HITS

10. Update your Electrical Panel

Clearly label or relabel the different sections of your electrical panel so that you can easily identify the circuit breakers for each room or area of your house during a storm or while using only a flashlight.

Monsoon storms are generally accompanied by large amounts of lightning and if a breaker trips during a storm you can easily reset it when the panel is properly labeled.

You can also consider hardwiring a surge protector directly to your electrical panel.

This device keeps appliances and electronic equipment, like computers and televisions, from being damaged by electric surges or other power problems.

You can also use power strips for additional protection inside your home where expensive and sensitive electronic equipment is plugged in.

AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED

11. Get Rid of the Dust

The one good thing about monsoon storms is that they are usually fast moving storms.

They can leave a lot of damage in their wake, but they rarely hang around for long.

Once the rain and the wind and the lightning have passed, what do you need to do to clean up and prepare for the next one?

Get Rid of the Dust

First, clean up.

After a storm, the air will be full of fine particles of dust.

It’s a good idea to change the air filters on your air conditioning ducts.

Normally, you change your air filter about every three months, but during monsoon season, we’d advise you change it every 2-3 weeks because the storms will kick up lots of dust and allergens.

The air filter’s job is to trap dust and dirt to protect your air conditioning system.

When a filter gets too clogged with dust, air can’t pass through it easily.

This makes it so that your air conditioner has to work harder and longer to cool your home, running up your energy bills.

Too much dust clogging the filters can cause the condenser coils to freeze and stop working, and can even cause a premature breakdown.

And as long as you’ve got the hose out, wash down the patio and the outdoor furniture as well.

Preventing accumulations of dust and dirt will help your furniture last longer and allow you to still enjoy your patio between storms.

AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED

12. Clean the Pool

Monsoons storms carry large amounts of dust, pollen, and debris. These can turn a pool green very quickly.

You need to brush and clean your pool quickly after a storm passes to remove dirt and prevent the growth of algae.

Treat the pool with the appropriate chemicals to prevent the growth of biologic materials.

Remember to empty the skimmer baskets regularly after storms when there is a significant increase in leaves, foliage, and other foreign materials floating in your pool.

AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED

13. Wash Your Car

As trivial as it seems, and as silly as it can feel when another storm may hit the very next day, be sure to wash your car after a dust storm.

Even if you’re car was in your garage during the storm, the garage has more cracks and openings than your livable space and is more susceptible to filling with dust.

The dust particles sitting on your car can cause fine scratches and damage the paint or short out sensitive electronic components that could be costly to fix.

AFTER THE STORM HAS PASSED

14. Report Flooded Areas

If your neighborhood or city streets flood, contact your city officials. Most cities in the valley have monsoon information, phone numbers, and emergency procedures on their websites.

Report any fallen trees or large debris on roads or sidewalks to city officials as well so they can be safely removed.

Do not ever approach or touch downed power lines.

Consider any downed power line to be energized and dangerous.

High voltage can actually travel from the line through the ground, so stay at least 100 feet away and call authorities.

After THE STORM HITS

15. Do Not Drive through Standing Water

If you do find flooded streets, never drive through the standing water. According to the National Weather Service, nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle-related.

Cars, and even SUVs, can stall and float in as little as 10 inches of water, ruin the engine, and leave you stranded.

Do not ever attempt to drive through moving water either, as it is impossible to accurately assess the rate and power at which it is moving, and you can be easily swept away.

Every monsoon season there are people who have to be rescued from their stalled cars when valley streets and washes have suddenly turned into raging rivers.

A few years ago, my son was trying to drive to school one day after a night of heavy monsoon rains.

Knowing that he shouldn’t drive through deep water that was covering the roadway, but still wanting to get to school, he decided to drive across the dirt lot next to the road and avoid the standing water.

I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

Even though the dirt lot was wet, it looked passable.

But, remember, it had been raining all night and the ground was completely saturated.

In a matter of seconds he was completely stuck, the car slowly sinking into the mud.

He called me from the car, stranded and unable to extract himself from the mud.

That car wasn’t going anywhere.

Eventually, we had to have a tow truck with a winch pull the car from the mud.

Lesson learned.

If the road is covered by water, turn around and go home.

We’ll just call it an Arizona “snow day.”

After THE STORM HITS

16. Do Not Play in Flood Waters

Often after a monsoon, there are greenbelts, canals, and other runoff areas filled with water.

Do not play in this water or allow your children to play in it either.

The water carries nasty germs and dangerous debris from whatever it came into contact with on its way from hitting the ground to pooling in the flooded areas.

You can get very sick or injured playing in this murky water.

Generations of Arizona children have taken their boogie boards and pool noodles out to happily play in the flooded greenbelt only to end up with an ugly, itchy rash all over their skin.

After THE STORM HITS

17. Remove Standing Water Around Your Home

As you walk around your yard after a storm, remove any standing water left from the rain that has pooled in empty pots, bird baths, garbage cans, or other areas.

These are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and germs.

Take note of any large areas of standing water on the ground.

These indicate low points in your yard that need to be regraded and properly addressed to avoid possible flooding.

Consider picking up sandbags if the ground cannot be regraded in a timely manner.

Sandbags are the best way to divert water from doorways and help to protect your home from flooding during a monsoon storm.

Free sand is provided at many fire stations throughout the Phoenix valley.

In some cities, the stations also provide bags and shovels for use, but others only have sand available and require their residents to bring their own shovels and bags.

Call your local fire department or check its website to see what is provided in your area and what you will need to get sandbags for your home.

Be sure to remove any water that may have pooled by your foundation.

Rain water collecting near the foundation of a house can, believe it or not, enter the concrete.

Concrete foundations are porous, and the water moves through it, filling any pores it can find.

Over time, water that seeps into concrete foundations can cause the foundation to break down and eventually the foundation can crack.

Once a foundation cracks, you can get shifts and the home can become unsettled.

Siphon any standing water away from your foundations after a storm.

After THE STORM HITS

18. Assess Any Damage

Take a tour of your property. Look for any obvious damage or noticeable concerns.

Does your roof need repair? Did you lose any trees or branches? Is your vehicle damaged?

Conduct an informal inspection to assess any damage to your property. Make note of all damages and document everything with pictures.

In 2010, a monsoon storm dropped 3-inch, golf ball-sized hail on parts of the Phoenix valley, causing severe damage to rooftops, cars, and even shattering windows.

The extensive damage made it the most destructive storm in Arizona history, with claims over $3 billion dollars.

More than 150,000 homeowners made claims and used pictures and video to catalogue the destruction.

Take special note of your roof in your inspection.

Look for missing tiles or shingles.

Be on the lookout for water penetration or seepage in your ceilings.

Check the eaves for signs of water staining or damage.

If you see any spots where the ceiling has bubbled, put a bucket under the bubble and pop it so the water won’t travel through the porous building materials across the entire ceiling.

After THE STORM HITS

19. Contact your Insurance Company

If you have damages to your home or property, contact your home owner’s insurance company to start the claims process.

An adjustor will usually be assigned to inspect the property so that repairs can be started.

Especially in cases where the damage has left the interior of your home exposed to the elements or vulnerable to the next monsoon, it is important to get started immediately on repairs to prevent further damage.

If you have any water damage, these areas need to be dried out as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth or further deterioration, so it’s important to act quickly.

After THE STORM HITS

20. Hire Reputable, Licensed Contractors

If you have property damage that needs repair or restoration, research and find an accredited company with highly rated customer service and ethical standards.

Make sure the company is licensed to perform the work on your home.

Unfortunately, Arizona residents have been victims of out-of-town, unlicensed companies that take payment and then disappear and leave town before work is completed.

Sometimes these shady contractors will go door-to-door after a storm and insist that you need the work done immediately. Be wary of any company that you did not personally seek out.

You can always check reputations, track records, and customer reviews with the Better Business Bureau and Arizona’s Registrar of Contractors.

You can request a list of references from any contractor and obtain multiple estimates for the work you need done.

An honest contractor will assess the work, and then give you a written, itemized estimate and a job schedule with an anticipated completion.

Monsoon season is busy for restoration, plumbing, and roofing contractors.

Make sure you choose a company with the resources and manpower to handle all their jobs.

You don’t want to be waiting endlessly for repairs as storm after storm rumbles its way through the valley, compounding your problems.

Titan Restoration of Arizona has been helping homeowner’s recover from monsoon storms for over two decades.

We have the experience and knowledge to get your property back to its original condition, quickly and painlessly.

We have a proven track record of excellent work with thousands of satisfied customers.

Over the years we have seen everything from missing roofs to flooded basements to patio furniture coming through the sliding glass door.

At Titan Restoration we are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We know that monsoon storms hit any time, day and night, and we are equipped to immediately dispatch crews to emergency calls all over the valley whenever they are needed.

Last year, we received a call from a family in Chandler.

A microburst hit their front yard, uprooting a pine tree and effortlessly tossing it though their roof into one of the bedrooms.

The ceiling caved in exposing the eaves and dumping insulation, rafters, and drywall into the room.

Water, dust, and debris from the storm soon followed.

Where there was once a bedroom ceiling and protective roof, there was now a kind of indoor arboretum, exposed to the elements, with pine branches reaching down into the room.

The microburst had instantaneously transformed their house into a wrecked treehouse of sorts.

Our team immediately got to work, first taking steps to reduce the home’s exposure to the elements in the case of another storm. The family had collectables and memorabilia in the room that we carefully removed and safeguarded so they wouldn’t be damaged. The tree and building debris were removed and hauled away. Temporary tarps were systematically set up and to protect the home from further damage, and fans were set up to dry the saturated wood.

The section of the roof damaged by the tree had to be rebuilt with new beams and rafters and then reinsulated. The room itself was restored including new drywall, paint, repairing the closet, and replacing and casing the damaged windows. When we finished, the house and room were beautifully restored and completely dry and protected from the elements.

The reality is that while there are steps we can take to get ready for monsoon season, these storms are unpredictable and extremely powerful. You can’t foresee or prevent all the destruction the monsoon season can cause to your personal or commercial property, despite your careful preparation. But if the monsoon storms damage your home or property, no matter how large or how small the job, Titan Restoration has the experience and skills to help you clean up and rebuild. We’re there, whenever you need us, to put things right and restore your property to its original, beautiful condition.

THE 17 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO WHEN YOUR HOUSE FLOODS

THE 17 MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO

When Your House Floods (And Your Life is Underwater)

I have a friend who went on an amazing Hawaiian vacation.

He and his wife were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. They took all the kids and spent seven glorious days on the sandy beaches of Maui.

They snorkeled, kayaked, sun bathed, and ate their weight in shaved ice.

They came home, however, to find the remains of their water heater along with gallons and gallons water soaking into the flooring, walls, and furniture of their beautiful home. The aloha spirit was gone in an instant.

Because we live in a world where there is indoor plumbing (thank you!) and natural storms and disasters (no, thank you!), it is possible that at some point you could find yourself dealing with a house flood.

In fact, statistics show that nearly 37% of U.S. homeowners claim to have had some type of water damage, and nearly 14,000 people experience a water disaster every day, just like my friend.

Whether it is caused by a burst pipe, a sewer backup, a faulty appliance, a heavy rain or monsoon storm, or even rising floodwaters, there are important steps you should take to protect yourself and your property and get things clean and dry and back to beautiful as soon as possible.

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Here are the 17 most important things to do when you find your property underwater:

1. Breathe and Grieve

It is easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed in the situation of house flood.

The mess, the clean up, the possible mold complications, the destruction of property and valuables, and the disruption in your life all take a toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing.

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First, take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay. Calm your fears and recognize that while today might feel terrible, things will get better.

In the case of severe and catastrophic flooding, the stress may also be accompanied by a deep sense of grief over the widespread damage. That is perfectly normal. The property that you have loved and care for has sustained substantial damage. Let yourself grieve and process the loss.

Understand that this may take time. As painful and as hopeless as it feels now, as you move on and recover things will improve and return to normal. It will take time and it will take work, but, again, everything is going to be okay. Just breathe and grieve.

2. Think Safe first and always

There are many hazards in a house flood and the most important thing to think about is safety.

Start by making sure the power to your home is turned off, even if there is a widespread power outage.

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Find your fuse box and turn off the main breaker as well as all the individual fuse switches. Standing water and electricity do not mix and you do not want the risk of life-threatening dangers when and if the power is restored.

In the case of serious flooding, a qualified electrician will need to inspect, clean, and dry the power box before the power can be turned on again.

3. Dress for Success

When you turn off the power to your home and whenever you enter a flooded home, be sure to wear protective clothing like rubber boots and gloves.

You will not only be wading through the water itself, you will be walking through whatever the water has come into contact with including chemicals, sewage, garbage and debris.

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Flood water can be highly contaminated or even toxic. You will not always be able to see these contaminants or hazards, so it is important to wear protective gear.

Do not touch your mouth or nose with your gloves or hands or anything that has come in contact with the water.

The water can be polluted with bacteria, mold, or chemical substances that can be harmful to your health.

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4. Stop the Water Source

One of the first things to do in the case of a house flood is to stop more water from coming in, if possible.

If the flooding has been cause by a burst pipe or a broken appliance, immediately turn off the water supply to your house.

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If the flooding is caused by storms or natural disasters, you can call your city to make sure the storm drains are open and cleaned out to ensure the water recedes faster.

Obviously the less water that enters your property, the less you have to remove later.

Many appliances can now be equipped with automatic shutoff valves to prevent leakage and stop further water damage.

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5. Make Sure the Property is Structurally Safe

In cases of intense flooding, you need to make sure the house is safe to enter before you do so.

Look for buckled walls or floors as indicators that structural damage has occurred and do not enter when there is risk of collapse. You should also watch for warped or cracked foundations.

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Immediately contact your utility companies if you suspect any damage has occurred to water, gas, electric, or sewer lines.

Safety is always more important than salvaging household items, so be wise as you assess the structural integrity of your property.

6. Call Your Insurance Company

Homeowner’s insurance coverage varies depending on the type of policy you have, but in many cases insurance companies will cover flooding due to burst pipes or broken appliances, even backed up city sewers or storm drains and some acts of nature.

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You will need to call you insurance company as soon as possible to speed up the restoration process and return to normalcy. The insurance company will send an adjuster to look at the damage and determine if you are covered for any losses.

Be sure to follow the instructions from your insurance company about the clean up and restoration process.

Do not start any repairs or demolition until they have sent an adjuster or they have authorized you to move forward.

Document all the damage and make reports of conversations with your insurer as you move through the process. Clear communication is key in covering your loss and the restoration.

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7. Find Honest, Reputable Contractors

Many times when a house flood is caused by a broken appliance or burst pipe, one of the first calls people make is to a plumber.

The plumber will use his expertise to stop the leak, fix the pipe, or solve whatever plumbing issue is causing the flood.

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Some plumbers will then recommend or refer specific restoration companies to help you remove the water and restore your property.

Occasionally there are unethical business agreements between the two, where the restoration company pays the plumber a kickback for the referral and then recoups that kickback in you restoration bill.

Do not sign any contracts or let any restoration company start any demolition work before your insurance company has sent an adjuster to look at the damage and assess your claim.

There are unsavory contractors that will do unnecessary work and you can get stuck with the bill. You should never sign a contract that removes you as the claimant and gives the restoration company ownership of your payout from the insurance company.

Reputable contractors have transparent, honest business practices and don’t receive or pay kickbacks for referrals. Their businesses are built on excellent customer service, fair pricing, and clear and honest estimates.

They will help you file your claims but they will never insert themselves as the claimant and they will make sure your insurance company has authorized their work.

8. Take Pictures of Everything

Before you start removing the water or arranging for cleanup from a house flood, be thorough about fully document all flood damage with pictures or video.

These photos and videos will be important to submit to your insurer as you begin the restoration process and file claims.

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Take as many pictures as possible and continue photo documentation throughout the entire clean up. The more information you can provide, the better; and photographic evidence tells the story better than any other way.

You will need pictures of structural and property damage as well as household items and furnishings that have been damaged or destroyed.

Keep careful documentation so that your insurance adjuster can make an accurate assessment of your loss.

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9. Remove standing water

Once the flood levels and the damage have been documented and photographed and you get authorization from your insurer to begin cleanup, you can start removing the water.

Depending on the amount of water you need to remove you can use buckets or hoses to bail or siphon the water.

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If you have to bail the water with buckets, keep in mind that water is heavy–a gallon of water weighs 7 pounds–so be careful not to injure yourself in the process.

You can also rent or buy a sump pump to remove large amounts of water or a wet vac to suck up small amounts of standing water from carpets and floors. If the flooding is minimal, you may be able to simply mop up the water with towels.

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The faster you can get the water out the better. In many cases if the water can be removed and drying can begin quickly, we are able to avoid extensive demolition or additional repairs. The length of time the water is allowed to remain is one of the biggest factors in overall damage and restoration costs.

10. Find and remove the "hiding water"

Water damage can be deceptive. It is easy to recognize and remove standing water, but water can also penetrate into structural cavities in homes and buildings, creating trapped pockets of moisture saturation.

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Because of the nature of the water itself, it can travel through the structural materials of floors, ceilings, and walls, sometimes without notice until it accumulates in low points or pockets.

The detection of water in structural cavities can often only be found with sensitive moisture meters. Be aware that undetected moisture will eventually lead to the formation of mold and other damage as building materials delaminate, split, shrink, and deteriorate over time.

Be sure to have your house or property inspected with moisture meters to ensure that all the water–hiding and standing–has been removed.

11. Minimize Loss

After a flood, remove any damaged possessions that may be salvageable as soon as you safely can and start airing and drying them out, documenting as you go.

According to FEMA, mold can set in as soon as 24 hours after a flood, so the more quickly you remove salvageable belongings, the better chance you have of saving them.

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Document every item as you remove them from the property, in case they cannot be saved. Create lists of ruined items, noting when they were purchased and the approximate price and value.

If items have been exposed to water for over 48 hours, they are not safe to keep and will likely already have mold spores that can be dangerous and hazardous to your health.

Additionally, never save or eat food that has been contaminated by flood water or even if it has been in close proximity to the flood area for any period of time. If the water reached your refrigerator or any pantry cupboards, it is safest to throw out all the food.

Food contamination is dangerous and can even be deadly. Thoroughly sanitize and wash any dinnerware, glassware, or flatware before you use them again.

12. Dry Things Out

After the visible, standing water has been removed and you have identified hidden moisture pockets, it is time to dry things out.

Mold and bacteria cannot grow on clean and dry materials, so getting things as dry as possible should be a top priority. But be aware that it takes time to get everything dry, particularly if conditions are humid.

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You can and should employ many methods to dry your property including opening the windows (if it is dry and not humid outside) and running the air conditioner or heater to start. Large industrial fans and dehumidifiers can also be set up to target specific areas or rooms.

Keep in mind that any materials that remain saturated for more than 24-48 hours will need to be removed because of the risk of mold growth. Speeding up the drying process in any ways you can will mitigate further damage.

The flooring should be removed to expose the subfloor so it can start drying as soon as possible. Wood subfloors can take months to fully dry out. Carpet padding should be discarded and replaced.

Carpets and vinyl flooring that were under water for less than 24 hours can only be salvaged if the floodwater was not contaminated. They will need to be professionally cleaned and dried.

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Hardwood floorboards need special care and need to be dried slowly to prevent cracking and buckling. Even cement foundations can hold water and will need time to dry.

If you have to remove baseboards and drywall, be sure to take pictures before you start so that the insurer can see the height of water damage to the walls. You can also carefully poke holes at floor levels in the drywall to allow water trapped behind it to escape.

Large, wet pieces of furniture will likely be difficult to dry before mold growth begins and will usually need to be discarded.

After flooding, there are industry standards and health recommendations regarding the dryness and moisture content of building materials. Before renovation can begin, the wood and other materials need to be dry enough to meet these standards in order to ensure that mold will not grow.

In many cases the materials may also have to be disinfected or treated to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Be patient and careful and you will save yourself further complications down the road.

13. Mitigate Mold

One of the greatest hazards after a flood is mold. We have all heard horror stories about mold growing unseen and unchecked until serious health conditions alerted homeowners to the problem.

Mold can cause serious respiratory problems and other health issues and needs to be treated as a hazardous material by professionals who are trained in proper removal techniques.

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Obviously, preventing its initial growth needs to be a top priority. Your home needs to be completely cleaned and disinfected after a house flood because mold spores can easily spread and cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Every surface should be cleaned with hot water and a heavy-duty detergent or pine oil, then disinfected with a 10% bleach solution to kill germs, bacteria and fungi.

Proper disposal of wet building materials is vitally important as well as completely drying the area and making accurate assessments of how far the water actually spread through the property.

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14. Replacing the Irreplaceable

As you’re cleaning up, if items have been wet for less than 24 hours they may still be salvageable, but you must evaluate if it is worth the cost.

In some cases, the sentimental value of an item may outweigh the cost to dry and clean it properly and it may be worth keeping. Other more disposable items are probably not worth the cost and effort of saving.

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Don’t buy replacement furniture or home furnishings until your home is completely repaired. Bear in mind that this will probably take longer than you think.

When it comes to your photographs, memory books or other important papers, they need to be dried carefully and slowly. You may not have time to do this in the aftermath of a flood, but they can be frozen and cleaned later.

Wash any mud or debris off the items you want to save, and then store them in plastic bags and put them in a freezer to prevent the growth of mildew which will cause additional and permanent damage. These items can stay frozen until you have time to thaw and properly dry and clean them or take them to a professional.

15. Restore What's Been Lost

Once the house or property is clean and dry you can begin the rebuilding process. The extent of the flooding will determine how much work this will take.

For small floods with minimal water damage, this may only require mopping up the water and drying everything completely.

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For extensive flooding, you many need a complete remodel accompanied by considerable mold treatment, and will face many weeks of construction ahead.

Before you begin construction and restoration, you should receive information regarding the final amount of reimbursement from your insurance company. Keep your payout numbers in mind as you make decisions and choices to rebuild your property and make possible upgrades.

In addition paying for the rebuilding materials and labor costs, you will also need to replace furniture, electronics, and household items that were lost or damaged in the flood. Put together a plan that takes all the potential costs into account as you put your home back together again.

If you are living in your home while reconstruction is underway, you can set up dust barriers between the construction areas and the living spaces, but remember that even with these in place, if you are using your kitchen, cooking in a construction zone can make all your food taste a little bit like dust.

16. Be Patient

You might have noticed that there is a lot of waiting in this process. Wait to enter the flooded property until it is safe. Wait to start demolition and reconstruction until after your insurance appraiser comes. Wait for authorization to begin work.

Wait for things to dry out. Wait for things to be rebuilt. Wait to purchase new furniture. And the list goes on.

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This, of course, can be difficult when you just want to get back to “normal,” when you just want to walk into your home and not worry about the smell or the moisture saturation or the mold or the mess. Particularly if the flooding is severe and you have to be displaced for several months, everyday, regular life seems like it might be gone for good. Remember, this too shall pass.

House floods and the resulting restoration process require patience. The first tip on our list may be useful here too…breathe and grieve. Breathe and wait so that things can get done the right way. Grieve the loss of your normal life and your peace (at least for a little while).

The more you can accept that waiting and time are a part of the process–sometimes critical parts that you can’t just skip over–the less frustrating the whole experience will be.

17. Remember You are not alone

A house flood is, admittedly, a difficult experience. Floods can range in severity from a small annoyance to an overwhelming, traumatic event.

But either way, it is difficult. It is easy to look at all the damage and destruction around you and be paralyzed by the enormity of the loss and the work ahead of you. It can be daunting and overwhelming.

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But you are not alone. There are professionals with years of experience and hours of training that know exactly what to do to restore things to the way they were, clean and dry.

Restoration contractors will help you through the process from start to finish, from water removal to drying to rebuilding. They are experts at mold detection and removal and they will take all the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe and healthy. They will help you file claims and answer your questions and alleviate your fears. They will be your partner in the aftermath of a house flood.

At Titan Restoration, we know about flooding. Over the years we’ve seen almost every situation from dying water heaters and broken sump-pumps to gale-force winds and monsoon rains that leave feet of standing water in their wake. We’ve waded through more mud and water (and much worse) than you hopefully will ever have to and we know exactly how to walk you through the process to restore your property and your life.

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Our technicians are experts at their jobs. They will work hard removing standing water and monitoring building materials and structural cavities for hidden saturation.

They know exactly what to look for as they dry out your property, they know how to safely handle mold and prevent regrowth, and they do their work at the highest standard of excellence.

We are proud of our ongoing, continuous training efforts and we keep up on and adopt the newest and best industry practices.

When things are clean and dry and it’s safe to rebuild, our reconstruction work is impeccable and beautiful.

We value our customers and do everything we can to ease the stress of the restoration process through communication and absolute honesty.

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In every way, we strive to minimize loss–for you and for your insurer. We do this for our customers by responding quickly, working efficiently, and preventing further damage. We do this for insurance carriers by providing outstanding results on every job and using the latest techniques to solve problems and mitigate costs.

We also do this by providing excellent customer service and communication to minimize the headaches, delays, and worries of the restoration process. Every day, on every job, our whole team works hard to minimize your loss.

If the forces of nature or the random acts of Murphy’s Law cause a flood in your home or property, Titan Restoration of Arizona has the skills, the experience, and the expertise to put things right again, and we’re here to help.

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Conclusion

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