FAQ’s About Water Damage
My house was flooded and I have cleaned up all of the water; how do I know if the walls are still wet?
Although your floors and walls may look and feel dry on the surface, there may still be potentially damaging moisture present inside the walls. Our certified technicians use a variety of specialized tools, including Thermal (infrared) imaging technology, to uncover moisture that is not visible to the eye and to ensure that your structure is properly dried. Remember, it is better to dry your building properly than to perform a costly mold remediation. Click here to learn more about Thermal Imaging Technology
How long will it take for my house/commercial building to dry?
All situations are unique, but a typical water loss takes 3 to 4 days to dry out. This includes extracting any standing water, removing any non-salvageable structural materials and returning the structure to its pre-loss condition. Some factors that affect the drying time include; the extent of the damage, the length of time before the initial response, the structures electrical capacity (determines how much drying equipment can be used), the types of building materials affected and the amount of personal property in each room. If we use our Heat Drying System, the drying time will be drastically reduced, as will the need for demolition and the reconstruction costs associated with removing, baseboards, drywall, etc. Click here to learn more about Heat Drying
How will you dry my house/commercial building?
Our certified technicians typically use a combination of high velocity air movers, dehumidifiers and thermal energy (Heat) drying equipment in response to a water intrusion. Air movers increase the rate of water evaporation while dehumidifiers remove the evaporated moisture from the air. Thermal energy drying techniques combine controlled heat with airflow to produce high-speed evaporation, dramatically reducing drying times and minimizing the need for demolition and reconstruction.
How long does it take for mold to develop?
Mold can begin to grow in 48-72 hours. That’s why it is so important to start the drying process as quickly as possible.
How do I know that that my property has been dried properly?
Our technicians are certified by and comply with the drying standards specified by the IICRC, The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, the main certifying body for the restoration industry. We conduct regular progress checks, monitoring the drying process with moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras to ensure that all of the affected areas are dried to industry standards. All of our moisture content readings are recorded and compiled in a report, complete with thermal images and digital pictures to give you the assurance that all of the structural materials have been dried properly.
How much will it cost?
It is not possible to give a cost estimate without first inspecting the damage. Many types of water losses are covered by homeowner/commercial insurance policies and AM/PM works closely with insurance companies to ensure that our costs are fair and competitive. Remember that drying out your property is only a portion of the cost. There will likely be costs for structural repairs (drywall, paint, floor coverings, etc.) as well as repairing and /or replacing personal property.
Will my insurance policy cover everything?
That depends on your individual carrier and the limitations of your insurance policy. Most insurance carriers will cover damages caused by a sudden and unexpected occurrence such as a burst toilet supply line, but they will not cover on-going issues like mold that develops from a slow leak, nor do they typically cover losses from ground water that enters your property from the outdoors. The best way to determine your coverage is to speak to your agent or to the claims department of your insurance carrier. Remember, you must act quickly and call a professional restoration company to avoid further damage and more costly repairs.
Is it true that when drywall gets wet it’s ruined and must be replaced?
No, when properly dried, drywall can almost always be salvaged.
If the carpet is wet, does it have to be discarded and replaced?
It depends on the class of water that the carpet has come into contact with. Here are the possible scenarios:
a) If the water was from a clean or “Category 1” water source such as a water supply line, then it can typically be dried in place and restored.
b) If the water had a mild degree of contamination, such as fire sprinkler discharge or an air conditioning condensation line, then it is considered “Category 2” and the treatment must be judged on a case-by-case basis. In a residential Category 2 flood the carpet pad is typically removed and the carpet dried in place.
c) If the water contains sewage or flowed in from the outdoors it is considered “black water” or “grossly contaminated” and is classified as “Category 3”. This water could contain blood-borne pathogens, diseases and/or chemicals of concern (pesticides, fertilizers, etc.). All porous materials affected by Category 3 water should be removed.
When structural materials get wet, will they grow mold and create a health hazard for the occupants of the building, despite the drying efforts of a professional restoration company?
If the moisture source is eliminated and the saturated areas are dried properly the chances for mold growth are diminished. Immediate response, the right technology, cutting edge equipment and procuring a knowledgeable, experienced restoration company are the key components in preventing mold growth. These factors could mean the difference between a $1,500.00 loss and a $20,000.00 loss.
What is mold?
Molds are fungi that occur naturally in the environment. There are thousands of different species of mold. They vary in color and form, neither of which determines their level of harmfulness. Molds are very good for our environment, but become a problem when they grow in homes and buildings.
Why does mold grow indoors?
Organic materials and moisture provide mold with the food it needs to grow. Your property is built from many of these materials that include: wood, sheet rock, drywall paper etc. and is an excellent source of nutrition for mold. Molds reproduce by making and releasing tiny airborne spores that drift through the air to find an ideal place to grow. When organic materials become wet and there is a lack of sufficient airflow in a building, it is possible for mold growth to develop. Aside from the potential health effects that can occur as a result of mold exposure, mold will compromise the structural integrity of your building. It will rot and deteriorate the building materials and can cause extensive property damage if it is not addressed properly.
What kinds of health effects are associated with mold exposure?
The most common symptoms associated with mold exposure are:
What are the least common and most drastic effects associated with mold exposure?
What levels of mold exposure are harmful?
The Environmental Protection Agency has yet to issue guidelines addressing airborne mold contamination levels. This stands to be a difficult task as each individual has different tolerances.
Mold usually has the greatest affect on people whose immune systems are compromised such as individuals that are suffering from cancer, HIV, etc., the elderly, people with asthma and allergies, or people whose immune system is still developing like young children. However, if you are a property manager, builder, landlord, realtor or a homeowner, do you want to take the chance of not addressing the issue if it arises in your building?
A fire in your home is a life-altering event that is devastating on two levels:
1. The largest financial investment you’ve ever made is suddenly and unexpectedly destroyed.
2. The psychological repercussions can range from confusion, to depression, to outright anger.
The professionals at AM/PM understand what you are going through on both levels, and our highly trained staff is here to support you through the entire recovery process. Upon arrival, we will inspect your damages, assist you in working with your insurer, and be at your side through the entire clean up and rebuilding process.
Answers & Solutions To Your Questions and Concerns:
My property has just suffered a devastating fire. What do I do now?
We will liaison with your insurance company to get mitigation procedures started immediately. This can involve the inventorying and evaluation of salvageable and non-salvageable items, the relocation of salvageable items to our facility for cleaning and repair, and the demolition procedures required to start the mitigation process. Our staff will explain the entire process to you, supply and complete the requisite documentation, and answer any questions you might have concerning the restoration procedures we will be taking. Our ultimate intent is to reduce your anxiety, and make you feel less overwhelmed.
The Fire Department recommended that I get my property boarded up. Is that something that AM/PM can do?
Yes. AM/PM will respond immediately upon receiving your initial call, and will board up the premises. This provides security to your property and helps prevent further damage.
How is all of my fire damage going to be repaired?
There are several facets to accomplishing a procedure as complicated as a Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration Project. It requires professional, dedicated personnel, and precise communication between the client, the insurer and the contractor.
Below we will address the main components of the restoration procedure:
How will you restore my personal belongings?
Some items can be restored on site. For items that need to be removed for de-contamination or repair, we will prepare an inventory specifying the make and model of each item and the condition of the items prior to and after the incident. This analysis will be supplied to the client and the Insurer to ensure that all work is traceable, and that proper mitigation procedures have been followed.
What about items that cannot be cleaned or restored?
The experienced personnel at AM/PM will work with you to provide your insurance company with a concise and detailed non-salvageable materials inventory of damaged items. The final decision on whether to dispose of any item will be made by your insurance company or loss adjuster. Do not throw away items, however bad they look, until you have informed the loss adjuster. Your input as to the condition, salvageability, and value is extremely important in helping to recover proper reparation for non-salvageable items.
What should I do about items of particular monetary or sentimental value?
You should advise us about any items that may require special attention. You should also advise the claims advisor. These items will be properly catalogued by our staff, and stored until a claims determination can be made.
What procedure will be used to clean and deodorize my contents?
AM/PM uses state of the art equipment, non-toxic chemicals, and procedures to restore your contents.
All soft materials such as clothing and furniture will be cleaned and decontaminated using the most effective procedures available in the industry. In addition, all soft materials will be treated for smoke odor utilizing Ozone or the latest technological system called the Hydroxyl Generating Machine that completely remove odors without masking them with “cover-up” scents.
Hard contents such as wood furniture will be wiped down with an industry approved eco-friendly material that will remove all remnants of oils and other deposits left by smoke deposits. These items will also be Ozoned.
What is the procedure for ensuring that my home will be odor free?
After the determination is made as to what materials will be removed from the structure, AM/PM’s Disaster Recovery team will begin the process of “decontaminating” the remainder of the structure. Any structural materials (framing, beams etc) that are not physically damaged beyond salvageability will be treated in a variety of ways to ensure that the structure is completely odor free.
-Sanding/wire brushing: All structural materials exhibiting burn or searing marks will be sanded to remove all visible traces of the damage.
-Cleaning and Disinfecting: All structural materials will be wiped down with an industry standard, non-toxic chemical designed to remove all traces of residue not only on the surface, but also any residue that may be trapped, or bound, within the cell structure of the wood.
-Deodorization: The entire structure will be treated with a Thermal Fogging chemical designed to permeate the wood cells and destroy any latent malodors.
Encapsulation: An Encapsulant will be applied to all structural materials to ensure that any latent odors within the structure will be unable to permeate the wood.
-Odor removal: Total and complete odor removal from the structure can only be achieved by means of removing any remaining airborne chemical bonds. This is achieved by virtue of utilizing either a Standard Ozone Machine or the latest technological system called the Hydroxyl Generating Machine. The type of fire, extent of damage, and the complexity of the structure will dictate which system will be used.
Upon completion of the structural restoration, all remaining structural materials (drywall, subfloors etc), as well as permanent fixtures such as cabinetry, mirrors, tubs, showers, etc., will be thoroughly cleaned using the same cleaning methodology used during the restoration process.
Can I use televisions and other electrical items that may have been affected?
These items should not be used until they have been assessed and if necessary, cleaned and re-evaluated.
Is it safe for me to stay in my property while smoke removal is performed?
Though the chemicals we use are non-toxic, they can cause irritation for some people. We recommend you vacate the property while we perform this work. Our Disaster Recovery technicians will be able to tell you how long this will take, which is entirely dependent upon the level of damage.
Who are the different parties involved, and what service do they provide?
The insurance agent, who sold you the policy, is the insurance company’s representative. The insurance adjuster (or claim adjuster), who is assigned to your claim, will work with us to approve and pay for the repairs based upon your insurance policy coverage limits. The mortgage company may be involved to assist with insuring your property is repaired back to pre-loss condition. AM/PM, your restoration contractor, has been hired by you and will work with all the different parties to repair your damaged property and support you through the recovery process.
Do I need to get multiple estimates?
No. Your insurance policy does not require multiple estimates. The professionals at AM/PM are fully prepared to handle your entire claim from beginning to completion. That includes: 24 Hour Emergency Services (water extraction, board-up, structural drying etc), inventorying and cleaning your personal property, restoration dry cleaning for your salvageable linens, clothing, drapery and window treatments etc., fine-rug cleaning and restoration, mold abatement, bio-hazard cleanup, odor elimination and complete property reconstruction.
How does the claim get paid?
AM/PM will provide a digital repair estimate utilizing Insurance Industry Standardized software, to the insurance adjuster who will approve the repair estimate and issue the repair payment to you, less your deductible.
When is the deductible paid?
The deductible is your responsibility and is due before any services begin.
What happens during the repair process?
The Project Manager from AM/PM’s Disaster Recovery Team, that is assigned to the restoration of your home will be scheduling the repairs with AM/PM crews and pre-approved vendors to insure the highest quality repairs. If additional damage repairs are required, the Project Manager will submit the estimate (called a supplement) to your insurance adjuster for approval before work begins. Any extra repairs requested by you that are not part of the covered restoration repairs will be paid in full to AM/PM before work on those extra repairs begins.
Who makes the fixture and construction material selections?
An AMPM Project Manager will meet with you and help you with this process. We have pre-approved suppliers that can assist with the necessary selections of construction materials, including: flooring, paint colors, lighting and plumbing fixtures, cabinets and countertops, appliances, window treatments and more.
How can using heat dry a structure without removing carpet, baseboard, tile cove base, cabinets etc.?
Heat penetrates deep into building materials, drying areas that are not accessible. Intelligent ventilation, when necessary, requires little to no repair. Certain materials become irreversibly damaged when wet, such as MDF or compressed paper pressboard. However removing these damaged materials after drying, versus removing them when they are wet, reduces the chance of unnecessary secondary damage.
Result: Considerable savings on demolition and reconstruction costs.
Carpet, dry it in place and reduce the chance for damage:
Carpet backing loses strength when it is saturated. However, manipulating the carpet, not the water itself, is what damages the carpet. In most cases, carpet and padding can be dried in place with the heat drying method, without causing any additional damage, eliminating the need for replacement.
Result: Considerable savings on carpet and pad replacement.
Is heat drying damaging to the structure?
Heat properly controlled is not damaging to the structure. Thermostatically controlling the heat keeps the heat in the proper range for optimum drying without creating unnecessary or secondary damage. Drying usually occurs within 48 hours
Are there condensation problems associated with heat drying?
Heat drying constantly flushes out old air and introduces new fresh air never allowing an increase in relative humidity and maintaining optimum drying conditions from start to finish. Therefore, no dehumidifiers are necessary in the heat drying process and the structure sees no damage due to condensation.
How can heat drying reduce A.L.E. Additional Living Expenses & Content Pack-outs?
Heat Drying dramatically reduces the demolition as well as the drying time of a structure. In most cases, the furniture can be left in place during the drying, which reduces the expense of handling pack-outs. This less invasive method allows the occupants to move back into the home/office immediately. Ultimately, heat drying reduces the inconvenience and costs associated with managing property damage.
Will heat drying promote or prevent mold growth in my home, after a water loss has occurred?
The heat drying method dries faster taking away the time and conditions necessary needed for mold to grow. Mold requires water, oxygen, nutrients and favorable temperatures in order to grow. Nutrients for mold consist of organic materials such as wood, paper or fabrics. Mold requires moisture although some mold species can obtain moisture from moist air, when the relative humidity is above 70 percent. Many molds thrive at normal indoor temperatures. However, few if any are able to grow below 40F or above 100F. Outside this range, molds may remain dormant or inactive; they may begin to grow again when temperatures are more favorable. Temperatures well above 100F will kill mold and mold spores, but the exact temperature required to kill specific species has not been determined.
Heat drying creates a healthier environment:
The well-known Louis Pasteur method of heating liquids if for the purpose of destroying viruses and harmful organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, molds, and yeasts. Along with the direct benefits of heat drying, the environmentally conscious indirect benefit is the reduction of usage of toxic chemicals.
Asbestos, The Most Regulated Hazardous Material You Will Encounter:
At AM/PM our goal is to ensure that our clients are aware of the facts and regulations regarding Asbestos, in order to help them avoid health risks, fines and possible litigation. As part of our FAQ section, we have taken the time to provide you with valuable information that could protect you in the future.
Fact: Many people believe that asbestos is a problem of the past and that it was banned in the United States decades ago. The truth is, the use of asbestos has never been banned in the US.
More than 3,000 products that contain asbestos continue to be imported from developing countries, many of which are building materials used in construction today.
Materials including; wall & associated joint compounds, plaster & stucco, vinyl floor tiles, floor sheeting & associated adhesives, roofing tar, felt & mastic, and myriad of others.
Another common misconception regarding asbestos is that only older buildings (built prior to 1980) contain asbestos, providing a false sense of security that newer buildings are free of asbestos, and therefore Asbestos NESHAP (National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants) regulations do not apply to those structures. This misconception can prove to be costly, and litigious, not just for the contractor performing the work, but for everyone involved, including:
• Property managers/owners procuring the renovations
• Workers performing repairs/ renovations inside a building
• Tenants who may be exposed to asbestos fibers in the air, as a result of improper demolition of materials containing asbestos
Who Regulates Asbestos?
When is Asbestos Harmful?
Asbestos containing building materials pose no harm to people unless those materials are disturbed and the fibers become airborne. When inhaled, the fibers can remain in the body for years, sometimes even decades, eventually leading to asbestos-related diseases.
Who is Most Likely to Disturb Asbestos?
Workers/trades people carrying out maintenance and repair jobs such as cutting or drilling into walls, ceilings or partitions; home owners and remodeling companies performing repairs on a home, such as roofing, demolition, and restoration companies who are not aware of/don’t adhere to NESHAP regulations when removing damaged building materials after a flood, fire, etc.
The commercial building I manage is only 10 years old. Would it fall under Asbestos NESHAP?
In Arizona all public, commercial, industrial buildings, and apartment complexes of four units or more are regulated by Asbestos NESHAP provisions, regardless of when they were built. Whether you are a property manager or a contractor, you must adhere to Asbestos NESHAP Regulations before you begin any renovation project where building materials will be disturbed.
Who’s Liable If Asbestos Containing Material Is Disturbed?
Liability resides with the owner/operator of a demolition or renovation project. In cases where a management company acts on behalf of the owner and carries out the renovation project / tenant improvement, the property management is liable as well, and contractors and subcontractors. Whoever is involved with the work that is taking place is involved at that point and may have substantial fines assessed against them if the EPA gets involved.
Best Practices for Property Managers/Building Engineers:
Before conducting any repairs or renovations to a property, it is your legal responsibility to find out if there are asbestos containing materials in the building. If a current asbestos survey (must have been performed within12 months or less) of your property is unavailable, Asbestos NESHAP regulations require all of the parties involved in the renovation project to presume that asbestos is present or confirm its absence through sampling. Samples need to taken by an AHERA Certified Building Inspector, and be sent to a NVLAP laboratory to be analyzed. The results will confirm the absence or presence of asbestos.
If you opt to presume, any subsequent work should be carried out with full asbestos abatement and safety precautions, preferably by a certified asbestos abatement professional.
Contractors and Trades:
If you are a contractor, the first step before beginning a renovation/demolition project is to ask the property manager, owner or the GC you are working for, for a current asbestos survey of the property, in order to in order to avoid disturbing asbestos containing materials. You must protect your workers from a known hazard and avoid the fines that will be imposed on all parties involved, including your client, if asbestos is discovered in the materials you disturbed.
AM/PM’s Follows NESHAP and OSHA Regulations When Performing Emergency Services:
In our company, we have an AHERA Certified Building Inspector on staff. In response to meeting NESHAP/OSHA Regulations, our protocol requires that he take the appropriate samples in the affected areas, where we intend to remove and replace water, fire, or mold damaged structural materials. This will be done every time we perform emergency services for your company where demolition is required. We will take the necessary precautions to cover all of us, and limit our exposure to liability; as well as ensure the environmental safety of your clients and our technicians as it relates to the project. In addition, you will receive the test results for your records and to refer them when conducting future renovations.
Will the mitigation of the damage in my building, after a flood, fire or other catastrophe, be deferred until the asbestos samples come back from the lab?
Absolutely not. Our certified technicians will start the mitigation of the damage immediately. Meanwhile, our AHERA Certified Building Inspector will collect the appropriate samples and send them to a certified independent laboratory, to confirm or deny the presence of asbestos, before removing/disturbing any structural materials. While waiting for the results from the lab, we will perform all of the required mitigation procedures, stabilize the situation and safeguard your property. Once the results are in (a few hours turnaround time) we will proceed accordingly.
What About Residential Properties?
Single Private Residences are not regulated by Asbestos NESHAP. However, AM/PM is required to follow OSHA regulations, which require us to protect our workers at all times from any known hazards, including asbestos. Therefore, when we respond to a flood or a fire in your home, we will take the appropriate samples and send them to a certified independent laboratory, to confirm or deny the presence of asbestos, before removing/disturbing any structural materials. While waiting for the results from the lab, we will perform all of the required mitigation procedures, stabilize the situation and safeguard your property. Once the results are in (a few hours turnaround time) we will proceed accordingly.
It is important to note that two or more residential houses on one property, such as a home and a guest house, they would fall under the Asbestos NESHAP program.
If you’re interested in learning more about asbestos, please call our office at 602-862-9307 and ask to schedule a Lunch and Learn for your office. We will be happy to come into your management/service meetings to provide further explanation for these regulations.
If you would like to learn more about our Professional Asbestos Abatement Services, or hire our firm to perform asbestos abatement at your property, please click on the hyperlink above.
For more information on Asbestos NESHAP Regulations, you can visit the asbestos program’s website HERE
Asbestos NESHAP – National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants EPA – Environmental Protection Agency promulgated the Asbestos NESHAP regulations in 1990 and they have delegated the State and County municipalities to enforce those regulations in AZ.
OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration
AHERA – Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act, AHERA applies to the schools
Owner/Operator of a demolition or renovation (this means any person who owns, leases, operates, controls or supervises the facility being demolished or renovated, or any person that owns, leases, operates or controls the demolition or renovation operation, or both.
Do Trauma Scenes always involve death or injury?
No, they involve all types of human fluid release, such a loss of bowel control or if an individual becomes ill and vomits in your building. These types of incidents can potentially compromise the health and safety of the building’s occupants, as bodily fluids can contain a wide range of bacteria, parasites, viruses and other pathogens. These incidents should be cleaned and decontaminated by a professional in order to avoid cross contamination and exposing the building’s occupants to a known hazard.
Can a family member cleanup a trauma scene if it involved their loved ones?
There is no law that says that a family member can’t clean up a trauma scene of their loved one, but we STRONGLY discourage doing so. Why?
• This can be emotionally trying for the person performing the cleanup
• There could be a significant health risk present, as bodily fluids can contain a wide range of bacteria, parasites, viruses and other pathogens.
• If the individual who is performing the cleanup is not specially trained and following specific cleaning and disposal procedure, they could present a health risk to others.
When can family members pick up personal items of the deceased?
Once our trauma scene technicians inventory and determine what items are contaminated and what items are not, family members/other approved persons can pick up items deemed uncontaminated.
Can all contaminated structural materials be cleaned and disinfected?
Contaminated materials that are porous, such as drywall, carpeting etc. must be disposed of at the licensed Biohazard facility and the customer will be provided with receipt for the disposal (a manifest).
What documentation will I receive to prove that the affected areas have been properly decontaminated and cleaned?
Once the cleanup and decontamination services are complete, closure testing by an independent third party, certified environmental consultant is highly recommended. This testing will verify that everything has been properly decontaminated, and that it is safe for occupants to inhabit the space. AM/PM will facilitate this service for our customer’s prior to the commencement of reconstruction.
Contact our caring staff today for Biohazard, Crime, Death, or Trauma Scene Cleanup Services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For Immediate Response Call Now! 602-862-9307