Residential Water Damage Restoration
Dealing with water damage can be a traumatic experience. You feel a loss of control in your own home! The feeling only gets worse if you have a company come in and rip apart your walls, carpet, furniture, and rummage through your personal items! After dealing with all this aggravation and more, you get “rewarded” with a bill for $1,000’s!
Residential Water Damage Restoration
This does not have to be your experience with water damage.
Turn Off All Electricity- Turn your power main to the off position so you don’t get electrically shocked. Never step in standing water without the power off!
Identify the Type of Water- You must determine if your water is considered “clean” or “dirty.” Clean water comes from sources such as a failed sump pump or leaky dishwasher. Dirty water comes from sources like broken ejector pumps and cracked sewage lines.
Equipment and Materials- You will need water damage equipment such as a wet/dry vacuum, carpet cleaning machine, deodorizers, disinfectants, and body protection such as puncture proof gloves.
Remove the Water- Use either a submersible pump or wet/dry vacuum to remove the excess water.
Treat Your Carpet and/or Other Flooring- You must properly clean, disinfect, and deodorize the carpet.
Discard the Padding- Remove and trash all the padding under the carpet.
Treat Walls and Baseboards- Remove the baseboards and create air cavities in the walls. Properly disinfect and store the baseboards.
Ensure Your Furniture is Safe- Check for structural damage and if water affected absorbent areas.
Drying Equipment- You will need to use air movers, fans, and dehumidifiers after you finish the demolition and restoration process. These pieces of equipment will allow your home to dry properly.
Deal with Insurance Companies- After you remediate your water damage, you will have to deal with your insurance company and make sure the insurance company pays you the money you deserve!
Residential Water Damage Restoration In
One of the most frustrating things about water restoration is getting a call from the adjuster saying your invoice is too high. During my 14 + years in the water restoration business I have gotten plenty of calls from adjusters saying that my price is too high on this dehumidifier or this fan, etc. This used to bug me until I learned the secret to prevent most of these calls, COMMUNICATION & DOCUMENTATION. Remember that the adjuster has to justify his work to his boss and as long as the price and scope of work can be justified then it will be paid.
Starting off the job on the right foot is important. You should always get a work authorization signed by the insured before starting work. A work authorization will allow some insurance companies to be able to pay you directly or at least get your name on the check.
Then as soon as the initial mitigation is performed, call the adjuster and let him/her know what you did. This can be done on the way back to your office. During this conversation just let the adjuster know what you saw when you arrived and what you decided to do about. During this conversation I generally try to steer away from talking about pricing. If they ask about it then I will talk about it, but for me this is more of an information phone call to the adjuster. At this point, usually the adjuster has not been there and so to call and inform him/her what is going on is my main objective.
Next, you should have an itemized invoice. The invoice should include your company name, address, (so they can send the check) and your Taxpayer Identification Number. Each room that work was performed in should be separate and have measurements down to the nearest inch. Then within each room list each item or piece of equipment. At this point it is good to comment on the items that are most questioned, such as cost of dehumidifiers, number of fans, extraction, etc. Place comments with the items, if your estimating software will let you, justifying why you charge what you do for a dehumidifier or why you had 3 fans in a 6 x 6 room. Anything that could be questioned comment on it. To me this is one of the most important parts of the invoicing process. Yes, it is time consuming but the adjuster will be able to see the reasoning behind the line item. This alone may prevent most calls.
Next include a copy of the signed work authorization and signed certificate of satisfaction. This not only shows that the customer was satisfied but that they authorized you to do the work. Make sure that your work authorization form includes a section in it that would allow the insurance company to be able to pay you directly. I, personally, had my lawyer look over my form to make sure it was accomplishing what I wanted it to accomplish. I would strongly suggest that you do the same no matter whether you got a generic form from somewhere or you came up with your own form.
Another tool that helps justify your bill to the adjuster is your daily humidity readings. You should be keeping the temperature, relative humidity, and grains (gpp) inside, outside, unaffected area, dehumidifier(s), and the HVAC. By doing this you will be able to learn about what is going on during the job. For example, several years ago we opened up a new refrigerant dehumidifier and took it straight to a job. When we got there and turned it on we started running our pshychrometric readings and discovered that there was a problem with the dehumidifier. It was great to find that out then and not the next day when we would have had a lot of evaporation and no dehumidification. Using the grain readings can also help you prove that the equipment was off, a door was opened that you wanted closed, a window got opened, etc. When this is used correctly then you can prove to the adjuster why you needed an extra day. Also make sure to include plenty of comments to go with your readings to help explain what you saw.
To go along with your daily humidity readings try including a graph from a data logger. Data loggers can be set to record the temperature and relative humidity as often as you would like. I like to set ours to record every minute and this gives you a good graph of what is happening on the job. When the job is complete then print the graph and turn it in with your invoice. Just like with your daily readings a graph will help prove what you saw happening on the job. (i.e. door left open, window open, equipment turned off, etc.) Taking an hour meter reading off your equipment at several points in the job can also help prove when things were not running and should be turned in as part of your documentation.
Kevin Pearson is a partner in Pearson Carpet Care. He has over 17 years experience in the cleaning and restoration business. He serves on several committees with the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) and is on the board of directors of the PCRA (Professional Cleaning and Restoration Alliance). Kevin has dried building in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. He has extensive experience drying residential homes but has also dried office buildings, chemical plants, historical homes, Southern Methodist University, Stephen F. Austin State University, The Toyota Center (where the Houston Rockets play) and more.
Water Damage Restoration In
Who are the Dallas water damage restoration professionals to turn to for flood clean up, removal, and repair?
There are only a few true fire and water restoration companies in Dallas Texas that can provide the full line of flood clean up, fire rebuilding and mold remediation services. These companies have been in business in the Dallas area for decades and have full time, trained technicians who are available to do emergency restoration work 24/7. They have industrial strength equipment and professional gear that they use daily on just such water damage emergencies.
And then there are the other guys....
These competitors are divided into three types of restoration service providers:
Water Damage Internet marketing firms
Most of the restoration companies you will find on the web are marketing companies that later sell your cleanup and rebuilding job to subcontractors they never met. When there is a big demand for restoration clean up services in Dallas Fort Worth, such as frozen and burst pipes, burst water heaters or rain and flood damage, these marketing companies call everyone who says that they can do water removal, clean up and repair to get your job. However, if they cannot find any subcontractors, your job will be abandoned.
Water Damage Restoration National Franchises
The other type of water removal and repair competitors are large corporate franchise restoration companies with very little connection to Dallas Fort Worth. They do not have full line fire, water and restoration services in Dallas and usually have staff that is new to the home restoration business. Very often, the true fire and water remediation companies are asked to complete repair jobs that were started by restoration franchisees.
Carpet Cleaning Companies
There are hundreds of carpet cleaning companies in Dallas Fort Worth that claim to be water damage restoration companies. These so called remediation experts have no water removal experience, flood damage clean up training or dehumidification equipment to complete water and flood damage repair projects. They also have no education or much experience in the science of water extraction, drying and clean up. There is very little chance that your property would be completely restored through their services. In fact, since these companies do not have any water removal, fire restoration or mold remediation experience or content restoration facilities to handle personal belongings or furniture, their so called services only delay your home's restoration work. Meanwhile, there is further structural damage to your dry walls, ceilings, carpets, and floors, possibly resulting in mold damage.
When you need professionals to tackle emergency repair and rebuilding jobs in Dallas, choose the Dallas company you know and trust to handle your property's remediation job. Call the disaster recovery experts that have the full time crews to handle your emergency 24/7, 365 days a year.