Frequently Asked Questions

Fire & Smoke

Can I clean up myself?

We suggest that you do not attempt any "do-it-yourself" cleaning methods without consulting your Restoration Technician. Pre-testing, using the right cleaning agent for the particular item, mixing deodorizing agents with cleaning solutions and using correct dilution rates are just some of the ways a fire restoration technician expertly controls the results. Professional cleaning systems and products used by experienced, trained technicians give you the best chance for complete restoration of your belongings.

What are some safety concerns?

At ServiceMaster Restore of Vancouver, occupant and worker safety is our top priority. During the initial inspection, safety hazards are identified and addressed, including debris removal, air quality, electrical hazards, slip and trip hazards, etc. Burnt electrical cords and appliances are separated out for disposal, and questionable electrical appliances are unplugged and tagged for evaluation of safe operation. Electrical power may be turned off and kept off until evaluation by a licensed electrician.

How long can the restoration process take?

Depending on the scope of the project and the amount of damage, the restoration process may require several phases before completion. Through it all, your Project Manager will make the process seamless.

Do I need to move out of my property during the restoration process?

Depending on the extent of damage, this is ultimately your decision. Some things you may want to consider are safety concerns, odours, electricity, noise from equipment, etc.

Do my belongings need to be moved away from the premises?

Depending on the source, nature and extent of the fire, it may be best to move all belongings to a secure facility for cleaning and storage, and to make room for restoration or construction. ServiceMaster Restore of Vancouver, will work with you and your insurance claim representative to manage this process.

What about special items? Artwork, china, heirlooms, etc.

Some high-value items require restoration by a specialist. Working with your insurance claim representative, ServiceMaster Restore of Vancouver, can help you identify these items and locate a qualified restorer.

Water & Flood Damage

Why are air movers and dehumidifiers used?

When water damage has occurred, water can be absorbed into the drywall (sheetrock), baseboards, sub-flooring, etc. Drying these surfaces requires high velocity air movers to accelerate the release of absorbed water into the air. Dehumidifiers are necessary for removing this excess moisture to help protect property and create conditions for efficient drying.

Who is responsible for monitoring the drying equipment?

Our water damage mitigation specialists will place and monitor equipment to achieve optimal results in the shortest amount of time. Equipment should never be turned off or moved by anyone other than the water damage mitigation specialist.

What will it cost to run the equipment?

Based on average electrical rates, it may cost about one dollar per day per piece of drying equipment to operate. Actual rates can vary depending on current rates from your local electricity provider.

What about sewage contamination?

Hard surfaces can be cleaned and sanitized. Affected items that cannot be sanitized require disposal. Porous materials such as drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation, particleboard, paneling, etc. that have been directly affected should be removed during the emergency restoration service visit.

What will you do with my area rugs?

Rugs are taken to our warehouse for special care. They need to be dried carefully to minimize bleeding of colors and discoloration. Your rugs will be dried, cleaned and returned.

My ceilings are wet. What needs to be done?

Our water damage technicians will evaluate moisture content, determine the severity of the damage and may have to remove some of your ceiling for ventilation. Wet insulation can also be a hazard and may need to be removed.

Should I open the windows to help the drying process?

Opening your windows to assist the drying process is not always recommended. Outside weather conditions may vary, so the water damage technician will determine when and if the outside air is appropriate.

Can I walk on the area during the drying process?

It is strongly suggested that you keep the traffic to a minimum. Wearing shoes is recommended for your safety.

What about my wet furniture?

The extent of damage and the construction of the furniture will determine if your furniture can be restored. Your furniture must be dried before damage can be adequately assessed. Non-salvageable furniture will be documented for you and if any items need to be discarded, a customer release form will need to be signed.

Mold Removal

What is mold?

Mold is a fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of mold exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Mold spreads and reproduces by making spores. Spores can survive conditions that are too sunny, hot, cold, dry or wet for mold to grow. When spores are released they can be carried by air or water to new locations.

What causes mold?

Excess moisture caused by leaks or flooding in your home – especially in damp environments like your kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms – creates the perfect breeding ground for mold or mildew. To control and reduce the risk for mold growth in these areas, you must properly maintain your plumbing system and monitor appliances that use large quantities of water, like dish washers and washing machines. Small amounts of indoor mold are unavoidable and usually harmless. In damp environments, however, mold spores can more easily reproduce.

How does mold spread?

For molds to grow and reproduce, they only need an organic food source, such as cellulose, which is found in building materials such as wood and drywall.

Are there any warning signs to look for?

If there are dark spots on your ceiling, floors or walls, this is a sure sign of mold growth. Musty odours and mildew are often signs that mold may be growing in your home. Respiratory and allergy symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, trouble breathing and wheezing are a common indicator of mold growth as well. Also, high humidity levels such as condensation on glass and metal surfaces are a warning sign of mold.

What is that smell?

Usually, if it smells like mold, it is mold. Mold or mildew odors are both due to the presence of fungi in the air, in pipes, inside walls or hidden in other parts of your home. Mold is thicker than mildew, so if the smell is particularly strong, that's a clue that it's mold and you need to act fast to prevent further growth.

What are some safety concerns?

Finding mold in your home can be worrying because there are often health risks associated with mold, including allergy-like respiratory symptoms, skin irritation, cold and flu symptoms, headaches, nausea and mold-induced asthma. It's important to know the causes of mold growth before it occurs so you can work to avoid damage to your home and your health.

What is black mold?

Black mold (Satchybotrys chararum) is greenish-black in color and grows in conditions where there is an excessive amount of moisture over a long period of time. Water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks and condensation in small, damp places like bathrooms all create a perfect breeding ground for black mold. Black mold releases microtoxins, a noxious substance that can cause serious harm to humans.

What is the difference between mold and mildew?

Mildew is a surface fungi that easily develops on cardboard, books and even fabrics. Mildew usually grows in a flat pattern and may appear powdery. Mildew usually starts out white and may later turn to yellow, brown or black. It can usually be treated with a store bought cleaner and scrub brush. Mold is usually fuzzy in appearance and can be many different colours including white, yellow, blue, green, brown, gray and black. Mold will cause structural damage to your home and can cause numerous health issues.

Can I remove mold myself or should I call a professional?

Mold is a serious issue. A small patch of mold on a wall often can be removed without professional help, but if mold issues persist after you've cleaned and performed prevention tactics, it's time to call in the experts. For larger mold issues, leave it to the professionals at ServiceMaster Restore for safe and effective clean up and removal. ServiceMaster Restore professionals have completed comprehensive mold remediation training and employ the safest, most effective techniques for solving any mold issue. Our teams regularly handle small (ten square feet or less) areas affected by mold as well as larger spaces, both commercial and residential.

Other

What does pre-loss condition mean?

There may be some damage that existed prior to your loss. Therefore, these damages will not be included in the scope of repairs. ServiceMaster Restore of Vancouver is responsible for returning your home to how it was before, or its pre-loss condition, using materials of like kind and quality. At your request, we will provide you with an estimate for any additional construction projects, also called non-insured work.

What would be considered non-insured work?

Any construction project unrelated to your loss is considered non-insured work. At your request, we will provide a separate estimate for a non-insured construction project, and we will require separate authorization and payment terms. If non-insured work will delay the completion of an insured portion, then the situation must be discussed with your Insurance Adjuster and the Project Manager.

Do I need a permit?

When required, your Project Manager will take out the appropriate permit(s) on your behalf, identifying ServiceMaster Restore of Vancouver as the general contractor. If applicable, permit fees are included in the estimate and may be covered by the insurance company.

Do my belongings have to be moved away from the premises?

Depending on the scope of work, contents may remain on location. We will take appropriate measures to securely cover and protect contents. Any construction related dust that collects would be addressed in the post-construction cleaning. For large restoration jobs, it may be best to move all affected contents to a secure, climate-controlled facility in order to protect them and make room for construction. Be assured that our technicians are fully trained and will treat your possessions with the utmost care. Our Automated Inventory Control System tracks the status of your belongings from move out to move back. We will work with you and your Insurance Claims Representative to manage this process.

Who is responsible for paying for the service?

Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment and will need to sign a form authorizing payment for the restoration services. If this is an insurance claim, we generally collect only the deductible amount from you before work begins, and bill the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. If your project is not covered by insurance or you decide not to file a claim, you will be required to pay in full. A payment schedule may be agreed upon prior to the start of any non-insured work.

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