24-hour Emergency Hotline: (208) 887-4740

UltraClean Blog

How to Hire a Water Damage Restoration Company for Your Project

image-101
This can be a difficult decision because of the stress related to hiring someone that will take care of your largest asset and care for your personal belongings. You need someone you can trust and who is competent. During the process you will have many options to choose from, including companies found through your insurance company’s contractor, looking on Google, or receiving a referral from your neighbor, friend, or other contractor.

UltraClean has the ability to manage small to large projects with a variety of unique, specialized equipment. This allows us to know our business so thoroughly that when others just tear materials out, we have the experience, knowledge, and tools to dry it at a fraction of the cost.

UltraClean has invested into advanced equipment that helps aid in drying structures that other companies don’t have the ability to. We were one of the first companies to bring into our area the Injectidry Mat hardwood floor drying system. We can dry hardwood and tile floors, and can find moisture and it’s migration in hidden areas, with our variety of moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras, that other companies can’t match.

In addition to our moisture detecting equipment, we have several types of extraction units. Our powerful vacuums can remove large amounts of water from crawl spaces, basements, high rises, or any other hard to reach area. We also have specialized units for extracting water from delicate floors that need extra care to avoid scratching.

We use a variety of air movers to help dry your structure for subfloors, wall cavities, underneath cabinets, and more. All of this helps in minimizing construction cost when we can dry your materials rather than tearing them out and replacing them. We also achieve a reduced total project time span to get your structure back to normal faster.

Your Right to Hiring a Water Damage Expert

Understanding your rights and the scope of services necessary are the best ways to resolve water damage effectively. Many homeowners worry that hiring a water damage company, or any contractor, outside of their insurance company’s recommendations could hurt them once their claim is processed. However, in your insurance policy it states that it is your responsibility to stop the damage from causing any additional damage. This means you can’t let the water sit, causing more damage. You need to act immediately.

This also refers to your right to choose the contractor of your choice and your insurance company is obligated to pay reasonable costs, not the lowest bid or who they want to do the job. Know your rights to seek repair and choose your contractor of choice. You need to feel comfortable that who you choose will be worth taking the time to make an educated decision.

Why Carpet Cleaners and Handyman Can’t Solve Your Water Damage

It is a common enough mistake to think any number of contractors can repair water damage in your home or business. However, by hiring the wrong company, you are inviting more damage and problems to pile up. Below are a few reasons why you should always hire water damage experts instead of a company with general contracting services.

  • Hiring a carpet cleaning company: Many carpet cleaning companies have the proper equipment to extract water, but that is only a small part of the project. You project requires drying the structure, decontaminating with antimicrobials, knowing what in the structure is wet and what isn’t with special moisture detection equipment, and removing wet materials that can’t dry, like carpet pad, interior walls, vinyl floors etc. A carpet cleaning company just don’t have the education, experience, or equipment to do a full job. Do your research and make sure the company you chose has the equipment to prove your structure is dry.
  • Hiring handyman, builders, or contractors: They specialize in building or repairing, and when they work with a company like ours, you can get the best of both worlds. But when a contractor tries to do a water damage project on their own, their inexperience leads them to use the “It looks dry” theory. It may look dry, and even feel dry, but it’s not dry until confirmed by a moisture meter. A contractor is used to doing everything on their own, so let them know that you wish to have them work with a mitigation company to solve your water damage. This will give you two great companies to do what they both specialize in.

7 Ways to Make Your Home More Mold Resistant

There is no such thing as a mold free home. But you can make it more mold resistant. 

Here are seven ways to curb moisture indoors, and the mold growth that thrives on it.

  1. Dry wet areas immediately and call a professional. Mold can’t grow without moisture, so calling for help right away is necessary to address the root of the problem. Seepage into the basement after a heavy rainfall, accumulation from a leaky pipe, or even a simple spill on the carpet should be dried within 24 to 48 hours. If you’ve experienced a flood, remove water-damaged carpets, bedding, and furniture if they can’t be completely dried and schedule a time for a professional team to come out and evaluate the situation.
  2. Identify problem areas in your home and correct them. You can’t mold-proof your home, but you can make it mold-resistant. Do an audit of your home: where are the areas most prone to moisture exposure? Does the basement flood? Do you notice frequent condensation on an upstairs window? Is there a water stain on the ceiling from a persistent leak? Preventing mold from growing or spreading might be as simple as ripping up carpet in a damp basement, applying mold-resistant products, or repairing damaged gutters. When not addressed fast enough, it may be a matter of major excavation and waterproofing. Whatever the case, address the problem as soon as possible. It might cost some money up front, but it will surely be more expensive down the road if mold continues to grow unchecked.
  3. Prevent moisture with proper ventilation. It may be that your routine domestic activities are encouraging the growth of mold in your home. Make sure a simple activity like cooking dinner, taking a shower, or doing a load of laundry doesn’t invite mold by providing proper ventilation, like an open window or exhaust fan, in your bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and any other high-moisture area. Vent appliances that produce moisture — clothes dryers, stoves — to the outside, not the attic. Use AC units and dehumidifiers, especially in humid climates, but make sure they don’t produce moisture themselves by checking them periodically and cleaning them as directed by the manufacturer.
  4. Monitor humidity indoors. We recommend keeping indoor humidity between 30 and 50 percent. You can detect high humidity by simply paying attention to potential problem areas in your home. Telltale signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls. If you notice condensation, dry the surface immediately and address the source of moisture. For example, turn off a humidifier if water appears on the inside of nearby windows.
  5. Direct water away from your home. If the ground around your home isn’t sufficiently sloped away from the foundation, water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement. If there are any holes near your foundation, fill these areas to avoid water from pooling next to your home.
  6. Clean or repair roof gutters. A mold problem might be a simple matter of a roof that is leaking because of full or damaged gutters. Have your roof gutters cleaned regularly and inspected for damage. Repair them as necessary, and keep an eye out for water stains after storms that may indicate a leak.
  7. Improve airflow in your home. As temperatures drop, the air is able to hold less moisture. Without good air flow in your home, that excess moisture may appear on your walls, windows, and floors. To increase circulation, open doors between rooms, move furniture away from walls, and open doors to closets that may be colder than the rooms they’re in. Let fresh air in to reduce moisture and keep mold at bay.

Do you suspect you might have mold in your home? Or do you just want to ask us a mold question? Whether you want someone to come in and fix it for you, or you are a “do-it-yourself” kind of person, UltraClean can help! Give us a call at (208) 887-4740 or contact us for advice or service 24 hours a day.

Let’s talk snot!

Working sick spreads the fluAs business managers and owners, we’re used to watching costs. We track our department expenses, office space and equipment costs, and some of us even guard the thermostat with a tricked out lock system! But what about the expenses that are “snot” so easy to track?

I’m talking of course about the cold, flu, and crud that goes around this season. Consider this statistic from the CDC:

Each year, on average, 5 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, tens of thousands are hospitalized and thousands die from flu-related illness. This costs an estimated $10.4 billion a year in direct medical expenses and an additional $16.3 billion in lost earnings annually. (CDC Website)

And that’s just the flu. Think about how many times you’ve had to send someone home because of some other office crud. It’s expensive and good business owners and managers are responsible for providing a better environment for our employees and customers.

Sick days prevent spreading the fluPut a stop to snot.

It’s our responsibility to encourage healthy practices in the workplace. One way is by making it easy for employees to stay home when they’re sick – we don’t want them to pass on the snot! Offer the option to work from home or provide sick pay so your employees are motivated by recuperation instead of the financial burden of being out of the office.

Of course, prevention is key, so also consider these important tips:

    • Wipe it. Use a disinfectant – such as microban or a vinegar and water mix – to clean all hand touched surfaces before, during and after work. Don’t forget the coffee pot, either!
    • Flu shots. Encourage your employees to get a flu shot. Make it easy by making it free or reduced cost – and pay for their time to get the shot!
    • Clean the carpets and upholstery. Think of everything that gets tracked into your office. Without regular maintenance, that crud stays in the carpet and can aggravate allergies or invite other unwelcome illness.
    • Filters. Change the furnace filter to increase the airflow and trap the dust that contain pollutants and bacteria.
    • Fresh air. Get fresh air into your building when possible. The air quality inside buildings can become contaminated and stale, so replacing with fresh air helps act as a filter.

We’re here to help.

You may think it strange to get an email from us about flu and cold prevention. But you know what? That’s what makes us different – we’re not just selling you our services. Of course, if you do find your home or office has been damaged by water, fire, or wind, we hope you’ll think of us first.

 

What To Expect In A Good Estimator

The role of an estimator. In the water damage restoration industry an estimator is the individual who helps you estimate the costs of damage to your home or business.  They need to have a complete knowledge of residential and commercial construction, the effects of water damage and whether something can be restored or if it needs replaced.

 Once a complete scope or evaluation is complete then they need to have idea on costs of labor, materials and any unforeseen items that may come up.  This will help with the communication and coordination of completing your project.  Everyone has heard of escalating costs on a project that was unexpected that created a burden upon the person responsible.  If the insurance company is paying for the damage and it’s a covered claim then your estimator plays a major role in making sure that your costs are being covered by the insurance company and not you.

 The insurance adjuster’s role is to interpret the loss according to your insurance policy and adjust the cost of the claim.  It is crucial that the estimator have the ability to estimate the costs for the project and make sure the insurance company will pay the associated costs and not let the homeowner or building owner with additional costs.  The importance of a competent estimator is crucial to the success of your project being finished timely and on budget.

What qualities make a good estimator? The qualities you should look for in a good estimator:

  • Integrity – Do they seem trustworthy? Do they provide you with documentation of what was agreed upon?
  • Communication – Do they help you to understand what your job entails and what to expect? Do they take time to listen and answer your questions?
  • Value – Do they ensure the work will be of quality for the price you are paying?
  • Accountability – You will have to hold them accountable for not doing the things that you told them to do.
  • Customer Service – Are they friendly? Do they follow up with you throughout the project?
  • Knowledge – They need to have a solid background in construction. This seems simple but it is very important for them to have that knowledge in order to build a good estimate.
  • Experience– The individual must have experience, training and longevity in the line of work you are hiring them for.  The last thing you want is a green horn in charge of your project to build their resume upon your life interruption with this disaster.
  • Likable– You must like them in order to trust them, if you don’t like them regardless of their reputation you won’t have a great experience.

When an estimator comes to your home or business the first thing they need to do is write a scope of the job. What does this mean? A scope is a written description of what damages have occurred and the necessary work to restore the home to pre-loss condition. The estimator will evaluate the loss, take measurements, and sketch the project. The estimator will then take that information and use a software program to create a estimate for the insurance company.

Once you have an agreement for the contractor to do the work. The first thing you should expect is to sign a contract. The next step is the estimator will provide you with a schedule of work and keep you informed of progress. This process can take a while depending on the size of the project and it can be frustrating at times. The estimator should make you feel important and that your project is a priority to them. The third step is for the estimator is to live up to the expectations that he/she set and hold them accountable.

A great estimator will make your project run smooth and according to budget.  When hiring a company, take these tips into your decision process and you will have a great experience from the disaster forced upon you.

 

Understand These Common and Avoidable Water Damage Causes

Catastrophic floods may grab all the headlines, but more common water damage from plumbing systems ends up costing homeowners, renters, and landlords billions of dollars every year. Water can cause serious problems when left unattended and create thousands of dollars of damage within hours. However, water damage doesn’t necessarily have to occur if there’s an issue in your home or business. Avoiding water damage is all in timing and treating it correctly right away.

The average American uses between 80 to 100 gallons of water a day, and statistics indicate that over 1 million incidents involving water damage occur every year in the United States. Most of this damage is caused by these common culprits:

  • Improper installation
  • Defective parts (including poor quality)
  • Defective seals
  • High pressure over time
  • Breaks, corrosion, or cracks over time
  • Settling or shifting of structure or foundation over years
  • Damage by occupants
  • Clogging from build up over time
  • Rust
  • Freezing or melting (heat from appliances or electricity)

Your number one method of defense is to be aware. If you see any water outside of where it’s supposed to be, don’t ignore it. Find the source of the water leak and get it fixed as soon as possible.

UltraClean believes in prevention. Rather than putting thousands of dollars into fixing water damage, a better solution is to help home and business owners prevent those same damages from happening in the first place, and that’s what we aim to do.

For further information on preventing water damage in your home or business, read these other blog posts for more detailed tips to keep your structure safe:

What’s Causing All This Water Damage?
9 Tips to Protect Your Home From Freezing Temperatures
Do you have icicles hanging from your roof?