How Does It Look To Recover From Storm Damage?
For 20 years SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita has been working on homes during large storm events helping people recover from water damage in their homes and businesses. Doing remediation and mitigation for so long gives us a huge well of experience to work from but many people who have not had this issue have no idea what goes into recovering from water damage caused by an intense storm.
So we have decided to break down how the water mitigation process looks from our side to maybe give you some insight on what it takes to make it “Like it never even happened.” We are going to walk through a fictional water loss where a sump pump failed causing the basement to flood.
First Notice of Loss
The first step of a water loss for us is getting the phone call from the customer and this is where we take down all the necessary information from the customer. You can imagine that information like the customer’s name, address, contact information is taken down but some more specific questions are:
- Is this a finished basement?
- How many rooms are affected?
- Has the sump pump been replaced or repaired? (has the source been stopped)
- How much content is in the basement?
- What kind of flooring is in the basement?
- Are you planning on filing an insurance claim?
Once we collect that information, we try to schedule a time for work to begin as soon as possible our goal is to be on-site within 4 hours although we normally are there within 1. Typically, either an estimator goes out to give the customer the scope of work and an estimate of cost or we send out a crew to get started immediately. In this example, the customer has filed an insurance claim and wants us to start immediately.
Arriving at the Customers Home
Our crew, normally 2-3 people, arrives at the customer’s house in one of our beautiful green work trucks with everything we need to get to work! Our crew chief will walk the loss with the customer using our tools of the trade to help us evaluate what has been affected. Oftentimes people don’t realize how much carpet has been affected or even that water can soak up into drywall from the floor.
Once our crew chief has the entire loss scoped out, they explain the process to the customer and get documents signed so the work can begin. The work normally follows this process:
- Bring down our portable water extractor to begin extracting
- As one technician extracts the other technicians move and block furniture to protect the carpet and furniture from damage
- Even after all the flooring has been extracted the floor will still be wet
- In basements with carpet, we will pull back the carpet and remove the pad since this scenario is a Category 2 loss
- Before laying the carpet back down we will spray the backside of the carpet and the concrete with an antimicrobial that kills bacteria, helps prevent mold, and stops odor.
- We also spray the top side of the carpet
- Normally this process requires us to move all the furniture to one side of the room and then the other side to get all the pad if the whole room is affected.
- At this point, our crew chief has entered the dimensions and affected rates of each room into our program DryBook which calculates exactly how many air movers and dehumidifiers we need to most efficiently dry the customer’s home.
- We set equipment as needed to dry down the floors and walls
At this point, the work is down for the day. Sometimes baseboards, doors need to be detached or drywall needs to be demo’d but that is a case by case basis. The job is not complete yet though because the drying equipment needs time which is normally around 3 days.
After Day 1
So now the first day of work has been completed, excess water has been extracted, antimicrobial has sanitized the flooring, and drying equipment has been running steadily. Our crew chief will talk to the customer before leaving and setting up a time to come back tomorrow to check on the drying. On average it takes about three days to dry out a customers home which looks like:
- Day 1 Monday-Tuesday
- Day 2 Tuesday – Wednesday
- Day 3 Wednesday -Thursday
So we will come back Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to take readings of your atmosphere, the moisture content of the walls and floors, and to make sure the equipment is operating efficiently. Often when our employee is checking a job they will move equipment around to focus on the wettest areas and even remove equipment as more materials dry.
Every day they are recording their readings into DryBook for both the home’s moisture content and atmospheric readings. As those become better and better the home is drying until we have reached the point where everything in the home is within dry standard and all the equipment has been removed.
Once Everything is Dry
Now that everything is dry the big question is what is next? Well throughout this process we have thoroughly documented the loss and the process of drying the customer’s home down. We have before pictures, mitigation pictures, and post-mitigation pictures as well as all the readings our technicians took and the measurements of everything we removed in DryBook.
We create an estimate based on all that information and share that with the customer and the insurance company. With most insurance companies we have agreements on pricing and procedure in place so the customer does not need to worry about anything about our process and insurance paying.
In this scenario, the only thing we removed was the carpet pad so now the pad needs to be replaced and the carpet needs to be re-stretched onto the tack strip. We have contractors who can do that for the customer or if the customer has their own preference (say for example they buy their own pad and the store offers free installation). Once the carpet is put back we often come back to do a carpet cleaning to put a ribbon on the whole process.
At this point, the process has been completed. Insurance has covered our bill, the customer has paid their deductible, and has been made whole. Normally we have multiple projects like these going on at a time as well as fire, mold, biohazard, and duct cleaning.
If you experience flooding in your basement from a storm, broken pipe, or anything else the best thing to do is to give us a call first. We can come out, evaluate what needs to happen, give you a price and help you and your insurance company figure out whether filing a claim is the right move for you. Our 24/7 emergency line is (316) 684-6700 and is always answered by one of our knowledgeable managers.