Recent Posts

4 Steps for Fixing a Flooded Basement

11/20/2020 (Permalink)

When a homeowner finds water in their basement, it brings up a lot of questions including what to do about it. Here are four steps to help you wade through a basement flood.

1. Get the Water Out Safely
The first step to dealing with a flooded basement is to remove the water. However, make sure you can do it safely. The water could be contaminated, so if you cannot find the source, stay out of it. There is also a chance that the water has come in contact with your electrical system and could electrocute someone.
If there is a small amount of water, you can use a wet/dry vacuum or rent a pump to clean it up yourself. Large amounts of water, or water with no clear source, should be handled by a removal expert.

2. Remove Affected Objects
Remove anything that came in contact with floodwater. Do not test appliances or any electronics to see if they work, even if they appear undamaged. Remove any fabrics and other fibers. These materials hold moisture and are ideal places for mold spores to settle and grow.

3. Call Your Insurance Agent
Knowing your insurance coverage is important when it comes to flooding. Not all cases are covered. If the damage is due to a burst pipe, then the accident is likely covered under your home insurance. However, if the flooding is due to severe weather, it may not be covered. Take high-resolution photos and thoroughly document the incident to make filing a claim easier.

4. Call a Professional
It is always good to get a second opinion from a water damage specialist after a basement flood. An expert can assess the situation and help you develop a plan for dealing with the aftermath and cleanup.
A basement flood will not sink you when you know what to do and who to call for help in your hometown of Billings, MT.

Storm Damage Versus Flood Damage

11/13/2020 (Permalink)

House in floodwater. Floodwater in Acton, MT

Storm Damage Versus Flood Damage

You might not see a huge difference between storm and flood damage, but your insurance company sure does. It's absolutely vital to make sure that your Acton, MT, business is covered for both types of damage. Getting to know the ins and outs of your specific insurance policy can help prevent you from suffering thousands of dollars in property damages.

Damage Defined
Differentiating between the two types of damages can be tricky. Insurance companies typically label the accident as storm damage if the destruction was a result of one or more of the following:

  • Heavy rainfall
  • Cyclones and tornadoes
  • Hail storms
  • Hurricanes and other tropical storms

While it is absolutely possible for the above incidents to cause flooding, your insurance company won't see it that way. Ever since the Queensland floods in 2011, the Insurance Code of Practice has defined flood damage as "the covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of any lake, river, creek or other natural watercourse, whether or not altered or modified, or any reservoir, canal or dam."

How to File a Claim
If your commercial building is covered, then you need to file your insurance claim as soon as possible.

Contact your insurance company to report the damage.
Separate your damaged property from your undamaged property. Don't throw anything away until your insurance agent has inspected it. Take plenty of photos of the damage as well.
Create a list of damaged items inside the building. Take photos and provide standard information, such as the items' models, serial numbers, and brand. If you still have any receipts or bills, include them in the report.
List any structural damage that you want the insurance adjustor to notice. As always, take plenty of photos.

Both severe storms and floods can cause massive amounts of water damage, but your insurance company still treats them like separate accidents. Make sure to contact remediation experts if your commercial building has recently suffered from storm or flood damage.

Property and Income Insurance for Business Owners

10/30/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial Insurance Many business owners choose to purchase a commercial property policy

If your Broadview, MT, business is damaged by fire, the damage and disruption can be devastating. Fortunately, business interruption coverage and other types of insurance can help keep your company afloat.

Commercial Property Insurance

Many business owners choose to purchase a commercial property policy. Such a policy generally covers fire damage as well as other perils, like storm damage. In general, these policies cover both the building and its contents, including the following:

  • Equipment
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Raw materials
  • Goods (finished or not)

The exact coverage varies depending on a variety of factors, including whether you rent or own the building. Always consult with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate coverage. Pay close attention to whether your policy covers the replacement cost or actual cash value. Due to depreciation, property generally costs more to replace than its cash value at the time of the loss.

Income Insurance
In addition to property damage, a business fire can also cost you money in terms of lost productivity during the fire cleaning and restoration process. For this situation, business interruption insurance can keep your business financially sound. This type of coverage is also known as income insurance. Such a policy covers lost income as well as a variety of expenses, including the following:

  • Temporary relocation expenses
  • Payroll
  • Other fixed expenses, such as loan payments

For the income insurance payout(s) to most accurately meet your needs, it is important to keep good records and accurately estimate your expected income when purchasing the policy.
A fire can damage your property and disrupt your business, leaving you financially vulnerable. In addition to property insurance, a good income insurance policy can help you through a period of business interruption. While insurance can help you financially, a certified restoration company can help you with the physical repairs. They have the experience and equipment necessary to do the job safely and correctly.

6 Reasons You Need Business Insurance

10/30/2020 (Permalink)

Business Insurance. Composition with Clipboard, Calculator, Glasses, Green Flower and Office Supplies on Desk Business insurance reduces the risk of potential, uncertain losses

Here's A Closer Look At Its Benefits

Like most insurance, business insurance is a hedge against future uncertainties. It protects business owners in Comanche, MT, from unexpected costs they would otherwise have to pay out-of-pocket, such as professional remediation services stemming from water damage and water cleanup after a superstorm, for example.
By law, businesses must carry certain types of insurance (workers compensation and unemployment and disability insurance). However, savvy business owners take out an inclusive business owner's policy, which provides all-in-one coverage that merges property, liability and business income (or interruption) insurance. Under this umbrella, you're insulated against the costs of property damage, liability claims and lost income if your business is temporarily shuttered because of that super storm. 

Ensures your business stays operational. In the example of extreme weather, a BOP covers water damage to your property from broken pipes, leaks or flooding. It underwrites revenue losses during business closure for cleanup and repairs by paying your rent or mortgage, loan payments, utilities, taxes and payroll for a defined time period. It also can be structured to offer salary protection for your employees.
Litigation. Features financial protection from lawsuits, liability claims and the expense of legal defense.
Personnel protection. Financially safeguards your employees from injuries on the job and protects you from claims and lawsuits.
Credibility. Demonstrates your business' operational strength by assuring clients, customers, suppliers and employees that it can financially withstand emergencies, legal issues or other unforeseen circumstances that threaten financial stability.
Contracts require a BOP. Leasing or rental agreements, loan agreements and client contracts all may stipulate a requirement for insurance.
Peace of mind. Provides a measure of security by protecting your interests from factors outside your control.

Business insurance reduces the risk of potential, uncertain losses. It neutralizes the financial pressures that can build up from an unexpected emergency — like water damage to your building — or simply protect your people and property as you manage the day-to-day business of business. It's worth considering.

What To Expect With Storm Damage Restoration

10/27/2020 (Permalink)

drying equipment in a basement Storm damage restoration in Laurel, MT

Storm Damage Restoration

Storms are unpredictable and can be violent enough to leave wreckage behind. Swift action is often needed to clean up and restore your home to safe, livable conditions. In extreme cases, storm damage to your home in Laurel, MT, may be severe enough to require the tear out of wet materials before rebuilding.

1. Assess the Damage
The first step after a storm is to check the safety of your living conditions. If the damage is mild, you may be able to handle clean up on your own. Begin by removing the water. The extraction of excessive amounts of water may require special water pumps and vacuums used by storm restoration professionals. Removing the water as soon as possible is key in preventing mold growth.

2. Clean and Dry Everything
Once the water has been removed, throughly clean and dry everything. In addition to your belongings, focus on the structure of your home. Water damage may be severe enough to require that you tear out and replace walls or other parts of the basic structure of your home that could be compromised. Dry out everything as much as possible before cleaning and sanitizing items that were water logged. Verify that your electrical system is dry, intact, and safe before use. Ensure that all electrical appliances are fully dry before using them. 

3. Restore and Rebuild
Once all water and moisture has been satisfactorily removed, preventing mold growth, focus on restoration. Rebuild any part of your home that suffered excessive damage. 
It is impossible to predict how a storm will affect your property. Average storms do very little damage, but powerful storms can cause lasting devastation. The safety of your family and your living space should be paramount after every storm. Do not hesitate to tear out and replace any part of your home that may no longer be structurally sound.

How To Distinguish Mildew From Mold

10/9/2020 (Permalink)

Mold. Aspergillus. The finger of the hand points to the black fungus on the white wall. The easiest way to distinguish between mildew and mold growth is by observing their colors

Mold damage is an extremely destructive force. If you detect an invasive fungus within your home, however, remain calm. You may just be suffering from mold’s funky cousin, mildew. Learn to spot the differences between the two and know whether a serious concern is warranted.

Similarities Between Mildew and Mold

It should come as no surprise that these fungal interlopers are often confused for one another. Both of them:

  • Require moisture and warmth to grow
  • Can be found upon a multitude of surfaces
  • Are likely to spread quickly without proper handling

Despite the fact that they can each be harmful and require treatment, mold damage remains the far greater threat.

Differences Between Mildew and Mold
The easiest way to distinguish between mildew and mold growth is by observing their colors. Mildew is generally gray or white, whereas mold often displays black, green or yellow hues.
The texture is another characteristic separating these dastardly spores. Mildew typically shows up in fluffy or powdery splotches. Mold, on the other hand, presents in either slimy or fuzzy textures and often takes on irregular shapes.
The final identifying factor is location. Mildew growth rests atop moist areas, whereas mold sinks its roots into materials like wood, making removal a far more difficult proposition. Mold tends to inhabit permanent structures. Mildew commonly finds its way onto damp surfaces and organic material that can either be rehabilitated or discarded.
Unlike mold, mildew is effortlessly removed through the application of off-the-shelf cleaners and vigorous scrubbing. On the flipside, mold triggers troublesome rot that often requires professional services to properly extricate, a process that can take days or even weeks to complete.
Both mildew and mold are capable of causing misfortune. While the former is a verifiable nuisance, the latter is able to bring about far greater complications. The moment mold damage is discovered within your residence in Acton, MT, contact a restoration specialist to bring the matter under control.

How to Repair a Leaky Toilet

10/9/2020 (Permalink)

Leakage of water from a toilet due to blockage of the pipe A leaking toilet can potentially cause catastrophic amounts of water damage if not properly repaired

A toilet is typically a very durable and sturdy household fixture that should, ideally, last for multiple decades. That being said, even the best toilets are subject to leaking from time to time. If your home in Billings, MT, has a leaking toilet, follow the steps below.

Step by Step Toilet Repair

Luckily, repairing a leaky, old toilet is a relatively easy process, even if you don't have any plumbing experience.

Use a wrench to disconnect the supply tube from the shutoff valve. Double-check to make sure all the water is drained from the bowl and tank.
At the base of the toilet, remove the caps that cover the closet bolts. Remove the hex nuts using a wrench.
Grasp the toilet by the bowl and very carefully lift it up using your legs. Set the toilet down on an old blanket or cardboard sheet to avoid causing water damage to your bathroom tiles.
Scrape the old wax gasket off from the closet flange. Inspect the closet flange for damage. In most leaking toilet cases, a section of this flange is broken off.
Loosen the screws that secure the closet flange to the bathroom floor. Slide a repair strap underneath the flange.
Center the new wax gasket over the closet flange. Both closet bolts should be in place.
On the bottom of the toilet's tank, connect the new water supply tube to the threaded fill-valve shank.
Apply downward pressure on the rim of the toilet bowl to compress the gasket. Tighten each closet bolt and then apply more pressure.
Trim the tops off the closet bolts using a close-quarter hacksaw. Tighten the nuts and replace the caps.
Reconnect the supply tube to the shutoff valve. Open the valve and flush the toilet. Carefully inspect for leaks.

A leaking toilet can potentially cause catastrophic amounts of water damage if not properly repaired. Contact water remediation experts for additional help if the above technique does not remedy the issue.

How Do Sprinklers Function During a Fire?

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

Fire sprinkler A fire sprinkler can help to limit the amount of damage a commercial property sustains from either a fire or a fire suppression system

How Do Sprinklers Function During a Fire?

Fire sprinklers significantly reduce the extent of property loss and the risks to occupants of a commercial building. Read on to find out how a fire sprinkler can suppress or extinguish flames in a commercial property.

1. A sprinkler head turns on when it detects high temperatures. Fire sprinklers turn on when high heat triggers the system rather than being activated by smoke. Hot air rises during a fire and spreads across the ceiling until it reaches a sprinkler head and activates the fire suppression system. Many sprinkler head designs feature a glass bulb filled with a glycerin-based liquid that expands when it comes into contact with air between 135 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The liquid shatters the glass container when the surrounding air reaches temperatures in this range, activating the sprinkler head.

2. Sprinkler heads dispense pressurized water from the pipe system. Each fire sprinkler head is attached to a pipe that brings in water. When a sprinkler head becomes activated, a valve connected to the head opens and sends water out through the sprinkler head to douse the fire. Water pressure is important, as it causes water to spray out over a larger area.

3. Sprinkler heads function individually to limit water damage. Each sprinkler head in a sprinkler system functions separately. Many small fires can be extinguished with only one or two activated sprinkler heads. Sprinklers pose less of a water damage risk to a property than a fire hose. Some restoration specialists estimate that the average sprinkler system dispenses six times less water than a hose.

fire sprinkler can help to limit the amount of damage a commercial property sustains from either a fire or a fire suppression system. If you need to clean and restore damage caused by a fire or schedule fire sprinkler cleanup, contact a certified commercial restoration company in Billings, MT. 

How Renters Insurance Can Help After a Fire

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

Renters insurance form and dollars on the table. Renters insurance can be a big financial help after a fire at your home

A fire at your Comanche, MT, rental home can be a major hassle. Fortunately, renters insurance can protect you.

Insurance Coverage

There are a variety of expenses that can result from a fire. Your insurance policy may cover most or all of them. Insurance policies often cover the following:

  • Liability and medical payments
  • Contents
  • Temporary living expenses

If the fire is your fault, you may be held liable for the damage. In some cases, especially for small medical expenses to third parties, insurance will cover the cost without establishing liability. Additionally, insurance policies generally cover fire damage to the renter’s personal property, also known as contents. Some policies will pay what the contents were worth just before the fire, and other policies will cover the cost to replace or repair the items. Although damage to the structure itself is covered by the landlord’s policy, a renter's policy will often pay for temporary living expenses during the fire restoration process. Make sure you read your policy carefully and discuss the terms with your insurance agent so that you know the coverage limits and what is and is not covered.

Home Inventory
To get the most out of your renter's insurance, it is important to create a document called a home inventory. This is a list of everything you would want to replace should it be damaged, the purchase price and purchase date. Take pictures or video of all the items, including serial numbers if present. Add receipts and appraisal documentation if you have them. Be sure to update the inventory regularly, especially after you have made a big purchase. Store the inventory in a safe place, such as cloud storage or an off-site location.
Renters insurance can be a big financial help after a fire at your home. If you need assistance with the restoration of your personal belongings, enlisting an experienced restoration team may be a good idea.

Knowing When To Sue Over Black Mold Exposure

8/31/2020 (Permalink)

woman holding her hand while staring at corner of ceiling with mold growth Black mold damage in Billings, MT

Adhere To The Following Four Points

As a building tenant, you have rights, and your landlord has legal responsibilities. However, while you may discover black mold in your rental space, legal action is not the appropriate first step. True, your landlord must maintain a habitable space, but some mold problems stem from unseen issues, like internal plumbing leaks. Therefore, understand and adhere to the following four points.

1. Violation of Habitability Warranty
A residential landlord must adhere to a habitability warranty, meaning that living spaces must meet federal and state codes for residential properties. Property neglect, leading to mold growth, directly violates this warranty. However, consider that a direct violation means the owner knowingly put you, the tenant, in harm's way. Did they? If not, give the landlord an opportunity to correct the issue.

2. Notification to Landlord
When notifying your landlord of the discovery of black mold, record the interaction, or ensure a record of the event. Notifying a landlord of the problem in writing is often the best way to inform because there is proof of the interaction. You can also use email or text messages, any form of communication that shows the date and time of the interaction.
Once a landlord receives notification, they should test the building and hire a mold remediation company in Billings, MT, to take care of the problem. If they do not fix the problem, then further action may be necessary.

3. Restitution for Damages
It is not uncommon for mold damage to result in property loss and other issues. Your landlord may be responsible for the damages. You can file a claim to receive restitution for property loss and medical expenses should any arise.

4. Execution of Legal Action
If your landlord is unresponsive, or if they refuse to correct the problem, then you have every right to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. While tenants and landlords should work amicably toward a solution, sometimes legal interference is necessary.
Every tenant has a right to live in a rental free of black mold. Contact your landlord and discuss mitigation possibilities before seeking legal action.