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How the ServiceMaster Clean Devon team restores flooding damage in a flash.

At this time of year, winter storms bring sudden heavy rainfall that can flood homes and properties.

Floodwater can cause extensive property damage and create a possible health hazard from contaminated water, so clearing up after a flood requires expert and prompt remedial care.

With 60 years of expertise, ServiceMaster Restore is one of the longest-established disaster restoration companies in the UK and a founding member of the BDMA, which sets the industry standards for fire and flood restoration.

They use experienced technicians and specialist equipment to restore properties to their pre-loss condition with minimal disruption and delay.

This recent case study from ServiceMaster Clean Devon‘s Restore Team provides insight into the process and the benefits of using their services.


What was the problem?

The team were called to assist after a 1902 mid-terraced property was flooded during a heavy downpour.

Black water had entered the house via the front entrance and, due to its volume, passed throughout the ground floor, affecting the kitchen to the rear, the front living room (including a timber-clad understairs cupboard that houses a washing machine and an upright fridge freezer), and the lower section of the carpeted staircase.

The water levels reached approximately 0.6 metres.

Upon our arrival, the homeowner was removing contents from the affected areas.

There was extensive saturation and deposited sediment, particularly beneath the kitchen units.


Solution

First, the team undertook a moisture assessment, which showed high levels as expected.

However, the readings were lower than anticipated in the living room, at skirting levels and to the decorated lower walls, meaning remediation needn’t require major strip-out works to this room.

They then completed a visual inspection of the property:

  • The original historic tiled floor showed no obvious structural defects and has reportedly withstood several similar occurrences. Therefore, we left this structure intact and monitored it throughout the cleanup.
  • They found signs of damage to the understairs cupboard, which had timber tongue and grooved cladding and would need removal.
  • Within the kitchen, the base kitchen units were damaged and would need removal to allow a complete sanitising treatment and facilitate the operation of our drying system.

With the assessment complete, the team began the remedial works, which included:

  • Removal of the kitchen base units and range oven.
  • Removal of all the understairs timber cladding.
  • Thorough rinse, extraction and sanitisation of all affected materials.
  • Injection and tented drying to the affected walls and floors to dry all the trapped moisture.

Outcome

Our input prevented further damage to the property, made it safe and ensured it dried out swiftly.

The homeowner was able to begin reinstating their home in the quickest possible time.

Upon completion, the team issued a dry certificate and a final report with all the essential information for the homeowner and insurer records.


In a pinch?

For expert disaster restoration services, find your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business or contact the ServiceMaster Clean Devon team on 01803 200 278 or email office@smcdevon.co.uk.

How to prevent and repair rainwater flooding damage to your property.  

In your home or your business, flooding is a most unwelcome event.

Here’s how you can help protect your home and prevent flooding damage and what to do should the worst happen.


How to prevent rainwater flooding

  • Clear drains and gutters to avoid overflow
  • Keep windows closed (where possible)
  • Apply sandbags if you are near banks
  • Waterproofing

How to restore rainwater flooding

After experiencing water damage from flooding, you will be left cleaning up a watery mess.

Whether ripping up carpet or tiles or replacing furnishings, there’s a lot of work ahead to get your home back in order.

Follow these eight water damage restoration tips for cleaning up after water damage.


  1. Prepare for water damage insurance claims

Thankfully, many insurance policies cover unexpected water damage.

Contact your insurance company immediately and take the proper steps to prepare for your claim.

It is important to note water damage to your home is generally covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy.

If the damage is considered sudden internal water damage, your policy should protect you.

However, it usually does not cover damage done by lack of maintenance or neglect, nor damage resulting from a flood.

To prepare for your insurance claim, take the following steps:

  • Take photos of the water damage to keep track of household items and home conditions.
  • Keep damaged materials for proof of loss.
  • Be present if an adjuster needs to visit your home.
  • The adjuster will assess the damage to the house, providing you with a proof of loss statement to sign.
  • Additional damages can be added when identified.

  1. Disconnect the power and gas before entering the premises

Before any clean-up, you must shut down the electrical supply and the gas.

Turning off power leading into the affected area, particularly if water rises above electrical outlets, will help reduce the risk of electrical shock. Equally, turning off the gas will prevent harmful fumes from building up and seeping into your home.


  1. Remove important household items

Remove electronics, furniture, and any other valuable items immediately. The quicker you can get items out of the water, the better chance of saving them.

If you don’t have a lot of standing water around the house, you can also try pulling up your carpets and under-padding or even some sticky back tiles to see what you can salvage.


  1. Remove excess water

Removing excess water is the most challenging part of flood recovery.

If it is necessary to turn off the power, take the manual approach.

Gather buckets, towels, and mops to eliminate as much water as possible. This can be physically taxing, so take breaks when necessary.

If you can supply power or a backup generator for your commercial premises, you can hook up an automatic pump or a wet vac to remove the water. Either way, remove the excess water at the earliest possible time.


  1. Dry out the affected area

When excess water has been removed, move on to the drying stage urgently.

Use fans, dehumidifiers, and any open windows to improve air circulation and help dry out the damaged area and then continue to circulate dry air.


  1. Clean and disinfect the damaged area

After the damaged area has had time to dry, use a good disinfectant to remove any bacteria that might have come up through sewers, plumbing, or outside, depending on your water source.

Various affordable and accessible cleaning solutions can help clean the area, including bleach, ammonia, sodium tetraborate decahydrate, vinegar, and bicarbonate of soda.


  1. Take steps to stop mould growth

Once the damaged area has been dried and cleaned, it is time to take preventative steps to stop mould from seriously growing. Apply a mould control spray over the affected area according to the directions on the bottle.

Once the spray dries overnight, it will destroy any mould spores.


  1. Dispose of damaged items in a responsible way

To properly deal with water damage, you must stop the water from entering the premises and drying up as much as possible. Contact your insurance agent and prevent mould from growing. Remove and discard damaged items in the most responsible way that you can.


Need some help with flood restoration?

These are just the basics of flooding restoration. There is much more involved than extracting water from your property.

Stagnant water can prove deadly if ingested following ineffective cleaning and sanitisation following rainwater flooding. As well as extraction, our teams at ServiceMaster Restore will dry, clean and decontaminate your property to ensure no rainwater remains.

We can be on hand within 4 hours for a flooding emergency to help clear water from your property, followed by removal and decontamination from rainwater flooding.

To prevent lasting damage to your property or health, contact your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business to repair any rainwater flooding damage today or call 0845 762 6828 in an emergency.

Different types of flooding and how to combat them.

When you think of flooding, it probably seems straightforward: rain, rain, rain, with nowhere to go… flooding.

However, it isn’t quite so simple.

There are various types of floods, and the damage each can do to your home can be different.

Knowing which types of floods could affect your home is essential to better prepare for the disaster.

Different Types of Floods:

  • Coastal flood
  • River flood
  • Flash flood
  • Groundwater flood
  • Sewage flood

Coastal Flooding

A coastal flood is an accumulation of water on land caused by waves, tides, storm surge, or heavy rainfall.

Coastal areas are prone to flooding because they are near the ocean.

Due to climate change, the risk is expected to continue to grow.

According to the Office for National Statistics, over 5.3 million residents live in coastal towns in England and Wales, of which 3.5 million live in seaside towns and 1.9 million in other coastal towns.

Coastal flooding can have dire consequences, from drownings and injuries to contaminated water-caused sicknesses to mental health problems.

Some of these include mental health issues caused by stress during the flooding, injuries while attempting to escape from the water or falling debris, respiratory illness due to damp environments that can lead to mould damage, and coming into contact with contaminated flood water.

There are three levels of coastal flooding:

  • Minor: Low likelihood of property damage and not directly life-threatening
  • Moderate: Elevated likelihood of property damage and possibly life-threatening
  • Major: Significant likelihood of property damage and seriously life-threatening

River Flooding

A river flood occurs when water rises over the top of riverbanks.

Any size of river and stream has the potential to flood, with rivers having an increased potential to overflow once every two years.

Typically, river flooding is caused by extreme rainfall, long-lasting thunderstorms, combined rainfall and snowmelt, and ice jams.

These pulses of melting snow or rain cause water to rise above the riverbanks and flood surrounding areas.

Though river floods can usually be predicted, there is potential for unexpected property damage if a dam or dike breaks.

However, most of the causes of river floods often stem from storms that allow enough warning for those in surrounding areas to evacuate safely.


Flash Flooding

Flash flooding begins within 6 hours of heavy rainfall and is often caused by severe thunderstorms and other weather patterns.

Flash floods can also be the result of a dam or levee breaking.

Several factors contribute to the severity of a flash flood, including:

  • The intensity of the rainfall
  • Location of the rainfall
  • Landscape
  • Soil type and condition

Urban areas are more prone to flash floods than suburban or rural areas, and the damage is likely to be greater with less soil to soak up the water.

However, the lack of soil is not the only reason for this increased risk of flash floods.

Areas that have soil but haven’t seen rain in some time are in similar danger since the water cannot be absorbed by the soil fast enough, leading to water quickly running off to lower areas.

The greatest danger with flash flooding is that it can occur quickly and leave little time to prepare.

Those in areas of heavy rainfall are urged to know the difference between flood watches and warnings to identify if an evacuation is needed.

Most flood-related deaths are the result of flash foods.

They can also lead to significant structural damage to homes, including foundation damage, damage to appliances, and long-term harm resulting from mould.


Groundwater Flooding

Groundwater floods are usually the result of inundated drainage systems by significant rain that causes water to overflow into streets and nearby properties.

They are equally likely to occur in urban and rural areas.

Fortunately, groundwater flooding happens gradually when the water levels are shallow, so homeowners often have time to remove their possessions.

However, this groundwater flooding can be troublesome because it may persist for weeks or months until the soil can absorb the standing water.

As a result, they can lead to significant danger to homes, with an increased likelihood of structural damage to properties and more risk to long-term risks such as mould.


Sewage Flooding

Sewage flooding is caused when unexpected heavy rainfall overwhelms sewage systems or treatment plants, causing them to break down and release untreated sewage into water bodies.

Sewage floods are arguably the most unpleasant, with sewage leaking through pipes or drains or coming up through toilets, sinks, or showers.

These floods are the most hazardous because the water is contaminated with harmful bacteria and chemicals that can cause infections, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, and other diseases.

Fast response and a thorough and detailed clean-up by experts familiar with sewage cleanup services are vital in these situations.


Recover from Flooding Damage to Your Home

No matter the type of flood, the damage to your home can be severe.

Each home flooding situation is different and requires an expert to know the correct steps that need to be taken and how to best recover from the damage.

ServiceMaster Restore has qualified flood and water damage restoration experts who are highly skilled and can get your home back to normal as quickly as possible after a flood occurs.

See how your local experts can help you by finding your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business today.

The causes of water damage in the home, and how ServiceMaster Restore can help.

Water damage to your home can be devastating.

And at this time of year, in particular, the cold weather makes your home susceptible to damage.

At ServiceMaster Restore, we regularly see and help people whose homes are affected by a range of water-related issues.

There are ways to protect against water damage, and knowing the common causes will help immensely.

But should the worst happen, and your home succumbs to water damage, it can be hard to know what to do next.

That’s where ServiceMaster Restore comes in. Our technicians come equipped with the knowledge and equipment to carry out a comprehensive and expert restoration of your home.

This blog post delves into the common causes of water damage and how we help should the worst happen.

How is water damage caused?

Water damage can occur for many reasons, including (but not limited to) a burst pipe, flooding, or even issues with your radiators.

Even a small amount of water can cause all kinds of problems if left unchecked, so deal with the problem as quickly as possible.

If water is left, it allows mould and bacteria to breed. This can pose a severe risk to your health and can cost much more to repair than if immediate action was taken against water damage.

So how can you repair water damage?

Water damage repair and restoration

When your home floods, time is of the essence. Acting fast is crucial to minimise water damage and maximise successful restoration.

If you are worried about any escape of water and need water damage cleaning and restoration, you can rely on ServiceMaster Restore.

Our technicians are on hand 27/4 and have the specialist skills and equipment to resolve things in the right way the first time.

We work to insurance industry standards and should you choose to claim on your insurance, we’ll sort everything out with your insurance company, broker or loss adjuster while keeping you informed every step of the way.

Our first port of call however is typically…

Water extraction

The first goal we have when arriving at your home is to determine the contamination level of the water or liquid.

At ServiceMaster Restore, our top-of-the-range equipment restores your home to as close to its prior condition, initially through the extraction and mitigation of fluids.

The pollution levels tend to vary depending on the water’s origin. But generally, the longer the water has been left to stand, the more contaminated it gets.

We aim to remove the liquid and dry out the space as soon as we can. That’s why we pride ourselves on fast, efficient and professional water damage restoration services.

Water damage clean-up

When water damage has affected your home, it’s vital that all affected material is removed from the property and disposed of safely.

In some cases, you may be able to salvage your belongings, but this will usually depend on the water’s contamination level.

But unfortunately, in most cases, water-damaged materials need to be disposed of to prevent the spreading of mould spores.

Sometimes though, the damage isn’t noticeable until the mould has begun to spread.

In these unfortunate circumstances, we will be on hand to restore mould damage to your home by removing mould safely and effectively.

Drying

Mould spores require moisture to develop and spread, so it’s essential to dry the space affected by water as a priority before restoration can take place.

When carrying out the restoration process, we protect your assets and leave your property as good as new whenever possible, and are ready to reinstate decor and furniture in severe cases.

Furthermore, when drying, our modern equipment can run in quiet mode so you don’t lose sleep while it continues to dry.

Contact ServiceMaster Restore today

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of struggling with water in your home, don’t hesitate and let the mould and contamination take hold.

Act as soon as possible by contacting your local ServiceMaster Restore experts by finding your nearest ServiceMaster Restore business or calling 0845 762 6828 in an emergency.