Renters Insurance and a Squirrel On Fire- What You Need to Know
Blow torch the fur, they said. It'll be great, they said. One massive fire later... Better call SERVPRO.
It's been proven, Canton, that using a blowtorch to remove the fur of a squirrel is not an intelligent thing to do. Renter's insurance, however, is absolutely an intelligent thing to do, especially if you insist on using a blowtorch on your rented property to remove the fur of a squirrel rather than use a knife to skin the thing.
$300k renters insurance settlement proves you shouldn’t blowtorch a squirrel, a piece written by Marc Christopherson and published on LiveInsuranceNews.com, tells its readers the crime, the consequences and the solution of blow torching a squirrel on rental premises and setting afire multiple units of the apartment complex. What I want our readers to pay attention to is the insurance company's role in this situation and understand the impact of having renters insurance.
To keep it simple, they believed the blow torch would remove the fur from the squirrel so they could eat it as their main course meal. They did not intend to light on fire their apartment unit as well as those around theirs, but that is precisely what happened, causing $2 million in damage.
Naturally, the complex owners sued the couple for the damage costs and the case moved its way around the appeals court, never reaching an agreement until about 4 years later.
Finally, in August of 2016, the apartment complex and the tenant's renters insurance company agreed on a settlement of $300,000, which would be paid by the insurance company to the complex owners. That is not exactly the $2 million settlement the complex wanted, but you can't have it all, I guess.
The fact to take away from this story is that without renters insurance, who knows where this couple would be now. $300,000 from their insurance policy compared to $2 million from who knows where, having their renters insurance, an annual or monthly price that is very affordable, saved their you-know-what's in the end.
But, seriously, blow torching a squirrel ? Kids, don't try this at home. Actually, I take that back- kids and adults, don't try this ever.
For more information on this story, follow this link.
Do you have fire damage to your home or business ? No matter the cause, squirrel or oven grease, we will help. Call us today at 330-966-2377, or request help online.
Frozen and Burst Pipes- Understand and Take Precaution
"Even a small crack in a burst pipe can spew hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water in a day."
If your pipes are exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time, the water can freeze and cause extensive damage to your home. This can be avoided!
Frozen pipes can occur for two basic reasons:
- Installation of pipes in an unheated space without adequate protection
- Insufficient heat in the area of the freeze
What types of pipes are susceptible this situation? Domestic water piping, HVAC heating and cooling piping and sprinkler piping are all vulnerable if left in cold and unprotected conditions as stated above. Plastic and metal pipes can burst when they freeze, and depending on the size of the pipe, even a small crack in a burst pipe can spew hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water in a day.
Why does a pipe burst, anyway? Well, when water freezes, it expands. The ice expansion will exert pressure against the pipe wall but also pressurizes the water trapped between the ice and a closed valve or fixture. As the water continues to freeze and expand inside the pipe, it causes the trapped water to continue to increase in pressure, thus, just as a can of soda will burst in your freezer, so does your water pipe.
Some common locations where pipes will freeze are outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, fire sprinkler lines and water supply pipes in unheated interior areas. These areas include basements, crawlspaces, attics, garages, bathroom sink cabinets and kitchen cabinets. Pipes along exterior walls that have little or no insulation, voids in the insulation or improperly installed building wrap are subject to freezing. You might want to check in on that sooner rather than later. Review the International Plumbing Code by clicking here.
On what you, the homeowner, can do to prevent a pipe burst from happening, refer back to our blog piece, "How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe."
Remember, this stressful situation can be avoided if you think ahead!
With any questions or if your home has been water-damaged, call SERVPRO of Canton on our 24/7 Emergency Service line, 330-966-2377 or Request Help Online.
Call SERVPRO of Canton
Our franchise professionals are uniquely qualified to help. Need Help? Call us at 330-966-2377
SERVPRO of Canton understands the stress that comes with damage to your home or business, whether it be from fire, water, mold, storm or even biohazards. Our franchise professionals are uniquely qualified to help.
Our team is trained to IICRC standards in fire and water cleanup and restoration. In addition, we have Employee Certification Training, Initial Franchise Training, e-Learnings and Continuing Education Classes. For more information on our training program, click here.
Restoring your property is SERVPRO's first priority, and restoring your property is less expensive than replacing your property.
We respond immediately to your loss with our 24/7 Emergency Service team. With over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency. An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
For more information on SERVPRO of Canton, visit our Company Profile page.
Need Help? Call us at 330-966-2377, or Request Help Online.
How to Remove Mold And Mildew Stains From Washable Clothes
Even if you can't see any spots or growth, if the odor is present there are spores growing and treatment is necessary.
Mold can easily grow on clothes and fabric if you have too much moisture in your home. Clothes made of cotton or other organic materials make great food sources for mold and mildew to live on.
There are a few tips to keep in mind when removing mold from clothes:
- It's best to wash your clothes in hot water. Hot water kills mold more effectively than cold water and better removes mold spores and allergens too. Of course make sure you don't use water so hot that it can damage your clothing.
- When you're washing your clothes with a mold killing solution, it's best to wash them through at least two full cycles. Then after your clothes have been washed hang them on the line in the sun. The heat from the sun and the sun's ultraviolet light help to kill mold.
There are quite a few solutions you can wash moldy clothes in to get rid of the mold. Some good ones include:
- Baking soda
- Mold killing detergent
For the full article and a step-by-step explanation of the cleaning process, click here.
Does your home or business have mold damage? Call SERVPRO of Canton at 800-648-1212
Include Safety in Your Thanksgiving Holiday
Candles cause an estimated 15,600 house fires, 150 deaths, and 1,270 injuries each year. Never leave a candle unattended.
Especially during the holidays, the kitchen is the heart of the home. From baking and decorating cookies to testing family recipes, keeping kitchen fire safety at the top of your mind is a must- certainly when there is a lot of activity and people in one space.
Some Thanksgiving not-so-fun facts:
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Eve/Day.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving.
- Unattended cooking was the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
With that said, here are some safety tips for the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday:
- Stay in the kitchen/home when you are cooking so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Make sure kids stay away from the stove and oven.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Be sure electric cords are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child or pet.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working.
Caution is not a buzz kill. A house fire, on the other hand, is.
Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday, Canton, OH!
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
A frozen pipe exerts pressure at over 2,000 Lbs/ square inch, enough pressure to rupture almost any pipe filled with water.
Frozen water pipes are a serious risk during very cold winter weather. When water freezes in a pipe it expands and can exert pressure at over 2,000 pounds per square inch. This pressure is enough to rupture almost any pipe filled with water, which provides no place for the ice to expand. A burst pipe can spill several hundred gallons of water per hour, and that equates to thousands of dollars of damage to your home. Pipes are most susceptible to freezing when they are located:
- in an outside wall
- in a cabinet under a sink (especially near an outside wall)
- in an unheated crawl space or basement
If your pipe is frozen but not yet ruptured, you must thaw it right away. There are a few thawing techniques to try, depending on where the frozen pipe is located.
Warning: Never use a blow torch or other open flame to thaw a pipe. This presents a serious fire hazard and can damage the pipe.
A frozen pipe that hasn't burst yet often reveals itself at a faucet: when you turn on the faucet and no water comes out or it has slowed to a trickle, there's probably a blockage of ice somewhere in the line. It's time take immediate action:
- Shut off the water to the faucet locally or at the home's main water shutoff valve.
- Open the faucet that is supplied by the frozen pipe; do this even if you don't know where the blockage is.
- Identify the frozen pipe and locate the blockage: Follow the pipe back from the faucet to where it runs through cold areas, such as an exterior wall or unheated crawl space. Look for areas on the pipe that have frost or ice; it may also be slightly bulged or fissured.
When you find that the frozen—but not yet burst—pipe is behind a wall or ceiling, you've got a challenge on your hands. You have three options for thawing the pipe:
- Turn up the heat in the house and wait.
- Cut out a section of the wall or ceiling to access the frozen section of pipe, then thaw the pipe as an exposed pipe (see next slide).
- Use an infrared lamp to help heat the wall section in front of where you believe the pipe is frozen. Infrared lamps are better than regular heat lamps because they pass through the air without heating it and will direct more energy to warming the wall and frozen pipe.
If the frozen pipe is exposed, you have several options for thawing it. Whichever remedy use use, heat the pipe from the faucet toward the frozen area. This allows water to flow out as the ice melts.
- Hair dryer: Usually the easiest and safest way to thaw a pipe. If the pipe is close to the wall, place a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help radiate heat onto the backside of the pipe.
- Heat lamp: You can use an infrared or incandescent heat lamp. As with a hair dryer, if the pipe is close to the wall, use a cookie sheet behind the pipe to help reflect heat onto the pipe.
- Portable heater: A small, powerful heater works great for warming pipes under a kitchen or vanity base cabinet. Direct the heater onto the frozen section of pipe. It will work like a hair dryer on steroids!
- Electric pipe heat tape: Heat tape is a ribbon-like wrap that contains electrical heating elements. You wrap it around the pipe you want to heat and plug it into the wall. The temperature of the tape is controlled with a thermostat. Heat tape can also be used to prevent pipes from freezing in critical areas; you can leave the heat tape on the pipe and plug it in only when needed.
There are a few things you can do to prevent the problem of freezing pipes from occurring again:
- Leave the faucet dripping slightly during the coldest time of the day or night.
- Open the cabinet doors to allow the heated air from the room to reach pipes inside the cabinet.
- Wrap the problem pipe with electrical heat tape.
- Insulate problem pipes with foam insulation wrap, especially those that run through unheated spaces. Note: Insulation merely slows the transfer of heat and will not prevent a pipe from freezing if the surrounding air is cold enough.
- Heat unheated areas with a permanent heater, just to keep the temperature above freezing, or about 40 degrees F. Warning: Do not use portable heaters, which should never be left running unattended.
- Remove garden hoses attached to outdoor faucets (hose bibs or sill cocks). If the faucet is not a frost-proof type, turn off the water to the faucet inside the house and drain the exterior section of the pipe and faucet.
Is It Possible to Restore Clothes that Have Been Affected by Mold?
If you decide to remove mold from clothes yourself, be sure you do it safely. Refer back to our blog for more on clothing restoration.
Any garment or fabric that has not suffered physical deterioration or discoloration as a result of mold growing on it, and that is washable (typically, a minimum of 130ºF for at least 10 minutes), can be restored completely. That goes for bacterial contamination as well, as evidenced by hospitals daily as they wash linens, gowns, surgical drapes, etc.
Dry cleaning also does a good job when evaluated and cleaned - often twice - by a qualified professional. Again, this assumes no deterioration or discoloration of the garment. Ultimately, sampling and evaluation by a qualified environmental professional can be used to confirm remediation of the garment.
Professional restoration technicians understand the need for quick response. Immediate remediation is key to controlling any escalating costs. The longer the remediation is delayed, the higher the cost of restoration. Certified restorers have the knowledge to test materials and apply the restoration techniques required to return the items to their preloss condition. Look for the IICRC logo to verify IICRC certification.
Does your home or business have mold damage? Call SERVPRO of Canton at 800-648-1212
A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home
SERVPRO of Canton can respond quickly, working to first contain the infestation and prevent its spread to other parts of the building.
Provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Air and Radiation- Indoor Environments Division, this Guide provides information and guidance for homeowners and renters on how to clean up residential mold problems and how to prevent mold growth.
- Mold Basics
- Why is mold growing in my home?
- Can mold cause health problems?
- How do I get rid of mold?
- Mold Cleanup
- Who should do the cleanup?
- Mold Cleanup Guidelines
- What to Wear When Cleaning Moldy Areas
- How Do I Know When the Remediation or Cleanup is Finished?
- Moisture and Mold Prevention and
- Actions that will help to reduce humidity
- Actions that will help prevent condensation
- Testing or sampling for mold
- Hidden Mold
- Cleanup and Biocides
- Additional Resources
Click Here for the full PDF file
Have a Mold Problem? Call SERVPRO of Canton Today – 800-648-1212
Agents: Watch Word Choice in Claims Letters
The following bullets point out random errors in word choice. You may not lose a client because you make a poor word choice, but you’re not helping the relationship either. Here are several word choice issues to watch for as you phrase your letters:
- “ABC Insurance Company will make no voluntary payment of your claim…” Voluntary?
- "e.g., and i.e.," most people don’t know the difference. Use e.g., when you are giving examples; use i.e., to introduce your thought “in other words.”
- “Exception” and “exclusion” are words that have their own meanings. One adjuster wrote,” the exception that pertains to your loss can be found in your policy and is provided below for your reference. I think the word should be “exclusion.”
Here’s the difference: An insurance policy tells you what is covered.
Exclusions are classes of items that are not covered, such as nuclear war, acts of God, or terrorism. Exceptions are “exclusions to the exclusions, reinstating particular items within a whole category that had been “excluded.” For example, a homeowner’s policy may have an exclusion for all motorized vehicles. The exception to that exclusion might be a lawnmower, because a mower helps service the premises.
- “Said” – Very legalistic: “Said payment would allow you a discount of $300.” Just write, “This payment would allow you a discount of $300.”
- “Regard” and “Regards.” Do not write, “This is in regards to…” Write, “This is in regard to…”
- “Were” and “was.” Take the phrase, “If there were no coverage…” Using “were,” known as the subjunctive mood in English, represents situations contrary to fact.
- “Confirm.” When you confirm a lunch date, you restate your agreement as to the time and place. In insurance, however, it’s common to see a claims letter that starts, “This will confirm my phone call of 4/11/17." But what does “confirm” mean? Is the writer summarizing the previous call? Documenting it? Confirming is something you do to re-check a future date or agreement.
- “Advise.” About 80 percent of the time claims people use “advise,” they just mean “tell” or “inform.” No need to use “advise” in a sentence like, “Let me advise you that it will rain today.” There is no “advice” being given. However, if you write, “Let me advise you to bring your umbrella,” you are using “advise” correctly.
"Your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression, and like all impressions, you are in total control." -Jeffrey Gitomer
Preparing Your Home for Winter Weather- Avoiding Water Damage
Inspect your roof and gutters on a regular basis — at least twice a year.
With winter on the way, we’re heading into a busy time of year that includes several major holidays coming back-to-back. The last thing we want to worry about is the risk of water damage due to the changing weather.
Here are some wintertime considerations to keep your home safe and reduce, or even prevent, possible insurance risks:
- Keep your drains and gutters clean. Exactly how frequently depends on where you live, but you want to plan for twice a year. Clogged gutters can cause a few issues including roof leaks. If your gutters can't drain properly, the excess water can soak through the shingles and eventually start leaking into your home. Don't forget melting snow can also fill up the gutters, causing similar issues!
- Inspect your roof for damage and leaks. While you're cleaning those gutters, take the time to inspect your roof. Keep an eye our for cracks, leaks where different parts of the roof meet, and general wear and tear. You should do this also twice a year at least.
- Water expands, its mass increasing by about 9% when it freezes. Blocked pipes result in a buildup of pressure, which can cause a burst pipe, equipment malfunction, or contaminated water back-up inside the building. To avoid this, consider insulating your water lines and using heat tape as well.
- For extreme weather, it is wise to always leave a tap running at a trickle because running water is less likely to freeze.
Watch for our next blog post on how to defrost a frozen water pipe.