5 Important Items to Include on Your Home Inventory List
If you experience a fire or water damage in your home these items, of high monetary value are among the most difficult to replace if stolen or destroyed. Be sure to save receipts and serial numbers for these 5 high-ticket items, and include them in your digital photo or video home inventory for insurance purposes.
- Electronics & Appliances Electronics and appliances are among the most sensitive and easily damaged items in your home in the event of mishap. They are also among the most sought-after by thieves.
Furniture People rely on your furniture daily, yet few give consideration to the astronomical cost of replacing an entire household worth of furniture until it’s gone. Be certain to include in your home inventory checklist the following high-value furniture items:
- Stereo equipment
- Game systems
- Streaming devices
- Computers, tablets & laptops
- Home office equipment (printers/scanner/fax)
- HVAC equipment
- Toaster/Toaster oven
- Water heater
- Power tools
- Lawn equipment
Jewelry & Costly Clothing Not all policies cover high-dollar jewelry. Check your coverage limit carefully for terms. And be sure to have jewelry items appraised regularly, preferably annually, to ensure an accurate representation of their current price.
- Cabinets & contents
- Furniture & storage
- Tables & chairs
- Dressers, armoires
Collectables These items should also be appraised regularly at a reputable establishment to ensure an accurate representation of their current price and the need for additional insurance coverage as they go up in value.
- Wedding rings
- Necklaces & bracelets
- Broaches & pendants
Firearms Homeowners and renters insurance also typically includes coverage for guns, from standard hunting rifles to collectables and antiques.
How Will Your Items Be Valued?
Items on your home inventory checklist will be valued in one of three ways depending on your coverage rules, so be sure to read over your policy carefully.
- Cash value: Replacement cost minus depreciation (think: garage sale prices).
- Replacement value: The amount you’d pay to replace your belongings at the time of loss (today’s retail prices).
- Appraised value: Typically used for one-of-a-kind antiques and valuables, which have been appraised and documented via your home inventory template.
How To Locate A Residential Water Shut-Off Valve
It’s important to know where your main water shut-off valve is in case of an emergency. If a pipe bursts, dishwasher fails or a toilet overflows, shutting off the water can significantly reduce water damage. It is also an excellent idea to turn off your water if you are leaving for an extended amount of time. Keep in mind; if the water has been off for a long time, open all the faucets in your home before turning the main water shut-off valve back on. In some cases, the surge of water in empty pipes may damage plumbing or faucet.
The locations of your water shut-off valves vary depending on your geographical location, water source and type of residence. Unfortunately, shut-off valves aren’t always obvious and its important to know their location before a disaster strikes. Utilize the tips below to locate your water shut-off valves.
How to Find Water Shut-off Valves
There are multiple shut-off valves in a house – typically one for each of your appliances that uses water and a main shut-off valve for the entire house. You can usually find shut-off knobs for your toilet, sink or washing machine behind the units or under the sink. If your toilet is about to overflow, don’t waste time by running around looking for the main water shut-off valve – simply turn the water shut-off knob behind the toilet.
Well Water (Main) Shut-off Valve
Wells usually have two main shut-off valves: There is a valve that goes from the well to the pressure tank and another valve from the pressure tank to your plumbing. Shut-off both valves if you are concerned about frozen pipes. .
Pressure tanks may be in the basement, garage or closet. To find the pressure tank shut-off valve, look for a valve or knob near the tank. The shut-off valve is usually connected to the same pipe that has the pressure gauge on it.
The well is usually located near the pressure tank but may be outside in a small well house or elsewhere. The well shut-off valve should be near the well or even in a small utility box buried in the ground near the well. If multiple valves are visible, only turn one at a time, and then check the corresponding faucet to see if it worked. Once you have found the right valve, mark it for future reference. You can also trip the circuit breaker to the well to temporarily deactivate the well pump.
City Water (Main) Shut-off Valve
In colder climates this main is usually located in your home’s utility room, along with the furnace or water heater. The main shut-off valve should be on the largest water pipe in this area. Look for pipes that lead directly out of the foundation toward the street.
In warm climates you may find the shut-off valve in a plastic or concrete utility box in the ground toward the front of your house, near the street and sometimes can be covered by dirt.
Did You Find the Shut-off Valve Too Late?
If water damage has occurred call SERVPRO of Edmonds at 425-775-5723 and our team will respond immediately. If you would like a complimentary water shut-off tag for your property one of our friendly staff members will send you one to your home or business.
Spring Storm Preparedness
April showers bring May flowers… and sometimes spring storms!
From thunderstorms to high winds and flooding storms can create tremendous property damage. Hailstorms alone cause almost $1 billion in property damage each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Prepare your home for spring storms ahead of time to minimize property damage and protect your family. Call SERVPRO of Edmonds (425-775-5723) for disaster preparedness information, shut-off tags or if you would like an Emergency Ready Plan written for your business.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for your home or business;
- Prune dead or rotting branches from trees near your home or car that could fall during a storm.
- Use surge protectors for electronic equipment in your home such as computers, televisions and appliances.
- Install a lightning protection system that will redirect lightning strikes safely into the ground.
- Know how to shut off the power to your house using the main fuse or breaker on the electrical service panel, and how to shut off water and gas support lines if instructed by disaster officials.
- Educate yourself about flood insurance and if this is something covered under your insurance policy
- Check the condition of your roof and make any needed repairs to minimize damage in a storm.
- Clean gutters and downspouts so water will be diverted away from the siding of your home
- Tie down or bring inside anything that could be blown around such as trash cans or outdoor furniture.
- Unplug expensive electronic equipment in case of a power surge
SERVPRO of Edmonds Supports First Responders
WSCAI Earth Day
Did you know that national volunteer week is April 15-21st? At SERVPRO of Edmonds we would like to take a moment to thank all of the first responders in the community from firefighters, police, EMTs and military personnel. We value all of your hard work and dedication to keeping our citizens safe. Our team enjoys supporting our first responders by collaborating on Emergency Preparedness workshops in the community and donating care packages to local veteran’s housing. We understand the importance of being a first responder as we go above and beyond for our customers who have suffered a water or fire loss.
FEMA’s community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is comprised of volunteers that are trained to be prepared for local disasters such as fires, floods or earthquakes. These groups practice basic response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. With more than 2,700 CERT programs over 600,000 people have been trained nationwide. Several members of our staff have taken the initiative to become CERT members.
SERVPRO of Edmonds plan to support volunteer week with our annual commitment to WSCAI’s Earth Day Project. WSCAI (Washington State Community Associations Institute) spends a day each year focusing on a community improvement project that often incorporates cleaning and landscaping. To find out more about WSCAI’s Earth Day visit their website at https://wscai.org/
What is a maintenance program and why is it important?
Preventive maintenance is an important part of facilities management. The goal of a successful preventive maintenance program is to establish consistent practices designed to improve the performance and safety of the equipment at your property.
The planned maintenance of equipment will help to improve equipment life and avoid any unplanned maintenance activity. A successful preventive maintenance program is dependent on the cooperation of all the parties involved. Managers must rely on the knowledge, ideas, and contributions of all the maintenance personnel at the property.
Things to consider;
Annual Fire extinguisher service
Dryer vent cleaning
Community HVAC Systems maintenance
Fire suppression systems
Backflow prevention valves for irrigation and sprinkler
Groundwater sump pump cleaning and service
Drain line cleaning
Storm water catch basins
Consider top to bottom coverage of your building;
Roof maintenance and cleaning
Gutters and downspouts
Siding, review for cracks, chipping, peeling, sealant failure and adhesive failure. Buried siding at ground level, trims and whitewood decay.
Decks, clean surfaces yearly and watch for bubbling cracks and decay
Windows, flush sill tracks, check failing sealant
Parking garages, review for cracks and water leaks
Walkways should be reviewed for cracks and trip hazards, check for moss and algae
If you encounter a maintenance emergency call SERVPRO of Lynnwood at 425-774-1148 for assistance, we are available 24/7.
6 Tips for Preventing Mold Growth In Your Bathroom
Bathrooms present plenty of damp spaces for mold to grow and resolving lingering moisture is the first step for preventing mold. Check out these following tips to prevent mold growth in your bathroom;
- Monitor humidity levels. Just like for basements, the more humid a space is, the more mold-friendly it becomes. Humidity levels over 45% indicate excessive indoor humidity.
- Repairing leaks. Considering the significant volume of water being used daily, bathroom fixtures and piping can easily develop leaks. Those leaks will result in moist areas that welcome mold growth. It is important to promptly turn to a professional who can repair the leaks and mitigate damage. Additionally, it is always wise to schedule seasonal plumbing checks. You want to make sure that pipes are in good shape and no hidden leaking is taking place.
- Improving ventilation. Moisture can linger if the ventilation system is not allowing air to circulate. Circulation can speed up drying times for residual water in showers, bathtubs, sinks and any other “splash zones.” It is ideal to have an HVAC specialist assess the ventilation efficiency of your property’s bathroom. Ensure the bathroom exhaust fan is working properly.
- Replace moldy caulking. If you notice mold growing on the caulking or sealant of bathtubs and showers, our experts encourage completely stripping the moldy layer and having a professional re-caulk the area. This will ensure that the mold growing in the area will be completely removed, thus eliminating the likelihood of leftover spores starting a new growth.
- Avoid moisture-absorbing furnishings. Furnishing and decorating bathrooms with moisture-absorbing materials can impact the overall level of moisture. It’s best to avoid wallpaper and turn to a specialist for sealing wood countertops.
- Bonus Tip. Residents should use exhaust fans when they take showers or baths. This will allow for condensation and lingering moisture to be removed. Additionally, it’s best if bathtubs and showers are kept as bare as possible. Mold can grow and hide in damp sponges, brushes and soap bottles.
If you have any questions about mold growth in your bathroom call the professionals at SERVPRO of Edmonds 425-775-5723 or visit out website at www.SERVPROedmonds.com .
Common Moisture Problems That Cause the Spread of Mold
Many people don’t realize that the potential for mold growth becomes exponentially higher with the appearance of a moisture problem. If untreated water damage goes neglected for weeks on end, suddenly your commercial property in Edmonds, Washington, is going to be hit with musty, foul odors and visible signs of black mold. How do you prevent this from happening? Here are some common moisture problems that can cause the spread of mold — tell-tale signs that indicate you should call remediation specialists for help with mold cleanup.
1. Faulty plumbing or broken pipes. If you notice water pressure changes or hear dripping in the walls, it’s definitely time to check the plumbing. Any leaks from faucets, under sinks or in the walls due to cracked or broken pipes create ideal areas for mold to develop. These places remain damp or soaked through over time, and mold thrives on moisture, so investigating any potential issues is crucial.
2. Flood damage in basements or lower levels. Though many things have to be addressed after a flood disaster, it’s paramount that the flooded areas be handled by a qualified restoration team within days of the event. Otherwise, lingering moisture under carpets or behind drywall can lead to a buildup of black mold growth over time, creating an even bigger disaster in your building.
3. Consistent high humidity. Bathrooms and kitchens are common areas of high humidity, making them prime locations for mold to take up residence. Lower humidity levels by using dehumidifiers or exhaust fans. If distinct mold is already visible in tiled corners or on the ceiling, look into mold remediation to help stop the spread.
Once you know the common areas for excess water to hide in, the chances of preventing black mold growth become increasingly high. However, if a moisture problem has already wreaked havoc in your building, seek out professional mold remediation experts to handle the job of any mold cleanup properly.
For more on mold spreading visit us at http://www.SERVPROedmonds.com.
How Does a Fire Impact Electronics?
From an electrical fire to a natural disaster, there are many ways a commercial building in Edmonds, Washington, can erupt in flames. Once the fire is put out, you should immediately turn your thoughts to how you are going to remedy everything. You likely have many expensive and valuable computers, appliances and other electronics around your business, and you want to make an attempt to salvage anything.
Personal electronics can be significantly damaged following a fire. Some common examples of these include:
• Cell phones
• External hard drivers
One sign of damage you will instantly notice is if there is any deterioration to the overall structure. High temperatures create stress the metal components, causing them to warp and melt. In addition to fixing the structure, you need to make sure the item still performs its desired function. You do not want to risk using a press, rolling mill or crane without adequately testing it first.
Another part of computer cleanup after an electrical fire is seeing if anything sustained water damage. Firefighters will use water to put out an out-of-control flame, but this water can damage certain items. You want to avoid turning on the item before having someone look at it. If you turn it on while water is still in the system, then it could short circuit.
Chemical Residue Damage
Soot is a highly hazardous product. It contains various acids that can wear away metals. You also need to pursue remediation so that your workers can stay safe from these potentially dangerous materials. Touching an acid-soaked item could result in injury.
The best thing to do is to not have anyone use your company’s electronics until professionals have a chance to look at them. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to salvage many electronic items following an electrical fire. You just need to be patient.
Visit us for more on fire at http://www.SERVPROedmonds.com.
Cleaning up Soot and Smoke Damage at Home
House fires can be devastating for any number of reasons. Even fires that were put out before they could cause extensive damage or harm can actually result in several problems, including damage from smoke. Smoke can harm many different items in the house and typically leaves a strong, sour smell behind even long after the fire has gone out. Cleaning up the soot and smoke damage from a Edmonds, Washington, house fire can take a long time, but you can start with these steps.
1. Assess degree of smoke and soot damage to home.
2. Contact professional cleaning services.
3. Continue with home recovery efforts.
Getting the Right Help
Because smoke is such a powerful smell, professional service providers are often required to thoroughly remove it. Professional cleaning firms in Edmonds, Washington, often offer special smoke cleaning services. Contact your nearest cleaning firm and ask them about smoke damage cleaning rates. You may find it helpful to compare rates among multiple service providers.
Once you have decided on a provider, arrange for them to visit your home. They may begin by cleaning soft surfaces to remove the heavy, smoky smell. Curtains, bedding, furniture, carpet, and upholstery can all trap and hold smoke smells; often this cannot be removed by a simple DIY scrubbing.
Cleaning your home’s structure can also be a challenge to complete on your own. Professional home cleaners as well as service providers specializing in fire restoration may be able to help you restore the structure of your home by removing soot damage from various surfaces. The composition of soot depends on what was burning and for how long; some surfaces can be easily wiped clean while others could require deeper cleaning in order to be fully restored.
Recovering From a Fire
Cleaning is typically an important part of recovering from a house fire. Removing smoke damage and soot can be accomplished with the help of experienced professional restoration firms operating in your area.
For more on cleaning soot and smoke damage visit us at http://www.SERVPROedmonds.com.
Is Your Business Ready For a Disaster?
SERVPRO of Edmonds is a full service commercial restoration firm. We specialize in commercial drying, cleaning and decontamination needs. Our approach uses a collaborative method to reduce operational risks, minimize downtime and save you money in order to get your business up and running after a disaster.
Consider the statistic that 50% of businesses who suffer a major disaster will never reopen. Of the businesses that reopened, most of them had a plan in place.
Several questions a business owner may consider;
Do your employees know your chain-of-command?
Do your teams know where your water shut-offs are?
Would your employees be able to direct first responders?
The actions taken in the initial minutes of an emergency are critical. A prompt warning to employees to evacuate, shelter or lockdown can save lives. A call for help to public emergency services that provides full and accurate information will help the dispatcher send the right responders and equipment. An employee trained to administer first aid or perform CPR can be lifesaving. Action by employees with knowledge of building and process systems can help control a leak and minimize damage to the facility and the environment.
Thankfully, SERVPRO of Edmonds has an excellent system in place to help streamline your emergency response plan. With the Emergency Ready Program SERVPRO will help you create a functional cloud based data set that can be used for things like staff emergency manuals, emergency contact information and building emergency critical information. Because disasters often happen when you are away, your team will have all of this data at their fingertips, wherever you need it, with a push of a button.
To strategically align your building operations to make sure you have the help you need in an emergency, give us a call today. The consultation and Emergency Readiness Program is offered at no cost to your facility, give us a call at 425-774-1148.