Should I open the windows to help the drying process?

Opening your windows to assist the drying process is not always recommended. Outside weather conditions may vary, so the technician will determine when and if the outside air is appropriate.

Why did the technician leave wet carpet on my stairs?

Carpet on the stairs is generally not removed for safety reasons. Exposed tack strips or staples, especially on steps, is dangerous. However, there are situations where removing carpet from stairs is necessary to prevent damage to hardwood steps or in the case of sewage contamination. Removing tack strips is not advised, as this may damage the hardwood or the subfloor. Extreme caution must be used whenever the tack strip is exposed or when the carpeted stairs are damp. If carpet left on the stairs is unsalvageable, it will be removed when new carpet is installed.

Why are air movers and dehumidifiers used?

When water damage has occurred, water can be absorbed into the drywall (sheetrock), baseboards, subflooring, etc. Drying these surfaces requires high velocity air movers to accelerate the release of absorbed water into the air. Dehumidifiers are necessary for removing this excess moisture to help protect property and create conditions for efficient drying. Please do not turn off or move drying equipment without first calling ServiceMaster Restore.

What will it cost to run the equipment?

Based on average electrical rates, it may cost about $1 per day per piece of drying equipment to operate. Actual costs can vary depending on current rates from your local electricity provider.

Who is responsible for paying for the service?

Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment. As the property owner, you will need to sign a form authorizing the work and payment. If this is an insurance claim, ServiceMaster Restore generally collects only the deductible amount and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. If you have a large loss, your mortgage company may be included as a payee on the payment from your insurance company, and you may need to obtain a signature from them as well. If your claim is not covered or you decide not to file a claim, you will be expected to pay in full at the time of service.

Can my carpet be restored or will it have to be replaced?

A few reasons your carpet may not be salvageable:

  • Delamination (occurs when the backing separates from the carpet fiber)
  • Loss of adhesion (may be caused by prolonged exposure to water or age of the carpet)
  • Permanent stains
  • Carpet covers wood flooring (to salvage the wood flooring)
  • Sewage contamination

Why does my specialty floor need to be removed?

Nonporous flooring can trap water and prevent it from drying properly.

Can I clean it myself?

We suggest that you do not attempt any “do-it-yourself” cleaning methods without consulting your ServiceMaster Restore Restoration Technician. Pretesting, using the right cleaning agent for the particular item, mixing deodorizing agents with cleaning solutions and using correct dilution rates are just some of the ways a fire restoration technician expertly controls the results. Professional cleaning systems and products used by experienced, trained ServiceMaster Restore Restoration Technicians give you the best chance for complete restoration of your belongings.

How long will the restoration process take?

Because there are many variables and many services involved in fire and smoke restoration, it is difficult to predict exactly how long the complete restoration will take. Consult with your ServiceMaster Restore Restoration Technician on the estimated dates and phases of your restoration project.

What items do I keep in my possession?

  • Cash
  • Pets
  • Medications
  • Valuable Jewelry
  • Checkbooks
  • Personal Documents
  • Valuable Paintings
  • Flammables
  • Weapons/Ammunition
  • Gasoline Cans
  • Stamp/Coin Collections

How do I keep track of non-restorable items?

We recommend you make a list of items (including food items) deemed nonrestorable. Use a format like the sample below, or obtain a similar form from your insurance company. Make a copy for your insurance company and keep one for yourself.

Do I need to move out of my property during this process?

This is ultimately your decision. Some things you may want to consider are safety concerns, odors, electricity, noise from equipment, etc. If vacating your premises for any length of time consider the following: forward your mail to your temporary residence; stop newspaper and other deliveries; notify utility company, cable company, etc., of temporary suspension of services.

What about special items? Artwork, china, heirlooms, etc.

Some high-value items require restoration by a specialist. Working with your insurance claims representative, we can help you identify these and locate a qualified restorer.

Who is responsible for paying for the service?

Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment and will need to sign a form authorizing payment for the restoration services. If this is an insurance claim, ServiceMaster Restore generally collects only the deductible (co-payment) amount from you and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. If you have a large loss, your mortgage company may be included as a payee on the payment from your insurance company, and you may need to obtain a signature from them as well. If your claim is not covered by insurance or you decide not to file a claim, you will be expected to pay in full.

What is mold?

Mold is a microscopic fungus that is part of the natural environment and necessary for our ecosystem. While it is necessary in the outdoor world, too much mold inside a structure can be dangerous and unsanitary. Mold produces spores as part of its lifecycle, and these spores float through the air both inside and outside.

Why is mold a problem?

Many people aren’t aware that mold can cause serious structural damage to homes and businesses, which, if left undetected, can cause a property to lose value and/or require significant repairs. And if you have ever suffered from allergies, exposure to molds can often cause nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, skin irritation or even more severe reactions.

What does mold need in order to grow?

Mold needs a moist environment, temperatures above freezing and a food source, which could be leaves, paper, dirt, wood or other building materials. Mold is more likely to be found in damp, dusty spaces or areas with stagnant air.

How can I tell if I have mold?

If you see mold growth or water stains, a mold test can help identify related microbial activity. You can also look for areas where water leakage has occurred, such as roofs, pipes, ceilings or walls. Musty smells may also indicate the presence of mold.

What can I do to prevent the growth of mold in my home?

The most effective means to keep mold in check include keeping the humidity level of your home at 40–60 percent, using an air conditioner and/or dehumidifier during humid months and in damp spaces like basements, and always utilizing exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, along with dryer vents outside your home. Lastly, if there are leaks in your roof, walls or plumbing, it is important to repair them as soon as possible.

When does mold need to be handled by a professional remediation company?

Most experts recommend a professional remediation company when elevated mold levels are detected. Remediation professionals are specially trained to isolate and treat mold-affected areas to avoid contaminating adjacent spaces.

Is air duct cleaning expensive?

The cost of the service varies and depends on factors such as where you live, how dirty your system is, how easy it is for the contractor to access the ducts and what your ducts are made of, and what material is used in the construction of the ducts. However, our expertise, training and satisfaction guarantee are built into the price of service.

How long will it take to have my air ducts cleaned?

The amount of time it takes to clean a residential HVAC system can vary depending on the complexity of the system. Once a skilled and trained technician arrives, they should be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take. For standard purposes, we ask for at least 3-5 hours to get the job done right and to your satisfaction.

How often do I need to get my air ducts cleaned?

We recommend air duct cleaning every three to five years. Customers who fall in the following conditions should consider more frequent cleaning of their duct systems:

  • Pets that shed a lot
  • Recent water damage
  • Home remodeling or improvements taking place
  • Residents with asthma or allergens
  • Humid or moist environmental conditions

Why should I have my air ducts cleaned?

Air duct cleaning helps:

  • Reduce energy costs in your home
  • Reduce the potential for mold growth
  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Increase air circulation and flow
  • Increase your home system performance
  • Extend HVAC equipment life

Is there anything I can do to help maintain clean air ducts?

To help maintain clean air ducts, change air filters based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular vacuuming will also help reduce pet dander and airborne dirt and debris.

Will you clean the home without the customer being present?

We prefer to work with the customer in the home, but under specific medical situations, we can do so with their input, even if they’re not present. We will never clean out a home without the customer’s knowledge, approval and understanding.

How involved must the customer be in the cleaning process?

While we do not ask the customer to physically move items, we do ask for their guidance when it comes to making decisions. After all, the more involved in the cleanup the customer is, the greater chance they’ll have a positive experience and outcome.

How do you handle a resistant customer?

Our job is to help the customer clean up their home. We focus on building trust first and teaching skill sets second. While the customer may get pushed beyond their original comfort zone as the cleaning advances, our teams are trained to identify and communicate with the customer when the cleanup becomes challenging.

What does a hoarding cleanup cost?

Every job is unique and pricing will vary on many situations, including size of home, type of items kept, ability to make decisions and hazards found in the home. We provide free estimates and will work with the family to find a solution that works for your needs.

How long does cleaning take?

Timing differs for each home depending upon volume, hazards and more. An average home takes between 3 and 5 days. Preparing for the cleanup can take weeks, but the actual cleanup is usually less than a week.

Does the customer get breaks during the cleanup?

Each job will be tailored to the customer’s ability to focus and make decisions. Whether that means we work half days or full days, we’ll monitor the customer’s well-being and encourage breaks as needed.

What do you do with valuables found in the house?

Any valuables found in the home are the property of the customer. During a cleanup, finding valuables is an exciting event that we use to build confidence and momentum. Something of value (emotional or monetary) is brought to the customer immediately, and the story of the item is shared with the crew. Taking the time to acknowledge and hear these stories is an important part of the process.

Can you help donate items?

Yes, our team will help assist with the details of donated items. Once the customer selects a preferred donation organization, our team will sort and document all items and can take them to the donation center. We will take a detailed inventory, fill out the donation receipt and return it to the customer for tax purposes.

Can you help sell items?

While we can connect the customer to partners specialized in selling specific items, our team does not personally sell the items. The sales partners will typically take a commission for selling the items, but our team does not share in any profits of sold items.

Can you store items?

Many of our locations do have the ability to store items in their warehouses for an additional fee. If our location does not have internal storage, we have partners nationwide that can affordably store items. In all cases, our team will handle the logistics of getting the items to storage locations. However, long-term storage after a clean-out should only be used in special situations.

What is non-insured work?

Any renovation project unrelated to your loss is considered non-insured work. At your request, ServiceMaster Restore will provide a separate estimate for a non-insured renovation project, and we will require separate authorization and payment terms. If non-insured work will delay the completion of an insured portion, then the situation must be discussed with your Insurance Adjuster and the ServiceMaster Restore Project Manager.

How long will the reconstruction project take?

Because of the many variables involved, it is difficult to predict exactly how long the reconstruction project will take. Consult with your ServiceMaster Restore Project Manager on the phases of your reconstruction project and estimated completion date.

What does pre-loss condition mean?

ServiceMaster Restore is responsible for returning your home to how it was before damage occurred, or its pre-loss condition. We use materials of like kind and quality. There may be some damage that existed prior to your loss. Therefore, these damages have not been included in the scope of repairs.

At your request, ServiceMaster Restore will provide you with an estimate for any additional renovation projects, also called non-insured work.