The Worst Advice We Hear About Disaster Cleanup
When you experience a disaster in your home — from a flood to a fire to mold — you’ll get plenty of advice from your neighbors and friends. And sometimes they may get the advice right. But most often, disaster cleanup advice is woefully misinformed, and when taken and applied, causes homeowners grief, debt, and regret. Read on to find out the worst advice we hear about disaster cleanup — and what to do instead.
Bad Advice #1: In a Flood, Clean up the Water Yourself
This advice actually makes sense — at first. When you see your kitchen or basement flooding from a burst pipe or rainwater, your first instinct is to get the water out — and fast. The only problem is that people think they can do an adequate job by extracting the water, using fans, and patting the area dry. If you follow this DIY method, it’s true that it will look like you took care of the problem — on the surface.
But there’s actually a scientific way to remove water and completely dry down your home. Because water can penetrate unseen areas, you need sophisticated moisture detectors — used by WTR-certified professionals — to ensure you’ve completely dried out your home. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with mold, rot, and other significant structural damage down the road.
Bad Advice #2: Begin Cleanup Right Away
You may want to start getting things back in order as soon as possible, but this could hurt your insurance claim. You need to properly document the damage after a home disaster, but if you clean it up too soon, that documentation will be in error and it will be harder to get what you deserve from the insurance company. Instead, wait for a disaster relief company to arrive, assess the damage, and properly document it for you. You can also take photographs of the damage yourself, but rely on the expertise of the disaster relief company for complete documentation.
To be clear, it’s important to clean up after you home disaster as soon as possible. But you don’t want to do it without a disaster relief company. Find a company that offers 24/7 service.
Bad Advice #3: Don’t Worry About Securing Your Property; That’s What Insurance Is for
If you need to vacate your home temporarily, board up your windows and doors to prevent looters. Yes, you’ll be working with your insurance company to get your home put back together, but don’t add injury to disaster by keeping your home open for looters.
Bad Advice #4: After a Fire, Just Air out Your Home to Get Rid of the Smoke Smell
Yes, you want to air out your home if you’ve experienced a fire. But that’s not enough. You also need to do some more serious damage control to get rid of soot, smoke, and extinguisher residue. If you’re dealing with the after-effects of a large house fire, this job needs to be left to the professionals.
If you had just a small fire in one room of your home, however, you might be able to clean the residue yourself. But don’t just grab a bucket of water and a rag. You need tri-sodium phosphate mixed with water for wiping soot off the walls. A shop hired vacuum can get rid of extinguisher residue. You’ll need to get your furniture, rugs, and curtains professionally cleaned.
Bad Advice #5: Once the Soot Is Gone, You’re Done with Disaster Cleanup
If you’ve experienced a fire, you need to think of all the different ways your home could be damaged. Soot and smoke is only one aspect. You also need to consider mold from any water used to put out the fire. Don’t try and handle the mold — or potential mold — on your own. Hire a professional disaster cleanup company.
Also, think about things like dishes and clothing. Soot can be greasy, so using the washing machine for your clothing without proper preparation can smear the soot into your clothes. It’s better to get your clothing professionally dry cleaned. Your dishes will need to be scrubbed and soaked in a solution of bleach water to remove any health hazards.
Bad Advice #6: Call the Insurance Company First
Most people think the insurance company should be your first call after a fire, flood, or other home disaster. But you should actually call a disaster relief company first (the insurance call should be shortly after). Why? The insurance company will pressure you to use a preferred provider, but this isn’t always in your best interest as that means the preferred provider will have to split their interests between you and the insurance company. Using your own disaster relief company is better for you, especially because they will do the hard work of documenting your damage and negotiating with your insurance company.
New Life Restoration services California’s Central Coast. We offer fast 24/7 service that covers disaster cleanup, proper documentation, negotiating with the insurance company, restoration services, and more. Give us a call at (805) 925-1600, or contact us online.