Fire Damage FAQ

What should I do before help arrives?

  • Call your insurance agent and let them know about the situation.
  • Call ServiceMaster by Lewis Construction!
  • Blow off or brush-vacuum any loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets
  • Cover carpeted traffic areas with towels or old linens to prevent additional soiling.
  • Discard open food packages. The food could be contaminated.
  • If electrical service is off, clean out your freezer and refrigerator. Leave the doors propped open or place charcoal in the unit.
  • Send clothing with heavy smoke damage to a qualified professional dry cleaner that specializes in smoke damage.
  • Clean Formica and chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent permanent tarnishing.
  • Wipe residue from porcelain bath fixtures to prevent etching.
  • Wipe the leaves of houseplants to remove smoke residue.
  • Change the air filter on your furnace if it uses forced hot air.
  • Tape cheesecloth over intake and outlet air registers to capture any loose soot in the air. This is even more effective if the cheesecloth is damp.
  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, air out the house to reduce smoke odor.

What should I NOT do?

  • Do not attempt to wash any papered or flat painted walls without consulting your professional cleaner. Incorrect cleaning procedures could compound the soot residue problem.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture. Again, incorrect procedures could increase damage.
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked. They could malfunction.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result.
  • Do not touch anything. Soot on your hands can permeate upholstery, walls, and woodwork, causing further damage.
  • Do not eat food that has been exposed to fire or smoke.
  • Do not wait to call for professional help. The longer the wait, the more irreversible damage is done to the property.

How can my home be restored after it is damaged by fire?

Fire damage restoration begins with emergency services to quickly secure and protect your home from further damage and/or vandalism. ServiceMaster Restoration will immediately follow our emergency call with a thorough assessment of damage so that we can quickly remove items and begin restoration on those that can be saved. Time is of the essence because damage to your home and belongings will continue even after the fire is out, as some materials will deteriorate further, and odors become embedded in walls, ceiling and flooring.

At ServiceMaster, we can often save many of your personal items, including clothing, as well as hardwood flooring and many glass and metal items. We complete your restoration with thorough deodorization and rebuilding so your home is returned to its pre-fire condition.

How long does fire damage restoration take?

The length of time for any restoration project will vary from days to weeks or even months depending on the extent of damage and whether rebuilding is necessary to bring your home back to pre-disaster condition. Both water and fire damage restoration must be done in phases to properly clean, deodorize and restore.

ServiceMaster fire restoration includes:

  • Removal of damaged items for restoration or disposal
  • Soot cleanup
  • Deodorizing fire and smoke affected areas
  • Replacing/rebuilding damaged areas

Water Damage FAQs

What should I do before help arrives?

  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available.
  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe furniture dry.
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings.
  • Open furniture drawers, closet doors, and luggage to enhance drying.
  • Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.
  • If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.

How long does water damage restoration take?

The length of time for any restoration project will vary from days to weeks or even months depending on the extent of damage and whether rebuilding is necessary to bring your home back to pre-disaster condition. Both water and fire damage restoration must be done in phases to properly clean, deodorize and restore.

ServiceMaster water restoration includes:

  • Water extraction
  • Thorough drying of rooms/buildings
  • Mold remediation if necessary
  • Replacing/rebuilding damaged areas

Should I contact my insurance?

Contact your insurance and let them know what has happened. Walk them through the details, but if it is a small loss, do not file a claim right away until our team gets there to inspect the extent of the damage. In some cases, the damage is smaller than the deductible. Ask your insurance agent about this when you call if you are unsure.

Do you work with my insurance?

We work with all insurance companies to process claims fast and to get the work started right away.

Should I try to clean anything or remove contents myself?

You can begin to wipe down items that will be affected the most by standing water, but keep these tips in mind:
  • Do not use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water.
  • Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.
  • Do not go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on.
  • Do not lift tacked down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinkage.

What type of company cleans up water damage?

Water damage in your home can range from a minor leak to severe flooding and/or sewer back up. Clean up will involve thorough drying, disinfection, and in some cases mold and mildew remediation. Your restoration company should be one specifically qualified in water damage mitigation and restoration, such as ServiceMaster Restoration. Our expert services include:
  • Flood and/or sewage clean up
  • Professional drying
  • Testing for mold and mildew
  • Repair and restoration

How does the water damage restoration process work?

ServiceMaster Restoration is the local expert for water damage restoration. Because every project is unique, our process is customized to ensure every aspect of your restoration is addressed and completed to the highest quality.

We first assess how your home was damaged. Flooding from clean water must be extracted and dried out, but sewer backup will require thorough disinfection as well as drying to mitigate health risks. We use high-powered pumps and industrial dehumidifiers to extract water and completely dry every crevice of your home. Our experts monitor this process at all times to ensure thorough drying to prevent mold growth in hidden areas.

Our cleaning and sanitizing services will address any mold or mildew growth that has occurred and ensure complete disinfection and prevention of bacterial and mold growth moving forward. The restoration process is complete when we have replaced and/or rebuilt anything damaged beyond repair and returned those items we were able to restore. At ServiceMaster, we provide everything from carpet cleaning to rebuilding walls. Call us today.

Carpet Cleaning FAQs

Do you move furniture?

We will move smaller furniture and couches. We typically do not move larger pieces of fixed furniture with included prices but will if it is necessary to complete the cleaning.

What do I have to do to prepare for carpet cleaning?

If you have small items on the carpet, remove them. Make sure that the area is clear and ready to be cleaned. If you have pets, move them to a location that is not scheduled to be cleaned and secure them.

What is scotchguard and what are the benefits?

Scotchguard is a solution that prevents spilled liquids from soaking into the caret right away and makes them easier to clean yourself after small spills. This is perfect for families with pets or small children.

How often should I get my carpets cleaned?

You should clean your carpets every 6-8 months to avoid set in stains. This varies slightly by different carpet manufacturers, but most recommendations for cleaning are around this time schedule.

Vandalism FAQS

Should I call my insurance?

Call your insurance and let them know what has happened. If the damage is minimal, wait to file a claim until our team arrives to inspect the situation. In some cases, the damage is less than the deductible. Talk with your agent about your individual plan if you have questions concerning your policy.

What should I do before help arrives?

  • Wash any egg or residue from the building exterior.
  • Remove any debris or food from carpets or interior walls. Scrape or blot carpets and furniture - do NOT rub.
  • Vacuum glass particles from carpet and upholstery. Do not walk barefoot in the area of broken glass
  • Save any information about the type of liquid that was spread over surfaces.
  • Make a list of all damage

Should I call for assistance right away?

Yes. Unsecured property is at risk for more theft or damage, and you or your family could be hurt by dangers at the scene.

Trauma FAQs

Should I try to clean the affected area myself?

  • No, do not try to clean a stained area yourself, there are certain blood-borne illnesses that we have the proper protection to avoid.
  • Do not panic, we have technicians who are certified in the removal of odors, as well as proper cleaning procedures in virtually any incident.

Mold FAQs

Will you need to remove drywall?

Depends on the scope of the mold and if we can access the area without tearing out a piece of drywall. If the drywall does need to be removed, we try to remove the smallest possible section, just enough so we can get behind the affected wall.

Is this covered by my insurance?

Most cases-no. If the mold was caused by water back-up or any other water damage, then the mold removal may be covered as part of the water damage claim. Talk to your insurance agent to be sure on this, as individual policies vary greatly.

Can I stay in my home while you work?

This depends on the severity of the mold. During certain conditions, it may be deemed unsafe to enter or occupy the home. In normal circumstances, the removal is minimal and is not any more toxic than the mold is to begin with.

Odor FAQs

Can I stay in my home when the equipment is running?

Yes! This equipment is safe to use in occupied areas, unlike some other applications. The hydroxyls will not harm people, animals, or plants, and will not do any damage to sensitive surfaces such as rubber, leather, and vinyl. They are also safe to use near electronic equipment.

How long does the equipment have to run in my home?

This depends on the strength of the odor. Results will be noticeable almost immediately, but typically the equipment will be placed for 48 to 72 hours and needs to run continuously.

Wood Floor Restoration FAQs

How well does the process work?

This process will restore the finish of any hardwood floor. But unlike sanding, it will not remove dents or very deep scratches. Also, floors that have warped or lifted boards will probably need to be sanded.

Do I have to leave my house?

No. The process only takes one day, and you can remain inside during the entire process.

When can I walk on the floors?

In most cases, it is safe to walk on the floors with stocking feet after only 2 hours. After 24 hours, furniture can be returned.

What does it cost?

Cost varies based on type of wood, extent of damage, and type of existing finish, but generally the price is less than half of a traditional sanding quote.