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Can you Sell a Fire Damaged House

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

Home after a fire. Call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra should your home experience fire damage and we'll help you navigate the restoration process.

Living through a house fire can be an extremely traumatic experience. Trying to sell a house after it’s been damaged by a fire can be almost as traumatic, especially if you don’t know the ins and outs of navigating the situation. Here, we offer advice on selling a house after it’s been through a fire.

First, can you sell a fire-damaged home? The answer, in most cases, is yes. Real estate laws don’t prohibit people from selling a house after it’s been damaged by a fire, but they do require the sellers to disclose information to the buyer about the fire.

There are two different ways to go about selling a fire-damaged home:

  • Selling a house as-is: If fixing the damages caused by the fire is cost-prohibitive, you might decide to sell the property as-is. This can be challenging, and you won’t get the market value price, though the money from the sale combined with the payout from insurance might get you into a new home. While the average buyer will probably shy away from buying a home that’s experienced a house fire, there are some companies that buy homes “as is” and would be willing to take the chance.
  • Restoring the house before selling: Restoring your home to a pre-fire state is expensive (though it may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance), but it will also net you more money- sometimes more than you would have gotten pre-fire. Has your home been assessed to see how much repairing the damage will cost before you decide whether or not it’s worth doing?

If you do decide to sell your home after a house fire, here are some steps you should follow:

  • Restore the house to its pre-fire condition. For this, contact a fire remediation company, like us. Fire and smoke damage restoration is not something you should do by yourself, because it requires specific knowledge and equipment.
  • Keep all of your restoration documentation. Include photos and paid invoices, so that you can stand up to any scrutiny.
  • Disclose information about the fire to the buyers. A property disclosure form is required in most states.
  • Be prepared to answer questions. Buyers will want to know what caused the fire, and you’ll need to reassure them that steps have been taken to keep it from happening again.
  • Expect it to take a long time. Rushing the process won’t help but being patient could bring you a better price for your home.

If your home has been damaged by a house fire, it’s important to have it professionally cleaned and restored to its pre-fire condition. When you need help restoring your Northeast Florida home, call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra for help with smoke damage restoration. Our highly-trained restoration technicians have the experience and equipment to restore your Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, or Ponte Vedra home and get everything back to like-new condition. A trusted leader in the industry, we’ve served our community for more than 40 years. Call (904) 246-6118 or contact us through our website.

Top Office Building Fire Risks

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Firefightetrs working to put out an office fire. Hopefully the above tips help you avoid ever needing us, but should you need help with restoration after a fire we'll be there to help!

Did you know that a structure fire occurs every 63 seconds in the United States? Are you doing everything you can to promote fire safety in the workplace? Here, we offer some helpful fire safety tips.

First, here’s a list of some common fire hazards you might encounter in the office:

  • Flammable Materials: Paper and cardboard are common in just about every office. Unfortunately, they’re also extremely flammable. Keep these materials safely stored in an easy to access area away from the main office area. Get rid of unnecessary documents and trash to keep things from becoming cluttered.
  • Combustible Materials: Safely storing combustible and flammable liquids and vapors is vital to the safety of your office building. A flammable liquid can burst into flames with a single spark, and vapors can cause an explosion, so be sure that your substances are contained securely. Flammable liquids must be completely sealed and kept in a dry, secure place.
  • Dust and Debris: If your building isn’t well ventilated or properly clean, the dust and debris can create a fire hazard. If you use machinery that heats up, make sure it’s scrupulously clean. Grease and dust residue can result in a fire if you’re not careful.
  • Overused Power Sockets: Extension cords should be used temporarily, if at all, and you should make a rule to plug in one item per socket. Overloaded power sockets can overheat and potentially start a fire.
  • Unattended Electrical Equipment: Shut off and unplug electrical heaters and appliances when they’re not in use, and never leave things on overnight. Check for loose cables, broken plugs, or damaged electrical cords, and keep areas around electrical devices clear of paper.
  • Smoking: Smoking is one of the primary causes of office fires, so designate a smoking area far away from the building, with ashtrays and bins for proper cigarette disposal.
  • Negligence: Make sure everyone in the building cleans up messes, doesn’t leave food unattended in the toaster or on a burner, and understands why negligence is hazardous.
  • Inadequate Safety Measures: Obstructed exits, faulty safety equipment, and blocked sprinklers can lead to tragedy in case of emergency, so make sure everything is working as it should. Additionally, take the time to teach your staff to use fire extinguishers, what to do in case of an emergency, and where to go if there’s a fire. Having an emergency plan in place and staff members who know how to execute it can save lives.

If your property sustains fire damage, you don’t have to go it alone. If you’ve suffered through a fire in your Jacksonville Beaches area office building, call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra for help with fire restoration. Our highly-trained restoration technicians have the experience and equipment to restore your Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, or Ponte Vedra property and get everything back to normal. A trusted leader in the fire damage restoration service industry, we’ve served our community for more than 40  years. Call (904) 246-6118 or contact us through our website.

What to Do In Case of Fire Damage

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

Debri in Home After Fire Damage If your Jacksonville Beach or Ponte Vedra Home experiences fire damage, we'll be there to help you restore your home and navigate the process ASAP!

How frequently do house fires occur? Would it surprise you to learn that a fire department in the United States responds to a fire every 24 seconds? Hopefully, your home will never make it into that frightening statistic. If it does ever happens to you, here’s what to do once the smoke has cleared and the fire department has left the scene.

  • Don’t plan to immediately move back into the house. Even the parts of the house that weren’t damaged by the flames can be dangerous for people to inhabit. Smoke damage can cause soot and smoke to stick to the walls, floors, and furniture, which makes it dangerous for you to breathe. Fire can also cause electrical hazards and affect ducts and insulation in your walls, attic, and crawl space.
  • Make sure cleanup is handled properly and promptly. Soot and ash discolor surfaces, and the longer you wait to clean it off of your belongings, the worse that discoloration will be, and the lower the likelihood will be that it can be returned to preloss condition. In fact, after just a few days, discoloration of walls and fabric items can become permanent. Left for weeks, the residue left behind by a house fire can corrode metal, permanently etch glass, and cause wood and vinyl surfaces to deteriorate to an irreparable degree.
  • Call in the professionals. Cleaning up the damage left behind by fire requires meticulous care. If it isn’t handled with extreme caution, soot residue can contaminate the entire building. What’s more, fire restoration experts know what can and cannot be salvaged and have the equipment and products needed to comprehensively clean your home. Professionals also know how to work with insurance adjusters, and can often bill the insurance company directly, making the process much easier for you.
  • Call your insurance company. Your homeowner’s insurance will cover damage to your home from a fire or smoke. This includes damage caused by a fire at a neighboring building, as well as damage caused by wildfires. The house, fences, driveway, sheds, and other structures on your property are also protected. Homeowner’s insurance also covers the cost of most personal items lost in a fire, and typically also covers additional living expenses, even for months at a time if necessary, while you regroup. Other people on your property at the time are also covered. The only time a homeowner’s policy will not cover damages from a fire is if you or someone else named on your policy caused the fire intentionally.

If your property sustains fire damage, you don’t have to go it alone. If you’ve suffered through a home fire in your Northeast Florida home, call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra for help with fire restoration. Our highly-trained restoration technicians have the experience and equipment to restore your Jacksonville Beaches area home and get everything back to normal. A trusted leader in the fire damage restoration service industry, we’ve served our community for more than 40  years. Call (904) 246-6118 or contact us through our website to get the restoration care you deserve.

Preventing Mold in the Office

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

Office with Open Concept Workspace Help keep you & your employees safe by ensuring the proper steps are taken to avoid mold at all cost. Should you need remediation, we're here to help!

Mold growth is common, especially in Florida. Why? Mold spores are everywhere, and they grow when they hit a moist surface with organic material. Do you know how much organic material is in your office? Carpets, sheetrock, wallpaper, fabrics, paper, cardboard, ceiling tiles, fiberglass insulation, wood, glue, and dirt are all organic. It’s no wonder, then, that many office buildings are plagued with mold. How can you keep it out of yours?

First, if it’s so common, is mold really a big deal? In a word, yes. Mold can cause health effects and decrease worker productivity. It can also cause damage to your property, if left to grow unchecked. The best way to handle mold is to prevent it from gaining a foothold in your building. There are several measures you can take to lessen the occurrence of mold growth.

  • Fix any obvious sources of moisture. Roof and plumbing leaks can encourage mold growth, so repair those promptly and dry the area around them. You may need a specialist to help you get the water damage under control.
  • Eliminate condensation. While air conditioners can be helpful in filtering out mold spores and reducing mold growth, they can also be a source of condensation if you’re not careful. Condensation happens when humid air hits a cool surface, so if you let outdoor air inside, it will condense on air conditioner surfaces. Keep doors closed, and don’t open windows when the air conditioner is running. If the AC ducts run through an attic or basement, try to keep the air moving so that mold isn’t able to grow.
  • Leave the heat on if you’re closing the building for an extended period. People typically remember to drain the pipes to prevent them from freezing while the building is closed. It’s not as common to think about preventing mold growth while your office is not in use.
  • Control the building’s relative humidity. The most direct way to make conditions less favorable for mold propagation in a commercial building is to reduce the room’s humidity. Keep the relative humidity below 50 percent, but avoid reducing it under 20 percent, because that can cause the drying up of respiratory passages, leading to severe discomfort.
  • If you suspect a problem, have the building tested for mold. An air quality company or an Industrial Hygienist can come and do air sampling to determine the presence and species of mold in your building. Our SERVPRO franchises work with these professionals on a weekly basis and can recommend an Industrial Hygienist or Mold Inspector that not only has advanced degrees in Chemistry and Microbiology but is also a Florida State Licensed General Contractor.

If you do discover mold in your Northeast Florida office building, call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra for help with mold remediation. Our highly-trained restoration technicians have the experience and equipment to restore your Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, or Ponte Vedra property and get everything back to normal. A trusted leader in the mold remediation industry, we’ve served our community for more than 40 years. Call (904) 246-6118 or contact us through our website.

Electrical Fire Contributes to Business Losses and Interruption

8/5/2021 (Permalink)

Image shows wet, black, sooty floor, and green SERVPRO drying equipment. SERVPRO has the drying equipment and expertise to mitigate smoke, soot, and other secondary damage associated with fire.

Electrical Fire Contributes to Business Losses and Interruption

The SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra's restoration team responded to a recent fire loss at a local medical laboratory. Our after-hours technicians arrived on-site in the middle of the night to extract the water left behind by JFRD and the fire suppression system, begin to secure the building by boarding up, and help the business owner make sense of the tragedy.

When you manage and own over 20,000 square feet of expensive and sensitive lab equipment, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start cleaning, mitigation, and then organizing what to do next. From the first steps of securing the structure with extraction and board-up, generator set up and supplemental power, desiccant dehumidifier operation, drying equipment, demolition, and itemized inventory, our team was able to manage all of these different aspects of the loss. 

Our SERVPRO technicians were able to inventory, clean, and process sensitive specialty medical equipment that was an integral part of this business' operations.

We managed the relationship between the different equipment leasing and insurance companies, the equipment engineering subcontractors, the Laboratory's insurance company, the building owner's insurance company, and the labor teams.

When your business or commercial property is affected by fire damage you shouldn't have to worry about hiring and managing all of these different companies and subcontractors. That's why you have insurance. As a business owner or manager, you are going to be overwhelmed by managing employees and relocating them, and letting clients know about possible losses or delays. If necessary, SERVPRO can even help you find temporary office space.

SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra can handle any type and any scale of commercial fire damage remediation and cleaning, 904-246-6118.

Ice Maker Line Causes Water Damage on the 3rd Floor

8/5/2021 (Permalink)

Images shows an office break room with green SERVPRO drying equipment. SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra can work around your business' schedule to dry any type of water damage.

Ice Maker Line Causes Water Damage on the 3rd Floor

Commercial businesses can have all sorts of issues. Sometimes it seems like, the larger the company and the larger the square footage, the bigger the water damage. 

You wouldn't think that a tiny ice maker line in a break room could cause a 3-story water damage, but water moves quickly out of the smallest spaces to cause a lot of damage. Luckily the CEO's office is located across from this breakroom and he noticed wet carpet on his way out the door the evening of the leak. Unfortunately, water had already traveled through the walls down to the 2nd and 1st floors.

With carpet, tile, and drywall affected, his team immediately called SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra who arrived onsite within 45 minutes. Our technicians took moisture readings and drew moisture maps to define the extent of the water damage and wet materials. We placed air movers and dehumidifiers, and treated the affected areas with an antimicrobial to help prevent mold growth.

The affected areas were dry in just a few days with minimal business disruption. Call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra if your business is affected by water damage, 904-246-6118.

Prepare Your Home and Family in Case of a House Fire

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

Image shows fire damage 'near me' in a kitchen, with black soot on the stove. Call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra at 904-246-6118, if you experience fire damage in your home.

Prepare Your Home and Family in Case of a House Fire

Have you seen the free local guide that contains tips for basic first aid, animal and pet preparedness, active shooter response, COVID-19, JEA resources, and severe weather including; thunderstorms, lightning, tropical storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, flooding, etc.? It's the new City of Jacksonville Preparedness and Response Guide for the 2021-2022 Storm Season. This free guide also contains lists for emergency supplies, information about water and beach safety, and house fires.

Does your family have a plan in case a fire happens at home? What is the nearest and/or fastest escape route and where will you meet each other if you get separated? Here are a few home fire safety tips that you and your family should practice, preparing you in case of a disaster:

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and check them, at least every 6 months regularly.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors and test the batteries every 6 months. 
  • Make sure everyone (age-appropriate) in your home knows where the fire extinguisher is and how to operate it. Maybe practice with your old one when it's time to replace your extinguisher. 
  • Practice and identify escape routes from each room of your home.
  • Make sure everyone (age-appropriate) in your home knows how to shut off the gas, water, and electricity at the main switches, along with any other emergency systems that may be affected.
  • Pre-designate a meeting point in the event of a house fire. You never know when you might get separated.
  • Make a plan for your pets.

If you are a Duval County resident you should have received your copy of the City of Jacksonville Preparedness & Response Guide, 2021-2022 in the mail Summer of 2021 (one per household). If you have yet to receive it or want to view it digitally, you can GO ONLINE to the City of Jacksonville's preparedness website and download a PDF version to review. 

9 Facts About House Fires You Need to Know

8/4/2021 (Permalink)

Image shows a page from a local magazine 'near me' showing fire safety tips. SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra can work with your insurance company to mitigate fire damage in your home, 904-246-6118.

9 Facts About House Fires You Need to Know

Reviewing the following facts can help your family respond to and escape from a house fire faster.

  1. Escape Route, Find two ways to get out of each room or area of the home (door or window).
  2. Windows, Ensure that windows are not stuck, security bars can be properly opened, and screens can be taken out.
  3. Call 911, Call 9-1-1 for help if you can't get to someone needing assistance.
  4. Seal Doors and Vents, If you can't escape, shelter where you are. Then all 9-1-1 to report your location, sealing doors or vents if possible.
  5. Feel the Door for Heat, When escaping a room, feel the doorknob with the back of your hand; if hot, leave the door closed and try to find another way out.
  6. Inventory Damages, Create a checklist of damaged property and items. Protect valuable documents and records.
  7. Utilities, The fire department should check that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected safely before they leave.
  8. P.A.S.S., the acronym PASS is your key for how to operate a fire extinguisher. P, Pull out the pin. A, Aim the nozzle or horn low at the base of the fire. S, Squeeze the handle to release the agent. S, Sweep from side to side at the base of the flame until the fire is out.
  9. Smoke Detectors, The Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department, JFRD, provides and installs free smoke detectors for any qualifying Jacksonville residence. Our local fire department will also install replacement batteries. For a free smoke detector or to arrange to have the batteries replaced in an existing one, call 904-630-2489 (CITY).

For more house fire tips and resources for kids, visit the MyJFRD website.

Preventing Water Damage from Leaking Pipes

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

Pipe with Water Leaking Out of It Even when you're prepared, accidents happen! Call us and we will be there to help restore your home ASAP when facing water damage.

No homeowner wants to deal with water damage from a leaking pipe. In addition to possibly flooding your home, a pipe leak can wreak havoc in a number of ways. Warped, stained walls, dangerous mold, and ruined carpet and furnishings are just a few of the consequences of an unattended leak. The best way to avoid all of that chaos is to prevent the leaks in the first place.

To properly avoid water damage from a leaking pipe, you must first understand the factors that come into play with pipe leaks.

  • Pipe corrosion can eat away at metal pipes and cause leaks.
  • Cracks indicate weakness in a pipe and will eventually cause the pipe walls to give way.
  • The seals that keep your plumbing system’s connections from leaking can fail.
  • Blockages in your pipes cause pressure to build up and cause leaks.
  • Damaged joints can be caused by different things, like pipes expanding or contracting or poor workmanship.
  • High water pressure can stress weak points in your plumbing system and cause a pipe burst or leaks.
  • Foundation shifts can cause water lines to disconnect or rupture.
  • Extreme temperature changes can cause pipes to crack and leak.
  • Tree root intrusion happens when root systems put pressure on your pipes.
  • Fixture cracks happen because of physical impact to a fixture or the surrounding pipes.

The water damage repair after a leak can be extensive. It’s important to know how to shut off the water in your house so that if a problem occurs you can minimize the extent of the damage and reduce your water damage cleanup. To prevent leaks in the first place:

  • Keep an eye on your pipes for signs of visible corrosion. Green spots on copper, for instance, indicate cold water pitting.
  • Listen to your pipes. Rattling, shock, or vibration when you turn the water on or off can indicate an issue.
  • Replace old piping. Start watching it at 20 years and replace it by about 40.
  • Look for staining on sinks or taps. Blue or green stains can indicate high concentrations of carbon dioxide or a low pH, which can corrode pipes and fittings.
  • Soften your water. Hard water can cause pitting, so treat it before it creates a problem.
  • Watch the water pressure. If the pressure goes above 80psi/552kPa or a velocity of more than 4FPS a pipe burst can occur.
  • Monitor your water usage. Watch the water meter and look to your water company for historical usage data. Unexplained water usage could mean a hidden leak.
  • Consider smart systems. New smart technology allows you to monitor humidity in order to detect leaks.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your home will sustain water damage from a leaky pipe. If that happens to your Jacksonville Beaches area home, call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra for help with water damage restoration. Our highly-trained restoration technicians have the experience and equipment to restore your Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, or Ponte Vedra home or business and get everything back to normal. A trusted leader in the water restoration industry, we’ve served our community for more than 40 years. Call (904) 246-6118 or contact us through our website.

What is the Difference Between a Hurricane and Typhoon or Tropical Storm?

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

Trees blowing in a storm with high winds If your Beaches area home experiences damage from a storm, SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra will be there to help right away!

If a storm has violent winds, heavy rains, and creates a storm surge, what is it called? Is it a hurricane or a typhoon? Where do tropical storms fit into the picture? Weather terminology can be confusing, but we can help you understand the differences between these kinds of storms.

Hurricane and typhoon are two different terms for the same weather phenomenon. In short, they’re tropical cyclones, rotating, organized systems of clouds and thunderstorms that originate over tropical or subtropical waters and have closed, low-level circulation. For a storm to be considered a hurricane or a typhoon, the tropical cyclone must have 74 mph or higher sustained winds. They can occur at any time of year, but there are seasons during which these storms are most common. If the two storms are the same thing, though, why do they have different names? It has to do primarily with the location.

  • Hurricanes are cyclones located in the North Atlantic Ocean, the central North Pacific Ocean, and the eastern North Pacific Ocean. They’re rated between Category 1 through Category 5 by the national hurricane center. Hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th.
  • Typhoons are cyclones that originate in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. They are generally stronger than hurricanes, but they do less damage because of where they’re located. Typhoons commonly occur from May to October.
  • In the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, they are simply called tropical cyclones. The cyclone season runs from November to April.

These types of storms form when air is heated by warm seawater, causing the air to rise quickly. As it cools down again, more warm air rises below and pushes it aside. This cycle creates strong winds, and when it happens over the sea, the result can be huge waves. Scientists believe that the intensity of hurricanes will increase in the future because the temperature of ocean water is rising.

Of course, there are different stages of storms leading up to the formation of a hurricane or typhoon. The first stage is a tropical depression, sometimes referred to as a tropical wave, disturbance, feature, or system. This is a cyclone with winds of 38 miles per hour. When a cyclone’s wind speeds reach 39 to 73 miles per hour, it becomes a tropical storm. At that point, you’ll see it on the hurricane tracker, classified on the same scale as hurricanes. The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) issues advisories based on information collected through reconnaissance aircraft missions, vessels, equipment located on islands, and buoys so that people can keep track of local storms and protect their homes and businesses.

If your Northeast Florida home is damaged in a hurricane or tropical storm, call SERVPRO of Jacksonville Beach/Ponte Vedra. Our highly-trained restoration technicians have the experience and equipment to restore your Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville Beach, or Ponte Vedra home to its pre-storm condition. A trusted leader in the restoration industry, we’ve served our community for more than 40 years. Call (904) 246-6118 or contact us through our website.