Recently SERVPRO of Laguna Beach/Dana Point responded to a water damage caused by a plumber working on a separate area of the building. The building was a multiunit apartment complex. This plumber was fixing a pipe that had burst in the slab. They had rerouted the line through the walls and had just turned the water back on, when disaster struck. Immediately after he turned the water back on a supply line under the kitchen sink burst, causing it to flood the upstairs apartment and cascaded down into the two apartments below.
The plumber, who also performs water damage restoration, tried to send their crews out and bill the owners insurance company. However, when the claim was reported SERVPRO of Laguna Beach/Dana Point was dispatched immediately. The restoration crew that the plumber had sent out was not capable of performing the job correctly. They gave no consideration to possible asbestos testing or abatement being needed. In addition, they did not have the correct tools to properly diagnose the extent of the water damage. They simply wanted to cut out all the dry wall in the entire unit and set up lots of equipment to dry the framing. Doing so would have displaced the families in all three affected apartments.
SERVPRO of Laguna Beach/Dana Point was able to help avoid an even larger disaster. We were able to dry most of the affected areas in place as well as prevented the families in the apartments from having to be moved out. This saved the insurance company and the building owner THOUSANDS of dollars in unnecessary expenses. Every day we see plumbing companies trying to start a division which does water damage restoration. Most of these companies do not have the first clue as to how to properly dry down a structure, minimize damage and prevent any further environmental exposures. They seem to think that all you have to do is set up air movers and dehumidifiers and bill the insurance company large amounts of money. So the next time you have a slide of water damage in your building, call the people who know how to get the job done right the first time and don’t have dollar signs in their eyes.
Call today at 949-831-6201 or contact us online here.
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SERVPRO of Laguna Beach just finished a water damage in Laguna Niguel at the Phillips residence. This is the 8th time this family has had a water leak caused by a pinhole in a copper pipe. If you live in south Orange County you are probably all to familiar with this scenario. Even if your fortunate enough to have not had this happen to you, someone you probably know, a friend, a neighbor or colleague has had a pin hole leak in their home. These little leaks that often go unnoticed have caused millions in damages to home owners in the South Orange County area. So much damage in fact that homeowners, homeowners associations and builders have sued the water district in an effort to re-coupe their losses. They alleged that the water district knew about the corrosive nature of the chloramines used to disinfect the water. In 2015 a just tossed out the class action lawsuit. “The judge ruled that the districts can’t be sued because they’re following state and federal standards for safe drinking water” (Refer to this article
To add insult to injury, homeowners insurance companies are choosing not to insure homes that have had multiple water leaks. Labeling these homes as high risk, even non-renewing current policy holders. If they do insure these homes they are excluding water damage on the policy for the first 5 years and sometimes requiring proof that a re-pipe or epoxy coating of the copper pipes has been completed. In addition the cost of insuring these homes has gone up. According to some insurance agents 5 times the normal premiums. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, even the real estate market is feeling the strain. The added expense of insuring a high risk home has caused many buyers to walk away from a purchase.
So what’s the solution? Be an the look out! Performing a weekly or bi-weekly walk thru of your home can help you to catch leaks before they cause to much damage. Be sure to look in those hard to see closets and walk behind the sofa and furniture. Look for bubbling of the paint above the baseboard line. Or discoloration to the flooring or walls. If you think that you may have suffered a pin hole leak in your home call SERVPRO right away for a free inspection. Turn off the water to your home when on vacation or even when your not home during the day. If you have had multiple leaks look into getting your home re-piped or epoxy coated to prevent future pin hole leaks.
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Tim of Laguna Beach was recently away one weekend on a Golf Tournament. He and his wife returned home relaxed and happy from a weekend well spent. Unfortunately, they returned home to a very bad slab leak that took over their entire downstairs home. Hallway from the front door that lead to their living room, kitchen and downstairs bathroom and one downstairs bedroom was all wet. The carpet in the living room was still squishy with water and the hardwood flooring in the hallway and kitchen had already begun to buckle and warp. This clearly wasn’t the ending either wanted from their fun weekend, but thankfully Tim had a strong idea of what to do. He instructed his wife to get in touch with SERVPRO as he set to work to help contain the damage.
Below are the great things Tim did to help keep his home from further damage:
- He shut off the water to his home since he wasn’t aware of where the water was coming from at first.
- He turned off the circuit breakers to avoid possible electrical shock throughout the home.
- He started to remove as much excess water as he could from the carpet with towels and sheets. Removing some of this excess moisture before we get there would help from the water spreading to furniture that is resting on the carpet.
- He wiped down the hardwood flooring area and opened doors and windows to get a natural ventilation to the house for airflow.
- He lifted his long curtains in his living room off the ground to help avoid those soaking up water from the carpet and possibly ruining his curtains.
- He also called a plumber to come straight away and figure out exactly what is was that caused all the damage.
Now, even though Tim did all these great things, there were a few more he could have done to better save himself from damage. Unfortunately, he didn’t place anything between his carpet and furniture, so when we came to the site, we immediately had to take couches and tables out of the house to be restored off site. The water had crept up the legs of the tables and into part of the fabric of the couches. Thankfully, we were able to restore these items like it never even happened.
Next, Tim should have lifted any wires off the ground once the electrical was turned off. Things like computer towers on the ground, power cords and lamp wires or TV cords were still on the ground, and those things, once the power is turned off, should also be lifted off ground to avoid further damage.
Upon getting to his home we were able to see he did a great number of things right that benefited both himself from further damage as well as us in being able to aid him faster. His home had to be redone with flooring and a few furniture items restored, but things could have been a lot worse if he had come home later, didn’t do half of what he did, or worse, if he had never called SERVPRO. Our response time was within two hours from initial contact and the work to dry, repair and refurbish some of his furniture took less than a month. He was able to file his claim, get his home back to normal and rest easy upon his next Golf Tournament.
Top 5 reasons a water damage claims are denied.
The following is a list of the most common causes for denial that we encounter here in southern california. 1
. Long term damage.
Most homeowners policies will cover a sudden and accidental escape of water. This can be caused by a pin hole leak in a pipe. A sink or toilet that over flows due to a stoppage in the drain or bowl. A toilet supply hose that bursts. Hot water heater that bursts. Cast iron or ABS drain line crack and other similar sudden accidental escapes of water. However, most people do not know that a small drip under the dishwasher or a leaking angle stop valve that causes damage over a long period of time is not covered by most homeowners insurance policies. These types of leaks are the most damaging because they go unnoticed for long periods of time until suddenly someone notices a musty odor, or some mold like staining. At which point its to late. The damage has been done and there is no insurance coverage. This type of denial happens more often than any of the others combined. So make it a regular routine to check those angle stops and supply lines for leaks, drips or corrosion of the pipes. After all an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! 2. Late reporting.
This goes hand in hand with long-term damage. The longer you wait to turn in a claim the more the water is eating away at the building materials and finishes of your home. Most insurance policies require that a homeowner mitigate (fancy word for try to minimize) their damages. Which means if you have wet flooring or cabinetry and decide to just wipe up the water that you can see with a towel and assume everything will be fine you may lose out on potential coverage. Water Damage can cause mold growth, wood rot and other microbial amplification. Some of the additional policy coverage for mold and bacteria amplification could no longer be available to you if you decide to wait! 3
. Ground or Rising water.
Typically homeowners insurance does not cover flooding or ground water issues. Flooding would be caused by water outside the home steadily rising until it reaches a level high enough to enter your home. This may be caused by heavy rain fall, improper drainage or ground water issues such as a spring under the home or a neighbors over watering. Sometimes leaves get lodged in the drainage system during the fall then the heavy rains cause the water to back up into areas it shouldn’t. 4
. Construction Defects.
Your homeowners insurance may not cover the shoddy work performed by your discount handyman. Often time in an effort to save costs on showers, plumbing fixture installations, roofing and other problems. Homeowners may select to use a handyman or a friend of the family. Everything may appear fine and even look great until you find out its leaking water or wasn’t constructed properly in the first place. This can be a difficult situation. Always use licensed, insured and bonded contractors to perform work on your home. If you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur. 5. No resulting damage.
This sound silly right? Why would anyone report a water damage claim if they didn’t have any damage in the first place? Here in California majority of homes are a slab on grade type construction. Which means the ground (dirt) is graded, the plumbing is laid in the ground and then a concrete slab is laid right over the top of the grading (generally speaking). One of those pipes may spring a leak under the home causing water to escape under the home. Sometimes these are detected by the homeowner or occupant because of loss of water pressure or a hissing noise coming from the wall or floor. Sometimes the occupant may notice hot flooring or tile, in the case of a hot water pipe leak. The water however just dissipates into the ground, not affecting any of the building materials. When the homeowner finds out how much it is going to cost to reroute the under ground plumbing, or even jack hammer into the flooring and concrete to access and fix the leak, a call is made to the insurance company to cover those cost. In certain situations those costs may be covered. However, in order for those costs to be covered resulting damage must have occurred. What does this mean? It means that the water that escaped must have affected one or more of the building materials. (i.e. Flooring, Drywall, Framing, Cabinetry, baseboard etc.) If none of those materials are affected, then the claim may be denied. If you have any questions regarding these situation or would like and estimate for the cost of restoring you water damaged home please do not hesitate to contact SERVPRO of Laguna Beach / Dana Point / Aliso Viejo / Anaheim West for a free consultation. ServproLagunaBeach.com ServproDanaPoint.com ServproAnaheimWest.com