Spring Storms bring Storm Damage
Spring Storms bring Storm Damage
We have had a rather wet and cold winter compared to prior winters in America. Now the winter is fading away and Spring is upon us. Bringing the potential for strong storms, Spring showers indeed create flowers in May but not before they have laid damage on your property from severe storms such as thunder storms and tornadoes.
A severe thunderstorm can create storm damage in ways that are not similar to the damage from a tornado. When your area is going to be hit with severe storms, understand that the straight-line winds are what can cause damage to your home and surrounding structures. Straight-line winds can snap a tree down from the middle of the truck, whereas tornado winds can uproot the tree.
Mitigation of storm damage from Spring storms starts with evaluation. Are there trees that need to be trimmed down? Does your property tend to hold water that stands on the ground surface more than a couple of days? Do you have loose lawn furniture that needs to be strapped to the ground?
Taking the time to analyze whether or not a Spring Storm would damage your property, helps you to file an appropriate claim with your insurance company if your buildings sustain storm damage. The spring gives you plenty of opportunity to be exposed to storms, so take some time and protect your valuables from the plethora of “what ifs”.
Tornado prong locations are normally flat in surface and the cone of a tornado seeks the flatness to fuel its path. You don’t see tornadoes as much on a mountain, for example. Thunderstorms, however, can strike anywhere and do not depend on the surface for fuel. They blow through and after about 10 minutes, they are gone. They leave behind snapped power poles, broken trees and lines and roof damage of every degree.
In the previous blog about storm damage in the commercial setting, we talked about the importance of the plenum space and plenum wiring. The main reason we are discussing this now, is so you can be mindful of the damage that an inner wiring fire can cause to your business building. Whether you own a small barber shop in an old building, or you own a high rise in NYC, the issue of preventing fire damage is of significance.
Fire can pulverize everything it touches. Unlike water damage, fire damage is all consuming and can destroy everything in its path. In the home, fire damage can cause smoke that penetrates all fibrous surfaces. The flames can consume wood and fabric within moments. Wire fires start with ripped coating that cause the electricity to trickle out until the flame connects with the wall insulation and starts the flame process.
Older buildings usually do not have protective coatings that would prevent heat from escaping the wiring so if you are in an older building, have an inspector come out and take a look at the wiring inside of the wall space. If the wiring is old, it may be time to replace it or find a new business location. In newer structures, the wires may be sturdier but still not suitable for prevention of an electric fire in the future.
Fire damage inside of a corporate structure can also cause loss of data. Loss of data was an issue that was part of the 911 discussion on how to protect valuable information. If you keep paper files, you need a fire proof box to store those so your paperwork will not be lost. Many CEOs simply save a copy of their electronic documents in a remote place we call “the cloud”, which is a server somewhere outside of the business.
The best way to reduce loss is to have a professional fire damage specialist ready to assist.
Do you live in a home that is over 100 years old and want to preserve the integrity of the surfaces? Water damage can be detrimental to the life of older homes. Because older homes are constructed from raw materials that probably were not loaded with protectants like new homes, the raw wood provides a surface that absorbs moisture.
Water damage can begin from a leaking roof, through a broken window and even from the ground surface coming up into the floor boards. Water damage to older homes can lead to irreparable damage to the surfaces.
Also, older homes have hard wood flooring that most likely wasn’t treated, thus inviting water to seep into the pours and cause mold. The mold may grow under the floor at the basement level and the only way to know it is there, is to detect it by the odor it emits, or to call a professional water damage team to assist.
Water damage to surfaces can lead to peeling of the paint on the walls, weakening of inner wallboards and damage to adjoining floors, tile and floorboards. Water doesn’t have to rush in to a room to do the damage, it simply needs a little hiding place to start the process of damage. The mere presence of water on any surface leads to the formation of mold. When you see water anywhere inside of your home or in the basement, get help right then because the damage has already started.
Commercial Storm Damage
Commercial Storm Damage
With the new patterns in our weather, starting to waken, it’s time to look at how storm damage can impact the commercial scene. Many commercial buildings can just hold tight during regular storms, take little or no damage when a tornado visits, and control flames with special surfaces designed to be flame resistant. However, a loss in the corporate sector, if one of these elements fails, can mean the business also fails.
Thunder storms can cause windows to break and materials to rip off from the side of the building. The broken window will lead to water damage of the inner computers and electronics. When the electronics are impacted, the business plan is halted until the water is dried.
Hurricanes pose the greatest threat to tall commercial structures because of their ability to rush water into any open surface quickly. This rush of water takes its toll on the office or commercial building almost immediately, shorting out plug outlets and more. You have seen the damage that a hurricane can do to large structures like the skyscrapers in Florida or the damage to smaller buildings. Being prepared for this kind of disaster is often easier said than done.
Here are two things to check for to make sure your commercial structure is protected from the damage of storms, big or small.
- Use Plenum Cable to protect the network in the plenum space. A plenum space is a part of a building that can facilitate air circulation for heating and air conditioning systems, by providing pathways for either heated/conditioned or return airflows, usually at greater than atmospheric pressure. Plenum cable is electrical cable that is laid in the plenum spaces of buildings. In the United States, plastics used in the construction of plenum cable are regulated under the National Fire Protection Association standard NFPA 90A: Standard for the Installation of Air Conditioning and Ventilating Systems. This is required by building codes so just be sure to be up to code with this one issue.
- Have a strategy for insurance claims in the event that your business is hit by a storm or a hurricane. It’s a little crazy to have damage that has not been mitigated within your corporate structure. Take note of your inventory so if your building does sustain damage you are ready with a list of equipment that you may lose if a storm hits your building. Take detailed notes on each piece of equipment within your building as well as the estimated current value. Rain damage can cause wires to short, thus causing a fire. Fire damage can be catastrophic immediately. Prevention is the cure.
Water Damage to Outside Structure
Water Damage to Outside Structure
One of the first things people do when they have sustained water damage to their property us to thoroughly check the main structure, inside and out. However, most property or home owners fail to ever check outside structures such as storage buildings, sheds and barns, for water damage to the structure or interior from leaking or otherwise.
When exposed to water too long, mold can grow. For outside storage buildings water can get into the floor and before you know it, everything inside is ruined. If you are like most people the contents of the storage building are your most valued possessions including furniture, memorabilia or law equipment.
Water damage left unchecked can be total loss for the homeowner. When your home or property has sustained water damage, your out buildings have too. Do these three things if your property has been exposed to water without property mitigation.
- Immediately open the door to the barn or storage building and allow air to flow through. The air will start drying any surfaces immediately.
- Pull lawn equipment out into the sun and blot off any water you see on the equipment. This will save your lawn more or weed trimmer from rust.
- Bring any clothes that you may have stored in backs or tubs, inside and throw them in the dryer immediately to prevent cloth mold which can totally ruin clothes and blankets.
Remember, you need to always be mitigating damage of any kind if you want to protect your valuables from damage from water. This means that you have a plan in place for the variables of water damage and you know when to call help if you need to get the water out fast. Lidded tubs are a good idea but even they can take in water.
Commercial Water Damage can be very costly.
Commercial Water Damage
Your business is the life-blood of your entire life, and when the building gets water damage, the costs can be through the roof to fix. Insurance may or may not pay for the repairs or the replacement of your office equipment. Your business can potential lose valuable information and records when water gets through the walls.
Water can make its way into the corporate building through internal and external openings. For example, you may think of water from storms when you think about how water can damage your office equipment. But, one of the main causes of water damage inside of a corporate structure, is pipes that leak slowly.
When the pipes inside or your corporate structure, become faulty and spring the smallest of a leak, your office can be destroyed in a matter of minutes, once that lead reveals itself. A leaky pipe will send water that starts to soak up and penetrate porous surfaces such as ceiling tile. When the water has saturated the ceiling tile, it will slowly start to cause the white ceiling tile panels to be discolored.
It’s at this time when you know you have water coming from somewhere. Most business owners and homeowners alike, often just look over the discoloration yet know there must be a leak. They will put it off until one day the entire ceiling falls in and an ocean of water follows. The water can just stay where it is in the attack or wherever, slowly forming mold. Once those porous surfaces are totally saturated, the tiles break and water falls.
Tip #1 – If you see brown coloring on a ceiling tile, there is water above that tile. It may just be that rain water came in or it could be that a pipe is leaking from above. Either way, you need to locate the leak.
Tip #2 – Make it a priority to check on the pipes which flow above head, whether it be a bathroom or other area with running water. Just feel the pipes and the surfaces around the pipe for wetness.
Different Types of Storm Damage
Different Types of Storm Damage
Probably the types of damage you would expect from a storm are trees fallen, roofs ripped off or even entire buildings tossed across the community. Tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding all have different degrees of damage they can inflict. Each type of natural disaster can cause many layers of damage to structures, valuables and property.
Sometimes the damage is not seen for months or even years. The damage can go deep into the ground, or up into the tops of trees on your property. Big trees can become uprooted, while small trees can be bent and killed. No matter what type of property you own, home or land, storms can damage it and you will have a financial loss.
An apple farmer for example, depends on his harvest to bring his family income. If a hurricane comes along and damages the tree structure, that is an entire year of income lost. But, if the damage is flooding water, the trees can be killed from the ground level and this farmer doesn’t even know until the next year when no leaves come on the tree, now dead from too much water in the roots.
Another subtle type of storm damage is to the deep parts of the soil where underground streams can be stimulated to become active thus flooding the property and everything on it including a home, outbuilding, dis-attached garage and even vehicles parked on the wet dirt.
When you have just gotten out of a storm, you may look for lightning damage on the roof or walls, but also look for damage elsewhere. The damage to your home from different types of storms can include peeled off shingles, broken roof tiles and trees that split our house in half. Keep abreast of any storms that may be headed your way, and always have a good list of property you own so the damage can be quickly repaired.
Different Types of Storms
Different Types of Storms
One of our concerns is with restoration vs replacement. We believe that something worth saving, is worth protecting and restoring before it is replaced. In recent years, we have seen storm damage to homes and buildings that arise from storm types you may have never encountered.
In 2017, the Hawaiian Islands were it with a blizzard of all things. The weather patterns are shifting and changing with each passing day, and different types of storms are causing unique damage to structures and valuables. Hawaii, for example, is not prone to cold weather of any sort, so freezing temperatures from the blizzard and snow caused tremendous damage to the smaller structures not often exposed to cold temperatures.
Another type of storm which as surfaced over the past decade or so, is a super storm that stops and doesn’t move quickly. The slowness of a traditional thunderstorm can cause as much water damage as form flooding often connected to bigger storms such as hurricanes. When a storm simply stops over your property, a lot of rain can be dropped.
Winter months during weather patterns such as El Nino can bring catastrophic damage to mechanical items such as tractors and lawn mowers. You may have been told to winterize your lawn equipment, but you don’t know what this truly means. When temps drop below zero, the inner workings of machinery can freeze and bust pipes inside. A lawnmower that has not had the gas drained out of it will show you the depth of damage. When the gasoline inside freezes, it swells and as it swells, the machinery starts to pull apart.
So, don’t think that tornadoes, hurricanes and flooding are the only storms that cause damage. Ice and freezing weather can cause damage as well. Remember, any time mother nature gets extreme, it’s time to check over everything.
Mold can grow on surfaces in many locations of your home or business. Whether your property has sustained damage from a storm, leaky pipe or other water emergency, mold can grow. So many people think of mold and panic because of health concerns, although mold is a natural substance that aggressively grows with water moisture and heat combine.
Any time water touches a surface that is remotely porous, it can start to invite mold to grow. When the mold begins to form, it reproduces itself and starts to spread into surrounding surfaces. In the spreading, the property owner now becomes aware that mold may be present.
If you feel like your property may have started to form mold on surfaces untreated, you can start to pay attention to what you smell. Mold has a sharp odor to it that makes you stop and ask yourself what it is that you are smelling. Take note of this smell and start to ask yourself where it may be coming from.
Often mold will start to form underneath a sink on the thin wood that is usually the cabinet floor. Get a flashlight to help you look deeply into the wood to see if there are signs. These signs include discoloration, spots or what looks like ink marks.
Once you have isolated your suspicions of mold growth, it’s time to call a professional. You can treat mold with commercial treatment, but where one mold grows, there is a good chance of more. Mold is not simply something that makes people sick who are sensitive, but it’s a pain to clear and clean. Mitigation is the key to keeping mold away from valuables.
While fire damage can be a total loss to the structure of your home or office, the damage that causes the most anguish is smoke damage. As a fire begins to burn inside of a structure, whether it is from a storm, someone leaving the oven on, or a candle jar busting, fire is fire.
The flames start the first set of damage by charring the surface. With this charring impact, smoke will begin to billow. Always pay attention to things that could cause fire, because fire can start in hiding. Wiring that is faulty can cause an electrical fire thus consuming the structure from inside of the wall. If there is a fire due to faulty wiring, you will often smell a most unique odor that seems to be coming from a vent. Don’t overlook this.
A wire fire will burn inside of the walls with no flame, just heat that starts to melt the wires. Once a flame does appear, you are more that likely to endure serious and total destruction. Smoke damage from a wiring fire causes blankets, clothes and even paper to have a lingering odor long after the fire is put out.
Fire damage has a wide range of potential damage to the structure.
When damage occurs from an ember that shot out of a fireplace, the smoke damage is a bit different. Now you have smoke that is black and thick and will penetrate the pours of almost any cloth surface. So, the fire is out, but the smoke damage remains. The mitigation of smoke damage starts with you calling a professional smoke damage specialist who can come quickly to your home to start the restoration process to your furniture and more.