6 Ways to Save Money After a Fire or Flood

Charlotte restoration services for hardwood floors damaged by flood or water damage

6 Ways to Save Money After a Fire or Flood

If you’ve recently suffered a fire or flood, the first 72 hours after the accident are the most crucial. Take the following steps to protect yourself, your belongings and your checkbook.

1. Assess the level of damage.

Is the damage limited to a small area or is the damage extensive? Are we talking about a small patch of water on your kitchen hardwood floor under the dishwasher, or did water come in through the ceiling and soaked the cupboards, walls and flooring? Did your entire lower level flood, or is the damaged contained to a small room or area? Make sure you don’t miss any hidden damaged areas. Look for the damage; don’t ignore it.

2. Assess the type of damage.

Are you dealing with damage from a clean water source, such as a leaking refrigerator hose or an overflowing washing machine? Are there possible contaminants or dangerous chemicals involved, or is it a pure, potable drinking water? If you are recovering from a fire, the foam used to extinguish the flames (either from a home fire extinguisher or the fire department) may leave behind chemicals in addition to the damage caused by smoke, flames and water.

Is the source of damage unclean water? In the case of a flood, you may not know what was in the water that flooded your home, and chances are there are all kinds of contaminants, sewage and bacteria left behind. Damage from a sewage back up is undoubtedly overflowing with dangerous contaminants.

3. Remove the most precious possessions immediately.

Wearing protective gear, rubber gloves, and a mask, remove the most precious items you can reasonably and safely access.

4. Document the damage.

Take pictures and video. Start a spreadsheet listing damaged areas and items. Some or and potentially all of the damage may be covered by insurance, depending on the coverage policy you have and the circumstances.

5. Contact your insurance company and start filing procedures.

You will have to ask questions to make sure you have done all the expected actions and taken the right steps to get the process going. Pay attention to details and ask questions.

Do not expect a restoration services company to handle insurance for you. Every insurance company handles things differently, and you want to make sure to get it right with your insurance company.

6. Hire a professional restoration company to dry and decontaminate your property ASAP.

You may be tempted to cut corners and try to get away with a few fans and dehumidifiers, but you really do not want to attempt to restore your property on your own. Here’s why investing in a professional restoration services will save you money even if at first glance it feels like it might cost more.

Let’s assume a section of your kitchen hardwood floors was damaged when your dishwasher hose broken. The damage is limited to a small area, right? Only a section of your hardwoods was and cabinets were damaged.

For the sake of resale value, you will be expected to restore or replace all of the hardwoods on that level and all of the cabinets in that room. That is a hefty expense, especially if your DIY drying efforts don’t work. By the time you realize your efforts aren’t good enough to get results, you’ll be past the 72-hour window of time in which you really need to dry a flooded area in order to be able to restore the original materials. Of course, that window of time varies by materials affected, length of time the materials were submerged, and depth of damage, but in any case, it’s safe to say you need to get the area dry in the first 72 hours if you want to minimize damage.

How Can a Professional Help?

Let’s revisit the example of the hardwood floor. A professional damage restoration service company will dry out the hardwoods completely, using in-place drying techniques. In-place drying involves high heat and professional fans and dehumidifiers that will get the moisture level to 2%, which is below the industry standard of 4%.

The hardwood floors won’t look perfect, and they may still need to be refinished. However, you most likely will not need to replace them, which is far, far more expensive to do than refinishing.

Home Advisor tells us that it costs, on average, between $1,072 and $2,377 to refinish 300 square feet of hardwood floors. Likewise, Home Advisor estimates that is costs, again on average, between $2,500 to $6,723 to replace the same hardwood floors. As you can see, the investment in a professional restoration services company is worth it, especially since they also will decontaminate the area and deal with residual odors and bacteria.

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Article Summary

Quick question & answer: What’s the best way to save money after a fire or flood?

You can save money after a fire or flood by taking precautions to protect yourself, your belongings, and your finances. After assessing the level of damage, take the following steps:

  • Assess the type of damage
  • Remove important possessions immediately
  • Document the damage
  • Contact your insurance to start filing procedures
  • Hire a professional restoration company to dry and decontaminate your property

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