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Alan Seegrist

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After a Fire: 3 Crucial Keys to Reducing the Cost and Stress of Restoring your Dreams

By | Fire | No Comments


After a Fire: 3 Crucial Keys to reducing the cost and stress of restoring your dreams

The first two will surprise you - and are ignored by most homeowners.

Let’s face it, no one wants to think in detail about what happens if your home burns to the ground, or is seriously damaged by fire and smoke. It feels a little like planning your own funeral. 

But the reality is, as traumatic as a major fire can be, the restoration doesn’t need to add fuel to the emotional fire that often follows. The greatest tragedy is that in far too many cases, homeowners are unaware of three crucial steps they can take now that will help ensure a more complete, smooth and cost effective restoration of the home they love. 

Instead, they suffer through an agonizingly slow and costly restoration process, and often find themselves settling for much less than they had hoped. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Power in Simplicity

Ironically, these three keys are deceptively simple – especially the first two – which take homeowners by surprise because they aren’t directly related to the physical work of cleaning up and restoring a home following a fire. 

Because these two steps are so simple, the majority of homeowners simply ignore them, and end up compromising the outcomes they might have enjoyed when disaster stikes unexpectedly.

Three Crucial Keys

The highest quality restoration requires first understanding exactly what was destroyed in as much detail as possible, and secondly, what financial resources are available to complete the restoration.

This paints a clear picture of restoring back to the original as closely as possible, and provides the option for maximum reasonable reimbursement for items lost in the fire. It also significantly reduces the time, cost and difficulty of working through the insurance process.

Document Your Possessions

The first step is to create a detailed record of all your possessions in as much detail as possible - particularly those of high and unusual value. This should include both a written record and a video record.

With a smart phone (or other video device), make a video record of all your possessions, showing, when possible, the make, model, brand name, style, age, serial number or any other identifying information for each item. You can narrate additional details vocally as you are recording.

A written record or inventory is also important in order to capture detailed information about valuable items such as serial numbers, certificates of authenticity, appraised values, and other identifying information that can help establish condition and value. Remember, those items of special or significant value to you are the ones to most clearly detail within your records.

The completed video and written record should be stored securely where they will be protected from natural disasters. Cloud storage is the most secure. If a hard disk or memory device are used, store them in fire/flood proof containers or in a secure offsite facility.

Match Insurance Coverage to Your Home & Possessions’ Value

While mortgage lenders require insurance coverage for homes they finance, those coverages are often out of sync with actual values, driven by rising costs and inflation over time.

As a homeowner you should consult with your insurance agent every few years to ensure you have adequate coverage in the event of a catastrophic fire or other disaster. The important distinction is coverage for replacement value, not original purchased value. As costs continue to escalate over time, it’s easy to find yourself caught short in attempting to replace today an item that cost much less even a few years ago.

For example, the median cost of a home in Utah has risen from $221,775 in 2011 to over $460,000 in 2021.

Be sure the most valuable items you documented in Key 1 - things like diamonds/jewelry, collectibles, rare wines, or antiques - are detailed specifically in the policy. If your insurance agent balks at assisting you with these details, you may want to look for a more diligent agent.

Work With the Most Experienced Restoration Professionals

If you have the misfortune of requiring fire damage repair, be sure to work with a fire damage restoration expert with specialized skills in fire restoration, Including smoke and soot clean up. This will ensure your restoration is completed professionally and cost effectively, with the lowest cost and emotional impact possible.

A key to effective restoration is a deep understanding of insurance policies and how to work effectively with specific insurance carriers in obtaining the maximum value possible for your lost possessions. This, combined with cost effective project management will help ensure that your home is restored to pre-disaster levels. Carefully check the credentials and track record of any restoration company you select.

This vetting and selection process should be completed in advance as well, so you know who to turn to in a time of trouble. Making a quick restoration company decision under the duress of a recent fire disaster can lead to less that you deserve at the hands of inexperienced or lower skilled restoration companies.

Start Now

Applying these three keys to your financial and insurance planning will help ensure the lowest cost and highest quality outcomes if the unexpected touches your life.

RainFire Restoration is your locally owned and operated fire damage restoration and repair expert with highly experienced, credentialed professionals, deep knowledge of insurance company processes, and  guaranteed service satisfaction.

Fire Danger & Tips

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

What’s Causing Fires Problems in Homes this Winter?

Reports all over the nation warn of increasing stories of fire damage in homes across America.

Local fire departments responded to 1,338,500 fires in 2020. These fires caused 3,500 civilian deaths, 15,200 civilian injuries and $21.9 billion in property damage.

Every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 64 seconds, and a home fire occurs every 89 seconds.

It’s important to understand what causes these fires during the winter and ways to prevent these tragedies from happening in your home.

23
a fire department in the United States responds to a fire
64
a fire occurs in a structure
89
a home fire occurs

Causes of Winter Fire Damage

Winter Storms

Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.

Space Heaters

Similar to candles, space heater fires are also common in the winter months. Most are due to clothing, curtains, or other flammable objects placed far too close to the heater. Be sure to keep flammable objects at least three feet away from space heaters.

Damaged Pipelines

Water expands by about 9 percent when it freezes. When water freezes underground, it causes a condition called frost heave, which is an upward swelling of soil. Frost heaves can damage roads, building foundations, railroad tracks, and, yes, gas pipeline systems. Fires and explosions related to petrochemical pipelines have been responsible for significant injury and loss of life [4]. An investigation of nine fire accidents that occurred between 2004 and 2007 reported that pipeline damage was a major cause of explosions and ruptures, resulting in significant burn injuries and over 600 deaths at the disaster sites. 

The best response is to detect and report the problem.

Are You Prepared for Wildfire Season?

  • Check all your fire alarms and make sure they are in working order.
  • Make a plan of what to salvage and what to rescue if you should experience a home fire.
  • Talk with your family about an escape plan
  • Remove all flammable vegetation around all structures. Contact your local fire department to find out if there is a minimal amount of clearance required. Trim trees so branches are six feet from the ground and 10 feet from your chimney. Remove branches overhanging your roof.

If you have time…
  •  Move patio or deck furniture, cushions, door mats, and potted plants in wooden containers either indoors or as far away from the home, shed, or garage as possible.
  • Close and protect your home’s openings, including attic and basements doors and vents, windows, garage doors, and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home.
  • Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Firefighters have been known to use the hoses to put out fires on rooftops.

Whom to Call for Fire Damage Restoration?

To report a wildfire – CALL 911

For a wildfire in a remote location contact one of the Interagency Fire Centers:

Northern Utah Interagency Fire Center (NUIFC): (801) 495-7611

Richfield Interagency Fire Center (RIFC): (435) 896-8404

Uintah Basin Interagency Fire Center (UBIFC): (435) 789-7021

Moab Interagency Fire Center (MIFC): (435) 259-1850

Southern Utah’s Color Country Fire Center (CCFC): (435) 865-4611

Need to Evacuate? Places You Can Go

firesafemarin.org/prepare-yourself/evacuation-guide/

Evacuation Centers

Temporary Refuge & Assembly Areas

Shelter in Place (Building or Car)

Fire Restoration in Utah

Contact us! RainFire Restoration has restored dozens of homes across Utah from fire and smoke damage. Our team is experienced and ready to help you recover from any type of fire loss. Call us today at (385)233-6862 if you have experienced fire damage in your home.

Useful Stats and References

  1. More than 500 homes (speculated) burnt in wildfires in Colorado. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/31/us/colorado-marshall-fire.html
  2. https://www.self.com/story/house-fire-prevention
  3. In Utah—America’s fastest growing state—two of every five homes (39.4%) face high fire risk. That’s a larger share than any other Western U.S. state analyzed by Redfin. Colorado and Idaho came in second and third place, with 19% and 14.4% of properties at high risk, respectively. Less than 10% of homes in the following states have high risk: Oregon, Nevada, California, Washington and Arizona.https://www.redfin.com/news/wildfire-real-estate-risk-2021/
  4. The majority of Utah, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, remains in extreme drought as of Thursday, and some portions of the state remain potentially ripe for wind-whipped wildfires.
  5. https://www.deseret.com/utah/2021/12/31/22861429/colorado-wildfires-boulder-drought-west-utah-snow-weather-cold-evacuations-forecast-winter-utah
  6. https://www.fractracker.org/2020/02/pipelines-continue-to-catch-fire-and-explode/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7312381/
  8. https://www.energy.gov/ceser/emergency-preparedness/community-guidelines-energy-emergencies/homeowners-respond-natural-gas
  9. https://www.ksl.com/article/25594491/how-to-prepare-for-fire-season

Avoid Frozen and Burst Pipes This Winter

By | Flood | No Comments

You endure a night of sub-zero temperature but the morning after, water isn’t coming out of the faucet. 

Frozen pipes can be a real annoyance.

The cold season is already here, and it’s time you start prepping to prevent pipes from freezing. Because trust us, frozen pipelines can cause a lot more problems than robbing you of your morning bath.

 This article has many simple ideas to prevent frozen pipes. Also, you will find actionable tips to thaw the pipes that are not working after last night’s cold spell. And lastly, we will talk about what to do if your frozen pipes have burst.

Why Are Frozen Pipes A Problem?

Generally, pipes freeze when temperatures are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit for six or more consecutive hours. When pipes freeze, water becomes inaccessible from the affected faucets, and things will remain the same – until the temperature rises again or you thaw the pipe with DIY methods or call a plumber. 

When freezing temperatures persist, pipes run a risk of bursting. If the pressure building up in pipes due to the expansion of liquid water into ice is not released somehow, it can rupture the pipe. And when water circulation eventually gets restored, the room can flood.

At the very least, you will notice the water leaking through the pipe and get it repaired. At worst, the burst might be too small to notice, and your water bills can gradually rise, and you will eventually spot signs of water damage, such as mold growth

If you ever find yourself in the tricky situation of water damage or mold infestation, you can call RainFire Restoration to help you get it fixed.

How To Prevent Pipes From Freezing

1

Let The Faucet Drip

This is the easiest step you can take to delay, if not outright prevent pipes from freezing. A dripping faucet keeps the water moving, preventing it from freezing.

However, if the temperature drops even further, it's inevitable for the water to freeze. In this case, the slightly turned-on faucet will release the pressure and allow the ice to expand axially rather than radially, saving the pipe from bursting.

2

Use Heat Tape

Imagine that you look at the weather forecast and it warns you of an approaching cold snap. You only have a few days to prepare. What do you do?

One great solution is installing heat tape around vulnerable pipes. Heat tape looks like electrical tape and works when plugged into an outlet.

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to set up the heat tape. For maximum effectiveness, install the heat tapes before the temperature plummets. The heat tape maintains a steady temperature, increasing or decreasing its heat power output in response to the ambient temperature.

We strongly advise against doing a rush job. Caution is needed to prevent it from coming into contact with flammable material.

3

Seal Crawl Spaces

Crawl spaces allow the transfer of cold from the environment to the pipes. As such, seal the crawl space with thermal barriers if you anticipate a bitter winter.

Use thermal barriers to encapsulate the crawl space. You can insert foam cuttings in the vents to seal off the space completely.

4

Keep Thermostat Consistent

Acute temperature fluctuations can weaken the pipe's structure. Materials expand in warm temperatures and contract in cold temperatures.

People lower their thermostats in the evenings or while they are out to save energy costs - which is okay. However, turning off the thermostat or setting it too low can cause the pipes to contract and expand frequently. Over time, the pipes lose their integrity due to rapid molecular size fluctuations and give way when they freeze.

If you are going out for several days, leave the heat on.

5

Stop Drafts

Drafts can enter your home through holes and cracks and cause the pipe to freeze. That’s why you should look for cracks, crevices, and cable holes and seal them. As a bonus, you will also bug-proof your house by sealing off those small entryways for cockroaches, flies, mosquitoes, etc.

6

Remove Hose from Faucets

Don't forget the faucets installed outside your home. Disconnect any hoses from the spigot to prevent them from freezing.

Hoses are at a greater risk of freezing, and when they do freeze, they put the pipe to which the faucet is attached at the risk of freezing and bursting.

7

Insulate the Pipes

Look for exposed pipes throughout your house. Check the basement, attic, crawl space, basement, under the cabinet, and add insulation around the exposed pipework.

You can buy pipe insulation at your nearest plumbing store and install it yourself.

Additionally, insulating hot water pipes can save energy costs by keeping water warmer for longer.

How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe and Prevent Bursting

Despite all the precautions, if nature decides to freeze the pipework in your home, your next concern should be to prevent the pipes from bursting. If you find a frozen pipe, turn off the main water supply AND THEN thaw the pipe.

Turning off the main supply will reduce the chances of water damage to your house due to a burst pipe. 

When you suspect a pipe freeze, check for areas where the pipe is exposed to the environment. 

To thaw a pipe, you need a heat source that doesn’t rely on a flame to transfer heat. Fire can damage pipes and heighten the risk of bursting.

You can use a hairdryer, portable space heater, heating pad, or heating tape to warm up the pipe. If none of this is available, you can wrap a cloth or a towel soaked in warm water around the pipe. 

When the pipe thaws, pressure will build inside. Open the faucet to let the pressure escape. 

If none of this works or you can’t locate the frozen pipe, call the plumber.

What to do When a Pipe has Burst

In the worst-case scenario, a pipe can burst, even without you knowing about it. When you see the wall getting damp or the water pooling on the floor, it’s time for action. 

Shut off the main valve and call the plumber. Meanwhile, start drying the place to prevent water damage. 

1

Use Water Pipe Epoxy

Hopefully, you are reading this article before anything unfortunate has occurred. We want to advise you to store some water pipe epoxy so that you don't have to go looking for it in the cold weather when a pipe bursts. You can use it to seal the rupture temporarily until help arrives.

2

Pipe wraps and plumbing repair tapes

Pipe wraps and tape are cheap solutions for fixing a burst pipe temporarily. You can buy them at hardware stores. Wrap them tightly around the pipes, and you are good to go for another day or two in case you have to wait for the plumber.
3

Clamp, wood, and rubber

If the above products are unavailable, you can place a piece of rubber on the rupture, cover it with woodblock, and hold it together with a clamp.

Does Your Insurance Cover Burst Pipes?

Generally, most insurance plans cover the cost of burst pipe repair and water damage restoration. File a claim if the accident was unforeseeable. 

However, if the pipe burst due to negligence, i.e., it was already leaking or deteriorating, the insurance company can deny your claim. 

Some policies cover the damage resulting from a burst pipe, such as damaged furniture, carpet, drywall, paint, etc., and mold growth prevention.

Burst Pipes Cause Water Damage

1

Structural Damage

Water damage from pipes can seep into the walls, floors, and ceilings and weaken their structure. Water damage speeds up the corrosion of metal structures in buildings, damages wooden structures and furniture, and can short electrical circuits. Not to mention the damage it can cause to your valuable property and belongings.
2

Dampness

Pipe leaks behind walls remain inconspicuous until a patch occurs on the wall, or you notice a strange smell lingering in the room 24x7.

Apart from making you feel constantly uncomfortable, damp walls can introduce a graver problem...

3

Mold Growth

Mold spores are ever-present in the air. Water damage, dampness, and mold growth go hand-in-hand. Mold spores can start budding within 24-48 hours of water saturation. It can spread rapidly within the drywall and affect the air quality, triggering allergic reactions in sensitive people.

What to do in case of Extensive Water Damage from Burst Pipes?

Pipe bursts can wreak havoc if the residents spot it too late. A family returning after a long vacation, a pipe burst in an unfrequented basement, or an internal pipe leak… whatever the reason, if you find yourself in knee-deep trouble, shut off the water and then analyze the situation. 

Extricate as many belongings as you can, and dry the place if possible. Contact a water damage restoration company as they can help you contain the damage, restore the value of your property, and prevent mold infestation.  

Rainfire Restoration provides water damage restoration in Utah. We have a 24-hour emergency crew available any day of the week. No matter the extent of water damage, we will help you maneuver through this tricky situation and restore things as quickly as possible. Contact us for water damage restoration. 

 

flood with sandbags

Water Damage Prevention and Mitigation

By | Flood, Mold | No Comments

Water damage at a commercial site can prove to be a major setback for a business. Yet, it’s a problem that is not so rare. It can affect the smallest of salons to the swankiest of business centers. 

It’s impossible to predict a flooding event, yet you can take steps to mitigate the effects of flooding at your business premises.

Water damage comes in various forms, both big and small. Natural events like rain and storms can fill the place with knee-deep water. On the other hand, bad practices of staff and customers can clog drains and introduce complications. 

Whatever the case, here are a few steps that can minimize damage and reduce the chances of water damage at your property.

Preventing Water Damage

Water damage prevention method selection depends on your unique situation. For some businesses, it might be a matter of educating their staff, while for others; a reconstruction project might be required. Here are some tips that can help you prevent water damage in the future.

1. Keep Drainage System Maintained

A drainage system that’s working properly eliminates a lot of hassle. More often than not, water damage is caused by clogged drainage systems. 

You can educate your staff to maintain the drains by teaching these simple practices:

Do Not Sweep Debris Down The Drain

Educate your staff about not sweeping debris, small pieces of litter, torn-off plast ic wrappings, or other waste into the drain. People generally think that their waste en ds straight into the sewer, but that's not the case. Debris gets stuck in the P-trap, and eventually, the accumulated gunk clogs the drain.


Do Not Let the Drains Dry Out

When a drain is out of use, the P-trap water can dry out through evaporation. The gases from the sewer can fill the area with a foul smell. If a drain has been left dormant for a long-time, pour some water into it to prevent sewer gases from filtering back into the building.


Keep Bugs Out of the Drainage

To keep pest problems at bay, clean the drains with drain cleaners once or twice a month. Use drain stoppers or screens to stop the insects from making their way back out of the drain hole. Do not let pests breed into the drain hole because they multiply fast and can infest the entire building.


Schedule Cleaning for Drainage System

Don't wait for a major problem to occur. Schedule a day or two a month to clean all the drains on your property, whether it's dormant or active. It sounds obvious, but the drain is the last place our attention goes to unless it gets clogged and becomes a nuisance. It’s a good idea to get the drains professionally cleaned once every few years, especially if there are a lot of trees around your property, or your building has a lot of footfall.

2. Landscaping

A landscaping project involves reconstructions and repairs in the vicinity of your property to reduce the possibility of flooding. 

Your business premises will be inspected for constructions that can potentially hold water or block it from running down freely. Certain areas of your property can be elevated to direct the flow of water away from your building.

3. Employing Dry Floodproofing Techniques

If your building is in a flood-prone area, you can employ dry floodproofing techniques to protect your property. 

For example, you can use sandbags, and water-absorbent material or plastic sheets to divert the water away from the building. 

You can also use water-tight shields over doors and windows for protection. 

It might not seem like a permanent solution but it’s a fast and effective fix if moving forward with a landscaping project is not an option for you right now.

4. Raise the Electrical and HVAC Systems Above the Base Flood Level

Base Flood Level (BFE) is the elevation at which your property has a one percent chance of flooding, annually. To prevent hazards and electric malfunctions, have all your electric and HVAC systems raised above the BFE.

5. Install a Sump Pump

Sump pumps immediately start pumping out water in case of flooding. These pumps are placed in the lowest part of the building (often the basement). 

They have a float switch that activates them when the water level rises. The sump pump pumps the water at a safe distance from your property. 

Have the sump pump plugged into emergency power in case the power goes off. They work even when fully submerged in water, and thus can be of big help in a flooding event.

6. Get a Professional Inspection

If you have moved into a new building or had new construction done, you might have no idea about the areas in the building that might be prone to flooding. 

A professional inspector can identify construction faults and defects such as damaged spouts, dysfunctional drainage systems, grade sloping towards the building, damaged foundation, and areas where water can accumulate. 

Using this information, you can take preventative measures to protect your property against water damage.

Mitigating Water Damage

1

Identify The Risk

In the case of water damage caused by faulty faucets, or a leaking washing machine, you have less reason to worry.

In case of flooding and drainage overflow, plan your action steps based on the quality of water. If the water is black, chances are it's coming from the sewer and poses a health hazard. Anything that the water touches becomes a health hazard too. Decontamination is necessary in this case.

Make sure to take precautions against electrical hazards before you begin restoration.

Move all the valuables and important documentation out of the building and instruct your staff to vacate if necessary.

2

Don't Wait for the Water to Dry Out by Itself

Water damage is often followed by mold and mildew growth. The longer you let the water stand in the building, the higher the chances of a mold infestation.

Standing water can also decay your furniture, walls, doors, and other belongings beyond repair.

Don't wait for the water to dry out by itself, begin the drying process as soon as possible.

3

Call a Water Damage Restoration Company

A restoration company can assist you with reversing the effects of extensive water damage. If applicable, the restoration company can also help you claim insurance money.

Restoration companies can salvage your belongings and restrict water damage by preventing the water from spreading. If the situation allows, you can operate the business while the restoration goes on in the background.

The speedy restoration will stop the problem from growing further and keep your expenses as low as possible. Soon, your building will be looking as new as ever, and you can resume business.

Harmful Effects of Water Damage:

Water Damage is not only restricted to wet floors and furniture. It can cause other damages such as:

Mold Growth
Stagnant water promotes mold growth. If left unattended for a period, mold growth can infest parts of the building that are not in direct contact with the water. Apart from being an ugly sight for the customers, mold growth can cause other problems such as structural damage, reduced air quality, and musky smell. You might need to hire a mold remediation company to eliminate mold and stop it from reoccurring.

Structural Damage to the Building
Flood and water damage compromises the integrity of the building. Standing water can eventually be absorbed in the foundation and weaken its composition. It also puts wooden furniture, doors, and windows at risk of decaying. Water damage to the roof, walls, and foundation speeds up the aging of the building.

Promotes Pest Growth
Stagnant water is a breeding ground for harmful insects like mosquitoes, drain flies, and cockroaches. These insects can multiply and infest other areas on your property and live rent-free. It can put everyone on your property and nearby at the risk of contracting diseases and allergies.

Can Require Costly Repair
You can avoid paying a hefty fee for water damage restoration by taking preventative measures early on. Often, neglect is the reason behind water damage, and a simple landscaping and repair project can easily fix it.

Electrical Hazard
On large properties, leaks can be too small to be noticed by your staff but can annoy your customers. However, if unattended, leaks in pipes and appliances can create an electrical hazard that can be lethal for your customers and staff. Taking prevention is the best measure against electrical hazards, otherwise, it might be too late before it comes to your attention.

Call us for Water Damage Restoration

Rainfire Restoration offers flooding and water damage restoration services. Our team can reverse the water damage and make things look as good as new.

We have a 24-hour response team to aid you in an emergency and minimize the damage to your property and business. We can also help you recover your belongings and property, and restore its value.

Our team is certified by the IICRC to perform flood and water damage restoration services. Though water damage and flooding is an unfortunate affair, Rainfire Restoration will make things as smooth as possible for you. If you have any queries or want our immediate support, call us now!

The Ugly Secret of Water Damage…. Mold

By | Mold | No Comments

Water damage is catastrophic enough by itself. It can taint the beauty of painted walls, damage structures, and make your house smell damp, and in extreme cases, make you vacate the house.

And if that’s not enough, water damage always brings another inconvenience in its wake – mold growth.

The sight of the furry, ugly-looking growth that gnaws on walls can make even the strongest-willed a little weak in the stomach.

Water Damage and Its Ugly Secrets

You can easily fix a leaking washing machine or a water heater. But what about a flooded basement with furniture and table lamps floating around? 

Causes for water damage come in various forms: Some are apparent, while others are not. However, all of them can damage your property and make a real dent in your bank account.

Benign pipe leakage inside a wall and even condensation from the AC – if left unattended for too long – can soon turn into a breeding ground for mold. And from there, the mold can rampantly spread and feast upon your walls and floor.

Water damage may seem minor on the surface. However, mold infestation is its ugly secret that can worsen things as time passes. 

To minimize water damage, locating and remediating the source of moisture or leakage is the top priority. When doing it yourself, take precautions against electrical hazards.

Mold Growth Needs the Right Conditions - And They are Easy to Fulfill

Mold is a resilient life form. To breed their colony, they only need small amounts of oxygen, humidity, warmth, and organic substance – dead or alive – to feed. 

You might be wondering what the organic material is in your house?

Well, it’s literally everywhere. Examples of organic material include:

  • Dead insects in air ducts
  • Dead skin cells
  • Microscopic organic debris trapped in the wallpaper
  • Wood
  • Paper
  • Pollen seeds stuck to surfaces
  • Organic residue stuck to dust and dirt

Food, warmth, and oxygen are ever-present in your house, so it’s not worth worrying about those factors. Yet, by simply keeping the fourth factor (i.e., humidity) under check, you can curb mold growth.

In the right conditions, mold starts germinating within 24 to 48 hours. In another a week or so, it becomes visible and begins to grow at an exponential rate.

During the early stages of mold growth, you can still scrape it off walls or use mold-killing products to get rid of it. No harm done. 

Severe cases of mold growth occur when you don’t treat mold growth for a couple of weeks. You can see large mold outbreak when:

  • A house is abandoned for months
  • A flooding event happens
  • A homeowner suddenly realizes a strange smell coming from the attic
  • The chimney has not been cleaned for weeks

Indoor Mold Comes in Different Types

Depending on the temperature and humidity, different types of mold can grow indoors. Some species grow on foods, others prefer wet areas like the kitchen sink and bathroom, yet others grow on walls and ceiling in humid conditions. 

Some mold species like Cladosporium, Aureobasidium, Penicillium can induce allergic reactions in homeowners. Other species are harmless to humans but ruin property. The consequences of an infestation can be black and pink spots on the wall, rotting wood, flaky wall paint, etc. Click here to read more about mold types.

Health Issues Caused by Mold

Severe health issues caused by indoor mold growth are rare. However, even if you are an overall healthy person, long-term mold exposure can still cause generic symptoms like runny nose, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, etc. 

People sensitive to mold can experience more adverse effects such as:

  • Allergic asthma
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Wheezing 
  • Coughing
  • Headache 
  • Fever 
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

Mold growth triggers the growth of a host of other bacteria that can furthermore cause conditions such as:

  • Bronchitis
  • Allergic Funal Sinusitis
  • Chronic Rhinosinusitis
  • Allergic Fungal Sinusitis

A study conducted in 2010 found a correlation between dampness and mold and the possibility of contracting respiratory infections and bronchitis in residents. 

Infants and immunocompromised people living in damp environments with mold exposure are at the risk of developing complications like and fungal infections chronic respiratory problems.

Damage Caused to Property

Mold growth significantly depreciates the value of properties. 

It looks gross and can deter guests from visiting you. When people start making excuses to avoid your Saturday evening gatherings, you know those pesky fungi are to be blamed!

More noticeable harms caused by mold growth include:

  • Reduced indoor air quality
  • Peeling paint
  • Blackened walls
  • Cracks in walls
  • Lingering musty smell
  • Decaying wood 
  • Decreased output of HVAC systems
  • Stained walls
  • Soft and weak drywalls

If mold problems are left untreated for too long, this can result in huge expenses for you later down the road.

Remediation

Remediation begins with drying your home and controlling the source of water damage. Care is needed to stop the spores from spreading; otherwise, you may see another outbreak in a different area in another two weeks or so. 

Should you call a professional? That depends on your unique situation. You may be able to deal with mold growth that’s the size of your handkerchief. But can you locate and fix the source of leakage or humidity to prevent mold regrowth? 

The EPA recommends getting professional help if the mold growth is more than 3×3 feet. 

Reasons To Hire Professional Remediation Service

1

Prevent Regrowth

Mold remediation companies like Rainfire Restoration work on numerous projects across the year. Professionals can precisely pinpoint your unique reason behind mold growth and fix it. It could mean fixing leaking pipes and roofs, disposing of mold-affected articles safely, cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces, etc.
2

Restore the Value

It's practically impossible to sell a mold-affected house. The presence of mold indicates underlying issues like leakage in pipes and defects in building material.

Professionals can restore the property or increase its value by fixing those issues and improving the aesthetics of your house.

3

Remediation of HVAC systems

HVAC ducts and vents are heavily prone to mold colonization. If you don't spot it early on, the spores can spread far and wide in your home and breed. Large mold outbreaks can clog the vents and decrease their efficiency.

With the right equipment, professionals can reach the farthest corners, get rid of the mold, and treat the conditions causing the mold in the first place.

4

Training & Equipment

Professionals spend hours learning rules and regulations, mold biology, removal methods, operating equipment, and isolation techniques. They are ready to deal with every possible situation in a cost-effective way.

Professionals can minimize the risk of infection by using PPE kits and reduce environmental damage by adhering to EPA guidelines.

5

Save Time and Money

It might seem counter-intuitive, but hiring professionals can save you a lot of money and headache, especially if there's a large mold outbreak.

On average, minor mold remediations can cost you about $500. When you are paying a professional, you are:

  • Saving money on buying equipment and mold-killing primer
  • Avoiding the risk of a second outbreak
  • Saving professional and personal time
  • Retaining the value of your property
  • Addressing the root of mold problem 

What to Expect during Professional Mold Remediation

Sometimes mold remediation needs only one day. Other times, multiple visits to your home are required. 

The remediation process begins with:

1

Cost Estimation for Insurance Coverage

First, you will need to talk to your agent to understand your insurance coverage. Home insurance doesn't cover certain conditions. So, make sure to clear all confusion about your insurance policy coverage.

Most likely, the homeowner's insurance covers only those mold growths that occur due to a covered peril. Mold growth resulting from neglect isn't covered by insurance. It's another reason that makes a mold-infested house unattractive to buyers.

We will evaluate the mold growth and give you and your insurance company (If they agree to cover the expenses) a remediation cost estimate.

2

Reconstruction


Our professional will begin mold remediation and, in addition to removing the mold, we will repair the damage to your home or business property. We will make your house or business livable again by eliminating odors and other signs of mold infestation.

Our services go beyond mold remediation. We will remodel and rebuild your home according to your preferences to make you fall in love with the new look of your home.
Rainfire Restoration’s team has the training and tools necessary to conduct all types of repairs to your walls, doors, frames, roof, and electrical circuits.

3

Mitigation

To reduce the risk of further damage, we will isolate the mold-infested site and articles to keep your belongings and property safe.

We will also clean and dry your home before beginning to work on mold removal. Moving belongings to another area of your house or a storage unit might be required.

We Will Make Things Easier For You

Mold remediation can disrupt your life, and we are here to minimize that! We are trained and certified in mold removal, and we always strive to deliver a cost-effective and efficient service to our clients. 

If you want a professional to inspect your mold problems, contact us today!

Meth Remediation Drama: The Sequel No One Wants to See

By | Meth | No Comments

3 Keys to Avoiding Bad-Actor Remediation Services

Of the list of dramas to avoid in life, meth contamination should be near the top of your list. Next on the list – or maybe even above it – would be working with the wrong meth remediation company to clean up the mess.

With all the drama surrounding the discovery that your house or property is contaminated, the last thing you need is to compound the problem with a meth remediation company who doesn’t actually resolve the problem, but makes a messy situation even messier. Unfortunately, getting stuck in this predicament is easier than you might think unless you know what to look out for.

A Big Problem - And Growing

Until you’re touched by a meth contamination issue, it’s probably not even on your radar. But when it shows up, it descends with a vengeance, destroying health and relationships, disrupting real estate transactions and values, and draining financial and emotional resources. For more detail on the effects of meth contamination, click here

Unfortunately, your chances of being impacted are higher than most people today realize. And the incidence is growing. The Utah Department of Health reports that the number of meth contaminated properties rose 19% last year over previous years. Home inspectors estimate that approximately 10-25% of homes they inspect are contaminated. And in Utah, a contaminated property cannot be sold or rented until it has been remediated by a certified provider.

Choosing the right remediation company is crucially important in order to avoid adding more stress to an already stressful situation.

3 Keys to Avoiding Bad-Actor Remediation Services

These three keys will help eliminate unqualified companies from your list who could potentially become bad actors in your meth cleanup drama.

Key #1: Use Only a State-Certified Remediation Company

Only companies registered and certified with the State of Utah are approved to provide meth remediation services. Many others claim to know how to provide these services, but haven’t been trained and certified in this specialized, hazardous work. 

If you work with anyone else, not only do you risk the job not being done correctly and endangering the health and safety of occupants for many years into the future, but at the end of the work your property won’t be cleared by the state for sale or occupancy, causing further delays and expense.

Before you hire a remediation company, check the state register and ensure they are listed as a certified provider. Click here to view the register 

Key #2: Insist on Multiple Certified Tests

Reliable testing is the only way to first assess the extent and location of the meth contamination, and then certify that it has been adequately remediated upon completion of the work.

Ensure the company you work with follows these protocols:

  • Multiple initial tests. Some companies try to shave costs by skimping on tests, possibly missing harder to detect concentrations of contamination.
  • Certified testing. For highest reliability, tests should be evaluated by a certified independent laboratory. Again, cut-rate testing can be a shortcut to disaster.
  • ‘Test Until Clear’ Final Testing. To ensure all hazards have been remediated, your company must conduct multiple tests at the conclusion of the clean up to certify that the contamination levels are below legal limits. These additional tests should be included in the contract at no additional cost. Get it in writing!

Key #3: ‘Work Until Clear’ Guarantee

Not only must your provider test until results are below legal limits, but they must perform additional remediation in the case of above-limit results in order to bring the levels down to acceptable levels. Get in writing in the contract that the company will perform additional remediation required at no additional cost. This is crucial to avoid ‘over-a-barrel’ drama at the end of a job when unscrupulous companies might try to stick you with additional charges.*

*Note that reputable companies will require the exposed areas of the property be locked out and not recontaminated during the remediation and final testing process. This is a reasonable request that must be respected and certified by the property owner.

Do Your Homework, Sleep Better at Night

Finding the right meth remediation company to handle a contamination issue may take a little more work up front, but you will sleep better at night knowing things will quickly be getting better, not progressively worse at the hands of unqualified or unethical providers. 

Better to sleep through a bad late night sequel than to be living the real-life drama of a botched meth cleanup!

Following these three keys can help, and working with an experienced, certified and professional meth remediation company like RainFire Restoration will make all the difference in the world. Their RF METHOD remediation protocol meets all state regulations and sets the standard for the qualifications outlined in the three keys. Click here for details. 

7 Questions to Ask Meth Companies

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Meth Testing and Cleanup Done Right? Ask These 7 Questions Before You Hire a Meth Remediation Company

Meth testing, remediation and cleanup is serious business. Contaminated homes and buildings pose a dangerous health hazard for anyone entering, even years after the incident. 

You can’t afford to trust meth testing and cleanup to just anyone. If done improperly, the effects of meth contamination will continue to  threaten the health of people who are innocently exposed to a problem that wasn’t properly mitigated up front.

Who Do You Trust?

So, how do you know if you are dealing with a reputable meth remediation company? By all means, check references and reviews. But more importantly, before you make a final decision, ask these seven key questions. A solid ‘yes’ answer to each question will help identify a company with the credentials, knowledge and experience to make sure your cleanup is done right.

The 7 Key Questions

1

Do you perform multiple initial assessment tests to pinpoint areas of greatest exposure?

RainFire’s answer - Yes! The first step of decontamination is to determine the levels of contamination and the areas of the home that are affected by contamination. Our state certified decontamination specialist will take an initial single sample or multiple composite samples which will be analyzed in a lab for contamination levels.
2

Do you both remove and clean meth from the site as needed?

RainFire’s Answer: Yes. We use several different steps to remediate meth. The first is gross removal, meaning that items may be properly removed and discarded. The second step is to preclean/ deep clean the property with combined surfactant and peroxides. This process helps to actually bubble out contaminants from some of the contaminated sources. The process continues with other cleaning techniques until we obtain a clearance test result.
3

Do you perform a certified test after completion to ensure remediation was effectively accomplished?

Rainfire's Answer: Yes! Following remediation treatments, we perform certified testing to ensure your home is within the state decontamination standards. A full report is provided, showing testing results.
4

Do you guarantee your work?

Rainfire's Answer: Yes! We will stay on the job and continue remediation until the follow-up certified tests are clear, at no additional cost.*
5

Is your company licensed, bonded and insured?

a) Yes! Must be yes to all three.
RainFire's answer: RainFire is a licensed restoration company. We are also bonded and insured to ensure your peace of mind for any work we do on your properties.
6

Is your company approved and included on the State of Utah certified meth remediation contractor list?

RainFire's answer: Yes! RainFire is registered with the state of Utah as a certified meth remediation provider. Only companies registered and certified with the State of Utah are approved to provide meth remediation services.
7

Do you provide a report that details what has been cleaned and decontaminated, including items that have been replaced?


Yes! RainFire Restoration delivers a report in writing following the decontamination process. It includes descriptions of:
The property: address, owner, buildings present.
Manufacturing method and any chemicals present.
Contamination, including photo documentation.
Sampling methods and results (before and after).
Decontamination process.
Safety procedures implemented.
Where and how contaminated objects were disposed of.
Where and how waste water was disposed of.
Certifications/qualifications of involved persons.
Signature of supervisor.

If the company you are interviewing answers ‘no’ to any of these questions, or is vague in their responses, you would be well advised to keep looking.

Hire The Best

Make sure your meth testing and remediation is done right by experienced professionals. Your health and the value of your property depend on it.

RainFire Restoration RF Method™ Meth Testing and Mitigation

RainFire Restoration is a solid seven ‘Yes’ company with years of experience in the restoration business. We use only the finest materials in our meth remediation projects, and guarantee our work by following a proven method for delivering the best results. Contact us today for a free quote.

*Provided the property is locked out and not recontaminated during the remediation process.

Utah’s ‘Triple Witching’ Real Estate Dilemma

By | Meth | No Comments

Utah's 'Triple Witching' Real Estate Dilemma: Record High Home Prices; Record Low Mortgage Interest Rates; Record High Meth Contamination

If you own or are buying real estate in Utah in 2021, you are experiencing an unprecedented ‘triple witching’ style piece of history never before seen in the region: Record high home prices, record low mortgage interest rates, and record high meth contamination rates.

Record High Home Prices

Low mortgage interest rates, historic low underdevelopment, and strong economic growth over the past decade have pushed the demand for housing to record levels. According to The Utah Board of Realtors, Utah’s housing market is on fire,  with projections that prices could rise by 8 to 10 percent by year’s end. This is despite the fact that the median price of a single-family home in Salt Lake County climbed to another historic high of more than $535,000 in May. 

 

1

A “Housing Heat Index” from Bankrate.com put Utah #1 for the strongest Housing economy in 2020’s fourth quarter.

Record Low Interest Rates

As of this writing, mortgage interest rates remain at historic low levels that have persisted for a time period well beyond what most experts predicted. While government policy has had a major influence on keeping rates low, many experts are still puzzled at the length of this low interest rate cycle. A New York Times article published late last year reported that, “Economists don’t entirely know why rates have been so low for so long..”1

Only a few months ago CNBC reported that the Fed was signaling its intent to keep interest rates low to help stimulate the recovery from Covid-19, and suggested, “That means many Americans could refinance debt to save money.”2

Record High Meth Contamination

Meth usage and resulting property contamination have risen in lockstep with home prices in the blazing hot Utah real estate market over the past several years. Partly driven by the expanded housing market, the situation was worsened by the COVID-19 lockdown which put many people out of work and disrupted lives. This created a spike in reported anxiety, depression, drug usage and suicide incidents.  

The Utah Department of Health reports that the number of meth contaminated properties rose 19% last year over previous years. Home inspectors estimate that approximately 10-25% of homes they inspect are contaminated.

The Problem with Meth

Meth smoked in a single room can contaminate the entire house through the HVAC system, creating a health hazard for everyone. And it’s not just a meth lab issue – although those are the worst cases. Recreational use in a space can quickly contaminate a house to unhealthy levels.

Unfortunately, this type of contamination doesn’t get better with time. The half life of meth is extremely long, meaning that a contaminated property will stay that way for years or even decades unless properly remediated. And in Utah, a contaminated property cannot be sold or rented until it has been remediated by a certified provider.

What to Do? Start with a Certified Test

If you suspect meth contamination in your home, get it tested right away. The health exposure is significant, even weeks or months after an incident. Even if you aren’t aware of specific meth contamination in your home or property, in this market it’s best to have it tested, especially before you buy or sell. Many people have been surprised to find contamination in a property they are considering, and have seen hopeful real estate transactions derailed because of a contamination discovery.

Meth testing is reasonably priced, and when completed by a certified provider through a state certified laboratory, is highly reliable. A single test can highlight a potential problem, and additional testing can be added to verify the extent of contamination. Multi-test discounts are available that make the cost of testing even more affordable.

Don't Leave it to Chance

Meth is a potent toxin with both health and economic impacts. If there’s any doubt, get the test. Call a Utah certified meth remediation company like RainFire Restoration and order the RF Method testing so you can buy, sell and rent with full confidence.

Make Triple Witching Work for You

This is a great time to be in the real estate market in Utah. By eliminating one of the ‘witches’ – meth contamination – you can take full advantage of record low interest rates and continued escalating home prices.

About RainFire Restoration and RF Method

RF Method is the  most effective, professional and affordable comprehensive METH testing and remediation available. We are certified and licensed for meth remediation in the State of Utah. Click here for more information, or call us at 385-336-7246 for a free estimate.

Meth Testing and Meth Cleanup: DIY Dangers

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

The stress of COVID-19 shutdowns and distancing put a significant strain not only on businesses, paychecks and careers, but on the mental and emotional health of many people worldwide.

The drug testing company Millennium Health reported that the use of methamphetamine and fentanyl increased significantly after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in March 2020. The adjusted positivity rate of urine drug screens was up 29% for methamphetamine during the first 9 months of the pandemic compared with the same period in 2019, according to the report.

29
rise in positive drug screens

That’s bad news, particularly if you are planning to buy, sell or rent a home or apartment. Utah law requires that sellers disclose if they know that the property is currently contaminated from the storage, production or use of methamphetamine. But without a proper meth test, they may not be aware of contamination that would require meth cleanup. And a buyer may get stuck with a significant health risk.

DIY Dangers: Incomplete Meth Testing Data

To answer the question, “Is my house contaminated with meth?” A seller or buyer may turn to testing kits sold online that you can set up yourself. The problem is, many of these tests don’t provide enough information for you to make a decision about whether your property is above the legal limit and requires meth remediation.

In Utah, the threshold is 1 part per million of meth to be considered legally contaminated. Most online or store-bought tests can only tell you if meth is present. They don’t have the sensitivity to detect the amount of contamination. This is crucial, as it will determine if your property is considered legally contaminated, and if so, how much meth remediation is required to bring it back below the legal limit.

Call the Experts

This is a situation where it pays to call the experts. A certified meth remediation company will conduct testing that reveals the extent of contamination, and can actually pinpoint the source and concentration of meth contamination by conducting multiple tests at different points in the property. This is important, as it allows them to focus their meth remediation efforts on those areas that require the most attention, and save the time and money of cleaning areas that are under the threshold.

More Economical Than You May Think

The best meth remediation companies provide professional, certified testing at very reasonable costs. Companies like RainFire Restoration offer meth testing packages that include multiple tests at discounted prices to ensure thorough and reliable results.

While it may be more than the online DIY test kit, the results will be certified and accurate, ensuring that you don’t run into costly legal or health issues down the road.

Additionally, if your property does require remediation, you will have the peace of mind of knowing you are working with a certified professional company that will make things right. It’s important to note that in Utah, remediation may only be completed by companies certified by the state. Check your company’s credentials before starting a cleanup project with them.

Peace of Mind

COVID-19 has been enough stress for most of us. Don’t add to it by skimping on DIY meth testing kits that will only get you partway to a meth-free solution for your home or property.

water problems

Flood in the Kitchen! Now What?

By | Flood | No Comments

These 3 steps will save you time and money

Most of us never think of dealing with water problems in the house (other than the dog running inside and shaking off after getting hosed down). Until the day you step onto what has always been a stable, dry floor and you hear that sickening ‘squish’ and feel the cold trickle leaking into your shoes. It’s a heart-stopping experience.

You’re in a disaster. So, what do you do? There’s no 911 for a broken pipe in the kitchen or leaking fridge line or toilet.

That first call is the most crucial to getting things resolved right.  And the wrong call can add distress to disaster.

Ask Mark & Cynthia Dayton, homeowners in Orem, UT. Mark recently walked into his kitchen one morning for a drink of water. But the water wasn’t where he expected it.

I stepped onto the kitchen floor and nearly lost my balance,” he recalls. “The hardwood floor was so warped and buckled, it was like walking on rough cobblestones.” Water from a faulty reverse osmosis system had leaked under the floor (and into the basement), buckling the floor, damaging the cabinets, and creating havoc downstairs.

His call to the insurance company resulted in a disaster cleanup stopgap that stopped the leak, but left them wondering what to do next. “I talked to the insurance company, and they offered me a quick settlement to make the repairs,” said Mark. “It turned out this original offer was 1/10th of the eventual cost of the restoration.”

Fortunately for the Daytons, they contacted RainFire Restoration, and the whole picture changed. “They are experts in restoration, and especially dealing with insurance companies,” Mark said. “Their thorough, persistent interaction with the insurance company secured 10 times the original amount, and resulted in rebuilding the kitchen of my wife’s dreams.”

Dayton’s Flood Experience

Call the Experts First

In retrospect, the Daytons would have had a much happier experience following this simple checklist:

  1. Get the water stopped. Turn off the valve to the faucet or source of the leak. (Find out now where the main water shutoff is in your house so you can shut it off quickly in case of an emergency).
  2. Call a reputable flood restoration company. This is the crucial next step. As the Daytons pointed out, companies with extensive insurance-interface experience can save thousands of dollars and days (or months in the Dayton’s case) of headaches. They can also advise you on how best to interact with your insurance carrier in filing a claim.
  3. Consider all your options. A good restoration company will help you explore the best way to restore your home. This may include putting it back the way it was, but could include changes or additions that make for an even better outcome – all within your time and budget constraints.

“RainFire Restoration was a god-send for us,” said Mark. “They were responsive, professional, and handled all the details of working with subcontractors, specialists and insurance adjusters, so we could focus on getting our lives back to normal.”

“RainFire Restoration was a god-send for us”

Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with an unplanned flood in your home. But knowing where the water shutoff is, and having a reputable restoration company’s information in your contacts will at least answer the question, “What do I do now?”

Why not put Rainfire Restoration in your contacts right now? (385) 336-7246.

You’ll be glad you did.