Faq

WATER

How long will it take my property to dry?
How do I know when my property is completely dry?
Will turning up the heat help dry things out?
My wood floors are wet and buckling. Will they have to be replaced?
What about my wet furniture?
Do I need to move out of my property during this process?
What’s that smell?
Does everything need to be moved out during restoration?
My ceilings are wet. What needs to be done?
Should I open the windows to help the drying process?
Can I walk on the area during the drying process?
Can my carpet be restored or will it have to be replaced?
Why does my specialty floor need to be removed?
Why did the technician leave wet carpet on my stairs?
How will you match my carpet pad?
What will you do with my area rug?
Why are air movers and dehumidifiers used?
Who is responsible for monitoring the drying equipment?
What will it cost to run the equipment?
What about sewage contamination?
Who is responsible for paying for the services?

FIRE

How long will the restoration process take?
Can I clean it myself?
What are some safety concerns?
Can I turn on my heating and air conditioning unit?
What items do I keep in my possession?
How do I keep track of non-restorable items?
Do I need to move out of my property during this process?
Do I need general contractors?
Do my belongings need to be moved away from the premises?
Will I have access to my belongings while they are in storage?
What about special items? Artwork, china, heirlooms, etc.
Who is responsible for paying for the service?

WATER

How long will it take my property to dry?
Drying time is determined by a combination of factors including the location, duration and source of water, the types of building materials, the weather conditions and how quickly emergency services begin. Through consistent monitoring and evaluation of the drying process, we can determine when the drying is complete. Your carpet may feel dry to the touch, but padding and sub-floors may still be wet underneath. While there are no rules to determine how long your property will take to dry, we can tell you it may take between three to five days or more, depending on the conditions.

How do I know when my property is completely dry?
Proper testing with our specialized equipment is the correct way to determine if things are completely dry. Touch alone may be a false indicator.

Will turning up the heat help dry things out?
Not necessarily. We will adjust the temperature to its optimum setting for the proper drying conditions. Please do not change the setting or shut off the systems; doing so may prolong the drying process.

My wood floors are wet and buckling. Will they have to be replaced?
Wood flooring must be evaluated during the drying process. We employ specialized drying systems and dehumidifiers which enable us to create an environment where wood floors can dry more efficiently and resume their original shape. Due to the density of hardwood flooring and urethane finishes, drying may take up to three weeks or longer. If you filed a claim, your insurance adjuster will work with you to make the final decision as to whether floors will need to be refinished or replaced.

What about my wet furniture?
The extent of the damage and the construction of the furniture will determine if your furniture can be restored. Your furniture must be dried before damage can be adequately assessed. Non-salvageable furniture will be documented for you and if any items need to be discarded, a customer release form will need to be signed.

Do I need to move out of my property during this process?
If you file an insurance claim, you may receive guidance from your insurance representative. However, this is a decision you must reach on your own. Here are several things to consider. Safety is paramount. Our equipment is as childproof as possible, but we require your supervision for making sure no children play with it. Air movers and dehumidifiers will create some noise and make your property drafty for a few days. It is important that the equipment remains on, so if the noise is disruptive to you, you might want to consider an alternate place to stay.

What’s that smell?
It is not unusual to smell odors during the drying process. Increased heat and humidity can also lead to increased odors that may be coming from the drying building materials, or dormant spill and accident areas. Do not confuse these normal odors for the odor of mold. As the drying process continues and humidity levels drop, you’ll notice these odors disappearing on their own. Deodorizers are often used to minimize effects as well.

Does everything need to be moved out during restoration?
Not usually. If items need to be moved out, we will let you know in advance.

My ceilings are wet. What needs to be done?
Our technicians will evaluate moisture content, determine the severity of the damage and may have to remove some of your ceiling for ventilation. Wet insulation can also be a hazard and may need to be removed.

Should I open the windows to help the drying process?
Opening your windows to assist the drying process is not always recommended. Outside weather conditions may vary, so the technician will determine when and if the outside air is appropriate.

Can I walk on the area during the drying process?
It is strongly suggested that you keep the traffic to a minimum. Wearing shoes is recommended for your safety.

Can my carpet be restored or will it have to be replaced?
A few reasons your carpet may not be salvageable:

  • Delamination (occurs when the backing separates from the carpet fiber)
  • Loss of adhesion (may be caused by prolonged exposure to water or age of the carpet)
  • Permanent stains
  • Carpet covers wood flooring (to salvage the wood flooring)
  • Sewage contamination

Why does my specialty floor need to be removed?
Non-porous flooring can trap water and prevent it from drying properly.

Why did the technician leave wet carpet on my stairs?
Carpet on the stairs is generally not removed for safety reasons. Exposed tack strip or staples, especially on steps is dangerous. However, there are situations where removing carpet from steps is necessary to prevent damage to hardwood steps or in the case of sewage contamination. Removing tack strip is not advised, as this may damage the hardwood or the sub-floor. Extreme caution must be used whenever tack strip is exposed or when the carpeted stairs are damp. If carpet left on the stairs is unsalvageable, it will be removed when new carpet is installed.

How will you match my carpet pad?
A sample of your pad is brought to the office for a match. When available, an identical pad will be used. When your original pad is not available, we will provide a pad of the same quality, thickness and density. A similar pad may differ in color based upon the time it was manufactured.

What will you do with my area rug?
Rugs are taken to our warehouse for special care. They need to be dried carefully to minimize bleeding of colors and discoloration. Your rugs will be dried, cleaned and returned.

Why are air movers and dehumidifiers used?
When water damage has occurred, water can be absorbed into the drywall (sheetrock), baseboards, sub-flooring, and etc. Drying these surfaces requires high-velocity air movers to accelerate the release of absorbed water into the air. Dehumidifiers are necessary for removing this excess moisture to help protect property and create conditions for efficient drying. Please do not turn off or move drying equipment without first calling ServiceMaster Clean®.

Who is responsible for monitoring the drying equipment?
Our water damage mitigation specialists will place and monitor equipment to achieve optimal results in the shortest amount of time. Please make sure no one turns the equipment off or moves it. Please notify our office immediately if the power goes off or if the equipment turns off.

What will it cost to run the equipment?
Based on average electrical rates, it may cost about one dollar per day per piece of drying equipment to operate. Actual rates can vary depending on current rates from your local electricity provider.

What about sewage contamination?
Hard surfaces can be cleaned and sanitized. Affected items that cannot be sanitized require disposal. Porous materials such as drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation, particleboard, paneling, etc. that have been directly affected should be removed during the emergency service visit.

Who is responsible for paying for the services?
Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment. As the property owner you will need to sign a form authorizing the work and payment. If this is an insurance claim, ServiceMaster of Germantown generally collects only the deductible amount and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. If you have a large loss, your mortgage company may be included as a payee on the payment from your insurance company. You may need to obtain a signature from them as well. If your claim is not covered or you decide not to file a claim, you will be expected to pay in full at the time of service.

FIRE

How long will the restoration process take?
Because there are many variables and many services involved in fire and smoke restoration, it is difficult to predict exactly how long the complete restoration will take. Consult with your ServiceMaster of Germantown Restoration Project Manager on the estimated dates and phases of your restoration project.

Can I clean it myself?
We suggest that you do not attempt any “do-it-yourself” cleaning methods without consulting your ServiceMaster of Germantown Restoration Project Manager. Pre-testing, using the right cleaning agent for the particular item, mixing deodorizing agents with cleaning solutions and using correct dilution rates are just some of the ways a fire restoration technician expertly controls the results. Professional cleaning systems and products used by experienced, trained ServiceMaster of Germantown Restoration Technicians give you the best chance for complete restoration of your belongings.

What are some safety concerns?
At ServiceMaster of Germantown, occupant and worker safety is top priority. During the initial inspection, safety hazards are identified and addressed, including debris removal, air quality, electrical hazards, slip and trip hazards, etc. Burnt electrical cords and appliances are separated out for disposal, and questionable electrical appliances are unplugged and tagged for evaluation of safe operation. Electrical power may be turned off and kept off until evaluation by a licensed electrician.

Can I turn on my heating and air conditioning unit?
We recommend that you do not turn on your furnace or air conditioning unit without clearance from the HVAC contractor.

What items do I keep in my possession?

Cash Checkbooks Flammables
Gasoline Cans Medications Personal Documents
Pets Stamp/Coin Collections Valuable Jewelry
Valuable Paintings Weapons/Ammunition Etc.

How do I keep track of non-restorable items?
We recommend you make a list of items (including food items) deemed non-restorable. Use a format like the sample below, or obtain a similar form from your insurance company. Make a copy for your insurance company and keep one for yourself.

Quantity  Item  Year Purchased  Cost 
1 package 4 pc. Frozen Chicken Breast 2012 $8.69
3 Silk Flower Arrangements 1989 $50.00

Do I need to move out of my property during this process?
This is ultimately your decision. Some things you may want to consider are safety concerns, odors, electricity, noise from equipment, etc. If vacating your premises for any length of time, consider the following: forward your mail to your temporary residence; stop newspaper and other deliveries; notify utility company, cable company, etc. of temporary suspension of services.

Do I need general contractors?
There are some items that may require general contractors, such as drywall/painting, electrical, plumbing, and roofing, framing/finish carpentry, flooring/carpet, installation of doors, windows, cabinets, post construction clean up, etc.

Do my belongings need to be moved away from the premises?
Depending on the source, nature and extent of the fire, it may be best to remove all belongings to a secure facility for cleaning, storage and to make room for restoration or construction. ServiceMaster of Germantown will work with you and your insurance claim representative to manage this process.

Will I have access to my belongings while they are in storage?
Yes, with advance notice we can schedule time for a ServiceMaster of Germantown Restoration Technician to meet with you and provide access to your requested items. A service charge may apply.

What about special items? Artwork, china, heirlooms, etc.
Some high value items require restoration by a specialist. Working with your insurance claim representative, we can help you identify these and locate a qualified restorer.

Who is responsible for paying for the service?
Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment and will need to sign a form authorizing payment for the restoration services. If this is an insurance claim, ServiceMaster of Germantown generally collects only the deductible (co-payment) amount from you and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. If you have a large loss, your mortgage company may be included as a payee on the payment from your insurance company, and you may need to obtain a signature from them as well. If your claim is not covered by insurance or you decide not to file a claim, you will be expected to pay in full.