Recent Water Damage Posts

The Danger Slow Leaks Present to your Missoula Home

7/2/2020 (Permalink)

bubbled plaster due to long-term water damage Long-term water damage can lead to warped walls, discoloration, and mold.

Water damage caused by a long-term leak or other source of moisture accumulation over time is scary for homeowners for multiple reasons. In many cases, homeowners have no idea a leak is there, but because insurance is meant to cover sudden and accidental damage, claims for long-term water losses are often denied. Long-term water damage also regularly leads to secondary damages like mold.

As a homeowner, the best way to deal with long-term water damage is to prevent it. Like any other part of your home, pipes experience wear and tear, and regular maintenance and periodic replacements may be necessary to keep things running smoothly. Scheduling an annual or bi-annual plumbing inspection can help you figure out if any repairs are necessary. For instance, a plumber can check to see if your water pressure is too high or if your water has a high mineral content—both of which can stress your pipes and reduce their lifespan—and recommend an appropriate fix. 

If an out-of-sight leak does occur, how can you know? There are a few common signs to watch out for: your water bill is significantly higher than usual; decreased water pressure in your home; wet spots around sinks, toilets, or tubs; warped, discolored, or wet walls; a persistent mildew smell. If you can see or smell signs of water damage in your home, or if your plumber discovers a long-term leak, call SERVPRO of Missoula as soon as possible. Our technicians can be onsite within the hour to begin mitigating the damage. If insurance coverage is a concern, we also provide free estimates so you know exactly what to expect before any work begins.

SERVPRO of Missoula says “don’t cry over spilled water”

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

White man fixing a pipe through a torn-up wall Mopping up the mess is what SERVPRO of Missoula means to do

Slow-to-appear hidden drips, burst pipes, and torrential storms are common sources of water damage in Missoula. Sudden bursts of water may not last long, but the damage can be eternal. That’s why SERVPRO® of Missoula usually arrives at the site of an emergency within 60 minutes – faster than the industry standard – so it can prevent expensive water damage.

Call SERVPRO of Missoula whenever there is a water emergency. We have 24-hour service, 365 days/year. Our number is (406) 327-9500. 

Restoration of water damage starts with the phone call. Your information helps us know how many technicians to send, which specialties are necessary, and what kinds of equipment are likely to be needed.

When SERVPRO of Missoula does water extraction and drying, it does not rely only on the visible water. Humidity that is higher than usual allows mold to grow and to invade structures. Moisture may be hidden behind walls or in the foundation, where it can destabilize the building.

Once SERVPRO of Missoula has removed excess moisture, the restoration technicians start cleaning, disinfecting, and restoring buildings and belongings.

One of the ways SERVPRO of Missoula makes recovery easier is by working directly with most insurance companies. 

When fire and water take control of your life,

we help you take it back.

Water damage does not have to ruin lives.

If you have questions, please call us at (406) 327-9500. You can also check our website, and email through the link provided.

SERVPRO of Missoula is independently owned and operated.


SERVPRO of Missoula has the expertise to recover water-damaged homes and businesses

6/14/2020 (Permalink)

pipe with leaking water SERVPRO of Missoula won’t let burst pipes defeat Frenchtown

Whether it’s a burst pipe in the basement or a flood seeping from the top floor, water damage can turn a home or business into a disaster zone. If water damage hits your property, call SERVPRO® of Missoula at (406) 327-9500. SERVPRO of Missoula is available 24/7, even on holidays. Faster to any size disaster means we will be on-site within four hours, soon enough to prevent additional damage.

SERVPRO of Missoula’s water-remediation services start on the phone. A trained technician will ask where in the building the damage occurred, how long it has been there, and the name of your insurance company. These and other questions help SERVPRO of Missoula know which technicians and what equipment to send to the site.  Once the technicians arrive, they inspect and assess the damage.  We also check whether the water is contaminated and to what degree.

Even small amounts of moisture can cause extensive damage in a property in Frenchtown. It therefore isn’t enough to just remove the visible water, SERVPRO of Missoula has equipment that will dry structures and their contents and pull moisture from the air. Technicians will also use Ozoning equipment to remove any odors rather than mask them. We also evaluate the contents so that each item is cleaned and sanitized as the material requires. If necessary, we will dispose of items that can’t be restored.

The process usually takes from 3 to 5 days, during which we document every step. We work directly with most insurance companies so that clients can concentrate on the other parts of their lives.

Whatever hits Frenchtown, SERVPRO of Missoula is Here to Help®

SERVPRO of Missoula is independently owned and operated.


Water Intrusion in Missoula?

6/2/2020 (Permalink)

A residential street is shown with a flooded street in West Riverside, Montana. We repair water damage in Missoula.

Water Intrusion

At this time of the year Spring snowmelt and rain contribute to raised underground water tables and high-water levels will cause flooding in low lying areas. Water intrusion is a very common occurrence and happens whenever water from an outside source finds its way into a structure or home. Damage can range from minimal water seepage involving minor repairs to more severe damage, such as flooding. SERVPRO® of Missoula wants commercial businesses and residents in West Riverside to know that we have been serving Western Montana since 2006, and we are experts in water damage cleanup and restoration. 

Highly Trained

We have one of the most highly trained water restoration teams in the region. All of our team leaders are certified and our employees are required to attend ongoing and continuous training to stay up to speed with the latest technological and scientific advancements in the restoration field.

Call Us Today

Water damage can become a costly repair if left untreated for too long. We are available 24 hours a day and can be onsite within four hours of your call to immediately begin the mitigation process. SERVPRO® of Missoula will clean and restore water damage to your home or commercial business homes in West Riverside “Like it never even happened.” Call us today at 406-327-9500.

SERVPRO® of Missoula is Independently Owned and Operated.

SERVPRO of Missoula won’t let water damage swamp Frenchtown

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

Flood waters on a carpeted floor. SERVPRO of Missoula won’t let water damage swamp Frenchtown

There is no reason to panic when a home or business floods in Frenchtown because SERVPRO® of Missoula is Here to Help®.  SERVPRO® of Missoula is a certified provider of water restoration and cleaning/disinfection services.

We have advanced training and state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to find hidden moisture, extract water, and dry flooded property.

Even small amounts of moisture can allow microbial growth, such as mold and mildew, and cause additional destruction. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Missoula’ technicians are experts in mold mitigation and odor removal.

Once our technicians stop further damage, they can go on to restoration. We know how important it is to restore belongings instead of requiring replacement, and we will do whatever is possible.

When disaster strikes, call us at (406) 327-9500 or reach out online. SERVPRO of Missoula has 24-hour service every day of the year.

When fire and water take control of your life, we help you take it back.

SERVPRO of Missoula is independently owned and operated.

Spring river flooding in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys

4/16/2020 (Permalink)

High river water rushes around the base of a bridge. Springtime can mean spring river flooding – is your home prepared?

The coronavirus pandemic has taken control of our lives in a lot of ways, and confined us to our homes for all but essential activities. As unprecedented as the situation is, no one could have been perfectly prepared for the drastic change of lifestyle it brought on, but it has also presented us all with a unique opportunity to assess and strengthen our emergency preparedness in other areas.

Spring has finally arrived in earnest here in Western Montana, and though that brings the joys of song birds and green foliage, it also often brings rain, run-off, and the risk of flooding. The Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys are particularly vulnerable to rising waters in the Clark Fork and Bitterroot Rivers, and while there is nothing we as individuals can do regarding water levels, there are things we can do to protect our homes against flooding. So, while you’re sheltering-in-place, consider taking these steps to prepare your home for the possibility of spring flooding:

  • Know if your home is at risk! FEMA provides Flood Maps on its website that can help you determine if your home is in a flood zone. Another great resource is your local news station’s online archive, where you can find out where floods have occurred in the past.
  • Know your coverage. Flood insurance is not covered in most standard homeowners policies, and according to FEMA, nearly 25% of flood insurance claims come from outside “high risk” flood zones. If you have any reason to fear flood damage to your home, you may want to speak to your insurance agent about your options.
  • Be diligent about shoveling snow away from your foundation, and make sure water is able to drain away from it, as well.
  • Have a plan. Check out our “Emergency Readiness at Home: Evacuation Plan” and “Emergency Alerts” blogs in the Storm category and “Steps for an Insurance Home Inventory” in the Why SERVPRO category for more tips that can help in the event of a flood.

Emergency planning is an activity that can—and should!—involve the whole family and is one way we can feel more in control during these crazy times. And don’t forget, if your home experiences water, fire, or mold damage, SERVPRO of Missoula is always here to help.

The Effect of Snowmelt and Hydrostatic Pressure on your Missoula Home

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

Snow melting on grass, with fallen leaves. Hydrostatic pressure is hard to see; instead of waiting for signs of damage, protect your home’s foundation with preventative steps!

Another Groundhog Day came and went and in a surprising turn of events, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. That’s supposed to mean that spring has arrived, but here in Western Montana “spring” is looking more like periods of warmth and sunshine, followed by snow, followed by sunshine, and then more snow.

Understandably, a weather pattern such as this creates a lot of snowmelt and runoff. Snowmelt, while an important part of the annual water cycle, can spell trouble for your house’s foundation or basement. The potential trouble stems from a phenomenon called hydrostatic pressure, wherein excess water creates soil expansion as it seeps into the ground. A house’s foundation then blocks that water from where gravity wants it to travel—downhill—and it so the water exerts pressure on the foundation instead. At greater depths, hydrostatic pressure combined with the force of gravity and the weight of the earth itself can begin to comprise foundations and basement walls, leading to fissures and leaks.

Obviously, there’s not much homeowners can do about weather patterns or the occurrence of snowmelt. But there are steps you can take to protect your foundation from the insidious effects of hydrostatic pressure. As is often the case, prevention is the best way to deal with water damage in your home; installing a sump pump is one way to protect against excess water finding its way into your basement or crawlspace. Then, regular inspections and maintenance of your outdoor water drainage systems can help ensure that clogs aren’t creating unnecessary additional pressure and sending water down unintended paths. Finally, if you do notice a crack in your basement wall or around your foundation, seal it immediately. And of course, if you see that water has made its way in, contact SERVPRO of Missoula so we can help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Deciphering water damage in your Missoula home: Clean, Grey, and Black Water

12/26/2019 (Permalink)

Homeowners inspect a leaking under-sink pipe with SERVPRO technicians. Whether water damage in your home or business is caused by clean, black, or gray water, SERVPRO of Missoula can make it “Like it never even happened.”

Water damage is water damage, plain and simple, right? Not exactly.

In the restoration industry, there are three categories of water as defined by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC): clean water, gray water, and black water.

Clean water, also referred to as Category 1, is water that comes from a sanitary source such as rainwater or snowmelt, a faucet, or a broken pipe or toilet tank, and does not pose an immediate health risk to a structure’s inhabitants. When Category 1 water losses are caught and dried out quickly, the structure is much less likely to require repairs. If left for 48 hours or more, however, clean water can turn to gray water and require more extensive mitigation.

Gray water, which causes Category 2 water losses, includes dirty water from washing machines, dishwashers, aquariums, or shower or sink drains. Water from these sources is considered gray water because it contains significant levels of contamination from bacteria, mold, or chemicals and may pose health risks to a structure’s inhabitants. Category 2 water losses are likely to require the removal of soft materials such carpet pad, as they’re prone to bacterial growth. As with clean water, gray water can become black water if left for 48 hours or longer.

Black water, or water in a Category 3 loss, comes from sewage back-ups or floodwaters. The contaminants found in black water (bacteria, mold, viruses) are known to cause diseases, and therefore Category 3 water losses pose serious health risks to a structure’s inhabitants. The IICRC says that black water causes “grossly unsanitary” conditions and for that reason, Category 3 water losses usually require the removal of all affected materials within a structure.

When water damage occurs, the source of the water determines several steps of the mitigation process, from how much personal protective equipment (PPE) mitigation technicians should wear to whether materials should simply be dried out or removed entirely. Whatever the category of water, though, SERVPRO of Missoula has the tools to make water damage “Like it never even happened."

Preventing your pipes from freezing during a Missoula winter

11/7/2019 (Permalink)

A hose bib on a brick wall, with icicles hanging off of it. Don’t let frozen pipes disrupt your holiday season!

In genuine Montana fashion, the seasons have changed rather rapidly here in the Missoula Valley; nightly temperatures are now routinely below freezing, and as they continue to drop, the chances of frozen pipes in and around your home only rise. Because water expands as it freezes, it puts pressure on the material containing it. If the pressure becomes too great, you could have a burst pipe on your hands.

Luckily, there are a few simple steps you can take to help keep those faucets flowing during winter months. The first step is knowing which pipes are most vulnerable to freezing. Outdoor pipes, like supply lines to swimming pools or sprinklers, are the most vulnerable and should be drained according to manufacturer instructions. (Don’t use antifreeze in these pipes unless specifically directed to do so, as it can be harmful to both pets and the environment.) Outdoor valves that run water from indoor supply lines (like hose bibs) should be left open to drip and allow water expansion outward, while the valve on the indoor-side should be closed for the winter.

Winterizing doesn’t end there, though. Pipes along exterior walls, or in areas of the home with little to no insulation, are also at risk of freezing. Keep doors closed as often as possible to protect pipes in unheated garages or shops. Inside your home, open kitchen and bathroom cabinets containing pipes so that warm air can circulate, and consider adding insulation in crawlspaces and attics where pipes are present. There are a number of specialty products on the market for pipe insulation, such as pipe sleeves, heat tape, and heat cable, but even ¼” of newspaper can help protect pipes in freezing conditions.

When subzero temperatures persist, you can also take the extra precaution of turning your faucets to drip; even at a rate of 5 drips per minute, running water through your pipes can help prevent freezing. Then, if you’re going to be away from home for a few days, be sure to keep your heat set to 55°F or higher. It’s better to spend a little extra on heat than a lot extra on property damage caused by a burst pipe. Or, if you're going to be away for an extended period, you can shut off your water main to prevent damage. 

How SERVPRO of Missoula makes water damage “Like it never even happened.”

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Two stack of SERVPRO air movers standing side-by-side. SERVPRO of Missoula has the knowledge and equipment to mitigate water damage of any size.

When a pipe bursts in your home or you find that your A/C has been leaking onto the hardwood, your first instinct might be to throw down some towels and then let nature take its course. While the environment does seek equilibrium—wherein water molecules in a material will naturally evaporate over time until the material has reached the same level of dryness as the air around it—secondary damage can occur in the time it takes for materials to dry naturally, especially if you live in a humid area.  

That’s where the science of drying comes in. The science of drying is actually called psychrometrics, and it takes into account all three sides of the drying triangle: air flow, heat and dehumidification. So, if you also pointed a fan at the wet materials, you were thinking of air flow. If you turned up the thermostat, you were thinking of heat. But what happens when you push the wet air around without the right equipment, or inadvertently make the area more humid by turning up the heat?

At SERVPRO of Missoula, our IICRC* certified technicians are trained in the science of drying, so you don’t have to worry about the negative effects of improperly dried water damage in your home. We use professional grade fans and dehumidifiers to make sure your home is dried quickly and completely, and we continue to monitor the area until excessive moisture is no longer detected.

*Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification

Sump Pumps: What they are and how they work for your Missoula home

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

A view of the anatomy of a sump pump, its power cord and control box, and its exterior battery. A sump pump automatically directs water away from your foundation when it begins to pool under your basement or crawlspace.

From snowmelt runoff to river flooding to summer storms, groundwater seepage has the potential to affect Western Montana properties no matter the season.

Because water naturally migrates through soil, elevated moisture on the surface can spell trouble for crawlspaces, unfinished basements, and even basements with concrete flooring. When groundwater penetrates the floor of a basement, it can lead to mold or mildew growth, and if the seepage is extreme, it can cause flooding and damage to your belongings. 

So how do you keep your basement dry and mildew-free when those heavy rains strike? Installing a sump pump (or checking that your existing pump is in good working order) is one good option.

For houses at risk of underground wetness—which is over 60%, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors—sump pumps prevent damage by collecting that seeping groundwater and redirecting it to a discharge pipe pointed away from the structure’s foundation. To accomplish this, the pump sits in a pit dug at the lowest point of the basement or crawl space, and automatically turns on when the pit begins to fill with water. A one-way valve in the sump pump’s pipe, called a check valve, ensures that the water doesn’t run back. 

While sump pumps are not a cure-all for water damage in every home, they are certainly a viable option for homes in a number of climates and terrains. If you’re concerned about dampness or the smell of mildew in your basement, call SERVPRO of Missoula today. Our technicians can perform a dry-out and mold inspection of the space, as well as help pinpoint the source of water so you can safely move forward with adding preventative measures, and maybe even a sump pump.

The Aftermath of Wildfires around Missoula: Flash Floods

8/21/2019 (Permalink)

raging river flooding with house and trees in background Flooding in Mt. Rainier National Park

Summer in Western Montana always promises county fairs and rodeos, outdoor folk festivals, and the treasured huckleberry season, but it also often brings about two natural hazards that can cut down our summer fun: thunderstorms and forest fires.

Even on years like this, where we’ve been lucky enough not to spend our August days hiding from smoke, the damage our mountains routinely see from wildfires makes the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys particularly susceptible to flash flooding. Fire changes the landscape through which it burns, greatly reducing or even eliminating ground vegetation. That vegetation typically plays an important part in helping to absorb water from rainfall, and with it gone, water is left to flow freely and rapidly down steep terrain. Fires also leave behind ash and debris which, combined with heavy rain, can create mudflows that may reach structures miles away from the original site of the fire.

Because the risk of flash flooding is ongoing – an area affected by wildfire can take up to five years to adequately begin to recover ground vegetation – knowledge and prior planning are the most important components of your family and your home’s emergency toolkit. According to the National Weather Service, “half an inch of rainfall in less than an hour is sufficient to cause flash flooding.” You don’t want to wait until those summer thunderstorms strike to think about flood insurance, and you should always have an evacuation plan in case your home is affected. provides more information on how to build an emergency supply kit, and in the event that your home is damaged by flash flooding this summer, SERVPRO of Missoula is here for you.