Recent Water Damage Posts

The Science of Drying: How we make 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 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 Wildfire: 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. Ready.gov 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.

Missoula Area Water Damage Restoration

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of Missoula today to see what we can do for you!

SERVPRO of Missoula is here to help you with your loss. Whether you are staring down a flooded basement, a leaky supply line or smoke damage from a neighboring forest fire, we are prepared to help you with any loss!  From multi-story commercial fire damage to one-room mold damage, SERVPRO has the experienced technicians and high tech, commercial grade drying equipment to get you back to normal.

SERVPRO of Missoula is available 24 hours, 7 days a week.  Our immediate, professional response helps to minimize any secondary damage that may occur. We know how nail-biting, hair-pulling and overwhelming losses can be. We work hand in hand with your insurance company from the beginning of the claims process through to final billing and paperwork so you don’t have to.  We will always keep you informed of the job process and schedule – we will be there when we say we will!

SERVPRO of Missoula can only be as good as our people.  Our technicians are extensively trained on the most current industry standards and our number one priority on any loss is safety!  All of our employees are also required to undergo intensive screening during the hiring process so you can rest assured that we only hire the highest quality staff.   It’s difficult enough to deal with a loss without the added stress of wondering who you are entrusting to be in your home or business.

It’s important to choose a company who is well versed in all types of losses and has the proper experience, training and equipment to help make your loss, “Like it never even happened.”  SERVPRO is here for you when you need us! Until then, we will always have this blog for you to read!

What is Hydrostatic Water Pressure and why is my basement flooded?

4/12/2019 (Permalink)

Hydrostatic water pressure can cause foundation damage and result in a flooded basement.

Homes in Western Montana can experience issues with hydrostatic water pressure. This can be a major problem for homes that can cause foundation damage and result in flooded basements.

When there have been excessive amounts of moisture, such as melting snow and/or rain, surface water can surround foundation walls and floors or cause soil around homes built on slabs to expand and contract. This water or soil expansion can create an enormous amount of pressure on the foundation or slab which can lead to cracks, holes and ultimately damaging leaks.

Below are a few preventative tips to help keep your foundation dry:

  1. Check gutters and down spouts: Repair or replace if damaged and make sure that downspouts extend at least 6 feet away from foundation walls.
  2. Inspect exterior foundation and basement walls & floors. Fill small cracks with epoxy on exterior walls, and use a masonry sealer on the inside. If major leaks are occurring, contact a professional contractor.
  3. Check landscaping and irrigation systems to make sure water is flowing away from your foundation. If water is pooling around your home, seek the advice of a landscaper or excavation contractor on ways to direct water away from the house.
  4. Clean and maintain sump pumps. Test them periodically to make sure they’re working correctly.

If you currently have water coming into your home, sump pumps can help remove the water. Take steps to remove or elevate personal belongings to minimize damage, then call SERVPRO of Missoula at 406-327-9500. Our technicians will monitor and document the drying process to help prevent the growth of mold and repair the damage to make it “Like it never even happened."

The different types of water damage

1/31/2019 (Permalink)

The source of the water is important to determine the proper cleaning technique.

When water damage occurs, knowing what type of water you are dealing with is extremely important to ensure proper clean up. There are many different situations that can create water damage, and depending on the source of the water those can be categorized into three basic types: clean water, gray water, and black water. Some types of water damage are more dangerous than others—not just to the structure of the building, but also to you and your family. Our trained professionals at SERVPRO of Missoula know the best techniques to use to remove the water depending on its category.

  1. Clean Water - comes from a source that is clean, such as a sink or bathtub overflow, broken water line, or appliance malfunction. Clean water sources usually do not contain any contaminants, but be careful—what starts out as category 1 damage could easily become a higher category if it’s not taken care of as quickly as possible.
  1. Gray Water - comes from a source that may contain contaminants. Common sources of gray water include snow/rainfall, dishwasher or washing machine overflows. Again, when left untreated, a gray water situation could quickly become more dangerous.
  1. Black Water - considered the most dangerous category that could damage your structure. Black water includes sewage, flood waters from rivers or streams, or ground water which means it may be highly contaminated. Black water is a serious health risk to anyone who comes in contact with it unprotected and should be handled as an emergency by trained professionals as soon as possible. SERVPRO of Missoula offers 24/7 emergency service.

These precautions can help minimize damage from gray and black water while waiting for the professionals to arrive.

  • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Make sure to wash your hands if you come into contact with contaminated items.
  • Avoid walking through contaminated areas, as you can spread damage to unaffected areas.
  • Don’t turn on HVAC system, if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
  • Refrain from using household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminates.
  • Discard any food and products for hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to contaminated areas.

Should your Western Montana home or business experiences water damage, regardless of the type, you can rest assured that SERVPRO of Missoula has the training and experience to restore your property. Call us at 406-327-9500. 

Water Damage: Common Causes and Prevention Tips

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

Broken pipes and leaky dishwashers are just a couple common causes of water damage.

Water damage can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare and should never be taken lightly or neglected. The effects can be harmful to you, your family and your house if not taken care of in a timely manner. Preventing water damage is easier than you may think and is absolutely necessary because, if it’s ignored, the consequences can be extremely costly.

Common Causes of Water Damage

Your home can experience water damage from a number of sources. Some of the major causes include:

  • Leaky dishwashers
  • Broken pipes
  • Overflowing washing machines
  • Roof leaks
  • Foundation cracks
  • Leaky windows and doors
  • Poor exterior siding
  • Faulty gutters
  • Floods
  • Sump pump failure

Whenever and however water enters your home, there’s potential for water damage. Although the causes of water damage can be from a number of different sources, the effects that come from unwanted water in the home remain fairly constant, including the growth and spreading of mold and mildew, possible contamination of black water which can contain pathogens and can cause serious health risks, and damage to appliances, wiring and gas lines, just to name a few.

How to Prevent Water Damage

There are a number of ways to help prevent unwanted water from entering your home. Preparation and preventative maintenance steps are very important and will save you a lot of time, stress and money if you do experience a flood or other heavy precipitation.

Maintain Proper Drainage

Clean and properly functioning gutters will help water flow away from your foundation, and make sure your yard slopes downward from your foundation.

 Test Your Sump Pump

Routinely test to make sure your sump pump is working properly by filling it with water slowly and check to see if the float rises and in return the water levels fall. If this doesn’t happen, then you need to repair or replace your sump pump.

Check for Any Leaks Around the House

Go around your house and check for any dark spots under pipes, stains on the ceilings or walls and any other dripping water. It’s important to check your roof as well for any leaks and repair any missing or damaged shingles and install weather-stripping on the bottom of drafty, uneven doors.

Check Your Exterior Siding

Limit water damage via exterior siding by using one of the many types of non-porous siding materials. Wood siding can rot and warp which can lead to water damage, moisture and pest problems.

Living in Western Montana, you know that your home will face a variety of heavy weather conditions. The professionals at SERVPRO of Missoula provide water damage mitigation and restoration services. If you ever have water damage, call us at 406-327-9500. We will be there to clean up the mess 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and make it "Like it never even happened." 

Water Damage - Causes and Prevention

10/19/2018 (Permalink)

Snow and Ice can prevent proper drainage from your roof, causing water to leak in the attic space and exterior walls.

Water damage is one of the most frequent causes of damage to residential and commercial buildings in Missoula, MT.  In addition to plumbing failures caused by leaking pipes or appliances, drain back ups or outside water, we often experience winter temperatures that can freeze water lines.  Frozen water lines expand and crack, leaking water until the source is discovered and turned off.  Perhaps the most common frozen pipe issue comes from hose bibs and exterior faucets.  Disconnecting hoses before cold weather hits is important, but even disconnected hose bibs can freeze.  “Frost-free” faucets only work if installed properly, and maintaining adequate heat and insulation is key.

If you experience an unexpected water intrusion in your home or business, SERVPRO of Missoula is the one call you need to make to ensure that skilled technicians, equipped with top of the line drying equipment and procedures respond to your loss immediately.  At SERVPRO of Missoula we are experienced with every type of water damage, from the smallest clean water drip in your home to the largest Category 3 commercial water damage.   We have IICRC trained technicians and project managers on stand by to assist you, whatever your water damage situation.  We offer turn-key service in the Missoula area – from emergency mitigation services, drying and full repair services.  Call us today at 406-327-9500 to see what we can do for you. 

Water Damage Classification and the IICRC

10/19/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage in the exercise science facility was caused when an external water main was damaged, flooding the entire buildings basement level.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) publishes the standards that quality restoration vendors heed when addressing water damage in structures.  The ANSI – approved S500 standard lays out the principles and guiding science behind the methods and application of structural drying.  It defines the category of water intrusion based off the level probable associated health risks of that type of water. 

Category 1 water originates from a sanitary water source and has the lowest associated health effects.  Category 2 water contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause sickness or discomfort if contacted.  Category 2 water sources include but are not limited to dishwashers, washing machines or bath tubs.  Category 3 water has the highest level of contamination and includes and water originating from beyond the P-trap of any drainage system, any flooding or seawater or rising river or streams.

SERVPRO of Missoula has the capability to successfully mitigate and dry any size water damage, regardless of the category of water.  We maintain a large inventory of the newest, top of the line drying equipment ready to dispatch at a moment’s notice, twenty four hours a day, three hundred and sixty five days a year.  Our project managers and technicians are trained and certified to make sure your loss is mitigated quickly and appropriately.  We are staffed and equipped to handle the largest or smallest loss, day or night.  Call SERVPRO of Missoula to see what we can do for your home or business in the case of unexpected water damage.

Water Damage 101: What Color is Your Water Damage, Missoula?

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

When water damage occurs, understanding what kind of water you are dealing with is vital to ensuring proper clean-up. There are three types of water which you will be dealing with.  Today, we will touch on clean water and tips to help with minimizing damage from clean water.

  1. Clean water: Water from a broken pipe or other water source. Rainwater can also be considered clean water.
  1. Gray water: Is classified as slightly contaminated water. Clean water transforms into gray water when left untreated. It makes for a breeding ground for bacterial and other contaminates making the water hazardous.
  1. Black water: Highly contaminated, filled with bacteria, fungi, chemicals and others. Black water is usually caused by sewage damage, flooding or any other type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals.

These precautions can help minimize damage from clean water while waiting for help to arrive.

  • If possible shut off the water. If you can’t shut it off, contact a qualified professional to do so.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building. Don’t enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping or blotting.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow more even drying.
  • Don’t leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or flooring as they may cause staining.
  • Don’t use household vacuums to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock. It can also cause damage to the vacuum.
  • Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet; Don’t enter rooms where ceilings are sagging.

When you have water damage, call SERVPRO of Missoula. We will make your water damage “Like it never even happened”. SERVPRO of Missoula is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can be reached at 406-327-9500.

Water Damage 102: Gray and Black Water

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

When water damage occurs, understanding what kind of water you are dealing with is vital to ensuring proper clean-up. There are three types of water which you will be dealing with.  Today, we will touch on clean water and tips to help with minimizing damage from clean water.

  1. Clean water: Water from a broken pipe or other water source. Rainwater can also be considered clean water.
  1. Gray water: Is classified as slightly contaminated water. Clean water transforms into gray water when left untreated. It makes for a breeding ground for bacterial and other contaminates making the water hazardous.
  1. Black water: Highly contaminated, filled with bacteria, fungi, chemicals and others. Black water is usually caused by sewage damage, flooding or any other type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals.

These precautions can help minimize damage from gray and black water while waiting for help to arrive.

  • Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Make sure to wash your hands if you come into contact with contaminated items.
  • Avoid walking through contaminated areas, as you can spread damage to unaffected areas.
  • Don’t turn on HVAC system, if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air.
  • Refrain from using household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminates.
  • Discard any food and products for hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to contaminated areas.

When you have water damage, call SERVPRO of Missoula. We will help make your loss, “Like it never even happened”. SERVPRO of Missoula is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can be reach at 406-327-9500.

From Pumpkin Spice to Winter Wonderland

10/16/2017 (Permalink)

Temperatures are starting to drop this week in Western Montana! There are several things that are important for homeowners to as we move in to winter. Below are just a few tips to help keep your home as prepared as possible for the cold season.

Keep those gutters are clean and draining properly away from the structure. Keep an eye on the roof throughout the winter to make sure ice dams aren’t forming. Ice dams are caused by a build-up of snow and ice that can trap melting snow and even rain, forcing water up underneath the shingles and through roof sheathing. It’s also a good idea to shovel snow away from the house to keep it from seeping inside or melting and filling window wells.

Be sure to maintain your furnace and change the filter at least every other month. Annual furnace service from a qualified HVAC technician can help prevent a potentially dangerous failure later in the season. Annual boiler inspections are also a good idea to help keep your hot water heat system running efficiently.

Make sure to disconnect and drain all hoses to prevent freezing. Make sure any potentially exposed pipes receive enough heat and pipe wrap insulation to prevent freezing as well. A few small fixes early in the season can help avoid a costly disaster later in the year. If you plan on being away from your home for an extended period of time, make sure the thermostat is set high enough to prevent frozen pipes. It’s also a good idea to shut off the water main valve, just in case something does go wrong while you’re away.

However if the unexpected does happen, you know you can count on SERVPRO of Missoula to make it "Like it never even happened." We are standing by 24/7/365 to respond to any fire or water emergency. With highly trained, professional service technicians and crews and the best equipment in the industry we’re Faster To Any Size Disaster! Visit www.SERVPROMissoula.com today to see what we can provide in case a disaster strikes your home or business.