Essential Questions to Ask a Restoration Company

When it comes to disasters and tragic situations with your property or home, the last thing you are going to do is remember everything that is supposed to happen. At that moment you might be freaking out, calling 911, calling insurance companies, trying to clean up or help with the mess. You are likely looking to obtain help from a restoration company as soon as humanly possible and it is important to take a moment and ask the company’s representative some essential questions. Blue River Restoration is here to help with those frantic moments to stay calm and remember these questions.

What certifications and experience do your technicians have?

It is critical that restoration technicians be trained and certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification). Unfortunately, some restoration contractors overstate their skills level. Don’t be a victim of this type of fraud. You should also inquire about what type of restoration they specialize in; for example, a company may have decades of experience in fire restoration, but not mold remediation. The latest technology and tools are undoubtedly helpful, but they’re no substitute for the training and experience needed to be an effective technician and specialist.

Response Time

When water is allowed to be standing and persist into further damage to property and contribute to health problems which could lead to mold or structural damages. Many restoration companies pride themselves on a quick response, and many can respond the same day, sometimes within mere hours or minutes of your call. Since time is always of the essence when it comes to restoration services, it is a good idea to make this a priority to ask along with questions on insurance. A fast response isn’t just recommended, it is an essential to getting your home or property to its pre loss condition.


Another question that should be asked is if the restoration company offers a warranty. A warranty demonstrates that the restoration company is confident in their abilities to do the job correctly and are willing to put their reputation/money profit on the line to show that they’ve done the job properly. If they don’t discuss a warranty on their website, you’re always free to ask. Many companies offer a free, limited warranty. Along with the normal qualities to judge a restoration company off of (such as customer service, professionalism, and the price/insurance relationship) having a warranty might help make your decision because of the peace of mind that a warranty does exist.

Different Types of Water Damage

Being in the Midwest means weather can change in a heartbeat throughout the year. This means being able to control and protect your property from any element that can cause disaster. One of the main ones is water damage. Water can cause damage in several ways such as a pipe burst, flooded basement but there are a number of unrelated causes of water damage property owners still have to account for, including leaking roofs, damaged pipes, malfunctioning sprinklers and flooding dishwashers, to name a few more.

Water damage can spread in a number of ways depending on the amount of water, the flow of it, and the layout of the house. Property owners need to be aware that water can seep through the floor joints and the walls to electrical wiring. Once the water is gone, it takes professionals to be able to determine what parts of the house are able to work again versus being replaced. Not only the parts of the are affected by the water itself but also the after effect. When the water evaporates, mold spores can be transferred to HVAC systems and subsequently spread throughout the property once the furnace is turned back on.

Once finding the water, the next step is to assess it. In order to recover from any type of water damage, the property owner or restorer needs to investigate how to stop the problem at its source. The severity of the damage is often traumatizing and overwhelming, regardless of the actual source. Below are types of water that can matter when discovering the water, Clean, Grey, Black:

Clean: There may be instances when the water that has encroached upon your home is “clean.” Floodwater that does not post an immediate health threat is known as clean water. When a pipe bursts or an appliance malfunctions, or there is a leak in your roof that allows falling rain water to enter your home, oftentimes the water will be deemed “clean.” This is perhaps the easiest type of water damage to handle, since there will not be too many microbes living in the water. Clean water home floods are generally safe for you to clean up yourself, as the water poses no immediate risk from exposure or ingestion.

Gray:  When the water color is gray, sometimes called sullage, that means that the water is slightly contaminated, either because of the nature of the source or because of neglect. Grey water refers to wastewater that is not contaminated with fecal matter. As far as household wastewater goes, greywater could include water from bathtubs and showers, washing machines, dishwashers, and sinks. It generally contains fewer pathogens than black water and can be reused for non-potable purposes, such as toilet flushing. Grey water still contains small amounts of contaminants and can induce illness if ingested. Floods by greywater can be caused by a weather event, an overflowing plumbing fixture or appliance or even a broken pipe. This type of grey water can saturate carpeting, furniture and drywall. If you experience a home flood with grey water, take caution when beginning the cleaning process. Wear protective gear, and keep children, pets and individuals with a compromised immune system away from the flooded area.

Black: The most dangerous type of water is “black” water is usually a result of natural disasters or sewage damage. Black water can include toxic materials such as bacterial diseases, chemicals, pesticides, microbes and more. Also, black water, includes water from food preparation sinks, dishwashers and other sources. Raw sewage is classified as blackwater. Blackwater is a haven for dangerous bacteria and pathogens that must fully decompose before being released into the environment. It can also be contaminated with dissolved chemicals and particulates, making contact even more dangerous.

First and foremost, the most important thing, get all the pets and people away from the dangerous area or room and shut down the source of the water damage as soon as possible. The next step after figuring out what type of water and how much damage as happened, is to come out with a plan to get your property back to pre-loss condition. With simple fixes, you can start mopping up a small spill right away, but you’ll probably need to contact a damage mitigation professional who can help remove water from porous surfaces. For broken pipes and other nonstop cascades, the water supply for the entire property should be shut off immediately.

Let Blue River Restoration be your friend to help your not worry about getting your home or property back to the way you like it.

Tornado Season Coming

Whether or not it is common, every state in the continental US has had a confirmed tornado. According to NSSL.NOAA.GOV (source). Tornadoes come from the energy released in a thunderstorm. As powerful as they are, tornadoes account for only a tiny fraction of the energy in a thunderstorm. What makes them dangerous is that their energy is concentrated in a small area, perhaps only a hundred yards across. Not all tornadoes are the same, of course, and science does not yet completely understand how part of a thunderstorm’s energy sometimes gets focused into something as small as a tornado.

Understandably some states are more common to get tornadoes then others, it is possible. Every state in the United States has witnessed destruction from tornadoes, but two areas tend to have the highest concentration of severe tornadoes. One of these regions is known as “Dixie Alley” and consists predominately of Gulf Coast states from Florida to Texas, with a peak in tornado activity seen during the late fall and winter months. The other area is known as “Tornado Alley” and extends from Texas to South Dakota. Tornado alley is made up of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Dakota, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota and Minnesota. Sometimes Wisconsin, Indiana, and western Ohio are also considered in Tornado Alley or called Tornado Belt.

While hurricanes typically only occur in the Atlantic from June through November, tornadoes are a year-round threat. According to the National Climatic Data Center for the period between 1991 and 2010, show the seventeen U.S. states with the highest average number of tornadoes per 10,000 square miles (25,899.9 km2) per year. (source)

  1. Florida: 12.2
  2. Kansas: 11.7
  3. Maryland: 9.9
  4. Illinois: 9.7
  5. Mississippi: 9.2
  6. Iowa: 9.1
  7. Oklahoma: 9
  8. South Carolina: 9
  9. Alabama: 8.6
  10. Louisiana: 8.5
  11. Arkansas: 7.5
  12. Nebraska: 7.4
  13. Missouri: 6.5
  14. North Carolina: 6.4
  15. Tennessee: 6.2
  16. Indiana: 6.1
  17. Texas: 5.9

The United States on average has 1,250 tornadoes each year with the most active month being May and February being the least active month. May has an average of about 275 tornadoes on average, while February only has an average of about 30 tornadoes. Tornadoes can occur at any time of day, but the normal peak hours fall between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. local time. The deadliest tornado of all time for the United States is the 1925 Tri-State tornado, which devastated Missouri, Illinois and Indiana and caused 695 fatalities. More recently, the Joplin, Missouri tornado of 2011 killed 158 individuals.

Whether you live a state where tornadoes happen regularly during the year or rarely, knowing what to look out for and what to do once a tornado is reported is something everybody should know. Staying on top of weather alerts always helps.

Water Damage Restoration: Washing Machines

Having washing machines (Clothes or Dishes) in your home is almost a must for most families in 2019. Rarely do you see a home without one and there is nothing wrong with that. As is with any other technology, they fail, sometimes because of human at some point during its life cycle and sometimes it just happens. The worst part is that your washing machine will rarely display any symptoms of an impending problem.  The problem is not the washing machine but what it is hiding.  Insurance company data reveals that over half of water damage claims are traced back to one item, a filling supply hose resting behind your washing machine.

With the several types of issues that could cause this problem, the most common is when the hose gets pinched during the installation.  Even being pinched, it can work for years before starting to show problems. Sometimes problems occur during the replacement process when hairline cracking is possible if the part is not handled correctly.  We’ve even seen where a newly purchased hose is faulty because it has sat on a shelf for years and has deteriorated.

Hoses for washing machines are high-flow, meaning they can output more than 600 gallons of water in an hour. As the hose ages, its ability to withstand those pressures erodes. The hoses itself may be a cheap item to replace (normally sold in pairs for an average of $30-$40), the problems that it can cause from outputting that much water can cause major damage to surrounding appliances or the house/building itself.

Making the simple task to check the supply hose behind your washing machine can take a few minutes but doing so can save you a lot of heartache. Checking the washing machine thoroughly at least twice a year can protect your home.

Washing machines are dangerous because they have three hoses leading out the back of them. One for hot water, one for cold water and one for draining the water. Washing machine hose failure is one of the top ten leading causes of residential water losses. Replace all three washing machine hoses every 3 to 5 years. The tubes wear out easily, but it’s not always visible. If you replace them regularly, even when they still look fine, you have a better shot at preventing failure. If you have a washing machine in your home, it’s vital that you know how to avoid water damage. Some hose failures come from the inside rather than the outside.

Any washing machine water incident can be costly. However, if it occurs after you’ve started the machine and then left the house—or while you’re fast asleep in another room—that event can be truly catastrophic due to the volume of water released. And when that does happen, your friends at Blue River Restoration will be there to help you and your home get back to normal.

Winter to Spring Transition

Coming from February into March, most areas in the US start to warm up and show some glimpses of spring. Depending on how harsh the winter was, can impact how much your property needs to be maintained. Below are 4 parts of your house to check once the weather breaks.

Gutters and Downspouts

It is important to make sure that your gutters and downspouts are free of ice. If they aren’t free of ice, the ice could get to a weight to where a collapsed roof is an option or melt with so much water that flooding between your walls can happen too. This can cause major structural issues and possibly mold. This season has brought record levels of heavy snowfall. Your roof, gutters and spouts could be strained, cracked, bent and covered in debris. This is a good time for a thorough inspection which could be done by a professional if you are not confident in doing it yourself.


Most of the time your attic is one part of your home or property that does not get checked often. Having any weak spots or leaks in your attic could cause major problems in your home or property. When the snow begins to melt, it could cause major damages to your roof, attic, and ceiling. Newer homes have much higher standards for insulation than older homes. Your attic could have useless items up there such as boxes with holiday ornaments or discarded yearbooks, toys and clothes. Regardless of the the value of the items, any sort of damage could be more devastating to the house more then what is actually in the attic. Insulating your attic and crawl spaces is can help with keeping you home energy efficient in both the winter freeze and the summer bake.

Remove Large Snow Piles 

Large snow piles near your home can cause problems when melting. Depending on how your property lays with hills, the water could run off to your home, barn, or any type of structure and cause problems.

Check your Basement

Basements are always the first thing to flood. Once the source of the flooding has stopped or the water source has been turned off, turn off all power sources by switching off the main breaker. Use a pump to remove the water. After the water has been drained, remove everything from the flooded basement and allow it to dry, or discard it.

Disaster just happened…..Now what?

When a disaster happens there are so many emotions that could be going through your head. No matter what level of disaster or accident from little water damage or mold to a flooded basement or part of your home burned down by fire to complete catastrophe, your emotions can be a mess. What to do next is the question after a disaster just happened that must be answered with your emotions in check.

Your first step is to asses the situation. Depending on the level of the disaster, if 911 needs to be called, call them. The next step is to do a little bit of research and figure out if it is something you can do by yourself and be safe while doing it. Depending on how much water or where the water is, is there water electrical now. There is many questions with safety that should be answered first, then the next step is to contact your insurance company and let them know what happened. Clean up for you or a restoration company is the final step to getting your life back to your normal.

When it comes to choosing whether to make it DIY or choosing a restoration company, there is a lot of factors to figure out. The most important is time, money and the job itself. Time meaning how long is it going to take you to do it. Did something happen to your bedroom to where you do not have a place to sleep with doing it yourself could take months where a restoration company could take a week. Money meaning how much will it take to do it yourself vs going through insurance to a restoration company with time being a factor. You may be able to do it yourself but could it take more money that way because you do not have the right tools. The job itself meaning how much work will have to be done with your level of expertise.

There are a lot of variable to figure out and go through which option to go with in a short amount of time. What to do next is a hard question to figure out with emotions running high with what just happened. Just remember to keep calm, analyze the situation, and be safe. Let your friends at Blue River Restoration be the helping hand and getting your home and life back in order.

Apartment Safety

Sometimes it is smart to save money and rent an apartment. This can save money in a lot of ways from paying for repairs, insurance, maintenance but other things are different as well such as the fire and water safety rules for living in an apartment. There are differences such as the building is likely much bigger than an average home. With having many other people living in the building there are many factors to consider when avoiding fire and water hazards in an apartment.

Living in an apartment poses a certain risk because a fire in one apartment can quickly spread to someone else’s apartment. One reason for this is because of the amount people living so close with what could happen. In order to stay safe, prepared, and to prevent costly fire damages to your apartment home, it is smart to make sure everybody in your apartment is accountable and knows an exit plan. When you first move into an apartment, there a lot of things you can do immediately to ensure your apartment home is not at risk for avoidable fires. It is important that you routinely go over each of these tips, probably every 6 months. Other things to look out for and pay attention to are candles or oils burning, how often your neighbors are gone, what electrical problems that could occur, maintenance of the building, how often smoke alarms checked or any other issue that could turn in to a fire hazard. The biggest difference between a house and apartment is the ability to escape.

When it comes to water in an apartment, make sure to examine your water and make sure that nothing seems funky. Being that close to other apartments or condos means that something could not be your fault, if another apartment has a leak and you are below them, that could be your apartment could be in trouble. Color, smell and taste are the main ways to know if something is wrong with your water that will be used everyday.

When it comes to the water coming out of the tap, it has a brownish tinge and has a lot of sediment, then something might be wrong.  Knowing how old the building is or when the pipes have been replacement might be something that you want to know. The presence or iron and manganese is generally harmless, but they may also cause a metallic taste or smell.

Smell and taste also can indicate if something is wrong. Generally, noticing a heavy chlorine smell, caused by the processing of water in the treatment plant to kill bacteria and viruses in your tap water can help you know. The smell should be more of a rotten egg or chemicals as they may indicate contamination.  The water should not have any odd tastes or smells.

Always be aware of water marks around walls or ceilings from other apartments around you. If something were to happen, call the maintenance dept and have them call your friends at Blue River Restoration to help.

4 Insurance Myths for Homeowners

Insurance has a lot of mumbo jumbo jargon in your policies and coverages. Your homeowners policy was not created to be easily understood. The fine print is not meant to be read by anyone other then professionals. There are man myths that come from interpretations of these documents. Home insurance isn’t legally required like liability insurance for your car, but mortgage lenders will generally require you to get homeowners insurance in order to protect their investment. Here are 4 myths for homeowners that have insurance.

Myth #1: Standard policies covers floods.  Most standard policies do not cover water damage that is caused by flood. Flood insurance is required for majority of flood zones. The National Flood Insurance Plan mandates people located in the flood zone to have flood insurance. However, just because you’re not in a flood zone doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen to you. Look at your area’s flood plain map. You might be close enough that it is worth purchasing a flood insurance policy. Speak to your insurance agent and figure out the best plan so when a flood does happen, you know what to do. Water damage from flood is incredibly costly and it may have to be an out of pocket expense without the proper coverage.

Myth #2: If you experience a loss, your insurance company will reimburse you for whatever you tell them you owned at the time. Having some type of list of what you own is a good idea. Insurance companies are going to want some kind of record of what you owned. In the moment or some time after the accident happened, trying to doing it from memory can be very hard. Keep a list of all of your valuables in your home, including what you paid for them (receipts), serial numbers, photos, date of purchase etc. You are going to need to prove ownership, especially for expensive items that you want to be reimbursed for. Always keep the inventory list somewhere where it cannot destroyed.

Myth #3- If you file a claim, your premiums automatically go up. This myth is a bit tricky because your premiums will not go up necessarily . Raising the price of your premium will depend on many factors, not just making a claim. One claim may not make an impact, multiple claims will certainly make a difference. Advise with a professional before filing a claim. If it’s close to the deductible, you may be better paying out of pocket. A restoration professional can consult with you on the estimated cost of repairs. When filing a claim, there is a procedure that has to be gone through that can prevent work or remodeling from being started.

Myth #4-All of your valuables, including jewelry, guns, etc. will be covered in the event of burglary. Most policies will have limits on what coverage you have for valuables above a certain amount. For example, most companies put a cap of $1,500 on total jewelry lost during a burglary. You may want to consider an additional endorsement on specific valuables which can offer more coverage.

Let your friends at Blue River Restoration be the ones to help you through those accidents and situations when insurance is needed.

Controlling an Ice Dam

With winter bringing the cold, that brings problems and issues happening around your home and business. Prepping and getting your property ready for cold winter weather may not be enough to not have issues with the cold. Most known issues come with pipes bursts or heat not working, while most do not know about ice dams. An ice dam is an ice build-up on the eaves of sloped roofs of heated buildings that results from melting snow under a snow pack reaching the eave and freezing there, if melted the water seeps back up under the shingles. Sometimes water can work its way 5 or even 10 ft. back up under the shingles.


Eventually, it will drip into the insulation and down into the ceilings and exterior walls beneath the eave. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, windowsills, cars, pets, and people. If the roof sheathing stays wet, it can form mildew and start to rot. While spring is the season that we usually associate with flooding, these winter events can also cause indoor flooding situations that require water restoration. Water damage will continue until the ice dam is discovered and the affected area is repaired. Since ice dams are usually caused by heat escaping from the house, making sure your home is properly insulated can help reduce the risk of ice dam formation.


Using one of two methods can be beneficial by scraping snow from the roof whenever it falls. Method one is to use a snow rake from below or method two is to use a broom or plastic shovel from above, but the first method can bury you in snow, while the second can send you slipping off the roof. The best method is to call and hire professional that will get the job done correct. You can replace your shingle roof with standing seam or other metal roof. Or you can replace the bottom three feet or so of your shingle roof with a wide metal drip edge. Whatever you do, install a water-repellant membrane under any new roofing.


Let your friends at Blue River Restoration help you out and make sure your home is taken care of.


Preparing for Disasters in 2019

2019 could be the best year yet or disasters could happen.  Whether or not you are aware or actually know if one is going to happen, it is always best to prepared. Which goes for anything in life.  Fires, floods, earthquakes, power outages, and any other sort of catastrophes that could happen, Blue River Restoration is here to help bring knowledge to start this year off right.


  • Making a family emergency plan, include pets and neighbors so your family knows how to reconnect and reunite when a disaster strikes is always a good idea, no matter where you are.
  • Review insurance policies.  Make sure you’re covered against floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, or high winds in hurricane-prone areas.
  • Keep copies of important documents in a secure place (digital and/or waterproof location).
  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kits for home, work and your vehicle, include a flashlight, batteries, radio, cash, and first aid supplies, for adults and children.
  • Every family have enough nonperishable food items and water on hand to survive for at least three days. Below are examples of types of food you should have on hand
    • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, vegetables and a can opener
    • Protein or fruit bars
    • Dry cereal or granola
    • Peanut butter
    • Dried fruit
    • Nuts
    • Crackers
    • Canned juices
    • Nonperishable pasteurized milk
    • High-energy foods like nuts, trail mix, and canned tuna
    • Multivitamins
    • Food for infants
    • Comfort/stress foods like chocolate, cookies, or other high-calorie sweets


  • Personal financial planning helps families prepare for emergencies both big and small. Protect the life you’ve built. Homeowners, renters, and businesses recover more quickly when insured.
  • Having insurance for your home or business property ensures you will have the financial resources needed to help you repair, rebuild or replace whatever is damaged.
  • Plan for unexpected out-of-pocket expenses for lodging, food, gas and more.
  • Be prepared for the cost of deductibles for insurance and medical co-pays.
  • Check your flood insurance policy to ensure you have appropriate coverage. Homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage. Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to your home.

Safety Skills

  • Practice preparedness plans at least twice a year, at your home and workplace, by participating in a drill or exercise.
  • Taking CPR and first aid class can help with many situations.
  • Know how to shut off utilities where you live and know all emergency exits in your home and at work, and where you visit often.
  • Put smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors on every level in your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas.
  • Smoke alarms should be tested once a month by pushing the test button.
  • Generators should always be used outside the home.  Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when a generator is not working, or vented, properly.
  • Practice “Stop, Drop and Roll” for fires and “Drop, Cover and Hold On” for earthquakes.
  • Anchoring heavy furniture and shelves to a secure wall in your home is good for the prep of disasters but also if you have small children around.
  • Always expect and prepare for potential aftershocks, landslides or a tsunami if you live on a coast.

Let Blue River Restoration be the friend to help you out so tragic accidents do not happen.

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