Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

What is Thermography?

Posted on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 @ 10:01 AM

Many restoration contractors will use a thermal imager following a water loss to determine the damage sustained to a property structure. Thermography, the use of a thermal imager or infrared (IR) camera to capture an image of the surface temperature of objects, is used in a variety of industries to detect problems that show up as temperature differences.

First of all, it is important to understand that an IR camera is not a moisture meter. It is a thermal-imaging camera that detects temperature differences. Where there is elevated moisture in or on interior building materials, there is usually evaporative cooling. If necessary, the building can be modified to enhance evaporative cooling. Since evaporation lowers the temperature of wet surfaces, the IR camera can easily and quickly locate suspect areas needing further investigation. Both the IR camera and the moisture meter are needed to perform a building moisture investigation. So, after the IR camera locates an anomaly, a contractor can verify the presence or absence of moisture with a moisture meter.

A trained thermographer can scan a room and check questionable areas more timely than using less effective techniques. Water damage calls for fast responses, especially when dry downs are an operation. Using an IR camera significantly reduces inspection times, resulting in reduced labor costs. The same thing applies to monitoring the drying process. It would take a lot of time to check every square inch of an area you are drying and you can easily miss areas of moisture. On the other hand, the IR camera can quickly show an individual the progress of the restoration and where to focus your drying efforts.

Insurance companies are always focused on keeping their customers satisfied to ensure policy retention . When property claims are made, insurers are concerned about paying a fair and equitable price for the work that needs to be performed under the terms of the policy, which is good business. Insurance adjusters are charged with having to determine how coverage applies to each loss. Generally, they are not experts in the field of restoration.

Insurance carriers rely on good documentation to establish the scope of the loss and the appropriate need for equipment and labor. One of the many benefits of IR technology for the insurance company is pictorial documentation covering the scope of the loss and the need for equipment. The restorer can document when the property is dry and remove equipment at the appropriate time. That documentation can then be submitted to adjusters to document their file, allowing them to close files faster and only pay the appropriate amount for restoration.

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Frozen Pipes in Your Home!

Posted on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 @ 12:38 PM

Although Winter officially begins on December 21st, the New York Metro area has already posted FREEZE WARNINGS during overnight conditions.

Homeowners in need to start thinking about the possibility of pipes freezing in their homes and how to prevent property damage, including water damage to a structure.

Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

Outdoor
Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.

Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.

Water Supply Source
Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located and are in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. A hot water supply line can freeze just as a cold water supply line can freeze if the water is not running through the pipe and the water temperature in the pipe is cold.

Insulation
Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Many products are available at your local building supplies retailer. Pipes should be carefully wrapped, with ends butted tightly and joints wrapped with tape. Follow manufacturer's recommendations for installing and using these products.

If you have an issue related to frozen pipes, contact Advanced Restoration immediately to alleviate the potential of further property damage to your home or business . Our team is ready to respond 24/7 to your situation.

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Water Damage and Mold Remediation

Posted on Sat, Nov 15, 2008 @ 03:10 PM

Once again, Long Island and the NY Metro area is getting hit by heavy rains and flooding.
Here are a few more tips on water damage and mold for our friends in Nassau County, Suffolk County and New York City:

Mold Issues
If you have a serious mold problem, calling a specialist is in your best interest. Leaving a mold problem untreated can result in structural damage to your home and possible thousands in repairs.

Mold Detection
If you're not sure if you have a mold problem or not, a water damage specialist can assess your situation. After a very rainy season, it's a good idea to get your house checked for leaks, water damage, and mold.

Water Removal
If you've encountered a large leak or a flood, a specialist will have all the equipment needed to take care of the situation quickly and simply. If there is a lot of water but you think you can take care of it yourself, assess whether you think structural damage can occur within the extra time it may take you as opposed to a specialist.

Drying
After a major leak or flood, it's important to dry out the affected area. If you do not have the necessary equipment to do this, most water damage teams own several large, high power drying fans to prevent further damage.

Deodorizing
If a strange smell in your home just won't go away in your home, consider calling a water damage specialist for this as well. Most people don't know they handle strange odors, but they do have anything you're going to need to dispel most bad smells.

Restoration
If your home was hit by flood, mildew, mold, or leaks, structural or other damage may have occurred. To guarantee your home looks the same way it used to, call a specialist as they specialize in restoring homes after this particular kind of damage.

Assessing Damage Whatever water damage you come across, a water damage specialist is the right person to tell you exactly how severe a situation is and what action to take as a homeowner or business owner. Before hiring anyone to do any work, make sure you have an idea of just what is damaged and what needs to be done.

For more information about water damage, contact Advanced Restoration.

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Water Damage and Flood Insurance

Posted on Mon, Nov 10, 2008 @ 11:43 AM

Anywhere it can rain, it can flood!

Last week, Newsday featured an article on Suffolk County's new flood maps, which indicated a 14.9% reduction in flood zones across the county. That's good news for some property owners, since they will no longer be required to purchase flood insurance.

Flooding can be caused by heavy rains, inadequate drainage systems, as well as tropical storms and hurricanes. It is important to understand the flood risks you face before deciding whether to purchase flood insurance. Many people are unaware that most homeowners insurance policies do not protect them against flood damage. Property owners, renters and business owners may purchase flood insurance.

Low-cost flood insurance is available under the
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federally backed program managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The goals of the program are twofold: to protect communities from potential flood damage through floodplain management, and to provide people with flood insurance. Under the program, coverage may be purchased for most buildings as long as the property is located in a community that participates in the NFIP (most communities in New York State participate).

Flood insurance protects you from the financial devastation caused by floods. Even a few inches of water can bring thousands of dollars in repair and restoration costs. Flood insurance, like earthquake insurance, is "single peril" insurance, sold separately from homeowners insurance. Flood insurance protects against losses to buildings and their contents, not the land surrounding them. The coverage applies whether the flooding results from heavy or prolonged rains, coastal storm surge, snow melt, blocked storm drainage systems, or other causes. To be considered a flood, the waters must cover at least two acres or affect at least two properties.

For decades, the NFIP has been offering flood insurance to homeowners, renters and business owners, with the one condition that their communities adopt and enforce measures to help reduce the consequences of flooding.

Flood insurance is the best protection that home and business owners have against the devastating financial losses that floods cause.

For more information, contact your insurance agent or insurance company

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Winter Is Coming

Posted on Wed, Nov 05, 2008 @ 01:23 PM

WINTER FORECASTS
How accurate were they?

Some winters can be tougher than the NFL football season!

Last year, Long Island had a relatively mild winter and readings from LI Mac-Arthur Airport related to the Winter of 2007-2008 indicated:

Mean temperature: 34.2 degrees vs. normal temperature based on 30-year average: 33.7 degrees.


Last year’s overall predictions for winter of ’07-’08:

  • National Weather Service: Above average temperatures for most of the U.S.
  • AccuWeather Inc.: Marginally warmer than normal
  • WSI Inc.: Warmer than usual
  • Weather 2000 Inc.: Slightly cooler than 10-year average, warmer than 30-year average
  • The Farmers Almanac: “Two-faced winter” for the nation, with extremes of warm and dry, and cold and wet, varying by region
  • The Old Farmers Almanac: Warmer than normal, but slightly colder than winter of ‘06-‘07

Could this winter's weather add to our economic woes on Long Island?
As homeowners across the country pray for a mild winter to offset rising energy costs, the world-famous Farmers’ Almanac is warning us to prepare for the worst. “Numb’s the word!” is how the 192-year-old publication is predicting the upcoming winter season. For 2008–2009, the Farmers’ Almanac is forecasting a “numbing” winter, with below-average temperatures for at least two-thirds of the country. Only the Far West and Southeast will see near-normal temperatures. Few, if any, locations will enjoy many above-normal temperature days this upcoming season.

Snow?
Precipitation-wise, most of the South, as well as the Midwest, should experience above-normal conditions, while the rest of the nation will average close to normal. With below-normal winter temperatures and an above-normal precipitation forecast, the Great Lakes and Midwest will see above-normal snowfalls, especially during January and February. Above-normal precipitation is forecast for the Southwest during December 2008 and for the Southeast in January and February 2009. It should also turn out to be an unusually wet and/or snowy February across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

The other long-range forecasts for the impending winter season were predicting mostly above-normal temperatures nationwide, with no prolonged spells of cold weather, and limited precipitation.

The Farmers’ Almanac, in contrast, predicted that it would be a "two-faced" winter, with warm and dry extremes balancing extremes of cold and wet. For those of you who live in the Midwest, northern New England, and parts of the West, last winter was anything but mild and warm. Snowfall records were broken, and winter seemed as if it would never end.

Highlights from last winter:

  • The average temperature across the contiguous U.S. during the climatological winter (December 2007–February 2008) was the coolest since 2001.
  • Above-average winter precipitation was the norm for the Midwest and parts of the West.
  • Snowfall was also above normal in northern New England, where some locations posted all-time record winter snow totals. (Find out which towns broke records).

Long-range weather predictions are created almost two years in advance and are based on a formula that has proven to be dependable. People who follow the forecasts claim the accuracy rate is about 80–85%.

For more details on last year and this year's weather, get the 2009 Farmers' Almanac.

Check out other major weather events accurately predicted by the Farmers’ Almanac

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Is Your Home Safe?

Posted on Wed, Nov 05, 2008 @ 09:44 AM

Protecting your family from Fire and Carbon Monoxide is something that everyone needs to be aware of to ensure the safety of family members, in the event of an emergency.

Installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors is an easy way to protect your home and family. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends one smoke alarm on every floor, in every sleeping area, and in every bedroom. In new construction, the smoke alarms must be AC powered and interconnected.

For additional coverage, it is recommended that you install a smoke alarm in all rooms, halls, storage areas, finished attics, and basements. Ensure there are no obstructions that could keep smoke from reaching smoke alarms.

Carbon Monoxide
A few days ago a family in Suffolk County, NY was exposed to carbon monoxide fumes. Installing carbon monoxide detectors is just as important as having smoke detectors in your home.

It is recommended to have a carbon monoxide alarm near sleeping areas, on every level of your home, and at least 15 feet away from your furnace.

Fire extinguishers should also be positioned on every level of your home.

Contact your local fire department for additional information.

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Blackouts

Posted on Mon, Nov 03, 2008 @ 01:20 PM

Nor'easters can be devastating and damaging, especially in the winter months, when most damage is caused by heavy snow and icing. Nor'easters are known for bringing extremely cold air down from the Arctic air mass, and many times power will be lost in local communities.

Being prepared for emergencies is crucial at home, school, work and in your community. Short-term power outages, such as those caused by storms, are inconveniences but with good planning, you and those you care about will be ready to react accordingly.


Top Safety Tips for a Blackout

  1. Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles!
  2. Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
  3. Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.
  4. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
  5. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.
  6. Listen to local radio and television for updated information.

If you would like more information about blackouts and how to deal with them, contact the power company that serves your area.

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