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

Disaster Mitigation...Buying Insurance

Posted on Thu, Jun 18, 2009 @ 01:49 PM

DISASTER MITIGATION... BUYING INSURANCE
By Chris Floyd Disaster Services Director Capital Area Chapter American Red Cross

Even with adequate time to prepare for a disaster, you still may suffer significant, unavoidable damage to your property. That's when insurance for renters or homeowners can be a big help. Yet, many people affected by recent disasters have been underinsured- or worse- not insured at all. Make sure the insurance you buy protects against the perils you face.

If You Own a Home...

  • Buy, at minimum, full replacement or replacement cost coverage. This means the structure can be replaced up to the limits specified in the policy.
  • Investigate buying a guaranteed replacement cost policy. When and where available, these policies can pay to rebuild your house, including improvements, at today's prices, regardless of the limits of the policy.
  • Have your home periodically reappraised to be sure the policy reflects the real replacement cost.
  • Update the policy to include any home improvements, such as basement refinishing. Annual automatic increases may not be enough to cover these.
  • Buy a policy that covers the replacement cost of your possessions. Standard coverage only pays for the actual cash value (replacement cost discounted for age or use).
  • Be very clear about what the policy will and will not cover, and how the deductibles work (the part you pay before the policy pays).
  • Check state-operated or federally operated insurance pools if you find it difficult to obtain private coverage because of a recent disaster. Premiums often run higher than market rates, but this is better than no coverage.
  • Conduct a home inventory, make a list, and use it to check that your policy's coverage matches the value of your possessions.

If You Rent...

  • Buy renter's insurance, which pays for damaged, destroyed, or stolen personal property. Your landlords insurance wont cover damage to or loss of your possessions. Also, consider special coverage like flood insurance for your belongings.
  • Be clear about what a policy will cover. Some policies cover more than others. For example, will the policy pay for living expenses if you have to live somewhere else temporarily, or for damage from sewer backup?
  • Comparison shop for the best coverage at the best price. Policies vary from company to company. Policies in most areas are very affordable. Start with the company that insures your car. Discounts are often available if you carry more than one policy with a company.

You may also want to consider special coverage as insurance for renters and homeowners won't cover certain types of losses. Ask your insurance agent or financial planner about special or additional coverage for floods, earthquakes, home offices, and other potential problems.


Advanced Restoration Corporation is a full-service property damage/disaster restoration company that has been serving Long Island and the New York metropolitan area for over 20 years.

The company offers the highest quality residential, commercial and industrial property restoration and remediation services available. Our qualified and professional staff is capable of handling all aspects of fire & smoke damage, mold remediation and water damage. Emergency response teams are available 24/7 to promptly execute the required services for a customer.

Advanced Restoration is a member of multiple industry associations, including NYARM, BOMA, PIA, YIP, IICRC, NARI, NIDR and RIA. We are licensed in Nassau and Suffolk County, as well as the five boroughs of New York City.

Please contact Gary Matzelle at (516) 903-4107 with any questions, or send an email to gmatzelle@advancedrestoration.com. Our corporate website can be viewed at www.advancedrestoration.com.

Tags: disaster, property damage, water damage, water damage restoration, insurance, flood insurance, advanced restoration, homeowner tips, restoration company, flood damage, storm damage, water

It's Cold Out...Stay Warm & Be Safe!

Posted on Wed, Jan 14, 2009 @ 04:58 PM

Arctic air is expected to hit the New York Metro area by tomorrow, and is expected to last until Sunday. Many Homeowners will be using various heating sources to stay warm, including electric heaters and fireplaces. Fire safety is essential to your family and should be discussed with all members of your household.

Heating equipment is among the leading causes of home fires nationally and in New York State. Very often heating related fires are the result of a lack of maintenance or simple acts of carelessness. Following the guidelines below will help to ensure that you reduce the possibility of experiencing a heating related fire.

Fire tips from NY State's Office of Fire Prevention and Control include:

Fire Prevention
To prevent fires, keep furnishings and other combustibles 36 inches from all heating sources. A heating source too close to combustibles is the leading cause of fires due to home heating. Store matches and other fire starting appliances out of the reach of children. Fires started by children often have tragic results.

Follow Proper Maintenance
Proper maintenance and an annual inspection of heat pumps, furnaces, space heaters, wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connections by qualified specialists can prevent fires and save lives. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, venting, fueling, maintenance and repair.

Review the owner's manual to make sure you remember the operating and safety features.

  • Space Heaters – When using portable heaters, do not place them where it is possible for small children or pets to fall against them or to receive a contact burn. Avoid the use of extension cords with electric heaters. Always turn off space heaters before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Fuel Burning Appliances – When taking a heater out of storage in the fall, install batteries and inspect the shut off mechanism and wick for proper operation. Fill the tank with fresh fuel. Let the heater cool down before refueling. Adding fuel to a hot heater can start a dangerous fire.
  • Wood Burning Appliances and Fireplaces – Do not burn trash in the wood stove or fireplace. Burn only well-seasoned hardwoods. Be sure the fire you build fits your fireplace or stove, don’t overload it. Be sure wood stoves are installed at least 36 inches away from the wall. Keep combustible materials well away from the fireplace, stove and chimney. Keep the area around them clean. Always use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from leaving the fireplace and starting a fire. Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Chimneys - Creosote accumulation is the leading cause of chimney fires. A chimney that is dirty, blocked or is in disrepair can inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney are preventable. An annual chimney inspection by a qualified chimney sweep can prevent fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Ashes – Keep wood stoves and fireplaces free of excess ash buildup. Excessive ash buildup prevents good circulation of air needed for combustion. When removing ashes, use a metal container with a tight-fitting cover. Always place ashes in an outside location away from structures. Ashes that seem cool may contain a smoldering charcoal that can start a fire.

Advanced Restoration is a full service property damage restoration company and is trained to respond to all aspects of fire, smoke damage and water damage that can occur after a fire. Call us at (800) 693-6263 for more information, or visit our website at www.AdvancedRestoration.com.

We are truly committed to Making Disaster Temporary and Restoration Permanent.

Tags: smoke alarm, preventing frozen pipes, property damage, fire restoration, puffbacks, water damage, structural drying, flooding, burn hazard, cold winter, advanced restoration, advanced restoration corporation, long island water damage, restoration, water extraction, emergency service, restoration company, storm damage, fire protection, smoke restoration, heating

Winter Storm/Property Damage: Ice Dams and Your Home

Posted on Fri, Jan 09, 2009 @ 04:41 PM

Snow is expected this weekend on Long Island and the NY Metro area and the Weather Service has issued a WINTER STORM WARNING for the area. Whenever there is snow, you are guaranteed to have troublesome ice dams to follow. Ice dams can cause major water damage and flooding to your home, which requires immediate attention.

As winter advances through cycles of freezing and thawing, buildings and homes experience ice buildup and roof damage. In general, ice dams are formed when attic heat moves up to warm the roof and melts snow at or near the ridge. Snow melts, runs downward and hits the edge of the cold roof, resulting in re-freezing snow. These cycles cause ice to accumulate and back up under shingles. Damage appears in the form of soaked insulation, stained, cracked and damaged sheet rock, damp, smelly, rotting wall cavities and stained, blistered and peeling paint.

Preventing Ice Dams
To prevent an ice dam, don't heat the roof, keep it cold. That way, the snow on the roof eventually dissipates without making large amounts of meltwater. The underside of the roof deck should not exceed 30 F. The best way to maintain low temperatures is by ensuring that there is adequate insulation and sealing gaps that let warm air pass into the attic from the house. The attic must also be ventilated, so that cold air is introduced into it and heated air escapes rapidly. Some remodeling contractors are under the impression that heat passing through the attic helps prevent ice dams, when just the opposite is true. Although excess heat moving from the attic through the roof rapidly melts snow, once the meltwater touches the cold eaves, it quickly freezes and forms an ice dam.

If you have a furnace in the attic, it may not be possible to prevent ice dams. Increased insulation, however, should help. First, insulate the areas between the roof rafters. It is important to keep an air space between the roof deck and the insulation in order to prevent a condensation buildup that can delaminate the roof deck. Prior to insulating, install polystyrene rafter air channels, which are available at home centers. Next, lay insulation blankets over the furnace's heating ducts to help reduce the heat buildup in the attic. If there's a hatchway into the attic, build a cover for it out of rigid poly-styrene insulation.

If the gable and ridge vents do not generate sufficient air movement to dissipate the heat, you will need a motorized vent at one end of the attic to exhaust the heat, and an adequately sized vent on the opposite end of the attic to draw in cold air from the outside.

Check your home carefully when ice dams form. Investigate even when there doesn't appear to be a leak. Look at the underside of the roof sheathing and roof trim to make sure they haven't gotten wet. Check the insulation for dampness. And when leaks inside your home develop, be prepared. Water penetration often follows pathways difficult follow. Don't just patch the roof leak. Make sure that the roof sheathing hasn't rotted or that other less obvious problems in your ceiling or walls haven't developed. And then detail a comprehensive plan to fix the damage. But more importantly, solve the problem.

If you experience water damage that requires a water damage/flood restoration expert, please contact Advanced Restoration at (800) 693-6263. Advanced Restoration is a full service property damage restoration company that can respond 24/7 to your water damage situation. We use state-of-the-art equipment to handle structural drying. Our professional staff is also available to handle mold situations that may occur as a result of a water loss. Our service area includes Nassau County, Suffolk County and the New York boroughs. Enjoy the snowfall and stay dry!

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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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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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