FAQ – Disaster Restoration

Q. How long will the fire and smoke restoration process take?

A. There are many variables and many services involved in fire and smoke restoration, it is difficult to predict exactly how long the complete restoration of your home or business will take. Consult with your ServiceMaster technician on the estimated dates and phases of your restoration project.

Q. How long will the water restoration process take?

A. Drying time on water losses are determined by a combination of factors including the location, duration and source of water, the types of building materials, the weather conditions and how quickly emergency services begin. Through consistent monitoring and evaluation of the drying process, we can determine when the drying is complete. Your carpet may feel dry to the touch, but padding and sub-floors may still be wet underneath. While there are no rules to determine how long your property will take to dry, we can tell you it may take between three to five days or more, depending on the conditions.

Q. Who is responsible for paying for the restoration service?

A. Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment. As the property owner, you will need to sign a form authorizing the work and payment. If this is an insurance claim, ServiceMaster direct bill your insurance provider as a service to you if you sign the needed forms.

If you have a large loss, your mortgage company may be included as a payee on the check from your insurance company, and you may need to obtain a signature from them as well. If your claim is not covered, or you decide not to file a claim, you will be expected to pay in full at the time of service. Most insurance companies require their preferred cleaning and mitigation companies to be certified with the IICRC. ServiceMaster is IICRC certified.

We can help! ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park in Chicago is the company of choice for most major residential and commercial insurance companies because of our reputation for professional work done using Insurance pre-approved pricing.

Q. Should I use a General Contractor or a Water Restoration Expert?

A. The choice is yours. Here are some thoughts that should go through your mind when making the decision between a general contractor or a water restoration expert. If it is an emergency, a water restoration expert will get the issue solved the first time. A general contractor may be able to eliminate the surface issues, but they do not have the training to access the water damage situation from all angles. In turn, you may be putting your families health at risk, especially if mold and mildew were not taken care of properly the first time. Read more about the differences between a general contractor and a water restoration expert.

Q. Do I have to use a recommended company from my insurance, or can I choose my own restoration company?

A. The choice is yours. Your insurance company may have some good insights into which company would be the best for your specific situation but it is still important to do your own research. Make sure the restoration company they are recommending is experienced and reliable.

Q. Can my carpet be restored after water damage or will it have to be replaced?

A. A few reasons your carpet may not be salvageable:

  • Delamination – Occurs when the backing separates from the carpet fiber.
  • Loss of Adhesion- May be caused by prolonged exposure to water or age of carpet.
  • Sewage Contamination

Q. How will you match my carpet pad?

A. A sample of your pad is brought to the office for a match. When available, an identical pad will be used. When your original pad is not available, we will provide a pad of the same quality, thickness, and density. Similar pad may differ in color based upon the time it was manufactured.

Q. What do I do about sewage contamination?

A. Hard surfaces can be cleaned and sanitized. Affected items that cannot be sanitized require disposal. Porous materials such as drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation, particleboard, paneling, etc. that have been directly affected should be removed during the emergency service visit.

Q. Can I clean the sewage contamination myself?

A. We suggest you do not attempt any “do it yourself” cleaning methods without consulting your ServiceMaster technician. ServiceMaster’s professional cleaning system products used by experienced, trained technicians give you the best chance for complete restoration of your belongings.  By trying to “do it yourself” owners could create more damage ultimately resulting in more costly repairs.

Q. Do my belongings need to be moved away from the premises?

A. Depending on the source, nature and extent of the fire damage or water damage, it may be best to remove belongings to a secure facility for cleaning, storage, and to make room for restoration or construction. ServiceMaster will work with you and your insurance claim representative to manage this process.

Q. What about special items? Artwork, china, heirlooms, etc.?

A. Some high value items require restoration by a specialist. Working with your insurance claim representative, we can help you identify these and locate a qualified restorer.

Q. My wood floors are wet and buckling. Will they have to be replaced?

A. Wood flooring must be evaluated during the drying process. We employ specialized drying systems and dehumidifiers which enable us to create an environment where wood floors can dry more efficiently and resume their original shape. Due to the density of hardwood flooring and urethane finishes, drying may take up to three weeks or longer. If you filed a claim, your insurance adjuster will work with you to make the final decision as to whether floors will need to be refinished or replaced.

Q. What about my wet furniture? Can my water damaged furniture be salvaged?

A. The extent of damage and the construction of the furniture will determine if your furniture can be restored. Your furniture must be dried before damage can be adequately assessed. Non-salvageable furniture will be documented for you and if any items need to be discarded, a customer release form will need to be signed.

Q. What do I do about water damage on my ceiling?

A. Our technicians will evaluate moisture content, determine the severity of the water damage and may have to remove some of your ceiling for ventilation. Wet insulation can also be a hazard and may need to be removed.

Q. Should I open the windows to help the water damage dry?

A. Opening your windows to assist the drying process is not always recommended. Outside weather conditions may vary, so the technician will determine when and if the outside air is appropriate.

Q. What will you do with my area rugs?

A. Rugs are taken to our warehouse for special care. They need to be dried carefully to minimize bleeding of colors and discoloration. Your rugs will be dried, cleaned, and returned.

Q. Can I Turn Off the Water Restoration Dry Equipment at Night?

A. Turning off the water drying equipment could set you right back where you started and may possibly increase the chance that mold forms within your walls. We recommend keeping the drying equipment running at night to completely eliminate the moisture and to avoid any future water damage problems.

Q. What will it cost to run the water damage equipment?

A. Based on average electrical rates, it may cost about one dollar per day to operate the drying equipment