FAQ

Have questions about our services? Check out the list of Q&A’s below, and if you don’t see your question, feel free to contact us.

Water Damage

Insurance Claim Payment Process

Deductible:

The deductible is the part of your claim that your Insurance Company does not reimburse you for. This payment goes toward the restoration of your home and is due prior to starting the work. It can be paid by a check made payable to “Champion Cleaning Systems” or by a credit card.

Insurance Company Check:

Once the estimate has been approved by your insurance company a check is usually sent to you. This check will be payable to you and to Champion and will be endorsed by you at substantial completion of the project or at a prearranged stage of the project.

Mortgage Company:

Larger claims will also be made payable to your mortgage company as they have a vested interest in your home. Checks that include your mortgage company will require your participation to have them endorsed in a timely manner.

Mortgage companies will only release all the funds at the completion of your project or portions of the funds at prearranged stages of completion. Each mortgage company has their own set of requirements before they will release these funds.

Although it is your responsibility to have these funds ready in a timely manner, Champion will be glad to assist you in this sometimes confusing process. To assist you we will need the name of your mortgage company (or companies if there is a second lender), their customer service telephone number, and your loan number. Additionally, we will need a letter of authorization from you to allow us to deal with your mortgage company on your behalf.

According to the IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500), there are three categories of water that cause damage in buildings. They are summarized as follows:

Category 1 Water

– That which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans. Category 1 water may become progressively contaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings or building assemblies (walls, decking, subflooring). Time and temperature, which promote the growth and amplification of microorganisms in water can cause Category 1 water to degrade. Examples: burst water pipes, failed supply lines on appliances, vertically falling rainwater.

Category 2 Water

– That which begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans. As with Category 1 water, time and temperature can cause Category 2 water to become progressively more contaminated.

Category 3 Water

– That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Examples: sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes. There are two ways in which water enters a building as a result of wind storm damage: The first involves falling or windblown rainwater that enters as a result of damage to roof components or wall assemblies. The second involves horizontally traveling ground surface water (Category 3) containing silt and soil contaminants that infiltrate into structures, generally through doors or around foundation walls. This ground surface water (storm surge) may accumulate to a depth of several inches or several feet. When structures are partially submerged or remain substantially flooded for weeks, far more elaborate procedures usually are required. Most household microorganisms (fungi, bacteria) typically require five conditions for germination, growth, amplification and dissemination. Generally, they include:

organic food source, especially cellulose (e.g., paper, wood), which are found in abundance in construction materials
moisture, even high humidity (67% RH plus)
moderate temperature – 68-86°F/20-30°C
stagnant air
time – several hours to several days

Anything that can be done to control or minimize these optimum conditions will prolong the time required for microbial growth.

Leaks under the sink, slow draining pipes, cracked tile or missing grout, soft or stained walls and floors, leaks under and around the base of the dishwasher, and moisture behind the refrigerator.

Lock and secure your property when not occupied to prevent looting. Keep in mind that alarms may malfunction if the electricity or telephone service has been interrupted.

Start with the toilet; check the water lines, the floor around the toilet, the tank and the toilet rim. Make sure no leaks are visible. Then inspect the Shower and Bathtub. Inspect the tiles, the grout, drain and visible plumbing. Confirm that all seals are tight and dry. Be attentive to discolorations or soft areas around the bathtub walls.

Check the outlet pipe to make sure it is not clogged or frozen. Follow the pipe and confirm that water are directed away from the property.
Check that the pump is clean. Plug in the pump and remove the lid (if there is one). Use a flashlight and look into the pump and see that the inlet pipe is clean and free flowing.
Test the pump by pouring at least 5 gallons of water and pumping it out. Be sure to pour the water in a way that will simulate the average flow into the pump. Force the pump to turn on and off 2-3 times and watch the action of the on/off switch while listening to the pump.

Generally, there 3 important red flags for water damage, originating in the refrigerator:

Moisture behind or under the refrigerator including on the coils in the back of the refrigerator.
Leaks from hose connection and seals. (commonly found in the icemaker’s water supply line)
Growth of mold is a major sign because it indicates an ongoing problem that must be treated immediately. This problem is usually detected in the drain pan if your refrigerator has one.

If your hardwood floors are the sand and finish type, then we can usually save them. This is the best method because it prevents you from needing a patch down the road and they usually noticeable.

This is ultimately your decision. You should consider all safety issues, odors, electricity, noise from equipment, etc. If you are vacating your premises for any length of time, consider the following: forward your mail to your temporary residence, stop newspaper and other deliveries, notify utility company, cable company, etc. of temporary suspension of services.

Assuming your books were soaked in clean water for less than 24 hours and mold is not present, you will have to start by prioritizing salvage order: collection books and valuable books must be dried before all other books. The best method for paper drying is freezing. Insert the books into plastic bags and place in the freezer. To prevent pages from adhering to each other, place a baking sheet every 20-30 pages.

Not necessarily. Dishes, cooking utensils and food preparation areas can be sanitized, disinfected and then reused. Throw away wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers, since it’s nearly impossible to safely clean them.

We recommend that you make a list of items (including food items) that are determined to be non-restorable. It is best to have a copy for yourself as well as your insurance company.

Cash
Checkbooks
Flammables
Gasoline cans
Medications
Personal documents
Pets
Stamp/Coin collections
Valuable jewelry
Valuable Paintings
Weapons/Ammunition

Not necessarily. This is a question that is best answered on a case-by-case basis. In the event of a sewage back-up, any material that has been touched by that water must be disposed of, including carpet. In other types of water losses it depends on several factors. Most of the time, we are able to save the carpet from replacement.

Dangers are not over when the water goes down. Do not endanger yourself or your family after a water event. Keep children and pets away. Try to protect yourself and your family from stress, fatigue, and water-related health hazards.

Follow these basic safety rules:

Determine Structural Stability
Cut off power supply
Turn off water supply
Turn off gas supply
Beware of animals
Use protective gear

DO:

Have a professional plumbing contractor eliminate the water source.
Call a professional water damage restoration company immediately for help! Damage from water and bacteria growth can begin within just a few hours.
Remove as much water as possible from floors by mopping or blotting with clean white towels.
Turn off circuit breakers supplying electricity to wet areas if appropriate. Unplug and remove any small electrical devices located on wet carpet or other wet surfaces.
Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings that are not attached. Do not remove wall-to-wall carpet.
Hang draperies and pin up furniture skirts to prevent contact with wet carpet.
Wipe furniture and prop up wet cushions for even drying.
Place aluminum foil under legs of wood furniture (especially antiques).
Remove small furniture items to prevent rust or stains and to expedite restoration.
Remove books, shoes, paper goods, fabrics, potted plants and other items that may stain the carpet (be sure to check under the beds and in closets).
Move photos, paintings, art and any high-value items to a safe, dry location.
Open drawers and closet and cabinet doors to speed the drying process.
Make plans for a restoration crew to move large furniture items onto dry carpet, linoleum, garage or storage area.

DON’T:

Don’t use your home vacuum because electrical shock may result as well as damage to the vacuum.
Don’t use TV’s or other appliances on wet carpet or floors.
Don’t place newspaper in the traffic areas because the ink transfers easily.
Don’t walk on wet carpet more than necessary in order to keep from spreading damage.
Don’t activate the HVAC system if it has been directly contacted by the water or it may spread contamination.
Don’t disturb visible mold.

Yes. Champion will perform water damage services for any loss. Champion has the knowledge, people, and equipment to do the job correctly, no matter the size of the job.

Champion is qualified to handle any type of water damage including sewage overflow, leaking pipe, icemaker lines, dishwasher or washing machine hoses, rising water from heavy rains and tornado losses.

Most structures can be dried in three days or less. However, when the moisture goes undetected for a prolonged period of time this can take longer to dry.

Many times, taking a do-it-yourself approach to water restoration only compounds the problem because it’s difficult to accurately diagnose the scope of the damage. There are also less experienced water restoration companies out there that don’t fully understand the proper steps and precautions to take, and leave the customer with an even bigger problem than they had originally. The use of non-commercial equipment (like a shop vac) will not properly extract water from the carpet and pad. It is important to properly dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours.

Fire Damage

Insurance Claim Payment Process

Deductible:

The deductible is the part of your claim that your Insurance Company does not reimburse you for. This payment goes toward the restoration of your home and is due prior to starting the work. It can be paid by a check made payable to “Champion Cleaning Systems” or by a credit card.

Insurance Company Check:

Once the estimate has been approved by your insurance company a check is usually sent to you. This check will be payable to you and to Champion and will be endorsed by you at substantial completion of the project or at a prearranged stage of the project.

Mortgage Company:

Larger claims will also be made payable to your mortgage company as they have a vested interest in your home. Checks that include your mortgage company will require your participation to have them endorsed in a timely manner.

Mortgage companies will only release all the funds at the completion of your project or portions of the funds at prearranged stages of completion. Each mortgage company has their own set of requirements before they will release these funds.

Although it is your responsibility to have these funds ready in a timely manner, Champion will be glad to assist you in this sometimes confusing process. To assist you we will need the name of your mortgage company (or companies if there is a second lender), their customer service telephone number, and your loan number. Additionally, we will need a letter of authorization from you to allow us to deal with your mortgage company on your behalf.

This is ultimately your decision. You should consider all safety issues, odors, electricity, noise from equipment, etc. If you are vacating your premises for any length of time, consider the following: forward your mail to your temporary residence, stop newspaper and other deliveries, notify utility company, cable company, etc. of temporary suspension of services.

When recovering from fire damage, most of your items can be salvaged, disinfected, and cleaned. However, you will need to pay attention to some safety rules when trying to determine what to keep and what to discard. Be sure to document everything you throw away.
Food

You will have to be very careful when dealing with food. If food is burnt or even partially burnt, discard it. Discard food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot. The high temperatures of fire and its byproducts can make food unsafe. Do not use any canned foods where the can has bulged, is badly dented or has rusted.

Refrigerated Food
If your refrigerator was not damaged in the fire, check its content. Confirm that the food is still cold and that no soot penetrated it. If in doubt, discard the food.

Your refrigerator will keep cold for 4 hours if it is well sealed. In case that the power was turned off during the fire and the refrigerator was turned off for more than 4 hours, discard the food.

Frozen Food
The food that was in the freezer can be used if it still has ice crystals on it and if it still feels cold and hard. If not, discard it. Again, whenever in doubt, discard the food.
Medicines and Cosmetics

Discard medicines and cosmetics if contamination is suspected. Inspect medicines and cosmetics carefully to make sure that they are clean of soot, dust, and all other chemicals that might have been in use to extinguish the fire.
Clothes and Textile

Clothes and textile can often be cleaned and disinfected. Discard these materials only if burnt. Be extra cautious with baby and children clothes.
Other Content

All other content can be reused after you make sure that it is well cleaned and disinfected and that it is dust and soot free.

No. however, you will have to be very careful when dealing with food. Throw food if it is burnt or if it has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot. In addition, do not use any canned foods if the can has bulged, is badly dented or has rusted.

You can keep refrigerated food if your refrigerator was not damaged in the fire. Your refrigerator will keep cold for 4 hours if it is well sealed. In case that the power was turned off during the fire and the refrigerator was turned off for more than 4 hours, discard the food.

Frozen food can be used if it still has ice crystals on it and if it still feels cold and hard. Whenever in doubt, discard the food.

We recommend that you make a list of items (including food items) that are determined to be non-restorable. It is best to have a copy for yourself as well as your insurance company.

Cash
Checkbooks
Flammables
Gasoline cans
Medications
Personal documents
Pets
Stamp/Coin collections
Valuable jewelry
Valuable Paintings
Weapons/Ammunition

Lock and secure your property when not occupied to prevent looting. Keep in mind that alarms may malfunction if the electricity or telephone service has been interrupted. If windows or doors are busted they will need to be boarded up for security.

While it is possible, it is not recommended. This is one of those instances where what you don’t know can hurt you. Restoration is a scientific discipline that is practiced by trained professionals. If not done correctly you might be creating hazardous health conditions for you and your family. Most homeowner’s insurance policies will pay for you to hire a professional restoration contractor to return your property to its pre-loss condition.

DO:

Call for professional help as soon as possible. Corrosive byproducts can cause irreversible etching.
If the temperature is above 60 degrees, open windows to ventilate the home.
If you have to turn off your water, take steps to prevent your plumbing and/or heating supply pipes from freezing.
If the electricity is off, remove perishable foods from your refrigerator and freezer. The odor created by spoiled food is usually impossible to remove. Leave the doors propped open.
Discard any open food packages.
Keep a listing of anything you have discarded and receipts for any expenses you incur in protecting your property. Most likely, your insurance claim representative will ask for these items.
Vacuum loose dry soot smoke particles from carpets. Make sure the vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter to prevent redistribution of fine soot. Avoid walking or tracking on carpet if possible.
Close doors on affected areas to localize smoke odors as much as possible.
Change the furnace or air conditioner filter if the blower is operating. Tape damp cheesecloth over air registers with masking tape to capture loose soot in the air.
Clean Formica, chrome, porcelain and aluminum fixtures to prevent permanent tarnishing or etching.

DON’T:

Don’t touch anything with your bare hands. Oils from your hands can cause additional damage.
Don’t use any TV, stereo or electronic appliances until they have been checked by a technician.
Don’t use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.
Don’t attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
Don’t wipe or attempt to wash ceilings or other absorbent surfaces. Incorrect cleaning could compound the soot residue.
Don’t consume food items exposed to smoke or canned goods that have been subjected to excessive heat.
Don’t use upholstered furniture if possible.

Sewage Backup

A “do-it-yourself” approach to sewage and septic cleanup is NOT encouraged. The sewage backup restoration process involves a series of steps, to be taken in a specific order, and that need to be done right the first time.

The sewage will need to be pumped out of the affected area and everything that was touched by the sewage needs to be considered contaminated. Carpeting, rugs, clothing, textiles, upholstery, mattresses and any other items that have come into contact with sewage-based flooding should be thrown away and replaced.

Mold appears even faster following cases of sewage flooding or backup. Mold aggravates the problem exponentially, increasing the difficulty of proper remediation, and adding an additional level of health risks since mold spores inhaled in large concentrations may prove extremely hazardous to your health.

Every surface touched by sewage will need to be cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized. This procedure may need to be repeated several times to make sure that all contaminants have been removed.

FROM THE IICRC/THE CLEANTRUST:

Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups:

Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic – disease causing – fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
It is not safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly. This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too. There’s simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy.

Solid Flushes
The most common cause of sewage backup is a blockage of the lateral service pipe between the home and the city main. This is usually caused by solid objects, accidentally flushed down a household drain.

Structural Defects
Different structural defects can develop overtime and eventually cause a major damage to the system, leading to a serious overflow that will require a complete reconstruction of sewer lines.

Root infiltration
Tree roots are a major cause of backups. Tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and travel a long way, causing blockages along the way.

Stinky sewage back-up and overflowing drains are a very common cause of damage to homes and businesses, especially those located in flat areas or near the bottom of slopes. Many policies now exclude coverage for the clean-up and repairs, but for a mere $20 a year you can buy a “Back-up of Sewer or Drain Endorsement” that gives you up to $10,000 in coverage. The catch? A $1,000 deductible. But hey, that’s still easy math.”

Exposure to sewage or its products may result in diseases such as: Gastroenteritis, Hepatitis, Occupational asthma, Weil’s disease, Allergic Alveolitis. In extreme cases exposure to sewage can cause fatal damage to the liver, kidneys and blood, and infection of the skin or eyes.

Raw sewage is mainly gray or black water. It often contains the organic waste and wastewater produced by household and industrial sources. It can contain everything from soap to solid waste, human excrement, industrial effluent, and debris.

Vandalism

DO:

Report the damage to the police as soon as possible. They will need to collect evidence and take photographs.
Once the police have determined that your home is safe to enter, create a list for both the police and your insurance company of everything that is damaged or missing. Be sure to make a copy for yourself.
Call for professional clean up help as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Use a shop vacuum to remove glass particles from carpet and upholstery.
Remove any debris from carpet or interior walls.
Scrape or blot carpets and furniture.
Wash any egg or other residues from the building exterior using water.

DON’T:

Do not clean up any of the mess until after the police tell you that it is okay to do so.
Do not try to operate electrical appliances that appear to have been tampered with or damaged by the vandals.
Do not attempt to clean up any chemical stains including ink or paint.
Do not use traditional household cleansers on your upholstery, carpeting or other fabrics.

Mold

Mold removal is not a “do it yourself job”. Mold removal requires professional chemicals, equipment and training. Treating mold with household chemicals such as bleach can cause mold to spread and create more costly issues in your home. Contact Champion for professional mold removal.

Each Champion technician is trained on proper mold removal / mold remediation procedures in accordance with the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) S-520.

When removing mold, all work is performed to the same industry standards, regardless of the type of mold. The location of the mold growth, however, may determine the removal methodology.

For example, commercial mold removal, may require additional considerations for building operations and occupant restrictions that a remediator may not encounter on a residential project.

If you feel your property owner or landlord not been responsive to concerns you’ve expressed regarding mold or mildew exposure, you can contact your local board of health or housing authority. Applicable codes, insurance, inspection, legal, and similar issues about mold generally fall under state and local (not federal) jurisdiction. You can also contact your county or state health department about mold issues in your area to learn about what mold assessment and remediation services they offer.

Biocides are substances that can destroy living organisms. The use of a chemical or biocide that kills organisms such as mold (chlorine bleach, for example) is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). In most cases, it is not possible or desirable to sterilize an area; a background level of mold spores will remain – these spores will not grow if the moisture problem has been resolved. If you choose to use disinfectants or biocides, always ventilate the area and exhaust the air to the outdoors. Never mix chlorine bleach solution with other cleaning solutions or detergents that contain ammonia because toxic fumes could be produced.

Please note: Dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed.

For more information on mold, visit www.epa.gov/mold

If we are able to get out to your property in a timely manner and begin the drying process immediately, you significantly reduce the risk of developing mold.

No, bleach will only remove the visible mold, which will probably visually re-occur within 10-14 days. Anti-Microbial chemicals must be properly used to kill mold.

No, mold will continue to grow until it’s completely killed and removed.

Exposure to mold can cause health effects in some people. Some people are more sensitive to mold then others. Mold exposure causes various symptoms including nasal and sinus congestion, stuffiness, eye irritation, respiratory problems, throat irritation, skin irritation, and/or headache.

There is no defined time frame to predict when mold will grow in carpet. For any material to support common indoor mold growth, it must:

be organic,
be damp or wet,
have a moderate temperature (68-86ºF),
be in a stagnant air environment, and
have these conditions present for several days.

Most tufted carpet is made of plastic face yarns and backings, and synthetic latex. There is nothing organic to support mold in the carpet itself. Therefore, mold cannot technically grow on carpet. However, average household soil is about 40% organic (12% cellulose, 12% protein, 10% oils, 6% food stuffs); therefore, mold can grow on the soil in carpet given the right conditions listed above.

However, if carpet is kept clean and dry, there is little or no possibility for mold growth. Even with soiling and normal household conditions found in most homes, it takes considerable time for mold to grow on carpet soil, and then only if dampness is present.

Mold growth may occur in your home if there is sufficient moisture because mold spores are everywhere. Be on the lookout for these common sources of moisture: flooding, roof leaks, plumbing leaks, drainage problems or condensation resulting from poor or improper ventilation.

Call Champion and have one of their IICRC trained technicians investigate the situation. A mold problem can usually be seen or smelled. Mold can be a concern in the home and should not be allowed to grow. Extensive mold contamination may cause health problem, as well as damage to your home.

Contact Us

If this is an emergency, please call us at (770) 683-4534 for immediate assistance.
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