A house fire is devastating for any family. There is the loss of the home, loss of precious items and heirlooms, and sometimes, tragically, loss of life. House fires destroy not only the structure and the items within – they can destroy memories and leave you in a situation of filing claims and dealing with insurance companies for a long time.
The most obvious damage comes from the smoke, the fire, and the water used to extinguish it. Furniture, carpeting, clothing – anything that can take in odor or moisture will be ruined. But there are other, less obvious, hidden damages after a fire that can not only be costly but could endanger the lives of your family.
Soot is made of particles from burned fuels, like coal or wood. Because we live in an industrialized society, we inhale soot every day. But, when your home has soot damage due to a fire, it might be something you overlook during the inspection and review of your home afterward.
Soot can easily be washed from walls, counters, and ceilings with a combination of water, mild detergent, chlorine bleach, and trisodium phosphate. You can find the recipe for soot cleaner on the American Red Cross website. Always cover your eyes, nose, mouth, and hands when handling a soot clean-up. It may even be a better idea to bring in professionals if you aren’t going to be rebuilding your home. You don’t want excess soot left behind.
Sewage and Water Pipes
You might think that sewage and water pipes would be invulnerable to fire – and you would be wrong. Most modern plumbing is not made of iron. Rather, it is made from PVC or other strong, flexible materials to reduce the possibility of cracks and leaks. However, these materials are susceptible to heat.
If you suspect your plumbing has been damaged, turn the water off at the main valve and contact a plumber for an evaluation. Avoid using sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers until the damage can be assessed.
If your sewage pipes have been damaged, toxic and noxious gases can emanate into your home, causing headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and breathing issues. Potentially dangerous carbon monoxide could also be leaking from damaged sewage pipes. Carbon monoxide can be lethal, especially to the very young, the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with chronic health conditions.
When your home is inspected, ask for a sweep of the air. Have the inspector look specifically for carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes.
The products we use to clean our homes can be dangerous to us on any given day, but after a house fire, they are more dangerous. The chemicals in cleaners can be spilled onto the floor by fire hoses, the containers can be melted by heat, or certain aerosols could explode in the fire. All of this could lead to contamination of your chemical storage areas and the remainder of your home.
The American Red Cross says, “Normal household items, such as cleaning products, can cause toxic fumes and other hazards if they mix. Spilled chemicals that don’t pose a health risk must still be carefully cleaned up. Wear rubber gloves and discard spilled chemicals and rags used for cleaning.”
Once water has seeped into your carpeting, rugs, floors, ceilings, and walls, you are more likely to see mold growth. It is not enough to simply replace carpeting, drywall, or put up new trusses, joists, or walls. The areas directly affected by water must be dried out completely or replaced.
Mold is a danger to your health as well as your home. Mold spores can and will float through the air and can be inhaled. Mold spores can cause allergy problems, asthma attacks, and other respiratory issues. If the mold gets on your skin and enters an open wound, you can develop warts, growths, or other lesions because mold is a fungus.
Mold is most likely to grow in areas where the water can soak in and stay – like drywall and insulation. Oftentimes, the mold is underneath, and you can’t see it without pulling up the drywall or insulation. It is not recommended that you do this yourself. Pulling the materials away from the mold releases the spores and creates a toxic air environment. If you suspect mold after a fire, contact an adjuster to help you find a remediation specialist to inspect your home.
During a fire, fire professionals use multiple tools to break up floors, cabinetry, windows, and more. It is not uncommon for a tool to accidentally hit or nick a gas line that later becomes a full-blown leak. If you enter your home after a fire and smell gas, get out immediately and call 911.
The American Red Cross says, “If you have a heating oil tank system, turn off all valves and contact a professional specializing in maintaining such equipment before using it again. If you detect natural or propane gas, or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and get well away from it. Call the fire department after you reach safety. If you have a propane tank system, turn off all valves and contact a propane supplier to check the system out before you use it again.”
Gas leaks have the potential to not only feed a new fire but to turn it into a massive explosion that could harm others. Never try to fix any gas leak beyond turning off the valves.
Another damage that occurs when a fire is burning is electrical damage. As fire moves through the walls, it can short out junction boxes, melt wires, and create live hanging wires. One step that should be taken when the fire is out is to immediately contact your power provider and have the electricity shut off.
While downed power lines may appear as an obvious danger, there is always the possibility that a damaged wire within the walls sparks, creating a second fire. This is, unfortunately, not uncommon. The firefighters will check the entire structure once the fire is out, but there is always a chance that a wire is hidden under damaged materials from the house.
Bring in an experienced inspector to check all the wiring in the home and ensure no live wires are accessible to anyone. Children are curious and would not hesitate to pick up a wire lying on the ground. The shock they receive from a live wire could be fatal.
Calling your Adjuster
Suffering from fire property damage is extremely energy-consuming and emotionally draining – there are so many things that need to be considered when recovering from a fire catastrophe. It’s important to seek the help of professionals to ensure you get all the support you need in difficult times like these. That’s why public adjusters like the Disaster Experts exist.
So, what is a public adjuster?
A public adjuster is a professional claims manager who fights for policyholders, assisting and negotiating their insurance claims while ensuring they get the highest possible settlement.
Many homeowners don’t even know what a public adjuster is and how much of an asset they can be when it comes to filing your property damage claim. Most of them rely on insurance companies to guide them on their claims, trusting them to provide them with enough money to repair their damages.
This is where most people have it wrong.
Insurance companies don’t care to cover all your damage expenses; they’ll always give you the minimum amount of money possible to repair your damages. For instance, in some cases, homeowners have damages worth more than $20,000, yet, their insurance company lowballs their claims and only gives them a total amount of $5,000! Most homeowners don’t know any better; they accept this offer, potentially leaving thousands of dollars on the table!
Policy language can be challenging to understand, and insurance companies love to use this to trick and manipulate policyholders into believing their policy only covers a certain portion of their damages, which in most cases is simply not true.
That’s why when you work with a public adjuster to help you file your property damage claim, they will guide you through every step of this complex process. They’ll help protect your rights as a homeowner by filing your claim quickly and correctly for you, saving you time/energy, and ensuring every detail of your property damage claim is covered and settled for the largest amount possible so you can get your property back to normal fast!
Key highlights of hiring a public adjuster:
- Protects your rights as a policyholder
- Ensures your claim is filed quickly and correctly
- Saves you time and energy
- Can get you up to 570% more money vs. filing the claim alone
- Our promise, no recovery, no fee, guaranteed!
Why choose The Disaster Experts at Bulldog Adjuster for your property damage needs?
We are an industry-leading nationwide public adjusting firm with over 12 years of experience in the insurance claim industry.
We have successfully settled thousands of claims across our companies lifespan, resulting in the recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars and granting thousands of homeowners across the country smiling faces.
The Disaster Experts offers a 100% free with zero obligation property damage inspection! After the inspection is complete, we will update you on every step of the claims process. Our in-house estimators will prepare you a fast and accurate estimate, and our expert negotiators will ensure you’ll get every dollar you deserve to repair your damages and quickly!
Bulldog Adjusters is your quickest, efficient, and most reliable way to handle your home damage insurance claim! Get in touch here.