ServiceMaster Frequently Asked Questions

You have a terrible situation on your hands and you have called ServiceMaster to restore your home or business to it’s best possible state, however, you are not sure what you should or should not do next. We have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions and the answers to those questions to help you adjust until the cleanup, mitigation and restoration process are complete. Please review the list of questions below and click on the plus sign next to the question to see that answer.

Water Damage – What do I do?

Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment and will need to sign a form authorizing payment for the restoration services. If this is an insurance claim, ServiceMaster Restore generally collects only the deductible (copayment) amount from you and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. If you have a large loss, your mortgage company may be included as a payee on the payment from your insurance company, and you may need to obtain a signature from them as well. If your claim is not covered by insurance or you decide not to file a claim, you will be expected to pay in full. Your ServiceMaster Restore representative can discuss these details.

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

Based on average electrical rates, it may cost about $1 per day per piece of drying equipment to operate. Actual costs can vary depending on current rates from your local electricity provider.

Our water damage mitigation specialists will place and monitor equipment to achieve optimal results in the shortest amount of time. Please make sure no one turns the equipment off or moves it. Please notify our office immediately if the power goes off or if the equipment turns off.

When water damage has occurred, water can be absorbed into the drywall, baseboards, subflooring, etc. Drying these surfaces requires high velocity air movers to accelerate the release of absorbed water into the air. Dehumidifiers are necessary for removing this excess moisture to help protect property and create conditions for efficient drying. Please do not turn off or move drying equipment without first calling ServiceMaster Restore.

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.

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

Carpet on the stairs is generally not removed for safety reasons. Exposed tack strips or staples, especially on steps, is dangerous. However, there are situations where removing carpet from stairs is necessary to prevent damage to hardwood steps or in the case of sewage contamination. Removing tack strips is not advised, as this may damage the hardwood or the subfloor. Extreme caution must be used whenever the tack strip is exposed or when the carpeted stairs are damp. If carpet left on the stairs is un-salvageable, it will be removed when new carpet is installed.

Non-porous flooring can trap water and prevent it from drying properly.

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 and age of the carpet)
  • Permanent stains
  • Carpet covers wood flooring (to salvage the wood flooring)
  • Sewage contamination

It is strongly suggested that you keep the traffic to a minimum. Wearing shoes is recommended for your safety.

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.

Our technicians will evaluate moisture content, determine the severity of the 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.

It is not unusual to smell odors during the drying process. Increased heat and humidity can also lead to increased odors that may be coming from the drying building materials, or dormant spill and accident areas. Do not confuse these normal odors with the odor of mold. As the drying process continues and humidity levels drop, you’ll notice these odors disappearing on their own. Proper cleaning and deodorizers are often used to minimize these effects as well.

Not usually. If items need to be moved out, we will let you know in advance.

If you file an insurance claim, you may receive guidance from your insurance representative. However, this is a decision you must reach on your own. Here are several things to consider. Safety is paramount. Our equipment is as child proof as possible, but we require your supervision to make sure no children play with it. Air movers and dehumidifiers will create noise and make your property drafty for a few days. It is important that the equipment remains on, so if the noise is disruptive to you, you might want to consider an alternate place to stay.

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.

Wood flooring must be evaluated during the drying process. We employ specialized drying systems and dehumidifiers that enable us to create an environment where wood floors can dry more efficiently and resume their original shape. 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.

Not necessarily. We will adjust the temperature to its optimum setting for the proper drying conditions. Please do not change the setting or shut off the HVAC system; doing so may prolong the drying process.

Proper testing with our specialized equipment is the correct way to determine if things are completely dry. Touch alone may be a false indicator.

Drying time is 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 subfloors may still be wet underneath.