Don't Know What To Do Next? We Do®

Frequently Asked Questions

For Residential FAQs, click here.

Commercial FAQs

Water Damage Restoration

How long will it take my property to dry?

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. While there are no rules to determine how long your property will take to dry, we can tell you it may take between three and five days or more, depending on the conditions.


How do I know when my property is completely dry?

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


Will turning up the heat help dry things out?

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.


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

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. 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.


What about my wet furniture?

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. Unsalvageable furniture will be documented for you, and if any items need to be discarded, we will ask you to sign a customer release form before we take any action.


What’s that smell?

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. Deodorizers are often used to minimize these effects as well.


Does everything need to be moved out during restoration?

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


My ceilings are wet. What needs to be done?

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


Should I open the windows to help the drying process?

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.


May I walk in the area during the drying process?

It is strongly suggested you keep the traffic to a minimum.


Can my carpet be restored or will it have to be replaced?

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 the carpet)
  • Permanent stains
  • Condition of flooring under carpet (if carpet covers wood flooring, it may need to be removed to salvage the wood flooring)
  • Sewage contamination


Why does my specialty floor need to be removed?

Nonporous flooring can trap water and prevent it from drying properly.


Why did the technician leave wet carpet on my stairs?

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 unsalvageable, it will be removed when new carpet is installed.


How will you match my carpet pad?

A sample of your pad is brought to our 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. A similar pad may differ in color based upon the time it was manufactured.


What will you do with my area rugs?

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.


Why are air movers and dehumidifiers used?

When water damage has occurred, water can be absorbed into the drywall (sheetrock), baseboards, and 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 RRH.


Who is responsible for monitoring the drying equipment?

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.


What will it cost to run the equipment?

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.


What about sewage contamination?

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


Who is responsible for paying for the service?

Prior to work being started, all responsible parties will need to sign a form authorizing payment for the restoration services. If this is an insurance claim, ServiceMaster RRH generally collects only the deductible amount from you and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. 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.

Fire Damage Restoration

How long will the restoration process take?

Because there are many variables and many services involved in fire and smoke restoration, it is difficult to predict exactly how long the complete restoration will take. Consult with your ServiceMaster RRH restoration technician as to the estimated dates and phases of your restoration project.


Can I clean it myself?

We suggest that you do not attempt any “do-it-yourself” cleaning methods without consulting your ServiceMaster RRH restoration technician. Pretesting, using the right cleaning agent for the particular item, mixing deodorizing agents with cleaning solutions, and using correct dilution rates are just some of the ways a fire restoration technician expertly controls the results. Professional cleaning systems and products used by experienced, trained ServiceMaster RRH restoration technicians give you the best chance for complete restoration of your belongings.


What are some safety concerns?

At ServiceMaster RRH, occupant and worker safety is the top priority. During the initial inspection, safety hazards are identified and addressed, including debris removal, air quality, electrical hazards, slip and trip hazards, etc. Burnt electrical cords and appliances are separated out for disposal, and questionable electrical appliances are unplugged and tagged for evaluation of safe operation. Electrical power may be turned off and kept off until evaluation by a licensed electrician.


May I turn on my heating and air conditioning unit?

We recommend you not turn on your furnace or air conditioning unit without clearance from the HVAC contractor.


How do I keep track of non-restorable items?

For insurance purposes, we recommend you make a list of items (including food items) deemed non-restorable.


Do I need general contractors?

There are some items that may require general contractors such as drywall/painting, electrical, plumbing, roofing, framing/finish carpentry, flooring/carpet, installation of doors, windows, and cabinets, and post-construction cleanup, etc.


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

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


Will I have access to my belongings while they are in storage?

Yes. With advance notice, we can schedule a time for a ServiceMaster RRH restoration technician to meet with you and provide access to your requested items. A service charge may apply.


What about special items? Artwork, computers, electronics, etc.

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


Who is responsible for paying for the service?

Prior to work being started, all responsible parties will need to sign a form authorizing payment for the restoration services. If this is an insurance claim, ServiceMaster RRH generally collects only the deductible amount from you and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. 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.

Mold Remediation

What is mold?

Mold is a microscopic fungus that is part of the natural environment and necessary for our ecosystem. While it is necessary in the outdoor world, too much mold inside a structure can be dangerous and unsanitary. Mold produces spores as part of its lifecycle, and these spores float through the air both inside and outside.


Why is mold a problem?

Many people aren’t aware mold can cause structural damage to homes and businesses. If left undetected, mold can cause a property to lose value and/or require significant repairs. If you have ever suffered from allergies, exposure to mold can often cause nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, skin irritation, or even more severe reactions.


What does mold need in order to grow?

Mold needs a moist environment, temperatures above freezing, and a food source, which can be leaves, paper, dirt, wood or other building materials. Mold is more likely to be found in damp, dusty spaces or areas with stagnant air.


How can I tell if I have mold?

If you see mold growth or water stains, a mold test can help identify related microbial activity. You can also look for areas where water leakage has occurred, such as roofs, pipes, ceilings, or walls. Musty smells may also indicate the presence of mold.


When does mold need to be handled by a professional remediation company?

Most experts recommend a professional remediation company when elevated mold levels are detected. Remediation professionals are specially trained to isolate and treat mold-affected areas to avoid contaminating adjacent spaces.


Some molds have the reputation of being more dangerous than others. Is identifying the mold important?

Sometimes you will hear terms like “toxic mold” or “black mold” used to refer to molds. While identifying the type of fungus or mold may be interesting, it doesn’t affect the course of action. If mold is present, the CDC has strongly recommended that it be removed, no matter the type.*

*Source: “Facts about Mold and Dampness.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 18 September 2012. Web. http://www.cdc.gov/mold/ dampness_facts.htm

Air Duct Cleaning

Is air duct cleaning expensive?

The cost of the service varies and depends on factors such as the location of your business, how dirty your system is, how easy it is for the contractor to access the ducts, and what your ducts are made of. However, our expertise, training, and satisfaction guarantee are built into the price of service.


How long will it take to have my air ducts cleaned?

The amount of time it takes to clean a commercial HVAC system can vary depending on the complexity of the system. Once a skilled and trained technician arrives, he should be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take. For standard purposes, we ask for at least several hours to get the job done right and to your satisfaction.


Will air duct cleaning be disruptive to my business?

ServiceMaster RRH can work to schedule a time that is most convenient for your business during non-business hours to complete the job. Depending on the magnitude of the job, we should have you up and running by the next business day if the job is completed during non-work hours.


How often do I need to get my air ducts cleaned?

Most facilities may require air duct cleaning every three to five years. According to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), it is recommended to have your HVAC system inspected annually.


Do I need to do anything prior to the technician arriving for my scheduled service?

For safety, the technician should be shown where the fire extinguisher and first aid kit is located. It is also best to provide them with any emergency contact information.


Duct cleaning can be noisy. It is best to do it during non-work hours.

Clear work areas. Ask your technician how much space is needed around the furnace, the air conditioner, and each air vent register. It is best to have these areas cleared beforehand.

Make sure all personnel are aware the ducts are going to be cleaned and that all offices and rooms that are serviced remain open and un-locked.

Prior to cleaning, ServiceMaster RRH will perform a walk-through of the facility to go over where protective coverings such as drop cloths and corner guards will be placed. We will also go over the HVAC, how it will be cleaned, and the accessibility of it.

Your technician will coordinate with the building engineer or superintendent to go over specifics of building layout and safety.


Why should I have my air ducts cleaned?

Air duct cleaning helps the following:

  • Reduce energy costs in your business
  • Reduce the potential for mold growth, bacteria, allergens, dirt, and debris
  • Improve indoor air quality
  • Increase air circulation and flow
  • Increase your commercial system performance
  • Lengthen the lifespan of your HVAC system


Is there anything I can do to help maintain clean air ducts?

In a commercial facility, a filter maintenance and replacement schedule should be established based on the manufacturer’s recommendations, the environmental conditions of the facility, and the type of facility and industry. Regular vacuuming will also help reduce airborne dirt and debris.