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General FAQ’S

How quickly can you be to my property?

A technician will typically be on site within 2-4 hours.

Do I have to wait for adjuster to come out before I call you out?

Not necessarily. As we have mentioned previously, time is of the essence in restoration so getting a professional onsite quickly will help minimize costs and further damages. We are the experts in our industry, and most insurance providers trust our knowledge and expertise to do the proper mitigation before they arrive. We will make every effort to contact your adjuster and work directly with them to ensure we are not doing anything outside the scope of your coverage from the beginning.

Do you need my claim number before beginning work?

We do not have to have the claim number to begin restoration. However, we will need the claim number before the conclusion of the job in order to bill your insurance company, so once you receive it pleases contact our office.

How long will the restoration process take?

Drying time on water losses is determined by a combination of factors, including the location, the 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, on average, it may take between three to five days or more, depending on the conditions.

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. Your Project Manager should go over the scope and expected schedule of events for your project with you once they have completed the initial inspection.

Does someone monitor the equipment?

Our technicians will place and monitor equipment to achieve optimal results in the shortest amount of time. It is important to the drying process that the equipment remain on at all time in the location placed by the SMNI technicians. Please notify our office immediately if there is an interruption in power or if the equipment turns off.

Do I have to be at my property every time a technician is there?

That is totally your decision. If you would like to be there, we will happily work around your schedule. However, if you do not care to be there or cannot be there, we can provide your property with one of our secure lock boxes for a spare key.
We do prefer you to be on location for our initial visit so you can sign paperwork, receive information, and have the opportunity to ask questions. We understand this is not always feasible, and our office will work with you to make sure that all these items are handled remotely, if necessary.

I have tenants renting my property. Can you work with them?

Absolutely we can work with your tenants for everything from the initial emergency response up through service calls. However, since the tenant is not the property owner or the insured, they cannot make decisions on mitigation, and they cannot sign forms.

Do I need to move out of my property during the restoration process?

If you file an insurance claim, we recommend discussing this with your insurance adjuster. However, this is a decision you must reach on your own. Here are some things to consider; safety concerns, odors, electricity, and noise from equipment.

Noise is the number one complaint we receive from property owners that stay on site during restoration. Air movers and dehumidifiers will create a lot of noise and make your property drafty for the days they are onsite. It is important equipment remains on, so if the noise is disruptive to you, you might want to consider an alternate place to stay.

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 and we will work with you and your insurance adjuster to determine the specifics of a pack out.

Do I need to keep track of things I throw out?

We recommend you make a list of items (including food items) deemed non-restorable. Be sure to what item it was, the quantity, the year of purchase, and the cost (or approximate cost if you are unsure), or ask your adjuster if they have a specific form they would like you to use. Make a copy for yourself and one for your adjuster.

How much does it cost to run the equipment?

Based on average electrical rates, it may cost about $1 per day per piece of drying equipment. Actual costs can vary depending on current rates from your local electricity provider. If this increase is a concern you will need to speak with your adjuster about reimbursement possibility.

The mitigation is complete; my property is all tore up, now what?

You will need to be in contact with a restoration contractor. They will be the ones to put everything back together. We can work with any contractor you choose to ensure they have a complete scope of what demo was done.

I am tenant and I am having a disaster. Can you help?

Of course we can. However, we are limited to what services we can provide. We can provide service for anything that you as the tenants own, such as furniture, appliances, etc, but cannot provide services for anything that is part of the property, structure, or owned by the property owner without the property owner’s consent.

We recommend contacting your property owner first if the main concern is the property. If they authorize you to call us, please have their phone number handy and let them know that we will have to be in contact with them for authorization.

Do I have choice of vendors to use for my loss?

Absolutely, you have the right to choose whatever disaster restoration contractor you feel comfortable with. Your agent may recommend one or more contractors, but in the end it is your property and your choice to make. Ask questions of your contractor to determine if they are right fit for you. If you experience a large loss, you will be working together for an extended period of time. Mutual trust, comfort, and respect will be of paramount importance during this time. We at SMNI understand this and will do our very best to make this trying time as bearable as possible.

Water FAQ’S

Can I walk in the area being dried out?

We strongly suggest that you keep the traffic to a minimum.

Why are air movers and dehumidifiers used?

When water damage has occurred, water can be absorbed into the drywall, baseboards, sub-flooring, 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.

Can I use my dehumidifier and fans to dry water-damaged materials?

The process of drying water-damaged homes involves the use of proper evaporation rates along with equivalent dehumidification to remove moisture from the air. SMNI monitors this process by reviewing the relationship of relative humidity and temperature. This relationship is called psychometrics. Regular household dehumidifiers are made to maintain humidity levels and are not capable of keeping up with the massive amount of humidity caused by water damage. Trying to dry your home out yourself can actually make the situation worse.

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. We ask that you please do not change the setting or shut off the HVAC system as doing so may prolong the drying process.

Should I open the windows to help the drying process?

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

What is 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 spills or accident areas. Do not confuse these normal odors with the odor of mold. As the drying continues and humidity levels drop, you will notice these odors disappearing on their own. Deodorizers can be used to minimize these effects as well. If the odors are bothersome or you are concerned, please address this with your SMNI technician.

My furniture is wet too, what do I do?

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.

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 the floors will need to be refinished or replaced.

Why do you have to remove my carpet?

There are a few reasons why your carpet may not be salvageable:

  • Delamination – occurs when the backing separates from the carpet fiber
  • Loss of adhesion – occurs when there is prolonged exposure to water or the age of the carpet
  • Permanent stains
  • Carpet covers wood flooring – in order to save the wood flooring the carpet will mostly likely have to be removed
  • Sewage contamination

What do you do with my rugs?

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

What about sewage contamination?

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 and disposed of as well.

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. Do not rely on touch alone, it is often a false indicator.

Fire & Smoke FAQ’S

Can I clean up soot and smoke damage myself?

We suggest that you do not attempt any “do-it-yourself” cleaning methods without consulting a SMNI technician first. Pre-testing, 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 our fire restoration technicians expertly control the results. Professional cleaning systems and products used by experienced, trained SMNI technicians give you the best chance for completely restoring your belongings.

Can I turn on my heating/air conditioning after a fire or smoke damage?

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

I need to have my contents packed out. Is there anything I should keep with me?

  • Cash, check books, credit cards, etc
  • Medications
  • Personal documents like birth certificates, car titles, etc
  • Pets
  • Valuables such as collections, jewelry, paintings, etc
  • Weapons and ammunition

Billing FAQ’S

Who is responsible for paying for your services?

Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment. As the property owner, you will need to sign our Authorization for Repairs & Payment form. If this is an insurance claim, SMNI generally collects only the deductible amount. You will receive an invoice for the deductible after we have received payment from your insurance provider for the balance.

If you have a particularly large loss your mortgage company may be included as a payee on the payment from your insurance company. If this happens feel free to contact our office and we will happily work with you and your mortgage company to obtain a signature.

If your claim is not covered or you decide not to file a claim you will hold full financial responsibility. SMNI requires a 25% deposit or $500 (whichever is greater) for any job that is considered a self-pay bases on an estimate written by SMNI after an initial inspection. You will be invoiced for the remaining balance beyond your deposit at the completion of service.

Will you bill my insurance company?

Yes, once you have filed a claim and received a claim number we can begin the process of working with your insurance carrier to make sure we follow their guideline and provide all the necessary paperwork so a bill can be submitted upon completion.

I received an invoice and an estimate but I filed an insurance claim. Do I need to pay this?

Not unless you receive or received a check from your insurance provider for our services. Some providers pay their customers directly and some pay us directly. We send you a copy of your invoice and estimate so you have a copy of your records and so that if you receive a check you, will know what it is for. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call our office, and we will happily assist you in determining what is owed, if anything.

If I choose to pay out of pocket and not file an insurance claim do I have to pay up front?

We do not require payment in full to begin working. We will do an initial inspection; the scop determined will be given to our estimator so an estimate can be written up. Initial inspection begins at $125; if you decide to hire us after we have provided you with an estimate, this fee will be applied to your required deposit amount.

Your required deposit amount is based on your initial inspection estimate total. As general rule we require 25% of the total estimate or $500, whichever amount is greater. The remaining balance will be due on completion.

If your deposit ends up being more than the final invoice total a refund will be issued to you for the balance.

Can I pay my balance owed by credit card?

Yes, we accept all major credit cards and can take those payments over the phone or you can come into our office in person.