The National Flood Insurance Program
The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically. Signup to receive email updates.
I don't have flood insurance--Why do I need it?
FACT: Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster and cause millions of dollars in damage every year.
FACT: Homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage.
FACT: Floods can happen anywhere--More than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high risk flood zone.
FACT: Most federal disaster assistance comes in the form of low-interest disaster loans from U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and you have to pay them back. FEMA offers disaster grants that don't need to be paid back, but this amount is often much less than what is needed to recover. A claim against your flood insurance policy could and often does, provide more funds for recovery than those you could qualify for from FEMA or the SBA--and you don't have to pay it back.
FACT: You may be required to have flood insurance. Congress has mandated federally regulated or insured lenders to require flood insurance on mortgaged properties that are located in areas at high risk of flooding. But even if your property is not in a high risk flood area, your mortgage lender may still require you to have flood insurance.
Flood insurance helps more: Check out your state's flood history with FEMA's interactive data visualization tool. Roll your cursor over each county to see how many flooding events have happened. The tool allows you to compare how much FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration have provided in terms of federal disaster aid after Presidential Disaster Declarations to the amount the National Flood Insurance program has paid to its policyholders. It's easy to see that having flood insurance provides a lot more help for recovery.
If you are a renter or homeowner (residential policy); or business owner (non-residential policy) and your property is located in a NFIP-participating community, you can purchase a policy. Contact your insurance agent to find out if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Flood insurance from the NFIP is only available in participating communities. Ask your agent if your state and community participate, or look it up online
Did you know? An elevated home, with a first floor elevated 3 feet above the base flood elevation, can expect to save 60 percent or more on annual flood insurance premiums.
Did you know? Elevating just one foot above the Base Flood Elevation often results in a 30% reduction in annual premiums.
Mold and Your Health
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas.
Molds are part of the natural environment. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.
The key to mold control is moisture control. If mold is a problem in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and ix the water problem.
It is important to dry water-damaged areas and items within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
Molds gradually destroy the things they grow on. You can prevent damage to your home and furnishings, save money, and avoid potential health problems by controlling moisture and eliminating mold growth.
Every year between the Fourth of July and new years eve/day fire works play a major roll in house damage as well as injury's NFPA’s Fireworks report provides estimates of fires and associated losses caused by fireworks through 2013. Information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC’s) 2014 Fireworks Annual Report about the estimated number of injuries caused by fireworks that were seen in hospital emergency departments is also summarized. Additional details are provided about injuries seen in the month around July 4.
- In 2013, fireworks caused an estimated 15,600 reported fires in the U.S., including 1,400 structure fires, 200 vehicle fires, and 14,000 outside and other fires.
- More than one-quarter (28%) of fires started by fireworks in 2009-2013 were reported on Independence Day. Almost half (47%) of the reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.
- According to the CPSC, more than one-third (35%) of the people seen in emergency rooms for fireworks injuries from June 20-July 20, 2014 were under 15; nine percent were under five.
- CPSC data show that sparklers alone accounted for more than one one-quarter (28%) of the emergency room fireworks injuries seen from June 20-July 20, 2014.
Stucco Remediation – What You Should Know
Every home, no matter when it was built or when you purchased it, can fall prey to stucco failure, mold and moisture contamination. Even the tiniest of cracks in the façade of your home can result in moisture coming in, which can then cause major problems. If that happens, it can threaten the very structure of your home as well as the health of your family. If it isn’t treated properly, mold can cause extensive and costly damage.
Signs that you need repairs include cracking or breaking in the façade of your home, or brown streaks below your windows or at intersection of the wall and roof. Inside, you’ll notice leaks in doors or windows, the bottoms of your windows may be discolored, your base trim can become warped and there may be wet carpet or a moldy smell in your home.
But did you know your stucco doesn’t even have to be cracked to have problems? Heller explains that it wasn’t until fairly recently that proper weep screens and break points in the stucco were required. That means walls may not breathe properly, which can allow moisture to build up and then be trapped.
That’s just one of the many reasons it is important to call your building contractor to inspect your home for damage. The contractor may be able to find problems that you never even knew existed and stop a problem before it becomes too big and costly.
The process of repairing the stucco is referred to as stucco remediation. Your first instinct may be to simply call a stucco company to repair the façade of your home, but that might not be the right thing to do.
Companies that are stucco only will have the know-how to remove and replace the existing façade of your home.
While this is important, it may simply cover up the effects caused by the moisture. The structural integrity of your home and the health of your family can still be in jeopardy if the underlying problems still exist.
Simply put, a stucco repair company could lack the knowledge and ability to identify and repair the problems that result from the water damage. And if they aren’t properly corrected, that can lead to even more damage and expense in the future.
Moisture intrusion most often affects stucco-clad homes, but can also affect homes made of brick, stone, wood or composite siding, and typically affects homes built between 1985 and 2003. Having the right person inspect your home for damage is crucial to find and repair problems to the home’s wood structure that aren’t visible to the eye. Rot and mold within the wall cavity can cause serious damage.
If you think your home may have fallen prey to moisture intrusion, then please give SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford a call
Why is the Close Your Door message so important now?
Because fires have become more dangerous than ever.
Modern synthetic construction materials, home furnishings, and contemporary layouts allow fire to spread and become toxic much faster – like three-minutes-or-less-to-get-out faster.
But a closed door can slow the spread, reduce toxic smoke levels, improve oxygen levels and decrease temperatures dramatically – and that could make a life-saving difference in your home.
Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford has specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition. They also can remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet.
Sewage Backup in Woodbury/Deptford, NJ and Prevention Tips
Backed up sewers can wreak havoc on a home, causing thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Sewer backup coverage is available from most insurers for a nominal cost—usually an additional annual premium of $40-$50.
For homes that have been severely damaged and are uninhabitable, homeowners policies may provide Loss of Use coverage, which provides reimbursement for lodging, food and other living expenses you may incur as a result of having to live outside of your home. Loss of Use coverage also reimburses you for the lost rental income if you rent out part of the house.
Causes of Sewer Backup
Aging Sewer Systems: The Civil Engineering Research Foundation reports that the number of backed up sewers is increasing at an alarming rate of about 3 percent annually. In addition, a recent report from the American Society of Civil Engineers indicates that the nation's 500,000-plus miles of sewer lines are on average over thirty years old. The increase in the number of homes connected to already aging sewage systems has also contributed to rapid increases in sanitary sewer backups, flooded basements and overflows.
Combined Pipelines: Problems also arise in systems that combine storm water and raw sewage into the same pipeline. During many rain storms, the systems are exposed to more volume than they can handle, and the result is a sewage backup situation that allows sewage to spew out into basements and other low lying drains.
Blockages Due to Tree Roots: Shrubs and trees seeking moisture will make their way into sewer line cracks. These roots can cause extensive damage. They may start out small, getting into a small crack in the pipe; but as the tree or shrub continues to grow, so does the root. Tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and cause blockages. Tree roots can travel a long way, and roots from different types of trees act differently. If city trees are suspected, your plumber can contact the city, and samples of the roots will be used to help identify the trees and who is responsible for cleanup. Sometimes the blockage is a result of a combination of city and private trees. In this case costs are split between the city and the property owner.
Sanitary Main: A blockage can occur in a city sanitary main. If the blockage is not detected in time, sewage from the main can back up into homes and businesses through floor drains. Usually this happens slowly, giving the owner time to call a licensed plumber to assess the damage. If water is entering into your basement at a rapid rate, call the city public works office and report the problem immediately.
Water in Basement: Most basement flooding is not related to the sanitary sewer system. In many cases, soil settles adjacent to the building and, if not corrected, leads to rainwater flowing towards the building and down the outside of the foundation wall. This is particularly true in older buildings, where cracks may have developed in the foundation or floor slab that allow water to enter the basement. The cement floor and basement walls of these structures may have deteriorated to the point that they are no longer waterproof. In these cases, water can show up in a basement that has never had a water problem. This will usually happen after a number of rain storms, when the ground is saturated. Drainage can be improved by making sure that water drains away from the building. Owners may also be able to prevent flooding by water sealing the basement.
Most homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street—and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way. A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the problem.
How to File a Claim
For insurance purposes, take before and after photos of the affected areas and itemize any property losses. Save all receipts related to repair, cleaning or damages and contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Backups In Your Lateral and in the City Main
Dispose of Grease Properly: Cooking oil should be poured into a heat-resistant container and disposed of properly, after it cools off, not in the drain. Washing grease down the drain with hot water is unsatisfactory. As the grease cools off, it will solidify either in the drain, the property owner's line, or in the main sewer causing the line to constrict and eventually clog.
Dispose of Paper Products Properly: Paper towels, disposable (and cloth) diapers and feminine products can cause a great deal of trouble in the property owner's lateral as well as in the city main. These products do not deteriorate quickly, as bathroom tissue does, so do not put them down the drain or toilet.
Replace Your Line with New Plastic Pipe: One way to prevent tree roots from entering your line is to replace your line and tap with new plastic pipe. If you have continuing problems with tree roots in your lateral, you may have to have the roots cut periodically.
Correct Illegal Plumbing Connections: Do not connect French drains, sump pumps and other flood control systems to your sanitary sewer. It is illegal, and debris and silt will clog your line. Consult a plumber to correct any pre-existing illegal connections. French drains are common drainage systems, primarily used to prevent ground and surface water from penetrating or damaging building foundations.
Install a Backwater Prevention Valve: A backwater valve is a fixture installed into a sewer line, and sometimes into a drain line, in the basement of your home or business to prevent sewer backflows. A properly installed and maintained backwater valve allows sewage to go out, but not to come back in. Property owners are responsible for the installation and maintenance of backwater valves. The cost to install one depends on the type of plumbing in the building and the difficulty of installation. Check with a qualified plumber.
What to Do If You Experience a Sewer Backup
A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, damage to your house or business, and can even result in electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup of affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and prevent mold or further damage. If you experience a sewer backup situation, immediately arrange for the cleanup of your property. This should include:
- Wet-vacuuming or removal of spillage
- Mopping floors and wiping walls with soap and disinfectant
- Flushing out and disinfecting plumbing fixtures
- Steam cleaning or removing wet carpets or drapes
- Repairing or removing damaged wallboard or wall covering
- Cleanup of ductwork
Why is my Air Conditioner leaking?
Water has started to pool around your central air conditioner’s inside unit and you have no idea why.
First, you should turn off your air conditioner because this water could harm the electronic parts of your AC and cause water damage to your home. Then you should contact a professional AC repair person for help.
If you want to understand the cause of this problem before calling a professional, read this article.
We’ll talk about:
- Why water forms in the inside AC unit
- Why there’s water all over the floor
- What needs to be done to fix it
Why water forms in a central air conditioner indoor unit
Part of your air conditioner’s job is to pull humidity from the air. The inside unit’s blower pulls in hot, humid air through the return grille and over the inside unit’s cold evaporator coil to cool the air down.
When that happens, condensation/droplets form on the evaporator coil. It’s just like when water droplets bead up on a glass of ice cold water on a hot summer day in Georgia.
That water on the evaporator coil falls into a sloped drain pan and down a condensate drain line like a slip n’slide. That drain line (usually a PVC pipe) either exits out the home (usually near the outside unit) or into your plumbing.
OK, so now you have a general idea of how the water forms and the parts involved. If there’s an issue with any of these parts, that’s why the water is forming around the inside unit.
Here are a few common problems that are causing the issue you’re having.
Clogged condensate drain line or rusted condensate drain pan
If the drain line gets clogged by dirt, insects, mold, or anything else, the water has nowhere to go but back into the home. (Some home’s have a secondary drain line but that may also be become clogged.)
Use wet-dry vacuum to suck out the obstruction from the outdoor PVC condensate pipe.
Also the root of the problem may be a dirty evaporator coil. The dirt will mix with the water and fall down into the pan, clogging the drain. Have a professional clean this coil annually as part of an annual AC maintenance visit.
Also, the drain pan may be rusted through and is falling onto the floor and causing damage to your home. So you’ll need to replace that.
Note: Your air conditioner may have a secondary drain pan to catch the water. This pan has a float switchthat turns off your air conditioner to prevent water damage.
If you have a newer air conditioner, the problem may be installation related. An improperly designed condensate trap will stop the condensate from draining. So all that water builds up in the drain pan and overflows into your home, causing water damage.
You’ll need a professional to examine the condensate trap to see if it has been designed properly and fix it if necessary.
Frozen evaporator coil
Open the blower door of your inside AC unit. Is the evaporator coil covered in ice? When that frozen evaporator coil melts there may be so much water that it flows over the drain pan and then onto the floor.
There are 2 common causes of a frozen evaporator coil:
- Dirty air filter—A dirty air filter blocks airflow over the evaporator coil, causing the temperature to drop below freezing and ice up. Check the air filter and change it if it’s dirty.
- Low refrigerant— Low refrigerant causes the evaporator coil to become much colder than normal, causing it to freeze up.
To defrost the evaporator coil, turn the air conditioner off. Then turn the blower from “auto” to “on.” The fan should melt the ice slowly enough for the drain pan to handle all the water.
In the meantime, you should call a professional to check your air conditioner to make sure it’s is working properly and ensure nothing was damaged.
What to do when a storm hits
When a storm hits unexpectedly and the damage is all around you, you can be confused on what to do. Knowing in advance what to do " just in case"
Knowing what your insurance covers in the event of a flood or fire.
Knowing who to call is an important thing to know, you want to get someone reliable, trustworthy, and able to answer your questions and concerns.
Using SERVPRO's ERP (Emergency Ready Program) you will be ready for whatever may arise. With emergency phone contacts, to where emergency shut offs are located. This information is stored safely so when you need to access it can be accessed for the information you will need to help get things started.
This service is free and is for either business or personal use. Please contact SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford 856-686-0100 for more information.
Woodbury/Deptford storm team was assisting with the recent storm damage in Virginia and Maryland. We are so proud of our team for dealing with the grueling long days and getting everything dried up for our customers dealing with the storms. I am so glad you made it back safely and appreciate all that you did for them.
Woodbury/Deptford is Storm Ready
Storms occur with little warning and can be especially devastating, so you’ll need the company that you can trust to rise to the occasion. Regardless of the type of storm, SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford Professionals can handle any size disaster. During catastrophic storms and major events, our storm team can respond quickly.
SERVPRO of Woodbury/Deptford's storm team is in Virginia, volunteering in assisting those that have been affected by the storms that have wreaked havoc on several areas. We wish them a safe journey and an even safer return home.