Damage to Your Home? 15 Questions to Ask

Posted on January 22, 2021.

Before Hiring Restoration Technicians to fix damage to your home, you should ask these 15 questions. 

If you are looking for a restoration technician, odds are you have had some bad luck with water, fire, mold or some other damage to your home. These are by no means an easy fix, which is why it is important to call in an experienced professional to help fix the damage to your home. 

To make sure that you find the right restoration technician for you, make sure to ask them these 15 questions before they get started. 

Will they work with your insurance? 

You will want someone who will work with your insurance if you intend to file a claim. Working with insurance is not always expected, but it’s sure nice if they do. 

What can I expect, start to finish? 

You will want to know exactly what the project is going to look like from start to finish, and who is responsible for what aspectsIf sheetrock needs to come down, are you responsible for finding someone to finish and tape it back up? 

How long have you been in business? 

It is important to understand the history of the technician before they begin. You are going to want an experienced technician who is well-versed in their field and has shown success during their time as a technician. 

Have you worked on similar projects in the past? 

You would not want a technician who has not worked on fire damage before, so ask about their previous experience and see if they have the experience and knowledge necessary to fix the damage. 

Do they have any before and after photos of previous work? 

Just like with a home remodeler or any other home project that you are outsourcing, asking to see some actual pictures of their previous work is a good way to find the right technician for you. 

What do you charge? 

While most restoration technicians will charge similar amounts across the board, it’s still a good idea to compare prices. A small price differential may be the difference in deciding between to similarly reviewed and experienced technicians. 

Do you have certifications? 

A technician with an impressive array of certifications will certainly be a better option than one who does not. 

Do you have references? 

Like seeing before and after photographs, speaking with a prior client or two will bring you a sense of peace about the job you are embarking upon. 

What tools and equipment will you be using? 

It is your home after all, and it is nice to know what exactly the process will look like and what types of equipment the technician will be using. 

What times are you available? 

If you prefer to be home when the technician is working on your home, then make sure their schedule allows for that. 

When will you be able to start? 

Is the damage to the point where it needs to be fixed ASAP? Then make sure that the technician can get to work soon to make your home right again. 

When will the restoration be finished? 

Do you need the restoration to be finished by a certain date? Like asking when they can start, make sure they’ll give you reasonable estimates for completion. 

Do you have any guarantees? What about a warranty? 

Home restoration can be tricky, so it stands to reason that you have a few safety nets available in case things go awry. 

Will they work with other contractors? 

Do they have all the necessary staff on their employment, or will they be subcontracting some of the work? You will want to know who is going to be in your home at any given time. 

Can they give you any suggestions on who to call for other problems in your home? 

If you have any other issues with your home, ask if they have some referrals for who might be able to fix that damage. If you liked their work, it’s likely that you’ll like their referral’s work as well. 

Call ServiceMaster for Your Home Restoration Needs 

Whatever the problem is in your home, ServiceMaster is the solution. We are proud to be certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the world’s leading restoration Standards Developing Organization (SDO). We have also been certified as a Lead-Safe Certified Firm by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is no disaster too big or too small for our experts to handle. Whether it is one room or a total loss, we are here to assist. 

We do not just work with homes either. If your office is in need of restoration, ServiceMaster has you covered there as well. Call us today or send us a message and we will be happy to get started on making your home or office good as new. Damage to your home needs to be repaired and you can count on us to do a good job. 


This is an updated blog.  You can read the original, published on October 16, 2018. Here. 

Fire Hazards – Part Two: Why Should I get my Chimney Cleaned?

Posted on December 15, 2020.

roaring fire in a fireplace


After an inspection shows you need to have your chimney cleaned, a chimney sweep will come and remove soot, blockages, and built-up creosote from your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber, and damper.   Cleaning your chimney regularly will maintain the safe operation of your chimney and/or heating system.


What is Creosote and why must it be removed?

Creosote is a highly flammable substance that builds up inside your chimney or liner as a result of burning wood. It takes only a small accumulation of creosote glazing to create the potential for a chimney fire. The rate of accumulation can be higher if you practice poor burning practices or have a burning appliance or stove that is not working efficiently. Different types of wood create different amounts of creosote when burned. Pine causes a rapid build-up of creosote and should be avoided as a regular source of wood. Creosote can also reduce the draw of the fireplace and reduce efficiency.


Rachel Ray is informing the public about creosote after she lost her upstate New York Home in 2020 from a creosote fire.  She got emotional on her show after recalling details of the fire and discussing Christmas decorations.  Her home was engulfed within minutes and she was unable to save anything but herself!  She states she had her chimney checked and cleaned twice each year.

Creosote buildup is dangerous.  Fires are unpredictable.  Your best bet to avoid fire damage and chimney fires is to have your chimneys inspected every year and cleaned when advised.


What will a chimney sweep do?

A chimney sweep will seal off the area with plastic and lay down drop cloths to ensure the area stays clean.  During the process of cleaning your chimney flue, there will be vacuum suction to ensure all the debris and soot from the rotary-powered brushes stays out of your home. Then, the chimney sweep will clean the smoke chamber and remove all of the ash from the collection bin.   The whole process is quick and painless for the homeowner.


How often must I have my chimney cleaned?

It is recommended by the National Fire Protection Agency that you clean your chimney once a year.  This depends greatly on the wood-burning habits and what type of wood you are burning regularly.  It is recommended that you not burn pine wood on a regular basis as it builds up creosote rapidly.

Please remember, if you find yourself in need of disaster restoration services, you can call ServiceMaster 24/7/365. Our disaster restoration specialists are always available to answer the phone and get you and your property back to normal as soon as possible.

Fire Hazards – Part One: Chimney Inspections

Posted on December 11, 2020.

chimney in front of night sky
Chimney Inspections can help you reduce fire hazards and can save you costly repairs.

Fire Hazards: A two-part series on Chimneys & Fireplaces and what you need to know–

Before you hang the stockings in front of the chimney with care, consider what care your wood-burning fireplace requires. Wood Burning Fireplace maintenance helps reduce fire hazard risks.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends a chimney inspection every single year. Chimney inspections ensure that all your systems are in working order and operating as they should. Most homeowners then have a chimney sweep clean their chimney every year as well. The timeline for having your fireplace cleaned depends on how often and how much you burn in your fireplace. The recommended checks occur yearly, more if you burn a lot or notice performance issues.

Odor can be another warning sign. If you smell a campfire after your fire is out, you may need to have your chimney checked again. You need to clean your chimney more often if you burn pine or burn wood on a regular basis. A chimney inspection will tell you if you need your chimney swept and cleaned as well. Do not risk the chance that an undiscovered defect in your chimney could turn into an expensive repair, or worse yet, a chimney fire. We are damage restoration experts, and we see the devastation from chimney fires.

Even if you only use your fireplace minimally an inspection is still advised annually to look at all the heating venting systems, chimneys, stove systems, and furnace flues in your home. During these inspections, many defects or issues can be easily detected. Some of these may require action even if cleaning is not needed.

When You Need a Chimney Inspection

You need a chimney inspection if you have not had your chimney inspected in the last year and you are burning fires in your wood-burning fireplace. Equally important, you will want a chimney inspection if you have not burned wood in your fireplace for a while. Before you burn, it is best to know if pests or rodents have taken up residence and caused any damage or blockage. A chimney inspection will reveal this knowledge for you.

You need a chimney inspection if you have had any performance issues with your fireplace.

You will want a chimney inspection if you have recently purchased a new home with a wood-burning fireplace, and it was not part of your initial inspection.

So again, before you hang the stockings by the chimney with care this holiday season, think about giving your chimney some care with an inspection and chimney sweep if necessary. This is part one of a two-part blog on Fire Hazards.

Remember, if you find yourself in need of disaster restoration services, you can call ServiceMaster 24/7/365. We are always available to answer the phone and get to you as soon as possible.

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