ANGIE'S LIST: Don't let smoke, water damage linger

INDIANAPOLIS - Cleaning up water and smoke damage quickly is important because if left untreated, the damage can become a bigger problem, costing more money to repair.

Rainwater damaged Steve Westervelt's drywall and carpet in his Carmel home.

"We had little bit of a rain back in May, and during that time our sump pump failed, and we had about 4 inches of water throughout the finished basement downstairs," he said.

Companies like Moore Restoration Inc. in Indianapolis specialize in remediation and restoration and are staffed with technicians who have experience using heavy duty equipment to help remove mold, mildew, smoke and odors from a home and homeowners' belongings.

"It's very important when you have a major fire or flood and your contents are being packed out of your home that the company doing it does complete photographic inventory, bar coding, scanning of all contents so it can be tracked from start to finish from the home to the restoration facility and back into the home," said Kenny Cochran, with Moore Restoration Inc.

Angie Hicks with Angie's List said sometimes replacing might be a better option than repairing.

"When going through the items that you might have lost in the fire or flood, you first need to access what their value was, how much it would cost to replace them because that's going to help you make some of these decisions a little easier," Hicks said. "Obviously the sentimental things are going to be a lot tougher. But that sofa you paid $1,000 for, if it's going to cost $800 to repair it, you might just want to go ahead and get a new one."

A fire or flood can leave a homeowner feeling desperate for help, but Hicks said they should still research contractors thoroughly and get estimates in writing.

"Finding one before the problem arises is always a good idea, because you want to make sure that you do all your vetting because a quick decision could result in more pain and headache down the road then spending a little extra time doing your research."

Most homeowners don't plan for a disaster, but they should go room by room in and take photos of their possessions and keep important documents and receipts in a fireproof, waterproof container.

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