We’re So Very Thankful for You!

Thanksgiving art

Surely you have been reminded already that the official start to the holiday season is Thursday. We want you to know how much we appreciate you, our customer, now and every day.

Being ready and eager to help area property owners in their time of need means we don’t close the business and turn off the phones during the holidays.

FloodCo LLC will remain on-call 24/7 each and every day throughout this holiday season. We’ll respond promptly to floods, fire or smoke damage events.

Please place the phone number for FloodCo LLC in your phone contacts just in case. 406 892-1717. We’ll be there for you and always appreciate your business!

 

Posted 11/24/15 by Lloy

6 STEPS TO FOLLOW WHEN A DISASTER HITS YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS.

apartment fire photo

Flooding. A fire. Awful smoke damage. Few homeowners, tenants or business managers have had any experience with these scenarios, whether major or minor.

It is a rare property owner who prepares in advance to deal with a disaster of any kind. What really needs to be done when all of a sudden all or part of your home or business becomes uninhabitable, unusable, unsafe, maybe even unrecognizable?

Suppose you’re now facing the worst day of your life and after frantically dialing 911 and standing back when the first responders arrive, what do you do next? Several important steps done right away will make your recovery experience easier. These could also be the basis of an advance planning discussion with family at home or the staff at your business.

1) Be sure that everyone is in a safe place.

A fire, smoke or serious flooding may place lives in danger, so your number one priority should be making certain that everyone in and around your property is safe and accounted for. Circumstances may require evacuating people or pets to another location or simply directing them to another safe area of your structure or property for temporary shelter. Barriers or fencing may be required to keep onlookers away.

Be sure to swiftly get an accurate headcount of your staff and visitors so you can account for everyone onsite when the event happened or alert emergency personnel about anyone who might be missing.

2) Be sure to take time to breathe!

As a disaster unfolds the situation can overwhelm most mortals unprepared for the stress. Pause occasionally, take some deep breaths and remind yourself and others that material things can be replaced. Prevent yourself and others from getting overstressed or injured while attempting to save replaceable stuff or structures. Allow emergency responders to do whatever is necessary to complete the first phase and make the site safer for the second responders.

3) Contact your insurance carrier or broker

You must quickly communicate a serious loss to your insurance company. This is a requirement of the insurance policy and essential to getting an insurance claim started, adjusted and properly paid. If you delay filing a claim, you are violating conditions of the policy and a settlement could be reduced or even denied. You want to cooperate to the maximum extent with your carrier’s adjusters from the start of a serious loss, whatever the cause. A claim could also be denied if an investigation is compromised.

You also need to confirm if coverage applies to the loss you just suffered. Policy coverages include the loss of property but also business income or extra expense to expedite the recovery of business operations. The insurance carrier will also expect your help to prevent all secondary damage to furnishings or business inventory.

To avoid potential questions about your claim, inform your insurance agency about the loss as soon as possible—with as much detail as possible, including but not limited to:

  • The date and time the incident occurred.
  • Cause and extent of the damage or if any injuries occurred.
  • Other relevant info such as how the property is to be secured.
  • Photos or media reports.

Be mindful of your additional ongoing risks, but also take quickest practical action toward recovery. Step 4 follows will get you heading in the right direction.

4) Contact a quality Restoration Service Company in your area. 

When a home or business is damaged, delays in protecting and restoring a property will rapidly increase repair costs. That’s why it’s so important to find a local firm such as NW Montana’s FloodCo LLC with a proven track record of helping folks quickly recover from disasters. These are the important things to consider when selecting a restoration contractor:

  1. Are they recommended by your insurance company adjuster who has used them on other similar disasters? Being able to smoothly assist your claim adjuster is hugely important to a smooth and stress-free resolution of the claim. The restoration contractor must submit detailed estimates and do the work and also document that the work is being done correctly –throughout the project.
  2. Experience level—has the restoration company successfully solved other similar claims? If so, they will likely be proficient at helping you destress and effectively navigate your situation. Experience will help avoid stressful problems and solve the challenges ahead. Difficult losses require serious experience and insurance adjusters generally prefer seasoned, trust worthy restoration contractors.
  3. Readily available—a restoration contractor is often coming to an urgent situation when board-up service or emergency power is required to prevent secondary loss and secure a site. Often a fast response can dramatically reduce the costs of repair, particularly when water is involved and a fast dry-out will prevent serious secondary damage.
  4. Be able to bring the correct equipment and manpower. Again, the insurance adjuster will often have prior experience and recommend a fully equipped and staffed restoration contractor.

5.) Alert your suppliers, creditors and customers.  

As soon as the smoke has cleared, the site is secured and restoration begins, reassure customers and vendors to protect your firm’s reputation and brand. Keep all other interested parties-such as bankers and employees- informed about what’s happening.

Customers: Let your customers and general public know that you experienced a disaster and that you are working to restore regular operations and services as fast as possible. Anticipate and address your customers’ common concerns, and also let customers know relevant details about the business operations during the recovery process. Your insurance company’s adjuster and the restoration contractor can provide important suggestions to minimize lost cash flow and expedite the recovery process.

Vendors: Vendors also need to know that you experienced a disaster and are now in recovery mode. Give them a heads up about status of orders. Strategize alternatives that might help keep parts of the business supplied and operating as usual, taking care of customers however it is doable.

6) Build and begin your recovery plan. 

Now that the wheels are in motion for a recovery, you need a solid plan for limiting business losses as much as possible until you return to full operations. It is essential to prioritize the actions that will keep your customers served and hold your staff and operation together. Unless you already pre-built a plan, you may want to contact key advisors including your insurance agent and company adjuster for help with this step. Be somewhat flexible and able to change course as unexpected issues can surely arise.

Note: Repeat Step number 2 above as needed, breathe deeply and step back when things begin to overwhelm you. Following these steps will help you remain in control of a difficult, probably once in a lifetime challenge.

Weighty Problems from Micro Spores. A Few Facts Everyone Should Know About Mold!

Tanko Mold Kitchen

What Do You Really Know About Mold in Your Life? Know How to Prevent it? Why? Some Info to Know and Share? 

Mold is Hardly a New Problem-Mankind has been fighting mold since our cave dwelling days. Priests from Old Testament times actually had mold consulting and removal in their job descriptions. Several passages in the Bible, Book of Leviticus, describe the process of dealing with moldy building materials and furnishings. The prescription for treating moldy property has not changed all that much in several millenia. Priests don’t get called much to deal with mold these days, however. Mold remediation specialists get to wear that hat!

It is Durable, Diverse and Dangerous. Over 200 mold species produce toxic chemicals, called mycotoxins, and are potentially dangerous to our health. Reactions that different people have will vary. Some react intensely, others not at all. Exposure over time may cause dangerous severe sensitivity. Many variables in people and their environment may generate various health issues from mold and their nasty by-products, spores and mycotoxins. Or not. Having a health issue that is hard to diagnose? Could be mold.

Mold is Literally Everywhere. It is ready at any time day or night to dine in and on your home.  Microscopic spores are constantly part of the dust within our homes and businesses. On every surface. All a spore needs to grow is some moisture and organic material like paper, wood or even a dusty surface. Mold and other fungi evolved to digest the earth’s huge volume of dead trees and plants.  Mold is as eager to digest the choice cellulose stuff that our buildings are built and furnished with. Just add water.

Mold is Snoozing Right Next to You. Dormant when dry, but get it wet and watch it grow! In less than 40 hours visible mold growth follows the wetting of organic materials. Keep a building and furnishings totally dry and mold and its spores remains asleep and out of mind.

Mold Gets Around. Mobility is provided by even the smallest air currents or water seeping through a building. Tiny mold spores outside can hitchhike inside on our clothes and pets. Some molds -called slime molds- can actually ‘crawl’ across wet surfaces!

The Color of Mold Does Not Tell You Its Danger. Many mold species are black, including some of the most hazardous. Common molds that are not black also produce potentially dangerous mycotoxins, however. Mold colonies often contain multiple species of various colors. If mold is growing in your environment, the color of the stuff is not your main concern. You should worry about any mold and deal with it appropriately.

Dead or Alive Mold Can Be Hazardous. Dried out or dead mold or its pieces, dust or spores can affect some people who are sensitized. Careless or unskilled mold cleaning will contaminate a building with particles of mold. Mold cleaning should be done by certified, trained and experienced professionals.

For additional info take a look at the EPA’s well written website on this subject,  http://www.epa.gov/mold/moldcourse/chapter1.html

For Answers to Your Mold Questions, Call the Professionals at FloodCo LLC.               406 892-1717.

Mold inspection photo

WATER DAMAGE and FLOOD COVERAGE – What, Your Insurance Agent Didn’t Explain This to You?

hot water tank leak

Was this a sudden and accidential event…

Buckled Floor

That led to all this damage to an expensive hardwood floor?

Sudden Water Damage: What your homeowner’s policy Does and Does Not Cover

Well, as most adults quickly learn, what seems simple to a reasonable person is never simple when described in an insurance policy. So let’s dive into your  homeowner’s water coverage, shall we?

Shouldn’t sudden water damage describe any sudden water damage to your home? Actually, sudden water damage has a very narrow definition in your homeowner’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, each year many folks learn the hard way that a water damage issue that they assumed would be covered under their homeowners insurance policy gets denied by their insurance company adjuster.

Sudden water damage in a homeowner’s insurance policy may be defined in similar verbiage as an accidental and sudden discharge of water or steam discharges or overflow from your plumbing, air-conditioning, heating or automatic fire-sprinkler systems, or from appliances.

So, for example you are heading out on vacation and your son uses the bathroom one last time before jumping in the car. Unfortunately, on his last flush of the toilet the handle stuck and the toilet overflowed continuously while you were away for two weeks. It was that upstairs toilet and when you got back you found your entire house on three levels dripping like the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. This example would be accidental and sudden discharge of water from plumbing and should be covered under your homeowners insurance.

What Sudden Water Damage Does Not Cover in Homeowners Insurance: Unfortunately, another form of sudden water damage is never covered by homeowners insurance. This would be a flood where water crosses property other than yours and touches the ground outside your house first before entering the house. That could be overflowing streams, ponds, lakes, or burst water mains, even mudslides.

Many take the term “sudden water damage” and apply it to what they would reasonably think that natural flooding means. And, a flash flood from a nearby stream to a reasonable person would most certainly be defined as sudden water damage. But, a flood comes along- like an ‘Act of God’- and one must have a separate FLOOD INSURANCE policy to get any insurance coverage.

Another example of water damage that some folks associate with sudden water damage would be a Slow ly Drip   ping   pipe or supply line. Many discover damage from a leaking pipe in their home and to them, this seems like water damage but it is a maintenance issue to the adjuster. Water damage including mold, that has been caused by slowly leaking, condensing or seeping water over a long period of time can be considered neglect – a maintenance issue. Claim denied.

Sewer backup? No coverage in standard homeowner’s policies or Flood policies for sewage backing up into a house – unless a rider is purchased adding some coverage on the homeowner’s policy for this peril. This is additional coverage you could be very glad to have! Sewer backup losses are very expensive to repair and not a do-it-yourself project!!

So, although the effects of water in the structure, such as hidden mold, are just discovered by the homeowner, it is usually not considered sudden water damage to the insurance company. Slow, continuous or intermittent dripping old pipes or roof leaks are not floods to most claims adjusters.  Similarly, underground water seepage is never covered, as seepage is specifically defined and excluded for similar reasons. Not accidental and not sudden. Bottom line: Insurance cannot be used as a remedy for failure to maintain or general wearing out of a house. Homeowner’s insurance is not intended to be a home maintenance fund or home warranty program.

If you still have questions about water damage perils and your homeowner’s insurance coverages please talk with your insurance agent about real life examples. Water damage coverage definitions are confusing and a good insurance agent is equipped to answer insured’s questions on this subject. Also, be sure you find out what deductible (self insurance) you have for the water related scenarios that would be covered by your policy.

Regardless of how your adjuster defines your water damage event, Floodco LLC is standing by for FAST and EXPERT care to dry and restore your home.  406 892-1717   Your call will be answered day or night 365 days a year!

Firewise Projects You Can Do In One Day To Make Your Home Safer!

We had several positive responses to the recent post on this summer’s wildfire risk to nearby forested neighborhoods. The region’s weather continues hot and very dry and forest fires could be a serious worry through September. Project ideas below are courtesy of Firewise.org. Firewise is a project of the National Fire Protection Association.

These are intended to motivate residents to do property projects that will actually make a difference should wildfire develop from any cause.

Projects that reduce wildfire risk and increase preparedness can be accomplished by a broad range of ages; and come in a variety of time commitments, with some as short as a few hours.

You might be asking – what can I really do in just one day to protect the house from wildfire? The answer is a lot!

Firewise clean-upTo help get you started, we’ve developed more than two dozen project ideas for individuals, families and groups. With the youngest participants in mind, most can be accomplished without power tools or monetary costs.

You can invest time at your own home doing a project with family members, or organize a group to help a neighbor that needs assistance getting work completed. Wildfire safety also means making others aware, and there’s plenty of options for that too: set-up a table at a shopping center to distribute free wildfire education information, or hold a garage sale and donate the proceeds to the local fire department’s wildland fire team.

When the project’s completed, post a video or photos on the Firewise Facebook page that depicts your accomplishment.

Before getting started, make sure everyone has reviewed the safety gear and safety tips information. (PDF, 293 KB)

Ideas

  • Rake and remove pine needles and dry leaves within a minimum of 3 to 5 feet of a home’s foundation. As time permits – continue up to a 30-foot distance around the home. Dispose of collected debris in appropriate disposal site.
  • Get out your measuring tape and see how close wood piles are located to the home. If closer than 30 feet, they need to be relocated and moved at least 30’ away from structures.
  • Sweep porches and decks clearing them of leaves and pine needles. Rake under decks, porches, sheds and play structures. Make sure you dispose of debris.
  • Mow grasses to a height of four inches or less.
  • On mature trees, use hand pruners and loppers to remove low-hanging tree branches up to a height of 4 feet from the ground (specific height depends on the type and size of tree). (Removing fuel ‘ladders’ can keep fire close to the ground.)
  • Collect downed tree limbs and broken branches and take them to a disposal site.
  • Remove items stored under decks and porches and relocate it to a storage shed, garage, or basement. Gasoline cans and portable propane tanks should never be stored indoors and should be located away from the home.
  • Distribute wildfire safety information to neighbors, or staff a table at a grocery or hardware store (other high-traffic locations work too) and distribute free Firewise and emergency preparedness materials that can be ordered from the Firewise catalog or from READY.gov.
  • Join forces with neighbors and pool your resources to pay for a chipper service to remove slash.
  • Visit the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association site, and download free home inventory software. Work together as a family to videotape and take photos of your possessions – that way you’ll have the insurance documentation needed to replace belongings.
  • Develop and practice a home evacuation plan.
  • Create a Family Communication Plan (available in both English and Spanish).
  • Build or update a 72-hour kit.
  • Contact your local Office of Emergency Management and ask if your jurisdiction requires individuals to register cell phones to receive emergency notifications on mobile devices.
  • Can you see your home’s address number from the street? If not, trim overgrown vegetation covering or blocking the numbers. Place numbers on mailboxes.
  • Using social media or text messaging, pick a day and send Firewise and Emergency Preparedness tips to your contacts and friends.
  • Help an elderly relative or neighbor enter emergency numbers and the names of close relatives into their cell phones; and in large font post their phone number and street address above their landline so it can easily be seen when providing information to an emergency dispatcher.
  • As a family – locate two alternate routes out of your neighborhood (besides the one normally used); and plan and practice an evacuation drill using those secondary routes.
  • Teens that babysit outside the home need to schedule a conversation with the parents of the kids they’re responsible for and learn their emergency plan and what they should do if a wildfire starts, or an evacuation issued, while in that leadership role.
  • Work with neighbors to develop a phone tree that can be used to alert everyone about a fire or evacuation.
  • Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire screening no larger than 1/8” mesh to help keep embers out during a fire.
  • Take a walk through your garden and see which types of Firewise plants work best in your landscaping. Get a list of Firewise plants.
  • During an evacuation pets have special needs too – build an emergency kit for your animals.
  • Hold a garage sale and donate the proceeds to your local fire department’s wildland fire team.

Please make Firewise projects a priority this summer. We want everyone safe in their homes.

The Staff of FloodCo LLC. Northwest Montana’s Fire and Smoke Restoration Professionals. Questions? Call us at 406 892-1717.

Posted by Lloy  7/10/2015

Dangers of Fire in the WUI

HEADS UP! – A SERIOUS FIRE SEASON IS AHEAD!

FOREST FIRE PIC

As evidenced by forest fires breaking out many weeks too early this year, our Northwest Montana fire chiefs and forestry officials are facing a potentially devastating fire season with potential for serious property damage in our region. If you live in or near the ‘WUI’- that is the Wildland Urban Interface there is still time to do some relatively low cost and important things to protect your property from wildfire.Please take some time to read up on the things you should do NOW to reduce the serious risks of wildfire this summer. Become firewise.

Be aware that flying embers are the primary threat to structures when forests burn and ‘crown out’, creating ember laden air currents. Crown fires from dense, unthinned forests can advance a mile or more in a day as embers lead the way! Embers and firebrands landing on small fuels, like landscape mulch or debris sitting in gutters or under decks, will readily ignite and quickly involve a structure. When you get word of approaching wildfire you will not have time to make your home less vulnerable to wildfire. Will your property be vulnerable or reasonably safe?

This terrific video illustrates how an ember storm will ignite a home surrounded by some fine, dry fuels:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vh4cQdH26g.

http://www.firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness/be-firewise/project-ideas.aspx. Describes several worthwhile firewise project ideas families can easily do with little cost.

If you have specific questions about fire protection for your neighborhood, please contact your local fire officials.

Posted by Lloy. Comments? Please email lloy@floodco.net.

HOARDING HAZARDS AND FIRE SAFETY

The Dangers of Too Much Stuff

Hoarder PhotoA particular concern of the fire service is the chaotic nature of the material in many hoarding households, where blocked windows and exits can make fire attack and rescue of occupants very difficult. (Photo: Newscom)

Many fire departments are experiencing serious fires, injuries, and deaths as the result of compulsive hoarding behavior. The excessive accumulation of materials in homes poses a significant threat to firefighters fighting fires and responding to other emergencies in these homes and to residents and neighbors. Often, the local fire department will be contacted to help deal with this serious issue. Since studies suggest that between three and five percent of the population are compulsive hoarders, fire departments must become familiar with this issue and how to effectively handle it.

What is hoarding?                                                                                                     Hoarding is defined as collecting or keeping large amounts of various items in the home due to strong urges to save them or distress experienced when discarding them. Many rooms in the home are so filled with possessions that residents can no longer use the rooms as designed. The home is so overloaded with things that everyday living is compromised.

Why do people become hoarders?
Hoarding is a mental disorder that can be genetic in nature, triggered by traumatic events, or a symptom of another disorder, such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, or dementia. Studies have found that hoarding usually begins in early adolescence and gets worse as a person ages. It is more common among older adults.

Why is hoarding an issue for the fire service?

  • Hoarding can be a fire hazard. Many occupants die in fires in these homes. Often, blocked exits prevent escape from the home. In addition, many people who are hoarding are injured when they trip over things or when materials fall on them.
  • Responding firefighters can be put at risk due to obstructed exits, falling objects, and excessive fire loading that can lead to collapse. Hoarding makes fighting fires and searching for occupants far more difficult.
  • Those living adjacent to an occupied structure can be quickly affected when a fire occurs, due to excessive smoke and fire conditions.

Free guide: Download NFPA’s free guide on hoarding and the fire service (PDF), 930 KB

Comment: Hoarding behavior is also a significant problem for other professionals and tradesmen who provide emergency repair services. Imagine attempting to reach and repair a leaking pipe down in a crawlspace full of water and most of a lifetime’s accumulation of old clothing and other waterlogged stuff! If someone you know has a hoarding problem, please do everything you can to get them help. Your local county health department can provide helpful information.

Posted by Lloy 6/2/2015.

‘3’ Things Everyone Needs to Know About ‘BLACK’ WATER

Category “3” flood losses are often referred to as ‘BLACK” WATER contamination. This a very common ‘Bio-Hazard’ event in homes and businesses. Contaminated water sources expose humans to severe sickness just with contact or consumption. Grossly unsanitary conditions arise from quantities of sewage or dirty flood water entering a structure. Category “3” sources include:

SUMP PUMP FAILURES
GROUND/SURFACE WATER FLOODING FROM RAIN OR SNOWMELT
RISING WATER FROM STREAMS, RIVERS, OCEANS AND PONDS
SEWAGE

Black water sceneAdditionally, Black Water can develop from what was initially clean tap water (Category 1) that saturated carpet containing any bacteria and other latent pathogens or toxins, including urine and fecal matter. So, the source of the water intrusion doesn’t by itself determine the contamination level of the loss. The surface in contact with the water can also affect the contamination level. History and characteristics of that water are other factors. Time and Temperature are the property owner’s enemy as Category 1 water becomes Category 2 becomes black Category 3. In around 48 hours.

Water color might be clear or cloudy, brown, or other shades of colors and still be ‘Black Water’.

When porous materials like carpet and pad are saturated with Black Water, these materials should be contained and removed for disposal. The health of the occupants or workers must be a primary concern. Those persons with weak immune systems, allergies or immune systems, respiratory problems, young or elderly should be advised to stay away from a Black Water clean-up site until the property has been sanitized.

Pathogens and toxins from dried Black Water may become airborne as mist or dust during the dry-out process. Breathing pathogens from sewage is extremely risky as they can contain potentially deadly viruses, bacteria, protozoa and other microbes.

Black water cholera
A sewage spill delivers and spreads dangerous bacteria and other pathogenic microorganisms into a living space. This often revolting kind of water damage is classified by disaster pros as Category 3 -Black Water and requires urgent, professional extraction and treatment. FloodCo LLC’s specially trained and IICRC certified technicians quickly remove raw sewage, black water contaminants, and any residual moisture from fixtures, floor and walls. Then we continue treatment to assure the area is deep cleaned, disinfected, deodorized and completely dried out to prevent mold and bacterial growth. We can also help determine the cause of the backup and suggest plumbing repairs to prevent another awful occurrence.

We send our work documentation to your insurance adjuster when there is coverage for the damage. (It is important that you visit with your insurance agent to confirm there is specific and adequate coverage in your homeowners or renters policy. Not all property policies automatically provide this important protection but it can often be added by endorsement without a lot of cost – before a sewer backup claim occurs.)

When a sewer spill occurs, don’t hesitate at all– Call FloodCo LLC. We will respond quickly 24/7 365 days a year (including holidays). We know how urgent a Black Water loss is so will get that mess cleaned up ASAP. We can immediately relieve stress from the situation and remove and protect your contents.                                                   Our phone number is 406 892-1717.  Answered by a FloodCo LLC employee 24/7 any day.

Toilet Leaks Cause Expensive Water Claims – Consider Some Preventive Maintenance

It Could be Time to Replace That Wax Ring Seal Beneath Your Toilet

Does the vinyl or tile flooring around the base of your toilet look stained or even swollen like it could be leaking from underneath the bowl? Is the toilet kind of wobbling on its base? It may need a new seal between the bowl and the drain. The mounting bolts may also need to be replaced or tightened. The water supply line could also be dripping and need to be upgraded with a higher quality line. These are not very expensive maintenance items as long as you don’t wait too long to do them.

Do not delay. Small amounts of black water and sewage leaking from under a toilet can over time cause expensive water damage to the bathroom subfloor or even adjacent walls! (It’s also a serious sanitary issue.)

Are these repairs something homeowners can take on themselves? The answer is probably yes – if you are not squeamish about getting up close and personal with the dirty side of a toilet. Mechanically this is not a difficult or time consuming task if sanitary precautions are taken and you follow some easy steps. Otherwise, call your friendly neighborhood plumber.

Following the steps below will guide you through this first time project.

The Tools & Materials You Will Need

Tools

  •  Open end adjustible wrenches or water pump pliers
  •  Toilet Plunger
  •  Wet Dry Shop Vac

Before You Shop for Wax Ring Replacement Supplies

  • If you lift or remove a toilet for any reason, always replace the wax ring seal between the toilet and the toilet anchor flange (sometimes called a closet flange) attached to the floor.
  • Wax? Why wax? Made from a molded wax loop formed around a stubby plastic tube, wax rings are mostly foolproof, inexpensive and shape themselves to fit almost any toilet and floor drain. They also resist mold and bacteria and retain their sealing ability after many years of use. They don’t last forever though, that’s why you are doing this project. If your toilet wobbles even a little bit from side to side or your toilet rocks enough for one side of the base to lift off the floor — even just a bit — you may have a broken toilet anchor flange. As a precaution, pick up a flange repair kit.
  • Speaking of floors, replacing a sheet vinyl floor with something thicker, such as ceramic tile, usually will create a gap between the toilet and the toilet anchor flange. If that’s the case, add a flange spacer to fill the gap. (Heavy duty, thicker wax rings are also available to fill the space.)
  • Once you drain the toilet tank and unhook the water supply, it’s a good time to replace the flush valve. Fixing a leaky valve can save hundreds of gallons of water a day. The savings in water use can pay for this entire project in no time.
  • If you’re removing the toilet because of a leak at the base or water damage in the ceiling of the floor below, inspect that damage before you head to the store. Water can harm a subfloor enough to affect the strength of the mounting bolts attaching the toilet anchor flange — and the toilet — to the floor. Determine whether you need to cut away the damaged subfloor and replace it. Sanitize the area thoroughly.
  • Check the condition of the mounting bolts that attach the toilet to the floor. If they’re corroded, you’ll need a can of penetrating oil to help loosen them. Even if they’re not visibly corroded, plan to replace the bolts as a precaution. Some wax rings come in a kit that includes new mounting bolts.

Drain and Remove the Toilet

Step 1

Shut off the Water Valve

Shut off the water supply to the toilet at the supply-line valve beside the toilet or at the main water source. Then flush and shop vac the water from the tank until it’s dry. Use a plunger to force most of the remaining water in the bowl down the drain and sponge out the rest.

The wet /dry shop vacuum empties toilet tanks and bowls in an instant. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for how to set it up to suction water.

Step 2

Detach the water supply-line hose from the toilet tank and catch any water in the line using a bucket or towels. Loosen and remove the nuts holding the toilet to the floor.

If the bolts have corroded, first apply penetrating oil and allow it to seep over the threads for a few minutes before loosening the bolts. Apply only moderate pressure to loosen the bolts. Anything more may bend or break the toilet anchor flange.

Step 3

Lifting the Toilet

If you’re working in an awkward space or the toilet appears too heavy to lift, consider removing the bolts attaching the tank to the bowl and moving the two parts separately. Before lifting the toilet, place four 2 x 4 x 6 blocks on edge on the floor to hold the toilet drain off the floor. Choose a corner of the bathroom away from the drain to give yourself room to work. Angle the blocks slightly so they won’t tilt as you rest the toilet on them. Carefully lift the toilet while keeping the base parallel to the floor. Check the drain to make sure the old wax ring isn’t still attached. Set the toilet on the blocks.

Caution

It’s hard to empty everything from the drain trap that loops from the bowl to the floor drain opening. That’s fine as long as the toilet base remains parallel to the floor, but tilting it back and forth will probably spill water from the trap all over your floor.

Install the New Wax Ring

Step 1

New Bolts

Wear a pair of disposable gloves to remove and discard the old wax ring. (It’s extremely sticky and, let’s face it, was under your toilet for years.) Provide plenty of ventilation and use a plastic putty knife, followed by a rag soaked in mineral spirits, to clean any remaining wax from around the toilet anchor flange and the drain on the bottom of the toilet (if you’re reinstalling it). Remove the old mounting bolts and check the toilet anchor flange for damage.

After you remove the old wax ring, immediately plug the drain with a ball of rags or an old towel large enough that it doesn’t fall into the pipe. An unplugged drain can allow noxious sewer gas to enter your home.

Step 2

Check the Flange

Remove the old bolts from the toilet anchor flange and check the flange for cracks or missing pieces. Install any repair parts or spacers as needed before inserting the new toilet mounting bolts.

Caution

You wouldn’t think something as heavy as a toilet could fall over, but it can if not anchored down. A broken flange means a useless anchor bolt, so install a flange repair kit if you notice leaks or wobbles.

Step 3

Press the New Ring Into Place

Again wearing a pair of disposable gloves, press the new wax ring into place around the raised ring at the bottom of the toilet drain on the underside. Seat it firmly enough to hold it in place, but don’t press it out of shape.

Step 4

Lift the toilet with the bowl drain directly over the floor drain and lower it in place with the mounting screws coming up through the holes in the base. Press gently and rock it slightly to help the wax ring form a tight seal.

Step 5

With the toilet base firmly against the floor, attach the washers and nuts holding the toilet in place. Tighten them enough to keep the toilet from rocking — even just a bit. Then add the decorative caps.

Caution

Stop tightening the nuts holding the toilet to the floor as soon as they’re snugly in place and keep the toilet from tipping. Too much torque can crack the porcelain or damage the drain flange. (You really don’t want to lift that thing again to make another repair, right?)

Step 6

Apply fresh thread tape to the tank inlet threads and attach the water-supply line to complete the project. As a precaution, check the base of the toilet for leaks an hour after flushing it and again the next day to make sure the ring formed a waterproof seal around the drain.

Good to Know

For cheap insurance against leaks, replace the water line linking your toilet to the water line coming through the wall or floor. Carefully select the correct length and use a high quality braided line for added protection from future leaks or line breaks.

If you find yourself in over your head, give Floodco a call. We can recommend a friendly, affordable and qualified plumber in your area. Our phone is 406 892-1717.
Information for this project is provided by Lowes. They will probably appreciate your patronage and offer additional helpful suggestions in the store.
Posted by Lloy  February 23, 2015

Look What the Mailman Brought Today!

One of our minor chores each day is stopping by the Post Office for mail. When the mail brings Comment Cards from our customers we always appreciate and nearly always thrill to the kind words our customers write.

Comment Card

This comment card above reads:

Thank you for all your help. The guys were very nice and offered advice when asked. Not easy to to get in and out with all the snow–but they did it! Thought the expense was very reasonable!            (Would you refer FloodCo to your friends and family? Yes is circled.)

 

It matters greatly to us that our customer is satisfied and seriously delighted with the services we provide during the worst experience they may ever have as property owners. Our customers were never planning to call us on the day of the flood or some other disaster like smoke or fire overwhelmed them.

Returning lives to normal as quickly as possible is what we do. Our technicians respond to property loss scenarios that are often unpleasant and very stressful and disruptive to our customers. Hearing that our technicians’ work was appreciated means so much to all our staff!

Thanks to our customers who take a few moments to write and appreciate us and the good value provided.

Posted by Lloy on February 16, 2015. Comments are always welcome if you would like to, please email lloy@floodco.net or call 406 892-1717.