Tarpon Springs, Florida, is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich areas on the west coast of Florida. However, sinkhole damage can sometimes occur to homes in this gorgeous area, and knowing how to handle damage like this is important for every homeowner. We’ve made this guide to help you deal with household damage caused by sinkholes and some of the steps you can take to reclaim your home after this catastrophe strikes.
If you begin to notice signs of sinkhole damage, including cracks spreading in walls or ceilings and multiple small holes appearing in your yard, get out of your home immediately. You can make a plan later to potentially return and collect home items and other important things, but your family’s safety has to come first. It’s important that you don’t return to your home if there is an active sinkhole nearby or underneath your home because these natural phenomena are unpredictable and can worsen at any time, with immediate and dramatic results.
Contact Emergency Services
Your next immediate step should be to contact emergency services. Sinkholes can often affect other buildings besides the ones they’re closest to. In addition to getting services like water and gas shut off immediately to help prevent water and fire damage, emergency services can also help by checking the status of any utilities in the area to ensure that they won’t be damaged by the sinkhole. Finally, they can alert your neighbors in the surrounding vicinity that their homes may also be in danger.
Obtain an Assessment
An assessment can let you know how bad the damage is, whether it will become worse, and whether the sinkhole will continue to spread and grow. If you’re only dealing with a small or relatively stable sinkhole, you may be able to safely return to your home to get your belongings out. ServiceMaster 24 Hour can provide quick, organized, and comprehensive pack and go services that will help you get everything you need out of your home as quickly as possible so you can focus on dealing with your home’s structure and not worry about your belongings.
Your insurance company will send out someone to assess damage to your belongings as well as damage to the house and surrounding area and will provide an estimate on how much it’ll take to repair the hole. Costs to repair sinkholes vary widely and depend on the depth and breadth of the sinkhole, as well as whether the entirety of the hole is on your property or has spread elsewhere.
If you don’t have sinkhole coverage and aren’t sure where to go for an assessment, contact your county offices. Pinellas County is accustomed to dealing with sinkholes and may be able to direct you to an appropriate professional.
Have the Sinkhole Repaired
Under Florida law, you’re required to begin repairs to the sinkhole within 90 days of receiving confirmation of sinkhole damage from your insurance company. You have 12 months to finish the repairs from the start date, but the sooner you can have them completed, the sooner you can move back into your home. There are several methods for getting the sinkhole repaired, but the most common one is getting it filled with a mixture of substrates, including sand and cement. This can also help reduce the chance that the sinkhole will reopen or spread later.
Check Your Home Status
After the sinkhole has been filled, it’s time to get your home back. If the sinkhole was bad enough to cause damage to plumbing, you may be dealing with biological growth or other water-related damage. Cleaning is a priority, as is getting any sort of structural damage to the home repaired as quickly as possible. This may also be contracted through your insurance company, provided that your home insurance policy covers such damage.
ServiceMaster 24 Hour is on your side in case of these emergencies. From packing services to professional cleaning, we can help you handle your sinkhole disaster. Give us a call at 727-201-0499 when you need us.
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