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Frequently Asked Questions About Water Damage

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Whether your toddler shoved a toy down the toilet, causing an overflow, a sump pump backed up in your basement, or the latest storm caused flooding and damage, there are a number of potential causes of water damage to your home or business. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear about water damage and restoration.

What are the classes of water damage and why does it matter?

Only licensed professionals can officially classify water damage and the cost of the cleanup process is significantly impacted by the classification of water damage.

Clean water is potable (drinking water). Faucets, sprinklers, water heaters, and sometimes rainwater are classified as clean water. Damage caused by clean water is the least costly to clean and repair.

Grey water usually comes from relatively clean waste sources like baths, sinks, washing machines, and kitchen appliances. All grey water has the potential to carry bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms. It carries only minor health risks but must be cleaned thoroughly to avoid other issues.

Black water is the most harmful type of water. Backed up sewage, floodwaters, wastewater from toilets, and other areas. Black water is full of bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms that cause serious health problems and diseases. Cleaning black water is the most complicated and costly process. It requires special chemicals and equipment to clean up.

It is very important to properly clean up any kind of water leak to avoid more serious problems down the road. Even a small clean water leak from the ice machine can lead to serious damage. 

What are the dangers of water damage?

The impact of water damage is not limited to the water itself. There are a number of dangers linked to water leaks, floods, and other types of water damage. It is important to address any leaks as quickly as possible to avoid further damage.

  • There is a risk of fire when water comes in contact with electrical outlets and other power sources.
  • Mold or mildew can grow on hard and soft surfaces during or after water damage.
  • Wood and other building materials can soften, weaken, or rot, leading to serious structural issues.
  • Water can cause stains, bad odors, and other inconvenient consequences.

How much does it cost to clean up water damage?

The answer to this question varies widely. The type and extent of damage and source of the water dramatically impact the cleanup costs.

Grey or black water is more costly to clean because you must be mindful of potential bacteria, virus, and microorganism contamination. Using the proper chemicals, cleaning methods, and equipment is very important.

Even though a competent homeowner or property manager may be able to clean and repair some of the water damage, it is important to have a professional assess the situation and determine the extent of the damage. Even trace amounts of water left untreated may allow mold to grow. Professionals can also identify the source of the water and make sure the leak is properly fixed.

Industry professionals estimate the national average cost for water damage restoration:

  • Clean water leaks with minimal damage averages $3.75 per square foot.
  • Grey water flooding with moderate damage averages $4.50 per square foot.
  • Black water damage averages $7.00 per square foot.

How long does it take to dry out water-damaged property?  

The time it takes to fully dry damaged property depends on weather, the classification of water that caused the damage, where the damage occurred, and how long the water has been there.

Generally it takes 3 to 5 days to fully dry a home. In the south, humidity and weather can significantly impact the drying process. Even carpet or surfaces that feel dry to the touch may still have water trapped inside. SERVPRO technicians use specialized testing equipment to ensure everything is thoroughly dried.

What are the first steps in dealing with water damage?

You should always contact professional technicians to help you deal with any water damage. But time is of the essence and knowing how to respond quickly can save you time and energy and prevent further damage. Follow these steps before the professionals arrive to get the process started:

  • Turn off power to the impacted areas to prevent electrical fires and electrical shock.
  • Turn off the main water supply to prevent further leaks.
  • Remove any area rugs, furniture, and other movable furnishings from the room.
  • Remove any curtains, draperies, and other wet window treatments.
  • Move any keepsakes, decorative items, artwork, and personal items to a safe space.
  • Bail out or mop up as much water as you can without using any appliances or power tools.
  • Open all cabinets, doors, and drawers to help speed the drying process.
  • Open any windows to help air out the area.

What is the typical process of restoration?

Every water-damage situation is unique so the process of restoring water damage to your home or business may vary. However, the general process that SERVPRO uses to help restore your property as quickly as possible is as follows:

  • Our team of experts thoroughly examines the area and assesses the damage to create a plan.
  • The water is removed using vacuums, special suctions, and other equipment.
  • Your personal belongings may be moved to another location. It needs to be sanitized and deodorized.
  • Our team thoroughly dries your property with dehumidifiers and special fans. Special equipment allows us to test surfaces to ensure everything is completely dry.
  • The area may be sanitized and deodorized with air scrubbers, antimicrobial treatments, or other methods.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage?

While homeowners insurance is usually very straightforward, understanding coverage for water damage can be difficult to decipher. Every insurance company has different coverage policies and regulations so there is not a simple answer to this question.

Water damage is rarely covered by insurance when it is caused by floods or sewer overflows. However, insurance will usually cover damage when it is “sudden and internal”, meaning the damage happened very quickly and the water came from inside the home, like a burst pipe or malicious activity.

Some damage caused by weather events are covered by insurance, like wind-driven rain or snow. The condition of your home is a significant factor in whether your homeowners insurance will cover the damage. Insurance will not often cover damage if it occurred because of corrosion or preexisting issues with your roof or siding.

Water damage caused by slow leaks or neglect typically won’t be covered by homeowners insurance, nor will mold and other consequences of water damage.

While there are probably dozens of other questions you have about dealing with water damage, these are the most frequently asked questions we encounter. Contact SERVPRO for fast, professional, expert help with any kind of water damage! We’re available 24/7 for any emergency fire or water cleanup emergency.

Mold Damage: What Happens Next?

5/20/2019 (Permalink)

When you’ve had water damage due to a plumbing leak, appliance malfunction, roof leak, or flood waters from a storm, you may also end up with mold damage. Mold, a type of fungus, thrives in wet or damp environments. Mold can spread throughout a home in just two days, causing significant damage to your property and belongings. This is why it’s important to call on a professional remediation team, like SERVPRO of Rutherford County as soon as mold has been discovered.

So, you’ve found mold in your home and have called the pros, what’s next? Here’s some things you can expect from a mold remediation process:

But First… A Word About Remediation vs “Removal”

What’s the difference between “mold removal” and “mold remediation,” you ask? While some companies claim to “remove all of the mold” from a mold affected home or business, the experts at SERVPRO understand that mold spores are naturally occurring organisms that float through the air virtually everywhere, both indoors and out.

Claiming complete “removal” is just not possible. Remediation, on the other hand, is a multi-step process of returning mold levels to a normal, natural level.

The Remediation Process - 7 Steps to Returning Your Space to Normal

Step 1: You’ve found mold - make the call. Call the Professionals at SERVPRO of Rutherford County to get the remediation process started. Our representative will have some questions for you that will help get a rough idea of what resources and equipment will be needed for your specific situation.

Step 2: Inspection and repairing water source (if needed) A thorough inspection and assessment of your property will be done by a SERVPRO professionals. They will use a variety of tools and tech to determine the full scale of the problem, as mold can be hidden behind, under, and inside things, out of sight for the naked eye, but easily spotted by a pro with the right equipment. The SERVPRO technician will also be able to determine any hidden water sources that will need to be addressed before remediation can begin.

Step 3: Preventing the spread with compartmentalization. Physical barriers and more advanced mold containment protocols may be used, depending on your situation. Negative air pressure chambering may be used to keep the mold from spreading further.

Step 4: Clearing the Air. Special air filtration units will be set in place. These devices, referred to as “air scrubbers,” pull mold spores from the air and help prevent the spread of mold during the rest of the process.

Step 5: Clean up and clear out. This is the step in which things will vary greatly depending on your particular mold situation. In some cases, mold-infested materials that are porous (such as drywall and carpeting) will need to be removed. The SERVPRO professionals will use specialized antimicrobial treatments that are appropriate for the surfaces at hand.

Step 6: Getting the contents clean and smelling fresh. The SERVPRO professionals will clean the contents of your space. Any furniture, curtains, clothing, decorative items, etc that was affected by the mold will be cleaned and sanitized. If needed, the space will also be deodorized using specialized fogging deodorization equipment.

Step 7: Restoring your space. The mold is now back to naturally occurring levels, the odor is gone, and the contents of your space are clean and sanitized. Now, the restoration begins. If any drywall, subflooring, or other building materials were affected and removed, this is when they get replaced. New carpet will be installed, walls and ceilings will be repaired, refinished, and repainted as needed, and any other restoration that needs to be done to restore your home or business to it’s pre-mold state will be done.

From this step-by-step layout you can see, from the time you call the SERVPRO of Rutherford County mold remediation specialists until your restoration is complete, we will take care of everything, keeping you in the loop on what’s being done. If you suspect you have a mold problem in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Rutherford County right away so we can get to work preventing further mold damages and cleaning up what has been affected.

Mold Damage? Your Questions Answered.

5/6/2019 (Permalink)

Have you had a damaging water event that affected your home? Is there an area in your home that stays damp due to a slow leak or condensation?  Do you have a suspicious smell in the area where your home got wet? If you have had water damage that wasn’t remediated by professionals (or the source was not identified), it’s likely that you also have mold damage in your home.

If water has flooded in to your home, whether through broken pipes, slow leaks, appliance failure, roof leaks, or flood waters from a storm, mold can begin to grow in as little as 48 hours.

What exactly is mold, and what should you do if you find you have mold damage? We have answers for you. Read on to learn more.

Understanding What Mold Is and Why It is Problematic

  • Molds are a type of fungus that are found pretty much everywhere. It’s actually unknown how many types of mold species exist, but experts estimate between tens of thousands to more than three hundred thousand. Some of the most common molds that are found indoors are cladosporium, penicillium, alternaria, and aspergillus.
  • Mold spores are the fungus’ way of reproducing. These are microscopic particles, and float through the air, much like pollen, and are extremely hardy; they can withstand extreme drought and cold. Mold spores find their way in to your home through open windows or doors, heating or air conditioning systems, and even on your clothing, shoes, or pets.
  • While mold spores can float around in practically any conditions, mold thrives in moist environments, and will reproduce rapidly when wet. It grows especially quickly when wet and warm conditions are present.
  • Mold gives off a strong, telltale odor that can smell different from person to person and from one mold species to another. The odor could generally be described as “musty” “old” “like dirt” or “like rot.”
  • Indoor humidity levels that are consistently above 50% can support mold growth. Try to keep indoor humidity at about 45% for your comfort and inhibiting mold growth.
  • Be aware that before any mold remediation can take place, the source of the moisture needs to be identified and addressed, or the mold may return.

A Note About Black Mold

A specific species of mold has made the news often termed “toxic mold” or “black mold” scientifically known as stachybotrys chartarum. These news reports can be distressing and sometimes confusing. The fact of the matter is that ALL mold should be treated with caution and care, regardless of the type of color. The best thing to do is stay out of the space and call the professionals.

Mold Damage - Do’s and Don’ts

Mold can quickly cause significant damage to your home. SERVPRO of Rutherford County has specialized training and equipment to handle mold problems, but until a specialist arrives, some safety precautions should be taken:

  • DO stay out of any mold affected areas of your home. It is especially important to keep children and the elderly away. In fact it may be necessary to temporarily relocate until remediation is complete.
  • DO turn off any fans and air conditioning/heating systems - cycling the air through the whole home can carry mold spores to new places.
  • DO call SERVPRO of Rutherford County as soon as you notice a problem.



  • DON’T touch the mold affected items or move any furniture/items in the area of the mold.
  • DON’T attempt to dry out a mold affected area yourself.
  • DON’T attempt to clean the mold yourself, do not spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

If you suspect you have a mold problem in your property, contact SERVPRO of Rutherford County, your local fire, water, and mold cleanup and restoration experts.

Oops! Top 5 Spring Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid!

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

Sunny, warmer Spring days are upon us, which calls for a deep cleaning. Maybe it’s some deep-rooted aspect of human nature, preparing for the “hunting and gathering” of warmer days,  or maybe it’s that extra sunshine streaming in and making the dust and grime more noticeable.

Either way, you want to give your home that fresh, deep clean that only a true spring cleaning can inspire. Instead of a list of what you should do, today we are sharing what NOT to do.

Here are 5 spring cleaning mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1 - DIY Cleaning Chemistry Projects

While there are many “DIY” cleaners that can be effective (like using rubbing alcohol on sticker adhesive on glass or to clean mirrors, grinding rice in your coffee grinder to remove old grounds and oils, or running ice through your garbage disposal), combining cleaning chemicals can be extremely dangerous, if not deadly.

Accidentally combining bleach and vinegar can produce chlorine gas; even at low levels of exposure, this toxic brew causes respiratory and eye irritation. Higher levels (say, for example mixing a bleaching scouring scrub with vinegar in a closed bathroom) can lead to chest pain, vomiting, and severe breathing difficulties.

Other toxic combinations include peroxide & vinegar, bleach and rubbing alcohol, and different brands of drain cleaners. As a general rule, combining any commercial cleaners or mixing ANYTHING with bleach is a bad idea. If the cleaner you are using isn’t effective, clear the item in question of any residue before trying another solution.

Mistake #2 - Scrubbing Away At Stains

When you find a spot on your carpet or upholstery, it’s tempting to scrub at it to try and remove it. This can actually work the stain deeper into the carpet or fabric, making it far more difficult to remove. Instead, blot the stain with an appropriate cleaning solution and a white rag or towel to remove any excess liquid.

Mistake #3 - Using Paper Towels to Clean and Dry Surfaces

No matter what the commercials may say, paper products will leave lint behind. Nothing is more frustrating than wiping a mirror or window clean only for the paper towel to leave little bits of fluff and lint behind.

Paper towels have a  rough surface that might scratch delicate glass, furniture, computers, and TV screens. Instead, opt for microfiber cloths;  they are more efficient at drying, they’re reusable, and they won’t leave lint behind. (You can find microfiber cloths in multi-packs in the automotive section at big box stores.)

Mistake #4 - Cleaning in the Wrong Order

Many people begin tackling cleaning a room by vacuuming the carpet or mopping the floor, when in fact this is the opposite of what should be done for best results. Consider what happens when you dust off the ceiling fan and furniture; any dust that doesn’t make it onto the rag floats down to whatever is below it, eventually landing on the floor.  

Consider starting at the top. Clean the ceiling fans and air registers, then work your way down from there. Clear cobwebs from the ceiling, corners, and walls, then furniture. Then wipe lower walls, doors, knobs, and light switches. Swipe the baseboards, and now you are ready to vacuum or mop.

Mistake #5 - Leaving Carpets and Rugs Too Wet When Cleaning

There are many home carpet cleaning machines on the market today that do a fairly decent job - if they are used correctly. Unfortunately, they often are not. Consumer-grade carpet cleaners use a hot water extraction method; hot water and cleaning solution are pumped into the carpet and then basically vacuumed out.

Many of these machines are underpowered. They must be used in a precise manner to pull water, dirt, and cleaning solution out. If the carpet is left too wet, it can cause a multitude of problems. It won’t get as clean as it could, excess cleaning solution becomes sticky and attracts dirt, the carpet stretches and warps, and you could potentially see mold or mildew growth.

If you do choose to use a DIY carpet cleaner, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning solution, and make several, slow passes over the entire area with just the extraction activated.

Leave It to the Pros

You can save yourself the time, effort, and potential for costly mistakes by hiring an expert cleaning and restoration team, like SERVPRO of Rutherford County. Our pros know the best methods for stain removal, carpet, and upholstery care. We can achieve that fresh spring clean when you don’t have the time, desire, or ability to do it yourself. Call us today to have us take care of your Symrna or Murfreesboro home!

3 Things to Clean for a Spring-Fresh Home

4/8/2019 (Permalink)

When the air begins to warm up and the smell of fresh new grass and flowers is beckoning, opening up the windows and airing out the house can let out the stagnant air and make your home feel fresher— but only for so long.

Today we will talk about 3 things you can clean (or have cleaned) to truly freshen up your house this spring.

Draperies, Blinds, and Curtains

When the house is closed up over the winter months, pet hair, dander, dust, mold, and even food smells can settle in. This contributes to a less-than-fresh smell to your home. But what happens when you draw those curtains to let the sun in and the breeze flow? Dust flies all over.

Take the time this spring to thoroughly wash or vacuum curtains and draperies and clean your blinds. Some curtains can be machine washed on a gentle cycle, but never put them in the dryer! Even the most basic, cotton-blend curtains can end up several inches shorter if heat dried. Be especially careful with lined curtains, as the lining fabric may shrink while the main fabric stays, turning your regular curtains into “balloon shades.”

Most non-fabric covered blinds can be removed, taken outside, scrubbed, and sprayed down with a hose and dish soap. Your best bet for drapery, blinds, and curtain cleaning is to call in experts. Professionals can dry clean your draperies in place. Your home doesn’t need to be left exposed without window coverings while your curtains get cleaned.

Upholstery and Carpet

Cleaning carpets and upholstery is another great way to really freshen up your house after a long winter, especially after holiday guests and late winter mud. Doing a deep, corner-to-corner, vacuuming under all the furniture helps, but dirt, dust, pet dander, and grimy oils can stick around. This leaves funky smells and dirty looking carpet.

Yes, your carpets will smell not-so-fresh if they are dirty, but when dirt gets settled deep down into the carpet fibers, the base of the carpet can get damaged and worn out before its time. The same goes for couches, chairs, upholstered ottomans, etc. Dirt and grime damage the fabric, taking years off the life of your furniture.

Carpet cleaners can be rented or purchased from home improvement and big box stores; they offer a varying degree of effectiveness. Be aware that home-grade carpet extractors may not have the suction power to remove all of the dirt— or the water they put down, which could potentially leave you with damp carpet and mud deep down in the fibers. Your best bet is to have your carpets and upholstery cleaned professionally. A professional cleaning company will have the tools to effectively deep clean your carpets and upholstery without damaging them.

Heating and Air Conditioning System and Ductwork

Dust, pollen, pet hair, even construction debris can find their way into your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). This makes your smell dusty, feel stuffy, and diminishes the air quality.

Your first step for improving the air in your home should be to replace or clean your air filters. These should be replaced regularly— as frequently as every 90 days for homes with pets and/or smokers. This is particularly the case if you have people with allergies living in your home.

Your next step should be to clean your air ducts. You can do this yourself in a limited capacity,  using a vacuum cleaner hose with a flexible hose attachment. Your best bet would be to have an expert check over the HVAC system and air ducts to evaluate the need for an air duct cleaning and make recommendations on other approaches to improving air quality.



In addition to spring cleaning the surfaces throughout your home, tackling these three areas will leave your home feeling and smelling spring-fresh! For all of your spring cleaning needs— including drapery, curtains, carpet and upholstery cleaning, HVAC systems cleaning and check-up, and duct cleaning— contact SERVPRO of Rutherford County.

Our cleaning and restoration experts are ready to help get your house smelling and looking fresh and clean.

What to Expect from the Commercial Fire Restoration Process

3/25/2019 (Permalink)

A building fire can be a scary experience. Even after the flames are put out and the danger has passed, the aftermath can be a confusing time. You may not know what to do about your burned commercial property or what to expect during cleanup and restoration.

After the fire is put out by emergency responders, you should call a professional fire damage restoration company. These experts will walk you through the process of assessing damage and beginning the big task of restoring the site. Along the way you should feel free to ask questions, but here are the basic steps of the process so you know what to expect up front.

Step 1: Assessment

The restoration company you hire will first assess the extent of the fire damage your property has suffered. They’ll look at heat, soot, and smoke damage to all structures and furnishings to see how far the fire reached and how badly it affected all materials it touched. With this information, the company will devise a plan of action and be able to give you an accurate quote for how much the restoration job will cost as well as a reasonable timeline for getting the job done.

Step 2: Preventing further damage

Before cleanup and restoration can begin, the main priority will be to prevent further damage to your property. Damage from the fire might have exposed building interiors to the elements, putting you at risk for further damage from the weather or wildlife. The restoration company can put up tarps and other protective measures to keep the elements out for the most part.

Keeping vandals and looters out of the site might also be a concern. A professional restoration company should have methods for this, such as securing doors and windows or even hiring a security company to monitor the site.

Other safety measures might be shutting off all utilities to the site if that hasn’t been done already and disabling the possible cause of the fire. For instance, if faulty wiring is thought to be the cause of the fire, electricity should be shut off to prevent another fire from happening again before new wiring can be installed.

Step 3: Cleaning up

Finally cleanup can begin. This step may seem like a whole process in and of itself. Water from the fire department or damaged plumbing will be pumped away. Charred and broken debris will be removed. Soot will be washed away and surfaces scrubbed. Damaged furnishings will be disposed of for you. Interiors and undamaged surfaces and furnishings will be deodorized to get rid of the smell of smoke. Dirt and dust will be swept up. Soon your property will begin looking like itself again.

Step 4: Renovation

Once the site is cleaned up, repairs can begin. If there was structural damage done to your building, it will need to be renovated to be functional again. Interior surfaces and fixtures that were too damaged to be cleaned will be replaced. New furnishings will be bought. Utilities will be turned back on. You can choose to match the previous look of the property as much as possible or take this opportunity to make some updates and have a fresh start.

Step 5: Prevention

Finally, the nightmare is over! All repairs and cleanup are completed and your property is ready for business again. But not so fast. The final step may be a consultation with the restoration company to discuss how to prevent future fires. This kind of meeting might depend on the cause of the fire and the company you hired, but if the fire had been preventable they may offer some ideas for avoiding a repeat situation such as placing smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in better places.

Your fire restoration team is here for you

You might be feeling overwhelmed after a commercial property fire, but hiring a great restoration company will set you on the right track. At SERVPRO of Rutherford County, our trained fire restoration technicians have you covered. With our 24-hour emergency service, we can get to your business quickly and begin immediate cleanup and restoration. No matter the size of your disaster, our goal is to restore your property and get your business back to functioning as quickly as possible.

Why Should You Hire the Pros for Water Damage Restoration?

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

Maybe you came into work this morning and discovered a pipe burst and has flooded your office space. Or maybe your community experienced a severe storm that’s left your store under a few feet of water. Maybe you have no idea where all this water came from, but there it is and all you know is it needs to get cleaned up fast before your business loses too much money from being closed.

In a time-sensitive emergency like this, many business owners or property managers might try to clean up water damage themselves, but when a commercial property experiences extensive damage, it’s better to hire a restoration crew who knows what to look for and what to do to get your property cleaned up and functioning again. Here’s just a few reasons why you should call in the experts rather than tackle commercial water damage yourself.

#1: They can find the source.

Sometimes it’s obvious where water damage is coming from, like if you can see the leaking pipe in the basement or know your area has sustained storm damage. Other times it’s not so obvious, but you need to know so the issue can be fixed and prevent future catastrophe.

Water has a habit of sneaking into the least likely of places, which makes it difficult to find where it originated from. A trained water damage restoration technician knows how to follow clues to find the source of your water damage. They will also have the tools to investigate the source without causing undue damage to your building. And when they find the source, they can determine what will need to be done to fix the issue too.

#2: They have the resources.

It will take more than a mop and a few fans to dry out a flooded property. Water restoration companies have all of the equipment and tools necessary to clean up major water damage. Their heavy-duty vacuums can suck up any amount of standing water, and their industrial fans and dehumidifiers will take care of all remaining moisture more quickly and efficiently than anything the average business owner can get their hands on.

#3: They have the training and expertise.

Not only will they have the equipment, they’ll also have the knowledge necessary to assess damage and perform clean up without causing further damage. The training and experience restoration crews have help them identify water damage that the average person may not know to look for or be able to recognize. They understand how moisture affects different building materials and what will need replaced and what will be okay once it’s dry. They also know how best to remove moisture from those different materials to maintain structural integrity and prevent molding later.

#4: They work fast.

With their experience and equipment on hand, a professional restoration crew can do commercial restoration faster than any amateur. When water is soaking through the materials and furnishings of your commercial property, there’s no time to waste. Every second puts the building at risk of increased damage. You don’t have time to look up cleanup advice yourself, gather a team to help, and hunt up the equipment you’ll need. A good cleanup and restoration company is ready at a moment’s notice, even coming in the middle of the night for emergency situations, so they can prevent further damage and get your business up and running as soon as possible.

Leave it to the professionals

If you’ve experienced commercial water damage, don’t take on cleanup and restoration as a DIY project. You wouldn’t want a restoration crew trying to do your job, so don’t try to do theirs. Instead, call a trusted, professional cleanup and restoration company who knows what they’re doing.

SERVPRO of Rutherford County has the expertise, equipment, and experience to quickly and safely restore your property with a thoroughness you wouldn’t be able to achieve yourself. Let us do what we do best so your business can reopen and you can get back to doing what you do best.

Top 5 Causes of Fire Damage and How to Prevent Them

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

Fire is one of the most devastating calamities that can happen to a home.

Before you think that house fires won’t happen to you, think again. According to an NFPA report, public fire departments have responded 1,319,500 fires in 2017 with an estimated $23 billion in property damage. Fire departments in the U.S. have responded to a fire every 24 seconds.

While the numbers are rather grim, this is not the time to panic. Most house fires can be prevented by simply taking the proper safety measures. Here are the most common causes of house fires and the tips to prevent them.

5 Common Causes of Fire Damage and How to Prevent Them

1. Cooking

According to the NFPA, cooking fires are the number one cause of house fires.

Most kitchens have numerous potential fire hazards. You have appliances with faulty wiring, hot cooking oil, and unattended pots and pans. When you are cooking, make sure that don’t leave the kitchen. Fires in the kitchen can start in a matter of seconds. If you have to leave the kitchen, make sure that you turn off the stove.

In addition, don’t prepare or cook food if you are tired, sleepy, or have been drinking alcohol. Finally, children and pets should be off-limits from any active cooking area.

2. Smoking

Most fire deaths are due to fires that are started in the living room or bedroom.

If you are a smoker, make it a point that you only smoke outside. While you’re at it, make sure that you have thoroughly extinguished the cigarettes when finished. A good practice would be to soak your cigarette butts before throwing them away.

Smoking materials such as matches and lighters should be stored in a secure cabinet or any place that’s out of the children’s reach.

Fires have also occurred while e-cigs are being used. The common cause is usually battery failure. Don’t leave the charging e-cigarettes unattended.

3. Heating

Home heating is another common source of residential and commercial fire damage. As you might expect, heating fires commonly happen during December, January, and February.

Central heating doesn’t pose too much of a risk especially if it’s well maintained and inspected regularly. However, the same can’t be said with portable space heaters.

If you want to use a space heater, make sure that you operate in a well-ventilated space. Additionally, you will want to situate the device away from fabrics, draperies, furniture, and other combustible items. Invest in a heating product that has a proper working thermostat control and an auto shut-off feature.

4. Appliance Cords and Wires

Appliances with damaged or frayed wires can trigger a fire. Always make sure that your wires and cords are safely organized.

Regularly inspect all the wires and cords in your home as they can get damaged or worn over time. Once you see any damaged wire, you should replace it immediately or least stop using the appliance until the replacement.

Never overload your wall sockets and extension cords. When tucking away the wires and cords, don’t place them under rugs or furniture. Finally, it never hurts to have a qualified electrician perform a routine inspection of your home’s electrical network.

5. Candles

Candles can provide amazing ambiance and fragrance to any living space. However, you have to keep in mind that they are also a source of open flame and are common causes of house fires. Candle fires are very common around the holidays especially during Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

When it comes to candles, you should never leave them unattended. Make it a point to put out the flame whenever you leave the immediate area. Only light a candle on a stable and flat surface, preferably away from the reach of children and pets. Don’t position the candle near flammable items like fabrics, curtains, drapes, and books.

If you want a safer alternative, you can purchase a battery-powered LED candle for your home.

Call a Trusted Pro for a Stress-Free Fire Restoration

If your home has already succumbed to fire damage, a restoration is your best bet as it’s always quicker and more affordable than replacing the damaged areas.

For a reliable fire restoration solution, call SERVPRO of Rutherford County.

5 Tips on How to Prevent Fire Damage to Your Home

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

For the average homeowner, the very mention of fire damage is enough to strike terror into anyone’s heart.

According to FEMA, a fire can become life-threatening in just two minutes. In as little as five minutes, your home could be engulfed in fire.

When it comes to residential or commercial fire damage, fire safety is one thing that you can’t put on the back burner. Taking the proper steps on how to prevent fire damage can go a long way in saving your belongings and avoiding costly repairs.

5 Tips on How to Prevent Fire Damage

1. Observe Proper Installation of Fire Alarms

Fire alarms and smoke detectors are your home’s first line of defense. Early detection of smoke will not only save your property but most importantly, your life as well.

While the installation of smoke detectors has become a law, there are still many properties that don’t install their fire prevention systems properly. One of the first things to ensure is the proper installation of your fire alarm system. Larger buildings should have multiple fire alarms on each level.

As a general rule, you should follow these guidelines for a proper fire alarm installation:

  • Avoid placing the detector in recessed ceilings
  • Don’t install the detector near vents, doors, or fans
  • Install the device 2 feet from any corner
  • Install it 10 feet away from the stove
  • Install it 2 feet away from any lighting fixture

It’s always a good idea to test your fire alarm system once every month. Batteries should be replaced at least twice a year.

2. Watch Out for Candle Burns

A little burning candle never really caused any real damage, right?

Well, not really!

According to the National Fire Protection Association, candles caused 2% of home structure fires. Any source of fire poses a risk to your property’s safety.

Candles are great for setting the mood and providing a nice scent for the room but they shouldn’t be left unattended. Also, make sure that you place the candles on flat surfaces and away from drapes, pets, and children.

3. Inspect Home Appliances and Lights

Inspection of your home appliances and lights should be a part of regular home maintenance.

Make sure that your wires, plugs, and bulbs are not damaged. Just by having pets or using the vacuum can cause damage to your appliance wires. Once damaged wires are plugged, it might cause the appliance or light fixture to catch fire. Always keep your wires and cords organized and refrain from placing them under a rug or between a piece of furniture and a wall.

Double checking your appliances before plugging will help prevent fire damage in your home.

4. Pay Attention to Cooking and Heating Equipment

Aside from open flames, cooking and heating equipment are also primary causes of fires in the home.

For starters, you should make it a habit to keep your stove and oven clean. You should pay more attention to cleaning the grease around your stovetop since this can lead to a grease fire. Clean the vents, filters, and grease traps to prevent grease fires. Also, you should make it a point to keep flammable items away from the stove.

As for your heating equipment, make sure that it is installed and maintained by a qualified professional. Also, you need to check the heating device for potential damage on a regular basis.

5. Have Fire Extinguishers at the Ready

The worst thing that can happen once a fire breaks out is having no way to extinguish it. If you don’t have one already, it’s important that you secure a fire extinguisher for your home.

However, just having a fire extinguisher is not enough.

Make sure that you inform every family member where to retrieve the fire extinguisher. On top of that, everyone should know how to properly use the extinguisher in case a fire breaks out.

Get Restoration Professionals to Help You

If you’re unlucky and weren’t able to prevent damage to your home, your best bet is to work with a company that specializes in fire damage restoration.

Restoration is often cheaper than replacing the damaged areas. Plus, the former solution is a lot faster as well. For your fire restoration needs in Rutherford County, Murfreesboro, and Smyrna, don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO.

6 Things You Should Do After a Water Damage Disaster

1/21/2019 (Permalink)

Water in unwanted places is never a good thing.

Whether it’s a leaky pipe, a rainstorm or flood, water damage can cause all sorts of headaches for homeowners. Aside from causing permanent damage to your home, a water disaster can lead to significant health and safety issues.

When it comes to flooding and other water disasters in a home, prevention is always the best course of action. However, even with enough precautions, there are cases where water disasters still occur.

You are probably asking, what can I do after significant water damage? Here are the things that you should do after a significant water disaster.

What Should You Do After a Major Water Damage?

1. Stop the Flow of Water

If the damage is caused by a water heater failure or a burst pipe, the very first thing that you should do is to shut off the main water valve for your home. This is why it’s important that you know where your main valve is.

If you are unable to locate the main water valve, call a professional as soon as you can.

2. Avoid Additional Risks

If you had to leave your home during the flooding, always remember to practice safety before you enter it when you come back.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency advises that you should check for any visible structural damage such as cracked foundation, warping, cracks, and holes before you enter your home. If you think that there’s damage to your water, electric, gas, and sewer lines, immediately contact a professional utility company.

At this point, make sure that you have a working flashlight for doing the following steps.

3. Cut the Power and Save Electronics

Time is of the essence when dealing with the aftermath of water damage.

If you want to save your electronics, you should act fast and get them out of water’s way. For starters, you should disconnect the power immediately. This is important for obvious safety reasons especially if the water has risen above the electrical outlets. Then, you’ll definitely want to move all your electrical devices first. After that, you can proceed to move the furniture and other movable items.

4. Get Rid of the Water

There are numerous ways to remove the water inside your home.

If you have no power or are worried about loose wires, you can always do it manually. The old-fashioned way of using towels, buckets and mops should work fine. You can then pour the water down the drain as long as the neighborhood isn’t backed up. Otherwise, you can pour the flood water onto your yard.

You may also use a wet or dry vacuum, but you should be wary about which electrical outlets to use. Make sure that you use an outlet that’s out of the water’s way. Avoid using an extension cord since the connection could short out which could lead to an unpleasant shock.

If the water is simply too much, renting a sump pump from your local hardware store is your best bet.

5. Dry Out the Affected Area

Once you have managed to remove the water, it’s time to dry out the area to prevent mold growth and prevent the moisture from doing more damage.

Use fans and dehumidifier for drying out the flooded area. You may also open all the windows for better air circulation, provided that it’s not raining anymore.

On your basement, check if the water damage has affected the drywall. If that is the case, you should consider cutting out the affected area since it’s basically free food for mold.

6. Disinfect the Affected Area

Once the damaged materials are removed, disinfect the affected area to prevent mold growth. The most commonly used disinfectant is a bleach solution. There are also other homemade disinfectants that you can easily make and use. Lightly spray and wipe down all the affected area before doing any repairs or restoration.

Get Top-Notch Water Damage Restoration in Rutherford County

If you have experienced water damage, hopefully, you’re dealing with clean water and a relatively small area. Dealing with a water-damaged home is certainly no joke. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can easily cause permanent damage and even put yourself at risk.

With that said, you can always call a professional water damage service to help you out. If you require a reliable water damage cleanup and restoration service, feel free to give SERVPRO in Rutherford County a call.