Archived Blog Posts
Standard Renter’s Insurance Doesn’t Cover Floods
Having renter's insurance in Christiana, GA can certainly add to your peace of mind
Standard Renter’s Insurance Doesn’t Cover Floods
Having renter's insurance in Christiana, GA can certainly add to your peace of mind. It’s nice to be covered in case of an incident, but you should be aware of the exclusions and deductibles your policy has.
A standard policy will usually cover most major types of loss, including
- Storm damage
- Smoke damage
Each company will offer different coverage, premiums, and deductibles. For instance, a renter's insurance policy may – or may not – cover identity theft if your ID or credit cards were stolen from home. Most will cover liability if someone is injured on the premises, such as the infamous slip-and-fall lawsuit.
However, virtually no standard policy will cover flood damage. Some companies can offer riders that will cover floods, but they must be specifically asked for. Usually, the best rates are found through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but not in every case, so it’s best to shop around and check a few insurance companies.
Flood Insurance Isn’t Just for Homeowners
Homeowners who are allowed to build within the 100-year flood plain are often required to get flood insurance coverage if they have a mortgage. However, anyone who owns property in participating communities, including personal property, can get coverage through the NFIP.
In any case, if your home does suffer a loss, such as a flood, fire or theft, your landlord won’t be responsible for the damage to your personal property unless serious negligence is involved. Also, flood insurance may pay for the additional costs associated with a forced move, including hotel bills and getting into a new rental. Some coverage will even include items stolen from a vehicle parked at the rental. Each policy has different payout caps and deductibles, but it’s usually relatively easy to find a renter's insurance policy that matches your needs.
If you have a flood that impacts your rental in Christiana, GA, contact the property managers immediately. You’ll need a storm damage cleanup company to get there as soon as possible to tarp and board exposed areas – a key step to preventing further losses for you and your landlord.
We Can Restore Your Kitchen After Fire Damage!
We can restore your kitchen after a fire
Kitchen fires in the home can be traumatic. A minor incident with simple smoke damages or a larger blaze can wreak havoc on a home. Once the flames are out, you're likely left with the smell of smoke throughout the home. Water damage from firefighting efforts and a lingering smell that reminds you of the incident can be hard to take. There are several steps to help remove the smell, damage, and negative impact inside your home. We'll help your family return to normal and you can enjoy your home once again.
Many people don't realize that dust, allergens, and other materials circulate through the home via air ducts. Fire-related smells can remain in the ducts long after the flames are put out, leaving a smell of smoke in the entire home. Even with a small kitchen blaze, smoke rises up into the ducts and that smell proves difficult to remove. Professionals can check the entire duct system to see if cleaning them is necessary to regain clean air in your home.
Removing Evidence of Damages
Even the smallest flames can result in smoke damages in the home. You also have the after-effects of using water or fire extinguishers to put out the flames. Those techniques can leave marks that need removal too. Even if the flames were small and you were able to contain them without firefighters, it’s likely there are damages there to remind your family of the traumatic event. Water and fire-related damages are our specialties. We can restore your home, remove the smell and any other fire-related evidence.
After you experience this type of event, always call the professionals. At SERVPRO of Rutherford County, we can remove smoke and flames in your kitchen and the rest of the home if needed. We have experience in removing fire-related damages throughout the area. We provide 24-hour emergency services to ensure that your family can get back into the home as quickly as possible. Our fire restoration team is equipped with everything needed to remove evidence of flames and get you back in your home.
4 Storm Preparation Tips That Will Help Your Business Survive a Storm
Be prepared for the worst!
Storm preparation is vital for any company. A flooded building can disrupt business and stop an inflow of income. Along with that, flood water can cause a lot of damage and may require restoration services. Here are a few ways you can prepare your building to reduce risks of flooding and save money.
1. Back Up All Critical Information
If important documents or technology get ruined in a storm, this information may be gone forever. Back up anything important on hard drives and have copies of documents in a secure location. That way, once the aftermath has cleared, your company can continue to run smoothly.
2. Consider Flood Insurance
Whether you are in a mapped flood zone or not, it’s a good idea to have flood insurance. Flood water in the building can completely disrupt business if one affects your building. This can help you cover restoration expenses as well as business and employee costs.
3. Have Emergency Kits Ready
The most important part of your business is your employees. Have emergency kits ready for any disaster. A few important emergency kit supplies include the following:
• Enough water to last 24 hours
• First-Aid kits
• Non-perishable food
If a disaster does occur, you can be confident that your employees will be taken care of.
4. Waterproof Your Building
If your business in Murfreesboro, TN, is based in an old or leaky building, consider doing any repairs that might stop water from entering the building. Caulk any cracks, install a drainage system, and add waterproof sealant to anything that might result in a leak.
Although you may never deal with flood water in your commercial building, it doesn’t hurt to take precautions to reduce the water damage if a flood were to occur. If a severe storm does affect your business, take care of your employees and call in restoration services quickly. Once everything is repaired and secured, your business can start up again.
How Storms Can Damage the Roof of Your Business or Home
Check your roof after a major storm
The roof of your home or business is important. A well-maintained roof promotes energy efficiency and protects the building from the elements. When the roof withstands damage, the integrity of the building is affected. If a storm damages your roof, SERVPRO of Rutherford County is the company to call for cleanup and restoration.
Surveying Your Roof After a Major Storm
Commercial and residential property owners should have their roof inspected after major storms. High winds as well as heavy rains and hailstones can damage a roof in many ways. They can cause shingles to blow off individually or in full patches. Tree limbs can fall onto the roof to leave a hole in the structure. We do not advise you to climb onto the top of the building on your own because of the high elevation and steep incline of most roofs. If you believe that your property has been damaged by a storm, you should contact a professional for an assessment.
What We Can Do to Recover and Restore Your Property
Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility ensures we are always up to date on the best techniques to get your home or business back in shape after a storm. Regular IICRC industry certifications, means we have the knowledge as well as the equipment to restore your property. We clean the damage the storm left behind, and this includes on the interior or exterior of your building.
Severe weather is unfortunately common in the Middle Tennessee area, and it can cause significant damage in a very short period of time. SERVPRO of Rutherford County is available to respond to requests immediately after a major storm. We can begin the restoration and cleanup process quickly so that you can more easily move past the current issue and protect your property.
Altenatives to Traditional Candles
If you prefer the scent of a real wax candle, a candle warmer may be an excellent choice
Consider Some Of These Trendy Ideas
If you want to try something in place of a traditional wax burning candle, there are many new and exciting candle alternatives. Since traditional candles use an open flame, they pose a risk of fire. They may not be the best option if you are not able to keep a close eye on them, or if you have pets or small children that could knock them over. If you are looking for a safer way to create the same ambiance, consider some of these trendy ideas:
1. Candle Warmer If you prefer the scent of a real wax candle, a candle warmer may be an excellent choice. There are two types of warmers that work with candles in glass containers. Some warm up the base of the candle, while others use a hot lamp above the candle. Either way, the wax heats up and begins to melt, releasing an aroma in the same way a lit candle does. With these flameless candle alternatives, you get to use a real candle without the wick.
2. Scented LED Candle
These battery-operated candles light up. Some flicker like the real thing, only without the risk of causing a candle fire. If you choose one with real, scented wax on the outside, they may keep your home smelling fresh even when they are not lit. Some of these come with a remote and can cycle through a variety of colors.
3. Flameless Luminary This unique device consists of a battery-operated base with a light. Reminiscent of a Christmas luminaria, a decorative shade fits into the base and lights up in the pattern displayed on the outside. They are offered in a variety of colors, designs, and scents to match just about any decor.
With so many candle alternatives on the market, you do not need to risk leaving a burning candle unattended. However, if you do experience a candle fire in La Vergne, TN, a professional fire restoration company can help restore your home to normal.
Fire Restoration vs. Rebuilding? What Should You Do?
Be prepared for a fire emergency!
Fire can wreak tremendous havoc on our homes or businesses. In the unfortunate event it occurs, what matters most is what you do as the affected party.
Getting your life back together should be your major concern.
After a fire, be sure to take the following measures:
- Take photos and videos of the damage for insurance purposes.
- Examine the stability of the house and whether it is safe to salvage your remaining items.
- Countercheck for electrical hazards such as exposed wires. If there are, seek professional assistance.
- Limit your activities in the house to areas that are safe.
A typical fire disaster will also involve water, soot, and smoke damage. The damages caused can be disorienting and truly upsetting. You might even decide to bring everything down and rebuild afresh.
But with a professional restoration company like SERVPRO, they will do everything they can to restore your home to before the fire.
Fire Restoration vs. Rebuilding
Restoration is far more affordable than rebuilding. At SERVPRO, we will restore your home and all the damaged items. You even won’t know they were damaged.
Your family will be able to resettle back into their warm and cozy home in no time.
When SERVPRO arrives at your home, we will:
- Inspect and assess the damage of the fire.
- If water was used by the fire department to put off the fire, we will drain it completely.
- Repair the damaged structures of the house.
- Smoke and soot repair.
- General cleaning and sanitizing.
- Restore damaged items.
For Fire Restoration in Murfreesboro, SERVPRO is Here to Help
Fire restoration can be a daunting process. But you cannot do it alone. You need help – professional help!
SERVPRO is equipped with state-of-the-art restoration equipment and has trained professionals who will ensure that the job is done timely and perfectly.
It doesn’t matter the day or time – we are always available to help. Your satisfaction is our number one priority.
3 Common Causes of Mold Damage in Your Home
Mold can spread very easily in your home
Your home has mold.
But don’t get alarmed (yet) – mold is a naturally occurring fungi that lives in all environments. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it’s impossible to eliminate all mold and spores from your house.
However, if conditions in your home are right, those fungi can spread and cause mold damage and big problems.
Stop Mold Damage Before It Starts
Mold grows best in damp, hot, and humid places. So the best way to control mold is to control the moisture in your home. Here are three common causes of mold damage in your house that you need to know about.
1. Leaky Pipes or Roofs Cause Mold Damage
One of the most common causes of mold damage is from leaks. Leaks create areas of standing water where mold colonies can grow. Call a plumber or replace any leaky pipes. Also note any discoloration on your ceiling, which can be a sign of water damage from a leaky roof or a leaky pipe in the room above. Remember, the source of these leaks must be fixed before any mold remediation can occur or the problem will continue.
2. Humidity Causes Mold Damage
The Tennessee Department of Health recommends the humidity in your home be set between 30 and 50 percent to prevent mold damage. Some thermostats have a setting which allows you to control the humidity level. This is important to note, especially during the hot and humid summer months here in Rutherford County.
If your thermostat doesn’t give you this option, think about using a dehumidifier. The most economic units will run between 50 and a few hundred dollars, but this is a small investment considering the potential costs associated with mold remediation.
3. Poor Ventilation Causes Mold Damage
Ventilation helps reduce the heat and humidity from areas with a lot of moisture – specifically kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. Check that your exhaust is not blocked and is venting all of your heat and humidity outside. Ensure exhaust fans are working properly over cooking surfaces and in your bathroom. It’s also smart to crack open a window while showering to help reduce the humidity in the room.
How to Get Rid of Your Mold
If you spot mold damage in your house, you need to act fast. And the highly trained mold remediation specialists at SERVPRO in Rutherford County are on call 24/7 – ready to assist in your emergency needs. Our team will help find the source of your problem and suggest services that are right for your home and budget.
Contact SERVPRO in Rutherford County at (615) 849-9794 to schedule your appointment today.
How to Prevent Fires in LaVergne: Tips from Fire Restoration Experts
We're here in your time of need
What type of business do you have?
Is it in any way susceptible to the risk of fire?
If yes, then you definitely need to have a fire precautionary plan for your business premise.
Statistics from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) indicate a rise in the number of non-residential fires over the years. Some of the most common commercial buildings where fires occur include small offices, small buildings, and restaurants.
So how do you prevent these fires?
Fire Prevention: Tips from SERVPRO in LaVergne
Don’t wait until your building catches fire, here are insightful fire prevention tips from experts.
1. Electrical Appliances
Ensure you take the following precautions when it comes to your electrical appliances:
- Most electrical appliances come with recommendations from the manufacturer. You need to follow these instructions to prevent a voltage overload that may result in a fire outbreak.
- Replace frayed power cords. Also, instead of running your power cords under carpets or rags, it’s recommended to use cord protectors.
- To prevent late-night and weekend fires, ensure you unplug appliances such as coffee makers and microwaves at the end of the day or when they are not using the office.
- Appliances that feel exceedingly hot may be faulty and may be a fire hazard. Have them checked or just replace them.
2. Regular Inspections
You may have to call in a fire marshal to inspect areas where chemicals and equipment are stored. The aim for this is to ensure there is enough ventilation in these rooms.
3. Storage of Hazardous Materials
Most of these materials come with the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly store them. You will also have to conform to the OSHA regulations and ensure you’ve properly marked them.
Efficient Commercial Fire Restoration in LaVergne
It must have been devastating seeing your building burn.
If the disaster has occurred and you don’t what to do next, seek the services of a professional fire restoration company in LaVergne.
At SERVPRO, our main goal is to have your business up and running as soon as possible. It’s time you talked to SERVPRO professionals for your commercial fire restoration needs in LaVergne.
4 of the Best Carpet types for Middle Tennessee Weather
SERVPRO can handle all your cleaning needs
4 of the Best Carpet types for Middle Tennessee Weather
There are many reasons why carpet is so popular. People often choose carpet as the go to floor covering because of its warmth and versatility. Others like it because of insulation, safety, noise reduction, durability, and ease of maintenance. Carpets are an affordable way to make a room feel cozy while also adding to the "coziness" of a room. Modern carpets are available in a variety of colors and patterns. They can fit in well with contemporary or traditional décor, and each room can reflect its own personal style. Carpet can also be chosen to reflect the weather conditions for that area.
Best Cleaning Methods for Carpet Material
Let's think of carpets according to their construction. The four main carpet types are loop, texture, twist, and shag. Level loops have short loops and multi-level loops offer a patterned texture. In a cut pile carpet, the loops are cut, leaving a soft smooth texture. There are some carpets that use both methods called the cut and loop. The fibers can be natural or synthetic. The type of fiber is what determines how it should be cleaned. Nylon and olefin are durable and are good choices for homes that are located in areas where inclement weather is the norm. Wool and acrylic wear well, but special care is imperative when cleaning. The SERVPRO Rutherford County experts know the right techniques to use for each carpet type.
Weather Affects Carpet Cleaning
Carpets made from synthetic fibers are best used where the humidity and moisture is high. Fibers such as olefin, polyester, nylon, or the relatively new triexta, resist the growth of mold and mildew. Carpets made from synthetic materials are easier to clean because they dry faster than those made from natural fibers. Snow and rainy weather conditions are hard on carpets because of the moisture brought in on shoes. Under these adverse conditions, the carpets may require more cleanings throughout the year to keep them looking pristine.
Cleaning Protects Investment
Carpet is an investment for the home and its residents. Keeping your carpets cleaned and fresh makes it feel homey and comfortable. Middle Tennessee weather can be difficult to deal with, but the experts at SERVPRO Rutherford County know how to keep your carpets clean. Their professional cleaning services remove dirt and grime from carpet using state-of-the-art equipment. They know what type of cleaning method to use for each carpet type and can recommend ways to keep it clean during the hot humid summer months or the cold days of winter. If it's been some time since your carpet was professionally cleaned, you should give us a call!
Warning Signs of Mold
Mold is no problem for SERVPRO
Mold is a type of fungus that develops from tiny spores that float around in the air, both indoors and outdoors. Mold is often found in humid or moist places, and if allowed to grow unchecked, it can present issues for a building. With that in mind, we offer this quick list to help you tell when mold is growing in your building:
1) Musty Odor
Even if you cannot see mold, it can be in your home or business. A very common indicator of the fungus is its smell. When mold grows in an area of your building, you will notice a pungent and musty smell. Take action immediately when you notice the odor. Mold overgrowth can cost you a great deal of money and even your health. You may not be aware of the full extent of the problem until professionals check in between walls and under floors.
2) The Appearance of Mold
Mold may look like cotton, granules, or leather. It can appear in various colors like white, green, gray, black, brown, or yellow. Unfortunately, many people ignore small mold and mistake it for soot or ordinary dirt. Take immediate action when you see tiny discolored and fuzzy growth on furnishings or the surface of building materials.
3) Water Leaks
If you notice water leaks from ceiling pipes, water stains, or standing water, mold might become an issue. Water leaks cause moisture, and that provides an excellent growing place for mold. Check for discoloration or watermarks on carpets, walls, and other materials for hidden mold.
Any business or home can face a fungus fiasco. If you suspect that you have a mold problem, SERVPRO of Rutherford County can inspect the property. Mold remediation is one of our specialties and we can eliminate the issue safely. We also invest in state-of-the-art equipment and continuous training that ensures your home or business is quickly and efficiently restored.
Give us a call today!
4 Tips for Avoiding a Flooded Home While You’re on Vacation
Insulate exposed pipes in your home
Consider These 4 Tips To Avoid Disaster When You Are Away From Home
A warm-weather getaway during the winter months can be just what the doctor ordered. As much as you may enjoy hitting the waves on vacation, however, discovering standing water in your home when you return is a different story. Burst pipes, among other factors, can cause flooding during the winter months when water pipe repair and water damage cleanup can be especially costly. So, consider these four tips to avoid a disaster when you’re away from home for days.
1. Clean Gutters
The combination of heavy rain and clogged gutters can cause everything from a roof leak to lawn drainage issues. Either way, the result can be the same — unwanted water inside the house.
2. Insulate Exposed Pipes
Uninsulated, exposed pipes are very vulnerable to extreme winter temperatures. A broken pipe is a real possibility due to water in the pipe freezing and expanding. This could result not only in a flooded home but also a costly water pipe repair bill.
3. Inspect Sump Pump
A sump pump with a pit that’s full of debris pumps inefficiently; sediment can cause clogs in the intake and discharge pipes. Inspect the pit before you leave to make sure it’s free of debris. Also, keep the basement heated so that these and other pipes don’t freeze.
4. Keep the Heat On
Just as you should keep the heat on in the basement, so should you sufficiently heat the upstairs. If extreme winter temperatures are expected during the time that you’re gone, leave kitchen and bathroom sink cabinet doors open to allow warmer air in. Also, put faucets on a slow drip to help avoid the risk of frozen pipes.
If your Smyrna, GA, home sustains water damage due to a burst pipe, hire a plumber for the water pipe repair. In the meantime, you can call on restoration professionals to begin the process of returning your home to its preloss condition.
How Being Proactive Can Prevent Plumbing Problems
Damaged ceiling due to water leak from plumbing system
How Being Proactive Can Prevent Plumbing Problems
Plumbing problems can be costly for businesses in Murfreesboro, TN. You may have to temporarily shut down your company while water damage repair specialists restore the property. That is why you need to be proactive. While emergencies such as a broken pipe can seem to come out of nowhere, there are steps you can take to mitigate the harm they cause:
1. Check Your Water Bill
Your water bill may reveal hidden evidence of plumbing issues. If your bill suddenly increases for no apparent reason, you may have a leak somewhere on the premises. A leak that is left unaddressed could cause major damage. Try to find the source of the problem and fix it before it creates a major flood on the property.
2. Pick a Good Plumber
When a water main leak or other plumbing problems occur, you don’t want to be left scrambling to find a good plumber. Instead, take some time to find a qualified plumber in advance. Try out a few different ones to see who best fits your needs. Ideally, you should pick one who has experience working in commercial buildings that are similar to yours. Online reviews are also a great way to narrow down your options.
3. Perform Regular Maintenance
Once you find a plumber you can trust, don’t wait until an emergency to contact him. Ask the plumber to inspect the property on a regular basis. The plumber will flag potential problem areas and can fix them before they cause major issues.
For instance, if the plumber notices that your building has older plastic pipes, he may replace them with stronger steel ones. While this may sound expensive, it could save you money in the long run.
Staying proactive can prevent or reduce the impact of plumbing problems in your building. If you do sustain a major leak, however, restoration experts can get the property back to normal quickly and efficiently.
SERVPRO Preventing Holiday Water Damage
One of the joys of the holidays is gathering with friends and family. If you’re planning to have guests in your home this season, be prepared! Holiday celebrations can lead to water damage if you’re not careful.
SERVPRO is here to help make sure your holidays stay merry and disaster-free. Here are some of the common causes of water damage during the holidays and easy steps you can take to avoid them.
Many guests want to pitch in and help around the house. Whether they eagerly volunteer to wash dishes or decide to toss in a load of laundry, appliances aren’t all the same. User error can quickly lead to significant water damage!
Prevent mishaps by typing up simple instructions for appliances your guests might use, like washing machines, dishwashers, and ice makers. The most important appliances to consider are ones that use a lot of water. Pay extra attention to machines that have “quirks” or special instructions. Make sure your guests know the limitations of your appliances.
Are you anticipating hosting young children in your home? An overflowing bathtub or sink might seem far-fetched, but if you get enough enthusiastic cousins together, anything is possible. Or perhaps “slightly-absent-minded Uncle Andy” fails to pull the shower curtain all the way closed, letting copious amounts of water spill out of the shower.
There are plenty of opportunities for bathtime blunders when you host lots of people at once. These incidents can cause severe water damage to your walls, floors, and other building material.
Prevent bathtime havoc by making sure everyone knows how to use tricky faucets. Make people aware of any areas prone to leaking or other quirks in your bathrooms. Provide extra towels for people to mop up splashes and spills quickly.
Take a moment each day to check the bathrooms for leaks or water damage. It’s best to catch it early before the damage spreads or mold and mildew have a chance to grow.
People like to open windows… even in winter.
Everyone has their own opinion about the ideal temperature. Some people might be sweating while others pull on another sweater. Some guests might opt to crack open a window in their bedroom for a little extra ventilation. If they forget to close the window, rain, snow, or sleet can cause water damage to the window, wall, and surrounding areas. The cold draft can also cause nearby pipes to freeze.
Check the windows around your home regularly, especially if precipitation is in the forecast. Consider providing fans to help discourage guests from opening windows at all.
More people in your home can put a strain on your plumbing. The additional showers, extra toilet flushes, and other activities around the house can lead to clogged drains or backed-up toilets, messy and unsanitary leaks, overflows, flooding, and water damage.
It’s critical to clean up contaminated water quickly and with the right chemicals to avoid health problems. If any clogs or overflows lead to more than minor spills, call SERVPRO to make sure all the contaminated water is cleaned correctly. Our technicians will also ensure there isn’t any water damage under the surface.
If you’re traveling, prevent water damage while you’re away
Did you know you’re 40% more likely to experience water damage during the cold winter months? Yet, most people don’t turn off the water main in their home before leaving for the holidays.
A single leak or burst pipe can cost well over $1,000 to repair, even if you catch it early. Turn off and drain the water in the outside spigots during winter months when they aren’t in use. Keep your home thermostat above 55 degrees F (some experts recommend keeping the temperature at 65 degrees or warmer).
Open all your inside doors to keep the air circulating, especially while you’re away. You should also open cabinet doors to let warm airflow around the pipes under your sinks and appliances.
Get peace of mind with leak detectors
Whether you’re hosting family for the holidays or traveling for any length of time, consider placing water leak detectors in critical areas around your home. Put sensors in areas that are most prone to water damage: around the washer, under your kitchen sink, near the water heater, and even in the bathroom.
The sensors send an alert as soon as it detects a leak. Some leak detectors can even automatically shut off the water once it senses a leak! These simple little devices might save you thousands of dollars in water damage by catching leaks at the source.
If your home experiences water damage this holiday season, contact SERVPRO as quickly as possible! Our friendly technicians can handle any kind of water damage and restore your house quickly. We can even help you with insurance claims.
SERVPRO Holiday Safety Tips For Commercial Properties
The holiday season is here, bringing festive parties, cold winter weather, and plenty of other workplace hazards. SERVPRO is here to help keep your property and workers safe, happy, and healthy during the holidays with some practical disaster prevention tips.
1 Decorate with care
Holiday decorations can keep the workplace mood cheery and festive. Keep high-traffic areas clear of decorations to avoid any mishaps. The best places to decorate are reception areas, lobbies, break rooms, and foyers.
Be mindful of the weather as you hang decorations. Strong wind and heavy snow or ice can cause damage to your decorations, buildings, trees, and other property if you aren’t careful.
After you hang all your decorations with care, walk about your property as if you are a customer, employee, or visitor. Can you see all the appropriate entrance and exit signs? Is everything easily accessible? Are there any tripping hazards? Are there any potentially dangerous decorations within reach of young children? Check to be sure all the fire extinguishers, strobe alarms, and other safety apparatus are visible and unobstructed.
2 Keep decorations aglow and avoid fire hazards
Make sure you select noncombustible or flame-resistant decorations. Unfortunately, many decorations are flammable. Keep them away from heat registers, radiators, stoves, and other heat sources.
Avoid using candles and other open-flame decorations around commercial buildings. It’s easy to knock them over or forget about them when everyone goes home at the end of the day.
If you decide to hang exterior lights, make sure you choose lights that are suitable for outdoor use. Fasten them to the building, walls, trees, and other places with appropriate light clips instead of tacks, staples, nails, or other things that might puncture the electrical cord.
Avoid linking more than three strands of lights together and use as few extension cords as possible. This reduces the risk of electrical fire and avoids overloading extension cords and electrical outlets.
It’s best to turn off all holiday decorations when the building is closed. This significantly reduces the risk of electrical fires and other mishaps.
3 Be prepared for a “white Christmas” with snow and ice removal
Do you have plans or the right equipment to handle any snow or ice that might come your way? It’s best to have a plan before the first snow or ice storm of the season.
Walkways, parking lots, and other areas can become slippery very quickly when rain or snow freezes. Improper snow and ice removal can also block access to fire hydrants, handicap parking, loading docks, and other critical areas.
It’s easy to forget to stock up on snowmelt, deicer, and other supplies to deal with winter weather. Make sure everyone stays safe this holiday season by preparing for whatever winter throws at you.
4 Keep your building toasty warm and dry
During the cold winter months, your HVAC system is working overtime to keep the people in your commercial property toasty warm. Don’t forget to schedule a full HVAC inspection to make sure everything is running efficiently. Reduce the stress on your HVAC system by turning off cooling systems that aren’t necessary.
Have the roof, weather stripping, and insulation inspected before winter weather sets in. The temperature changes and precipitation during the winter months can be hard on any roof. Repairing holes, leaks, or damage prevents energy loss and helps your HVAC system run more efficiently. It can also help prevent frozen pipes and damage from water leaks.
5 Avoid a frozen pipes incident
Frozen might be an adorable kids movie, but it’s best to avoid any workplace reenactments. Even a cold draft can cause a pipe to freeze, especially in older, poorly insulated buildings. This is particularly dangerous during the holidays when business hours might be shorter, and fewer people are around your property to find leaks before they cause significant damage.
When pipes freeze, the water expands. The pressure can cause the pipe to crack. Not only will this disrupt the water supply to the entire building, but it can also cause significant water damage and even flooding. The water leak can lead to mold and mildew damage.
Winterize your property before winter settles in. Make sure your pipes are appropriately insulated to prevent them from freezing and bursting (especially pipes that run along exterior walls). Make sure all shutoff valves and levers are in good condition. Run water at a slow drip to prevent pipes from bursting if they do freeze, especially if your building will be unoccupied for any length of time.
SERVPRO technicians are standing by throughout the holiday season to respond to any disaster. Whether the holiday potluck ends with a kitchen fire or a frozen pipe spills water, we will help you recover and return to normal quickly. Contact us today to learn more about our commercial restoration services.
Protecting Your Home From Winter Storm Damage
Winter weather can be unpredictable in Tennessee. Ice and snowstorms, freezing temperatures, and other winter weather can come with little warning. Winter storms can cause all sorts of problems, from power outages to frozen pipes and wind damage.
SERVPRO technicians are ready to help you recover from any winter storm damage to your home, but with some preventative work, you can help protect your home from severe damage.
Prepare Your Home for Winter
Fall is an excellent time to prepare your home for cold weather and winter storms.
Check your ice melt and snow removal equipment
Make sure you have the right ice melt or rock salt on hand to keep walkways and driveways clear of dangerous ice. If you have a snowblower, check to make sure it’s running properly, and you have enough fuel.
Check the heating and air conditioning
Your heating and air conditioning systems last between 10 and 15 years, but with excellent routine maintenance, many units can last more than 20 years! Schedule a routine maintenance inspection each fall to ensure your system is prepared for the cold months ahead. Change your air filters and ensure everything is running well.
Having your HVAC system inspected also ensures your furnace and water heater have enough ventilation to prevent high carbon monoxide levels in your home this winter. People tend to keep their home closed more tightly in winter, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Inspect the outside of your house
Inspect the siding and wood trim around the outside of your home. Most patios and decks are built with pressure-treated wood, but wood trim around exterior doors and windows is usually just pine wood that can rot quickly if not properly treated.
Also, replace missing or damaged siding and roof flashing that can let water and ice into your home.
Inspect the caulk and paint around all your windows and doors. Look for places where the caulk is cracked, or the paint is chipping. Replace any rotting or broken wood trim and protect it by keeping the trim properly caulked and painted.
Check the drainage around your home. Soil settles over time, creating places for water to pool around your foundation. Fill any low spots with soil and make sure the landscaping slopes away from your house.
Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clean. If your gutters get clogged, it allows water to back up, then overflow and run down the side of your home. Over time this can deteriorate your foundation and even let water get into your basement or crawlspace.
Add downspout extenders to make sure water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from your home. If the soil near your foundation becomes saturated, then freezes and thaws repeatedly, it can lead to cracks in your foundation and other significant issues.
Turn off all the exterior water faucets and disconnect garden hoses. Drain the water pipes to prevent them from bursting. If you have a sprinkler system, have your sprinkler service drain your system to help avoid freezing and leaks.
Clean your chimney
It’s lovely to curl up by the fire on a cold winter night. Have your fireplace inspected before you start building any fires. Not only can this improve heating efficiency, but it will also prevent any dangerous situations.
Trim dangerous branches
Fall isn’t a great time to prune trees and bushes, but you should cut off any branches that are rubbing against your house. Ice is heavy and known to wreak havoc on power lines and private property. Trim your trees, so you don’t have ice-covered branches threatening your roof, siding, or other parts of your house.
Check your attic
When the temperatures drop, critters look for warm places to hide away. Unfortunately, they can cause a lot of damage to your attic space. Trim your trees away from the house to make it more difficult for critters to access your gable vents. Tack a screen up behind the gable vent to keep out furry and feathered freeloaders. Also, check to make sure there are no holes in your soffit and fascia that will allow birds to get in.
Look for cracks and holes where warm air is escaping from your attic. Even small holes put extra stress on your HVAC system. Fill any gaps with professional-grade caulk to improve energy efficiency and prevent unwanted critters from making themselves at home.
While you are in the attic, make sure there is enough insulation. Properly insulating your attic will help lower energy costs and prevent ice dams from forming and causing water damage. If the insulation looks old, torn, damaged, or wet, then it’s time to replace it.
Prepare the Inside of Your Home
Fall and winter are the most common times of the year for house fires (December and January are the peak months). People are also running furnaces, building fires, and keeping their homes closed tightly, making it easier for carbon monoxide to build up. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the backup batteries
Make sure your pipes are appropriately insulated to prevent them from freezing and bursting. Insulate the pipes in your basement and crawl space by putting foam sleeves around them. Another way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to keep your interior doors and cabinets open so the heat can flow through your home.
Preventing Water Damage
Water damage from ice dams and frozen pipes is one of the common ways winter storms wreak havoc on your home.
Pipes are more susceptible to freezing when the temperature falls below 20 degrees F. The outdoor pipes that are most susceptible to freezing are outdoor faucets, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler pipes. Indoors, pipes in the basement, crawl spaces and garages are also at risk of freezing.
Open your kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes. Let water faucets drip if the pipes run through unheated or uninsulated places.
Make sure you know where the main water valve is located. If a pipe does freeze and burst, you will need to be able to turn off the water quickly to prevent further damage.
Ice dams can cause melting snow and ice to back up into your roof and the walls of your home, causing water damage. When warm air escapes from your attic, it causes ice and snow to melt and create icicles or ice dams. If you notice a lot of icicles forming around your home, pay extra attention to the condition of your attic.
If a winter storm does cause damage to your home, call SERVPRO immediately. Our experts will assess the extent of the damage and create a plan to restore your home fully. Especially when dealing with water damage, it is critical to act quickly to prevent other issues like mold and mildew.
SERVPRO professionals are specialists in water damage restoration and structural drying. Our Disaster Recovery Team can respond quickly with all the right resources to help you recover from all types of winter storms.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter
Winter storms can bring freezing temperatures, power outages, and other serious issues that can damage your home and property. Frozen water pipes are a common problem during the winter months, especially if the power goes out or a winter storm brings dangerously low temperatures.
If your pipes freeze, the lack of running water is inconvenient at best and can cause extensive water damage! It prevents you from showering, flushing toilets, doing laundry, and other essential tasks.
SERVPRO water damage restoration experts are standing by 24/7 to help you recover from frozen or burst water pipes. Here’s what you need to know about preventing water damage from frozen water pipes.
What Pipes Are Vulnerable to Freezing
Studies show that pipes are most susceptible to freezing when the temperature drops to around 20 degrees F, especially if your pipes are poorly insulated.
The pipes that are most at-risk for freezing are in unheated areas like basements, attics, and garages. Even pipes in your exterior walls and under cabinets can freeze.
In the southeast, we rarely experience bitterly cold temperatures, so most homes have less insulation around the pipes. Fortunately, there are easy, cost-effective ways to keep your pipes safe.
How To Avoid Frozen Pipes
Some of the best ways to keep your pipes from freezing might not help you conserve water or energy. Still, it’s better to have a slightly higher water bill than to deal with significant water damage.
Let your faucets drip
Allow your faucets to drip, especially if the faucet is served by exposed pipes. Running even a trickle of water helps prevent the pipes from freezing.
It’s not necessary to let all the faucets in your house drip. If possible, identify the faucet furthest away from where the water comes into your house. Turning on this faucet keeps the water traveling through most of the pipe system.
Insulate your pipes
Check all around your home to identify all the water pipes that are in unheated areas like attics, crawl spaces, garages, and exterior walls. It might not be possible to access all the pipes, but it is helpful to add insulation wherever you can.
Both hot and cold water pipes should have at least a little insulation. Foam rubber or fiberglass pipe insulation sleeves can cost as little as 50 cents per foot, and it is relatively easy to install. Even a newspaper can provide a little insulation in a pinch.
Insulating the hot water pipes will also help lower your water-heating costs. It helps heat from escaping as the hot water travels through your pipes, and you might even be able to lower the temperature on your water heater.
Adding insulation to the cold water pipes can help prevent the pipes from sweating. When cold pipes run through the warm, humid air, condensation can form on the pipes and can cause puddles on the floor and higher humidity levels. Higher humidity and puddles can cause minor water damage.
Open and close the right doors
Opening the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors allows warm air to circulate around your pipes. This is especially helpful if your sinks are on an exterior wall.
While you’re opening the cabinet doors, keep the garage door closed. This helps regulate the temperature, especially if you have water pipes running through the garage (don’t forget about pipes that might run behind the drywall).
Set your thermostat
When the weather turns cold, it’s tempting to turn the thermostat down at night to save a little on your heating bill. Keeping your home at the same temperature all the time will help prevent your pipes from freezing.
If you are planning to escape to warmer climates, leave the heat on to protect your home from frozen and burst pipes. Fifty-five degrees F is an ideal temperature when you’re away. It won’t run up your heating bill too much and will prevent your pipes from freezing.
Signs Your Pipes Are Frozen
There are a few signs to look for that will indicate if you have frozen pipes somewhere in your house. If the temperature falls below 32 degrees F, begin to keep an eye on your pipes, especially in southern climates where the pipes tend to be less insulated.
Frost on your pipes: If an exposed pipe freezes, you will probably be able to see frost on the outside of the pipe.
No water: If you turn on the faucet, and no water comes out, or there is less water than usual, your pipes might be frozen. If you turn on your sink and only a trickle of water comes out, the pipe leading to that faucet may be frozen.
Unusual smells: When a pipe or drain is blocked (like when it’s frozen), the only way odors can escape the pipes is back in the direction of your home. So, one sign that your pipes may be frozen is if you notice odd smells coming from your faucets or drains.
What To Do If Your Pipes Freeze
It’s essential to act quickly when your pipes freeze to avoid further damage. It’s critical to thaw the pipe as soon as possible before it bursts and causes water damage.
The first thing to do is to locate the frozen pipe. This can get very complicated because you cannot see most of the pipes in your home. Look for pipes with frost on them. Frozen pipes might also have a slight bulge.
When you find the frozen section, turn on the faucet that the pipe feeds. Turn on the hot and cold handles to help relieve the pressure and give the water a place to go when it begins to thaw.
If the frozen pipe is exposed, you can use a hairdryer, portable space heaters, and hot towels to thaw the pipe.
If the frozen pipe is behind a wall or in an area you cannot easily access, turn up the heat in your home to help thaw the pipes. If you know where in the wall the frozen pipe is running, you can place an infrared lamp or portable space heater close to the wall. This may be enough to thaw the pipes.
Never try to thaw pipes with an open flame or any method that could cause a fire. Contact a licensed plumber if you cannot quickly identify the frozen pipe.
If Your Pipe Bursts
If a pipe bursts, turn off the main water line as quickly as possible. After you turn off the water, contact SERVPRO. Burst pipes can cause extensive water damage. It’s essential to clean and dry everything correctly to prevent mold and mildew from growing and avoid structural problems.
Our technicians are experts at cleaning and drying water damage. We use pumps, vacuums, and other water removal tools to clean all the water. Our experts use specialized equipment to make sure all the water and moisture is removed before we begin the restoration process.
SERVPRO has all the resources to respond to any size winter storm disaster. We are standing by 24/7 to help you restore your home quickly. Contact us today to learn more about our water damage restoration process.
Storm Damage: Tips for before and after a major storm
Storm damage is difficult to avoid entirely. You can't control the weather, but you can be proactive and keep your home or business as safe as possible. SERVPRO is standing by to help you recover from any size or type of storm. Here are five things you can do to prevent storm damage to your property.
Take "Before" photos ahead of major storms
When a significant storm is headed your way, document the current condition of your property and valuable belongings. As safely as possible, take photos or video of your home or building. Document the condition of your roof, siding, windows, gutters, drainage systems, and any sheds or storage houses.
These "before" photos will help with the insurance claims in the event of significant storm damage. This is particularly helpful for commercial property owners and property managers.
Batten down the hatches
The easiest way to prevent storm damage is to keep your home or building in peak condition.
Roof, siding, windows, and doors
Schedule annual or semiannual roof inspections. Your roof is the first line of defense against storm damage, but roof damage can be difficult to see with a naked eye. An expert roofer will repair or replace loose, cracked, missing, or damaged shingles.
If you are preparing for a particularly strong storm, consider laying tarps and plywood on your roof to help prevent shingles from getting ripped off. The tarps can act as an extra layer of protection to keep water out and to avoid wind damage.
Visually inspect the siding on your home. Repair any loose siding that might get ripped off in a strong wind. Wind only needs a small crack to lift siding or shingles off your home. Replace any damaged siding that might allow water to seep into the walls.
Make sure your doors, windows, and skylights have reliable seals to keep out the wind, rain, and cold. If you are preparing for a hurricane or strong winds, it is essential to cover your windows with plywood or storm shutters.
Gutters, landscaping, and drainage
Clear your gutters, drainpipes, or flat-top roof of any debris. Leaves and branches can clog your gutters, causing it to overflow. In warm weather, overflowing water can flood into your home. In cold temperatures, standing or overflowing water can freeze, causing damage to your roof.
Keeping your landscaping maintained is an easy way to prevent all kinds of storm damage. Prune trees and shrubs to clear dead or diseased branches that might fall and damage your property. Make sure you keep at least 3 feet of space between your home and any tree branches or shrubs.
Regularly check the trees on your property for damage like cracks in the trunk, mushrooms growing on the trunk (that indicates decay), or branches that cross or interfere with each other.
While you are inspecting the landscape, check for loose fence posts, light posts, and similar structures around your property. Shake each post to test its strength and stability. Even loose fence posts can become dangerous in a strong storm.
Make sure water flows away from your home or business into a ditch or drain. Standing water or flooding during a major storm can cause flooding in your home.
Patio furniture and outdoor items
If you are preparing for a particularly strong storm (like a hurricane or nor 'easter), consider bringing lawn ornaments, patio furniture, garbage cans, grills, and other items indoors. If you cannot bring them in, make sure they are tied down. In a powerful storm, nearly anything can become a dangerous projectile.
Avoid ice damage
Keep your attic insulated properly. This reduces heat loss through your roof, which makes your home or business more energy-efficient and helps prevent ice damage.
As the heat escapes from poorly insulated attics, it melts snow and ice, which can refreeze, creating an ice dam. The ice dam causes water to "back up" under the shingles or fascia boards and soak through the roof and walls.
Immediately after the storm
It is important to assess your property as soon as possible. Finding damage as quickly as possible after the storm can help you minimize damage and save time and money.
Look for signs of water damage inside
While it is still raining or immediately after the storm, inspect your property for signs of water damage. The most obvious signs of water damage are puddles and dripping water. Also, look for stains and discoloration on the ceiling and walls. There may be more water inside the wall or ceiling that can cause more damage.
Mark any leaks you find with tape. When the rain stops or the water dries, it might be challenging to identify the exact location of the leak again. The marks will help SERVPRO experts identify and resolve the issue more quickly.
Check the basement and crawl spaces for water damage. Make sure no water is seeping in and that your sump pump or drainage systems are working.
If you find any water damage, take photos from different angles. Documenting everything as thoroughly as possible will make filing the insurance claim much more manageable. SERVPRO technicians can help you record any damages and relay that information to your insurance provider.
Assess the outside of your property
As soon as it is safe, begin to assess the exterior of your home or business carefully. Stay clear of any downed power lines, damaged trees, and floodwater.
Check for cracks, chipping, and dents in the siding, brick, or stucco. Discoloration is another indication of damage to bricks and siding. Even small cracks or holes require attention from a professional. Make a point to inspect the outside several times after the storm. Different lighting can reveal damage that is easy to miss.
Inspect your air-conditioning units, fences, vent caps, and other things on your property that may have incurred damage.
Contact your SERVPRO professionals who are ready to help you restore your home or commercial property to its original condition after storm damage. We are available 24/7 and equipped to handle any size disaster.
Preventing Storm Damage to Your Commercial Roof
When there is a significant storm on the horizon, you might not be able to control the weather, but you can take proper steps to protect your property.
SERVPRO would rather help you prevent damage, but we are available 24 hours a day to clean and restore any property damage. Our trained technicians are ready to repair all kinds of storm damage.
Roof damage can quickly lead to other kinds of property damage. Here are some practical tips for protecting your commercial roof from storm damage.
Preventative maintenance is the first line of defense
The easiest way to prevent storm damage to your commercial roof is to follow the recommended preventative maintenance schedule. Have a roofing expert inspect your roof annually or semiannually. It is easier to repair small issues before they become significant problems.
Remove debris and hazards
Storm damage often comes from blocked storm drains. Clean any loose debris and make sure there is no standing water. Loose roofing materials, branches, leaves, and other debris can prevent water from draining correctly.
Remove hazards like overhanging limbs and weak roofing sections. Trim branches and bushes to at least 3 feet away from your building. This prevents leaves from blocking drainage systems and reduces the risk of damage to your roof.
Make sure the HVAC systems, satellite dishes, and other equipment are anchored correctly. During a storm, these can cause blunt force damage. Loose material blowing across rooftops cause up to 70% of roof damage during a hurricane.
Waterproof a flat roof
Cold temperatures can cause asphalt-based roofing materials to crack. Hot weather can cause "crazing" and bubbles. If you have a flat roof, invest in regular waterproofing treatments to prevent moisture damage. Make sure the roof hatch and access doors close tightly to prevent water seeping into the building.
Extra preventative measures
If you know a strong storm is on the way, lay tarps and plywood on your roof. The tarp holds shingles in place and adds an extra layer of defense against water.
If you live in an area with frequent, intense storms and high winds, consider replacing your asphalt roof with more durable metal, plastic, or stone materials.
After a storm
Immediately after a storm, look for leaks and evidence of water damage inside your building. Once the weather clears and water dries, it can be challenging to find the leaks. It's best to inspect your property immediately after a significant storm or while it is still raining.
Check your roof for damage and holes that might allow more water, bugs, or debris to get into your building.
If you find any water damage inside your building, immediately phone your SERVPRO technicians and your insurance provider to alert them of the damage. Roof leaks shorten the life of your roof. Untreated water damage can lead to more significant issues throughout your building, like mold and mildew.
Protect your property
Even small amounts of water damage can become a significant problem. As soon as you discover water damage or a leak in your roof, move inventory and property to a safe place or cover it to keep everything dry. Avoid any wet electrical equipment. Contact an electrician immediately if the roof is leaking onto electrical equipment.
Document any water or storm damage for your insurance provider.
Stay off the roof
Storm and water damage can compromise the integrity of your roof. Avoid the temptation to assess the roof yourself. Instead, call your roofing contractor who has the proper training and equipment to inspect your roof safely.
When the roofing contractor arrives, ask them to take photos of any damage for your insurance claims.
Let SERVPRO handle the restoration
A leaking roof can let water seep into insulation, drywall, and other building materials. It is essential to make sure everything dries thoroughly to prevent mold, mildew, and other structural issues.
After our SERVPRO technicians inspect your building and determine the scope of the damage, they use specialized equipment, sensors, and infrared cameras to identify hidden moisture, in ceilings, walls, and flooring that is very difficult to see.
Our technicians use pumps, fans, and wet/dry vacuums to clean up any excess water. We remove any drywall, insulation, and other materials that cannot be dried and repaired.
When everything is dry, our technicians repair everything as quickly as possible so your business can get back up and running. We can even help you with your insurance claims!
5 Things You Should Know About Commercial Fire Damage
Any amount of fire damage can be devastating for a business, and fire restoration is hard work! After the fire department ensures everything is safe, restoration professionals are the next people who should enter a building that has been damaged by fire, water, flood, sewer backup, or other significant events.
SERVPRO technicians are experts at commercial fire, water, and mold restoration and we will have your business back up and running as quickly as possible. We know that every day spent restoring your commercial building is lost revenue and productivity! We will do the hard work, so you don't have to.
Here are five commercial fire damage restoration tips.
1 Limit activity in the damaged area.
Don't enter a damaged building until the fire department deems it safe. Fire can impact the structural integrity of the building. Firefighters often have to cut holes in the walls, ceilings, and floors to slow the fire and make sure it is completely out.
You should limit any activity in the damaged area to prevent soot and ashes from being embedded into surfaces or spread to other areas of the building. Staying away from the damaged area also helps minimize your exposure to hazardous chemicals and materials like lead, asbestos, bacteria, mold, and other pathogens. Disturbing or spreading these toxins and contaminants can cause further property damage and can cause health problems.
SERVPRO technicians are experts at cleaning up even microscopic bacteria, mold spores, and hazardous chemicals. We use HEPA filters, vacuums, and special chemicals to make sure every area is safe and clean.
2 Removing smoke and soot damage is challenging.
Any fire, large or small, will likely cause smoke damage to walls, ceiling, and other surfaces. Soot is very greasy and can cover the interior of your business, even if the fire was limited to a small area. Smoke can get into the walls, floors, and air ducts, causing the smell to linger long after the fire if it isn't properly treated.
It is essential to hire fire restoration experts that will thoroughly scrub your building of all the soot, smoke, and potentially hazardous chemicals. Improperly cleaning smoke and soot can actually "set" the smells, especially in fabrics and textiles like carpets, upholstery, clothing, and similar items. Additionally, soot residue can contain dangerous chemicals and cancer-causing carcinogens.
3 Cleaning up after fire sprinkler and suppression systems.
It is essential to properly clean and repair any water damage to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Commercial buildings should have fire sprinkler systems, and many modern buildings have fire suppression systems instead of sprinklers.
Sprinkler systems automatically turn on if the temperature in the building rises too quickly. Some systems will turn on the sprinkler heads in every room while others only turn on in the places where the system detects a fire. Quick response sprinklers spray 18 to 24 gallons of water per minute to suppress and put out the fire.
Fire suppression systems use a mix of dry chemicals and liquids (like water) to put out any fires in the building. Suppression systems do reduce the damage directly caused by the fire, but they can make the amount of soot damage worse. The combination of water and dry chemicals can allow the soot and dust to spread around the building.
Whether from a sprinkler system or firefighters spraying gallons of water, if the fire was big enough, you probably have some water damage in addition to the fire damage. Mold and mildew can begin to grow within 48 hours after the water damage occurs!
SERVPRO technicians have the right chemicals and methods to clean up the fire suppressant chemicals and properly restore any water damage to prevent mold and mildew from growing.
4 The most common causes of commercial fires might surprise you.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the most common cause of fires in commercial buildings are cooking equipment. Faulty stoves, cooking accidents, and other kitchen-related incidents account for 29% of fires in office properties and 13% of fires in retail stores.
Other primary causes of fires in commercial buildings include malfunctioning heating equipment, faulty electrical and lighting, and improperly disposed cigarettes, cigars, or other smoking materials.
Because kitchens and break rooms are high-risk areas for fires, make sure your sprinklers, alarms, and fire extinguishers are properly maintained and in good working order. Have your HVAC system, water heaters, and other electrical systems inspected and maintained by a professional. Always make sure flammable materials are stored away from heat sources.
5 Cleaning damaged property can be tricky
Cleaning all the smoke and soot-damaged property can be very challenging. You can't just throw the sooty, smoky clothes in the wash or take dirty curtains to the dry cleaners. Removing soot and smoke odor can be very difficult, and household remedies are not very effective.
It is vital to deodorize everything before you clean it. SERVPRO recommends letting the professionals do the dirty work. It is essential to use counteractants, chemicals that break down the smoke molecules to get rid of the bad odors.
SERVPRO technicians use counteractants on furniture, carpets, upholstery, curtains, and other fabric surfaces. If you decide to take things to professional dry cleaners, make sure they have experience and the right equipment to handle the job.
It is vital to clean all the dishes and cookware properly, even if they look clean and unharmed by fire or smoke. Make sure all dishes and utensils are scrubbed and soaked in a solution of bleach and water. Rubber and wooden cooking items tend to absorb smoke and should be thrown away.
In most cases, floors and carpets absorb the worst of the damage because of the water or chemicals used to extinguish the fire. It is important to make sure everything is dried thoroughly to avoid mold and other problems in the future. In many cases, it is necessary to take up the flooring and replace it.
SERVPRO technicians are experts at cleaning and restoring your commercial property to its original condition. We are standing by, 24/7 to help clean and repair any size disaster. Contact us today to learn more about our commercial restoration services.
What To Expect From SERVPRO Commercial Restoration Services
If your business needs water or fire damage restoration, it is essential to choose a company that has experience restoring commercial properties. SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and our experts are highly trained to help any business recover as quickly as possible. Here is what you can expect from SERVPRO and our process of restoring your commercial property to its original condition.
As soon as the fire is out, the storm is over, or the water main is turned off, our SERVPRO technicians will begin assessing your commercial property. We inspect to determine the extent of the damage and create a plan of action for restoring your building and property.
Often, in the case of fire, water, and mold, the damage is more extensive than it appears on the surface. Our technicians will use all available resources like sensors, probes, and cameras to assess the condition of your entire building to make the right repairs and prevent future problems.
When SERVPRO is dealing with commercial restoration, our technicians will also seal any leaks or address any immediate problems that could cause further damage. This might require putting tarps on a roof, repairing a pipe, or other preventative measures.
2 Contact the insurance company.
As soon as there is damage to your commercial property, contact SERVPRO. Some insurance companies may try to deny or limit coverage if they believe you did not take steps to minimize damage or prevent further destruction.
As soon as SERVPRO is on the way, notify your insurance company. Your insurance company will provide a claim number. If you would like our SERVPRO experts to help, give the claim number to the administrator assigned to your case. We will work with your insurance company on your behalf to provide documentation and begin processing your claim.
SERVPRO franchises will work with nearly every insurance company, and many insurance adjusters prefer to work with us because SERVPRO is a full-service provider.
Once our restoration experts assess the damage and create a plan of action, the first step is to clean the property.
If your commercial property suffered water damage, the type of water damage would determine the cleaning process. Contaminated “black water” is much more challenging to clean than stormwater or a leaking pipe. Our experts will remove the water and use industrial dryers, fans, and dehumidifiers to remove all the moisture from the building.
Cleaning up after a fire is also a complicated process. Fire damage can compromise the structural integrity of your building. Our technicians will board up or tarp damaged areas to maintain security and prevent further damage.
After removing the water from the sprinkler systems or fire trucks, SERVPRO technicians begin removing soot and smoke from the building. Soot is very greasy and difficult to clean, and the smoke smell is notoriously challenging to get rid of. It’s essential to use the proper chemicals and techniques to prevent further damage. SERVPRO uses industrial air scrubbers, ozone machines, and fogging equipment to handle all the chemical and smoke odors. Our technicians use chemicals to kill bacteria and seal surfaces so the smells don’t return or linger.
Our SERVPRO teams include odor control specialists, upholstery and fabric cleaning technicians, and fire and smoke restoration experts. We ensure everything is clean and sanitized for your safety and to prevent future problems, like mold or bad smells.
4 Restore vs. replace, including your documents
Our goal is to restore everything to pre-damage conditions. SERVPRO believes it is essential to clean and restore as much as possible. This “restore first” attitude saves you money and helps you get your business back up and running more quickly.
Document restoration is another critical step in getting your business back up and running. If your business suffered any water damage, your documents might be exposed to sewage, bacteria, pesticides, or harmful chemicals in addition to water.
Our technicians use the latest vacuum freeze-drying method and gamma irradiation technology to dry, sterilize, and preserve damaged documents. Our drying processes are the only methods approved by the National Archives and Records Administration!
Our facilities are secure and HIPAA master-certified, so we can properly handle sensitive information. We can even use or computerized inventory system to digitize your documents.
Once everything is properly dried, cleaned, and sanitized, our restoration team will work to repair everything. Our goal is to return your business to the pre-disaster condition. Whether that requires minor repairs like replacing drywall, installing new flooring, or painting or it demands total reconstruction, our repair teams are up for any size project.
From start to finish, our SERVPRO team will work with you and your business to ensure the restoration process is as smooth and efficient as possible. But, you don’t have to wait until disaster strikes.
Contact us today to set up your SERVPRO Emergency READY Program (ERP), so you are prepared for any incident. The ERP profile includes information like emergency contacts, locations for all your shut-off valves, and other vital details that you, your employees, and the emergency response team will need. You might not be able to prevent every accident or disaster, but you can be prepared for them!
6 Ways To Prevent Mold From Invading Your Home
Mold is all around us, and in every breath we take. It is a fungus that plays an essential role in the natural process of decay. Mold is also necessary for creating things like penicillin, cheese, and decomposing the piles of fallen leaves and dead trees in the forest.
It can grow year-round in almost every environment. Mold spores spread quickly in the air and can grow anywhere there is moisture and organic matter for it to "digest."
Outdoors, mold likes shady, damp places or anywhere vegetation is decomposing. Mold colonies thrive indoors where humidity levels are high, like basements, bathrooms, crawlspaces, and poorly ventilated areas. Carpet, clothing, food, paper, drywall, ceiling tiles, and wood are common surfaces mold likes to grow in people's homes.
It is impossible to eradicate mold from your home completely. However, it is crucial to keep the mold levels low to prevent it from growing and becoming a problem in your home.
SERVPRO is the industry leader in mold remediation. No matter how large or small, our technicians are trained to handle any kind of mold problem. However, we would rather help you prevent mold from becoming a problem in your home. Here are some easy things you can do this fall to avoid a mold issue.
Proper ventilation is key
Many of our daily activities can encourage mold to grow in our homes. Anything from cooking dinner or taking a shower to washing a load of laundry can cause moisture to build up in your bathroom, kitchen, and laundry rooms.
Make sure all the high-moisture areas in your home have proper ventilation. Appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers and stoves should have vents to move moist air to the outside. Install exhaust fans in the bathrooms and make sure to run them every time you shower.
Air conditioners and dehumidifiers help with moisture control, especially in humid climates. However, have them inspected and cleaned regularly to make sure they don't contribute to the moisture problem.
Open the windows when you cook or wash dishes to circulate drier air through your home, especially on days with low humidity.
Energy-efficient homes are excellent at reducing your heating and cooling costs, but they may be holding moisture inside your home by preventing airflow. Before the emphasis on energy-efficiency, homes were "leaky," allowing air to move through the walls more easily. This helped prevent mold from growing because damp surfaces like wood and insulation dried easier.
Now that homes are designed to be more air-tight, it is essential to have proper ventilation to control the indoor humidity levels. Keep doors between rooms open and move the furniture away from walls and corners to let air move more freely around your home.
Use mold-resistant products in your home
If you are building a new home or renovating an old one, choose mold-resistant products, especially when it comes to materials like wood, insulation, drywall, carpet, and sheetrock. These building materials have a fungicide treatment that kills all types of fungus as it tries to grow on the surface.
Mold resistant drywall contains fiberglass facing instead of a paper facing. Therefore, there is no organic material in this type of drywall for mold to feed on. Even though fiberglass facing could still allow mold to grow, the chances of this happening are significantly reduced.
Mold resistant paint will not kill mold, but it will prevent mold from growing behind walls for up to five years. There are many options on the market to suit a variety of budgets and specific needs.
Rugs and carpets can harbor colonies of mold in the fibers or under the surface. Mold-resistant carpets use acrylic fibers that are more resistant to fungus growth. The disadvantage of mold-resistant carpets is that the material tends to wear out faster than traditional rugs and carpets. But, if you or your family have allergies or strong reactions to mold, or if you live in a particularly damp environment, mold-resistant carpets may be a worthwhile investment.
If you notice areas that are often damp or prone to mold growth, consider applying a mold-resistant sealant. It is a protective fungicide coating that can be applied to a variety of surfaces, including wood, brick, and stucco. The sealant will prevent mold from growing even in humid conditions.
Monitor humidity levels
The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping indoor humidity levels between 30 and 60 percent to prevent mold growth and other moisture-related problems. Purchase a "hygrometer" moisture meter from your local hardware store and install it in a "problem area" in your home.
There are also tell-tale signs of excessive moisture in your home. The most common symptoms are condensation buildup on windows, walls, and pipes, and musty odors. Make sure to turn off any humidifiers and dry the surfaces immediately if you notice condensation. Try to identify the source of the moisture (an air vent that is not working, poor air movement, etc.) to address the root cause and avoid a mold problem. If this is a common problem, invest in a dehumidifier.
Air conditioner size matters
Make sure your air conditioning unit is the right size for your house and climate. An air conditioner that is too large will cool the home too fast and won't remove enough moisture from the air. If you live in a very humid climate (like Tennessee), consider adding a dehumidifier to the central air conditioning system. Another option is to use portable dehumidifiers in chronically damp areas of your home.
Keep water away from your foundation
Make sure the landscaping and ground around your house slopes away from the foundation of your home. Otherwise, water can collect and seep into the basement or crawlspace, creating a dark, damp environment for mold to thrive. As your home and the soil settles, the slope will change. Rebuild the soil each spring to make sure it slopes away from the foundation. Experts recommend building a slope of 1 inch high per foot in length.
Make sure the gutter system is clean and in good condition. The downspouts should move water at least five feet away from the foundation to prevent water from pooling around your house.
If gutters and a slope are not enough to keep water away from the foundation, your lawn may require a dry well. Dry wells are holes in the ground filled with gravel. They help water to return to the ground without pooling or flooding on the surface.
Contact SERVPRO to clean mold
Small mold patches are easy to clean off hard surfaces with heavy-duty cleaning products, but it is essential to identify the cause and resolve the underlying problem. Whether it's a small area, major mold issue, or anything in between, SERVPRO professionals are equipped to identify the source and cause of the mold problem. Then they will properly clean the area and restore your home to its original, healthy condition.
Because mold spores travel by air, it is important to use the right equipment when cleaning mold to avoid allowing it to spread to other areas of your home. SERVPRO technicians use technology like negative air chambers to contain the mold and high-quality air filtration systems with "air scrubbers" and HEPA vacuums to prevent the mold spores from spreading while they clean and disinfect the area.
Mold Remediation In Schools And Commercial Buildings
Mold doesn't just grow on the food left in the breakroom refrigerator too long. A damp environment leads to mold growth if not addressed quickly. Pipe leaks, unvented shower areas, and other moisture sources inside the building or stormwater leaking in are common culprits for indoor humidity.
Even excessive moisture in the air can lead to mold problems if you don't control it with air conditioning. It can grow on most organic surfaces where moisture and oxygen are available.
Besides causing significant disruptions to your business or school, mold can pose serious health concerns for people. SERVPRO is equipped to resolve all kinds of mold problems in commercial buildings and schools.
What Is Mold?
Mold (sometimes called mildew) can be found indoors and outdoors, in all climates, and at any time throughout the year. It is a fungus that forms and grows on any type of damp or decaying organic matter. There are many different species of mold that come in different colors.
Mold survives by relying on organic matter for nutrition. Outdoors, this includes fallen leaves and decaying plants. Indoors, mold looks for carbon sources for food, like drywall and other building materials.
The most common cause for mold growing indoors is excess moisture. Office buildings and schools usually have moderate temperatures, nutrition sources, and dark, damp areas that are ideal for mold to grow.
Mold grows by releasing microscopic spores into the air. The spores float until they land and settle in a moist area that has a source for nutrients. Once the spores find those places, they form new mold colonies. The heating and air conditioning systems inside commercial buildings and schools may help spores spread quickly. The ducts themselves can even be ideal areas for mold to grow.
What Is "Mold Remediation"?
SERVPRO technicians understand the science behind how mold grows and spreads. Mold remediation focuses primarily on getting (or keeping) mold levels back to the healthy, naturally occurring levels.
Every situation of mold damage is unique and requires a custom solution. The general SERVPRO mold remediation process is as follows:
Inspection and damage assessment: A team of SERVPRO agents inspects the building for mold damage using a variety of technologies to detect unhealthy levels of mold and hidden water sources.
Containment: SERVPRO agents use a multi-pronged process to contain and prevent the spread of mold. Depending on the situation, this step may involve advanced containment procedures like negative air chambers to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process. All the heating and cooling systems are usually turned off during the containment process to prevent mold spores from spreading through the air ducts.
Filtration: Cleaning the air of excess mold spores is an essential part of the remediation process. SERVPRO uses specialized filtration equipment to trap microscopic mold spores in the air. "Air scrubbers" and HEPA vacuums prevent mold from spreading and growing.
Removing the mold and invested materials: The mold remediation process depends mainly on how much and what types of molds are growing, and the types of surfaces on which the mold grows. SERVPRO technicians remove all the mold-infested materials like carpeting and drywall from the building. Next, the agents use antimicrobial and antifungal treatments to kill existing mold colonies and prevent new colonies from growing.
Cleaning Belongings: Mold can also grow on furniture, curtains, clothing, decorative items, and other belongings. SERVPRO professionals use a variety of techniques and chemicals to clean and sanitize the affected belongings. This also helps remove the musty, moldy smells from the building and items.
Restoration: Depending on the extent of the mold damage, SERVPRO technicians might need to remove drywall, carpeting, and even subfloors to make sure the mold colonies are eradicated. Once they clean all the mold, the technicians will make any repairs necessary to return the building to its original condition.
How To Prevent Mold In Commercial Buildings And Schools
Because mold is present almost everywhere (both indoors and outdoors), it is impossible to remove all mold. However, it is possible (and essential) to prevent mold from growing beyond healthy levels and spreading inside the building.
It is much easier and cost-effective to eliminate the potential causes for mold growth than to wait until you have a mold problem. Here are some easy ways to prevent mold problems before they start:
Make repairs: Leaky roofs, poorly sealed windows and door frames, broken pipes, and cracked foundations are common problems that can allow mold to grow. Stay on top of building maintenance and repairs so you can catch water damage before the moisture leads to a moldy disaster.
Clean the ducts: The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems can quickly spread mold spores around the building. Reduce the spread of mold spores by having the air ducts regularly cleaned and maintained. This will improve the overall air quality in the school or offices, which will have a positive impact on peoples' health.
Moisture control: In Tennessee, humidity is often high. Damp air makes it easy for mold to grow. Consider installing dehumidifiers around the building, or at least in basements, attics, and other areas prone to moisture and mold. Keep the indoor humidity below 45% to prevent mold from growing quickly.
Make sure shower areas in the locker rooms have proper vents to move moist air outside and install exhaust fans in the cafeteria and food services areas. Make sure the exhaust fans run whenever you are cooking, dishwashing, and cleaning.
Inspect regularly: Mold can thrive places you may never think to look. Create a routine inspection plan to look for mold, high moisture areas, damp surfaces, stains on the walls or carpeting, and musty smells. These are the early signs of a mold issue that, if addressed early, can be cheaper and easier to resolve.
Bathrooms, locker rooms, and kitchens have a lot of places where mold grows easily. Make sure to inspect bathrooms for water stains, standing water, and leaking pipes. Don't allow water to stand in the refrigerator and air conditioning drip pans. If a lunchroom or break room has a water dispenser, inspect the area around it to catch leaks and spills early.
Clean the floors and carpets: Don't install carpet in areas where moisture might be a constant concern, like around drinking fountains or classroom sinks. Have the floors and carpets professionally cleaned regularly to remove spots, stains, and dirt build-up. This will prolong the life of the flooring and prevent mold spores from building up. However, make sure the flooring dries quickly to prevent mold from growing.
Do you have a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your school or business? Pre-planning for all sorts of disasters will help you recover and return to normal quickly. Whether it's mold remediation, water damage, or a host of other potential disasters, SERVPRO are experts at cleaning and restoration.
Water Damage Checklist
Water damage is a year-round concern for homeowners and commercial property owners alike. If left untreated, water damage will lead to larger, more severe problems, including structural damage and mold.
Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent water damage around your house, especially if you plan to leave for an extended vacation. If something does go awry, SERVPRO is available 24/7 to respond to any water damage disaster, large or small.
Annual To-Do List
Mark your calendar to check these things at least once a year to prevent undetected leaks and water damage.
Check your sump pump
If you have a sump pump, test it annually to make sure it is in good working order. Fill the sump pit with enough water to trigger the pump. Listen to make sure the engine is not making any unusual noises and it is pumping efficiently.
If you don’t already have one, consider installing a battery back up so your sump pump will keep working even if the power goes out.
Look for supply line leaks
Washing machines, refrigerator ice makers, and dishwashers use hoses to connect to the water source. Often these appliances use cheap, plastic supply line hoses that can crack or kink easily, causing water leaks.
Check the hoses annually to make sure they aren’t leaking or becoming worn. An easy and cost-effective upgrade is to replace the standard plastic supply lines with stainless steel hoses. You can make the upgrade for just $20 to $30.
Pipe and water heater leaks
Every building has hundreds of feet of plumbing running through the walls and ceilings. While it’s impossible to inspect all the pipes, you should check the exposed pipes around your house regularly. Also inspect ceilings and walls where you know the pipes run to look for any discoloration or dark spots.
Dark spots are one indication there is a water leak in the area. Dank odors, dampness, or water stains are other signs of a leak. To thoroughly inspect the area, wipe each pipe connection with a dry tissue to look for wet spots.
Also, check your water heater for cracks or rust on the outside. These can indicate a small leak or weakness in the tank and should be taken very seriously. Water heater leaks often start small then burst suddenly, spilling hundreds of gallons of water into your home and causing significant water damage.
Gutters and drainpipes
Clogged gutters and drainpipes allow water to pool under the roof or gather around the foundation, causing water damage over time. Clean the leaves and debris out of your gutters at least twice a year to prevent clogs.
Signs that your gutters or drainpipes are clogged include water spilling over the edge of the gutter or dripping out of a seam or joint. Also, if water isn’t flowing from the bottom of the drainpipes, there is likely a blockage somewhere.
Make sure the drainpipes direct water at least 5 feet away from your house or building to prevent water damage to the foundation. If necessary, purchase drainpipe extensions to guide the rainwater further away from the foundation or hire a contractor to install additional drainage in problem areas.
Inspect the roof
While you are cleaning the gutters, inspect your roof for missing or loose shingles and damaged flashing. Call a roofer to make any necessary repairs as quickly as possible.
Loose or damaged shingles can allow rainwater to seep into your house and wreak havoc if unnoticed. Leaks can lead to mold, mildew, and even termites!
Before Going On Vacation
In addition to the annual checklist, here are a few things you should do before leaving for summer vacation to prevent water damage and keep your home safe while you are away.
Turn off the water main
If you don’t plan to have someone check on your house regularly while you are gone, consider turning off the water main. After you turn off the water main, turn on all the faucets inside and outside to let the water drain out. This prevents water pressure from building up in the pipes and causing leaks.
When water pressure builds up in the pipes, it puts pressure on weak or damaged areas. It would be unfortunate if the compromised pipe finally started leaking while you are away.
Turn off the water heater
Turning off the water heater while you are away for an extended time saves energy and prevents any potential water leaks. While leaks are uncommon in well-maintained water heaters, this is an easy action that will give you peace of mind while you are gone.
If you have an electric water heater, turn off the breaker in the circuit panel to shut off the water heater. Modern gas water heaters often have a “vacation” setting on the thermostat. Either turn it to the vacation setting or turn the thermostat up.
Have someone check your home
If your travels will take you away for more than 5 to 7 days, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to check on your house and water your plants every few days. If anything does begin to leak or go awry, it will only be a few days before someone catches it.
Make sure the person who will be checking on your house knows where the water main and the electrical panel box are located in case something goes awry and they need to turn the water or electricity on or off.
Don’t forget to leave your contact information, the information for your insurance agency, and SERVPRO’s information for the person who will check on your home. If something does happen, they will know whom to contact to resolve the matter quickly.
Preventing Water Damage From Appliances
The story is all too common: you’re sitting in your living room enjoying a quiet evening, and suddenly water starts pouring from the ceiling. Or you walk into your basement to discover water everywhere from a broken water heater.
Common culprits for water damage are washing machines, water heaters, and other appliances in your home. About 30% of all home water damage situations are caused by appliance failures.
SERVPRO is equipped to handle any water damage, but we would prefer to help you prevent those unfortunate situations. Here are some practical things you can do to keep your dishwasher, washing machine, and water heaters from causing problems in your home.
Most water heaters hold between 40 and 120 gallons of water (unless you have a tankless water heater). That amount of water can cause significant damage. A broken water heater may also be a fire hazard. And, if too much pressure builds up in the tank, it can explode!
A common culprit for water heater malfunctions is sediment buildup. When sediment collects at the bottom of the water tank, the heating element has to work overtime and water can get trapped as it heats up and moves through the sediment.
If you have a gas water heater, sediment buildup can cause the heating element to overheat, damaging the tank or leaving burn marks. Sediment buildup in an electric water heater can cause the heating element to burn out.
Signs you should have your water heater serviced:
- Popping sounds: All appliances make noises, but if your water heater is making sounds like popcorn popping on a stove, that is an indication that sediment is building up in the base of the water heater.
- Cold showers: if you seem to be running out of hot water faster than usual that is a symptom of sediment buildup or that the heating element inside the tank burned out.
- Rotten egg smell: Hydrogen sulfide has a potent rotten egg smell and very unpleasant taste. It doesn’t pose a health risk and usually occurs in well water, but water heaters have been known to cause the offensive odor when the magnesium rod in the water heater mixes with bacteria in the water to produce hydrogen sulfide. If the smell comes from both hot and cold water, then it’s likely your water. If the foul smell is only coming from the hot water, then your water heater is likely to blame.
75% of water heaters fail at or before 12 years of age. On average, water heater leaks and failures cause between $3,000 and $5,800 in damages. Routine maintenance on your water heater will prevent catastrophe and keep it running strong for many years.
Washing machines—both front loaders and top loaders—are one of the leading causes of water damage in homes and rank among the most expensive causes of water damage, averaging over $5,000 after the insurance deductible is paid. Mold is often a secondary problem after washing machines leak.
There are several things you can do to avoid costly washing machine catastrophes.
Avoid overloading and using too much detergent: One of the most common causes of a washing machine leak is shoving too much into the washer. Similarly, using too much detergent can cause excessive suds that will spill out of the machine and cause water damage.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions about maximum load sizes and recommended amounts of soap to use. If you do find a leak, clean up all the water, then run a quick cycle with no clothes and no laundry detergent. If you don’t see any leaks, the load of laundry was probably too big, or you used too much laundry soap.
Supervise your laundry: Avoid running the washing machine while you are away or asleep. If catastrophe strikes, you want to be around to react quickly.
Turn off the water supply: Did you know washing machine manufacturers recommend turning off the hot and cold water supply after each use? People rarely do this, but it is an excellent way to avoid water damage. If you don’t turn off the water supply after each use, you should at least turn off the water supply when you plan to be away for an extended length of time.
Inspect the hoses frequently: Washing machines have three rubber hoses: one for hot water, one for cold water, and a drain hose. One ruptured hose can let hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water into your house! Mark your calendar to inspect the hoses regularly. Look for cracks, kinks, blistering, or signs of leaks.
Even if the hoses are still in good condition, consider replacing the rubber hoses every five years. Stainless steel braided hoses last longer and are much more resilient than standard rubber hoses at an affordable price.
Install an emergency shutoff kit: The emergency shutoff kit is a device that installs directly onto the water supply valves. It senses when the washer is turned on and opens the water supply valves, then closes the water valves at the end of the wash cycle. A sensor also sits on the floor and closes the valves if it detects a water leak.
For around $150 you can have peace of mind that if your washing machine malfunctions the emergency shutoff kit will prevent water from flowing freely into your home.
Dishwashers make life so much easier… until they malfunction and spill gallons of water all over your kitchen. Often tile or linoleum in front of the dishwasher prevents water from leaking out into the kitchen. That means a slow leak under the dishwasher can go undetected for months or years!
Taking the kickplate off and inspecting under the dishwasher twice a year will ensure everything is in good working order and avoid costly water damage.
Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent water damage from your dishwasher.
Use the right soap: Using the wrong kind of soap can cause too many suds to develop during the wash cycle. This usually results in water dripping out from the edge of the dishwasher door. If you open the door during the wash cycle and see a lot of suds, you should use a different detergent or you might be using too much detergent.
Check the water valve: Remove the kickplate and inspect the water inlet solenoid valve. If there is any corrosion or rotting around the valve, turn off the water supply and have the valve replaced.
A bad water valve usually starts with a slow leak under the dishwasher that is difficult to detect. If the water valve breaks, the anti-flood switch cannot close the water valve, and water will fill the dishwasher and continue to run until the water supply is turned off.
Check the door seals: Over time the door seals wear out or become damaged. Sometimes soap scum can prevent the dishwasher door from sealing properly.
To clean soap scum and residue off the door seals, use white vinegar or Lime-Away. Pay extra attention to the bottom of the door; this is where soap scum, hard-water calcium buildup, and food particles tend to collect and cause problems.
Developing a habit of regularly checking and maintaining your appliances will help you catch problems before they become serious. But, if disaster does strike and you experience water damage caused by an appliance (or any other source), call SERVPRO. We will restore everything to normal as quickly as possible!
Commercial Water Damage
Water damage can strike a commercial property without warning and cause devastating damage to the building and businesses inside. In 2016 water and freezing damage ranked second in the top ten most common insurance claims for small businesses and the eighth most expensive insurance claims. The average insurance claim for water damage was $17,000.
SERVPRO has expert technicians standing by 24/7 to take action if flooding or water damage strikes your commercial building. Whether it’s a broken pipe or a significant leak in the roof that causes water damage, do you have a plan to respond?
Common causes of water damage in commercial buildings
The most common causes of water damage in commercial buildings are plumbing malfunctions and broken or frozen pipes.
When the temperatures fall below freezing outside, your building’s pipes may freeze. The water inside the pipes turns to ice and expands, putting pressure on the pipes until they crack. This can cause significant damage since it most frequently happens overnight or during the weekend when nobody is around to catch the situation early.
Another common cause of major water damage in commercial buildings is malfunctioning toilets. Old toilets or those with weak water pressure are prone to clogging. Repeat clogs may cause a toilet to back up and spill dangerous “black water,” which is difficult and costly to clean up.
Corroded pipes are another “usual suspect” in water damage.
Underground pipes can deteriorate over time when they are exposed to corrosive bacteria, different soil conditions, and invading tree roots. Over time, pipes become weak and eventually burst, causing significant water damage to buildings and surrounding areas.
Avoiding Water Damage
You might not be able to prevent all water damage situations, but there are many easy things businesses and commercial property owners can do to prevent water damage or minimize the impact.
Unlike residential properties, commercial buildings tend to have large HVAC units, an extensive network of pipes, and a bird’s nest of wires, ducts, and other components to maintain. One of the easiest ways to avoid water damage is to hire a professional to conduct regular inspections.
Catching problems and making repairs early can save thousands of dollars and a lot of inconveniences.
Keeping gutters, downspouts, and drainage areas clean and clear is essential in preventing flood damage. Make sure the building manager or other responsible parties stay on top of regular maintenance that can keep potential accidents at bay.
To prevent pipes from freezing, keep the thermostat set at a minimum of 55 degrees. This is the easiest way to avoid water damage from burst pipes.
Create an emergency response plan
Before there is a water damage situation, have a plan of action or emergency response plan. Do members of your team know where the major water shut-off valves are? Do key team members know whom to contact in the event of a water pipe burst or other emergencies? Is this information and plan of action written in an easily accessible location?
It is wise to create and go over the emergency plan with key team members before there is a high-stress situation. Make sure there is a trusted individual who has the authority to make decisions in an emergency if you are not available.
SERVPRO’s Ready Plan app is a great resource for commercial property managers and owners to develop an emergency response plan. Knowing what to do and what to expect in an emergency is very important and will make the recovery process much easier.
Have a “Plan B”
It might seem excessive now, but do you have a plan in the event your business experiences extensive flooding or another emergency that prevents you from working from the building for an extended period?
While many commercial buildings do have options for temporary workspaces, it is best to have a plan before you are displaced.
Protect your products and your information
It is always wise to back up critical paperwork electronically and ensure all your essential documents are secure. Consider installing a waterproof file cabinet, safe, or other means of protecting valuable documents from water, fire, or other types of damage.
Keep non-waterproof inventory or valuables above floor level to protect them from potential water damage. If there is a severe risk of flood or rain damage, put valuable inventory, machinery, paperwork or other vulnerable items on high, stable shelves or stacked wooden pallets.
Know your insurance coverage
Most commercial property insurance policies do not cover certain types of water damage, and the exclusions often depend on what caused the damage. A standard insurance policy might cover cost from a burst water pipe but not damage caused by a backed up toilet. Many insurance policies exclude mold-related damage.
Flood damage is not typically covered by private insurance companies in the United States. You can purchase “riders” or add-ons to your property insurance that gives you better coverage in the event of water damage — the National Flood Insurance Program offers flood insurance for homeowners or companies.
Commercial Water Restoration
After severe water damage, be very cautious when entering your building. Check for downed power lines, gas leaks, and serious structural damage. If any electrical equipment is wet, contact an electrician immediately and turn off the power in the building until everything is safe.
Photograph all damage
Before any disaster strikes, take a complete set of “before” photographs of the property and business-related items. Insurance companies appreciate “before and after” photos to show the full extent of the damage.
Contact your local building department
The local building department has all the information on the required building permits for any demolition, permanent repairs, reconstruction, roofing, and other restoration projects.
Contact SERVPRO for cleanup and restoration
Cleaning up water damage can be a complicated and sometimes dangerous job. SERVPRO technicians receive the proper training to address every aspect of commercial water damage emergencies.
SERVPRO technicians do more than clean up the water. They dry the building and property quickly, using all the right machines to ensure no moisture is left. Once everything is dry, SERVPRO technicians deep clean, sanitize, and deodorize the entire space for maximum comfort and safety.
Water damage can lead to expensive repairs, time lost from work, and damaged goods and property, but you can have peace of mind that everything will be put to right as quickly as possible with SERVPRO’s expert technicians.
Hurricane Season Water Damage
People might not think hurricanes have much impact in Tennessee, but those who live in the Volunteer State know that hurricane season is flood season. Hurricanes and tropical storms are capable of marching hundreds of miles inland, bringing strong winds, heavy rains, and flooding.
SERVPRO is here to help you get so you’ll be able to combat or respond to water damage from heavy rains and flooding brought on by a hurricane or strong summer storm.
Before A Storm Or Flood
Have an emergency supply kit.
Create an emergency supply kit that will allow you to survive for at least 72 hours on your own. The kit should include water, non-perishable food, and a few essential emergency supplies in an easy-to-carry container (like a plastic bin or duffle bag).
A few of the most important items in an emergency supply kit are a battery powered or hand crank radio, a flashlight, first aid kit, extra batteries, dust mask, garbage bags, manual can opener, and a local map.
Many companies and commercial buildings also maintain an emergency supply kit in the event everyone must shelter in place for at least 24 hours. Be sure you know if your building has an emergency kit, where it is located, and how to access it in the event of an emergency.
Make a plan.
Before a hurricane or disaster strikes, make a plan for how you and your family will respond. Create a plan for communicating with each other. People often don’t have phone numbers memorized so be sure and write down the phone numbers of family members, friends, and important contacts.
Decide on an evacuation route. Some areas may have pre-arranged evacuation routes everyone is required to take. If you live in an area that does not have a designated evacuation route, create several options and identify where you will gather together if you must evacuate separately.
As you create your plan, consider the specific needs of your family. What will you do with pets? Do any members of your family have mobility difficulties that will impact your plans?
Consider flood insurance.
If you live in an area that is particularly prone to flooding, consider purchasing flood insurance. Most standard insurance policies do not cover flood damage but you can purchase “riders” or additional insurance, particularly if your property is in an area that floods easily. The National flood Insurance Program has flood maps that show the risks for flooding as well as flood insurance options.
Take photos for the insurance agent
Having “before” photos for the insurance agent will be very helpful in filing insurance claims and throughout the recovery process after a major storm.
Preventing Flood Damage
Floods can occur anywhere with little or no warning. Taking a few precautionary steps can go a long way to prevent or minimize serious damage from floodwaters.
Before a flood
Move outdoor furniture indoors and anchor heavier objects to prevent them from being blown over or floating away. If you live in an area that is particularly flood-prone, install floodgates, sandbags, tarps, and other “dry flood protection” materials. Focus on low-lying areas around your home or building to prevent water from getting in.
If a flood is eminent or you must leave your property during the storm, roll up area rugs and other items and get them off the floor. Consider putting all your belongings in a basement or garage on wooden pallets and shelves to keep them off the ground.
Turn off the power to your house or building if you must leave or floodwaters are approaching your home. This will make it safer to re-enter your home later. Make sure all electronics are unplugged and stored high enough to not get wet.
Prevent basement flooding
Repeated flooding weakens the foundation over time. There are ways to prevent basement flooding.
The most common cause of basement flooding is cracks in the foundation. The cracks allow water to seep in during a storm. Have your basement inspected by a professional and repair any cracks. Some cracks can be repaired easily with caulk or similar products. Other issues may need more work to ensure your basement is waterproof.
Check any windows in your basement. The wood frame around windows can rot or deteriorate over time, allowing water to leak in. Aluminum or vinyl windows tend to last longer and stand up to water better.
Check the drainage system around your house. Clean out the gutters and downspouts regularly. Blocked gutters or leaking downspouts allow water to pool around the foundation, causing flooding in the basement.
French drains help address drainage problems in your yard and conduct water further away from the building. A French drain is a ditch filled with gravel or rock and perforated pipes that allow water to drain more naturally.
If basement flooding is a common occurrence, consider installing a sump pump in the lowest part of the basement or crawlspace. Their job is to pump water away from the building.
Protect your business
Businesses are not immune to the impacts of hurricanes and floods. Create an emergency business response and continuity plan. This will help your business get back up and running more quickly after the storm has passed.
Keep the contact information of your employees, suppliers, and venders up to date. It’s best to gather as much contact information as possible and make sure you have a paper copy on hand.
Cleaning Up After A Flood Or Hurricane
Shut off electricity, gas, and other utilities.
Make sure the electricity and gas are turned off in your house. Even if the power is out in your area you don’t want to risk electrical shock during the cleanup process.
Contact your insurance agent and document damages.
The first thing to do after a hurricane or flood is contact your insurance agent. The agent will put you in contact with an adjuster. Make a detailed list of the damages and take photos or video as you go through the cleanup process. This will make the insurance claims, application for disaster relief, and income tax deductions much easier.
Remove any valuables and salvageable belongings.
Wipe down furniture and carry as much furniture as possible out of the affected area. Take wet upholstery and cushions to an area where they can begin to dry.
Put aluminum foil or wood blocks under the furniture legs to get them off the wet carpet. Remove any rugs and gather all the loose items off the floor.
Floodwaters from any source are potentially dangerous and often contain bacteria. SERVPRO technicians are trained to lead the cleanup process safely to avoid sickness and make sure everything is disinfected properly.
SERVPRO has storm and water damage specialists who are trained to respond quickly to any storm. A quick response is necessary to minimize or avoid secondary damages after the flood or storm.
SERVPRO will lead you through the inspection and assessment process to determine the extent of the damage. Then they will remove the water and make sure everything is completely dry and dehumidified. It’s important to properly clean and sanitize everything to avoid mold and other secondary issues.
Water Damage Explained
Whether it’s a broken pipe, overflowing washing machine, flood, or storm water, dealing with water damage can be costly, time consuming, and frustrating. Even little issues like a leaky ice machine can escalate quickly if left untreated. But with the right information, help, and tools, the cleanup process can be much less stressful and more effective.
We hope you never have to call us to restore water-damaged property; but if you do, this guide will help you understand the different classes and types of water damage and first steps to take.
Why is water damage dangerous?
Any time a home or business suffers water damage the impact is both visible and invisible. Some of the most common reported water damage incidents involve burst pipes, backed up sewage lines, and storm or floodwater damage. These sources can contain dangerous contaminants like bacteria, viruses, and sewage.
Mold loves to grow in damp, dark areas. Water that is left for just 48 hours can allow mold and mildew to grow quickly, if left untreated.
Water damage can also lead to structural damage, especially if the damage comes from flooding or storm water. Water weighs a lot and large amounts of water can put significant pressure on the walls and floors of a building. Sometimes the structural damage isn’t immediately evident until the cleanup process is well underway.
An often-overlooked secondary risk of water damage is electrical shock. Many people become focused on cleanup process and forget about the potential damage to their electrical wires and cables. Never enter a room with standing water that covers electrical outlets or devices until you are sure the power is turned off.
It is also dangerous to run power cords or use electricity in or around standing water. Turn off the electricity to any area affected by water damage until professionals assess the situation.
Categories of water
There are three “categories” of water that frequently cause damage to homes or businesses.
Category 1 Water does not pose a serious threat to people or animals. It comes from “clean water” supplies like broken water pipes or overflowing sinks.
Category 2 Water contains large amounts of chemical, biological, or physical contamination. Also known as “grey water”, exposure to this kind of water can cause a variety of illness and infection as it usually contains microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses. “Grey water” usually comes from toilet bowls, broken sump pumps, water leaking from dishwashers or washing machines, and similar sources. Category 2 Water does not contain any sewage or seawater so it’s not the most dangerous category, but it can pose serious threats.
Category 3 Water is called “Black water” and is the most unsanitary form of water. It contains harmful bacteria, sewage, seawater, river water, and other similar sources. Often, damage from category 3 water comes from toilet back flows, sewage pipe bursts, or large scale floods. “Black water” is capable of causing serious, widespread illness and infection.
Time and temperature can impact and change the quality of water. Even Category 1 water that is clean and potable can turn into Category 2 water if left untreated for a long time. Category 2 water that is left stagnant or not properly cleaned can quickly become Category 3 water.
Dealing with water damage
Each water damage situation has its own unique challenges. No matter how much damage your home or business suffered, it’s important to act quickly and take the proper steps.
First, turn off any water sources that may still be leaking. Then, turn off electricity to the affected area. Use electricity with extreme caution around water at all times, even when running fans and dehumidifiers in the drying process.
Next, have a professional correctly identify the class of damage and the type of water involved. This will help you address the situation safely and avoid further damage. Because of the potential for mold and other damage to go undiagnosed in even minor water leaks, it is important to have a professional assess the situation.
SERVPRO has specialized equipment that identify the water migration line, what materials were impacted, and where water may still be “bound” in materials even though they feel dry.
Make sure everything is disinfected properly during the cleanup process to avoid issues later on. Have furniture assessed and professionally cleaned. Either discard or professionally clean damaged personal items made of textiles and fabric.
In every event of water damage, if you suspect that contaminated water caused the damage or mold is present, immediately call professionals who are trained to handle the situation safely. Wear safety gloves, goggles, and a vapor respirator or paint respirator to prevent exposure to potentially harmful bacteria, spores, and microorganisms.
Classes of water damage
Determining the “class” of water damage is an important step in the cleanup process.
Class 1 Cleanup: A class 1 water loss only impacts part of a room with limited damage. The impact was confined to a small area and it was only wet for a short time so minimal moisture is absorbed by the flooring and other materials.
Clean up can be as easy as mopping or soaking up as much water as possible. Quickly discard anything that is unsalvageable. Circulate fresh air with fans and dehumidifiers to speed the evaporation and drying process. It is important to thoroughly dry the affected area to prevent mold from growing.
Even if the cleanup seems simple, it’s a good idea to have the area assessed to avoid further issues down the road.
Class 2 Cleanup: this level of water damage usually involves an entire room and large amounts of water, absorption, and evaporation. Damage frequently impacts the carpet and padding, plywood or subfloor, structural wood, and concrete. That means there is a lot of moisture in the walls, floor, and other spaces.
This level of water damage can quickly deteriorate. It is important to dry the area as quickly as possible with air circulation, ventilation, and dehumidifiers to prevent mold and microorganisms from growing.
If possible, remove the unsalvageable items and material quickly and call professionals to oversee the cleanup. It can be challenging to thoroughly dry the area without professional equipment and expertise.
Class 3 Cleanup: This is perhaps the most devastating level of water damage. The building is usually damaged from ceiling to subfloor and practically everything is saturated with water. This type of damage often comes when there is a significant roof leak, a pipe bursts in a ceiling, or an upstairs appliance malfunctions, spilling large amounts of water to the floor(s) below.
Remove and discard the damaged materials as quickly as possible and begin the drying process.
Because of the extent of damage in a Class 3 cleanup, it is best to avoid the area until professional help arrives. If you absolutely must enter the area, take extra safety precautions and wear gloves, goggles, and a respirator.
Class 4 Cleanup: Standing water grows bacteria, mold, and mildew that quickly turns into a bigger problem. Class 4 damage often includes standing water that must be removed with special equipment before the drying process can begin. Because the damage is extensive, the clean up and restoration process can be quite involved.
Typically materials like hardwood, brick, concrete, or stone are saturated and there are deep pockets of moisture. This type of water damage requires specialized drying methods and very low humidity. An example of Class 4 water damage would be a flooded crawlspace, soaked hardwood floors, or saturated concrete. It takes a long time and special equipment to dry these materials and spaces effectively.
Now that you know the types of water and classes of water-damage, you’re prepared to respond to any water damage situation that comes your way. As always, contact SERVPRO for qualified professional assistance with any water damage cleanup to make sure the job is done right.
Frequently Asked Questions About Water Damage
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?
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.
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!
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
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.
Why Should You Hire the Pros for Water Damage Restoration?
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.