Archived Blog Posts
The most important principle of drying is to understand the transfer of energy. No one can argue that drying at the correct temperature is the most effective way to restore a wet structure to it preloss condition. Dry too slowly, dry too fast, dry too little, or drying too long are all problematic. Humidity, airflow, temperature and time are four very important elements. Drying time is directly related to the temperature differential between water trapped in materials and the surrounding air, making heat, arguably, one of the most practical ways to dry. The exchange of heat and water vapor from a wet surface determines how quickly a surface will dry. This has been shown in numerous studies on various materials. When we are evaporating moisture we are changing water from a liquid to a gas and as our team of professionals understands, using a chart or calculator helps to make what is often invisible - visible.
The Behavior of Smoke
The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior of smoke. There are two different types of smoke - wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Your SERVPRO of High Point professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. Before work begins, SERVPRO of High Point will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and its contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows your SERVPRO professionals to focus on saving your precious items. Smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our knowledge of building systems helps us investigate how far smoke damage may have spread.
Facts About Smoke
Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure. Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor. The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process. There are various types of smoke that may be in play in a fire. There is what is called Wet Smoke. This is made up of plastic and rubber. Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky and smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean. Then there is Dry Smoke. This is made up of paper and wood. Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises, therefore smoke rises. Protein Fire Residue is the third type of smoke. This is produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. It is virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, and has an extreme pungent odor. Fuel Oil Soot is our final type of smoke. This involves furnace puff backs. While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, in most cases SERVPRO of High Point can restore the contents and structure quickly.
Cooking Over The Holidays
Did you know that cooking is the main cause of home fires and injuries? To steer clear of these types of tragedies, remember to never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. You must check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while kitchen equipment is in use. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on. Remember to keep small children away from the cooking area. Enforce a " kid free zone" and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove and oven. Keep anything flammable like pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels away from the stove, oven or other appliances in the kitchen that generates heat.
As the holiday season is officially upon us, there are several safety tips that we must remember to ensure that all of our memories are fond ones. When cooking, do not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease build-up. Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen year round. Contact the local fire department for training on the proper use of fire extinguishers if you are unsure. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all kitchen appliances like stoves, ovens, and toasters are turned off. Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen,on each level of the home,near sleeping areas, and inside and outside of bedrooms. Use the test button to check it is working properly every month. Replace the batteries at least once a year.
Becoming Winter Ready At Work
Are you prepared for the upcoming cold weather? Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not ready for it. From heavy rain and freezing temperatures to damaging winds, sleet,or snow, all can cause serious property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter weather. You need to check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice and snow can cause branches to fall, which would cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries. Also inspect walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate a potential flood hazard. Inspect all handrails, stairwells, and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
Becoming Winter Ready At Home
Roofs, water pipes, and gutters should all be inspected to help ensure they are in working order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your home. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the Fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior water problems. Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open, allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. Regarding outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawl space. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
Pretty lights, candles, and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season. However, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening. Make sure to place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles. Make sure light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving your property or going to bed.Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees. And finally, designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
Plan and Practice Your Escape!
October is Fire Prevention Month and an excellent time to examine the emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year? Are you prepared if a disaster strikes? The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on fire prevention. The 2019 theme is "Not Every Hero Wears A Cape. Plan and Practice your Escape!" According to the NFPA, once the fire alarm goes off, "you could have less than one to two minutes to escape safely", yet only 8 percent of people surveyed said getting out was their first thought after hearing a fire alarm. Creating, implementing, and practicing a fire escape plan for your home or business may be the difference between safety and tragedy. Make a plan today! Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone in your home or business enough time to get out.
Every Second Counts
Every second counts during a fire. Fire experts agree; people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it's too late to get out. In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families and businesses have developed and practiced a fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home or office understands the plan. The best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing it. Your professionals at SERVPRO of High Point want you to stay safe, informed, and prepared to help ensure you are ready for any disaster that comes your way.
Preparing For A Fire
In preparing for a fire, you need to draw a map of each level of your home or business and show all the doors and all the windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily. Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used. Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting area on your escape plan. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them. Plan for everyone in your home or office, with special considerations for the elderly or disabled individuals. SERVPRO of High Point wants you to stay safe, informed, and prepared to help ensure you are ready for any disaster that comes your way.
A Note To Your Insurance Agent
Mitigation requires quick action. The faster your SERVPRO of High Point professional arrives on-site to perform fire, smoke and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results-including lower claim costs. Within four hours of a loss notification, your SERVPRO of High Point professional will be on-site to help ensure a fire damage is handled properly by utilizing several services. One of the services is structural cleaning. After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. A pretesting will be done to determine the extent of damage, then specific equipment will be used and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found within the structure. Another service is contents cleaning. All of the restorable contents in the affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. We can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all of the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, and much more. Then we provide an inventory list of all "to be claimed" items for agents and their policyholders. And lastly, SERVPRO of High Point provides specialized services that rid the insured's home or place of business of offensive odors left behind by fire or smoke damage. We do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; we seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.
The Power of Recognition
According to Gallup, only 33% of employees are engaged at work. Based on much research, 79% of employees who quit their jobs claim that a lack of appreciation was a major reason for leaving. This seems to support the common belief that employees who quit don't leave the job; they leave their boss. In today's battle to attract and retain top performers, organizations are looking for effective strategies like additional perks and optimized workplaces. But, perhaps they are overlooking an easily executed and less expensive approach: employee recognition. For recognition to drive results, it must be earned. Team members need to know how to earn it. Bosses need to clearly define what they recognize and how it relates to performance outcomes. When they do this, it becomes a catalyst for driving results. This is what is called purposeful recognition. This approach starts with leaders creating goals, defining expectations, and understanding the behaviors that will lead to their desired results. Then they need to consistently and continually provide recognition for those behaviors. Here at SERVPRO of High Point, each employee has a very clear understanding of their goals. Our Owner recognizes each of us on a regular basis based upon when we reach each goal. This is exactly why our employee retention is at an all time high. Most of our staff has been here over 5 years! Go Team SERVPRO of High Point!
Contents Pack Out
Sometimes knowing what not to do can be the most valuable information a person, or in this case a business, can have in their toolbox. When I packed out my first contents job five years ago, there were definitely some warning signs I wish someone had posted for me. Let me tell you it would have made the job a whole lot smoother. I managed to complete the job with few issues and my client was ecstatic in the end, giving me a raving testimonial. But the pack out itself was harder and way more stressful than it needed to be because I didn't know what not to do. First, don't use unprofessional equipment and supplies. Do not go to the big box stores and buy off the shelf boxes that are not standard in size and are flimsy in construction. Use an appliance dolly to move appliances. Don't skip steps. The magic is in the details. And lastly, give your client control. There is never a time during a contents restoration job and especially during the pack out process that a homeowner should feel not in control of their items.
Using Software to Manage Expectations
You need software that connects all the job functions you do in your business. Working with anything less will be detrimental to your financial well being. So, what does this mean to you and your business? In a nutshell, when you receive a loss, you do not automatically know what needs to be done, but you do need to know quickly. Unless your a new start up company, your company is running with several people who are responsible for doing different jobs. For that reason alone, the manager of the process needs to know what is going on at all times. If you use a software that works on a cell phone, information can be added to that software easily from the field. As different people load information remotely, it tells everyone in the company what has happened and what has not yet happened. Having information at the fingertips of the entire team means the person back in the office can easily review notes and find answers for anyone who might call with a question about a project.
Dedication To Education
Education in the restoration industry is seeing a revival. While certifications and training have always held value, there are more educational opportunities and certifications available today then ever before. Within the last year, the restoration industry has started offering brand new advanced designations, the IICRC continues offering key certifications, and there are numerous other training events happening across the country on a weekly basis covering everything from drying to large loss to estimating and everything in between. None of that even takes into consideration the larger industry conferences, expos, and trade shows that offer a plethora of educational opportunities on a number of topics related to restoration. Since 2016, nearly 200 people have been nominated for awards in the field of restoration. Each year the field seems to become broader and more competitive , with nominations becoming more in-depth and elaborate. Each year's nominees include owners, VP's, project managers, technicians, operations managers, marketing and sales and more!
National Day of Service and Remembrance
In honor and memory of those who died on September 11, 2001, as well as the survivors and First Responders, National Day of Service and Remembrance was established in 2009 as a day of reflection. Led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, this is a day to come together as Americans following the events of 9/11 to help neighbors in need and to honor veterans and First Responders in your community.
On this day and everyday, SERVPRO of High Point salutes those heroes who arrive in the greatest times of need and stand strong in the face of disaster and adversity. These heroes are the First Responders who keep our communities safe in trying times.
Give back and make a difference in your community this year. There are many ways to volunteer and these avenues need to be explored in giving special reference to this day.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers or idling cars left running in garages. Taking some basic, precationary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure to have fuel-burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves inspected by a trained professional every year. Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace. Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home. Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked. If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueling engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice, or other materials. Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris. Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open. And finally, use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering your the home.
Always Celebrate Safely
The fourth of July is a time to celebrate with friends and family at a barbeque or picnic. With traditions like fireworks and bonfires, there may be some potential dangers along the way. In order to celebrate safely when it comes to these events, consider the following tips provided by the U.S. Fire Administration. The best way to enjoy fireworks is to view public fireworks displays put on by professionals. If you plan to use fireworks, ensure that they are legal in your area. Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks. If a device is not marked with the contents, directions, and a warning label, do not light it. Supervise children around fireworks at all times. Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a firework does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate. Pour water over it and dispose of it.
National Pet Fire Safety Day
National Pet Fire Safety Day is observed annually on July 15th. Just like fire drills, pets need consideration when preparing for unexpected fire emergencies. Our pets are as much a part of our family as any other member. This day stresses the importance of protecting them. Taking preventable measures now can both save your home and your pet. Many times our pets can cause a fire if we don't take the proper steps. Extinguish open flames. Pets are curious and certainly not cautious. Wagging tails haphazardly knock over candles. Curious kitties will paw at sizzling grease, quickly sending a kitchen up in flames. Remove knobs from the stove. When not in use, they can get accidently turned on. Consider flameless candles for ambiance and backup lighting in the event of a power outage. Replace glass water bowls with metal or plastic. Outside on wooden decks, they can heat up and actually start a fire. Store leashes and collars near the entrance of your home. When away, have your pets in the main living area for easy rescue. Secure young pets when away from home. This can help avoid fire hazards. Pet kennels or in a pet-proofed room are options. Fire alert window clings helps firefighters identifying the room your pets are located and identify the number of pets in the home. Add one to the window of the room you keep your pets when you are away. Keep it updated with the number of pets who reside with you and your current phone number. And finally, have a plan when you are home. Know which family members will be responsible for each pet.
What Causes Thunderstorms?
Thunderstorms form when an air mass becomes so unstable that it overturns (convects) violently. "Unstable" means that the air in the lowest layers is unusally warm and humid, or that the upper layers are unusually cool, or oftentimes, both. Pockets of rising near-surface air in an unstable air mass expand and cool, and as some of the water vapor present condenses into a cloud it releases heat, which then makes the air parcel even warmer, forcing it to rise still higher in the atmosphere. If the lower level air is sufficiently warm and humid, and the higher altitude air is sufficiently cool, this process continues until a tall convective cloud - the thunderstorm - is formed. Thunderstorms can cause significant damage to property. Homeowners know to call SERVPRO of High Point for any water or fire related issues.
Disaster Recovery Team
As a leader in water damage restoration, SERVPRO knows fast mitigation is the key to limiting business interruption. With an unmatched national footprint of over 1,700 franchises, SERVPRO's Disaster Recovery Team can provide trained crews faster to any size disaster and can be on-site within a few hours to help reduce the future damage that water can cause. SERVPRO has the right equipment, procedures and training to help ensure the structure is dry the first time, saving the customer time and money. There are specific tasks that need to be completed for structural drying to be performed correctly. There needs to be containment of the damaged area to reduce in-flow of water. Shrink-wrapping also needs to take place to control the inflow of moisture. And finally, water extraction, moisture mapping, selective demolition, containment, evaporation enhancement, dehumidification, temperature control and post-dry cleaning are all steps incorporated into these important procedures.
Superior Structural Drying Techniques
Our professional team utilizes specific tasks in structural drying procedures. These tasks include: Containment of damaged area to reduce in-flow of water. Shrink-wrapping of structures to control inflow of moisture. Water extraction to remove excess water from the structure. Moisture mapping to determine impacted areas of a structure. Selective demolition to remove wet building materials that cannot be economically dried in place. Containment to assure potential contaminents do not spread. Evaporation enhancement to remove moisture content from building materials. Dehumidification to remove excess water vapor from the structures' environments. Temperature control to assist in dehumidification and to prevent the onset of mold growth. Post-drying cleaning to remove any potential contaminents from dried building materials. Of course, the process varies by job and is monitored on a daily basis by trained SERVPRO of High Point professionals.
The Emergency Ready Profile
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile is a start up approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information. By working with the SERVPRO's Emergency Ready Profile, your business can receive the benefit of over 45 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO is a leader in the water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back to working order. Did you know that 50% of businesses may never reopen following a disaster? Of the businesses that survive, the majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at piece of mind. And knowing you are "Ready for whatever happens" speaks trust to your clients and employees that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don't necessarily have to be.
Ethical Business Practices
When you choose to work with SERVPRO of High Point, you can rest assured that our team will only do what is necessary to get your property back to its' original condition. We follow strict ethical guidelines that dictate we only remove and or treat affected areas, as we operate as a Company that practices "minimal invasion". The goal is to create lasting partnerships with our customers so they will not only call us the next time, but also refer us to friends and family. The goal is to save the homeowner and insurance company as much money as possible. We work as a team with both the homeowner and their insurance company. While working on their property, we are in daily communication with all involved parties.
What is Hoarding?
According to The Mayo Clinic, "Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of items, regardless of actual value, occurs." Many people with hoarding disorder do not find their habits to be a problem. Hoarded items are often things others would throw away or look at as junk or garbage such as old newspapers, junk mail, or packaging. Hoarding can lead to homes filled with extreme clutter to full capacity from years of accumulation, making living conditions unsanitary and crowded. Bugs, fleas, rats, and other vermin may be present, at which point an exterminator would need to be called. At times, hoarding may spread to outside the home as well, to storage facilities, or even the garage or yard.
Facts About Lightning
Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. Though the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only 1 in 500,000, some factors can put you at greater risk for being struck. Some lightning safety tips include being aware. Check the forecast before participating in outdoor activities. If it calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity, or make sure adequate safe shelter is available. It's also a good idea to go indoors. Find a safe, enclosed shelter when you hear thunder. Safe shelters include homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with the windows rolled up. Be sure to avoid windows, doors, porches, and concrete. Do not lie on concrete floors and avoid leaning on concrete walls. Lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. Lastly, avoid water. Do not bathe, shower, wash dishes, or have any other contact with water during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through a building's plumbing.
May Is National Building Safety Month
Building Safety Month-in its' 39th year-is an initiative of the International Code Council (ICC) and their 64,000 members across the world, as well as their partners in building construction and design, and the safety community. Building Safety Month is an opportunity to educate insurance and commercial property professionals, as well as the general public, on "what it takes to create safe, resilient, affordable, and energy-efficient homes and buildings," according to the ICC website. The theme for 2019 is No Code. No Confidence. and highlights managing disasters, specifically natural disasters, in week one of this year's campaign. Some of the topics and tips shared throughout the month include disaster preparedness, construction professionals, and innovations in building safety. The general public may not be aware how codes and code officials "improve and protect the places where we live, work, worship and play," and this month can certainly improve that awareness!
Duct Cleaning Protocol
SERVPRO of High Point uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime. The process begins by using patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct's shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins. Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system tranfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container. Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean. As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns. Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt. Finally, an HVAC company may be recommended for a blower wheel cleaning and evap coil cleaning.
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river or even in the desert, there is always potential for flood damage. Floodsmart.gov reports, in the last five years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. According to the American Red Cross (ARC), floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster. The ARC offers the following flood safety tips: Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet. If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water. Do you live in a potential flood risk zone? Check out FEMA's Flood Map Service Center by visiting msc.fema.gov, where you can easily enter your business, home, or other address to determine if your property is at risk for flooding based on a visual flood map.
When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup. There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminents to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals, and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals. When dealing with black water, it is imperative to wear the proper PPE to insure proper safety practices.
Unexpected water in your basement can damage walls and floors, destroy carpeting, ruin furniture, and lead - pretty quickly - to mold. And perhaps the most upsetting of all: As these places are so often used for storage, a wet basement can ruin irreplaceable items like photo albums, antiques, and family heirlooms. When you experience a flooded basement for the first time, it's imperative to determine if the water problems are going to recur or if it was a one-time event. Can you safely leave your property downstairs once you've got the mess cleaned up? Or does everything need to come upstairs immediately? What's certain is that if water in your basement is a consistent problem, it's time to start making decisions. Determining where the water is coming from is the first and most essential step in solving this problem. Beyond observable flooding around your home and in your neighborhood, there are four common sources of water entering basements: Surface water running down foundation walls. Groundwater in water-saturated soils being pushed into the basement by hydrostatic pressure. Storm sewer water from the municipal storm sewer system backing up into the home's existing perimeter foundation drain and leaking into the basement. Sanitary sewer water from a clog in your home's sewer line, the municipal sewer line, or the combined municipal storm/sanitary sewer system backing up into the home's drain system, causing sewer water to come up through sink drains and floor drains on lower levels. Each source has its own specifics and requires it own course of action. Find out more about your home's drainage system by consulting a contractor or plumber.
What is Sewer Backup?
While floods are probably best known for causing extensive water damage to homes and businesses, they can also cause sewage from sanitary sewer lines to back up into houses through drain pipes. These backups not only cause damage that is difficult and expensive to repair, but also create health hazards. Most homeowners and business owners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral-the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located under the street, and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that may extend into the street or public right of way. A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the sewer backup problems. To prevent backups in your lateral and in the city main you need to do several things. One is to dispose of grease properly. Do not wash grease down the drain with hot water. As the grease cools off, it will solidify either in the drain, the property owner's line, or in the main sewer causing the line to constrict and eventually clog. Another is to dispose of paper products properly. Paper towels, diapers, and feminine products can cause many problems in the property owner's lateral as well as in the city main because they do not deteriorate quickly, as bathroom tissue does. Next, you may want to replace your line with new plastic pipe. One way to prevent tree roots from entering your line is to replace your line and tap with new plastic pipe. If you still have problems with tree roots growing in your lateral, you may have to have roots cut periodically. Shrubs and trees seeking moisture can make their way into sewer line cracks causing extensive damage. They may start out small, getting into a small crack in the pipe; but as the tree or shrub continues to grow, so does the root. Tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and cause blockages. Sometimes a blockage is the result of a combination of city and private trees. In this case, costs are split between the city and property owner.
Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries. If you need help installing, testing, or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician, or the American Red Cross.
Emergency Ready Profile
With each new year, many people resolve to better themselves or some part of their life. This year, make a resolution to be READY. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can prepare for it. The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile, or ERP, will help ensure you are "Ready for whatever happens" in 2019. in the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save you time and money in the future. By downloading the free SERVPRO Ready App, this information is stored electronically and can be accessed using your mobile device putting help at your fingertips! Preparation is the key to making it through any size disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood. Having a plan in place may help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive and get you back in the building following a disaster. Don't wait until a disaster strikes, resolve to be READY!
A commercial cleaning service is more for those things that you will encounter in a business. Commercial waste clean up, or heavy cleaning are all things that define commercial cleaning. That is why some think that if you hire them for your home, they are going to clean better. The truth is that a commercial cleaning company cleans not better than a residential cleaning company, they only clean different things. When it comes to cleaning, the word commercial does not mean more industrial type cleaning, it literally means industrial cleaning and all it entails. Cleaning machinery, blank spaces, chemicals and other individual solvents, commercial cleaning services deal with a different type of condition and clientele. A residential cleaning service specializes in things around your home such as cleaning floors, bedrooms, and bathrooms. A commercial cleaning service cleans things such as offices, buildings, or retail stores. Commercial cleaning companies also focus on special event cleaning such as a fire or flood clean up. They have the industrial equipment needed to clean things that have succumb to severe water, or other types of damage. They are also the company that you call for construction clean ups, or after building renovations are done.
Property managers have a variety of responsibilities. They may be consulted on setting the rent, as they are familiar with comparable properties in the area. They of course, collect the rent, ensuring an optimal cash flow by setting a date to collect rent each month and strictly enforcing late fees. Property managers are also responsible for filling vacancies. They know where to advertise the rental and what to include in their ads. They also understand what attracts tenants, so they can offer tips to help makeover the property. They have a consistent screening process that includes running credit and background checks, which decreases their chances of being accused of discrimination. They handle leases and determine the amount of a security deposit. They handle complaints, emergencies, move outs, and evictions. Property managers are responsible for managing the budget and maintaining records. They can even be expected to assist the property owner in filing taxes for the property.
Facts about FEMA
If a home is destroyed in a storm that is later declared a disaster by the federal government and grants are made available, claims still need to be made through the homeowner's primary insurance company. Policyholders should understand that their home insurance is their primary source of coverage. Fema only pays AFTER insurance. When Superstorm Sandy hit the east coast in 2012, FEMA determined that there was enough damage to make an "individual assistance" declaration and they provided grants to homeowners to help them with temporary living expenditures such as finding food and shelter. The grants were not intended to rebuild their homes. The best practice is to review your insurance policy with your carrier on a yearly basis. This way you'll be current on what your coverage contains as it relates to the area where you live.
When storms hit, almost every homeowner affected files insurance claims immediately following the event. This means that insurance company adjusters are inundated with claims, phone calls and questions. Homeowners need to be patient with the process. In addition, during catastrophes, insurance companies may send in large teams of adjusters to deal with the high volume of claims. Catastrophe adjusters are often not permanent employees of the insurance company but rather contractors who are hired on a loss-by-loss basis to handle weather disasters across a nation. For that reason, they may only be available for a short time. They move on to other areas or go back home before claims are closed and then homeowners have to start again when the next group of adjusters arrive on the scene. Homeowners need to keep their own files and document everything so they won't have to start all over again when their file changes hands.
Usually apartment buildings with more than 20 units are managed by professional property management companies and those buildings with fewer than 20 units are usually managed by the owner and a live in property manager. Regardless of who is managing the apartment building it is important to follow some general principles and tips to make sure that operations run smoothly. The management of an apartment building should be efficiently run like any other business. The manager should look to improve the client-tenant living experience while minimizing costs and increasing profit opportunities whenever possible.They need to remember to follow the Fair Housing Rules, as well as, who is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the units. Many apartment complexes partner with SERVPRO of High Point in getting an Emergency Ready Profile completed. This helps cover the safety guidelines that they have to follow.
Commercial Carpet Cleaning
Commercial carpeting can be very challenging to clean utilizing the hot water extraction method. The main problem is that there is no airflow under the carpet; commercial carpet is glued directly to the floor. In your home, this method usually takes about 4 to 8 hours to dry. Because there is no pad between the carpet and floor to allow airflow in a commercial building, it can take several hours longer to dry. Slow drying times usually cause a problem known as wicking. Have you ever had your carpets cleaned and they look great when the job is done, but in the next day or two all your spots and stains come back? That is wicking. When carpet dries too slowly it pulls stains from the backing of the carpet to the tips of the fiber. When cleaning commercial carpeting, wicking is a big challenge.
Dangers of Extreme Cold
While your home can get damaged due to winter weather and extreme cold, your personal health is also at risk. Fifty three people died and three were injured due to extreme cold in 2015. It is important to be aware of the effect extremely cold temperatures can have on you. The two main conditions to be aware of are frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite is caused when your skin is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Physical symtoms are white or grayish-yellow skin, skin that feels unusually firm, or waxy numbness. Hypothermia is when your body temperature falls to an abnormally low temperature, caused from long exposure to cold weather. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. If someone's body temperature is below 95 degrees F, seek medical attention immediately. To avoid these conditions, stay indooors if possible. If not, dress warm in layers and try to keep dry.
Frozen pipes are often those exposed to the cold weather, such as those outside your house, or in cold areas such as basements, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly. To prevent pipes from freezing, here are a few steps you can take, according to The American Red Cross: Be sure to completely drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler lines, as well as, outside hoses. Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air circulate near the plumbing. When the weather is extremely cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes. Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night. And call SERVPRO of High Point if you do experience a pipe burst that results in a water loss.
Source containment may be used to address relatively small areas of mold growth, or in combination with other engineering controls to reduce the amount of spores released and dust generated. Source containment may be used alone when fungal growth is limited to small, visible, controllable areas where no hidden mold growth is anticipated. In areas where there is limited visible mold, and hidden mold growth is anticipated, a more extensive containment is recommended. Source containment methods may also be used within areas of more extensive mold growth in conjunction with other forms of containment. Examples of source containment methods include: taping polyethylene sheeting or using self-adhering plastic on the moldy surface or material before removing; and wrapping, bagging, and securely enclosing moldy contents or materials in 6-mil poly or comparable packaging.
Local containment may be used when "moderate levels" of fungal growth are visible or suspected. A structural enclosure can be built to contain the work area and separate it from the unaffected section of a structure. PVC pipe, wood framing, or spring-loaded expansion poles can be used to build an enclosure, which then is covered with an appropriate poly material. Constructing structural support is not always necessary if the isolation barrier can be securely attached to wall and ceiling surfaces. One or two layers of 6-mil polyethylene sheeting may be used to cover the enclosure or to erect isolation barriers. HEPA-filtered air filtration devices are installed to create a negative pressure differential in relation to surrounding areas. For further information, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of High Point.
Fix leaks immmediately. Clean and dry wet or damp spots immediately. Remove mold-contaminated materials. Regularly inspect and maintain heating, ventilating, and HVAC systems. Routinely inspect and clean HVAC drip pans, check power flow and that drain is unobstructed. Maintain low indoor humidity, ideally 30-60%. Vent moisture-generating equipment to the outside, where possible. Increase surface temperature by reducing the humidity to prevent condensation that results when surface temperature is below dew point temperature. Keep gutters and downspouts in working order and ensuring that they drain water away from the foundation. Remove wet, absorbent structural items and cloth furnishings if they cannot be easily and thoroughly cleaned and dried within 48 hours. Replace with new materials as soon as the underlying structure is thoroughly dry.
Hurricane Florence Facts
Hurricane Florence was a powerful and long-lived Cape Verde hurricane that caused severe damage in the Carolinas in September 2018, primarily as a result of freshwater flooding. Florence dropped a maximum total of 35.93 inches of rain in Elizabethtown, North Carolina, becoming the wettest tropical cyclone recorded in the Carolinas and also the eighth-wettest overall in the contiguous United States. The sixth named storm, third hurricane, and the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Florence originated from a strong tropical wave that emerged off the west coast of Africa on August 30, 2018. Steady organization resulted in the formation of a tropical depression on the next day near Cape Verde. Progressing along a steady west-northwest trajectory, the system acquired tropical storm strength on September 1, and fluctuated in strength for several days over an open ocean. An unexpected bout of rapid intensification ensued on September 4-5, culminating with Florence becoming a Category 4 major hurricane.
Hurricane Michael Facts
Hurricane Michael was the third most intense Atlantic hurricane to make landfall in the contiguous United States in terms of pressure, behind the 1935 Labor Day hurricane and Hurricane Camille of 1969, as well as the strongest Atlantic hurricane to form in the month of October since Hurricane Wilma. It was also the strongest storm in terms of maximum sustained wind speed to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992. In addition, it was the strongest storm on record in the Florida panhandle, and was the fourth-strongest landfalling hurricane in the United States, in terms of wind speed. By October 28, at least 60 deaths had been attributed to the storm, including 45 in the United States and 15 in Central America. Hurricane Michael caused at least $14.58 billion in damages, and at least $3.3 billion in insurance claims.
October Is Fire Prevention Month
October is Fire Prevention Month - a perfect time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year? The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) designates a week each October to focus on fire prevention awareness. The 2018 theme is "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere." This theme hopes to create awarenes in the steps necessary to reduce the chance of a fire and how to react in the event a fire does happen. The NFPA states the following: "LOOK" for places fire could start. Identify potential hazards and take care of them. "LISTEN" for the sound of the smoke alarm. "LEARN" two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
Cleaning Animal Stains
Cats may be considered one of the cleanest animals and dogs may be man's best friend, but neither is necessarily a carpet's best friend. Neglected animal stains have always been a problem. Two types of reaction can take place between the chemicals in the urine and those in the fiber dye. Some dyes change color as soon as urine comes in contact with them. Often original color can be restored by immediate addition of a weak solution of ammonia and white vinegar. Pick an inconspicuous area of the carpet and test small amounts of solution to determine its effect on the fiber and dye. The other change develops slowly over a period of several months and results in permanent change of fiber dye. Along with the dye change, some fibers become weakened or destroyed. After cleaning, these areas are more obvious because the soil, which hid the true color, has been removed.
Sometimes stains are hidden by soil and revealed after cleaning. These stains, which did not immediately cause discoloration, are usually from spilled liquids containing colorless sugar which remains on the fibers. After long exposure to the air, hidden stains change to insoluble brown stains, but are not always noticed because of dirt covering them. Other kinds of stains can be caused by water soaking through and absorbing sizing, browning or fugitive dyes from the backs of the material. Because the fibers act as wicks, moisture will rise to the surface and evaporate, and discoloration will be left. Carpet owners who try to remove stains by using the wrong cleaning compounds and procedures may make the stained areas more noticeable. To lessen the possibility of stain damage, immediate action should be taken. Call SERVPRO of High Point to learn how to remove the spot safely before it becomes a permanent stain.
BIohazard, Vandalism, and Crime Scene Cleanup
Recognized as a leading fire and water cleanup and restoration provider of hundreds of insurance companies nationwide, SERVPRO of High Point professionals offer fast, reliable biohazard and crime scene cleanup and restoration services to residential and commercial property owners. Exposure to biological and chemical contaminents can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers, and owners. A failure to properly handle and safely remove such hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous environments. The professionals at SERVPRO of High Point are trained to safely and effectively remove biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA, and NC State and local health regulations. Equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products, SERVPRO of High Point can help turn unsafe environments into clean, safe homes and offices. These services include cleanup of bloodborne pathogens, methamphetamine labs, crime scene residues, arson, vandalism, sewage backups, black water intrusions, and mold mitigation and remediation.
What Not to Do If You Have Water Damage
Don't enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist. Don't enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrial equipment are exposed to water. Don't leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining. Don't leave oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining. Don't use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner. Don't use tv's or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors. Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
What To Do If You Have Water Damage
Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source. Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building, when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock. Remove as much excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items. Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying. Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting. Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable and sensitive to moisture. Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors. Hang draperies and coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
What To Do If You Have Fire and Smoke Damage
Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet. Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas. If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor. Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant. If heat is off during the winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs, to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures. Wash both sides of leaves on house plants. Change the HVAC filter, but leave the system off until a trained professional can check the system. Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
Reducing Mold In Your Property
Molds are found in every environment, and mold spores reproduce rapidly when moisture is present. One study found that excessive dampness indoors encourages the growth of molds and other organisms, causing a public health problem. The EPA advised that the potential health concerns from molds are an important reason to prevent moisture problems leading to mold growth. It is especially important to clean up existing indoor mold growth to increase property value and retain its value. If a property has experienced a water intrusion, SERVPRO of High Point can inspect the damage to see whether moisture has penetrated materials or is allowing mold growth. Organic materials found inside a property, such as wood, paper, drywall and insulation, provide food sources for mold to flourish. Be diligent in your efforts to keep mold from growing within your property.
SERVPRO F1rst Responder Bowl
In a joint effort to honor the service and sacrifice of America's First Responders, the annual college football game played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas Texas has been remaned the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl! Kickoff for the newly christened SERVPRO First Responder Bowl is set for December 26, 2018 at 1:30pm EST and will be televised by ESPN. The 2018 SERVPRO First Responder Bowl is the ninth edition of the bowl game, formerly known as the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and part of the 89-year history of games being played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium. This bowl game partnership began last year during Hurricane Harvey. For the past several years, SERVPRO has been aligned with the American Red Cross to collectively contribute over $1.5 million to the effort. First responders to be honored include police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, correctional officers, search and rescue, dispatchers, security guards, federal agents, border patrol agents and military personnel who have specialized training and are the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency.
Destroy Odors With Deodorization
Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke, and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems. As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors. With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO of High Point provides specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO of High Point does not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the sources of the odor. If you suffer from a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact SERVPRO of High Point. Whether it's fire, water, or mold damage, or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we'll make it "Like it never even happened."
Dangers Of Fireworks...
FIREWORKS SAFETY!!! It's fireworks season! According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), an average of 18,500 fires are started every year by fireworks. This includes 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. "These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage", says the NFPA. Do you think sparklers are the safe way to go ? NOPE: they account for about a fourth of emergency room fireworks injuries. STAY SAFE THIS SUMMER by paying close attention to children at firework events, and avoiding the use of consumer fireworks. It is always suggested to go to an approved fire works display as to minimize any harm that may come to you and your family.
CELEBRATE SAFELY WITH A RECIPE FOR SAFETY
Each November, families father to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains, away from stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times the average number.
IS YOUR PROPERTY WINTER READY?
Cold weather can have a huge impact on your home or business if you are not properly prepared. Whether it is heavy rain, freezing temperatures, damaging winds, sleet or snow, all can cause serious and costly property damage. While you cannot control the weather, you can take steps to be prepared and help take the sting out of winter weather.
To help prevent costly damages due to weather, consider taking the following precautions to protect your property before colder weather hits.
- Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Weather, such as wind, heavy rain, ice and snow, can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.
- Roofs, water pipes and gutters should all be inspected to ensure they are in proper order. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from your building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during fall. Leaves and other obstructions can lead to a damming effect, that can lead to roof damage and interior water problems.
- Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
- Inspect all handrails, stairwells and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
- Protect water pipes from freezing by simply allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing. If pipes are under a cabinet, leave the cabinet doors open allowing warm inside air to circulate around the pipes. If the building has outdoor faucets, consider shutting water off at the main valve in the basement or crawlspace. Once the valve is off, open the outdoor faucet to ensure it drains, preventing any remaining water from freezing in the pipe.
- Ask your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals about completing an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your business. The ERP is a no cost assessment to your facility, and provides you with a plan to get back in business fast following a disaster.
- When winter weather strikes, call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to strike back.
- SERVPRO Franchise Professionals help meet the real needs of insurers and property owners by supplying reliable and consistent service. The first steps taken in a disaster situation can mean the difference between recovery and total loss.
Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips
Most everyone is aware that water problems can lead to mold growth…let’s look at some simple steps you can take to help prevent mold growth. We know that water is needed for the growth of mold, so I want to share with you the EPA’s Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips from their website, www.epa.gov.
- Act quickly with water leaks or spills occur indoors. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases, you can prevent mold growth.
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly to keep outside water from penetrating inside your home and creating a moisture problem inside the walls and ceiling of your home.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from your home’s foundation so water cannot collect or enter at the foundation
- Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
- Keep indoor humidity low (between 30 and 50 percent is ideal but anything below 60 percent relative humidity is good). Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
- If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, act quickly to dry the wet surface. Condensation can
be a sign of high humidity.
Ways to reduce humidity and prevent condensation include:
- Vent appliances (such as clothes dryers and stoves) to the outside of the house when possible.
- Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering.
- Use exhaust fans when cooking or running the dishwasher.
- Cover cold surfaces such as cold water pipes with insulation.
Increase ventilation or air movement by opening
doors and windows (whenever practical) or using fan
Are You "Plugged In"?
A recent report from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) shows home electrical fires claim the lives of 280 Americans each year and also create over 1,000 injuries. Overloaded circuits and extension cords are the cause of most electrical fires in the home and workplace. December and January are the peak months for electrical fires. According to the USFA, the peak in fires is due to the increased time spent indoors, which also increases the use of lighting, heating and appliances. Many electrical fires can be avoided if the most basic safety precautions are taken.
- Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
- Replace any electrical tool or appliance if it overheats, shorts out, causes electrical shocks, or gives off smoke or sparks.
- If an appliance has a three-pronged plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets.
Protein Fires Are A Unique Challenge
Protein Fire Pot
Contrary to most house fires that occur, the typical kitchen fire or “protein fire” produce little visible smoke residue. Protein fires create an especially unique restoration challenge. The low level of heat reduces the animal fat and food protein and leaves a thin layer of film on surfaces. Many homeowners mistakenly underestimate the damage as there may be little or no black residue that you would expect to see after a typical fire. The layer of film that is produced from these fires can create a rancid strong odor that also compromises the structure and contents. These protein residues penetrate cabinets, drawers, air ducts, furniture, clothing, draperies etc. Here are some important facts regarding this type of fire.
- Protein fires generally leave little visible residue that can sometimes be overlooked at first.
- They create a significantly more repugnant smell than most other fires.
- The nature of the burn causes the odor to permeate structure and furniture even more completely than other fires.
- Require extremely thorough cleaning by a trained professional to remove the odor.
- Sometimes require a sealing agent or even repainting to completely eradicate the odor.
- May require multiple attempts and methods to achieve customer satisfaction.
It is also important to recognize that perception of odor is highly individual. There are no tools available to “measure” smell, and as a result, a homeowner may perceive odors that technicians or even neighbors cannot. Often, because of the strong link between smell and memory, a homeowner may experience “phantom odors” where the memory of the event causes reproduction of the odor even after thorough cleaning. It takes extensive cleaning of walls, floors, ceilings and contents of the home to rid the home of these odors and should be handled by professional cleaning and restoration company no matter what size of job.
Fire Extinguisher Tips
Make sure when choosing a fire extinguisher for your home or business that you choose the right class of extinguisher for the job. Fire extinguishers are broken into classes and each class is designed to extinguish different types of fires. Here are the different classes of extinguishers:
Class A – This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.
Class B – Used on fires involving flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline and oil.
Class C – Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electrically charged or plugged in.
Class D – For use on flammable metals; often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found only in factories working with these metals.
Class K – Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. These extinguishers are generally found in commercial kitchens, but are becoming more popular in the residential market for use in kitchens.
***Information provided by the National Fire Protection Association.
Occasionally, you may have smoke damage in your home that seems harmless. Some examples of these incidents are burning a dinner, “puff-backs” from a furnace, smoke from a candle or lamp, or even a small fire from an appliance that you are to put out quickly with an extinguisher…but what about the smoke? Experienced fire restoration professionals know that areas seemingly unaffected by fire damage are still a danger to homeowners. Smoke can penetrate within cavities of the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Smoke can coat your entire home with soot and leave toxic residues that can act as an irritant if not properly cleaned and can cause health issues. Now, before I go further, I would like to point out that planning ahead to prevent fires in the home is the best thing you can do.
Here are some things you may not know about smoke:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, using holes around pipes and your HVAC duct work to go from floor to floor and throughout your home.
- There are several types of smoke which affect how it acts and determines what type of cleaning process is required.
Types of smoke include:
- Wet smoke – results from smoldering fires with low heat. Residues are sticky, smeary and with pungent odors. Smoke webs can be difficult to clean.
- Dry Smoke – results from fast burning fires at high temperatures. Residues are often dry, powdery, small, non-smeary smoke particles.
- Protein Smoke – here’s your burning chicken. Virtually invisible residues that discolor paints and varnishes. Extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel-Oil Soot Smoke – this is a result of a furnace malfunction (commonly known as a “puff-back”)
When having someone clean up smoke damage in your home, it’s important that they perform an inspection and do pretesting. A fire damage restoration professional should determine the extent of the smoke and fire damage, make sure unaffected areas are protected, determine which materials can be restored and which need to be replaced, and the most effective cleaning methods. These steps also allow the focus to be on saving precious items and keepsakes for you.
Water damage can be costly and a big inconvenience. It can occur as a result of many circumstances and you cannot control all of the sources or situations that may lead to water damage. However, there are things you can do to reduce the possibility of water damages occurring. Today we are going to focus on Plumbing as the cause. Here are the most common reasons for water damage in your home or business as a result of plumbing:
- Faulty Construction
- Malfunctioning Water Filtration System
- Problems with Dishwasher Supply Line
- Sink Malfunction
- Problems with Ice Maker Water Supply Line
- Toilet Overflow or Back-up
- Malfunctioning Water Heater
- Frozen Pipes – Pipe Breaks / Leaks
- Problems with the Clothes Washer Water Supply Line
It is always good to keep a check on the plumbing areas you can see…toilets, sinks, refrigerators and washing machines to make sure they are in good running order. By routinely checking, you could find any small problem before it becomes a major problem. This could save you from having a major issue in your home.
Good News…Bad News
Good News Bad News...
Before you end up on the roof waiting for a ride…make sure you are prepared for whatever happens. We can help get life back to normal once the storm has passed but it helps to be prepared before it arrives.
Basic Emergency Supply Kit
In celebration of National Preparedness Month here is a list of recommended items for a basic emergency supply kit:
- Water (one gallon of water per person per day)
- Food (non-perishable – 3 day supply)
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferably an NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid kit
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Dust masks or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities (if necessary)
- Local Maps
- Hygiene items
- Important documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information
- Fire Extinguisher
- Matches in a water proof container
Make sure you are prepared for whatever happens.
Basement Waterproofing is needed anytime a structure is built at ground level or below ground. Waterproofing and drainage considerations are especially needed in cases where ground water is likely to build up in the soil and raise the water table. This higher water table causes hydrostatic pressure to be exerted underneath basement floors and against basement walls. Hydrostatic pressure
forces water in through cracks in foundation walls, through openings caused by expansion and contraction of the footing-foundation wall joint and up through floor cracks. Hydrostatic pressure can cause major structural damage to foundation walls and is likely to contribute to mold, decay and other moisture related problems.
Warning signs that you have waterproofing problems in your basement can include:
- Signs of Mold and Mildew Fungus - this can grow in damp or dark areas, and cause discoloration, or musty odors.
- Moldy Odors - This is the result of the decay process from mold, and dry rot.
- Peeling Paint – This is a sign that you have moisture problems and may have waterproofing issues.
- Damp Spots on Walls – Water has absorbed through your walls and you need to confirm the source of the water.
- White Substance on Basement Walls – This is a chemical breakdown of the bonding agent that holds your walls together. This white substance can be a sign of possible structural deterioration.
- Cracked Walls – These should be inspected to determine the exact cause.
- Rust on Appliances or Furniture Like furnaces – Rust is caused by a wet environment and can be a sign of waterproofing issues.
If you have on-going occurrences in your basement you may need to investigate on procedures to waterproof your basement. Mold remediation can be handled professionally but but if the source is not repaired you will be dealing with the various signs above over and over again. If any of these signs sound familiar please make sure you look into fixing the source of the water intrusion instead of fixing the affects of the water damage time after time. It may cost money up front but it will save you money in the long run and help to maintain the structural integrity of the home.
Hire The Right Contractor
Carpet cleaning by the lowest bidder.
If this is your idea of a carpet cleaning…you may want to keep our phone number close at hand. Carpet cleaning is not expensive and should be done routinely but buyer beware…if you don’t hire the right company you can end up with too much water and chemicals left in your carpet which can lead to additional problems that you did not want. Hire the right company and you won’t have a problem. Hire this guy and you will have a bigger problem than stains on your carpet…you will have mold on your carpet! And mold is an entire different story altogether! Not only does it smell bad, but it can cause permanent damage to your carpet and it will need to be replaced!
A Leaky Roof Can Lead to Trouble
If you see spots in the ceiling like this one it may be time to have your roof inspected for a potential leak.
If you discover that your roof is leaking it is extremely important to take prompt action to have it repaired. Not doing so may put your entire home at risk. If your roof is leaking, even if it only appears to be a minor leak, this could be an indicator of a much greater problem. Even a small leak in your roof can cause a great deal of damage if it persists long enough, so make sure you do not let it continue once a leak is discovered.
Usually a roof leak will be noticed from inside of the home when water rings or ceiling stains form on the ceiling. A leak of any kind can create an environment that can lead to ceiling instability, water intrusion through cracks or electrical receptacles, deterioration of the structure and even mold growth. Water Damage can really damage the structure of a home and the repairs can be costly. Early detection and proactive maintenance can greatly reduce the damage and cost of these repairs. It may be difficult to readily identify the source of the water intrusion, which is why water rings or leaks should never be ignored. Roofs are one of the biggest protectors of our home and over time they can become damaged due to bad weather, harsh climates and poor maintenance. The strength and longevity of a roof can also be compromised due to poor quality materials or improper installation so make sure you hire a professional company with experience who stands behind their work.
Once a roofing company is contacted, they should do whatever is necessary
initially to protect the inside of your home from more moisture. Usually, a roofing company will use tarps to protect the interior of your home from further damage until the roof is repaired or replaced. Fortunately, a roof assessment can reveal if the damage occurred due to storm damage and sometimes insurance companies provide coverage for this scenario. When it comes to protecting your home, investing in quality materials and workmanship is always worth the cost!
SERVPRO of High Point wishes you a safe and happy summer!
Summer is a time to enjoy the great outdoors, but it is important to also keep safety in mind. Consider the following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association, to keep your family safe all summer long.
It's The Water You Don't See
Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time. The key to avoid costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO of High Point has the equipment, training and experience to find and dry the unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. We will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment.
Here are just some of the tools we use:
Moisture Sensors which are used to detect moisture in carpets baseboards or walls.
Moisture Meters which are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. This allows us to monitor the drying process with accuracy.
- Thermohygrometers which are used to measure the temperature and relative humidity of a structure. This allows us to create an environment most conducive for drying.
There are many other tools and equipment used to make sure we can discover the water you don’t see and make sure it does not become a problem for you in the future. The bottom line is your SERVPRO professionals have the equipment, technology, training, and experience to help make your fire, water and mold problems “Like it never even happened.”
Spring Is Here…Are Your Ducts Clean?
If you have not cleaned your ducts in the last year they might look like this one.
When the words “Spring Cleaning” become a common conversation topic everyone begins to think of cleaning out closets, cleaning the floors, walls, ceilings, garage, attic, and even sprucing up the yard. However, one topic that rarely comes up is cleaning out the HVAC ducts. On average Americans spend 93 percent of their time indoors which can be problematic if your home or work has poor air quality due to ducts that have not been cleaned. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) indoor air pollution levels are often higher than outdoor levels.
Dirty HVAC system ducts can circulate odors, mold spores, and dust particles throughout your home or office. Keeping your duct work clean not only provides fresh clean air but can also extend the life of the equipment by allowing it to consistently operate at peak condition. A certified professional can clean your ducts and provide you with a clean environment and a better performing HVAC system. An inspection of your HVAC system can save you money, provide you peace of mind and prolong the life of your equipment.
So contact your franchise professional today and add Duct Cleaning to your “Spring Cleaning” routine.
Remember – Green Means Clean!
If it has been a while since you have completely cleaned your home, there may be some surprises awaiting you. If you discover Mold please make sure you have it cleaned up by a professional company who specializes in Mold Remediation. It’s not just your home…it’s also your health that can be at risk. So call SERVPRO of High Point with the confidence that SERVPRO Green Means everything is Clean! SERVPRO of High Point follows IICRC standards and we make sure that all of our products are in line with these standards. Mold can be the result of a water intrusion that exists in the wall cavity and is not visible to you. Make sure if you have any musty odors present, that you call a trained professional.
This blog was created for the purpose of providing meaningful and accurate information on Commercial and Residential Cleanup & Restoration. We hope to provide an educational (and sometimes fun) resource to inform you about important topics in the restoration industry. We also hope you find the information discussed within to be both beneficial and entertaining. Please check back periodically for updates and let us know what you think…your opinion matters. You can also check-out our SERVPRO of High Point Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @SERVPROHP. Your opinion is very important to us, and helps us improve in a variety of ways. It is input from YOU that keeps us improving, and thus, helps us grow and to keep our doors open. So please contact us at any time. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!