Prevent Water Damage During Your Vacation
When leaving for vacation, few people consider prepping their homes against water damage. You go through your checklist of turning off the coffee pot and stove and locking all the doors, but what happens if you have a leak and need a water pipe repair while you are away? A broken pipe can do a lot of damage, especially if it is left unattended for several days.
Prepping Your Home
Before leaving for an extended vacation, check your home for leaks. Examine the pipes under the sink and the water heater for any cracks or rust. Inspect the hoses that connect to any appliances. Insulate any exposed pipes if you are leaving in the winter. A pipe that burst due to freezing needs water pipe repair immediately. Ask a neighbor, friend or family member if they can check in on your home periodically. If no one can check on your home, turn off the main water and drain the pipes.
It is important to not only prep your home to prevent damage from a leak but also from a storm. Make sure your gutters are cleaned and water can flow freely through them. Check your sump pump. Clear out any debris you see. Test it by filling the sump pit and turning on the pump. Check your window seals and your roof for any leaks. All of these checks are especially important if any heavy rains or storms are expected in your area.
Returning from a vacation to find your house flooded can be devastating. Standing water can cause real damage to your home. A simple water pipe repair can escalate into a big problem if no one is there to address the issue. Take the time to prep your home against intruding water before you leave. That way you can enjoy your time away without worries.
Mold Remediation And Mold Testing In Florence
You would think a company that does mold remediation would also do the testing of mold, right? Well, SERVPRO does not and here are our reasons why.
Given that we are a Cleaning and Remediation Company, we have determined that being certified to be an Industrial Hygienist (IH) is veering too far from our profession. Mold remediation and mold testing require different sets of training, certifications, and professional equipment. For remediation purposes, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) offers a course called, Applied Microbial Remediation Technician (AMRT). In this course technicians learn how to properly remediate mold, but not test for it. For testing purposes, you must have a 4 year bachelor’s degree in the particular field as well as specific IH courses. Click here for more about becoming an Industrial Hygienist.
In addition, a company that does both testing and remediation of mold could potentially appear to be skewing test results in order for their remediation to pass. To avoid this conflict of interest, we not only have another company do the testing but we also have the customer call in the IH rather than bringing them in ourselves as a subcontractor of our services. This ensures that the IH is working for the customer’s best interest.
So where do you start?
If you believe that you have a mold problem your first step is to find the source and stop it. Next, we would recommend that you call in an Industrial Hygienist to come out and test the area. A protocol will be written based off of the testing and, if you do indeed have a substantial amount of mold present that needs to be remediated, that is where SERVPRO of the Quad Cities comes in. With the protocol in hand, we are able to properly assess the area and determine the extent as well as type of cleaning that will be needed to get your home or business back to preloss condition.
If you have more questions give us a call 256-383-4470.
Steps For Cleaning Up Sewage Backup
A sewer backup is a nightmare for business owners in Florence or Muscle Shoals. Any flooded toilet or backed-up sewage is black water. This is water filled with bacteria and pathogens. Since it is dangerous for your building, it is imperative that you have experts in charge of the sewer cleanup. Here are the four steps that they are likely to follow.
Always call someone at the first sign of a sewage backup at your company. A professional should respond immediately and act as soon as possible. Experts know the risk of contaminated standing water. They want to help you get rid of it quickly. Keep in mind that it only takes about 24 hours for mold or mildew to grow after a flood.
Once the company arrives, they will inspect the building to judge the scope of the damage. The restoration company can use this information to design a cleanup plan. They will look for signs of water damage, mold and trapped water.
The sewer cleanup can be broken into several steps. First, the non-salvageable items are removed. Then, professionals can clean and remove salvageable contents. After those items are taken out and cleaned, crews will focus on the building itself. Demolition may take place next. They may have to remove drywall, carpeting and paneling.
Once the experts clean and disinfect your business, you can focus on the restoration. This is the step where you can replace old furniture, reinstall carpets and choose new paneling. The goal is for your company to be as good as new.
Sewer cleanup is a long process. Each step is important to the well being of your building, yourself and your patrons. If you do not clean up the contaminated water correctly, it can lead to worse damage.
Visit http://www.SERVPROthequadcities.com for more information on commercial water damage.
Help If Your Dishwasher Leaks
Many times in a kitchen water damage is caused by the appliances. Since there is a water line running to the dishwasher it is common for it to malfunction and cause a huge mess in your kitchen.
SERVPRO can be on site quickly and begin to mitigate the damages. The important thing is not to let the water sit for too long. This can start to cause secondary damages like mold and other types of microbial growth.
Once on site our team will quickly extract all of the water. Then they will start to place drying equipment throughout the home. Each day they will monitor the drying progress until the area is completely dry.
After that they can replace any damaged materials and have your home back to preloss condition.
Scattered Afternoon Thunderstorms
Hot and humid with scattered afternoon thunderstorms - another summer day in Alabama.
Scattered afternoon thunderstorms are a common way of life here in North Alabama during the summer months. If you had a dollar for every time you've heard that phrase on the weather forecast, you could retire early and quite comfortably.
Here are some facts about thunderstorms you can use to impress your friends, co-workers, or kids.
- The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter and lasts an average of 30 minutes.
- Nearly 1,800 thunderstorms are happening at any moment around the world. That's 16 million a year!
- Every thunderstorm produces lightning, which kills more people each year than tornadoes.
- You can estimate how many miles away a storm is by counting the number of seconds between the flash of lightning and the clap of thunder. Divide the number of seconds by five to get the distance in miles.
- The lightning is seen before the thunder is heard because light travels faster than sound.
- Most thunderstorms form between 2:00 and 10:00 p.m.
- A severe thunderstorm has winds at least 58 miles per hour or hail at least three-fourths of an inchin diameter.
- The Gulf Coast averages between 100 and 110 days per year with thunder reported, which eastern and northwest Alabama have 70 to 80 thunderstorm days per year.
- Occasionally, thunderstorms are severe with frequent lightning and large hail – the central and northern parts of Alabama are most vulnerable to this type of storm and are especially prone to tornadoes.
- Alabama ranks seventh in the number of deaths from lightning and ninth in the number of deaths from lightning strikes per capita.
Check out this previous blog post for safety tips and follow us on Twitter for more facts and tips.
Removing Skunk Odor From Your Home
SERVPRO technicians are trained to identify and eliminate offensive odors, no matter how potent.
Anyone who lives in Alabama knows that a drive down the back roads and highways during springtime can be full of beautiful scenery, especially in rural communities like the Shoals. Bradford Pear trees in bloom. Those first Buttercups. Old barns. Cows. Horses. The list goes on.
There are also some, uh, interesting smells like when the farmers have fertilized the fields off 6th Street in Leighton and the occasional, unmistakable aroma of a skunk. Everybody in Alabama knows what that smells like.
Every once in a while, one of those little skunks invades someone’s home. They can take up residence in your crawlspace or even come right into your home via the doggy door. And they leave behind their signature odor.
Funny side story - last month a guy up north decided to DIY the problem by using smoke bombs in his crawl space. Yes, he almost burned his house down in the process and no dead skunks were found in the aftermath. Don’t be like that guy! Leave the job to professionals to handle. Get a pest control company out there first to remove the animal and then call SERVPRO to get rid of the smell.
How do you get rid of it?
Masking and other shortcuts don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent. Our SERVPRO technicians can help get the odor out of your home. We can also handle the laundry and any other contents that may have absorbed the odor. We have served the Florence/Muscle Shoals area for 21 years and have handled many skunk odor jobs over the years.
Insulation Absorbs Water Like A Sponge
The insulation in the ceiling absorbed much of the water from a burst pipe.
After experiencing a water damage, the affected materials absorb water based on how porous they are along with other factors. This directly impacts whether an affected material is considered "salvageable," as in it can be dried in place, or "non-salvageable," as in it needs to be removed because it will negatively impact the drying of the salvageable materials. Needless to say, wall and ceiling insulation doesn't stand a chance!
It can be very difficult to dry insulation in place and, in most cases, it will impede the drying process for the surrounding materials and keep them in a dangerous place as far as moisture content. This will keep the humidity of the affected area elevated and can provide ideal circumstances for mold growth. Thus, SERVPRO of the Quad Cities will remove non-salvageable materials such as insulation to determine a feasible and responsible drying plan. The goal is to keep overall restoration costs down and keep your structure sanitary. The insulation in the picture from a water damaged home in Florence, AL as a result of a pipe leak shows how saturated the material has become - it's gotta go! But once out of the picture, the surrounding structure can dry more easily and efficiently and we can get you back to normal sooner and safer!
How Often Do You Inspect Your Crawlspace?
When was the last time you poked around in your crawlspace? Likely it was directly related to something going wrong, unless you also use this space for storage. So who is maintaining your crawlspace? Keeping an eye on things? Making sure it stays clean and dry?
If you are like most of the Shoals area home and business owners that we at SERVPRO of the Quad Cities come in contact with, you likely answered "no one" for most if not all of these questions. That is why we often get the call once some sort of issue causes you to explore your crawlspace - such as a leak - only to find that it is now full of mold!
If you find mold, mildew, or any kind of microbial growth in your crawlspace, call us! SERVPRO of the Quad Cities has the training and resources to provide a comprehensive job scope to take care of the symptoms and the cause. We will remediate the existing mold and take preventative measures to keep it from coming back; all the while explaining to you the process, the products, and everything in between, so you know what is going on and are comfortable with the process.
Frozen Sprinkler Pipes
Every winter thousands of sprinkler pipes freeze and burst because of lack heat or inadequate insulation.
We received over 100 calls from customers with frozen and busted pipes earlier this month. Several area businesses had water damage when the lines in their fire protection sprinklers frozen and burst. Our crews provided water damage restoration services for a restaurant in Sheffield, a dentist/oral surgery center in Sheffield and a nonprofit organization in Tuscumbia after the sprinkler pipes froze and burst.
When water freezes, it expands up to 10 percent in volume. Sprinkler pipes tend to freeze before other water pipes because the water is not moving. When a frozen sprinkler pipe bursts, the result is always extensive water damage. Where the pipe bursts and the time it takes to shut off the water will influence the amount of water damage to the property.
If your business has experienced water damage because of frozen sprinkler pipes, this is the first indication that you need additional freeze protection to prevent this from happening again. The following points will help reduce the risk of frozen sprinkler pipes.
- Maintain heat in all buildings and units
- Require an annual service and maintenance contract on all fire sprinkler systems
- Provide additional insulation for pipes in unheated areas such as attics
- Install water flow alarms to alert occupants that water is flowing in the sprinkler system
- Install freeze alarms to warn of potential freezing conditions before the pipes freeze
Additional information on freeze protection is available through the National Fire Protection Association (www. nfpa.org).
Ten Fire Safety Tips
With the Christmas holiday upon us, now is a good time to review some fire safety tips to help you and your family stay safe while celebrating the holiday. Some simple prevention steps can aid in helping you prevent a fire in your home.
1. Watch your cooking - Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Never allow young children around the stove or oven, especially if they are not closely attended.
2. Give space heaters space - Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn.
3. Smoke outside - If you must smoke inside, have a sturdy, deep ashtray. Never smoke in bed.
4. Keep matches and lighters out of reach - Keep matches and lighters in high cabinets, preferably under a child lock.
5. Inspect electrical cords - Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have bro- ken plugs or have loose connections.
6. Be careful when using candles - Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn. Blow them out before you leave the room or go to sleep.
7. Have a fire escape plan - Make a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
8. Install smoke alarms - Install alarms on every level of your office or home and inside bedrooms. Interconnect them so they all sound at once.
9. Test smoke alarms - Test alarms once per month. Replace batteries once per year or as needed.
10. Install sprinklers - Sprinklers can help maintain and sometimes even extinguish fires, giving your local fire department a better chance of saving your property.