Preparing For A Storm Event
A storm event could potentially damage your business or home depending how bad it is. We have no way of preventing storms from happening. However, that doesn't mean that we cant be prepared before a storm hits. Here are some tips to help you be prepared for a bad storm.
- Create a family disaster preparedness plan.
- Establish a meeting place outside your home and the neighborhood in case of a community disaster such as flooding, mudslides, earthquakes, or radiological and hazardous materials accidents. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to contact each other if you get separated.
- Establish an out-of-state contact (relative or friend) that you can call after the disaster to pass the word around that you and your family are okay.
- Assemble a disaster survival kit and stock emergency supplies. You will need:
- A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day.)
- A three-day supply of ready to eat canned meats, vegetables, and fruit for each person.
- A change of clothing and footwear for each person.
- A first-aid kit that includes prescription medicines.
- One sleeping bag or blanket per person.
- A battery-powered radio and flashlight and extra batteries.
- Special need items such as diapers, formula, baby bottles, denture and contact lenses supplies.
- A credit card, cash, or traveler's checks.
- Tools and supplies such as paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils; a battery powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, non-electric can opener, tube tent, plastic storage containers, compass, matches and plastic sheeting.
- Sanitation needs will include toilet paper; soap and liquid detergent; personal hygiene items; plastic garbage bags, plastic bucket with a tight lid; and household chlorine bleach.
Damage From Water Should Be Cleaned By Professionals
The amount of damage water can cause is amazing, and often underestimated by commercial building owners . Excess moisture is bad enough, but when a commercial building is flooded or hit with a plumbing disaster (like a burst pipe), the situation can quickly get out of hand. There’s a reason why these incidents are among the most expensive problems a property manager can face. Contaminated water not only creates immediate structural problems, it can leave serious biological threats behind after it has been removed.
Floods, sewage backflows, and other sources of contaminated fluid usually cause the worst damage. Dirty water is filled with all kinds of deadly substances, ranging from chemical residues to animal feces to parasites. Bacteria, viruses and fungi grow explosively in contaminated fluid, and severe health risks, like salmonella and hepatitis, are common in flood waters.
This problem is compounded by the composition of most buildings, which are filled with organic materials. Drywall, wood and the matter that is trapped in carpet fibers are just a few examples, and they can give pathogens room to grow. Within 48 hours, mold may begin creeping behind the walls and releasing spores, and any organic materials that have been soaked through by contaminated fluid will usually have to be destroyed.
That’s why restoration firms, in addition to surveying the building for structural problems, will dry the building quickly and apply antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents to all surfaces that had contact with the water. This ensures the employees or tenants can return to a safe building, and not one harboring a collection of deadly pathogens.
Finding A Reputable Water Damage Company
Finding Reputable Water Damage Companies
Water damage companies often have to work in some grueling circumstances, but their efforts are essential to restoring the home to a healthy state. Floods, sewage backflows, leaky plumbing, or roofing and burst pipes can all cause a massive headache for a homeowner, and they need a professional who is skilled and honest. This is easier said than done as the industry lags behind in terms of oversight. However, there are some simple checks that a homeowner can use to determine whether or not they’re dealing with a reputable business.
What are the signs of reputable water damage companies?
Businesses that perform at a high level have little to hide, so they should be easy to contact and have an established website. As disaster can strike at any time, restoration technicians have to be on call around the clock. Reputable businesses will be available 24 hours a day most days, so the homeowner doesn’t have to wait. The critical period for preventing additional damage is 48 hours. After 48 hours, contaminated fluid will ruin many materials it soaks through, though some organic materials will deteriorate at a faster rate. It’s common for technicians to need to remove drywall, carpeting, baseboards, and casings, but many textiles are salvageable if the technicians respond quickly and the water causing the damage was not sewage.
If a company can dispatch technicians to the home right away and provide a detailed estimate of the process, this is a good sign. It takes a variety of skills to restore the home to a preloss state, which means the firm will have to maintain a highly skilled and well-trained group of professionals. If a company doesn’t offer all of the services needed to completely restore the home, find one that can. For example, if a firm can't remove mold or other microbial threats, your family may be at a major health risk, even after everything is dried and put back to normal.
In general, homeowners should only consider water damage companies that have attained certification through a respected training organization. For restoration professionals, this is the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). IICRC-approved schools have trained up restoration professionals for years, and its classes cover a range of topics pertinent to restoration technicians. This includes the theory of water damage, how it affects the home, what materials are at risk, how to remove excess moisture from the building, how to perform structural drying properly, how to inspect and remove pathogens, and how to save sensitive materials like wooden floors. Attaining certification through the IICRC requires hard work and an ongoing commitment to the field, as registrants must earn continuing education credits annually. Homeowners can rest assured that if they are dealing with a certified crew, they are dealing with some of the best in the business.
Commercial Carpet Odor Removal
Commercial carpet odor removal is a project that requires more than just some baking soda sprinkled over the floor before vacuuming. At home or at your business, odor remedies like that or white vinegar may be acceptable for the lingering fruity scent of a spilled soda, but for more pungent aromas the assistance of a professional is usually recommended. Many people have had the experience of trying to hide pet odors that never completely disappear or that may dissipate until the floor covering gets wet. When it comes time to do a deeper cleaning than the routine vacuuming, a steam cleaning may be just the thing to bring carpets back to their former fresh smell, softness and vibrancy.
A scent that will not go away may mean that the fibers of a floor covering are doing more than capturing scents, they may actually be providing a breeding place for smelly bacteria. Regular cleaning and maintenance is part of helping carpets last as long as possible and be more effective at filtering indoor air.
Although steam machines can be rented or bought for personal use, the equipment and cleaning solutions of a professional are sure to do a more thorough job. Even if the machine used is the exact same, a professional has the added benefit of training and experience. They have dealt with the problem of carpet odor removal time and time again, resulting in knowledge of what methods work best. Sometimes it is not even the floor covering itself that is the problem, the padding underneath may be the culprit. A professional knows where to look to find the source. Whether it is from spilled booze, indoor smoking or an aging pet that is the cause of the scents permeating the carpet, a professional cleaner will know how to handle it.
Smoke Odor Removal From Carpet and Upholstery
Seeking out professional help for smoke or odor removal especially in the case of carpets and upholstery, is the first correct step in obtaining proper smell extraction. This ordeal can be very costly and time consuming for an individual to experiment with on their own, which is why many local professionals are available to help home owners who have suffered the unfortunate fate of this scenario.
First off, ascertaining the severity of the situation is one of the most important aspects in obtaining an accurate quote from a professional beforehand. Additionally, keeping a close watch on the amount of time that has elapsed since the smell had first entered the fibers will also dramatically change the amount of time and overall cost of the cleaning. If weeks have gone by without any professional aid, carpets and upholstery may become permanently damaged, suffering discoloration among other things.
Smoke odor removal professionals will first get rid of any residue that’s physically left on the surface of the fibers. The first actual deodorizing element to the process is to eliminate any sources of the smell, including any unsalvageable materials that cannot be processed properly and thus, must be disposed of. Next, a thorough cleaning of any salvageable surfaces will be imperative in further eliminating the smell and keeping it from reoccurring.
Since the smell is airborne in nature, professionals will need to create a type of fog that is comprised of cleaning agents and is pumped into the area to eliminate smells that fill the room. If it’s needed, items in the room may be sealed off and quarantined to avoid any exposure to the smell during the odor extraction.
Why Tenants Move Out if Water Isn't Removed
Call SERVPRO to Extract Water and Maintain Your Cash Flow
When apartments or hotels flood, it can be a disaster for managers and tenants alike. While an owner is probably most concerned with the financial loss from the incident, tenants will also probably not want to continue staying somewhere with damage, even if it is not extensive. Fast, proper water removal and damage restoration are essential to keep residents and guests. SERVPRO is trained and prepared for these scenarios and can work effectively to remove water damage in as short a time as possible, especially if the business has a profile in our ERP system. Here are some of the main motivators for tenants looking to escape a flooded apartment or hotel.
Quick water removal in apartments and hotels is the only way to save many tenants' belongings. Materials such as wood, fabric, and leather can only remain soaked for so long before the damage becomes permanent, so our fast responses are critical in keeping them functional and in good condition. This also goes for materials and items belonging to the building itself, and you might also be stuck paying extra for replacement belongings if water is not removed quickly.
Nobody enjoys living in a structurally damaged building, and persistent signs of damage may be enough for many tenants to pack up and leave, even if the damage is only superficial. Some people simply see staining on walls or warping in carpets and decide that the building is not quite up to their standards. SERVPRO follows up water removal with damage restoration, ensuring that lasting signs are minimal and non-intrusive.
Some floods can create unsafe conditions and situations in a building, weakening walls and ceilings enough to potentially collapse on residents. Also, mold damage may result from a flood if water is not removed quickly, which can aggravate some people's health. Especially at risk are individuals with respiratory conditions or weakened immune systems. The chance of residents being forced out by safety concerns increases as water stands and is allowed to degrade with contaminants.
SERVPRO of Cheatham, Robertson, & Dickson counties has extensive experience in water removal for buildings and businesses of all sizes. Give us a call 24/7 at (615) 672-1905.
The main benefit of using a true hydroxyl generator is that they are safe to use in occupied areas for deodorization purposes. Insurance companies do not have to cover a homeowner’s hotels or meals. Business owners do not have to shut down and loose precious business.
If people and animals can be removed from the treatment area, ozone will always do the job faster. And the general rule of thumb is if a strong ozone generator would take one day to do a job, a true hydroxyl generator will take three to five days to do the same job. But insurance companies don’t seem to have a problem paying for the extra time it takes a hydroxyl generator to do the job because they are saving on hotel and food costs and their customers are much happier staying in their own homes and businesses. In saying this, hydroxyl generators are commonly one of the first pieces of equipment installed on the job and can be run the entire length of the job. These machines are already in Xactimate and bring in some $200 per day on a rental. With the price of the hydroxyl generators on the market, there would be a 100% return on investment within the first week of use.
These generators have been successfully tested on fires and other restoration and bio jobs, including protein fires, floods, dead body situations, skunk odors, pet urine odors, musty odors and many types of VOC odors. Many restoration contractors have converted existing deodorizing chambers or added their own hydroxyl rooms with great success. You can run a hydroxyl room 24 hours a day and enter the room at any time with no threat to your health. True hydroxyl generators also will not bleach wet fabrics so they can be run on damp carpet without fear of lightening the color.
However, it’s important to note that hydroxyl generators are not intended for use on mold remediation jobs where there is a large infestation on surfaces or behind walls. The established protocols should always be followed in these instances. But generators with good filtration are excellent for airborne microbial remediation where bacteria or fungi have become aerosolized.
Preventing Fires in the Winter
Prevent Fire Damage This Winter
Heat Your Home Safely
The winter season is here and with it comes shorter days and lower temperatures. In middle Tennessee, winter brings a change in the weather. In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves.
Did You Know?
According to the National Fire Protection Association:
- 50% of all residential heating-related fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February.
- Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Heating equipment fires cause an estimated $1 billion in direct property damage annually.
Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a heating-related fire.
- Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three foot "kid free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
If your property does suffer fire damage or smoke damage, contact SERVPRO of Cheatham, Robertson, & Dickson Counties at 615-672-1905 to help make it "Like it never even happened."
10 Places Where Water Damage and Mold Occurs
10 Unexpected Places Where Water Damage & Mold Creeps Into Your Home
If a fixture or appliance in your home uses water, chances are it will leak at some point. These are 10 places many homeowners overlook when checking for water damage or mold:
There are two connections under each dishwasher that have the potential for mold and mildew to get started–the water supply and the discharge connection. The water supply needs to be lubricated with the right sealant and properly tightened periodically. The discharge connection involves a rubber hose and clamp, and installing the hose before the dishwasher is installed ensures it is done properly. Hoses wear out over time. If you’re buying an older house, it doesn’t hurt to check the dishwasher connections — especially if there’s an odd smell when you open the door.
- Icemaker Connections
Refrigerators often get moved, either for cleaning or other projects. This can weaken or break the water line connection to the ice maker, causing leaks behind the refrigerator.
- Washing Machine Connections
When installing a washing machine, always install a new hose, using the rubber washers the manufacturer recommends. Also, use Teflon tape and make sure to tighten the connection with vice grips so there are no drips or leaks.
- Hot Water Heater
Many states have laws regarding the installation of hot water heaters, and most of them involve overflow pans that are piped to drain outside the house. The pan must be tilted at least ¼ inch to ensure the water does drain. Newer heaters with quick connect connectors should be properly lubricated and tightened so the shut-off valve doesn’t leak.
- Plastic P-Traps
Under every sink in your home is a “P-Trap,” almost always made of PVC pipe, which expands, and contracts. This process eventually loosens the connection and can cause leaks. Use Teflon tape to seal every P-Trap and check them periodically, tightening them by hand to ensure their connections don’t loosen and leak. Be careful, over tightening PVC can cause it to crack.
- Toilet Connections
The base of the toilet is where most mold grows. Toilets should be installed with a horned wax ring, and then the base of the toilet grouted in with tile grout. The grout serves as a filler between the bowl and the floor to keep the bowl from rocking – which can compromise the wax ring. Also, make sure the toilet supply line is well-connected.
- Shower Doors
To insure proper installation, we recommend shower doors be installed by a licensed plumber. Mold growing at the base of the tub may be from leaking or improperly installed shower doors. Shower doors need caulking on all three rails — the two side rails as well as the bottom rail.
The best way to prevent a leak from a tub is to make sure it is installed properly. If installed improperly, water and moisture can drip down under the tub causing water damage and mold issues.
- Exterior Water Connections
If you’ve used a hose, you know how a poor connection or missing rubber washer can cause water to spray onto the house. This uncontrolled spray allows water to enter the space between the siding or into the wall leading to water damage and mold growth.
- Outdoor Water Sprinklers
Make sure your sprinklers are well away from the house when turned on. The siding on your house is engineered to shed falling water (rain), not sprinklers shooting water up.
If you take the proper precautions and monitor your home regularly, you should be able to avoid mold or at least catch it very early at its onset.
Water In Basement
Call SERVPRO if you have water in your basement
One of the worst nightmares for any homeowner is finding water in the basement, and in most cases, the only way to deal with such a situation is to bring in a professional. Excess water, especially when it is contaminated, has the potential to cause a great deal of damage, and if the problem is not dealt with properly, the situation can quickly get out of hand. This is especially true when water is pooling in the home and coming in contact with organic materials like drywall or fabric.
Water in the basement can be caused by a lot of factors. The room may sit under the water table, which will slowly push water into the home. A disaster like a flood can quickly fill the room with fluid, as well as a burst pipe or other plumbing mishap. No matter what causes the water to build up in the home, it will take a certified team to remove it and restore the basement effectively.
There are a couple steps, though, that a homeowner can take to minimize damage and make the home safe to navigate through. If a pipe burst or is leaking, then cutting off the supply line into the home can halt the problem. Also, switching off the home’s power may be necessary, as an electrical discharge can make walking through water exceedingly dangerous and cause a fire.
Safety is the primary concern when contending with excess moisture, and a certified crew will be able to get the home restored in while avoiding any dangerous situations.