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Preventing Water Damage While You’re On Vacation

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

Summer is finally here, and it’s time to head out for family vacations! Unfortunately, water damage is not just a winter concern. Even though you won’t have to worry about frozen pipes, many other things can cause water damage in your home during the hot summer months. 

Here are a few things you can do before you head off on vacation to prevent water damage while you are away. Remember, no matter what happens, SERVPRO is always standing by to help with any size disaster. 

Start outside

Begin by making sure all the rain gutters and downspouts are clean. Clogged gutters can allow water to pool on the roof or around the foundation of your home. 

While you are cleaning the gutters, check the roof for any loose shingles or damaged flashing that might let heavy rain to seep into your house. 

Next, inspect the windows and doors to make sure the seals are tight and the locks work properly. This helps prevent water damage and break-ins. Don’t forget to check and lock the pet door and garage door!

Check your water bill

There are hundreds of feet of water pipes snaking through the walls and floors of your house. Unfortunately, you can’t see them all to ensure there are no leaks. One way to catch leaks early is to keep an eye on your water bill. 

If you notice your bill increasing inexplicably or the amount of water consumed doesn’t seem to match previous months, there may be a leak somewhere. Be sure to take other factors into consideration, like hosting summer guests or watering the garden.

One way to keep an eye on your water consumption is to compare your bill for the current month to the bill for the same month one year ago. Unless there was a notable change, (more people live in your house, you added appliances, or the price of water has increased) there should not be a dramatic difference in the amount of water your household consumed. 

Check for leaks

Before you leave for vacation, check all the accessible places in your home for leaks. Look under all the sinks for signs of water damage and check the water heater for rusting or cracks. 

Ensure none of your faucets (inside or outside) leak or drip. Even small leaks can become big problems quickly, especially if it goes unnoticed for a week or two. 

Check all the water hoses in major appliances. Washing machines, refrigerator ice machines, and dishwashers use plastic hoses to connect to the water supplies. Make sure there aren’t any kinks, cracks, or leaks.

For an extra measure of defense, replace the standard plastic water hoses for more durable stainless steel hoses. This is a very cost-effective preventative measure against in-home water damage. 

Test your sump pump

Take the time to test your sump pump before you leave for summer vacation. Sump pumps help keep groundwater out of your basement.

Testing your sump pump is easy. Fill the sump pit with water and watch to make sure the pump activates and removes all the water. As it runs, make sure the motor is not making any strange sounds. 

If you haven’t already done so, consider installing a backup battery on your sump pump. This will keep your sump pump working even during a power outage!

Turn off your water heater

Not only will this prevent any potential water leaks, turning off your water heater while you are on an extended vacation helps save energy. If your water heater is well maintained, then there is little risk of having an issue, but it will give you peace of mind while you are relaxing at the beach. 

If you have a gas water heater, turn the thermostat up or to the “vacation” setting. If you have an electric water heater, simply turn the breaker off to save energy.

Turn off the water main

If there is nobody to check on your house while you are away, consider turning off the water main. If you are leaving for more than a week, turning off the water main prevents water pressure from building up in the pipes. 

If you have a clogged or weak area in your plumbing, turning off the water main will prevent the water pressure from building up and causing something to break while you are gone. 

After you turn the water main off, turn on all the faucets in your home to let the water drain out.

Have someone check your house

If your vacation plans take you away from home for more than a week, consider asking a neighbor or friend to check on your house every few days. This will give you peace of mind that nothing will go unnoticed for very long. 

Asking a trustworthy friend or neighbor to look after your home will give you peace of mind and ensure that any incidents are handled quickly. Leave your insurance and SERVPRO information in the unlikely event something goes wrong and your friend needs to call for help. 

Taking these easy steps before you leave for vacation will prevent water damage year-round and allow you to relax and thoroughly enjoy your holiday.

BONUS Two fire prevention steps

It is equally important to prevent fire damage while you are away on vacation. 

Unplug electronics: Before you leave, unplug all the electronic devices. Not only will this save electricity, but it also reduces the risk of an electrical fire. Don’t just disconnect cables from electronics; unplug the cords and power strips from the wall outlets. 

Check your smoke detectors: While you are checking for water leaks, make sure all your smoke detectors are in good working order. Consider installing smart smoke detectors that alert your home security system or send a notification to your phone if something goes wrong.

How to Restore Your Property After Fire Damage

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

How to Restore Your Property After Fire Damage

As a homeowner, there is no shortage of concerns to keep at the front of your mind. When a serious disaster such as a fire causes damage to your home, it's important to act quickly and correctly. Because dealing with fire damage is often a distressing event, it's crucial that you stay informed so that you know how to deal with a fire if one should occur. Follow our simple tips and you'll know what to do if you ever need to confront fire damage repair and restoration.



First and foremost, any homeowner who has had a fire should detail the scale and harm of any damage incurred. Cleaning the affected areas of any burned objects or ash can provide a clearer picture of what damage was caused to the home itself. It's a good idea to log everything and include detailed photographs of damage before you begin the restoration process. This way you have evidence to consult should you have a lapse in memory.



Next you should sort any undamaged items. The fire department should be able to limit damage if detection is able to provide a warning 10 to 15 minutes before of the end of the incipient stage, regardless of suppression system activation or the location of the fire. But every fire is different, and you can never be too certain. Always create a clear space so that damage is easily identifiable throughout the repair and restoration process. It's always prudent to contact your insurance company, as an experienced agent can explain the relevant points of your coverage policy. Additionally, your agent should have the resources to get you started on the repair and restoration process. 

As a related consequence, smoke damage should also be considered as you clean and document areas of the home affected by fire. Soot and smoke damage can be more difficult to identify and clean, as its properties are much more subtle and potentially evasive when compared to damage caused by flames. A significant portion of the restoration process is devoted to revealing smoke damage and restoring the property through the removal of odors and other unseen damages.



Once you've identified the scale and amount of damage, cleaned the space, and spoken to your insurance company to determine the coverage offered by your policy, you can move onto fire damage repair and restoration. It's wise to hire a trustworthy company that has lots of experience dealing with fire damage, as it is a specific field and hiring lackluster help will only lead to further problems down the road. A reputable company will be able to decide on a course of action. It's often nearly impossible for the average homeowner to determine whether it's best to restore or replace. For these reasons, a good fire damage repair and restoration service is there to guide you through the difficulties of handling fire damage in your property.

Preventing Storm Water Damage

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage is costly and often difficult to clean up. While SERVPRO is available 24/7 to respond to any water damage situation, we prefer that you not have water damage at all.

Here are eight steps you can take to prevent water damage from storms or flooding in your home or business. 

1. Clean your drainage systems regularly. 

This may seem simple and obvious, but clogged gutters and drain spouts allow water to pool around the foundation of your home or business. Make a habit of cleaning the gutters at least twice per year and inspect the drainage system. Replace or repair any cracked or damaged parts that might allow water to collect or leak near your home. 

If your property has drainage problems, consider installing a French drains system. They allow water to move away from your home or business via a ditch filled with gravel or rock and perforated pipes. This helps the water disburse over a wider area and prevent it from pooling near the foundation. 

2. Inspect your roof.

Schedule an annual roof inspection. It’s a good idea to have this done each spring to assess any damage done over the winter but before the big summer storms roll in. Catching any issues early will go a long way to prevent rain and wind damage.

3. Assess your landscaping.

A well-planned landscaping design will help guide water away from the foundation of your home or commercial building. Make sure the ground slopes away from the foundation. 

Experts recommend a slope of ¼ inch per foot going away from your home. This allows gravity to work in your favor, pulling the water away from the foundation. If necessary, add some fresh soil to make sure you have this grade.

During a small storm, go outside and observe how the water flows through your property. Note any areas where water is collecting or places where rainwater is running toward the foundation. If it would be helpful, mark the “problem” areas with little construction flags so you can address these landscaping issues later. 

4. Have sewers and septic systems checked. 

If the groundwater rises too high, it can impact the effectiveness of sewer and septic systems. In more extreme cases, it can lead to sewer backup or waste leeching to the surface or back into the house. Make sure these systems are inspected regularly.

5. Inspect your foundation.

The most common cause of basement flooding is cracks in the foundation that allow water to seep in during a storm. Have your basement and foundation inspected regularly and repair any cracks as quickly as possible. Some cracks can be repaired easily with caulking or similar products. 

Make sure any windows in your basement are in good shape. The wood frame around a window can rot or deteriorate over time, allowing water into the basement. Aluminum or vinyl windows tend to last longer than wood. 

6. Consider a sump pump.

If your basement or crawlspace floods regularly, consider installing a sump pump. These handy little gadgets are installed under the floor in your basement or crawl space to collect groundwater and redirect it away from your home before it can cause problems. 

If your crawl space or basement has belowground moisture, you should consider a sump pump as a “first line of defense” against flooding. The American Society of Home Inspectors says more than 60% of homes are prime candidates for sump pumps due to ground moisture. You should always have a sump pump if your home is located in a flood zone

If you have a sump pump, make sure to have it serviced to keep it running at tip-top shape. Make sure the back-up battery works, so the pump will continue running if you lose power. If your pump does not have a backup battery, many plumbers can easily install one.

7. Protect your products and information.

Whether you own a home or business, you have valuable property, products, and documents. Make sure critical paperwork is backed up electronically and store important documents in a waterproof file cabinet or safe that will protect them from fire, water, and smoke damage. 

Keep non-waterproof items above floor level or in waterproof containers to avoid potential water damage. Store valuable items on high, stable shelves or stacked wooden pallets. 

8. Check your trees.

Make sure there are no dead or diseased trees on your property. These trees may not be able to endure a major storm and come crashing down. Remove any precarious tree branches that might damage your home or power lines if they break. 

Even though most insurance policies cover damage from falling trees, prevention is far easier and safer. 

Preparing for a coming storm. 

If you know a major storm is looming, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself and your property. 

Unplug it. 

If you know a major storm is on the way, unplug appliances or use surge protectors. This will protect your electronics and help prevent electrical fires. 

Secure outdoor areas. 

In strong winds, outdoor furniture can become dangerous flying objects. A strong gust of wind can toss a patio chair or even a grill, breaking a sliding glass door or causing some other damage. Bring outdoor furniture in and anchor heavy objects. 

If you live in a low-lying or flood-prone area, consider putting up floodgates, sandbags, tarps, and other “dry flood protection” materials. These will help keep floodwaters out of your home or business.

Take photos for the insurance company.

“Before” photos are very helpful in filing an insurance claim and throughout the recovery process. “Before and after” photos, video, and documents make it easier for agents to assess the full extent of the damage. 

Create an emergency response plan and kit. 

Whether you have a family and home or a business and commercial property, an emergency response plan allows everyone to know how to react in an emergency. 

Write down important phone numbers for family, friends, and important business contacts. Even if you have the numbers memorized, it’s helpful not to need to rely on your recall in a stressful situation. 

Pack an emergency supply kit that includes all the food, water, and supplies you might need to survive up to 72 hours on your own. Store your kit in an easy-to-carry container like a plastic bin or duffle bag, and make sure everyone knows where it is. 

Dealing with Water Damage in Your Home

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

A water emergency can happen at any time and often without warning. Recovering from a water emergency, and the water damage left behind can be overwhelming and scary, thankfully, there are plenty of ways for you to recover from such an event and restore your home.

A water emergency can be anything from your basement flooding due to a broken, cracked or clogged pipe, improper sealing on the flooring or walls, or debris in your gutters to a disaster-related event like flash flooding. In the last five years alone flash floods and floods, in general, have been experienced in all 50 states. It is becoming more and more common for homeowners to experience flooding related to natural disasters than in previous years. Since flooding and water emergencies are common, it is important to know how to deal with flood damage, water removal, and water cleanup to successfully restore your home after receiving water damages.

How to Deal with Water Damage and Water Removal

When a flood or water emergency impacts your home, there are many things to take into consideration. For example, water can contain mud, bacteria, sewage, and other toxins that can contaminate your floors and belongings. This is why it is important to deal with the water removal and water cleanup as soon as possible following a flood event. It is imperative to start the water removal process as soon as you can safely enter your home or access the flooded part of the building. The safest and quickest way to deal with water removal and the cleanup is to contact a professional. However, you can assist in the process by removing excess water. This can be done with the use of a mop or towels to soak up any of the remaining water. You can also bring in large fans to assist with drying the area out and removing any furniture or rugs from that area. Essentially, you want to remove any objects from the impacted area and place fans or turn on the air conditioning to assist in the process. You should also keep mold damage in mind as you start restoring your home.

Restoring Your Home after Water Damage

Once your home has dried out you will want to keep an eye out for mold. Mold infestations are common after flooding, and you can often identify them just by observing the area that was impacted and received water damage. Keeping the area cool and dry can help reduce the likelihood of a mold infestation, and the restoration process also helps with mold remediation. Here are a few things to keep in mind when restoring your home after water damage. The restoration process helps improve your living space by preventing mold and mildew; it also allows you to preserve your home’s value by cleaning and restoring the home quicker and often to a better state than it was previously. Many homeowners explore selling their homes after water damages, or flooding occurs, but many find this difficult due to the state of the home, which is why restoring it is a great option!

When your home suffers water damage, it can be difficult, and when it comes to water damage repair, it can be hard to know where to start. Finding a professional water damage repair and restoration business in your area can make a huge difference in recovering from water emergencies. The benefits include: stopping further damage; ensuring a proper cleanup; reducing your losses and saving you time and money.

What to do When Water Damage Happens

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

It’s horribly inconvenient to have your daily life disrupted by water damage. Whether it’s a pipe burst, a flood, a slow leak from the ice machine, or your little tyke decided to shove his favorite stuffie down the toilet, water damage can be costly and stressful. SERVPRO of Percy Priest / Hickory Hollow has experienced professionals who are equipped to help you deal with even the worst water damage in an organized, thorough manner.

We hope you never have to call us to restore water-damaged property; but if you do, this guide will help you understand the different classes of water damage, first steps to take, and what to expect during the cleanup process. 

What to do first when you find water damage

No matter how much water damage your home or business suffers, it’s important to act quickly and take the right steps to prevent further damage.

Before you do anything, make sure any water sources that may be leaking are turned off. You don’t want water to continue leaking, causing more damage. Next, turn off the electricity in the impacted area. Electrical shocks and similar accidents are surprisingly common in water damage situations because people are so concerned about addressing the water issue that they forget about other dangers.

Next, identify the class of damage and the type of water involved. Only licensed professionals can officially identify the “class” of water damage your property has suffered. Knowing this information is important, as it will determine certain steps in the cleanup process and make sure you cover all the proper safety measures.

What are the classes of water damage?

There are four classes of water damage and three types of water that may be involved.

Class 1 Cleanup: This is one of the smallest water damage situations and the simplest to clean. The impact is confined to a small area and the water did not sit for very long, so very little moisture seeped into the flooring or other materials.

The cleanup process can be as easy as mopping up as much water as possible. Circulate fresh air and get fans and dehumidifiers in the room to make sure everything dries thoroughly to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Quickly remove furniture, area rugs, or anything that needs professional cleaning and throw away anything that is unsalvageable.

Class 2 Cleanup: This level of damage usually impacts an entire room, damaging carpets and padding, subfloors or plywood, and even concrete. Moisture may have crept up to 24 inches up the walls, damaging structural wood, drywall, insulation, and other materials.

Class 2 water damage situations can quickly deteriorate so it is important to dry the area as quickly as possible by circulating fresh air and using dehumidifiers and fans. This will help prevent mold and microorganisms from growing.

It will be difficult to thoroughly dry the area without professional equipment and expertise. With this level of saturation, surfaces often feel dry to the touch but still have water trapped deep inside. That trapped water can cause mold and structural problems down the road if not properly addressed.

Class 3 Cleanup: This is perhaps the most serious level of water damage. A significant roof leak, a pipe burst, or a catastrophic failure of an upstairs appliance that leaks hundreds of gallons of water is often the cause. Damage usually impacts the ceiling to subfloor and practically everything is saturated.

Because of the extent of the damage in a Class 3 cleanup, it is wise to avoid the area until professional help arrives. Take extra safety precautions when entering the area. Wear gloves, goggles and a respirator to protect you from exposure to microorganisms, mold, and other contaminants.

Class 4 Cleanup: This level of water damage often includes standing water that can only be removed with special equipment. Standing water quickly grows bacteria and other microorganisms that pose health threats and can cause further damage beneath the surface.

Class 4 cleanup is perhaps the most extensive and involved cleanup and restoration process. After the standing water is removed, the drying process can begin. Materials like wood, brick, or concrete can trap water deep in the pores. It takes special equipment to thoroughly dry these materials and spaces.

The type of water that caused the damage matters

There are three categories of water that can cause damage to your home or business. The type of water that causes the damage significantly impacts the cleanup process.

Category 1 water is potable drinking water or safe water. It does not pose any threat to people or animals and comes from “clean water supplies” like broken pipes, overflowing sinks, and some broken appliances.

Category 1 water is the easiest to clean up because it does not pose an immediate health risk or contain potentially harmful bacteria.

Category 2 water is also called “grey water”. It contains large amounts of chemical, biological, or physical contaminants. Grey water can cause illnesses and infections because of the microorganisms, bacteria, or viruses in it.

Broken toilets, sump pumps, water leaking from dishwashers or washing machines are the most common causes of grey water damage. While Category 2 water does not contain sewage or seawater, it is important to clean the affected area cautiously and use the proper chemicals.

Category 3 water is known as “black water” and it poses the greatest health risk to animals and people. It contains harmful bacteria, sewage, and other contaminants.  Black water often comes from seawater, river water, backed up sewage lines, and similar sources. Back-flow from toilets, sewage pipe bursts, or large-scale floods are the most frequent causes of water damage by black water.

Professionals must take extra precautions when cleaning black water damage as it can cause serious illness and infection. It is important to take the proper safety precautions and use the right chemicals and cleaning methods to restore everything safely.

Time, temperature, and other factors can cause the water-damaged area to deteriorate. Even clean category 1 water can quickly become a category 2 situation if left untreated. A category 2 water leak can quickly become a serious health hazard if not cleaned properly.

Call the professionals

SERVPRO has certified experts and specialized equipment to handle any water damage situation. They use sensors and other equipment to identify the water migration line and all the materials that were impacted by the water. The sensors also help them find where the water may still be “bound” in materials—even where the surface feels dry!

Our technicians are trained and equipped to handle water restoration, carpet and upholstery cleaning, mold mitigation, and drying techniques to help minimize property loss after water damage. And we’re available 24 /7.

Our first step on the scene is to perform a detailed inspection of your home or property, including a damage assessment. We determine the scope of damage and develop a plan of action.

Next, we check for any sources of moisture to make sure all the potential water leaks are stopped. Then we check for contaminated water to ensure everyone’s safety. Identifying the type of water and classification of water damage is important to make sure your home or property is fully cleaned and restored.

Depending on the amount of water that needs to be removed, SERVPRO technicians will use pumps and wet/dry vacuums to clean up any excess water. Carpets, padding, and other materials that easily hold water are inspected and removed if necessary.

SERVPRO technicians use infrared cameras to find “hidden” water behind walls, ceilings, and in floors. Industrial-grade dryers and dehumidifiers help us remove all the water from the area. Moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other devices measure the extent of the damage and ensure everything is fully dried.

We hope you’ll never have to call us to restore water-damaged property, but if you do you’ll know what to expect and be equipped with the right information.

Home Damage: Why Restoration is Best

5/16/2019 (Permalink)

While you don't want to ever have to deal with any type of fire or water damage, the reality is this: 14,000 people are affected by water damage emergencies in the home or workplace daily. Fire damage restoration and water damage repair are necessary to help restore a home to its original condition again. Learn why restoring a home is better than starting all over again or ignoring the situation in the first place.



You Protect What Healthy Foundation You Have

Having a healthy foundation will help preserve your home when you encounter water emergencies or smoke damage. Did you know that it only takes two days for mold to start to set in when you get moisture damage in the home, and that the longer things stay wet, the more likely they are to be permanently damaged?



This is why getting your home restored after any type of fire or water damage is so important. You need to preserve as much of your home's foundation as possible, allowing yourself to keep as much of your expensive investment intact as you can.



You Keep Your Family Safe

When you have smoke damage restoration done on your home, you improve the air quality of your living space and make your house easier to be in. Water damage restoration prevents mold and mildew from building up, which is beneficial in its own way as well. You want to keep your family safe by creating a healthy environment for them following a home disaster.



You Preserve Your Home's Value

Any lingering damage to your home will cause the value of your property to drop dramatically. Mold damage and warped wood, soot-stained walls, peeling paint, and other damages caused by smoke and water will make your home not only lose value, but become an expensive investment when you do decide to finally fix up what has been damaged. In getting fire damage restoration and other needs completed as soon as they occur, you help keep your home's value stronger than ever.



If you have smoke, water, or another type of home disaster occur, seek professional services right away. Your home remediation specialist will give you the assistance you need to make your home sound and livable again.

Could You Have Mold Damage in Your Home? What To Look For and What To Do

5/6/2019 (Permalink)

When water has come in to your home, caused by any number of things – from what may seem like a small problem with persistent moisture from a slow leak or excessive condensation to broken pipes, toilet overflows, appliance failure such as the washer, dishwasher, or water heater, roof leaks, or flood waters from a natural disaster— mold can begin growing in as little as 48-72 hours.

How do you know if you have a mold problem? What do you do if mold is found? Are there precautions one should take? Read on as we answer your mold questions.

Mold: What is it?

Mold is a naturally occurring organism that is found anywhere there is oxygen. It is a type of fungus and thrives in moist environments. In nature, molds play an important role in helping break down organic material like leaves, fallen trees, and the like.  How many different species of mold there are is actually unknown, but experts estimate there are between tens of thousands to more than three hundred thousand. Cladosporium, penicillium, alternaria, and aspergillus are the most commonly found mold species in indoor mold situations.

Mold reproduces by releasing spores. Mold spores are microscopic particles, unable to bee seen without a microscope. Many types of mold spores are easily blown around, travelling through the air, settling and stirring with the wind. Other types are “sticky” and find their way by contact, sticking to a surface and transferring off somewhere else.

Spores can withstand extreme drought, extreme heat, and cold; they can survive in the spore state for years. These mold spores come into our homes through windows and doors, heating or air conditioning systems, and even traveling in on your clothing, shoes, or pets’ fur.

Like pollen and dust, when these spores are still “dry”, they for the most part they get vacuumed up or washed away when you clean house (make no mistake,they are still present, however in small, natural amounts.). They become problematic when they meet moisture indoors for an extended period of time.

Mold thrives in moist conditions and will begin growing when it comes in contact with moisture, and when in your home, it will begin “digesting” whatever it is that is wet that it has landed on – drywall, carpet, wood, even fabric.

What to do – and not do if you suspect mold damage

When you have water damage, if it hasn’t been dried out quickly and thoroughly by a professional, or if the source of the water hasn’t been found and repaired, it is very likely that you will develop mold, and subsequent mold damage.

Mold can cause damage to your property and pose potential health risks if not taken care of thoroughly and professionally. SERVPRO of Percy Priest/Hickory Hollow offers mold remediation services, and has professionals on staff with the proper training and equipment to safely and effectively handle mold issues. Until a mold remediation expert arrives, some safety precautions should be taken. Here are some basic “do’s and don’ts” for suspected mold issues:

    • DO be aware of “smells” after a water damage event. Any “musty” “old” “like dirt” or “like rot.” smells can mean mold is present.
    • DO keep the humidity inside your home at about 45% for your comfort (too dry can be uncomfortable) and inhibiting mold growth (too wet, over 50%, makes conditions ideal for mold growth.)
    • DO keep clear of the mold affected area. Depending on the severity, it may be wise to stay somewhere else until remediation is complete – especially if you have children, elderly, immune compromised, or folks with respiratory trouble.
    • DO shut down your air conditioner, heater, and any ventilation fans.
  • DO close the space off from the rest of your dwelling, if at all possible.
  • DO call SERVPRO of Percy Priest/Hickory Hollow as soon as you suspect a problem.
  • DON’T attempt to dry out an area affected by mold on your own.
  • DON’T disturb the mold affected area or move any furniture/items that are in the area.
  • DON’T attempt to clean the mold affected area yourself.

If you think you have a potential mold problem in your home, call the experts right away. SERVPRO of Percy Priest/Hickory Hollow have experts at the ready to help with any of your mold remediation needs.

What Should You Do When Your Basement Floods?

4/10/2019 (Permalink)

It's every homeowner's worst nightmare: basement flooding. Not only can flood damage be devastating on an emotional level, but it's also becoming a more common scenario for American families to experience. During the last five years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. In order to reduce the impact of water damage, it's important to know exactly what to do if and when your basement floods. That way, you can control the situation as much as possible and seek out the emergency services you need right away. Here's a brief checklist that you can follow if flood warnings turn out to hold water.

    • Put Safety First: Before you do anything else or think about water cleanup, you'll need to put safety first and foremost. That means you'll want to shut off all power (including both gas and electricity) to your home. If you are unable to access the circuit breaker or do not know how to turn off the power, you'll want to call your electrician to help you. Do not enter a basement that's flooded until the power is shut off and you have confirmation it's safe.
    • Get Moving: Once you know your basement is safe to answer, you'll be able to start the water cleanup process. While you may be able to move out and save certain items, keep in mind that the longer your belongings are exposed to standing water, the less likely it will be that the environment will be a sanitary one for you to be in. You should always wear gloves, boots, and a protective mask when in your flooded basement. If you can safely move these items to a place where they can dry out, you may be able to salvage at least some of the items you might otherwise lose. However, you should not attempt to save any appliances that have been exposed to water, as these will likely be irreparably damaged.
  • Contact the Professionals: Although there are some homeowners who might assume that they can handle water cleanup on their own, the truth is that any extensive flooding requires help from professional emergency services. Whether the flooding is the result of a natural disaster or a burst pipe, it's important to have the water cleaned up as efficiently as possible. Your DIY methods may simply not cut it -- and you may not even realize you've sustained water damage or are experiencing mold growth until much later. If you call the experts from the start, you'll be able to have the problem cleaned up and the damage restored with urgency. Ultimately, that means you can beat the flood at its own game.

Although you can take steps to minimize the effects of a flood, you may be proactive and still require emergency services to mitigate flood damage after the fact. Whether you tried to prevent this damage or the flooding caught you by complete surprise, we're here to help. Contact us right away in the event of a flood and we'll be there -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

3 Can’t-Miss Areas for a Truly “Spring Clean” Home

4/8/2019 (Permalink)

Spring is in the air. For many folks, that brings thoughts of deep cleaning and freshening up the house. Ridding the house of the stale smells and post-holiday grime doesn’t just make your home feel great, it can help keep your family healthy.

Today, we are going to talk about three areas you’ll want to add to your deep cleaning to do list that will make a huge impact on your “spring fresh” efforts:

1 - Deep Clean Carpets and Upholstered Furniture

Especially for those with pets, kids, and frequent guests, carpets and upholstery starts to look grungy and holds funky smells. Dirt and oils that settle deep into carpets can cause damage, acting as an abrasive. They break down the base of the carpet. Similarly, dirt and oils can wear your upholstery's fabric down, making the piece look older and more worn out than it should.

The first step you’ll want to take is a deep, thorough vacuuming. Move the furniture, use the attachments that get into the corners, and pay attention to high traffic areas, pulling the vacuum slowly to suck up the most dirt. Use appropriate attachments to vacuum upholstery, too. This will help remove pet hair and some of the dirt and grime.

If you really want to get the carpets and upholstery clean, you’ll need to go further. Hot water extractor carpet cleaners can be rented or purchased at any home improvement or big box type stores, but be aware that “your mileage may vary” as far as effectiveness. Many of these machines simply don’t have the suction power to pull dirt and water from deep within the carpet fibers. Calling the experts is your best bet. They have the tools and methods to truly deep clean your carpets and upholstery without damaging them.

2 - Draperies and Blinds

Dust, pet hair, pollen, musty smells and sometimes even food smells collect on draperies and curtains over time, especially over the winter when windows are left closed. Springtime is a great time to think about cleaning your window treatments, especially before you open the windows for the first time this season.

Some vacuums have attachments that allow you to remove surface dust from draperies and blinds. If you have these attachments, you can take some time to do this, but you should still consider deep cleaning them.

Most plastic or metal blinds can be taken down and cleaned by spraying them down with a hose and some dish soap. Wood blinds should never be soaked down; use a quality dusting spray specifically for wood. Fabric blinds take extra care, and may need to be dry cleaned. Some curtains and draperies can be machine washed on a gentle or “hand wash” cycle and line dry while they are still damp. Don’t put curtains or draperies in the dryer! Best case, they will shrink up and hang a few inches shorter. Worst case, the textured fabric could melt and ruin the draperies altogether.

To get the optimal clean and ensure your window coverings won’t be damaged in the process, call in a professional cleaning and restoration service. They have special equipment and processes to clean your draperies and blinds while they are hanging in place; not only are you getting a good, deep, damage-free clean, your home won’t be left exposed. You won’t get the feeling that you are in a fishbowl while your window coverings are off getting cleaned.

3- HVAC Systems and Air Ducts

Dust, pollen, pet hair, and mold spores collect in your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC). This doesn’t just cause musty, dusty, funky smells, but it also means that your HVAC systems are running less efficiently, costing you money down the road.

Start by replacing or cleaning the air filters for the air conditioner. It’s best to replace your air filters routinely; this should happen as often as every 45-90 days for homes with pets and/or smokers. It’s especially important if you have people with allergies in your home.

The next step to achieve a deep clean is to focus on cleaning your air ducts. You can do this in a limited capacity using a vacuum cleaner hose with a flexible hose attachment, but these attachments can only reach so far. You won’t get a thorough clean. This is another instance where it is best to have an expert check over the HVAC system and air ducts. They can evaluate the need for an air duct cleaning and provide thorough cleaning of the HVAC system and ductwork.

Checking these three “to-dos” off your list will make a big difference in improving the appearance and freshening the smell of your home. For all of your spring cleaning needs, including tackling these 3 major areas, contact us at SERVPRO of Percy Priest/Hickory Hollow today!

Mold Remediation FAQs: What Homeowners Should Know

3/14/2019 (Permalink)

For most of us, our homes represent safe, healthy, and happy places. But you might not even realize that your house could easily be taken over by mold. If you've experienced water damage or have excessive moisture in parts of your home, it's possible that you may have a mold problem you don't even know about. If you do, it's essential to take care of this problem as quickly and as effectively as possible. In today's post, we'll discuss the solution -- mold remediation -- and answer some of the most common questions homeowners may have.

Where and How Does Mold Grow?

Let's start out with some mold basics. Mold can be found virtually everywhere, both inside and outside. Most of the time, mold is invisible, airborne, and relatively harmless. But when it makes its way into your home and starts to grow, that's when you can have a real problem.

Mold can grow on virtually any surface and can derive nutrients from both organic and synthetic products. It's typically aided by moisture or water, though some types of mold need more than others. For example, if you live in a humid climate, have a leaky roof, or have experienced basement flooding, this will make a mold infestation much more likely. It takes only 48 hours for mold to set in -- and the longer the environment remains wet, the more likely your home and belongings are to be damaged or permanently destroyed. That's why it's so important to take action early on; the longer you wait, the more the mold will multiply and the worse the damage will become.

How Can I Recognize Mold Growth?

One of the most recognizable signs of mold is the characteristically musty smell it has. If you associate basements with a musty odor, mold may actually be the reason why. It's also likely to grow in attics, within carpets, in crawlspaces and closets, and behind walls. It's possible, however, that you could have mold growth without ever detecting this distinctive odor. Mold also reveals itself visually and usually leaves visible stains on ceilings, walls, or even on furniture. It can usually be recognized as some type of discoloration; growths that are black, white, brown, tan, green, or even purple are often identified as mold. If you know your home is prone to flooding or you've experienced abnormally humid weather, you might want to keep your eyes peeled (and your nose sharp) for signs of mold.

What is Mold Remediation?

Now, let's talk a bit more about mold remediation. Remediation entails the removal and/or the clean-up of mold from an environment, such as a home or a place of business. There actually is a slight difference between remediation and removal, however. Some companies like to promise consumers that they can remove 100% of the mold from their homes. But mold exists everywhere, so this really isn't an accurate statement at all. Remediation actually refers to bringing mold inside a building back to normal, acceptable, and safe levels. If a company uses the term "remediation," it's usually a pretty good indication that they understand the science behind this process and are experts in their field.

What's Involved in the Mold Remediation Process?

Every company has their own remediation process, but generally speaking, there are some specific steps that are followed in most cases. Remediation specialists will inspect and assess the extent of the mold and the damage it has caused. Then, they will contain the mold, filtrate the air, remove the mold and mold damage, and clean the materials left behind. Depending on the circumstances, this process can take anywhere from a single day to a little less than a week.

Is It Possible to DIY Mold Removal?

Although DIY mold removal is technically possible, it's really not recommended. When you make disturbances to mold, it actually causes the spores to spread and can actually make the problem worse. Unless you have the proper equipment and training to perform mold remediation, it's not a good idea to try doing this yourself. To ensure this process is done correctly the first time, you'll want to enlist the help of professionals.

Think you're dealing with a mold infestation? We're here to help. For more information, please contact our team today.