Create a Clean Air Environment in Your Home or Office
Protect Your Indoor Air Quality with HEPA Filtration
We receive quite many calls during wildfire season from people whose families and pets are suffering from the effects of the smoke and particulates that permeate nearly everything. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration is the solution we recommend. HEPA filters remove microscopic airborne particles down to .3 microns. However, it must be a true HEPA filtration system. There are many air filters and vacuum cleaners on the market that claim to have HEPA filters, but they are not ‘true’ HEPA purifiers or scrubbers. The powerful, commercial grade air scrubbers SERVPRO uses to remove soot and smoke odors are true HEPA filters. They move a large volume of air and the exhaust air is extremely clean.
Most Common Causes of Water Damage
About 40% of all homeowners have experienced a loss from water damage. It can spread contamination, ruin your paint and damage your wood. The good news is that 93% of all water damages could have been prevented with the right knowledge. How can you protect your home from residential water damage? Here are seven ways to prepare.
1. DAMAGED PIPES
Plumbing systems, especially in older homes, are susceptible to stoppages and damage. To prevent plumbing problems before they start, be on the lookout for cracks, bulges, stains and other signs of moisture on your ceiling or floors. If you spot a leak, it could be a sign that there is damage in other areas as well. Spikes in your water bill could mean you have additional damage to your landscaping, flooring and foundation. Look out for pipes in areas prone to collecting water, such as crawl spaces, cabinets and attics. If you see any signs of water damage, call a plumber right away to avoid larger problems in the future. Be sure to check and insulate your pipes every year before winter begins. Pipes can rupture and freeze within a few hours, soaking your entire house.
As appliances get older, their pipes can rust and their hoses can weaken. Dishwasher leaks can leave an unwelcome puddle on your kitchen floor. Common causes include worn gaskets, broken doors and clogged drains. It can cause damage to your tile, electrical wiring and paint. A great way to prevent buildup in your dishwasher is to run a quart of vinegar through the machine each month. You can also scrape and rinse before you load it.
Flooding caused by washing machines is usually caused by leaky hoses. The leak can worsen over time and cause damage to your home. A washing machine valve shutoff kit can prevent the six gallons of water per minute from flooding into your home.
Refrigerators produce a lot of access water that can pool on the bottom of them. Drain lines can also become clogged. If there is a leak in the water supply line that feeds your ice machine, you could come home to a lot of standing water. To prevent your refrigerator from flooding, be sure that it is well insulated. Make sure that you do not move it in and out of its normal position too often, and inspect it regularly for leaks.
3. CLOGGED DRAINS
Bathroom and sink drains can become quickly clogged with dirt, grease, hair and other substances. Pipes can break down, and structural damage is common. If drain clogs are not cleared, problems such as disease, sickness and aggravated health conditions could occur. If left unchecked, clogged drains can cause damage to other places in the home. For example, a clogged toilet can back up into your sink. You may even warp the floorboards and wall support. Small screens can help keep unwanted materials from clogging drains. Pouring boiling water down your drain once a month can help dissolve grease, soap scum and other debris before it clogs your pipes.
4. NATURAL DISASTERS
Hurricanes, breaking dams and snowstorms can all bring excessive water into your home, causing it to flood. Large amounts of water can’t be absorbed by the land, and may overflow into your home. A flood alarm and warning system can help you protect your home against a natural disaster. If you live in a coastal area, be sure to purchase additional flood insurance. Some folks living in flood-prone areas raise their homes on stilts to prepare for floods. Others install foundation vents or sump pumps. You can also grade your lawn away from the house. Make sure you know where the water main is and shut it off when you leave for an extended period of time. This way, you will not come home to any unwanted surprises.
5. HVAC UNITS
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems within your home can cause floods. Be sure to have these systems inspected and cleaned regularly. If you know there is an impending storm, shut off your central air conditioning to prevent damage and risk of electrocution.
6. SUMP PUMP PROBLEMS
If your sump pump stops working, you could have a major flood in your basement. You will then have to deal with potential mold growth, water removal, and bacteria. To keep your sump pump working optimally, always make sure that it is standing upright. Be sure that the vent hole in the discharge pipe is clear. Your outlet pipes should be joined tightly together and drained out at least six feet from your location. If you notice any leaks in your sump pump, call a professional immediately.
7. STRUCTURAL DAMAGE
Moisture dripping through your concrete and crawl spaces can lead to mold and rotting. Check your home regularly for these signs. Cleaning your gutters regularly and maintaining your trees and vegetation will keep unwelcome water from damaging your walls and foundation. You can also install flood protection devices, such as an alarm that goes off when it detects moisture. Make sure your home’s water pressure is not too high. If it is, pipes and hoses can fail under the pressure. You can install a water pressure gauge to help you keep it even. A water pressure regulator can help you in homes where the water pressure cannot be controlled.
PREVENTING RESIDENTIAL WATER DAMAGE
Residential water damage can be caused by natural disasters, clogged drains or damaged pipes. With the right precautions, you likely won’t have to worry about water damage for years to come.
Choose SERVPRO as your professional restoration company
What is Ozone Treatment and Odor Removal?
For some smells, traditional air fresheners and other methods are simply not enough to remove the smell entirely. Instances of fire damage, mold, and even rotten smells may be cause to get a professional ozone treatment done on your home or property.
Ozone is a colorless gas that is very reactive and that does have the ability to oxidize odors. Ozone is similar to the oxygen that we breathe save for the fact that each molecule is made up of three atoms of oxygen rather than two as in the air that we breathe.
An ozone generator is used in a professional ozone treatment to generate these ozone atoms, the atoms then attach to and react with the odor molecules to neutralize them. The machine works to break down the molecules and bacteria that are causing the smells and then breaks them down into components that do not stink.
Ozone treatments and ozone generators are highly effective and are great in cases like a house fire where there is smoke damage and difficult smells. Ozone treatments are great for just about any smell that is hard to tackle and that might not be easily removed with things like air fresheners and more.
Professional Ozone Treatments
It is important to note that it is always going to be best to have a professional ozone treatment rather than try to do it yourself for a few reasons. For starters, ozone can be dangerous in very high concentrations. An ozone machine does create high levels of ozone and can cause sickness if the machine is not properly vented and regulated.
It is highly beneficial to have a professional ozone treatment as a means of removing tough and difficult odors to help make sure that your home is going to smell great and that there are no traces of any foul odors. Professional treatment is the most thorough and fastest way to get rid of tough odors that might be making it difficult to live in your home. A professional company is going to be able to come in and get rid of the smell quickly so that you can get back to living.
SERVPRO tips for Spring Cleaning
Rising temperatures, more sunshine, and blooming flowers – spring is here! It’s a season of transformation as the snow melts away and flowers start to bloom, and one that motivates many to start a home improvement project (or two).
If you’re ready to upgrade your property – inside and out -- a great first step is preparing your home for warmer weather and checking for any damage that may have been caused by the departing season’s ice and snow. This not only helps you prepare for larger projects, but it’s also a great way to fix small issues before they turn into big problems.
Not sure how to get started? We’ve broken out some tasks organized by home area.
- Inspect sprinklers for punctures and other damage that could lead to leaking and yard flooding. A leaking sprinkler, no matter how slow, could lead to a leak that can damage your basement or your home’s foundation.
- Remove debris and leaves that can prevent new grass from growing underneath. Removing this debris will also help prevent harm to children who may fall on sharp branches.
- Trim bushes, trees, and other foliage that may have grown out of control. Pruning branches helps remove dead branches that may blow into your home during a wind storm.
- Check decks and patios for boards in need of repair, then clean the boards to extend the life of the wood. A damaged patio board could lead to injury if not fixed, and could also lead to extended damage throughout the patio.
- Clean grill to get rid of old debris and mess. Excess grease can lead to a flare up and possible fire damage to your home if it’s located near your property. Cleaning a grill also help heat the grill faster.
- Assess the state of your lawn furniture and equipment, repairing, washing, or replacing as necessary. If lawn furniture is broken or used, replace it to avoid injury to those who use it. Chairs can wear down after being exposed to the elements, and playground equipment may need to be inspected to avoid injury to family members.
- Take inventory of your gardening equipment to make sure you have what you need for maintenance, flower beds, etc. Lawnmowers and other gardening equipment will require maintenance to continue functioning. For example, lawnmowers need oil changes once every spring or 50 hours of use to run well for years to come.
YOUR HOME’S EXTERIOR
- Clean gutters and downspouts to remove blockage and allow water to flow properly. Having blockage could lead to overflow that can fall along the foundation of the building or lead to structural damage of buildings in certain cases.
- Check roof for missing shingles, damaged pipes, or anything out of the ordinary. If you’re not comfortable climbing on the roof, do a once-over with binoculars. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert for help if you notice anything out of the ordinary or are unsure if repair is needed.
- Inspect your driveway for cracks or damage caused by thawing ice. Ice and snow lead soil to expand, which can lead to unsightly damage to your driveway. Cracked concrete can also cause damage to cars, mold in areas connected to basements or other structures, and tripping hazards.
- Check outside-facing walls for damage to stucco, brick, or wood. Look for stains that could indicate water damage inside the walls. Stucco damage repair and damage to walls can be fixed by professionals.
- Look for foundational cracks that may require repair. Not taking care of these now could lead to extensive water damage if there’s a flood. The water will spill into the cracks and could cause uneven floors in your home, mold growth, and leaking water into basements.
- Find your home’s sump pump and make sure it’s still in working order. Check to make sure that the water drains properly and away from your home by clearing debris and pouring water into the pit.
YOUR HOME’S INTERIOR
- Look for leaking around windows. This means caulking and weather stripping may need to be replaced. If you see cracks, it might be time for new windows. Failing to do so could mean your home will take longer to heat or cool, which could be a costly mistake.
- Clean your windows and replace the mesh if needed. The mesh prevents debris from entering your home, and can help protect your home from unwanted insects.
- Think about areas of your home that are typically neglected, like the blinds, rails, cabinets, drawers, and closets. Give them a good cleaning by using the appropriate products for the material type.
- Check the A/C unit and clean air ducts to ensure your home stays cool during the hot summer months. Cleaning your home’s air ducts protects your HVAC system and ensures it continues to function throughout the year.
- Inspect your attic for signs of rodents or other intruders. Their droppings could lead to wood rot in your attic and harmful health risks to your family.
- Look for damp insulation or leaks caused by melting ice dams. During winter months, ice dams will need to be removed since they may lead to leaks in your attic which could cause mold in your insulation. Water damage may also occur as it leaks into your home’s walls.
- Check your basement for dampness which could indicate a leak or potential flooding if heavy rain occurs. If you need basement water removal, rely on an expert to help you out, doing it alone may mean that you’re not properly dehumidifying your basement.
- Go over all walls and ceilings for signs of water damage. If you see some signs of water damage, reach out for water damage restoration services to help address the issue.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPRING CLEANING
These are simple actions that have long-lasting payoff, so make sure you’re going through them on an annual basis. Failing to do so could result in costly damage to your home that will require home restoration services. The small cracks and issues you see today can create much larger problems, especially if severe weather hits your area.
But remember that you don’t have to tackle all home projects on your own. If you have extensive water damage, mold, or other property damage, the experts at SERVPRO of Madison County are here to help. We’ll work with you to address the problems you may have found during your inspection and make sure that your home is safe from damage.
Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips for 2022
Here in Huntsville, AL it's a tradition to enjoy the cooler nights outside around a homemade fire pit! Many of us are looking forward to spending time gathering around them to enjoy time with family and friends. Before you start dreaming of moonlit nights and toasted marshmallows, take a moment to check out some of these tips on fire pit safety:
Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips:
- Whether you prefer a built-in or portable fire pit, choose one that is not too large for the area. The pit should be a minimum of 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials as well as away from trees, fences, sheds, power lines, and telephone wires.
- Make sure that the seating area is large enough and properly placed for comfort and ventilation.
- Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
- Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
- To start the fire, use a lighter to ignite crumpled pieces of paper covered with small sticks. Then, add larger sticks and a log or two to keep it burning.
- Burn only dry material. Damp material will create excess smoke.
- Don’t wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fitting clothing.
- Never leave the fire unattended, and keep pets and children far away from the fire as they will be attracted to it.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of water nearby.
- As the fire dies down, use a shovel and spread out the ashes to allow them to cool down. Then slowly pour water over those ashes and watch them closely to be sure that no burning embers remain or reignite. Put the cooled ashes in a specially designated ash storage metal can.
Keep these tips in mind during your s'mores night so that the only fire you have to put out is the one around the pit.
Storm Damage to your Huntsville, AL home or business?
SERVPRO® of Madison County has you covered!
We have experience flash flooding from excessive rains this year all over North Alabama, actually we just experienced it this week. Due to the flooding, there have been many homes experiencing basement flooding damage. With further inspection, some homeowners have found slab leaks (roof leaks) that were not noticed before the heavy rains. If you find any roof leaks, call SERVPRO® of Madison County to help extract the water and treat your home to prevent conditions favorable to microbial growth.
We always respond to your call within one hour, begin the water extraction process within four hours, and notify the adjuster within eight hours from the time of your loss.
Water damage must be handled quickly and properly to prevent severe damage to your home. Calling us as soon as you see the leaks will prevent the problems from worsening. SERVPRO® of Madison County has you covered!
Commercial Property Damage
When a fire strikes your commercial property, it's quite likely that you feel yourself start to panic. This immediate reaction makes sense given all of the economic turmoil and property destruction that a fire can cause. However, knowing which steps to take in the face of a Treasure Valley commercial fire can help prevent you from becoming anxious, losing money, and undergoing extensive property damages. To handle a treasure valley commercial fire successfully and speedily, implement the following four tips:
1. Contact A Fire Remediation Expert.
Once the fire department has doused all of the flames, be sure to call a fire remediation expert. This individual will be able to equip you with a thorough assessment indicating the extent of the damages. Don't ever attempt to handle any of the cleanups, drying, or restoration processes on your own. Doing so could put you in peril of injury and illness.
2. Assemble Your Records.
In addition to contacting a fire remediation expert, make sure that you assemble your business's essential records. You'll want to have this information with you when you start working with your insurance company. To guarantee that you can have all of your files ready in a safe place, make a point to buy a fireproof safe where they can be stored.
3. Call The Insurance Company Immediately.
Be sure that you call your insurance company once the fire is put out. This step is important because your insurance agent will work with you to file a claim and determine how much coverage you'll attain for the commercial damages.
4. Get Permission To Reenter The Building.
Always ask the fire department or another local authority whether you can reenter your building. In some cases, Treasure valley fires can weaken the structural integrity of the commercial property and make it subject to collapse. This is why you need to assure that reentry is safe for you and your employees.
Call SERVPRO For Fast, Friendly Fire Remediation Services
If your business caught on fire, don't worry. Instead, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Boise and let us start cleaning up immediately. Acting right now is the key to limiting damages and expediting the restoration process. Choosing our team of industry specialists is the secret to attaining the sophisticated services you deserve. All of our IICRC-certified technicians will work with diligence and determination to get your commercial property back in pristine condition, so call us now at (256) 533-5335 to attain your free estimate.
Cleanup after a Fire Damage
The Smoke Cleanup Process
Few smells linger like the odor of smoke. Even if a fire in your home in Huntsville, AL only affects part of the structure, smoke damage can permeate the entire house. Fire remediation experts remove smoke and soot after they have secured the area and extracted anything damaged by the fire and the water used to put it out. They may use several techniques to do so.
Regular washing may not get rid of the total smell left behind by smoke. Many of the items that need odor removal can be handled by dry cleaning:
- Furniture covers
When you wash smoke-infused clothing in a washer, there is an extended period of time where the clothes are sitting in smoky water. The smell can also get trapped in the machine itself. Dry cleaners often have special oxidation processes for getting soot damage out of textiles.
Many professionals use industrial foggers to rid homes of smoke damage after a fire. A fogger is helpful because it gets the smoke out of cracks and crevices in a similar way to the process it underwent during the fire. Chemicals are heated to produce fog that permeates porous surfaces, traps smoke particles and neutralizes them. Once the fogger has completed its job, the air is usually noticeably cleaner.
Another smoke cleaning method is the use of ozone machines. These devices create a similar atmosphere to the outside air after a thunderstorm. By releasing ozone particles into the air, the area gets refreshed. Soon, the clean air replaces the sooty, stale air, making your home smell clean and normal again.
A fire in your home will likely cause extensive smoke damage not only to items within your home but to the structure itself. Professional technicians can clean the damaged area and employ various methods to get rid of the smoke odors.
Minimize Winter Storm Damage with these Tips
Winters in Huntsville, AL can be severe at times, with heavy rains, winds and snow threatening the very infrastructure of your building on a constant basis. While there is not much you can do about a winter storm, there are steps you can take to minimize storm damage and keep your money in your pocket. Here are four cost-saving tips you can use this winter to keep damage at bay:
- Prep your building.
- Equip your building with a generator.
- Plan for snow and ice removal.
- Have a plan in place.
Prep Your Building
The best thing that you can do to minimize damage caused by a storm is to prep your building. Equip it with storm windows, replace any old weather stripping with new, have your gutters inspected and, if necessary, replaced, and shut off any outside pipes. Frozen pipes tend to cause the most structural damage during the winter, so to prevent a pipe break, make sure that no liquid is allowed to sit in it.
Invest in Backup Power
Invest in a generator, as a winter storm has the potential to knock out your power. Not only do power outages often result in burst pipes because of lack of heat, but also they can cause data loss and fried electrical equipment. A generator can keep your business operating as normal and your assets, both physical and cyber, safe.
Invest in Snow Removal
When snow and ice are allowed to build up on your building or around your structure, moisture can seep into your building and cause unnecessary structural damage. Additionally, ice is a slipping hazard, which could put you at serious liability for personal injury. By investing in routine ice and snow removal, you can minimize damage and potentially costly accidents.
Have a Plan
If a winter storm becomes too severe, you may need to follow through with a disaster plan. Make sure you have one in place and that everyone in your office knows the drill.
Protect your business against damage and losses caused by winter storms. Prep your building, have backup options, invest in snow removal and have a plan to minimize loss this winter.
Fire in your Kitchen?
Home fires are most likely to start in the kitchen than any room in the house. The second leading cause of fires inside the home are from wood stoves and fireplaces. Multitasking while cooking is the biggest reason fires start in the kitchen. One third of fires are caused by not paying attention to food on the stove. Cooking oil or grease can easily catch fire if it gets too hot. Ranges and cook tops account for 58% of fires and ovens account for 16%. Microwaves are the leading cause of scald burn injuries. Hot pans and the hot stove with hot liquids or steam accounted for 55% of burns in children. Trying to fight a kitchen fire yourself can lead to injury and making the matter worse.
Keep your family safe by providing safety tips to prevent fires and burns. Have a kid free zone of at least 3 feet around the stove and hot objects. Children need to be aware of the dangers of cooking and being too close to hot objects. Keep hot objects away from the edges of tables and counters due to small children reaching for food.
Keep a clutter free area when cooking to reduce the chance of flammable material setting a fire. Items to keep away from the stove would include dish towels, potholders, and paper towels. When distracted and having to leave the kitchen it is best to turn the stove off. Two of every five home fires start in the kitchen and could have been prevented.
When you have experienced a kitchen fire from a food source you will have soot and odor through out the home. To remove soot and smoke from walls, furniture, and floors, contact your local SERVPRO of the Quad Cities. Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. When various materials burn, the soot and residue they create differs greatly and requires a specific cleaning procedure. Listed below are tips on what not to do after a fire:
What NOT To Do After a Fire
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat, or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Leave the cleaning and restoration needs to SERVPRO. There is no substitute for training and experience. As fire and water damage specialists, our business is built upon fire and water restoration expertise. We have the knowledge and the specialized equipment to get your property back to pre-fire condition.