Sometimes it's the Water you Can't See that can Cause the Most Damage
Sometimes it the water you can’t see that can cause the most damage. That is why it is important to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington. We will use a moisture meter to determine where the moisture is so we are not doing any unnecessary demo. The following are some signs that your home may have water damage.
Water accumulation is the most obvious sign. If you have areas of standing or pooling water it can lead to a bigger problem such as mold.
If you suspect water damage in the ceiling look for water spots and stains. It can appear wet or dry and may be discolored. Walls may also have bubbling, cracking or peeling paint or wallpaper.
Flooring can also show discoloration like walls and ceilings but the main sign of water damage in floors is detected by changes in texture. Water seeping into the floor boards and areas underneath them can cause warping, buckling, sagging, and expansion to happen.
Odor is another telltale sign you may have a water problem. This is a result of mold and mildew buildup in areas where water has been accumulating for a while such as basements and walls.
Preparing for a Windstorm
It is that time of year in the Midwest when we start worrying about storms and the possible damage they can do. Most people probably don’t think about windstorms but they can be just as dangerous as thunderstorms. Wind speeds during a windstorm typically exceed 34 miles per hour. Depending on the severity windstorms can down trees and power lines and even potentially wreck vehicles and homes. Following are some tips to help protect your property and prepare for this kind of storm.
Check for any old or loose shingles and repair if needed as these could come off during a windstorm.
Remove any dead trees or shrubs which are too close to your home and any power lines.
Make sure your garage door is reinforced and can withstand high winds. Should your garage door come flying off it can leave the contents vulnerable.
Watch the forecast and if it has the potential for high winds secure your backyard and patio furniture as it has the potential to not only damage property but can also injure people.
Should you need storm damage repair don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Burlington. Our professionals are available 24/7 to assist you in your time of need. Stay safe this storm season!
Preparing your Commercial Property for a Flood
Right now in our area we are dealing with some minor flooding. With more chances of rain and all that snow from up North eventually headed our way I want to provide you with some tips to help protect your commercial property from a flood.
Check your insurance plan- Most policies don’t cover flood damage and the loss of income that can result. So check and see if it is possible for you to add flood coverage.
Basements are vulnerable to flooding. So if you have a basement caulk any cracks on interior walls, extend downspouts, and re-grade the landscape so water runs away from the building. You can also install a sump pump to protect against seeping groundwater or minor floods. If water is a recurring problem, apply a waterproof sealant to foundation cracks, framing joints, and the floor.
Regularly clean your gutters and storm drains.
Keep backup copies of important documents. These documents can include but not limited to insurance documents and vendor contact information.
Prepare ahead of time a map showing where key equipment is and know how to shut off the mains for electrical, fuel, and water supply.
Last but not least, don’t wait to move or act. Heed official advice for evacuations or other measures and carefully consider the best evacuation routes.
Document Freeze Drying
I went over a little bit about our document restoration services in a previous blog. For this blog I am going to go into a little more detail about the freeze drying process and why it is effective over just letting them air dry.
To start off vacuum freeze drying is the only method approved by the National Archives and Records Administration and also the General Services Administration. This process involves freezing an item containing moisture and then it is dried using vacuums and pressures to achieve sublimation. In order to prevent further damage it is important that your water damaged documents be frozen as quickly as possible.
- We use 10x12x15 banker boxes to store your water damaged documents and label each box so in the future it can easily be found and returned to you.
- We will then ship these items to a cold storage facility until those items are needed.
Vacuum freeze drying is just the first step in the process of restoring your water damaged documents. We will also clean, sterilize, deodorize, and if they can’t be restored we also offer certified destruction. Should you find yourself dealing with water damaged documents, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington to help restore them.
What to do Before the Professionals Arrive
Water damage in any part of your home can be stressful and you may be thinking, "What do I do next?" First step would be to identify the source of incoming water and shutoff or stop the water source if possible. Next would be to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington but there are some things you can do before we arrive, which I will list below, but first and foremost safety should be your top priority. You need to determine if it is safe to stay in the house and only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
- Remove excess water by mopping.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture.
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
- If it's summertime turn on air conditioning for maximum drying.
- Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
- Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
- Gather loose items from floors.
While these are some things you can do before we arrive the following is a list of what you shouldn't do.
- Don't leave wet fabrics in place.
- Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
- Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
- Don't use television or other household appliances.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.
The professionals here at SERVPRO of Burlington are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to respond to your emergency. We can help make it "Like it never even happened."
Daylight Saving Time
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. Also, 71% of smoke alarms that failed to operate had missing, disconnected or dead batteries. A good way to remember to check them is to do it when Daylight Saving Time starts and ends since you have to change your clocks forward or backward. Also at these times it is important to check your carbon monoxide detectors, if you have them, and change batteries if needed. So, this weekend when we Spring forward check your smoke detectors and change batteries if needed. Smoke alarms play a vital role in reducing deaths and injuries as long as you properly maintain them. Check those detectors and don’t forget to spring forward an hour this weekend!
Commercial Fire Preparedness
Office fires lead to millions of dollars of property damage every year. This is why it is important to make sure your business is prepared in case disaster strikes.
Maintenance- Many fires are caused by equipment and machinery that is old, poorly repaired, dirty, or otherwise unmaintained or defective. Regular maintenance checks are important so that you can catch any problems before they cause bigger issues.
Proper Safety Equipment- Install automatic sprinklers and extinguishers in your commercial building just in case a fire does happen as this will help to lessen damage. Also make sure all employees know how to use the fire extinguishers correctly. It is also important to have clearly marked exit signs so you and your employees don't struggle to find the way out during a fire.
Watch for Fire Hazards- Keep an eye out for fire hazards such as faulty wiring and replace if found. Also store flammable materials appropriately and keep escape routes clear and free of clutter.
Emergency Procedures- Make sure your business has a fire safety plan and if not develop one. It is important to review this plan with your employees on a regular basis so they are prepared in case of an emergency.
SERVPRO of Burlington can create what’s called an Emergency READY Profile for your business. When disaster strikes you don’t want to have to fumble around trying to find numbers for important contacts such as your gas or water company. The ERP is a detailed assessment of your building, inside and out. We take pictures and put all important contact information in one spot so in your time of need all that information is readily available. Contact us today to set up an ERP for your business.
Should a fire happen at your building call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington. We will work to make it "Like it never even happened."
Preventing Mold in your HVAC System
One of the best places to start in preventing mold in your home is your HVAC system. If it is not cared for properly mold can buildup and spread throughout your home. The following are some tips to help prevent mold in your HVAC system.
- First and foremost, make sure your HVAC system is sized properly. If it is too small it will run constantly which in turn elevates costs. On the other hand, if it is too big, it will constantly start and stop, which also wastes energy.
- Replace your air filters regularly- It is advised to change them at least once a month. If they become wet and dirty they become inefficient at trapping mold spores and other contaminants.
- Apply an HVAC mold inhibitor- Important: You need to apply an EPA-approved disinfectant that is labeled for us in HVAC systems before applying the inhibitor. A mold inhibitor will help to prevent mold and mildew growth in your HVAC system.
- Check your air intakes- Keep the areas below air intakes clean by removing standing water and anything else that can contaminate your air.
- Eliminate clutter- Keep furniture and other items away from vents as this can block airflow. On humid, still days, run a couple fans to keep the air moving.
- Monitor humidity- Use an indoor humidity monitor, which can be purchased at most hardware stores, and make sure your humidity level falls between 35-50%, which is an ideal level. If you reach 60% relative humidity, you should start looking for the source of the added moisture because if it continues to rise and gets above 70% certain species of mold can begin growing.
Should you want your HVAC system cleaned, SERVPRO of Burlington can help out. Give us a call to set up an appointment.
Protecting your Fire Sprinkler System Pipes
In a previous post I wrote about the different types of fire sprinkler systems so for this one I want to dive deeper into how to protect these pipes from freezing. Typically these type of pipes get pushed to the back of your mind but these are just as important to keep protected also.
- If you lose heating in your building and it cannot be restored immediately it is important to shut off your fire sprinkler system and completely drain it.
- Properly insulate any of these pipes that are located in exterior walls, unheated spaces, or ones that are exposed to extreme cold weather. It is recommended you use heat tracing that is UL-listed.
- Drain any piping that is not required during the winter months, if possible.
- Regularly inspect your fire sprinkler system to make sure they are in good operating condition.
Should you run into an issue where these pipes break and cause water damage don't hesitate to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Burlington. We are available 24/7 and will help return your business to normal.
With another round of snow forecast for this coming weekend, this is the time to talk about our winter weather. Not only can several inches of snow be an inconvenience but so can the winds that come along with it. A severe snowstorm that has strong sustained winds of at least 35 mph and that last for three or more hours is considered a blizzard. Not only can this type of storm cause damage to your home but it can also bring whiteout conditions making it extremely unsafe to travel.
It is recommended to keep an emergency kit stocked for your home and your car as well. For your home kit you should include candles, flashlights, warm blankets, non-perishable food, drinking water, and a backup heat source just to name a few. In case you must travel during a blizzard, although it is not recommended, your kit should include water, jumper cables, road flares, tow rope, and non-perishable snacks. This kit comes in handy should your car break down, you get into an accident, or become stuck in the snow. It is important that you stay with your car unless you see a building nearby.
I hope everyone stays safe and keeps warm this winter!