Diverting Water Away From the Home
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
“Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends and family belong, and laughter never ends.” We all want to ensure that our houses will be home to ourselves and our family for many years. The thought of water flooding the home, foundation erosion, soil and grass deterioration are all nightmares that we hear of all too often. Although we hope these things never happen, there are ways to help avoid these nightmares, and avoid costly foundation repairs in the long run. The ability to draw water away from your home could save you time, money, and heartache for many years ahead. If water builds up around the foundation of the house, it can allow for the water to seep into walls, which can cause moisture as well as mold to begin intruding into your home.
Below we have provided four ways to draw water away from your home…
- Install a Rain Gutter System: North Dakota State University Extension Service has conducted research on this topic, and they found “that 1 inch of water on 1,000 square feet of roof translates to 620 gallons of water”. Slanted roofs cause the water to run off, but without a gutter system the water will begin to pool around the base of the house. “Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends using an extended rain spout of at least 5 feet at the end of the downspout” this allows for enough distance for the water to be discarded away from the house.
- Create A Barrier: Over time your soil is altered by the runoff of water from the roof of your house. This leads to the soil moving and creating those unwanted pools of water that build up around your house. It is suggested to “rebuild” the soil around your house to redirect the runoff water. In an article in the "Chicago Tribune" they suggest “building a slope of topsoil or crushed stone that extends from the home 2 to 3 feet. As well as the NDSU Extension Service suggests that the slopes be 1 inch higher per every foot in length.
- Dig A Trench: Once the water is carried away from the house, then it is important to get rid of the water before it ventures back towards your house. One of the ways to do this is to build a trench. The trench is suggested to be 3 to 4 ft deep, and 2 to 3 ft across by an article in “Chicago Tribune”. The trench should be in the lowest part of the property and in a U-shape. Place filter fabric on the high end to filter out the dirt and silt, as well as fill the trench with gravel or crushed rock.
- Build A Dry Well: If yards are small and easily hold water, the gutters and barriers may not be enough to get rid of water. A dry wall may need to be installed to get rid of standing water that threatens your home. Dry Wells are holes in the ground that are filled with gravel or crushed rock that are 3 to 4 ft wide and 5 to 6 ft deep. These allow for a slow transfer of water to the ground.
Although these seem like time consuming ideas, they can ultimately save you from the nightmares of water damage. If you have questions about the preventative actions check out the link below. Also, if you have any further questions or damage has already begun, please contact SERVPRO of LBL South at (731) 642-1284.
Drawing Water Away From The House
Storm Damage? Now what?
Storm Damage? Now What?
Unfortunately, it does happen, hopefully not often. With the changes in our current weather patterns, it seems heavier rains, stronger winds, and overall severe weather seems to be getting more, well….. severe. So what do you do when severe weather strikes your home? Most severe weather damage is a result of wind, which in turn exposes your home to the subsequent rain which enters the interior of the residence. Here are some recommended steps to take immediately if this occurs:
- CALL SERVPRO of LBL South! While the damage may be minimal “looking” early on, you have no idea where the watered entered, nor where it had traveled before it became noticeable to you. It is best to call the professionals who are available 24 hours a day.
- Gather insurance documents and prepare to have those for when SERVPRO of LBL South arrives. It is not mandatory that you have this information in order to call us, however, it helps us to understand how we can assist as we move through the initial inspection process of your home or business.
- Listen closely to the Crew Chief as he/she explains the process, and this is the time to ask any questions as it pertains to the process. Our Crew Chiefs are happy to explain the drying science, as well as how each piece of equipment functions to help restore your home to its normal level of dryness.
- BE PATIENT! Our job as the premier restoration company in the nation is to ensure your home is dry following storm damage. We know the fans and dehumidifiers may be a touch loud, and you may be tempted to turn them off to catch your favorite television series. Do not alter the equipment left behind by a company. If there is an issue with the equipment, please consult with your Crew Chief.
- Be prepared to contact a construction company to replace the materials removed from the home that were affected by the storm. While SERVPRO of LBL South does have a construction team that can restore your home like new, the mitigation process goes much faster than the replacement process. While a standard water damage mitigation can take up to seven days, the restoring of a home following storm damage can take days or even months depending upon the level of damage. It is best to consult with the Crew Chief, AND the Construction Manager on your options as it relates to the restoring of your home.
SERVPRO of LBL South is #HeretoHelp following any storm damage your residence or business may incur. Our emergency line is open 24-Hours a day and we may be reached at (731) 642-1284.
When Fire Strikes
Fire!! What to Do Next??
When disaster strikes, and your home is involved in a fire, your mind is frantic, and you have no idea what the next step is. You never pictured this would happen and you probably never thought what happens now. Below we have provided some of those next steps for you to take once your home has been involved in a fire.
- First and foremost, safety is the most important. Find a safe place for your family and pets to stay. This should be a place that can help ease your mind and give you a place to think about what you need to do next. If you don’t have a family member or friend to stay with, check with a local disaster relief program like the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army as they can often provide you with free temporary housing. Accomplishing this one minor goal can help feel like you have some control of the situation.
- Your next step should be to contact your insurance agent. The faster you contact your insurance agent; the faster things can begin whether it is repairs or looking for a new home. They also may be able to help you with your expenses due to losses in the fire. Insurance companies can also help you find a cleaning or mitigation/restoration service.
- Contact the Police. To ensure the safety of your home, the windows and doors should be boarded up to ensure the building and belongings are left alone.
- Plan out finances. Ensure you are prepared to pay your bills and it may even be best to suspend your cable and internet bills since you will not be in your home for a while. Some insurance companies will assist with these payments during this time.
- Get a list of damaged items and be sure to report them to your insurance agent, also make sure you report all important documents that were loss and need to be replaced. These should be of high priority.
- Before reentering your home, make sure it is reported to be safe by a fire marshal. Also, make sure you have spoken with your insurance agent to be sure that it does not void any of your policy if you are to enter your home. Always check with your agent before doing anything.
- Finally, you may feel like it is your responsibility to go into the home and start packing up and collecting undamaged items. This can take weeks and can take away from the important things that are of higher priority. Instead, let SERVPRO pack up all belongings, clean them, and store them with us, until we have completed all our steps to ensure it looks "Like it never even happened." Then we will return all your cleaned items back to where they were. This process can be long and drawn out but with our elite team of professionals we are able to complete these tasks with ease. We also can assist with communication between insurance agents/adjusters to help put homeowners at ease.
If you have any questions check out the link below or if you or someone you know is in the process of going through any of these tasks and need help, feel free to call SERVPRO of LBL (731) 642-1284 and we will be happy to assist you during this difficult time.
Residential Fire Readiness
Residential Fire Readiness
Ever wonder what the chances of your home catching fire actually are? Well, according to the United States Fire Administration, it depends on how well you are at cooking! Yes, we said cooking. According to the USFA, 51.6% of residential fires come from cooking. Generally, this is a grease fire, and once a flame emits from grease running down onto an eye on the stove, someone incorrectly tries to put it out with water. The other causes are Heating (9.1%), Unintentional/Carelessness (7.1) and Electrical 6.5%. So, while there are other reasons, most fires do begin in the kitchen. Let’s discuss a few tips in the event the bacon decides to catch fire one Saturday morning while you are cooking breakfast.
- Get everyone out of the house (remember, have everyone assemble at a rally point).
- Contact 9-1-1.
- If the fire is contained to the pan/pot, cover the container with a lid (not a plastic lid).
- If possible, shut off the heat source. This will not immediately put an end to the flame, but it will help in the continued fueling of heat from the source. You will still have to contend with the fire already started.
- If small enough, pour generous amounts of salt and/or baking soda on the flames.
- If available, use a Class B fire extinguisher. These are readily available for purchase at any local Lowe’s, Walmart or other home store.
- DO NOT use water on an oil-based fire. This will cause the oil to splatter, expanding the flames rapidly which will likely result in your home being consumed in flames before the emergency responders can arrive.
It is also recommended that you do not place fire extinguishers in the kitchen, but rather, just outside the kitchen. In the event your kitchen catches fire, you will need to access the extinguisher, and if your kitchen is engulfed in flames, it could render getting to the extinguisher next to impossible. Do what you can with what you have, but most certainly do not put yourself or others in harms way. You and your family’s safety are the most crucial element to dealing with a fire. Educate everyone in the home on the plan in the event a fire breaks out. Make sure they know how to safely exit the home, what to do and not to do, and where to meet up once safely outside of the home. Everyone, down to the youngest child, should be familiar with it.
Should you experience fire damage, contact SERVPRO of LBL South to come inspect the residence and begin work on restoring it “Like it never even happened.”
United States Fire Administration
How to Put Out a Grease Fire
Are You Sure the Toilet Isn't Leaking?
Are You Sure the Toilet Isn’t Leaking?
Do you see stains around the base of your toilet? Notice standing water or damaged tile? How about stains on the ceiling below where your toilet is located (multi-level home)? These can all be indications of a leaking toilet seal. A toilet seal is what connects the toilet to the main drain waste pipe flange in the floor. Typically, you find that if your toilet is rocking, that means that the seal is faulty and needs replaced. However, even if it is not rocking you still may find the toilet seal to have been installed incorrectly, possibly not aligned correctly, or not installed at all.
How to Replace Leaking Toilet Seal?
- TURN off the water at the shutoff valve. (typically located behind the toilet or possibly in the basement or crawlspace)
- REMOVE the toilet lid, hold the handle down, and drain all the water out of the toilet. You will also need to remove the water from the supply tank as well (using a sponge or cup may be helpful to get all the water out).
- DISCONNECT the water-supply tube. This is done by removing the compression nuts off the shutoff value.
- REMOVE the toilet by gently rocking back and forth to break off the pre-existing seal. (Use a putty knife to remove the old seal)
- CHECK the condition of the flange that holds the seal to ensure there are no cracks or broken pieces. (If so, this part will also need replaced)
- CENTER the new seal within the closest flange
- CONNECT the water-supply tube to the fill-valve shank that is located on the bottom of the toilet tank
- PRESS down on the toilet to compress the seal and tighten the bolts (do not over tighten)
- TRIM the tops of bolts, tighten bolts, and replace caps
- CONNECT the supply tube to the shutoff valve, open the valve, flush the toilet
- INSPECT for any leaks
A leaking toilet can seem like a minor issue, but if left unrepaired can turn into a large, costly issue. If the leak is caught in a timely manner, and repaired the homeowner is looking at low costs, and about an hours’ worth of work. However, if left alone to continue to leak, it can cause major damage to the subfloor of the house or even the walls. Once the floor begins to rot, it continues to spread and before anyone is aware of it, it can destroy an entire bathroom floor, causing showers, cabinets, sinks, and such to have to be removed in order to fix the damaged floor. This then turns into hours of restoration work, and costly materials.
For more information relating to the inspection of, removal or installation of a toilet gasket, please click on the link provided below. If you find that you do in fact have water damage as a result of a leaky/faulty gasket, please contact SERVPRO of LBL South at (731) 642-1284.
Easy Fix for a Leaky Toilet
Hurricane Harvey, which hit Louisiana and Texas in 2017, is tied with Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting $125 billion in damage, primarily from catastrophic rainfall-triggered flooding in the Houston metropolitan area. In a four-day period, many areas received more than 40 inches of rain as the system slowly meandered over eastern Texas and adjacent waters, causing unprecedented flooding. The resulting floods inundated hundreds of thousands of homes, displaced more than 30,000 people, and prompted more than 17,000 rescues.
Two weeks after the initial disaster, we were on scene. Our experience in Houston will be one of the most memorable for our company. Floors, walls, and ceilings were affected in most homes we helped. These surfaces, only days after the waters had receded, were covered in mold. This mold, black mold, had to be removed from the homes. Here is a link to better understand the mold and black mold.
There were streets upon streets of personal belongings, furniture, pictures, carpet, drapes... piled 6 to 8 feet high on curbs. These were memories... But the people of Houston persevered. The people of Houston, even on their worst days, were some of the most uplifting and optimistic people we've ever met in the face of disaster. A part of my heart will always be in Houston. You are a positive force in our country. It was a pleasure to have met them even in the direst of circumstances.
Safety Tips During a Storm
Lightning from thunderstorms injures hundreds of people in the U.S. every year and kills dozens. These casualties are easily preventable if you follow these simple safety tips.
1. Listen to the radio and television for severe thunderstorm warnings. The National Weather Service issues warnings for counties and even sends out text messages now to our mobile phones when storms are on their way. Pay attention and heed their warnings for safety.
2. Remember the 30 second rule. If there is not 30 seconds in between the time you see lightning and hear thunder, it’s time to go indoors.
3. Lightning typically strikes the tallest object around so if there is a storm, move indoors if at all possible or into a hard top car if there are no buildings around.
4. Once inside, stay away from windows, plumbing and electrical. If lightning strikes outside, it can carry inside via land lines.
5. Get out of boats and away from bodies of water. If you can hear thunder than you are close enough to get struck by lightning.
6. If you are caught outside, avoid standing by tall isolated objects such as trees. Find a grouping of small trees surrounded by taller ones, avoid bodies of water, and if there is only open spaces, look for a dry low-lying area and try to make yourself the smallest target possible. Do not lay flat on the ground, rather crouch with your head between your knees. Sheds, outhouses and tents provide no safety so keep this in mind when you are hiking or camping. Always think ahead and be prepared in the event that you are caught in a thunderstorm and if possible, turn around on your trip and head home.
National Preparedness Month 2021
September of each year is National Preparedness Month in the United States. SERVPRO promotes this month in an effort to get our friends and local patrons to understand the importance of be prepared for any disaster that could strike. As COVID-19 has brought upon numerous situations for most, if anything, it has stressed the very importance of being prepared. Natural Disasters could include Flooding, Wildfires, Extreme Heat, a Pandemic, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Lightning Strike, Blizzards, Hurricanes and much more. While we are not immune to some of these because we live in the Southeast, we are vulnerable to most.
Ready.gov, a federally funded website helps with the planning for when disaster strikes. According to Ready.gov, a standard Disaster Supply Kit includes but is not limited to:
- Water (at least one gallon per day per person for no less than three days)
- Food (again, three-day supply)
- Battery powered or hand-crank radio
- First Aid Kit
- Extra Batteries
- Dust Mask
- Plastic Sheeting by which to build a shelter
- Duct Tape
- Trash bags and Moist Towelettes
- Manual Can Opener
- Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Additional supplies would also include any pet supplies, prescription medicine, insurance information, face coverings (during a pandemic or in the event of a biological disaster), feminine supplies, paper and pencil, and more.
Have a plan. Communicate the plan to family members. Rehearse the plan routinely with them and ensure everyone knows communication plans, phone numbers, evacuation plans, meet-up locations and more. Rehearse these so often that everyone knows them by nature, and in the event the worst happens, you and your family will be #ready!
If your home suffers damage from a storm, give SERVPRO of LBL South a call at (731) 642-1284. We are #HeretoHelp!
Recommended Supplies List: https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/2020-03/ready_emergency-supply-kit-checklist.pdf
Don't Let COVID-19 Close Your Commercial Business
New Delta Variant & Your Commercial Business
According to Dr. Lisa Piercey, who is the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee is nearing the same number of COVID-19 cases that it had in early May of 2020. She says that cases have increased by 200% since July 1st, 2021. This sudden surge in cases is due to the new Delta variant of the virus. While this development is concerning for many reasons, it should not be a concern for your commercial business. SERVPRO of LBL South offers COVID-19 cleaning services for businesses across the region through our program, Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.
Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is our specialized service that prevents the spread of the viral pathogens of COVID-19. In order to keep the doors of your business open, Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned goes above and beyond the average cleanings of janitorial crews. Our company has significant experience and expertise in biohazard decontamination and cleaning, making SERVPRO of LBL South the best choice to protect your business from the new Delta variant.
How does it work? Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is grounded in our unique 3 Cs:
- Consult: Not all businesses are the same, which is why we’ll start by learning about the unique needs of each space.
- Clean: Based on the specific needs of the business, an expert deep clean is initiated using our proprietary EPA-approved, hospital-grade cleaning solutions and always adhering to CDC standards.
- Certify: You’ll know a business is Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned by the shield posted on their front window. Along with digital emblems and other collateral, this beacon represents their commitment to comfort and security of their employees, customers and community.
So if your business is faced with having to shut its doors due to COVID-19, give SERVPRO of LBL South a call. We'll get your facility Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned and able to reopen just six hours after our cleaning is complete. Call us for your cleaning and restoration needs at 731-642-1284 or email us at SERVPRO@lblsouth.com.
In June 2020, our experienced a significant amount of rainfall which brought the wettest on record according to the National Weather Service. In receiving this significant amount of rainfall, aside from the flooding (water damage) that comes as a result of rising rivers or other bodies of water, we began also receiving calls from customers that had unexplained mold growing on their ceilings as well as outside walls on their homes or businesses. Since one of the key factors in properly mitigating a water damage is identifying the source, naturally we began with a roof inspection, which in every case to the date of this blog posting, has produced no findings which would indicate a raised nail, missing screw, or shingle tab is the culprit. Following a flood of questions to the homeowner, which generally reveal no prior history of brown stains or leaks from the ceiling or walls, some may not know to look at or inspect the gutter system.
Gutters play a significant role in a number of things which protect the home. They keep water from running directly off of a roof and onto a deck, into your flower bed, and through the proper design/installation/operation of the gutter system, also diverts water away from the foundation of the home. According to our friends over at Erie Insurance, failing to annually inspect your gutter system can result in foundation issues, broken gutters, wall and ceiling Damage, a wet basement, and insect infestations.
Our customers were all found to have the same issue, easily avoidable clogged gutters which permitted the gutter system to become backfilled with water, further permitting that water to intrude into the home. Following a brief inspection of the gutters, debris was found in the downspouts, in some cases with plants growing out of them, which prevented the water from properly draining.
As their article properly suggests, gutter damage is expensive to mitigate, but inexpensive and easy to prevent. Take the proper precaution to inspect your gutters, ensuring you have the proper tools, ladder, and equipment to mitigate any issues you find. Taking the time to do this will allow you to also better inspect your homes roof for any damage from the previous season, as well as other areas you may need to focus on moving forward.
If your home has suffered water damage, call SERVPRO of LBL South to assist you in mitigating this damage! We are always happy to help!
Metz, J. (2018, October 17). 5 Common problems caused by clogged gutters. Retrieved from Erie Insurance: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/clean-gutters
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. (2020, August 5th). National Climate Report - June 2020. Retrieved from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/202006