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Storm Preparedness

10/13/2021 (Permalink)

Storm Preparedness

Severe weather could include excessive rain/floods, straight line winds, hail, and of course, tornadoes. Are you and your family prepared? Here are a few helpful tips from the National Weather Service:

  • BE READY – If you do not have a weather radio in the home, these can be purchased for a reasonable cost at just about any local convenience store or online. It needs to be NOAA certified, and you will need to identify which specific band/frequency to set it to in the event it does not set itself automatically. You can find those HERE, and then identify the frequency for your area, then set your radio accordingly. Make sure the weather radio can both plug in, and operate on some other form of alternative source (batteries, solar, or crank).
  • SIGN UP FOR NOTIFICATIONS: Various apps on your Android or Apple phone can alert you to disaster, and guide you once the disaster has concluded. Make sure to have some means of reaching the outside world in the event disaster strikes.
  • COMMUNICATION PLAN: In the event you must evacuate your home, or disaster strikes when the family is separated, have a plan for notifying members who reside in the home, as well as other members of concern (immediate family, co-workers, etc.)
  • REHEARSE THE PLAN: Run through the communication plan, and overall disaster plan routinely with all members of the household. The plan of action should be second nature in the rare event emergency strikes.
  • HELP WHERE HELP IS NEEDED: Once you have secured your home and family, check with neighbors to see if help is needed. Contact emergency services if help is required.

Other helpful tips include making sure your insurance documents, identification, credit card/banking information is all saved digitally in the event your home is destroyed. The more prepared you are, the faster the claims adjuster can work with you to repair/rebuild your home.

SERVPRO of LBL South is an expert in helping make these preparations. Contact the office at (731) 641-1284 and ask to meet with a SERVPRO representative at your home or business to begin building your Emergency Readiness Plan (ERP).

Resources for Additional Information:

National Weather Service Safety Tips

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Radio Frequency Finder

How Do Electrical Fires Start?

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

. Common Electrical Outlets - 

Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets or worn out sockets that are not properly grounded. As outlets and switches get older, the wiring behind them wears as well, and wires are strung about that loosen overtime and could potentially break and cause a fire.

2. Old Electrical Wiring - 

Outdated electrical wiring often causes electrical fires. If a home is over 20 years old, it may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased amounts of electrical appliances in today's average home, such as computers, wide-screen televisions, video players, microwaves, and air conditioners.

3. Circuit Overload - 

Unrestricted use of extension cords is a major fire hazard. When the TV, home theatre, computer, and other appliances are all plugged into a single extension cord, it creates excessive power load on a single socket which may not be designed to handle that load. This means the circuit is overloaded, and your home is at serious risk of an electric fire.

4. Old Appliances - 

Old appliances that have frayed cords or loose or faulty wiring can catch fire. Moreover, due to the high flammability of old insulation used in these appliances, a simple electrical repair to address these issues may not be enough. It's best to purchase updated appliances to ensure your safety.

5. Light Fixtures - 

Light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs are another common reason for electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures, is a leading cause of electrical fires. Always check the maximum recommended bulb wattage on any lighting fixture or lamp and never go over the recommended amount.

6. Portable Heaters -

Be conscious of where you place your space heaters in the wintertime, and never leave it on for an extended period of time, especially when you are sleeping or have left the house. Placing your portable heater next to curtains, rugs, beds, couches, and the like is one of the most common causes of fires. If you do use space heaters, use the radiator-type that diffuse heat over the entire surface of the appliance. 

Smoke & Soot

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of LBL South will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Us Today – 731-642-1284

Should Your Business Clean The Air Ducts?

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

Answer: Yes, because they get dirty!

In addition to normal accumulations of dust and dirt found in all structures with air ducts, there are several other factors that can increase the need for regular HVAC system cleaning:

-occupants with allergies or asthma
-cigarette or cigar smoke
-water contamination or damage to the home or HVAC system
-renovation or remodeling projects

Some occupants are more sensitive to these contaminants than others. Allergy and asthma sufferers, as well as young children and the elderly tend to be more susceptible to the types of poor indoor air quality that air duct cleaning can help address.

Indoor air quality is one concern that homeowners have when they decide to investigate air duct cleaning. Your heating and cooling system is the lungs of your home. The system takes air in and breathes air out.

Through normal occupation, we generate a great deal of contaminants and air pollutants, such as dander, dust, and chemicals. These contaminants are pulled into the HVAC system and re-circulated 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Over time, this re-circulation causes a build-up of contaminants in the duct work.

While dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, school or workplace, they may be contributing to larger health effects or harboring contaminants that could cause serious problems for people with respiratory health conditions, autoimmune disorders or some environmental allergies.

Contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work harder and shorten the life of your system. Although filters are used, the heating and cooling system still gets dirty through normal use. When an HVAC system is clean, it doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain the temperature you desire. As a result, less energy is used, leading to improved cost-effectiveness.

Diverting Water Away From the Home

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Resources:

Drawing Water Away From The House

Storm Damage? Now what?

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

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

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

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.

  1. Get everyone out of the house (remember, have everyone assemble at a rally point).
  2. Contact 9-1-1.
  3. If the fire is contained to the pan/pot, cover the container with a lid (not a plastic lid).
  4. 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.
  5. If small enough, pour generous amounts of salt and/or baking soda on the flames.
  6. If available, use a Class B fire extinguisher. These are readily available for purchase at any local Lowe’s, Walmart or other home store.
  7. 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.”

RESOURCES:

United States Fire Administration

How to Put Out a Grease Fire

Are You Sure the Toilet Isn't Leaking?

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

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?

  1. TURN off the water at the shutoff valve. (typically located behind the toilet or possibly in the basement or crawlspace)
  2. 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).
  3. DISCONNECT the water-supply tube. This is done by removing the compression nuts off the shutoff value.
  4. 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)
  5. 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)
  6. CENTER the new seal within the closest flange
  7. CONNECT the water-supply tube to the fill-valve shank that is located on the bottom of the toilet tank
  8. PRESS down on the toilet to compress the seal and tighten the bolts (do not over tighten)
  9. TRIM the tops of bolts, tighten bolts, and replace caps
  10. CONNECT the supply tube to the shutoff valve, open the valve, flush the toilet
  11. 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.

Resources:

Easy Fix for a Leaky Toilet

Hurricane Harvey

9/3/2021 (Permalink)

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. 

http://www.SERVPROlblsouth.com/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.