Mold In the Crawlspace
The south is known for its year-round humidity. Here in Alabama, we know this is to be absolutely true. If your structure is built over a crawlspace, chances are, at some point, you have seen mold in there. Excessive rain can cause the ground to become moist and if there is not a vapor barrier in your crawlspace, that moisture from the ground can evaporate into the crawlspace creating very humid conditions.
High humidity in crawlspaces can increase the chances for mold growth on the building materials such as the subfloor, joists, and beams. One of the first warning signs is a strong musty smell; this can mean that there is mold nearby.
Mold is something we take very seriously because of the risk of continuing damage if the source is not taken care of. Most of the time, water damage is the root of mold beginning to form in, or under a structure. Our goal is to contain the affected area to reduce spores from traveling to unaffected areas. We will run dehumidifiers and air scrubbers to assist with the drying and restoration process. These machines help control the environment until the problem is resolved.
Should you find mold, or what you think is mold in your crawlspace, contact your local SERVPRO mitigation team to help your structure back to preloss condition. We are always here to help.
It's Busted Pipe Season in Walker and Winston Counties!
Busted pipes can wreak havoc and spell disaster in a commercial building. It is important to have to protocols in place to get the water turned off and cleaned up as quickly as possible.
The #1 priority when a pipe burst, is to get the water turned off ASAP. After the supply has been turned off, open up every faucet to drain the remaining water from the lines. Also turn off the water the heater and flush every toilet at least one time. Once these objectives have been completed, the next phase can begin.
Step #2 is to reduce secondary damage. This is done by getting the water removed from the structure in a timely manner. Water will continue to move through building materials as long as it is present. If there is any doubt that water ran through an area that contains electricity, turn off the power at the breakers and consult an electrician to perform an inspection.
Step #3 is to contact a certified mitigation specialist such as SERVPRO. Even though you may have removed the standing water, there will still be elevated moisture levels and humidity. It is crucial to make sure that moisture levels and humidity are returned to preloss levels to reduce the risk of mold forming.
Should busted pipes cause water to infiltrate your building, call SERVPRO today to let us help you get your business back in working order.
Tips to Help Prevent Home Fires
We have all seen the pictures; devastation, loss of precious memories, family heirlooms, etc. House fires are, unfortunately, all too common. But there are steps we can take to help lower the rick of fires in our homes. Step one, always install fire and smoke alarms. Preferably with flashing lights, if available. Check them monthly, if you worry that the batteries are weak, install fresh ones as our family is not worth the worry
over a few dollars and a fresh set of batteries. Step two, never smoke in bed. If you enjoy tobacco, enjoy it in a safe place, not in your bed. Step three, keep your grills, and other outdoor cookers at least 5-feet away from the walls of your home and 5-feet away from nearby brush, trees, etc. Step four, have fire
extinguishers stored throughout your home, on all levels. Step five, never, ever, leave a heater on when you leave a room. There are countless, documented stories of floor and portable heaters causing home fires, and in some cases, death. Step six, just as important, never leave candles burning unattended. See step number five. Step seven, if you're cooking in the kitchen, stay with it. Remember, a large percentage of fires originate from the kitchen. Step eight, use child-resistant lighters, matches and keep these items stored securely. Step nine, if an appliance smells strange, call a service tech immediately. Step ten, have a qualified electrician check your house wiring. This can take place annually, or every few
years, but get it done just to be sure. Step eleven, have your chimney services/checked annually, especially if you and your family enjoy cooler weather fires in the house, and while you're at it, have an HVAC technician check your homes heater annually as well. A well tuned heating system is not only more safe, it is more efficient and saves money too.
Fire Safety Tips
There are several steps you can take to help ensure the safety of you, your family and your pets, in the case of a fire. First, install fire/smoke alarms on every level and certainly outside of sleeping areas. Second. have a family plan for escape. Review this plan at least twice a year to keep everyone on top of the situation. Keep in mind, as noted, this exercise only takes a few minutes, and in the event of a real fire emergency, in most cases, you only have a few minutes to escape. This is important in the fact that, if a fire occurs, everyone knows exactly what to do, their scape plan and if necessary, the plan to evacuate elderly family members, pets, etc. Third, test your fire/smoke alarms monthly. Batteries do run-down, malfunction, etc. Knowing your fire/smoke alarms are fresh and functional, will give you piece-of-mind and help everyone sleep better knowing they are protected in case an emergency does arise. Lastly, never, ever go back into a burning structure. Get out, stay out and do not risk going back in. Do not re-enter the facility until the site has been cleared. Also, broken glass, damaged furniture can produce sharp wood, plastic, glass edges, flooring can collapse, causing a major slip/fall possibility. There can also be electrical danger present, and this along with the water damage from putting the fire out can pose electrical shock hazards. Call for help immediately, dial 911. Check on your family and those that were in your home. It is important to help and tend to those that might be injured and are in need of medical assistance. Contact your insurance agent/company. Find a safe place to stay, and also inform family and friends of your situation and tell them you are safe.
Commercial Cleaning Tips
Springtime cleaning is a regular tune we have all heard as the warmer weather brings in sunny days and
springtime showers. Flowers and trees begin their springtime blooming, and a general, "I can't wait to get
outside," feeling hots many of us. With a lot of us being couped-up for the winter, dust, allergens,
bacteria, pet-dander, etc., simply begin to show more. A clean environment is more welcoming and can lead to more customers
feeling comfortable in your place of business as well. See below for a few ideas on cleaning your
Let's start with the outside.
Landscaping - Making the outside of your business look good is just as important as the inside. It's all about presentation! Now is not the time to let the weeds take over. Start by mowing the grass, pulling/spraying the weeds, clearing-up the brush over-hang and some tree trimming if needed. Also, if you like to add color, plant some flowers, or flower pots around the area; fresh blooms always brighten
the day. Windows - Squeaky clean windows not only provide a clear view through to your customers and guests,
they also look good as opposed to gritty, dirty windows. Check caulking around the windows; this is a major factor letting cool air out in the summer and warm air out in the winter. While your at it, check the
window seals. Make sure the windows provide what they were manufactured to do, a tight fit that won't
allow air to escape and won't allow water to seep-in.
HVAC - test run your system while the air outside is pleasant. Make sure there are no unfamiliar smells.
Check for worn-out parts that need replacement. Also, change the filter(s) if needed. A good idea is to
check the vents as well. Have the dust/debris build-up removed, and check for any pests that might have
taken up a home in your system. It's easier to have the pests taken care of then to put it off, and have to
close your business while its fumigated or fogged.
Don't forget the inside! Have the carpets cleaned, especially the high-traffic areas. Customers walking
thru your business can create dirt build-up on carpets and floors. Have the furniture, desks, chairs, etc.,
all cleaned and dusted off too.
Avoiding Broken Water Pipes
As we all know and understand, winter and cold temperatures can cause pipes in your home to burst. As the colder weather steps-in, and temps drop across the nation, those that experience regular freezing temperatures are more susceptible to busting pipes and damage throughout the home/facility. There are
a few tips to help prevent this from happening.
In fact, freezing temperatures can significantly increase the odds of bursting pipes, and this is one of the most common causes of property damage to homes across the country. The most vulnerable pipes are those running thru unheated interior spaces, and those that back-up to an exterior wall. Even those that run thru cabinets and exterior walls can freeze as well. There are some simple steps to take that can significantly improve your odds and avoid broken water pipes.
Open kitchen and cabinet doors, this allows the warmer air to circulate around and in the plumbing areas
that are usually closed-off. Do this especially if your kitchen sink is up against an exterior wall. Always be sure to remove ANY chemicals/cleaners if you have any small children or pets in the home. Keep garage doors closed; some homes have plumbing pipes running thru the garage areas. Let cold-water drip from a faucet, keep your thermostat at no less than 55-degrees, and consider insulating your pipes from the cold air.
So, for not much more than a cup of coffee at a fast food restaurant, you can avoid the headache of broken water pipes, the clean-up involved, the loss of precious keep-sakes and your insurance
deductible. Definitely something to consider before Father Winter comes to town.
Commercial facilities operate on a different level than our house-holds. Commercial businesses usually have more chemicals, hazardous materials, light and heavy-duty equipment, more employees/personnel, and generally more movement throughout than a residential home. All of this combined with high-levels
of activity, and in some cases, neglect or lack of maintenance, can sometimes lead to disaster.
Below are some factors in many cases of commercial fires.
Cooking - Many of us like to enjoy a delicious meal at our favorite local restaurant or try a new location outside of our usual hang-outs. Cooking is a major factor in commercial fires. A significant portion of business property fires are started in the kitchen by cooking while preparing food. Thirty percent of office fires, 50% of hotel fires and a full 61% of restaurant fires are caused by cooking. Many of these could be
prevented by simply staying in the kitchen area until the food preparation is complete.
Unintentional and Careless Behavior - better known as accidents, this is also a main cause of
commercial fires. While it's hard to stop foolish human behavior, business owners and property
managers simply can't afford to let these accidents happen.
Electrical Malfunction - faulty wiring, unchecked issues that are simply, "fixed quick," or not having a licensed professional on hand can be a major mistake. These mistakes cost business owners millions of
dollars per year.
Arson - this usually involves fire investigators and law enforcement. In some cases, it can be a
disgruntled employee(s), or customer(s), or simply someone out to cause damage.
HVAC - problematic HVAC systems can also cause a fire. In most cases, these systems work harder
than a residential unit, cooling thousands of square feet, while entry, or loading doors are constantly
opened/closed throughout the day. It is important to have these systems checked by a professional
Spring Showers In The South
As we eagerly await the springtime, warmer weather, end of school year, graduation, vacations, beach
visits, or to the lake, always keep in mind, a spring shower, along with hail, or high winds, and heavy rain,
can cause quite a bit of unwanted damage to your home or business.
When water enters your home or business, it brings all kinds of issues with it. Standing water poses
serious issues, starting with ruined furniture, floors, walls, carpet, and in some cases, when it drains to
lower levels, can add to the trouble listed above. Mold also begins once moisture enters the home in the
form of water. Mold has no limits on it's reach; exterior walls, inside walls, carpets, attics, basements,
bathrooms, (due to consistent high temp showers, baths, water splashing about, etc.).
The amount of damage mold can do is serious as well.
Check your roof regularly, or have it inspected. Wipe-up standing water in bathrooms, kitchens, etc.
Check water lines to your appliances; dishwasher, clothes washing machine. Check showers for leaks,
toilets for leaks and check your fridge if it has an ice-maker, water dispenser, etc. Don't forget to check
under sinks too.
We are the Number #1 provider of disaster related services in the country. Fire, Water, Mold, Bio-Hazard,
Cleaning, etc., utilize our highly-trained technicians, our experience and our advanced technology to care
for your home or business.
"Like it Never Happened!"
Power Outage Preparation
With our severe weather in teh Southeast, power outages are a regular occurance. There are several
ways to help you and your faily during a power outage, and a few steps that can easily help make the
time wihout power easier on you, your appliances, and your home.
-Always make sure there are adequately charged mobile phones readily available; this goes for extra
batteries as well, in the needed sizes for your equipment., such as flashlights, radio's, etc.
-Make sure gas tanks are full, (Remember, gas stations rely on power to pump gas!).
-Sign up for weather alerts, and early warning systems, this is both easy and helpful when preparing for
an incoming storm/power outage.
-Have flashlights available for every family member, with extra batteries on-hand. Headlights are also
-Avoid using candles or an open flame for lighting your home during power outages. They can be toppled
over, especially if there are pets and/or young children in the home. This is a major fire hazard and can
cause not only extensive damage, but possible loss of life.
-Have non-perishable food, and water for every member, with extra. In some cases, power may remain
off for an extended period of time.
-Check medications; this is especially important for senior citizens and those family members that rely on
medications for comfort, pain, allergies, diabetics, etc. Also check with your medical professional on how
to store or if certain medications need to be refrigerated. (Of course, keep your refrigerator closed during
the power outage).
-Unplug your appliances to avoid possible lightning damage.
-Reach out to family, neighbors prior to the storm if possible, share information on where you will be,
(storm room, basement), and what you have on hand in case there is an emergency need.
-Never use gas buring range to warm your home.
-Only use generators outside (Carbon Monoxide can kill).
-When power has been restored, check your fridge with a thermometer to see what foods need to be
Also, after the storm, always remember to:
-Check with neighbors after the storm
Thunderstorm's in the Southeast
Everyone here in the South understands our severe weather season; springtime storms can cause
havoc on homes and businesses, some of his damage can be minor, and of course, some can be major.
Roof's blown-off, hail damage, lightning strikes, falling trees/limbs, etc., can not only damage your car, or
you, they can also cause significant damage to your home, or your business.
There are a few steps to take that can help minimize the damage and can also possibly save your home,
your business and in some cases, your life.
Seek covered shelter suring a thundersstorm, be prepared.
Always have an emergency kit easily available when thunderstorms approach. This kit can include;
flashlights (more than one), fresh batteries, water, first aid kit, non-perishable snacks, blankets, a radio
and a working cell phone.
The above kit can help you call for help, keep you warm while help is on its way, keep you nourished
during a power-outage, keep you informed of any other storms approaching, render light first-aid, as well
as reaching out to family and friends in an extreme emergency.
If your power goes out, the food in your emergency kit can keep you prepared and fed. If your fridge
temp prises above 40-degrees for more than 2-2.5 hours, or more, the items should be discarded.
Unplug your electronics or plug them into a surge-protector. As lightning strikes a home, it can render all
of your electronics uselass as it sends a powerful electrical currnet thru your house's system. Simply
unplugging, or switching to a surge-protector cord can save your TV's, computers, plug-in appliances, all
they way down to your favorite stereo system. It is worth the effort.
Always stay away from power lines, especially downed power lines from storm damage. These are
extremely dangerous and can cause severa damage and even death if contact is made.