Common Causes of Household Water Damages
Warped wooden floor from a water damage caused by the refrigerator's supply line.
Water damages are a problem that many homeowners have to face. According to the Insurance Information Institute, they accounted for 45% of household insurance losses in 2015. Water damages can be caused by many things – floods, sewer backups, or even the process of putting out a fire - but the majority of them originate within our own homes. Knowing the potential sources of any water related issues will allow you to be proactive against them. The risk of a water damage in your home can be reduced through regular maintenance and general awareness of the following items:
Leaking or burst pipes are the leading source of residential water losses. A variety of things can cause pipes to malfunction, such as corrosion, movement of a house overtime, high water pressure, clogs and blockages, freezing temperatures, or even tree roots. The best way to determine if you have a leak is to check you water main, but you can also be wary of leaks by watching out for water pressure changes and checking accessible pipes for rust or corrosion.
Overflows typically occur when there is a blockage in the plumbing system. With nowhere to go, a flushed toilet will quickly overflow and cause a mess that no homeowner wants to deal with. Overflows can also occur when the drains in sinks or showers are blocked - grease in kitchen drains is a common blockage culprit! They can even be the result of accidents when people forget to turn faucets off, or a child "accidentally" flushes their toy down the toilet.
Malfunctioning household appliances often cause water damages. Washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, and refrigerators are typically responsible appliances. Any damage from this type of situation results from cracked or broken hoses, bad connections, and general age of the machines. Washing machines and water heaters are usually the cause of the majority of appliance related water problems. With washing machines, the issues stem from the hose or overflows, whereas water heaters will leak or even burst.
Roof leaks and clogged gutters often go hand in hand. Gutters over weighted with saturated leaves can pull off the roof fascia, damaging the roof in the process. Roof damage can also result from storms (particularly a problem here in Texas), poor maintenance, and general wear and tear. Leaks from the roof can mean constant and consistent water damage to your home, starting from the attic all the way down to the foundation if it is not fixed. Gutters can also cause water damages in ways other than those that are roof related. Clogged gutters will overflow which can potentially warp or break away exterior siding, which then leaves wooden framing and interior walls susceptible to further water damage.
Water Damage? Call Us Now!
SERVPRO of Park Cities is at your service whenever you experience a water damage in your home. Calling us is the first step to ensuring your home can quickly return to normal. If you have any questions or concerns about a potential water damage in your home, call us anytime at 214-522-3000.
Fire Safety in the Workplace
We often think about fire safety in our own homes, but how many of us worry about fires while we are at work? October is National Fire Safety month, so there is no better time than now to brush up on your fire safety knowledge in the office! Each year in the United States there are between 70,000-80,000 workplace fires, and the annual cost to businesses is over $2 billion. Companies that operate from a single location are particularly vulnerable when it comes to fire. Any building damage could temporarily stop business operations, costing a company time and money. In order to prevent employee injuries and damage to the workplace, it is extremely important for every organization to know fire prevention practices and to have an emergency plan in place.
Safety Measures and Emergency Plans
Practicing the following safety measures, and preparing emergency plans, can greatly reduce the risks presented by fires at work:
- Never block access to firefighting equipment (e.g. fire extinguisher), sprinkler heads, or fire exits with office furniture or other materials.
- Assign designated smoking areas for employees in safe locations, away from any flammable chemicals or combustible materials. Employees should be sure to completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them, a bucket of sand or water can be useful for this.
- Make sure an adequate number of fire alarms for the size of your location are in place and that all are working.
- Keep a clean office: get rid of excessive clutter, recycle unneeded papers, remove grease in kitchens, etc. A tidy and clean office would provide less fuel for a fire, which can potentially mean less damage.
- Do not store furniture or equipment in front of electrical panels, as the power might need to be shut down in an emergency situation.
- Store all chemicals correctly, in rooms with proper ventilation and away from any potential sources of fire (kitchen, machinery, smoking area, etc.). Check the labels and Material Safety Data Sheets to determine flammability and other risks.
- Report any electrical hazards, such as equipment not working correctly or faulty wiring. Also practice proper electrical safety (e.g. don’t overload outlets with adaptors, don’t use electrical equipment with wet hands or near water, etc.)
- Post emergency numbers and the office address next to all phones.
- Have at least two escape routes, that are separate from one another, and practice drills with employees. Have an escape plan in place for any disabled employees or visitors.
- Use the SERVPRO Ready Plan App to create an Emergency READY Profile containing critical facility information that can help speed up response time after fire or water damage occurs. Learn more about the app here.
SERVPRO is Here to Help
If you have experienced a fire at your business, SERVPRO of Park Cities is here to help. Our highly trained professionals are quick to respond, and can be on location within a few hours to begin the restoration process. The faster restoration begins, the faster our customers can return to business. If you or your company has experienced a fire or water damage call us now at 214-522-3000.
Signs of Mold: How to Recognize the Symptoms of Mold in Your House
Mold growth after water damage from Hurricane Harvey.
We are surrounded by mold spores unknowingly every day, but in the right conditions mold can quickly become a problem within our homes. Dealing with mold growth can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially because many people aren’t aware that they have a problem until it is excessive. Recognizing the signs of mold in your house and knowing how to prevent growth can save you time, energy, and money.
First Signs of Mold - Trust Your Nose
Molds produce gases that have an earthy, musty odor. This odor is typically the first noticeable sign that there is a mold problem; however, for someone who has never encountered this smell it can be hard to identify. Many people compare the smell of mold to rotten wood or wet socks.
Typically, this odor is not one that will go away regardless of how many times you light candles, open windows, etc. People will often become “immune” to the smell of mold since they are living with it each day. If you suspect mold go outside for some fresh air before coming back into the house to try and identify any smells. Even if you are unsure that what you are smelling is mold pay attention to your nose. If your nose feels irritated, or if you are sneezing more often in a certain room, your body might be recognizing mold even if you are not.
Once you have recognized the smell of mold in your house, follow the scent until you find the point at which it is strongest. This is most likely the source of your problem. If you only notice the smell when your air conditioning turns on the growth could be occurring within your HVAC.
The first visible signs of mold may be just a few spots of discoloration on the wall or on the grout between tiles. While small spots like this may not seem too problematic, they show that the conditions in that area are perfect for mold growth and you may have a larger, unseen problem somewhere else.
There are many different types of household molds, and they can vary greatly in color. The most common colors of growths in houses are black, grey, and brown; however, mold can also be white, yellow, or even brighter colors such as blue or green. The only way to truly identify the species of mold in your house is for it to be tested by an industrial hygienist, color is not always indicative of the type of mold.
Mold can grow anywhere and on anything, as long as the conditions are conducive. If you see discolored spots in your home – on walls, floors, furniture, or even books - that are accompanied by other signs of mold, you might have a growth problem.
Certain Conditions Can Also Serve as Signs of Mold
The conditions that allow mold spores to thrive in a house can often serve as signs for growth that you might not be able to see or smell. In order to grow mold needs moisture. Knowing the history of your home, particularly pertaining to previous water damages, is vital when it comes to identifying the rooms in your home that may be displaying signs of mold. Some subtle symptoms of excessive moisture in your home that can lead to mold growth include:
- Rust on pipes
- Wallpaper or paint peeling
- Warping wood
- Condensation on walls or floors
- A humidity level above 60% inside the home
At SERVPRO of Park Cities our professionals have the training and equipment to remediate mold in your home or business, if you suspect a water damage or mold growth don’t hesitate to call us for 24-hour emergency services at 214-522-3000.
Call the Cleanup Team that is FASTER TO ANY SIZE DISASTER
There's no such thing as a small disaster - especially when the water you don't see contains bacteria or can cause mold, rot, and other unseen damage. Water damage can affect the value of your property. Before you get out the mop bucket and try to clean it yourself, consider how the damage can affect your property.
SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals know how disruptive water damage can be for you business. SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals are trained and equipped to manage the drying process. By utilizing the proper equipment and moisture measuring devices, your building will be quickly and thoroughly dried to industry standards, which will help prevent secondary water damages. With rapid response time and full line of water cleanup and restoration services, SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals can help you regain control quickly, by helping to ensure your facility and its contents are properly dried, deodorized, and protected.
Before you risk further damaging the value of your facility by attempting to clean the mess yourself, call SERVPRO of Park Cities, your local water damage cleanup and restoration professionals, at 214-522-3000.
Be Prepared: Tsunamis
Did you know tsunamis can hit any U.S. Coast? While they are more likely to hit states on the Pacific coastline or in the Caribbean, it is good to know what to do if a tsunami does strike where you live, or even where you may vacation.
Ready.gov says "tsunamis, also known as seismic sea waves (mistakenly called "tidal waves"), are a series of enormous waves created by an underwater disturbance such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption, or meteorite." Areas within a mile of the coast and less than 25 feet above sea level have a greater risk of being hit.
As with any emergency, be sure you have a plan. know the evacuation plan and move inland or to higher ground and avoid the beach. "The first wave may not be the last or the largest," according to the National Weather Service.
After a tsunami, do not return to the affected area until officials deem it safe. While drowning is the most common hazard, there are many aftereffects such as flooding and contaminated drinking water.
For more information on preparing for a tsunami, visit ready.gov/tsunamis.
The Science of Drying
Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water-damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a few fans or two around the damaged area, you local SERVPRO, SERVPRO of Park Cities, professionals are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages. If your business suffers a water damage, SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals will:
- Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
- Measure how much moisture is in wet material and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
- Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
What exactly does it mean to help "speed up Mother Nature?" A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material-but only if the air is, indeed, drier.
The only problem is, nature often takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.
SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals have the tools and equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to hep dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more. SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals also use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business.
It's not only the equipment, but the technology too. SERVPRO has developed DryBook, a proprietary tool that provides real-time documentation and updates on the drying process and helps ensure industry drying requirements are met. With DryBook Mobile, you have the ability to know exactly where your property is in the drying process.
The bottom line? Your local SERVPRO, SERVPRO of Park Cities, Professionals have the training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened."
Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Killer
You can't see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels, it can kill a person in minutes. Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide, or CO, is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas, created when fuels, like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas and propane burn incompletely.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning. It is estimated another 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning. All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning, with some groups - including unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems - being more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide.
An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or idling cars left running in garages.
Taking some basic, precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protect yourself by reviewing the following tips, provided by the United States Fire Administration.
- Have fuel-burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters, fire places and wood stoves inspected by a trained professional every year.
- open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace. Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.
- Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even it garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice , or other materials.
- Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
- Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
- Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.
Benefits of Mitigation
SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals can save you from higher property damage costs!
1-4-8 Service Response Guidelines
SERVPRO’s 1-4-8 Service Response Guidelines help ensure timely communication and response. Quick and accurate response can minimize loss expenses from secondary damages.
- 1. Within one hour from notice of loss, SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals will contact you to arrange for service.
- 4. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO of Park Cities Professional will be on-site to start mitigation services (if necessary).
- 8. Within 8 business hours, a verbal briefing of the scope of work will be communicated to the property manager or point of contact by a SERVPRO of Park Cities Professional.
Restore Versus Replace - SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals strive to restore items to preloss condition. This helps lower mitigation and restoration costs while allowing treasured belongings to be salvaged when possible.
Pretesting - Through pretesting, SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals can determine the extent of the damage, treating only the affected area to reduce job costs, restoration expenses and business disruption.
Inventory Analysis - The Inventory Analysis helps clients and tenants keep records of items and belongings, making the claims process easier should a disaster occur.
Contents Claim Inventory Service - CCIS provides itemized room-by-room loss inventory, allowing clients, tenants, insurance agents and adjusters to document claim items and capture inventory items immediately.
Electronic File Documentation Complete with Loss Reports - Online access is available to all files, information and proof of results, allowing the information to be easily transferrable to various parties involved.
24/7 Call Center - Prompt work order handling and dispatch don’t have to wait for daylight. Utilizing SERVPRO’s 24/7 Call Center, emergency services can begin as soon as possible, helping minimize additional loss, downtime and expense.
Large Loss Capabilities – Catastrophic Loss Response Team - With hundreds of trained crews manned with thousands of pieces of commercial equipment and service vehicles, SERVPRO’s Large Loss Response Teams can initiate response to any sized loss in any part of the country within hours.
Professional Reassurance and Consistency - As leaders in cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals strive to maintain a professional appearance in uniform, equipment, vehicles and cleaning methods to help convey “Green
National Accounts Guidelines (for National Accounts Insurance Clients) - To assure to our clients they will receive consistent, professional service and performance across the country, the National Accounts Guidelines require completed job files, detailed communication and much more from SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals.
More than 1,700 Franchises located in North America - SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals are nearby, ready to respond quickly. The faster restoration begins, the quicker our customers can return to business.
Mold Mitigation Services
SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals can help provide a solution to your property’s mold damage needs.
Buildings with excessive moisture can be breeding grounds for mold growth. If your facility has experienced an ongoing moisture problem due to water intrusion, long-standing leaks, roof damage or from poor humidity control, it is important to be alert to the following factors:
- The presence of visible mold.
- Strong musty odors which may indicate mold is present.
- Any evidence of past moisture problem that might indicate previous mold growth.
- Excessive humidity.
Should mold be found within the facility, mold removal and remediation can help eliminate a potentially dangerous situation. SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals will arrive on-site alert for any visible signs of mold. Following industry standards for mold remediation, they will work to remove visible mold and reduce the potential for future mold growth.
Are your Ducts in Order?
Did you know, your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality? Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home should be a high priority. In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.
A routine part of SERVPRO of Park Cities Professional’s service is inspecting the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money. Duct cleaning may not always be necessary. SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This inspection can help save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.
In some circumstances, such as after fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.
If you have a fuel burning furnace, stove or fireplace, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends they be inspected for proper functioning, and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
The SERVPRO Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost efficient. Unlike the majority of duct cleaning services, SERVPRO of Park Cities Professionals uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.
- The process begins by using patented equipment including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins.
- Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container.
- Air if filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97% of the particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
- As an option process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.
- Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.
For more information on duct cleaning, or schedule an appointment, contact us, SERVPRO of Park Cities, at 214-522-3000.