Heat Safety For You & Your Home
As summer approaches, it is time to consider precautions for the extreme Texas heat we are sure to experience in the coming months. On top of being a concern for safety, heat can also cause severe damage to homes in a variety of ways. Urban area residents have a greater chance of being affected than those who live in rural areas due to the heat island effect – increased temperatures in highly populated areas due to large amounts of concrete. To be better prepared for the impact of heat on both your health and your home read the following information:
Whether you are in an urban or rural area, there are several things you can do to prepare for and prevent extreme heat from affecting you. If possible, stay indoors in air conditioning. Be sure to check on your pets who may be outdoors or bring them inside. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
If you must go outside, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, and be sure to apply sunscreen often. Pay attention to signs of heat exhaustion, which are heavy sweating; weakness; cold, pale, and clammy skin; nausea or vomiting; fainting, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is life-threatening. Signs of heat stroke are a high body temperature (103+), rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness. If you think someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately and move the person somewhere cool. Reduce body temperature with cool, wet cloths, or a bath. Do not give a person with heat strokes fluids, and treat the situation as a serious medical emergency (CDC).
Protecting Your Home
In a place like Dallas roof damage can be expected. We have heavy hail storms that are not kind to the roofing on our homes; however, many people don’t realize that it is the months of high temperatures we experience that wear our roofs down quickly. Heat can shrink shingles, causing nails to pop and those shingles to lift. Rafters and joists may start to expand which leads to sealant stretching and breaking. Even the heat rising within your home into your attic can result in blistered and cracked shingles.
These things are bad news for your home as we obviously rely on the roof to protect it from all types of weather, particularly the down pours from summer storms. To try and decrease the impact of the heat this summer on your own roof you can install an attic fan, more insulation, or even ridge vents to attempt to alleviate some of the damage. Professional roofers can assess the damage on your roof, and give you further suggestions on maintaining it.
Extreme heat is a serious concern for both the safety of humans and homes. If you experience any damage to your home due to a damaged roof, call SERVPRO of Park Cities right away to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. Call us anytime at 214-55-3000.
Are You at Risk for Flooding?
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA). "Approximately 75% of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding." NOAA lists that the most common flood hazards in the United States are:
- Flash Flooding
- River Flooding
- Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
- Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
- Ice/Debris Jams
- Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
- Dam Breaks/Levee Failure
Unfortunately, even people who do not live in areas that are prone to flooding may become flood victims at some point. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the US, and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP).
Here in Dallas flooding events are unfortunately common, especially during this time of year. The combination of our dry climate, clay heavy soil (slow to absorb water), and a tendency for severe storms (high amount of rainfall in a small-time frame) provides the perfect recipe for flash floods. Flood insurance is a must for most people throughout our metroplex, particularly those that are close to any creeks or rivers. Follow these flood safety tips to keep you and your family safe during a flooding event.
When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO of Park Cities professionals can help! We can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP), or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get your home or business back to normal as soon as possible.
SERVPRO of Park Cities professionals are ready to help make it "Like it never even happened."
SERVPRO Resource for Property Owners
There is no disaster that hits home quite like a disaster to your property or business. When you have suffered a fire, water, or mold damage, you don't have time to waste searching for a company to fix your property. When disaster strikes, you can depend on SERVPRO of Park Cities. Whether the job is big or small we will be there to help make it "Like it never even happened" so you can get your business up and running as soon as possible.
As a resource for commercial property managers, SERVPRO produces Restoration Newsline each month. In the issues of Restoration Newsline, you will find priceless information that can benefit you as a business owner. This includes suggestions on handling water and fire damages, advice regarding air quality, tips on dealing with the damage from difficult tenants, and much more. If you are interested in receiving a copy of Restoration Newsline each month, please call our office anytime. We have both physical and online copies available.
If you're in need of cleanup and restoration services, call SERVPRO of Park Cities at 214-522-3000.
What To Do After a Fire: Dealing With the Damage
From the first call to 911 to calling in a remediation team, dealing with a fire is extremely overwhelming and stressful. After the fire has been put out it can be hard to know what your next steps should be, so here are a few tips on what you can do to get your life and home back to normal as quick as possible.
1. Call in your local SERVPRO remediation specialists. A fire can result in multiple types of damage to your home or business, including water, so call in the professionals who have years of experience in all realms of restoration.
2. Call your insurance agent in order to get your insurance claim rolling, and to find out important information such as coverage provisions, emergency housing options, etc. If you are a tenant, call your landlord so that they know to get in touch with their insurance agent.
3. Do not enter the home until a fire fighter has assured it is safe for you to do so. Once inside try to limit your movement around the home so soot particles are not spread or embedded. Also avoid touching anything to avoid soiling previously clean areas.
4. Carefully move any undamaged items that are at risk in the effected area (i.e. television at risk for water damage) to a safe zone if possible.
Our SERVPRO professionals will be onsite within just a couple of hours after a call to begin the cleanup. We work with insurance agents to ensure that people get their homes or businesses back to normal as quickly as possible. If you experience a fire, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Park Cities at 214-522-3000 anytime of the day or night.
Preparing Your Pipes
Pipes on an outdoor wall with additional insulation to prevent them from freezing.
Quick Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes
Living in North Texas, we don’t have to deal with the months of freezing temperatures that are typical in the northern parts of the country; however, we unfortunately still deal with frozen pipes on a regular basis. Homes in warmer climates tend to lack the insulation that is the standard in places with frigid winter temperatures, so whenever we experience freezing weather pipes are quickly frozen if precautions have not been taken. Frozen pipes are inconvenient and problematic. Along with preventing water flow into your home, they regularly burst and cause costly damages. Be better prepared for the next arctic blast by following these frozen pipe prevention tips:
- Keep faucets dripping to relieve pressure and prevent the pipes from freezing. Particularly important over night when your plumbing system is not being used frequently and the temperature is dropping.
- Disconnect hoses on outdoor faucets and use faucet covers to prevent them from freezing.
- Seal any leaks that might be allowing cold air inside your house, especially in areas that are close to pipes.
- If you have some particularly vulnerable pipes you can use heat tape. Heat tape and heat cables are electrically powered heat sources that you wrap around pipes that are at risk for freezing. Like using any other type of heater, they will need to be monitored to ensure their safe use.
- Try to keep your house at a constant temperature all day and night. Many people turn down thermostats when they go to bed, but night time is when your pipes are most likely to freeze. Opening cabinet doors, especially at night, allows the warm air in your home to circle around pipes and reduce their risk of freezing.
- Additional insulation is one of the best choices when preparing your house for winter weather. Any pipes on outdoor walls or in areas with less insulation (i.e. attic) may need some foam or fiberglass sleeves from your local hardware store. Insulation will always be less expensive than a water damage, so the more insulation the better.
If you do experience a burst pipe this winter, call SERVPRO of Park Cities. We are a 24-hour emergency service business, and can have a professional on site within hours to help you get your home back to normal. Call us anytime at 214-522-3000.
Preventing Mold in Your Bathroom
Mold growing in a shower.
Mold in bathrooms is a common problem in almost every home. Darkness combined with excessive moisture provides the perfect conditions for consistent mold growth. Constantly cleaning and re-caulking, to keep a growth problem under control, can be time consuming and expensive. The best defense against mold is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Here are a few tricks to help you stop mold growth in your bathroom:
- Run the ventilation fan while you are showering, and leave it on for 15 minutes after. If you don’t have a fan open a window or use a dehumidifier.
- Use a squeegee after a bath or shower to remove some of the excess moisture. Instead of a squeegee, a small towel can be used to dry any accumulated water.
- Try to avoid keeping a lot of things inside of the bath/shower. They can hide mold growth as well as collecting water to promote it. Children’s toys are particularly notorious for growing mold, so be sure to dry them as much as possible and clean them regularly.
- Fix leaky faucets and shower heads.
- Use a shower curtain that can be put in the washing machine. There are also many mold-resistant liners available.
- Clean out the shower and wash bathroom rugs regularly.
- Check for any other signs of mold in the bathroom under the sink, behind the toilet, etc.
If you are consistently experiencing mold in your bathroom, regardless of how often you clean, then you may have a larger, hidden growth problem. Call SERVPRO of Park Cities at 214-522-3000, and one of our mold experts will be at your house quickly to assess the issue.
Signs of a Water Damage
Water damage mark on a bathroom wall.
While it may seem like water damages should be easy to spot, many times their signs are subtle and hard to find. Water damages, particularly when they go unnoticed for a long period of time, can cause extensive damage to the structure of homes and they encourage mold growth. Early intervention can save you time and money. Here are some signs that you might have a water damage in your home:
Wall Stains – Water damages can leave yellow, brown, or copper colored marks on your walls or ceilings. Excessive moisture can also lead to peeling, cracking, or bubbling paint. If you see any of these in your home, you may have had a water damage in the past or may have one currently. Rust marks under sinks or on water heaters don’t necessarily mean you have a current leak issue, but they are areas that you will want to keep your eye on in the future.
Damage to Floors – Floor boards affected by water may be discolored, but more often will show texture changes. Warped floor boards have gaps between them and curl at the edges. Some boards may have a spongy, soft spot or sink down lower than normal. Water damaged floors may also buckle or expand.
Water Bill – If you notice that your water bill has been higher than usual then you may have a leak somewhere in your home. A water meter check, either of the flow indicator or an actual reading, can help confirm any potential leaks.
Odor – A musty odor can indicate both mold and a water damage. Mold can grow within 24-48 hours when provided with a source of moisture, so if you see any signs of mold in your home there is a good chance you have had a water damage.
If you suspect a water damage in your home it is time to call in the SERVPRO of Park Cities experts. Call us for 24-hour emergency services at 214-522-3000.
Common Causes of Fires in Homes
Smoke damage from a kitchen fire.
Fires contribute to millions of dollars’ worth of property damage each year. Knowing the most common causes of household fires can help your family better prevent these types of damages in your home. According to the NFPA, the leading causes of fires in homes from 2010-2014 were:
- Cooking Equipment - 46% of all fires
- Heating Equipment - 16%
- Electrical Equipment - 9%
- Intentional - 8%
- Smoking Materials - 5%
Almost half of all home fires result from cooking. While that number is concerning, many cooking fires can be prevented through general awareness and by following proper procedures. This is particularly important with the holidays coming up. Here are some tips to help you prevent a fire damage from occurring in your kitchen:
- Never leave your cooking food unattended, especially if you are broiling, frying, or grilling. Use a timer to remind you when you are using a stove or an oven.
- Avoid leaving anything flammable – such as oven mitts, plastic bags, paper towels, or pot holders - close to your stove or oven. You should also not cook when you are wearing loose clothing.
- Install a fire alarm close to your kitchen, and be sure to test it each month.
- Avoid a flammable grease buildup by cleaning regularly, particularly in the oven and on the stove.
- Turn off all cooking appliances when you are not using them, and double check the kitchen prior to going to bed to make sure everything is off.
- To be prepared for any cooking related fires, buy a Class K fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen.
If you experience a fire damage in your home, call SERVPRO of Park Cities today at 214-522-3000!
Flood Safety Tips
In August, Hurricane Harvey dumped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of water across Texas and Louisiana which caused damage to over 200,000 homes. The economic losses are upwards of $180 billion. Unfortunately, flooding is not something that only coastal cities have to deal with. Flooding can occur for a variety of reasons and at any time, so it is best to be knowledgeable and prepared in case a flooding event happens in your area.
Stay Safe During a Flood with These Tips
- Put the safety of you and your family members above all else. Items can be replaced, you cannot. Evacuate when necessary, stay with friends or in a shelter, and avoid entering flood waters whenever possible.
- Prepare for potential flooding during a storm by creating an emergency kit,
- securing your home, moving all essential items to an upper level, disconnecting electrical equipment, and turning off utilities.
- Do not walk through moving water that is more than 6 inches high. Half a foot of moving water is enough to make you fall. You should also not drive into flooded areas, as flood waters can rise quickly.
- Do not enter any flooded areas before the electricity has been turned off, and do not attempt to use any electronic devices.
- Even if flood waters appear clear they may be contaminated. During a flood the water can be a combination of river and lake water, rain, runoff, or even backed up sewers. Avoid ingesting any flood water at all costs and try to prevent skin contact, especially if you have any open wounds.
- Avoid cross contaminating clean rooms by removing any items of clothing that may have come into contact with flood water prior to entering the undamaged rooms in your home.
- If you do have to walk into water use rubber boots for any areas that are below knee level. They will protect you from contaminants and electric shocks. If possible, avoid walking through water that is above knee level unless you are wearing waders – chest high, water proof pants attached to rubber boots. Use rubber gloves when handling any items that have been contaminated by flood water.
- Take pictures of the damage in your home, and share them with your insurance agent.
- Avoid using the water supply until it has been deemed safe by your city. Boil if necessary.
- Use your cell phone sparingly, and charge at every opportunity.
“Do it yourself” cleaning after a water damage can be difficult to accomplish, especially if stores are closed or if they are sold out of equipment. Wet walls can take a long time to dry, particularly if the insulation has been soaked through, and mold can grow within 24 hours. In a flooding event you need professionals like the ones at SERVPRO of Park Cities. Our employees have the knowledge and experience to quickly restore your home to make it “Like it never even happened.” If you experience a flood damage, call us at 214-522-3000.
Quick Tips for Property Owners on Halloween
Halloween presents a variety of insurance risks, particularly for property owners. According to 2016 data from Travelers Insurance, crime-related claims increased by 24% on Halloween night. These claims spanned from robberies to vandalism damages. Read the following quick tips to improve the safety of your property on Halloween night:
Lights and Reducing Hazards
Decorations and lights on Halloween are great for creating a spooky atmosphere, but they can leave properties at risk if not placed carefully. Dim lighting and an empty building is the perfect draw for vandals or thieves. Keeping indoor lights on overnight, and making sure that all doors, walkways, and parking lots are adequately lit can help prevent vandalism or robberies at your property. To avoid being liable for any injuries on Halloween night, be sure to look for anything that may be a tripping hazard for trick or treaters.
Assess your insurance coverage prior to Halloween by checking in with your insurance company. Some of the biggest concerns on Halloween night insurance wise are liability, theft, damages that result from vandalism, and fire. Use the SERVPRO Ready app to create an emergency profile, and increase your preparedness in case of a property damage.
Halloween decorations present a variety of fire risks, so the first step to protecting your property is to ensure that all your smoke alarms are working. If you decorate try using battery operated candles or glow sticks in pumpkins instead of real candles. Also avoid draping fabrics, or other decorative materials, over lights as their heat can lead to a fire.
If you experience property damage on Halloween night give SERVPRO of Park Cities a call. Whether it be from vandalism or a fire, we are here to help. Call 214-522-3000 for 24-hour emergency services.