How Do We Dry a Water Heater Leak?
Flood cuts allow us to completely dry areas affected by water damage.
Many of our customers have little to no experience when it comes to mitigation. We get many questions everyday about how we do what we do. In an effort to pull back the curtain on our process, we’re going to detail one of our recent jobs in this blog post.
In this particular case, a water heater on the first level of a house had a major leak that pretty much affected the entire floor. Luckily, the owners had installed water resistant floor tiles, so the floor didn’t retain any of the water. The drywall, however, was not so lucky. Using our moisture meters, our Production Technicians found substantial moisture readings behind the walls. The readings were high enough to require us to make a two-foot flood cut in almost every wall.
A flood cut removes the bottom two feet of drywall, not just to remove irreparable damage, but also to allow us to aim our air movers and dehumidifiers directly behind the wall. When done right, this ensures all potential moisture is removed and no pesky mold forms. Once we were able to completely dry all the walls, our Construction Team went in and replaced all the cut-out drywall and baseboards. Then we matched the paint job, so all of the rooms looked just as they did before the leak.
Hopefully, this helps you understand some of the steps we take to mitigate your water damage. It’s one of the many ways we make any disaster “like it never even happened!”
We Mitigate and Repair Damage from Heavy Rainstorms
Heavy rainstorms can clog storm drains with debris.
As the Spring season continues, we are starting to see more and more rainstorms pop up. If you’re not prepared, they can cause severe flooding damage. Just like this job we recently received. where a storm drain right outside this family’s basement was clogged by storm debris.
The clog caused a massive amount of water to pour into their basement, completely ruining their wood floors and leaving four-inch-high water line marks on all the walls. Our Mitigation Team had to tear up all the wood floors and make a two-foot-high flood cut in all the drywall to ensure all the moisture in the basement was removed. Our Construction Team then went in and installed brand new wooden floor panels, new drywall and even a new door to their basement bathroom.
While we were able to leave this basement better than it was before the storm, it goes to show how devastating heavy rainstorms can be. You can never be too prepared. And if you find yourself in a similar situation, gives us a call and we will make it “like it never even happened!”
Electrical Fires Are No Joke.
Even the TV was melted in this electrical fire.
We here at SERVPRO encounter many different fire damage emergencies, from gas stoves improperly turned off, to faulty heaters. Arguably, electrical fires can be the most sinister. They are mostly preventable if you take the proper precautions, like not overloading any one outlet or not running cords underneath carpets. Sometimes though, they just short out, like at this job we finished recently.
When the wall outlet on the second level bedroom of this townhouse blew, it started a fire that consumed the whole floor. The walls, ceiling, and floor of each room suffered massive damage and were beyond repair. Our mitigation team was forced to completely gut the entire area, stripping away everything to just floorboards and studs.
The only precaution that may have avoided this disaster is making sure that every ten years, a licensed electrician checks the home’s entire electrical system. Aside from that, you can always count on our mitigation team to clear out the damage, and our construction team to then rebuild it.
What is the IICRC?
Our IICRC Certified sticker is the first thing you see when you walk up to our front door.
You may already know that SERVPRO is proudly an IICRC certified firm, but what exactly is the IICRC and how does it ensure our customers get the best service?
To start off, IICRC stands for the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration. Founded in 1972, It is the governing body of the mitigation/restoration industry, setting the procedural standards by which all cleaning, inspection, and restoration work is measured. Considered “state of the art” in the contamination field, the IICRC is also an accredited member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) which verifies the regulation process. In short, these entities quicken the acceptance of new products and methods while keeping them safe and effective for all consumers.
By continually maintaining our IIRC certification, SERVPRO can offer our customers the most technologically advanced products and techniques in the restoration business. More importantly though, these rigorously tested standards help keep our customers safe, another reason why SERVPRO is the premier restoration company.
Storm Damage Clean Up
Storms can cause flooding and damage to trees. SERVPRO is prepared to handle any disaster
Storms occur with little warning and can be devastating. Immediate action is needed, and you need the company with storm damage experience. SERVPRO of Panhandle has the expertise and resources to handle any size disaster and can respond immediately to storm and flooding conditions. We also work directly with your insurance carrier throughout the process.
Drywall Water Damage and Mold Growth
Floods can cause some lasting damage to your walls as well as ruining your carpets, furniture, and personal belongings. Drywall, which can easily collect and trap moisture inside, if you act quickly enough, you can avoid having to deal with black mold.
Conditions for Mold Growth
Though it may not look that way, mold is alive and it needs food, water, and oxygen to survive. Usually, homes can provide two of these things — oxygen and food. Mold typically feeds on organic matter, such as paper and wood, commonly used for the structural elements of a house. Drywall acts like a sponge so that even 1” of flooding could cause the drywall to become wet up to 4’ from the floor. Also, the paper backing of drywall is a perfect food source full of nutrients for mold.
But of course, when your home is dry, there’s no need to worry. No matter how much organic matter you have in the house, mold won’t start growing without water. But remember — even the smallest excess moisture could spell trouble. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your home dry at all times!
What to Do in Case of Drywall Water Damage
Try as you might to keep your home dry, sometimes things can go wrong. For example, you could experience a flood, or a pipe could suddenly burst in your bathroom, or you could experience a slow leak from your water heater. Either way, you might find yourself having to deal with serious drywall water damage and potential mold growth.
To prevent black mold growth, the first thing you need to do is dry out the area as quickly as possible. If you have any paintings, furniture, or other décor hanging or leaning on the wall, remove them. The damaged area needs to be exposed to air in order to dry faster.
Unfortunately, you need to take down your wallpaper too. That can be time-consuming, but it’s necessary because moisture could accumulate behind it. For that same reason, you should remove all baseboards and molding — they provide perfect hiding places for mold.
Now that your drywall is completely bare, you may begin the drying process. Open the windows to allow air to circulate or get some fans and dehumidifiers to help. Don’t stop until you are 100% certain that the drywall is fully dry. If you’re not sure how to tell, call SERVPRO of Panhandle today and we can check for you and give you advice.
Once your walls are dry, you can hang your paintings back and re-apply wallpaper. Of course, make sure that no items you put up are wet.
Black mold on drywall can cause serious damage to your home’s structure, but more importantly your health. If you’ve discovered mold growth despite your best efforts to avoid it, give us a call. Sometimes the problem can be too difficult for you to handle alone but easy enough for a professional mold cleaning company. So don’t hesitate — put your health and the health of your family first and call us today!
Biohazard Clean-up & Safety Precautions
One of the lesser known types of jobs we face at SERVPRO of North Prince William County are those that pertain to biohazards. Biohazard is defined as a biological substance that poses a threat to the health of living organisms, primarily humans and could include blood and bodily fluid.
Part of the precautions that we take to keep our techs safe, is proper training, and continuing education; we are never done learning how to be even better at our jobs. Another part to how we keep our techs safe is through proper PPE, also known as “Personal Protective Equipment”. One of the important requirements for our techs is to have or acknowledge the need for a Hepatitis B vaccination. For extreme biohazard risk, our techs will apply a suit, gloves, face mask, and then seal it with tape, to ensure full security from biohazard elements.
We at SERVPRO of Panhandle always ensure the safety of not just out customers, but our employees too!
SERVPRO of Panhandle is there to clean up after deaths, sickness, sewage, or accidents, so you don’t have to. Call us today!
'Tis the Season - Fire Safety Tip #1
Holiday Safety Tip #1
'Tis the Season to be festive and merry with decorations around the house. You will most likely find amidst those decorations the glorious Christmas Tree in all its glory!
According to the NFPA, between 2013-2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year.
Here are a few tips to help prevent a tragedy in your home this year.
- Pick a fresh-looking tree
Fresh trees are much less likely to catch fire, according to the American Christmas Tree Association. If purchasing a real Christmas tree, it’s essential to choose a tree with green needles, regardless of the type of tree.
You can also tell a fresh tree from a dry one by handling the foliage. Signs of a fresh tree include soft and flexible needles that don’t easily fall off.
Fir needles from a fresh tree should crisply snap if you fold them. Experts recommend continuing to test your tree’s needles for freshness throughout its duration in your home.
- Keep the tree watered
Constant moisture is key, because a dried-out Christmas tree in a home is a recipe for disaster.
In fact, a parched tree can burn faster than newspaper, according to the NFPA.
Experts recommend keeping a real tree watered at all times to ensure that it remains consistently moist.
A medium to large Christmas tree can drink up to a gallon of water a day.
- Keep tree away from heat
Ensure that the tree is at least 3 feet way from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators or heat vents, the NFPA recommends.
Experts also recommend that lit candles should NEVER be used to decorate a tree.
- Shake the tree
Give your real tree a good shake, experts suggested. If you find that a lot of needles fall to the ground, it’s a sign that the tree isn’t getting enough water, which poses a fire risk.
- Check the tree’s lights
Faulty lights can cause a tree to ignite, which is why It’s essential to check the lights you use to decorate the tree.
The NFPA recommends using lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory and keeping in mind that some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.
Examine the lights and keep an eye out for any frayed wires, broken bulbs and any loose connections, he recommended. If you spot signs of damage or wear, the lights should be replaced.
Experts also recommend preventing a short circuit by avoiding overloading extension cords and power sockets with Christmas tree light strands.
- Turn off your tree’s lights
Ensure that your lights are always turned off when you’re not around to keep an eye on them, experts suggested.
- Get rid of your tree soon after the holidays
We at SERVPRO of Panhandle wish you a Safe and Happy Holiday!
Seasonal Storms - Are You Prepared?
Here in the Panhandle of WV, we are no strangers to the seasonal storms that affect our area. Whether it be hurricanes, flooding, snowstorms, or freezes it is important to be prepared for whatever may come. Part of being prepared is knowing what to do when the storm has passed. If you find yourself being affected by a storm event in the area, call SERVPRO of Panhandle immediately. Time is of the essence in these types of situations, so it is important to act as quickly as possible so we can start making your storm damage, "Like it never even happened."
How You Can Start Preparing Now:
Know Our Area's Risk
Heavy rainfall, high winds, flooding, snowstorms and freezes are weather related things our area needs to be aware and cautious of.
Stock Up on The Necessities
It is not uncommon for these larger storms to lead to power outages. Make sure you are stocked up on water, food, batteries for flashlights, and anything else you may need to feel more comfortable during a power outage. Keeping your cellphones fully charged as the storm nears is also smart; being able to contact family, friends, and first responders is always important!
Keep an eye on our local news and weather alerts, for information regarding the storm. Staying alert for flash flood warnings and strong wind advisories can help keep you and your family safe throughout the storm.
Have a Backup Plan
If your home is in an area prone to flash flooding, have a backup plan! Call relatives and friends and make a plan to visit a home in a safer location during the storm!
For more information on emergency preparedness, visit ready.gov
You can also check SERVPROprep.com for more ways to keep your home safe
If you find your home has been affected by damage as a result of the storm, call SERVPRO of Panhandle at 304-263-0640, and we will make it, "Like it never even happened."
Sewage Backup is Not Necessarily a “Do it Yourself” Job.
When you experience sewage backup, trust SERVPRO of Panhandle to aid in your cleanup process safely and properly.
Experiencing sewage backup is never a pleasant event. Did you know that harmful contaminants can pose serious health risks if not addressed quickly and properly? Not only does this mess cause problems with your home, but it can cause problems with yours and your family’s health as well. It’s not an easy fix or an easy clean up when trying to handle the situation on your own.
If you’ve recently had sewage backup in your home or are looking for ways to prevent a sewage backup from happening and aren’t sure what to do, then continue reading. The following is a guide on everything you need to know about how to prevent, clean, and handle a sewage backup in your home.
WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING A SEWAGE BACKUP
There are important measures that should be taken in order to prevent the problem from spreading. The first couple of things that you should do immediately after realizing your home has had a sewage backup are as follows:
- Be sure to remove any children, pets, and seniors from the home. Do not allow them back into the area until the damage is completely fixed and safe.
- Keep yourself safe by putting on any protective clothing such as rubber boots, rubber gloves, eye protection, a face mask, and more.
- If the distribution panel is above water, switch off the electricity by using a dry wooden stick and rubber gloves.
- Turn off the water in your home, and do not use any water for bathing, drinking, washing hands or dishes, and others. This water may be contaminated.
- You may need to contact your utility companies and have them shut off the supply to your home if you cannot safely turn them off yourself.
- Open your home’s doors and windows to allow proper air ventilation. You won’t want to use your home’s AC as this will spread contaminated air throughout your home.
- Remove any items from the area that are dry and not contaminated.
- You can add small amounts of chlorine bleach into the standing water to slightly disinfect.
- Contact your insurance company and notify them of the backup. You’ll want to take pictures of any damage that the sewage backup caused. This will come in handy as proof when filing your claim.
- Never attempt to unclog the drains. You will need to clean up the sewage spill before taking any further action.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
There are key things to remember when handling sewage spill in your home. Remembering these key tips will help keep your home and family safe, prevent further damage, and ensure that your insurance company has all the documents that they need.
- Along with providing your pictures, the insurance company will also want you to provide receipts of any work that had to be done due to the backup, of any materials bought to aid in the cleanup and fixing your home, and of any replaced items that were damaged.
- Keep the infected area shut off from the rest of the home as best as you can. This includes shutting all doors that attach to the infected area. By keeping the doors shut, there is a less likely chance of contaminated air spreading into the other rooms.
- Do not use harsh chemicals in your pipes to try to fix the problem. This can cause great damage to your pipes and instead, you’ll want to hire a professional plumber. Professional plumbers know how to properly clean out the pipes.
HOW TO START CLEANING AND SANITIZING
Before beginning to clean up the area without a professional, be sure to wear the proper protective gear. You’ll also want to consider the risks of beginning the cleanup on your own. It’s always best to call in the professionals to ensure that the job is done correctly.
Here are some ways you can begin cleaning up the mess:
- Use natural draining or a pump to remove any of the backed-up water and sewage. You’ll need to contact the authorities to ask where to properly drain the sewage into.
- Remove and clean any dirt, or debris from the surfaces that the sewage came into contact with.
- Properly wash any walls, floors, and other surfaces that the sewage water may have touched. Use a low-suds detergent and clean hot water.
- Rinse these surfaces with warm water after cleaning.
- Sanitize all surfaces with a sanitizing solution. And be sure not to contaminate other rooms by walking into them with dirty shoes.
- Open any windows and doors leading outside to air out the room.
HOW TO PREVENT A SEWAGE BACKUP
If you’ve experienced a sewage backup in your home, then you understand the importance of taking all appropriate measures to prevent it from happening again. If you’ve never experienced a sewage backup in your home, trust us when we say that you’ll be happy you took the time to read through the steps on preventing it.
Here are some steps you can take to prevent a sewage backup:
- Have a regular inspection done on all pipes and valves in your home and on your property. Make sure they’re in good condition and receive any needed repairs.
- Don’t place large amounts of chemical products down into the sewage system.
- Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper down the toilets.
- Don’t allow grease to go down the kitchen drain as it may harden in the pipes.
- Avoid planting trees near the pipes as their roots may cause the pipes to break.
WHEN TO CALL IN THE PROFESSIONALS
When dealing with a sewage backup, it’s always best to call in the professionals. These are just some steps that you can take to ensure everyone’s safety and to begin the cleaning process, but we highly recommend that you leave it to the professionals to come in and get the job done correctly and safely.
SERVPRO of Panhandle professionals have the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to safely clean these messes. Our highly trained team of technicians are ready to respond immediately to flooding from things like heavy rain or a broken pipe or when water damage is caused by an appliance failure or overflowed toilet at your property. Our teams have the experience, expertise, and training to restore your home or business quickly and properly. We use advanced inspection and extraction equipment to find the water and remove it as quickly as possible. Our technicians will monitor and document the drying process to ensure your property is restored back to normal providing you peace of mind.