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5 Ways Water Damage Can Hurt You and Your Home

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage 5 Ways Water Damage Can Hurt You and Your Home Broken pipe caused flooding in a Vinings, GA home

Five Ways Water Damage Can Hurt You and Your Home

When you hear about a neighbor in Vinings,GA, that had a pipe burst or washing machine overflow, you may shake your head and imagine cleaning up the water with dozens of towels and a wet/dry vacuum. What you probably did not think about is all the other problems that a simple water line break can cause. Here are five ways water damage can hurt you and your home:

1. Voracious Molds

One of the most problematic issues that flooding water can bring about is mold. Since mold spores are everywhere in the air, it is easy to see that mold can quickly grow once water is introduced to a floor or wall. Mold can be a voracious eater of almost everything it lands on, and it can quickly weaken your home’s structural integrity if left unchecked.

2. Damaged Floors

Water may spread around on flooring from a pipe burst, but it doesn’t stay on top. Instead, it can seep into any cracks and crevices of your home’s wood, linoleum, and tile. Once there, the integrity of your floor has probably been compromised. Calling in a water restoration team for an assessment may be your best line of defense.

3. Spongy Walls

Floodwaters from a broken pipe can soak into the walls of your home in minutes. Once inside the walls, the sheetrock, insulation, and wood are prime targets for mold, bugs, and swelling. Water can also weaken the ability of the walls to stand once they become spongy with water, and they often must be replaced with a new product at least a foot above the water line.

4. Broken Electronics

Electronic game systems, televisions, and fans are only a few of the many electronics that can be damaged by flood waters. Although many people often assume the water is clean, that is simply not the case. Once the water hits the ground, it is considered contaminated with household particles. If the particles collect inside the electronic unit, it could become damaged.

A pipe burst can hurt you and your home. It is often best to seek professional help as quickly as possible to remedy the situation.

Smoke Damage Restoration

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Smoke Damage Restoration Smoke damage on an Atlanta, GA building

How to Identify and Initiate a Smoke Cleaning Process

While structural damage is the most obvious and dangerous damage from a fire, other forms of damage can have a lasting impact on your business in Atlanta,GA. Read on to learn how to identify and initiate a smoke cleaning process to protect your assets.

1. Safety Steps

Most commercial buildings of sufficient size will require a fire suppression system such as a water sprinkler. On the whole, these preventative measures protect your property, but they can result in some side effects from flooding or water retention in the walls and flooring. Do not attempt to wade through any significant amount of standing water, especially if electrical systems are submerged. If flood water has seeped into drywall, it may be necessary to replace it, since these materials can harbor mold and bacteria.

2. Ventilation and Inspection

Smoke particles and other contaminants will linger in the air and HVAC systems for a long period of time after the initial fire. Do not attempt to enter any affected area without both sufficient airflow and ventilation of the rooms with smoke damage, as well as personal protection such as a respirator. Before smoke cleaning can begin, most electrical systems should be shut off and inspected for corrosive residues that can degrade them.

3. Inventory and Documents

As you wait for an insurance adjuster to inspect your site and validate your claim, make an inventory of everything affected by smoke or fire. This will expedite the collection process. Any physical documents that have been adversely affected by smoke odor or other problems resulting from the fire should be quarantined. A qualified fire restoration service can assist with various processes such as dehumidification and vacuum freeze drying, returning your paper and other sensitive materials back to their original state.

Don’t allow a fire incident to take your business down for an indeterminate period of time. Implement and review a fire protection plan that includes smoke cleaning steps to minimize the negative impact to your company.

4 Ways To Minimize the Risk of Dishwasher Leaks

12/31/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage 4 Ways To Minimize the Risk of Dishwasher Leaks Water damage due to dishwasher in an Atlanta, GA room

4 Ways To Minimize the Risk of Dishwasher Leaks

Dishwashers are extremely convenient kitchen appliances that many busy households in Atlanta, GA, may use frequently. However, if not properly installed or maintained, these machines can cause significant water damage. To help minimize the risk of a leaking dishwasher and reduce the need for extensive flood cleanup and restoration, you should employ the following four strategies.

1. Ensure Proper Installation

In order to operate efficiently, a dishwasher should be level with all four legs securely planted on the floor. An unbalanced machine can result in expediated wear and tear and internal warping that may contribute to leaks.

2. Use Recommended Detergent

There are numerous brands and formulas of dishwashing detergent available on the market, but it’s essential that you consistently utilize only products formulated for these appliances. Other solutions, such as liquid dish soap, may produce excessive suds. This can increase pressure on the door gasket and damage the water-tight seal, resulting in a leak.

3. Routinely Inspect Under Unit

Because many critical components reside under the unit, you may not notice symptoms of a leaking dishwasher until significant water damage has occurred. To help prevent this problem, you should routinely remove the front kickplate while the machine is operating and inspect for drips and dampness. If you discover a broken or loose clamp, seal or hose, you should promptly repair or replace it.

4. Evaluate Door Gasket

If you notice pooled water in front of your machine, a damaged door gasket may be the culprit. Water lubricates this important component and helps prevent it from cracking. For this reason, you should use your dishwasher at least once a week. It’s also important to routinely inspect the seal for signs of deterioration and replace it as necessary.

No homeowner wants to endure a messy flood cleanup. Employing these strategies can help you prevent or detect a leaking dishwasher before extensive water damage occurs.

Every Family Needs a Home Fire Escape Plan

12/31/2018 (Permalink)

Every Family Needs a Home Fire Escape Plan

The smoke detectors are in place. You test them monthly to make sure they work and change the batteries at least yearly. Occasionally, the kitchen stove gets a bit smoky and tests your detectors again for you. If your detectors pass all the tests, your fire warning system is operational.
Hopefully, you will never have an actual fire. If you do, will you know what to do next? If your family has a written emergency escape plan, you will.

There are three characteristics common to all family escape plans.

  1. In the Event of Fire at Home, Everyone Has a Job
    For fires at work, most employees are taught to follow the escape plan and get themselves to safety. At home in Vinings,GA, your fire escape plan won’t be so simple. Young children and family members with disabilities may need help evacuating. The same goes for pets. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that everyone gets out of the house.
  2. Every Room in Your Home Needs an Exit Plan
    You could be anywhere in your home when fire strikes. It’s important that each room has a fire escape plan and that all family members know the plan for every room. Also, because there is no way of knowing where a fire will occur, you should have at least two distinct exits from each room.
  3. Your Fire Escape Plan Should Designate a

Common Meeting Place Away From the House
You never want to find yourself in the position of wondering if someone is still in a burning house. The number one priority of everyone who escapes must be to go directly to the common meeting place. This way, you can be sure everyone is safe.

The Fire Is Extinguished, and It’s Time To Rebuild
You called the insurance company, but your number one priority is to start the cleanup immediately. Local fire restoration specialists can clean up and restore your home quickly and efficiently. You should call them next.

What To Know About Furnace Maintenance

12/31/2018 (Permalink)

Properly maintaining your furnace in your Sandy Springs,GA, home may be able to help you prevent a costly accident, and the need for fire cleaning afterward. Fortunately, there are some easy maintenance steps that can be taken with most furnaces.

Steps You Can Take

If your furnace seems to be malfunctioning there are several things that could be wrong. Some of the most basic causes are things you can check for yourself.

  • A fuse may be blown, or a circuit tripped causing the unit to lose power
  • The thermostat may have been turned off
  • The power switch may have been turned off
  • On gas units, the pilot light may be out

When to Call a Professional

Calling a professional can not only help ensure that the furnace is serviced by someone familiar with it’s unit type, but may help you prevent the necessity of a fire cleaning down the road. If you are unsure what the problem is, or find a fuse blown on several occasions, it is best to call a professional for repair. If you smell gas then quickly exit your home and call your gas company or fire department. Do not try to turn on any lights or turn the gas off yourself.

If You Do Experience Problems

Unfortunately, sometimes fire or smoke damage can occur from a furnace. In events like these a fire damage and restoration professional may be able to help with any smoke cleaning and repairs your home may need. At that time, you may want to have your furnace repaired or replaced by a professional as well.

You can follow some basic steps to keep an eye on your furnace's maintenance needs. While some may be things you can do yourself, others should be done by a professional familiar with the furnace type. If the furnace does malfunction then a restoration and fire cleaning professional may be able to help with your home’s needs.

How to Rescue Residential Masonry from Fire Damage in Atlanta

12/26/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Rescue Residential Masonry from Fire Damage in Atlanta SERVPRO handles fire damage on the inside and the outside of the property. Call today to discuss and start the remediation process.

SERVPRO's Experience with Fire Damage Restoration Works to Your Benefit

In the wake of a residential fire, the primary focus is on repairing the damage done to the inside of the house. However, moderate to severe incidents can lead to visible marks and blemishes on the outside of the building too. It is why SERVPRO conducts a full inspection of fire-damaged properties before we start any restoration work.

The good news is that stains on masonry, concrete and other structural materials are almost always superficial. While brick and concrete are not impervious to fire damage in Atlanta homes, they are extremely sturdy and don’t succumb easily to heat. It means that, in most cases, we can use straightforward cleaning techniques to restore the outside of the property.

Light Stains

If there is no structural damage to the masonry, the SERVPRO technicians use mild cleaning agents to wash soot and smoke deposits from the surface. Where the staining is very light, dry sponging is enough to wipe away grime on block, brick, and concrete. Stubborn marks get lifted with alkaline detergents and direct scrubbing. Sodium hypochlorite is highly effective when it comes to soot removal, and it leaves no residues.

Moderate Stains

The difficult thing about soot is that it can be highly acidic. If it is not removed quickly, particularly from structural materials, there is a chance of corrosive residues becoming embedded deeper and deeper into the masonry. It is why SERVPRO pays close attention to cracked joints.

They are delicately cleaned and repointed to dislodge any soot deposits which may be trying to move into the capillaries. Once this is complete, larger areas are dry sponged and vacuumed. Then, they are jet washed with a high powered pressure cleaning device.

Heavy Stains

The most severe staining occurs when heavily combustible materials have caught fire and burned for some time. In some cases, jet washing is still a suitable method of cleaning. We can add soot dissolving formulas like high PH degreasers, dry ice, or soda ash to increase optimal results.

SERVPRO rarely recommends sand blasting for brick, block, and concrete because it is a very abrasive process and can cause additional damage. If there are smaller patches of masonry which are heavily soiled, the technicians may apply a poultice (sodium hypochlorite and diatomaceous earth). It takes 24-48 hours for the formula to take effect.

The great thing about a fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO is that we offer a complete package. We are part of a huge network of contractors, so there is no repair job too big for our team to handle. Call SERVPRO of North Atlanta/Buckhead at (404) 261-2925 today for expert advice.

Factors Contributing to Mold Damage in Atlanta

12/26/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Factors Contributing to Mold Damage in Atlanta Mold and Moisture in Atlanta, Remedied by SERVPRO

When Your Atlanta Home Needs Mold Remediation, Call SERVPRO

After many types of disasters, the threat of mold can quickly become a reality. A major flood is not needed to start the threat, most mold spore and microbe growth begins with a relatively small amount of water and then spreads unnoticed for a long time.

Cleaning or replacing mold damage in Atlanta is not a simple process. SERVPRO has decades of experience with mold and the training to professionally complete the job and place you safely back into your house or apartment. 

There is a mistaken belief that mold growing in your home means you keep a dirty house. This position is not true. Mold spores are in every home and begin to expand no matter which neighborhood you live in with only three factors: food source, temperature, and moisture.

Every home is a food source. Mold grows exceptionally well on building materials such as drywall, insulation, paper, and wood such as framing. If it is organic, mold feeds on it.
Most homes keep an indoor temperature of around 74 to 78 degrees. Most common molds grow in a range from 68 to 86 degrees. Other molds grow well at temperatures lower or hotter than that.
Mold spores must have much moisture to expand and begin developing. They grow quickly at levels over 70 percent, but some can survive at levels of 65 percent. The ideal way to stop mold growth is to keep the moisture level under 60 percent. Since moisture is the easiest to manipulate than temperature and food source, this is where our technicians concentrate their efforts.

Time is a major factor in how our technicians remove mold. Water does not need to be contaminated; microbes are present even in clean water pooling under a dripping faucet. After just a few days, though, the growing mold quickly becomes the contamination, turning the water 'gray.' Where clean water can be pumped out of a home and into a nearby sewer; contaminated water may have to be captured and disposed of differently according to state and federal EPA rules.

Stopping mold is a major issue in protecting your home and property. SERVPRO of North Atlanta / Buckhead is ready to explain every action as we help you. If you have seen or otherwise believe you have a mold problem, call at (404) 261-2925 today.

5 Steps for Avoiding Mold and Sewage Contamination After Flooding

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 5 Steps for Avoiding Mold and Sewage Contamination After Flooding Flooded home in Sandy Springs,GA

Take Steps to Correct the Unsanitary Conditions

Restoring your home and salvaging your property after a flood requires a lot of time and effort. This is especially true if your Sandy Springs,GA, property has been affected by black water or sewage. When this is the case, you'll want to take steps to correct the unsanitary conditions, avoiding mold growth by disinfecting any areas that were contaminated.

1. Keep Everyone Safe

The very first step in this process is to establish safety for anyone who participates in the cleanup. Your efforts to maintain safety should include the following:

  • Shut off the electricity to the flooded spaces.
  • Do not operate electrical equipment in flooded areas.
  • Use protection for your eyes, mouth, and hands.
  • Assess the type of flood water in the home.
  • Don't attempt to work in black water (anything contaminated by sewage).

Once you have taken the above steps, you can continue to clean up your home.

2. Take Pictures and Write Descriptions

Your next step for recovering from flooding is to document the damage. Take a lot of pictures of the rooms in your home and all of the damage, both inside and outside. This information will help you work with your insurance company.

3. Prevent Further Water Damage

Next, focus on repairs in places where water could still get into your home. For example, cover broken windows or complete repairs on damaged roofing.

4. Act Fast To Dry Out Your Home

One of the most important steps to safeguard against mold growth is to circulate air through the home, making sure you can dry out every corner and hard-to-reach area. If the weather is appropriate, open windows, and if it's safe to use electricity, start fans.

5. Contact Professionals

Sewage loss carries serious risks associated with the rising flood water. The contaminants in sewage may include E. coli and cryptosporidiosis. After flooding, put a stop to further contamination with the help of trained flood remediation professionals.

After a flood, you need to move quickly to clean up your home and prevent mold growth. Ensure the property is safe, then take steps to sanitize and restore the home with the help of trained professionals.

Tips for Getting Your Insurance Company to Pay for Secondhand Smoke Damage

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Tips for Getting Your Insurance Company to Pay for Secondhand Smoke Damage Fire damage in a Vinings,GA building

You know you're covered if a fire breaks out in your offices, but what if there's a fire in an adjacent building? Happily, some insurance policies will cover your losses if your Vinings,GA, company has been impacted by a fire from a neighboring business. As you address smoke damage losses with your insurance company, make sure you complete the following steps.

Provide Thorough Documentation

There's a very good chance your insurance company will cover your losses, but for the best results, you need to keep track of what you've lost. As you take note of damages, include the following information:

  • Date of fire
  • Type of damages
  • Location of damages
  • General condition of your property
  • List and description of damaged goods, furnishings, equipment, and inventory
  • Names of employees, customers, and others who received injuries
  • Description of injuries

Back up your claims with photographs of affected areas and items in your building. You should also plan to provide police and fire department reports when you file your claim. It's also a very good idea to collect and save all of the emails and documents you exchange with your insurance company. If you speak to representatives on the phone, keep a written record of those conversations.

Understand Your Policy

The more you know about your coverage, the better off you'll be when disaster strikes. As smoke moves through your building from adjacent properties, your walls, ceilings, carpeting, and equipment could be exposed to hidden soot damage. Work closely with your insurance company and a smoke cleaning and restoration company to minimize your losses.

Seek Additional Help

Insurance companies operate with a focus on increasing profits while keeping costs down, as most other businesses do. However, if you believe that ambiguous wording is going to cost you thousands of dollars, you should talk to a public adjuster for help.

Even if your business wasn't directly affected by a fire, smoke damage could lead to extensive losses and reconstruction. Protect your business and yourself by understanding what your insurance company can and should offer.

3 Steps To Take When You Smell Mold

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 3 Steps To Take When You Smell Mold Water damage can lead to mold growth in your Atlanta,GA business

Steps To Take After Smelling Mold

Mold has a distinctive odor. You may notice a mold smell or mildew smell before you see any visible growth. These smells are caused by the volatile organic compounds released during fungus growth. Here are three steps that owners of commercial properties should take immediately after smelling mold.

1. Identify Potential Sources of Moisture

Mold cannot grow without moisture. If you notice a moldy odor, consider potential moisture sources. This may lead you straight to the location of mold growth. Mold may begin to grow after water damage resulting from a leak or flood. Fungus thrives in undisturbed areas prone to developing condensation or that have high humidity levels. A mold testing expert can use a thermal camera to identify the origin of moisture that is causing mold.

2. Look for Visible Mold

By the time you pick up on a mold smell, you may be able to see colonies. Do not disturb fungus growth, as this may spread spores and lead to exposure to MVOCs or even mycotoxin. Rely on the expertise of an industrial hygienist and mold mitigation professionals to find hidden mold. These specialists can perform controlled and precise testing to check for mold behind walls or in other hidden locations.

3. Hire Mold Testing and Mitigation Experts

If you notice a fungus smell, but see no signs of mold, contact a service that provides mold testing and mitigation. Experts can determine the causes and types of mold in a commercial structure, eliminate the growth, and lower moisture levels to prevent the problem from recurring.

Check for moisture and visible mold as soon as you notice a mold smell in a commercial property in Atlanta,GA . If you do not find any signs of mold, contact a mold testing and mitigation service to look for hidden growth or moisture sources and ensure that the issue is resolved.