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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.

3 Items You May Want To Discard After a Fire

10/22/2018 (Permalink)

The loss you experience after a fire devastates your Sandy Springs,GA, home can be painful. There is much to do and consider, especially when it comes to recovery efforts. As you start to sift through your belongings, you will likely have to decide what you must throw away. The urge to hang onto some items will probably be strong; however, there are a few that can put your health in danger once they have been exposed to the heat of a fire, and knowing which they are might protect your well-being during the recovery process.

1. Packaged or Affected Food 

Food packaged in thin or porous packaging, such as cardboard, is probably not salvageable because smoke or soot may have penetrated the material and affected the food. While sealed metal cans or jars may look undamaged, the food inside them could have been heated by the fire and develop harmful bacteria. If any items like this in your pantry came into contact with high heat or flames, it is a good idea to discard them.

2. Medicine

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can be affected by fire. If your medicine cabinet is located close to where the flames broke out, go through them carefully and looked for any warping or charring on bottles. Heat can also change the efficacy of some medicines, so you may have to throw away those that have visible damage. Contact your pharmacist or physician about having costly prescription drugs replaced.

3. Cosmetics

Makeup and other cosmetics that have suffered fire damage should be discarded because they may have taken on soot or been chemically altered by the heat. Warped containers or those covered in fire extinguisher foam are likely no longer usable. Ask your fire damage and restoration specialists about any item you are not sure about.

Knowing which items to throw away after a fire affects your Sandy Springs,GA, home can be challenging. However, when you learn the facts about fire damage, you can protect your health as you move through the recovery process.

Tips for Preventing Wind Damage

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Tips for Preventing Wind Damage Trees in your property should be regularly maintained to avoid a damaged roof

During storm season in Morningside,GA, business owners are most likely to be concerned with hail and rain that might cause a roof leak or flooding. High winds can also impact your building, though. Wind damage is often the result of debris or larger items that are flung against the building, on top of the roof or through windows during the storm. Here are some tips for preventing some of the problems that could be caused by high winds.

Prune Trees

The trees and shrubberies on your property should be regularly maintained to avoid a damaged roof. Many problems can result when trees are not pruned properly:

  • Decay or disease in trunk
  • Leaning sideways rather than growing upright
  • Errant branches hanging too far down or over a structure
  • Sharp, v-shaped angles in tree forks
  • Crowded or crossed branches

If branches are near a power line, it is advisable to have the city or utility company remove them so that they don't fall and break the line when under duress. Responsible maintenance keeps trees healthy and well-shaped so that they are less likely to break and cause a roof leak during a storm.

Limit Debris

Take an inventory of your outdoor property, looking at it through the lens of storm preparation. Loose shingles can become missing shingles when breezes speed up. Gravel from the driveway can break windows more easily than mulch or dirt. Decorations, trash cans, signs and potted plants can be broken or hurled through windows. You can also consult storm restoration experts to help you identify potential projectiles and advise which items to bring inside when high winds are expected as part of your storm readiness plan.

Overall, preparing for the high winds that often accompany storms is a matter of limiting the objects the wind can pick up and fling at your building. Trim trees and limit lawn debris, and you will likely limit the probability of a roof leak or other wind damage.

How To Handle a Broken Water Heater

10/9/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage How To Handle a Broken Water Heater Turn off water heater when you leave your Atlanta,GA home for an extended period of time

As a homeowner, you may have to deal with a wide range of home maintenance problems in Atlanta,GA. A leaking water heater, for example, could plague your house. What should you do when this type of issue arises?

1. Get Help

Like other flooding situations, it is often best to allow professionals to handle the cleanup process. Working with a team familiar with residential flooding ensures your cleanup will go quickly and smoothly.

2. Stop the Water

Cutting off the water supply to a leaking water heater can help you reduce the amount of water that fills your home. Most units have a water supply valve, but you may need to turn off the water to your entire house to stem the surge.

3. Turn Off the Power

Before your professional can start repairing a failed water heater, you need to make sure it is safe for him or her to get to work. You can do this by turning off the power to the heater. Depending on your unit, you may need to turn off a circuit breaker or turn a dial on the water heater itself.

4. Prepare for Repairs

Next, the broken water heater has to be drained. This has to be done before it can get repaired because your expert has to have access to the source of the leak. Not only should the water be drained, but the valves on the system should be opened to ensure a vacuum does not form during the cleanup process.

5. Address the Water Damage

Once your water heater has been repaired, you need to turn your attention to the damage caused by the leaking. Drying out your space and replacing damaged building materials can help return your home to its original state.

If you are ever faced with a leaking water heater, you need to know how to address the problem. Quick action can save you from future issues.

What To Do After Your Upstairs Bathroom Floods

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial What To Do After Your Upstairs Bathroom Floods Commercial water cleanup in Sandy Springs, GA

One of your employees reports water spots forming on the ceiling underneath one of the restrooms on the floor above. What do you do when an upstairs bathroom in your building in Sandy Springs,GA, floods the floor below? Of course, you want to call remediation experts, but there are things you can do before they arrive to minimize the sewer damage.

Before Experts Arrive

If a flooded toilet is leaking through the ceiling below it, the leak isn't going to slow down until the water from the toilet stops flowing. You also want to make sure that your employees are safe. There are a few things you can do to halt the damage and protect your people:

  • Turn off water supply to the toilet.
  • Turn off electricity to the areas on both floors.
  • Remove water or block off area to contain it.

Turning off the water and the electricity make the area safer. Starting to remove water from the area keeps the sewer damage contamination from spreading.

After Experts Arrive

Once the technicians from the sewage company show up to begin remediation, they take over the situation. They will likely start by extracting the rest of the water. Then they tear out all the ruined materials, such as ceiling tiles, insulation and flooring that was compromised by the flooded toilet. To avoid mold growth, they will completely dry everything out and disinfect it so that no bacteria becomes embedded in the adjacent flooring or ceiling tiles. After everything is dry and clean, the restoration process starts. A new ceiling and floor can be installed, and the restoration technicians often match them to the existing materials.

When a toilet overflows and floods not only the floor of the bathroom where it is but also the floor below it, there is likely going to be sewer damage that needs to be remediated. Certified experts can clean your building out and rebuild it when this happens.

Water Damage To Slab Foundations In Atlanta Is Common

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage To Slab Foundations In Atlanta Is Common Water Leaks Can Damage Slab Foundations in Atlanta

Consider SERVPRO for Restoration of Your Water Damaged Home

Where the ground freezing during the fall and winter is a minor issue, houses often forgo a basement or lower level for a slab foundation. Plumbing lines are located under or within the slab, making it difficult to determine whether cold or hot fresh water lines have failed. Water damage beneath the slab can go undetected until the significant loss has occurred. Waste pipes and sewer connections also run under the slab, all connecting to municipal lines. When one or more pipes under a slab foundation leak, SERVPRO can help the homeowner locate the cracked or broken line for repair. We can also restore any water damage done to the walls or floors of your home. Just as with any other water damage issues, quick action is best to avoid secondary issues like microbial growth, warping or buckling of flooring, or deterioration of walls.
 
The leakage from the pipes under or within a slab foundation may be absorbed into the ground under and around your home for some time before water damage evidence becomes obvious under your Atlanta home. You need to be vigilant about other signs of a breach in the pipes under your slab foundation. A common sign of a slab foundation leaks is the sound of rushing water, even when all taps are off. Increases in water and heating bills also are cause for concern, particularly if a jump in water use cannot be accounted for in other ways. Sometimes a homeowner notices warm spots when walking barefoot over the foundation, pointing toward leakage of hot water as a likely cause. Sewage smell can indicate a sub-slab waste pipe leak, and an increase in damp soil around the home should always be investigated for plumbing fails. Water damage to a slab foundation can imperil the stability of your entire home, necessitating consultation with an experienced and reputable restoration company to avoid irreparable damage. At times, the damage to the foundation may be severe enough to call in a structural engineer to formulate a course of remediation.
 
Our technicians have extensive training in dealing with water damage to slab foundations. Crawl space homes are also very frequently treated by SERVPRO for water damage, condensation and mold problems. SERVPRO project managers can evaluate your home's situation carefully, planning for the repair of the sub-foundation leaking pipes as well as the restoration of any damage to your flooring or walls because of the leaking. If the foundation slab leaking appears to have been a problem for an extended period we can also focus on discerning if your home suffers from microbial growth, more likely when water damage goes unmitigated for days or weeks. Once the water damage to the foundation has been repaired, restoration of any tile, laminate, or hardwood floors can proceed, as well as any deterioration at the joints between walls and the flooring.
 
When water damages your slab foundation an immediate call to SERVPRO of North Atlanta / Buckhead is in order. To arrange for an emergency inspection, call our scheduling staff at (404) 261-2925.

What You Should Or Should Not Do After Fire Damage Affects Your Vinings Home

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What You Should Or Should Not Do After Fire Damage Affects Your Vinings Home Flames in Vinings, Trust SERVPRO for Fire Damage Repair and Restoration

Rely on Professional Fire Damage Restoration from SERVPRO

You had to watch as a fire broke out in your home; you were able to get everyone to safety and contact the authorities but felt helpless as you stood there, watching. Doing a little research on your own led you to give us a call. But now you do not want to wait.

Learning what you should or should not do after a fire damage incident on your Vinings property is important. While you are waiting for an expertly trained professional to arrive, there are many ways you can help, just keep in mind that you should avoid doing too much. Some items on this list are for Do-It-Your-Selfers; we highly recommend that you call us first.

Make sure to focus your attention on safety, eliminate any possible electrical or gas hazards by shutting the services off to your house. ONLY if safe. No one knows your home better than you do, you should be able to locate slip and fall hazards before anyone else.

Do not attempt any activities that are unsafe for you to perform on your own, remember, some of these materials can weigh a lot due to water exposure, be careful. There is no reason to move the big items out on your own, SERVPRO technicians are on the way.

You can, limit traffic to prevent soot particles from being embedded into your upholstery and carpeting, by placing clean towels or old linens on any rugs, upholstery or carpeting found in high traffic areas. Keep your hands clean to avoid transferring different soils to clean upholstery, walls, or woodwork.

If you were able to turn off your electricity properly, you can empty your freezer and refrigerator and prop the doors open for cleaning. If the fire damage is relatively minor, leave the fridge closed for us to come and inspect. You can also help SERVPRO technicians by removing any small loose items found throughout your home, such as house plants, desk lamps, and other small appliances to a safe, dry location carefully.

Placing double layers of cheesecloth over all of your air registers and changing your HVAC filter helps. But, avoid turning on your ventilation system, you'll just end up causing additional cleaning that wasn't otherwise necessary, letting us do the work is preferable.

Avoid washing walls or painted surfaces, or shampooing your carpet and other upholstery items without contacting us. Do not clean any electrical appliances directly affected by fire, heat, or water; SERVPRO has specialty restoration services for those items, to avoid accidental secondary damage.

You should also avoid using any canned or packaged food or beverages stored near the source of the fire, heat, or exposed to water. Also, never send any clothing or other garments to an ordinary dry cleaner after a fire, improper cleaning used on affected items may cause smoke odors to set permanently.

For more advice, and fire damage restoration service, on what you should or should not do after a fire, contact SERVPRO of North Atlanta - Buckhead today. (404) 261-2925

Air Freshener Alone Isn’t Going to Cover That up: Flood Odor and the Removal Process

9/25/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Air Freshener Alone Isn’t Going to Cover That up: Flood Odor and the Removal Process Storm team rolling out to Vinings, GA

Flood water is typically a mixture of overflowing rivers and sewage loss. It is no surprise, then, that floods leave behind a significant odor when they recede, especially when you consider the addition of mold growth. For most homeowners, the elimination of the smell is the most substantial part of the removal process; however, it can be overwhelming to figure out just what to do. The following four steps should help ease your mind.

1. Wet Vac and Dry Flooded Areas

The first step to removing the odor in your home is the same as the first step for restoration: remove any excess water and dry flooded areas thoroughly. To speed up this process, you’ll want to have on hand several wet-vacs, industrial fans, and air movers. In addition to these tools, you should open up all doors and windows to help ventilate your home.

2. Remove Affected Materials

Beyond removing excess water and drying out damaged areas, you’ll want to remove all affected materials, including carpeting, draperies, drywall, and insulation. Any of these items that are left and may contain moisture can lead to further mold growth, which will contribute to both the odor and other health concerns.

3. Steam Clean and Disinfect Everything

Once your home is thoroughly dry and affected materials have been removed, it is time to clean and disinfect everything. You will want to rent steam cleaners and purchase several mops and rags. You can begin by mopping all the floors and wiping down all walls with your choice of disinfectant. You can follow this by steam cleaning any remaining carpeting, draperies, or furniture. After you have done all the scrubbing, you should also disinfect any plumbing fixtures and ductwork.

4. Call an Expert

Vinings,GA, likely has several restoration specialists near you. There is no reason to have to go it alone. Experts offer a vast array of services, and their experience can be invaluable to you.

The odor that occurs after flooding is a combination of sewage and mold growth. While it may seem unbearable and resilient, the steps above should help you remove the odor and restore your home to some degree.