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Commercial Water Damage: Protect your businesses from flooding

12/30/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Water Damage: Protect your businesses from flooding

The maintenance on internal building systems can prevent water damage, and should therefore be inspected. Items to inspect would include some of the following:

Repair Guidelines – Are there rules in place regarding installations by tenants/unit owners that address quality of fixtures and quality of workmanship in upgrading plumbing? Is there a list of pre-approved contractors?

Unit inspections – Regular inspections should include reviews of all plumbing connections inside a unit. Slow leaks should be addressed, along with condensation forming or other evidence of problems to reduce the potential for mold and moisture damage. Inspect radiators for evidence of leaking that has not been reported.

Central Hot water/Steam Heating – Is there proper drainage for the boiler room?

Hot water tanks – Is there a floor drain and/or a dyke to allow for a tank rupture without causing significant damage to surroundings? Are large tanks drained and inspected a minimum every 6 years? Have small tanks been replaced within past 10 years?

Pipe Freezing - Are radiators and piping protected from freezing? If there are areas susceptible to freezing, have supplemental heating and/or antifreeze solutions been used?

Sprinkler Systems – Have systems been installed with flow sensors? Are sensors monitored? Are systems inspected annually?

Water Mains – Are all mains and branches labeled and able to be isolated? Is there a valve diagram chart to allow quick shut-off in the event of an emergency?

Is That Mold or Mildew?

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Is That Mold or Mildew? The differences between mold and mildew

SERVPRO enjoys raising mold and mildew awareness in our Huntsville/Madison County community. Both mold and mildew are types of fungi. Mildew is never useful, but some kinds of fungi are okay, like mushrooms (if you like mushrooms) and some molds can be useful, like penicillin. Other kinds of mold are definitely not okay and you don’t want them growing inside your home or office. SERVPRO of North Madison County can help, if you discover something growing in your home or business that should not be there.

Education about the different types of mold and mildew in your home is important, and finding an industry expert to inspect it critical. SERVPRO of North Madison County recommends getting an inspection done. If you need assistance getting rid of the problem, please give SERVPRO of North Madison County a shout and we would be happy to help.

For more information about mold and mildew visit the following helpful link.

https://www.fema.gov/pdf/rebuild/recover/fema_mold_brochure_english.pdf

Preventing Commercial Water Damage

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Business owners everywhere should start thinking about how to prevent commercial water damage. Everything from maintenance checks to grading systems should be checked. So how do you plan on protecting your business from water damage? Read on to find out what you should be considering.

Building and Street Maintenance

When was the last time your storm drains were cleared? Annual inspections of your floor, storm, and roof drains can help you avoid drainage problems. If your floor drains haven’t been cleaned lately, take a vacuum hose and clear it or call a professional.

Sump Pumps

There are at least two sump pumps in each sump under your building. Sump pumps are used to keep flood waters from building up and causing water damage. But are yours both working? When was the last time they were tested? Do they have battery backups in case of a power outage? Power outages were the cause of 18 percent of water damage incidents involving a sump pump. Because sump pumps run on electricity, power outages shut down the pumps allowing water to flood your facility. If these pumps are your main source of protection, you should consider a generator to keep them going.

Generator Fuel Tanks

In areas subject to flooding, it is important to relocate your generator fuel tanks out of the basement. Generator fuel can be contaminated in the event of a basement flood, prohibiting generator functions, and prevent power from reaching the pumps.

Runoff

Does grading lead away from your building? Grading helps to move water away from your building instead of moving towards it. Checking your grading system can help keep water from flowing into your building.

Clear the Floor

One of the leading causes of water damage is the items on the floor. You can avoid this by removing porous materials, boxes, and paper from the floor of your basement. Keep all of your electronics off the floor and make sure to turn off your electronics when you are expecting heavy rains.

Don't Wait to Repair Minor Storm Damage

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

In the Huntsville/Madison County region, some storms may not seem very powerful, but weaker storms can be deceiving. Hearing about a predicted minor storm may cause you to think that there’s little possibility your Huntsville home or business will suffer storm damage. However, storm damage doesn’t always mean 3 feet of water in your basement or a 100 foot spruce tree sitting in your bedroom.

Storm damage as minor as losing a few roof shingles or a broken window can hurt. Both of these situations and many others require repairs. Left alone, minor damage (like a slow leak or a little crack) can worsen over time. Preventing minor storm damage from becoming a major issue can stop higher repair bills from sneaking up on you.

For Cleanup Or Restoration Needs Call SERVPRO of North Madison County Anytime

Minor Leads To Major
Huntsville homeowners and business owners who don’t repair minor damage often are forced to face much greater damage in time.  SERVPRO of North Madison County can help you make minor repairs before they become major headaches.  By not procrastinating you avoid the risk of major repairs and major inconveniences in the future.

Welcome Mat For Rodents
Any opening (missing shingles, peeling siding, etc.) sends a welcome mat for water and insects, and rodents to enter. Larger openings in your roof can permit rodents and birds to come in and make their homes in your attic space. Some rodents are more damaging than others and won't stay in the attic but will find their way into other areas of your home. 

Extensive Restoration Training
SERVPRO of North Madison County, we has extensive training in all aspects of repairs and restorations. That’s true for both residential and commercial properties. We have completed jobs of all sizes over the years, and we can successfully handle any size disaster, including the one you’re facing. Our certifications cover the many different cleaning and restorative types of work that storm damage can cause.

We are ready to restore your home or business to its previous beautiful condition. Minor repairs now can provide major protection for your home or business later.

Holiday Fire Statistics

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

The holiday season is a time for friends and family to get together and celebrate.  Unfortunately, those celebrations often include fire risks.  

Here are some statistics on winter holiday fires.  

Christmas trees
  • Between 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 170 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 4 deaths, 15 injuries, and $12 million in direct property damage annually.
  • On average, one of every 45 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 139 total reported home fires.
  • Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 43% of home Christmas tree fires.
  • In one-quarter (27%) of the Christmas tree fires and in 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.
  • More than one-fifth (22%) of Christmas tree fires were intentional. 
  • Forty-two percent of reported home Christmas tree fires occurred in December and 33% were reported in January. 
  • Two of every five (40%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.
Holiday decorations
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 800home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees, in 2012-2016. These fires caused an annual average of two civilian fire deaths, 34 civilian fire injuries and $11 million in direct property damage.
  • Ten percent of decoration fires were intentional.
  • The decoration was too close to a heat source such as a candle or equipment in two of every five (42%) fires.
  • More than one-fifth (21%) of the decoration fires started in the kitchen. Fifteen percent started in the living room, family room or den.
  • One-fifth (19%) of the home decoration fires occurred in December. 

Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Decorations" report

When You Smell Mold But Don't See It

12/17/2018 (Permalink)

Mold has a very distinctive fungus smell, meaning that often times its odor makes itself known before the mold itself is found. For a business in Huntsville, the mold smell can be worrying. Fortunately, there are a few things that can be done.

Where Mold Grows

Most people associate the musty mildew smell with places like basements or attics. This is in part because environments like these are a good location for mold to settle in. In fact there are some environments mold is more likely to grow in than others.

  • Locations with water damage
  • Cool damp areas such as a basement or cellar
  • Locations where condensation may collect
  • Areas with regularly high humidity such as a restroom or pool area
  • Areas where there has been recent flooding
  • Materials that can soak in water such as wood, paper, plaster, cardboard, or ceiling tiles

Why Mold Smells

As mold grows it releases a secondary metabolite called a mycotoxin. These are the reason for the musty mold smell. Mycotoxins are common to the fungi kingdom and most fungi, including mold, undergo this process. 

Ways to Locate Mold

Many mold remediation professionals have a few tools they can use to locate mold when it’s not visible. Mold tests can be used to test air samples or surfaces for potential growth. An infrared camera may also be used to locate cool area where water may have built up. Because mold grows best in cool, damp environments checking these locations may lead to locating the source of the mildew smell. Once the mold has been located it is important to begin the cleaning process as soon as possible.

Finding mold growth based off of a mold smell is possible, especially when you have the right tools and know where to look. Remember, if you have trouble, or don’t feel comfortable looking for the mold yourself, a professional may be able to help.

Identify All of the Damage After a Fire

12/17/2018 (Permalink)

If your business in Huntsville has been affected by a fire, it is important that you identify both fire damage and water damage when getting back on your feet. Determining the losses from both the flames and the fire hose can save your business time and money when returning to business.

What Did the Fire Affect?

Visible signs of damage can range from soot and charring to smoke stains and discoloration. Make sure to go office by office, room by room and location by location to determine what has been burned as well as what has been otherwise impacted by the blaze. A variety of specific areas will likely require attention:

  • Floors, walls and ceilings that have been burned, charred and stained
  • Areas that have residual smoke odors, such as carpeting, cubicle walls and office furnishings
  • Electrical wires, cables, conduits and plumbing fixtures that could have been destroyed, weakened, melted or suffered other heat-related fire damage
  • Office equipment, computers, telephone systems, server rooms and manufacturing equipment that was directly in the line of fire or affected by smoke, ash and soot
  • Sensors, tools and small appliances that can require recalibration or cleaning

What Did the Fire Hose Affect?

When extinguishing a fire, first responders use a lot of water to put out the flames and embers. When water is introduced to parts of your business that have never been wet, the effects can slow your recovery if you don't analyze everything promptly.

After the firefighters leave, ponding water and puddles are obvious. However, moisture in cabinets, closets and files can be easily missed. If it is left standing or stagnating in a warm area, water damage and subsequent mold and mildew growth can spread quickly. Additionally, wet ceiling tiles that sag are a danger for employees if they become too heavy and start crashing down. Make sure to also check storage tanks to ensure condensation has not contaminated the contents.

When addressing water and fire damage, be sure to find the right commercial building restoration service that can correct all of the damage and get you back in business as quickly as possible.

Don’t Let Water Damage Go Undetected

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Don’t Let Water Damage Go Undetected This wet subfloor was hiding underneath the vinyl flooring in this kitchen.

Not all water damage looks like wet floors or water dripping from the ceiling. Some water damage is harder to spot, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous to your home. There are a few signs that you can check for to see if there may be unnoticed water damage, especially if you are coming home from a trip or thinking about buying or selling a home. 

Behind the Walls: Check your walls for discoloration or staining. You might also see peeling paint or bubbling. You can also touch walls to see if they are buckling outwards or if they feel soft or squishy to the touch. These can be indicators that water has leaked or migrated behind the walls of your home or business. Drywall loses its integrity when wet and, even if it doesn’t feel “wet,” it's behavior can still be an indicator of unseen moisture.

Under the Floors: Even if there isn’t water pooling on top of the flooring, or if the carpeting doesn’t feel wet, there could still be water affecting the subfloor. Check for any buckling, warping, or discoloration in your floors. These can be signs of the presence of water or excess moisture between the flooring and the subfloor or in the subfloor.

Special Locations: Be sure to use these techniques to check the basement and the attic, where water damage is most likely to occur.

Other Indicators: Of course, if you are smelling a musty odor or if you can see any mold growth, these are also clear indicators that there may be water or moisture where it shouldn’t be.

These tips are just the beginning!  If you do suspect water damage in your home, give us a call!

3 Things To Know About Water Damage Cleanup

11/8/2018 (Permalink)

There are a number of things that can lead to water damaging your property in Huntsville, AL. Whether you’re dealing with bursting pipes or storm-related flooding, proper cleanup is important. Here are three important things you may want to know about taking care of the damage caused by water.

1. Where Water Damage Happens

Water from leaky pipes or storm flooding can damage your home in a variety of ways. The most common areas to look for moisture sources are your kitchen, bathroom or laundry. These are the rooms where the majority of the plumbing is in your home. It’s also wise to check around your water heater. Flooding caused by storms can occur in the basement. It can also happen in attic areas if leaks have developed in the roof.

2. How Long Cleanup Should Take

In many cases, the amount of time it takes to clean and restore the areas damaged by bursting pipes may be concerning to you. The exact cleaning time can vary based on the type of damage, but, in most cases, a job requires three to five days. In the event of extreme damage or special restoration considerations, the process may last up to 10 days.

3. When To Call a Professional

The water damage in your home may be beyond what you can deal with by yourself. In those cases, it is always best to contact a professional for help. A restoration service can assess your needs, fix a broken pipe and even take care of a full restoration if needed.

It’s important to fix bursting pipes as soon as possible in order to prevent water damage. Damage usually occurs in areas where plumbing is prominent, but it may happen in the basement or attic areas as well. Restoration can take about a week. Remember: When in doubt, it’s time to call a professional.

What Does Hail Damage to Your Roof Look Like?

11/2/2018 (Permalink)

Shingles can react differently when struck by hail. As an example, hail damage to asphalt and composition shingles can look very different than hail damage to wood shingles. It is important to know the different effects of the damage to properly identify whether or not you have roof damage from hail.

Asphalt and Composition Shingles Hail Damage

  • Random damage with no discernable pattern.
  • Hail hits that are black in color.
  • Loss of granules, which may expose the roof felt.
  • Asphalt and/or mat that appears shiny.
  • Hail hits that are soft to the touch, like the bruise on an apple.

Wood Shingles Hail Damage

  • Random damage with no discernable pattern.
  • A split in the shingle that is brown/orange in color.
  • A split in the shingle that has sharp corners and edges.
  • A split in the shingle that has little to no deterioration at the edges.
  • Impact marks or dents along the splits.

There are many other types of damage to shingles that can be mistaken for hail damage. For example, exposure to inclement weather and sunlight makes shingles brittle and gives them an aged appearance. This type of damage is normal wear and tear of shingles, which is sometimes misidentified as hail damage. Other types of normal wear and tear may include blistering, cracking, granule loss, flaking and algae. Manufacturing defects and mechanical imperfections in shingles can also be mistaken for hail damage.

If you believe your home has sustained damage from hail, call your agent or insurance representative to discuss possible next steps.