Recent Posts

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.

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.

First Steps After Disaster Strikes Your Business

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

What would happen if you pulled into work this morning only to find that you can't get into your building due to some type of disaster? Fire, Water, Crime Scene. How do you let your employees know about the situation? How do you take care of your customers? Who do you call? What do you do?

Did you know that 50% of all businesses that do not have a Emergency Ready Program in place, NEVER reopen after a disaster? Does your business have one? Are you prepared?

Luckily, SERVPRO of North Madison County offers this service to businesses in Huntsville, Madison, and surrounding communities. The best part, is it is absolutely FREE of charge, and there are NO obligations to ever use SERVPRO of North Madison County! The Emergency Ready Program or ERP, takes very little time to complete.

We capture the vital data needed in time of crisis and disaster, and put it all together for you. No matter where you are in the world, you can rest assured if your business has a disaster, you are prepared!

Contact us today for more information!

Puffback: Causes and Prevention Tips

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

A puffback is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout the interior of a home. It can happen all at once, covering the interior in grimy soot, or it can leak soot more gradually.

Initially, many people mistake soot for dust and simply wipe it away. However, once cleaned, this “dust” often reappears and can sometimes be accompanied by a strong, oily odor. There are several steps your clients can take to prevent damage to their home. Remind them to:

  • Have the oil-burning furnace professionally checked and cleaned annually.
  • Keep an eye out for traces of soot around their home.
  • Install a carbon monoxide monitor. Puffbacks (and the soot they create) will increase the carbon monoxide levels in their home. A carbon monoxide monitor can help to detect the puffback in its early stages.

If soot begins accumulating on objects or walls within their home, they should turn off the heating system immediately. Contact a heating professional to service the heater and restore it to proper working order.

Fortunately, if your client does experience a puffback, SERVPRO has the knowledge and experience to complete a thorough cleaning and removal of any soot and odors. 

What To Expect During Mold Remediation

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

There are several phases in the mold remediation process. The following list does not include mold testing, which is the precursor to mold remediation. If testing reveals the presence of any type of mold in your home, including black mold, you should retain the services of a certified remediation company.

1. Containment: The first step to handling mold is to determine how much mold is present and contain the problem to avoid mold from spreading during cleanup. Mold should be removed by experts who adhere to industry best practices.

2. Personal Protection: The next step to handling a mold problem is determining whether the remediation process will pose a threat to any residents in the household with weak or compromised immune systems including very young children or elderly people.

3. Tear Out: Only experts trained in industry best practices are qualified to safely tear out mold infested building materials such as drywall or insulation. This is particularly the case when black mold is involved.

4. Cleaning and Disinfection: Once the worst of the mold has been removed, remediation experts will clean and disinfect the affected area of a home.

5. Drying and Restoration: The most critical phase in remediation is preventing a mold problem from returning. It is important to keep affected areas dry and even run a dehumidifier to prevent moisture from collecting. Once the moisture problem has been handled, the area is ready to be restored to pre-damage condition.

If you discover mold in your home or suspect that non-visible mold is present, you should contact remediation specialists based in Huntsville or Madison to schedule mold testing. Once you determine whether you are dealing with black mold or another type of mold and the extent of the growth, you will be better prepared to make the best choices to eliminate the presence of mold in your home. 

Tips for Fire Safety

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that if a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape?  During a fire, an early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives. Learn what else to do to keep your loved ones safe!

Top Tips for Fire Safety

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
  • Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • Have a designated outside meeting place.  
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP.  Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

And after you’ve done all you can, executed your fire safety plan and the fire is put out, remember that SERVPRO is dedicated to responding immediately, day or night, to your home or business. A faster response helps to prevent secondary damage and to reduce cost.

For more tips from the American Red Cross, visit <http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire>