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To Keep or To Toss: Dealing With Flood-Stricken Items

9/28/2021 (Permalink)

stair of a House fully flooded during the flooding of the river Flood invades a home in Channelview, TX.

To Keep or Toss: How to Handle Flood-Affected Items

If a flood invades your home in Channelview, TX, the structure itself is just one of the problem areas you must address. Items in your home, from keepsakes to furniture, must be assessed as to whether they are good candidates for content cleaning. You may not be able to save everything, but if you follow these steps, you could be surprised at how much can be restored.

1. Rescue the Items

The first thing you may want to do is take your belongings out of the water. Once water restoration specialists start the extraction process, you may lose any items remaining in the water as they get removed by the trash pump. The sooner they are removed from the water, the less damage they will incur.

2. Dry the Items

The next thing to do is to air-dry the items you want to save. You may be tempted to lay everything out in the sun or blast it with your hairdryer, but this action can cause irreversible damage if you're not careful. Put the items in an area where they will be safe and can dry properly.

3. Assess the Items

Content cleaning cannot save everything. Porous items may not be able to be saved, especially if they are waterlogged with black water from storm flooding. Nonporous items are probably going to be salvageable as it's difficult for water to permeate their surfaces.

4. Consult the Professionals

Many items can be more thoroughly cleaned by certified remediation experts than by a layperson. Professional cleaners can employ a variety of methods, such as dry cleaning, foam cleaning and gamma irradiation; and professionals know which method is likely to work best for each item. Your belongings are in good hands with the experts.

Content cleaning after a flood can be a painstaking process. If you are able to save quite a few of your belongings, it can be well worth the trouble.

3 Reasons To Have a READY Profile

9/28/2021 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO emergency ready profile You can talk to a SERVPRO representative to fill out an emergency profile today.

3 Benefits of Having a READY Profile

When you own commercial property, you never know what is going to happen. You can plan carefully to avoid every possible problem, and a flood or natural disaster can still strike. When it does, it helps to have an emergency profile. You can set up an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your property in Cloverleaf, TX, at no cost so that when an accident happens, you are ready to spring into action. Here are three reasons to have a plan in place.

1. Established First Steps

The immediate aftermath of a flood can be overwhelming. An ERP helps you by outlining the first steps to take. It provides a checklist for all the steps that need to happen within hours of the damage to your building. For example, it details the location of shut-off valves in your building so that you can stop more damage from happening before technicians arrive. This can be invaluable when crisis mode is fresh.

2. Clear Course of Action

The moment an emergency happens is not the time to decide what you're going to do about it. Setting up an emergency profile with a SERVPRO representative saves you the stress of last-minute decisions by providing a clear plan for how to proceed under dire circumstances. It establishes a clear chain of command and designates the company that will be handling the mitigation and restoration process. This helps you get your problem fixed faster so you can get back in business.

3. Compilation of Critical Information

Your profile only takes a little while to fill out, but the time it saves you in scrounging together vital information when disaster strikes are vast. By filling out your profile, you take the first step to continue business even while your building is being fixed. It can be comforting to know that all your most important information is safe and available to you after an emergency occurs.

You can talk to a SERVPRO representative to fill out an emergency profile today. Once you download the ERP app, the plan is literally right at your fingertips.

3 Reasons Why Mold Grows in the Home

9/28/2021 (Permalink)

Ceiling with mold growth Black mold spreads in a residential home.

3 Causes of Mold Growth in the Home

As a natural element outdoors, mold acts as a resource for breaking down dead vegetation. When found indoors, specifically when it’s black mold, it can create real problems.

Mold travels by way of tiny spores that float through the air. When the spores land on wet organic surfaces indoors, they begin to grow. Every type requires certain conditions to flourish in a residential environment. While oxygen, darkness, and warmth are key ingredients, moisture is the main contributor to mold growth.

1. Humidity

High humidity levels can occur in a number of situations. The most common is a damp or humid climate. Other conditions, such as drying clothes indoors without a vent or steam in the bathroom, can create the right humidity levels for mold to grow. If your home is well ventilated or you maintain a dehumidifier, that will likely alleviate a moisture problem.

2. Leaking Pipes

One of the most common causes of mold growth in your home in Highlands, TX, is leaking pipes. If the pipes are contained in a wall or otherwise hidden from view, they may leak for a long time before you notice it. Black mold, in particular, is very much at home in this type of condition.

A preventative measure for checking pipes in walls is to shut off the water valves in your home. Immediately check your water meter. Leave it for two hours and recheck it. If the number on the odometer has changed, or the dial has moved, you have a leak. The damage may require professional mold cleanup if it’s gone undetected for a long period of time.

3. Leaking Roof

The attic is another concealed area of your home that provides the right breeding ground for mold if the roof has been leaking for some time. If that’s the case, you may need to have the fungus cleaned and removed from the wooden rafters, insulation, and ceiling drywall.

Periodically checking your home’s key areas of moisture buildup saves you time and money in the long run. If you do reach a point in the repair process where you’ve discovered black mold in Highlands, TX, it should be professionally removed and cleaned.

What Do You Need To Know About Lawn Mold?

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

A green plant with fungi Not taking care of the plants can result in mold growth.

What Is Lawn Mold And What Do You Need To Know About It?

Have you noticed a slime growing on your lawn in Baytown, TX? Slime mold is a saprophytic fungus, which means it lives on dead organic matter. Many homeowners view this lawn slime as a disease, but the truth is that it is fairly harmless and typically isn't a major problem. Even though it's not a major problem, you may still want to get rid of it. Most residential mold remediation teams do not handle this type of outdoor mold, so you may need to work with a landscaping company or an arborist.

How To Get Rid of It

Getting rid of this mold isn't always easy. You can try a few different techniques:

  • Starve it. Cutting off its food supply can help you reduce the spread of the slime. This means you want to rake up leaves and twigs, but you should also de-thatch your grass.
  • Dry it. Like other forms of mold, this lawn slime thrives on moisture. You may need to stop watering your lawn for a short period to dry out the mold. You can also use sand to help even out low spots that allow water to pool.
  • Light it. Mold loves dark spaces. If you can, increase the sunlight on your yard. You may need to thin out large trees to allow more sun in your space.
  • Spray it. As a last resort, you may want to turn to a fungicide to help you rid your yard of the unappealing slime. A spray can help you control the issue, but trying other removal methods first is recommended because such treatments can get expensive.

No one likes to look out at their yard and see patches of slime. You don't have to live with outdoor mold forever. You can try to get rid of it on your own or call in a landscaping specialist to help you remove the lawn slime.

3 Simple Steps to House Fire Preparation

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke alarm Make use of fire alarms. For best fire safety practices, replace batteries once a year.

House Fire Preparation In 3 Easy Steps

If you have ever seen a home fire, you know how fast it happens. Such an event leaves a lasting impression, so you've taken steps to prevent this disaster from happening to your family in Channelview,TX. You practice good fire safety such as using flashlights instead of candles, keeping lighters and matches where kids can't reach them, keeping space heaters three feet away from anything, and taking fire safety precaution around the stove. You've made all this effort to prevent a fire, but have you prepared your family in the event a fire actually happens? Here are three simple steps for fire preparation:

Have an escape plan. You actually need to have two paths planned for each room in the house and make sure everyone knows them. Keep escape ladders in upstairs bedrooms, and have drills to practice the plan.

Have a communication plan. In your fire preparation plan, designate an obvious location to meet. The place should be just far enough from the house to be safe, but so you can all account for everyone. Also, always have a designated contact for communication. The person should live far away so that she or he is unlikely to be in the disaster area.

Use fire alarms. You should have a fire alarm on every floor, outside each bedroom and inside each bedroom. Make sure children know what they sound like and what to do when they hear the alarm. Replace batteries every year for best fire safety practices.

The American Red Cross advises that you only have two minutes to escape once a fire starts in your home. It's especially important to discuss and practice the plan with kids regularly. During fire preparation drills, teach them to stay low while leaving the house during a fire because the smoke is dangerous. Using fire alarms and having an exit plan paves the way for a better chance of getting your family out safely during a fire.

How FEMA Helps After a Storm

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded neighborhood Flooded area in Highlands, TX.

If a disaster were to strike your property in Highlands, TX, you may be entitled to federal assistance. America’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in 1979 to help our country’s citizens prepare for and cope with natural and manmade disasters. The agency not only provides emergency shelter but also teams with inspectors to assess damage to people’s homes and determine eligibility for many kinds of financial assistance.

How Federal Assistance Works

In the aftermath of a disaster in which federal assistance has been activated by the U.S. President to help victims, there are a few actions homeowners can take to move the process along. Self-advocacy is key to getting the ball rolling.

• Reach out for government assistance through your local disaster assistance center or by visiting to determine what kind of help is available. There will be an application process.
• Provide proof of identity and ownership of the damaged property. The deed to the home must be kept in a safe place, perhaps offsite.
• A FEMA inspector will tour your home, obtain a list of current residents, document losses associated with events such as high winds and flooding, and ascertain the status of your home insurance.

If you are deemed eligible for a grant, you will receive a check or direct deposit along with a letter with directions for its use. If you do not qualify, you will receive a letter of explanation and an opportunity to appeal the decision.

A flood, tornado, hurricane, mudslide, earthquake, or wildfire is an event outside your control, and once the federal government is compelled to respond, FEMA officials can step in to help. Because of the scale of these kinds of disasters, many of your neighbors will be seeking help at the same time. Patience, organization and perseverance will be required in your shared recovery efforts.

Understanding Mold Remediation

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

Black mold growth on drywall Mold damage in Cloverleaf, TX.

Six Steps Professionals Take To Remove Mold

Mold cleanup is referred to as remediation rather than removal for a scientific reason: you can’t get rid of mold spores. The naturally occurring, microscopic entities are present everywhere indoors and outdoors. Once black mold or any other colony has grown in your establishment, mold remediation must immediately begin in order to limit the spread of the mold. While each situation is unique, here are six general steps a professional cleanup and restoration company will take to rid your Cloverleaf, TX, business of its fungal presence:

1. Inspection

Mold remediation experts will assess the property for noticeable signs of mold. A variety of technology can be utilized to detect the subliminal signs of mold, often found behind interior walls or under carpeted floors.

2. Containment

The HVAC system and fans will be turned off to prevent the spread of mold spores through airways. The contaminated area will be closed with technology tactics and physical barriers to contain the mold within a restricted area.

3. Filtration

Possible irritants contained in black mold can spread to the surrounding air. Using advanced filtration technology, workers will capture the microscopic spores to filter air during the cleanup process.

4. Removal

Dependent on the amount of mold growth some building materials may have to be removed and disposed of. Porous materials such as carpet, drywall or wood can retain the moisture and spores that led to the original mold growth. For safety and prevention of returning mold, materials damaged by black mold must be removed.

5. Cleaning

In-depth cleaning of restorable items includes specialized cleaning methods, disinfection and sanitizing and thorough drying. Any lingering odors can be removed with fogging equipment.

6. Restoration

Full restoration minimizes the threat of mold returning through thoroughly cleaning and drying affected materials. However, significant mold damage could require replacement of drywall, subflooring or other porous building materials that could retain mold spores.

7 Tips for Preventing Water Damage While on Vacation

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. A flooded basement in Channelview, TX.

Steps To Protect Your Home and Belongings

One of the most common types of homeowners' insurance claims in Channelview, TX, is water damage. Unfortunately, pipes often burst while homeowners are on vacation and this can lead to flooded homes and expensive water pipe repair services. If you're going to be away from home for an extended vacation, take the following steps to protect your home and belongings.

  1. Remove debris from your rain gutters and downspouts to prevent blockages.
  2. Add insulation to exposed pipes. This protection is especially important during the winter, to prevent pipes from becoming frozen, but some homeowners haven't discovered damaged pipes until the spring thaw. If this happens while you're away from home, the resulting water pipe repair could be costly.
  3. Supply a battery-powered backup source for your sump pump and inspect the equipment to be sure it's running smoothly.
  4. Inspect pipes, the water heater, the home's foundation, and the roof for leaks. Check the seals around windows and doors and make sure all are fastened appropriately.
  5. Look at the hoses connected to all major appliances, such as washing machines, for kinks or worn spots.
  6. Ask a trusted neighbor or family member to check on your house from time to time while you're away. Point out the location of the thermostat, water shutoff valves, and other supplies that may become necessary if the home is flooded.
  7. If you plan to be gone for an extended period of time, you may want to consider turning off all water to your home and flushing or draining all pipes. If you plan to be away during the winter months, leave cupboard doors open, so warm air from the home can circulate around the pipes.

Vacations are often meant to provide you with a release from daily worries. This can backfire if you come home to a flooded basement with the need for an expensive water pipe repair. Take advantage of these tips to keep your Channelview, TX, home safe while you're away.

What’s the Big Stink About Sewer Gas?

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Computer on a counter, floor with pile of mud. Storm damage in Cloverleaf, TX.

Do The Employees In Your Building Frequently Complain About An Odd Smell?

Sewage emits a variety of different gases, some of which have no odor at all, but most people can recognize two common gases from that sewer smell: ammonia, from its irritation to the lungs and mucous membranes, and hydrogen sulfide, from its unwelcome egg-like smell. In all, sewage gases can be disgusting at best and dangerous at worst, and they represent some deeper trouble that should be investigated. To help you get started with your search, here are three potential sources of sewer gas in your building, in Cloverleaf, TX:

Vents. Sewer systems need a ventilation system to release the buildup of natural gases that are generated by sewage. Sometimes these pipes may be blocked or poorly located, venting near an air intake. A professional plumber can help with either of these problems.

Traps. A drain pipe leading to the sewer has a trap, which is a u-bend designed to hold liquid and prevent sewer gas from traveling back out of the pipe and into the building. Sometimes traps dry out from lack of use or from dry weather. Sewer gas from seldom used drains may simply indicate a dry trap. Pouring two cups of water down the drain would fill the trap again and prevent gases from dispersing into the building.

  1. Pipes. Pipes normally function without a hitch, but a sewer smell that is not attributed to either of the first two problems may be due to a blocked or broken sewer pipe, which could mean sewage spills.

While blocked vents and dry traps can cause a nuisance sewer smell in your building, these may be more easily resolved than other pipe problems. Blockages and broken sewer pipes may lead to a leak or a backup, and that means sewage contamination in your building. This kind of water damage is the most hazardous. Professional remediators can resolve this problem quickly and correctly by returning your environment to a healthy, sewage-free area, and preventing mold that can develop on persistently moist materials.

3 Ways To Prevent a Puff Back

7/2/2021 (Permalink)

Old dirty brickwork in soot A puff back can impact every room of your house.

3 Ways To Prevent a Puff Back

A puff back occurs when soot discharges out of a heating unit. It is technically a tiny explosion consisting of unburned oil in the furnace. Sometimes it will be a relatively small ignition that only gets soot on items in the surrounding area. Other times, it can be quite large. The furnace itself may sustain damage if the explosion is big enough. Regardless of what caused the problem, it needs to be addressed immediately. A large enough incident can make a house uninhabitable. Luckily, there are ways to decrease your chances of experiencing furnace issues in your home in Baytown, TX.

1. Have Heating Appliances Serviced Regularly

You should have a professional come out to your house at least once a year to inspect your HVAC system. This visit should involve more than just a standard cleaning. You should hire someone who knows how to open up all the appliances and can really inspect the systems to see if there are any outstanding problems that could lead to a puff back. In the event there is a broken component, get it fixed right away.

2. Watch Out for Warning Signs

If you hear loud rumbling sounds coming from your furnace, then you need to give it an immediate inspection. You should also be aware of any strange odors coming from the system. Additionally, if you notice any soot building up on the surface of your heater, then you need to clean it up and determine where it came from.

3. Address Oil Leaks Immediately

The presence of oil around your heater is a dangerous sign. A dripping flare connector can vastly increase your chances of having furnace issues. It is preferable to have a professional clean up the oil and fix the piping for safety reasons.

A puff back can impact every room of your house if the soot goes through the vents. Prevention is ideal so you do not have to worry about throwing away all your fabrics.