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Storm Safety Tips

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

Storm-Safety Tips

No matter where you live, you'll encounter storms. Most of the time these are routine, but some cause serious and dangerous problems. Here are tips for preparing for storms, and weathering them safely.

  • Always keep a battery-powered radio in your home so that you can tune to radio stations if you lose electricity. Check or change the batteries frequently.

  • Keep a flashlight in an easily accessible spot on every floor of your home. Check the batteries monthly, and replace them as needed.

  • Keep a supply of candles on hand for power failures.

  • As a safety precaution before leaving the house on vacation, unplug all electrical appliances except for those lights connected to automatic timers.

  • If you live in a storm-prone area, nail down roof shingles or use adequate adhesive to keep them from blowing off in a violent wind. For roofs with shingles that are not the seal-down type, apply a little dab of roofing cement under each tab.

  • A lightning-protection system should offer an easy, direct path for the bolt to follow into the ground and thus prevent injury or damage. Grounding rods (at least two for a house) should be placed at opposite corners of the house.

  • Don't go out during a hurricane unless you have to; however, if flooding threatens, seek high ground, and follow the instructions of civil defense personnel.

  • When a major storm is imminent, close shutters, board windows, or tape the inside of larger panes with an "X" along the full length of their diagonals. Even a light material like masking tape may give the glass the extra margin of strength it needs to resist cracking.


    When a tornado threatens, leave windows slightly ajar.

  • The basement is not a good shelter during a tornado -- it's too close to gas pipes, sewer pipes, drains, and cesspools. A better shelter would be underground, far from the house (in case the roof falls) and away from the gas and sewer systems. Let all family members know where the shelter is.

  • Keep an eye on large trees -- even healthy ones -- that could damage your house if felled in a storm. Cut them back, if necessary.

We've covered numerous key tips for preparing for storms and getting through them safely. Now you can regard gathering clouds with a little less trepidation.

What Kind of Damage Can Standing Water Cause?

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

What Kind of Damage Can Standing Water Cause?

A few inches of standing water may look like a small problem, but it can be deceptively dangerous, whether it is inside or outside of your home. While you may only see damage that is caused on the surface, like paint or carpet damages, the water that seeps under the surface is capable of causing more serious damage if it isn’t properly removed and dried out.  Read on to learn more about the kinds of damage standing water can cause to your home and property.

Exterior Property Damages

Standing water on the exterior of the property can cause problems in many ways, regardless of whether it comes from an excessive amount of rain, a pipe leak or a sewage backup. However, the source of the water can make a large difference as far as the type of damage it will cause to your property. Standing rainwater can contain pieces of debris, bacteria and chemicals from pest control. Left to accumulate, this water can damage grass and landscaping features, as well as eating away at the roots of the trees that are nearby.

Any type of water can seep into the foundations of your home, and if left long enough, can soak through the foundation into the floors. This causes a sort of pervasive damage to the foundations because it rots away the material from the inside out. The damage from this can appear years in the future as the foundation erodes and the home shifts as a result, or cracks appear in the foundation.

Interior Property Damages

The risks standing water poses inside your home are similar to those posed to the exterior, but more severe. Whether the water comes from a sewage backup, water leak or outdoor flooding that seeps in, it can pose damage to the structure of your home, including walls, floors and carpets. The additional issue posed inside your home is, of course, mold. The longer water is allowed to seep into the textiles of your home, the harder it will be to properly dry out the items and the greater the chance for eventual mold growth.

If the water that floods your home comes from a sewage backup, the chance of bacteria being present becomes much greater. Even water that looks clean can contain bacteria that are invisible to the naked eye. However, even clean water will draw bacteria if it is allowed to stand in your home. The associated smell may be difficult to remove from the structure of your home and your furniture, and may even require expert restoration in order to be returned to normal.

Depending on the cause of the water that floods your home and whether it is covered, all of the damage and restoration needed may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Mold VS Mildew

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

Mold vs. Mildew
Mold and mildew are definitely fungus brothers, but they do have a few striking differences. Learn more about the ins and outs of the two with this guide.

Like two siblings who have similar features, mold and mildew have a few matching characteristics: Both are keen on moist, warm areas where they might sprout their homes. They can also each grow on a multitude of surfaces, from food to your shower to a sheet of paper. And, of course, they are both two types of fungi that no homeowner likes to see in his or her home.

But mold and mildew also have striking differences when it comes to size, color and texture.

Mildew is a surface fungi that can easily be identified as a patch of gray or even white fungus that is lying on the surface of a moist area. Mildew is easily treated with a store bought cleaner and a scrubbing brush.

Mold, on the other hand, can be black or green and is often the result of a much larger infestation. This type of fungus can appear almost "fuzzy" — especially when it is found on food — or even slimy in nature.

What To Do When A Home Suffers From Water Damage

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

When a major storm passes close to the house, the home may suffer water damage that is difficult to repair. There are many things a family can do to begin repairing any destruction, but a certified professional will likely be needed to get rid of any serious health or structural threats. Contaminated storm surges or floods can carry pathogens and become a breeding ground for mold. If allowed to fester, these mold spores can spread throughout the building and become even more difficult to remove. In many cases,  governmental agencies could condemn the structure if the microbial threat is too great.

The main reason why a home is sensitive to water damage is because moisture is difficult to detect once the floods recede
. Standing liquids can encourage microbial growth within 24 hours and can saturate all kinds of textiles and seep through drywall. Moisture may collect behind the walls, where mold and bacteria may multiply out of sight. If a family reacts quickly enough, clothes and furniture may be saved. However, people must be careful when entering a building that has recently been flooded. Exposure to wildlife and contaminated liquids can result in serious injury.

Before entering a home affected by water damage, make sure the electrical power is shut off
. Exposed wires or plugged in devices can electrocute people, resulting in major injury or even death. Also, it’s best to move slowly through the building when re-entering it for the first time. Snakes, reptiles or rodents may be hiding under debris and could lash out and bite suddenly. To protect against wildlife and airborne contaminants, wear protective clothing from head to toe, including a vapor respirator, rubber gloves and eye protection. Also, wear thick boots that can withstand puncturing and animal bites.

Professional restoration services can quickly identify what items in the home are compromised by water damage. Normally, anything that is porous may need to be discarded if it has come in contact with contaminated fluids. These items, like mattresses, box springs, pillows and particle board, trap more moisture than other materials and foster the growth of microbes. A family can prepare for professional cleaning by getting rid of these items before the technicians arrive, butbe sure to properly record and itemize the items for insurance purposes prior to disposing.

Once professionals arrive at the building, they will be able to track down any pockets of excess moisture and remove them
. Certified technicians can locate these pockets of moisture using equipment that measures the moisture in hidden pockets and behind tile and other materials that may not feel wet on the outside.  When these moisture pockets are found, the technicians will expose them to air by removing any drywall or other materials in the way. Once the location of the moisture has been determined, the professionals will begin the clean-up process that may include pressure washing the area with powerful detergents. These technicians are also able to speed up the drying process to prevent the growth of any molds or other harmful bacteria. If the professional locate mold or bacteria colonies, they will know how to identify and remove the threat using chemical or mechanical methods.

It’s important for a family to hire professionals that are certified through a reputable organization
. SERVPRO technicians trained in this area know how to find compromised areas and do what it takes to restore them. Our employees are trained and certified through IICRC (The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification)

MOISTURE AND MOLD PREVENTION AND CONTROL TIPS

8/31/2017 (Permalink)

Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips

Moisture Control is the Key to Mold Control

  • When water leaks or spills occur indoors - act quickly. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.
  • Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
  • Make sure the ground slopes away from the building foundation, so that water does not enter or collect around the foundation.
  • Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and the drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
  • Keep indoor humidity low. If possible, keep indoor humidity below 60 percent (ideally between 30 and 50 percent) relative humidity. Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
  • If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes act quickly to dry the wet surface and reduce the moisture/water source. Condensation can be a sign of high humidity.

Actions that will help to reduce humidity

  • Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as clothes dryers, stoves, and kerosene heaters to the outside where possible. (Combustion appliances such as stoves and kerosene heaters produce water vapor and will increase the humidity unless vented to the outside.)
  • Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when needed.
  • Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering. Use exhaust fans or open windows whenever cooking, running the dishwasher or dishwashing, etc.

Actions that will help prevent condensation:

  • Reduce the humidity (see preceeding page)
  • Increase ventilation or air movement by opening doors and/or windows, when practical. Use fans as needed.
  • Cover cold surfaces, such as cold water pipes, with insulation.
  • Increase air temperature.

Thunderstorms and Lightning

8/29/2017 (Permalink)

Thunderstorms & Lightning

All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States. On average in the U.S., lightning kills 51 people and injures hundreds more. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Other associated dangers of thunderstorms include tornadoes, strong winds, hail and flash flooding. Flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities – more than 140 annually – than any other thunderstorm-associated hazard. Dry thunderstorms that do not produce rain that reaches the ground are most prevalent in the western United States. Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires.

Before Thunderstorm and Lightning

To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:

  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
  • Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
  • Postpone outdoor activities.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
  • Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
  • Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.

How to Streamline your commercial cleaning strategies

8/29/2017 (Permalink)

Streamline Cleaning with Smart Strategies

Every minute that you save in a busy day adds to productivity and boosts your bottom line. Streamline the time you spend on routine chores with these smart cleaning strategies:


Store all supplies in one location, and keep them portable. Fill a lightweight plastic basket or wheeled cart with dusting spray, glass cleaner, isopropyl alcohol, paper towels and microfiber wipes.

• Shine keyboards and monitors with disposable towelettes designed to pick up crumbs, dust and debris. Discourage desktop lunches and snack breaks.

Designate a central closet for the office vacuum, but don’t bury it behind supplies. Keep it ready to roll for regular cleaning and emergency pick-up duties.

• Garbage patrol goes faster when you keep refill trash liners in the bottom of bins. Just pull out the full bag, pop in a fresh liner, and save extra steps to the supply closet.

Disinfectant wipes come in handy on restroom counters and break room tables. Encourage employees to use them on door knobs, faucets, fixtures, fridge handles and microwave controls.

• If you don’t use a cleaning service, designate and post routine duties, but let employees trade assignments. To keep things fair, rotate jobs on a regular basis. Using a checklist can help keeping everyone on top of all the important things you’d like to see taken care off.

Facts about mold and mold allergies

5/22/2017 (Permalink)

MOLD ALLERGIES

A mold allergy comes from mold spores that float in the air like pollen and can occur indoors as well as outdoors causing uncomfortable mold allergy symptoms. Outdoor molds often appear during warmer months, but can be found year-round in the South and on the West Coast. Indoor molds shed spores all year, usually hiding in damp environments.

Where mold typically lives

Whether indoors or outdoors, mold spores typically settle in damp spots.

Outdoors: Soil, plants, rotting wood or dead leaves
Indoors: Basements, bathrooms, cellars, attics, laundry rooms, refrigerators and windowsills

Mold Allergy Symptoms

Some common symptoms of a mold allergy may include sneezing, itchy watery eyes, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Allergy testing by an allergist can verify whether you’re reacting to mold or have an allergy to another substance, such as pollen, dust mites, or pet dander.

Smart tips for Mold Allergy Sufferers

Clean house

Help prevent mold with regular bathroom, laundry room and basement cleanings. Don’t leave damp laundry lying in the washing machine for long periods of time. Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles, grouting and fixtures with mold-killing and mold-preventing solutions. Use machine washable bath mats in the bathroom.

Humidity check

Keep the humidity in your house below 50% to help discourage mold growth. If humidity is high, use air conditioners and dehumidifiers.

Turn it on

Use an exhaust fan over the stove and in the bathroom to remove extra humidity from cooking and showering.

Clean, cold and clear

Clean the refrigerator and empty the water pan regularly. Discard spoiling food promptly to help minimize mold growth.

Let there be light

Mold doesn't like sunlight, so try to keep your curtains open during the day.

Check the label

For pillows, mattresses and furniture that are filled with foam rubber, be sure to check the label for “hypoallergenic.” Without this label sweat could make them moldy.

Flood Tips

5/18/2017 (Permalink)

Flood Tips

Devastating floods occur throughout the U.S. every year. Ninety percent of all presidentially declared natural disasters involve flooding. Flooding is usually divided into two categories: flash flooding and river flooding. Both can cause death, injury and property destruction. If you are building or retrofitting your home consider these recommendations and consult with your building official:

  • Elevating your home above the base flood elevation (the elevation associated with the "100-year flood") is the best method of protecting your home. For new and Substantially Improved homes, it is a requirement and is the only allowable option. The term “100-year flood” is misleading. It is not the flood that will occur once every 100 years. Rather, it is the flood elevation that has a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded each year.
  • Elevating your home at least one foot above the base flood elevation. This additional elevation is called freeboard and is a required minimum provision of today’s model building codes. This minimum elevation has many proven benefits including reduced physical damage and lower flood insurance premiums.
  • Wet flood proofing your home allows flood water to flow through the uninhabited parts of a structure. An example of wet flood proofing is installing flood vents that create permanent openings in the foundation. Another aspect of wet flood proofing is raising utilities above the base flood elevation.
  • Dry flood proofing your home prevents floodwaters from entering the building. Dry flood proofing involves a combination of measures such as installing new brick veneer over asphalt coating, applying polyethylene film over existing walls,installing watertight shields over doors and windows, and installing a drain system. Dry flood proofing has some limitations to discuss with your building official.
  • Construct non-supporting, break-a-way walls designed to collapse under the force of water without causing damage to the foundation.
  • Use flood damage-resistant materials below the base flood elevation.

Regular carpet cleaning not only means cleaner carpets, but can also contribute to a healthier home environment.

5/12/2017 (Permalink)

Regular carpet cleaning not only means cleaner carpets, but can also contribute to a healthier home environment.

Carpet cleaning can improve the appearance of your home and extend the life of your carpet, but perhaps the most valuable benefit from the process is improving you and your family's health.

According to the American Lung Association, if members of your household suffer from conditions that can affect their breathing, such as snoring or asthma, it's especially crucial that you vacuum your carpets at least three times a week.

Beyond vacuuming regularly, you may also benefit from having your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year. If you're not fully convinced of the benefits of professional carpet cleaning, consider the following top three ways the process leads to a healthier home:

1. Carpet cleaning eliminates trapped pollutants.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a dirty carpet can retain several sources of indoor air pollutants, including pet dander, cockroach allergens, lead, particle pollution, and everyday dirt and dust. Toxic airborne gases can adhere to these particles and also get trapped within the carpet.

These toxic gases can be released through everyday activities such as vacuuming and walking across the carpet, which can cause them to contaminate the air in your home. Professional carpet cleaning services kills these bacteria through special shampooing formulas and can remove deeply trapped pollutants with high-powered vacuums.

2. Carpet cleaning can clear out dust mite infestations.

Many homes have dust mite infestations, yet most homeowners aren't aware of the infestation, because the creatures are microscopic. Dust mites themselves aren't allergens, but they often leave behind feces and body fragments which are.

Because of the microscopic size of these particles, they can easily be inhaled when the area is disturbed, which can exacerbate allergies. Many professional carpet cleaning companies utilize a technique known as steam cleaning when performing carpet maintenance work, which exposes your carpet to high temperatures that dust mites can't survive.

3. Carpet cleaning can help prevent mold growth.

Especially in areas with high humidity levels, dirty carpets are at a high risk of developing mold growth when exposed to moisture. In precipitous weather, moisture frequently gets tracked into the home and can sink deep in the carpet fibers if not dried and vacuumed immediately.

Having your carpet cleaned regularly can prevent mold and mildew growth, because professional carpet cleaners have high-powered drying tools that annihilate moisture. By eliminating moisture, you can prevent mold growth that can be harmful to your health if ignored for too long.

When you're ready to call on a carpet cleaner, call on your friends at SERVPRO of Southern Scioto and Lawrence Counties.