How to check a house for water damage
When should you check your home for water damage? The first time you should check a home for damage is when you are buying it. You never want to get into a home after spending unthinkable amounts of money and find out that you have to replace several things or see that you have a leak someone. Ideally the inspector should point these things out, however, they do not always catch everything. The first step and place you want to check will be the walls. Make sure there is no staining, bubbles, or rust from possible water damage. These will be the signs. Moving down you want to check the floors for damage. You will be able to see discoloration, warping or bubbling, similar to the walls. The floors may have a been damaged previously or may still have water underneath them. Check the pipes. The easiest way to look is under sinks, in the garage, and around the wash room. These are the most common places for leaks to occur. Here in Florida it is rare that we have basements, however that would need to be checked as well. We do however have the majority of our storage space in our attics. It is important to go up there once during the day and once at night to see if there are any exposed areas that may have a roof leak or leak of any other type. Finally go outside and check to see if there are any holes, or cracks in the exterior. Cracks in the stucco are a common problem in Florida due to the humidity, wear and tear, and heat combination.
Can You Better Prevent a House Fire?
We know there are a lot of unknowns that you cannot prepare for in life, but what if there are some precautions you could take to sleep more safely at night and protect your family? Below are some tips and tricks to help you sleep better at night.
Take precautions to never leave a heat source or an open flame unattended. Check your fire alarms batteries quarterly, and make be vigilant for any risks.
- Cooking - When cooking make sure to never leave the kitchen unattended. If you have to leave for any reason make sure to turn off any burners or the oven. Do not let any grease or oil get too hot for fear of a spontaneous fire. Do not leave any flammable items near the oven or stove, such as towels or food packaging.
- Smoking - Never smoke in the home. A stray ash could easily catch anything flammable on fire and rapidly spread.
- Electrical - Never overload an outlet or use anything wires that are exposed. When you overload an outlet it could best case scenario, trip the breaker, or worst case scenario, start an electrical fire. Make sure all electrical outlets and units in the home are up to date. When looking at buying a home make sure to have an inspection on the home done.
- Candles - Unattended candles are a large leader in house fires. Make sure to always keep the wick short as to keep the flame under control. Never leave a candle unattended, one stray spark can easily jump and catch on anything near it on fire.
Common Hazards in Commercial Properties
There are many things with a commercial property that can arise and cause issue. There are also a few things that you can do as an owner or a property manager to keep your risks low and prevent possible damages.
These are some of the most common hazards known to commercial properties but also some of the easiest to reduce the risk on. Some of these items SERVPRO can even help and take care of. For your annual duct and vent cleaning give us a call to schedule today!
- Automatic Sprinkler System - Having an automatic sprinkler system installed can quickly reduce any damages caused by a fire erupting during anytime of the day or night.
- Upkeep of maintenance - Any broken window or crack in drywall can quickly lead to an issue and become a long term event if not taken care of.
- Lose debris - Having any lose debris or garbage piled up can lead to fines, damage, and even attract critters. Keeping all areas neat and tidy will easily reduce these risks.
- Dust Build-up - Make sure to keep all ducts and laundry vents clean. Best practice for a commercial building is to have both cleaned annually to keep the maintenance up on them.
A storm can stir up any number of things on your property and it is important to know tips, trick, and if there is a possibility of insurance coverage. Debris Removal Debris Removal can be anything from trees to needing a dump truck. These are small items that you need to look into your insurance policy to see if you are covered. Every policy is different and what it covers can vary drastically. Costs If there are any mitigation services needed those will need to be taken care of immediately. Having an emergency savings fund in the case that your insurance company does not cover your claim in its entirety or in full. These mitigation services and emergency clean-up measures can help prevent growth in the future. Precautions Before a disaster happens it is important to have things such as tarps, water, emergency food, and safe shelter. Being that tax season is upon us, some of these things may be deductible if your area was indeed hit by a disaster. Male sure to not only keep a list of all of your storm gear, but also the receipts in case you are able to claim them on your taxes at a later date.
What to do After a House Fire
After a catastrophe like a house fire happens you are probably not thinking about what your next step needs to be. Here is a short list to help if something like this happens and better prepare you if this happens. House fires are scary and they are not normally safe to stay in after the presence of smoke and fire. Your first step after a house fire will need to be finding a place for yourself, family, and any pets. This can sometimes be covered by your insurance company, which leads to the next step, calling your insurance company. As soon a catastrophe happens in your home you need to file a claim to get the ball rolling. Most people will not think of this, but you need to call the police when a Fire happens. There will need to be a determination done by the local authorities that is was an accident and where it came from. The insurance company will want to wait for those forms and information before determining coverage. Once you have had a few moments to gather your thoughts and get your family to a safe place you will need to get together a list as well as photos of the damaged items. Doing this yourself will ensure that you don't miss anything and the insurance company can get a jump start on what the claim will entail for replacing items. Anything that was not damaged should be separated in the home to either an unaffected area or put in a storage unit the home has been restored. These are the most important steps to take before any mitigation work and put back can begin.
Common Places to Check for Growth in your Home
Living in Florida where the humidity is always high, it is always important to be constantly checking your home and cleaning to make sure growth is not present. If there is growth present in your home, the sooner you call your local SERVPRO remediator, the sooner the problem can be addressed, contained, and removed. The most common place to look for growth in your home is the bathroom. While it is probably everyone's least favorite place to clean, it is the place that harbors the most germs. The bathroom has the most moisture and the most bacteria that can cause mold when moisture is present. The next place to check for growth is the kitchen. This area of the home also harbors moisture, not as much as the bathroom, but still a god amount with the sink, dishwasher and refrigerator. Make sure to also check your fridge often for expired items to prevent the spread of any moldy items. We now move into the bedroom. If you have any exterior windows and window sills they can build up moisture and collect growth. Additionally in the bedroom we need to check the vents as they can also collect humidity, here in Florida the drastic temperature change from day to night and air to heat can contribute to the issue as well. Moving through the home to the living, the couch and curtains need to be checked as well. The couch, if covered can collect spores in the fabric. The same thing goes with the curtains throughout the home. If there are any plants kept inside, they will need to be checked. If the soil in the plant is too wet, they can start to grow some unsightly things. While uncommon in Florida homes, a fireplace and chimney let in the majority of moisture from the outside air and need to be regularly cleaned. If your home has a chimney and/or fireplace it will need to be cleaned regularly to prevent and build up and keep maintained. There are several more places that we can look in a home to find growth but these are the most common. Mold is not 100% preventable, but there are ways to maintain your home and catch it as soon as anything pops up.
Water Damage and What to Expect
Most people have little knowledge as to what to expect when they suddenly experience water damage. We want to help you with that and give you a little knowledge and insight into the process to better help understand what is going on. The first step is to reach out to your local and professional SERVPRO to get the ball rolling. Once we receive the information we will immediately dispatch someone to come to your home, assess the damage, and start the mitigation process. The less time the water is sitting in your home, generally the sooner we are able to get it dried out. If there is any standing water we will immediately extract it and place the necessary equipment to dry your home out. The more water, typically the more equipment and time is needed. Once we have removed any material necessary and dried the home out the rebuild process can begin. Our rebuild team will then assess and make a plan to move forward to allow you to put your home in a preloss state.
Local Aldi's Fire 12/27/2018
A freezer unit in the store had a mechanical issue causing it to catch fire in the Aldi's grocery store on this particular Thursday morning. Luckily no one was in the store when it happened.
When crews arrived on Thursday morning there was smoke coming from the building letting the workers know there was something going on. The power company was notified but never needed to shut off the power.
As a result of the fire, crews worked diligently to clean up the damage and placed equipment to also improve air quality in the building so that it was safe for both workers and customers.
In order to maintain the stores normal working hours crews worked after hours to stay out of the way of workers and customers during the day.
The management team in the store was very happy with the work done and will be returning for any other damage in the future.
Uncommon Storm Items
When preparing for a storm event, whether it be a hurricane or a Tornado it is important to consider what will happen in any situation. In most events you won't lose power or may only be without it for a short period of time. In that period of time it is important to have things for every situation. It is also important to take into consideration any members of the family that could have extenuating circumstances such as diabetes, that requires a fridge for cold medicine or oxygen for someone with a breathing problem.
Below is a list of things that you may not think of when packing your emergency back and/or car depending on the situation, and whether you may need to evacuate or not.
Paper Maps - This is important to consider when a storm hits. Using a paper map will help conserve battery on your phone or GPS. There may also be an instance where you may not have service because power was knocked out and the cell towers are unavailable or need repair.
Hand Can Opener - This is important for any canned goods that are in your supplies of food, such as soups and vegetables. An electric can opener may not be available to use due to power issues.
Battery-Powered or Hand Crank Radio - When there is an outage this could be the first communication or update for those in the dark. This can be used regardless of the situation of power or not. Be sure to stock up on batteries for this and any other devices such as flashlights you may need.
First-Aid Kit - It is important to have atleast one of these if not two or three depending on the size of family and friends you will be with incase anything happens. Make sure these kits are either fully restocked, or brand new and to have everything you need.
Whistle - A whistle can be heard much farther than yelling and could become a tool that saves a life given the situation.
Dusk Masks - In a storm of any kind you never know what the aftermath will be and there may be contaminated areas that these masks should be worn in.
Solar Charger - These will keep your phone, Gps or any other device needed charged in these emergency situation if you do not have a generator available.
Food - You should ideally have a food storage for each individual for 3 days.
Water - Each person in the group will need one gallon of water per day. These can be gallon jugs, water bottles, or a filled bath tub for water to be boiled and used.
Toilet Items - These range from toilet paper to garbage bags. The situation will determine what you will use and need.
There are many more items that could be added to this list, however, these are the most commonly forgotten but needed items to add. In any storm situation we are always here to help and hope you are now a little better prepared for a storm situation.
SERVPRO Is Here To Help Your Business After Any Disaster
Unexpected commercial water damage can occur rapidly with no warning. When an emergency strikes, call on us at SERVPRO New Smyrna Beach- Titusville to launch a rapid response with a team of experienced commercial water responders waiting to handle your emergency. Time is of the essence when predicting the sustainability of your commercial property.
Despite best efforts and preventative maintenance, SERVPRO understands that unprecedented storm damage and rain can leave rooftops weak and subject to slow leaks. Severe weather and hurricane force winds can prematurely weather the life of the roof. When trees fall over during a storm and land on your building's roof, underlying water damage may occur. Over time, a commercial roof can develop a significant leak leading to flooding. Flooding can lead to water damage or destruction of computers, printers, and other electronic expensive equipment in the office.
We recognize that your company's efforts may not be able to be replaced when documents are unable to be salvaged. Our team of experts are available to make an initial assessment of the water damage, identify the source of the flooding, and develop a restoration plan. We will work with your insurance company and provide copies of our assessments, damage report, and restorative plan of action.
When your commercial water damage emergency occurs, contact SERVPRO of New Smyrna Beach- Titusville to service your needs. We can be reached at (321)246-0205.