5 More Things to Do Before a Storm Arrives
Gutters are your first line of defense against heavy rains! Make sure yours is clean so it can function properly!
In a previous post, we listed 5 things you should do before a storm arrives. The truth is, there’s a lot more you can do to prevent disaster, which is why we’re adding 5 more things to our checklist! If you’re ready to prepare for an impending storm, this checklist is for you!
- Ensure that outdoor furniture is safely secure. It’s not very fun when your furniture is no longer in your yard but is instead sprawled out all over your neighbor’s. It’s even less fun when it damages their property.
- Bring in flags, potted plants, and other potential projectiles. If you can’t secure outside objects, bring them inside to keep them from blowing away and either breaking or damaging something else.
- Clean out your gutters. Water damages can be very expensive, which is why it’s important to make sure that your gutters are clean so water can be steered away from your home. They are your first line of defense in preventing flooding and other issues!
- Fill your bathtubs with clean water. Water is essential not just for survival, but for hygiene and many other tasks. If you don’t have any running water, you’ll really appreciate it when you have plenty in reserve!
- Review your evacuation plan with your family. It may seem unlikely that you’ll have to evacuate during a thunderstorm, but the odds aren’t zero! Make sure you review your evacuation plan if things seem serious. And if you don’t have one, now is the time to put one together!
At SERVPRO of Catawba County East, we stress the importance of safety and preparation. Regardless of the storm’s reported intensity, it’s best to always prepare for the worst. Because when you do face disaster, it’s often when you’re least expecting it.
4 Ways a Fire Can Cause Damage
Fires can cause all kinds of damage, but structural damage is the most common. This damage affects a building's stability!
It’s no secret that fires can cause tremendous damage to your property; in some cases, homes can be completely destroyed. But even when your home isn’t fully consumed, fires still cause a lot of damage, often in ways we don’t consider. Whether or not you’ve ever experienced a disaster, check out these 4 ways that your home can be damaged by a fire.
- HVAC Contamination. It’s probably not the first thing we’d think of after a home fire, but your HVAC system will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Smoke will have traveled through your system and left behind soot and chemical residue that will only be sent back through your home until it’s cleaned.
- The odor that lingers after a home fire can be nauseating after extended breathing, but what’s worse is that it’s hard to get rid of. Since smoke will have traveled and permeated walls and furniture throughout your home, particles will be engrained and difficult to remove.
- Electrical Damage. Even when a fire isn’t the result of an electrical malfunction, the heat and destructive power will likely damage or destroy electrical devices or components. After returning to a fire-damaged home, do not use electricity unless your local fire department has cleared your home.
- Structural Damage. Your home is built to last for decades, but fires can damage the materials that hold it together. Sometimes this is a result of smoke permeating porous materials and spaces, but other times it’s the result of intense heat and disintegration.
Even though your home might be standing, it will have suffered various damage regardless. Above all else, after a fire, make sure your home is thoroughly inspected and is cleared as safe by the local fire department. Cleanup is certainly a process, but if you call SERVPRO of Catawba County East, we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”
5 Things to Do Before a Storm Arrives
First aid kits are an underrated tool for any emergency event! If you don't have one, make sure you make getting one a priority!
“We just didn’t think about it!”
When disaster strikes, it’s often when we least expect it. And when it comes to summer storms, we tend to treat them as harmless nuisances. But the truth is, storms can cause tremendous amounts of damage in moments. Your fun summer can suddenly become a stressful financial nightmare.
If you want to reduce the odds of facing a storm-related disaster, then check out this list of 5 things you need to do before a storm arrives.
- Stock up on plenty of batteries, non-perishable food, and water. If you lose power or water, you’ll want to be prepared to stay in your home until your utilities are restored. Having enough of these supplies should help you overcome any inconveniences.
- Make sure you have a fully stocked first aid kit. Safety is the number one goal in any storm event. If your first aid kit isn’t properly stocked (or doesn’t exist at all), make sure it becomes a priority. You’ll never know what you might need!
- Make sure you have enough generator fuel (if applicable). If you have a generator and your power goes out, you’re going to wish you had enough fuel. Be sure to stock up on fuel when you’re gathering other supplies!
- Move vehicles away from trees. Depending on the severity of the storm and the health of the tree, it’s quite possible that a tree can fall and damage your vehicle. Mitigate the chances of this possibility by moving your car!
- Check that all of your house and car windows are closed. When it rains, it pours, and you definitely don’t want that inside your home or vehicle. A quick check could save you a lot of money and headache.
There’s no way to guarantee that your home will be safe from storm damage, but this checklist could make a significant difference to your chances! In the event that your property does have damage, just remember that we’re “Here to Help!”
Water Damage Essentials -- The Equipment
Pictured above, we used a combination of air movers and dehumidifiers to dry water damage in this commercial building!
At SERVPRO, we are called in daily to respond to water damages. Our teams are certified and know exactly what to do, but customers often ask about the tools we use. Here you’ll find a small sample of the equipment we use to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Even when you can see you have water damage, it’s hard to tell the extent of the damage. Moisture meters read and display the amount of moisture in a material, which tells our technicians if the moisture level is acceptable. They are used regularly throughout a job to ensure that we’re on track and to determine when drying is complete.
Most people think they’re “just fans,” but air movers are strong fans that push concentrated air at high velocities. There are multiple types of air movers, which allows for different configurations, but they all speed up evaporation and drying times.
Since many people have home dehumidifiers, they probably aren’t a foreign concept. For the uninitiated, however, dehumidifiers are machines that draw excess moisture from the air. They are used to lower indoor humidity and prevent mold growth (which needs moisture to grow). In fact, when we use air movers, the moisture is being pushed into the air, which is why the two are almost always used together.
We use a wide variety of tools to clean up and restore your water-damaged property, many of which aren’t included above. If you have water damage, call SERVPRO of Catawba County East today!
What are Soot Webs?
Soot webs are "dirty cobwebs" are actually ionized soot particles that create chains!
After a home fire, you’ll probably spend a lot of time looking at the aftermath. One thing in particular that you’ll notice is a bunch of “dirty cobwebs” along the edges and corners of your ceiling. But they aren’t actually indicative of your cleaning skills; these aren’t (usually) cobwebs!
These features, called soot webs, form when ionized (i.e. has an electric charge) soot particles stick together in chains. They tend to gather along the edges between your walls and ceiling because those areas tend to be cooler, which smoke likes to move to.
If you do have soot webs, don’t try to clean them yourself! Any time you try to clean soot without proper chemicals and experience, you’ll likely set the soot in and cause further damage. If you have soot webs, call SERVPRO of Catawba County East at (828) 874-0966!
3 Commonly Asked Questions About Mold
Mold might seem scary, but that feeling's often because of commonly shared misconceptions!
Mold growth is a common problem for properties, but there’s also a lot of conflicting information out there that leads to confusion. In fact, for every statement you see or hear about mold, there are at least 2 others that contradict it. It’s no wonder we often get calls from confused and concerned customers!
For this reason, it’s one of our missions to correct misinformation and allow property owners to make educated decisions to protect themselves and their assets. Today, we’re sharing the answers to 3 commonly asked questions about mold.
1. Can you kill all the mold in my home or business?
The short answer—no. Mold spores are virtually everywhere (indoors and outdoors) and are capable of surviving in harsh conditions. The only way you could escape mold is by moving into a sterilized bubble.
The good news, however, is that mold only causes an issue when it’s actively growing. When that happens, we remove affected areas and take steps to stop any other spores from growing.
2. Is black mold toxic?
One of the most common misconceptions is that black mold is toxic and dangerous. Fortunately, neither of those things are true. Black mold is simply that—mold that is black. There are many species of mold and some of them happen to be black.
Some mold species put off byproducts called mycotoxins, but they should be considered no more dangerous than any other species of mold, which are really only a concern around the elderly and people with asthma or immune system deficiencies.
3. There’s no leak or standing water, so why do I have mold?
Mold growth requires three key ingredients: organic material (food), moisture, and warm temperatures. If you have mold, then all three ingredients are present, including moisture. But sometimes the water source isn’t always visibly present.
When leaks or standing water aren’t visible, the three likely culprits are high humidity levels, condensation where cool and warm air meet, or hidden leaks.
Mold can seem scary and confusing, but the truth is often a lot simpler than what you’ve been told to believe. If you have additional questions or are looking for more in-depth information, signup to get our free ebooklet titled, “Is Mold Scary? An Honest Guide for Property Owners who are Concerned About Mold.”
3 Misconceptions About Mold--Debunked!
There are a lot of misconceptions about mold floating out there, but we're here to straighten out the truth!
A quick Google search on mold will reveal that there is a lot of false and conflicting information out there. This information often causes fear and misdirects homeowners into taking the wrong steps when dealing with their mold problems. Fortunately, we are mold experts who are here to clear up some of the most common misconceptions we run into.
1) Black mold is toxic and dangerous.
We often get calls from frantic customers who have found black mold in their home. Because black mold has been demonized by the media and the Internet for many years, it is often seen as life-threatening.
If you find black mold in your home, take a deep breath and relax. Black mold is simply that—mold that is black. Some variations can emit a type of toxin that can cause allergies in some people, but the CDC and other reputable organizations have declared that black mold should be treated with no more alarm than any other color of mold. In fact, this toxin is not exclusive to black mold.
2) Mold can be completely removed from a home.
Sometimes customers will ask us to “Get rid of all of the mold.” While we can certainly stop and remove active mold growth, the actual mold spores are literally everywhere. Because mold spores can remain dormant even in extremely uninhabitable environments, they are virtually impossible to eliminate from a home.
Fortunately, there’s nothing to worry about unless there is active growth! This can generally be avoided by keeping your home’s humidity low and drying any standing water.
3) I need to know what type of mold I have to get rid of it.
If you already see you have mold and an expert tells you that you still need to test it—run. Regardless of what species of mold you have growing in your home (there are thousands of different types), if you can see it, get rid of it.
We sometimes have customers request that we identify the exact species of mold they have, but unless they insist, we typically suggest that it’s not necessary. The standard remediation process is the same no matter what kind it is, so there’s no real need to know the species.
There’s a lot of mystery and ambiguity surrounding mold, but some misconceptions have created unnecessary fear that we hope to alleviate. If you do have mold growth, SERVPRO of Catawba County East to come and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Water Restoration Essentials: The Air Mover
Air movers are powerful and precise fans that can speed up the drying process tremendously!
At SERVPRO of Catawba County East, we’re called in nearly every day to visit a home or business where a water damage has occurred. Our expert team has the experience and training to confidently remove moisture and prevent mold growth, but how do we do it? A big part of our job is understanding when, where, and how long to run specialized equipment. Today we take a look at one of those essential tools—the air mover.
The Air Mover
An air mover is a powerful type of fan that creates high-velocity airflow to improve air circulation. There are multiple types of air movers, which allows for different configurations, but they all lead to sped up evaporation and drying times. Air movers are often used in conjunction with dehumidifiers to quickly remove moisture from a space.
Air Movers vs Home Fans
When our customers first see an air mover, they often ask if they could’ve used their own fans. While air movers are technically fans, they are much more powerful and effective than your standard home fan.
- An air mover creates high-velocity airflow that no ordinary fan can compete with. Even though a regular fan could help with drying a room, it would take much longer and leave the space open to issues like mold.
- Air movers are placed in strategic locations to ensure the room is quickly and efficiently dried. Part of the reason they work so well is that their airflow is refined and predictable. Your standard fan, however, often covers a wide range of space and offers less precision, which makes them less effective.
Drying Your Space Quickly
The goal of any water restoration professional is to dry your water damage as quickly as possible to mitigate the risk of mold. Air movers are versatile tools that allow our team to provide the best results and achieve our goal quickly.
When you call SERVPRO of Catawba East, you’re choosing a team that has about 450 air movers at its disposal. We’ll quickly make it “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO Rescues a Fire Department in Catawba County
Two of our skilled technicians removed the wet insulation from a local fire department in Catawba County. This helps prevent mold growth!
It’s sometimes hard to imagine, but no home, business, or agency is immune to disaster. Recently, a local fire department in Catawba County called us because they had a water damage. A pipe above the fire chief’s office broke and leaked into his and the deputy chief’s respective offices. A large portion of carpet was soaked and the wall and insulation between the two rooms were wet. When the chief called us to take care of the problem, we promptly arrived at the scene!
Drying Commercial Water Damage
In addition to drying and preserving wet materials, it’s our main objective to minimize how much disturbance we allow the disaster to cause our customers. Upon inspecting the wet carpet and flooring, our technicians noticed that large sections of the carpet were already starting to come up in the chief’s office, so they removed the affected areas. If they had left the carpet as it was, it would have pulled away during the extraction process, anyways.
Our technicians then used a carpet extractor to draw out as much moisture from the flooring and carpet as they could. This process is very similar to vacuuming, but it uses special equipment to contain the water.
Since the walls were also affected, our team had to cut through the sheetrock of the affected area and remove the damp insulation. This step is crucial because moisture often sits behind walls and leads to mold growth when it’s not dried out.
Once the excessively wet areas were addressed, the team brought in air movers and dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process for everything else. Air movers—essentially high-powered fans—were strategically placed around the rooms, following the guidelines set by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification). The dehumidifiers pulled the moisture out of the air and also helped increase the drying process while additionally keeping the humidity at a low enough level to prevent mold growth. The equipment was left for a couple of days to ensure everything was sufficiently dried.
After the Mitigation Process
Once our technicians confirmed the water damage was dried, they withdrew the equipment and cleaned up. In some cases, depending on the circumstance, our repair team will come in and make it look “Like it never even happened.” In this case, however, we left the restoration work to the fire department.
What Not to Do During a Snowstorm
Snowstorms might seem like fun, but they can lead to dangerous situations.
Tuesday marked the first day of spring, but we’re still facing winter weather here in Catawba County. Since snow still seems to be a possibility in the coming days (and possibly weeks), we think it’s important that we review some safety tips. Since we live in the south, we’re less equipped to handle snow than our northern counterparts, so below are 3 things you should not do during a snowstorm.
- Drive. We know that most people have some place to be, but since our roads and vehicles are not properly equipped to handle snowy conditions, it’s best to stay off the roads as much as possible. Even if you feel confident in your driving skills, you can’t assume that everyone else on the road is just as capable.
- Hot water on your windshield. It’s best to avoid driving, but if you really have to, you’re legally required to clear off your windows and windshield. When you do, however, do not use hot water to remove the snow. The difference in temperature can actually cause the windshield to crack. It’s better to wipe it off with an ice scraper or your windshield wipers if you’re able.
- Alternative heating. If your power goes out for any reason, you may be tempted to use a grill, a generator, or a similar heating source to keep warm, but these can lead to carbon monoxide poisonings, so do not bring these indoors. Instead, call your power company immediately (not 911), and use blankets and additional layers clothing to keep warm until your power returns.
Snow may seem magical, but it can also present safety hazards. The best way to get through a snowstorm is to prepare all of your essentials and wait it out in your home. That doesn’t mean you can’t go out and play; just exercise caution!