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The Necessity of Smoke Cleaning

10/21/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke. Smoke residue is damaging to your health. Clean properly your Roanoke Rapids, NC, home to get rid of it.

After a fire, there is a combination of damages, from fire to water to smoke. Smoke cleaning is one of the most challenging types of damage to remove from a property because it is so invasive. Smoke gets into electronics, snakes through HVAC systems, and seeps into porous fabrics and materials. If you want the best chance of recovering smoke-affected items, contact a fire remediation professional in Roanoke Rapids, NC.

The 4 Step Smoke Cleaning Process

One of the biggest complaints about fire damage is smoke odor. The odor permeates everything. It is incredibly challenging to remove and will likely require a tremendous amount of patience. Any professional service will follow a four-step approach to remove the odor of smoke residue.

1. Surface Debris Removal

The first stage of smoke damage cleanup is the surface cleaning of items in your home. There will probably be a thick coating of ash, sediment, and residue on almost every surface in the affected area. The remediation team will comb through the space using vacuums and other tools to pre-clean the space, allowing further steps to be more effective.

2. Sanitization

Smoke residue is toxic; it is not something you want to get on your hands and face or into your mouth and lungs. Whenever entering your property after the fire but before cleaning, you should wear appropriate protective gear, like gloves and a mask.

The remediation company will go through after the initial cleaning and sanitize the space using different cleaners and purification techniques. You will need to call in other professional services to clean and repair appliances or HVAC systems in some circumstances.

3. Washing and Scrubbing

The remediation service will go through at least two or three cleaning and scrubbing cycles to remove any remaining residue and odor. In some instances, you might not have a choice but to get rid of furniture and other porous items. Smoke odor tends to seep deep into fabrics, and sometimes deep cleaning is not enough to remove or eliminate persistent odors.

If you wish, you can contact specialty cleaners for items that hold particular sentimental value. These cleaners often have techniques and tools that are beyond the scope of a traditional remediation service.

4. Restoration and Deodorization

The service you hire will ensure that everything they can clean has been cleaned and scrubbed thoroughly before moving on to restoration stages. The final stages of cleaning will involve deodorization, which can utilize air purifiers.

The restoration of your property will include the replacement of damaged walls, ceilings, floors, etc. When the restoration company is done with your property, it should look like pre-disaster conditions, meaning your family can return to a place that looks and feels like home.

Smoke cleaning is a bit of a tedious process. However, when performed effectively, the process should eliminate the remaining odors and damage. The extent of the cleaning will depend on the severity of the fire, and the scope of the damage often dictates the efficacy of the restoration process. Unfortunately, after a fire, the only way to determine salvageability is to have your property assessed.

Steps To Take When You Have Water Damage

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen pipe. Repair the burst pipe on time to avoid severe water damage in your Roanoke Rapids, NC commercial.

You invest a lot of time and money into your commercial property in Roanoke Rapids, NC. A regular maintenance schedule helps you ensure that everything stays running smoothly, and it reveals any problems so that you can fix them before they get out of hand. There are some things you can't always prevent, though. A busted pipe can cause a lot of water damage in a short amount of time. What you do next can significantly lower the cost of repairs.

Call the Water Damage Professionals

The first step of solving any problem is reporting it to the right people. As soon as you know you have broken pipes, you need to make three calls:

Plumber - Getting the pipe fixed as soon as possible is essential for stopping the problem in its tracks and preventing further damage.

Water mitigation experts - The sooner the mitigation team can get into your building to assess and fix the damage caused by the pipe break, the faster everything can get back to normal.

Insurance provider - It's important to file a claim for any covered damage to your building as soon as you know about it so that an adjuster can arrive in time to complete a walkthrough and confirm the accuracy of your claim.

Turn Off Water

One of the first questions the plumber and mitigation technicians are likely to ask when they show up to do repairs is whether the water main is off. Cutting off the leak at its source is the best way to prevent more water from spewing out at the point where the pipe is broken. Ultimately, this can significantly reduce the amount of potential water damage to your building and make the cleanup process much easier.

Of course, if your building doesn't have water flow, you are likely going to shut down operations or relocate them until the problem is fixed. Communicate that the water for the building is off and keep everyone informed about the timeline for completion of the repairs.

Learn Prevention Measures

While some pipe breaks may be unavoidable, especially if your area experiences power outages during the winter, there are certain measures you can take to reduce the chance of needing water cleanup services due to such a mishap.

Keep your pipes as warm as possible when outside temperatures are below freezing. You can apply adhesive insulation to the pipes themselves or add more insulation to your building in general. Set the thermostat at a temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even when no one is in the building. Open cabinet doors overnight to increase warm airflow to the pipes underneath sinks. The smarter precautions you take, the less likely your pipes are to break.

Water damage from a broken pipe is not something you want to ignore. The longer water keeps flowing into the area, the more problems it's going to cause. By taking quick action to address the issue and repair the damage, you can protect the structural integrity of your building and get everything back in working order as soon as possible.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover a Flood-Damaged Basement?

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

Mold damage in a wall. Homeowner insurance policies cover different reasons for flood damage.

No one ever said insurance was consumer-friendly and easy to understand. Numerous circumstances could cause a basement flood in Roanoke Rapids, NC, from a burst pipe to an overflowing toilet to a major storm. Although your standard homeowners insurance policy includes some types of water intrusion, it will not cover all possible scenarios. For example, it probably won't cover damage from a flood caused by any of the following conditions.

  • Rising water from heavy rain
  • Sewer system backup
  • Seepage of water from underground

Adding a supplemental flood insurance policy may cover some or all of these issues. However, this type of insurance coverage is usually very limited in who can purchase it (depending on the region in which you live) and the specific situations it covers.

Does My Situation Apply?

Standard homeowners insurance will typically cover the following losses. Not surprisingly, they do have exclusions, though. Therefore, it's critical to be proactive and review your policy or speak with your agent to determine precisely what your coverage includes and excludes.

1. Overflow From Plumbing or an Appliance Mishap

Your homeowners insurance policy will generally include the flood damage resulting from an overflowing water receptacle. This coverage ordinarily includes flooding from bathtubs, sinks, toilets, and pools, as well as appliances like dishwashers, clothes washers, and water heaters.

2. Flood From a Burst Frozen Water Pipe

Loss from burst pipes, such as those connecting appliances like water heaters and refrigerators, are typically included in homeowners insurance coverage, along with air conditioning unit and sprinkler system pipe leaks. If a pipe in your home freezes and bursts, causing a basement flood, your homeowners insurance should cover the damage caused by the water. However, if the insurance company determines that you had the heat or water systems turned off during this period, they will probably deny your claim. In this case, you'll be responsible for paying the total cost of the work of the water damage restoration company and other repair services out of pocket. If you go away for a winter vacation or own another home in a cold climate that isn't continually occupied, you must be mindful of this fact and keep your home well prepared for potential winter weather.

3. Large Leak From a Faulty Appliance

Water damage caused by a faulty appliance, such as a refrigerator, washing machine, water heater, or air conditioning unit, will typically be covered by standard homeowners insurance. Keep in mind, the appliance itself won't be covered, though. The insurance policy will cover only the damage caused by the broken machine. If your adjuster finds that the damage occurred due to a lack of proper maintenance of the appliance, they can deny your claim.

No one ever wants to experience a flooded basement. Still, as with any disaster, it helps to know what standard homeowners insurance coverage usually includes. Familiarize yourself with the policy details by reading the fine details and speaking with your insurance agent. Then, if you ever face a basement flood, you'll have a better idea of what to expect regarding your insurance claim. In the meantime, be proactive about doing everything you can to prevent a water disaster.

Tips for Air Duct Mold Mitigation

9/23/2021 (Permalink)

Air Duct. Maintain the air duct clean of your commercial building in Roanoke Rapids, NC, to avoid black mold.

Keeping the HVAC system in your commercial building in Roanoke Rapids, NC, clean should be one of your top priorities. Regular upkeep is necessary to regulate air quality and keep the vents free of black mold. If you have consistent fungus issues throughout your building, dirty ducts are the most likely culprit. 

Tips For Quick Mitigation And Prevention.

Inspection

The first step to fixing any problem is pinpointing what exactly the issue is. There are a few telltale signs to look for when you suspect there is mold growth in your air ducts:

  • Musty odor
  • Black spots on ceilings or walls near vents
  • Poor air quality

If you notice any of these signs when you complete your regular building inspection, don't wait to call mold damage remediation specialists. The earlier they can start work on your mold problem, the easier it will be to resolve.

Mitigation

The first step that technicians will likely take is testing to see how pervasive the mold growth is. They may test not only the surfaces where patches are visible but also the concentration of spores in the air. This helps them determine the kind of mold they are dealing with and the location of the problem.

Wiping away the mold growth on the outside of the vents is not going to get rid of it for good. It will just keep coming back unless you have clean ducts. Mitigation efforts include not only cleaning and drying the ducts throughout the system but also identifying the underlying cause of the problem. For example, heavy condensation on the chillers can produce enough extra moisture to attract spores and promote growth. For long-term protection from black mold, you must resolve the problem that caused it.

Prevention

You can prevent mold growth in your building by adding a few key checkpoints to your routine maintenance list. Making sure your external drainage system, including gutters, downspouts, and trenches, is frequently cleaned protects your building from heavy precipitation. Watch for any signs of water damage in your building and, if you find them, call for remediation immediately to prevent secondary damage such as mold. Avoid installing carpet in areas that are particularly prone to excess moisture, such as the break room or any room with a sink or appliances that may leak.

When it comes to your HVAC system, moisture control and ventilation are vital to preventing mold growth. Look for wet spots from leaks or condensation during inspections. Replace air filters once a quarter and schedule a yearly system tune-up to keep the system running efficiently. Monitor the humidity level in your building and investigate to find the cause if it gets too high. Finally, it's a good idea to have your air ducts cleaned at least twice a year.

If you suspect you have a black mold problem in your commercial building, it's in your best interest to act quickly. Certified mold experts have the tools and experience to track down the cause, mitigate the damage and advise you on the best prevention methods moving forward.

Understanding Common Flooding Concerns

9/23/2021 (Permalink)

Wet floor. Flooding in your Roanoke Rapids, NC home basement can be caused by various reasons.

Homeowners trust that their plumbing will work without issue. Unfortunately, sometimes things happen to result in a basement flood. Now, a flood can occur because of exterior or interior issues. The key is to prepare for either circumstance to avoid massive disasters. Obviously, even the most fervent homeowner might still experience problems. If you want to prepare for the worst, it is best to contact a water remediation company in Roanoke Rapids, NC, to discuss prevention methods for your house. Some of the recommendations might include:

  • Backflow valves
  • Sump pumps
  • Overflow systems
  • Roof inspections
  • Plumbing assessments

Avoiding Common Problems

Some of the most common problems that can lead to flooded basements are related to roof and gutter maintenance. Gutter systems require regular upkeep, especially in the fall and after the winter. When gutters overflow or downspouts become clogged, all the rainwater fills the troughs and overflows, following the sides of the house and seeping into the ground around the foundation. If enough water seeps in, your home might experience flooding, structural, and further water damage.

Additionally, roofing, as it ages, can begin to fail or weaken. It is crucial to have your roof inspected at least once or twice per year to ensure it is still stable. If there are issues, make sure you fix the problems to limit the risks of leaks.

Speaking of leaks, you’d probably be surprised how many minor floods start with poorly sealed windows and doors. Sealants have an expected lifespan, and it is crucial to ensure all vulnerable areas are sealed. You can tell when the sealant is failing because it will appear dry and cracked. Aside from windows and doors, you will want to check the seal around the basement floor.

Consider the Landscape and Its Potential Effect on a Basement Flood

A Flooded basement can be the result of poor landscape design or suburban planning. Landscaping should always be graded away from the house to ensure proper drainage. Unfortunately, even when the landscaping is installed correctly if the house is in an area that should have never had a neighborhood or a house with a basement, you will need to do significantly more work to establish a consistently dry space, especially if it wasn’t sealed correctly, to begin with.

Houses that were developed with poor planning might require extensive work to waterproof. A construction company might need to dig out an area around the foundation to install a layer of waterproofing and additional drainage.

Hiring a Professional

If you want to ensure your property is secure and as protected as possible against future disasters, consider contacting a remediation specialist to schedule a property assessment. A licensed and trained crew will arrive at your business to discuss any problems or concerns.

A basement flood is not inevitable, especially with the right among of preparation. Keeping your house dry is about trusting professionals and keeping up with routine maintenance schedules. As long as you keep up with standard homeowner tasks and ask questions to ensure you’re prepared as much as you can be, you can limit the potential of a flood occurring.

Removing Cigarette Smoke Odor From Your Home

8/26/2021 (Permalink)

Cigarette smoke. The odor of cigarette smoke is hard to remove from your Roanoke Rapids, NC, home.

Removing the odor of cigarette smoke in your house is not the easiest task. The smell has a way of seeping into nonporous items and leaving a residue on harder surfaces. Despite the difficulty, home deodorization is crucial to ensuring your family is breathing in the cleanest air possible. If you call on smoke odor removal companies in Roanoke Rapids, NC, each will probably tell you some version of the same removal process:

  • Discard
  • Scrub
  • Wash
  • Purify
  • Professional Help

Throw Out As Much As Possible

Discarding personal items is never easy, and if any items have sentimental value, do not throw them away. However, keep in mind that removing smoke smells from porous items is challenging. In some cases, you might need to hire a specialized cleaner, which can become expensive if you try to salvage every item in your house.

That being said, there is no harm in trying to salvage as much as possible. You can use the tools at your disposal, like your washing machine or fabric fresheners. Sometimes, it helps to place items outside for a bit, allowing them to air out.

Use Some Elbow Grease on Hard Surfaces

Before you start cleaning, it is vital to ensure there is plenty of ventilation throughout the house. Open all windows and doors and turn on all ceiling fans.

You will need to prepare a couple of different solutions before cleaning hard surfaces in the home. The first, a 50/50 solution of hot water and white vinegar; this solution is suitable for most hard surfaces. When you are ready to clean the ceiling and walls, mix a solution of 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup vinegar, and one gallon of hot water.

You will need to clean every surface when your focus is home deodorization. Do not leave anything untouched. Clean the light switches, doors, knobs, fan blades, lightbulbs, knickknacks, picture frames, etc.

Wash All Fabrics

Take anything you can put in the washing machine and do so. You will want to use 1/2 cup vinegar in the initial cycle instead of laundry detergent. After the first wash, you can use your favorite detergent and put the laundry through another process.

Anything that cannot go in the washer sprinkle with baking soda and leave it for a few days. Vacuum the excess only after it has had time to absorb the odor. You’ll want to steam clean carpeting, drapes, and upholstered furniture.

Use Natural Ventilation and Air Purification

Having all the windows open and fans going will help circulate the air in the house, but it is not enough to remove or eliminate standing odors. Whenever possible, use air purifiers, HEPA filters, activated charcoal, or white vinegar to help absorb the odor. Do not forget to change your HVAC filters at least once every three months.

If natural ventilation and air purifiers are not working, consider using an ozone generator. These devices oxidize smoke molecules, effectively eliminating the smell when appropriately used.

Hire a Professional

Odor removal is a time-consuming task. Most homeowners do not have the time to tackle the process alone. A professional remediation service can help.

Home deodorization requires time, patience, and a variety of cleaning techniques. Sometimes, the DIY approach is not worth the effort.

7 Tips for Preparing for a Severe Storm

8/26/2021 (Permalink)

A home damaged by a storm. A storm can provoke several damages in your Roanoke Rapids, NC, home.

When the weather radar shows that a storm will be blowing through Roanoke Rapids, NC, preparation is vital. Although you can't control the storm's trajectory or strength, you can prepare your environment to be ready. This preparation can drastically minimize storm damage. Next time bad weather is forecasted, put these storm tips into action to keep your family and home safer.

1. Prepare an Emergency Plan

Having a written plan can help everyone in your family stay on the same page when an emergency happens. Identify evacuation routes and choose an emergency meeting location close to your home. Make sure everyone knows the phone numbers of emergency contacts.

2. Create an Emergency Supply Kit

You may have to evacuate your home without much warning, so it's helpful to have an emergency kit ready to grab at a moment's notice. You can make an individual kit for each person in your family (e.g., a backpack of supplies) or a larger kit with everything for the family. The kit(s) should include first aid supplies, prescriptions, and other necessary medications, bottled drinking water (i.e., one gallon per day per person), nonperishable food, a non-electric can opener, battery-powered flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, phone chargers and charged power banks, cash and credit cards, and essential documents, such as identification and medical and bank information.

3. Enable Weather Alerts

If the power goes out, or you're sheltering in place, you may not have access to a TV or computer. A helpful way to keep up with the storm information is by having a weather app on your phone. You can enable severe weather alerts, get real-time information and storm tips, and track the storm via the weather radar.

4. Back Up Important Data

You should always keep important data on your computer backed up on at least one other source. Backing up to the cloud is the most secure backup you can get; if your computer is damaged, it won't be affected. There are many cloud-based free services, and to make it better, they're accessible from anywhere with internet access.

5. Check the Property

Checking your outdoor property before a storm can avoid a lot of potential damage. Put lawn furniture, flower pots, bicycles, or anything else that could blow away or become projectiles away. Also, close umbrellas and awnings, which could blow away or tear during high winds.

6. Inspect the Roof

Before the storm arrives, inspect the roof for loose or missing shingles or other damage. Making necessary repairs now can prevent roof leaks during a heavy downpour or more severe harm. If you experience a leak or flood, water damage restoration professionals can help mitigate the loss.

7. Know Where to Turn Off Utilities

All adults and appropriate-age children should know where all the utility shut-offs are at your home. They should also understand when and how to turn them off. Sometimes shutting off water and gas mains can mitigate some of the loss during harsh weather. It's also beneficial to know how to override electronics, such as the garage door if the power goes out.

These seven storm tips can keep your family and your property as safe as possible from a severe storm. Begin preparing today for the possibility of storm damage in the future.

Tips for Saving Your Hardwood Floor From Water Damage

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

Living room. A pipe burst can cause water damage to the hardwood floor in your building in Roanoke Rapids, NC.

Hardwood floors are an attractive addition to any office building. They add richness and elegance to any decor. A pipe burst in your building can put your beautiful floors in peril. To avoid the expense of having to replace them due to irreparable water damage, you must act quickly.

Follow these tips to save your floors from ruin.

Extract Excess Water

Obviously, if you have standing water in your building in Roanoke Rapids, NC, you should remove it as quickly as possible. The longer it remains, the more damage it is likely to do. Even after the bulk of the water is extracted, however, the floor is probably still damp. There are several materials you can use to dry out a wet floor:

  • Newspaper
  • Paper towels
  • Kitty litter

You are most likely to have absorbent paper products on hand, so start with them. Spread a layer of newspaper or paper towels down over the entire affected area. As they become saturated, replace them until they no longer pick up any water. Kitty litter is useful if the water has seeped into the cracks between the boards. Once it draws out the moisture, you can simply vacuum it up.

Hire Professional Help

Even if your initial efforts are effective, the pipe burst may cause damage you can't see on the surface. Certified water mitigation experts can conduct a more thorough assessment so that hidden moisture doesn't cause secondary problems. They inspect your floors for signs of permanent damage and buckling. Their swift attention can mean the difference between having to replace a few warped boards and having to rip out the whole floor and start over.

Repair All Damage

Even if you respond as quickly as possible, secondary damage to your wood floor can still occur. Mold can start to grow in as little as 24-48 hours from the moment excess moisture is present. Another benefit of hiring mitigation specialists is that they understand this is a possibility and know to watch out for it. If they find secondary damage, they can fix it before it gets out of hand.

Prevent Future Problems

Thorough remediation is vital for ensuring that the same leak doesn't come back to haunt you and cause further damage to your floors. You must also take measures to prevent subsequent leaks. If your business is located in a particularly cold climate or the pipes are housed along exterior walls, you need to make sure they don't get too cold. Add extra insulation, particularly in the areas around the pipes. In addition to preventing another water loss, you may also save on utility bills.

Just because your hardwood floors get drenched in the aftermath of a pipe burst, that doesn't necessarily mean they are a total loss. Getting rid of as much of the water as possible as soon as possible can help you avoid such a catastrophe. Enlist the help of certified experts who have experience mitigating damage to wood floors, and do your part to prevent further issues from happening. Even after an accident, your floors can stay beautiful for years to come.

How To Handle a Grease Fire

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a frying pan on fire. Grease fires are very common.

Sometimes cooking doesn’t go as planned, you keep the bread in the oven too long or worse, you could start a grease fire in your kitchen. Consider keeping a small fire extinguisher in your kitchen for emergencies, but if you haven’t purchased one yet, here are some tips for things you can do if you start a grease fire in your kitchen’s home: 

3 Tips to Handle a Grease Fire 

  1. First, you should turn off the source of the heat, meaning turn off the burner as quickly as possible.
  2. Second, cover the fire with another pot, a metal lid, or a cookie sheet. If you do not have another pot or lid nearby you can try putting baking soda or salt on top of the fire. Doing one of these things will suffocate the fire because it will not have as much oxygen reaching it. 
  3. Finally, if you feel unsafe, go outside to a safe location and call 911 or help.

Here are some DO NOTs while attempting to put out a grease fire:

  1. Use water or any fabrics to put out a grease fire. 
  2. Use baking powder. Although it may look the same baking soda, the chemical make-up is very different and it should not be substituted in the absence of baking soda.
  3. Moving the pot that’s on fire, this is very dangerous and should never be attempted.

We know your immediate instinct in the case of a grease fire will be to save your home. However you and your family’s safety should be your number one priority. We hope you never have to worry about a grease fire and the repairs afterwards, but if you do, call SERVPRO of Roanoke Rapids our trained professionals will be ready to help you.

Why Contamination Level Is Important

7/30/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a flooded living room and kids playing on top of a floating table Contaminated water can cause severe damage.

When a client in Roanoke Rapids, NC, files a claim for a water loss, it's important that The procedure for dealing with damage from contaminated water is much different than cleanup from a broken pipe. One of the ways that SERVPRO outshines the competition is through matching the results of extensive pretesting with the appropriate cleaning methods for each customer's specific problem.

Types of Contamination

Clean Water

Category 1 damage is caused by clean water. There are several sources in your client's home from which clean water can originate:

  • Faucet drip
  • Pipe break
  • Supply line leak

If the water that causes the damage in your client's home is clean and contained on only one floor, no sanitation is likely to be necessary. Water restoration specialists can just tear out ruined materials, thoroughly dry the area and rebuild.

Gray Water

Contaminated water belongs in Category 2. This type of damage is typically the result of leaks from appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines. It may also occur if a clean water leak is so extensive that it seeps from the floor of one level to the ceiling or walls beneath it. Because this water is likely to contain bacteria and other microbes, saturated materials will need to be thrown away, and all other surfaces must be disinfected.

Black Water

The third category of water contamination is black water. This occurs when the sewer backs up into your client's home or when it is flooded during a storm. Extensive sanitation methods must be used. When you choose SERVPRO as a preferred vendor, you know that the appropriate testing will be conducted both before and after cleanup to ensure that all bacteria are eradicated.

Contaminated water adds extra steps to mitigation. Specialists who take the time to verify the contamination level of the water that causes the damage to your client's home are better equipped to make the right decisions about the details of the cleanup process.