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Water Damage and Your Floors

5/17/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage and Your Floors A pool of water like this one cause major damage to your floors.

As a homeowner, having to deal with water damage to your floors is something you hope you’ll never have to experience. Unfortunately, this type of damage is more common than you may think. 

According to the Insurance Information Institute, about one in 50 insured homes has a property damage claim caused by water damage or freezing each year. Austin TX is particularly at risk, because of the amount of flooding that occurs here. Before the damage gets worse, consider having professional water damage restoration to your Austin home.

Water damage can happen suddenly or it can occur slowly, over a period of time. In many cases, the signs of potential damage to flooring are obvious. You’ll see puddling of water or several inches of standing water in an area due to burst pipes, overflowing toilets or bathtubs, or hurricanes and other weather events.

Other times, you may be alerted to a problem when you notice black or dark staining on your wood floors, loose tiles, or warping in an area of your laminate flooring. This type of damage may be the result of a leaking appliance such as a dishwasher, water heater or refrigerator (from the supply line to an ice maker). By the time you notice there’s a problem, your floor may have already sustained significant damage.

How Water Damage Can Affect Your Floors

Depending on the type of flooring in your home, water can damage it differently. Here’s how water damage can affect certain types of flooring.

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are highly susceptible to water damage. Depending on the amount of water and how long it's had contact with the wood, the damage can range from minor staining and discoloration, to rotting and black mold infestation of the wood planks.

Too much water may also cause cupping (when the edges of a board are higher than its center) or buckling of the wood (this is when the floor separates from the subfloor, up to several inches high). The quicker the excess water is removed, and the floors are properly dried, the better the chances the wood (or most of it) can be salvaged. Wood flooring that’s salvageable will need to be sanded and refinished.

Laminate floors

Laminate flooring is a popular alternative to traditional hardwood flooring; it’s regarded for its durability, affordability and water resistance. Water resistance, however, is not the same as waterproof.

While laminate can withstand minor spills — thanks to its water-resistant top layer — it will not tolerate standing pools of water or heavy moisture. This type of flooring is made of several layers that are fused together using high heat and intense pressure.

Once the flooring starts to absorb the excess moisture, the composition of the laminate material and layers begin to break down, leading to warping, swelling, buckling, cracking, splitting or cupping of the floor.

Ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles are known for their exceptional resistance to water, and are installed in high-moisture areas, including kitchens, bathrooms, basements and mudrooms. In cities like Austin, you'll often find them installed throughout the home, not only for their water resistance capabilities, but also because they help keep floors cool during hot summer months.

Although excess water doesn’t damage the actual ceramic tiles, it can damage the grout between the tiles and the adhesive used to secure the tiles to the subfloor. When enough water is left standing on the tiles, it can seep into the grout and saturate the subfloor (the supportive layer beneath the tiles, typically made from plywood). The wood soaks up the water and expands, causing the floor to buckle or tiles to become loose. 

Carpeting

As you may have already guessed, carpet that’s been damaged by water can turn into a wet, soggy mess. However, carpet can be properly cleaned, sanitized, disinfected and dried after water damage if the carpet’s exposure to water has been limited and the water comes from a relatively non-contaminated source — broken water pipes, water heaters or overflow and leakage from bathroom, kitchen and utility sinks.

Carpets that have been damaged by floodwaters from sewage backup or storms, or water that has come into contact with fecal matter or heavy metals and chemicals, must be replaced.

When Your Floors Are Water Damaged, You Need to Act Fast

Whether your floors have been exposed to water due to a burst pipe, leaky dishwasher or overflowing bathtub, the most important thing to do is to act fast! The longer water sits on your floors, the more damage it’ll cause, especially when it reaches the subfloor.

Standing water also promotes the growth of mold and could lead to your needing mold remediation. The growth of mildew and bacteria are also cause for concern and harmful to your health. Did you know that water-damaged areas and items must be dried within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth?

How Our SERVPRO Team Can Help

Depending on the extent of water damage to your floors, consulting with a professional water restoration company such as SERVPRO of East Central Austin is a wise choice. A professional is trained and experienced to thoroughly examine your flooring and subfloor to determine where the water has reached and whether secondary damage (such as mold growth) has occurred. Remember, just because you don’t see puddles of water, doesn’t mean that damage isn’t lurking beneath the surface.

With the help of specialized equipment, our experienced SERVPRO technicians can accurately detect hidden moisture and take appropriate steps to perform quality water damage restoration. This multi-step process includes the use of a combination of high-performing pumps and industrial wet vacuums, fans, air movers and dehumidifiers to dry your floor and the surrounding area. We are meticulous about monitoring and documenting the drying process to verify that your property is dried properly and thoroughly.

The team at SERVPRO of East Central Austin understands how stressful water damage can be for homeowners, and the importance of moving quickly to remove the water and begin water damage restoration. We provide 24-hour emergency service, seven days a week (including holidays), so you can rest assured that if an emergency happens, we’re there with you right away and stay with you every step of the way thereafter. 

What to Do When You Have Standing Flood Water in Austin

4/29/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage What to Do When You Have Standing Flood Water in Austin Severe Standing Water Damage in Austin TX from Flooding

Standing Flood Water and its Potential Health Risks for Austin Homeowners and Businesses

Austin TX is no stranger to heavy rain. When you’re in an area like Austin, that’s comprised of significant hilly terrain, that rain can quickly lead to some serious flooding. Flash floods come with the territory here, and with those floods also comes the likelihood of dealing with standing floodwater in your home or business.

But what Austin home and business owners may not be fully aware of is the damage that standing water from floods can cause.

Standing water (also known as stagnant water) is a pool of water that has accumulated, either from a rainstorm, or a flood. In most cases, these pools tend to be very small, and can be easily dealt with. But when a major storm hits Austin, water can gradually seep into your home or business and cause major water damage and mold in its aftermath, especially if you’re in an area where flooding is prevalent.

Though a small amount of water seeping in might be manageable on your own, if you have even a few inches of standing water in your house, then you need to step back and bring in a water removal and water damage professional.

Potential Health Issues from Standing Water in Austin TX

Aside from the physical damage it can cause to a building, standing water, if not dealt with right away, can pose serious health risks, including the increase of harmful bacteria and diseases, potentially infecting everything it comes in contact with, including clothing, children’s toys, kitchen appliances and furniture.

The list of health risks that can result from flood water is high, including infectious diseases, diarrheal diseases, and bacterial infections; diseases such as Norovirus, Tetanus, Tuberculosis, Legionnaires’ and West Nile are also possible. It’s important to be extremely cautious if you try any type of water extraction on your own, so be sure to wear protective clothing and especially gloves; if you have any open cuts on areas of your body that will be exposed, including your hands, dress and protect these properly to prevent infection.

If your house has been submerged, then so has your kitchen. This means that you shouldn’t eat anything that has come in contact with the standing water, as it could be contaminated. Some canned goods might be salvageable, but other perishables should be discarded.

Other Unseen Standing Water Hazards

In addition to health issues, be prepared that following a flood, you may be dealing with a variety of insects, including mosquitoes, cockroaches and other types of creatures that can be harmful. You may also come in contact with miscellaneous debris that’s flowed into your Austin home, such as mud, broken glass, pieces of wood and metal; note that these may be submerged and not easily identifiable at first and some of these can create physical hazards and obstructions as well. If there’s been an appearance of mud in your Austin home or business, you could also find other foreign objects such as rocks and broken tree branches.

Also, and this is very important, before you even decide to examine this water damage on your own, be sure to check for any fallen power lines in your immediate area. If you notice any downed lines, call the city to report this, and wait for a professional to show up and handle it properly.

Other Issues to Watch Out For When Your Austin Home Is Flooded

If you have standing water in your home, and are able to remove it on your own, you may still not be out of the woods. While you may have removed the water, there will still be other potential problems on the horizon. Even if a torrential storm has passed and your house hasn’t been flooded, there may still be some cases where standing water remains an issue.

Water Damage to your Floors

Regardless of what types of floors you have in your home, after dealing with flooding, you can expect to see some type of water damage. If your floors are made of tile and wood, your floors may appear cracked, warped or show signs of buckling. If your floors are carpeted, they may be saturated and damaged beyond repair, so it’s best to discard the carpeting and replace it.

Check Outside Your House

Pools and puddles of standing water outside your house can mean that you have poor drainage in your yard. If your gutters are clogged and aren’t moving the water away from your house, you can also face foundation problems. Also, if you have an older roof, you may experience pools of water that are slowly causing damage to your flashing and loss of shingles and tiles leaking from above into the walls of your house. Always check outside your home after a storm to tackle any possible water damage Austin.

Check for Mold and Rust

Standing water and the water damage associated with it can also create harmful mold and rust. Pipes can experience corrosion from standing water, and the moisture can help increase the existence of mold spores. The thing to keep in mind here that most mold is microscopic and can’t be seen immediately with the naked eye Once the standing water has been removed, properly air dry the interior of your house with proper ventilation. Fans, open windows, dehumidifiers…use whatever you can that will help remove the moisture from your home and stop mold and rust from developing.

Have you Been Affected by Standing Water after a Flood?

Contact Our Austin SERVPRO Team

If you’re not prepared to handle standing water on your own after a rainstorm or a flood, then you should contact a water extraction & water damage restoration company like our local SERVPRO team. Our staff are dedicated, trained & certified professionals who are available 24/7 and can handle your water damage and mold remediation needs.

We've performed thousands of water damage removal and restoration (including standing water issues) jobs, and we will diligently restore your property after water damage occurs from Austin storms, floods, and leaks.

Our team will review your water damage repairs while also providing an advance water damage inspection. We only use state of the art extraction equipment to make the restoration process an easy one.

Our SERVPRO team consists of highly trained water restoration technicians who can provide guidance and valuable resources.

If you require a water damage repair and restoration, please call our local SERVPRO Company today.

7 Must-Know Fire Damage Tips 

4/22/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 7 Must-Know Fire Damage Tips  Many times fire damage can be repaired. Get some helpful tips for how to deal with fire damage to your Austin home or business.

After the Fire: How to Recover from Fire Damage

Fire damage can be devastating. After experiencing a fire in your house or business, your world may feel like it’s been turned upside down. Know that you're not alone.

According to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 1,421,600 home structure fires between 2012 and 2016. These fires caused $6.5 billion in direct damage. 

Depending on the extent of the damage, knowing where and how to begin tackling the fire damage can feel overwhelming. We’ve assembled a list of 7 must-know fire damage restoration tips to help steer you in the right direction and help you get your home and life back to normal.   

Tip #1: Assess the Damage — Cautiously

While your first inclination after a fire is to get inside to assess the damage, we urge you to use caution! The flames may have been put out, but dangers still lurk in the form of soot and dirty water left behind that may make you sick. There may also be structural damage. Ask the advice of the Austin fire department if it’s safe to enter your home. Firefighters will make sure the utility services (water, electricity and gas) are safe to use, and that the roof and floors are secure before you assess any fire damage repair.

Tip #2: Contact Your Homeowner’s Insurance Company

To make sure you’re compensated properly for the damage to your Austin property, it’s important to contact your insurance company after the fire and before the fire damage cleanup begins. Your agent will instruct you on what to do first. You’ll be asked to make a list of everything that was damaged or destroyed in the fire and to describe these items in detail (including how much you paid for them and providing receipts when possible). The good news is that a standard homeowner’s insurance policy will cover fire damage to the home’s structure, as well as the homeowner’s personal property. Documenting the damage from the fire with photos and/or videos is also important. Your insurance company will also work with you to help you find a reputable fire and water restoration service. 

Tip #3: Contact a Reputable Fire Damage Restoration Company

Cleanup after a fire takes time and patience. You’ll find items that have been damaged by fire, smoke, soot and water used to put out the fire. Trusting the advice and expertise of a reputable fire damage restoration company can ensure the process runs as safely, quickly and efficiently as possible.

Response time is crucial for proper fire damage restoration. The longer you wait to address the damages, the more repairs will be needed, especially when it comes to the often subsequent water damage that also occurs as a result.

Drenched walls, furniture and other belongings can promote the growth of dangerous mold in your Austin residence or commercial property. When choosing an Austin TX fire damage restoration company, be sure to entrust your home to a company that’s licensed, bonded, insured and is certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Trustworthy companies will do the following:

  • Perform a thorough fire damage assessment
  • Secure windows and doors with board-up services to ensure the physical safety of your property
  • Extract as much water as possible and use advanced drying and de-humidifying techniques
  • Tackle smoke and soot removal
  • Remove soot, ash and smoke residue from heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units and all ductwork
  • Remove and dispose of items that are too badly damaged to be repairable
  • Perform other cleaning, restoring and repairing services to preserve and protect your home and its contents

Tip #4: Care for Your Treasured Family Photos

As the fire and water damage specialist is busy at work bringing your home back to its pre-fire damaged condition, you’ll be eager to try to salvage as many treasured family belongings as possible, such as photographs.

Photographs that have not been burned can usually be saved. If you come across photographs that have become stuck together, don’t try to separate them by pulling them apart. Instead, soak them in slightly warm water. If the water becomes dirty change it often. It could take about an hour to loosen them. Dry them in a single layer, image-side up on a hard surface. Photos that are wet but not stuck together should be rinsed with water and dried, image-side up, in a single layer on a hard, smooth surface. Don’t dry photos in direct sunlight.

Tip #5: Throw Away These Items When You've Had Fire Damage!

Non-perishable food (such as canned foods) exposed to heat and damaged by flames or smoke should not be consumed. High heat can activate bacteria and toxic fumes can also contaminate food through sealed glass jars and aluminum cans. As a general rule, don't use canned goods when cans have bulged or are dented or rusted. Medications exposed to flames, heat and smoke should also be properly disposed.

Tip #6: Save Undamaged Property from Further Destruction

If you come across any items that aren’t damaged in your Austin TX home or business, you should put them in a safe place during the fire damage restoration process, such as in a storage facility. Check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers additional costs such as storage fees.

Tip #7: DIY Ways to Get Rid of Lingering Smoke Odors

If there’s a burnt odor that remains in your home, try using a HEPA filter air purifier. You can also try placing small bowls of baking soda, wine vinegar or activated charcoal throughout your home to help absorb the odor. Commercial odor-absorbing packets sold at home improvement stores will also help in some cases.

Final tip:

Flames, smoke, soot and water can cause significant damage to the structure of your home and your personal belongings. That’s why SERVPRO of East Central Austin is here to help you with any fire damage repair in Austin.

Our team of trained and certified professionals will be your ally throughout the process and will listen to your concerns. We will examine the extent of your fire damage repairs and provide the proper equipment and expertise to ensure a smooth restoration process, to make sure your home is restored to its pre-fire condition.

Give our local SERVPRO office a call if you need help, or have any questions.

Why Mold Remediation Is So Important

3/22/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Why Mold Remediation Is So Important Mold remediation in Austin

Mold is not fun to deal with. Not only can it cause poor health and other issues, but it’s extremely difficult to get rid of. Mold is a natural substance, so in many cases, there’s no avoiding it. It’s also insidious in nature, and in some cases, you may not even know it’s there. Once you come across mold, however, you need to act quickly. This is one of the reasons why, with Austin’s climate, and its frequent high mold counts, that having mold remediation in Austin is so important, when you first detect mold.

Mold: Where Does it Come From?

Mold is a mischievous creature; it has microscopic pores that can appear just about anywhere, indoors or out. Mold is a frequent result where water damage occurs, whether that be a minor leak, or any instance, where water or moisture is involved.

So why is mold so hard to detect? Sometimes mold is visible, but often it isn’t. Most mold spores are microscopic, and range anywhere from 2-10 microns (microns are also known as micrometers, which individually are equal to one millionth of a meter).

One answer is that if you have a leak or any water issues, most molds can grow in places that you can’t see, like inside walls, inside ceilings, and other places that are often hidden from plain sight. Much of it depends on what is feeding the mold spores, so while we often think of nasty black spots, mold can grow in a variety of colors, mold spores can also appear in white, grey, red, brown and have a fuzzy or dusty consistency.

In most cases within homes or businesses, mold grows as a result of a subsequent water issue, such as a leak that helps introduce its spreading. However, water doesn’t always necessarily equal mold growth, since the actual spores need to be present.

If ignored, mold can start to smell and eventually start to spread into hidden areas. So, if you have a minor leak in your kitchen or bathroom, and it remains problematic, then it can lead to greater problems down the line. Especially in the Austin TX climate, even if you detect the slightest trace of mold, then you need to contact a mold remediation professional to initiate its removal.

What to Do at the First Signs of Mold in Austin

Molds will also omit a foul odor when its spores are in the process of colonizing. Initially, you may smell something fairly dank and musty, indicating that the mold has started to spread. Remember, you may not be able to see it, but if you can smell it then you need to take care of it.

Although you can attempt to eradicate the mold on your own, if you don’t have the experience or know how to actually remove it, then you’ll likely run into some problems. Because mold can also cause serious health related issues, your health may also suffer as a result. That’s why professionals in the water damage and mold remediation industry are highly equipped to tackle this. It’s also best to have a basic understanding of how mold originates and how you can stop it before it spreads. The last thing you want to deal with is a mold infestation in your home and business that’s gotten out of hand.

Understanding what mold is capable of and confronting it before it becomes something uncontrollable is a good way to start. It’s important to prevent the spread of mold by any means necessary, because it can affect not just your business and home, but your health as well if it’s not properly remediated.

Finding the Mold Source

As previously mentioned, mold can be invisible, often appearing in areas behind walls, under floors and inside ceilings. Seeking out the source is the route that a professional mold removal and remediation company will take. If there’s a dominant musty smell and the appearance of dry rot, then the mold issue is more problematic and immediate action needs to be taken.

The potential for health related issues grows stronger if the mold isn’t fully checked out. If you spend time at the home or office, and there’s a mold problem present, you can become overwhelmed by congestion, fatigue, headaches and possible allergy symptoms. Questionable indoor air quality could also mean that you have a mold issue.

What is Mold Remediation?

If mold has taken over your home or business, then you need to start the mold remediation process right away. Any areas where moisture appears will have to be stopped in its tracks and dealt with, such as turning off the water source. But, first you’ll need to document everything to help with any liability you may face. Take pictures or videos, and make notes documenting where all the leaks and potential damage have occurred.

If too much time has passed before noticing the mold, the spread of it could be more extensive than originally perceived. Remediating mold will help to remove all traces of it in your home, so that you’re no longer exposed to any harmful spores.

If mold has seeped into your walls, they’ll have to be opened up to allow for any dry rot and existing mold to be removed. This may not be the only place where the mold is growing, so you’ll have to investigate further into where any additional traces of it may occur.

Remediation professionals utilize a two level mitigation process, which can help remove the mold from your property.

Since mold issues are most often caused by water damage, the first level primarily handles the repair of any water problems, to prevent any new spores from appearing and growing. Contaminated areas are isolated, such as closing doors, windows and other areas from parts of the home that aren’t affected.

If there’s a fair amount of dust, it should be misted, so that the dust particles don’t spread, which allows for an easier cleanup. This level also includes the removal of any wet or contaminated materials, which should then be double-bagged in thick plastic bags and discarded.

The second level of mold mitigation primarily involves a thorough cleaning of the affected areas with a HEPA vacuum, followed by scrubbing the areas in question with a detergent solution, to ensure that all traces of mold have been removed and mold odors are removed as well. A visibility test often follows, to make sure that no dust, dirt or anything even resembling mold remains.

Afterwards, extensive drying should take place by properly airing out the areas in question using appliances such as fans and dehumidifiers. Once the areas are completely dry, then all affected parts of your home or business, including walls, etc., should be replaced.

Read about the full process of steps in mold remediation.

If a mold situation in your home or business starts to develop, and it’s too overwhelming for you to handle on your own, you should contact an Austin mold remediation specialist, for help in remediating the mold in your Austin home or business.    

How to Find the Right Mold Remediation Company in Austin

Mold remediation can be quite a time consuming endeavor, and if you’re not able to stop the spread of it on your own, then by all means, reach out to a mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin.

Located in Central Austin, our SERVPRO team features highly trained mold damage specialists, all of whom have the training and required certifications to tackle all of your mold remediation needs. SERVPRO of East Central Austin uses only top of the line, state of the art equipment for mold remediation projects.

SERVPRO of East Central Austin will thoroughly examine and detect any existence of mold at your home or business. We’re able to provide an immediate mold inspection and if we find any mold, we’ll get started to stop mold from becoming more of a problem.

You Can Help Protect Your Business From Fires

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

You Can Help Protect Your Business From Fires | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin - SERVPRO of East Central Austin Blog

If you are a business owner, there are plenty of safety issues that must be considered regarding risks to your business, staff and visitors. One of those risks you need to work on is fire prevention.

Leading Causes of Commercial Structure Fires

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007–2011 were (in order):

  1. Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
  2. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
  3. Heating equipment, 11% of fires
  4. Intentional, 10% of fires
  5. Smoking materials, 9% of fires
  6. Exposure, 4% of fires
  7. Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires

Three of those causes, intentional, exposure, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment, accounted for the most property damage with 20%, 18% and 15% respectively.

It was also reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that in 2007, fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities.

When you take a look at more recent numbers, the NFPA estimates that from 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year. Those fires were the cause of an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.

You Can Protect Your Business

There are steps you can take to protect your business from the risk of fires. If you focus on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, you will help reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.

First, make an assessment of your fire hazard risks. There are some local governments that provide the service of a fire marshal who can assess your risks and also provide guidance on your fire prevention plan.

You’ll want to make sure that the right fire protection equipment is in place. This includes an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Finally, you must consider the human element of your business, the employees. When you create a fire plan and review it on a regular basis with your staff, you’ll be ensuring that everyone is educated on what to do in the event of a fire. Conducting fire drills at least once a year will keep the fire safety protocol fresh, as will taking time to review evacuation plans and knowing where the first-aid kits are located.

Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO® of East Central Austin is available to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Wind Damage and Its Impact on Your Property

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

Wind Damage and Its Impact on Your Property | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin 

Severe storms bring many concerns, but damaging winds are always a threat. These winds, which can come with little to no notice, can damage personal property as much as a tornado or hurricane.

What You Need to Know About Damaging Winds

When thinking of damaging winds, the first thought may be winds from a tornado or hurricane. However, those are not the only times when they may happen.

Damaging winds are considered those with wind speeds exceeding 50–60 mph and can occur with strong thunderstorms. Damaging winds are often referred to as “straight-line” winds, which differentiate the damage from a tornado.

The damage from these winds can be surprisingly destructive, as they can cause other objects to become projectiles. These projectiles can go through windows.

Windows and roofs can take the brunt of this damage, and the winds are intense enough, they can cause water damage to the home as the outside elements come indoors through shattered windows and damaged roofs.

Anyone who lives in a thunderstorm-prone area is at risk from damaging winds, but some structures are especially at risk. Mobile homes, for example, even those that are anchored, can be seriously damaged in winds gusting over 80 mph.

How to Protect Your Home

Some suggestions of ways to protect your property from damaging winds are listed below, but keep the “Two R’s” in mind: reinforce and remove.

  • Use a professional to reinforce your garage door.

  • Remove and/or secure loose objects on your property such as trash cans outdoor furniture and grills that could be moved or tossed by the wind.

  • Have a professional remove large or dying trees and branches that could fall on your home.

As we all know, not all high winds come with advanced warning, but some of these suggestions could leave you better prepared should damaging winds occur.

Also, if you are building a new home or renovating an older home, be sure the windows, walls and doors are up to code for weather situations for your area.

If your home has been a victim of damaging winds and resulting water damage, the highly trained specialists at SERVPRO® of East Central Austin are available 247 to help with the cleanup and restoration of your home.

Protecting Your Home From Water Damage

3/1/2019 (Permalink)

Protecting Your Home From Water Damage | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin - SERVPRO of East Central Austin Blog

Protecting Your Home From Water Damage | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin 

Severe weather is usually one of the first things that comes to mind for many when thinking about water damage. While storms and flooding are a major cause of catastrophic water damage, they are often not the main culprits.

Instead, various items in and around your home could be responsible for many water damage situations.

101 on Water Damage

Unfortunately, many homeowners will face water damage. Water damage was the third most common reason for a homeowner to file a claim on homeowners insurance between 2011 and 2015, with an average payout of $8,861 per claim.

First, you must understand the difference between water damage and gradual damage because it can have an impact insurance on claims. Gradual damage is an occurrence that has been happening over time, such as plumbing issues in the walls causing damage to the walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation. Many aspects of gradual water damage are not covered by homeowners insurance, while storm-related water damage usually is.

Items That May Cause Water Damage

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), water damage can be caused by the following:

  • PLUMBING SUPPLY SYSTEM FAILURES: This involves frozen pipes that burst due to the buildup in water pressure caused by freezing water or when the supply system components fail and results in a leaking or burst pipe. Plumbing supply system failures are the leading source of residential water losses and cost an average of $5,092 per incident after the deductible, according to IBHS. It was also noted that homes 16 to 40 years of age made up a larger group of these types of water damage.

  • PLUMBING DRAIN SYSTEM FAILURES: This may occur when a sewer drain backs up and overflows into the home or from material breakdown issues. IBHS found that 52% of drain system failures were caused by sewer backups and 37% were related to material performance issues in their study. IBHS also noted that the average drain system failure was more expensive in southern region states than in northern region states.

  • TOILET FAILURES: Toilets are the second most common source of residential water damage loss after plumbing supply system failures, which are usually caused by faulty fill valves or clogged drain lines. According to IBHS, toilet failures on the first floor of a home resulted in more damage and higher claims than those in basements or upper floors.

  • WATER HEATER FAILURES: A water heater has a life expectancy, and when your water heater reaches its life expectancy, the tank will begin to rust and corrode, resulting in leakage or bursting issues. According to IBHS, 69% of all water heater failures resulted from a slow leak or a sudden burst and, on average, cost $4,444 per incident following the deductible.

  • WASHING MACHINE FAILURES: This type of failure is typically caused by supply hose failures, machines overflowing and drain line failures. Washing machines are one of the top 10 source of residential water losses, and per IBHS, supply hose failures accounted for over half of all washing machine-related losses.

If your home has experienced any water damage, our team of professionals at SERVPRO® of East Central Austin is available to help with cleanup and restoration and make it “Like it never even happened.”

Why Mold Remediation Is Best for Mold Situations

2/28/2019 (Permalink)

Why Mold Remediation Is Best for Mold Situations | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin 

If you have water damage occurring in a home or commercial property, mold growth is most likely to follow. Did you know that mold can begin growing within 48 hours of exposure to moisture?

If you are faced with a mold issue, knowing what your next steps are is very important, which is why we would like to use this blog to provide an overview of mold remediation.

The Difference Between Mold Remediation & Mold Removal

There are ads out there that you’ve probably seen for mold remediation and mold removal, but the latter of the two is a fallacy. Removing all mold from a home or business is virtually not possible. However, a qualified restoration company will focus on mold remediation, which will produce the goal of getting mold levels back to a normal and natural range.

Mold spores can—and do—occur naturally almost everywhere, both inside a home or commercial building and outside. The issue only becomes a problem when a minor mold issue is ignored or left untreated, allowing it to turn into a major infestation.

During mold remediation, technicians isolate all of the contaminated areas. Dependent upon the level of remediation, this could be done by either closing all doors and windows or effectively sealing off all doorways and openings with a polyethylene sheeting. Dust in the contaminated areas is then suppressed through a “misting” process.

Wet and mold-damaged materials are then removed and discarded using plastic bags. All areas exposed to and affected by the mold are then completely and thoroughly cleaned and dried. A HEPA vacuum is often brought in and used to remove contaminated materials and debris.

The mold-affected area is treated with a biocide and then left overnight to cure and kill the mold spores. The next day, the mold remediation crew will return to encapsulate the mold-affected and surrounding areas.

What to Do If You Have a Mold Problem

If you are seeing evidence that your home or business has a mold problem, it is important to act quickly. Evaluate to check the size of the problem, and if the mold-affected area covers more than 10 square feet, it is time to call the professionals.

Be sure that the professionals you call are highly trained and certified in the following areas:

  • Applied microbial remediation
  • Water damage restoration
  • Applied structural drying

While it is possible that some minor mold issues can be successfully resolved by homeowners and business owners on their own, it is always safer to contact the professionals in order to have a quick and safe resolution to the problem.

At SERVPRO® of East Central Austin, our mold damage specialists are trained and certified experts in mold remediation. If your home or business is experiencing a mold issue, contact us to begin the mold remediation process.

Have You Created a Disaster Plan for Your Business?

2/27/2019 (Permalink)

Have You Created a Disaster Plan for Your Business? | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin - SERVPRO of East Central Austin Blog

Have You Created a Disaster Plan for Your Business? | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin 

As of late, we have experienced a myriad of troubles thanks to Mother Nature in the likes of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and earthquakes. The key to being able to roll with these punches, so to speak, is to be prepared for a multitude of worst-case scenarios.

Being prepared for those scenarios involves creating a natural disaster plan for your business. This blog will deal with some of the aspects to consider when designing that plan.

Think About This

There are many things you will need to consider when creating a disaster plan for your business.

Some of those considerations follow below:

  1. How to protect the human aspect of your business—your employees
  2. How to secure your equipment and assets
  3. How to get business up and running smoothly again

Thankfully, checklists have been made available from sources like the Red Cross, FEMA and Ready.gov that can help in identifying areas that need to be included in your natural disaster preparedness plan. These sources can also enlighten you as to just how prepared you truly are.

Employee Protection During a Disaster

If a disaster were to strike without warning, the safety of your employees and any visitors to your business should be one of the first considerations in your disaster plan and lays out procedures and safety measures to be followed.

Evacuation routes and exits from your facility should be clearly and properly marked and there should be an area that serves as a shelter. You’ll also want to look into installing emergency lights and have designated staff that will serve as “safety wardens” that are properly trained and ready to assist with all emergency efforts.

When choosing an area for shelter, a basement or storm cellar is the best location in case of tornadoes or other high-wind situations. If this is not possible, locate a small interior room or hallway on the lowest level of the building.

How to Protect Assets

If your business is located in a brick and mortar location, you’ll need to make informed choices about protecting your assets within the building. When a natural disaster strikes, there are thousands of dollars in equipment and/or merchandise at risk inside that building.

Always have an updated and complete inventory of these items and, if it is possible, photographs taken prior to a disaster are always good to have when filing insurance claims. If you use a computer server, ensure that the server is being backed up regularly and the storage system cannot be damaged.

If your business is in a building that you own, you may want to talk with a contractor to uncover areas that may need structural improvement. The contractor can point out possible safety hazards and offer suggestions for upgrading and advice on any areas that may not make the grade in certain weather situation.

How to Get Back to Business

Understand that when a natural disaster does occur, it is highly probable that your business will have to be closed for a length of time due to damage. Every day you remain closed is another day of lost profits. It is wise to set aside a “rainy day” fund that will help with additional costs that are not covered by your insurance.

Build a list of contractors who will be readily available for construction issues, and find a cleanup and restoration service will be available to quickly respond to your emergency situation.

With SERVPRO® of East Central Austin, you can count on us to get to the disaster faster and make it "Like it never even happened." Our training and expertise have prepared us to help with water damage, storm damage, fire damage and mold remediation quickly and effectively.

Knowing what to do when disaster strikes your business is of the utmost importance. When it comes to the cleanup and restoration aspects, depend on SERVPRO® of East Central Austin to be there for you.

This Is How Floodwaters Are Classified

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

This Is How Floodwaters Are Classified | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin - SERVPRO of East Central Austin Blog

This Is How Floodwaters Are Classified | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin 

If you think all water that causes water damage is the same, think again as there are three classifications for it: clean, gray and black. By gaining a better understanding of the differences in these types of water, it will help you understand how to better handle a water damage situation.

No matter what type of water is involved in a water damage situation, there is always going to be a cleanup and restoration process that must follow. First, and most important, is to remove all of the moisture and damp items quickly to hinder any mold growth because this is an ideal environment for mold to flourish.

Clean Water

Much like the name states, this water is considered “clean” and not any kind of water that would pose an immediate health threat. It is free of contaminants and will be water from:

  • Broken water lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Toilet holding tanks
  • Snow melt and rainwater

The damage from clean water is the easiest type of water damage to work with since there will be fewer microbes living in the water. However, after 48 hours and following contact with the surfaces of a building, clean water can move up to category two, gray water.

Gray Water

With gray water, water damage cleanup and restoration can become a bit more serious. This is water that could create a health risk, because it may contain chemical or biological contamination. Because of the slight contamination in gray water, it would need to be thoroughly treated before being safe for consumption.

Gray water is water that comes from dishwashers, aquariums, showers, etc., and the 48-hour exposure time applies here as well, with gray water turning into black water if not treated.

Black Water

Black water is the most dangerous of the three classifications, and it is considered to be highly contaminated with harmful chemicals and biological matter. This would include floodwaters containing soil and all sewage waters.

Sewage is contaminated with microbes, including bacteria, protozoans, molds, fungi and more—many of which are harmful to humans and create a health hazard.

Some of the diseases that can be transmitted by black water are:

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis
  • Gastroenteritis-type illnesses

A good rule is to remember that, when it comes to floods, all water involved should be assumed to be black water since it will have picked up contaminants along its path.

These three floodwater classifications are recognized by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Remediation Certification (IICRC), an organization that certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industry. Our technicians have all studied and familiarized themselves with the IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration and are available to help determine the steps to take to get your home back to normal.

It doesn’t matter what type of water has caused damage to your home or business, SERVPRO® of East Central Austin is here to help get the situation under control and make it "Like it never even happened." Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need emergency cleanup and restoration services!