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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

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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!

Ideas to Help Protect Your Home From Water Damage

2/22/2019 (Permalink)

Ideas to Help Protect Your Home From Water Damage | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin - SERVPRO of East Central Austin Blog

Ideas to Help Protect Your Home From Water Damage | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin 

One of the most common and costliest disasters your home may experience is water damage. From anything such as a pipe bursting to a malfunctioning dishwasher or storm damage, there are many ways water damage could affect your home.

While water damage is not a new concept for homeowners to deal with, there are ways you can safeguard your home from some trying scenarios.

How to Protect Your Home

Water damage can bring with it many issues to deal with as well as having a possible long-term impact on your home. Mold is one of the headaches resulting from water damage, as mold can begin to grow and flourish within 48 hours of exposure to water.

When considering ways to safeguard your home, it may be helpful to break it down by areas of impact, such as by basements, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and ceilings.

An important way to prevent water damage in the basement is by preventing water seepage. This can be accomplished by resealing vulnerable areas of the basement, making sure water drains away from your home and installing a backwater valve.

Kitchens and bathrooms may experience water damage as a result of plumbing issues and/or appliance failures.

Take some time and follow these recommendations:

  • Inspect all appliances regularly, especially paying attention to hoses and faucets
  • Check all seals and caulking around showers and tubs to ensure there is no leakage
  • Know where your home’s main shut-off valve is located
  • Be sure that you don’t leave the house while the washing machine or dishwasher are running

The possessions inside your home may not be salvageable, but there are things you can do to decrease the amount of damage and loss. Use waterproof bins to store items to protect against water damage, and keep items stored on shelving off of the floor, especially when using a basement or garage for storage.

What to Do if Water Damage Occurs

If your home experiences a water damage event, there is a good chance you will be able to salvage items that can be dried out within 48 hours.

Make sure that you contact your insurance company immediately and evaluate just how much water damage your home has suffered as well as the type of water that is involved.

The three types of water are:

  1. “Clean” water, which can be from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, etc.

  2. “Gray” water, which can be slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc.

  3. “Black” water, which is water from sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, etc. Be aware that this water can cause serious health problems.

You will need to get your home dried out, dehumidify the area, remove wet objects and disinfect anything remaining following a water damage disaster.

Here’s a tip from the pros: Freeze any wet books, photos and papers in a frost-free freezer, which will allow you time to deal with other matters at hand. This will prevent mold and mildew from developing and causing more deterioration. Once you are able, remove them from the freezer to air-dry or fan-dry the pages.

It may seem like recovering from water damage is an overwhelming and slightly impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can call on the highly trained experts at SERVPRO® of East Central Austin, who are here to make it like it never even happened!


Making Sure Your Family Is Ready for Severe Weather

2/22/2019 (Permalink)

Making Sure Your Family Is Ready for Severe Weather | SERVPRO® of East Central Austin - SERVPRO of East Central Austin Blog

Making Sure Your Family Is Ready for Severe Weather | SERVPRO® of East Central AustinWhile we receive advanced severe weather warnings as a general rule, there will be those occasions when we will not. Fortunately, there are things you can do and safety tips to follow that will ensure the safety of your family and help you be prepared for various severe weather occurrences.

How to Create the Family Severe Weather Plan

An important way to stay ahead of the weather is to have an established family emergency plan put together and ready.

If you have already established an emergency plan with your family, make sure that it is reviewed and discussed regularly, especially at the beginning of the various weather seasons so that everyone knows exactly what to do.

If there is not a family emergency plan in place for your family, here are some things to take into consideration when creating it:

1. How will emergency alerts and warnings be received?

We live in a day where we rely on smartphones to gather information and keep in touch with family, and it is easy to receive emergency alerts and warnings on smartphones equipped with a weather app or Google. This way you quickly receive emergency alerts, providing you with valuable time in severe weather situations. However, keep in mind warnings and alerts are also still broadcast over radio and TV.

2. What are the storm shelter options?

When living in a tornado-prone area, the best place to take shelter is in a basement or the lowest part of your home in an interior room away from windows, doors and outside walls or corners. Be aware, however, that tornadoes aren’t the only weather circumstance that requires a form of storm shelter, and you can get more information about more of the situations that call for them by visiting ready.gov.

3. What is the evacuation route?

Have you looked over multiple evacuation routes in the event of evacuation due to hurricanes, flooding and fires that can force you from your home in a hurry? It’s wise to have multiple routes just in case one is impassable, and don’t forget your furry family members. You will need to find a place that will let you bring and stay with your pets along the way.

4. What are your methods of communication?

As mentioned earlier, it is easy to rely on cell phones to keep in touch with your family, but in some circumstances, that won’t be possible. Cell phone towers can be damaged by weather, phones may be lost or left behind, and there’s a huge possibility that there will be no power to recharge your cellphone batteries.

Your family will also need an emergency communication plan in place and a designated safe meeting place to meet at in case you are separated from each other.

If a storm does cause damage to your home or business, don’t hesitate to call your friends at SERVPRO® of East Central Austin to get the cleanup and restoration process started.

Water Damage Restoration: Some Tips and Ideas

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage Restoration: Some Tips and Ideas Water damage Austin can be a major problem. If the restoration process becomes complicated, then you should call a professional.

Water damage can be a major problem to deal with. But, what really is the root cause of it? There’s always an excessive amount of water that rises or appears into an area where it simply cannot pass through easily. Much of this is brought upon by heavy rains and flooding, as well as erosion, like a small hill becoming drenched and giving way as it cannot absorb an overflow of water. With no place to go, the water will just stop and congeal, sometimes quite rapidly. Many homes, businesses, schools and roads can be destroyed, or simply washed away by floods, leaving excessive damage in it’s wake.

Your home can de destroyed by water damage Austin, especially your walls, floors and personal items. Pipes can rust from water submersion, wood can rot and mold can rear its ugly head if the mess isn't cleaned up right away.

Removing the water and restoring your home can be a time consuming process. You can’t just go in and start removing the water; there are many steps and things to take into consideration, including the extent of the damage, potential health risks and how to actually remove the water and repair your property.

Of course, there are many elements involved in the restoration process such as cleaning, drying, mold remediation Austin and more… so let’s break it all down, as many of them are intertwined. 

Cleaning up the Water From Your Austin Home

The first question you’ll probably ask after a flood or a leak, is ‘how do I get rid of all this water?’ To be honest, it’s a bit complicated. You may want to go in and start scooping out the water or using a vacuum cleaner, which are things you should never, ever do. Depending on how much water you have to deal with, it may be very easy to get rid of the water, or it can be very time consuming. Think about the different types of water: some water is clean and some is dirty. If it’s something that can be easy to fix on your own,, such as a small leak, then you can use detergents or soap to clean up the residue. If you’re dealing with a major flood, a leaky roof, or sewage back up, you may face harmful contaminants which you don't want to attempt cleaning on your own. That's when you need to call a professional water removal Austin specialist.

The Restoration Process

Once the floodwaters have been cleared, then you can initiate the restoration process. Its not as easy as that, as you should never attempt to remove the water on your own. In cases like these, you should always reach out to a water restoration professional and follow certain procedures to protect you and your home.

You should always have your home inspected after there has been water damage. This will give the professionals a greater idea of how much water is being dealt with and what types of equipment they’ll need. While the professionals will bring in water pumps and other industrial equipment, you may be able to help by venting out certain areas and by using fans and dehumidifiers to help dry out the area. 

The drying process is also lengthy, and it can vary greatly depending on how much water you have in your Austin home. Once the water removal Austin has taken place, the cleaning can then begin. It won't be a pretty sight, especially if there is excessive dirt, mud, and foreign objects, but over time you can start getting your property back to how it was before the damage occurred. 

You’ll have to look at floors, walls, even the insulation to make sure that it’s all properly dried out and that no water remains. Some construction work might be needed, depending on how sever it all is, yet these specific things should never go unchecked.

This is just one element of many on how the restoration process works with water damage.

What is Mitigation?

Mitigation is used as a preventive measure to help reduce and prevent the amount of water from flooding, leaks and any other number of causes. In other words, stopping the water before it spreads more than it already has. A professional can go over all the various steps that are involved and how to stop water damage Austin in its tracks. The sources are many. It may not be a flood from a heavy rainstorm, but a leak from a faulty pipe, a broken appliance, or even from a blocked up sewer system. Mitigation can help you understand the source of your water damage, and by acting quickly, it can help prevent further damage to your Austin home.

Additional Elements of Water Restoration

While the water is a huge part of the Restoration process, there are also other issues to consider. Mold, of course is a messy side effect of water damage Austin if the clean up isn't thorough enough. Mold is everywhere, but it can start spreading if the water isn’t fully removed and your home isn't fully dried out. If the problem persists, then a mold inspection Austin may be needed to ensure that it isn't spreading. Odors emanating from mold and mildew can not only create unpleasant smells, but can also cause health issues if not properly cleaned. depending on the overall scope of the damage, you may need reconstruction if the damage is extreme. If any of these issues should arise, contact a professional service to help you with the restoration process.

How SERVPRO of East Central Austin Can Help With Water Damage Restoration

If your water damage Austin is extensive, don't even attempt to handle this on your own. SERVPRO of East Central Austin is here to help. 

We will take every effort to restore your Austin TX home after you’ve experienced water damage. We’re trained & certified professionals who specialize in water damage restoration, mold removal and mold remediation Austin, and more. We’ll work hard to properly restore your home in the aftermath of water damage from Austin storms, floods, and leaks. We use state of the art extraction equipment and scientific drying principles to ensure a smooth water restoration process.

We’re a locally owned Austin company, and we understand how overwhelming it is if you’ve experienced water damage. We’re highly trained water restoration experts, and are available 24/7. 

Call our local SERVPRO Company today at (512) 420-9886.

What You Should And Shouldn't Do After An Austin Home Fire

1/31/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What You Should And Shouldn't Do After An Austin Home Fire Fire damage can be devastating. Here are suggestions on what you should and shouldn't do if your Austin home has a fire.

A fire can have a devastating affect on your home and your life. While the severity of a fire can range greatly, even the smallest home fire can cause problems, such as toxic fumes, an abundance of soot, in addition to the damage. Once the fire department is called, they’ll most likely use hoses and foam to put out the fire. While this puts out the fire, the excess water can lead to water damage Austin, if it's not cleaned up right away.

Once the fire is out, you should refrain from cleaning up the mess, especially if you're not sure on how to tackle the damage. Your safety can be at risk. Excess water from putting out the fire if not removed right away and properly can lead to extensive water damage Austin, and a build up of mold. If mold starts to appear, then you need to reach out to a mold remediation Austin professional.

Cleaning items such as rugs and furniture on your own may cause you to spread soot around, which will make your property even dirtier. You may also be putting your health at risk, if you don't have the proper cleaning equipment.

So, in a case where you have Texas fire damage, you need to reach out to a fire and water damage specialist who can help analyze the situation and work with you to help save your home.

What To Do After A Fire:

Avoid Soot
If you have to enter your home after a fire, do everything in your power to avoid tracking soot everywhere. If you have old and tattered towels and sheets, use them on the floor so you don’t keep moving soot everywhere. If you find that you have to move items, wear protective clothing and rubber gloves.

Unplug Your Appliances and Check Your Plumbing
If you lose your power, you should remove all of the food from your refrigerator and keep the doors open. Left over food will start to rot and then you'll have unpleasant odors to deal with. You may also have to deal with mold as well, which is extremely nasty. If this is the case, you should consider having a mold inspection Austin,to ensure that it doesn’t spread.

Check your other appliances to make sure that they weren't damaged. If they don't look right, then don’t use them.You should also examine your plumbing fixtures; if they’re covered with soot, then wipe them off as best as possible.

Keep Your HVAC System Clean
Soot can get into your HVAC system, if you don't cover it right after the fire. Find durable fabrics to cover the unit, so that you can help keep out any soot particles. If you need to use your HVAC, have it checked by a professional before you do.

What Not To Do After A Fire:

Don't Clean Your Walls
You may think that basic household cleaner and paper towels will clean up all the soot on your walls; it's quite the opposite. Soot is filthy and extremely messy. While you may think that cleaning is the answer, you'll find yourself spreading soot all over the place. Your walls will become even dirtier than before and you may have to repaint them, or even replace them.

Don't Clean Your Rugs
The same advice applies to rugs and carpets. If they're immersed with soot, then using a household cleaner will just spread it around. Your rugs may also be soaked with water, so don't try to vacuum this or draw out the water on your own; reach out to a professional for water removal Austin. A light colored rug, for example, will suddenly turn dark, and the soot will be impossible to remove. The same goes for any type of upholstery or fabric. Leave it be until the professionals arrive, as they have the equipment to clean these items properly.

Don't Clean Your Appliances and Electronics
In the aftermath of a fire, your electronics and appliances may be damaged, but you might not even be aware of it. Heat and water can damage such items beyond repair; so if they're unplugged, make sure, with the assistance of a professional, that they are functional before you plug them in. Take every precaution to avoid the likelihood or starting another fire.

Don't Use Any Electronic Devices
You should make sure that your electricity is good to go before you even consider plugging in any electronic devices, as this could be a safety issue. Excessive fire and water damage Austin can cause some electric items such as ceiling fans and lights to short out, causing more problems. Have a fire damage professional or an electrician inspect your circuits before using any appliances or electronics.

Don't Eat Any Contaminated Food
If your pantry and refrigerator have been affected by fire damage, you should immediately discard any opened items, as they could be contaminated. If anything is covered with soot, or has had contact with excessive heat, then it should go. Some foods such as canned goods may be salvageable, but don't risk this…consult with a fire damage professional about what can and cannot be saved in the aftermath of a fire.

Don't Have a Dry Cleaner Restore Your Clothes
You'll find that some dry cleaners have experience in cleaning clothes that have been affected by fire and water damage, while others do not. Soot can be problematic, especially if you deal with a cleaner who isn’t properly equipped for this task. Make sure you find a cleaner who has the knowledge to handle extremely dirty and damaged clothing, especially after fire and water damage.

Why You Should Choose SERVPRO After Fire Damage Austin

If your Austin home has experienced fire damage, you need to repair and restore as much of your property as fast as possible.

Fires can be traumatic, and the aftermath, including smoke damage, water damage, and the onset of mold, can be extremely distressing. SERVPRO of East Central Austin will diligently investigate, remediate and restore your Austin home in the aftermath of a fire. We'll examine the extent of your fire damage repairs and provide the proper equipment and expertise to ensure a smooth restoration process.

Our team of trained and certified professionals have the experience and knowledge to tackle all of your fire damage repairs. If you're in need of help, call our local Austin SERVPRO office today: 512-420-9886.

Water Damage: Things to do Before the Professionals Arrive

1/25/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage: Things to do Before the Professionals Arrive If you experience water damage Austin, there are a few things you can do before SERVPRO arrives.

You have a broken pipe or a leak in your Austin home. What do you do? Aside from panicking, you need to address the situation from the start. You need to call a plumber, but one isn’t available… you’re on your own.

Believe it or not, the smallest leak can cause major water damage Austin to your home. So, don’t panic, but be aware there are a few things that you can take care of on your own, before you reach out to water damage specialists.

Many of these quick solutions are fairly easy to tackle on your own. However, you shouldn’t don’t see them as fully solving the problem. Contact a specialist before things get out of control.

Cut Off the Water Flow to Your Austin Home

It’s often hard to determine where the source of your leak is coming from. If you have difficulty in locating the source, then shut off your water. A burst pipe may have many origins as to where the trouble stems from, so shutting off the water will help give you the ability to start with water removal Austin.

While it’s recommended that you shut off your water, you should also consider shutting down your electricity, until the source of the leak can be determined. This will help prevent any kind of electrical fire…another problem you don’t want to deal with. 

Ways to Start Drying Out Your Austin Home

So, you have water damage, but have yet to reach out to a professional water removal service. All hope is not lost as there are a few things you can do to help eliminate some of the water in your Austin home.

Your best ally in this endeavor is air. Open up all of your windows to allow fresh air in and use fans to help circulate it. If the moisture has nowhere to go, then you’ll eventually have to face musty odors, followed by the spread of mold. It’ll be a slow process to dry out your home, but the sooner you can get air in to start drying up some of the moisture, the better. Mold is nasty to deal with and you may actually miss it while cleaning. In this circumstance, you should contact a professional to help you with a mold inspection Austin, to help stop it before it spreads.

Using a Dehumidifier to Help Remove Water

A dehumidifier is a valuable tool to help remove water from your home. It basically sucks out the moisture from the air, and will help make the drying process go a bit faster. You may want to get several, depending on the amount of water you have. They’re very efficient machines and can help save you time during the cleaning process.

You’ll also have to do some additional work in removing items that may be tainted with water. Some of these may be salvageable, while others may not. Items like carpeting and furniture may be soaked, but they should be removed and brought outdoors so that they can air dry in the sun. Any other items, like small furniture and miscellaneous personal things, can usually be cleaned with mild detergent and water. These should also be taken outdoors to dry…but clean them thoroughly so that they don’t become susceptible to mold.

Vacuuming Options After Water Damage Austin

If you happen to own a wet vacuum, then you can at least get started on removing some of the water. This will help you temporarily if your carpeting, floors and furniture are soaked. Only use a wet vac under these circumstances: Never use a regular vacuum cleaner!

While it won’t be an immediate resolution, it will definitely help preventing the water from seeping into porous surfaces. Once water gets into porous materials it can begin to warp and buckle items such as wood floors, which you would most likely need to replace. Most wood floors are covered with polyurethane, but even excessive amounts of water can cause this coating to deteriorate.

While a wet vac allows you to tackle the surface, water can sink deep into these porous materials, which can then lead to mold. Even though mold may make an appearance, all hope is not lost. The good this is that there are restoration companies that can work with you to help manage your humidity and control whatever mold remediation Austin that you may need

Important Things Before The Professionals Arrive

While your first reaction is to start cleaning up the mess right away after water damage Austin, there are a few things that you shouldn’t do which can greatly affect your safety.

-Don't leave any wet fabric, such as clothes, small area rugs, etc., in your Austin home. Pick them up and allow them to air dry outside. 

-The same goes for paper products such as wet newspapers, magazines and books; don't leave them on the floor. There’s a chance you may not be able to salvage them, but they should still be take outside to air dry as well.

-Do not use any electronic devices! Unplug and avoid using all electric appliances, such as radios, TVs and computers.

-Stay out of rooms that have wet floors and ceilings. If you manage to remove most of the water on your own, then let these rooms air dry allow professionals to begin full water removal Austin.

SERVPRO: How We Can Help

This is where SERVPROof East Central Austin can help. Our SERVPRO team consists of dedicated, trained & certified professionals who are available 24/7 to help with your water damage Austin needs.

We specialize in water damage removal and restoration, as well as mold remediation and removal. We will take every effort to properly restore your home or business in the aftermath of a storm, floods, leaks or whatever your particular situation.

We'll review the overall scope of your water damage repairs with an advanced water damage inspection and state of the art extraction equipment to make the restoration process go smoothly.

Our SERVPRO Team is ready and willing to help with your water restoration repairs. If you’re in need of water damage repairs and restoration, please contact our local SERVPRO company today.

Why You Should Use A Professional Water Damage Specialist in Austin

1/19/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Why You Should Use A Professional Water Damage Specialist in Austin Austin water damage can be a nightmare. A professional water damage specialist can help, should these circumstances arise.

Water damage can be a nightmare. Whether from a flood, a leaky or burst pipe, a faulty appliance or a backed up sewage system, your first inclination is to clean up the mess. But wait! First of all, do you know what you’re dealing with? This isn’t something that can be done with a few paper towels and some soap. This is much more complicated than that.

There are several issues involved here, ranging from safety, bacteria, and the potential for mold to spread if the water damage is not properly remediated. Basically you shouldn’t tackle this on your own. Instead, you should reach out to an Austin based professional, who can help you figure out the best course of action for water removal Austin.

Of course, you never want to have to deal with a burst pipe, but it does happen and it can create abundant damage to your home. Initially you’ll want to clean up the mess…but you shouldn’t do this on your own. It’s a very time consuming process, and most likely, you won’t have the proper equipment to remove the water and dry your property and items right away. If ignored for a long period of time, the water can actually get into your walls and floors as well as other items, which can lead to mold. It’s a very complicated and time-consuming procedure to get rid of water damage Austin and mold on your own, and you should always use a professional service should this type of experience occur.

How Water Can Actually Damage your Austin Home

Whether a flood, heavy rain, or a burst pipe is the cause, once water enters your home and seeps into cracks and other hard to reach areas, the damage can be extreme. Water immersion can eventually degrade the condition of your building materials: metal will eventually rust, wood will begin to rot and mold will eventually spread. If water damage isn’t addressed immediately, your home or business may suffer some irreparable damage.

First Steps in Restoring Water Damage

Identifying the problem is the first action you need to take in confronting water damage. If a leak is the source, then shut off your water and then assess the damage. If there’s a limited amount of water, then you may not have excessive damage…just enough to isolate it and not vacate the house while it’s repaired and remediated. If the damage is extreme, there may be potential health risks involved and you may have to evacuate until the issue is resolved. It is recommended that you as the Austin homeowner not attempt to clean up the damage yourself. A licensed water damage professional will understand every element of your water damage and will be able to assess the damage, properly dehumidify your property monitor the areas in question and help with water removal Austin.

If you haven’t consulted with a restoration professional, you probably should. They can go over all the details of your water damage to determine the extent of the damage and what can be salvaged. They can also give you insight as to the status of mold in the aftermath of your water damage and provide a mold inspection Austin. If left unattended, mold spores can spread and cause major issues not just for your health, but also for the safety of your home. Mold needs to be meticulously monitored and removed before you can even return to your home.

Using a Professional Instead of Cleaning up Austin Water Damage Yourself

Think of it this way: you want to clean up your home after a storm or leak has caused water damage. It is your home and you want to protect it…but do you have the time, the energy…can you handle this on your own? In most cases, we aren’t able to tackle such an immense project on our own. A minor leak may be easy to manage and clean up on your own, but a more extreme case of water damage will require the services of a professional, who can handle the restoration of your property in less time than it would take if you did it single-handed.

Stopping Austin Mold Before it Starts

It important to address the water damage right away, for standing water and any extra moisture can be a breeding ground for mold spores to take root and then take over your house. This is where you should consider a mold inspection Austin, so that professionals can assess that status and potential spread of mold in your home once water damage has occurred. It’s best to stop mold before it can spread, so utilizing the services of a professional who handles mold remediation Austin will be a good step in keeping a headache from becoming a migraine.

How SERVPRO Of East Central Austin Can Help

If you’ve experienced water damage then SERVPRO of East Central Austin is here to help. We're trained & certified professionals who are available 24/7 in order to assist you with your water damage Austin needs.

We specialize in water damage removal and restoration, and mold remediation, and we use top-quality drying equipment for our water damage cleanup & restoration jobs.

Our SERVPRO team will evaluate the status of your water damage repairs, along with advanced water damage inspection, featuring state of the art extraction equipment for a smooth restoration process. We’re highly trained water restoration experts, and our trained and certified professionals can help 24/7 with your water restoration and repairs.

If you've experienced water damage and the onset of mold, contact SERVPRO of East Central Austin today.

How to Help Prevent Mold in Your Austin Home

12/28/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation How to Help Prevent Mold in Your Austin Home One way to stop the spread of mold, is to prevent it before it starts.

It’s no question that mold is a nuisance, and once it makes its first appearance, it can be hard to stop it from spreading in your Austin home. Mold spores are so microscopic that it’s nearly impossible to stop them; however, you can take precautions to keep mold from spreading.

The first step is finding out where mold exists in your home. As Austin tends to be very humid in the summer, there are greater options for mold to appear if you don’t confront moisture in your home head on. You may in fact need a mold inspection Austin, to determine how bad the problem actually is. Whether it’s a wet area, a small leak, or extensive water damage, you have to get to the source before the mold starts. 

Mold has the ability to get into everything, such as fabric (furniture and clothing), wood (floors and walls), carpets and also poorly ventilated areas such as bathrooms, showers and cabinets. These are items and areas that need to be maintained, because if unchecked, mold can cause serious health problems.

So, how does one stop mold before it starts?

Prevention is one method to help keep mold from spreading, so if you have issues with moisture and mold from water damage, then here are some ways to manage it:

Mold and Dampness

Mold cannot spread unless there is moisture in your Austin home. Therefore, if you discover any wet patches or areas that are more damp than usual, you might have the start of serious problem. Remove anything that appears to have been affected by moisture or dampness; this can include anything ranging from clothes, walls, carpeting, etc. You should clean and dry any wet or damp spots as soon as you find them, usually you have a 48-hour window before mold starts to spread, and so sooner is better.

Proper Ventilation in Your Austin Home

If there are parts of your house that are poorly ventilated (such as bathrooms and laundry rooms), open your windows and bring in fans and dehumifiers, which will help to eliminate dampness and prevent any mold spores from growing and spreading. Any type of condensation or wet spots should be dealt with as soon as possible. If you don’t have proper airflow, then mold can spread throughout your Austin home.

This is why it’s important to have good circulation. By keeping your windows open, doors to your closets open and giving access to areas that don’t usually get much air, such as cabinets, closets and cupboards, you can help reduce excess moisture in your home. Fresh air will also help decrease moisture and prevent mold from spreading.

You should also monitor any indoor plants that you may have, as mold spores are drawn to damp soil. The spores can take root in the soil and start the spread of mold over time throughout your home. Water your plants only when they need it.

How Moisture Meters Can Help

Moisture meters are designed to help you manage the amount of moisture that exists in your home. Reducing humidity can drastically affect moisture buildup as well as the spread of mold. A moisture meter, which can be purchased at any hardware store, can help you regulate internal humidity, which, according to the EPA should be between 30 and 60 percent.

Using Mold Resistant Building Materials 

If you’ve experienced water damage Austin, then you may have extreme problems where you may have to renovate your home. If this is the case, then you might want to look into a variety of mold-resistant products on the market. Items such as mold-resistant sheetrock and drywall are available which can help prevent the spread of mold.

Keep Water Away From Your Austin Home 

If your Austin home is often susceptible to floods from rainstorms, the problem might involve the landscaping of your property. If the land surrounding your home doesn’t slope downward, then water may be seeping into your home’s foundation, which can cause major problems in the end. Check the layout of your home and foundation to make sure that water isn’t getting into your home. If you have gutters, clean them frequently to prevent water buildup, and make sure that the water drains away from your home.

How SERVPRO Can Help if You Experience Mold Problems

Dealing with mold can be extremely frustrating, especially if you’ve experienced water damage Austin. If you’re having issues with mold, then you should contact a mold removal and mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin. We can help stop the spread of mold, so that it doesn’t return.

Our SERVPRO team consists of highly trained professionals in mold remediation Austin, and our training and required certifications enable us to manage all of your mold remediation needs. Using top of the line, state of the art equipment to treat your home, we will examine and detect any possibility of mold that you may not be able to find. We can provide an immediate mold inspection and, we’ll immediately start remediation to stop mold from spreading.

If you have problems with water damage Austin TX and the spread of mold, then give SERVPRO of East Central Austin a call.

How Cleaning Your Gutters Can Help Prevent Water Damage to Your Austin Home

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage How Cleaning Your Gutters Can Help Prevent Water Damage to Your Austin Home A clogged gutter, which, if not addressed, can lead to water damage austin.

As fall passes through and eventually leads into winter, it’s time for leaves to start falling off of the trees. Many of these leaves will land on the ground, while others will wind up in the gutters of your home, which, over time can cause problems such as clogging and water damage if they’re not removed.

Sometimes we forget about our gutters, but once the water from a rainstorm starts to fall onto the side of your house rather than passing through the gutters, then there is obviously an issue that needs to be addressed.

Gutters keep a steady flow of water away from your home in order to help prevent water damage. If you ignore and don’t properly maintain your gutters on a regular basis, there can be disastrous consequences for the outside and inside of your home, which may require the attention of water damage specialists Austin.

Gutters, Flooding and Freezing

Gutters are designed to move water away from the roof of your house and your foundation. If your gutters are blocked, water will not flow properly, instead pouring over the sides and onto your walls and down into your foundation. As the water runs down the side of your house, it can greatly affect any wood siding you might have, which, if neglected, can eventually lead to mold, and eventually wood rot. The foundation, which is usually made of concrete, can slowly crumble over time from the excessive moisture.

Excessive water can also spill over into your yard, causing flooding. This can affect any nearby landscaping, such as trees and plants positioned near your house. While there’s rarely a deep freeze in Austin, you should keep your gutters clean in the event that ice does form. If your gutters are clean, they may still be clogged, which can allow excess water to freeze and create ice dams. Leaking for ice dams can seep in through your roof and create water damage, as the water has no place to go.

How to Clean Your Gutters

While the idea of cleaning your gutters may at first appear a daunting challenge, it’s actually not all that complicated. However, there are a few precautions you should take if you plan on doing this yourself:

  • Get Yourself a Safe Ladder. If you have an old, rickety wooden ladder, get rid of it and get yourself a sturdy new one, if possible. You’d be amazed at how many people fall while using old ladders to clean their gutters. Never lean your ladder against the gutters as they can be bent or broken. Always have someone spot you while holding the ladder while you’re cleaning the gutters. This helps stabilize the ladder and allows for an extra set of hands to pass you tools you may need for cleaning.

  • Wear Protective Clothing. While you may think that your gutters are full of leaves, keep in mind that there may also be twigs, dirt and a variety of bugs up there. Always wear long sleeves and thick rubber gloves as a protective measure. It’s a very messy job, so protect yourself.

  • Use tools. While you may feel like using your hands, based on how messy this can get, you may want to use tools, such as a small garden trowel to scoop out the mess.

  • How to collect the leaves and dirt. Before you even begin, get yourself a plastic drop cloth or a tarp and lay it down to collect the leaves and other debris. This is a better option instead of just dumping them in your yard.

  • Easy Clean Up. Once you’ve cleaned out the gutters, you should also check the drain for any foreign objects. Leaves and twigs can easily get stuck in here, so make sure that you get everything. Once you cleaned out the whole gutter, rinse the out with a hose to make sure that they’re clean and that the water flows properly.

How SERVPRO of East Central Austin Can Help if You Experience Water Damage

If your Austin home has experienced water damage and flooding from clogged gutters, SERVPRO of East Central Austin can help

We’re a locally owned Austin company, and we understand how overwhelming it can be if your property has experienced water damage. We can help with all aspects of water damage Austin, including water extraction Austin, water damage cleanup and water damage restoration. We’re water restoration experts, and our highly trained and certified professionals can help 24/7 with your water restoration and repairs to make it "Like it never even happened."

Need help with your water damage issues? Call our local SERVPRO Company today at (512) 420- 9886.

Mold and Fabric Contamination in Austin: A Dangerous Combination

12/8/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Mold and Fabric Contamination in Austin: A Dangerous Combination Black Mold affecting walls and carpeting, which can lead to serious health issues.

While it’s often humid in Austin throughout the year, if your home isn’t properly ventilated excessive humidity can be responsible for an increase in mold.

Mold spores can be found all over Austin, but it isn’t until they take root in fabrics that problems can arise, where you may have to seek professional mold inspection Austin, followed by mold removal. 

As walls and floorboards can fall victim to mold from poor ventilation and humidity or water damage, the various fabrics in your home, such as clothing and furniture, for example, can also be affected.

What types of Fabrics can Experience Mold Damage in Austin?

That’s a good question, and you’d be surprised by the answer. Most natural fabrics can be affected by mold. You’ll find materials such as rayon, wool, linen, silk, jute, and even cotton, are able to attract molds, especially species that are attracted to cellulose. Once mold appears in these fabrics, the enzymes start to eat away at the cellulose transforming them into compounds, which feed the mold.

You’ll find that most toxic molds, such as black mold, have a real knack at infesting most cellulose related fabrics, and can spread at a greater rate when compared to other strains. Synthetic fabrics are also able to become mold infested, but not at the rapid rate that you would find in natural fabrics.

Should a flood occur and most of your clothes and fabrics are submerged by floodwater, you shouldn’t try to clean up the mess on your own. Reach out to a water extraction Austin specialist, who can help remove the water and then offer guidance on mold removal.

Are Moldy Clothes a Health Hazard?

Once an outbreak of mold appears, whether it’s caused by excessive humidity or water damage, you’re faced with whether to keep your items or to toss them. This is where you run the risk of facing a health hazard, as some mold spores can cause respiratory and immune system issues. Other strains can cause allergies and infections.

Any type of clothing or fabric that’s affected by mold should be tossed. Don’t even think of saving it; if the mold damage is that extreme, the fabric cannot be saved. If your clothes have traces of toxigenic molds, you may run the risk of getting mycotoxin poisoning, so, it’s best to seal them in plastic bags and dispose of them properly. If you’ve decided to save any type of clothing that shows minor traces of mold, it’s advisable to have them cleaned professionally.

Proper Ventilation Can Help Prevent Mold

As Austin has high humidity throughout the year, most residents run their HVAC units on a constant basis. You may think that this helps ventilate your home. It does, but there are small areas where ventilation is poor and therefore breeding grounds for mold. Think of your bathroom, your kitchen, and your laundry room: all of these areas may have poor to little ventilation, which gives mold the ability to grow.

In cases like these, managing the relative humidity of your home can help prevent the spread of mold on all kinds of fabrics in your home. Having proper air circulation throughout your house will also be a benefit. If you run the HVAC all the time and it’s actually nice outside, open the windows and let some fresh air in the house; this will help to dry out any tough moisture spots where mold might fester.

If you have an Austin home with an attic or basement, then you have a prime location for condensation to form. Here is where you need to regulate the humidity in these areas to control mold from spreading on your clothes, furniture and other fabric related items. Fans and dehumidifiers can make a great impact if you have limited water damage, and there is little mold. However, it’s recommended that you check your HVAC unit and dehumidifiers to make sure that they don’t actually leak themselves.

SERVPRO Can Help Remove and Remediate the Mold in Your Austin Home

If you notice the presence of mold damage on your fabrics, contact SERVPRO of East Central Austin immediately. We provide emergency mold removal and mold remediation, and we are highly experienced water damage specialists Austin, serving our surrounding communities on a 24/7 basis.

Our SERVPRO team is thoroughly trained, experienced, and certified by the IICRC to ensure that our methods meet industry standards.

Call our SERVPRO company today for an immediate mold inspection. We're here to help.

How to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

12/2/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays An unattended stove can cause fire damage, not just during the holidays, but at any time.

The holidays are upon us and you’re all set to decorate your Austin home. While it’s easy to get caught up in decorating, cooking, baking and visiting with family and friends, it’s also easy to overlook things that can be dangerous if not checked, such as potential fire hazards and fire damage and even water damage Austin.

You don’t want any type of Texas fire damage to affect your home during this time of year. So, here are a few precautions that can help you have a safe holiday.

Preventing Kitchen Fires

If you’re planning on doing a lot of cooking for the holidays, you should always be focused on what’s on your stove. Never leave any pots or pans that are being used unattended. Keep any potentially flammable items away from the stove while you’re cooking, including paper products such as napkins and plates, wooden spoons, and fabric items such as dishtowels and potholders.

You should also stay alert while you’re cooking. A lack of sleep or too much eggnog can impair your ability to focus on your holiday dinner. Most holiday related fires are actually cooking related, especially during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Preventing Fire Hazards While Decorating Your Austin Home

While it’s typically warm in Austin, it can get cold during the holidays. If this is the case, you should make sure that any holiday decorations are nowhere near a heat source. This includes gas and wood fireplaces, space heaters, radiators, and other appliances that can produce heat. Most decorations catch fire when they’re placed near a heat source, so use extreme caution.

Candles are a major cause of fires during the holidays. If you need to use candles as part of your decorations, then use flameless, battery operated ones instead of traditional candles. These offer the same decorative effect without the risk of fire. If you do use regular candles, make sure that they’re placed in secure holders, and keep them far from flammable items such as curtains or fabrics. Always make sure that you’re there when they’re being used - never leave them unattended.

Fire Hazards with Holiday Lights and Christmas Trees

Christmas trees have the potential to be extremely dangerous if not properly monitored. If you do get a cut Christmas tree, make sure it’s firmly mounted in a durable stand and placed far from any heat source, where it can dry out and potentially catch fire. Check your tree’s water levels daily and make sure that it has plenty of water. A dry Christmas tree can go up quickly, so make sure that there’s plenty of hydration.

If you already have holiday lights, plug them in to check that they’re in good condition and that they don’t heat up. Any faulty lights that don’t work, heat up, or have frayed cords should be discarded and replaced with new ones. You do not want to put damaged lights on your Christmas tree, as this can cause a fire. You should never leave your holiday and tree lights plugged in when you aren’t home or if you’re sleeping - always unplug them. As for your tree decorations, make sure that you use non-combustible and flame-resistant items to prevent fire damage.

If you have young children, safeguard your house and your decorations at least six inches out of their reach so that they can’t get to them.

It’s very important not to overload extension cords or power strips. Check the wattage of your extension cords and surge protectors before you start plugging several strips of lights into them. Any lights or extension cords that you plan on using should be UL listed.

If you do a fair share of outdoor decorating, use lights that are only designated for outdoor use, and if you do hang lights outdoors, use a wooden ladder to drastically reduce the likelihood of electric shock. You should also have someone assist you while you’re hanging lights outside, in the event that you should slip and fall - never do this alone.

Of course, the holidays are meant to be a fun time to get together with friends and family, but they should also be safe. Accidents and unexpected fires happen at an alarming rate every year during this time, so please take these precautions to ensure that you have a safe holiday.

SERVPRO Can Help With Your Holiday Safety Questions

SERVPRO of East Central Austin is locally-owned and specializes in water extraction Austin, water restoration Austin, mold inspections and mold remediation, fire damage, residential and commercial cleaning services, and more.

Give us a call if you find yourself in need of any ideas or suggestions on how to keep your home safe during the holidays.

Be safe and Happy Holidays!

Saving Your Property After Mold Damage Occurs in Your Austin Home

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Saving Your Property After Mold Damage Occurs in Your Austin Home Tips on Saving Your Property Once Mold Damage Affects in Your Austin Home

You’ve had water damage in your Austin home or business, and you’ve done your best to clean up the mess. The first part is getting rid of all that water. It’s not the easiest thing to do, as water removal Austin can be very time consuming. If you’re not able to get rid of all of the water, you’ll find mold starting to make an appearance.

If you’re faced with a dangerous mold problem that’s affecting your personal items, you need to determine what to keep and what to discard. It’s a big problem, because not everything is salvageable, and if you can’t handle removing the mold on your own, you need to bring in a mold remediation Austin specialist.

Of course the idea of seeing a beloved possession covered in mold can be very distressing, but don’t fret just yet: that antique clock might be salvageable, but that couch may not. Of course you’d like to keep everything, but that may not be possible. If you’ve managed to remove most of the water damage from your Austin home, then you may have less mold to deal with, and more chances to save your items.

So, let’s break all of this down for you, because some items can be saved, while others cannot.

How to Deal with Mold Affecting Non-Porous Surfaces

Let’s look at non-porous surfaces such as glass or ceramic items. These are often very smooth, and since they are non-porous, you’ll find that mold cannot really affect these materials. Glass is usually pretty easy to clean, usually with a damp towel and dish soap. If you find a lot of mold on these types of items, be sure to scrub it off thoroughly, then run it through your dishwasher if possible. 

How Mold Can Affect Porous Surfaces

You’ll find that items such as carpets, curtains, rugs and furniture are not as easy to clean, once they’ve been affected by mold. As these are porous, they have a greater tendency to absorb water, giving mold the thumbs up to spread. If this is what’s happened, then you should probably throw out these items, as the mold will become so immersed that they will be beyond repair. It should be stressed that if these types of items and materials are wet and are caught in time before mold can start to grow, you might actually have a better chance of drying them out and then cleaning them. A mold remediation Austin professional can give you guidance on how to proceed with this.

How Mold Can Affect Semi-Porous Surfaces

With materials such as wood and stone, it can be a bit of a gamble as to whether they can be saved. If you have wood floors and walls, and the water damage is severe, you’ll find greater opportunities for mold to appear, especially if the water damage isn’t taken care of immediately. The same can be said for walls, especially if water saturates sheetrock and seeps beyond it to the wooden beams in the structure of your Austin home. Once mold starts to grow, you may have to cut open your walls and floors, bring in a mold inspection Austin professional to inspect the severity of the situation.

Masonry, such as brick and stone can also be affected by mold if not checked properly. Remember, mold thrives wherever there’s moisture, so be sure to check any internal stone work (including bricks) if you’ve experienced water damage in your Austin home.

How SERVPRO Can Help with Mold Removal and Mold Remediation

Mold removal can be extremely difficult, especially if it affects different surfaces and materials. Don’t try to handle this on your own: contact a mold removal and mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin. We can help stop the spread of mold, so that it doesn’t return.

Our SERVPRO team can manage all of your mold remediation needs. We use only top of the line, state of the art equipment to treat your home. We will examine and detect any possibility of mold at your home or business. We’ll provide an immediate mold inspection and, we’ll get right on it to start remediation and stop if from spreading. If you have problems with water removal Austin and mold, give us a call.

Three Surprising Causes of Mold in Austin

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Three Surprising Causes of Mold in Austin Mold has many causes, but there are three in particular: temperature, moisture and food sources.

What Causes Mold in Austin? And How to Know When You Need Mold Remediation

While mold is often associated with flooding and water damage, there are many other causes that can lead to mold damage and the need for mold remediation Austin. While a natural disaster, such as a flood, is a major component in mold development, but even the most miniscule amount of stray water can attract mold spores, and here’s where microbe growth can take root and be ignored for a lengthy period of time, until it’s too late. This is where you'll most likely need a mold inspection Austin.

Mold is extremely messy to deal with and to clean up. The greatest misconception is that everyone who has mold lives in a dirty house. You can have the cleanest, most immaculate house, and still experience mold. Mold spores are everywhere, so it’s not the condition of your house, or the cleanliness of it that’s the main issue. What does matter are three important things: temperature, moisture and a food source.

How Temperature Affects the Growth of Mold in Austin

On average, and depending on where you live, many homes manage an indoor temperature ranging from 74 to 78 degrees. However, mold spores can thrive and grow anywhere from 68 to 86 degrees, while others are known to grow at temperatures that are lower than 68 and even higher that 86. In a humid environment such as Austin, mold spores can thrive outside in 100-degree weather.

Moisture and Its Role in Furthering Mold Growth

Moisture is a necessity in order for mold spores to take root and grow. The spores can grow at different moisture levels; for example, the spores can grow quite rapidly at 70% humidity and above. Some can even start growing at a reduced level of 65%, so it’s best to keep moisture levels in your home or business below 60%. A mold remediation Austin specialist can help in understanding how to regulate humidity.

Could Food Sources Be Contributing to Mold in Your Austin Home?

Mold can attach itself to practically anything, which is why your Austin home is a prime food source for spores. Once the spores attach, mold can spread on anything such as insulation, paper, drywall, wood…basically anything organic is a lure for mold to take root and expand. If the mold becomes excessive, then you need to arrange a mold inspection Austin.

How SERVPRO Can Help with Mold Removal and Remediation

Once water damage Austin takes place, mold can quickly take root not that far behind. You have a limited time frame in which you can stop it before it spreads.

If you find that you have contaminated water and can’t control the spread of mold, don’t try to handle this on your own: contact a mold removal and remediation specialist, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin. We can help stop the spread of mold, so that it doesn’t return.

Our SERVPRO team consists of highly trained professionals in water damage and mold remediation. Our training and required certifications enable us to manage all of your mold remediation needs. We use only top of the line, state of the art equipment to treat your home, business or apartment.

We will perform a thorough mold inspection Austin, where we examine and detect any possibility of mold at your home or business. 

If you believe you could have a mold problem, give us a call at 512-420-9886 today.

Why You Should Never Air Dry Your Austin Home After Water Damage

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Why You Should Never Air Dry Your Austin Home After Water Damage Why You Should Never Air Dry Your Austin Home After Water Damage

If your Austin home or business should experience a flood, or any type of water damage, your first instinct may be to let everything dry out before you start to clean up. While water evaporation is a natural process, you may think that this is the route to go. While we may air dry our clothes on a clothesline, this isn’t advisable for your home, once water damage occurs. In fact, air-drying out your home can cause a multitude of damaging issues, such as warping and mold.

Here are two main reasons why air drying your Austin home is not the best route to go after water damage has occurred:

Water Damage to Your Austin Property

While air drying usually takes longer than proper cleaning, you run the risk of having many items in your house becoming water damaged. Carpets, wallpaper, upholstery are considered absorbent, so once they become waterlogged, it will take longer to dry than usual. Warping can then occur, once these porous materials absorb the water. Think of walls and floors submerged under water…they almost always are never the same afterwards.

If your property is exposed to moisture for an extended period of time, oxidation and rotting can also take place. A thorough drying procedure should be taken into account to prevent any type of warping, which is why it’s best to remove all of the water from your Austin home and then begin the cleaning process. Once your property is severely water damaged, it may be very costly to repair and even replace what’s been affected.

The Appearance of Mold after Water Damage

The longer that water remains in your Austin home or business after water damage, the greater the opportunity for mold to appear. This is why it’s important to remove all water and not air-dry your home. If you move quickly to remove the water from your home, then there will be a reduced opportunity for mold to spread into your floors and walls. Tiny crevices can allow mold spores to fester and take root, and you most likely don’t want to have to replace your floors and walls. Mold removal and remediation should take place as quickly as possible, to stop mold before it starts.

How Our SERVPRO Team Can Help

If you’ve experienced water damage in your Austin home, it’s best to not air dry your property. If you cannot handle water damage removal and restoration and mold remediation by yourself, then SERVPRO of East Central Austin is here to help. We're trained & certified professionals who are available 24/7 in order to assist you with your water damage Austin needs.

We specialize in water damage removal and restoration, and mold remediation. Our SERVPRO team will evaluate the status of your water damage repairs in addition to an advance water damage inspection, featuring state of the art extraction equipment for a smooth restoration process.

If you've experienced water damage Austin and the onset of mold, contact our local SERVPRO Company today.

6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Cleaning Company for Your House Cleaning and Commercial Cleaning Services in Austin

11/10/2017 (Permalink)

Cleaning 6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Cleaning Company for Your House Cleaning and Commercial Cleaning Services in Austin Why SERVPRO of East Central Austin Is a Better Choice as Your Austin Cleaning Company

SERVPRO vs. Traditional Cleaning Services vs. an Austin Maid Service - What's the Best Choice?

Many people don't realize that beyond the damage restoration services we provide, our SERVPRO team can also perform many other duties for your Austin home or business, and that includes house cleaning services. Our cleaning services go well beyond what an Austin maid service or other Austin cleaning companies can offer.

If your home or business has suffered Austin water damage, a flood, and/or a fire, it's likely you're already aware that you would be better off with a team of professionals behind you, like our SERVPRO company, handling all your water removal, cleanup & water restoration needs. But what about those regular household or office cleanings? Why is SERVPRO a better choice than an Austin maid service and other cleaning services Austin?

The answer is simple. We provide a much deeper, more thorough clean than a traditional cleaning service. Our SERVPRO team uses state-of-the-art equipment, cleaners and high powered vacuums to give your home and/or office the most intensive cleaning it can have. We're fully insured, and can handle a variety of cleaning services, including carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, cleaning your drapes & blinds, ceiling, floor and wall cleaning, odor removal and much more. Other home cleaning services do just enough to mask the issue. Our SERVPRO team gets to the root of stains, dirts and smells to make sure your home or office is as clean as can be. And you know the SERVPRO name is one you can trust.

Depending on your budget, you may still be tempted to contact an Austin maid service or other residential or commercial cleaning services Austin to clean your home or business. But there are other reasons why an Austin maid service may not be the best choice. Here are five additional reasons why our cleaning service can be a better choice than a traditional Austin cleaning company or Austin TX maid service for your residential and commercial cleaning needs.

1) Ensure that the Company You're Choosing to Hire for Cleaning Services Is Trustworthy and Has Insurance

Regardless of an Austin cleaning service or Austin Maid Service’s online reputation, you still should try and do a little further digging into their company. One thing you'll want to do is make sure that they’re bonded before any work begins. This type of insurance will protect your home in the event that damage or a theft occurs, and replace your property if a theft does happen. If they’re not bonded, then you may run the risk of having something taken from your home or business.

Always check everyone’s references before they do work on your property. Online reviews are great, but it's likely you'll be able to get further information talking to a previous/current customer. If the company came recommended by a friend or relative, speak to them directly about their experiences.

2) Don't Attempt to look for Cleaning Companies or Maid Services on Internet Job Boards

If you're in the market for an Austin Maid Service or cleaning services company, avoid searching or posting for one on places like Craigslist. Many times these postings and responses can be from scam artists, who don't work for reputable businesses, and are posing as cleaners, when actually their aim is to rob you.

Certainly there are some honest individuals not affiliated with Austin Maid Services who clean houses and use sites like Craigslist to promote their services, but it's a risky endeavor. If you do go this route, be very thorough in checking into their background, reputation and be sure to ask to speak to at least 3-5 other customers to get references.

Independent cleaning services can be great, but remember, if there’s no one to supervise or be accountable, then you also may not be able to file a claim if your property is damaged or something is stolen.

3) What is ‘Clean’? Make Sure You & the Cleaning Company You're Working With Have Similar Ideas of 'Clean'

One person’s idea of clean may not mesh with yours. This can cause conflicts with a cleaning company or Austin Maid Service, especially if they have a different approach to cleaning. Some Austin Maid Services may just do a quick surface clean to make your home or business look presentable, but the truth is when doing any type of cleaning, a deep cleaning is what you need to get rid of mold, bacteria, and prevent these things from returning. 

A deep cleaning, like the type our SERVPRO company provides involves deep scrubbing and polishing of surfaces, things that a surface clean just can’t conquer. If you have to use an Austin Maid Service or traditional cleaning service, check to see how thorough they are in their cleaning procedures. If they don’t perform a thorough job, then unfortunately, utilizing their services could just be a waste of your money.

4) The Importance of Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Something else that should be taken into account with whatever type of cleaning service you're working with is what types of products they actually use. Some products contain chemicals that are extremely hazardous, not only to you, but also to children and pets, so it’s best to use eco-friendly products instead of ones that may cause harm. If a cleaning company or Austin Maid Service is promoting that they use ‘green’ or ‘eco-green’ cleaners or products, ask them for the names of the types of cleaning products they use and ingredients. Occasionally companies that promote their products as eco-friendly aren’t really using ‘green’ products, but rather, they're using harmful products that are diluted with water to come off as less harmful.

5) Different Cleaning Pace and Insurance Issues

Problems can arise if you’re using a cleaning service or Austin Maid service with a limited staff. If you need to have your home or business cleaned right away, and the service is short staffed, then it may take longer than you expect. Many people like a quick clean, but sometimes this just isn’t the case. If you’re dealing with a service where only one employee is available for the job, and you have a large house, it's going to take much longer for your house to be cleaned.

6) Reliability in an Austin Cleaning Service Is Key

We all lead busy lives, and when we hire a company to do our house cleaning or office cleaning, we need to make sure they're reliable and on time. It goes without saying that you should always check out a company's online reputation, but posing the reliability question to any references you receive is important as well.

If an Austin cleaning service or Maid Service agrees to be at your home at a specific time and then is four hours late, that’s an issue. Also, keep in mind, you could run into overcharging for services that haven’t been rendered, especially if there’s an agreed upon price before hand. This happens all too frequently, with additional hidden charges, extra fees for work in the invoice that hasn’t been done.

How SERVPRO Can Help With Your Cleaning Services

Although there are many good cleaning services Austin, and Austin Maid Services out there, many of them just can't provide the level of cleaning that our SERVPRO team can. Our scope of services covers both residential household cleaning and commercial cleaning throughout Austin TX. If you're in need of a deep, thorough proper cleaning, try our SERVPRO company on for size. You won't be disappointed.

10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation

11/9/2017 (Permalink)

General 10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation Keeping Your Home Safe from Burglars and Other Damage While Traveling

Is Your Austin Home Safe While You're Away?

With the holidays approaching, everyone's gearing up for their travel plans. If you're planning a vacation anytime soon, there are certain precautions you should take to protect your home from burglars and other damage that can greatly hamper home safety. Though you may live in a safe Austin neighborhood, even a minor mistake can cause a great amount of heartbreak when you return home. It’s always good to make a list of preventive measures to ensure that your home's protected while you’re away.

How to Prevent Property Break-Ins and Other Home Damage from Occurring While You're on Vacation

1) Keep Everything Locked

Lock your doors and windows. You may think this one's a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often homeowners forget to lock a window or two, prior to leaving on vacation. Before you leave, do one last round of checks to ensure all locks are working properly. If you don’t have a full-time house sitter, but have a friend or neighbor who is keeping an eye on your house, make sure you provide them with an extra set of keys in the event there's an emergency. Property break-ins are a significant cause for concern in the Austin TX area, so don't take this too lightly.

2) Keep Your Plans to Yourself

If you’re all set to travel, you should never advertise your plans on social media or discuss it in public. If you post any explicit details about your travel plans, such as when you’re leaving, how long you’ll be gone for, there is a slight chance that someone might pick up on that info. If you need to tell someone, then make sure it’s only friends and family in a non-public forum, or someone that you’ve asked to take your mail, or feed your pets. Unfortunately, there are individuals out there trying to scam your personal information, so if they find out that you’re gone, your home might become a potential target for burglary.

3) Disconnect Your Electronics

Our appliances don’t really serve any purpose if we’re not using them for an extended period of time. Coffee pots, televisions, computers, toasters and anything else that doesn’t have to be plugged in while you’re gone, should be unplugged. This will help to cut down on your electric bill and keep you from wasting excess electricity. And it will also help to prevent against electrical fires while you’re gone. The last thing you want is to get a call on your vacation and find out your house has been the victim of fire damage.

Another safety precaution is unplugging your garage door when you leave. Believe it or not, when eyeing your home, criminals can use universal remotes to open up your garage door and break into your house. So, unplug the door and add that extra barrier for home safety.

It can be fairly typical when flying that you might leave your car at the airport. If you park your car at the airport long-term, you should never leave a cell phone or GPS in your car. If someone breaks into your car, they can use these technologies to decipher your route to your house.

4) Hiring a House-or Pet-Sitter

If you have pets, and don't want to place them in a kennel, consider hiring a house sitter, pet sitter or a friend or relative to stay at your Austin home or to visit the house daily. This is also a great way to keep your home looking lived in and occupied while you're away. There are many reputable pet sitting services where professionals can take of your furry friends, but if you’re worried about dealing with strangers, then seek out friends or relatives, who would be willing to take care of your animals while you're gone.

5) Some Additional Security Features

Other precautions you can take to keep your Austin TX home safe include installing a home security system (these can vary in price), as well as additional lighting, such as exterior motion lights that go on when someone walks by. While motion lights are pretty commonplace these days, they can still work as a deterrent.

Also, when it comes to keys, never keep a copy of your keys hidden outside. There are plenty of common hiding spaces (like under a flower pot) that burglars know like the back of their hand, so avoid making those types of mistakes. As mentioned earlier, if you have to give your keys to someone, give them to a neighbor, friend or relative, who is watching your place while you’re away. Make sure only that person has them and gives them back to you when you return.

6) Stop Your Mail and Have a Friend Check on Your House

If you’re planning a long vacation, it’s advisable to have the post office hold your mail until you return. The post office offers this as a free service and can hold your mail for up to 30 days. This will stop mail, including bills and paychecks from building up in your mailbox. A full mailbox is one of the telltale signs a burglar will look for, when trying to gauge if anyone is staying in the home.

If you get a daily newspaper, you can also have delivery put on hold as a home safety measure. Sometimes we have a tendency to forget that, but it can easily be resolved with a call to your local paper. A pile of papers on your front lawn is another sure sign that you’re away, and it too can make you a target for burglars.

With the mail and papers put on hold, there are still some potential problems that can show that you aren’t at home. Fliers, menus from take out restaurants and those doorknob advertisements, if ignored, can cause problems. If you can’t find someone to house sit for you, see if one of your neighbors can remove them and also keep an eye on the house and make sure that everything is okay.

7) Reduce Your AC and Heat

If you don’t have pets, and you're traveling during some of Austin's warmer months, then it’s wise to turn off your air conditioning while you’re away. Of course it gets incredibly hot in Austin, but there’s no need to keep it running while you're gone, unless you have pets. In most cases, if you have one or two pets, you can set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature such as 78°F.

In the wintertime, it can get cold in Austin, so you can set your thermostat to 55°F to keep your pipes from freezing. Remember, if your pipes freeze, you could end up having to fix leaks from cracked pipes and significant water damage Austin.

By altering the temperature range on your thermostat and turning the AC off while you’re away, you can save up to 3% on your electric bill. And as your HVAC unit can have water damage issues periodically, you'll want to avoid the potential for any water damage from your HVAC unit while your away. If you do run into these issues, you could end up needing water damage restoration Austin.

And remember, water damage can lead to other problems, like mold in your Austin TX property, so be sure to take all preventative measures that you can. If you end up with mold, you'll need a mold inspection Austin done, and possibly mold remediation Austin as well.

8) Give Your Property the Lived In Look

If you have a daily routine, such as waking up and going to sleep at a certain time, you should replicate that as much as possible, while you’re away with home lighting. But, the key is to not leave your lights on all day and night. Use timers on your lights to go on when you would usually turn them on, so it appears that someone’s in the house. Timers are quite affordable, ranging from $10-$30 dollars, and these are worthy investments for home protection. It’s best to keep your house looking as is while you’re gone.

As to whether you should keep your curtains open, well, that’s a tough one. There are some who say that if you usually keep your curtains open while you’re home, then keep them open while you’re gone, which gives the impression that someone’s there. On the other hand, if you're gone during the summer months, seeing as this is Austin TX, and it’s extremely hot in the summer, you may want to close your shades and curtains to keep heat from coming in through the windows and causing the temperature to rise inside your home, and also to keep strangers and thieves from looking inside.

If you mow your lawn every week, and you're going to be on vacation for longer than a week, you may want to hire someone to take care of your lawn while you’re away, so that the property looks cared for. You may also have plants that need to be watered, so make sure those are taken care of as well.

9) Water Heater Levels

Unless you have someone house sitting for you while you’re away, it might make sense to turn off your water heater. You can shut off the circuit breaker before you leave, and if you have a gas-powered heater, then you can shut off the gas valve. Once you return, you should let your hot water run for a few minutes before turning the heater back on, to make sure that the tank isn’t empty. If there’s no water in it, the tank can suffer significant damage. If you take a winter trip, your water heater should be set to the lowest setting you can, just to prevent your pipes from freezing.

10) Manage your Fridge

Your refrigerator uses a lot of electricity to keep your food cold and frozen. If you’re taking an extended vacation and some of that food may go past its expiration date, consider tossing it before you leave, and then unplug and clean your fridge, which can save you some money on your electric bill. One additional tip if you do empty everything before you travel is to put a box of baking soda inside the fridge to help absorb odors and prevent the spread of mold.

If your fridge has individual settings for the fridge and the freezer, you can set the fridge to 42°F and the freezer to 5°F. This will still keep everything cold for the duration of your vacation, while also helping to bring down your electricity costs just a bit.

Enjoy these helpful tips on keeping your Austin home safe, while you're on vacation, from our SERVPRO team. Our Austin SERVPRO company is a locally-owned Austin TX company that specializes in water damage Austin TX, water removal Austin, mold inspections and mold remediation, fire damage repairs, residential and commercial cleaning services Austin and more. Give us a call if you're in need of any of these services.

Preventing Water Damage from Your HVAC Unit

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Preventing Water Damage from Your HVAC Unit If not properly maintained, your HVAC unit can lead to extensive water damage.

Water Damage and Your HVAC Unit

As anyone who's suffered from water damage knows, it can cause multiple problems that can be difficult to remedy. If you’ve been the victim of water damage from a flood or excessive rain in Austin, then it’s something that you should take care of immediately. However, other types of water damage may go unnoticed, causing more insidious damage and leading to unforeseen problems down the road. Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC) is one such culprit; if your HVAC unit is not properly cared for, and routinely maintained and inspected, you can find yourself with some very extreme water damage and mold issues down the line.

Normally, your HVAC unit shouldn’t leak, but it can happen. Basic maintenance of your unit can keep it running without any problems, but sometimes this just isn’t the case. Even minor issues can cause a major headache for you, if your HVAC unit isn’t checked on a regular basis.

Typical Causes of HVAC Leaking and Water Damage Resulting from Your HVAC Unit

Like any major household appliance, your HVAC needs to be maintained regularly to prevent any future problems. It’s like your car, if you don’t change the oil every few thousand miles, you’ll experience problems; the same goes for your HVAC unit. Water damage, mold and even structural damage are major risks you can face if your HVAC unit is not properly maintained.

Below are some tips to prevent water damage from your HVAC:

Preventing Water Damage as a Result of Condensate Drain Issues

If your HVAC is in good working shape, then the water that’s collected in your condensate drain should be carried through your plumbing system and expelled outside of your Austin home. While you might see very small amounts of water from your unit, this is often normal as the unit is removing moisture from the air.

However, a clogged condensate drain can cause water to leak. As your condensate drain gets clogged, it needs to be flushed out. Dust from your filter and other related debris can get stuck in the drain, so it should be cleaned out often, depending on how much you use your HVAC. 

Once you turn off your unit, the drain can be flushed with water mixed with some bleach, or it can be vacuumed out. If you’re not sure how to do this, then contact a specialist, who can also check if there are any issues with the drain itself. However, if you see larger than normal amounts of water appearing on your floor, on your walls and even your celling, then you have water damage Austin and need to get it taken care of right away. 

Another thing to keep in mind: if you find a leak in your air conditioner’s drainage pipe, this should be replaced right away. You should contact a professional for this, because it’s a bit of a tricky process, but if a leak is evident, then take care of it immediately to prevent any further water damage from occurring.

And if you are the victim of water damage in Austin TX or the surrounding areas, rest assured our SERVPRO team can help. 

Centrally located in Austin, our SERVPRO company consists of highly trained and certified water damage restoration professionals; not only can we take care of any water removal & extraction you may need, but we specialize in water damage restoration Austin, and can also handle any necessary mold inspection or mold remediation Austin.

Frozen Coils & How They Can Cause Water Damage

We all know how hot it gets here in Austin TX, and many people often have their ACs cranked very high in order to stay cool. If your HVAC is doing overtime in this department, you may actually find ice starting to appear in your evaporator coil. Once the ice begins to melt, the melted water will start to leak. If you think that your coil is frozen, then you should shut down your AC for a few hours, so that the ice melts and clean up any water that you find. If this occurs more than once, then you need to bring in a specialist to figure out the problem. Otherwise you could end up with more water damage on your hands.

Even a Simple Thing Like Your Condensate Pan Shifting Can Attribute to Water Damage

Another thing to look out for is your condensate pan, a galvanized metal pan that collects any condensation from your HVAC unit. If it shifts in any way, which they can do, you’ll find some type of water damage appearing over time. It’s not that difficult to repair as all you need is to check the pan’s placement and move it back in place if it’s moved.

Leaky Window Air Conditioners: A Large Culprit for Potential Water Damage & Mold

While most homes in Austin have central HVAC units, there are some homeowners that use window air conditioners to beat the heat. Although less expensive than a central system, these types of air conditioners are known to leak frequently, which can cause extreme water damage and mold. As they have no condensate drain, many times the water will leak out onto the window sill, causing permanent damage and allowing for mold to set in, causing even more problems.

These units are heavy, cumbersome and often tend to leak, as they usually aren’t mounted properly. If this is the situation, then you’ll find excess water coming into your house. Usually these just rest in your window, but it’s much safer if they are mounted on a window bracket, so that they’re positioned properly. If you don’t have a window bracket, be sure that it’s secure enough so that extra water drains on the outside of your Austin home, instead of the inside.

How to Repair Water Damage Resulting from Your HVAC Unit

If you find that your HVAC system is experiencing minor leaks, you may be able to tackle the problem on your own, but if it appears to be a long-term problem, then you’ll probably need some outside help. Slight damage to walls and small puddles may be easily repaired, but if your walls show increasing moisture, they you may have to resort to cutting them open to find the root of the damage. Your floorboards, sub floors and ceilings can also be affected, and if they start to sag from excessive water damage, they also will have to be dried and possibly removed and replaced.

Once water damage occurs, you’ll most likely have to deal with mold. Minor patches of mold may be easy to remove to stop it in its tracks…but depending on how extreme the water damage is, you may find mold growing on your walls, under your floors and in the bones of your Austin home’s structure. 

Here’s where heavy cleaning and sanitizing of your home may be needed, so please don’t try to tackle this type of mold remediation on your own: contact an Austin mold remediation company, like our SERVPRO team instead.

What You Can Do To Prevent Leaks in Your HVAC Unit

While you may have a trusted HVAC system, it’s always best to do routine checks to prevent any possible water damage. Here are a few ideas.

1. Check and Clean the Condensation Line Frequently

You should always check your condensation line for moisture and possible clogs. The line should be cleaned every 3 to 6 months, to ensure that there’s no extra moisture of clogs.

2. Replace Your HVAC filter 

Your filter can draw in tons of dust and dirt, which can greatly affect the performance of your unit. Your filter should be replaced every 3 months, to keep airflow consistent and to prevent clogs.

3. Air Duct Cleaning and Inspections, Cleaning & Maintenance of Your Overall HVAC System

It's always a good idea to have a regular inspection of your HVAC system to ensure that it's running properly. Our SERVPRO team can help by routinely inspecting and maintaining your HVAC system to help prevent the possibility of leaks and water damage from occurring. You won't always need an air duct cleaning Austin done, but should it be necessary, we can help with that as well.

4. Check Your HVAC Refrigerant Levels

The refrigerant is the ingredient used to keep the air in your air conditioner cool. If it’s low, then it can affect the performance of your HVAC, which may cause water to leak and cause subsequent water damage. Check the refrigerant levels regularly.

Call Our SERVPRO Office 24/7 Should You Have a Water Damage Emergency

If your water damage is extensive from your HVAC unit, don't try and tackle water damage removal and restoration and mold remediation by yourself. Our SERVPRO company is here for you. We're trained & certified professionals who are available 24/7 in order to assist you with your water damage Austin needs.

We specialize in water damage restoration, mold remediation, HVAC and air duct cleaning and more. We’ll work to properly restore your property in the aftermath of water damage from Austin storms, floods, leaks and/or issues with your HVAC unit. We use state of the art extraction equipment and scientific drying principles so that the water restoration process goes smoothly and is as stress free as possible.

We’re a locally owned Austin SERVPRO company that is proud to serve our community. We’re here for you should your Austin TX property experience any type of water damage.

Small Leaks Can Mean Major Water Damage in Your Austin Home

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Small Leaks Can Mean Major Water Damage in Your Austin Home Leaks can lead to major water damage in your Austin property.

How a Small Leak in Your Austin Home Can Quickly Turn into a Major Water Damage Problem

A leak in your Austin TX home should never be ignored. Even the most miniscule leak can cause extreme water damage, and it’s often these types of leaks that people fail to notice. Minor leaks can affect carpeting, walls, and damage to your subfloors, as well as creating a major problem for your internal plumbing and pipes.

The best way to notice and stop any potential leaks is to do inspections every month. By using basic leak detection, you can uncover if you have any issues with moisture and humidity, as unexpected moisture that could be caused by leaks that can lead to potential structural damage. But how do you actually identify these potential problems?

Performing Leak Detection in Your Austin Home or Business

First, you should go through your Austin property, checking the inside and the outside at least once a month.

Inspect your property for traces of water or any kind of moisture that appears to be resulting from water damage Austin. Pipes often tend to be the culprit, but you should also look into crawl spaces in your basement, if you have one. In many cases moisture isn’t all that easy to identify, so you may be surprised if you overlook something and then find mold starting to grow.

If mold sets in, it can lead to a variety of other issues, including affecting your health (see 4 major health issues caused by mold). If you do see mold, make sure you act quickly by getting a mold inspection done. It's likely you might also need mold remediation Austin.

If you’re unable to find the leaks on your own, you may want to consult with a plumber. If you don’t have a regular plumber whose services you use, consult with a few plumbers regarding estimates and length of time to fix your leak. And if you need water damage restoration, our SERVPRO team can help.

Detecting if Mold Growth Has Begun

Active mold growth can often be detected by smell alone. If you smell anything musty or just flat out funky, then you might have mold growing somewhere. Even if you can’t see it, try to pinpoint where it may be coming from.

Areas where you’re likely to find moisture, such as bathrooms and showers can breed mold if not cleaned regularly. If excessive moisture exists in your Austin TX home, then you may need to bring in a dehumidifier and exhaust fans and get a mold inspection done.

An increase in mold can be caused by poor ventilation. Make sure all of your potentially damp spaces (basements, attics, crawl spaces, etc.) are well ventilated so that moisture can escape.

Always check on your air conditioner and HVAC system. Change your filters monthly and check all pipes for clogs, which can cause all kinds of problems. A properly working system can help drastically reduce humidity.

The Damage that Leaks Really Cause

It’s estimated that a small leak can cause a home to lose anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water per year. If this derived from a leaky kitchen faucet, it can usually be repaired pretty quickly, either by yourself or with the assistance of a plumber. Other leaks may be more difficult to find and may go undetected for longer periods of time, which can cause you massive water damage problems in the end.

Structural Damage Resulting from Leaks and Water Damage

Structural damage is another common issue resulting from leaks. Structural damage can be just as much of a headache as water damage to your Austin TX home, and just as costly. You’ll find that in addition to cosmetic issues, like water stains in the walls and ceilings, you’ll actually need to investigate if the water damage is more extreme. As a leak can develop over time, at the first sight of staining on your floors, walls, ceiling, etc., you should call in plumbers.

Bending and warping drywall can be a major issue once these materials begin to absorb water from a leak. The same can happen with wood floors, which will also hamper your home’s structural integrity. Support beams can also be affected, if the affected area isn’t tended to right away. Warped walls should be removed to access the leak in question and to prevent further water damage and mold; the growth of such problems can lead to your home becoming uninhabitable.

Lost Property Values as a Result of Water Damage in Austin

One thing to take into account is that if your home has recurring leaks and water damage, it can greatly affect the value of your home, especially if you ‘re trying to sell it. Once water damage is repaired, there may be traces of it that are left behind. That's one of the reasons why you'll want to contact a water damage restoration company, like our SERVPRO office. We specialize in "making it like it never happened."

If your water damage is excessive, and should traces of water damage remain, you’ll find that you may have to reduce your selling price.

Why Leak Prevention is Important

Conquering a water leak, regardless of its size, is something that should be handled by a plumber. A good plumber will be meticulous in researching, analyzing and restoring the numerous causes of water leaks and water damage. Plumbers are extremely knowledgeable and can help in stopping a water leak that will cause damage to your Austin home.

How SERVPRO of East Central Austin Can Help in the Event of Water Damage

If your Austin-based home or business has experienced water damage from a pesky leak that you can’t control, be sure to reach out to a plumber… But if water damage cleanup Austin is needed, you should contact a professional water damage and restoration company.

SERVPRO of East Central Austin will take every effort to restore your Austin TX home after you experience water damage. We can help you evaluate the overall scope of your water damage repairs, and we use only top of the line water extraction equipment to provide a seamless restoration process.

We’re a locally owned Austin company, and we understand how overwhelming it can be if your Austin property has experienced water damage. We’re highly trained water restoration experts, and our trained and certified professionals can help 24/7 with your water restoration and repairs.

4 Major Health Issues Caused by Mold

10/3/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation 4 Major Health Issues Caused by Mold Austin mold and the various health issues it can create.

High Levels of Austin Mold Growth & What It Means for Your Health

Mold can be a major headache, literally. In addition to creating problems with your Austin home or structure, mold can also wreak major havoc on your health. 

You may have heard that lately there's been a higher than average mold growth throughout Austin. The truth is mold is everywhere - that's why complete mold removal is not a reality; however mold remediation is an absolute priority, when you've experienced mold growth. If you're wondering what the difference is, check out this article, where you'll find information explaining the differences between mold removal and mold remediation. If you have seen mold growing in your Austin home or business, it's a necessity that you have it treated immediately, so the mold does not continue to grow, and cause additional issues with your health.

The good news is that mold remediation companies, like our SERVPRO team can help. From the initial stages of an Austin mold inspection to the remediation process to the restoration of your home or business - we're available 24/7 to help with your mold issues.

How does mold develop?

One of the major causes of mold is actually water damage Austin. But there are also many other ways in which mold can develop. These can range from poorly ventilated spaces, excessive moisture in the air and very high levels of humidity.

Mold: Moisture and Humidity

Being microscopic, mold is able to grow on practically any surface, including wood, paper, gypsum (drywall), and on fabrics. The key to stopping the spread of mold is to reduce moisture by using proper ventilation. Appliances such as a dehumidifier or an air conditioner can help to greatly improve ventilation and alleviate the presence of mold in your Austin home.

While mold can be stopped, you can still find traces of it, as its spores are microscopic. By controlling the amount of indoor moisture in your home or business, you can greatly reduce the spread of hazardous mold spores, which can affect your health and also damage your home or business; mold growth can actually compromise the structural integrity of a home or building.

4 Health Issues Associated with Mold in Austin

As mold spreads and goes ignored, your ability to experience a variety of serious health issues from mold increases. Nasal and sinus congestion, sneezing, eye and throat irritations, coughing, respiratory issues, and other health issues can be caused by different strains of mold.

Some of the more harmful mold strains are known as mycotoxins, which are toxic compounds that are released in certain environmental conditions, and can be extremely dangerous. While outdoor molds can be tricky to remediate, the biggest issue is actually indoor molds, because if these continue to go unchecked, they can also make you highly ill.

Not surprisingly, many mold allergies tend to escalate during the summer months. With asthma, for example, people can be affected year round, with symptoms, such as itching, runny nose, sneezing, scaly skin and congestion. Many are affected by molds that grow on trees, grass and leaves. The general misconception is that these spores die off in colder weather, when in fact they instead become dormant and reappear once it becomes warm again.

Humid areas in your Austin home or office, such as bathrooms, showers, kitchens, and areas with very little ventilation and basements, can be high-risk breeding grounds for mold and can greatly escalate the spread of mycotoxins.

Here are some of the major health issues that can be caused by different kinds of mold.

1) Asthma: Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease, which has no cure. Mold can definitely trigger it if spores find their way into the inner lining of your nose, causing symptoms that can make you feel feverish. Gradually, the mold spores will travel into your lungs, which can cause asthma symptoms, depending on how sensitive your lungs are. In many cases it tends to be seasonal, but if you’re allergic to indoor mold spores, then it can be a year–long issue. Indoor humidity can also cause upper respiratory issues for people with asthma.

The most notable asthma symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in the chest. In some cases, an asthma attack can be so extreme that it may require medical attention.

2) Allergies: Alternaria and cladosporium are the two most common allergy causing molds, which, if inhaled can cause serious reactions. Allergic Rhinitis is also known as hay fever, and is one of the more common afflictions caused by mold. Its many symptoms include sneezing, red and itchy eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, all of which can affect your ability to sleep and concentrate. Hay fever is often brought on by pollen, pet dander, dust, and, of course, mold. However, it should be noted that the mold involved here is usually outdoor mold, with pollen serving as the major culprit.

3) Pulmonary Hemorrhage is a disease that causes bleeding in the lungs. Mold spores can get into the lungs, leading to a wide variety of respiratory problems. Pulmonary Hemorrhage tends to have a profound effect on infants, seniors and individuals with pre-existing pulmonary disorders.

3) Bronchitis: While alternaria and cladosporium are known to cause allergies, these two pesky molds can also cause bronchitis. Bronchitis is caused when the air passages that lead to the lungs become inflamed. Black mold can be a leading cause of this, especially if you have leaky or damp walls and ceilings. In addition to black mold, another type of mold, stachybotrys chartarum, can cause chronic bronchitis if not treated, and it can also lead to death.

4) Depression and Toxic Mold Syndrome: Excessive exposure to toxic mold can also lead to insomnia, anxiety, memory loss, confusion, shortness of breath and depression. There have been cases where individuals developed bipolar like symptoms, only to discover that Toxic Mold Syndrome was actually the cause. If not remediated properly, Toxic Mold or Black Mold can cause cognitive and emotional issues, as well as brain toxicity. The exposure to black mold can be so severe that there have been reported cases of brain swelling. However, if caught early, many of these effects can be reversed, but it’s important to always get a second opinion if you suspect a misdiagnosis.

While you may think that mold may not have that much impact on your health, there are numerous symptoms that can be caused by exposure to different kinds of mold. These symptoms can include include: Fatigue, Headache, Morning stiffness, Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains, joint pain, diarrhea Static shocks, blurry vision, tingling skin, and many others.

How to Solve the Mold Problem

The first step is to stop mold in its tracks. If you should experience any type of water damage, extreme humidity, or even start to see the slightest traces of mold, you should make every attempt to find the source and clean and dry the affected areas as soon as possible.

Mold can often be removed from hard surfaces by cleaning with soap and water. Should your carpets and walls show any signs of mold, they could be very difficult to clean; if this is the case, you may have to throw out your carpets and replace your walls. Mold and other bacteria can also appear if you have pools of standing water around your property, so be sure to remove those if they exist.

If your mold situation becomes way too problematic and overwhelming, then you may have to reach out to an Austin mold removal specialist, to help remove and remediate the mold in your home or business.   

How SERVPRO Can Help:

Granted, mold removal can be extremely difficult, and if it spreads and is beyond your ability to conquer, then you should contact a mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin, who can help stop the spread mold, so that you’re no longer at risk.

Our SERVPRO team is centrally located in Austin and consists of highly trained mold damage specialists, with specific training and required certifications to handle your mold remediation needs. We use only top of the line, state of the art equipment to treat your home.

The more that mold spreads, the more complex it becomes to remove. SERVPRO of East Central Austin will examine and detect any possibility of mold at your home or business. We can provide an immediate mold inspection and if one should exist, we’ll get right on it to start remediation and stop if from spreading.

Flooding in Austin: How to Protect Your Austin Home or Business from Flood Damage

9/1/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage  Flooding in Austin: How to Protect Your Austin Home or Business from Flood Damage Flooding and flood damage in Austin can be extensive; discover some ways to protect your Austin home or business from flood damage.

A Guide to Preventing Your Austin TX Property from Flooding

Flooding is something that no one should ever have to deal with, but it does happen. Austin is no stranger to flooding; the downtown area has experienced numerous floods throughout the years, with some being very severe and costing hundreds of lives and millions of dollars in flood damage restoration and repairs.

Aside from its somewhat hilly terrain, Austin remains a very flood prone area, as it has the potential for run off, which can cause flash flooding as well. In fact, flash floods are probably the biggest disaster threat to the Austin TX area.

When flooding occurs in your Austin home or business, you can end up with an extensive amount of water damage, and you'll likely need water extraction done, along with water damage restoration Austin.

The quicker the flooding problem is addressed, the better off you'll be, as the longer you wait to contact a flood restoration company, the better chance there is that mold and bacteria will begin forming.

If you've experienced flooding in your Austin property, it would be a good idea to have a mold inspection done; if it turns out mold has begun to grow, you could need mold remediation done. This is one of the reasons why it's very important to address any type of flood damage quickly. This guide on the common types of mold in Austin and their various levels of danger may help you in figuring out if mold has begun growing on your property.

When your Austin property has already been the victim of flooding, a company that specializes in water restoration and mold removal/remediation in Austin, like our SERVPRO team, can guide you on the necessary steps and provide the various services needed. 

But how do you prevent flooding before it even happens in your property? Well, here are some tips on doing just that, as well as helping you understand why Austin TX can often be very prone to flooding and flood damage in general.

Why Is Austin Prone to Floods?

Austin’s topography is what makes the city a prime candidate for flooding. For example, the Balcones Fault is a cliff formation that runs from Del Rio in Val Verde County up towards Dallas. Part of it is situated in the Texas Hill Country and it serves as a gateway of sorts for passing weather systems that travel through the Gulf of Mexico. When an air mass changes its altitude (called an Orographic Lift), clouds and precipitation can develop which eventually leads to heavy rain and resulting storm damage in areas, like Austin TX, that lie west of the fault.

On average, Austin gets up to 34.25 inches of rain per year. However, with less rain, the soil in the surrounding areas becomes dry and it becomes more difficult for the soil to accept so much water. And that's when the flooding begins.

Some Notorious Austin Floods

Throughout the years, Austin has experienced many serious floods that have caused extensive damage and loss of life. Here are just a few examples of severe storms that greatly affected the Austin TX area and led to extensive flooding:

  • In July 1869, Austin experienced 64 hours of continuous rain, which caused the Colorado River to rise up to 51 feet.
  • In 1900, the Austin Dam, which was built in 1893, burst due to excessive rain. The Dam’s powerhouse was flooded by a 40-foot wave after which downtown Austin was immersed with water with creeks reaching levels of 20 feet.
  • Heavy rains caused numerous floods in 1935, 1936 and 1938; each flood caused the Colorado River to overflow, which resulted in extensive flood damage in Central Austin.
  • One of the worst storms to hit Austin was during Memorial Day, 1981. Ten inches of rain fell in a four hour timeframe, causing Downtown Austin to flood severely. Thirteen people died during the storm, which also left more than $35 million in damages.
  • The Memorial Day flood of 2015 greatly affected Central Texas. Heavy rain caused many flooded streets, falling trees and extensive loss of power for many in the Austin area. Flash flood warnings were issued and residents were instructed to stay indoors and off the roads. Water levels in Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake quickly rose due to the extensive water. Interstate 35 was flooded, as was downtown Austin later that day. Fourteen people died during the course of the flood.

What You Can Do to Lessen Your Chances of Flood Damage in Austin

Flooding is not restricted to any one particular area. It can happen anywhere, and when it’s least expected, which is why certain types of flooding are called ‘flash floods.’

While you may not know when a flood is coming, it’s important to be prepared. If you get weather alerts on your cell phone, then you may have ample time to protect your personal items and prevent major damage from a flood.

If you know you're in a flood zone, one way you can safeguard against water damage caused by flooding is to elevate your personal items above the floor. Even one inch of water inside your home or business can create a major headache, and cause significant damage to your property.

If you’re not sure how high the water can reach in your area, you can check flood levels and maps for your area through the Federal Emergency Management System’s (FEMA) Flood Map portal on their website, or check with your insurance agent if you're in a flood zone. Certain parts of Austin are more prone to flooding than others.

Even if your Austin home or business is located at a high elevation, it doesn't always mean you're in the clear, so here are some protective measures to minimize flood damage in your Austin home or business.

1. Protect Your Electrical Systems

Any electrical switches, circuit breakers, sockets, and wires should be raised at least one foot above the anticipated flood level. Should any water get into these systems, it can cause major problems.

You should also raise, if you can, your water heater and furnace so that they are also situated above the flood levels to avoid being saturated by floodwater. Please note: You should never,  ever try to do any of this yourself. Reach out to a contractor or an electrician to adjust the levels of these systems.

2. Elevate Any Outdoor Equipment

Any type of external fuel tanks, AC units, and generators, should not remain at ground level. These should be raised up to one foot above your base flood elevation and anchored to prevent any kind of flooding. If these aren’t properly secured, they can become loose, and cause contamination to your yard, as well as the surrounding area. If they become immersed with water, they will more or less be useless and unable to be repaired.

3. Check Your Water Valves

If your sewer becomes flooded during a storm, it can cause sewage to back up into your house, with disastrous consequences. Installing an interior or exterior backflow valve will help prevent a build up of unwanted waste from coming into your Austin home or business.

Backflow valves are designed to help protect potable water from contamination from backflow. A flap valve is designed to operate under low heads of water and basically provide the same function as a backflow valve. Check valves are formatted to allow liquid, such as water to pass in only one direction; there are many different varieties of check valves, which are also known as clack valves, non-return valves, reflux valves and gravity brakes.

If you don’t have any of these types of valves currently installed in your Austin property, then you should consult with a specialist on what type you should install to allow water to escape and prevent backflow from coming in.

4. Check Water Distribution and Your Austin Property's Structure

One way to affect the flow of water around your home or business in the event of a flood is to check and possibly alter the grading or sloping of your property. By angling the ground, you can actually shift how water comes in contact with your property. Of course this can be problematic if your house wasn’t originally built with this in mind. Still, if this does pose a problem, you can reach out to your county planning office to determine the grading of your property and find alternative methods for preventing flood water from making contact and managing water flow.

Creating a slight moat around your home or business in certain areas can also help, as can creating better irrigation for your property in general.

5. Some Effective, but Costly Measures to Protect Your Austin Home or Business from Flooding

If you have frequent flooding in your home, but you don't want to move to another home, there are a few more involved alternatives to prevent flooding, but they are quite costly.

  • Elevate your entire home: Many homes in coastal areas are elevated on columns that clear the flood level. If you have consistent flooding, this might be one option, but it can be very costly.
  • Believe it or not, you can actually wet proof your house. How? You can install foundation vents, which allow water to travel through your home, instead of accumulating inside and destroying your property. This would help prevent against possible flood damage. For example: if you had a house of 1,000 square feet, you’d need around 7 square feet of flood venting to protect your property.
  • One preventive method is to dry proof your Austin home or business. Plastic sheeting or any kind of waterproof film can be applied to exterior walls fairly easily to prevent flooding, but should be removed once any flooding or water damage is remediated. Any openings or cracks in walls should be remedied with a waterproof sealant to prevent any seepage from floodwater. Plastic sheeting can be used to seal up windows and create a barrier for any minor cracks that can cause drafts. Check and reinforce your walls to make sure that they can take on heavy amounts of water and miscellaneous debris. These measures, while a bit time-consuming can help keep water out of your house during a flood.

6. Additional Measures that Can Be Taken to Help Prevent Flood Damage to Your Property

Here are some additional ways to help protect your property in the event of an impending flood.

  • Clean out your gutters, drains and downspouts. Leaves and foreign objects cannot only prevent water flow, they can also cause run off down the side of your home and help initiate water damage.
  • If you have a second floor, move all of your furniture, rugs, electronics and anything else of value and importance upstairs as a safety precaution.
  • Turn off your electricity via your breaker panel.
  • Major appliances such as washers, dryers, stoves, etc., should all be lifted on to cinderblocks, if possible. This will help prevent them from being saturated with water.

We can’t emphasize enough how extremely dangerous floods can be. And while these preventive measures can help, it’s best not to tackle them on your own. If heavy equipment or electrical manipulation is involved, please contact a professional instead of tackling this on your own.

While these ideas can certainly help to prevent damage to your home or business during a flood, it should also be noted that any type of water ranging from heavy rain to a minor leak, could lead to extensive damage.

If your home or business experiences a flood and you have water damage and mold as a result, there is a chance that you can make minor repairs on your own. But if severe water damage has occurred, it makes sense to contact an outside source to help in the clean up and remediation.

Our SERVPRO Team Can Help With Austin Flood Damage Restoration & Repairs

If you need assistance with the flood damage you've experienced, then a flood damage restoration company like SERVPRO of East Central Austin can help. We're a team of trained & certified professionals, who are available around the clock to help with your flood, storm and water damage Austin needs.

Our goal is to properly restore your property (and make it "like it never even happened"). Damage from Austin storms and floods can be a stressful experience. We'll help you review the scope of your flood repairs, and utilizing state of the art equipment and scientific principles, we'll make the flood restoration process as painless as possible.

If you’ve experienced a flood in your Austin property and require flood damage repairs and restoration, remember, our SERVPRO team is available 24/7 to help.

How to Treat Mold in Austin

8/24/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation How to Treat Mold in Austin A Guide for Treating Mold in Austin

Mold in Austin: What to Do When You Discover Mold in Your Austin Home or Business

If your Austin home or business experiences unusual moisture in the air, or has experienced extensive water damage, then you can expect mold to make an appearance in the near future. Mold often appears in environments that consist of poorly ventilated spaces and high humidity. Flooding and ongoing leaks are also a major culprit of mold in Austin.

If you own a home or business in Austin, you may find that you’re dealing with serious mold issues, and you could have mold removal and mold remediation costs in the aftermath of flood a heavy storm, and/or after suffering from ongoing water damage.

While mold can be stopped, it’s virtually impossible to fully eliminate all mold spores inside a home or business, as mold is actually a naturally growing substance in the environment. However you can work to stop the spread of mold spores by controlling your Austin home or business’s moisture levels.

Austin Mold: A Growing Problem with Moisture and Humidity

Mold is microscopic, and can pretty much grow on anything, including paper, wood, drywall, food and carpets. If your home or business is properly vented, and if you use air conditioners and dehumidifiers, you can greatly reduce moisture buildup and improve ventilation to alleviate the presence of mold.

Mold: How It Can Hurt You

The possibility of suffering from serious health issues increases with the spread of mold. If ignored, and if you have health-related issues, such as asthma, respiratory issues or skin conditions like eczema, the results can be serious. Exposure to mold can give you symptoms, such as nasal and sinus congestion, coughing, sneezing, respiratory problems, and throat inflammation. If you even suspect the slightest appearance of mold, it should be managed and remediated immediately by a professional mold remediation company, like our SERVPRO team.

Most molds consist of organisms that are not actually dangerous. But, there are certain strains of mold, called mycotoxins, which thrive in damp environments like kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Some of these mycotoxins are actually quite dangerous, and can be very harmful if not properly addressed.

Different Types of Mold in Austin and Their Levels of Danger

Nobody likes mold, so if you’re a homeowner, or business owner in Austin, there are several kinds of indoor mold with strains that can cause great structural damage as well as physical harm. Of course it’s best to remove these types (or any type of mold for that matter) when they first appear.

There are many strains of mold in existence, but these are the four types of mold that most commonly appear in Austin homes and businesses.

  • One of the most common types of indoor mold is Cladosporium. As the spores are often found on outdoor plants, they are so microscopic that they can find their way indoors. Cladosporium has been known to be less harmful to humans than other types of mold (it tends to be pretty stinky), but if untreated, it can cause infections in the toenails, lungs and sinuses. It can appear in a variety of colors, such as olive green, black and brown.
  • While the antibiotic penicillin has helped millions fight bacterial infections, it derives from a form of mold called Penicillium. If you seen spoiled food in your refrigerator, then you’ve evidently encountered this type of mold, which grows indoors in low humidity and in places where there’s sufficient moisture.
  • If you have hay fever or asthma, then you might have been exposed to Alternaria: This type of fungi can grow on skin as well as in your mucous membranes and eyes. They also grow in colonies that are usually black, gray or grey. If you have respiratory issues or suffer from an autoimmune disease, Alternaria can cause serious problems.
  • You will often find Aspergillus in high oxygen environments and on foods such as vegetables and bread. There are a variety of different strains of this particular mold. Some can be toxic and can cause serious infections, while others are used in the fermentation of alcoholic drinks.
  • Stachybotrys chartarum: This specific mold is most commonly associated with water damage Austin. This black mold needs high moisture in order for it grow. It’s often found in building materials, such as wet gypsum and wallpaper. Not only can Stachybotrys chartarum affect your health, it can also be detrimental to the safety of your pets. As dangerous as this mold is, it should only be removed by mold remediation professionals.

If you know you have mold, but are unsure of what type of mold you have, you may want to start by having a professional mold inspection Austin.

Stopping Mold Before It Starts in Your Austin Home or Business

As harmful as mold can be, how do we prevent it? One way is to prevent the spread of humid air in your home or office, by using a dehumidifier and making sure that there is proper ventilation, especially when furniture is involved. Believe it or not, a couch leaning against a wall can actually prevent the flow of air, which in turn can cause mold to develop, especially if the air is humid.

If you have small problems with mold creeping in, it can be eliminated with regular cleaning of your home or office. Keep areas where there is moisture clean on a regular basis, like a shower or bathroom, and even the kitchen. The same goes for keeping your air ducts and vents clean, to avoid any moisture from settling in and creating problems: clean your vents frequently and change your AC filters once a month.

In addition to individual rooms in your home or business, your refrigerator is also not immune to the world of mold. If you have a well-stocked fridge, it’s inevitable that something will be overlooked and start to rot; this is especially true of fruit, which has a short shelf life, and if it’s ignored, it can dry out or begin to get moldy. Once any food in the fridge has passed it spoiling point, decomposition begins, and brings on mycotoxins. So, keep track of what's in your fridge, and if it starts to spoil, toss it out.

The problem with many older homes is that poor ventilation can bring about excessive mold if it’s not addressed. While most homes have central air conditioning, some older homes may not, and if the environment tends to be humid, without a dehumidifier or cross ventilation, there is a greater chance for humidity and mold to make an unwelcome appearance.

Most new and modern construction projects also use drywall, which can be extremely vulnerable to moisture. If not properly treated, the gypsum in drywall will eventually soften over time, and attract mold spores, which will be more difficult to clean over time.

In addition to internal mold issues, you should check the outside of your business or home for leaks in your roof, as well as making sure your gutters are properly cleaned out.

A leaky roof, if undetected for long periods of time, will eventually cause water to spread, and can lead to very costly repair and roof replacement. Cleaning out your gutters can also help prevent water from running down the side of your structure, which can affect the quality of your foundation.

Combustion appliances, such as furnaces, gas water heaters, fireplaces, space heaters, gas ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, and wood or coal-burning stoves should be inspected to make sure that they are properly vented.

Basic Mold Cleanup Procedures

Regardless of the cause, if you do experience any kind of water damage, you will need to clean and dry the areas quickly. Do not let the water damage continue, as a 24-48 hour window to clean and dry the areas in question is likely all you have before mold begins to grow and spread. If you have any standing water, be sure to have water extraction done in your Austin home or business if it is too much for you to remove on your own.

In most cases, minor mold spots can be removed with water and detergent, followed by letting it fully dry out. Carpeting, furniture and ceiling tiles, may not be as easy to remedy; in fact, you may have to dispose of them if the damage is too extreme. Eliminate any puddles of standing water that you come across; this not only can help spread mold, but it’s also a breeding ground for a variety of bugs and bacteria.

If mold removal becomes too much of a conquest for you to handle on your own, then you should contact a mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin, who can help in getting rid of the spread of mold, so that it’s no longer an issue.

Water Extraction and Water Damage Restoration in Austin: Tips and Tricks

7/3/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Extraction and Water Damage Restoration in Austin: Tips and Tricks Water damage from a flood.

Major Problems Connected with Water Damage

Believe it or not, there are many problems you can face while attempting water damage cleanup yourself; therefore, we must stress that you need to be cautious before even embarking on these procedures. When attempting water damage restoration & water extraction on your own, here are some issues that you may have to confront, with some tips on how to resolve them:

Water Damage in Austin Resulting in Electrical Problems

You can never be too careful when it comes to electricity once a flood or serious water damage has occurred in your Austin property. You need to check that all of your gas and electricity has been turned off prior to engaging in any type water extraction or any type of cleaning procedure revolving around water damage Austin.

Make sure that all of your circuits and switches are disconnected. The covers to your electrical outlets should also be removed to let the wiring dry out; also do this with your fuses and breakers to prevent any issues such as fires and smoldering. Once everything has dried, bring in an electrician to fully inspect all of the circuits for proper voltage, grounding and to be sure that they’re safe before you reconnect everything,

Our Austin SERVPRO company uses top-quality drying equipment for our water damage cleanup jobs. Keep in mind that if you're not entirely sure of the extent of your damage (remember, some effects of water damage may not be noticeable right away) then you should be safe and contact a professional water extraction and water damage restoration company, like our local SERVPRO team.

Mud: A Messy Contributor

Sadly, flooding can be a common occurrence in Austin, particularly in certain parts of Austin; you may find after a flood has invaded your home or business, that you're the victim of not just excessive amounts of water, but also mud. Heavy periods of rain can soak the ground causing dirt to loosen and be carried away, leaving mud as a result. Once mud begins to loosen it can grab everything within its reach and has a tendency to be very destructive. And yes, that means as a result of a flood here in Austin, you can be the victim of mudflow.

Should you have an encounter with mud in your Austin home or business, be very careful as it may be contaminated (mud can host a variety of animals and larva, which along with random debris that it gathers during its journey, can be very unsanitary).

All mud should be properly extracted before you even begin to embark on the cleaning process. Mud is extremely destructive, as it can damage homes as well as roads and it can also clog sewers.

Can you Save Your Furniture After Water Damage?

Here is where you’ll have to consider whether your furniture is a loss after water damage, especially if it appears pretty dire in terms of saving. If you have upholstered furniture or any mattresses that have been affected by water damage, you should get rid of them right away to prevent contamination from spreading.

Sometimes we all feel tied to things. If you have pieces of furniture that have a sentimental value or antiques and you just can’t bear to part with them, here are some tips on dealing with those.

If they are upholstered pieces, removing all of the upholstery and stuffing may be your best bet. This will allow you to clean the frame of your furniture, so that it can be reupholstered. You should be able to save most plastic, wood and metal furniture, but make sure that it is properly cleaned.

Carpets can be another major issue, and if they’ve had sufficient water damage then unfortunately they may have to go as well. Contaminants from the water can get deeply soaked into your carpet’s fibers, and they can be harmful. If you feel a carpet is worth saving, then give cleaning it a try. If your home or business has wall-to-wall carpeting, you should remove not just the carpet but the carpet pads as well, so that the floors can properly dry. If you use a carpet pad, that will also need to be discarded.

You may be able to save items such as blankets, throw rugs and miscellaneous bedding, if they’re easy to clean. The best way to do this is to bring them outside and clean them with soapy water, or another cleaning solution that you think might work, and use the power of the hot Austin sun to air-dry them.

Flooding and Water Damage can Greatly Impact Your Austin Food and Water Quality

Water: Once your property has had a flood or any other kind of water damage, you should be aware that you may have issues with your home water system. Never go in thinking that your water is safe and ready to use. As a precaution, you should contact your water company and the public health department, and let them investigate whether or not your water is safe. Contaminated water is not safe to drink and should not be used for washing and cooking under any circumstances.

Bacterial infections tend to be a high occurrence in the aftermath of a water damage disaster, so you may have to boil water before use it initially, until you remedy all problems. If you don't take these precautions, the water from your system can be heavily contaminated, which in turn can be extremely dangerous, so check with the public health department regarding any contaminants.

Food: In the aftermath of serious water damage, you have to assess how safe your food is. It’s not advisable to keep anything perishable. However, if you have canned goods and they haven’t come into contact with any contaminated water, then you might still be able to use them.

One way to save your canned goods, if they’ve not been affected, is to peel off the labels, and then wash the cans in a mix of bleach and potable water (you can use 1TB of bleach per gallon of water), which will basically kill any potential contaminants and help to disinfect items.

Once dry, re-label each can with a permanent marker, and add the expiration date as some canned goods can last for a few years. If you have food in plastic or foil pouches (known as retort pouches, similar to the Army’s ready to eat meals), you may find that these are safe, as long as the pouches aren’t broken or compromised in any way.

If your cooking utensils have been contaminated, then you should definitely throw them out. Any utensils and items made out of wood or plastic should be trashed. This includes bottles, cutting boards, spatulas, cups, spoons, etc., But not all is lost: the good thing is that kitchen utensils made out of metal, and items made out of glass or porcelain, can also be saved in soaked if the aforementioned bleach and water solution.

Water Damage in Austin and Repairing Your Floors

If you've coated the floors of your Austin home or business with polyurethane (or any other similar coating), be aware that they can still experience water damage. Some varnishes do protect wood to some degree, but they shouldn't be considered as an impenetrable wall that will protect your wood floors forever. Even an outside deck that has been continuously treated and been through years of rain may deteriorate over time, allowing for rot to set in.

Every drying procedure is different, and drying procedures can vary in length after water damage, with much of it based on how much damage has taken place. Floors need extra special care and attention when this happens. Don’t rush the restoration process, because then you'll have to deal with wooden planks that may buckle, bend and even crack if they’re not properly dried. If you’re thinking of attempting to renovate your wood floors, make sure that they’re completely dry before beginning any repairs.

Vinyl floors can also fall victim to excessive water damage. Vinyl floors come as either large sheets, that you’d find in a kitchen, or they are interlocking planks that resemble wood. Once vinyl gets wet, it can buckle and crack and needs to be replaced…which will also help your subfloor to completely dry out. Don’t reuse the vinyl; just replace it; after water damage, vinyl won’t be salvageable.

Preventing the Spread of Water Damage in the Walls of Your Austin Home or Business

Should floodwater severe water damage affect your Austin property, there’s a chance that your walls may also experience water damage. In the event that this happens, you’ll probably have to cut your walls open in order to dry them out. Wet walls can accumulate mold or rot if not properly ventilated and dried.

While cutting your walls open will be time consuming, it’s the best way to properly ventilate them. Even the smallest amount of water damage can spread and cause problems, and the last thing you want is a room full of mold, so this will help to prevent it from spreading. And be sure to remove any and all insulation, as it can also be contaminated.

If you have walls without insulation and you don’t want to cut them open, try drilling holes in the walls to help air get through. You should also remove baseboards if they become waterlogged, and be sure to remove any wet drywall, which can replaced once everything is dry.

Your walls will not dry overnight. In many cases, it may take up to a month for them to be fully dried out. Using humidifiers and fans will definitely help move the process along and may help cut the time in half. You should also open all of your windows, if possible, to allow for cross-ventilation. After everything dries out, you should use more durable materials such as wood paneling, foam insulation, and tiles, all of which can withstand excessive water.

Other Problems That Can Result from Water Damage Austin

As we've focused on floors, furniture and walls in this section, you should also be aware of how water damage can cause problems for your air conditioning and heating system, your air ducts, your sewage system, your water well (if you have one on your property), your foundation and your roof. Excessive water saturation and water damage can impact the overall condition of these elements of your home or office, if you've experienced a flood or a storm.

Be very careful not to use your heat or air conditioning until it's dry and safe to use. Make sure that the electricity is turned off and your system is disconnected, prior to having it inspected for any water damage. If you find water has gotten into your air ducts, you’ll need to have those cleaned and aired out as well.

Remember that any type of water, including floods, heavy rain, or even a minor leak if unchecked, can cause a major headache and extensive water damage. In many cases, if the damage is minor, you may be able to remedy the situation on your own. This is not always the case, however, and sometimes the situation is far more extreme and requires professional assistance. Attempting to remedy a potentially hazardous situation on your own, especially if you’re not prepared, can be disastrous for you, your business or your family.

Are You in Need of Help with Your Water Extraction and Water Damage Restoration?

Give Our Austin SERVPRO Team a Call

If you’re not sure that you can tackle the water extraction & water damage restoration by yourself, then a water extraction & water damage restoration company like our local SERVPRO team is there for you. Our employees are a group of dedicated, trained & certified professionals available 24/7 in order to assist you with your water damage Austin needs.

We specialize in water damage removal and restoration, and we will take every effort to properly restore your property in the aftermath of water damage from Austin storms, floods, leaks or whatever your particular situation.

We'll help you review the magnitude of your water damage repairs along with an advance water damage inspection and state of the art extraction equipment that will make the restoration process a stress free experience.

As a locally owned Austin company, our focus is on the community that we serve. We understand how stressful this experience can be when your Austin property has experienced water damage.

Our SERVPRO Austin Team consists of highly trained water restoration technicians who are able to provide guidance and much needed resources, and there is no job too big or small for our Austin team.

We are trained and certified professionals ready and willing to help with your water restoration repairs. If you require water damage repairs and restoration, contact our local SERVPRO company today.

Water Extraction and Water Damage Cleanup: Should You Attempt This on Your Own?

6/30/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Extraction and Water Damage Cleanup: Should You Attempt This on Your Own? Extensive water damage from flooding in a TX neighborhood.

Water Extraction and Water Damage Cleanup in Austin

If your Austin home or business has experienced a flood or extensive water damage, you’ll need sufficient time to review the damage and determine what you’ve lost. Whether or not the restoration is something you can handle on your own will likely weigh on whether the water damage is minimal or excessive, and if you require water extraction.

If you do require water extraction, then you may not want to tackle this on your own, especially if your Austin home or business is severely flooded. In that case it's best to reach out to a water extraction and water damage restoration company like our local SERVPRO office.

If you have minor water damage it may not be difficult to handle the cleanup on your own, but you should be cautious, especially if you come across mold or other issues typically related to water damage.

While you’re determining if this is something that you can handle on your own, you need to be aware of the impact and long-term effects that extensive water damage can have on your health, safety and your home or business. If you’re up for the challenge and are sure that you can take this on by yourself, please be aware of the following risks and be prepared:

Assessing and Preparing for Water Damage Cleanup & Water Extraction

Before getting started with any type of water damage cleanup or extraction, it’s important to follow some basic safety procedures:

  1. First, you have to be sure that your home or business is safe to enter. Electrical problems can be tricky, so if there is damage that might have caused electrical problems, like downed or exposed wires, or if there is so much water and you need water extraction and you’re not sure that you should go in, then don’t risk it. Best thing to do is to get in touch with an electrician, who will check if your power lines and circuits are secured before you begin. If it looks as if too much damage has occurred, they you may clearly have electrical problems.
  1. Be sure that that there are no potential gas leaks or additional fire hazards. Be sure to have a battery-powered flashlight with you at all times. Never use a lighter or matches if there’s even the slightest chance of a leak. A spark from a match or a lighter can ignite a fire, so be very careful.
  1. As there are a variety of cleaning solutions out there, you should be cautious when selecting the right one. Pure chlorine bleach works, but so does ammonia and vinegar…however, you should never mix any of these together, as they can create an extremely toxic and harmful chlorine gas. Do some investigative work to see which one is the best for this type of project and use only that one.
  1. It’s important, before you begin, that you have plenty of protective clothing, such as goggles, boots, rubber gloves and especially a respirator, because some the air may be toxic. You should be fully protected as any floodwater water damaged material may be riddled with contaminants.
  1. Keep a look out for animals. All kinds of insects and other creatures can be attracted by Austin floodwater. Snakes, fire ants and mosquitoes are just of the few that can be drawn to water…so be careful.

It’s no secret that cleaning is a very crucial part of the water damage cleanup process; it’s not something that can be done overnight. Many of the items in your Austin home or business may in fact be salvageable, but you may find that some things just have to go. In this case it’s best to reach out to a water damage specialist, otherwise you may find yourself doing all of the cleaning, water extraction and repairs on your own.

Of course, you may feel that you need to get right in and start cleaning right away, but before you embark on any type of cleaning or cleanup, you’ll need to make sure that all the water is removed and that all the relative elements of your Austin property are properly dried out.

Let’s look at wood floors: if you have wood floors, and it turns out that they’re fully soaked, they’ll have to properly dry out before you can do any type of water damage restoration. You may actually have to remove and replace all of the floors if it’s that bad. Venturing into new construction, before the structure is completely dry, will also be problematic as you may encounter mold, which over time will cause your property to deteriorate. It’s very important to make sure that everything is dried out before you even begin moving forward.

Our local SERVPRO company uses top-quality drying equipment for our water damage cleanup & restoration jobs. Keep in mind that if you're not entirely sure of the extent of your damage, or whether you're really capable of cleaning it up properly on your own (remember, some effects of water damage may not be all that noticeable at first) then you should be safe and contact a professional water extraction and water damage restoration company, like our Austin-based SERVPRO company.

Other issues, such as mud, food and water safety, home furnishing restoration, and how to deal with wet floors and walls, among others will be covered in Part 2 of this article, Tips on Dealing with Major Water Damage Issues.

Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business

6/16/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business Fire damage, leading to additional water damage, smoke damage and more. Tips on how to prevent fire from occurring in your Austin property.

Keeping Your Austin Property Safe from a Fire

Austin residents and business owners often don't realize the many steps they can take to prevent their home or business from becoming the victim of a fire. Here's are some helpful tips, explaining how to better protect your home or business from possible fire hazards.

If you've already experienced a fire, and aren't sure what to expect in terms of fire damage repairs and cleanup, be sure to check out our article, How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business.

1. Fireplaces and Chimneys: If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove in Austin, it’s highly recommended that your chimney be cleaned regularly by a professional at least once a year. Creosote buildup from excessive use can start a hazardous chimney fire, and you can suffer a good amount of damage before you realize a chimney fire has begun.

Have your chimney cleaned by a professional at least once a year. Don't rely on creosote-reducing logs to clean your chimney for you. These logs are seen as a quick fix, but they will not be able to remove all of the creosote, nor should they in any manner be a replacement for a professional chimney sweep and maintenance.

Ongoing basic maintenance of your fireplace or stove, will greatly improve its performance and will help prevent chimney fires and other types of fire damage repairs from being needed in the future.

When using a wood burning stove or fireplace, you'll also want to make sure you never dump your ashes in the trash, as the ashes can smolder for long periods of time. When disposing of ashes, be sure to take them outside directly and dispose of them in a safe manner.

2. Dryers and Lint: Many people don't realize that lint can be a strong fire hazard. It's important to remove lint from your dyer every time you use it. Lint is combustible, and when heat builds up in the dryer vents, a spark can occur if the flow of air is restricted.

The lint can catch fire. In addition to removing the lint out of your filter, be sure to also check your dryer duct tubes for any lint buildup.

3. Fire Hazards that Stem from Outside the Home: Austin is known to experience grass fires and wildfires every once in a while. If you have a firewood pile near your home, you should move it and any other potential burnable items, such as twigs and leaves.

If wood and leaves are dry and next to your property, they can go up in flames fairly quickly, causing major fire damage. In the kitchen, flammable items, such as dishrags, paper bags and other flammables should be kept away from your stove and oven. And it goes without saying, if you’re a smoker, try not to smoke inside, and be careful when you do smoke.

4. Surge Protectors, a Worthy Investment: Not every property has abundant electrical outlets to run our gadgets, computers, and stereos. If this is the case, then a surge protector can be very beneficial in the long run.

Surge protectors are designed to replace outdated multi outlet power strips in the event of a power spike or a shut off during an electric storm or power outage. If you have an old style power strip with so many cords sticking out of it that it looks like an octopus, then you know it’s time to upgrade. 

Surge protectors are worthy investments, because most power strips are often cheaply made and can overload your circuits, leading to fires and fire damage.

5. Upgrade with New Extension Cords: We all have extension cords in cabinets, drawers or in the garage. However, some of them may be quite old and not as functional as they once were. It's important to use extension cords that are durable and high quality.

If you have extension cords that are more than a few years old, you should replace them with new ones of durable quality. Frayed and mangled cords are unreliable; they can spark, go up in smoke and can lead to fire damage.

6. Smoke Outside: We know that smoking isn't good for us, and we're not here to sell you on quitting smoking. But if you are a smoker, do your best to smoke outside.

And keep yourself a slight distance from your property. Smoldering cigars and cigarettes can fall and start a fire regardless if you’re inside or outside.

Make sure you don't smoke while in bed. Many fires are started by individuals who fall asleep while smoking…do as much as you can to prevent this from happening.

7. Lightning: While lightning is natural occurrence, and something that we can't control, you can take certain preventative measures to keep your Austin home or business from being hit by lightning. This guide by the National Lightning Safety Institute offers some helpful ideas on how to lightning-proof your property.

8. Check Your Electrical Wiring: Like anything else, time takes its toll on electrical wiring within your home or business. It's important to have your electrical wiring checked regularly by an electrician to avoid electrical fires from occurring in your Austin property.

How Our Local SERVPRO Office Can Help in the Event of Fire Damage

If your Austin-based home or business has suffered from fire damage, it’s important to quickly repair and restore as much of your property as possible.

A fire can be devastating, and the additional damage from a fire can include smoke damage, water damage, mold and more. SERVPRO of East Central Austin will take every effort to remediate and restore your property after a fire. We’re here to help you evaluate the overall scope of your fire damage repairs and provide the proper equipment and expertise to ensure a smooth restoration process.

We’re a locally owned Austin company, and we care about the community that we serve. We recognize how overwhelmed you're likely to be after experiencing a fire. We have the resources to help guide you through this time, and our employees are trained and certified professionals, who have the experience and know-how to handle your fire damage repairs. If you’re in need of fire damage restoration, call our local Austin SERVPRO office today: 512-420-9886.

How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business

6/9/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business Fire engulfing a home, leading to extensive fire damage & smoke damage.

Having your property be victim to a fire is probably one of the scariest things a person can experience. Although there are different types of fires, any fire can wreak havoc on your Austin based home or business, leaving you with extensive fire damage repairs. A small fire may not be as severe; you may be able to make some of these repairs on your own. But if the fire damage is extreme, you’ll need to reach out to a professional fire damage restoration company.

Here are some tips that will help you understand the different types of fire damage, how they can affect your property, and how you can take certain actions to prevent fires before they begin.

What Should You Do if a Fire Occurs in Your Austin based Home or Business?

A fire occurs and you manage to get everyone out of the house/building… Once the fire is out, the first thing you’ll want to do is review all of the fire damage. It may be extreme or it may be minimal, but you’ll need to act quickly in determining the extent of the damage, and deciphering if professional fire damage restoration will be needed to fix your Austin property.

Minor damage may be easy to fix on your own, extreme damage will most likely be beyond your ability to repair it. There’s a possibility you’ll need to replace your furniture if it’s been severely damaged, as well as your cabinets, doors, walls and even floorboards.

Even your roof can be subject to fire damage, requiring repair. Should your roof suffer damage, you’ll have to protect the rest of your home or business from not just foreign objects, like falling branches, but also high winds and rainstorms, which happen quite often in Austin. Theft and looting is also a problem, so while assessing the damage to your property, you also need to secure it as best as possible…you shouldn’t have to be vandalized while trying to perform fire damage repairs.

Smoke Damage: An Inevitable Symptom of a Fire

While a fire has the tendency to lead to destruction, depending on its severity, smoke is one lingering effect that in some cases can be even worse, because it’s so difficult to clean. Should you have a small fire with limited fire damage repairs, smoke residue may be one of the most problematic elements. If the smoke residue isn't tackled quickly, you may find yourself dealing with persistent foul odors in your Austin property, as well as stained furniture, carpets walls and floors.

Believe it or not, there are several different types of smoke damage. Some are easy to remedy, while others need professional attention.

  • Dry Smoke occurs when a fire burns hot and fast. However, it’s often one of the easier types to clean, as the smoke is often quite dry and has a powdery texture.
  • Wet Smoke is often associated with smoldering fires at low temperatures. This has a tendency to leave strong odors and heavy smearing once the fire is put out. The smearing makes it difficult to clean.
  • Protein Residue: Paints and varnishes, like polyurethane can become discolored during a fire, and hard to clean. Elements such as this will most likely requires more intense fire damage repairs.
  • Oil residue results from fires in which petroleum products, such as propane, gasoline and diesel fuel, among others, are involved. The residue is often very sticky, making it time consuming to clean.

Water Damage: The Other Effect of Fire Damage

Water damage can play an integral role in a fire. While you may think that your pipes are safe, some of them are not quite as heat tolerant as others, depending on the material. Metal pipes tend to take the heat well, while plastic pipes usually don’t. If you have a fire, there’s a strong possibility that your pipes may burst from the heat, causing major water leaks and flooding in your Austin home or business.

Depending on the intensity of the fire, water will be needed to actually put it out, therefore causing another layer of damage to your property - water damage. It’s best to remove as much water as you can immediately. If left alone, the affected areas can fall victim to the spread of mold, and they will need to be properly cleaned, dried and remediated.

If you suffer from a large fire, you may find yourself overwhelmed and unable to tackle any repairs on your own. If you need fire damage repairs and/or smoke damage cleanup and water extraction in the Austin and Manor area, and the situation is beyond your control, SERVPRO of East Central Austin can help.

Additional Issues that Can Result from Fire Damage

Electrical wiring, plumbing and appliances can also be subject to fire damage. Even the tiniest amount of smoke can cause problems with your household appliances, since they’re manufactured to take limited amounts of heat. Smoke is also quite corrosive, which can cause appliances to overheat, cause a spark or break down in the process.

If your appliances experience problems, give them a thorough inspection, so they don’t cause problems down the road. In certain situations, you may actually spend less money replacing them than having them repaired.

Another potential problem you could face is if your Austin home or business has tight insulation. Tight insulation has the potential to create a heavy smoke buildup in the vent of a fire. The insulation can exacerbate the increase in temperature, which adds to the internal pressure. If extreme heat persists, the amount of pressure can cause windows and even doors to explode, leading to more repairs.

If you find yourself in a situation that is too much to handle on your own, with extensive fire damage repairs needed, and smoke and water damage cleanup as well, calling a professional fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of East Central Austin will certainly be your best bet.

Our professionally trained and certified SERVPRO team can lead you through the process, and help make your Austin fire damage "Like it never even happened." And in order to prevent fires in the future and help protect your Austin property from fire damage, be sure to check out Part 2 of this article: Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business.

10 Great Tips for Preventing Water Damage in Austin

5/24/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage 10 Great Tips for Preventing Water Damage in Austin A pipe that's leaking or a broken hose can cause an extensive amount of water damage to your Austin property.

Stop Water Damage Before It Starts in Your Austin Home or Business

The thought of water damage to your Austin home or business got you down? Water damage occurs frequently in Austin, but the good news is there are some preventative tips you can take to help prevent or stop water damage before it progresses.

Leaky pipes and faulty hoses are often guilty culprits that should not be ignored. While easily replaceable, if you don't regularly check for leaks in these items, you might find yourself getting into a situation with extensive and costly water damage to your Austin home or business that could be difficult to repair.

However, there are some steps you can take to prevent any kind of water damage to your Austin home or business. It’s as easy as checking all of your leaky pipes, hoses and appliances.

Internal Household Water Damage Problems and Solutions

1. Your Appliances Can Be Your Enemy

We hate to put it that way, but it's true. And while we all have a need for household appliances, they also need to be taken care of over time. If these appliances should have leaky pipes and hoses, then take note, severe water damage is not that far away.

When you take into account all the water that’s being used by your washing machine and dishwasher, it's understandable how little leaks can quickly turn into messy situations, and if this goes on unattended, you may find that professional water extraction may be necessary. A small tear in a hose or pipe can expand if left alone and leak up to 200 gallons of water daily.

Your refrigerator can also be a guilty party, especially if it has an ice maker, which, let's face it, most modern refrigerators do. Many refrigerators with ice makers have copper pipes that funnel water to help produce the ice.

Should these pipes bend or crack, or if they aren’t fastened properly, then you’ll likely be dealing with a water leak. Copper pipes have a tendency to bend, so give your refrigerator a space of a few inches, so that the pipes don't get crushed, and you should alleviate your chances of water damage issues.

Think of how much water goes through your dishwasher. Gallons of water actually pass through its supply and discharge pipes…now imagine a leak in those pipes and the amount of water damage if the pipes aren't checked regularly? It’s not a pretty picture, your entire kitchen can be filled with soapy water.

While cracks in the pipes can often be the cause of this, you should also keep the pipes clear of food, which can break off during the wash cycle and clog your pipes. Be sure to always wash and rinse your dishes, cups and silverware before running your dishwasher, and make sure your dishwasher is full before you start it. Making sure it's full will use the water more effectively and help to prevent any possible flooding.

2. Give Your Water Main an Inspection

Locating where your water main is can also help prevent water damage. While Austin is usually warm, we do occasionally experience freezing temps in the winter. If the weather goes below freezing and stays there for a while, this can affect the integrity of your plumbing. Freezing temperatures and frost in Austin can cause damage to your plumbing and water main, especially if your outdoor spigots start to leak.

If you suspect leaks, the first test is to find your water main and turn it off, so you can check for any leaking pipes inside and outside. If you see any unexpected water leakage, such as a puddle on the floor or water stained walls, you may have a problem and if it's a real problem, you could require water extraction by a professional company like SERVPRO of East Central Austin. If it hasn't gone on too long, you may be able to remedy this with changing some pipes and hoses, but if it persists, then you should call a professional for more investigative work.

3. Upgrade Your Washing Machine Hoses to Prevent Increased Chances of Water Damage

If your washing machine has a leaky hose or a broken supply line, you could face major flooding. Washing machines hoses are actually a leading cause of water damage, because they’re used so frequently that they have a greater tendency to leak and break over multiple uses. This is why it’s important to inspect your washing machine hoses several times throughout the year for any kind of leaks as well as wear and tear. Another way to help determine if your washer has a leak is to install an automatic shut off valve, which will shut off the machine if pools of water should appear.

Shut-off valves vary in price, depending on what type you get, but can actually save you a bundle if you use them as a preventive measure against flooding and water damage.

4. Keep an Eye on Water Pressure in Your Austin home or Business

Another issue that can cause water damage Austin is if your water pressure is set too high. Checking the water pressure can help reduce the overall flow of water in your home or business. Using a water pressure gauge will help determine the correct flow through your hoses and pipes; they can be purchased at most hardware stores and are easy to operate. Simply attach the gauge to an outdoor faucet, turn on the water at full force and you’ll see the reading.

Standard water pressure should usually be between 40 to 70 psi. If you find that the pressure is, in fact, at too high a level, it can greatly affect your pipes and hoses. If your pressure exceeds 100 psi, then you’ll probably need a pressure regulator, which can help bring the pressure down.

5. Water Detectors: A Worthy Investment

Water detectors can be extremely helpful if you’re unable to check your hoses and pipes on a frequent basis. They are definitely helpful in identifying water leaks and preventing water damage Austin in addition to mold.

They are fairly affordable electronic devices that detect low moisture levels and alert you when water or moisture makes an unwanted appearance. They’re important in that they help find leaks and water spots that are often missed. It's recommended to get several of these to place near appliances, such as toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, and sump pumps.

6. Check Your Water Bill

Another useful way to determine if you have leaks or pressure issues is to check your water bill. If your bill is pretty consistent, but then suddenly you notice a massive rise in cost, you may have a problem that needs further investigation to discover if you have leaks in your Austin business or home. Don’t ignore a rise in your water bill. You should thoroughly investigate places such as crawlspaces (some exist in Austin as well), under cabinets, walls, hoses and all of your indoor and outdoor plumbing for water damage. It may be inconvenient to check everything, but it’s better to be thorough, than to face the results of extensive water damage.

7. If You Live in Austin and Have a Leak, Get It Fixed

Any leak, even the smallest and most insignificant one, should be immediately addressed. While many leaks can be remedied with a simple repair, such as replacing a hose, others may require more extensive work and can become more serious if neglected. A burst pipe can cause major water damage, leading to the need for water extraction and water damage cleanup.

If the area is not properly cleaned, you’ll begin to see the spread of mold, mildew and dry rot.

Preventing External Water Damage Problems in Austin

8. Keep Track of Your Garden/Lawn Hoses

Whether you like to garden or you occasionally water the plants in the backyard, we often leave our garden hoses attached to the outdoor spigot. While it’s common to do this in Austin, where it’s usually warm, it’s not advisable in colder weather. Granted, Austin doesn't have a typical winter like the northeast and midwest, but it does get cold here, and if you leave your hoses connected when there’s a freeze, then there can be problems. There is actually a very substantial risk for water damage if you leave your hoses connected during a freeze.

Standing water in a hose can be a big problem as the water, once it freezes, can create a chunk of ice that gets lodged and prevents the flow of water. There is a high risk your pipes will burst if this type of blockage occurs, which can be expensive to remedy. Burst pipes can wreak havoc on your floors, walls and even your foundation. So always be sure to disconnect your hoses in the winter in Austin.

9. Clogged Gutters and Downspouts: Another Potential Water Damage Problem in Austin

If you ignore your gutters, and don't clean them often, you can face potential water damage. With leaves and branches flying all over the place, it’s inevitable that they will find their way into your gutters and get stuck. Once they get stuck, then the proper flow of water is restricted, and water can splatter all over your walls, causing not just problems with your gutters, but also with your foundation over time.

Gutters should be cleaned roughly twice a year to ensure that there’s a proper flow with no blockages. You should also check your roof if possible for any standing water; not only can these breed mosquitoes, but if the water just sits there, it can damage your roof, and those repairs are expensive.

In addition to your gutters, check your downspouts, which can also become blocked if neglected. Always point them away from your structure, so that water doesn't come in contact with your foundation. This will help prevent water damage Austin as the water is relocated away from your walls and flows into your yard.

10. Trees and Vegetation Can Affect your Pipes

If you have underground plumbing, utility pipes or a sprinkler system in your backyard, then there will be potential for your trees and shrubs to come into contact with your pipes. If not monitored, the roots of the trees and shrubs can become problematic. Their roots can actually grow deep into the ground and wrap themselves around your pipes. If you find you have problems with your utility pipes in Austin, then the roots may in fact be strangling them. If this is the case, then you may have to dig up and move trees, shrubs or other types of vegetation to get to the root of the problem (no pun intended).

How SERVPRO of East Central Austin Can Help

If you experience water damage and your damage is beyond something you can remedy on your own, SERVPRO of East Central Austin provides 24-hour emergency service for water damage needs. Our highly trained technicians will respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.

We can help with all aspects of water damage Austin, including water extraction, water damage cleanup and water damage restoration. We use only top of the line equipment for our cleanup services, and we make it "Like it never even happened."

Need help with your water damage issues? Call our local SERVPRO company today at (512) 420- 9886.

How to Prevent Water Damage in Austin

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage How to Prevent Water Damage in Austin Water damage is a common problem in Austin, due to flooding issues.

Some of the biggest causes of water damage in Austin are excessive rain, floods, and storms. However, water damage can occur in a variety of other ways as well –from leaky pipes, broken hoses, faulty vents and clogged toilets in your home or commercial property. All of these can create a multitude of problems.

Consider this: If you have a small pipe in your Austin home or office, and there’s even a hairline crack in it, you could be leaking up to 200 gallons of water a day. Annual routine inspections of your pipes and appliances that use water, such as dishwashers, sinks, bathroom plumbing, washing machines, refrigerators, as well as replacing any hoses that are problematic will help prevent leaks before they happen or get out of hand.

While minor leak repair can save you a lot in the end, nothing can really prepare you for excessive flooding, especially in cities like Austin, Texas that are prone to heavy periods of rain and flooding. If you experience heavy water damage, flood and water damage to your home or business, then water damage restoration by a commercial cleaning service will be a necessity.

Harmful Types of Water Damage

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), states that there are three different types of water that can be harmful, because of their potential contaminants. These classifications often have no relation to storms or floods.

1) Clean Water: Clean water is often the result of an appliance that leaks or eventually breaks down. Overall, it’s not as dangerous as #s 2 & 3, but it shouldn't be ignored, as this type of water can cause problems down the road.

2) Grey Water: Grey water is wastewater without the fecal contamination, but that doesn't mean it’s not contaminated. Grey water derives from plumbing problems, including leaks, seepage, clogged dishwashers, washing machines and toilets that overflow. If not addressed, grey water can contain a large amount of biological contaminants that will make you sick, especially if you have asthma, allergies or respiratory problems.

3) Black Water: This type of water damage is considered extremely dangerous as it can host harmful bacteria derived from sewage backup, floodwater and backed up toilets. The abundance of contaminated waste in black water should not be taken lightly, as the waste and pathogens can produce harmful bacteria that can be detrimental to your health if not remediated immediately.

The Four Classes of Water Damage in Austin

While water can greatly damage a home or business, in most cases it’s the time frame of how the water evaporates that’s responsible for different levels of damage. The longer the evaporation, the more harmful the damage will likely be.

According to the IICRC, there are four different classes of water damage, all of which are based on their levels of toxicity. Porosity also plays a large role in the extent of the damage. If an Austin home or business uses materials with low porosity, then it’s likely that the materials will absorb a minimum of the overall moisture. Minor floods can cause damage to carpets, but if ignored, then the water will eventually seep into the walls and can weaken the stability of the structure. Temperature and the time frame in which the damage is cleaned can greatly impact the spread of toxins, including mold. This is why it’s crucial to immediately address and remediate any type of water damage, so that it doesn't gestate and cause further problems.

Class 1 is characterized by a slow rate of evaporation that usually affects building materials with low porosity. This means that the materials can actually absorb the water, which is usually a limited amount impacting a small part of a room, or even larger rooms with materials that can take in limited moisture.

Larger amounts of water can be ranked as Class 2. Here, the amount of water can impact an entire room, leaving carpeting and furniture at risk. Signs include water creeping up walls and staining them, causing damage to most structural materials.

Class 3 involves the greatest amount of water damage, with water soaked ceilings, walls, insulation and carpeting. In most cases, an entire room or house has fallen victim to the water damage.

Class 4 mainly revolves around the extent of drying time and if any building materials are salvageable. Of course this all depends on the overall extent of the damage. If your Austin home or business is made of materials with low or no porosity (brick, concrete, plaster, stone and wood), then there’s a greater chance that it will be harder to properly remediate the water damage. The materials may have experienced such saturation that it will take low specific humidity to prevent further issues.

Additional Water Damage Problems

Wood Damage

While materials such as sheet rock, plaster and insulation can be affected by water damage, wood is also susceptible. If you have an older structure, largely constructed out of wood, water damage can affect the ceiling beams and floorboards. Excess water if not properly remediated, can waterlog beams and cause extensive damage and sagging from the excess weight. If the damage is extreme, them beams and floorboards, including the subfloor, may have to be replaced. In addition to the possibility of wood sagging for the water, beams and floorboards can also become warped and bring on mold and mildew. If caught early and properly dehumidified, the wood can be properly dried out and not have to be replaced.

Some Ideas on Preventing Water Damage

As Austin is particularly susceptible to flooding, you should prepare yourself and your property from any potential water damage that flooding can cause.

  • Gutters: Most people don’t regularly clean their gutters. Leaves, twigs and other objects land in your gutters and just sit there. When a storm occurs, all of those objects will most likely stay there and clog the downspouts. With nowhere to go, all that water can run down the side of your house and business and seep into the foundation, walls and floors, leading to water damage and mold. Keep your gutters clean and if you have downspouts, position them at least ten feet from your structure, so that the water doesn't have contact with your structure.
  • Sump Pumps: If your Austin home has a basement, you should always check your sump pump to make sure that it’s working, especially when inclement weather is on the rise.
  • Fixing Leaks: It’s important to maintain the quality of hoses and pipes, by repairing any leaks that you may find. Pipes can leak through sealant and caulk if it’s old. Check for dark spots around pipes, as well as on the ceiling. Replace any damaged or loose shingles on your roof; this can help stop leaks and also prevent your roof from rotting in the future.

Also, be sure to check out our article: 10 Great Tips for Preventing Water Damage in Austin.

By taking some routine steps to prevent water damage, your home or business should be able to withstand a flood or rainstorm. However if you should experience water damage, and are not able to remedy it on your own, you will need to call a professional cleaning service, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin, to take care of it for you.

Austin Water Restoration Process

10/13/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Austin Water Restoration Process Armando is strategically placing an air mover at one of our downtown Austin commercial jobs. There's science involved in water damage restoration.

Restoring Your Austin Property after Water Damage

Have you recently had water damage in your Austin home or business, and are not sure how to handle it? You're not alone, many people are unsure of the steps they should take after having a water damage event, and how they should go about having their home or business properly restored after the damage occurs.

There are a variety of issues that can cause your Austin TX home or business to suffer from water damage. These can include a flood, burst pipe, sewage backup and more. These issues can occur without any type of warning and gravely affect your Austin home or business.

It's stressful and many times you don't know what to do or who to call. When your home or business suffers from water damage, even an extra hour can significantly worsen the damage, so it's important to call water damage professionals immediately to handle your issue. SERVPRO of East Central Austin can help immediately to stop the damage from worsening and restore your property and belongings to make it like it never happened. Our SERVPRO professionals are highly trained and certified Austin water damage restoration technicians, and we can handle all your water damage restoration water extraction needs.

The first step to restoring your Austin TX home or business after a water damage event is to act quickly. Acting quickly can help immensely in salvaging and restoring your belongings and property, including the drywall and flooring that's in your Austin home. It's important to note how quickly water can permanently damage organic material. Unfortunately, it's only a matter of hours before your property can be left with irreversible water damage. If our certified SERVPRO technicians are called immediately, we can respond quickly and often save and restore water damage and lesson the chance of secondary issues such as mold growth.

If mold does begin to grow in your Austin home or business, you may need to have mold remediation as well.

Your first step to restoring your home or business is to call SERVPRO of East Central Austin so that we can respond to your emergency as quickly as possible. After arriving, our technicians will do a thorough inspection with our moisture readers to determine the extent of and where there is potential for water damage and how far the moisture has traveled. Once assessed, our production team will use heavy duty water extractors (powerful pumps and vacuum units) capable of removing hundreds or thousands of gallons of water to pump out standing water and areas of property saturated with water.

Next, our technicians use room measurements, temperatures from various locations and relative humidity to determine the appropriate number of air movers and dehumidifiers needed to dry your home or business. Our air movers are strategically placed to evaporate excess moisture from belongings and property while dehumidifiers reduce the moisture content of the air, hastening the drying process. Once dry SERVPRO of East Central Austin uses cleaning techniques to provide sanitizing, deodorization and disposal to decrease the possibility of microbial growth.

Odor Removal and Deodorization

We are trained to identify and deodorize offensive odors when necessary. Our technical expertise and industrial grade air scrubbers and fogging equipment go well beyond simply masking odors and other shortcuts that don’t work when your odor problem is serious or persistent.

Sanitizing Treatments

Depending on the scenario, we may use antimicrobial, antibacterial, or disinfectant treatments to clean your property.


We will remove and dispose of damaged materials with guidance from you and your insurance adjuster.

Restoring Your Austin Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event

7/11/2016 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at Austin commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of East Central Austin

SERVPRO of East Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

When Storms or Floods hit the Austin area, SERVPRO is ready!

7/6/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of East Central Austin specializes in storm and flood damage restoration.  Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition. 

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit the Austin area, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We can access equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 Franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

What you can do until help arrives

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today (512) 420-9886

Faster to your Austin area Water Damage Event

6/21/2016 (Permalink)

Flooding and water emergencies don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of East Central Austin provides emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more.  SERVPRO of East Central Austin arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 512-420-9886

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of East Central Austin

SERVPRO of East Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Austin, 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service

6/15/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of East Central Austin is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - (512) 420-9886

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of East Central Austin has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of East Central Austin

SERVPRO of East Central Austin specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.


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