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Ten Tips to Help Local Business Owners Prepare for Flood Damage

4/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian urges local businesses to make flood damage preparations.

Waxahachie businesses are no strangers to commercial flood damage resulting from severe weather. In 2015, flood waters overflowed a portion of the downtown area. A local news outlet described the situation, stating, “It was a sleepless night for business owners and police in old Downtown Waxahachie. College Street flooded during the storm, stranding two motorists and forcing police to close a block of the road at the peak of the rainfall. Several businesses, a restaurant, and the police department took in water. Long-time residents say it was the worst flooding in at least a decade.”

In light of this disaster and the potential for more severe weather in the area, SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian urges business owners to follow the recommendations listed below to reduce the likelihood of flood damage to their businesses.

  1. Determine if the business is susceptible to flooding.

Check to see what flood zone the business is located in. Is the area prone to flooding? Learn the base flood elevation (BFE) for the property. The base flood elevation is the depth of floodwaters for a “100-year flood.” A business’s lowest floor needs to be three feet above the BFE to ensure that the structure is safe from flooding when severe weather strikes.

If the business is not located in a designated flood plain and has never historically suffered flood damage, then the location is most likely safe. However, area construction may have created new flood damage risks that the business owner needs to be aware of.

  1. Implement dry floodproofing strategies.

A building in or near a flood-prone area can utilize several dry floodproofing techniques to make the structure watertight and dry during a flood event.

  • Stockpile flood-protective materials and products which aid in diverting water away from the building. Items include water-absorbent barriers and sandbags. Plastic sheeting or tarps are effective for relatively shallow flooding.
  • Water-filled barriers that can be connected and stacked can be deployed at large commercial doors or entranceways that are exposed to deeper floodwaters.
  • Install moveable flood gates, submarine doors, or permanent swing flood doors where the water depths are expected to be greater.
  • Permanent flood walls that surround the entire structure may be necessary for areas where flooding is frequent, deep, and prolonged.
  1. Obtain flood insurance.

Businesses in or near a high-risk flood zone should purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is provided through the federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and can be purchased through private insurance agents and companies.

  1. Landscape with native plants that will aid in flood water drainage.

Landscape with native plants and vegetation, which can help prevent soil erosion and allow floodwaters to drain more efficiently.

  1. Elevate electrical components, the HVAC system, and valuable records and documents above the BFE of the property.

Hire a licensed electrician to raise electrical switches, wiring, sockets, and circuit breakers at least one foot higher than the base flood elevation for the area. Following this tip will prevent flood waters from damaging the electrical system and will reduce the risk of fire from short circuits in flooded systems. Floodproof HVAC and ventilation equipment to prevent damage. Hire an HVAC contractor to relocate the equipment to an upper floor or enclose the systems with a floodproof wall.

  1. Add an extra layer of protection to the facility by using flood-resistant materials, sealing cracks, and applying a waterproof coating to walls.

In new construction and remodels, use flood-resistant materials where possible. Floor coverings, wall coverings, and wall insulation that is flood-resistant can withstand direct exposure to water and moisture for at least seventy-two hours without suffering significant damage.

  1. Invest in a generator and a sump pump.

Having backup electrical power can improve recovery time. Secure reserve power sources for any equipment deemed vital to resuming business operations. Install a sump pump with a battery backup, and include a sump pump backup that runs off of water pressure in case the power goes out or the influx of water exceeds what the primary unit can handle. Schedule regular maintenance and testing of the backup power system.

  1. Securely anchor fuel tanks.

Floating fuel tanks can damage buildings, vehicles, and equipment. If the tanks damage other properties or cause an environmental hazard, the business owner may face fines, property damage repairs, or litigation.

  1. Make sure that downspouts funnel water away from the building.

When downspouts fail to direct water a sufficient distance from the building’s foundation, the moisture can seep through the foundation, causing flooding, structural damage, and mold. If the area flooded is a basement or parking garage where equipment, products, and vehicles are kept, the impact could be catastrophic.

  1. Identify a damage restoration company that is highly experienced in commercial water damage restoration.

Prepare for any disaster by pre-qualifying a water, fire, smoke, and flood damage restoration company that can handle a commercial property damage incident. A flood damage disaster may involve fire, smoke, mold, and hazardous chemicals. Commercial cleaning services will be needed once the water is removed and the damage repaired. The environment must be safe, clean, and sanitary before operations can fully resume.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian has been providing commercial damage restoration services since 2000. The team of restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about commercial damage restoration in Waxahachie, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Where Should Homeowners Look for Water Intrusion and Water Damage?

4/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian highlights seven hiding places where water can seep into a home and cause water damage.

The team of professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian knows that a water damage disaster can strike without warning, and water intrusion often goes undetected, leading to advanced secondary damage. When building materials such as plywood, OSB board, sheetrock, and insulation are subjected to water and moisture on a recurring basis, they can break down, rot, or harbor mold. Knowing where to look for water damage can help bring an end to this game of water damage hide-and-seek.

Hiding place #1: Near the chimney

Moisture intrusions around the chimney, as well as around improperly sealed roof installations such as vents, exhaust fans, and skylights, can go unnoticed, damaging the roof deck and potentially causing a mold infestation in the attic. Conducting an annual roof inspection with a professional, reputable roofing company can expose leaks and hidden water damage.

Hiding place #2: In the wall below the window

Windows are a common location for water leaks. Water and moisture from rain and snow can readily trickle down between the window sash and the jamb, damaging the framing studs in the wall. The water might not be noticed until the signs of damage become too obvious to be missed. Warping, buckling, peeling paint and wallpaper, and the earthy smell of mold and rotting wood give away the hiding place. Repairs can be extensive and expensive.

Hiding place #3: Underneath the siding

The most common places where water sneaks its way behind the siding are:

  • Where two siding panels meet
  • At the corners of the house
  • Around the windows where the siding abuts the trim

These unsealed gaps permit moisture to penetrate beneath the siding. Over time, the plywood sheathing or OSB board will rot. The damage may not be discovered until the siding separates from the rotted sheathing or the siding is replaced for cosmetic reasons.

Hiding place #4: Near exterior painted window sills

Older homes with windows that have undergone multiple paint jobs through the years often experience water damage in this hiding spot. A seemingly insignificant dribble of water through cracks in the paint can allow wood rot in the window sills without the homeowner ever having a clue where the water damage is hiding. A simple test can expose this prime water damage hiding spot. Press the tip of a screwdriver firmly along a sill. If the screwdriver tip sinks into the wood, damage has occurred. The soft, rotted wood will need to be replaced before further damage can take place.

Hiding place #5: Behind an outdoor faucet

A favorite hiding place for a water leak is behind outdoor faucets, especially when the faucet connects to a water pipe beneath the siding. Connecting the faucet to the water pipe in this situation is difficult and can result in small leaks. Water leaks underneath siding are difficult to spot. Leaking water can flow down the inside of the wall and cause extensive damage to sheathing and framing members. In some cases, the leaks could continue for years before manifesting signs of water damage that are noticeable. In fact, it may be an outbreak of mold that tips off the homeowner to the leak.

Hiding place #6: Beneath an exterior door threshold

Every time it rains or snows, the wood underneath the metal threshold of an exterior door is exposed to water and moisture. Treated wood is often employed in this location which buys the homeowner some time. Over time, even treated wood will succumb to the effects of repeated saturation. The wood will soak up the water, swell, and become soft and spongy. The water damage may not be revealed until the metal threshold works loose from the rotted wood, which can no longer support it.

Hiding place #7: Below a window air conditioning unit

Window AC units are versatile, energy-efficient, and affordable. They function well as a primary cooling source or, in case the main HVAC unit fails, as a backup unit. Window units remove moisture from the air as they perform their cooling function. This moisture must be dispersed outside of the home, usually through a tube. As a window air conditioner ages, the moisture tube can become clogged with slimy mold and mildew.

Sometimes the tube can become detached from the unit. As a result, the condensation can fill up the bottom of the unit and drain into the windowsill and wall space below. It is not long before framing, sheathing, and wood studs succumb to rot damage. Homeowners are advised to periodically check the windowsills, framing, sheetrock, wallpaper, and paint beneath a window unit for signs of moisture and water damage.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. The locally owned company is backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Being centrally located in Ellis County means that technicians are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The water damage restoration experts specialize in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about water damage restoration in Midlothian, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

How Hail Can Cause Roof Leaks That Lead to a Water Damage Disaster

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian explains how relatively small-sized hail can lead to large-scale water damage that requires the services of a water damage restoration company.

The water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Waxahachie /  Midlothian know that a water damage disaster can strike at any time and often without warning, such as during severe weather. When water damage occurs, life is suddenly filled with stress and worry. The SERVPRO professionals are the premier cleanup and restoration company in the region who can quickly restore the damaged property.

How Hail Can Cause Roof Leaks and Water Damage

Hail can damage a roof, leading to leaks and serious water damage if left unrepaired. What might be a small issue, in the beginning, can spiral into a major water damage disaster requiring both roof repair and water damage restoration for a Waxahachie home or business.

According to roofing experts, “The average hailstorm lasts only five minutes, but the hail damage they leave behind totals about $1 billion a year, according to the National Weather Service. When hail hits, it can damage the roof of your home as well as other personal property… Hail damage on a roof looks like indentations and/or fractures on the shingle’s surface. Hailstones vary in size, shape, and hardness and can create a random pattern of dents or depressions.”

Hail size impacts roof damage.

Generally, the larger the hailstone, the greater the damage it can inflict. However, other factors come into play when dealing with hail damage, such as the shape of the individual hailstone and the speed at which the hail impacts the roof.

Hailstones form when warm updrafts carry water droplets to high altitudes where the temperatures are frigid. The droplets freeze and combine until they are heavy enough to escape the updrafts. At about one-quarter inch in diameter, hailstones begin their downward plummet. Amazingly, hailstones can range in size from a small pea to larger than a softball and can weigh as much as one pound.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the largest hailstone on record in the US measured over eight inches in diameter and weighed over a pound. While small, pea-sized hail rarely damages a roof, dime-sized and quarter-sized hail often severely damages a roof.

Shape can impact hail damage.

The hail formation process creates hailstones of various shapes and sizes. On rare occasions, some hailstones can develop sharp points or edges. When that is the case, small hail can cause great damage. Homeowners should be aware that small hailstones with jagged edges can puncture shingles that have been recently installed. A roof inspection after a hailstorm is a wise course of action.

Hail speed impacts roof damage.

Hail begins its descent from as high as 30,000 feet and will gather speed until terminal velocity or top speed is reached. Wind direction and speed can influence a hailstone’s speed. Wind-driven pea-sized hail impacting a roof at high velocity can compromise the shingles’ ability to keep out moisture. Hailstones the size of baseballs or larger can reach speeds greater than 100 miles per hour. Most roofs are no match for such a fierce barrage.

Roofing materials impact hail damage.

The highest quality thirty-year laminated roofing shingles act as armor in a hailstorm. Best quality shingles can still sustain damage under the onslaught of large, jagged hailstones impacting the roof at high speeds. Other roofing materials such as metal, tile, slate, and synthetics are durable, but the impact from a four-inch hailstone traveling at speeds over 100 miles an hour will at least inflict a measure of cosmetic damage to even the toughest of roofing materials.

The age of the roof impacts hail damage.

A 3-tab asphalt shingle will last from 12-15 years. A well-maintained metal roof will endure for sixty or more years. Architectural laminated shingles are rated at thirty years. All roofing materials will lose durability over time. Homeowners with older roofs should be vigilant in their watch for roof leaks after severe weather, especially weather involving hail and high winds.

The Danger of Small Hail Damage

Small hail damage may require a trained eye to spot. Small damage can lead to small leaks that, if left unrepaired, can cause big problems such as rotted support beams, mold-infested insulation, ceiling stains, and damage to items stored in the attic. The advanced secondary water damage will only worsen if not treated promptly by a skilled water damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian.

For more information about water damage restoration in Waxahachie, TX, and Midlothian, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

How to Conserve Water Usage in Order to Save Water and Money

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian offers tips on how homeowners can conserve their water usage.

As the leading water damage restoration company in the region, SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian understands the importance of water. Not only do homeowners want to prevent leaks that cause water damage, but they also want to conserve the overall amount of water that they use in their home. SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian is sharing water conservation tips to help the community save water and money.

Making the Water and Energy Connection

Water and energy usage are very closely connected. Wise water conservation not only reduces water consumption but also reduces energy consumption. Reducing energy consumption increases the amount of money homeowners can keep in their pockets when they save on their energy bills.

Water conservation experts explain the link between water and energy, writing, “Water utilities use a lot of energy to pump, clean, and deliver water to your home. Why should you care? Because utilities pay for that energy, and part of your water and sewage bills are actually energy bills. That’s not all. You pay twice for much of your water—once for the cost of the water itself and once for the cost of heating it. It can add up quickly. Letting your faucet run for five minutes uses as much energy as letting a 60-watt lightbulb run for 14 hours. The good news is there are lots of no- and low-cost ways to save water throughout your home.”

Water-Saving Tips for the Conservation-Conscious Homeowner

The wettest rooms in the home are the kitchen and the bathroom. The laundry room is a close third with the washing machine and possibly a utility sink.

Kitchen Water Conservation Tips

A steady flow of water makes its way through the kitchen with all the cooking, cleaning, and dishwashing. By embracing a few simple practices, homeowners can save thousands of gallons of water per year.

  1. Utilize the dishwasher instead of manually washing dishes. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), older dishwashers use up to ten gallons per load. Newer units use six gallons. In energy-saver mode, as little as three gallons of water is needed to adequately clean and sanitize a full load. It takes the same amount of water to wash one dish as it does to wash a full load. Scrape off excess food. Pre-rinsing wastes time, water, and money. The dishwasher is designed to clean dishes, and it does it well. A typical household can save forty dollars a year by relying heavily on the dishwasher.
  2. Be frugal with the faucets. Avoid needlessly running the tap. Catch water in a bowl or pan to clean fruit and vegetables before eating or cooking.
  3. Install a low-flow aerator on all faucets. The flow rate should be no more than one gallon per minute.
  4. Immediately repair any leaky faucets. The constant dripping can waste as much as 1,600 gallons of water a year.

Bathroom Water Conservation Tips

The bathroom is a bottomless pit of water usage. Toilets account for nearly one-third of total water consumption in the average household. Factor in the shower, tub, and any sinks, and it is easy to see why the bathroom is regarded as the wettest room in the house.

  1. Repair toilets and faucets as soon as a leak is discovered. A leaky faucet is like pouring money down the drain at a rate of more than eight gallons of water a day. That leaky toilet wastes as many as two-hundred gallons of water per day.
  2. Take short showers instead of baths. A ten-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead uses about two gallons of water per minute or about twenty gallons for a ten-minute shower. An average bath requires about thirty gallons.
  3. Install low-flow showerheads in all showers. They reduce usage by thirty percent over standard showerheads.
  4. Install low-flow aerators on bathroom faucets. A one-gallon-per-minute flow rate is optimal.

Every drip means a drop of water is lost or wasted, so make every drop count. Making every drop count makes sense and literally makes cents.

However, even the best water conservation efforts can be sidelined by an unexpected water damage disaster. When a home suffers water damage, homeowners can trust the professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian to provide prompt damage restoration services that will reduce stress and restore the house to its pre-damage condition.

For more information about water damage restoration, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

What Impact Does Water Damage in a Commercial Facility Have on Property Insurance?

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian helps businesses understand the impact of water damage on commercial property insurance.

At any time and without warning, a commercial water damage disaster can strike, filling the business owner’s life with stress and worry. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian lives and works in this community. When local businesses suffer water damage, fire damage, or smoke damage due to any size disaster, the SERVPRO professionals are the premier cleanup and restoration company in the region who can quickly restore the damaged commercial building.

Businesses and institutions were confronted with water damage challenges in 2020 that will extend into the foreseeable future due to labor shortages and poor quality of workmanship.

According to a corporate-level manager overseeing the large property loss division for a major insurance company, “Water damage is one of the largest loss causes we deal with in the commercial insurance industry, yet only a small percentage of clients have a formal Water Damage Prevention Plan in place. Those with higher exposures should have plans to both prevent an incident and to mitigate the severity of loss should one occur.”

Common Causes of Water Damage in a Commercial Setting

Aging plumbing systems and sprinkler systems that have been poorly or improperly maintained can cause significant property damage resulting in disruption of business operations. Sprinkler system discharge causes more severe damage to multi-story buildings where the water can rapidly travel from floor to floor. Plumbing failures, though more gradual, can also cause water damage across many floors of a building. Both sources of water commonly damage physical property and the contents, including furniture, flooring, equipment, product, and raw materials.

The severity of the loss depends on the origin of water, how swiftly the issue is recognized, and the type of contents that are damaged.

Damage analysis reveals that small amounts of water can cause significant losses. Examples include:

  • High-value equipment such as electronics, computers, or circuit boards
  • The vertical risk loss multiplier - Water damage to multiple floors could involve demolition, repair, and replacement of flooring, ceilings, and walls on multiple floors.
  • Property evacuation that results in litigation, the forfeiture of rental income, or the departure of tenants
  • Production and fabrication equipment - Production interruptions incur direct and indirect losses such as short-term revenue interruption or the loss of customers. Customer acquisition costs, which can be substantial, are often overlooked or underestimated by businesses.

The scale of these losses often hinges upon a business’s preparation to respond to the disruption. Lethargy translates into losses. A rapid, focused response reduces losses.

Plan to Succeed When Faced With a Commercial-Sized Water Damage Disaster

Effective protection and mitigation strategies to protect against interior and exterior water damage encompass simple but critical action steps.

  • Identify and understand the nature of exposures to damage.
  • Take proactive measures to avoid water damage to production/fabrication machinery, product inventory, raw materials, tools, electronics, data storage stations, etc.
  • Schedule regular building maintenance that addresses the upkeep of potential sources of water damage, such as plumbing and sprinklers. A component of this maintenance protocol should include searching for hidden water damage or deterioration resulting from a minute or slow water intrusion.
  • Swiftly execute well-planned and practiced remediation strategies in the event of a water intrusion event.

How Are Insurance Companies Responding to Commercial Water Damage Claims?

Many insurance companies are implementing approaches that facilitate the creation of a culture in the commercial setting that fosters prevention, identification, and rapid response to stop the water intrusion and repair the damage before the occurrence of advanced secondary water damage, including mold and mildew infestation.

Achievement of this worthy goal includes the provision of risk engineering for clients. Businesses and industries will be subject to more stringent compliance requirements for coverage. Ongoing facility maintenance and the implementation of water leak detection technology may be components of these tighter requirements. Finally, business and industry may experience increased coverage premiums for compliance deficiencies.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian have formal training to recognize water damage liability exposures and consult with businesses regarding risk improvement strategies. Having a Ready Plan is crucial for every business.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000, and the company is locally owned and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Being centrally located in Ellis County means that the team is within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The restoration experts specialize in residential damage restoration, commercial damage restoration, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about commercial water damage restoration in Waxahachie, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

How a Walk-In Tub Has the Potential to Cause a Water Damage Disaster

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian cautions seniors about the possibilities of bathroom water damage from walk-in tubs.

A water damage disaster can strike at any time and often without warning. When it does, life is suddenly filled with stress and worry. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian lives and works in the local community. When neighbors suffer fire damage, smoke damage, or water damage due to any size disaster, SERVPRO professionals are the premier cleanup and restoration company in the region.

An Aging U.S. Population

It is a well-known fact that the U.S. population is aging, with more than forty-six million adults aged sixty-five and older living in the U.S. By 2050, that number is expected to increase to around ninety million. In just ten years, one in five Americans is projected to be sixty-five years old and over. One of the many ingenious innovations developed to assist the elderly in their golden years is the walk-in tub.

Walk-In Tubs: A Popular Option for Seniors

A walk-in tub features a watertight door that swings open to enable the bather to safely enter the tub over a low threshold, reducing the likelihood of slip-and-fall incidents, which are a significant cause of injury among seniors. People have a variety of sizes and shapes of tubs from which to choose. Most models are taller and more narrow than standard tubs. Standard tubs can have about a foot of water. In contrast, some walk-in tubs allow for up to four feet of water, which enables the bather to enjoy a more satisfying immersion experience while being securely seated in a chair.

Walk-in tubs require about the same amount of water as a standard tub since many walk-in tubs are much narrower than standard tubs. A standard tub uses about forty-two gallons of water, while a walk-in tub needs around fifty gallons of water. Some walk-in tubs have re-circulation systems that heat the water, so constant filling is not required.

Potential Flooding Risks of Walk-In Tubs

Retirement Living, an online resource for seniors, highlights the risk that a walk-in tub could flood the bathroom, writing, “While most tubs have swing-in doors, that is, doors which swing into the tub for entry, some have swing-out doors for easier access. While the swing-out doors can make the tub easier to enter, it also brings the possibility of flooding should the door not be latched properly. If not secured properly, the weight of the water in a filling tub could cause the door to open and dozens of gallons of water to spill out into your home. While doors are also water sealed, there is always the chance of a seal failure that could also lead to leaks or flooding.”

An ABC News article underscores the concern about flooding in an article that reports the plight of a woman who spent over $16,000 on a walk-in tub that would not stop leaking. The leak, which was by the tub door, flooded the whole bathroom and seeped through to the downstairs level.

While walk-in tubs are generally safe, effective solutions for bathroom mobility issues, it is important to understand that tubs, like any home furnishing, are subject to failure or improper installation. The best course of action is to make sure the tub is installed by a trustworthy expert and to identify the best water damage restoration company to call should a leak occur.

Helpful Advice When Considering a Walk-In Tub

  • Consider the pros and cons of a walk-in tub.
  • Consult with friends who have a walk-in tub.
  • Read online reviews from people who own walk-in tubs.
  • Hire a reputable company with experience installing walk-in tubs. Check out their online reviews, and always obtain multiple quotes on installation costs. Make sure the estimates are quoting a similar scope of work and quality of product. Make sure the installer stands behind their work with a solid guarantee.

In case of water damage in the bathroom resulting from a walk-in tub malfunction, call in water damage restoration experts as soon as possible to prevent advanced secondary water damage, including a mold infestation. A water damage mitigation crew from SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian can be on the scene in thirty minutes or less. Attempting to clean up a large water spill can be very dangerous for a senior citizen, possibly resulting in injury from a fall on the wet and slippery floor.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. They are locally owned and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Being located in Ellis County means they are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The team of restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about water damage restoration in Waxahachie, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Nine Deep Frying Safety Tips to Help Homeowners Avoid a Fire Damage Disaster

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers nine tips to make deep frying a safer experience.

A fire damage disaster can strike at any time and often without warning. When it does, life is suddenly filled with stress, worry, and sometimes fear. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian lives and works in this community. When neighbors suffer fire damage, smoke damage, or water damage due to any size disaster, the SERVPRO professionals are the premier cleanup and restoration company in the region who can quickly restore the damaged property to a state “Like it never even happened.”

Awareness of the Dangers of Deep Frying

Texans love to cook, and they are good at it! Many homeowners have met the COVID-19 challenges of shutdowns, social distancing, and self-quarantines by re-orienting their culinary activities to include more deep frying in the home, outdoor kitchen, and backyard.

Favorite foods that can be cooked in a deep fryer include turkey, donuts, chicken, French fries, and onion rings. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service reports, “While these items are often purchased at a restaurant, deep fat frying is also a popular way to cook in home kitchens. However, deep frying in hot oil can be extremely dangerous. Hot oil can burn people and start fires. If food is not cooked to a safe temperature, it can cause a foodborne illness.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the primary cause of home fires and fire-related injuries in the U.S. Fire departments, on average, respond to over 166,000 structure fires per year, resulting in nearly $1.1 billion in direct property damage. Fat, grease, and cooking oil started fires in fifty-two percent of home fires.

Nine Safety Tips for Deep Frying at Home

Deep-fried foods are a favorite tradition for many Waxahachie and Midlothian families. When safety procedures are properly followed, there is minimal danger involved in the process. The following tips aim to prevent deep frying injuries at home and to make sure that food is cooked to a safe temperature.

  1. If the preparation of the recipe involves using a pot to deep fry the food item, be sure to have the following equipment available:
  • metal tongs
  • a thermometer with a pot clip
  • a large, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid
  • baking soda or all-purpose flour

Baking soda also functions as an extinguishing agent in case of a small fire.

  1. If utilizing a store-bought deep fryer, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Also, take some time to watch several videos on set up, food prep, safety precautions, and the frying process. In many cases, a name brand deep fryer offers professionally scripted and produced instructional videos. Tapping into this knowledge base can result in both better cuisine and a safer experience.

  1. Never leave a deep fryer unattended.

Leaving unattended items cooking in the deep fryer or on the stove is a leading cause of house fires. The cook can become distracted by social media, a phone call, or a childcare issue and lose track of time. Before long, the smell of smoke or the shrill sound of the smoke alarm will alert the cook to the imminent danger of a fire.

  1. Use a thermometer to monitor and properly regulate the oil temperature.

The chef will want to make sure that the food is cooked at a high enough temperature to kill any bacteria that might cause food poisoning.

  1. Avoid overfilling a fryer or pot with oil.

Remember that food displaces oil and may cause spillage. Oil heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit spilling out onto the countertop or flooring can cause burns, damage the flooring, and ruin the meal.

  1. Wear long-sleeves while frying in case of unexpected splatter.

Water and oil do not mix, especially if the oil is heated to several hundred degrees. Splatter or a full-blown explosion of hot grease can occur. Covering the arms can also prevent burns from normal oil splatter.

  1. If frying a turkey or other large foods, the recommendation is to deep fry outside.

Cooking outside limits the damage that can occur in the kitchen should the cooking experience turn dangerous. The backyard deep fryer still requires a watchful eye since the tantalizing aroma of deep-fried donuts, turkey, or chicken can be a great temptation to the family pet.

  1. Before gently placing foods into the hot oil, remove as much excess moisture, water, and marinade as possible.
  2. Always allow the cooking oil to fully cool before handling.

What to Do in Case of a Fire Caused Deep Frying

  1. When hot oil is involved, do not use water to extinguish the fire. The results could be explosive.
  2. Do not attempt to move or relocate the pan, pot, or fryer until the fire is completely out.
  3. Cover the pot or pan with a heavy lid. Cutting off the oxygen will extinguish the fire.
  4. Apply a copious amount of baking soda or all-purpose flour to smother any flames.
  5. Stop fighting the flames if the fire spreads. Redirect the focus to helping everyone escape to safety.
  6. Call 911.

With practice and safe handling of proper equipment, deep frying can be enjoyed at home during the holidays and all year long. Should fire damage restoration services be needed due to a deep frying disaster or other fire damage event, the team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is ready to help restore the damage and give peace of mind to the homeowner.

For more information about fire damage restoration in Waxahachie and Midlothian, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

How to Avoid Costly Water Damage From a Plumbing Leak This Winter

1/3/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains five ways that Waxahachie and Midlothian residents can avoid the disruption and expense of winter water damage from freezing pipes.

The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian knows that a Waxahachie, TX, water damage disaster can strike at any time and often without warning. When it does, life is suddenly filled with stress and worry. When a homeowner or business experiences water damage, fire and smoke damage, or a mold infestation, SERVPRO is the premier cleanup and restoration company in the region and can quickly restore the damaged property to a condition “Like it never even happened.” Plumbing leaks in winter are no exception.

Five Tips to Avoid Costly Plumbing Leaks This Winter

Plumbing problems are a headache. The remedy is not simple, and the damage is difficult to repair. Shutting off the water stops the leak, but it also makes the toilet, faucet, or appliance useless until the problem is resolved and the damage is repaired. The disruption and inconvenience can make life miserable.

Plumbing problems seem to erupt at very inconvenient times, especially during seasons or events that put stress on the pipes. Changes in the seasonal activities related to festive celebrations, colder temperatures, or visits from family can stress the home’s plumbing to the edge of capacity or beyond.

These tips help plumbing make it through the cold weather without any water damage disasters.

  1. Protect plumbing pipes for those times when frigid temperatures descend on the Waxahachie/Midlothian area.

When winter temperatures plummet, which they do dozens of times from November through February, water can readily freeze in pipes, causing them to burst. If the homeowner is away from the house shopping for several hours, away for days visiting family during the holidays, or simply unaware of a ruptured pipe, the effects can be disastrous. Under normal residential water pressure, from seven to nine gallons per minute can flow out of a burst pipe or approximately 500 gallons of water per hour. The damage to furniture, flooring, ceilings, and walls can be overwhelming.

By wrapping exposed or vulnerable pipes with foam pipe insulation, the likelihood of burst pipes during frigid temperatures is greatly reduced. The hollow tubes of foam with a slit down the side for easy installation can be purchased from any hardware store or home improvement center. Measure and cut the tube to the desired length, then slip it over the pipe. Use duct tape or zip ties to secure the foam if it lacks self-adhesive edges. If the temperatures are expected to fall below twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit for more than four hours, special precautions should be taken to prevent pipes from freezing.

  1. Repair home plumbing leaks as soon as they are discovered.

Now is the best time to remedy a plumbing leak. Inspect kitchen, bathroom, and utility room faucets for signs of a leak. Look and listen for drips and puddles. If a leaky faucet is discovered, schedule a repair as soon as possible with a trusted plumber.

  1. Practice hot water heater maintenance.

It is important to periodically drain the water heater in a region with hard water. The buildup of sediment in the bottom of the tank can cause rust to accumulate inside the tank and contaminate the household water supply. Homeowners with an older water heater should consider replacing it with a new unit. Dealing with water damage from a leaking hot water heater during cold weather is inconvenient and uncomfortable. Cold showers are bad enough, but a cold shower on a bitterly cold day is even worse.

  1. Disconnect the garden hose from the faucet to avoid frozen pipes.

Store any garden hoses until warm weather returns. Use the hose only when needed, and do not leave it connected to the faucet overnight. Leaving a hose connected to an outside spigot in winter can cause the faucet and connecting pipes to freeze as well.

  1. Close interior shut-off valves that lead to exterior faucets and drain the lines.

Water remaining in the lines can freeze and cause major water damage in a crawl space or basement.

Winter should be a time of celebration, family gatherings, and exploding fireworks, not exploding pipes and leaks that disrupt the festive cheer. Prepare plumbing for the cold days ahead. Repair any leaks before they expand and cause significant water damage.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. They are locally owned and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Being centrally located in Ellis County means they are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The team of water damage restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about water damage restoration in Waxahachie, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

What to Do When There Is Water in a Home’s Crawl Space

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers tips on resolving water in the crawl space before the water damages the home and harms the health of the house’s occupants.

A water damage disaster can strike at any time and often without warning. When it does, life is suddenly overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian lives and works in this community. When neighbors suffer water damage, fire damage, or smoke damage due to any size disaster, SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is the premier cleanup and restoration company that can quickly restore the damaged property, including water in the crawl space.

Waxahachie, the county seat of Ellis County, is regarded as one of the best places to live in Texas. The nearly 35,000 residents enjoy the dense urban feel of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Most residents own their own homes and enjoy amenities such as many parks, great schools, and the Ellis County Museum. Unfortunately, being a homeowner in East Texas also means experiencing water and excessive moisture in the crawl space of a home.

Factors Contributing to Water in the Crawl Space

  1. Weather

The recent uptick in precipitation elevates the risk of water accumulating in the crawl space of the typical East Texas home. Pooling water and excessive moisture are common in houses with a crawl space.

  1. Landscaping

The slope or grade of the soil next to the foundation of a home should be about one inch per foot for about six to ten feet away from the house. When the ground next to the foundation becomes saturated, moisture can then seep into the crawl space.

  1. Clogged gutters

Clogged gutters can overflow, dumping large amounts of water next to the foundation and making it even more important that the slope of the soil be sufficient to drain the water away from the home’s foundation.

  1. Faulty plumbing

A dripping water line or leaking sewage drain can spill an amazing amount of water into the crawl space. Two drops per second per day amounts to eleven gallons of water. In just one month, 330 gallons of water can accumulate under a home.

Solving the Moisture Problem in the Crawl Space

Taking the following easy steps can usually eliminate moisture problems in the crawl space of a Waxahachie home.

  1. Identify what is causing the moisture problem and prevent it from continuing.
  • Does the soil around the foundation slope away from the home at least one inch per foot for about ten feet? If not, some simple changes in landscaping may take care of the issue.
  • Are the gutters clean and flowing freely? Cleaning out the gutters and extending the downspouts away from the home’s foundation may resolve the problem.
  • Are they any leaky water lines or sewer pipes under the home? Listening for drips near pooled water or doing a smell test can usually identify plumbing issues. Calling in a qualified plumber may be needed to fully address any plumbing issues.
  • Is the crawl space below grade? If so, the installation of a dehumidifier and sump pump system may remedy the situation. Other more drastic and expensive measures may be required if the foundation is damaged or if major drainage improvements are needed.
  1. Call in a water damage restoration specialist to remove the water and restore any damage.

A qualified water damage restoration specialist will inspect the situation, assess the damage, and offer a free estimate of what it will take to remove the water and restore any water damage. Often, if the homeowner has been unable to identify the source of the water, the experienced and knowledgeable professional can repair the leak or offer recommendations on how to resolve the problem at its source.

  1. Mitigate any mold issues that may have resulted from moisture in the crawl space.

Mold thrives in dark, moist, warm areas such as a wet crawl space. Waiting to address moisture issues will almost certainly lead to mold issues. Mold can cause serious health problems. Exposure to mold in the air can cause health effects.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. The company is locally owned and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Being centrally located in Ellis County means they are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The team of restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about water damage restoration in Waxahachie, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

How Roof Leak Water Damage Can Harm Homeowners in Waxahachie and Midlothian, TX

12/4/2020 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian informs homeowners how water damage from roof leaks can endanger a family.

The emergency water damage restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian understand that a water damage disaster can strike at any time and often without warning. When disaster strikes, life is suddenly filled with stress and anxiety. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian lives and works in the Ellis County community. When neighbors suffer fire damage, smoke damage, or water damage due to any size disaster, SERVPRO is the premier cleanup and restoration company in the region who can quickly restore the damaged property to a state “Like it never even happened.”

How a Leaky Roof Creates Dangers for Homeowners

Water damage can ruin a home and cause serious health issues for the occupants. That is why repairing a roof leak is crucial to preserving the integrity and safety of the home.

Faulty installation, lack of proper maintenance, and wind or storm damage are just a few of the reasons that a roof may develop a leak. Most residential roofs are engineered to last for two or three decades. Depending on the age of the roof, leaks may indicate the need for a roof replacement.

A leaky roof is more than a structural problem. Constant water intrusion into the home environment can create many more safety and health risks as the destructive agent works its way from the attic to the home’s foundation. Here are some of the ways a roof leak can damage a home.

Attic and ceiling damage

Dangerous roof leaks first damage the attic and the contents stored in the attic. Furniture, clothing, holiday decorations, family heirlooms, and boxes that never were unpacked from the last move are subject to damage from a roof leak. If a significant leak is left unchecked, the interior ceiling will suffer damage. Darkly stained ceiling paint and blistered plaster are two results of a roof leak. If the leaking continues, the damage can spread to the walls, causing the paint to peel and the walls to warp and buckle. Ceiling-mounted lights and fans can be damaged as the water seeks the path of least resistance through the holes cut in the ceiling for the fixtures. This situation can present electrical dangers to the occupants of the home.

Mold and mildew infestation inside the home

Mold and mildew, almost inevitable consequences of a roof leak, present a health effects.  The HVAC system can disperse mold spores to the carpeting, furniture, upholstery, and clothing, leading to a massive infestation that can have effects on human and pet health. Black mold can attack and ruin ceiling tiles, wood framing, and floor and wall coverings. This common household mold is very challenging and costly to eliminate.

Fire hazards from water damage

A leaky roof poses a fire hazard if exposed wiring in the attic or ceiling gets wet. Crawling around in the dark, cramped attic amid exposed electrical wiring could lead to electrocution. Enlisting the services of a qualified electrician to repair the exposed wiring is recommended.

Personal injury from a slip or fall

Severe roof leaks can soak the carpet and other floor coverings. Moisture from the soaked carpeting and puddled water on top of tile, vinyl, or laminate flooring presents a danger to both the elderly and young children who run and play in the home. By the time carpeting is soggy and water is puddling on the floor, a professional water damage restoration specialist and a roofing contractor should immediately be called in to address the leak.

Energy waste and higher utility bills

Water-logged insulation has a reduced capacity to insulate the home. Leaving insulation to dry on its own can take a long time, extending the period of reduced insulation. Energy bills increase.

Compromised integrity of the house’s structure

Roof leaks damage rafters, ceiling joists, and wall framing. Fascia boards and exterior trim can be damaged too. Rotten roof framing is very costly to repair.

Mold, collapsed ceilings, electrical shock, slip-and-fall accidents, and extensive structural damage are just a few of the dangers that can result from a roof leak. When a roof begins to leak, do not delay and allow advanced secondary damage to develop.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. Locally owned, the company is centrally located in Ellis County and is within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The team of restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about damage restoration in Waxahachie, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.