Recent Posts

Steps for Preventing Water Damage and Mold Damage Due to the Misuse of a Pressure Washer

4/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian offers tips to help homeowners avoid water damage and mold damage when using a power washer to clean their homes.

Water damage restoration is necessary when an appliance supply line ruptures, severe weather causes a roof leak, a tub overflows, or a toilet backs up. However, homeowners may not realize that power washing a home could also lead to water damage and extensive mold damage. A property damage disaster can strike at any time and often without warning, including from the improper use of a power washer. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian is sharing the tips listed below on how to avoid water damage and a mold infestation resulting from incorrect pressure washing.

A power washer is an amazingly effective and efficient cleaning machine to get rid of stubborn dirt and grime, including mold and mildew. As the name implies, a power washer uses a powerful stream of water to wash the grime off a surface. The big-box consumer model can exceed 2500 psi, while a commercial model can top 4000 psi. Professionals distinguish between power washing and pressure washing, but both methods utilize a powerful stream of water and sometimes a detergent. Power washing, however, uses hot water.

The Perils of Power Washing

In the hands of an untrained and inexperienced homeowner or handyman, a power washer or pressure washer can cause serious property damage and personal injury. Property damage may include:

  • pitting concrete, mortar, stucco, and asphalt
  • dislodging bricks and mortar
  • defacing concrete yard ornaments, birdbaths, and statuary
  • peeling paint
  • gouging and splintering wooden fences, decks, facia, and soffits
  • denting and dislodging gutters
  • cracking, denting, or loosening vinyl siding
  • pitting and cracking wood siding
  • blasting away the caulking and seals around windows, doors, and vents
  • cracking and breaking windows
  • shredding window screens

Unsafe operation of a power washer or pressure washer can also result in minor to severe physical injuries.

In the hands of an inexperienced homeowner, a power washer can cause severe property damage that can lead to unwanted water damage and mold damage. Here are some specific tips to stay safe, protect the surfaces being cleaned, and avoid water damage and mold damage.

  1. Always use the correct water pressure for the surface being cleaned. If there is concern about surface damage, opt for a lower water pressure setting. High water pressure can create cracks in vinyl siding, allowing water to seep behind the siding during the washing process and later during rainy weather.
  2. Maintain proper nozzle distance and stream width to protect the surface that is being cleaned. Lower pressure and a wider stream can prevent pitting, gouging, splitting, cracking, stripping paint, or tearing up the upper layer of older concrete. Damaging the seal between mortar and brick can allow water to seep behind the brick, causing wood rot and mold issues.
  3. Keep the wand under control at all times. A wayward wand can dislodge mortar, destroy siding, break windows, and rip out caulking and seals around windows and doors. A leak around a window can be difficult to spot until peeling paint, warped sheetrock, warped baseboards, and the distinct smell of mold and mildew become obvious.
  4. Apply environmentally-safe cleaning agents to the dirty surface, and let the chemicals do the hard work of breaking loose and dissolving the dirt, grime, oxidation, stains, mold, and mildew. Follow up with a modest pressure level and a wider stream for more efficient coverage. Repeat the process on stubborn areas. For the inexperienced homeowner, a blend of water and detergent sprayed on the surface to be cleaned and then rinsed with a garden hose with a hose-end sprayer may be the best course of action to prevent structural damage to windows, doors, siding, soffits, gutters, and bricks.
  5. Be aware that using a power washer on replacement windows and doors may render product warranties null and void.
  6. Use proper safety gear when power washing. Eyewear, gloves, a face shield, a long-sleeve shirt or jacket, and ear protection are essential. Bleach and other strong detergents can have adverse effects on the skin and eyes.
  7. Be careful when climbing a ladder, spraying near electrical outlets and panel boxes, or working near overhead power lines.
  8. Hire a licensed, bonded, and insured professional to clean tough jobs. Deep grime, delicate surfaces, and high heights require the right equipment, cleaning products, training, and skill only a professional can provide.
  9. If water damage or mold damage occurs as a result of a power washing job gone wrong, contact a property damage restoration company with the equipment, training, certifications, and expertise to locate the origin of the water intrusion, identify any mold issues, and clean up and restore the damaged areas. Water damage around windows and doors, behind siding, and inside walls will likely involve mold issues.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian have the latest water removal and drying equipment. Cutting-edge moisture detecting technology is vital when covert, or hidden, water damage is involved. The SERVPRO team can also take care of any mold issues that might have arisen from the water intrusion. Demolition, reconstruction, and full-service damage restoration are what the SERVPRO team does best.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. A crew will arrive on the scene in about an hour. For more information about the company’s water damage cleanup services in Red Oak, TX, and surrounding areas, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by phone at (972) 935-0827 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Should a Business Attempt a DIY Property Damage Cleanup Project?

4/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights the dangers and inefficiency of a DIY property damage cleanup project in a commercial environment.

When a business suffers water damage that necessitates water removal, physical property is not the only thing affected. Normal business operations are disrupted or cease altogether. Retail sales are dramatically curtailed, and product flow churns to a halt as assembly lines grow silent. The provision of onsite client services is interrupted indefinitely. Revenue slows to a trickle while overhead explodes. Profits plunge while expenses skyrocket. Rapid water cleanup is a priority in order to restore normal business operations, resume provision of client services, regain sales momentum and return to a positive cash flow. Success hinges on a swift cleanup and recovery.

What to Do During and After the Water Damage Disaster

When a property damage disaster occurs at a Midlothian, TX, business, immediate steps must be taken. In the event of a fire, chemical spill, or personal injury, first responders should be immediately notified of the need for emergency services.

Step #1: Implement the formal Disaster Ready Plan if one is in place.

A comprehensive disaster readiness plan encompasses preparation, training, response, and recovery. Separate from but linked to the Disaster Ready Plan is the business continuity plan, which focuses on the continuance of a business in the context of catastrophic devastation. Catastrophes could include total loss of a facility, destruction of the means of production, massive data breach or data loss, supply chain collapse, or loss of a key person or persons.

Step #2: Stabilize the situation.

This step includes extinguishing a fire or shutting off the water, electricity, and natural gas. If necessary, roof damage should be tarped.

Step #3: Ensure the safety of the occupants.

Human life always takes priority over the facility, equipment, and product. If the situation is not stabilized, circumstances can escalate to a point where personal safety becomes a factor.

Step #4: Protect the structure and its contents.

During and after the disaster, employees will take the appropriate action to protect vital equipment, important documents, electronics, inventory, raw materials, and any toxic chemicals. Tarp or relocate anything of value to a safe location, and engage emergency backup systems, including data backup. Relocate hazardous materials to safety.

Step #5: Begin the cleanup and restoration process.

A rapid and thorough restoration project is essential for the success of the business. Business owners and senior management have two options. Employees can be enlisted to handle the task, or a property damage restoration company can be contracted to handle the cleanup and restoration.

Compelling Reasons to Choose a Restoration Professional

Two compelling reasons argue against utilizing payroll personnel to handle the cleanup and restoration: liability and inefficiency. When employees are tasked with duties outside the scope of their job description, the employer is exposed to liabilities that can have a greater financial impact than the property damage disaster.

Important Consideration: Liability

Employees may sustain physical injuries or trauma that leads to a loss time accident, a workers compensation claim, or litigation. These dangers include:

  • Back, joint, or muscle injuries from heavy lifting or overexertion
  • Slip-and-fall injuries
  • Health effects arising from over exposure to heat
  • Lacerations or puncture wounds
  • Health issues or injuries arising from exposure to harmful particulate matter and toxins resulting from a fire or chemical spill
  • Health concerns arising from exposure to raw sewage
  • Stress and anxiety from working in a high-stress and dangerous environment

As a side note, employers may face legal pushback from unions and trade associations when employees engage in work activities beyond the range of their job description.

Important Consideration: Efficiency

Resumption of normal business operations is critical for a small business to survive a property damage disaster that interrupts the revenue cycle. Delays can be extremely costly for any business since time, the creation of goods and the delivery of services yield revenue.

Hardworking employees who lack knowledge, training, experience, the proper equipment, techniques, and cleaning products cannot possibly perform cleanup and restoration with the efficiency and thoroughness of a skilled, competent, well-equipped, and highly coordinated team of property damage restoration professionals.

The Benefits of Professional Cleaning and Restoration Services

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian will assist business owners in formulating a Disaster Ready Plan that includes preparation, response, and recovery. The SERVPRO team provides a rapid response within an hour, 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. The team inspects and assesses the damage, and a detailed, documented estimate is provided to the client. In the meantime, mitigation and stabilization efforts are underway. The skilled, well-equipped, and highly coordinated crew work quickly to clean up and restore the disaster damage. Crews are equipped with the proper personal protective gear (PPG) and follow strict safety guidelines to protect themselves, others, and the property of the client. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is licensed, bonded, and insured.

The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian can be reached by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or by phone at (972) 935-0827.

How Straight-Line Winds Can Cause Devastating Storm Damage

4/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian alerts homeowners to the dangers of straight-line winds and offers advice on how to recover from an encounter with these powerful weather events.

Most people associate severe weather and storm damage with heavy thunderstorms, flash floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes. These weather events can cause devastating property damage and inflict serious personal injury. However, another weather event, straight-line winds, is a common cause of storm damage. Straight-line winds are often mistaken for other types of windstorms, particularly tornadoes, and do not receive the attention they deserve. Knowledge of what straight-line winds are, the conditions under which they form, and the damage they can do to structures will help homeowners protect their homes and themselves from straight-line winds.

The National Weather Service defines straight-line winds as “thunderstorm winds that have no rotation, i.e. as a tornado.” The experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration highlight the signature characteristics of straight-line winds: “Straight-line winds are often responsible for most of the wind damage associated with a thunderstorm. These winds are often confused with tornadoes because of similar damage and wind speeds. However, the strong gusty winds associated with straight-line winds are unlike the rotating winds of a tornado. If you were to survey the damage pattern left by straight-line winds, you would see debris such as uprooted trees laid out in nearly parallel rows.”

NOAA weather experts distinguish another type of straight-line winds: down-bursts. “Down-bursts are one example of damaging straight-line winds. A down-burst is a small area of rapidly descending rain and rain-cooled air beneath a thunderstorm. Wind speeds in some of the stronger down-bursts can reach 100 to 150 miles per hour which is similar to that of a strong tornado. The winds produced from a down-burst often travel in one direction, and the worst damage is usually on the forward side of the down-burst.”

A Closer Look at the Dynamics of Straight-Line Winds

Condensation in the form of precipitation causes cooler, dryer air to form inside a thunderstorm. As more moisture condenses, more cool air is produced. Straight-line winds develop when the cooler air is forced downward by powerful dynamics inside the storm as set off by the differences in the weight, temperature, and density of the warm air and the cooler, dryer air. When the cooler air collides with the round, it spreads out horizontally. These fast-moving straight-line wind gusts may reach speeds of over 100 mph. The downward movement of the cooler air is sometimes referred to as a downburst.

Why Straight-Line Winds Are Often Confused with a Tornado

People often confuse straight-line winds with a tornado. The intense winds generated by both the straight-line winds and a tornado produce a loud roaring noise. Both weather events have similar storm damage consequences. The damage pattern of a tornado is twisted and circular due to the rotation of the funnel. In contrast, straight-line winds leave a damage pattern of debris that is straight or strewn about in a fan-like shape.

Storm Damage Caused by Straight-Line Winds

Tornadic winds create havoc and destruction but are soon passed. Straight-line winds may not reach tornadic intensity but may last twenty minutes or more. Sustained winds of 58 mph to 165 mph can cause severe property damage.

Roof damage may include damaged or dislodged shingles. The strong, sustained wind can roll up shingles, underlayment, and sheathing like a bedroll, exposing the attic to severe water damage. Other property damage effects include:

  • Ripping gutters from their moorings
  • Breaking the seal around windows, doors, and roof vents
  • Crumpling unreinforced garage doors
  • Peeling siding off the exterior of the home
  • Sending outdoor furniture and equipment crashing into vehicles and the home

A home may erupt leaks in the roof, around windows and doors, and in the garage. Ceilings may collapse. Walls and floors may buckle and warp. Excess water may flood the HVAC air ducts. The moisture and warm weather foster mold growth.

Cleanup and Restoration

When straight-line winds damage a home, a quick response and a rapid cleanup and restoration are crucial to prevent advanced secondary damage such as mold infestation, warped and buckling walls and floors, and wood rot. The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian is dedicated to helping customers whose homes have been damaged by severe weather and suffered a serious water intrusion. The SERVPRO professionals utilize the best and most efficient equipment to remove any bulk water, and commercial-grade dehumidifiers and rapid-spin fans reduce the humidity to acceptable levels. Once the water is removed and the structure is stabilized for safety purposes, the storm damage restoration process can proceed. The customer is provided with a detailed estimate documented with images and video, and SERVPRO can manage the insurance claims process from beginning to end.

To learn more about SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian’s flood damage restoration services, email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or call (972) 935-0827.

Why Homeowners Need to Have the Proper Flood Insurance before Severe Weather Strikes

3/7/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian urges homeowners and business owners to have adequate flood insurance before a storm damage disaster occurs.

The cost of flood damage restoration without homeowners insurance or adequate flood insurance can be financially devastating. Structural damage to the roof and the resulting water damage can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. Most typical homeowners policies cover this type of storm damage. However, flood damage from a localized flash flood or a micro flood may be exempt from a homeowners policy, and the homeowner may not have been required to have FEMA flood insurance. The time to find out which coverage is needed is before, not after, a disaster.

In advance of the Atlantic hurricane season, homeowners and businesses are urged to review their insurance coverage situation. Efforts to recover from a flood with no or inadequate insurance coverage can be expensive.

The cause of storm damage may be related to wind or water. In either case, the homeowner with insufficient coverage will realize that recovery is difficult, painful, and may not be financially feasible. Some property owners are lulled into thinking adequate coverage is too expensive and not essential. How often does a “hundred-year flood” occur? Once is enough to cause devastation.

Localized Flooding: A Growing Problem

A rise in temperatures and humidity levels in the atmosphere produce intense storms. When these storm cells stall or linger over a community, massive amounts of water are dumped onto roads, parking lots, and neighborhoods that lack the drainage infrastructure to manage the torrential rains. The increased frequency of these isolated yet powerful storm cells is causing flooding in small neighborhoods, large planned residential communities, and municipalities that previously were unaffected.

Most homeowners have a typical homeowners insurance policy. However, the standard policy usually has a hurricane deductible and does not cover flooding. These two features can be financially catastrophic when flooding is the cause of the property damage.

An insurance policy covering flooding is a separate policy and can be obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program. Some private carriers offer flood coverage. Lenders typically do not require flood insurance unless the property is located in a specially designated flood zone.

Help for the Uninsured

Some assistance from government programs might be available for uninsured homeowners who have suffered flood-related damage. FEMA grants and Small Business Administration loans might be available to some homeowners. However, this aid is not guaranteed. The funds, if available, will likely not be sufficient to repair all the damages. The weather event must be declared a disaster area for both FEMA and the SBA to get involved. Homeowners can apply for SBA loans approaching $200,000 but only on the primary residence. Repayment of the loan is in addition to the mortgage payment, which continues even though the structure may be uninhabitable. A bank or other private lending institution may offer a home equity or construction loan for the rebuild.

Four Ways a Homeowner Can Prepare for Flooding or Storm Damage

Here are a few practical tips to help homeowners prepare for and respond to severe weather conditions that might result in flood damage and storm damage.

1. Create a family disaster readiness plan.

This plan includes:

  • Basic first aid supplies, medications, and vital prescriptions
  • Basic survival food and equipment such as flashlights, batteries, weather band radios, walkie talkies, matches, candles, water filters, and water
  • Critical data in hand and on the cloud
  • Pre-qualification of a reputable property damage restoration company specializing in storm damage, flood restoration, water damage, fire and smoke damage, and mold remediation

2. Prepare ahead of time when severe weather is in the forecast.

Place lawn furniture, toys, garbage cans, and any gardening equipment in a secure location. Close the garage door.

3. Take action to mitigate losses if flooding occurs. 

Safety must never be compromised. Relocate furniture, artwork, electronic equipment, computers, and other valuables to a second floor or to a location in the home that is less likely to be inundated by rising waters.

4. Call in the professionals for storm damage and flood cleanup and restoration. 

Delays allow for advanced secondary damage to take place. Swollen baseboards, warping in floors and drywall, and mold infestation can be avoided when bulk water is quickly removed. Dehumidification and applied structural drying can prevent further damage and speed up the timeline to recovery.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. Being centrally located in Ellis County means they are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. This rapid response is crucial in a property damage disaster involving a water intrusion from flooding, storm damage, or a burst supply pipe.

To learn more information about storm damage cleanup in Red Oak, TX, contact the office of SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by phone at (972) 935-0827 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

The Importance of Water Damage Restoration Services for the Healthcare Industry

3/7/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers water removal and property damage restoration when healthcare facilities suffer a water damage disaster.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian understands the stress, anxiety, and frustration that administrators, doctors, nurses, and support staff experience when water damage necessitates water removal in a specialized commercial setting such as a hospital, nursing home, or other healthcare facilities. Storm damage to the roof can allow massive amounts of water to leak into the facility disrupting patient care, interrupting surgical procedures, and endangering the lives of staff and patients. With the passing of each minute, the scope and complexity of the disaster escalate to include more than bulk water removal and dehumidification.

Steps for Re-Opening a Healthcare Facility after a Water Damage Disaster

In a crisis or large-scale natural disaster, residents of the Midlothian, TX, community look to the local hospitals for emergency services, healthcare, and shelter. Sometimes severe weather, flooding, or other disasters interrupt the facility’s ability to provide services. This disaster may disrupt the provision of services for days or weeks. The initial removal of bulk water may not resolve all issues related to the water damage. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities may still need to address mold or mildew caused by leaks or flooding. These steps will help facility managers work through the challenges of reopening a healthcare facility following a major water damage incident.

Step #1: Determine if the structure can be safely occupied.

Severe weather such as a tornado, violent thunderstorm, or the remnants of a hurricane can undermine the structural integrity of the facility. The building must be evaluated for risk hazards prior to re-entry, and the assessment will seek to determine whether the structure is safe for occupancy.

Step #2: Initiate cleanup and restoration.

This step begins with the removal of bulk water, dehumidification, and applied structural drying. The immediate removal of any standing water will avoid secondary damage. Once areas are safe for traffic, technicians can clean, disinfect, and deodorize water-damaged items, floors, walls, and equipment. Repairs can begin. Potential contamination issues from mold, mildew, sewage backups, medical wastes, and chemical spills must also be identified and remediated.

Step #3: Return to normal operations.

The resumption of normal operations requires that the facility receive a final, thorough cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting to create a safe environment for staff and patients. Supplies must be restocked, and damaged or destroyed equipment must be repaired or replaced.

Step #4: Review and revise plans to be more fully prepared for the next potential disaster.

A property damage disaster is traumatic for everyone involved. A disaster in a hospital or healthcare facility highlights several needs:

  1. The need to have a customized Disaster Ready Plan that includes regular training and drills.
  2. The need to pre-qualify a property damage cleanup and restoration company.

The team of professionals must be competent to safely handle a disaster scene that involves a complex matrix of hazards, including contaminated water, medical wastes, chemical spills, and other biohazards. This company must be able to scale without delay to meet the full scope of the damage disaster.  Emergency board-up and tarping, secure offsite storage facilities, electronics restoration, and document restoration must be components of the property damage restoration solution.

  1. The need to learn from the experience.

In the stressful chaos of a natural disaster, mistakes, missteps, and mishaps are inevitable. These flaws may not necessarily result from human error but may be the result of incredible human efforts to save lives, salvage precious medical supplies, or prevent vital life-saving equipment from being damaged or destroyed. Much can be lost when a flood, tornado, fire, or other disaster strikes a hospital or healthcare facility, but much can be learned that improves the next response.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is dedicated to providing property damage restoration services to homeowners, businesses, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. The highly trained, certified, and experienced technicians are available and ready to roll 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. SERVPRO can scale to meet the challenges of any size or type of disaster. The latest equipment, advanced technology, and industry-standard cleaning techniques and products give SERVPRO technicians a decided advantage when working in the challenging environment of a hospital or healthcare facility hit by a property damage disaster.

For more information about water damage cleanup, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by phone at (972) 935-0827 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

Six Tips for Preventing Water Damage to Important Documents

3/7/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers strategies for preserving documents from water damage. In the event that water damage does occur, homeowners can turn to SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian for document restoration services.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian understands the importance of quickly beginning the water damage restoration process. That is why the team goes to extraordinary lengths to rapidly respond to a water damage disaster in an hour or less.

In the first few minutes of a serious water intrusion at a Midlothian, TX, home, water quickly spreads throughout the property, saturating everything in its path. Photographs, books, documents, and other paper items begin to exhibit signs of damage. After an hour of exposure to water and moisture, dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain. In the first day or two, there is a musty smell. Within as little as 48 hours, mold and mildew start to grow on wet or moist items, especially documents and other paper products. Mold spores thrive on wood, cardboard, and paper. A musty odor appears. To prevent smudging, smearing, staining, deterioration, and mold growth, the homeowner must protect paper products from exposure to water and moisture. If exposed to water, photos, documents, and other paper goods must be carefully dried and cleaned with special equipment, techniques, and cleaning products.

Proactive Tips to Protect Important Documents from Water Damage

When a disaster strikes, the residents of the home often have little time to do more than safely escape. In those few available moments, taking the time to gather valuable possessions and important documents may mean the difference between life and death.  However, proactive measures can be taken to protect the essential documents that will be crucial to repairing and rebuilding both lives and property in the wake of a disaster.

The “Six C” Strategy: Compile, Consolidate, Copy, Cache, Cloud, and Contact

  1. Compile

Compile an organized, itemized list of vital documents. Utilize technology to efficiently process the information. The sheer volume of documents may be overwhelming, but do not cut corners. Thoughtfully organize important documents into logical categories, such as:

  • Personal identification

These documents identify members of the family and any other occupants in the home. They include legal IDs for work, school, and driving; hunting and fishing licenses; official birth certificates; marriage licenses; divorce certificates; military identification; proof of pet ownership; and passports.

  • Financial and legal documents

This category can include a wide variety of documents, including credit and debit cards, mortgage and lease agreements, utility bills, vehicle loans, insurance policies, tax statements, etc.

  • Health and medical documents

Health and medical information can vary widely from person to person, depending on the situation. The document compilation needs to include contact information for doctors, prescriptions, health insurance, and disabilities documentation.

  1. Consolidate

Consolidate all physical documents in a central, accessible location so that the documents can be easily and quickly accessed if a tornado, flood, fire, or other disaster occurs. One storage option is a filing cabinet, lockbox, or safe that can be easily transported or carried out of the structure. If possible, the container should be both waterproof and fireproof. Essential documents can also be stored offsite in a safe deposit box at a bank. Make sure the key or keys to these secure containers and the safe deposit box make their way out of the home before it is damaged or destroyed.

  1. Copy

Make backup paper copies of documents in case digital versions are lost, corrupted, damaged, or destroyed.

  1. Cache

Keep the collection, or cache, of copies in a safe, secure place away from the originals and master copies. An offsite location that is quickly and easily accessible by car is advisable.

  1. Cloud

Create electronic versions of each document. A secure online cloud storage service is recommended, but a CD or portable digital storage device will also suffice. Documents can be captured digitally with a scanner. Electronic files stored in the cloud are impervious to fire, water, and smoke damage. However, take necessary IT precautions and protect digital storage devices from damage or theft. Keep passwords secure. Consider two-factor authentication for the highest level of digital safety.

  1. Contact

Contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian for property damage cleanup and restoration services in the event of a natural disaster, flood, fire and smoke damage, or water intrusion from a burst pipe or sewage backup. SERVPRO offers state-of-the-art document cleaning and restoration. Their cutting-edge methods include document freeze-drying and gamma irradiation technology for sterilizing. The certified technicians are experienced in document drying, cleaning, and disinfecting water damaged documents. The team offers re-jacketing and deodorization when needed. Sensitive documents are kept under 24/7 surveillance managed by a HIPPA certified technician.

Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has served the area since 2000. The team of restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about document drying services and water damage cleanup, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by calling (972) 935-0827 or by emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

Spotting and Diagnosing Water Intrusion From a Chimney Leak

2/11/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains how to identify a leaking chimney and offers tips on how to deal with the water damage.

When water damage from a leaking chimney is discovered, homeowners can turn to SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian for water damage restoration. Technicians have the equipment, knowledge, and skills needed to restore walls, ceilings, and floors suffering from water damage caused by a chimney leak. If secondary damage includes a mold infestation, the SERVPRO team can also provide mold remediation services to clients in Red Oak, TX, and the surrounding area.

How to Spot Chimney Leaks

A relaxing evening by a warm, cozy fire in the fireplace is one of winter’s most enjoyable pleasures. Homeowners need to be aware that the fireplace and chimney system can appear to be functioning properly while the chimney is actually leaking and causing water damage. Moisture can penetrate chimney systems through a variety of entry points, and the chimney system, the roof, and the interior of the home can suffer a water damage disaster. Some water damage is evident in the early stages of the leak; signs include brown or bronze water stains on ceilings and walls close to the chimney. Other signs are hidden and difficult to spot. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not recognize even the obvious signs as evidence of a moisture leak. By educating themselves about what a chimney leak looks like, homeowners can intercept the water intrusion before it becomes more severe.

Evidence Pointing to a Water Leak

A water intrusion from a leaking chimney will usually first appear during or after severe weather involving heavy rainfall and high winds. Long periods of high humidity and a steady drizzle or downpour can also result in a chimney leak. The following signs indicate a leak is present:

  1. Water stains and discoloration on the ceiling around the chimney
  2. Brown, black, or green streaks on a wall near the chimney
  3. Warped walls and baseboards
  4. Peeling or bubbling paint on walls and baseboards
  5. Moist, warped, or soft flooring around the base of the chimney
  6. Wet or moist carpet around the chimney
  7. Moisture and water stains visible in the attic near the chimney
  8. A musty, moldy smell near the chimney
  9. A past history of chimney leaks

Potential Sources of the Leak

The source of a chimney leak is often challenging to pinpoint. The water intrusion may run along support beams or rafters for several feet before finally dripping onto the ceiling or running down a wall. A homeowner or property manager can avoid thousands of dollars on water damage restoration and structural repairs by conducting periodic inspections of the chimney. Here are some signs that a chimney might be leaking and causing water damage.

  1. Defective mortar

Mortar joints must be watertight. If the mortar is missing or has deep fissures or cracks, moisture can make its way into the home. During cold weather, the water in these fissures can freeze, and the expansion enlarges the fissures, causing the moisture issue to worsen. If deteriorating mortar is caught early, a procedure called “tuckpointing” can be implemented. Tuckpointing involves removing deteriorated mortar and replacing it with fresh mortar; as a result, the chimney looks refreshed, and the water intrusion issue is resolved.

  1. Damaged or improperly installed flashing

Often, chimney leaks are caused by faulty flashing. Flashing serves to create a watertight seal where the chimney and roof connect. Installation requires a high level of skill and expertise. Sometimes damage to the flashing is visible. Gaps between the flashing and the chimney bricks should not be visible but should be filled with caulking or another sealant.

  1. Damaged or missing chimney cap

The chimney cap is installed over the flue to prevent rain, snow, and sleet from falling directly into the chimney. If the cap is damaged or missing, a water intrusion can result.

  1. Cracked mud cap

The chimney crown or the mud cap is a mortared area on the top of the chimney designed to keep water from seeping between the flue and the chimney exterior. The mortar deteriorates rapidly under temperature extremes. If not detected early, cracks in the mud cap can lead to water damage in the home.

For more information about water damage cleanup in Red Oak, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827. The team of restoration and cleaning professionals can also be reached by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

Remediating a Mold Infestation in an Attic That Has Suffered Water Damage

2/11/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights causes of mold growth in the attic and explains how the restoration team remediates the infestation.

Much-needed water damage restoration in the attic can be delayed because the attic is often neglected or ignored by the homeowner. The reasons are understandable. The attic is a part of the home that generally does not get much traffic. The annual retrieval of Christmas decorations or the placement of a box for storage is about the only time the attic receives a visit. For many Midlothian, TX, homeowners, the attic is inaccessible. The ladder may be shaky and structurally unsound, making the ascent dangerous. Once in the attic, the homeowner risks falling through the ceiling if the lighting is inadequate or the flooring is unstable or has gaps. The potential for a trip-and-fall is high.

The attic may be neglected or ignored because the environment is uninviting or harmful. Depending on the season, the attic can be very cold or stiflingly hot. Even a short visit to the attic during the summer months can stress the body, increasing the risk of a heat stroke. Dust can cause health effects.

To avoid having to venture into the attic for inspections and repairs, hire a reputable roofing contractor or attic specialist to inspect the roof and attic at least once a year. In the event of severe weather where there is evidence of roof damage, such as missing shingles or water stains on the ceiling, an inspection is especially recommended.

What Mold Needs to Thrive

Mold spores are everywhere. Problems arise when an infestation breaks out. Mold thrives in an environment where light is sparse and darkness is normal. Closets, crawl spaces, and attics are prime locations for mold growth. Mold thrives in warm temperatures but can still grow when and where temperatures are cool. Lastly, mold loves moisture, which can accumulate in the attic, creating perfect conditions for mold growth.

Common Causes of Water Intrusion in the Attic

From time to time, even well-installed roofs will develop a leak. Severe weather may damage or dislodge shingles. A falling limb may puncture the roof, the caulking around the vents may degrade over time, or the chimney may spring a leak. Sometimes squirrels and chipmunks chew their way into the attic, leaving a hole that also allows other pests, as well as water, to enter the attic.

Ventilation may not be sufficient to remove moisture and condensation from the attic. Vents clogged with debris do not allow the attic to breathe. Not all soffit vents are equal. Some soffit vents are installed for cosmetic purposes, but the vent hole is not cut out. Occasionally, the builder fails to install the proper number of soffit vents. Workers may inadvertently cover the soffit vents with insulation, severely restricting airflow in the attic. Attic air stagnates, and moisture builds up.

Appliances or exhaust fans may vent hot, moist air into the attic. The condensate pan on an HVAC system may rust or crack, allowing moisture to collect in the attic. If the drain system clogs, the condensate pan can overflow and flood the attic.

These more common causes of excessive attic moisture can be remedied, reducing mold growth in the attic. However, any mold left unchecked can grow into an infestation, leading to structural damage. These tips aim at avoiding mold infestation in the attic.

Tips to Prevent Mold From Growing in the Attic

Tip #1: Inspect the attic for roof leaks with the changing of each season.

Discoloration in the insulation and on the wood beams and flooring may indicate a water leak. Pay special attention to areas where two roofs meet at an angle. Plumbing stacks are also prone to water leaks.

Tip #2: Vet the ventilation.

Moisture levels in the attic will become elevated if ventilation is insufficient. During the winter months, warm air rises and makes its way into the attic, where the moisture condenses on cold surfaces. Adequate ventilation will allow this moisture to escape before it does any damage. Check to make sure none of the vents are covered with insulation or debris.

Tip #3: Evaluate the insulation situation.

In winter, the attic temperature should be at or near the outside temperature. Adequate insulation in the attic flooring can minimize air transfer between the living area and the attic. HVAC ductwork in the attic should also be properly insulated. Heat escaping into the attic can result in condensation.

Tip #4: Appliances should not vent into the attic.

Inspect the bathroom, dryer, and kitchen vents to ensure they vent to the home’s exterior. Reroute any vents that dump warm, moist air into the attic. This effort may require the services of a professional roofer or general contractor.

The SERVPRO technicians utilize state-of-the-art equipment, advanced moisture detection technology, and the latest cleaning techniques and strategies to mitigate a mold infestation. The EPA-approved cleaning products are safe for humans and pets. Mold removal requires technical expertise and carefully-followed safety protocols to protect both the technicians and the occupants of the structure. When the job is complete, the homeowner can be confident that the home is clean and safe.

Contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian to learn more about Midlothian, TX, water damage cleanup. The office can be reached by phone at (972) 935-0827 or by emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

Fire Pit Safety: A Key Element of Fire Damage Prevention in Midlothian, TX

2/11/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights how prioritizing fire pit safety can prevent fire damage to homes and structures in Ellis County.

A fire damage disaster can bring an abrupt end to a friendly gathering around the backyard firepit. However, with appropriate safety measures in place, the event does not have to end in disaster. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains how simple fire pit safety practices can help homeowners prevent fire damage. When fire damage, smoke damage, or water damage occurs, SERVPRO is the local cleanup and restoration company that can quickly restore the damaged property.

Before firing up the fire pit, brush up on fire pit safety practices. By learning and consistently applying simple, practical steps, people can keep the home safe and avoid the need for fire damage cleanup.

The firepit pro or novice newcomer planning to add a firepit should review fire pit safety practices. The time investment is especially crucial for the first-time firepit enthusiast. Get the maximum enjoyment from the firepit while keeping family and friends safe.

Select a safe site for the fire pit.

Choosing the right location for the firepit is foundational to fire pit safety. Ideally, the firepit should be on level ground and ten to twenty feet away from buildings, structures, and plants. Never place a firepit below an overhang or in an area that is partly enclosed. Also, avoid overhanging tree limbs and branches since they can ignite quickly if exposed to sparks. Once the location has been selected, border the firepit with brick, sand, crushed stone, or other materials that are not combustible.

Seat guests safely.

Chairs should not be placed too close to the fire. The homeowner can ensure that seats remain at a safe distance from the pit by using heavy chairs or fixed seating. Whenever a fire pit is in use, keep a close eye on children and do not allow them to get too close to the blaze.

Use good wood.

Wood that has been seasoned for a minimum of six months is the only fuel that should be used in a wood-burning fire pit. Choose hardwoods over softwoods since softwoods often give off more sparks. Do not burn plywood, particleboard, MDF, or similar types of composite boards since these materials can produce toxic fumes.

Prepare the fire correctly.

HGTV provides the following advice: “For wood-burning fire pits, cut logs so their length is less than three-quarters the diameter of the pit. Never use lighter fluid or gasoline to start a fire in a fire pit….Avoid lighting a fire in windy conditions.”

Minimize spark output.

Sparks can turn a well-controlled campfire into an unbridled inferno. Consider purchasing a firepit with a screen that prevents sparks from escaping. Also, keep a hose and a pail of sand nearby to immediately extinguish stray sparks. When using a hose to eliminate flare-ups, use the nozzle’s spray function rather than a concentrated stream, which can scatter sparks. Fire gloves and fire blankets are other valuable tools for gaining control of a fire.

Invest in a fire extinguisher.

A fully charged fire extinguisher can be a lifesaver. Look for a dry-chemical extinguisher with a Class B and Class C or multipurpose rating. Homeowners need to educate themselves on the proper use of the device and should understand the fire extinguisher’s effective range, which is typically 6 to 10 feet. If the firepit uses gas, shut off the gas before extinguishing the flames.

Douse according to the directions.

At the end of the evening, douse the fire properly. Many manufactured fire pits come with instructions for extinguishing the blaze. Remember, water can crack ceramic fire pits and some metal ones, so follow the instructions closely.

Since 2000, SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the local area, and the damage restoration company is centrally located in Ellis County. The restoration experts specialize in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

Customer service is a priority at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian, and the team strives to reduce stress and provide rapid results. One satisfied client writes, “Thank you so much for all your hard work during a difficult situation! Quick response and always professional. The build back company even commented that the work was really well done.”

To learn more about SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian’s fire damage restoration services, email the office at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com. The team can also be contacted by phone at (972) 935-0827

How the Homeowner Can Address Water Damage From Leaks Hidden Behind Walls

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights six signs of water damage hiding behind a wall and what homeowners can do to remedy the situation.

The water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian are experts at locating water damage hidden behind walls. Technicians are trained to identify the signs of water damage, and they utilize moisture-detecting technology to ensure the drying process is thorough. Best of all, the SERVPRO team is available 24/7, 365 days a year, and can respond within an hour to mitigate the water leak and begin the cleanup and restoration process.

Water damage is a common occurrence in the home. One in ten homes in the US has a water leak that wastes ninety gallons of water per day. Some of that wasted water ends up going down the drain from a leaky faucet or toilet. Other types of leaks cause structural deterioration of framing, flooring, and the foundation of a home. Water leaks can promote mold growth which, in turn, may cause health effects if left untreated. Finding and fixing water leaks is a top priority for the homeowner. Sometimes these leaks are difficult to identify because the evidence of the leak remains hidden.

Water damage hiding behind walls is hard to spot. By the time the damage is obvious to the typical homeowner, the water damage is extensive and often expensive to repair. The key is to spot the signs of water damage very early. Here are clues to alert homeowners to water damage in walls.

Six Signs of Water Damage Hidden Behind Walls

Excessive water moisture can hide behind a wall for quite a while before the problem becomes noticeable. By spotting the problem early, stopping the leak promptly, and solving the water damage issues quickly, the homeowner can save time and money.

1. Bubbles spell trouble when discovered on wall paint.

Bubbling in or around patches of peeling paint is a clear indication of a moisture problem with or behind the wall. The bubbles may result from moisture buildup under the paint where the moisture stretches the paint, causing bubbles. It takes a while for the bubbles to develop, which means the water problem may be more extensive than it appears.

2. Warping is a sign of water.

Warping around door casings and on walls is a telltale sign of water damage. When sheetrock absorbs water from behind the wall, warping occurs. Persistent moisture intrusion will cause severe structural damage to framings, casings, baseboards, and flooring.

3. Soft drywall presents hard evidence of a water intrusion behind a wall.

Softened drywall is an often-overlooked indicator of more serious problems. Moisture and water trapped behind a wall cause the unexposed portion of the drywall to grow soft and spongy or mushy. Upon discovering a soft spot or wet area in the drywall, apply gentle pressure to test if the drywall gives. If the area depresses, unseen water between the walls may be the culprit.

4. Mold spots mark the spot where water damage may be present.

Mold spores can spring up very quickly when water is in abundant supply. A constant supply of water or moisture provides an environment where mold can thrive. The splash of colors can include black, green, brown, bronze, and blue. Condensation or dark water stains may appear along with the moldy blotches. This combination may signal that the water damage is more severe than suspected and needs immediate attention from a water damage and mold mitigation professional.

5. The nose knows where the mold grows.

A musty odor should alert the homeowner to the presence of mold, mildew, and moisture. The distinctive smell shows the nose what the eyes cannot see – mold and moisture. Use the nose to expose the affected wall. Inspect the wall, baseboards, and flooring for evidence of water damage. It may not be possible to locate the exact location of the hidden water. The signs indicate the presence of a problem. Professional skill, moisture-detecting technology, and air-quality testing may be necessary to identify the exact location and extent of the damage.

6. The water bill is more than normal.

The water bill provides information about water usage that can alert the homeowner to a water leak. If the meter reading is elevated without a corresponding spike in water usage, there may be a water leak somewhere in the house.

How to Handle Hidden Water Damage in Walls

Once water damage is discovered, take immediate action to resolve the leak, remove the water, and restore the water damage. Delay can allow the damage to spread. Procrastination on the part of the homeowner in resolving the issue may affect coverage under the homeowner’s policy. The cleanup and restoration process requires special water removal and drying equipment, especially if the moisture is behind walls.

The water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian use moisture-detecting technology to measure the effectiveness of the mitigation process. They also use proven cleaning techniques and EPA-approved cleaners. The team at SERVPRO can handle the entire project, from the cleanup to restoration and repair, including managing the insurance claim process.

To learn more about Midlothian, TX, water removal, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by phone at (972) 935-0827. The office can also be contacted by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com