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Five Kitchen Fire Hazards That Can Cause a Fire Damage Disaster

7/2/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: To help homeowners avoid fire damage in the kitchen, SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian warns people about fire hazards involving the stove, microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher.

Years of experience responding to kitchen fires and other fire damage disasters have given the fire damage restoration team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian great compassion for people affected by fire damage. A fire in the kitchen can be a frightening and devastating experience for homeowners and their families. One moment the family is enjoying the rich, complex aromas of a lovingly prepared meal; the next moment smoke and the smell of burnt food fill the kitchen as smoke alarms screech in a deafening clamor of high-pitched peals. To help homeowners prevent a disaster from occurring in their kitchen, SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian is highlighting five causes of fire damage in the kitchen area.

  • Stove fires

Leaving the stovetop unattended is a major cause of fire damage in the kitchen. If the chef does not keep a careful watch on the stove, food can quickly become overheated and catch fire, engulfing the kitchen in a conflagration.

Another stovetop safety hazard is the failure to keep the area around the stove clean and free of flammable materials. A cluttered or dirty counter around the stove is an invitation for a small stovetop fire to spiral out of control.

  • Oil and grease fires

Oil and grease are notorious for their flammable properties, and anyone who decides to use these cooking methods should exercise great caution. Home cooks must learn how to properly deal with an oil and grease fire in order to prevent personal injury and fire damage.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shares the following recommendations for safely cooking with oil or grease: “Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot. Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing. Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.”

  • Microwave fires

Microwave fires can ignite in a variety of ways. Beware of overheating foods or inputting the wrong heating time into the microwave. Homeowners can easily prevent this mistake by quickly checking the microwave countdown to ensure that their food is heating for forty seconds, not four minutes.

Arcing, also known as sparking, is a fire hazard in microwaves that are malfunctioning or defective. In 2016, Good Housekeeping reported that Whirlpool, a home appliance company, had to recall over 15,000 microwaves because the appliances posed a potential fire hazard due to arcing. According to Good Housekeeping, “Whirlpool received five reports of fire incidents, including one home fire, two fires involving surrounding cabinets, one report of smoke and another of burning odor.”

Heating food in dishes or containers that are not microwave-safe also poses a fire risk. The National Institutes of Health provides the following advice: “Remove food from packaging before defrosting in a microwave oven. Do not use plastic storage containers, foam trays, and plastic wraps in microwave ovens because they are not heat-stable at high temperatures. Melting or warping can occur which may cause harmful chemicals to migrate into the food. Never use recycled paper products in microwave ovens unless they are specifically approved for microwave use. Some recycled products including paper towels and even waxed paper may contain minute metal flecks. When a microwave oven is operating, the interaction between microwaves and the metal can cause sparks and even flames.”

  • Refrigerator fires

It may surprise homeowners to learn that the refrigerator is a leading cause of fires in the kitchen after the stove and microwave. While the purpose of refrigerators and freezers is to keep things cool, the electrical components in these appliances give them the potential to make things hot.

Consumer Reports elaborates on refrigerator fire damage statistics: “From 2006 to 2010, the latest statistics available for the U.S., refrigerators and freezers were the cause of 1,710 home structure fires that resulted in two deaths, 19 injuries, and $23 million in property damage. Typically the fires were caused by the relay switch short-circuiting or the lightbulb remaining on when the door was closed, according to the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System.”

  • Dishwasher fires

The dishwasher is another unexpected cause of kitchen fires and should be regarded as a potential fire hazard. Dishwashers rely on heating elements to clean and dry the dishes, and these elements can turn into a fire hazard when they become old and worn out. As a precaution, never leave the dishwasher running when no one is at home.

The fire hazards in a kitchen are not always obvious sources of fire damage. What is obvious is the need for a trustworthy and reliable damage restoration company in the aftermath of a kitchen fire. SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian is proud to serve the local community with damage restoration services, including fire and smoke damage restoration services, that instill confidence and give hope to homeowners in need.

To learn more about fire damage restoration in Midlothian, TX, call SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian at (972) 935-0827 or email the company at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Dealing With Water Damaged Insulation After Storm Damage

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains how to deal with wet insulation from a roof leak caused by storm damage.

Storm-related water damage in Midlothian, TX, can often strike without warning. When severe weather leads to a water damage disaster, the SERVPRO professionals can quickly restore the damaged property. The restoration experts specialize in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

How to deal with wet insulation resulting from storm damage in Midlothian, TX

If insulation is exposed to water and moisture from a leak or roof damage, it loses its insulating capacity. The same wet insulation also becomes a health hazard. If the water intrusion is allowed to continue, the insulation can retain enough water to collapse ceilings and weaken the structural integrity of the home. In most cases, when a roof leak saturates insulation, the insulation almost always requires replacement.

Wet insulation harms the roof, the building, and its occupants

Attic insulation is situated immediately below the roof. A leak permits water seepage through the roof’s outer membrane. The saturated insulation has the potential to cause the roof to deteriorate on many fronts.

  • Water-saturated insulation puts a heavy burden on the entire structure. Over a long duration, the constant weight causes warping and other structural damage.
  • Moisture trapped in insulation gradually degrades the entire roofing system. The damage will not stop at the decking but will spread to the rest of the structure, compromising the integrity of the entire building.
  • Long-term exposure to moisture causes roofing fasteners to corrode. Steel studs and wall ties begin to rust, crack and break. The resulting loss of structural integrity reduces wind-uplift ratings in the roof. In severe weather, the results could be catastrophic.
  • Wet insulation is a prime breeding ground for mold and bacteria, which can cause health effects.

Wet insulation negatively impacts R-value and the energy efficiency of a home or business

Dry insulation functionally repels energy. Hot air stays outside. Cool air stays inside, or vice versa. Wet insulation conducts energy. In other words, the wet insulation fails to perform its intended task. Heating costs will reflect the loss of efficiency. Summer cooling costs will also reflect the price impact of the lost efficiency.

Water-logged insulation will have a diminished “R-Value.” The “R-value” gauges thermal resistance. Insulating materials with a higher R-Value are more effective at resisting heat transfer. Water-saturated insulation forfeits up to forty percent of its R-Value. The increase in energy bills can be dramatic and financially painful for the bottom line.

How do different types of insulation respond to water intrusion?

Insulation types vary widely in cost, application, efficiency, and response to water saturation.

  1. Wood fiber insulation, for example, can soak up surrounding moisture and compromise a wide area of a roof.
  2. Isocyanurate, a rigid thermal foam insulation, can be dried out and put back in place.
  3. Open-celled foam insulation, which is relatively economical, contains tiny cells that are not entirely closed. This insulation contains minimal trace chemicals and performs well as an air barrier. Best for interior applications, it is often found in walls due to its sound-reduction qualities. Because of its sponge-like texture and absorption qualities, open-celled foam insulation is inappropriate for exterior applications.
  4. Closed-cell foam insulation has a more compact structure that provides an excellent barrier to both air and moisture. Roofers favor this type of insulation because it withstands the elements without compromising R-value.

What if storm damage leads to water-saturated insulation?

A water intrusion incident can create a nightmare for the homeowner or business if certain types of insulation are involved. These tips will help property owners navigate their way through a storm damage disaster that results in wet insulation.

  1. Know the types of insulation in the structure, how each type responds to exposure to moisture, and whether or not the insulation can be restored.
  2. After severe weather, inspect the roof for damage from high winds, hail, debris, and perforations from fallen limbs or trees.
  3. Inspect the attic for subtle roof leaks that may have introduced water and moisture into the attic insulation.
  4. If water or moisture intrusion is detected, enlist the services of a property damage restoration company with the knowledge, expertise, and equipment to mitigate the water intrusion and appropriately manage the wet insulation.

Hidden water and moisture that is left untreated can slowly undermine the structural integrity of a home or building and lead to a mold infestation that can put residents, employees, and customers at risk for health effects. Each roof has its own set of unique insulation requirements. Among all these variables, one thing is certain when a roof leak is discovered: wet insulation must be addressed as soon as possible.

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

How Midlothian, TX, Homeowners Can Detect and Deal With Water Damage in a Closet

6/10/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian offers tips for identifying water damage in a closet and provides strategies for dealing with the effects of the damage.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian deal with water damage and other property damage disasters on a regular basis, so they see firsthand how life can suddenly be filled with stress and worry. SERVPRO is a trusted cleanup and restoration company in the region, and the team can quickly restore all types of property damage situations, including water damage in a homeowner’s closet.

Water Damage in a Closet

Suffering water damage in a closet seems improbable to most homeowners since a closet does not have a direct water source such as a sink, bathtub, or toilet. Yet, water damage in a closet can occur, and it often does. Since a closet is dark, closed off from airflow, loaded with organic matter, and seldom inspected, this tiny room is susceptible to large-scale mold infestation resulting from water damage.

How to Detect Water Damage in a Closet

Detecting water damage in a closet can be difficult, especially if the closet is seldom accessed. Some signs of water damage in a closet include:

  • a damp, musty smell inside the closet or on items in the closet
  • brown or yellow stains or discoloration on the ceiling and walls
  • difficulty opening and closing the closet door
  • swollen or warped baseboards or door framing
  • bubbling paint, peeling wallpaper, warping in the drywall
  • moist or wet clothes and other contents
  • flooring in the closet that is wet or moist to the touch
  • floor substrate that is soft or buckled

Causes of Water Damage in a Closet

Homeowners may be surprised by some of the many causes of water damage in a closet. Knowledge of how a water intrusion can occur in a closet can help prevent a future water damage disaster. Some causes of water damage in a closet include:

  1. An adjacent bathroom
  • moisture from an adjacent bathroom’s shower or bathtub
  • flooding from a cracked tub or shower base
  • leaking supply lines to the shower, tub, toilet, or sink
  • a leaky drain pipe
  • an overflowing toilet
  • an overfilled sink basin or tub
  • second story bathroom leaks
  1. HVAC leak in the attic above or near the closet

Homeowners should always be aware that a water leak in the attic can travel many feet before the water is deposited on the interior ceiling.

  1. Clogged gutters near closets with an exterior wall
  2. A roof leak from storm damage
  3. Storing wet items in the closet
  • coats
  • shoes
  • umbrellas
  • swimwear

Effects of Water Damage in a Closet

Though most closets are relatively small compared to other rooms in a home, the damage can be extensive, severe, and very costly. The water intrusion can damage clothing, shoes, handbags, other leather goods, keepsakes, important documents, photographs, jewelry, electronics, tools, firearms, and other items stored in a closet.

Failing to discover and mitigate water damage in a closet can result in a mold infestation that could result in health effects for the occupants of the home. Closets are often in bedrooms where people spend nearly one-third of their lives, and mold in the closet can also be spread throughout the entire home.

The best and safest solution for dealing with water damage in a closet is to secure the services of a qualified, reputable water damage restoration specialist who is skilled in dealing with the restoration of personal belongings such as clothing, leather goods, electronics, keepsakes, documents, photographs, artwork, and other items typically stored in closets. Also, the homeowner should verify that the property damage restoration specialist is competent to identify and mitigate any mold issues since mold growth often accompanies water damage.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian has been serving the local area since 2000. The company is locally owned and is backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Technicians undergo rigorous training and continuous education to stay on the cutting edge of property damage restoration technology, techniques, and safety protocols. The team of restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

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

How to Spot Signs of Secondary Water Damage in a Commercial Setting

6/10/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian explains the signs of advanced secondary water damage and how to prevent it.

The commercial water damage specialists at SERVPRO of Waxahachie / Midlothian know that a water damage disaster in a commercial setting can strike at any time with a sudden and dramatic impact, disrupting the provision of services or the production of goods at a business or factory. In contrast, a water damage disaster can also result from a slow leak in the sprinkler system or roof that goes unnoticed and unresolved for days or months.

What are the two types of water damage?

Facility repairs for a water damage disaster can be disruptive, time-consuming, and expensive. Business owners, operations managers, facility supervisors, and property managers need to be aware of the two types of water damage. Both types of water damage create different challenges and should be resolved immediately for the sake of the business, employees, vendors, and customers.

  • Primary water damage: This damage is the result of the initial water intrusion. Signs of primary water damage include wet or moist flooring, warped sheetrock or drywall, wet furniture, brown or yellow stains on ceilings and walls, and collapsed ceiling tiles.
  • Advanced secondary water damage: When primary damage is hidden, neglected, or not completely resolved, advanced secondary water damage may occur. Signs of this type of water damage include advanced warping of walls and ceilings, bubbling or peeling paint, and significant staining and streaking on vertical and horizontal surfaces. Structural issues such as rotted wood support beams, black mold, and warped flooring are common.

What are the unintended consequences of delaying water damage repairs?

When water damage issues are left unattended, the consequences can be costly and dangerous. Business owners know the pressures of deadlines. Sometimes margins are minuscule. Customer service and on-time delivery are what win service or manufacturing contracts. Circumstances sometimes require working in and around water damage to meet customer demands. However, the potential negative consequences of laboring in an environment compromised by a water intrusion loom large for the employer. Consider the following consequences:

  1. Slip-and-fall accident resulting in a settlement.

An industry expert reported, “Commercial insurer CNA reports that between 2007 and 2012, the average cost of a traumatic brain injury in a general liability claim was $269,643. The average cost of a traumatic brain injury in workers’ comp claims was $259,153. Individual cases can be much higher.”

  1. Loss of raw materials needed in the manufacturing process. The introduction of moisture outside the production process can ruin the raw materials required to manufacture the business’s product line. A fifty-five-gallon drum of raw material may cost thousands of dollars to replace.
  2. Electronic devices in the office or on the production floor can suffer a cataclysmic failure when exposed to moisture or wetness.
  3. Production line equipment, forklifts, and delicate conveyor line sensors can be damaged by sudden, continuous, or intermittent exposure to moisture or water.
  4. Mold issues can corrupt product integrity and cause health effects. Commercial water damage restoration is a complex process. Business owners and those individuals tasked with facility repair and maintenance should secure the services of a reputable, qualified, and certified commercial water damage restoration company. If an incompetent company fails to fully resolve the water and moisture issues, secondary damage in the form of a mold infestation can occur.

Products contaminated with black mold and shipped all over the country could possibly cause infestations along the entire supply chain. The product liability nightmare could spell the demise of a small business, distribution center, or manufacturing unit.

How can these potential consequences be minimized or prevented?

Here are several best practices businesses should follow when dealing with primary and secondary water damage issues.

  1. Foster a corporate culture in the workforce that encourages early reporting and immediate resolution of any water intrusion events.
  2. Alert the pre-qualified water damage restoration company and schedule an immediate response. This step assumes a disaster plan is in place, performance criteria are in force, and a competent team of mitigation and restoration professionals has been vetted. This step also assumes that the selected company knows the facility and the parameters surrounding the presence of non-employee personnel in the facility. Corporate policy sometimes restricts the use of video on the grounds of or within the facility. Images and video may be essential for job performance verification, quality assurance, and insurance claims validation. A competent, experienced water damage restoration team will identify these challenges and resolve them before a fire, smoke, water, flood, mold, or storm damage disaster strikes.
  3. Do not release the water damage disaster team until the restoration is completed.
  4. Take steps to prevent any secondary water damage. Follow up with an inspection shortly after the restoration is complete to ensure mold infestation is not an issue.

These steps highlight the importance of working with a property damage restoration company that has the experience, training, and professionalism required to operate at the commercial level.

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 that the response teams are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The restoration experts specialize in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

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

How SERVPRO’s Dependable Disaster Response Reduces Stress in the Aftermath of a Disaster

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains how its quick disaster response reduces stress for homeowners whose homes have experienced property damage.

The fire damage, storm damage, and water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian understand the stress that accompanies a property damage disaster. The disaster response teams witness the physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral signs of stress and anxiety in the homeowners and business owners they serve. When the SERVPRO team arrives to provide services, they begin the process of restoring damaged homes and damaged lives, relieving stress, and bringing hope to communities in need.

Disaster Warning Signs

Each disaster has its own set of warning signs. A house fire is often preceded by a loud bang, the acrid smell of smoke, the pop and crack of flames, or the piercing cry of a chorus of smoke detectors. Tornado warning sirens, weather service phone alerts, a howling wind, blinding lightning bolts, loud claps of thunder, and driving rain and hail signal an imminent storm damage disaster. Disasters that give no warning may prove to be the most challenging to face.

Symptoms of Traumatic Incident Stress

Victims of disasters may experience physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of stress. Some people experience stress immediately when a disaster occurs, while others experience delayed stress weeks or months later.

Physical Issues

Physical symptoms of stress include chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe pain, or shock. Disaster victims may also experience fatigue, nausea, vomiting, profuse sweating, dizziness, headaches, thirst, clenching of the jaw, blurred vision, and general aches and pains.

Cognitive Stresses

Cognitive impairment in the midst of a traumatic disaster may lead to mental confusion, heightened or lowered alertness, disorientation, inability to concentrate, memory problems, difficulty identifying familiar objects or people, and nightmares.

Emotional Stresses

A tornado, a house fire, or a flood causing widespread damage in which ceilings collapse, floors buckle, and family heirlooms are destroyed evokes a powerful emotional response. The range of emotional symptoms of trauma incident stress includes anxiety, denial, grief, guilt, fear, irritability, depression, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and a sense of failure.

Behavioral Stresses

Victims may exhibit behaviors such as intense anger, withdrawal, loss of appetite, inability to sleep or rest, and constant pacing.

Three Steps to Reduce or Prevent Stress in the Event of a Disaster

Step #1: Create an Emergency Preparedness Plan.

The emergency preparedness plan should cover all facets of survival and escape. Gather food, water, batteries, a first aid kit, LED flashlights for everyone, important documentation, solar battery chargers, and other essential items in preparation for a property damage disaster, such as a tornado or other severe weather event.

Step #2: Practice the emergency escape plan.

Disciplined training is the key to a safe and calm response during and after a traumatic disaster. Waxahachie and Midlothian are close to the Red River Valley, which is the tornado alley of Texas.

Step #3: Partner with a dependable property damage restoration company.

In light of the physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impairment stemming from trauma incident stress outlined above, homeowners are urged to pre-qualify a property damage restoration company before a disaster of any size strikes. Make sure the damage restoration company’s contact information is in everyone’s phone or device. Take an extra measure of caution and give the information to local neighbors and friends. Extended family members or friends should also have the restoration company’s contact information in case the communication system for the area is down or damaged.

How Reliable, Compassionate Disaster Response Reduces Stress in the Aftermath of a Disaster

Because SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian partners with 1,700 other franchisees and the local large-loss division of SERVPRO, the damage restoration company responds in mass and in minutes when disaster strikes. How comforting it must be for a homeowner or business owner to see a convoy of green SERVPRO service trucks and tractor-trailers pull up to the damaged property. Imagine the confidence that washes over the residents of a flooded Waxahachie neighborhood as ten SERVPRO service vehicles disperse throughout the neighborhood to begin the inspection, assessment, and water damage restoration process hours before any other service companies arrive. It all started with the neighborhood community group that said, “We need solutions in place before we need solutions we don’t have.”

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 technicians 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. To pre-qualify the leading storm and water damage restoration company in the area or for immediate disaster response needs, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

What Are Some Common Fire Hazards in the Bedroom Area?

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian urges homeowners to be aware of seven fire damage hazards in the bedroom.

The SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian fire damage restoration team realizes that most people do not associate the bedroom with a property damage disaster. The bathroom floods from a sewage overflow or a bathtub leak. The washing machine supply line bursts, engulfing the laundry room in a watery mess. A grease fire seriously damages the kitchen. A tangled web of equipment cords and charging stations plugged into a frayed extension cord turns the home office into a charred shell. Sparks from a power tool ignite oily rags in the garage workshop, heavily damaging a vehicle and nearly burning down the home before the flames can be extinguished.

However, the bedroom is not without its own set of fire hazards. An article in Safety+Health magazine highlights the danger of a bedroom fire, writing, “About half of all fire deaths in homes occurred in the early morning hours, and one-third of victims were asleep, according to a recent U.S. Fire Administration report on 2011-2013 residential fire fatalities...Half of all fire deaths occurred in bedrooms, and 52 percent occurred from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.”

In light of these compelling statistics, the fire damage restoration company urges homeowners to be aware of fire hazards in the bedroom.

Seven Fire Damage Hazards in the Bedroom

Being aware of these fire hazards in the bedroom and taking action to prevent them or remedy the situation when they are discovered can save lives and property.

#1: Keeping a source of heat too close to flammable materials

Keep heat sources such as space heaters, electronics, and candles at least three feet away from combustible items such as clothing, stacks of books or magazines, curtains, and bedding.

#2: Unsupervised space heaters

Never leave a space heater running in any unoccupied room, including the bedroom. The inconvenience of a slight chill is much less than the inconvenience, disruption, and stress resulting from a bedroom fire. Sleeping while a space heater is in operation is extremely dangerous.

#3: Smoking in bed

Smoking in bed can be lethal. The number one cause of deaths in housefires is smoking in bed, and one-third of these fatalities are children. By simply taking the activity of smoking outside, seventy-five percent of the nearly 90,000 structure fires caused by smoking could be prevented. Do not smoke in bed or in any place where falling asleep while smoking is possible, such as rocked back in the recliner or lounging on the couch.

#4: Improperly using an extension cord or power strip

With more people working from home, a corner of the bedroom often becomes a new home for the office cubicle, placing greater demand on the electrical outlets in the room. Most electrical fires start in the bedroom, so it is important to pay attention to the power drain and the power cords in that room. Take steps to ensure that electrical cords cannot become tangled. Check for tangled cords and allow space around them for the heat to dissipate. Replace frayed cords. Occasionally feel the cords to see if they are becoming warm. Warm or hot extension cords are overtaxed and are a fire hazard. Avoid using an extension cord with equipment, devices, or appliances that require a large amount of electricity to operate. Examples include curlers, curling irons, hairdryers, air conditioners, heaters, or dehumidifiers. The cord can overheat, and arcing and sparks can occur where the two cords connect. Never run electrical cords under the bed, carpet, or rugs. Avoid pinning extension cords between the wall and any furniture.

#5: Letting a device charge on the bed or under bedding

Charge devices such as phones, laptops, and tablets on a hard surface and never in the bed or on carpeting. A device in the process of being charged can generate a lot of heat. Sometimes malfunctions during the charging process can cause the charger or device to become very hot, melt, or catch fire.

#6: Misusing an electric blanket

Use electric blankets with caution, and make sure to turn them off before going to sleep.

#7: Using a mattress that does not meet the 2007 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard

There are two compelling reasons to purchase a new mattress. If the mattress is worn out, it is time for a replacement. As long as the bed does not cause the sleeper to be tired, sore, and stiff, continue to use it. When the mattress is the cause of a poor night’s sleep, it is time for a change. If the mattress is so old it fails to comply with the 2007 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard, replace it. How old is the mattress in the guest bedroom? Even though the mattress is twenty years old and has only been slept in a few times, it poses a fire hazard and is unsafe for anyone who sleeps in it.

The bedroom can be transformed into one of the safest rooms in the home by simply taking a few common sense corrective and preventive measures. In the case of a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster, reach out to SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian for assistance.

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

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.