How to have a safe winter grilling experience: Twelve mistakes to avoid
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights twelve safety tips for a great grilling experience during the winter months.
The team of fire and water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is sharing twelve winter grilling safety tips for Venus, TX, residents. By following a great recipe and the grilling safety tips listed below, the winter grilling experience can be both delicious and safe.
1. Give the grill enough space
The temptation is to position the grill so that it is in the shade. However, grilling under an awning or under tree branches creates a risk hazard for fire. Embers from a charcoal or wood pellet fire can easily catch nearby objects on fire. Grills, whether gas, charcoal, or electric, must be at least 10 feet away from combustibles such as deck railings, lawn furniture, lawn equipment, and vehicles. Keep the grill at a safe distance (at least ten feet) away from the home, garage, and any outbuildings.
2. Keep hands and clothing away from the hot coals or burners
Avoid cooking in clothing with flowing, baggy sleeves that may hang precariously close to the flames or heat source of the grill. Long-handled grilling utensils help keep the cook safe during the grilling experience.
3. Stay with a lighted grill at all times
The leading cause of home fires is an unattended dish cooking on the stove. An unattended grill poses no less of a hazard. Children playing near the grill also create a potentially unsafe situation. Curious pets, especially dogs, can tip a grill over in their search for the source of the delicious smells wafting through the air. The aroma of a steak on the grill is one of the many positive features of the grilling experience. For the family and neighborhood dogs, these aromas are overwhelming. According to the veterinary care providers at VCA Animal Hospitals, “Dogs devote lots of brain power to interpreting smells. They have more than 100 million sensory receptor sites in the nasal cavity compared to 6 million in people, and the area of the canine brain devoted to analyzing odors is about 40 times larger than the comparable part of the human brain.”
4. Exercise grill hygiene
A clean grill is a safe grill. The likelihood of flare-ups and food poisoning is greatly reduced. Also, the food tastes better when cooked on a clean grill. Make cleaning the grill a part of the cooking regimen. Remove grease and fat buildup from the drip trays and grill grates.
5. Always grill outside
Gas and charcoal grills should never be used indoors, including in the garage with the door open. Risks include carbon monoxide, a deadly colorless and odorless gas produced during combustion. Also, embers from the grill can ignite a house fire, and smoke from cooking meat on the grill can cause extensive smoke damage. Walls, ceilings, furniture, drapes, and other personal belongings can be damaged or destroyed. Do not be surprised if the insurance company is reluctant to cover fire and smoke damage caused by grilling steaks in the garage.
6. Avoid overloading the grilling space with food
Overloading the grill is dangerous, especially if the food items are high in fat content. The dripping fat can cause flare-ups resulting in personal injury. Too much food to manage also leads to waste. The fire hazard is eliminated by cooking in small, manageable batches.
7. Utilize an accurate meat thermometer.
Meats must reach a food-safe cooking temperature to kill bacteria and to ensure the meat is prepared as desired.
8. Lift the lid before igniting a gas grill
A closed lid traps gas fumes that can ignite in a fireball. The solution is to ignite the grill with the lid open. If the flame should go out, turn all burner knobs to the “off” position and turn the gas off at the tank. Wait five minutes before attempting to relight the grill.
9. Completely shut down the grill when food preparation is completed
Turn all knobs to the “off” position and close the valve to the propane supply. Close the air vents on a charcoal grill. The lack of air will eventually cause the coals to go out. When the coals are cool, dispose of them in a metal container.
10. Do not fire up the grill until the means to put it out are in place
Have an ample supply of baking soda to put out a grease fire. Have a fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand, or a garden hose ready in case of other types of fires. Never spray or splash water on a grease fire.
11. Use only approved charcoal lighter fluid to start a charcoal grill
Typical lighter fluid is highly flammable and flares up when ignited, while charcoal lighter fluid is designed to ignite and spread slowly. The burn rate is much slower than lighter fluid, but the risk of fire hazard is greatly reduced. Excessive use of lighter fluid can add a chemical taste to the food.
12. Perform routine maintenance on all types of grills at least twice a year
Clean the grill thoroughly, if needed, before the inspection. Apply soapy water to the propane hose. Once the lines are opened, look for bubbles on the hose and the valve connections. Make the necessary repairs or replacements to make the system safe.
In case of a fire or water damage disaster, contact the cleanup and restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian. Crews are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. A team arrives on the scene in about an hour or so. The rapid response and quick cleanup get life back to normal as soon as possible.
For more information about Venus, TX, water damage restoration services, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian at (972) 935-0827 or acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.
The dangers of a water-damaged water heater and how to recover when a water heater floods the home
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian recommends homeowners replace flood-damaged water heaters. The water removal services of a certified, experienced damage restoration company are indispensable for the cleanup and restoration process.
As a leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian helps homeowners understand how flooding can damage a water heater and how to secure the water removal and damage restoration services needed to recover from the disaster.
The water heater and flood damage
When a water heater is damaged in a flood, the homeowners will wonder if the appliance can be salvaged. If it cannot be salvaged, the water heater should be removed, discarded, and replaced with a new one. A wrong course of action in this situation could lead to serious consequences, including electrical shock, a fire, or another water damage disaster caused by the faulty water heater.
Experts from the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recommend that a flood-damaged water heater be replaced, not repaired. A flooded home or basement exposes a water heater to partial or complete submersion in water, causing catastrophic failure of the water heater. In the event of a flood, homeowners must exercise caution. Safety, not salvaging the water heater, is the top priority. Any electrical device, no matter how large or small, should receive careful attention before being used. This attention includes inspection, drying, cleaning, repairs, and cautious testing by a licensed and experienced technician.
To prevent any personal injury, damage to the electrical system of the house, or potential fire, avoid using any appliances receiving any water damage. This principle applies to all water heaters: gas, electric, and oil.
The valves and controls on a gas unit are vulnerable to corrosion damage, and the thermostats and controls in an electric water heater will also suffer from corrosion. The metal skin of the water heater is not entirely waterproof. The insulation surrounding the tank will be water-logged with contaminated flood water and will prove challenging to dry out and nearly impossible to disinfect.
Installation of a new water heater
Entrust the inspection and replacement of flood-damage appliances such as the water heater to qualified professionals. The homeowner can save money long-term by replacing the old water heater with a new high-efficiency model.
Make sure the Temperature and Pressure (TPR) valve is replaced along with the water heater; if the TPR valve is exposed to flood water, the risk of malfunction increases. A failed TPR can have catastrophic consequences for a home and its occupants.
For gas-fired water heaters, ensure that the gas line has not been crimped, mashed, or cut during the flood. The line should be purged to remove moisture, water, or dirt. For best results and to ensure the safety of the home’s residents, have a licensed, bonded, and insured professional handle all aspects of the new installation, including purging or replacing the gas line.
How to deal with the flood damage in the rest of the home
When flooding from a flash flood, a burst pipe, or storm damage occurs, secure the services of a professional property damage cleanup and restoration company to handle the job. Rapid response and quick cleanup can help return life to normal while reducing the risk of advanced secondary damage from prolonged exposure to water and moisture. Powerful pumps and wet/dry vacuums can rapidly remove any excess water from the home or basement. High-capacity dehumidifiers quickly and efficiently dry out the remaining moisture, which, if left unchecked, can cause a mold infestation.
SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian, a locally owned and operated company, has experienced, trained, and IICRC-certified technicians who utilize cutting-edge moisture-detecting technology and advanced cleaning techniques. The EPA-approved cleaning products are safe for pets and humans. The detailed and well-documented estimate provides vital information needed for the insurance claims process, which SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian can handle from beginning to end. Flood waters are often contaminated with toxic chemicals and pathogens from raw sewage. The SERVPRO technicians take every precaution to ensure their safety and the safety of the occupants of the home.
The best time to find a qualified property damage cleanup and restoration company is before a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster. Nobody wants to be calling around for a restoration company at 11:00 pm on the weekend while sewage is backing up in the shower, bathtub, and sinks. By pre-qualifying with SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian, the homeowner only has to make one call in the event of a disaster. A crew will be on the scene in about an hour or two to begin the cleanup and restoration process.
For more information about Midlothian, TX, water removal services, call SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.
Caring for pets after storm damage and during the flood damage restoration processes
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers homeowners tips on ensuring that pets are cared for in a storm damage disaster or flash flood.
SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is committed to helping homeowners recover from storm damage by providing reliable, rapid flood restoration services. Often when a storm or flash flood is the cause of the damage, many homes and businesses are affected. Many of these homes also include furry cats and dogs.
According to census data, residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area are avid pet lovers. “About half of all households in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area own a pet, according to recently-released data from the U.S. Census. Forty-one percent (41%) have at least one dog, and 17% have at least one cat.”
Americans spend $99 billion on pets and pet products each year. Pets are special and deserve careful attention before, during, and after a storm damage disaster. The family emergency-ready plan should also consider the needs of any family pets. Listed below are some tips to facilitate the creation of this pet emergency preparedness plan.
#1. Take steps to ensure pets are identifiable at all times and in any situation
Pets seem to have a sense of impending danger. During the chaos, the family dog or cat may flee the home in terror. The pet may wander for miles seeking relief from sensory overload and searching for a calm, quiet refuge.
Keep a collar and ID tags on the family dog, cat, and other four-legged pets. When pets and family members become separated, a microchip is a simple, inexpensive means to ensure pets are always identifiable. A collar and identification tag can be lost. A microchip is an onboard form of digital identification that requires only a swipe with a microchip reader to glean the pet’s information (name, owner’s contact information, etc.) embedded on the chip. The pet owner should keep their address, phone number, and other chip information current.
#2. Locate pet-friendly emergency shelters
Before disaster strikes, identify emergency shelters and safe escape routes to these shelters. If homeowners and their family members have pets, search for shelters that accommodate animals. Due to the public health hazards posed by animals, many shelters cannot allow pets. Create a list of kennels or animal shelters that can safely house pets until the danger has passed. Identify hotels that allow pets. If none of these options are available, identify a trusted friend or relative who lives outside the affected area and ask them to take care of the pets during the disaster cleanup and restoration process.
#3. Customize an emergency kit with supplies for each pet
Remember to include the needs of family pets when assembling an emergency supply kit. Designate one of the family members to grab the pet emergency kit and take care of the pets during the disaster. The emergency preparedness kit for the pets should include the following items:
- Food and water for at least several days
- Spare ID tags, leashes, or harnesses
- Pet carriers
- Garbage bags for clean up
- First aid items that are safe for pets, along with any medications
- Vital pet data, such as vaccination records and photographs for identification
- Pet toys
- Kitty litter
#4. Contact the ASPCA to obtain a rescue alert sticker
Attach the rescue alert stickers on or near the front door to inform rescue workers that pets may be inside the home. The pet owner may also want to include other information, such as the number and types of pets, the veterinarian’s contact information, and personal contact information. If threatening weather conditions are approaching, affix the sticker in a highly visible location near the front door. If an evacuation should be necessary, note this information on the sticker when leaving the premises.
Pets are beloved family members and need special attention during any event that disrupts the household's daily routine. Be mindful that pets may not always respond positively to first responders, rescue workers, or cleanup and restoration crews.
When storm or flood damage occurs, contact the team of cleanup and restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian. Available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays, technicians can be on-scene in about an hour. The rapid response and quick cleanup help prevent advanced secondary damage such as mold infestation.
For more information about flood restoration services in Ovilla, TX, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by phone at (972) 935-0827. The office can also be reached by emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.
A real fire hazard that can lead to a fire damage disaster
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains how a cleanup for the New Year can help avoid fire damage.
SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights the connection between seasonal hazards and restoration services after a fire damage disaster. Fire prevention during the holidays involves identifying the seasonal activities that elevate the risk of a fire and smoke damage disaster. Seasonal activities increase the risk of a fire and the likelihood of other types of property damage. Here are some examples:
- Seasonal cooking (fire)
- More frequent use of the fireplace, wood stove, and fire pit (fire)
- Live Christmas tree (fire)
- Decorations and celebratory lighting (fire)
- Candles (fire)
- Fireworks (fire)
- More visitors and overnight guests (water damage, sewage backup)
- Clutter (fire damage)
That clutter increasing the fire risk is not surprising, and the holidays seem to generate even more clutter. The National Institutes of Health outlines the fire safety dangers stemming from the clutter in the home. “Specifically, the fire safety dangers to be aware of when having too much stuff in the workplace and the home includes:
- Increased risk of fire due to the accumulation of combustibles such as papers, clothing, and rubbish.
- Increased fire severity due to an abnormal amount of fuel that will overtax existing automatic sprinkler systems.
- Blocked escape from fire due to the exits, hallways, windows, and doors being obstructed by clutter.
- Extreme risk to fire-emergency response personnel.
- Risk of injury or death due to being trapped under falling items.”
The consequences of clutter
Clutter is a real problem with real consequences. It can have emotional effects, such as causing stress and anxiety. Clutter can also lead to physical injury when attempting to escape a house fire. Piles of magazines and newspapers, mounds of clothing, and teetering towers of hoarded electronics can impede a timely escape when seconds mean the difference between life and death. A clutter cleanout reduces the fire risk and improves how a person feels while also reducing the risk of injury associated with navigating through a maze of mess to escape a fire.
Tips for tackling the clutter
The scope of the clutter cleanup can be overwhelming. Plan to succeed by making a plan and sticking to it. Below are some helpful tips.
Tip #1: Inspect the home and assess the risk level.
Take a look around the home. Identify the main clusters of clutter. Rate the extent of the problem:
- Spotty: A pile here and a pile there but limited to a room or area
- Systemic: Here and there, but not limited to one room or area
- Severe: Piles of clutter in every room
- Out of control: Piles of clothing, magazines, newspapers, and recyclables (plastic and glass containers) in every room, with hallways, doorways, and steps often impassible
Tip #2: Designate the room or area where the journey will begin.
Victories often are the result of small successes. Choose a room or area that can be cleaned up in a reasonable amount of time. The open space will be an incentive to keep cleaning.
Tip #3: Schedule a block or blocks of time during the holidays to begin the cleaning process. Set aside adequate time in the schedule to tackle the pile, room, or area successfully. Tenaciously protect the time scheduled for the cleanout.
Tip #4: Enlist the services of family members to help with the cleanup. Send them reminders by social media a few days in advance with a reminder the day of the event.
Tip #5: Make the necessary preparations before the cleanup.
Make a list of items that will be needed for the cleanup. The list may include the following items:
- Heavy-duty plastic contractor bags (Avoid a back injury or muscle strain by not overfilling the bags.)
- PPG: nitrile gloves, eye protection, an N-95 mask or respirator, thick-soled shoes, an LED headlamp, etc.
- Cleaning products such as wipes, all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants, deodorizers
- Equipment: Broom, dustpan, rags
- Hand truck or dolly to transport loaded bags, heavy electronics, and furniture to a vehicle, trailer, garbage can, or dumpster
Tip #6: When the day arrives, go clean up.
Find a steady pace, and do not get frustrated. Focus on the tasks at hand, and do not forget to celebrate the completion of each major task!
Tip #7: Pile with a purpose.
Assign three piles with the following designations: throw away, give away, or keep. Qualifications for the rubbish or recycle bin pile include items that are damaged, broken, no longer needed, or have not been worn in a year or more. Newspapers, magazines, plastic bottles, and glass jars go in this pile. When donating or selling items, remember that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Let go of old objects and enjoy the freedom and open spaces.
An item goes in the keeper pile if it
- is used regularly
- has a dedicated storage space
- does not contribute to clutter in the home
Clutter in the home, garage, or basement can hinder mobility or present a serious fire hazard during the holiday season. Should fire damage occur, the homeowner can turn to the team of fire damage cleanup professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian to remediate the fire and smoke damage.
For more information about seasonal hazards and restoration services in Venus, TX, and nearby areas, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by calling (972) 935-0827 or by emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.
Why SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is the restoration company to call when a water heater bursts
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights six signs that a water heater is having problems that could lead to the rupture of the unit and water damage.
The fire and water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian have experience dealing with many different property damage situations. In the event of a burst water heater, Midlothian, TX, homeowners can turn to SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian to provide water damage restoration and cleanup services. To help homeowners avoid the disruption, inconvenience, and expense of having to deal with a burst water heater, SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights key indicators there may be a problem with the water heater.
Six key indicators that point to water heater issues
1. The tank is leaking water
One of the primary indicators that a water heater is in distress is water leaking from the unit. Identifying the leak will require a visual inspection if the appliance is seated in a pan with an evacuation pipe. Leaks usually start small and increase over time. Upon discovering a leak, shut off the appliance’s power and water supply. Immediately contact a reputable plumber to install a new water heater. For any water damage cleanup and restoration needs, contact a reliable and trusted property damage restoration company. Delays in removing any standing water and drying out affected areas could lead to mold infestation.
2. The TPR valve is malfunctioning
The TPR valve prevents the water heater from exploding by releasing excessive pressure. The buildup of rust and corrosion may cause high temperatures and increase pressure. A malfunction in the TPR valve may cause the water heater to explode. The homeowner should test the valve about once a year. Schedule a plumber to conduct the test and inspect the unit if needed.
3. The hot water is cloudy
The water heater may be in distress if the water is cloudy and has a metallic taste and odor. Mineral deposits may be the issue, which can impede the unit's normal function. An orange or red tint to the water signals that the tank and pipes are rusting. If the problem persists, contact a plumber for a diagnosis and remedy.
4. The tank frequently makes popping sounds
Hard water and the buildup of mineral deposits cause the appliance to produce cracking, rumbling, and popping sounds. Request that a plumber inspects the situation. Flushing the unit may resolve the issue.
5. There is a rotten egg or sulfur smell near or around the water heater
A gas-powered water heater may emit a rotten egg or sulfur odor, which indicates a gas leak in the line feeding the unit. In this case, shut off the gas line immediately. Contact a plumber to schedule an inspection and repairs.
6. The appliance produces little or no hot water
The buildup of mineral deposits or the failure of an element may explain why the water heater is not performing well. A plumber can diagnose the failure of a component and replace it. Annual flushing will take care of sediment buildup. The installation of a water conditioning system can remedy hard water issues. If left unresolved, these issues could result in a catastrophic failure of the unit and a major water damage disaster.
Who to call if the water heater bursts and causes water damage
SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. They are locally owned and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Being centrally located in Ellis County means they are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The team specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.
One of the many satisfied customers of the water damage restoration company provided the following positive review: “Cody and his crew were amazing! They came to our home in the middle of the night when our water heater burst. They immediately contained the issue, extracted the water, and set up fans to begin the drying process. They checked with me daily to ensure things were drying as expected and kept me informed throughout the process. I cannot recommend SERVPRO enough. Thanks to their quick response and thorough work, they’ve earned a customer for life.”
Contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian for more information about fire and water damage restoration services. The office can be reached by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or by phone at (972) 935-0827.
Seven Benefits of a roof inspection to minimize water intrusion and water damage this winter
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains how roof damage can lead to water damage. A pre-winter roof inspection can help minimize water damage in the winter.
SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to provide water damage restoration from a roof leak. Fall turns to winter almost unnoticed in North Texas and the Ovilla area. A lull after Labor Day merges into the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays which usher in the New Year. The days are full of events, and the evenings provide little rest from the season’s activities. However, before the harsh winter weather arrives, make time for a post-summer roof inspection by a reputable, licensed, bonded, and insured roofing contractor. Listed below are ten compelling reasons to schedule a roof inspection before winter.
1. Spring and summer weather punish a roof
During the stormy months of spring and summer, high winds, large hail, and heavy rainfall take their toll on the roof. These storms can go unnoticed if the occupants are at work or school. A few limbs and twigs in the yard, shingles scattered here and there, and lawn furniture and garbage cans scattered across the lawn may be the only obvious indicators of a damaging storm. However, when water starts leaking from the roof, the homeowner quickly realizes the effects a storm had on the roof and the home.
2. A pre-winter inspection can discover hidden issues
Some roof issues are not readily visible from the ground and go unnoticed by the untrained eye. An experienced roofing contractor recognizes the effects of weather, aging, hail damage, debris impact, mold, and vegetation growth. Using a ladder or a drone, a professional can uncover issues that would otherwise be overlooked.
3. Resolve roofing issues rapidly
A pre-winter inspection can identify and resolve minor issues before they escalate into something bigger, such as a roof replacement, water damage in the attic, or a mold infestation.
4. Prepare the roof for winter to avoid new damage
A thorough inspection can alert the homeowner to actions that need to be taken to prevent new damage from occurring during the winter months. A key element of roof winterization involves replacing or repairing loose, damaged, or missing shingles. Proactive intervention can extend the roof's life and mitigate the development of new problems.
5. Scheduled maintenance can avoid or limit unexpected costs
Routine seasonal maintenance is far less expensive than repairs for advanced roof damage or installing a new roof. A proactive approach helps homeowners keep money in their pockets.
6. Warmer weather is the best time for roof repairs
The optimal weather for roof installation or repairs is a clear day with temperatures around 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A typical autumn day is the best condition for roof work. In cooler temperatures, shingles become brittle and are a challenge to install or repair. To improve efficiency, reduce cost, and limit potential problems arising from a cold installation or repair, have a roofing contractor repair any damage while the temperatures are warmer.
For example, shingles seal best before winter. To provide moisture-resistant, airtight protection, shingles need to be adequately sealed. The harsh winter conditions can impede the shingles from forming a sufficient seal. Cold, wintry blasts are less likely to damage shingles that have been sealed correctly.
7. Enjoy peace of mind
A pre-winter roof inspection can eliminate any worry or concern that might interfere with the holiday celebrations. When the forecast is for windy winter weather, the knowledge that the roof has received a clean bill of health can allow the homeowner to rest easy, confident the roof will weather the storm.
When scheduling an inspection with a roofer, take a few minutes to pre-qualify SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian as a dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration provider. By pre-qualifying with SERVPRO, the homeowner eliminates the anxiety and stress that accompanies a frantic search for a restoration provider when water is pouring through the roof. The team at SERVPRO is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. Crews arrive on the scene in about an hour to assess the damage, prepare an estimate, and begin the water damage cleanup and restoration process.
For more information about Midlothian, TX, water damage restoration services, call SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.
Five Ways to Prepare for Winter Storm Damage That Leads to Power Outages
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian outlines five ways to prepare for winter storm power outages that could potentially lead to water damage and fire damage.
A winter storm can cause power outages that lead to a myriad of difficulties, including potential fire and water damage. By applying the information in the tips listed below, local homeowners can take steps to prepare before the storm hits so that they put themselves in a better position to recover after the storm passes.
Ensure access to basic necessities
Homes that are not connected to a municipal water supply will not be able to continue to provide water in a power outage. Well pumps do not operate without electricity, so homeowners who use well water will need to have an adequate supply of bottled water on hand. If the forecast gives enough warning, the homeowner can also fill up the washing machine and bathtub to provide extra water sources for bathing, cleaning dishes, or using the toilet.
A stock of nonperishable food items is also essential, especially in the case of an extended outage that leaves a household unable to cook or keep food fresh. Nonperishable foods include:
- dried fruit
- peanut butter or nut butters
- canned fruits, vegetables, and meat
- chips and crackers
- granola bars and energy bars
- civilian or military surplus ration packs
- freeze-dried meals
Purchase a manual can opener, as well as a backup.
Gather alternative sources of power
Stock up on a wide variety of batteries, from AAA batteries to D batteries to button cell batteries, depending on the needs of the home. Check to see which batteries are used in smoke detectors, medical equipment, flashlights, radios, clocks, and other essential appliances, and purchase plenty of spare batteries in the correct sizes and types. Add extra flashlights and battery-powered radios to the shopping list since these tools are indispensable in the event of power loss.
Equip the car to operate without access to power
When the meteorologist predicts severe winter storms in the forecast, make sure to fill up the gas tank before the power goes out. Gas pumps require electricity to operate, so if the fuel gauge on the car or truck reads at or near empty, it will remain empty until power is restored to the affected area.
Also, keep car chargers on hand to charge phones and devices so that the members of the household can access breaking news, outage updates, and relevant local information. Check to make sure that the car charger is compatible with the devices that will need to be charged.
Collect a supply of fuel for the home
BobVila.com, an online home and garden resource, offers the following recommendation: “Consider how you will stay warm if the power goes out. Even a gas-powered furnace requires electricity to run the fan that sends warm air through the vents. If you have a gas fireplace, consider installing a battery backup for the starter if it doesn’t already have one. If you have a wood stove, stock up on firewood. Do not use a propane heater inside the home unless it is one specifically designed for indoor use; carbon monoxide can build up and create a deadly hazard.”
Some homeowners may have access to a grill that they can use to cook meals. However, grills should never be used inside the home, and neither should candles. When cooking without power, abide by the same fire safety precautions that apply to cooking with power, such as the following safety tips:
- Do not leave the cooking area unattended.
- Remove flammable objects and substances, such as paper towels, dishcloths, wooden utensils, and lighter fluid, from the cooking area.
- Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
When burning wood to provide heating and cooking, remember that fire damage is a potential risk, so fire safety precautions are essential. Typically, smoke alarms are battery-operated, but if fresh batteries have not been installed recently, replace the batteries to ensure that the unit will be functional in the event of a fire. Also, consider purchasing a fire extinguisher and learning how to use it properly.
Prepare the plumbing for freezing temperatures
An extended power outage is bad enough, but if the home’s water pipes are not well insulated, more trouble could arise when the power comes back on and the temperatures warm up. Frozen pipes can burst and crack, leading to a water damage disaster when the ice melts and water starts to drip or spew from the plumbing. To prepare the water pipes for a winter storm that will cause temperatures to drop to freezing, turn off the main water valve and allow all the faucets to drain until the pipes have been emptied.
Who to call when winter storms lead to property damage
In the event that fire damage or water damage occurs due to the conditions caused by a winter storm power outage, the local community can turn to SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian to rapidly provide damage restoration services. The team is available 24/7/365, and the water damage restoration company can draw on the resources of the wider SERVPRO franchise to provide a clean-up and restoration solution for large loss incidents.
For more information about fire and water damage restoration in Red Oak, TX, call the office at (972) 935-0827 or email SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.
How Rodents Can Cause Electrical Fires and Fire Damage in Midlothian, TX, Homes
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian warns the local community about the connection between electrical fires and the presence of rodents in the home.
Fire damage may often result in the need for water removal and water damage restoration. In Midlothian, TX, homes, fire can result from a variety of causes, and one of these causes is the failure of or damage to the home’s electrical components. A sometimes overlooked contributor to electrical fires in the home is rodents. The experts at PestWorld.org, the official consumer education website of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), estimate that “rodents are responsible for 20 percent to 25 percent of all fires of unknown causes because of their propensity for chewing electrical wiring and gas lines.”
Rodents often gnaw on housing materials, such as wiring, insulation, and pipes, because these pests need to be constantly filing down their teeth. If a rodent’s teeth grow too long, the animal will be unable to eat. Once rats or mice chew through the protective plastic insulation covering the electrical wires, the metal is exposed, and sparks from a shorted circuit or heat from the live wire could ignite a fire if the homeowner does not discover the damaged wiring in time. Rodent nests and debris caused by rodent activity can become the fuel that touches off a destructive house fire.
The rodent roundup: What are Texas’ most infamous rodents?
While Texas is home to many different types of rodents, four pests are the most notable: the eastern deer mouse, the house mouse, the brown rat, and the roof rat.
Eastern deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus)
These native Texas rodents can be found throughout Lone Star State, especially in rural areas. Their white and brown coloration resembles that of a deer, hence the name ‘deer mice.’ Eastern deer mice are nocturnal and can reach a size of around three to four inches long, not including the mouse’s tail. When they enter homes, they often do so in order to build a nest.
House mice (Mus musculus)
Although house mice are not native to Texas, they are present throughout the entire state. Like eastern deer mice, they are nocturnal, but they are also active during the daytime. Adults can grow to three to four inches, excluding the tail. House mice are prolific breeders, so eradicating them from a house they have infested can be a challenging task. By the time the pest control company or exterminator has remediated the infestation, the home may have sustained extensive damage.
Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus)
The brown rat, also known as the common rat, the Norway rat, the street rat, or the sewer rat, is one of Texas’ largest pests, reaching an adult body length of seven to nine inches. The species is not native to the area, but they are present in most of Texas, although they are more commonly seen in the north of the state. Brown rats reproduce at a rapid rate.
Roof rats (Rattus rattus)
Alternatively known as the black rat or the house rat, the roof rat is a skilled climber and can make its way to the roof, the rafters, or the attic. Roof rats like to stay in populated areas and can gnaw through a variety of household materials such as wood, drywall, aluminum siding, and electrical wiring. In terms of size, they can grow to a length of six to eight inches, not including the length of the tail. According to PestWorld.org, “Roof rats only live up to one year but have the ability to produce as many as 40 new offspring during their lifetime.”
The two calls homeowners need to make
When a rodent infestation is suspected or detected, the homeowner will need to call in the services of a professional pest control company or wildlife exclusion company that can safely resolve the problem. In addition to dealing with the current rodent problem, a wildlife exclusion service will identify and seal up rodent access points so that the pests do not return to the home.
The second call is to a fire damage restoration company. In the event that rodents have caused fire damage to the home, the services of a restoration company will be essential to remediate the damage and return life to a sense of normalcy. However, it is recommended that homeowners prequalify a full-service damage restoration company before a disaster strikes in order to minimize stress and provide a clear plan of action in case of property damage.
Contact SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian to learn more about fire damage restoration, water damage restoration, and water removal services in Midlothian, TX. The office can be reached by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or by phone at (972) 935-0827.
Helping Businesses in the Automotive Repair Industry Navigate Coverage for Water and Flood Damage
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian outlines strategies for securing insurance coverage that sufficiently safeguards an auto body shop.
The commercial water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian understand the pressures that water and flood damage can put on a business, including auto body shops. Damaged equipment, lost time, and lost profits can take a toll on an automotive repair business, potentially causing it to close down. When water damage occurs, comprehensive insurance coverage can make the difference between a rapid recovery or a sudden shuttering of operations.
Determining the business’s flood zone
Water damage caused by storm-related flooding is not covered in the same way as water damage from a burst pipe. If the auto body shop is located in a flood zone or in an area that commonly experiences water damage from floodwaters, the owner will need to acquire a separate flood insurance policy to ensure that the business is protected against the costs of flood damage restoration. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) “provides flood insurance to property owners, renters, and businesses, and having this coverage helps them recover faster when floodwaters recede.”
Insuring equipment for an automotive repair business
When adding endorsements to an insurance policy, consider the following items for which coverage could be advantageous:
Company vehicles and customer vehicles
Multiple forms of vehicle insurance will likely be needed for an auto body shop. The first type of insurance is for vehicles owned and used by the company. A comprehensive commercial auto insurance policy will provide broad coverage that includes protection from events other than automobile collisions. The second type of insurance, called garage keeper’s liability insurance, protects customers’ vehicles that are kept on-site for tune-ups or repairs.
Industry-specific machinery and tools
The policy limit is the cap on what insurance will cover when it comes to damaged property and equipment. If it is anticipated that the cost of machinery used in the auto body shop is higher than the policy limit, the business owner should consider increasing coverage or obtaining separate deductibles for each individual piece of equipment. Sufficient coverage will enable the auto repair business to replace its essential machinery and tools, such as hydraulic vehicle lifts, air compressors, engine hoists, floor jacks, transmission jacks, oil caddies, battery chargers, brake lathes, strut compressors, air conditioning recovery machines, and hydraulic presses.
Electronics and electrical systems
Water is highly destructive when it comes into contact with electronics, and computers, security cameras, shop lights, and other equipment are vulnerable to being destroyed by flood damage. In addition to replacing damaged electronics, insurance may also pay to rewire water-damaged areas of the facility.
Other situations to consider
Building code requirements
Often, a water damage disaster involves structural damage that requires reconstruction services in addition to water damage cleanup and restoration services. However, when reconstruction is needed, complexities arise. A Texas insurance claim attorney explains, “Once a structure has been damaged, the law requires that new construction will have to conform to current building codes. If your location was built over a decade ago, increased costs may include widening doorways or rewiring circuits—costs that are not covered under standard policies. Ordinance and law coverage can provide the payment you need for plumbing upgrades, increased costs of construction, and the expense of meeting new building regulations.”
In severe cases of water damage, the rebuilding process could take an extended period of time: weeks or even months. If the auto body shop has to temporarily shut down while repairs are made, the owner loses much-needed income. Business interruption insurance helps mitigate that loss. According to insurance provider Nationwide, “business interruption insurance helps you pay bills, replace the lost income, and cover payroll when a covered event forces your business to close temporarily.”
Catastrophic property damage
Unfortunately, some water or flood damage events are so severe that the most cost-effective response to the disaster is for the auto body shop to close down permanently. However, if the business owner invested in total loss coverage, compensation would cover the value of the unsalvageable building and equipment, enabling the owner to have a fresh start.
Choosing a restoration company that handles the insurance claims process
At SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian, the team works with the client’s insurance company and helps manage the paperwork in order to provide a stress-free insurance claims process. SERVPRO staff ensures that the insurance company is informed about which items are salvageable and which items will need to be replaced. Also, technicians deliver a detailed estimate that is thoroughly documented and includes both images and video. This estimate prevents surprises and is a valuable asset in the claims process.
To learn more about commercial flood damage restoration, call SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian at (972) 935-0827. The office can also be reached by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.
What to Do When Appliances Have Been Affected by a Water Damage Disaster
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian advises homeowners on how to deal with appliances suffering from water damage safely.
SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian understands the headaches that water damage can cause. Water damage is not only disruptive and inconvenient, but it can also be dangerous when electrical appliances are involved. Most homes have multiple electrical devices in every room. When these devices are exposed to high levels of moisture or become submersed in water, the risk hazard of shock, electrocution, or fire is elevated.
Below are just a few of the electrical hazards in certain rooms of the home:
- Bathroom: hair dryer, radio, electric clippers, curling iron, fan, portable lamps, cosmetic mirrors
- Kitchen: coffeemakers, blender, food processor, juicer, air fryer, toaster, microwave oven, television
- Laundry room: iron, washer, dryer, floor fan, vacuum cleaner, and freezer
- Home office: computers, monitors, laptop, printers, paper shredder, electric pencil sharpener, fans, recharging station for electronics
How to deal with water-damaged appliances
When entering the home, avoid using any appliances (electric or gas) without first taking necessary safety precautions. The homeowner’s first reaction after a water damage disaster or weather-related flooding may be to venture into the home and assess the extent of the damage. Avoid this impulse. The contents of the house may have shifted, damaging gas lines, electrical wiring, and outlets. The risk is very high. High water may have ripped gas-operated appliances (oven, water heater) from the supply lines. A rotten-egg smell is a strong indication that natural gas is leaking into the home. If a gas leak is detected, immediately evacuate the structure and call 911. Keep everyone a safe distance from the house until the danger is averted.
Moisture and water can quickly render appliances and the HVAC system useless and dangerous. In the case of electrical appliances, the severity of the situation depends on several factors:
- Extent of exposure
- Length of exposure
- Contamination levels from sewage or mold
Important safety tips to keep everyone safe
The safety steps listed below can help families and pets navigate a water damage disaster safely.
#1. Secure the services of an IICRC-certified restoration professional to inspect and assess the damage.
Contact a qualified, reputable property damage cleanup and restoration specialist to inspect and assess the situation. Make sure the company is competent to handle appliances and electronics that have been subjected to moisture and water. Wait for the team to arrive. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has the fastest response times in the industry. With water-damaged electronics and appliances, minutes make a difference.
The operation of an appliance such as a dishwasher, washing machine, or computer after a few hours of air-drying can destroy the appliance, shock anyone touching the device, or cause a fire. Never enter a home with standing water, especially if the structure still has power. If someone nearby is using a generator to power a home, the power lines could be “hot” with backflow from the generator. The appliance may appear to be thoroughly dried out, but internal components can trap moisture, hindering or preventing fast evaporation of the water and humidity. Testing the appliance can prove to be an “electrifying” experience. Do not operate an electrical appliance until a qualified technician has approved the device or appliance for use.
#2. Do not operate the HVAC system.
It is tempting to operate the HVAC system when humidity levels in the home are high, and the temperature is sweltering. HVAC components inside the house may be water-logged, and ductwork may be flooded or separated. After only a day or two, mold becomes a concern. Activation of the HVAC system can spread mold spores throughout the entire home in a matter of minutes. Once a certified HVAC technician has inspected and approved the system, it can be used to cool the house and lower humidity levels.
#3. Inspect the inside of the refrigerator and freezer for mold issues.
If the refrigerator continuously operates throughout the water damage event, water in the moisture in the insulation dries out slowly. The warm, moist environment is perfect for fast mold growth. Insulation in a refrigerator is located higher up in the unit than insulation in a chest freezer. If the water level was no more than an inch or so deep, insulation in the refrigerator and the freezer should be fine. The compressor and condenser are sealed and, therefore, resistant to water damage.
If the water dispenser and ice maker are hooked up to the waterline and the water has been offline, or under a water alert, it is advisable to change the water filter to the refrigerator. Throw out any ice in the bins for at least two cycles to ensure the ice is safe. Wash and sanitize the container, and flush the water dispenser for several minutes.
SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. The damage restoration company is locally owned and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Being centrally located in Ellis County means technicians are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The team of water restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.
For more information about Red Oak, TX, water damage restoration, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.