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

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

Awareness of the Dangers of Deep Frying

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

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

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

Nine Safety Tips for Deep Frying at Home

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Never leave a deep fryer unattended.

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

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

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

  1. Avoid overfilling a fryer or pot with oil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Do in Case of a Fire Caused Deep Frying

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

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

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

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

1/3/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

Five Tips to Avoid Costly Plumbing Leaks This Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Practice hot water heater maintenance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

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

Factors Contributing to Water in the Crawl Space

  1. Weather

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

  1. Landscaping

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

  1. Clogged gutters

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

  1. Faulty plumbing

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

Solving the Moisture Problem in the Crawl Space

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12/4/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

How a Leaky Roof Creates Dangers for Homeowners

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

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

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

Attic and ceiling damage

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

Mold and mildew infestation inside the home

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

Fire hazards from water damage

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

Personal injury from a slip or fall

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

Energy waste and higher utility bills

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

Compromised integrity of the house’s structure

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

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

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

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

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers tips on how to identify and restore water damage in the garage.

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

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Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian provides advice on dealing with water damage in the garage.

Water damage, fire damage, or other property damage disaster can strike at any time, causing stress and worry. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is the best choice for cleanup and restoration. The team’s arrival on the scene sends worry and stress packing.

Storage spaces in the home are susceptible to water damage. The damage can be severe because the leak often goes unnoticed for weeks or months. The unaddressed damage can lead to advanced secondary water damage, including mold infestation and structural damage to the affected areas. By the time the problem is discovered, floors, walls, and the stored items themselves have suffered extensive damage. The garage is a case in point.

For most homes in the Dallas area, the garage is the largest storage area found in the home. This space is versatile and can serve as a storage area, a home gym, an office, or a DIY working area. The garage does not receive the careful attention paid to the inside living spaces and is often overlooked when it comes to water intrusion and the damage it can cause. Yet, the cost of water damage in the garage and the impact on people’s health can be serious.

How to Identify a Water Leak in the Garage

Water leaks can cause a wide range of problems in the garage. Locating the source of the water is often complicated and confusing for the homeowner. Water can travel a great distance from its origin point to its final destination. Only a thorough inspection of the garage can turn up the source of the water.  Here are some tips on spotting water leaks in the garage.

Search for cracks, crevices, and holes

Water can find its way into the garage through small holes and cracks. Crevices in the concrete function like veins that enable water to flow into the garage. Because concrete is naturally porous, cracks and holes may develop at any time. In some instances, insects can be the origin of these holes. These tiny holes in the garage become the point of entry for water. Homeowners should be aware that garages built below grade have walls that are more vulnerable to water pressure from the ground. Other potential entry points for garage water intrusion include pipes, electrical wiring, and cables that enter the garage through concrete or wood walls.

Pro Tip: Leaks can be prevented or stopped by sealing around pipes, wiring, and cables. Visible holes and cracks can be patched with hydraulic cement from the local hardware store. When water damage occurs in the garage, the professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian can restore and repair the areas damaged by water, including the reconstruction and repair needed to prevent further water damage.

Check gutters and downspouts

Gutters and downspouts are designed to capture water and direct it away from the foundation of a structure. If the ground does not adequately slope away from the garage, water can seep in and cause damage. Clogged gutters can overflow and deposit the water very close to the foundation. Even if the ground is well sloped, it can become too saturated, allowing water to seep through the foundation and into the structure, including into the garage.

Pro Tip: Keep gutters and downspouts unclogged. Extend the downspouts at least six feet away from the foundation. Some recommendations are that the slope away from the foundation should be six inches over ten feet.

Check the roof

Damaged shingles and flashing can allow water to leak into a garage. If the intrusion is hidden within a wall, the damage could result in mold infestation, wood rot, and damage to personal belongings. In some garages, the walls are hidden behind layers of stacked boxes, so a water leak and water damage may go undetected for years. The only clue to water damage may be the musty smell of a mold infestation. Finding and stopping the leak is the first step. Reconstructing portions of the damaged garage structure may be the next step after any mold issues have been resolved.

Pro Tip: Periodically inspect the roof for damage, especially after severe weather. Look for any signs of damage. Conduct a visual check of the ceiling and walls in the garage and the attic area above the garage. Wet spots, warping, and a moldy smell may indicate a water leak and some damage. Professional help may be needed to resolve any leaks and to repair the damage.

Inspect other potential leak points

Inspect joint seams. Seams that connect walls to the doors and windows are susceptible to leaks. The sill plate connecting walls to the concrete walls, foundation, and slabs can also invite water leaks.

Assess the humidity and condensation levels of the garage or any rooms or storage areas in the garage. A high level of humidity and condensation is a prime breeding area for mold. Mold thrives in warm, dark, and moist areas. Homeowners who suspect humidity and condensation issues anywhere in the home should contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian who have the experience and technology to accurately diagnose any problems.

Pro Tip: Protect against water damage to belongings stored in the garage. Anticipate a worst-case scenario and take preventive measures.

  • Employ shelving that keeps belongings from resting directly on the floor.
  • Store items in waterproof containers.
  • Seal the garage door to prevent flooding during severe weather from entering the storage area.
  • Store items as far away from potential water sources as possible, including doors and windows.

Regular inspection and maintenance are the best strategies to prevent water damage in the garage. If water damage is discovered, look for mold damage, too.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the Dallas/Fort Worth area since 2000. Being a local company, they are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. Their specialties include residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration. Whether the disaster involves fire damage, smoke damage, or water damage to a garage, they have the expertise and experience needed to clean up and restore the damaged property.

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

Water Damage Restoration Company Explains How to Spot Hidden Water Damage

10/9/2020 (Permalink)

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Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers tips on how to spot hidden water damage in a home or business.

The team of water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian understands how hidden water damage can lead to serious health problems and structural and cosmetic damage to a home or business. The consequences result in the need for extensive water damage restoration and, most likely, mold damage remediation. By the time the signs of a leak are noticed, the water damage has already occurred. A trained and vigilant eye, ear, and nose can detect signs of a water leak hopefully before too much damage has been done.

The Many Sources of Water Leaks

Understanding where some of the potential sources of hidden water leaks are will help the homeowner to spot signs of water damage. A typical home may contain dozens of possible leak points. Keeping a vigilant watch on these leak points can save thousands of dollars in water damage restoration and doctors’ bills.

Major Appliances Are Often a Source of Hidden Water Leaks

Five of the most common sources of water damage are:

  • Washing machine
  • Refrigerator
  • Ice maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal

The Cumulative Effect of a Drop of Water

When a washing machine supply line ruptures, detection is almost instantaneous unless no one is at home to witness the disaster. As much as eight gallons of water a minute can flood into the laundry room. However, when a hot water connection leaks at one drop per second, over six gallons of water a day drip between the wall where the plumbing connections are located. Imagine the cascading impact of a leaking connection to the faucet in the kitchen, to the dishwasher, or to the ice maker. Slowly but surely, the damage compounds over time, rotting out the floor and causing a mold disaster under the sink, between the walls, and in the crawl space under the house.

The Mystery of the Leaking Fridge

The ice maker connection can create a major water damage incident if it bursts. When the line leaks unseen under the flooring is when real havoc can ensue. A partial leak could allow the ice maker to continue to function at a rate that appears to be normal while discharging several gallons a minute into the crawl space. When water is discovered coming from under the refrigerator, check the ice maker connection.

Usually, when a refrigerator leaks, the cause relates to a faulty seal. The faulty seal allows cold air to escape, causing the refrigerator to work overtime and producing more condensation on the coils than the system can eliminate. Fixing or replacing the seal can remedy the overproduction of condensation, which ends the pesky puddle of water on the floor. Adjust the refrigerator so that it tilts backward slightly, and the doors stay closed.

Nightmare in the Bathroom

Like clockwork, the bathroom daily fills with moisture. Condensation covers the floors, walls, mirrors, cabinets, and countertops. After an hour or two, the condensation mostly evaporates. The bathroom is a breeding ground for mold growth, and the battle against mildew is constant.

The tub and shower are prime suspects for hidden water damage. The tub and shower drains can leak for years without discovery, causing the floor to rot and creating a mold nightmare under the tub or shower and in the insulation and crawl space under the tub. One of the only ways to detect the leak is to crawl under the house, inspect the drain connections, test the insulation for moisture, and check for mold growth.

A hidden leak around the toilet can create an unsafe, unsanitary, and moldy mess. A tank that frequently recycles may give some hint of a leak in the system. There are occasional news reports about people falling through their bathroom floor due to water damage.

Five Key Signs of Hidden Water Damage

Hidden water leaks are all but impossible to detect until the damage is evident to the eyes, the nose, or the ears. Evidence of water damage includes the following signs:

  • Musty odors
  • Stains and discoloration on the ceilings, walls, baseboards, and floors
  • Peeling paint and wallpaper
  • Warping or buckling ceilings, walls, baseboards, and floors
  • Visible mold

Vigilance Made Easy

These tips will help property owners remain vigilant without stressing over hidden water damage disasters.

  1. Look: Know where leaks are most likely to occur and keep an eye out. Review the five signs of water damage occasionally.
  2. Listen: In those moments when the house is calm and quiet, listen. Is there a dripping sound behind a wall, under a sink, or under the house?
  3. Sniff: Do a sniff test when returning home after being away for a while. The nose can become accustomed to persistent smells after extended exposure.

Turn to the Trusted Pros

If a suspicion arises that hidden water damage has occurred, reach out to the water damage specialists at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian. They have advanced technology to locate the source of the water damage. Specially trained and certified technicians using the latest equipment can tackle any size water damage incident. Hidden water damage and mold infestation often go hand in hand. The mold mitigation professionals will apply safe, proprietary cleaning solutions, and they will use the latest mold mitigation equipment. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian can handle all demolitions, repairs, and rebuilds. They also proactively coordinate with the insurance company so that the water damage restoration project can begin immediately and finish soon.

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

How Animals in the Attic Can Cause a House Fire

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

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Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian cautions homeowners about animals that can cause house fires.

The team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is highly experienced at providing fire damage restoration for homes and businesses. A commonly overlooked cause of fires is rodents. Squirrels, rats, and other small pests can gnaw at electrical wiring, exposing live wires. Property owners may not realize the unseen structural damage and dangerous conditions that rodents can create in the attic, crawl space, and walls of a home, business, or other structure.

Uninvited Intruders

Rats, mice, and squirrels are the most common uninvited intruders. Generations of squirrels may populate an attic or crawl space. Other “guests” include raccoons, chipmunks, bats, and flying squirrels. Groundhogs, possums, and skunks can present challenges, too. Bird infestations in the attic are not so common, but they do occur.

A Nighttime Nuisance

Rodents and other animals can be a nuisance when they find or make a way into a home. They keep the family awake by scurrying in the walls and in the ceiling and attic during the night. Small children can be disturbed from sleep at night or from an important afternoon nap during the day. Some of the noises, fighting, and gnawing can be frightening to residents.

Unsanitary Guests

Rats and mice raid food stores in the pantry, on shelves, and in cabinets. The food contaminated by their body fluids and feces is ruined and should be immediately discarded. If left to roam and reproduce, the unwanted guests can quickly create more and more inhabitants that contribute to the problem.

Demolition Experts

Rats, mice, squirrels, and chipmunks have teeth that continue to grow throughout their lifespan. Much like fingernails that always need clipping, a rodent’s teeth need to be constantly gnawing and chewing to keep the teeth growth in check. Rodents that are unable to constantly chew or gnaw will grow teeth so long that eating becomes impossible. As a result, the creatures will starve to death.

This constant need to gnaw means that a nest of squirrels, a pack of mice or rats, or a family of raccoons can very quickly damage personal belongings, chew through support beams, gnaw insulation to pieces, pierce pipes and tubing, and even cut through electrical wiring with their razor-sharp incisors. Compared to metal pipes, which rodents sometimes chew, a strand of wire coated with softer insulation is a delicacy.

Shocking Results

Plugging a hole in the eaves of the roof, sealing cracks in the foundation, or repairing the obvious damage to gnawed timbers or shredded insulation is manageable for the homeowner or the critter control specialist.

On the other hand, locating gnawed wiring may be virtually impossible due to the inaccessibility of much of the wire behind walls, under insulation in the attic, or concealed under the home in the crawl space. The observant homeowner may find some evidence of wiring that has been gnawed or chewed. Of course, the wiring issue should be repaired. The larger question relates to wiring throughout the remainder of the home. Without inspecting every inch of wiring, the results could be shocking!

How a Fire Starts

Electrical wiring can become hot when electricity is flowing through it. The plastic insulation prevents the heat in the wire from igniting nearby objects. When a rat or mouse has gnawed away the insulation leaving bare wire, the heat from the wire or a spark from a short circuit can ignite insulation or other debris near the wire. Sometimes, a hot wire resting against a wooden support beam is enough to start a house fire over time.

Solutions That Work

  • Eliminate the risk by removing the intruders.
  • Identify and seal any actual or potential entry points.
  • Contact a certified electrician to inspect the damage and make any electrical repairs.
  • Contact a property damage restoration specialist to clean up the mess left by the “guests.”
  • Contact the fire and water damage specialists at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian in case the worst happens — a fire caused by exposed wires gnawed by a rodent or other uninvited guest. Fire and water damage are traumatic. Securing the services of experienced professionals who know how to handle the incident from initial inspection and assessment to the completion of the restoration project brings much-needed peace of mind.


For more information about biohazard cleanups, fire damage, and water damage, visit the SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian website at https://www.SERVPROwaxahachiemidlothian.com. The office can be reached by phone at (972) 935-0827.

Damage Restoration Company Shares Grill Safety Tips for Summer Cookouts

8/3/2020 (Permalink)

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Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers grill safety tips for the backyard barbecue.

The summer of 2020 is different from other summers. COVID-19 has created somewhat of a meat shortage and higher prices at the grocery store. Restaurants are feeling the brunt of higher prices and limited hours and seating. In their quest for a bite of great Texas beef and BBQ, homeowners are firing up the grill and cooking at home. In pursuit of taste and convenience, backyard grill masters are purchasing both a charcoal grill for flavor and a gas grill for convenience and functionality. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 64% of households own a gas grill, 44% own a charcoal grill, and 9% own an electric grill.

With more grills and more grilling, the frequency of grill-caused fires increases. From 2013-2017, grills caused an annual average of 10,200 home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Gas grills cause more home fires than charcoal grills.

Outdoor chefs can prevent fire damage this summer and fall by following these grilling safety tips.

  1. Grill outside in a well-ventilated area away from the house or any other structures. 

Gas and charcoal grills are designed for outdoor use only. According to the NFPA, 27% of residential fires caused by outdoor grills began in a terrace, courtyard, or patio, and 29% of residential fires caused by outdoor grills were ignited on an exterior balcony or open porch.

Pay close attention to overhanging tree branches when setting up the grill. Catching a neighbor’s home on fire or starting a wildfire could be very costly.

  1. Ensure the cleanliness and stability of the grill. A clean grill is a safe grill. Remove grease from both the grill and the tray below the grill. When using a charcoal grill, allow the coals to completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container.

Set up the grill on a flat, stable surface where it cannot be overturned. Protect the grill or patio by using a grill pad or splatter mat underneath the grill to protect the deck or patio.

  1. Inspect the propane tank hose for leaks on the gas grill. At the first of the season, check the hose for leaks. Apply soapy water to the hose and then turn on the gas. Bubbles indicate a leak.  A flame that will not light or gas smells may be indications of a leak.
  1. If the flame goes out, do not re-light for five minutes. Turn the grill and the gas off. Wait for about five minutes. Re-ignite the grill.
  1. Be careful, especially close to the grill. A lit grill should always have a watchful eye on it. Children or pets should not play near the grill. Allow a grill time to cool for at least an hour after use, and wait until the grill cools to move it. 
  1. Use caution when applying charcoal starter fluid. Only use charcoal starter fluid since it resists flare-ups. If the flame begins to die down, do not apply more starter fluid. Flammable liquids such as gasoline are hazardous and should never be used to start charcoal on a grill. Do not use an aerosol spray as a torch to start or restart the pile of briquettes. A charcoal chimney starter is very safe and uses newspaper to start the fire instead of starter fluid.
  1. Wear fire-safe clothing when around a grill or other source of an open fire. 

Clothing can readily ignite. Make sure sleeves, shirttails, and apron strings are not exposed to the open flame of the grill.

Conclusion

Backyard grilling creates culinary memories with friends and family that are not soon forgotten. Always have the means to extinguish the grill or a fire caused by the grill. A bucket of sand, a water hose, and a fire extinguisher are recommended to have nearby in case of fire. Remember, a grease fire is neutralized by baking soda, not water. Never use water on a grease fire.

These easy-to-follow tips will keep everyone safe when grilling out. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian encourages everyone to enjoy the summer barbecuing season. Stay safe and stay healthy!


For more information about property damage restoration near Waxahachie and Midlothian, TX, visit the SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian website at https://www.SERVPROwaxahachiemidlothian.com. Contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827.

Waxahachie/Midlothian Damage Restoration Company Offers Fireworks Safety Tips

6/30/2020 (Permalink)

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Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian urges people to use caution when setting off fireworks for the Fourth of July.

Fourth of July celebrations that include fireworks is an enduring American tradition. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian, a fire damage restoration company, urges caution for residents of Waxahachie, Texas, and the surrounding communities of Midlothian, Venus, Maypearl, Mountain Peak, and Ward when enjoying this tradition.

Fireworks Can Be Dangerous

The National Fire Protection Association provides the following fireworks fire and injury statistics to drive home the potential danger that can arise from improperly handling fireworks.

“Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage. In 2018, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks-related injuries; half of those injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the eye or other parts of the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2018 injuries. These injury estimates were obtained or derived from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2018 Fireworks Annual Report by Yongling Tu and Jason Ng.”

How to Stay Safe When Using Fireworks

The Texas Department of Insurance offers these fireworks safety tips to know to have fun with fireworks and stay safe.

  1. Follow local laws.

Some places allow only certain types of fireworks, and most areas do not allow fireworks within city limits or during burn bans. Contact the local fire officials if there are any questions.

  1. Find out if a permit is required.

Organizers will need a permit from the local fire department if they are putting on a fireworks show for a group of fifty people or larger.

  1. Hire licensed professionals.

If someone is hired to put on a display for a group, they must have a Texas pyrotechnic operator’s license. To find out if someone has a Texas license, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office, which can be reached at 1-800-578-4677 or Fire.Marshal@tdi.texas.gov.

  1. Confirm that fireworks are legal.

Fireworks can be sold only at certain times of the year, typically during a week or so leading up to an important holiday. Besides the Fourth of July and New Year’s, Texas counties have the option to include Texas Independence Day (March 2nd), San Jacinto Day (April 21st), Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), and Memorial Day. Anyone can use fireworks any day of the year as long as they are not banned in the area where they are being used.

  1. Stay safe!
  • Children should not use fireworks, and an adult should always be present when children are near a fireworks display.
  • Alcohol and fireworks are a recipe for an emergency room trip.
  • Always follow the firework instructions exactly.
  • Never shoot fireworks around dry grass, brush, or other flammable materials.
  • Never aim fireworks at a home, animal, or person.
  • Keep a bucket of water, garden hose, or other water sources nearby for emergencies.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian provides these fireworks safety tips as a public service to the residents of West Fort Worth in the hopes that everyone will have an enjoyable, safe, and patriotic July 4th.

Fire and Water Damage Restoration Process

When a home or business is dealing with the aftermath of a fire, the damage that it can cause to the property structure and valuable possessions can be extremely devastating. Here at SERVPRO, the team understands the stress, confusion, and emotions that are present when dealing with this kind of ordeal. The SERVPRO technicians are highly skilled and certified, as well as equipped with fire damage restoration equipment to take special care of the client’s property and possessions. The SERVPRO team will be there with the customer every step along the way to explain the process to help get them through this stressful time.

After the fire trucks leave, the home or business likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO has the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore a home to its pre-fire conditions.

Every fire damage event requires an individualized solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate the process for the typical fire damage emergency.

Step 1: Emergency contact

Step 2: Inspection and fire damage assessment

Step 3: Immediate board-up and roof-tarp service

Step 4: Water removal and drying (if water damage is present)

Step 5: Removal of smoke and soot from all surfaces

Step 6: Cleaning and sanitizing

Step 7: Restoration

Conclusion

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian hopes that everyone has a July 4th celebration that is safe, enjoyable, and fire-free. The team of fire and water damage experts is proud to serve the local communities of Waxahachie, Midlothian, Venus, Maypearl, Mountain Peak, and Ward.

To learn more about fire and water damage restoration, visit the SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian website at https://www.SERVPROwaxahachiemidlothian.com. Contact a SERVPRO representative by phone at (972) 935-0827.

Waxahachie Company Restores Water-Damaged Property

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

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Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian restores water-damaged property with advanced technology.

According to Water University, a resource of Texas A&M University, “Healthy landscapes offer a variety of advantages for the home. They not only add aesthetic value but can also provide erosion protection, temperature control and serve as usable outdoor space for relaxing and entertaining. Oftentimes however, North Texas landscapes can be overwatered, over-fertilized or over-saturated with pesticides, which can be detrimental to water resources and your landscape. The EPA estimates that in dry climates like that of North Texas, a household’s outdoor water use can exceed the amount of water used for all other residential purposes! In some households, during summer, as much as 60% of a total water budget could be spent on landscape irrigation. By incorporating irrigation best management practices and by selecting the right plant material for your specific needs, you have the potential to drastically reduce water and chemical use in your landscape.”

After Jen read this article from Water University, she determined to capture the water from the HVAC system in a barrel and use it to irrigate her culinary herb garden. The water was perfect for the herbs because it would be pure. The twenty-plus gallons per day produced by a central HVAC system would be more than enough to water the thirsty herbs.

Meanwhile, Jen’s husband David had been wondering how to manage the water from the new HVAC system that was going to be installed next week. Most new systems tap into the existing drain system, but this additional water would increase the water and sewer bill. Besides, during the winter, when the condensate drainpipe was empty, noxious gases could enter the home from the sewer or septic tank. The float switch or the condensate pump could malfunction, causing severe water damage and mold if not caught very quickly. David had read of homeowners being on vacation for weeks only to return to ceilings, walls, floors, and carpets damaged by the HVAC drip pan leaking or overflowing.

When David heard about Jen’s idea, he was thrilled. He would install a float switch on the drain pan to turn off the unit in case of a clogged pipe, and the couple could enjoy the water from the HVAC system every time herbs and spices were harvested from the garden.

Why Choose SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian?

By the time that water damage from an overflowing HVAC drip pan is discovered, hundreds of gallons of water may have leaked all through the home, causing thousands of dollars in damage to the ceilings, walls, and flooring. Mold and mildew are likely involved.

When a Waxahachie home has water damage from flooding or leaks, homeowners need a water damage restoration company that can respond immediately and has the expertise and equipment to properly restore the property. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian uses advanced water damage inspection and extraction equipment to help locate the moisture and remove it as quickly as possible. Cutting-edge drying equipment and proven techniques help restore a home more quickly and minimize cost. SERVPRO uses equipment that helps detect hidden moisture and extract standing water quickly and efficiently. Utilizing professional-strength cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing products brings comfort and safety to homeowners. The highly-trained technicians monitor and document the drying process so that homeowners can be certain the property is back to normal. Following the Water Damage Tips provided by SERVPRO protects both property and the property owner and family.

The Water Damage Restoration Process

Since every flood and water damage scenario is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored to the specific situation. However, the overall water restoration process remains the same. The steps below detail the restoration process for the typical water-damaged property.

Step 1: Emergency Contact

Step 2: Inspection and Damage Assessment

Step 3: Water Removal/Water Extraction

Step 4: Drying and Dehumidification

Step 5: Cleaning and Repair

Step 6: Restoration

Conclusion

With emergency 24-hour service, highly trained staff, and advanced inspection, extraction, removal, and drying technology and equipment, SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is the best choice. The company is proud to serve local communities, including Waxahachie, Midlothian, Venus, Maypearl, Mountain Peak, Ward, and Ellis County.

To learn more about water damage restoration resulting from an HVAC leak or any other source, visit the SERVPRO Waxahachie/Midlothian website at https://www.SERVPROwaxahachiemidlothian.com. To speak with a SERVPRO representative, call (972) 935-0827.