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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

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

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

Disaster Warning Signs

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

Symptoms of Traumatic Incident Stress

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

Physical Issues

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

Cognitive Stresses

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

Emotional Stresses

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

Behavioral Stresses

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

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

Step #1: Create an Emergency Preparedness Plan.

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

Step #2: Practice the emergency escape plan.

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

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

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

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

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

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000, and the company is locally owned and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Being centrally located in Ellis County means that technicians are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The team of restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration. To pre-qualify the leading storm and water damage restoration company in the area or for immediate disaster response needs, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

What Are Some Common Fire Hazards in the Bedroom Area?

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

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

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

Seven Fire Damage Hazards in the Bedroom

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

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

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

#2: Unsupervised space heaters

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

#3: Smoking in bed

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

#4: Improperly using an extension cord or power strip

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

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

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

#6: Misusing an electric blanket

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Tips to Help Local Business Owners Prepare for Flood Damage

4/12/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

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

  1. Determine if the business is susceptible to flooding.

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

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

  1. Implement dry floodproofing strategies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Invest in a generator and a sump pump.

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

  1. Securely anchor fuel tanks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where Should Homeowners Look for Water Intrusion and Water Damage?

4/12/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

Hiding place #1: Near the chimney

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

Hiding place #2: In the wall below the window

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

Hiding place #3: Underneath the siding

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

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

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

Hiding place #4: Near exterior painted window sills

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

Hiding place #5: Behind an outdoor faucet

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

Hiding place #6: Beneath an exterior door threshold

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

Hiding place #7: Below a window air conditioning unit

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

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

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

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

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

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

How Hail Can Cause Roof Leaks and Water Damage

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

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

Hail size impacts roof damage.

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

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

Shape can impact hail damage.

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

Hail speed impacts roof damage.

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

Roofing materials impact hail damage.

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

The age of the roof impacts hail damage.

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

The Danger of Small Hail Damage

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

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

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

3/3/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

Making the Water and Energy Connection

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

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

Water-Saving Tips for the Conservation-Conscious Homeowner

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

Kitchen Water Conservation Tips

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

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

Bathroom Water Conservation Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

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

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

Common Causes of Water Damage in a Commercial Setting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Are Insurance Companies Responding to Commercial Water Damage Claims?

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

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

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

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

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

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

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

An Aging U.S. Population

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

Walk-In Tubs: A Popular Option for Seniors

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

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

Potential Flooding Risks of Walk-In Tubs

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

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

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

Helpful Advice When Considering a Walk-In Tub

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

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

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

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

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

1/5/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

Awareness of the Dangers of Deep Frying

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

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

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

Nine Safety Tips for Deep Frying at Home

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Never leave a deep fryer unattended.

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

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

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

  1. Avoid overfilling a fryer or pot with oil.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What to Do in Case of a Fire Caused Deep Frying

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

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

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

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

1/3/2021 (Permalink)

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

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

Five Tips to Avoid Costly Plumbing Leaks This Winter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Practice hot water heater maintenance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

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

Factors Contributing to Water in the Crawl Space

  1. Weather

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

  1. Landscaping

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

  1. Clogged gutters

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

  1. Faulty plumbing

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

Solving the Moisture Problem in the Crawl Space

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12/4/2020 (Permalink)

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

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

How a Leaky Roof Creates Dangers for Homeowners

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

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

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

Attic and ceiling damage

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

Mold and mildew infestation inside the home

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

Fire hazards from water damage

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

Personal injury from a slip or fall

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

Energy waste and higher utility bills

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

Compromised integrity of the house’s structure

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

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

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

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

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.

Faster to your Ellis County Water Damage Event

4/16/2020 (Permalink)

Photo of House Flood SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian provides 24 hour fire and water damage restoration service in Ellis County.

Flooding and water emergencies can happen at any time -- they don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is ready to respond to your water emergency 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays.

Faster To Any Size Disaster

When you have a flood or water leak, water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. It is imperative to have a water mitigation specialist, such as SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian, arrive quickly and start the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize damage and cleaning and restoration costs.

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian 972-935-0827

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1 - 24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants.

About SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. We are located in the heart of Ellis County, where we can reach your emergency in Waxahachie, Midlothian, Red Oak, Glenn Heights, Ennis, Corsicana, or any other Ellis County city within an hour. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Certifications

ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician

ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program

IICRC Certified Firm

RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation

WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician

Does Your Waxahachie Home Have A Mold Problem?

4/3/2020 (Permalink)

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 972-935-0827

We Are Cleaning Professionals

4/3/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Logo - Faster to Any Disaster We appreciate the opportunity to provide complementary vehicle disinfection to our First Responders

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, be assured that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

We are receiving calls daily from concerned business owners who want to make sure they are providing a safe environment for their workers and their customers. We are ready to respond quickly.

Specialized Training

We clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we go beyond the scope of daily work performed by regular janitorial staff.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces. These may include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends the use of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian, 972-935-0827.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

IICRC Certified Firm

4/2/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Call us for your next cleanup and restoration project. 972-935-0827

Can I Dry My Home Flood Myself?

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

Poster - Our Response Time Our fast response time can save our customers from unneeded worry and potential secondary damage.

My bathroom has flooded! Can I clean it up myself?

Flood waters in the home often originate from plumbing in bathrooms (a broken pipe, clogged toilet, leaky shower enclosure) or kitchen areas (leak under sinks, dishwasher overflows, drain backup). When this happens, It might be tempting to mop the water up and put a fan or two on the wet area until it appears to be dry. No big deal, right? No - this approach can lead to more problems down the road. 

You should always contact a professional, such as those at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian and SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak  to assist in the cleanup of a residential flood - to protect your family's health and to prevent further damage to your home. The professional will assess the quality of the water that flooded your home and the class of the water loss.

There are several questions to ask when a flood has occurred. First, what is the source of the water and what contaminants have been introduced into the flood waters? This will determine the quality of the water and affect many decisions in the drying process. Next, how long has water stood in the area and to what extent have structures and contents become saturated? This will determine the class of the water loss and influence decisions about what can be dried and what will be disposed of. And finally, how will you know when the area is truly dry, not just visibly, but inside walls, under carpets and pads, and throughout materials in the area? This is imperative in preventing further damage through subsequent deterioration and possible mold growth.

This article is limited to the first question above. It explains the importance of understanding the three quality of flood waters and how that determination affects decisions about the drying and cleanup process.

Understanding Quality of Water 

There are three categories of water that can result in a residential flood - for example, from a toilet.

Category 1 (clean water) originates from a sanitary source. It poses no health risk when it comes into contact with skin, is ingested, or is inhaled. In the toilet leak example, if the water comes from the pipe behind the toilet, before the water has entered the toilet tank, it is originally Category 1 water. It is important to note the cleanliness of Category 1 water can deteriorate to Category 2 or 3 when coming into contact with other materials in the environment.

Category 2 (grey water) contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.

Category 3 ( black water) is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents. Such water may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances. In the toilet example, toilet backflows that originate from beyond the toilet trap, regardless of the visible content or color, is considered category three water.

The category determination will greatly impact the way in which you or a professional team will approach the drying and cleanup process. 

Class of Water Loss 

There are 4 classes of water loss,  depending on the magnitude of damage. 

Class 1 is when only low-porosity and low-permeability materials in the area are affected. This means materials like linoleum, wood floors and fixtures, and tile. 

Class 2 is when the water has affected an entire room or area, or multiple rooms in the house. This includes structures and up to two feet of water seepage up any walls. 

Class 3 is when virtually all of the area has been saturated with the overflowing water. Ceilings, insulation, structures, furniture, cushions, carpeting, and more are affected.

Class 4 is when low-porosity, low-permeability materials like concrete, stone, and hardwood are saturated. Since the water can get caught in hard-to-reach pockets, they evaporate more slowly and require special techniques to dry. 

Category 1 Cleanup Process

If the water is Category 1, then the focus becomes on extracting the water from the flooded area and placing equipment (fans and dehumidifiers) in the area, and monitoring the moisture in the area, until it can be deemed completely dry. Little emphasis needs to be placed on placing barriers between the wet areas/objects and the persons doing the work of drying things out. However, it should be noted that even the cleanest flood waters should be approached with minimal protective wear, such as rubber gloves. Materials that were affected in the flood, such as wooden trim, drywall, cabinets, carpet or other flooring, and furniture, can be dried out and left in the home for continued use. As long as the items were not structurally damaged to a point which would deem them unsalvageable, there is no need to remove them from the home. That is, they do not pose a health risk. 

Category 2 Cleanup Process 

When a home flood involves Category 2 water, the persons entering the flooded area must first take precautions to protect themselves from contaminants while working in the area and handling affected materials. Protective equipment such as rubber boots that can be disinfected and rubber gloves will be worn at all times. They might also choose to wear a face mask and googles if the cleanup process is to the extent that moving contents and other actions might cause splashing of flood waters. In this case decisions will be made about materials and items in the affected area based on how porous they are, whether they were saturated with the flooded water, and whether they can be effectively disinfected and left in place after the drying process. For example, where a carpeted area is affected with category 2 water, the carpet can be cleaned, dried, and disinfected; however, the carpet pad beneath must be removed and disposed of. Other hard surfaces can be cleaned, dried, and disinfected, as well. 

Category 3 Cleanup Process 

Category 3 flood waters pose a high risk of causing illness in persons, so this type of flood requires extreme measures during the cleanup process. This type of flood can be caused by something as common as a clogged toilet over-flowing or a clogged shower drain allowing sewer water to backup into a home. In this case, professional will wear full personal protective equipment. Not only rubber boots that can be disinfected and rubber gloves, but a full disposable body suit that protects skin and clothing from contaminated waters and materials must be worn, as well as a respirator and protective eye googles. They will set up a decontamination area to be used when moving from the contaminated area into the uncontaminated areas of the home. I addition, any porous materials in the area must be removed and disposed of as they will have absorbed pollutants from the contaminated water. That means baseboards and drywall that were saturated with flood waters must be cut out and removed. Carpet and carpet pad must be removed and disposed of. Upholstered furniture that was affected must be disposed of. In other words, an item by item determination will be made as to whether household items can be effectively cleaned and disinfected or if they will be disposed of. Leaving Category 3 contaminated materials or items in the home can pose dangerous health risks to residents. 

Leave the Cleanup to the Professionals 

You can see why it is best practice to leave the cleanup process after a flood to the professionals, such as those at SERVPRO of Waxahachie, Midlothian, Ennis, Red Oak - serving all of Ellis County. Call us at 972-935-0827. We have the training and experience to determine the level of risk involved with flood waters. We have the trained personnel and professional equipment to quickly extract waters and get the drying process complete in the shortest amount of time, saving you money and reducing the risk of complications from an improperly dried home. We strive to truly make it "Like it never even happened."   

Ellis County Smoke and Soot Cleanup

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of  Waxahachie/Midlothian-Ennis/Red Oak will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today –
972-935-0827

There's a New Hero in Town

1/9/2020 (Permalink)

Female in blue shirt at desk. Our newest "Hero."

We are excited to welcome Erika Preciado, our new Administrative Assistant, to the family of heroes here at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian. Erika’s main focus will be on project work flow, from First Notice of Loss to Job Completion.

Erika comes to us with eight years experience in the Restoration industry.  She has completed SERVPRO’s Hero-Ready training program. She took and passed SERVPRO’s Crew Training Course; acquired her Water Certification, Fire Certification, and Carpet & Upholstery Certification; and is recognized as a Trained Professional Restorer.

Additionally, she has the Water Damage Restoration Certification from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), Subrogation Certification, and Level I Xactimate Certification.

Erika also brings a vast wealth of experience and knowledge in office procedures and policies that help to keep everyday processes running smoothly. Erica's is the first voice of concern our customers hear when they call in need of restoration services. Erika knows how to reassure the customer and get the assessment process started quickly so that we can begin cleanup and restoration as soon as possible. Her experience helps to make sure safety and quality regulations are up to date and adhered to. Erika’s expertise in these areas and with Office Management tools are invaluable in supporting our efforts to serve the Ellis County community with all of its water damage, fire and smoke damage, and other emergency restoration needs.

When Erika isn't busy being a hero at work she loves spending time with her three beautiful children, ages 3, 6, and 11. Helping them with their homework, reading to them, teaching them writing, or just playing games — quality time with her children is her priority.

Ask Erika why she likes working for SERVPRO, and she will tell you, “I love what I do. Every day I learn something new. I get to talk to new people and experience new things when a customer calls with water damage, fire damage, or some other emergency. At the end of the journey, I am satisfied that my company and the brand I represent helped this customer out.”

We are blessed to have such a talented and  accomplished member joining our team of professional restoration specialists. We will be even more Hero-Ready to meet your restoration needs and to make your property "Like it never even happened."

Preventing fires in your home

3/10/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Ellis County is here to assist your rebuild and restoration needs in the event of a fire. We understand that the best course of action for you is to avoid the fire in the first place. It's appropriate to end this string of fire-related blogs with one that you can act upon now, to make your home a safer place and hopefully avoid any fire damage in the future.

If you have any questions or there is a topic not discussed, your local fire department will also have plenty of resources to use to ensure your home is protected.

To talk about what can be done to prevent fires to your house or residence, it’s, of course, important to get a grasp on what the main causes of fires are. Once we know what might be the source of potential fire, we can then delve into the steps you can take to make these sources safer in your everyday life.

Our experience at SERVPRO of Ellis County definitely echos this source that discusses the common causes of house fires. The ones we run into most often include kitchen/cooking fires, electrical fires, and smoking-related. These are things that we use every day, meaning that many times people become complacent with them. Having a general idea of the common causes of house fires, let’s now take a look at the steps to be taken to avoid them.

Kitchen fires, cooking fires, and grease fires are all frequent culprits of fire damage. There are some basic things you can do to minimize the risks when cooking. First and foremost, never leave your food cooking when unattended. It is tempting to go do something else for 5-10 minutes while you let food cook, but this can have unintended consequences when one stray flame causes a fire that you could have extinguished easily, but how now turned into a full-blown kitchen fire.

Similarly, leaving rags, oven mitts, or anything flammable near the stove or oven only serves as fuel for a potential fire. Be sure to always store these items a safe distance from the heat sources in your kitchen.

Finally, all kitchen appliances that rely on electricity should be unplugged when not in use. While it may be a hassle to plug your coffee machine in first thing every morning, this is much preferable to a fire caused by faulty wiring.

In fact, faulty wiring can cause a fire in every room of your house, not just your kitchen. Electricity is an ingrained part of modern life, and it is not realistic to request you unplug every single device in every room when you leave.

However, there are still some useful tips to help minimize the risk your electrical devices have in your home.

First and foremost, those power cords and surge protectors you use to expand the electrical outlet capacity in your home are a large fire hazard. These should be avoided or used sparingly. Ensure that all electrical wires do not run underneath carpet or rugs, are kept away from water, and any possible heat source. Keep an eye on your electrical devices and their associated cords, if anything seems hotter than is typical unplug the device immediately.

Smoking is the other cause of fires that we see often. Not only does this cause fire, but we frequently have customers wanting us to help them remove the smoke smell from a residence. The easiest way to avoid both of these is to simply smoke outside. The weather may not be the best, but temporary discomfort is much preferable to the long and arduous process of dealing with fire damage.

Your home has a plethora of flammable items that a stray cigarette can quickly ignite. Whether or not you are inside when you choose to smoke, ensure that the cigarette is completely out before disposing of it.

This is a huge cause of smoke-related fires, someone thinking the cigarette is out when there are still embers to ignite other materials. The way to prevent this is to always use an ashtray, and be thorough when putting your cigarette out, to the extent that you can pour water on the cigarette after you are done to make sure that it cannot cause a fire. If you do choose to smoke inside, you should never smoke in your bed, or when you are under blankets of any kind, or near any sources of medical oxygen.

Some of this may seem like common sense, and most of it is not hard to adhere to. The mere fact of the matter is complacency can be a huge determining factor in whether a house is safe from fire damage or not.

The key is to remain diligent, follow this advice and the advice of your local fire department, and have your smoke detector and smoke alarms checked routinely to ensure they are functioning properly.

With all of this in mind, proper preventative techniques can do a lot to prevent a fire that can harm you, your family, and your property.

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Fire Damage Process

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Fires are some of the most sudden and destructive occurrences that can happen to your home or property. It is an unfortunate and stressful time for you and your family, so it is important to discuss the necessary steps to remediating your fire damage and getting your life back on track in the fastest and most convenient manner for you.

A fire damage in your home, much like a water damage, could be from a number of causes. There could be an electrical fire caused by faulty outlets, a kitchen or grease fire caused by accidents when cooking, or could be the result of lightning striking your home.

As there are a number of causes, there could potentially be a number of ways we go about your remediation.

First it is important to outline how the fire process differs from the water mitigation process. When you have a fire in your home, please do not call us first! Call 911 and have your local fire department come to take care of the problem. When that is complete is when we can begin our mitigation work.

The fire department, depending on the severity of the fire, will be the ones who determine when a mitigation company can enter the property. It is fine to call us and give us your information so we can prepare, but we cannot come out to begin your scope until the fire department clears the area as safe.

Now that we have been given permission to enter the building, our work operates a little differently than water mitigation jobs. Whereas we can usually get moisture readings and begin mitigation the same day, fire damages are typically a slightly slower process.

It is assumed in a water damage that your house is fine, and whatever work we do inside will be restoring that house. Fire damages aren’t quite so simple.

Adjusters may need to come inspect the property to deem whether or not the structure is salvageable or not. Similarly, a lot of items that were affected by the fire will be either deemed salvageable or unsalvageable, and your adjuster may want us to come up with that list before we continue work. This process of doing inventory and inspecting every one of your possessions is to determine what we can clean and what we cannot clean is the first important step to getting your restored to pre-accident condition.

Once we understand what can be cleaned, and what will need to be replaced, the next step of the process is called a pack out. This is essentially moving your items that will be cleaned to our safe storage facility so that we can best clean them. This happens for two reasons.

First, we oftentimes need to use an ozone machine to get the entirety of the smoke odor out of your items.

Second, the floors, walls, and ceilings of your house are more than likely also affected by smoke odor. This means if we can your dresser and leave it in your room, the smoke odor will permeate back into the item leaving you in the same situation. It is also easiest to do all of the surface cleanings; your walls and ceilings, as well as carpet and duct cleaning while the areas are completely empty of other items.

After our extensive and exhaustive cleaning is finished, ensuring all of your items are restored to pre-fire condition, the final step before we can put everything back in your house is repairing or replacing any damaged parts of your home.

Whether drywall and ceiling have been burnt during the fire, or your vent hood in the kitchen needs replaced, we are here to help and have a number of professional contractors who specialize in restoration work that can make your home "Like it never even happened."

The final step, once all of this is complete, is to do a pack back. We return your items, clothing, furniture, and place everything back in your home like it was prior to the fire.

We understand this is a trying time. We will work in conjunction with your insurance to ensure that the fire that uplifted your life is in the past and you can move forward in your newly restored home.

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Categories of Fire Damages

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

When we talk about the different categories of fire damages, we aren’t necessarily looking at the cause of the fire. While there are differences and nuances in regards to the cause of fires on the methods we use to properly clean afterward`, the bigger concern lies in what happens to stop the fire from spreading, and how far the fire spreads.

We generally categorize fire damages as fire, fire/water, or smoke losses.

We will investigate each of these to explain what that means for you, the homeowner, when one of these occurs.

Fire damage is extensive damage to the property itself and your items and furniture. The extent will vary, depending on the source of the fire and the time it took to extinguish. However these jobs will, generally, involve the removal of your items (packout), cleaning of items and of surfaces inside your home, then the return of your items (packback) after any rebuild is complete. This is a lengthy process, but we here at SERVPRO of Ellis County will do everything in our power to expedite the job to get you back in your home as soon as possible.

A fire/water damage is very similar to fire damage, with the caveat that the fire department had to use water or another liquid agent to extinguish the fire.

While the fire department does the heroic work saving lives and property every single day, the addition of water to your home in such large, unmanageable amounts causes more work to be done.

What we are looking at in this case is everything involving fire damage, but also all of the water damage requirements as well. We will have to include a water remediation portion of the job on top of the rest of the fire damage.

You can go back to view water damages in detail in our previous posts.

The biggest thing to realize, however, is that the non-salvageable list will continue to grow as the areas affected by water or whatever liquid agent extinguished the flames most likely soaked your items such as dressers and furniture and while some may be cleaned and repaired, others may have to be replaced.

This is an unfortunate situation to find yourself in, but the first and most important priority is the safety of you and your family and thus the use of liquid-based extinguisher was deemed required. These jobs are more complicated but are nothing new to the professional team at SERVPRO of Ellis County. We will be able to handle your water/fire situation just as well as any other fire jobs.

One other category worth mentioning is smoke. If you have a grease fire, leave the oven on, or have a fire situation that is relatively small and contained, you may very well still have smoke damage throughout your house. This is because smoke often times can travel through duct systems and affect rooms that were nowhere near the original source of the fire.

When this happens, your clothes, bedding, furniture, and sometimes even walls and carpet can begin to smell like smoke. The remediation process for this is very similar to your regular fire job, however, the additional application of an air scrubber or ozone machine on-site to help clean the air of the smoke odor may be necessary.

Often times, repainting is required as the smoke embeds itself in the walls. These types of damages are best cleaned as soon as possible as the longer it takes to clean the more difficult the smell will be to eradicate from the substance.

This is one of the most trying times in your life when you have fire damage your home. This is something that we are here to help with.

Understanding the differences between fire damage, a fire/water damage, and smoke damage will help you better understand the steps you need to take and the steps we will be performing to best remediate your fire damage.

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Packouts and Packbacks

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

The vast majority of fire damages will result in a partial or complete packout. You can view this as SERVPRO of Ellis County personally moving all the contents of your home to our secure facility, where, depending on damages, your items will be cleaned and restored or simply stored until the home back to pristine condition for us to move everything back.

Because fire and smoke jobs are so closely associated with packouts, I felt this the perfect time to go over the details of packouts and what you need to know.

Packouts happen so frequently because fire tends to leave your items smelling like smoke. Without proper and thorough cleaning, this smell becomes worse and worse and can not only be a nuisance but also can cause health hazards to you and your family in the future. As such, we oftentimes recommend packouts and cleaning of items during most fire damages.

When you have been affected by fire damage, you want to get things taken care of right away. We will work with your insurance for approval to do your packout and packback, and this often means submitting a salvageable/non-salvageable list before we begin the process. We try our best to get approval for all work necessary and get started right away.

Once we are prepared to begin, we bring teams of trained crew members who have performed this task hundreds of times. Packouts and Packbacks are a common occurrence in the SERVPRO of Ellis County family, which means you are in good hands!

Our crews hand wrap and protect every large item such as furniture, tables, chairs, and artwork. Smaller things are sorted and put into boxes. For inventory purposes, we are required to take pictures of each item that is packed out, label each item that is taken, and organize these pictures and labels in our proprietary software to better keep track of your items during the entire process. This means we aren’t just a moving company that comes and takes your items, but we are entering item information and pictures for record-keeping and to ensure that everything comes back and is placed in the right place.

Nothing is worse than moving just to realize you can’t find that one kitchen appliance you really need, or discover you’ve lost half of your sock collection. Our process is more thorough than your typical movers. Everything we do is to ensure nothing goes missing during your packout.

After we have loaded up and moved all of your items to our secure location, we unload and store your items in an air-conditioned environment.

Over the course of the next few days, depending on the extent of the damages, we will hand clean each item that we bring before we pack them back to you. We even have an ozone room, a room dedicated to use with an ozone machine that helps eliminate all pesky odors that attempt to cling to porous items and surfaces. All of this means you get your items returned in the cleanest state they’ve been in since you bought them!

Now that cleaning is complete, we reverse the process. We pack items into our trucks, return them to your location, and even unpack the items if you’d like.

This process, similar to the packout, may take a couple of days or more depending on the number of items we have. We like to do things correctly the first time, every time. So while the process does take some time, it is much preferable to the risks that are associated with a rushed, unattentive job.

The end of your packback marks the moment that your home is restored to a condition "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Ellis County is here every step of the way during your fire damage, and the packout/packback process is one of the largest and most important steps that we take.

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Understanding Salvageable and Unsalvageable

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

We have mentioned a salvageable and unsalvageable list in previous blogs. This is a precursor to any packout and cleaning we do. We need to make sure everyone involved, including your insurance and yourself, are aware of what is deemed salvageable and what is going to have to be replaced.

At times, the restoration of the item is possible, but cost prohibitive and it makes more sense for your insurance to pay you to get the item replaced. This is a difficult time for you, the insured, and we are going to do everything in our power to assist you when it comes to this list of salvageable items.

The general process includes taking pictures of each and every item and recording their condition. That is something we are here to help you with. Either during the packout process or when we have all items in our warehouse, we are able to record what is unsalvageable and with proper documentation to send to your insurance to ensure you get properly reimbursed for these items.

As a valued customer, we promise to do everything we can to benefit you and ensure your life is restored, starting with advocating for your unsalvageable items to your insurance.

What deems an item unsalvageable hinges on a number of factors. The age, prior condition, any damage that was done to the item, and the relative restoration cost all play a part in what will be included in the unsalvageable list.

Naturally, the rest of the items are considered salvageable and will be cleaned and returned to you during the packback phase of your job.

The factors that go into creating the unsalvageable list and recording all documentation can be found here. This is obviously a lot of work, and we are here to make sure you don’t have to struggle through these steps and help do them for you.

That being said, there are some things you can do to help expedite the process of creating this list. One thing mentioned in the linked article is keeping receipts. This is the biggest and most helpful thing you can do when we are negotiating salvageability and pricing with your insurance.

Receipts that show the original price of your items, as well as pictures from before your fire damage to prove that the damage sustained was related to the fire. These help immensely when it comes to creating and validating this unsalvageable list with your insurance.

If you do not already, it may be best to make a list of all your items and their associated costs and put them together in a file with pictures of all of these items. This is a lengthy process but could help save valuable time in the future in the unfortunate event of fire damage.

One last thing that needs to be clarified is the fate of your unsalvageable items. When insurances agree that an item cannot be saved, and determines payment to you for that item, we are required not to give the item back.

Oftentimes customers will ask for one or more of their unsalvageable items. We fully understand that some items may have sentimental value to you and your family. If this is the case, we need to know as soon as possible what items you want to be returned when we give you our list of unsalvageable items, so that the item can be taken off the list and your insurance can adjust payment.

Nearing the end of your job is too late to return any unsalvageable as the insurance has paid you for those items, and we are obligated to dispose of the unsalvageable items.

Knowledge of what types of factors play into an unsalvageable list will be immensely helpful in the case of fire damage.

Remember, you can do your part now by inventorying all of your possessions with pictures of them in their current state. This can help us, your insurance, and yourself if you do find yourself in the midst of fire damage in your home.

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Fire Damages and Insurance

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

There are many different types of coverage you may have related to your fire damage, and understanding this now and selecting the right insurance plan could save you time and money in the future.

Often people are unaware of their insurance plan, coverage, details, and are mistakenly convinced that the entirety of their fire damage will be covered. What this results in is a large bill to you, and quite the headache if you don’t understand the inclusions and limits of your policy.

This needs to be prefaced with the following: we do not benefit from you increasing/decreasing insurance coverage at all. We are not here to sell you more insurance coverage or scare you into thinking you will not be covered. Every insurance and every policy is different. We are just going to be covering the basics to give you a better understanding of where you may fall, and from there you can determine if your coverage is enough, too much, or too little.

First, we have renters insurance. This insurance is for apartments or rental homes where your items may be affected but you are not the owner or insured for the actual residence itself. Your renter's insurance policy ought to cover fires under the “covered perils” section. There will be a few different coverages in rental insurance with limits and deductibles, so it is important to understand what these are.

Personal property coverage will cover all of your items damaged/destroyed during a fire, up to a certain limit. These may include a deductible that means you have a responsibility for a certain portion of the costs before the policy begins paying for damages.

Loss-of-use coverage is something that will cover any additional expenses that result because you can no longer live in the property you were renting. Not every policy includes loss-of-use coverage, so it is important to check if yours does. This covers hotel costs if necessary.

Another common form of insurance that covers fire damages is homeowners insurance. Fire is one of the named perils that is covered. Generally, this will include dwelling coverage and personal property coverage. Dwelling coverage will pay for the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home. This, along with similar personal property coverage from rental insurance, usually have a limit that is the maximum amount the insurance will pay.

You can look for other fire specific insurance coverages if you are worried that your limit is not high enough to completely cover the cost of fire damages.

Another type of coverage that may or may not appear on your homeowner's insurance is Additional Living Expenses. This, similar to loss-of-use, is for any food, hotel costs, and other expenses that are incurred when you cannot stay in your home.

Other things that often do not appear in your homeowners insurance include coverage if the home was vacant for more than 30 days prior to the fire, arson, when a fire is deliberately started by a person, is not covered by general homeowners insurance, and fires that damage things such as your car, detached sheds, and other property located outside your home would also not be covered. You can look into additional coverage for these items as needed.

There is never a good time for a fire to strike. We at SERVPRO of Ellis County understand that when you are dealing with fire damage, there are seemingly hundreds of pertinent things that must be done to get your house back to pre-fire condition.

One thing you can do is read up on your homeowner's or renter’s insurance, look for a section specifically covering fire, and learn what your policy details are. You are looking for limits, deductibles, possible exceptions, and anything else that may be pertinent. Knowing how your insurance will be handling your fire claim can save a lot of time and confusion in the future.

If you want to read more about homeowners insurance, you can do so here or for more information on fire coverage beyond homeowners insurance.

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Advice During your Water Damage

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

There are some small steps you can take to ensure that your water damage dries as quickly and hassle-free as possible. We will be coming every day to monitor the equipment and check on the drying, but in between those visits are 24 hours where the actual drying occurs.

First, our technicians place our equipment in strategic locations for your benefit. We will try to create a cylinder of airflow that leads back to the dehumidifier to maximize the effectiveness of our drying equipment. Therefore, we ask that you do not move or reorient the machines if at all possible. We understand that at times the optimal placement is in a location that is inconvenient. If machines do need to be moved, please place them as close to their original position as possible to maintain the airflow we were hoping to accomplish.

Next, it is important that if the water damage is in a single room and our technicians close the door to that room it is because it will help the drying process immensely if the room is contained and the air in that room is constantly cycling through the dehumidifier. For this reason, we ask that any rooms with equipment remain shut if possible. These rooms will probably be slightly warmer than the rest of the house, which is a good thing. Warmer temperatures allow for more condensation to transfer into the air, and makes it easier to remove via our dehumidifiers. While we don’t expect you to live in persistent heat, it would be beneficial if the temperature in your home were raised a few degrees to promote quick drying.

However, the number one thing that you can do to ensure a quicker drying time is to let the machines continue running. While there are a couple of things that you could do to help the drying of your floors and walls, there is one thing that many customers do that will harm our drying attempts. That is, of course, turning our machines off. Some customers, depending on the amount and location of our equipment, find them to be too loud and a nuisance during their daily lives. While we strive to be as minimally invasive as possible during our water mitigation, sometimes with equipment placed in living rooms and kitchens, there is no way around it. The worst thing someone can do it to turn off our equipment.

Keeping in mind that these air movers and dehumidifiers are being rented by you, the customer, it is simply a waste of time and money to turn off the machines. These were designed for and work best when they are allowed to run continuously until the affected material is dry.

Our biggest advice to you is to let the machines do their intended work, and hopefully, we can dry your home and have everything picked up and back to new before you know it!

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Different Types of Water Damages

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Not all water damages are created equal. In fact, beyond the various sizes and severity of water damage you have, there are 3 distinct categories that we use to differentiate water damage based on the source of the water. It is important to understand the different categories because this has a direct effect on the work we perform in your home or property.

Category 1

Category 1 water damages, shortened to Cat 1, are water damages that involve completely clean water. A rule of thumb for this water damage is water that is perfectly fine to drink. This could come from a busted pipe underneath the sink, a failed supply line, or any other source of water that is free of contaminants. This water is the easiest and fastest to clean, however, expediency is still necessary for this category can turn to category 2 as quickly as 24 hours after the damage occurs if not properly handled.

Category 2

Category 2 water damages have what we consider a small number of contaminants. These are the result of washing machine leaks, dishwasher leaks or overflows, sump pump failure, and many more. This water is generally grey in color, can contain chemicals as well as bio-contaminants, and while it should not be consumed by any means (no water that is on your floors should be!), it poses a small health risk to those exposed to the water for a short time. These contaminants will require that we properly sanitize the affected areas to prevent the situation from getting worse. Similar to category 1 turning to category 2, if left untreated this category can escalate rapidly into a much more hazardous situation.

Category 3

Category 3 water damages are classified as the worst type of water. These are completely unsafe to be near and contain many contaminants that you will want to be cleaned properly and quickly. Examples of this include, but are not limited to, toilet backups that include waste and flood waters bringing contaminants from outside your home. These are serious health risks, and often they require what we call a ‘flood cut’. This includes removing floors and drywall up to 2 feet up to ensure no contaminated materials remain. The nature of the source requires the use of Proper Protective Equipment to clean, and multiple applications of sanitization.

Knowing about these categories is important should you have water damage so you understand the different steps we are taking, and why they must be taken. We do not expect you to become an expert at recognizing the intricacies of each category, but basic understanding can go a long way when you are explaining your water damage to our dispatcher. 

SERVPRO of Ellis County is here to help no matter the category, no matter the time, and no matter how large.

We are ready to make your property like it never happened!

Written by: Brendan Gillette

Insurances and Water Damages

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

If SERVPRO of Ellis County isn’t your first call when you come home to discover the water heater has burst, then it is probably to your home insurance.

We work with various insurance companies, and in doing so have experience working with all types of adjusters and requirements to complete your job in a satisfactory manner.

It is important to be aware of a few things regarding insurance companies so you can efficiently navigate the often confusing world of water damages.

Forms and Paperwork

There are a few forms that need to be signed prior to beginning your water damage. These outline the expectations and protect all parties involved during the process.

Our forms include Authorization to Perform Services and Direction of Payment which is an agreement to perform water mitigation and also an agreeing upon who will be the paying party.

There is the Equipment Rental Agreement simply outlining that you will take care of (you can simply not touch it and be fine) the equipment that is rented and left on your property.

Finally, we have a Customer Information form that is simply gathering the best contact information and information regarding your house so we here in the office can contact you.

Your insurance, however, depending on who you are insured with, may have their own version of these forms and may have further forms that are required before we can start the job.

We understand you are anxious to begin mitigation services, and understanding these necessary forms is a huge step in expediting the process so we may begin.

Estimates and Pricing

When we are doing your water damage, you or your insurance may want an update on what the total costs are going to be. This is especially true if demolition is required and there will be a rebuild in the future.

A lot of factors go into the estimate and approval process when your job is going through an insurance agent/adjuster. At the end of the day, almost all demo and rebuilds have to first be approved by your insurance adjuster before we can begin this work. We do our best to get this all done in a timely manner by the ever-helpful administrators here in the office, but at times this may cause a slight delay in your job until we manage to get approved.

Sometimes the adjuster requires they be onsite to do measurements and observe the damages themselves before work can be approved. Sometimes adjusters need time to look over our estimates before they approve them. All of these are facts of life that we work with in order to complete your water job as soon as we can.

In regards to pricing and payment, insurance companies handle these in different ways. Some will send the agreed upon amount minus your deductible to you, the homeowner, and we will collect the payment from you directly. Others will mail us the check and require us to collect just your deductible. Even others will mail us the entirety of the payment and collect the deductible from you themselves.

Whatever the situation is, we will remain in contact with you and the adjuster to make sure we are all in agreement about the final bill.

Should you have a question regarding payment status after your job, the best person to contact is your insurance adjuster and ask them for that status. 

Written by: Brendan Gillette

What you need to know about water damage

2/10/2019 (Permalink)

Let’s discuss the basics of a water damage. This information is useful for anyone who rents or owns property, seeing as a water damage could happen at any time. We’ve written other more specific blogs about different types of damage and different scenarios that you may face.  For now, we are going to go over just the basics.

What is Water Damage?

Water damage is a term used to describe damages to your floors, walls, ceiling, and contents caused by an unintended intrusion of water. There can be many causes of water damages, which we will go over, but first, we must establish exactly what is and is not considered water damage.

You do NOT have damage if:

  • Your daughter gets the floor in the bathroom wet after a shower.
  • You spill a glass of water on the carpet in your living room.
  • You accidentally splash water on the kitchen cabinets and floor while doing the dishes.

In these instances, you can simply clean the affected area and wipe up all moisture that is spilled. This doesn’t require a professional. Simply get a towel and you are good to go!

You DO have damage if:

  • Your bathtub was left running, leaving an inch of water standing in your bathroom.
  • A pipe underneath your sink broke, and you didn’t notice for hours.
  • Your hot water heater leaked or burst, emptying its water inside your home.
  • Water is accumulating somewhere in your house but you are not sure of the cause.

There are many more potential causes, but the point here is that you cannot simply use a towel to soak up these problems. If you do find yourself in a situation where your hot water heater burst, you might be presented with more water than you thought was inside your house now spilling across your living room, kitchen, or any room in your house.

This is, understandably, a frantic and alarming thing to happen, but our team at SERVPRO of Ellis County sees these cases and much worse on a daily basis and we are ready to help!

A good rule of thumb: if you are not sure whether your water emergency requires the assistance of professionals is it is better to be safe than sorry.

Give us a call at (972) 935-0827 and we can come to do a moisture check for you and find out if the extent of moisture is enough to require professional assistance.

Read our next topic:

Why do you need to have your water damage addressed?

Why You Need Water Mitigation Services

2/10/2019 (Permalink)

After getting a clear understanding of what constitutes water damage, your next thought may be, “Okay, but why do I need to hire someone to do water mitigation?”

This is an understandable line of thought, and we’ll shed some light onto the necessity of the services we provide here at SERVPRO of Ellis County.

We Perform Water Mitigation Services

When we dissect what it is we do, the purpose and need for water mitigation become clear. We mitigate further damages, further problems, and as a result, mitigate further costs.

Being a liquid, water has a tendency to spread and seep into more items, walls, and floors the longer it is left unattended in your home. What might have started out as a small water heater closet getting soaked can, unheeded, travel through walls, into other areas of your home damaging floorboards, drywall, and insulation in the process.

It goes without saying, there is a need to stop the spread of water and mitigate the potential damages when you are faced with water damage. Left unchecked, water damages can buckle floorboards, soak carpet, and require complete removal and replacement of flooring and walls.

Luckily, SERVPRO of Ellis County is available 24/7  with crews ready to respond to your emergency in a timely fashion and begin mitigation work before a small water damage becomes a large one.

Growth: An Unwanted Visitor

Another key reason we strongly recommend water mitigation is because of the potential of growth.

Cold, wet, damp locations, such as those found beneath your floorboards, and inside of your drywall when you leave areas wet, are the perfect scenario for the growth of mold and other potentially harmful substances.

We see unmitigated water damages turn into a completely avoidable amount of growth very quickly. Unfortunately, the protocol for safe removal of growth can be much more costly than the initial water mitigation, and the price of not doing so is a potential health hazard to you and your family.

Our goal for your water damage is to mitigate the spread of water and dry all affected material to a suitable level without doing any demolition, but if the problem is allowed to turn into a growth remediation, there is little hope to fully remediate the growth without having to cut into drywall and dispose of affected material.

These are two of the largest reasons you need to have your water damage properly mitigated through the services of professionals like SERVPRO of Ellis County.

For your own safety, cutting corners is not an option when dealing with water damages inside your home or business.

Next, we will be discussing the specific work we perform when we are called out to handle your water damage.

What SERVPRO does during your water damage

2/10/2019 (Permalink)

Now that we have established what water damage is, and why it is necessary to have SERVPRO of Ellis County come to do the water mitigation, it is important to take a look into what work we will be performing to better familiarize yourself with the world of water mitigation.

First thing is first

The first thing we do is get an accurate picture of the affected areas. After extracting any standing water, we use moisture readers to measure the moisture content in your floors, walls, ceiling, and whatever else might be affected by water damage.

Our trained technicians have seen a myriad of different damages ranging in size and source and can get a basic understanding of your damages after a short time reading the moisture inside your affected and non-affected areas.

Keep in mind, you may not be able to see or feel that any surface is wet, but inside your floorboards or behind your drywall, there may be moisture trapped there that can cause more problems down the line.

Once we have a clear picture of the water damage at hand, we plug our readings and measurements into proprietary software to accurately gauge the drying requirements. This allows us to easily and automatically know how much equipment we will need to place.

Drying equipment

Now that we understand how much equipment needs to be placed for proper and expedient drying, the next step is to unload all required equipment from our trucks and place them in your house.

Water damages require the use of dehumidifiers and air movers. A dehumidifier is self-explanatory; we use industrial grade dehumidifiers to suck the moisture content out of the air, the very same air that comes into contact with the affected surface and attempts to reach an equilibrium between the wet material and dry air, removing some of the moisture that then gets fed back into the dehumidifier.

Our air movers are placed strategically around the room to create a circular vortex of air flow. The natural air flow combined with intentionally feeding air into dehumidifiers works in tandem to greatly assist the drying process.

Once our equipment has been placed, we must leave it running around the clock for the best results.

Then, the next step to do is monitor our equipment and the drying process. Our technician will ask when you will be available for an equipment check the following day, and we will arrive within a 30-minute window in order to take new moisture readings and assess how the floors, walls, and any affected area is drying.

Our typical jobs require 3-5 days of drying to reach acceptable levels of moisture.

When equipment doesn’t quite do the job

I wish it were as simple as place equipment and wait a few days, however certain circumstances may not allow us that luxury. If, for example, the affected drywall remains wet and doesn’t show an indication that it will dry, we might have to pull the baseboards off and drill holes in the wall to allow proper ventilation.

If wooden floors are buckling from water damage when we arrive on site, or if they are so saturated with water that our best efforts will not sufficiently dry them, they will have to be removed.

Certain material, such as sewage, is categorized as a Cat 3 water damage, and any affected areas must be replaced.

All of this falls under the term ‘demo’ and is sometimes a necessity. Do not worry, however. Whatever wall or flooring we have to remove, we will be able to rebuild for you and make it, “Like it never even happened!”

With the general water damage proceedings understood, the next thing to do is take a look at the different types of water damages and explain what they mean for you.

Keep a lookout for our next blog about the different water damage categories!

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