How To Protect Your Belongings If Your Home Floods
SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties is always looking for ways to help our community stay safe, and one of the best ways to ensure that your loved ones and your belongings are protected from disaster is to establish a mitigation strategy. (Mitigation means “The effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters and other hazards.”) For your strategy to be effective it needs to be established today, before the next disaster. Reports have determined that a homeowner will save up to $6 in damage expenses for ever $1 invested in protection - that’s a pretty good return!
Flooding is one of the hazards that can occur here in our area, so today we wanted to share a few mitigation projects that you may want to complete before bad weather sets in and creates issues.
- Keep your rain gutters and drains free of all debris to allow water to escape freely.
- Stockpile emergency protective materials and equipment, such as shop vacs, materials to soak up standing water, sandbags, and items that can be used to block water.
- Elevate your water heater, electric panel, and all heating and cooling systems if there is a chance they may be affected by rising water levels.
- Make your building watertight by using waterproof membranes and backflow valves, otherwise known as “dry flood-proofing.”
- Modify uninhabited areas of your home to let floodwaters enter and exit. This is known as “wet flood-proofing.”
Don’t be caught unaware. Be aware of your own unique hazards and do what you can to protect yourself. Make a disaster plan with your family and loved ones, and make sure to assemble an emergency supply kit to have on hand. Talk about designated shelters and ensure that everyone knows the best locations and sources for emergency information should the worst happen.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we care about you, your family, and your property. If you sustain damages from water or fire, we are here to help. We maintain the equipment and skills necessary to get you back to normal after any kind of disaster, no matter the size. We handle mold and mildew, too!
Cleaning Your Hotel Carpets
Dirt and germs that are tracked in by foot traffic and baggage accumulate on your hotel carpeting, accelerating the breakdown of fibers and matting. The clean and classy impression you want your hotel guests to experience is going to be negatively affected by unkempt carpeting. Today, we would like to share a few simple tips and reminders that can help you maintain your carpet to the highest standards possible.
SPOTS AND STAINS. There isn’t really much difference between spots and stains. All that it takes for a spot to become a stain is to forget about it for a while! Any spot should be immediately soaked up with a paper towel or another absorbent material to soak up as much of the spill as possible. This should keep the spot from becoming a more unsightly stain.
PRE-TREATMENTS. Carpet cleaning chemicals can leave behind residue that will actually collect even more dirt. The next thing you know, your carpeting is a dingy mess. Only properly diluted chemicals that break down these stains and rinse clean should be used for spots. Allow your pre-spray to penetrate the spots for a while so that they can do their work.
REGULAR (DAILY) CARE. Regular cleaning, such as daily vacuuming, can vastly reduce your need for deep cleaning when it is done with high-quality equipment. Shop for properly dated filters and backpack-style vacuums, and remember that correctly completing periodic deep carpet extraction cleaning in your hotel is essential to keep carpeting dry, which prevents mold growth. Daily vacuuming removes dirt and dust quickly before it has time to get wet and become embedded in your carpeting.
TEAMWORK. Make sure your team knows how to clean your hotel carpets correctly, using all the established machinery and cleaning solvents as per manufacturer’s directions. The most efficient way to ensure that your carpeting lasts is to establish a routine maintenance plan that is executed by properly trained cleaners.
DEEP CLEANING. Call a professional cleaning company to come in and help you when it’s time for large-scale deep cleaning of your hotel carpets. Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we have the expertise to ensure that your carpets are looking like new in a timely manner.
What To Do When A Pipe Freezes And Bursts In Your Home
Winters in this area can last a while, and when you experience more than a few days of frigid weather in a row, you can end up with burst pipes when they freeze. This kind of event often will cost a lot of money if not handled quickly and can be pretty damaging.
Be prepared ahead of time by educating yourself about what to do in case a pipe freezes and bursts in your home. One of the first things to know is the location of the main water shut-off valve. Make sure you and at least one other person in your house know where this is so that your personal property doesn’t experience more damage than necessary from that burst pipe.
If you suspect that you do have frozen pipes, here are some tips to handle the situation:
- Turn off your water immediately, using the main shut-off valve.
- Call the professionals. A professional company with the skills and equipment in place specifically for this kind of event is going to be able to help you quickly and efficiently. You may be tempted to try to defrost frozen pipes using a flame, but this is never a good idea. Any open flame in enclosed spaces is extremely dangerous, and this tactic also doesn’t actually work. A hairdryer might be a help, however. Apply the heat to the pipe gradually after you open the faucet. Begin near the end of the faucet and move towards the ice block. Ensure you don’t stand in water while using any electrical device, by the way.
- If any rooms in your house are flooded, check carefully for live electrical outlets or cords that could be submerged before you step into the standing water. If you aren’t sure, wait for the professionals to arrive.
The SERVPRO Huron & East Seneca Counties team is here to help any time you have a water-related disaster. We’re available 24/7 for assistance with any water damage and fire damage, and we can handle cleanups of all sizes. We’re also experts in mold remediation and prevention.
New Year’s Resolutions For Your Commercial Building
It’s the time of year when every commercial business owner is considering the future and deciding what they could do differently. One of the challenges any commercial building owner will face is that of keeping their property clean and in good repair so that their investment can be protected in the months to come.
Here are some tips for New Year’s resolutions you can make to help keep your property in great shape:
- Scheduled Cleaning. Establish a schedule for the year to have your commercial building cleaned. Contract a professional cleaning and restoration company to come in and do deep cleaning of floors, walls, and ceilings regularly. Deep cleaning of the public bathrooms and waiting areas will ensure that those who visit your building will want to come back. Your commercial building will be attractive to both tenants and their customers when it is sparkling clean and in tiptop shape, and that is just a great business practice.
- Flooring Refinished. The floors in your building will see a lot of traffic, so getting them redone at regular intervals will help save you money over time. If tile, linoleum, and wooden floors are not properly cared for, they will need to be replaced due to wear and damage. That can be an expensive proposition and will inconvenience your tenants. They may even lose money due to having areas of their space inaccessible while work is going on. A professional cleaning and renovation company will be able to care for your floors properly so that they will look great and last longer.
- Exterior Cleaning. Have your commercial building pressure washed after every season to ensure that your property presents a great image to everyone who passes by. Schedule a thorough cleaning of all exterior windows and doors, as well.
The SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca team is ready to help you with your commercial property needs. Call us today for a consultation! We are experts at cleanups both large and small, as well as fire damage restoration and water damage restoration, and we offer mold inspection and mold remediation services, too.
How To Prepare Your Employees For A Weather Emergency
As you head into the winter months, take a minute to prepare your business and your employees for any possible winter weather emergencies. Doing this will hopefully minimize the amount of property damage, financial loss, and potential injuries or accidents to your business and workforce.
When a weather emergency occurs, it will bring with it a lot of logistical and human resource challenges to your enterprise. Whether it’s a heavy snowfall or torrential downpour, the productivity of your employees will be affected, especially if they work outdoors or travel any distance to your location or outside of the area on projects.
Here are some ways to prepare your employees for a weather emergency:
- Policy. Set a fair and logical office policy that addresses the expectations you have for your staff when it comes to their attendance at work, and what allowances will be made when the weather has produced dangerous conditions for travel. If you require your employees to come in when the conditions are poor, that can, and will, adversely affect your employees’ morale.
- Plan. Ensure that you have an updated continuity plan for your business that clearly explains what will happen in the event of serious weather situations. It is important to address different weather scenarios and set the expectations for everyone involved. You should clearly spell out who is responsible for announcing any communication closures, for example, and you should have a clearly-defined place for everyone to go for further information. Your social media accounts or email threads need to be in the hands of a great communicator, someone who can be relied upon to keep everyone in the loop with correct information in a timely manner.
- Pay. If your office or business closes due to bad weather, the issue of payment will be at the top of everyone’s mind, especially if they are paid on an hourly basis. Under federal law, you can establish these rules as you see fit, but keep in mind that in a hot job market, employees are going to be far more likely to look for a new job if you aren’t focused on their retention. Create your policies and procedures with this most important business consideration in mind, and think back to those days in your own past when you may have struggled financially. Remember, a happy workforce is a productive one!
Here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties, we are always ready to help in any weather-related emergencies. If your business has sustained damage from a flood, fire, or other circumstances beyond your control, give us a call. We are damage repair specialists!
How To Use Your Fireplace Properly And Safely
One of the best things about colder weather is being able to curl up in front of a roaring fire in the fireplace. Such a fire is beautiful, cozy, and aromatic, of course, but it can also be extremely dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. Almost half of all home-heating fire and emergency room visits every year are related to fireplace usage.
Today we would like to share some tips on how to use your fireplace both properly and safely:
- Inspection. Have your fireplace and its chimney inspected by a professional every year. They should examine:
- The flue and its ability to open and close, as well as its seal
- Whether there are cracks or loose bricks
- Whether the mortar is crumbling or missing
- If the chimney is leaning
- If the chimney cap is present to keep out rain, animals and debris
- Cleaning. Your chimney and fireplace should be cleaned before each winter by a certified chimney sweep. If any debris is present, inadequate venting can occur and toxic fumes may end up in the home. Soot and creosote buildup can also cause a chimney fire.
- Wood. Burn only dry and seasoned wood or fire logs that have been specially designed for the purpose.
- Spark Guard. Install a spark guard to prevent sparks or embers from coming out of the firebox and setting fire to anything near. Keep flammable materials, such as Christmas trees and decorations, at least three feet away from the fireplace and open flame.
- Build a safe fire.
- Open the flue before lighting for proper ventilation.
- Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate.
- Use crumpled paper and kindling that is no thicker than a human thumb to start a small fire. Don’t use an excessive amount, as this can over-build the fire and ignite any soot in the chimney.
- Use matches or a commercial firelighter to start your fire. Never use gas or any other fuel for this purpose.
- Add logs gradually as your kindling ignites and as the fire builds.
- Ensure that your fireplace isn't overloaded. This is actually more dangerous than even a controlled burn. A large fire can crack your chimney.
- Let ashes cool completely before you remove them, and add a bit of water to make sure no hidden embers reignite.
- Never leave your fire unattended.
If you should ever experience a house or building fire, be sure to call a fire and smoke damage restoration service for emergency cleaning. SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties is available 24/7 to help with all fire damage restoration emergencies, as well as cleanup from flooding and other water-related damage situations.
Steps To Take When Your Basement Is Flooded
If your basement is affected by wet weather or faulty equipment, it can be a real mess. We all store extra items in our basements, and boxes of soggy books, soaked carpets, ruined photos, and submerged electronics can be extremely daunting to face.
Acting quickly to remove the water and repair the damage is vital. Mold can take hold within two days, and many of your affected items can be saved if you act right away.
Make sure safety is your first concern, however. If you have a large amount of standing water in your basement, call your power company, electrician, or your professional water damage cleanup team immediately. They will help you and take precautions by disconnecting electrical service to the area before stepping into that water.
You can use a wet vac to remove standing water, but if it is not doing the job call your professionals here at SERVPRO.
Using dehumidifiers and fans will move air around, and that discourages mold and mildew. Keeping them at least 8 inches away from walls will allow for the best circulation. Your air conditioning can be a big help here, too, so keep it running.
Scrub hard surfaces with a solution of one cup bleach to one gallon of water while wearing gloves and protective eyewear. Remember to keep the room ventilated, too.
If your valuable documents or papers have been affected, you can freeze them! This may stop the growth of mildew or deterioration until you can take a better look at them. In the future, it may be a good idea to not store anything valuable in the basement. If you don’t have space anywhere else, then using plastic bins should help protect your items if your basement floods again.
Here at SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties, we are ready to help if you are affected by water damage, storm damage, or other disastrous events. We are available to homeowners and commercial business owners alike, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Top Three Places To Check For Mold Growth In Your Business
Did you know that mold can be found almost anywhere? To keep your business safe from mold and safety risks, make sure you’re taking every precaution. There are various types of mold, and all mold can cause potential health problems if present in large quantities. If health problems persist, it can have negative effects on your employees and business. In order to prevent the spread of mold within your business, you first have to know where to look for it.
Here is a list of where to check for mold growth in your business:
- Leaks. Mold needs water and oxygen in order to continue to grow. If a leak is not repaired correctly and in due time, it can cause the growth and expansion of mold. The source of water or moisture has to be completely eliminated in order for the problem to dissolve. This includes pipes, windows, and roofs.
- Basements and areas affected by flooding. Any water-damaged area is at risk for mold. If it wasn’t assured before-hand that all water had been dried up and the area was repaired properly, it puts you at risk for mold. It’s important to check for any standing water lines on walls within your office building.
- Plumbing. Watch out for any humid or musty-smelling areas within your business. Places like bathrooms tend to be affected by mold due to plumbing. If humidity and musty smells persist, be sure to have your business checked for mold to assure you and your employees are healthy and safe!
If you or your business suspect health issues caused by mold, contact a professional immediately to start the mold remediation process. Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are mold remediation experts, and we’re here to help you 24/7.
Top Three Reasons To Deep Clean Your Office Building
Considering much of our time is spent in our offices, the environment and conditions in which employees work influence their attitudes and overall health. You want to assure that your employees work in a clean environment in order to feel healthy, happy, and efficiently complete their tasks and responsibilities.
In busy and chaotic work seasons, it can be easy to forget the importance of keeping a clean and safe office. Here is a list of reasons to deep clean your office building to remind you of the significance of keeping the office clean and your employees happy!
- Health. Commonly used spaces and workspaces can maximize the number of germs and potential mold if employees are not taking the proper precautions, like cleaning up after themselves and washing their hands often. This can lead to sickness and an increase in employees taking time off. Assuring that your office is at its best and safest is essential in order to keep a healthy and happy business. Employee productivity will also thrive in a clean and healthy working environment. SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties is happy to help you with any of your carpet cleaning or Air Duct cleaning needs!
- First Impressions. First impressions are important and often make or break a client’s view of your business. Keeping your office building clean is necessary in order to keep your business looking professional and running smoothly. A clean workspace can influence a customer by allowing them to see that you take great care of your space and your employees.
- Reducing injuries. The less mess and distractions, the less chance of accidents within your business. If liquids or items fall and spill, it can increase the chance of injuries like slips and falls. Encouraging employees to clean up after themselves and having the proper equipment to deep clean your office building is crucial to avoiding injury and increasing the productivity of your business.
At SERVPRO of Huron/East Seneca Counties, we are always ready to help with any cleaning projects necessary to improve the well-being of your business! Call us at (419)-442-1790 to schedule an inspection, or for cleanup assistance!
Unpleasant Odors After Water Or Fire Damage? We Can Help!
Does a musty smell waft throughout your house? Would you describe it as earthy, mildewy, or moldy? Has your home recently experienced any kind of water damage? If so, then your home most likely suffers from mold. If you are not aware of your home having water damage or mold, then this particular smell is typically the first sign of a larger issue. However, here are some easy steps to identify the issue and remove the problem:
- Track down the source of the smell. If this is difficult, look for places in your home that are dark, warm, and damp. That is the kind of environment that mold thrives in. These can be areas such as your bathroom or basement.
- If you have found the source, and it is a relatively small area of mold, you can clean it up by using a mixture of household detergent and water. Be careful around mold, and make sure you wear protective gloves while cleaning. Do NOT use bleach, as it can make the mold grow even more. However, if it is a large area of mold, call the professionals to safely remove it here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties. If the smell is coming from an area that has been damaged from water, such as carpet or drywall, it will need to be removed and replaced. The source of the water will need to be repaired as well.
- After making sure the entire area is completely clean, be sure to fully dry the area with a fan or heater. If there is a window nearby and it is not damp outside or raining, then open the window to allow airflow and ventilation. If the smell still lingers, then mix water with baking soda into a paste and rub it into the area, and allow it to dry. When it does, then clean up the excess.
Remember, if the mold is extreme or your home has serious water damage, do not hesitate to call the professionals to safely and accurately remove and fix the dangers.
Smells from fire damage can be tough to remove because smoke is easily absorbed by fabrics and plastics. However, it is not impossible to get rid of it. Note, if you still have soot left in your home from fire damage, call the professionals to remove it as soot can be very dangerous.
For removing the smell of soot:
- Have airflow going throughout your house by opening up any windows and doors. You should also turn on any and all fans you have to force any lingering smoke particles out of your home.
- Collect all of your fabric items from the affected area such as pillows, clothing, blankets, etc. and have them washed and dried. Make sure you keep the fabric items away from the affected area until the smell is completely gone as to not have them reabsorb the smell.
- If there is upholstery in the affected area that contains the smell, you will need to have that cleaned as well. We recommend calling the professionals in those cases.
- For carpets, sprinkle baking soda and then leave for an extended amount of time - preferably overnight - to deodorize the area. After waiting, vacuum up the remainder. If that does not work, then you may try steam cleaning your carpet as well. If that does not work either, then you may have to have it deep cleaned by a professional or replace it altogether.
- For hard areas such as wooden surfaces, countertops, appliances, windowsills, cabinets, walls, or doors, you should make a cleaning solution consisting of a gallon of warm water, half a cup of distilled white vinegar, and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Transfer the solution into a spray bottle, then spray onto any hard surface and wipe with a cloth or sponge afterward. However, do not spray the solution onto a stone surface, as the white vinegar will damage it.
- As a final step, it is highly recommended that you change the air filter in your air conditioning unit and have your air ducts or ventilation system cleaned by professionals to ensure that all remaining smoke particles are cleared as to not cause any more danger to you or your family.
Remember, if your home contains a large amount of mold, any amount of soot, or suffers from severe water or fire damage, then your best option is calling the professionals! Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we are experts at repairing and restoring fire damage and water damage and have what you need to get your home smelling brand new again!