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3 Secrets Commercial Walls Can Hide After Water Damage

12/28/2021 (Permalink)

Hallway of a building, equipment on the floor Commercial water damage in Charleston, TN.

Commercial Water Damage

Commercial buildings in Charleston, TN, often contain sheetrock walls separating tenants, offices, and common areas. Although the plasterboard is sturdy and holds up well to daily wear and tear, it has a secret weakness – water. When sheetrock gets wet due to damage from a rampaging flood, broken pipes, or torrential rains the damage is typically much more extensive than what meets the eye. That is because the gypsum wallboard material can absorb many times its weight in water per square inch. The absorption alone is usually responsible for the three secrets the walls can hide after water damage. They are:

1. After drywall begins to absorb water, it can lose much of its structural integrity and become weak and crumbly. As the board swells, the water can push the paper covered edges until it slips off and the seams cease to align. Nail holes can suddenly pop and are no longer able to hold the crumbling wall against the wooden frames.

2. Wet drywall can stay wet for a very long time after water cleanup. Once the gypsum panel absorbs water, it can freely share the liquid with the framing boards holding it up. If the support materials are the typically used pine two by fours, the wood will commonly absorb and retain water as long as the sheetrock stays wet. The water can then weaken the building structure as it absorbs more liquid and the wood fibers swell and separate.

3. Mold growth can appear within 24 to 48 hours after the water damage first occurs. By the time most commercial water repair and restoration teams have begun to process the area, mold is probably already growing in damp, hidden spots within the walls. The fungus can easily survive on drywall’s paper-backed cellulose and may continue to grow for as long as the gypsum is wet, and the walls are left undisturbed.

Walls can hide most signs of water damage, but sagging walls and water stain lines are tell-tale indications the walls are keeping a secret. The most cost-effective treatment is usually the replacement of the gypsum boards.

Three Ways a Pipe Break Can Occur

12/28/2021 (Permalink)

Wet wooden floor in a home Water damage in South Cleveland, TN.

Ways To Prevent a Pipe Burst

There are many parts of your house in South Cleveland, TN, that are essential for living. One of these is the grid of pipes within your walls and floors. However, there are a few ways a pipe break might occur. Here are a few of the most common ways a pipe can burst and what you can do to prevent it from happening.

1. Frozen Pipes

In the winter, homeowners need to be careful when using their pipes. Extremely cold weather can cause your pipes to freeze. However, ice takes up more volume than water. When the water within the pipe freezes, it expands and increases pressure. This pressure can literally make the pipe burst.
To prevent this from happening, try to keep the water in your pipes running. This will stop the water from freezing. Try to keep your house warm and never let it go below freezing while you are on vacation or out of the house. You can also insulate exposed water pipes with foam sleeves.

2. Rusty Pipes

Although pipes were made to last a long time, they aren’t invincible. Over time, pipes wear out and rust. When this happens, a pipe break is more likely to happen due to the vulnerability of the material.
If you live in an older home and are worried about the condition of your pipes, inspect them or call a professional to help you out. If you need to a fix broken pipe, do it quickly to avoid water damage.

3. Unsecured Pipes

If your pipes move around and clang against the walls, this means that they aren’t tightly secured. Joints can weaken, which makes it easier for pressure to find a way out of the pipes and therefore create a leak or burst. If you hear any pipes hammering, be sure to secure them tightly.
A pipe break can be prevented if you take careful precautions. If you are concerned about any pipes, inspect them quickly before any damage occurs.

4 Things You Need To Teach Your Kids About Fire Evacuation

12/28/2021 (Permalink)

Joven mestiza vestida de blanco se arrastra por el suelo por árboles destruidos por el fuego mientras se cubren con cenizas One important fire escape technique is to crawl out of a home.

Fire Evacuation

When you think of a home fire in Wildwood Lake, TN, your first concern may be with your kids' safety. In some situations, your children may need to know how to get out of a burning house without your help. Teaching children basic fire safety can better prepare them for the potential danger.

1. How To Open a Door: During a fire, opening a door can create a surge of oxygen for the flames behind it. Touching a handle or pressing the back of a hand against the door can tell a person if there is a fire on the other side. Even if the door feels cool to the touch, it should be opened slowly and closed immediately if a fire is noticed.

2. How To Evade Smoke: Smoke rises, which means it often fills the upper levels of rooms. One important fire escape technique is to crawl out of a home. The fire crawl helps you breathe in the fresh air instead of smoky air. Children should know how to crawl out on their hands and knees and on their bellies.

3. How To Get Out of Bed: Sitting up and getting out of bed normally isn't always safe in a home fire. Your kids' safety can be increased if they know how to roll out of bed. The technique is simple: roll on the bed until your head is by the side and facing down to the floor. Then, put a hand onto the floor and slide gently from the bed.

4. How To Call for Help: Once your family is safely out of the house, they must know who to call in the event of an emergency even if you're not there. Most children should know to call emergency responders, but you may also want to teach them to call a residential fire cleanup professional. Tell your kids to go to a trusted neighbor's house or a nearby store to make their calls for help.

Your kids' safety may be your biggest concern. Teaching them proper fire escape techniques can help increase their safety.

Why Is Flood Water a Type of Black Water?

11/23/2021 (Permalink)

Entrance of a building flooded Flooded entrance of a building in East Cleveland, TN.

Flood water is considered Category Three black water because it may contain harmful contaminants. Flooding results when surface water overflows or heavy rain falls in East Cleveland, TN. Although this water may not initially contain solid waste, chemicals and other contaminants are likely to leach into standing water. Find out what the water resulting from flood or storm damage might contain and the risks it could pose.

Which Contaminants Are Found in Flood Water?

Water can pick up a variety of contaminants as it collects and stands outside or in a structure. These may include:

  • Chemicals
  • Heavy metals
  • Pathogens
  • Solid waste

Any of these contaminants can cause problems for humans or animals that are exposed to, or attempt to ingest, this water. In addition to potentially dangerous substances, contaminated water may also contain microbes that can cause illness.

What Are Some Possible Flooding Risks?

In addition to posing a threat to building materials and contents, water resulting from flooding can also pose a threat to individuals. A few possible risks include:

  • Exposure to toxigenic substances
  • Irritation of skin or other bodily systems
  • Contagious infections

If water is allowed to stand for 24 hours or longer, the risk of mold growth will rapidly escalate. Schedule a complete cleanup sooner rather than later.

Are There Any Other Sources of Black Water?

Sewer backups are another common source of Category Three water, and these incidents may coincide with a storm. If heavy rains or flooding cause a municipal sewage system or septic tank to back up, it will also be necessary to drain, disinfect and dry the affected area.

Flood water can cause structural damage and expose occupants to contaminants. Mitigation experts will wear personal protective equipment and use professional cleanup methods to quickly remove water and limit the extent of secondary damage. Rely on a commercial storm damage restoration company in East Cleveland, TN.

Top 5 Causes of House Fires

11/23/2021 (Permalink)

Burnt stove, burnt cabinets Fire damaged a kitchen in Cleveland, TN.

Five Common Fire Causes

Regardless of the cause, a home fire in Cleveland, TN can be devastating. Still, knowing the leading causes of these fires can empower you to take steps to avoid them. Here are the top five most common fire causes according to the National Fire Protection Association.

1. Cooking Equipment

Nearly half of all residential fires started as a result of leaving cooking foods unattended. Frying food increases the danger of fires because grease is highly flammable. Be sure to monitor your cooking at all times, and call for help should a problem arise.

2. Heating Equipment

Central heat does not pose as great a risk as space heaters and wood stoves. Never leave a space heater unattended and keep all flammable materials at least three feet away from the appliances.

3. Electrical and Lighting Equipment

Electricity is everywhere in the home, which is why it is imperative that all equipment and wiring is installed correctly. Faulty lighting, plugs and cords, or meters and switches all contribute to electrical fires. They account for nearly 13 percent of all home fire accidents.

4. Intentional

Arson is a serious crime with serious consequences. Between 2010 and 2014, intentional fires were the cause of 8 percent of residential fires. Unfortunately, children are often held responsible for these fires; 40 percent of arson arrests were individuals under the age of 18.

5. Smoking Materials

Even though smoking only accounts for 5 percent of all house fires, it is the number one cause of fire deaths. The biggest risk factor is smoking near or on mattresses, bedding, or upholstered furniture.

There can be many causes of a home fire, but there are even more ways to prevent one. Using common-sense safety measures can help keep your Cleveland, TN house safe for years to come. In the unfortunate event of a fire, there are companies that can help with fire cleaning and you get back on track. 

3 Ways To Handle a Flooded Basement

11/3/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Flooded basement in Hopewell, TN.

Protect Your Home From a Basement Flood

Flooding of your home in Hopewell, TN, particularly the part of your home that is below ground, is bound to happen sooner or later. When it does, in addition to calling your insurance carrier and a reliable flood remediation specialist, there are some things you can do to protect your home from a basement flood.

1. Prevention

The best way to deal with a flood is to keep it from happening in the first place. Having a sump pump and a backup generator just in case you lose power is a good start. You may also consider updating your exterior drainage system. You can significantly lower your chances of coming home to a flooded basement by making sure that gutters and drainage spouts are clear of debris and that your system directs water away from your foundation rather than toward it.

2. Replacement

If you can't avoid a basement flood, you may have a lot of decisions to make about what to salvage and what to throw away. In general, it's a good idea to discard electrical equipment. While some restoration experts could fix the machines, it's often safer to replace them and maybe even less expensive. You will likely have to replace flooring and drywall as well. Having good flood insurance coverage comes in handy when you make a list of what needs to be replaced.

3. Safety

The main safety rule of flooded areas is simple: Do not walk blindly into floodwaters. When your basement floods, you often cannot see what is lurking beneath the surface. Avoid wading into the water. Siphon out all the water first so that you can see where you are stepping. Floodwater, particularly from storms, is often contaminated, so keeping it out of contact with your skin as much as possible is advisable.

While avoiding a basement flood in the first place is ideal, sometimes water seeps in anyway. When it does flood, remember to play it safe and take measures to protect yourself from further damage in the future.

Business Contingency and Evacuation Planning in a Fire

10/30/2021 (Permalink)

Contingency Plan Your contingency plan must be executable not only by you, but also by everyone in your company.

You never want to think of a fire breaking out at your Wildwood Lake, TN, business, but it’s better to plan for the worst and never see a moment’s danger than it is to hope for the best and face catastrophe without a plan. That’s why you need a fire contingency plan and safe evacuation strategy for your business – to protect yourself, your property, your employees, and your customers.

Steps to Create a Contingency Plan

It’s not enough to just have a contingency plan in place. Your contingency plan needs to be executable not just by you, but by everyone in your business.

• Establish a designated evacuation plan and alternate routes. Determine the fastest, safest way to leave the building. Chart the route as part of documented procedures, but also ensure that each route has an alternate route in the event that others are blocked by fire or falling debris.

• Post evacuation and safety procedures near all exits and thoroughfares. Employees and customers alike should be able to immediately find a map of the safest evacuation route no matter where they are on your premises. Ensure that easy graphical instructions are available; most don’t have time or presence of mind to stop and read written instructions during a fire.

• Designate evacuation leaders. Your business should have two or more employees per shift who are designated as evacuation leaders, preferably more for backups. Your evacuation leaders are tasked with taking control of the situation and guiding others, especially customers who may not be familiar with drills.

• Ensure all employees have a handout with contact information for emergency personnel and documented safety procedures. Provide this information immediately on hire, and periodically reiterate.

• Conduct safety training drills. At least once per month, do random safety training/fire drills to reinforce protocols in an emergency.

• Periodically test all sprinklers and fire safety equipment. Smart planning will safeguard your people. Smart protections will safeguard your inventory and property. Make sure all fire extinguishers, sprinklers, and other fire safety equipment are operational and functioning up to spec.

3 Tips for Using a Fire Extinguisher

10/22/2021 (Permalink)

Fire extinguisher on the gray wall Small fires can be avoided by keeping a fire extinguisher on hand in your Charleston, TN, home.

3 Fire Extinguisher Useful Hints

Keeping a small fire extinguisher handy in your Charleston, TN, home can help you prevent small fires from raging out of control. You may already have one stored under your kitchen sink or in a cupboard. However, if you not prepared to use it, this tool cannot do you much good if a blaze breaks out. Learning how to use your extinguisher before there is an emergency can help you feel more confident about putting out an unexpected fire.

1. Have a Safe Escape Route

Before you try to fight a fire, it is important that you have an escape route in case the blaze re-ignites or grows despite your best efforts. For example, if you are trying to put out a kitchen fire, try to face it with your back toward the nearest exit so you can back away quickly if your extinguisher cannot handle the force of the fire. Trying to put out a fire with no escape route is hand can be foolhardy and put you at risk for serious injury.

2. Inspect the Safety Pin

Any fire extinguisher in your home should have an intact safety pin. This pin must be pulled before operating your unit, as it breaks the device’s safety seal as well as prevents the extinguisher from discharging without warning. You can replace a missing pin if necessary; however, you might want to ask the advice of your local fire station or a qualified fire damage and restoration company if it is safe or advisable to do so.

3. Sweep as You Spray

As you fight a fire, remember to move the extinguisher’s canister from side to side and aim for the fire’s base. This motion may help put the fire out more quickly. If the blaze reignites, sweep the base again.

Keeping a fire extinguisher handy in your Charleston, TN, home can prevent small fires from burning out of control. However, knowing how to use this fire-fighting tool beforehand can help you snuff out a blaze with confidence.

How To Tell Mold From Mildew: 3 Key Identifiers

10/22/2021 (Permalink)

Corner of a wall and ceiling with mold growth developing due to humidity If you discover a mold infestation in your home contact SERVPRO of Bradley County!

How to Spot Mold and Mildew

Battling mold and mildew in your South Cleveland, TN, home can be a year-round housecleaning challenge. From preventing costly mold damage to scrubbing away mildew in the shower, fighting household fungi can take time and a considerable amount of elbow grease. However, trying to clean up mold on your own may cause the further spread of spores and increase the risk of a severe infestation. Knowing how to tell the difference between mold and mildew can help you save time, money and let you know whether you need the services of a certified mold remediation and removal company.

1. Texture

Although mold and mildew are both part of the fungi family, they have different textures that are usually visible to the naked eye. Mildew growth is typically thin and slimy, while mold is usually fuzzy or wooly. You can perform a quick test by adding a few drops of bleach to the suspect area, as mildew grows lighter on contact while mold retains its color.

2. Color

You may be able to tell mold from mildew by the color of the growth. Mildew is usually grey or light yellow as it spreads, while mold growth comes in a variety of colors, from green to white to black. If you suspect what you see is black mold, it is a good idea to avoid touching the area and call in mold damage specialists to treat the problem instead, as this type of fungus can be aggressive and will likely need professional intervention.

3. Growth Pattern

While both mold and mildew have a few similar qualities, the way each grows and spreads can help you tell them apart. Mildew is a surface fungus that can be wiped away easily, as it develops in flat, thin patches. Mold spores, however, penetrate the surface of any material they attach to and grow into wide patches that can be difficult to remove.

It can be difficult to tell mold from mildew when you encounter either in your South Cleveland, TN, home. However, knowing the characteristics of each can help you prevent mold damage and keep your home clean and sanitary.

Managing Leaks Under Your Kitchen Sink: 3 Steps for Minimizing Damage

9/28/2021 (Permalink)

Drainage system under sink SERVPRO can help you with any flood or water damage in your kitchen.

3 Steps To Minimize Damage From Leaks Under Your Kitchen Sink

Kitchen leaks are a common household issue. However, when one happens in your Cleveland, TN, home, it may feel like a major disaster. Flooding, broken pipes and a soaked floor can be costly and time consuming to repair. However, there are a few actions you can take to minimize the damage caused by leaks under your kitchen sink.

1. Shut Off the Water

Turning off the water in your home can stem the flood waters, especially if a broken pipe is causing it to gush out rapidly. Know where the shutoff valves are so you do not have to waste time looking for them during a plumbing flood. Turning off the water might also help you see what type of damage you are dealing with.

2. Call Your Insurance Company

Calling your insurance company right away after a flood is a wise idea because it can help you file the same day, which may result in a quicker payout for kitchen repair. Go over the details of the flooding with your agent, and let him or her know whether you need to take pictures or if the company plans to send a claims adjuster. Reaching out to your agent quickly may also prevent delays later, when the claim is reviewed.

3. Call for Flood Cleanup

Flood cleanup and restoration services can offer you helpful assistance after a kitchen flood. Not only can flood techs remove the water and prevent it from spreading to other rooms, they can advise you about what types of repairs you might need afterward. They can also assist with mold prevention and the removal of damaged cabinetry.

When a leak under the sink happens in your Cleveland, TN, home, it can be a stressful experience. Knowing which immediate steps to take can help you minimize flooding and put you on the path to assessing and repairing the damage.