3 Fire Safety Tips for Homeowners
Fires can be extremely destructive, but your adherence to these fire safety tips can help protect your life!
Fire Prevention Week is still a couple of months away, but the importance of fire safety lasts throughout the entire year. Because fires often happen when we least expect it, we usually aren’t prepared for the various situations that might arise. That’s why we’re going to share 3 simple fire safety tips for homeowners to learn and memorize!
- If the door handle is hot, don’t open it. Door handles are quick to heat when a large fire is nearby. That’s why closed doors with hot handles should stay closed, and you should seek a secondary exit.
- See smoke? Stay low. Smoke is extremely difficult to breathe, especially with all of the gasses, particles, and chemicals that it’s composed of. In many cases, the reason people die in fires isn’t from the fire itself, but from the asphyxiation caused by the smoke. If you see smoke, stay low to the ground to get the best air possible!
- Stop, drop, and roll. You probably had this ingrained into your head when you were a child, but it’s one of the most important things to remember should your clothes catch fire. If you try to run or make a lot of movements, you’ll end up exacerbating the problem and the fire will grow!
There are plenty of steps a person can take both before and during a fire, but by remembering these tips, you can save yourself and/or others. Once you manage to escape a burning structure and get to a safe place, immediately call 911!
And if you need help with restoring your property to its preloss condition, call SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties at 828-396-1070!
The Issue with Take-Home Mold Tests
Is this mold or paint? Most take-home mold tests only check for mold spores, which are always present. Call a mold expert instead!
When possible, most people would rather take care of home-related issues on their own than call for professional help. There are certainly benefits to doing that in some situations, but there some occasions when it’s a waste of time and money. One such situation is when a homeowner tries to test for mold by using a take-home mold testing kit.
Take-Home Mold Tests: A False Positive
In general, the process for a take-home mold test is straightforward. Depending on the kit, you will either collect an air sample or use a strip to collect microorganisms off a surface. These samples are then sent to a lab for testing, which will then send you results based on whether or not they detected mold spores in your sample.
The issue with those kinds of testing is that you will almost definitely get a positive result. The reason is that mold spores are everywhere—indoors and outdoors. These spores are only an issue if they activate and begin to grow; otherwise, you will never know they are there.
Take-home mold testing kits are generally accurate in that they can detect mold spores, but they don’t actually help the homeowner determine if there is any mold growth, which is when actual issues are present. For this reason, it’s a much better investment to call a professional either to test for mold growth (if you’re uncertain you have any) or to remediate the growth (if you know it is present in your home).
The Truth About Mold
There are a lot of companies and individuals out there who spread misinformation about mold to scare up business, but in most cases, the fear is exaggerated. This is why we wrote a blog post to help ease some of the concerns many homeowners have about mold.
If you have (or suspect you have) mold in your property, please call SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties at (828) 396-1070 for quick and effective mold remediation!
The 3 Categories of Water Damage
If Category 1 water damage is not addressed quickly, it can eventually become Category 2, which can have cause some potential health effects.
Not all water damages are created equally. We are called each day to clean up and dry after a water damage, but the work involved varies not just by the amount of water involved, but also the category it falls under. These categories—determined by the number of contaminants in the water—inform our technicians of the work and equipment necessary to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Category 1 – Little to No Contaminants
Water damage that falls under this category comes from “clean” water and poses very little risk of causing adverse health effects. This type of water damage is easiest to dry and follows normal drying procedures. Category 1 damage usually comes from malfunctions or breakage involving water supply lines.
However, when it is not addressed in a timely manner, Category 1 water damage can become Category 2.
Category 2 – Significant Contamination
Category 2 water damage has significant levels of contamination and has the potential to cause some health effects when left for an extended amount of time. In this case, the technicians’ first priority should be to employ cleaning processes before beginning the drying process. Some sources for this category type include aquarium leaks, dishwasher discharges, or untreated Category 1.
For water damage in this category, an antimicrobial spray will be applied to help prevent the growth of microorganisms.
Category 3 – Substantial Contamination
Category 3 water is extremely contaminated and comes from unsanitary sources such as sewage backups and flood waters. Because this category poses strong adverse health risks, several forms of PPE gear are required and those with compromised immune systems must be evacuated. Porous materials that were affected must be either removed or undergo very strict cleaning and drying (a very expensive process). Even stronger cleaning methods than employed for Category 2 water damages must be used.
SERVPRO and Water Damage Categories
Our team at SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties is certified by the IICRC to handle your water damage regardless of its category. Our goal is not just to dry the damage; it’s to make sure that you can occupy an environment without facing ill health effects. If you have a water damage, call SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties today!
Why You Shouldn’t Hire a Company to Perform Mold Removal
A good clean-up & restoration company would focus on mold remediation; not mold removal!
Nobody wants mold in their home, which is why many people hire companies to remove it. After all, when mold growth is left alone, it can cause significant structural damage. But the issue is that mold removal companies don’t actually do what they claim to set out to do: remove mold.
Mold Removal vs. Mold Remediation
There’s a fundamental issue with the phrase “mold removal,” namely that it’s impossible to do. The term implies that the all of the mold spores will be removed from the property, which some companies claim they can do. Mold spores, however, are virtually everywhere—indoors and outdoors. In fact, you will not find an area without mold spores unless you live inside a bubble. Therefore, any claim that mold has been “removed” or “eliminated” is false.
Fortunately, the spores themselves do not cause an issue and are not even detectable by the human eye. What homeowners are actually concerned about is mold growth, which occurs when the spores activate and begin to form colonies. This is when you should hire a mold remediation company.
Conversely, mold remediation focuses on stopping and preventing future growth, as well as returning your property to its original condition. Mold remediation companies are aware that it’s impossible to remove the spores, but instead know that it’s possible to eliminate growth. For this reason, it is strongly recommended you choose a remediation company.
SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties – Mold Remediation
It should be no surprise that we know so much about mold remediation; SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties has years of experience as mold remediation experts. We work with a local 3rd party mold inspector to provide our customers with full evaluations both before and after the remediation process. So if you have mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties today at (828) 396-1070!
3 Tips for Keeping Your Business' HVAC System Efficient
Most business owners don't think about it, but your building's air ducts need regular cleanings and maintenance to maintain efficiency!
Summer has officially started, which for many of us means watermelon, swimming, and traveling. It also means it’s going to be hot—well, hotter. Air conditioning is vital during this season, but many business owners fail to properly maintain their unit. This equates to higher energy bills, more stress on their system, and potential breakdowns. If you plan on using your HVAC system this summer—we assume most of you are—you’ll want to check out these 3 tips for keeping your business’ HVAC system efficient.
- Replace your air filters. You’re probably aware of this tip, but when’s the last time you replaced yours? The filters, found in the return vent, capture dust and other particles and prevent them from running through the system. Over time, however, they can reduce airflow and lead to overheating. It’s recommended that you replace them every month or two during the cooling season.
- Conduct regular duct cleanings to preserve airflow. Even if your air filters are brand new, airflow can be restricted once it’s inside the system. In addition to dust and other particles that manage to pass through the filters, you’d be surprised by what we’ve found inside duct systems. Small toys, coins, and other objects have a strange way of finding themselves in HVAC systems; one person even found a snake! If you need somebody to clean your system, know that we’ve cleaned many commercial duct systems!
- Clean the coils. The condenser and evaporator coils in your system (found outdoors and indoors, respectively) work together to transfer heat from your inside home to the outside. However, as with the two parts listed above, the coils will gradually build up debris and become inefficient. Fortunately, they can be easily cleaned by spraying them with commercial coil cleaner and following the product’s directions. We advise doing a light cleaning every time you change your filter so you will remember to do both!
This summer has already started off extra hot, which means you’ll definitely run your air conditioning. A clean and well-maintained HVAC system can significantly reduce energy usage and help you stay cool! If you need your ducts cleaned, we’re happy to help; just call us at 828-396-1070!
Why You Shouldn’t Clean Up After a Fire Yourself
When a fire destroyed much of this Lenoir home, our team was quickly dispatched and began the cleanup process.
There’s no doubt that home fires are devastating and bring a lot of negative emotions. So it’s no surprise that many homeowners want to clean up their home as quickly as possible so they can get back to their lives. And especially when your home is your personal space, it’s completely understandable that you don’t want somebody else inside.
But since homeowners often aren’t aware of all the necessary processes that go into fire damage cleanup, they create further damage, skip over important elements, and increase their overall costs.
Creating Additional Damage
Before you take a rag to your soot-covered walls or a vacuum to your carpet, consider this: you’re about to cause even more damage. Soot particles are difficult to remove, and when you try to remove it with the proper tools and chemicals, you’ll only further embed the soot particles. Especially with carpet and upholsteries, it can be extremely difficult to remove these stains, even with professional help.
Skipping Important Cleaning Elements
It might seem obvious to cleanup soot-covered walls, but what about the soot and debris hiding in the ducts? Professional restoration companies go beyond cleaning the damage you can see—they also restore your home in other ways. They offer odor removal, content cleaning, and much more!
Considering the likely amount of damage, it makes sense that most home fires incur heavy costs. But unless you have the technology, chemicals, and the skills, you’ll likely have to dispose of many different belongings that could otherwise be cleaned. Good professional restoration companies will focus on the actual restoration rather than replacing—this keeps costs down and allows you to keep your cherished possessions.
So if you or somebody you know has a fire-damaged home that needs to be cleaned up and restored, we strongly recommend hiring professionals!
3 Services SERVPRO Offers Commercial Businesses
Our team is capable of responding to commercial disasters of ANY size!
Commercial property jobs are generally larger and more nuanced than residential properties. Because of this, we offer a more precise set of services to make sure we fully address the customer’s needs. If you own a commercial property, check out 3 of the services we offer!
Disaster Cleanup and Restoration. Considering this is what we primarily do, this would seem obvious, but what’s not obvious is our skill and capacity to handle large-scale jobs. For starters, our franchise is considered one of SERVPRO’s Large Loss Response Teams (LLRT), which means we have been certified by headquarters to have the number of people, equipment, and certifications to handle large disasters. If a job is still too big, we have access to over 1,700 different franchises to bring in additional people and resources. We can truly say no job is too big to handle!
Commercial Cleaning. We know that it’s important to have clean facilities, whether it’s for health and safety reasons or to prepare for an inspection. Our team has access to high-quality, proprietary chemicals and equipment to bring your facility to expected standards!
Emergency Ready Profile. Many businesses—especially small businesses—suffer unfortunate ends after facing disaster. Our Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) is a free service we offer businesses so they can be ready to respond if disaster were to strike. Somebody from our team will take a few minutes to speak with you or a representative, and they will be able to complete the rest themselves. The result is a complete document (and app) with a list of emergency contacts, utility shut-off locations, and more. We offer this invaluable resource at no cost to you!
If your commercial property needs a professional’s help, call SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties today!
5 Things You Should Do After a Fire
If you have a home fire, keep movements to a minimum and call SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties immediately!
Fires can happen anywhere to anyone. In most cases, however, people aren’t aware of the proper things to do after the disaster subsides. As fire and water cleanup professionals, we wanted to share some of the tips we’ve learned from years in the industry!
- Call a fire cleanup and restoration company. This might seem self-promotional, but it really is important. A professional company will not only do the cleanup (which is not as simple as it might seem), but they will also be a great asset in making sure you get your life back to normal as soon as possible.
- Change out your HVAC filter. The smoke a fire produces contains a mixture of particles and chemicals that infiltrates the air. This heavy gas takes a toll on your HVAC system and makes it run less efficiently. Replacing the filter will allow fresh air to pass more easily through your home.
- Keep your hands clean. Besides maintaining your hygiene, clean hands will keep them free from soot. If you touch anything with soot-covered hands, you are likely to soil your furniture and belongings even more.
- Minimize movement in your home. When you walk around, you disturb soot particles in the carpet. By moving around, you risk the particles settling into your carpet and upholstery, which makes them much harder to remove.
- Clean both sides of indoor plants. While your plants might not survive the fire, the ones that do will likely be suffocated by the residue left from the smoke. Clean both sides of the leaves to ensure that the plants can survive and flourish!
Fires are stressful and come with a lot of hardships. But if you review these tips and call SERVPRO of Alexander and Caldwell Counties immediately, you’ll be able to get back on track in no time!
How SERVPRO can Dry Your Wet Documents
If your documents get wet, call SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties so we can save them before it's too late!
Nowadays we tend to store vital information in a digital format where they are more likely to be recovered in the event of a disaster. But what about the documents that haven’t been digitized either because it’s too expensive or you’ve been putting it off? If they become water-damaged, you are likely to lose them.
Fortunately, SERVPRO has a document-drying process that can recover your damaged paper goods. In fact, it uses the same technique that the Library of Congress uses to dry water-damaged books!
Freezing Your Documents
SERVPRO uses vacuum freeze-drying to achieve sublimation, which is a process where the moisture in an object is frozen and dried by being converted directly into a gas (bypassing the liquid stage) by using various vacuums and pressures. This process avoids additional damage that water would create.
Since it’s important to stabilize your papers, your local franchise’s first priority will be to freeze and stabilize the damaged documents. The documents will be stored in a frozen state until they are able to be properly shipped to SERVPRO’s corporate headquarters. Your local franchise works with corporate to make sure everything can be done to preserve your assets.
Undergoing the Drying Process
Once your documents arrive at SERVPRO’s headquarters, they will be transferred to the state-of-the-art Drying Chamber Facility. The HIPAA Master-certified staff will carefully transfer the items to the chamber where they will undergo the process mentioned above. The building is secured and monitored 24/7, so you can rest assured your items are safe. Drying time is typically about 7 to 10 days, but that depends on the amount of moisture and backlog. Fortunately, the staff is available around the clock to offer updates and answer questions.
Beyond Document Restoration
SERVPRO offers more than just a top-of-the-line drying process. In addition to drying the water-damaged documents, the Document Restoration Team offers the following services upon request:
- Scanning and digitizing documents
- Gamma irradiation (cleans contaminated documents)
- Certified destruction of sensitive materials
- Trimming after fire damage
- Refile jacketing
Always Here to Help
SERVPRO and its franchises understand how important it is to preserve important documents. Our line of services ensures that you don’t have to worry about what happens to your paper assets when disaster strikes. After all, we’re “Here to Help!”
4 Services You Probably Didn't Know SERVPRO Offered
SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties has the skills and equipment to handle any size or type of disaster!
When people think of SERVPRO, they often think about cleaning up and restoring water and fire damages. We often get calls to take care of flooded basements, backed toilets, smoke-damaged rooms, and much more. While we excel at those types of jobs, there are a lot of other services that most people don’t know we offer.
- Biohazard Cleanup. Most people don’t like to think about it, but what happens at a scene after the evidence has been removed? Often times, families and/or property owners are left with the residue that’s left after a death or accident. SERVPRO understands how important and emotional these moments can be, so we handle the situation with immense care and professionalism. Our biohazard cleanup service also extends to toxic chemicals and sewage backups.
- Deodorization. Some odors seem impossible to get rid of, but SERVPRO uses specialized equipment and chemicals that can eliminate almost any odor. Whether its skunk spray, cigarette smoke, or any other lingering odor, we have the tools to make your home or business smell like it used to (unless that’s a bad thing, of course)!
- Document Drying. What would you do if your birth certificate, medical records, or other vital documents were accidentally soaked with water? Since papers can quickly deteriorate when wet, it might seem like a lost cause. Fortunately, SERVPRO has the ability to preserve (and digitalize) any wet documents by using a drying process that is also used by the Library of Congress. If you call SERVPRO quickly, you can rest assured that your documents are in good hands!
- Emergency Ready Profiles. If you own a business, you know how important it is to plan and prepare. Yet most business owners do not have an emergency plan in case of a disaster; after all, it’s time-consuming and not often a priority. But did you know that nearly half of all small businesses will never reopen after a disaster? SERVPRO understands the importance of emergency preparation, so we offer to create FREE Emergency Ready Profiles for any business that wants one. We only ask for a few minutes of your time to go over some essential questions, and then we’ll take care of the rest!
SERVPRO offers a wide range of services that are often overshadowed by our more prominent services. When you or somebody you know faces disaster, know that we have a highly trained, well-equipped team to make take care of it and make it “Like it never even happened.”