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.”
3 Ways to Prepare for Thunderstorm Season
Thunderstorm season is quickly approaching! If you take a few preemptive steps, you can ensure you and your family stay safe!
Have you noticed the budding flowers and the buzz of insects lately? Those are early signs that spring is approaching! While it’s one of the more colorful seasons, the warmer temperatures also bring the threat of thunderstorms. In North Carolina, there are an average of 40-50 storms each year!
Although most storms in our state aren’t severe, there’s always the possibility of disaster. If you’re not prepared for the storms ahead, we’ve got you covered. Here are 3 ways you can prepare for the approaching thunderstorm season:
- Discuss a safety plan with your family. Like any natural disaster, the best way to protect yourself and your belongings is to develop and discuss a safety plan with your family. Make sure to identify where you should meet, what is expected of everyone, and any other details you think are important for the situation. Preparation is key!
- Build an emergency kit. There’s no way for you to know how much damage a storm will cause until it’s too late. In case you or your family are trapped for an extended period of time, you’ll want to have an emergency kit already assembled. These kits should include basic necessities as well as anything else you expect you might need. For a good checklist, look at the list at ready.gov.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches. While you have the opportunity, take care of potentially hazardous trees and branches near your home. During a storm, they have a higher chance of falling into and damaging homes or other valuables, which in turn leaves them open to water and mold damage. Don’t put off this important task, or it might be too late!
While most people get through thunderstorms without incident, there’s no guarantee that every storm will be the same. Because disaster can strike at any time, it’s important to prepare well in advance so you can focus on taking action if the occasion arises. If you take a few moments to prepare for this upcoming thunderstorm season, you just might thank yourself!
What Homeowners Need to Know About Mold
Mold growth might seem scary, but our guide will make sure homeowners are prepared!
Many homeowners know only one thing about mold: get rid of it. But with stories and false information floating around on the Internet, there are many misconceptions that often exacerbate problems or create unnecessary fear. In the following sections, you will find general information that every homeowner should know when it comes to dealing with mold.
What is Mold?
Mold is a variety of fungus that grows and spreads from spores. These spores are so small and light that they can be picked up and travel by air. In fact, mold spores travel so easily that they are found virtually everywhere—indoors and outdoors. (Yes, mold is always present in your home.) When the spores find a suitable home, they grow and spread, often consuming the surfaces they land on. This is when mold really becomes a problem.
How Do I Know if I Have Mold?
It’s difficult to take care of mold if you don’t know that you actually have a problem. While you don’t necessarily have to be an expert to identify any growth, knowing some of the telltale signs might help you notice a problem before it’s out of control.
You can see it. This isn’t always the case, but the most obvious sign you have mold growth is if you can see it. You might expect to see greenish/blackish patches or slimy areas, but sometimes mold will appear like specks of dirt or soot. Regardless of appearance, it should be addressed immediately.
You smell it. The second-most obvious sign (and the one you’ll most likely encounter) is a musty odor. Even if you don’t necessarily see any, musty smells are almost always accompanied by mold growth, so be sure to thoroughly inspect your home if you notice the odor!
You’ve had a leak/water damage. Moisture is an essential ingredient for mold growth, so excess moisture in your home is a good indication that you probably have a problem. If you suffer any water damage, be sure to regularly inspect your home for signs of growth. In ideal conditions (generally in a lab), mold growth can start within 48 to 72 hours; in many cases, it will be present after a couple of weeks or more.
Mold is Growing in My Home. Help!
If you suspect that mold really is growing in your home, then it’s time to take action. Because mold can cause negative health effects and damage the surfaces it grows on, it’s best to respond immediately to minimize effects. Depending on whether or not you can confirm the growth, you can take a few different actions.
You can visually confirm mold growth. If you can actually see mold growth, then you already know you have a problem. Instead of spending money on testing, you can go ahead and call a mold remediation company. They will address moisture issues, treat the growth, and advise you on ways to prevent future growth.
You cannot confirm you have mold growth. When you cannot visually confirm you have a mold issue, it’s best to call in a professional mold inspector. An inspector will collect samples and provide a report that compiles their findings. If they confirm you have mold growth but think it is small enough to handle yourself, they may offer advice. If it is large enough, they will refer you to a mold remediation company.
NOTE: Do not use take-home testing kits. They are largely unreliable and will likely confirm you have spores (remember, spores are everywhere) but not actual growth. If you want to test for actual mold growth, call a reliable mold inspector.
How do I Prevent Mold Growth?
Whether you just had mold growth remediated or you have never had an issue to begin with, you probably want to know what you can do to prevent it from happening in the future. Here are a few steps to keep your homes mold-resistant:
Control your home’s humidity. As we’ve already said, moisture is a key ingredient in mold growth, so it makes sense that you want to keep your home’s humidity low. According to the EPA, you should keep levels below 60% (though 30-50% is ideal), which you can monitor with a moisture meter.
The simplest way to lower humidity is to constantly run fans and/or your HVAC system to let the air circulate. Leaving doors between rooms open will also help with circulation.
Dry wet areas immediately. If you have water damage or condensation builds on susceptible surfaces, you should attempt to dry them immediately. This will reduce or eliminate the moisture mold needs and prevent it from growing. Depending on the extent of the water damage, you might have better results with a professional water damage restoration company who has the capabilities to locate and dry hidden moisture.
Clean and dust regularly. Sometimes mold can appear to grow on inorganic substances like glass and aluminum. Since it cannot feed on those structures, it eats dust, which is organic. If you clean and dust on a regular basis, you can deprive mold of the food it needs to grow.
Don’t Let Mold Stress You Out
Despite the many horror stories people like to share online, mold is a natural occurrence that lives around us all the time. As long as you address any issues quickly and appropriately, you can prevent or eliminate mold growth before it becomes a major problem.
If you are still uncertain or need professional help, contact a mold inspector or a mold remediation company. Either one will get you started on the process and help you make it “Like it never even happened.”
What to Do When Your Pipes Burst
When your pipes burst, you'll need to react quickly. If you do, you can minimize water damage.
This time of year, we get many calls from panicked customers whose pipes have frozen and burst inside their homes. While there are some preventative measures you can take before that ever happens, not everyone is lucky. So what do you do when your pipes burst? We list the steps below.
- Shut off your water immediately. Don’t let the damage be worse than it needs to be. By shutting off water to your home, you’ll be able to minimize damage until repairs and restoration services can be performed. If you live in an apartment and cannot turn off the valve yourself, call your property manager right away.
- Call a plumber. You might have stopped the water, but your pipes are still damaged. Unfortunately, due to high demand during this time of year, it can be difficult to get a plumber on short notice. You may be put on a waiting list.
- Call a water damage restoration company. Now that the problem is fixed, what do you do about all the damage? While you should begin clearing out water, you’ll want a restoration company to speed up the process and make sure you won’t have additional problems, such as mold.
It’s always stressful when your house is flooded with water, but by equipping yourself with the knowledge to react, you’ll feel in control and be able to minimize damage.
Things to Know about Restoring Your Fire Damaged Home in Kings Creek
Don't let devastating fire damage keep you out of your home for long. Contact SERVPRO for remediation and restoration efforts.
Professional SERVPRO Technicians Arrive With a Plan to Quickly Remediate Fire Damage at Your Home
Many things can destroy, or nearly so, a home in Kings Creek. Fire can be one of the most destructive causes of property damage, especially in winter. While some cause slight damage, perhaps to a curtain, others can reduce a home to barely anything except charred timbers and streams of wafting smoke.
Property owners should know about the process of restoring their fire damaged homes in Kings Creek. While a fire can cause extensive damage, we at SERVPRO know that we can restore your home to preloss condition. We have restored many homes and businesses in the past after fire, flood and other disasters created a disaster for property owners.
No restoration company can restore the charred portions of your home or belongings. However, we can remove these so that restoration work begins more quickly and in safe conditions. Charred wood, such as the wooden beams that create the support network in your home, cannot safely hold the weight they should hold. They also pose risks such as exposed nails, slivers and splinters, and spread soot through the slightest contact.
Carpeting holds both soot from the fire and water from firefighters' hoses. Both can render a carpet more expensive to restore than to replace. The possibility of odor-causing soot particles remaining after a large fire makes it a very poor choice to keep. Replacing the floor covering ensures that no problems exist while renewing the carpet's guarantee.
Another flooring may become saturated during the fire department's visit, making it crucial for us to remove the moisture left behind. Water coming out of the hoses creates a very hot steam when it comes in contact with burning materials. This steam penetrates easily into drywall, paneling, and other semi-porous materials. These need to be inspected for damage also and replaced wherever damage occurred.
Cleaning after a fire includes windows, walls, all hard surfaces, and much more. Elimination of the visible soot cuts down on the amount of perceptible odor remaining in the home. When fire damage is not as extensive, deodorizing can help save otherwise undamaged carpets. While the carpeting might have remained dry, soot still penetrates deeply, leaving an ongoing source of odor in your home. Our Odor Control Technician (OCT) knows how to handle smelly odors so they no longer offend your family.
SERVPRO of Alexander & Caldwell Counties knows that fire damage comes from a very traumatizing event. We can help you restore your normal life and your home. Call us at our local number, (828) 396-1070, at any hour, and on any day of the year.
For more information regarding Kings Creek, click here.
5 Tips for Preparing for a Winter Storm
Don't let a winter storm take you by surprise! Think ahead, and be prepared.
Winter is quickly approaching, which brings on the potential of snow and ice like we saw just recently. Especially in Alexander and Caldwell Counties, where towns are less equipped to handle snow and ice than their northern counterparts, it’s important that you are as prepared as possible in case disaster strikes. To help you get a head start, here are 5 tips you need to prepare for winter storms:
- Always keep plenty of food stocked. As you probably know, it’s dangerous to travel on icy roads, especially since most vehicles in the South are not equipped to handle them. Avoid the need to leave by making sure you are fully stocked on food.
- Remove any troublesome trees. Trees often fall during ice storms because of the stress from the extra weight. Be sure to cut down or otherwise handle any trees that may become a problem during an approaching winter storm.
- Make sure your car’s tank is full. Although you should avoid driving icy roads, sometimes you don’t have much choice. In case you get stuck in traffic or on the side of the road, you’ll be glad when you can keep your car warm until help arrives.
- Know how to shut off water valves. When temperatures drop really low, pipes are at risk of bursting. The sooner you can shut off your water valve, the less damage you will likely sustain. It’s important that every household member knows how to do so. If your pipes do burst, call us immediately to help mitigate any water damage.
- Stock up on plenty of blankets. Because ice and snow can eventually overwhelm powerlines, you should prepare for time without power. Unless you have a working fireplace, you’ll find that a blanket will be your best friend.
Since winter storms can come without warning, it’s best to prepare as far in advance as possible. Buy a good emergency kit, review safety plans, and ensure your home is in excellent condition. You can’t control weather conditions, but you can be ready.