How to check a house for water damage
When should you check your home for water damage? The first time you should check a home for damage is when you are buying it. You never want to get into a home after spending unthinkable amounts of money and find out that you have to replace several things or see that you have a leak someone. Ideally the inspector should point these things out, however, they do not always catch everything. The first step and place you want to check will be the walls. Make sure there is no staining, bubbles, or rust from possible water damage. These will be the signs. Moving down you want to check the floors for damage. You will be able to see discoloration, warping or bubbling, similar to the walls. The floors may have a been damaged previously or may still have water underneath them. Check the pipes. The easiest way to look is under sinks, in the garage, and around the wash room. These are the most common places for leaks to occur. Here in Florida it is rare that we have basements, however that would need to be checked as well. We do however have the majority of our storage space in our attics. It is important to go up there once during the day and once at night to see if there are any exposed areas that may have a roof leak or leak of any other type. Finally go outside and check to see if there are any holes, or cracks in the exterior. Cracks in the stucco are a common problem in Florida due to the humidity, wear and tear, and heat combination.
Can You Better Prevent a House Fire?
We know there are a lot of unknowns that you cannot prepare for in life, but what if there are some precautions you could take to sleep more safely at night and protect your family? Below are some tips and tricks to help you sleep better at night.
Take precautions to never leave a heat source or an open flame unattended. Check your fire alarms batteries quarterly, and make be vigilant for any risks.
- Cooking - When cooking make sure to never leave the kitchen unattended. If you have to leave for any reason make sure to turn off any burners or the oven. Do not let any grease or oil get too hot for fear of a spontaneous fire. Do not leave any flammable items near the oven or stove, such as towels or food packaging.
- Smoking - Never smoke in the home. A stray ash could easily catch anything flammable on fire and rapidly spread.
- Electrical - Never overload an outlet or use anything wires that are exposed. When you overload an outlet it could best case scenario, trip the breaker, or worst case scenario, start an electrical fire. Make sure all electrical outlets and units in the home are up to date. When looking at buying a home make sure to have an inspection on the home done.
- Candles - Unattended candles are a large leader in house fires. Make sure to always keep the wick short as to keep the flame under control. Never leave a candle unattended, one stray spark can easily jump and catch on anything near it on fire.
Common Hazards in Commercial Properties
There are many things with a commercial property that can arise and cause issue. There are also a few things that you can do as an owner or a property manager to keep your risks low and prevent possible damages.
These are some of the most common hazards known to commercial properties but also some of the easiest to reduce the risk on. Some of these items SERVPRO can even help and take care of. For your annual duct and vent cleaning give us a call to schedule today!
- Automatic Sprinkler System - Having an automatic sprinkler system installed can quickly reduce any damages caused by a fire erupting during anytime of the day or night.
- Upkeep of maintenance - Any broken window or crack in drywall can quickly lead to an issue and become a long term event if not taken care of.
- Lose debris - Having any lose debris or garbage piled up can lead to fines, damage, and even attract critters. Keeping all areas neat and tidy will easily reduce these risks.
- Dust Build-up - Make sure to keep all ducts and laundry vents clean. Best practice for a commercial building is to have both cleaned annually to keep the maintenance up on them.
A storm can stir up any number of things on your property and it is important to know tips, trick, and if there is a possibility of insurance coverage. Debris Removal Debris Removal can be anything from trees to needing a dump truck. These are small items that you need to look into your insurance policy to see if you are covered. Every policy is different and what it covers can vary drastically. Costs If there are any mitigation services needed those will need to be taken care of immediately. Having an emergency savings fund in the case that your insurance company does not cover your claim in its entirety or in full. These mitigation services and emergency clean-up measures can help prevent growth in the future. Precautions Before a disaster happens it is important to have things such as tarps, water, emergency food, and safe shelter. Being that tax season is upon us, some of these things may be deductible if your area was indeed hit by a disaster. Male sure to not only keep a list of all of your storm gear, but also the receipts in case you are able to claim them on your taxes at a later date.
What to do After a House Fire
After a catastrophe like a house fire happens you are probably not thinking about what your next step needs to be. Here is a short list to help if something like this happens and better prepare you if this happens. House fires are scary and they are not normally safe to stay in after the presence of smoke and fire. Your first step after a house fire will need to be finding a place for yourself, family, and any pets. This can sometimes be covered by your insurance company, which leads to the next step, calling your insurance company. As soon a catastrophe happens in your home you need to file a claim to get the ball rolling. Most people will not think of this, but you need to call the police when a Fire happens. There will need to be a determination done by the local authorities that is was an accident and where it came from. The insurance company will want to wait for those forms and information before determining coverage. Once you have had a few moments to gather your thoughts and get your family to a safe place you will need to get together a list as well as photos of the damaged items. Doing this yourself will ensure that you don't miss anything and the insurance company can get a jump start on what the claim will entail for replacing items. Anything that was not damaged should be separated in the home to either an unaffected area or put in a storage unit the home has been restored. These are the most important steps to take before any mitigation work and put back can begin.
Common Places to Check for Growth in your Home
Living in Florida where the humidity is always high, it is always important to be constantly checking your home and cleaning to make sure growth is not present. If there is growth present in your home, the sooner you call your local SERVPRO remediator, the sooner the problem can be addressed, contained, and removed. The most common place to look for growth in your home is the bathroom. While it is probably everyone's least favorite place to clean, it is the place that harbors the most germs. The bathroom has the most moisture and the most bacteria that can cause mold when moisture is present. The next place to check for growth is the kitchen. This area of the home also harbors moisture, not as much as the bathroom, but still a god amount with the sink, dishwasher and refrigerator. Make sure to also check your fridge often for expired items to prevent the spread of any moldy items. We now move into the bedroom. If you have any exterior windows and window sills they can build up moisture and collect growth. Additionally in the bedroom we need to check the vents as they can also collect humidity, here in Florida the drastic temperature change from day to night and air to heat can contribute to the issue as well. Moving through the home to the living, the couch and curtains need to be checked as well. The couch, if covered can collect spores in the fabric. The same thing goes with the curtains throughout the home. If there are any plants kept inside, they will need to be checked. If the soil in the plant is too wet, they can start to grow some unsightly things. While uncommon in Florida homes, a fireplace and chimney let in the majority of moisture from the outside air and need to be regularly cleaned. If your home has a chimney and/or fireplace it will need to be cleaned regularly to prevent and build up and keep maintained. There are several more places that we can look in a home to find growth but these are the most common. Mold is not 100% preventable, but there are ways to maintain your home and catch it as soon as anything pops up.
Water Damage and What to Expect
Most people have little knowledge as to what to expect when they suddenly experience water damage. We want to help you with that and give you a little knowledge and insight into the process to better help understand what is going on. The first step is to reach out to your local and professional SERVPRO to get the ball rolling. Once we receive the information we will immediately dispatch someone to come to your home, assess the damage, and start the mitigation process. The less time the water is sitting in your home, generally the sooner we are able to get it dried out. If there is any standing water we will immediately extract it and place the necessary equipment to dry your home out. The more water, typically the more equipment and time is needed. Once we have removed any material necessary and dried the home out the rebuild process can begin. Our rebuild team will then assess and make a plan to move forward to allow you to put your home in a preloss state.
Local Aldi's Fire 12/27/2018
A freezer unit in the store had a mechanical issue causing it to catch fire in the Aldi's grocery store on this particular Thursday morning. Luckily no one was in the store when it happened.
When crews arrived on Thursday morning there was smoke coming from the building letting the workers know there was something going on. The power company was notified but never needed to shut off the power.
As a result of the fire, crews worked diligently to clean up the damage and placed equipment to also improve air quality in the building so that it was safe for both workers and customers.
In order to maintain the stores normal working hours crews worked after hours to stay out of the way of workers and customers during the day.
The management team in the store was very happy with the work done and will be returning for any other damage in the future.
Bug out Back Documents
When it is time to either evacuate or bug out, depending on the situation or how you use the terminology in your house, people often forget about the documents. Most people think about where they are going, food they will need and fuel for how they are going to get there.
Documents are some of the most important things to bring because if a hurricane or major storm hits, they may not be there when you come back to your residence, or where ever you keep your documents.
Your driver’s license - You will need this to check into a hotel, any kind of lodging, or a shelters sometimes to keep track of who is there.
Education certificates - These are documents that are a hassle to replace and often take an extended amount of time.
Bank Information and Passwords - If you are not a part of a nationwide bank such as Wells Fargo or many others you need to have this on hand so you have access to funds in this emergency situation.
Social Security Card - This is another document that you will need if you have a medical emergency and is incredibly difficult to replace.
Credit Card Information - This goes along with the Bank information. Credit cards will sometimes still work if debit cards will not.
Adoption Papers - These papers come in handy in almost any situation when an emergency arises.
Pet documents - these should include the adoption papers and any shot records you have. Hotels and boarding places often ask for these and will not accept your pet without them.
Medical and Dental Information- These are self explanatory.
marriage certificate - This document is just as hard to get as a new social security card or drivers license can be.
Religious Certificates - these are miscellaneous docs important to each individual, not specific.
Your Will - if you have one.
stock certificates - If you have these available, most things have moved to online.
business registration (if you have one) - This will be really important in a storm situation to be able to check on the physical property to have proof that you can go on the premises.
Passport - Same as Social Security Card.
Concealed Weapon permits - You should always have this on hand.
Library Cards – have a backup of the numbers on your phone
Medicare documents - Any healthcare documents need to go with you in the event of a medical emergency.
Website passwords and anything else that is important to you.
SERVPRO Can Handle Any Size Job At Any Time
At SERVPRO of Flagler County, we are equipped to handle any job at any time. We have a Commercial Large Loss Division and a Disaster Recovery Team.
The SERVPRO Commercial Large Loss Division is composed of our best of the best in restoration. Our elite large-loss specialists are pre-qualified and strategically positioned throughout the United States to handle any size disaster. Every large loss is supervised by a commercial operations manager to help ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation.
The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help whether you're dealing with a tornado, hurricane, blizzard or flood. The SERVPRO System has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike near you. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, we are prepared for the unpredictable. With the ability to mobilize local command centers, along with the resources of more than 1,700 Franchises nationwide, no disaster is too big.