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The Scourge of Black Water

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

flooding Flood damage in Nashville, TN

A home can face many different types of water damage. Minor leaks from clean water pipes are usually fairly manageable and can be taken care of without too much trouble. The next step is when a home experiences something like a broken pipe that discharges copious amounts of water into a home. This can do significant damage to walls, ceilings, floorboards, and even upholstery. As with all cases of released water into a living space, fast action is called for to clean up the problem and to minimize additional harm. The most complicated problem is when water contaminated with chemicals and other harmful substances pour into a home.

Dealing With Contaminated Water

Water that is dark in color may contain pathogens, microbes, sewage, and other noxious materials. This is often called black water and is the most serious water threat to property. It can damage a home in many different ways:

  • The contamination of household items
  • The creation of unpleasant smells
  • The making of stains on walls
  • The ruination of insulation and drywall
  • The contamination of the HVAC system

This type of dirty water can come from broken discharge pipes, backed up sewer lines and from a flood. It should be taken care of by trained professionals.

Handling a Complicated Cleanup
Each instance of water damage to a home has its challenges, and even the simplest situation is likely to have some complicated issues. A local storm remediation company in Nashville, TN, is capable of handling both straightforward and complex jobs. The SERVPRO team is Faster to Any Size Disaster. Certified workers have been trained in many aspects of water restoration, from a clean water leak to a flooding situation that brings in gallons of dirty water. They have impressive resources to lean on and can call in for reinforcements for the toughest jobs. They will reduce damages and limit costs.

Reconsider Reaching for the Drain Cleaner

12/28/2020 (Permalink)

Overflowing kitchen sink, clogged drain. Plumbing problems. A clogged drain is one of those hassles that eventually happens

A lot happens in your Hickory Hollow, TN, and it’s not always something wanted, such as a clogged drain. While it may be easy to reach for the drain cleaner to get things flowing down as they should, it may not be the best option. It’s important to consider what these cleaners are made of and the potential damage they may cause.

Types of Cleaners

Most off-the-shelf cleaners are formulated with ingredients that produce heat to help break up clogs. There are three main types:

  • Caustic – Lye and caustic potash
  • Oxidizing – Bleach, peroxide, and nitrate
  • Acid – Sulfuric and muriatic

Each of them is designed to transfer or remove electrons to organic substances, such as hair and food, to produce the heat needed to break them down. Unfortunately, you may not always know the true reason for the clogged drain. If oils, grease, or fats are the culprits, the cleaner only pushes the clog further down and may not resolve the problem. For homes with older metal or plastic pipes, the chemicals can begin to warp or melt the piping, which may lead to a burst pipe that requires the assistance of water damage and restoration specialist.

Save Your Pipes

Instead of grabbing a chemical solution, it’s often better to consider a mechanical or biological one. A plunger or drain snake is often more efficient in clearing out the clog without doing any damage. Another option is an enzymatic cleaner. It contains natural living bacteria that eat away at the clog and are more environmentally friendly. For situations in which a clog keeps returning or it won’t come unclogged, it may be time to call in a professional for proper sewage cleaning. As experts in their field, they will be able to solve your problem without damaging your pipes.
A clogged drain is one of those hassles that eventually happens. Even though it seems like a small ordeal, unclogging it the right way is important to avoid a much bigger problem down the road.

How To Clean Electronics After a Fire

12/28/2020 (Permalink)

Computer keyboard with fire flame and the words DO NOT USE SERVPRO can clean electronics after a fire

After you've experienced a fire at your business in Percy Priest, TN, the cleanup to-do list can be pretty long. One element that requires special attention is your technology. Whether an electrical fire is how the larger fire started or your electronics were damaged by a fire caused in some other way, there are important considerations that you need to know about if you hope to recover any of your electronics.

Understand the Damage

When a fire occurs, computer cleanup is not as simple as wiping off the monitor and the keyboard. Smoke gets into the interior of your machines and leaves a film. That film can hold a magnetic charge, turning soot damage into a short circuit that can permanently damage your device. Without proper cleaning after a fire, your technology can pose a danger to you and you risk losing all of your data.

Transfer Your Data

In an effort to save the data on your computer, remove the hard drive, and see if you can transfer your information to a different computer. Never turn on your devices after an electrical fire. Smoke damage can cause your device to malfunction.

Call a Professional

If you hope to recover your data and your devices after a fire, depend on a professional. You're likely working with a commercial fire restoration company, and they will be able to connect you with an individual who is trained to salvage and restore electronics that have been damaged in a fire. The upfront cost of working with a professional to restore your devices will pale in comparison to the cost of replacing all of your technology if you insist on attempting a DIY approach.
During cleanup after an electrical fire, pay special attention to your computers and other devices. Proper cleaning by a professional increases the likelihood that you won't need to spend a lot to replace all of your technology.

The Fascinating Secret Life of Mold

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth on a wall Black mold damage

The Fascinating Secret Life of Mold

While you don’t want black mold moving into your building, the mold’s life cycle is actually fairly intriguing. It has all the elements of an epic miniseries: suspended animation, invisibility, gluttonous eating, wanton reproduction, and maybe even a battle scene. For the big finish, the mold dramatically releases its offspring into the world just before it dies.

1. Episode One: Suspended Animation
Mold begins its life invisible and airborne, floating through time and space like a scene from a sci-fi novel, waiting until conditions are right. The air in Antioch, TN, is full of tiny mold spores, which can remain dormant for years or even decades. Mold spores do not begin to grow until they encounter moisture.

2. Episode Two: Feasting Colonists
When airborne mold spores land on a moisture source in your building, such as a plumbing leak, the spores begin to feed, grow, and multiply. As mold colonies grow, they consume and digest whatever surface they are growing upon. This period of eating and reproducing as much as possible continues for as long as the moisture source is present.

3. Episode Three: Battle for Moisture
Some types of mold, such as black mold, give off gas-like compounds called mycotoxins. Scientists believe that mold releases mycotoxins when it competes with other organisms over the same moisture source. In a building with a moisture problem, mold may have to battle off dust mites, bacteria, and/or insects to maintain control of the water.

4. Episode Four: Impending Doom
If the mold loses the battle for resources, or if the moisture source dries up, mold releases spores into the air right before it dies. These airborne spores can remain in your building for years, waiting to find moisture so they can grow. This is why merely killing visible mold is not sufficient mold cleanup. Professional mold remediation is usually necessary to extract mold spores from the air.
Black mold may be the “international microbe of mystery,” but you still don’t want mold colonies growing in your building. Understanding how mold lives and grows can help you prevent a mold outbreak.

Which of Your Pipes Need To Be Repaired or Replaced?

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

The plumber connects parts of the plastic water pipe using fittings, hands close-up. Replacing your old pipes with new plumbing can help prevent water problems in the future

Which of Your Pipes Need To Be Repaired or Replaced?

Older commercial buildings are more prone to water damage. That is because they often have defects in the below systems:

  • Roofing
  • Electrical
  • HVAC
  • Plumbing

Your insurance company may charge you higher premiums for premises that are more than 30 years old or poorly maintained. You are also more likely to require water cleanup and restoration services for these properties. To prevent a future leak or flood in your Antioch, TN, building, you should update your plumbing system.

Polybutylene Pipes
These pipes are particularly prone to problems and need to be replaced. Many commercial properties built from the 1970s to the 1990s utilized these pipes. Back then, this piping was seen as cheap and easy to install.
However, it soon became clear that chlorine and other water-treatment chemicals make these pipes brittle. This leaves the pipes prone to breaks and cracks. These pipes are thus no longer recognized by American building codes and must be replaced.

Other Problematic Pipes
Pipes can malfunction due to corrosion or erosion. Erosion occurs when the water wears down the metal of the polybutylene or other pipes.
When the metal reacts with the water in the pipes, corrosion occurs. Older iron, copper and steel pipes are particularly likely to experience corrosion.
Because many of the pipes are often hidden under concrete or behind walls, it can be easy to forget about them. By the time you notice that something is wrong, water may have already seeped into an office or apartment.
If your property does contain outdated pipes, hire a plumber who has the technology to locate and inspect them. The plumbing expert should discover any issues and can fix them before they cause a major water disaster.
Replacing your old pipes with new plumbing can help prevent water problems in the future. Polybutylene pipes, in particular, will degrade over time and need to be changed.

An Explanation of the Fire Restoration Process

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

Home damaged by fire Fire damage in Antioch, TN

No two fires are exactly alike. Each fire takes its own path to destruction of a home or part of a home. Nonetheless, the fire restoration process follows a blueprint that is similar in many circumstance. The first thing to take place is often the arrival of firefighters. They work diligently to put the fire out and to save as much of your home in Antioch, TN, as possible. Once the fire is out, this is the time to bring in a professional fire remediation team. For many reasons, speed is of the essence, so the workers arrive to your home within hours of being called.

The Steps for a Successful Fire Cleanup

One of the first things the crew will look at is the security of the home. Is it open to additional damage from the elements? Is it vulnerable to vandals and thieves coming into the home? If the answer is yes, the crew will either put a tarp over the roof or board up exposed areas of the home. The rest of the fire restoration process follows this outline:

  • Shoring up structural weaknesses
  • Cleaning up any water damage
  • Washing away any soot damage
  • Engaging in practices to remove smoke damage
  • Repairing structural damage

Trained technicians will use a variety of techniques as well as sophisticated equipment to restore your home. They will also keep an eye open for future problems such as mold growth.

The Value of Damage Cleaning
Professionals will use all means at their disposal to clean items affected by the fire. This may necessitate the need for dry cleaning, immersion cleaning, wet cleaning and other methods to get out soot and smoke odors that tend to be stubborn. In some cases, the materials might not be restorable so they will need to be replaced. That is part of dealing with a home fire. A quality fire restoration returns your home to you the way it was before the fire.

3 Tips for Avoiding Homeowners Insurance Rate Increases

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

Blue ballpoint pen, two antique brass keys and a home insurance claim from on a plywood clipboard. Home insurance claim form

3 Tips for Avoiding Homeowners Insurance Rate Increases

Filing a homeowner's insurance claim cannot only lead to an increase in your current insurance rates but also may affect the premiums of future insurance policies. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances your insurance rates will go up due to collecting on the policy.

1. Do Not File Claims for Minor Damage
The more claims you make, the more likely your insurance company may increase your rates, cancel your policy or refuse to insure your property. One way to decrease the chances of this happening is to avoid filing claims for minor damage. For example, if your home has water damage from a broken pipe that caused a few kitchen tiles to peel up, it may be better to replace the tiles out of pocket than to file for reimbursement.

2. Keep Your Home in Good Condition
A poorly maintained home is more likely to be damaged in a home flood or other disaster. Keep your roof patched and replace it when needed. Seal any leaks around the windows and doors. Fix any leaking plumbing and repair or replace broken appliances. If you need to file an insurance claim, be sure to mitigate your damage by cleaning up standing water promptly and covering holes in the roof, windows or siding with plywood or tarp. If there is a lot of water in your home, you may want to consider having a water remediation company in Hickory Hollow, TN, dry it out thoroughly.

3. Consult Your Insurance Professional
If you are unsure whether to file a claim or not, ask your insurance agent. Your policy is there to be used when you need it so do not be afraid to ever file a claim.
Rate increases are affected by several factors, including how often you file an insurance claim. Reducing the number of times you file can help you avoid rate increases.

How To Prevent Mold Damage

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

Mold spores, and on the top of the picture it says ANYWHERE Mold can grow mostly anywhere

Black mold and other fungi can be detrimental to your home. Fortunately, serious damage is often preventable.

Preventing Mold Growth

Mold spores are almost everywhere, but they do not all result in an infestation. This is due to the fact that not all areas are conducive to fungal growth. Mold needs three things in order to thrive:

  • Food
  • Warmth
  • Water

Homes often have many food sources for mold, including dust, pulpy items and other organic material. Additionally, most homes are warm enough for mold to grow. Therefore, controlling the moisture in your Percy Priest, TN, home is the best way to prevent a mold infestation. Check regularly for signs of a moisture problem, such as a leak or spill. Resolve any such issues as soon as possible. Keep the humidity in the home below 50%. In humid areas, such as bathrooms and basements, you may need to run a dehumidifier.
In addition to controlling the moisture levels in your home, you can also take steps to minimize the number of mold spores present. HEPA air purifiers are good at trapping spores. Regular carpet cleaning can control the spores that are tracked in on shoes and pet paws. There are also mold-resistant paints and fabrics on the market that are inhospitable to mold and can keep the spores from growing.

Removing Mold Growth
Even the most well-maintained homes can suffer black mold or other types of fungal infestations. If you catch the problem early, it is generally possible to prevent serious damage. Homeowners may be able to address very small areas of mold growth using baking soda or vinegar. Larger infestations generally require professional remediation. In addition to mold cleanup, experienced restoration professionals can help you spot problems and prevent future mold growth.
Black mold is scary but preventable. Thankfully, keeping your home clean and dry and addressing signs of mold early are often all it takes to keep your home safe and clean.

How To Clean Up After a Fire

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

Firemen putting out fire in old building Fire damage in Nashboro Village, TN

Take Cleanup One Step At A Time

Having a business fire is devastating and both physically and mentally exhausting. Although you may know what to do when your business is actively ablaze, you might be at a loss after the fire. There are many factors involved when you are dealing with things like smoke and water cleanup. To get your business back in shape, you need to know how to clean up after a fire. 

Wait Until the Fire Department Says It's Safe
As hard as it is, you should wait to begin your fire cleanup. The fire department might have:

  • Punched holes in walls, ceilings, floors
  • Broken windows
  • Soaked the roof, floor, and electrical appliances
  • Broken furniture or doors

All of these actions can cause hazards and may not be safe. You may also want to wait until an inspector or insurance adjuster comes. If the damage is too great, consider a fire damage restoration company in Nashboro Village, TN.

Start With Smoke Damage
Tackle smoke cleanup before working on water cleanup because you will be putting more water onto things like floors and walls. Start by spraying down the house's exterior if it was damaged in the fire, cleaning gutters, and deciding what needs to be rebuilt and what holes need to be fixed.
You can clean walls and other surfaces with trisodium phosphate. TSP reduces the smell and binds to ash particles on hard surfaces without damaging them further.

Move to Water Damage
Water cleanup is more involved than smoke. Throw away any electronics, furniture, or badly damaged items. Consider hiring a professional for drywall or ceilings, particularly if you need to replace them. Wash all clothing and bring undamaged shoes, leather, and other items outside to dry.
You do not have to be overwhelmed by fire cleanup. Just remember to take it one step at a time, and don't be afraid to call in professionals when necessary.

Why Do Older Rental Properties Have Drain Problems?

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

Man crouching in trench with shovel showing an old terracotta sewer line broken open to reveal a solid tube of invasive tree Tree roots that have grown into pipes may cause clogs in your drains

Older rental properties in Smith Springs, TN, often have clogged or slow-moving drains. These problems are often caused by aging plumbing systems. In some cases, the material used in the pipes is to blame. Between 1978-1995, polybutylene pipes were used extensively, and it's estimated that they were installed in 6 to 10 million homes. It is believed that oxidants, such as chlorine, in the public water supply react with the piping and cause them to flake and become brittle.

What Causes Clogs in Older Homes?

Each older home is different, but common reasons for drain clogs in older homes include:

  • The angle of the pipes to the main line
  • Tree roots that have grown into the pipes
  • Sludge buildup from soap, hair or debris from remodeling projects

Homes built before 1995 may experience drain clogs more frequently. Preventative maintenance is the best way to avoid water damage.

How Can Old Pipes Be Maintained?
If you have a clog, try cleaning the drain with a pipe snake, clean the drain trap if one exists or use a chemical drain cleaner. If you are unable to resolve the problem, call a professional who has experience working with older plumbing.
For regular maintenance, enzyme treatments can be used as a method for preventing slow or clogged drains. Enzyme treatments contain a form of bacteria that feeds on drain-clogging materials such as hair, algae and food waste. They will grow and multiply, spreading beneficial bacteria throughout your drain system. Harsh chemicals can kill the bacteria, so treatments will need to be repeated occasionally. Enzyme treatments will not harm pipes and are safe to use on a regular basis.
If you suspect you have polybutylene pipes in your rental property, call a professional to see what steps to take next.
If you have rental properties with older plumbing or polybutylene pipes, regular maintenance can go a long way in preventing water damage. If clogged drains cause flooding, a flood restoration specialist can help you mitigate any damage.