What To Do Until Help Arrives: When Water Damage Occurs
This water damage occurred during a Florida thunderstorm and was caused by heavy rainfall, which flooded the entire home.
Central Florida has been bombarded with thunderstorm almost daily the last several weeks. These storms’ lightning and heavy rainfall have caused many of our Florida homes' roof damages and water damages. SERVPRO of Osceola County has seen an increase of houses affected this summer, and some of the damages have been catastrophic. These emergency tips will assist homeowners and their families in taking the proper actions until SERVPRO of Osceola County arrives. By following these Dos and DON’Ts, it will help to reduce the amount of damage and increase the chances of a successful restoration.
Water Damage from Clean Water (Rain Water)
- Find the source of the water if possible and stop or block the water from entering the home.
- Turn off the circuit breakers in the wet areas of the house. Be sure the access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock before doing so.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
- Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirts off damp floors.
- Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors.
- Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
- Enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist.
- Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
- Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining.
- Leave Oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining.
- Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Use TVs or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.
- Turn of ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
2017 Hurricane Outlook
This Hurricane Season
The first of June is the beginning of the Atlantic hurricane season, and does not end until the last day of November. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season’s start date is a little different. It begins on May 15th, but ends on the same day as Atlantic Ocean, November 30th. On both coasts, most of these storms do not occur until the peak of the hurricane season, which is around August through October. This is because the Atlantic Ocean and El Nino’s waters are warmed from the summer months, and hurricanes first condition needed is warmer waters.
Each year on May 25th, the Climate Prediction Center releases its outlook on the upcoming hurricane season. For the Atlantic, this year is predicted to be an above-normal hurricane season. “The region has a 70 percent chance of experiencing between 11 and 17 storms with sustained winds of 39 mph (62 km/h) or higher. Between five and nine of these storms may become hurricanes, or storms with sustained winds of 74 mph (119 km/h) or higher. And anywhere from two to four of these storms could become major-category 3, 4 or 5 hurricanes, which means they would have sustained winds of 111 mph
(178 km/h) or higher” according to National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center.
For the 2017 hurricane season, the following hurricane names could come into play in the North Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, according to the WMO:
Causes of Wildfires
Wildfires are growing rapidly through the state of Florida and effecting our own communities and homes. Many believe the causes of these wildfires are the lack of rain Florida has had this spring, which is definitely a factor, but not the only one. Humans are actually one of the leading factors in these occurring wildfires even though we, Floridians are in a drought. In the United States, 90% of wildfires are caused by humans. What are we, as a society, doing to cause acres upon acres of burning?
- When cooking with fire on a grill or over a camp fire, people are not taking the right precautions, whether that is not making sure all debris around the fire is clear or keeping a close eye on the fire or leaving it unattended.
- Some smokers are negligently discarding cigarettes or cigars, and in dry weather are unintentionally igniting debris or leaves.
- Children playing with fireworks, matches, or lighters.
- People who are intentionally participating in acts of arson.
- Equipment malfunctioning such as vehicles, tractors, yard equipment that uses gas, garage tools, etc.
- The burning of trash in yards or on large properties. These fires can easily spread by burning ashes or leaves or debris close to the fire.
8 Items to Toss out During Your Spring Cleaning
It is important to know and stick to your medications expiration date. Over time medication can lose its original potency, decreasing its effect. Instead of allowing these expired medication cluttering your medicine cabinet, simply flush them down the toilet or crush the pilled form and mix with dirt, kitty litter, or coffee ground and throw the mixture in the trash.
First make sure you do not need the receipts for any kind of tax purpose. If you don’t, you should then shred the receipts (by hand, scissors, or shedder) and toss in the trash.
Frozen foods can be tricky, but foods that are freezer burn or any kind of meat products that are older than one year should certainly be disposed. The best way of disposing of these foods is waiting until trash day, this way the frozen foods will not have time to thaw and start smelling.
Believe it or not, makeup and nail polish have an expiration date. It’s not printed on the items, but if you “google it” people have put together charts with lengths of time each type of makeup product lasts. Nail polish should be thrown out once too much air has gotten inside the bottle and becomes like molasses.
Your clothes that don’t fit, are discolored, or have holes, must go. They are just taking up valuable closet space that could be replaced by items you would actually wear. Throw out the clothing that are discolored or have hole and drop off the others at Goodwill.
Towels and blankets wear overtime and loose that soft fluffy feeling it had when you first bought it. Take these worn linens and donated them to your local animal shelter. You will feel good about it and get to treat yourself with new ones.
Recycling gift bags is a great way to save a few bucks, but that requires you to actually use them. If you did recycle them, you did it! If not, the bags are probably bent or ripped a bit and taking up storage space. Toss them out and feel good about the space you’ve recovered.
If you’re like me and always bringing home the mini travel size shampoo, conditioner, and lotion and believe that I’ll be able to use them for the next time I travel somewhere. But in reality, these samples are forgotten underneath the bathroom sink, simply taking up space and collecting dust.
14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Down Your Home
Electrical fires can occur rapidly and takes minutes to burn down your home.
As busy homeowners, fire prevention has taken a back seat on our list of priorities creating bad habits. House fires are becoming more and more frequent due to common bad habits that can quickly become a fire hazard. Without you realizing it, these potential fire starters are hiding in plain sight throughout your home. For instance forgetting to take the time to change a dull light bulb or leaving an abundant amount of lint in your dryer. Our mind disguises these simple tasks as harmless, when in reality, it can become quite devastating.
1. Piling up dirty, oily rags- If left sitting, these rags could oxidize and spontaneously combust.
2. Misusing electric blankets- If heat starts to buildup or the coils bend the wrong way, the electrical blanket can catch on fire.
3. Neglecting appliance recalls- Last year defective appliances caused 150,000 fires.
4. Lingering dryer lint- The combination of lint buildup and excessive heat creates fire.
5. Letting your laptop overheat- If the cooling vent airflow is restricted, the laptop can over heat and catch on fire.
6. Choosing the wattage- Using the wrong wattage of a light bulb can initiate an electrical fire.
7. Using too many extension cords- This can create an overload leading to a short circuit, which produces a fire.
8. Performing DIYs you’re not qualified to do- Electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC mistakes can easily ignite fires.
9. Disregarding dust- Dust buildup around electronics and electronic sockets can become a fire hazard.
10. Storing batteries improperly- If the battery’s terminals make contact with other metals (screws, papers clips, etc.), it can short out the battery producing enough heat to possibly catch flammable material on fire.
11. Ignoring mice or other rodents- These animals are known for chewing on electrical wires, which removes the sheathing and exposes the heated wiring. This can lead to sparking surrounding surfaces caused by short circuiting, resulting in igniting a fire.
12. Forgetting the chimney sweep- Chimney fires are commonly cause by buildup of creosote, dead animals (usually birds or raccoons), and cracked mortar.
13. Overlooking the range hood- Grease and other cooking buildup that’s left on the vent hood filter can drip down on the stovetop, catching the fallen material on fire.
14. Arranging furniture unwisely- Furniture can unexpectedly ignite, if you position it by a source of heating such as a fireplace, wood stove, or space heater.
6 Misconception About Water Damage
You may think water damage is quite straight forward. However, there are actually quite a few misconceptions about water damage. Here are some common misconceptions to avoid.
It will dry itself
When water leaks into your home and gets onto your floors and walls, there is no doubt that mold will grow if it is not removed properly. The area may appear to be dry, but water can hide in the walls and underneath your flooring, which increases your risk of mold growth. That mold can be extremely expensive to remove the more it spreads and the area will create a musky odor. Water damaged areas begin to stink if they are not completely dried out and treated with the proper antimicrobials. The water will not actually dry on it’s own, but it will seep into other areas and cause damage the more it is able to travel.
It is not a big deal
The mold and bacteria that begin to grow in standing water can cause diseases and infections if left untreated for even just one day. Proper sanitation, disinfection, and anti-fungicide treatments must be applied immediately to ensure that the health of everyone in the area is not compromised. SERVPRO has the equipment and products that guarantee the area is cleaned thoroughly and properly. Do not brush the situation off and think that standing water in your property is no big deal, it has the possibility of becoming a tremendous health hazard if not addressed immediately.
I can dry it myself
This may be many people’s first instinct, but we heavily advise against trying to clean up a large amount of water on your own. This can lead to serious mold growth and eventually cause your flooring or walls to be completely ruined. SERVPRO has the state of the art equipment and skilled technicians necessary to expedite the drying process and save the walls and flooring in your home.
I can’t see it so it’s not there
The tricky part about dealing with water damage is that once water starts to leak, it can hide in your walls, floors, or ceiling after any flood or spill. The SERVPRO advanced technology actually gives us the ability to detect moisture throughout your home so that it is guaranteed that no water can hide and cause further damage. Whether it is water on the floor, or on your belongings, our trained experts are able to detect the moisture and eliminate it quickly so that your home can return to normal.
The cleanup is expensive
The cost of hiring professionals to take care of any water damage is usually the reason people avoid it and attempt the cleanup on their own. The idea that hiring SERVPRO for an inspection and cleaning is going to cost an arm and a leg is actually a myth. The powerful equipment used by our cleaning and restoration specialists are able to both clean and remove contaminants, which saves anyone from having to replace all of their belongings. A few hundred dollars of cleanup and restoration can turn into thousands of dollars of replacement, especially if any of the process is put on hold or delayed. The reality is, you actually save money by bringing SERVPRO in to handle the cleanup and restoration because it will be done correctly the first time.
It is a good idea to check with your insurance company on what they cover as far as water damage goes. It may be that insurance will cover the damage and the whole process will actually result in no money out of your pocket. If that is the case, it will cost nothing to have all of your property and belongings cleaned and restored.
It can wait
Water is the base of all living things and it does not take very long for life to begin to grow in standing water. Mold starts to grow within 24 hours of water left standing and spreads quickly. Take initiative right away so that the situation does not become worse. It is much cheaper to clean up the water and repair the damage than it is to replace entire walls, floors, and furniture. Call SERVPRO of South Brevard immediately and one of our highly trained technicians will respond to your need right away. We have a 24-Hour Emergency Service and are locally owned and operated. You need the company that can respond immediately and has the expertise and equipment to properly restore your property.
Tips to Avoid Water Damage
Water damage is a serious risk for buildings. If not addressed immediately, it can create irreparable damage to your personal possessions, the structural stability to the building, and can cause health hazards for occupants. However, there are steps that you can take to help avoid such a situation.
Identifying Potential Hazards
The first step to avoiding water damage is to identify the potential hazards where water damage can occur. Most notably, if you have any leaks or cracks that can allow water in, they should be fixed as soon as possible.
Windows and Doors
As usual openings into the building, windows and doors are common sources of water damage. Regularly checking your windows and doors for leaks will help ensure that they don’t cause water damage problems. If there are leaks, it may be an issue with the sealing around the opening.
Oftentimes, water damage initially comes from the roof. When leaks or roof damage allow water to infiltrate the building, that water will slowly make its way through the home damaging the attic, walls, and eventually the floors. Primary issues that result in water damage from the roof are leaks around vents for the exhaust for plumbing, rooftop air conditioning units, and other types of specialized equipment. Another common problem is with the roof’s drainage system, particularly the gutters. Making sure your gutters are in good condition and draining water properly will ensure it doesn’t cause water damage to the building or its foundation.
Foundation and Exterior Walls
Water can do the most damage to the foundation and exterior walls. Water damage to these parts of the building can compromise its structural integrity and cause openings such as doors and windows to stick. To avoid any danger of damage occurring to these areas, seal any cracks or hold that may have accumulated in the exterior walls, joints, and foundation. You also need to make sure that your yard slopes down away from the foundation and that the roof drainage system directs water well away from the building.
Inside the building, most water damage problems occur from areas where water use is common. Make sure that there are no leaks in the plumbing fixtures, that the pipes are not dripping, that the drains are not clogged, and that any water drainage systems are not defective.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condition (HVAC)
HVAC systems are made up of various components that can cause the accumulation of moisture in a building. Some of these components include chilled water piping and condensation drains. If the building is in a humid climate, a HVAC system serves the purpose of reducing the ambient air moisture level. If the system is not working properly, it will not do this which could result in water damage.
Inspect and Maintain
A key to keeping water damage from negatively affecting your home is to decrease the chances that water damage can occur. The best way to do this is to regularly inspect and maintain any parts of your home that could potentially be vulnerable to water damage or water intrusion.
Flashing and Sealants
The purpose of flashing is to prevent water from entering the home where two different types of building materials come together. Flashing is usually a thin metal strip and can be found around doors, windows, and roofs. Similarly, sealants and caulking are typically applied to prevent any moisture intrusion at the building’s joints. To keep water from slipping past these parts of the building, they must be well-maintained and in good condition.
If your vents are not properly maintained, they can be hazards for water damage. To avoid such a problem, all vents in the building should have the appropriate hoods, exhaust to the exterior, and should be in good working order.
Many HVAC systems are made up of several components that could potentially cause water damage if regular maintenance is ignored. Check all these components such as water lines, pumps, and air handlers for leaks. You should also make sure that the drain lines are clean and don’t have any obstructions and that the ductwork is insulated so it prevents condensation on exterior surfaces.
The relative humidity of a building should typically be 30 percent to 50 percent. If the humidity is too high, it will likely show through condensation on the windows, wet stains on the walls and ceilings, or musty smells.
If there are any areas of the building that commonly become moist for any reason, these areas should be cleaned off and the area where the moisture frequently collects should be dried.
If not taken care of immediately, water damage can have very negative effects on a building. It can cause severe damage to personal possessions, cause damage to walls and floors, and make the building uninhabitable by putting into question its structural integrity. These tips will help you avoid having to deal with such a situation. If you do suffer any type of water damage to your home, call the professionals at SERVPRO for a full restoration.
4 Ways to Protect Your Foundation
A sturdy foundation is integral to the stability of your home. Issues with the foundation can cause structural issues with the home which will result in thousands of dollars of damage and can create issues that would require further repair. There are measures you can take to protect your home from such a problem and to check to make sure that the foundation of your home is properly protected.
Grading to Keep Water Away from the Foundation
If the excavation of soil is done poorly around a house, the water could potentially be directed toward the base of that house and could funnel into the foundation. To avoid this problem, the yard should be graded at least six inches in 10 feet, which will ensure that the soil slopes away from the house. To make sure that the slope is enough to avoid such an issue, you can simply use a leveling tool. With one end of the level where the ground meets the foundation wall and the other end sticking out, measure the space from the end hovering over the ground to the surface of the ground. This will tell you the slope. If you are using a two-foot level, simply multiple the results by five to find what it would be at 10 feet.
Direct Water Away from the Foundation
Any downspouts of the house should be directing water away from the house and its foundation. This will ensure that any rainwater or roof runoff is flowing away from the house and not down into the foundation. To avoid the water flowing down into the foundation, the downspout should extend five to 10 feet away from the house, otherwise it will simply be dumping water onto the foundation which can cause extensive damage. While simply purchasing extenders is a way to handle this situation, there is another way. You can bury a long diverter underground which will drain the water all the way to the curb, to a storm drain, or to a spot that is further out in the yard where the water will be of no danger to the foundation.
Avoid Dry Soil
When soil around the house completely dries out, it has the ability to contract, then expand when it gets wet again. It’s important to avoid letting any soil that is around the home become completely dry during any long dry spells as the next time it rains, the soil could become soaked causing it to expand and put stress on the foundation walls. You can avoid this problem by running a soaker hose around the house about six inches away from the foundation and three inches underneath the soil any time there is a drought. This will keep the soil from contracting and expanding, keeping your foundation safe.
Protect Your Foundation from Roots
During a drought, there is only so much moisture to go around, so tree and shrub roots are forced to share moisture with the soil. Lacking enough moisture to go around, this issue can cause the foundation to settle and sink unevenly. The result of this is that drywall can crack and windows and doors may stick to their frames. The way to avoid this problem is by planting any deep-rooted trees and shrubs away from the home. If the branches of the trees or shrubs are touching the house, they are too close and can potentially cause a problem.
Damage to a home’s foundation is a serious problem. In addition to causing structural issues for the house, it also has the ability to cause problems to drywall, windows, doors, and floors. The result of the foundation issues could be thousands of dollars of damage to correct multiple problems throughout the house. But water damage can be corrected with little to no permanent damage if it is caught fast enough and if the appropriate steps are taken to correct the situation. The difference between a quick notification and waiting could be devastating. If you suffer water damage to your home, it is important that you contact that professionals at SERVPRO right away to ensure that the matter is properly handled to avoid any further damage and to correct the situation right away.
Avoid Water Damage Caused Air Conditioners
Here in sunny Florida, air conditioners are a warm weather necessity. Now that fall is here and winter is right around the corner, it is the perfect time to show your air conditioner the tender loving care it needs in order to avoid any water damage to your home.
When an air conditioner is not running properly, it can begin leaking water. Air conditioners commonly leak water when a pump is broken, the outside temperature is too cold, or there is air leakage because the seal is not tight enough. When issues with air conditioners occur, the ice within the unit melts, causing water to overflow from the pan and cause damage to ceilings, floors, and drywall.
As with every appliance, maintenance and upkeep are key when it comes to getting the most out of the product. Keeping air conditioners properly maintained can prevent any of this from happening, so that when the hot and humid summer days roll back around, cool air is easily available.
Here are some tips on how to maintain your air conditioner so that it is summer ready.
Have Your Air Conditioner Inspected
This should be an annual process done by an experienced SERVPRO technician. The inspections include checking the drains, the coils, and the contacts. If any repairs are needed, the technician will make sure it is serviced immediately. During an inspection, SERVPRO technicians will check the refrigerant levels, test for any leaks, check for duct leakage in the system, measure the evaporator coil airflow, inspect the electric terminals, clean and tighten any loose electric terminals, and check belts and oil motors. Lastly, technicians will check the accuracy of the thermostat indoors and ensure that it is monitoring airflow correctly.
Purchase an Algaecide Treatment
The algaecide treatment ensures that algae does not grow within the air conditioner and lead to clogged rain. It is a reasonably priced treatment and is worth it in comparison to having to purchase a new air conditioner as a result of algae growth.
Change the Air Conditioning Filter Regularly
Once a month, your air conditioning filter should be changed and replaced with a new, fresh one. Dirty filters, a well as any tall grass or shrubs too close to the air conditioner can restrict air from entering the unit. When air is restricted, the air conditioner works harder and risks the chances of further damage occurring to the unit.
Condensate the Drains
The drains are the main area that water, whether it be frozen or condensed travels in an air conditioner so make it a point to run a stiff wire through the unit’s drains annually to prevent a unit from reducing humidity. The result of a clogged drain could be moisture that can damage walls and carpet.
Invest in an Overflow Shut Off Device
This device is installed on the drain line and prevents drain back up that could possibly result in water overflowing from the air conditioner, resulting in damage. It simply shuts the air conditioner off if there are any backups in the drain. If that is the case, you will notice that your air conditioner is not running and that you should call a SERVPRO technician to come inspect the issue.
Prepare for Winter
Since the air conditioning will not be used in the winter months, cover any room air conditioners or remove and store them. If you have an outdoor unit, cover the air conditioner to protect it from debris. Everyone needs a break sometimes and this includes your air conditioner. If it is in good condition, give it the winter months to be off duty.
SERVPRO has a trusted staff of experienced technicians who are available 24-7 to inspect, repair, and restore any water damage caused by air conditioning leaks. If your air conditioner seems to be leaking water or is not functioning properly, it is crucial to take care of the issue as soon as possible so that it can be resolved quickly and further damage does not occur.
4 Signs Your Gutters May Cause Water Damage
Every homeowner fears the threat of water damage. Many of these threats come from situations such as leaks in the roof or some other way that water passes into the home. One of the most common and noticeable appliances that are designed to keep water from entering the home are the gutters. The purpose of the gutters is to carry rainwater down and away from the home. This allows the home to avoid any potential water-related problems, such as flooding, leaks, or damage to the foundation. If your gutters are not working properly, the result could be very serious water damage occurring to your home. These four signs will tell you that your gutters are not working properly and are in need of repair or, possibly, replacement.
Gutters are Sagging Away from the House
If your gutters are noticeably sagging, they will not be properly doing their job of leading the water down and away from the house. This is one of the easiest ways to tell that you may have an issue because you can tell it’s happening simply by looking up. The reason why your gutters may be sagging is that they are full of heavy water. This can cause the gutters to not drain properly which could result in other issues such as cracks or holes forming in the gutters. If this happens, water may start spilling down the side of the house causing water damage in the home or to the foundation.
Gutters are Starting to Show Rust
Noticing that your gutters are starting to rust is not as easy as noticing that the gutters are sagging. For this problem, you’ll have to climb up onto the roof or climb up a ladder to notice it. However, if you are able to get some elevation above the gutters, the rusting will be quite noticeable. To ensure that your gutters are working properly, you should regularly inspect them. Any rust should be easily noticed during this inspection.
Over time, if the gutters are not attended to, holes or cracks may form which could cause water to spill out of the gutters, run down the side of the house, and damage the foundation of the home. If your gutters are rusted and are in need of a replacement, you might want to consider getting aluminum gutters. These gutters don’t rust which will ensure that your problem doesn’t happen again.
Marks Are Showing Up On the Exterior of the Home
Cracks or holes in your gutters will cause water to stream down the side of your home. This will leave water stains, cause paint to peel, and mold to grow. Signs of these problems will show up on the exterior walls of the home or right underneath the gutters. This is a sign that your gutters are not directing water down and away from the house but that water is escaping the gutters. As the water continues down toward the ground, it can eventually cause water damage to your home and damage to the foundation of the home.
Splits and/or Cracks Are Forming in the Gutters
Tiny splits or cracks that form in the gutters may not seem like a big deal as water is not even escaping at that point. But the force of the running water can cause these small cracks to become big cracks rather quickly. Water will then easily escape the gutters and stream down the side of the house where it can cause damage to the house and its foundation. Sometimes you can repair these cracks using specialized tape or roofing cement but you may have to completely replace the gutters if the cracks are too big or if there are too many of them.
If there are problems with your gutters that are causing them to stop directing water down and away from your home, issues involving water damage can arise. In some cases, you may be able to repair the gutters but in many cases, you will have to completely replace them. Either way, it’s important that you keep a close eye on your gutters through regular inspection as this will allow you to avoid potential water damage. If you do suffer from water damage, call on the professionals at SERVPRO for a full restoration.