Cleaning Up Water Damage On Your Own
Unplug everything first. Before you begin cleaning, unplug everything. It is very dangerous to enter a water damaged home if electronics are plugged in. Carefully unplug everything from the wall and turn off any appliances before you begin cleaning.
Soak up as much water as possible with a wet/dry vacuum. If you don't have a wet/dry vacuum, you can rent one at a hardware store. To begin the process of drying out the floor and walls, run the vacuum over your floors, walls, and anywhere else where you notice built up water damage. Sop up as much set in water as possible with the wet/dry vacuum.
Disinfect everything. Water damage can cause the build up of bacteria in your walls, floors, and carpeting. Disinfecting these areas to remove water damage is important.
Apply a product to prevent mold growth. Mold growth can occur, especially in wood, after water damage. After cleaning and disinfecting your floors and walls, apply a product that inhibits mold growth.
Use fans and a humidifier. Even after sopping up most of the water, there is likely some lingering water in your floors and carpeting. Keep fans in the room and have them on for 24 hours a day. This can speed up the drying process. You should also place a dehumidifier in the room if you have one.
If it is to much, call the professionals. SERVPRO of Texarkana is here to for your needs. We are a locally owned and operated business. 24/7 service. 903-832-4400.
Most Common Plumbing Isssues
Let’s face it, we’ve all had a dripping faucet in our home and have probably ignored it for a while! That dripping faucet not only wastes water, it wastes money on your water bill.
While we see a lot of leaking pipes during the cold winter months, it’s also very common year-round! Most pipes will begin to leak near the joints, so keep an eye out for wet spots on the ground or ceiling. Water damage to your home can be quite costly, so leaky pipes are a necessity to fix right away.
Did you know that a running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons per day? That’s a lot of water waste!
Low Water Pressure
A lot of older homes will experience low water pressure, but you may be asking why? It could be time for a new showerhead or you could have a hidden leak in your home. However, those are just a few of the many reasons for low water pressure.
You wake up in the morning and step into the shower to feel cold water on your body — trust us, we know it’s the worst feeling! The average life of a water heater can be anywhere from eight to 12 years.
Tornado Safety Tips
If you are at home
- If you have a cellar, storm shelter, safe room or basement available, go immediately to that area. If none of these options are available to you, get to the lowest level of your home.
- Get to a windowless interior room, such as a bathroom, closet or inner hallway
- Stay as far from windows as possible
- Go to the center of the room – corners tend to attract debris
- Get under a sturdy piece of furniture; heavy table or desk, and hold on to it
- Protect your head and neck with a blanket, if possible
If you are in a mobile home
Mobile homes are particularly vulnerable to tornadoes. They can be easily overturned, even if precautions have been taken to tie down the unit. If you are in a mobile home when a tornado is approaching, evacuate the home immediately.
- Take shelter in a building with a strong foundation
- If a shelter is not available, lie in a ditch or low-lying area a safe distance away from the mobile home.
- Use your arms to protect head and neck
If you are at work or school
- Go to the basement or an inside hallway at the lowest level
- Avoid places with wide-span roofs such as auditoriums, cafeterias, gymnasiums, large hallways or shopping malls
- Get under a sturdy piece of furniture such as a desk or heavy table.
- Use your arms to protect head and neck
If you are outdoors
- If possible, get inside a building.
- If shelter is unavailable or there is no time to get indoors, lie in a ditch or low-lying area or crouch near a strong building.
- Use your arms to protect your head and neck
- Stay alert to the potential for flooding
If you are in a vehicle
Never try to outrun a tornado. Tornadoes can change direction quickly and can instantly lift up a car, truck or any other vehicle and toss it through the air.
- Get out of the vehicle immediately and take shelter in a nearby building
- If there is no time to get indoors, get out of the vehicle and lie in a ditch or low-lying area away from the vehicle
- Use your arms to protect your head and neck
- Stay alert to the potential for flooding
Emergency Escape Tips
- Your building has an evacuation plan. Know it and evacuate during all fire alarm activations.
- Learn the location of all building exits. Have an exit strategy, always know at least two ways out.
- If you have to escape through smoke, crawl low to your exit, keeping your head one to two feet above the floor, where the air will be clearer.
- Test doorknobs and spaces around the door with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, try another escape route. If it’s cool, open it slowly. Close it if smoke or fire is present.
- If you are trapped, call the fire department for assistance. Seal your door with rags and signal from your window.
Soot After a Fire
Dangers of Soot
Soot is harmful because a wide variety of natural and synthetic substances burn during a fire. As they burn, they create microscopic particles that contain chemicals, acids, dust, metals, and other hazardous substances. The soot spreads widely and sticks to every exposed surface, creating a larger contamination area. Soot can cause serious damage to the surfaces it sticks to, and this damage can quickly become permanent. If it reaches the building’s HVAC system, it can spread even further through the structure.
Unless the soot is cleaned quickly and correctly, the particles will be inhaled, causing bronchitis and other lung disorders, as well as aggravating current conditions like asthma or COPD. A report from the Environmental Defense Fund shows that even brief exposure to soot can cause problems. Not only are soot particles small enough to embed within lungs, some can even enter the bloodstream. Exposure to these particles has been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias in people with heart disease. As people and animals breathe in these particles over time, the symptoms will only get worse.
It’s easy to find large deposits of soot residue on walls, ceilings and other objects, but the individual particles are too tiny to see with the naked eye. It has a distinctive smoky/ashy odor, which is often how people realize an area has been affected. It’s important to remove soot as soon as possible, both for health reasons and to restore damaged items, but it’s more important to do it correctly. That’s why using a professional is a smart idea. Give us here at SERVPRO of Texarkana a call. 903-832-4400. Cleaning soot and smoke damage on your own can be difficult because it’s easy to spread it even further; exposure to soot even after a few days will still cause lung irritation without proper protective equipment, which many people don’t own.
Hail can happen anywhere, but some parts of the U.S. see it more often than others. States in the Midwest are most susceptible. These storms are most common between May and September. Hail pellets are usually between .2 inches and 1.75 inches in size, but can be much bigger. In fact, the biggest known hailstone came in at 7.9 inches in South Dakota in 2010.
Hail damage isn’t always visible. When it is, you can look for cracked shingles, dents in shingles in a random pattern, and bent roof vents and pipes. You can also sustain damage to siding. Invisible damage comes into play when substrate materials beneath the shingles are damaged. If you think you have hail damage, we highly recommend getting an expert opinion. This kind of damage can lead to serious roof leaks that can spread and cause structural problems.
Severe damage from most storms is covered under home and business insurance policies, but the specifics vary. The amount you are responsible for paying depends on your premiums and deductibles, the age and structure of the building, the extent of your damage, property values in your neighborhood and much more.
Most storms are considered acts of God, which means that your insurer can’t single you out for rate increases. However, failing to file claims in a timely manner can make you ineligible for coverage, and entire neighborhoods can be subject to rate increases following disasters. That means you should always file claims as quickly as possible so you don’t end up paying more in future premiums without receiving the benefits now.
First, you should document the damage to your home to the best of your ability. Take a lot of photos and be sure to hang on to any receipts and documents related to appliances and maintenance work you completed prior to the storm. Then, contact your insurance company. Your insurer will send a claim representative or assessor. The best contractors can work directly with insurers to help you save as much money as possible.
Call SERVPRO of Texarkana for any damage to your home. We are opened 24/7. 903-832-4400.
The Right Fire Extinguisher for the Right Fire
Fire extinguishers come in a wide variety of types — each one designed to put out a different kind of fire. Classification systems have been developed to help users know what sort of extinguisher they’re working with.
To employ the extinguisher with proper technique, just remember the acronym “PASS.”
- Pull the pin.
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. Hitting the tops of the flame with the extinguisher won’t be effective. You got to smother the sucker at its base.
- Squeeze the trigger. In a controlled manner, squeeze the trigger to release the agent.
- Sweep from side to side. Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire is put out. Keep aiming at the base while you do so. Most extinguishers will give you about 10-20 seconds of discharge time.
Slowly back away. Even if the fire appears to be extinguished, don’t turn your back on it. There might be unseen hot spots or hidden fires that can ignite into a large flame at any moment. You want to be on guard for that.
How Can I Prevent a House Fire?
Test your smoke detectors. Properly maintain your smoke alarms by testing the batteries once a month.
Inspect heating sources. Regardless of what kind of primary heating you have in your home, an annual inspection will reduce your risk of fire.
Keep the stove and oven clear. To prevent kitchen fires, don’t leave anything flammable near the stove or oven
Stay in the kitchen. Don’t leave a hot cooking surface unattended.
Check the dryer. If you have a gas-powered clothes dryer, have it inspected once a year to make sure all connections are secure.
Maintain electrical cords. Regularly check the condition of electrical cords and watch out for frayed wires.
Know your shutoffs. Know the locations of your power shutoffs for all utilities, including gas lines, circuit breakers, appliances, and fuses.
Store flammable products properly. Keep flammable products away from heat, including exposure to sunlight.
Be careful with candles. Never leave candles unattended and always keep them away from flammable items like blankets and curtains.
Prevent wildfires from outdoor fire pits, bonfires, and burn barrels. Make sure your fire pit or burn barrel is constructed of nonflammable materials, like stone or concrete.
Keep fire extinguishers handy. Some homes come equipped with fire sprinkler systems, but fire extinguishers stocked in key areas of your home is the next best thing.
Mold grows by releasing its spores (reproductive cells) into the air, which are invisible to the naked eye. It can spread and grow anywhere as long as moisture and oxygen are present, but commonly grows on surfaces such as insulation, sheetrock, tile, fabrics and wood. It can enter your home through windows, vents and doorways or it can attach itself to clothing and pets and be carried inside. It might be a shock to learn that you can have hundreds or even thousands of mold spores in one cubic foot of air in your home.
Mold spores that land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing can produce allergens, irritants and potentially toxic substances. Continuous exposure to a moldy environment can cause or worsen pre-existing health effects. Seemingly healthy people can also suffer from throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation or nasal stuffiness in a home with high levels of mold. People who are allergic to mold or who have any pre-existing health issues could get serious infections in their lungs that can spread. Those with asthma could see worsened asthmatic symptoms over time due to exposure to mold spores.