Recent General Posts

Why Should you Board-Up?

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

If you have experienced a fire, there are several reasons why you might want to board up structural damage or windows. Aside from the safety side of choosing to board-up your damage property, it can also prevent additional losses due to looting and make the fire cleanup process quicker. SERVPRO of Texarkana offers full-service restoration specialists who can also assist in board-up services.

In a commercial setting, there may still be viable stock on the premises. If products that appear viable remain in the building, you should consider boarding up. These items may require assessment and cleaning and may not be fit for sale, but having them properly processed rather than stolen can be helpful for insurance purposes.

Protect electronics and other valuables. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you may be able to restore some electronics or other valuable property to working condition.

Keep out the elements. If the structure of your property has sustained extensive damage, you should try to keep the elements out to prevent additional damage. Exposure to additional water, wind, or sunlight can compound the damage caused by smoke residue and soot.

Limit soot damage. It is generally a good idea to reduce foot traffic on the scene of a recent fire. When soot gets embedded into carpeting or upholstery, it can be much more difficult to restore these materials to a pre-fire condition.

Flood Water Facts

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

During this time of year, we see a lot of rain in the Texarkana area. Across the United States though, flooding is one of the most commonly widespread weather-related disasters. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river or even in the desert, there is always potential for flood damage. Though you may have never experienced a flood in the past, there’s no level of security to assure that you will not in the future. Did you know that 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities?  According to the American Red Cross (ARC), floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster.  The ARC offers the following safety tips:

Stay away from floodwaters

If you approach a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way.  Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.

Driving on a flooded road

Turn around and go another way.  If you are caught on a flooded road and water is rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.  Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

Keep children out of the water

They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.

Always be prepared and ready. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly, and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task. SERVPRO of Birmingham is prepared to handle any size disaster. The sooner work begins, the sooner your home or business can return “Like it never even happened.” Call us at 903-832-4400. 

Power Outages

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly. A power outage may:

  • Disrupt communications, water, and transportation.

  • Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services.

  • Cause food spoilage and water contamination.

  • Prevent use of medical devices.

PROTECT YOURSELF DURING A POWER OUTAGE:

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.

  • Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.

  • Do not use a gas stove to heat your home.

  • Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.

  • Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.

  • If safe, go to an alternate location for heat or cooling.

  • Check on neighbors.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A POWER OUTAGE THREATENS: 

Prepare NOW

  • Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
  • Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  • Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
  • Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
  • Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
  • Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.

Why You Should Recycle

7/5/2021 (Permalink)

US Waste

Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic beverage bottles every hour.

The United States of America is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world's people generate 40% of the world's waste.

Americans toss out enough aluminum every 3 months to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.

The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood, and other products made from trees. This amounts to about 2 billion trees per year.

Every month, we throw out enough glass bottles and jars to fill up a giant skyscraper.

Manufacturers produce more than 15 million tons of expanded polystyrene (aka, StyrofoamTM) each year, but we recycle less than 1% of it.

According to the EPA, yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 24% of the U.S. municipal solid waste stream.

The highest point in Hamilton County, Ohio (near Cincinnati) is "Mount Rumpke." It is actually a mountain of trash at the Rumpke sanitary landfill towering 1045 ft. above sea level.

The US population discards each year 16 billion diapers, 1.6 billion pens, 2 billion razor blades, and 220 million car tires each year.

Recycling & Energy

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Recycling aluminum requires 95% less energy than making aluminum from raw materials, and produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.

Only 10% of the 140.3 million cell phones retired in 2007 were recycled. If we recycled all of the cell phones retired each year, we would save enough energy to power 18,500 homes for a year.

Recycling one million laptops saves enough energy to power 3,657 American homes in a year.

Recycling paper takes 60% less energy than making paper form raw materials.

Recycling plastic saves twice as much energy as burning it in an incinerator.

Recycling plastic takes 88% less energy than making plastic from raw materials.

Over a ton of natural resources are conserved for every ton of glass recycled, including 1,300 pounds of sand, 410 pounds of soda ash, 380 pounds of limestone, and 160 pounds of feldspar. Source: Keep America Beautiful

The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.

Pet Safety, in case of Fire

4/28/2021 (Permalink)

An Evacuation Plan That Leaves Time For Pets

Fires can happen to anyone anywhere!  When an unexpected fire emergency occurs, it is beneficial to have a plan in place!  Everyone, including pets needs to be evacuated and to know where to meet. Make sure your meeting place is a safe distance from the home to avoid smoke inhalation.  While the main focus is to get your family out as quickly as possible, having an evacuation plan and practicing it can give you time to get your pets out too. Here are a few steps to take to ensure everyone, even your pets safety: 

Practice Makes Perfect

Don’t be caught confused about what steps to take in case of fire.  In the heat of the moment, it is almost impossible to think of everything you need to do.  This is why practicing the actual plan is important. This will help you to leave time to pick up your pets and take them to the designated meeting spot. 

Where do Your Pets Go?

Take note of the places your pets go when they are scared.  Does your dog hide behind the sofa when a thunderstorm strikes?  Does your cat hide in the laundry room when something startles her?  When a fire starts, you do not want to spend a lot of time looking for your animals.  Create a checklist of areas to look in case of an emergency. Keep your list on the fridge or pinned to a bulletin board for easy access.  Being prepared with this checklist can help get you and your pets out as quickly as possible. 

Keep Leashes by the Exit

Sometimes when animals are frightened they will run away.  When you are evacuating, it is important to keep your pets on a leash so that as firetrucks and other first responders approach, everyone is safe.  You will be able to find your leashes more easily if they are kept by your main exit on a hook. Then you can guide your pet to safety.

Water Is For Faucets, Not For Floors

4/16/2021 (Permalink)

This picture depicts a water damage scene in which our SERVPRO of Texarkana's team was called out to after water leaked into the bedroom. The carpet was saturated upon arrival so the team jumped into action.  When this happens, the carpet must be dried out and in this case, the wall needed to be dried also. After the moisture readings were complete, the team pulled the carpet back from the wall and begin to set up the drying equipment. In this scenario, the carpet is dried with different equipment that the SERVPRO  team brings with the to the site.  As you can see in this picture, the carpet is lifted as the equipment sends air under it. This helps the carpet dry more quickly and efficiently. The wall is being dried with the equipment also. This customer was very pleased with the results from our work and was surprised that we were able to work so quickly to get this job finished for them.

Clogged Drain on the Roof of Your Property

3/25/2021 (Permalink)

Clogged drain on the roof of this business caused water to leak down from the roof thru the ceiling tiles affecting several offices with water damage. SERVPRO of Texarkana was called to the job site to access the damages and start the mitigation process. Our crews extracted the standing water, removed the wet materials and began the drying process using air movers and dehumidifiers to complete the job.

Our crews are highly trained and certified. Restoring Commercial Properties, whether we are dealing with a small water clean up or a large one, no job is too big for us at SERVPRO of Texarkana.

Choose SERVPRO of Texarkana, the Professional Company that specializes in fire, water, mold and storm damage restoration. We are Here to Help and ready to respond to your needs if any of these conditions arise. Call us 903-832-4400.

3 Types of Foundations: Pros and Cons

3/19/2021 (Permalink)

The foundation of a structure is the load bearing portion, typically built below ground.  This portion serves 3 purposes.

  1. Support the structure
  2. Keep out groundwater
  3. Function as a barrier to water and soil vapor

But, when deciding on the foundation of your home, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each option.

  • Slab Foundations:

These are the most cost efficient as well as the most common of the choices.  The process is simple, the slab starts with concrete footing poured 24 inches below projected finish grade.  Then concrete blocks are placed on top of the footers, internal piping is placed, then rock filler is added, and four inches of concrete poured on top.

The advantages of a slab foundation are that they are low maintenance and the least expensive option.  The disadvantages are that there is a higher potential for expensive repairs because plumbing is placed below the slab.  This means if there is a problem, the concrete would have to be broken to reach the issues at hand.  Another disadvantage is that a slab foundation has minimal protection from storms and bad weather. 

  • Crawlspace Foundations:

Homes with crawlspace foundations are raised a few feet off the ground.  As with slab foundations, footing is placed, and concrete blocks are placed the create the support for the walls. 

The advantages of a crawlspace foundation are the easy access for repairs to plumbing, electrical, piping, and ductwork.  A second advantage is warmer floors.  Because the floor is elevated and the underlying space is conditioned, the floors tend to be much warmer than a concrete slab. The disadvantages are that crawlspaces are prone to moisture.  It is important to keep an eye on your crawlspace to ensure you have proper insulation and ventilation.  Even with cutting edge vapor barriers there can still be potential for mold and fungi to grow due to increased moisture.  A second disadvantage is there is, like with slab foundations, little to no protection from storm and weather. 

  • Basement Foundations:

A basement is an eight-foot hole that ends in a concrete slab.  In the past, basements were built with cinder blocks, but they were prone to structural failures and leaks over time.  Nowadays, basements are built with poured concrete walls, which have improved the structural integrity on the foundation over time.

The advantages of a basement foundation are the extended square footage, easy access for repairs, and storm protection.  Having the additional space at a much lower cost per square foot than other parts of the house can create extra living space or entertainment.  As with crawlspace foundations, there is easy access for repairs.  However, unlike slab and crawlspace foundations, there is protection from storms and weather for you and the residents of the home.  The disadvantages of a basement foundation are increased costs.  Because of the added materials, labor, and square footage, the costs on installation are the most time consuming and expensive.  Another disadvantage is lack of natural light.  Because the foundation is underground, there are no possible options for windows, unless you create a walkout. 

Ultimately, the decision on which foundation you choose is personal preference.  There is no foundation type that “holds up” better than another.  However, if you do experience flooding or mold issues in your Texarkana home, give SERVPRO of Texarkana a call at 903-832-4400.

Air Quality

2/17/2021 (Permalink)

Here are some things to consider from the American Lung Association about air quality in your home:

  • Is anyone smoking indoors? No one should smoke indoors.
  • Can you see or smell mold or mildew? 
  • Is the humidity regularly above 50 percent?
  • Are there leaks or standing water anywhere—kitchen, basement, attic?
  • Are all fuel-burning appliances (gas stoves, water heaters, fireplaces) fully vented to the outdoors?
  • Is there an attached garage or basement where cars, lawnmowers or motorcycles are stored?
  • Are household chemicals, paints or solvents stored indoors or in an attached garage or basement?
  • Have you recently remodeled or added new furniture, carpeting or painted?
  • Do you use odor-masking chemicals or "air-freshening" devices?
  • Has kitchen or food garbage been covered and removed?
  • Have you used pesticides recently?

If you have an ongoing air quality issue, call SERVPRO of Lexington for further consultation. We have a staff of professionals, certified in all aspects of deodorization and microbial remediation.

How to Avoid Frozen Pipes This Winter

2/1/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen pipes in your home can cause major damage and unnecessary stress. Pipes that freeze the most frequently are those that are exposed to extreme cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, water sprinkler lines, and water supply pipes in unconditioned areas like basements, crawlspaces, garages, and kitchen cabinets. Pipes that run against exterior walls with little to no insulation are especially susceptible. Before freezing weather sets in, follow these tip and tricks to help prevent frozen pipes in your home.

  • Drain water from swimming pools and sprinkler systems for the winter.
  • Remove outdoor hoses and allow the hose bib to drain completely. Keep the valve open so that any remaining water in the pipe can expand with no damage.
  • Check for home for pipes located in unheated areas. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • If you live in an especially cold area consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  • When the weather is very cold, let cold water trickle through the pipes.
  • If you are traveling for a extended period during cold weather, leave your thermostat set a no lower than 55 F.

We hope these tips help you to avoid frozen pipes all together but if you do happen to need our help we are available 24/7. Call our office at 903-832-4400

Flooding and Safety

1/22/2021 (Permalink)

During all the much needed rain here in Texarkana, there is a possibility of flooding. Here are some tips to help prepare you ahead of time.

Do

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

Don’t

  • Don't leave wet fabrics in place. Hang furs and leather goods.
  • Don't leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Don't use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't use television or other household appliances.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging.

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. With a nationwide system of qualified franchises, no damage is too large or too small for SERVPRO of Brandon 903-832-4400

Cabinet Drying

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Drying Cabinets

  • burst pipe
  • heavy rains
  • leaks
  • flooding

These can cause water to seep into the cabinets in your home. Left un-remedied, this can lead to serious damage

  1. Water can cause wood to warp and twist.
  2. It can lead to particle board inside cabinets swelling and becoming distended.
  3. Over a period of days, standing water can lead to dangerous growths of mold and bacteria.

If you have water in your cabinets, you need to seek our trained technicians. Our thorough, step by step process removes all moisture from your cabinets to protect them from water damage. 

We use sensitive equipment to help us locate where water has invaded your cabinets. Finding the incursion is the first step necessary in getting the water out and your house back to being good as new.

We remove moldings and baseboards to expose the area below and allow us to remove moisture that can damage your home. We drill in inconspicuous areas at floor level and inside cabinets so that the drill holes can be easily concealed after drying is completed.

Our top of the line equipment increases airflow behind and beneath cabinets and large appliances. This helps speed up evaporation, removing water quickly before it can cause serious, long-term damage.

The process can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. When you experience water damage, we should be the first people you call. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. SERVPRO of Texarkana is here here to help.

The Water You Don't See

12/25/2020 (Permalink)

Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.

The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO of Texarkana Professionals have the equipment, training and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. SERVPRO of Texarkana will answer your call with rapid action and a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools used.

  • Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.
  • Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO to monitor the drying process.
  • Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO Professionals can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized.
  • Ultra-Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas.
  • Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles.

The bottom line? SERVPRO of Texarkana have the training and equipment to help make it "Like it never even happened." Call us at (903) 832-4400.

How To Tell If Your Floor Has Water Damage

12/1/2020 (Permalink)

No floor is safe from water damage. Water can seep down to the sub floor or even seep up from a slab leak. It’s pretty easy to tell whether or floor has had any water damage, and with these tips, you’ll be able to spot it fairly quickly. Each floor type has a different set of signs of water damage, so familiarize yourself with all of the signs to prevent unpleasant surprises.

Carpet shows discoloration and an odor from mold or mildew.

Tile which has discoloration could mean it has water damage. Another trick is to tap on the tiles with a coin. If you hear an empty or hollow sound it means the tiles are loose and that it could be water damage.

Hardwood flooring has four main signs that water damage has occurred. The first sign is buckling which means the floor planks have completely removed themselves from the floor under them. Next, are dark spots – which could just be a part of the wood’s natural pattern, but if it’s a fairly new spot it is most likely mold or mildew. Third, is bulging which is when the wood planks bubble upwards and create sort of a crown shape. Lastly, is cupping. With cupping, the planks will have dips in the center and raised edges.

Laminate flooring usually sports swelling around the edges. Warping also occurs when the planks aren’t flat and are cupping or bulging. Discoloration could mean mold or mildew.

Linoleum flooring that is showing discoloration could mean that there is water damage.

If you suspect your floor has had water damage, call us today at 903-832-4400. 

Cooking Safety Tips and Prevention

11/13/2020 (Permalink)

Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and injuries according to the NFPA.  The cause is unattended cooking so it is important to be alert and make sure you never leave the kitchen while cooking. A kitchen fire, regardless of the size, can be overwhelming. Most kitchen fires begin on the stove and the damage can affect the entire kitchen along with other areas in the home including walls, ceilings and appliances. A cooking fire is usually started by grease, oil or food which can make cleanup more difficult. 

Should you experience a kitchen fire that has left you with smoke, soot or fire damage, our office is available 24/7 to help with the cleanup whether it be the building structure or your personal property.

A few tips to remember in the kitchen:

  • If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner but do not remove the pan. 
  • Stay in the kitchen while you cook
  • Remove items such as towels, plastic utensils and pot holders that can catch fire away from stove 
  • Keep cooking surfaces clean to prevent food & grease build up
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm
  • Make sure you kitchen has a fire extinguisher
  • If you need to leave the room, be sure to turn the stove off

Get Your Property Winter Ready

10/8/2020 (Permalink)

Check your property for downed tree limbs and branches. Wind, heavy rain, ice and snow can cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries.

Roofs, gutters and water pipes should all be inspected before a snow storm may occur. Gutter downspouts should be directed away from the building. Clear gutters of debris that may have gathered during the fall. Leaves and other obstructions can cause a damming effect, which can lead to roof damage and interior problems.

Inspect walkways and parking lots on properties for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.

Inspect handrails, stairwells and entryways to address and correct potential slippery areas. Install mats or non slip surfaces.

Protect pipes from freezing by allowing water to drip when temperatures dip below freezing.

Build An Emergency Checklist

9/30/2020 (Permalink)

Have an emergency list prepared just in case You never know when a disaster can strike. It's important to always be prepared.

Water (one gallon per person per day)

·        Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)

·        Manual can opener

·        Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio

·        Flashlight and extra batteries

·        First aid kit

·        Whistle to signal for help

·        Clothing

·        Dust masks or bandanas

·        Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape

·        Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

·        Hygiene items

·        Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information

·        Cash

·        Fire extinguisher

·        Matches in a waterproof container

SERVPRO of Texarkana is locally owned and operated—so we’re a part of this community too. We are also part of a national network of over 1,700 Franchises, which enables us to respond quicker with more resources. For major storms and disasters, we can call upon special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country.

Keep Your Kitchen Safe!

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

A list of simple kitchen saftey tips For any kitchen mishaps, give SERVPRO of Texarkana a call. 903-832-4400.

Recipe For Kitchen Safety:

·        Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.

·        Stay in the home when cooking food and check on it frequently.

·        Watch children closely. It is a good rule of thumb to keep children three feet away from the cooking area.

·        Clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease build-up.

·        Keep curtains, towels and pot holders away from hot surfaces and store solvents and flammable cleaners away from heat sources. Never keep gasoline in the house.

·        Turn pan handles inward to prevent food spills.

·        Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

·        Make sure your smoke alarms are working by testing them prior to beginning food preparation.

The Grossest Profit

8/20/2020 (Permalink)

Toilets overflow with sewage from time to time due to a sewage backup, and commercial properties are just as vulnerable as a home, apartment complex, condominium, etc. That means if the main sewer line to your office building gets clogged, then your entire office will be grossly contaminated with sewage water. If you are a business owner and have to close your office for any period of time this could be detrimental to your business. In moments like this, it is important to remember to think calmly and act quickly. Contacting your property owner is usually a priority. Next to that you need to contact SERVPRO of Texarkana to handle this type of emergency. SERVPRO of Texarkana's team is highly trained to mitigate and restore any size property loss. Also, SERVPRO operates 24/7. Isn't it relieving to know you have a SERVPRO in your community who can respond to an emergency like this?

How's Your Air Quality?

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

It is important not to breathe in nasty air Give us a call today for your air quality test,. 903-832-4400.

Here are some things to consider from the American Lung Association about air quality in your home:

  • Is anyone smoking indoors? No one should smoke indoors.
  • Can you see or smell mold or mildew? 
  • Is the humidity regularly above 50 percent?
  • Are there leaks or standing water anywhere—kitchen, basement, attic?
  • Are all fuel-burning appliances (gas stoves, water heaters, fireplaces) fully vented to the outdoors?
  • Is there an attached garage or basement where cars, lawnmowers or motorcycles are stored?
  • Are household chemicals, paints or solvents stored indoors or in an attached garage or basement?
  • Have you recently remodeled or added new furniture, carpeting or painted?
  • Do you use odor-masking chemicals or "air-freshening" devices?
  • Has kitchen or food garbage been covered and removed?
  • Have you used pesticides recently?

If you have an ongoing air quality issue, call SERVPRO of Texarkana for further consultation. We have a staff of professionals, certified in all aspects of deodorization and microbial remediation

Summer Vacation Safety Tips

7/2/2020 (Permalink)

SAFETY TIPS

There is nothing more frightening than the thought of going on a summer vacation, returning home, and finding that your home has been robbed, vandalized. Whether it’s a flooded basement, or even a faulty water heater, there is nothing more devastating than the thought of this unexpected property damage.

There are some ways to minimize the risk. A few Safety Tips to make sure everyone is doing whatever is possible to stay safe!

TIPS

Don’t make it obvious you are out of town or on vacation

  • Try to arrange for a trusted neighbor to bring in your trash, mail and newspaper.
  • Suspend your mail and newspaper until you return home.

Automatic timers

  • Your lights can help lend the impression that someone is home
  • Leave a car parked in the driveway.

Of course, an A/C Leak - leading to a flooded attic - ceiling collapse - is another big threat.            

  • Avoid it by simply turning off your water before you leave.
  • You may also drain your hot water heater to ensure no damage done from it.
  • Leave an extra key with your neighbor—which will come in handy if, in the worst case scenario, there is a fire, flood, or some other issue that needs to be attended to before you return home. 

Simply follow these safety precautions and you’ll be doing all you can do to avert a crisis!

If you need us we are here to help! SERVPRO of Texarkana 903-832-4400.

How to Use A Fire Extinguisher

6/26/2020 (Permalink)

Here are 3 easy steps you should follow when using an extinguisher to put out a fire in your home.

  1. Identify Your Evacuation Path - The last thing you want to do is focus so much on putting out the fire that you become trapped in the blaze. Take a moment to look around you and ensure you have a safe escape route to use as needed before pulling out the extinguisher.
  2. Follow Instructions on Extinguisher - Fortunately, most extinguishers come with easy-to-read instructions printed directly on them. Follow the instructions and make sure you discharge the extinguisher within the effective range listed on the container. 
  3. Back Away From the Fire - It’s possible for a kitchen fire to flare up again even after you’ve put parts of it out, so make sure you back away from extinguished flames instead of moving toward them. 


Once the fire is safely put out with a fire extinguisher, call your local fire damage restoration company. We can help repair and restore your home after fire damage has occurred. 

The Importance of Air Duct Cleaning

6/8/2020 (Permalink)

Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.

If not properly installed, maintained and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the air of your commercial business. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them.

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. Make it a priority to inspect the ductwork of your business.

If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating one or more of the following:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Odors
  • Dirt and debris
  • Other contaminants

The benefits of servicing your HVAC unit include:

  • Helps to restore peak energy efficiency.
  • May help to eliminate offensive odors.
  • Helps reduce the potential for mold growth.

For more information on air duct cleaning, call us at SERVPRO of Texarkana today, (903) 832-4400

Thunderstorm Preparedness

5/7/2020 (Permalink)

Thunderstorm Preparedness

All thunderstorms are dangerous and produce lightning. On average lightning kills 51 people and injures hundreds more in the US each year. Dangers associated with thunderstorms include strong winds, flash flooding, hail, and even tornadoes.


To prepare for a thunderstorm:

  • Trim or remove tree limbs near your home. Remove any dead or rotting trees.
  • Secure outdoor items.
  • Postpone or cancel outdoor activities.
  • Go inside - if you can't reach a building, get in a hard-top vehicle.
  • Secure doors and windows. Close blinds, curtains, or shutters.
  • Unplug electronics.

When a thunderstorm occurs:

  • Remember this phrase: "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors". Go inside during thunderstorms.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio such as a NOAA Weather Radio for updates and information.
  • Unplug electronics and appliances to prevent damage from lightning-caused power surges.
  • Water conducts electricity. Water-based activities and chores should be avoided during a thunderstorm.
  • Windows, porches, and doorways can be dangerous in storms - stay inside.
  • If you can't get inside, try to avoid natural lightning rods - like a large tree in an open field, and try not to be the tallest thing on a hill, open field, or beach.
  • Try not to touch metal - including your car - metal conducts electricity.
  • Stay in your car if you're driving. Pull over and turn on your hazard lights until heavy rain ends.

 After the storm passes:

  • Never drive through a flooded roadway. Turn around, don't drown!
  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions.
  • Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
  • Keep a close eye on your pets to keep them safe.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Texarkana are highly trained and certified. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO's Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, our Professionals are equipped with the knowledge they need to help with any water or fire loss.

903-832-4400

We are here to help 24/7!

What is air duct cleaning and why should we have it done?

5/4/2020 (Permalink)

Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.

If not properly installed, maintained and operated, these components may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the air of your commercial business. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them.

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. Make it a priority to inspect the ductwork of your business.

If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating one or more of the following:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Odors
  • Dirt and debris
  • Other contaminants

The benefits of servicing your HVAC unit include:

  • Helps to restore peak energy efficiency.
  • May help to eliminate offensive odors.
  • Helps reduce the potential for mold growth.

For more information on air duct cleaning, call us at SERVPRO today, (903) 832-4400

We are IICRC Certified

4/23/2020 (Permalink)

The IICRC, or Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration, is the most trusted independent name in the restoration industry. They have developed industry-accepted standards, language, and terminology that enables the industry to communicate more effectively and make sure the correct procedures are being followed. SERVPRO of Texarkana has taken special classes and exams as part of our IICRC certification. This certification helps you rest assured that your damages and losses are being handled by some of the industry’s most dedicated professionals.

No matter the size of the loss, we always complete every single job to meet the IICRC’s lofty standards. Your job will be completed to the highest standards in the industry. When you are trying to protect your home or business from water damage or fire damage, you need to be sure that every step has been completed correctly. Call us today at 903-832-4400 to see how our expert technicians can make any damage look “Like it never even happened.”

Your Reconstruction Needs

4/7/2020 (Permalink)

Reconstruction

Here at SERVPRO of Texarkana, we spacalize in general contracting services. Wether you have had damage to your home or just want to add a little razzle dazzle, we are here to help! We have a selection of floor and paint samples we can bring right to you. Give Our office a call to get your reconstruction needs started!

Large Loss Specialists 24/7

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Texarkana is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for immediate help with your large loss disaster.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - (903) 832-4400

A large loss disaster can happen in the Texarkana region to both residential and commercial properties at any given moment regardless of what time it is.  Damage from water, smoke and fire to a property can add up fast.  Large Loss can be a result of a flood, water, soot and smoke damage from a fire, a busted sewer pipe, or even storm damage from a natural disaster.  

SERVPRO of Texarkana is one of just a few certified Disaster Recovery Teams in all the Midwest region.  Our crew has the expertise and experience with large loss projects to restore your home or commercial property back to its original condition.

Our Team is Available 24/7/365! 

COVID-19

3/25/2020 (Permalink)

Coronavirus posted around bacteria Don't forget to wash your hands and sanitize.

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA- approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Texarkana 903-832-4400. 

Carbon Monoxide - The Silent Killer

3/24/2020 (Permalink)

A warning sign You can't see or smell carbon monoxide, but, at high levels, it can kill a person in minutes

You can't see or smell carbon monoxide, but, at high levels, it can kill a person in minutes. Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide, or CO, is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, and propane) burn incompletely.

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning. It is estimated another 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning. All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning, with some groups— including unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems— being more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide.

An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or idling cars left running in garages.

Taking some basic, precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protect yourself by reviewing the following tips, provided by the United States Fire Administration:

  • Have fuel burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves inspected by a trained professional every year.
  • Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace. Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice, or other materials.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
  • Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home or business.

Avoiding Candle Fires - 5 Tips

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

Many homeowners light candles to freshen up a room or to have lighting during a power outage. However, candles still have the potential to create a fire that spreads throughout the building. Avoid a candle fire at all costs, and follow these helpful tips to stay safe. 

1. Do Not Leave Candles Unattended

If you are leaving a room with a candle in it, first extinguish the flame. After all, you can always relight a candle if you desire. 

2. Keep the Area Around Candles Clean

The shelf or stand where you place the candle should not have anything flammable on it. Additionally, you should avoid placing a candle on a nightstand near your bed. The bedding may catch fire if you are not careful. 

3. Toss It Once It Is Less Than Two Inches Tall

You do not want to risk a candle fire by allowing the flame to get too close to the base of the candle. It is better to simply throw away a candle once it is less than two inches high. They are relatively inexpensive to replace.

4. Keep Candles Away From Pets and Children

Candles should be placed high enough that kids and animals cannot get them. It is dangerous for children to play with anything lit. If the candle is left on a coffee table, then a dog’s tail may accidentally hit it and cause it to fall onto the floor. 

5. Do Not Put Out a Candle With Water

It is preferable to put out a flame by blowing on it rather than pouring water. The reason is that water can cause the wax to spill all over the place. The hot wax may still catch fire, causing flames to spread throughout a home. Candles are meant to be enjoyed, so always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions to avoid a nasty candle fire and the impending smoke cleanup. 

Faster to Your Water Damage Event

3/2/2020 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage is very invasive. Water quickly spreads throughout your home and gets absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, and more. SERVPRO of Texarkana arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately. This immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.

Water Damage Timeline

Within Minutes

  • Water quickly spreads throughout your property, saturating everything in its path.
  • Water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings.
  • Furniture finishes may bleed, causing permanent staining on carpets.
  • Photographs, books, and other paper goods start to swell and warp.

Hours 1-24:

  • Drywall begins to swell and break down.
  • Metal surfaces begin to tarnish.
  • Furniture begins to swell and crack.
  • Dyes and inks from cloth and paper goods spread and stain.
  • A musty odor appears.

48 Hours to 1 Week:

  • Mold and mildew may grow and spread.
  • Doors, windows, and studs swell and warp.
  • Metal begins to rust and corrode.
  • Furniture warps and shows signs of mold.
  • Paint begins to blister.
  • Wood flooring swells and warps.
  • Serious biohazard contamination is possible.

More Than 1 Week:

  • Restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive.
  • Structural safety, mold growth, and biohazard contaminants pose serious risks to occupants

About SERVPRO of Texarkana

SERVPRO of Texarkana specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke, or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

6 Most Likely Reasons You’re Seeing Cracks in Your Walls

2/21/2020 (Permalink)

1. Normal Settling Over Time

As a house ages, homeowners can expect some normal wear and tear, including some minor settling. When this happens, you may notice hairline cracks over doors and windows.

Why it happens:

In a nutshell, it happens because things move. The ground beneath your foundation tends to shift slightly with changes in weather. These tiny movements aren’t dangerous, but they can lead to small, non-damaging cracks in the weak spots in your walls—the places where doors and windows have been inserted.

What to do:

Thin cracks in just a few places above doors and windows can be re-taped and painted to restore your home’s aesthetics. 

2. A New Build

If your home was built within the last few years, it’s very likely that you may notice some small wall cracks showing up.

Why it happens:

Because it is so fresh, new lumber typically contains a high amount of moisture. As it dries out, it tends to shift a bit. This slight movement can cause small cracks in a home’s walls, typically at the joints where sheets of drywall meet.

What to do:

These small cracks are likely nothing to worry about. But it’s a good idea to wait for your home to be at least a year old before you address them. Waiting gives the wood time to dry completely and finish its minor settling. At that point, you can re-tape the cracked drywall joints and repaint.

3. Home Left Vacant

Is your home often vacant—perhaps because it is a vacation home, a rental property, or a new home that was on the market for a while before you bought it? If so, you may see cracks appearing in walls and ceilings.

Why it happens:

Regular, reliable climate control does more for your home than making it comfortable for you; it also keeps your drywall in good shape. When a home is left vacant, the lack of climate control can cause drywall cracks.

What to do:

A cosmetic issue, these cracks can usually be handled by re-taping drywall joints and repainting. But if a home has been empty for a very long time, a thorough inspection from top to bottom, including a professional foundation inspection, is a smart idea.

4. Faulty Taping of Drywall

Sometimes, home builders aren’t as careful as they could be. So, if you are in a new home or if you’re seeing cracks in the walls of a home addition you’ve recently had done, it’s possible they are the result of inferior drywall installation.

Why it happens:

During installation, drywall panels are joined at the seam by what is known as drywall mud. The seam is then covered with paper tape, and the wall is then finished and painted. If the seam isn’t sufficiently filled and sealed, the tape will start to pull away, leaving a thin crack as evidence of the problem.

What to do:

Add a little household glue to the back of the tape and press it back into place. If the problem is widespread, you may have to re-tape all the seams to eliminate the issue completely.

5. A Leak

If the cracks in your walls are showing discoloration, such as brown or yellow tinted stains, then the problem may be the result of water damage to your home.

Why it happens:

Leaky windows and roofs can cause moisture to get into your home’s walls. This causes the drywall to get wet, soften, and deteriorate, which then leads to cracking.

What to do:

Before you do anything else, find the source of the leak and repair it. Once repairs are complete and there’s no chance of additional moisture damage, you can replace the damaged drywall.

6. Foundation Damage

Unfortunately, cracking in your walls and ceilings may also be the result of damage to your foundation. If you’re seeing large cracks that are more than a quarter-inch wide or other signs that have you concerned about your foundation, it’s definitely time to have your home checked.

Why it happens:

There are a number of causes of foundation issues, including clay, inferior construction, water damage to the foundation slab, and even termite damage.

What to do:

To preserve your home’s structural integrity and value, foundation issues should be addressed by a professional. Have a foundation inspection and any needed repairs performed as soon as possible to prevent the problems from worsening.

Type of Cracks Likely with Foundation Damage

  • Cracks that are wider than a quarter-inch
  • Horizontal cracks
  • Sizeable cracks extending diagonally from the corners of doors
  • Unusually long cracks
  • Cracks all over your home
  • Cracks on both the interior and exterior of walls
  • Cracks on your home’s second floor

Commercial Carpet Cleaning

2/11/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial Carpet Cleaning Services

Commercial carpets are a big investment.  They are meant to last, but with so much foot traffic, taking care of them is necessary.  Besides vacuuming the carpet regularly, your commercial carpet should also be deep cleaned.  This will extend its life and keep it looking well kept and professional.

A clean, healthy office carpet helps set the first impression your customers have when they walk into your business.  Besides aesthetics, keeping a clean carpet also helps provide healthy indoor air quality.

Carpets are also the place where airborne particles and other dirt gathers over time.    Office carpet cleaning this also provides a clean and safe environment for your employees.   

Office Carpet Cleaning can:

  • Eliminate most stains.   
  • Extend the life of your carpet.
  • Reduce wear.
  • Maintain your carpet’s color and texture.
  • Clean only high traffic areas or your entire carpet.
  • Work after hours to prevent business interruptions.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

2/7/2020 (Permalink)

Most home fires occur on Thanksgiving.

It’s not surprising why.  This is one of the few days of the year when we come together and meet in the kitchen.  It’s not really Thanksgiving until you have two types of potato dishes and three desserts! 

With so much activity happening in the kitchen, accidents are bound to happen.  

The three most common causes of home fires for Thanksgiving are:

Oven Fires

Oven fires tend to happen because of a burning piece of food.  Keep these safety tips in mind if this happens to you.

  • Don’t overfill dishes.  When cooking foods that expand in the oven, like a cake, be careful not to fill the dish to the bin with batter.  It may run over and catch fire.
  • Clean your oven of scraps.  Scraps from other meals can also catch fire or create an unpleasant smoke.
  • Turn on a timer on your phone.  The holidays are busy times and there are plenty of ways to distract ourselves these days.  Put on a timer and let that remind you to come back for your delicious meal.
  • We won’t advise you to not use your oven’s self cleaning feature, but we will warn you that many oven fires we’ve been called out to have been a result of this feature being turned on.

How to Put Out an Oven Fire

  • Leave the door closed.  Opening the door and allowing more oxygen in will just fuel the fire.
  • Turn off the oven.  You may choose to make sure the fire goes out on its own, but if there’s any doubt, just call 911 and follow the dispatcher’s instructions.

Candle Fires

Candles set a great ambiance and many have the added benefit of smelling great.  We mostly see fire damages caused by candles when people leave them unsupervised and the candle catches something small on fire.  The damage to the room may not be significant, but the resulting fire smoke odor tends to reach everywhere in the house.

  • Burn candles in a well ventilated room.  The ventilation lets the billowed smoke spread.  Under ventilated rooms tend to smoke up, which makes it hard to see and get some fresh air.  
  • Stay in the room and keep an eye on the candle.  If anything happens, you want to be there to put an immediate stop to it.
  • Keep candles away from flammable objects.  This includes things like paper and drapes.  Keep the candle at least 3 feet away.
  • Keep burning candles away from children and pets.
  • Use a candle holder.  A candle holder will catch any melting wax and prevent it from spilling onto other surfaces.  Since many people use a cloth tablecloth to line their tables, this is especially important so the cloth doesn’t have a chance to catch fire.
  • Put the candle holder on a stable platform.  This will help the candle from tipping and dripping wax away from its holder.
  • Keep candles away from each other.

Turkey Fryer Fire

Frying a turkey is fast, easy, and most importantly--delicious.  The oil creates a crispy exterior while keeping the meat moist.

Whichever way you like your turkey cooked, please keep safety as your top priority.  We often see one of these rules violated when we get called to clean up after garage fires or other outdoor portions of the home affected after a grass fire spread.

  • Reduce the chance of it tipping over.  Turkey fryers can easily tip over.  Use them on a flat surface.
  • Don’t overfill the fryer.  An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in.  Read your fryer’s safety manual to learn exactly how big a turkey can fit inside. Also look for different colored marks on the fryer itself that tells you where to fill up the oil to.
  • Make sure the entire turkey is defrosted.  Have you ever put a bit of oil into a pan on a stove and accidentally got a drop of water in it?  Then you know that the hot oil jumps back at you. Water and oil do not mix! The same thing happens when water and the hot oil in a turkey fryer mix.  A partially frozen turkey (partially frozen = ice) will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot. These splatters of hot oil jump out and can land on something that will burn, like grass.  Make sure your turkey is completely thawed and patted dry before inserting it into the oil.
  • Clean up oil spills.  Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
  • How hot is the oil?  Use a fryer with temperature controls to prevent overheating the oil.  If one isn’t available, many retail stores readily sell oil temperature gauges.
  • Use the fryer outdoors.  Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance away from buildings or other flammable materials.

Every year, SERVPRO of Texarkana responds to calls from customers whose homes have suffered smoke damage. This holiday season, keep the following safety tips in mind to keep your family and home safe from fire:

From our family to yours, we wish you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

The Mold Remediation Process

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

Whether we can start immediately or we’ve been cleared by Texas, the mold remediation process is straightforward. 

  • Our mold remediation specialists will use the appropriate chemicals to clean the area where the mold growth is.  
  • Mold containment and HEPA air scrubbers will continue to run throughout the duration of the project.  We do this to make sure no spores travel and infest another area of your home.
  • If you have mold infested clothing or other objects, we will take them to our cleaning facility for sanitation.  
  • When mold is left alone long enough, it begins to eat the surface it’s living on.  If we find that the mold has caused permanent damage to your property, that part of your structure has to be cut out.  We will dispose of all mold containing debris according to Texas Mold Law.
  • If you choose, our reconstruction team will rebuild any portion of your home that had to have demolition.  Reconstruction is crucial when the affected structure is part of the structural integrity of the home, such as attic beams or load bearing walls.
  • Our mold specialists will sanitize and seal any mold affected area to prevent future mold growth.
  • If you have filed an insurance claim, we will work with your insurance adjuster to get your mold remediation claim approved and processed.  
  • We will provide a final clean up of the remediated area to make sure its safe for all inhabitants.

Washing Machine Maintenance

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Washing machines are our best friends! They take all the hard work out of doing laundry and allow us to sit and relax while we watch Sunday football, however did you know that washing machines failures are one of the most common was your home can flood? It’s true! While there are many different ways water from a washing machine to cause damage is the main reason is the water supply hose.

To keep from experiencing unexpected water damage in your home, you should be sure to do routine inspections of your supply lines. If the line is loose, tighten it up a bit. Look for any worn tubing or cracks and any worn hoses should be replaced. A good rule of thumb is to replace your supply line every five years, even if you don’t see any visible sign of wear. Try and upgrade to a braided steel one, as they’ll last longer and can hold up to more.

If you’re going to be away from your home from any length of time, you should shut off the valve to make sure nothing can happen by accident while you’re away.

Vehicle Winter Preparedness Kit

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

This kit supposes that an emergency may include being stranded for any reason and you have to wait to be helped.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Blanket, wrapped in a plastic bag to keep clean
  • Mittens, Hats, Jackets, also wrapped in plastic bags
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries for flashlight
  • Ice Scraper
  • Flares
  • Tow Rope
  • Kitty Litter
  • Full Tank of Gas (or Full Electric Charge)
  • Spare Tire
  • Jumper Cables, 8ft 10 gauge
  • Pet food, if traveling with pets
  • Pet leash
  • Bottled water
  • NOAA Weather Radio

If you’re heading out during winter storm conditions, remember to prepare yourself personally.  Layering warm clothes helps you keep your body heat and keeps your body protected from the cold.  

If you are not physically well, avoid overexertion.  Many heart attacks occur as a result of people attempting cardio intensive activities like shoveling snow.

Home Winter Preparedness Kit

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

This kit is helpful if the power goes out of your neighborhood and you have to wait for it and your heater to come back on.  This is not a kit for homes that live where there is consistent, heavy snowfall.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Blankets
  • Mittens, Hats, Jackets
  • Cell Phone Charger (battery packs, pre-charged)
  • Flashlight
  • Extra Batteries for Flashlight
  • Food that does not require cooking (for humans and pets)
  • A can opener
  • Spare Water (in case your pipes are frozen)
  • Radio, battery operated (NOAA Weather Radio)

What Kind of Cracks Do You Have?

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Vertical Cracks

Of the foundation cracks you are likely to encounter, vertical cracks are generally the most common and least severe type of crack you will come across. Vertical cracks are cracks that go straight up and down, or maybe on a slight diagonal of within 30 degrees of vertical, and are a common occurrence in many houses. These types of cracks are usually the result of your foundation settling, and it is thusly not uncommon even for new houses to have this type of foundation damage as a home’s foundation can settle greatly in the first few years.

Diagonal Cracks

Another common type of crack that you may encounter is a diagonal crack that runs along your foundation or basement wall at a 30-75 degree angle. This type of crack may be a thin hairline crack, but will likely be wider at one end than the other. Diagonal foundation cracks are caused by differential settling of a foundation, which is where one side of a home’s foundation settles lower than the rest of the foundation. This type of uneven tension then causes diagonal cracking. Differential settling can be the result of the house being built on a hill, or due to the expansion or contraction of the soil under a portion of the home.

Horizontal Cracks

Foundation cracks that run sideways (horizontally) are the most serious type of crack to look out for, as they can signal serious damage to your home’s foundation and structural integrity. While these cracks are sometimes seen in homes with poured concrete foundations, they are most common in homes with concrete block or brick foundations. Several things can cause this type of foundation damage including soil pressure outside of your foundation, and hydrostatic pressure that can cause your basement walls to bow. If you discover this type of foundation damage it is important that you have it repaired as soon as possible before the structural integrity of your home becomes compromised.

When Trees Attack

1/6/2020 (Permalink)

This most often manifests itself in the form of concrete setting. In many situations, concrete settling is only unsightly, but sometimes it can also be dangerous.

When concrete settles, it is more likely to shift and crack. Depending on how significant the movement is, the overall structure of your home may be affected. If concrete only cracks due to root activity, homes — especially newer homes — may not be disrupted at all.

When concrete shifts because of settling, residential foundations may be more substantially impacted. In extreme cases, particularly with older homes, the entire house structure may suffer damage.

Support beams may shift, walls may sink or crack, and ceilings may become uneven. Though concrete settling is not always a hazard, too often it can cause basic structural damage in older homes.

Tree Roots In Sewer Lines

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

Tree and shrubs require water and oxygen to grow. The growth rate is affected by many factors including water, minerals, temperature, soil conditions, and depth of the root structure. Roots can be divided into several major parts: permanent roots which provide stabilization or support, and small roots which absorb nutrients and water. Roots can extend to three or four times the height of the three. A very large old tree may have extensive root systems which reach hundreds of feet long.

During drought conditions, roots can travel long distance to find sources of water. A tree or shrub will search anywhere underground, including into a sewer line. If properly sealed and in good condition, a sewer line is not actually susceptible to root invasion. But a small crack or hole will allow moisture to escape from the pipe, or roots to penetrate. To provide nutrients and survive, the roots must try to get inside the pipe and find the source of the moisture. Once there are some small tree roots, known as hair roots, in the sewer line, more will grow to take advantage of the water supply. Roots will grow, increasing both length, width,  and depth inside the line. If left untreated, the roots will eventually entirely block the flow of  waste water inside the pipe. Roots will continue to grow and expand inside a sewer line. What started as a small crack or hole will become a much more serious problem. Pressure inside the pipes also increases from heavy root growth, potentially leading to a total collapse if not treated properly. Frequently the only thing left to do is to have the pipes replaced. Certain pipes are more susceptible to root invasion than others. Clay tile pipe, known as vitrified clay, is relatively weak and easily penetrated by tree roots. In particular, the joints where clay pipe connect as a severe weak point. PVC and concrete pipe are vulnerable too, but they are at least stronger than their clay tile counterparts.

Some Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Cold Weather

1/1/2020 (Permalink)

Protect Your Pipes: We all know water expands as it freezes. If water inside your pipes freezes, it will expand, too, which can cause your pipes to crack and burst. Pipes also can burst when pressure builds up behind a chunk of ice, which is why it's a good idea to leave faucets dripping in very cold weather.

Check the Heat: The time to be sure you're going to stay warm all winter is before the weather gets too cold. Check your furnace by turning on the heat and the blower to be sure they're operating as they should.

Prevent Ice Dams: Ice dams form when heat escapes through the roof and melts snow that's settled there. That snowmelt flows to your roof's edge and refreezes, usually at the eaves. Those pretty icicles can signal an ugly ice dam underneath. The problem with an ice dam is that snow that later melts can't properly drain, so it has to go somewhere… and that might be through a leak in your roof, causing water damage in your home.

Inspect the Fireplace and Chimney: There's nothing like the glow of a fire to warm up a winter evening. But before you light up that first log, make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean and critter-free. A professional chimney sweep can clean out soot and other debris that could catch fire. Keep your home's warm air from escaping out the chimney when you're not using it by keeping the flue closed all the way. You shouldn't be able to feel any cold air coming down the chimney. 

Seal Windows and Doors: Gaps around windows and doors can make it tough to keep your house warm in winter. Caulk around windows and install weather stripping around doors as needed.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

12/20/2019 (Permalink)

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, you may well have a frozen pipe. If you suspect the pipes are frozen, be careful when thawing them out because if the pipe has already burst, the water will come flowing out and flood your home.

If a pipe has broken, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve, which is usually at the water meter or where the main line enters the house. If the water is still running and no pipes have burst, you can take the following steps. (Of course, if you suspect a more serious problem, call a plumber.)

Turn on the faucet. As you heat the frozen pipe and the ice plug begins to melt, you want the water to be able to flow through. Running water through the pipe, as cold as it is, will help melt ice in the pipe.

Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. As tempting as it may be, do not use a blowtorch, a kerosene or propane heater, a charcoal stove, or any device with an open flame; the high heat can damage the pipes or even start a fire.

Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Check all other faucets in your home to see whether you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Call a licensed plumber if you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe.

How to Beat the Freeze

12/18/2019 (Permalink)

Once the temperature starts dropping outside, you should take measures inside to keep your pipes warm and water running.

Keep garage doors closed, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if your sinks are on an exterior wall. (If you have small children, be sure to remove any harmful cleaners and household chemicals.)

Let the cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during day and night. Again, during a cold snap is not the time to set back the thermostat at night to save a few bucks on your heating bill.

If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

For the long term, add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in those areas. And to prevent drafts, seal cracks and openings around windows, doors, and at sill plates, where the house rests on its foundation.

Most Common Plumbing Isssues

12/10/2019 (Permalink)

Dripping Faucets
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.

Leaky Pipes
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.

Running Toilets
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. 

Water Heater
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.

Emergency Escape Tips

12/4/2019 (Permalink)

  • 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.

Insurance Coverage

11/26/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Fire Extinguishers

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Keep Your Chimney Clean So Your House Doesn't Go Up In Flames

11/4/2019 (Permalink)

Removing ordinary chimney soot is pretty simple. But if you have heavy creosote buildup, you’ll have to call in a pro. We’ll show you how to inspect yours to see if it qualifies as a DIY job.

Clean creosote buildup from all parts of the chimney. Most chimney fires start in the smoke chamber/smoke shelf area, so it’s the most important area to clean. Since that area is hard to reach in some fireplaces, check yours to see if you can reach into it and still have room to maneuver a brush. If you can’t reach it, this isn’t a DIY project.

Next, see if you can access the chimney crown. If you have a very steep roof pitch or aren’t comfortable working on your roof, then this isn’t a job for you. Call a certified chimney sweep. If you decide you can handle the heights, make sure to wear a safety harness.

Creosote buildup may not look dangerous, but it ignites at a mere 451 degrees F, and once it starts burning, it expands like foam sealant. In less than a minute, it builds to more than 2,000 degrees F and can engulf your entire chimney and destroy your home.

Even if you clean your chimney regularly, you should still have it inspected by a qualified chimney sweep once a year. Certified chimney sweeps are trained to recognize chimney deterioration and venting problems and can assess your chimney’s condition.

If you burn mostly green (wet) logs, have your chimney cleaned or inspected every 50 burns. If you see moisture bubbling out the ends of the logs when they’re burning, the wood is wet. This green wood doesn’t burn cleanly and sends a lot of unburned particles (smoke) up the chimney, where they build up as creosote and soot. Dry hardwoods, such as oak and birch, burn hotter and cleaner. With them, have your chimney cleaned or inspected every 70 burns.

Keeping a Safe and Clean Fireplace

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

Only burn dry, cured wood

That is, logs that have been split, stacked, and dried for eight to 12 months. Cover your log pile on top, but leave the sides open for air flow.


Hardwoods such as hickory, white oak, beech, sugar maple, and white ash burn longest, though dry firewood is more important than the species. Less dense woods like spruce or white pine burn well if sufficiently dry, but you’ll need to add more wood to your fire more often, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Burn firewood and only firewood 

Crates, lumber, construction scraps, painted wood, or other treated wood releases chemicals into your home, compromising air quality. Log starters are fine for getting your wood fireplace going, but they burn very hot; generally only use one at a time.

Install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors

Place them near your wood fireplace as well as in bedroom areas. 

Windstorms

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

A wind that is strong enough to cause at least light damage to trees and buildings and may or may not be accompanied by precipitation. Wind speeds during a windstorm typically exceed 34 miles per hour. Wind damage can be attributed to gusts (short bursts of high-speed winds) or longer periods of stronger sustained winds. Although tornadoes and tropical cyclones also produce wind damage, they are usually classified separately.

Gutters

10/25/2019 (Permalink)

Gutters don’t just handle rain – they also catch leaves, twigs, snow and, depending on where you live, ice. A complete gutter system adds to your home’s exterior appearance, as well as helps protect the structure’s foundation and landscaping. Having a knowledgeable gutter contractor is very important in helping you decide the best options when replacing them after a damaging hail or wind storm.

A properly installed gutter system can help protect your home from:

  • Stain damage
  • Foundation damage
  • Landscape damage
  • Siding damage

Temperature

10/23/2019 (Permalink)

Heat Wave safety Tips

Extremely hot weather takes a large toll on the human body. In an average year, the summer heat in the U.S causes about 175 deaths. People most at risk for heatstroke are the elderly, small children, and people with weight and alcohol problems. Always listen to the radio and television for the latest information and instructions for your area.

HEAT WAVE SAFETY TIPS: Slow down! On a hot day, don’t perform strenuous activities. Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water. Your body needs water to keep cool. Spend more time in air-conditioned places. If you don’t have air-conditioning, then have plenty of fans. Don’t get too much sun. Heatstroke, heat exhaustion and sunstroke are possible with prolonged exposure to the heat. If someone gets heatstroke or heat exhaustion seek medial attention immediately.

What to do when thunder and lightning occur

10/17/2019 (Permalink)


What causes thunder?

Thunder is caused by lightning. When a lightning bolt travels from the cloud to the ground it actually opens up a little hole in the air, called a channel. Once then light is gone the air collapses back in and creates a sound wave that we hear as thunder. The reason we see lightning before we hear thunder is because light travels faster than sound!


How do you know if lightning is nearby?

If you see dark clouds, then lightning could be present, but the best thing you can do is to listen for thunder. If you hear thunder, then you need to go indoors or get in a car. Don't be outside, where lightning could strike! If your hair stands on end or your skin starts to tingle, lightning maybe about to strike. Get down on your hands and knees and keep your head tucked in. Do not lay flat, because it can give lightning a better chance of strike you.

Thunderstorm Safety Tips

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

IF YOU’RE OUTDOORS: Keep an eye at the sky. Look for darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing winds. Lightning often proceeds rain, so don’t wait for the rain to begin. If you hear the sound of thunder, go to a safe place immediately. The best place to go is a sturdy building or a car, but make sure the windows in the car are shut. Avoid sheds, picnic areas, baseball dugouts and bleachers. If there is no shelter around you, stay away from trees. Crouch down in the open area, keeping twice as far away from a tree as far as it is tall. Put your feet together and place your hands over your ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder. If you’re with a group of people stay about 15 feet from each other. Stay out of water, because it’s a great conductor of electricity. Swimming, wading, snorkeling and scuba diving are not safe. Also, don’t stand in puddles and avoid metal. Stay away from clotheslines, fences, and drop your backpacks because they often have metal on them. If you’re playing an outdoor activity, wait at least 30 minutes after the last observed lightning strike or thunder.

SERVPRO of Texarkana. 24 hour Emergency Water Damage Service

10/11/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Texarkana provides 24 hour Emergency Water Damage Service.

WE ANSWER THE PHONE READY TO HELP.

CALL TODAY - 903-832-4400

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Texarkana has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

Keep Outside Firewood Dry to Stop Termites

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

stack of wood Termites will eat away your home so take any precautions you can.

Keep outdoor firewood dry, away from water, to avoid termites that can wreak havoc on the structural wood of a home.

Dampwood termites typically are found in the western states, from Washington to Montana and down through California and Texas. They also can be found from central to southern Florida

These termites most often are found in damp wood, such as logs, stumps and other decaying wood. Most dampwood termites do not require soil contact.

Fire Extinguishers

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Stay Ahead of Ice Dams

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

This house has icicles hanging from all around the sides of the roof Icicles can damage a roof more than you would think.

Icicles may be pretty but they can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up into your house. Here are prevention tips, fast fixes, and long-term repairs. Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble. That's because the same conditions that allow icicles to form—snow-covered roofs and freezing weather—also lead to ice dams: thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. When that happens, the results aren't pretty: peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. Not to mention soggy insulation in the attic, which loses R-value and becomes a magnet for mold and mildew.

First, heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except at the eaves. Next, snow melts on the warm roof and then freezes on the cold eaves. Finally, ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam. Meltwater from the warm roof backs up behind it, flows under the shingles, and into the house.

Use Baking Soda for a Grease Fire, Not Water

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

If ever you experience a grease fire at your home, don't use water! H20 could cause the fire to spread. Instead, try to extinguish the fire by smothering or using baking soda.

How Safe is a Space Heater

9/25/2019 (Permalink)

grey space heater on a wood floor Space heaters can really help warm a place up but you have to be careful. If you have any accidents this winter call us, SERVPRO of Texarkana!

Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States. Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in. 

Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:

  • Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
  • Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.

Things to Know about Smoke Alarms

8/21/2019 (Permalink)

smoke alarm with smoke going up to it Smoke alarms are made to detect fire. A loud noise will be set off to alert you and your family giving you time to react and safely exit your home.

To help keep you, your family and your home safe. 

Power: Smoke alarms can be battery operated, electrically powered, or both. If you install an alarm that runs on electricity, you should have a battery back-up in case of power failures.

Ionization or Photoelectric: Ionization alarms may respond slightly faster to flaming-type fires, while photo-electric alarms may be quicker at detecting slow, smoldering fires.

Pause/ Hush button: Smoke alarms with a pause button are great as they allow you to temporarily silence an alarm without disconnecting the power source (removing the battery). The only time you should remove the battery is when it’s time to replace it with a new one-at least once a year or when the low-battery warning sounds or the alarm doesn’t work when tested.

Location: You should install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, especially outside sleeping areas. Smoke rises, so it’s best to install alarms on the ceiling. Otherwise, install it as high up on the wall as possible. And avoid putting alarms too close to bathrooms and heating and cooking appliances.

Testing: You need to check smoke detectors monthly by pressing the “test” button to make sure they still work. If they don’t, change the battery and test again. Still not working? It may be time to replace your alarm-something you should do every 10 years.

Too Hot To Handle

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

On June 21, we can all sit back, enjoy the longest day of sunlight in 2019, and officially welcome in summer! So what can we do to help our lawns survive in the 100+ degree weather that is sure to come our way and still stay Water Wise?  We are so glad you asked!

Plant Right. Some grasses do better than others in our heat. The best options for our area are Bermuda, Zoysia, and Buffalo. They also have the advantage of being able to develop a deep root structure which is important to developing a drought resistant lawn.

Go Blonde! Really. When it gets hot out, plants naturally slow their growth in order to conserve moisture. This means that your grass will “blonde” during the peak of heat. This is natural and does not harm your lawn.

Forget the Fertilizer. Putting fertilizer on a blond lawn in order to green it up will encourage your grass to grow. But doing so, will make it thirsty. This will put stress on your lawn’s root system and cause your water bill to soar with the high temperatures.

Mow Higher. Once your grass goes blonde, its growth has slowed and leaving it a little taller may even help it to stay greener a little longer during hot spells, as your grass can spend more energy on expanding its root system (making it more drought tolerant) instead of trying to recover from a short cut.

Most of all, remember to take care of any yard work early in the day to take advantage of the cooler temperatures. Come up with a plan the night before, get organized, stick to your plan, and finish quickly.

While no one looks forward to the days when temperatures soar above 100 degrees, with a little planning and a little understanding, we can all reach the other side with our lawns intact and a sense of accomplishment for staying Water Wise.

10 Ways to Save Energy in Your Home

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Summer is here and the heat waves have started! Below you will find ten inexpensive and practical steps you can take to save money and energy as things begin to heat up:

  1. When cool nights allow, turn off the cooling system and open the windows while you sleep.
  2. In the hot summer months, set your thermostat to a temperature as high as you can comfortably stand.
  3. Use ceiling fans to cool the room that you are in and turn them off when you leave the room.
  4. Use the exhaust fan in your bathroom to remove heat and humidity while you shower or bathe.
  5. In the hotter summer months, grill outside as opposed to using the oven.
  6. Make use of the natural lighting that is provided during the daylight hours.
  7. When washing clothing or dishes, avoid washing partial loads, when possible.
  8. Air dry clothing and dishes when possible.
  9. Instead of taking a bath, take a short shower.
  10. Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F). You'll not only save energy, you'll avoid scalding yourself   

Put these strategies to work and begin to enjoy the savings!

SERVPRO of Texarkana 903-832-4400

Will Drain Cleaner Damage My Pipes?

4/18/2019 (Permalink)

Leaking or burst pipes can cause extensive damage to your property

As a homeowner, you most likely will encounter a clogged drain at some time. Your first inclination might be to go to the store and pick up some drain cleaner. This may seem like a simple solution, but can cleaning products damage your pipes?

How They Work

There are three different kinds of chemical cleaners:

  • Oxidizing - includes peroxides, bleach or nitrates
  • Acid - muriatic acid or sulfuric acid
  • Caustic - caustic potash or lye

These cleaners use an electron transfer process to either give or take away electrons from the organic substances blocking the pipe, thereby creating heat, which breaks down the materials and clears the clog. This process can, however, cause harm to your pipes.

How They Cause Harm

The heat from these chemicals can warp or soften the pipes, especially when they are older metal pipes or plastic pipes. There's a higher danger of damage if the clogged drain is completely blocked. If there's nowhere for these caustic chemicals to go, they will just sit in the pipes, eventually eating through them if not removed.

Besides harming your pipes, these chemicals can be harmful to you and to the environment. They can irritate your throat and eyes, and if improperly handled, can cause burns. Once they go down the drain, they can end up in waterways and landfills, causing harm to wildlife.

Alternatives

Before using a chemical in the drain, try to clear the blockage using a snake or augur. If this doesn't do the trick, try using a non-toxic solution such as an enzymatic drain cleaner. These cleaners work by actually eating the clog with bacteria or enzymes. They work best on organic blockages such as soap or hair, but can take as long as 24 hours to work.

If you are not able to clear the clog by yourself, it's best to call a plumbing professional to assess the problem and clear the clogged drain. If the blockage is further down the pipes, they can do a thorough sewage cleaning to make sure your drains stay clear for a good, long time.

For water damage repair and restoration, call SERVPRO of Texarkana 903-832-4400

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house.  Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan.  A plan allows your family, employees or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation. 

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance.  

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms.  Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year.  We have found it useful to change the batteries when daylight savings time either begins or ends.  If an alarm "chirps," the battery is low and should be replaced right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

Just the Facts: Smoke Alarms

  • Three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or when the alarms are not working
  • Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.
  • More than one-third (37 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.
  • The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

SERVPRO of Texarkana wants you and your family to be safe.  If you have a home or business fire, we are here for you and are a phone call away. 903-832-4400

Cabon Monoxide: A Silent Killer in Texarkana

2/21/2019 (Permalink)

Carbon monoxide is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. According to ready.gov, an average of 430 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Oftentimes, it is the result of faulty, improperly used, or vented consumer products like furnaces, ranges, water
heaters, room heaters, and engine-powered equipment, such as portable generators.


However, there are precautions you can take to help protect yourself, your family, and your employees from deadly CO fumes.


Reduce the chance of CO exposure in your workplace by performing regular maintenance on equipment and appliances that can produce CO. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of the home, including outside of all bedrooms.

Consider having all fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys serviced annually by a professional. Use portable generators only in well-ventilated areas away from doors, windows, vents, and any other openings to prevent fumes from entering the home.


For additional CO safety information, visit usfa.fema.gov or osha.gov.

Here's Why You Should Never Use Bleach on Mold

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

Bleach won't stick around on surfaces long enough, or will it seep into the surface to fully kill all of the mold

Did you know that you should absolutely 100% not use ANY bleach to kill mold? That’s been the common trick for years. You have mold? Use bleach. But that can actually do more harm than good. If you read the label on your bottle of bleach, it’ll probably say don’t use on non-porous surfaces like tile or ceramic. Basically, for bathrooms or kitchen countertops.

Chlorine bleach is diluted with water to make it safer for household use, and it evaporates much faster than normal water does. So, it won’t stick around on surfaces long enough, nor will it seep down into the surface the bleach is on to fully kill all of the mold. Mold has little roots that stretch down into the surface, like a weed. Don’t get all of the root and the mold will come back. The surface may also look clean, but bleach is just doing what it does best: stripping the color. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean its not there.  

If you suspect you’ve got mold in your home, give SERVPRO of Texarkana a call today and we can come out and give you an estimate and a plan of action. 903-832-4400

Weather Summary

2/18/2019 (Permalink)

MARCH 2019 LONG RANGE WEATHER FORECAST FOR TEXAS-OKLAHOMA

Dates

Mar 1-9:Rain, then sunny, cooler

Mar 10-13:Sunny, warm

Mar 14-19:Rain, then sunny, cool

Mar 20-26:Sunny, warm

Mar 27-31:T-storms, then sunny, cool

March

temperature 63° (4° above avg.)

precipitation 1.5" (1" below avg.)

Winter will be milder and drier than normal, with below-normal snowfall. The coldest periods will be in late December, late January, and mid-February, with the best chances for snow in mid- and late December, early January, and mid-February. April and May will be warmer and slightly rainier than normal. Summer will be cooler and rainier than normal, with the hottest periods in mid-June and early and mid-July. Watch for a tropical storm threat in mid- to late August and a hurricane threat in early September. Otherwise, September and October will be slightly cooler and rainier than normal.

https://www.almanac.com/weather/longrange/zipcode/75501

Emergency Ready Plan

2/15/2018 (Permalink)

Get the ERP APP now to start planning!

The Best Way to Reduce Business Interruption Following a Disaster is to Plan For it NOW. As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. By developing a SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business. Are You Ready?

Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. The best time for planning for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens. No one ever plans on a disaster, but you can plan for it. Now is the time to ask yourself, “Are you ready for whatever could happen?” The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile is a start up approach that provides the critical information needed to begin mitigation and recovery services. It is designed to serve as a quick reference of important building and contact information. By working with SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile, your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster. SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order. The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile Advantage A no cost assessment of your facility. – This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost. A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency. – It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed. A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster. – This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action. Establishes your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. – You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by. Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin. – This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money. Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information. – Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”

Faster to any disaster!

10/19/2017 (Permalink)

Structural Cleaning

After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. Your experienced local SERVPRO® of Texarkana Professional will pretest to determine the extent of damage, then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your insured’s structure.

Contents Cleaning

All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. SERVPRO® of Texarkana Professionals can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, and much more. Finally, SERVPRO® of Texarkana Professionals can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items for your insured.

Deodorization

SERVPRO® of Texarkana Professionals provide specialized services that rid your insured’s home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® of Texarkana Professionals do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.

Our Highly Trained Restoration Specialists can restore your Texarkana Home

2/2/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Texarkana is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of Texarkana

SERVPRO of Texarkana specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.