Recent General Posts

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.