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How to Locate Hidden Water Leaks Before They Cause Severe Water Damage

2/22/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Carrollton explains ways to locate hidden water leaks before they can lead to advanced secondary water damage.

The water damage mitigation and restoration experts at SERVPRO of Carrollton are the leading water damage restoration professionals in the Dallas, TX area. With decades of combined experience in the property damage restoration industry, SERVPRO technicians specialize in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties after a water, fire, or smoke damage disaster, and they are IICRC and ECTP certified to handle all restoration needs.

A water leak that remains undetected and continues to leak for more than a short time can cause serious property damage. When homeowners or property managers suspect the presence of a water leak, there are several ways to detect the leak before it can do more damage.

SERVPRO of Carrollton is sharing five tips on how to detect water leaks. Once the leaks are detected, homeowners can either fix the leak as a DIY project if the issue is easily resolved, or they can bring in a qualified, bonded and insured plumber to repair the leak. If the leak is inadequately repaired and not restored to professional standards, the problem could arise again in the future, causing another water damage disaster.

To repair the water-damaged areas of the home, the homeowner should secure the assistance of trained water damage restoration professionals who can safely, efficiently, and properly perform the restoration process. Water leaks that have persisted unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years can cause damage that compromises the structural integrity of the home. Rotted flooring, floor joists, or support beams require special expertise to repair or replace.

Long-term water leaks can also create serious health hazards. An undetected water leak can create a perfect environment for the growth of mold and mildew. In just a few days or weeks, a massive mold infestation can erupt, requiring extensive and expensive mold mitigation. A simple leak that could have been repaired for less than a $100 plumbing bill or for a few dollars in parts from the hardware store ends up costing thousands of dollars to remedy.

Here are the five important hidden water leak detection tips that can save the vigilant homeowner time, money, and stress.

Water leak detection tip #1: Monitor the monthly water bill.

According to WaterZen, the Carrollton Water Utility Services, under the City Public Works Department, provides water for about 128,000 residents living in the Carrollton area. Monitoring water usage does not require physically reading the meter by the road or sidewalk. Carrollton residents can find all the information they need on their monthly water bill. Simply compare last month’s usage with the current month’s usage.

According to a study in 2015, the average Carrollton household water consumption per year is 8,300 gallons. At current water rates, the average water bill is about $67.00 per month. Water rates for a typical home that uses ten thousand gallons per month are $81.

Filling a swimming pool, irrigating the lawn with sprinklers, or watering the garden will dramatically affect the water bill. Watering the vegetable garden for one hour with a typical oscillating sprinkler uses as much as 1,000 gallons of water per hour.

What constitutes a spike in water consumption?

  • Standard bath: 27 gallons
  • Ten-minute shower: 20 gallons
  • Leaky faucet: five gallons per day or 150-300 gallons per month
  • Broken or cracked pipe: As much as 500 gallons per hour
  • Garden hose left running at an outside faucet (5/8”): 1,000 gallons per hour

An extra bath or two or a long, hot shower after a hard day at work will not show up as a spike in the water usage total or the amount of the water bill. Watering the garden or yard a few times a week or leaving the outside faucet on all night will significantly increase the water bill.

A higher water bill with no known increase in usage signals a problem. At this point, the homeowner may need to run a water usage check at the meter. Make sure all the water in the home is turned off. If the installed meter has a leak indicator, watch for movement. Otherwise, take a meter reading and check back in an hour or two.

Water leak detection tip #2: Conduct a faucet inspection.

A worn rubber washer under the faucet handle is responsible for a portion of the one trillion gallons of water wasted due to household water leaks. The fix for the leak is simple: replace the rubber washer.

Water leak detection tip #3. Perform the toilet tank dye test.

Hundreds of gallons of water can be wasted by a leaking toilet. Remove the tank lid and add some food coloring or a dye tab. If the water in the bowl is still clear after thirty minutes, the system is leak-free. Replacing the flapper takes care of most leaks.

Having to jiggle the handle to stop the toilet from running may indicate that the flush bar and chain are sticking. The remedy may be adjusting the nut that holds the mechanism in place. In other cases, the handle may be so corroded it must be replaced. Plumbing can be intimidating to some homeowners, so do not hesitate to call a qualified plumber to address these simple maintenance issues. The cost of the repairs is worth the peace of mind and the money saved by stopping the leak.

Water leak detection tip #4: Perform a visual inspection of ceilings and walls.

Stains and discoloration on walls and ceilings can go unnoticed for quite a while because the evidence and damage occur so gradually. An infrequent guest may walk into the home and instantly spot the stain, discoloration, bubbled paint or wallpaper, or warping. When dusting or vacuuming, take a few seconds to inspect the walls and ceilings.

Water leak detection tip #5: Be aware of underground water leaks.

Outdoor water leaks may require expensive repairs. A broken pipe can add hundreds of dollars to a monthly water bill. Soft spots, darkened areas, and the smell of water may indicate a major outdoor water leak. If an area of the lawn is moist after many days of dry weather, the cause may be a water leak. Look for unexplained puddles or water flows next to the driveway or along the curb. If an outdoor water leak is suspected, contact the local water company for assistance. If the leak is outside of their coverage area, they can recommend a plumber.

Vigilance is the best prevention for severe water damage. Knowing where to look and what to look for can detect many leaks before they get out of control and cause a water damage disaster and a potential mold infestation.

Trust the water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Carrollton for water, fire, storm, and commercial damage restoration. For more information about water damage restoration in Dallas, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 446-0383 or by email at office@SERVPRO10952.com.

Why Customers Should Expect Damage Restoration Companies to Have Professional Industry Certifications

2/22/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Carrollton helps customers understand why industry certifications are vital for a property damage restoration company.

When a home or business owner is choosing a company to provide damage restoration services in or around Bent Tree, TX, he or she should make sure that the prospective damage restoration company has professional industry certifications. Professional certifications document the scope of instruction and training received by a technician. Certification also validates that technicians have successfully completed the required course instruction and have passed the relevant testing and evaluation of their competency.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a nonprofit training and certification organization that serves the restoration industry around the world, including in the US, the UK, Australia, Japan, and more. IICRC provides certification programs and establishes standards to ensure best practices and performance for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. The emphasis on best quality and competency protects the interests of consumers and professionals in these industries. IICRC certification instills a higher level of trust in the service provider and makes the customers confident that they will receive the best services.

Certification Requirements of the IICRC

Businesses seeking to qualify for IICRC-certified status must take several steps to prove they are both trustworthy and reliable. The goal is to ensure the best customer service while protecting the rights and interests of all participants or professionals.

These steps to certification include:

  • Proof of insurance
  • Proper documentation showing the educational and training requirements for certification have been met by all technicians
  • Documentation of follow-ups and ongoing training to maintain credentials
  • Deployment and maintenance of a proper customer complaint system (Formal, written complaint mitigation policies that seek to address and resolve the issue as soon as possible are a mandatory component of this system. Proper documentation of follow-up and outcomes is also required.)
  • Adherence to the IICRC Code of Ethics, which are a collaborative effort between the IICRC and the community of professionals

Direct Benefits of IICRC Certification

An IICRC certification validates a professional reputation for a property damage restoration business. The continuing education requirements help a business maintain a high level of competency and stay competitive in the industry. It also provides the support essential for sustained growth.

  1. Customers can rest assured that anyone working on their home or property has the appropriate knowledge and skills to do the work correctly and thoroughly.
  2. Customers can be confident that technicians are aware of and are following the necessary safety precautions for workers, residents, and building occupants.
  3. IICRC certification ensures a uniform and up-to-date knowledge base, as well as compliance with safety standards and precautions. Maintaining job site quality and safety standards prevents costly restoration mistakes, lost-time accidents, and a damaged reputation.
  4. By maintaining the consistently high standards and expectations of IICRC-certification, a property damage restoration company builds credibility and earns respect in the industry.
  5. Inclusion in the IICRC database of certified professionals increases visibility, enhances accessibility, and reinforces professional legitimacy in the eyes of both customers and competitors.
  6. The broader brand relationships and networking opportunities that grow out of participation in IICRC certification and recognition help the restoration business provide a more comprehensive range of benefits and services to clients.

Benefits to Consumers

The IICRC provides a number of benefits to consumers as well.

  1. Rigid standards developed by the industry’s top professionals adapt when needed with advancements in information and technology.

Customers know they can trust processes driven by IICRC-certified professionals.

  1. Standardized training and credentialing instill confidence in the professionals and the quality of their job performance.

Customers can have confidence that all team members have the knowledge and skills to perform the restoration process safely and effectively.

  1. The requirement for continuing training and instruction to maintain professional credentials ensure uniform quality and safety.

Having to refresh essential knowledge and skills to maintain certifications and gain employment prevents the dangerous practice that permits nearly anyone to engage in property damage restoration, even without updated training. The restoration and cleaning industries are constantly advancing and improving. Continuous training keeps professionals on the cutting edge of innovations in technology, techniques, and safety.

  1. IICRC-certified businesses must have insurance coverage.

Insurance is a necessary part of business operations. If something goes awry on the job, insurance guarantees that the team, the customer, and the property are properly protected.

  1. An IICRC-certified damage restoration company adheres to a strict code of ethics and has a system with policies, procedures, and documentation requirements to handle and resolve complaints.

Customers can be assured that if there is a problem, it will be remedied in a timely and professional manner. All IICRC-certified businesses must implement an effective and trustworthy protocol to process and resolve any customer complaints.

The IICRC standards and codes have power because they require strict adherence and are continually refined and improved by professionals working within the industry. These standards protect both consumers and restoration professionals.

Trust the restoration experts at SERVPRO of Carrollton for water, fire, storm, and commercial damage restoration. The owners of SERVPRO of Carrollton have the following certifications:

  • IICRC-Certified Firm
  • AMRT - Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
  • ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program
  • FSRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
  • OCT - Odor Control Technician
  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician

SERVPRO of Carrollton offers twenty-four-hour emergency service, highly trained restoration technicians, and advanced restoration and cleaning equipment. For more information about the Bent Tree, TX, damage restoration company, contact the office by phone at (972) 446-0383 or by email at office@SERVPRO10952.com.

Six Ways Homeowners Can Prepare for Storms

2/22/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Carrollton, TX, provides six steps for preparing for storms.

SERVPRO of Carrollton is able to respond immediately to storm damage emergencies. When a storm hits, the team’s dedication to being prepared means crews are ready to respond to residential and commercial calls, no matter the size of the loss. SERVPRO of Carrollton has the storm damage restoration experience and specialized equipment necessary to restore a Carrollton home or business. Before a disaster strikes, be sure to know where to turn for help. SERVPRO of Carrollton is the go-to choice when a storm causes damage to a home or business.

Six Strategies for Staying Storm Safe

Following these six storm safety tips can keep Carrollton families safe and storm-ready whenever severe weather strikes. Avoid the last-minute scramble for flashlights, batteries, and water. Proactive preparation eliminates fumbling around in the dark when the power grid goes down.

Step #1. Gather LED lights and batteries.

When the power grid goes dark, an alternative light source and sufficient batteries are essential for storm safety and survival. Go with LED low-voltage light sources such as flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns. LED lights last six to twelve times longer than old-fashioned flashlights that use incandescent bulbs.

Include solar-powered LED lights in the collection of backup lighting devices. On a full charge, these lights emit light anywhere from four to twelve hours, depending on the product. The rechargeable batteries will probably need replacing after three to four years. The LED bulbs will emit light for a decade, and higher quality LED bulbs may last for up to twenty-five years. Solar lights need at least six hours of direct sunlight to fully charge but can also be charged by artificial light.

Step #2. Keep a two-week supply of food and water in a cool, dry, and dark place.

Set aside a two-week supply of food and water for storm-related emergencies. FEMA offers the following recommendations. Store one gallon of water per day per person or ten to fourteen gallons per person. Focus on foods that are highly caloric, nutritious, and easy to store and prepare. Foods that require refrigeration, water, or special preparation do not work well as emergency food sources, especially when the water and power are off. Stock up on canned goods and dry mixes. Emergency staples store best in cool, dry, dark places.

Monitoring food expiration dates and using or replacing older items will ensure the food supply is fresh, tasty, and safe. Many storm preppers donate older canned goods to food banks. During COVID-19, these donations are much needed and greatly appreciated. However, many food banks are not allowed to accept dated or expired foodstuffs.

Purchasing and storing this much food and water may seem overwhelming, but homeowners are encouraged to do what they can, even if the supply is only for a few days.

Step #3. Storm-proof vital documents and records.

Storms and natural disasters can displace people from their homes. Sometimes homes and businesses are severely damaged or destroyed. Anticipating a worst-case scenario and preparing for it is always the best course of action. Recovering from a disaster is even more challenging if identification and ownership documents have been lost or destroyed. Important documents to safeguard include:

  • birth certificates
  • marriage certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • passports and naturalization documents
  • adoption papers
  • wills, living wills, and powers of attorney
  • property deeds and titles
  • important DVDs, portable disks, and thumb drives

Options include storing these documents in a compact and portable waterproof and fireproof safe. Affordable safes can be purchased from many big box stores for under $100. Many important documents can be scanned or photographed with a cell phone and stored securely in the cloud.

Step #4. Create an evacuation plan that works for everyone.

Formulate an evacuation plan before evacuation is needed. Have an emergency response plan for when the danger is immediate, and seconds or minutes may mean the difference between life and death. Have a second plan for when the danger is hours or days in the future.

Devise an escape route that avoids low-lying areas that are prone to flooding. Plot out alternate routes that bypass bridges, dams, rivers, and streams.

Select evacuation destinations beyond the range of the storm. When possible, stay with family or friends who most likely will not need to evacuate. If family and friends are not available, book an early reservation in a safe hotel or motel.

If a disaster shelter is the only option, bring along adequate disaster supplies. Since these shelters do not accept pets, prior arrangements to accommodate pets must be made.

If evacuation is by car, make sure the gas tank is full. Traffic jams are inevitable.

Step #5. Prepare a first-aid kit and keep it handy.

A first-aid kit provides the supplies needed in case of an injury. Gauze, assorted bandages, antiseptic, antibacterial ointment, tweezers, tape, eye wash, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, activated charcoal, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen are a good start. A storm-ready plan should also consider any special medications or health conditions.

Step #6. Identify a trusted damage restoration company to call in the event of storm damage to the home.

Vetting and selecting a reliable damage restoration company to provide services after storm damage means that when disaster strikes, help is only a phone call away. The emergency restoration team can be onsite immediately. Imagine searching for a property damage company at 2:00 am in the morning for emergency tarping and board-up services. Hundreds of people may be trying to call the same company looking for similar services. Having a service provider in place can bring peace of mind when the world seems to have turned upside down. The team of experts at SERVPRO of Carrollton can be on the scene about an hour after the initial call.

Trusting the restoration experts at SERVPRO of Carrollton for water, fire, storm, and commercial damage restoration is a foundational step in storm disaster preparedness. The company offers twenty-four-hour emergency service and responds faster to any size disaster. Highly trained restoration technicians make SERVPRO of Carrollton a trusted leader in the storm damage restoration industry. Locally owned and operated, the company is invested in Carrollton and the surrounding communities.

For more information about storm damage restoration in Carrollton, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 446-0383 or by email at office@SERVPRO10952.com.

Why Reviews Matter-

2/13/2021 (Permalink)

More than ever before we are relying on the internet to provide feedback on specific service industries.  Today you can gather quick information on food, clothes, books, movies, music, commodities, and professional services.  With a simple click you can make informed decisions based on the public’s opinion and their experiences. SERVPRO of Carrollton also relies on such feedback for future client business.  Here are several reasons why review matter.  We hope this information will help provoke you to leave behind your story about the services that SERVPRO  provided for you during a time you needed help most!

  1. Social Proof Drives Purchases. We are more likely to make a purchase if others say (or write) it’s a good idea.  If you experience a flood or fire in your home or business, we understand that you want things to get back to the way things were before – quickly, safely and correctly.  SERVPRO of Bent Tree and Carrollton can and will do that for you!
  2. They Make Your More Visible. The more we feed the internet content machine, the more brand algorithms will increase in your favor.  We just LOVE to see 5 Stars across the board!
  3. They Make You Look Trustworthy. Positive reviews build significant trust and brand credibility.  SERVPRO is a brand you should be able to trust, especially during times of crisis.  We value your trust and we stride not to ever let you down.
  4. Conversation About You. Positive online presence promotes a good reputation.  The more good stuff people have to say, the more likely others will utilize your brand.  Let’s face it, we like it when people talk about us!
  5. They Are Increasingly Essential to Decision Making. Almost two-thirds of shoppers that that online reviews are an essential part of the decision process. This is Huge! Your opinion matters, even to complete strangers.
  6. They Have a Clear Impact on Sales. From our perspective we agree with this point.  Doing a phenomenal job in the beginning will bring re-turning customers.  We are fortunate to have a solid client base of customers who call us repeatedly for their cleanups.  We take those gestures as the greatest compliment of all!
  7. They Give You An Open Line to Consumers. Positive and negative reviews are an excellent opportunity to open a dialogue about how we operate.  The more stories (good or bad) we put out there the more able we are to educate on our processes and cleaning methods, so that every situation is analyzed and corrected to better serve our consumers.

Please share your experience with us, as well as the world-wide-web, and help us help others!  We appreciate you and we appreciate your time!

Click Here to leave your review.

In North Dallas, the weather can change in a minute!

2/12/2021 (Permalink)

Winter is Here Call us any time, any day of the week!

It's that time of the year again, time to prepare ourselves and homes for the brutal cold of winter storms. You would hate to have water damage due to freezing pipes or melting snow. It is not something anyone looks forward to but it is best to be prepared.  

Follow these tips recommended by  www.ready.gov/winter-weather to prepare yourself and your home for winter.

Before Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

  • Make a family communication plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Make an emergency kit for at least three days of self-sufficiency.
  • Keep space heater safety in mind: Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Remember to keep all heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and drapes.

Prepare Your Home

  • Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
  • Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
  • Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
  • Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
  • If you have a wood-burning fireplace, consider storing wood to keep you warm if winter weather knocks out your heat. Also, make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:
    • Extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats
    • Fireplace or wood-burning stove with plenty of dry firewood, or a gas log fireplace
    • Make sure you have a cell phone with an emergency charging option (car, solar, hand crank, etc.) in case of a power failure.
    • Plan to bring pets inside.
    • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it in case you lose power.

Follow these recommended tips and you will be prepared for those cold winters days. SERVPRO of Carrollton and Bent Tree in far north Dallas is here to keep you as safe as possible.

What should you do if a fire starts at your office?

2/3/2021 (Permalink)

Fire and smoke Do you have a plan?

Making sure fire extinguishers are accessible and smoke alarms are maintained are crucial steps to take as an employer. If a fire does erupt in your workplace, it’s natural for people to panic. Unfortunately, this can lead to common mistakes that aggravate the situation. To ensure everyone makes it out of the building safely during an emergency, here are a few safety guidelines to remind your staff of during fire training.

What Not to Do During a Workplace Fire

  1. Break Windows

Smoke inhalation is a threat to those inside the building. In an effort to access fresh air, some people might open windows or break the glass. However, when oxygenated air from outside rushes in, the intensity of the fire will build more quickly.

As smoke and heat rise, everyone should stay close to the ground and crawl to the exits to avoid fumes. If exits are blocked, put wet towels under the doors to keep out the smoke instead of opening windows.

  1. Fail to Use Emergency Exits

fire extinguishers. When a fire starts, people might try to evacuate the building the same way they got in. However, you shouldn’t open any doors leading to the main corridors, especially if the handles are warm to the touch. Flames could be on the other side of these, and opening them could feed more oxygen to the fire and expose people to smoke.

To keep the fire from spreading, instruct your staff to use only emergency exit doors, stairwells, and fire escapes.

  1. Forget to Alert Others

When they hear the fire alarm protection system, some people may think it’s just a test. If they don’t smell smoke or feel the heat, they might fail to take action.

To protect everyone in the workplace, people who see the flames or smoke should yell “fire” to alert others that it is not a drill. Those trained to use fire extinguishers can try to control the blaze while others call emergency services for help. If anyone in the workplace has mobility difficulties, assign someone to ensure they can get out safely during your safety plan design.

To ensure your staff is prepared for any emergency situation, reach out to SERVPRO of Carrollton. We have been helping many commercial customers set up Emergency Ready Plans. 

We can help you as well!  Call 972-446-0383 for your free commercial ERP today.

How Commercial Fire Safety Has Been Affected by COVID-19

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Carrollton explains how COVID-19 is presenting fire safety challenges that businesses need to address. These challenges include ingress and egress concerns, the potential for blocked exits, altered evacuation plans and protocols, furloughed or unavailable staff in charge of fire safety, and building alterations.

SERVPRO of Carrollton provides commercial damage restoration and cleaning services to the business community of Carrollton and North Dallas. Fire, smoke, water, mold, and storm damage services are available on a scale to accommodate a small, isolated property damage disaster or a catastrophic property damage disaster encompassing multiple structures and millions of square feet.

Pandemic Paradigm Shifts in Commercial Fire Safety Practices

COVID-19 has caused a cascade of changes in the structure and implementation of fire safety training and practices in the commercial environment. Scale, cost, and liability have a bearing on both quality control and safety initiatives pertaining to COVID-19 prevention and containment strategies in the workplace.

Coping with COVID-19 safety protocols in the workforce, such as social distancing, self-quarantining, handwashing, masking, and health screening at designated entrances, presents new and unforeseen challenges in terms of fire safety standards.

A leading news and information service for the facilities, workplace, and built environment community describes the fire risk management challenges in the following terms: “Not only must the implications of a new office layout and social distancing be considered, but employers must navigate other additional changes in risk in their buildings. Many businesses, whether they have remained open, or not, are experiencing changes in risk. In all cases, businesses should be aware of these changes in risk and review their Fire Risk Assessments (FRA) accordingly, to ensure they are suitable and sufficient, as recommended…”

Here are some specific tips that need to be considered when reconfiguring fire safety plans to accommodate COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.

Tip #1: Account for vulnerable people.

Now more than ever, risk management encompasses not just employees but also other onsite personnel not directly employed by the company. These special circumstances include workers and service providers such as contract labor, vendors, or other onsite personnel or support businesses. Many businesses contract technicians working in quality control, equipment maintenance, cleaning services, IT management, or health services who provide onsite services during and after the workday. Fire safety plan managers have, in the past, factored this non-employee onsite personnel into the facility’s fire safety plan. Similarly, the challenges presented by COVID-19 for special circumstances are not unique, but they are nuanced.

In response to COVID-19, businesses have made adjustments that allow employees with health vulnerabilities to return to work. These accommodations include such options as isolating the employee in a separate office. Fire safety escape plans must consider these circumstances when configuring a fire escape plan and must ensure that isolated employees are notified and evacuated.

Employers, whether C-level corporate management or onsite fire safety managers, will need to revisit and revise emergency evacuation plans for their staff and other onsite personnel. Procedures must accurately reflect the workforce and account for any additional risks arising from the establishment of new working locations or job performance patterns.

Tip #2: Revise safety plans to reflect facility renovations.

Companies and business owners must be aware of the potential risk incurred when making temporary alterations to buildings in order to comply with COVID-19 mandates. Direct circumvention of existing building and fire codes puts a commercial business at risk of litigation. A cursory risk analysis reveals the unfavorable nature of the exposure.

Examples of at-risk alterations include propping fire doors open to reduce the need to touch and possibly contaminate door handles. These door handles, doorknobs, crash bars, and other ingress/egress touchpoints could cause the spread of COVID-19. Propping open a fire door affects fire protection along two dimensions: fire prevention and occupant escape. Fire doors are constructed of materials designed to prevent and inhibit the spread of a structural fire.

Wedging open the fire door neutralizes its fire protection capacity. Fire doors are also clearly marked to direct occupants to approved escape routes. An open door is much less conspicuous than a closed door. Also, the unauthorized opening of a fire door can trigger the fire alert system for the building and summon first responder fire crews. In some instances, fees and fines may be levied by fire departments when they respond to false alarms.

Other alterations that may compromise the effectiveness of a fire safety plan include:

  • Partitioning areas in such a way that the avenues of escape are blocked or disguised
  • Locking or chaining standard doors to primary or secondary exits in order to channel employee and pedestrian traffic through screening centers
  • Repurposing areas for different tasks, production lines, or storage

Managers and safety personnel need to review and revise the existing fire safety plan, assess the new risk levels, and execute appropriate risk mitigation measures.

Tip #3: Fill staffing gaps in fire safety teams.

Safety team members absent due to furloughs, self-isolation, or actual sickness must have their spots filled by responsible persons capable of fulfilling the task.

Tip #4: The owner or manager should enlist the services of a professional fire risk assessor.

Enlisting the services of a knowledgeable, certified, and proven risk consultant enables the owner or manager to leverage the expertise of a professional risk engineer in order to create a fire safety plan that will prevent fires and save lives.

Tip #5: Plan to recover in case of a fire and water damage disaster.

A business owner or manager should have not only a fire safety plan but also a fire damage recovery plan. Through strategic planning, if and when a disaster strikes, a commercial fire damage restoration response team can be onsite, staged, and ready to begin the fire, smoke, and water damage restoration action plan within seconds of receiving official permission from the fire chief, business owner, or management team. A swift response means a swift return to normal operations and a positive ROI.

SERVPRO of Carrollton is skilled and experienced in providing commercial property damage restoration services. Business owners and property managers across the United States entrust their property damage restoration and commercial cleaning needs to local SERVPRO professionals.

For more information about commercial fire damage restoration in Carrollton, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 446-0383 or by email at office@SERVPRO10952.com.

How to Determine if a Home Has Water Damage or Termite Damage

1/25/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Termite damage and water damage can have similar characteristics. SERVPRO of Carrollton advises Carrollton homeowners on how to determine the difference between water damage and termite damage.

SERVPRO of Carrollton has provided water damage restoration services for the North Dallas area for years. Their team of professionals carry numerous certifications and possess years of experience. They are skilled at identifying water damage. Some water damage is hidden between walls or under flooring, secluded in dark crawl spaces, or disguised as termite damage.

Termite damage and water damage can share similar characteristics and mimic each other. With the right information, homeowners can distinguish if the damage to their home is from a water intrusion or from a termite invasion. Some species of termite prefer a diet of water-damaged wood. As a result, some cases of water damage restoration also require termite extermination services.

What Is the Difference Between Water Damage and Termite Damage?

Water damage and termite damage can exhibit characteristics that make it very difficult for the homeowner to discern the difference. It is easy to understand how the untrained eye of the average homeowner can confuse water damage and termite damage. Termite activity creates nests that are high in moisture content. Evidence of termite damage often resembles evidence of water damage. For example, both termite activity and water intrusion can cause paint to bubble and peel.

Treatment and repairs for water damage and termite damage are very different. Chemicals used in the extermination of termites require special certifications, licensing, and protective gear. When termite damage is involved in a water damage incident, SERVPRO of Carrollton professionals can manage the entire project, including having a licensed and bonded exterminator mitigate the termite infestation and damage.

How to Tell Water Damage From Termite Damage

Water damage

Wood that has undergone water damage develops square-shaped cells in the wood. The formation of this cell pattern can also be referred to as “cubicle rot.” The pattern created by these cube-shaped square cells is also referred to as “alligatoring” because they resemble an alligator’s back. These square-shaped cells are caused when the wood expands and cracks with the increase and decrease of water content. Here is an easy way to remember the key to identifying water damage. Alligators live in water, so an alligator pattern in the wood signals water damage.

Termite damage

When subterranean, or underground, termites devour wood, they feed along the softer springwood, avoiding the harder summerwood. Inspection of a cross-section of a tree reveals lighter-colored rings, which are springwood, and darker-colored rings, which are summerwood.

An inspection of a cross-section of wood that has been damaged by subterranean termites reveals darker-colored summerwood exhibiting a honeycomb appearance after the springwood has been eaten. Looking at the cross-section lengthwise, the remaining summerwood has the appearance of thick sheets of paper after the springwood has been consumed by the termites.

Drywood termites consume wood along and across the grain. They carve out large cavities or galleries for their nests, and these galleries are connected by tunnels. Drywood termites have smaller colonies, so they typically cause less damage. They usually are not as fast-acting as the subterranean termites.

Some termite species only feed on wood that has already suffered water damage. When a water damage incident occurs, homeowners should keep an eye out for a termite infestation as the wet wood may attract the voracious pests. Lingering to resolve an ongoing water or moisture issue could result in a dual property damage issue — water damage and termite damage. When both termite and water damage occur in tandem, the homeowner will need to address the water issue and termite infestation simultaneously before repairing the overall property damage.

Homeowners should note that taking immediate action to resolve a water damage issue can prevent advanced secondary damage, which may be much more extensive than the original damage. The restoration process may be more involved and more expensive. Insurance companies have a vested interest in homeowners identifying and resolving water damage issues without delay. Failure to act promptly on the part of the homeowner could impact the insurance company’s willingness to pay the full claim.

SERVPRO of Carrollton provides twenty-four-hour emergency service, and the company’s highly trained restoration technicians are trusted professionals in the restoration industry. The most advanced technology, the best techniques, and years of experience work together to provide customers with the industry’s premier restoration services. Because SERVPRO of Carrollton is locally owned and operated, they have a vested interest in and concern for the community.

For more information about water damage restoration in Carrollton, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 446-0383 or by email at office@SERVPRO10952.com.

How Proper Fire Safety Practices Can Prevent Wood Stove Fires

1/25/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Carrollton shares wood stove fire safety tips that help prevent fire damage in the home.

This winter, SERVPRO of Carrollton is sharing wood stove fire safety tips to help homeowners stay safe and warm while minimizing the risk of fire damage. In their efforts to stay cozy this winter without breaking the bank, homeowners are supplementing their central heating system with alternative methods of heating, including fireplaces, pellet stoves, or wood stoves. The COVID-19 pandemic has sent tens of millions of workers and students home for the winter, increasing the need to keep the home warmer during the day. In past years, many homeowners would keep the temperature of the house much cooler when the house was unoccupied during the day. Now, many homes are occupied 24/7. By utilizing an alternate heat source such as a wood stove, remote workers and students can stay warm at an affordable cost.

Any alternative heat source requires regularly scheduled maintenance and upkeep for ongoing operation and continued safety. SERVPRO of Carrollton examines the types of wood stoves and shares wood stove fire safety tips to help homeowners stay safe and warm this winter.

Types of Wood Stoves

Because of their efficiency at producing heat, wood stoves are great supplemental heat sources, even better than most fireplaces. Wood stoves fall into the following two general categories: freestanding or a wood stove insert.

A wood stove insert fits in the fireplace opening and vents smoke, sparks, and excess heat through the chimney. Many models are equipped with an electric blower to circulate heat into the area around the stove.

A freestanding wood stove stands alone in a room and connects to the chimney through a chimney connector. Sometimes wood-burning stoves may share the flue of an existing fireplace. Other stoves may vent into a separate chimney constructed to handle the smoke, sparks, and excess heat from the stove.

Using the Wood Stove

Before using the wood stove, have the chimney inspected by a certified professional chimney sweep to determine if the existing chimney can be used with a wood stove. A wood stove generates intense heat and combustion gases. The chimney should be made from masonry and lined with flue tiles in good condition.

Freestanding wood stoves should be positioned as close to the chimney as possible. The reason is to limit the length of the flue pipe (or chimney connector). The flue may become very hot. When determining the location where the stove will be installed, make sure that both the stove and the chimney connector are easy to access for inspection and cleaning.

If purchasing a home that comes with a wood stove, an inspection is recommended to confirm the safety of the unit and venting system. A certified chimney sweep should be able to provide operating instructions for the stove model. Make sure the wood-burning stove conforms to modern performance and safety standards and is listed by Underwriters Laboratories or other reputable testing organizations.

A freestanding wood stove should be installed only on a fire-resistant surface or pad. Do not connect the vent to a chimney flue that also serves a furnace, boiler, or other wood stoves. Carbon monoxide poisoning or a fire could result.

Wood Stove Safety Tips

A wood stove can provide amazing comfort and savings. These wood stove fire safety tips will help prevent risks such as fire damage, burns, or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Tip #1. Keep children and pets away when a fire is burning in the stove. The stove’s exterior and flue pipe become very hot.

Tip #2. Keep combustibles at least three feet away from the stove.

Tip #3. Install and regularly maintain working carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms in the home. Locate smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors outside each bedroom and on every level of the home.

Tip #4. Remove ashes frequently. Properly dispose of them since ashes can take several days to completely cool. Place ashes in a covered metal container, and keep the ash container at least ten feet away from structures and vehicles.

Tip #5. Schedule an annual chimney and wood stove inspection with a certified chimney sweep who is competent to deal with wood stoves. Schedule another inspection halfway through the burning season to check for creosote buildup or defects that might have developed through the season.

Tip #6. Do not “over fire” the stove. Building a fire that exceeds the rating of the stove can result in flames entering the flue pipe or chimney, which can lead to a fire. Over firing the wood stove can damage the unit and create a fire hazard.

Tip #7. To avoid over firing, check the instruction manual or check with the manufacturer.

Tip #8. Only burn well-seasoned hardwoods in a wood stove. Coal, rubber, garbage, plastics, or other non-wood combustibles can damage a stove. Aerosol cans may explode or give off toxic, hazardous fumes.

A wood stove is a fantastic supplement to an existing HVAC system. Proper safety practices and regular maintenance will keep a home warm and comfortable throughout the winter season. In case of puff back, fire damage, or water damage from extinguishing a fire, SERVPRO of Carrollton can be on the scene in about an hour to begin the fire damage restoration, smoke damage restoration, or water damage restoration process. The team understands the stress caused by the disruption, chaos, and messes that come from a property damage disaster. SERVPRO of Carrollton will manage the entire cleanup and restoration process, including providing a free estimate and handling all insurance claims.

For more information about fire damage restoration in Carrollton, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 446-0383 or by email at office@SERVPRO10952.com.

Slab Leaks and Water Damage: How can SERVPRO of Bent Tree and Carrollton help?

1/20/2021 (Permalink)

moisture meter #HeretoHelp!

“You have a slab leak.” These are words that no homeowner ever wants to hear. That’s because not only do you have to repair the leak, but you also must check for signs of possible water damage throughout the house.

But what exactly are those slab leak signs that can create water damage? Here are just a few symptoms associated with a slab leak.

  • Cracks in the flooring or walls.
  • Hearing running water when all water is turned off.
  • Moisture under the carpets. This could be a sign that a leak might have created a crack in the slab.
  • Your water bill is larger than normal. This could mean that water is leaking somewhere, potentially in the slab.

If you do in fact find water damage in your home due to a slab leak, it is important to have a professional water damage company like SERVPRO of Carrollton and Bent Tree take a look. We’ll be able to assess the damage done and create a remediation plan that removes all signs of water damage from your home.

North Dallas Home Faces Water Damage Caused by a Slab Leak

We recently had a homeowner in the Bent Tree neighborhood of North Dallas contact us after detecting a slab leak in his home. The leak ended up affecting multiple areas of the house including the master bathroom, master bedroom, hallway and coat closet. The homeowner knew he needed help from a professional water damage company, so he decided to give SERVPRO a call.

After talking to the homeowner on the phone, our Project Manager, Cindi Wager immediately made her way over to the home to inspect the water damage. Her inspection did in fact show water damage in all of the areas that the homeowner originally mentioned. After seeing the extent of the damage, Cindi decided to have our Crew Chief, David Buffington, come out to the home and create a remediation plan.

With a plan in place, our talented team of technicians were on their way to begin the cleanup process. The laminate flooring had to be removed in all of the affected areas. Once that was done, our team tested for asbestos, which came back positive. The homeowner’s insurance agency had another company remove the asbestos in the flooring. Once that was done, our team went back out to the home and set up drying equipment. This helps ensure all of the water damage in the home was completely removed.

In the end, the homeowner was very pleased with our work. He appreciated our fast response time and our ability to remove all signs of water damage from his home. We were happy to help!

A Slab Leak Damages Multiple Rooms in a Denton County Home

When it comes to water damage, timing is everything. The longer you wait to remedy the damage, the more time it has to spread to other areas of your house. This is especially true when it comes to water damage caused by a slab leak.

A homeowner in Denton County recently contacted us after seeing signs of water damage in multiple rooms of her house. Because it was in so many areas, she had difficulty detecting the source of the water damage, so she decided to call her plumber for help. Her plumber told her that the damage was caused by a slab leak in her home. He fixed the leak and then told her to call SERVPRO of Bent Tree to remove the resulting water damage.

We are ready to help any time of the day, any day of the year!  You can reach us at 972-446-0383.