How to spot water damage
A house is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime. In order to protect that investment, you should vigilantly look out for household problems and address them before they worsen.
One such dreaded homeowner issue is water damage. If left unattended, water damage can detrimentally impact the structure or spawn other complications, including mold that poses a risk to inhabitants. Below is several methods for detecting water damage within your house.
1. Check the Floors
No matter what kind of flooring you have, it will manifest signs of water damage. For tile and wood, look for cracked, buckling or warped flooring. When it comes to carpet, be aware of damp spots, gradual rises, soft spots or the smell of mold and dampness.
2. Look for Stains
Water stains on the floor around the bathtub, toilet or sink, as well as stains on ceilings and walls, are some of the most obvious signs of water damage. Unusual stains could indicate there is a leaky pipe or drain inside the wall. Cracks in the drywall or areas that appear swollen and are soft to touch also may signify trouble. Peeling paint is an additional sign of loose water within wall spaces. As the drywall gets saturated, paint can lose adhesion.
3. Inspect Outside
Observe the exterior of your house. What you want to look for are pools of standing water that can indicate poor drainage in the yard, gutter spouts that aren’t transporting water far enough from the house or leaky rain gutters. Any of those issues could threaten the foundation of your house. Additionally, common signs of water damage on the roof may include pools of water; cracked, curled or missing shingles; or broken flashing.
4. Watch for Rust and Mold
Inspect your water heater and check for rust on the tank or damp spots on the floor. A rusted tank could indicate a slow leak. Additionally, corrosion around pipe connections could be caused by water seepage. Visual signs of active mold growth mean moisture is contacting microscopic mold spores, often in the nooks and crannies of your home. Finally, don’t rely solely on sight. When water stagnates, mold and bacteria can grow, producing a musty, unpleasant smell.
Water Damage in your home or business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today to speak with a Mitigation Specialist today. 502.241.6861
Storms and Water Damage
IT'S MORE THAN JUST WATER
You'd think that having a home flooded was enough, however it isn't. Water damage goes far beyond the time that the water is flowing. Rain damage has a long term effect on a home if not properly treated, professionally and quickly. The water damage you see right after the rain (or even during) is only the beginning.
Within hours, your home will absorb some of the water. Water damaged carpets, floors, walls, drywall, stairs, furniture and any electricity wires or electrical appliances standing in the water's way.
If left untreated for more than a day, things get even worse. What was once only water damage, requiring water extraction and some fixing, now becomes an even larger problem. Mold will start growing thanks to humidity and supporting conditions. The wetness spreads deeper in to the places it can, causing mold growth in those hidden places as well. Standing water becomes stagnant water, now acting as a health hazard for all residents.
BASEMENT FLOODED? FLOOR DESTROYED? NOT ALL IS LOST
If your home has been affected by rain damage, the roof leaked or your basement was flooded, not all is lost. Although the results of water damage can be really bad, you can reverse the effects in no time if you just handle it fast enough. The sooner you get restoration professionals to help you get rid of the water and other water damage results, the better off you will be.
If you just found you have water damage, give us a call. We'll be there by the end of the day, assisting you with water damage restoration - we'll extract the water, assess the situation, and repair everything that needs to be.
Above all else, we'll make sure you feel safe and sound. We're experienced in numerous types of water damage, we have professional technicians with vast knowledge, the best equipment the industry has to offer. When we take care of your home, you'll know you're in good hands.
Call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby today to speak to a Mitigation specialist. 502.241.6861
SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry, and Trimble Counties.
Water Damage in your Commercial Space
Water Damage In Your Commercial Space
There are numerous situations in which a commercial property might suffer extensive water damage. For example, a flood from a storm or overflowing river bank might deposit massive amounts of dirty water throughout the first floor of a structure. Or, a burst/leaky pipe might cause water to collect in the spaces between the walls or floors in the structure, leading to mold growth and other issues in these hidden areas.
Whether it’s flood water damage or another form of moisture intrusion, what should you do when the commercial property you’re inspecting has water damage?
Confirming the Extent of the Damage
One of the first things you’ll want to do when you discover signs of water damage is verify the extent of the damage. However, a simple visual check probably won’t be enough to reliably establish the full scope of the problem.
Water can soak into many building materials far from the source of the moisture intrusion without creating obvious signs of damage for a long time. So, to accurately establish how far the water has spread, you need a specialized tool for measuring moisture in building materials—such as a moisture meter for building inspection.
Using a moisture meter, you can measure the moisture content (%MC) of the materials near where you noticed the water damage. By continuing to make checks progressively farther from the site of the damage, you can establish how widespread the damage is as well as the severity of the moisture intrusion.
With this information, you’ll be able to determine whether you need to focus on drying out the affected materials, or simply tear them out so they can be replaced with undamaged materials.
Contacting a Water Damage Restoration Expert
If you’re inspecting your own property and do not have experience in water cleanup/restoration work, it may be a good idea to contact a water damage restoration expert to handle the task of dry-out/tear-out for you. This is because water damage remediation work can be too delicate or dangerous for someone without specialized experience or training to risk.
For example, a professional in water damage restoration is likely to have the right tools and experience to minimize their risks from hazards such as mold spores, exposure to fiberglass insulation, and weakened floors that may collapse—all of which are common hazards in water cleanup and restoration work. Additionally, an expert is more likely to be able to successfully complete dry-out tasks in a way that minimizes the overall damage and risk of future problems.
Trying to handle dry-out and tear-out work without the requisite training and experience can lead to problems.
Drying Out the Affected Area
If you’re determined to handle the dry-out work personally, or the extent of the damage is especially minor, then it may be possible to remove the moisture causing the damage yourself.
However, you’ll need a few specialized tools to make sure you can completely dry out the area, including:
- Wet vacuums (to remove standing water quickly)
- Air movers and/or dehumidifiers (to extract humid air)
- A thermo-hygrometer (to track the humidity in a room)
- Pin and/or pinless moisture meters (to track the moisture content of building materials)
If the structure has a climate control system, then turning up the temperature slightly can help to keep water from condensing—allowing dry-out work to proceed just a bit faster.
When drying out a room in a building with flood damage, it’s important to keep the building as sealed against exposure to outside air as possible. Otherwise, mold spores and other contaminants can make their way inside and, with the help of the excess moisture in the structure, begin to proliferate. Any air movers attached to an opening should be sealed in place in such a way that they constantly force air out and prevent outside air from getting inside.
Any moisture-compromised furniture should be removed and assessed. If it is too water-damaged, it will need to be thrown out and replaced. The same goes for any building materials in the affected area.
While you’re busy inspecting and trying to repair the damage to your commercial property, be sure to document as much as possible about the damage, its cause, and the steps needed to fix it.
It’s good to do this because you may need to file an insurance claim for the cost of the repairs, and doing so without documentation could result in the claim being denied.
Having a moisture meter that can store readings with a date and time stamp, then transfer the stored data into an easily-presentable report on your computer can be immensely useful. This provides documentation about the extent of the water damage and when it was first inspected—making it a bit easier to prove an insurance claim.
Additionally, taking photographs of the damage can help to further establish proof of the water damage.
If materials or furniture pieces have to be thrown out, keep track of what is being disposed of as well. This may prove useful for determining the extent of your losses for the insurance claim. A water damage restoration expert will likely recommend that you collect thorough documentation as well, since it helps them get paid by the insurance company.
This, of course, assumes that you have an insurance policy on the commercial property that covers the costs of water damage. If your property doesn’t have such insurance, then the costs will have to come out of your pocket.
These are just some of the basic actions to take if your commercial property suffers water damage.
While contacting a water damage restoration specialist is probably the best thing to do, following these simple steps should help you mitigate the damage somewhat. As a basic rule of thumb, if the damage is severe enough to warrant filing an insurance claim, then you should probably hire an expert in water damage cleanup.
Water Damage in your Commercial Property? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today to speak to a mitigation specialists. 502.241.6861
Flooding as a Result of a Burst Pipe
Flooding As A Result Of A Busted Pipe
Flooding can occur from a slow leak that suddenly builds over time, bursting a pipe. That stealthy leak can cause much damage over time, but the shear volume of water from a burst pipe can wreak havoc, compromising the structural integrity of your house as well as ruining your furniture, carpeting and various other belongings. There are a few more dangers you may not be aware of: the growth of mold, possible electrical fires due to circuits exposed to excess water—all affecting your family’s safety.
It’s important to contact a water damage restoration company to locate all of the leaks and take care of the damage itself, but there are things that you can do while you are awaiting their arrival. These measures will help to minimize damage to your property and make the eventual restoration process less costly to you. First and foremost, if the water level is rising, you should immediately shut off your water supply. You should also carefully relocate any electronic devices to a dry area, if possible. Check to see if water levels have reached electric wall sockets—you don't want to electrocute yourself!
Once you’ve gotten the water level under control, it’s imperative to remove as much excess water as possible. If you have time, you can rent a sump pump to drain the water. As you’re doing this, you should also set up fans to evaporate the water, as well as dry surfaces and carpeting. Just be sure to plug any of those devices in a wall socket that has not been compromised by water or moisture.
Next, you’ll want to remove furniture and other items to a dry area—even if it’s to your driveway. Remember that fabric can hold moisture for a long time, which means those items can become breeding grounds for mold. If the water invasion is extensive, you may even want to completely relocate yourself and your family to temporary housing. Until you know the extent of the damage to your home, you and your family may be in danger of falling materials like plaster, wood and insulation. And don’t forget that water conducts electricity!
Once you’ve performed the above measures and everything appears to be dried out, and there seems to be minimal damage, you may think that water damage professionals are no longer needed. For piece of mind, you should definitely contact the professionals. They have all of the necessary equipment and experience to locate any and all possible leaks. They also have mold remediation experience and can search for all instances of mold growth, both removing it and taking preventative measures. Be sure to do your research in selecting reputable water damage restoration companies via reviews, references and certifications.
Another benefit from having professionals take care of your water damage problem? Insurance. You’ll likely have to file a claim with your insurance company. The water damage restoration company can provide all of the necessary reports to submit to your insurance company so that your claim will be processed quickly.
So, when you experience that sudden invasion of water, don’t wait to begin dealing with problem. The longer you wait, the worse the damage. And don’t wait to contact the professionals—when you’re dealing with ongoing water damage, time is of the essence! Call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County! 502.241.6861
Water and Frozen Pipes
As snow continues to fall and winter temperatures fluctuate below freezing, it's possible for your pipes to freeze. Not only do freezing pipes cause a great inconvenience, they also cause major property damage leaving you with extensive repairs.
What Causes Freezing Pipes:
Exterior freezing temperatures cause the water to freeze and expand, creating a blockage. This blockage will cause an increase in pressure and strain your plumbing system. If the pressure gets too great it will cause the pipe to burst.
Pipes located along the exterior walls of your property may not have the adequate amount of insulation in protecting them from the exterior freezing temperatures. Pipes located in the attic or basement may not be as warm as other areas of the house which can cause a greater tendency to freeze. Lack of use can cause freezing pipes. Leaving for an extended period of time and/ or lowing your interior temperature while you're away, can cause remaining water in your piping system to freeze when exterior temperatures drop below freezing.
Signs of Frozen Pipes
One of the first signs for the potential of frozen pipes is when exterior temperatures drop below freezing. You can take precautions like adding insulation to prevent vulnerable pipes from freezing. Frozen pipes can show an accumulation of frost on the exterior of the pipe, this warning sign can indicate the pipe is frozen before you even turn on the faucet and there is a lack of running water, this can indicate that the pipe may be frozen.
If you experience a Water Damage as a result of frozen pipes in your business call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861
SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby also services Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties.
Tips for Preventing Storm Damage
Storms are unpredictable and tend to target neighborhoods rather than entire counties. If you are unfortunate enough to be in the path, your business is vulnerable to fallen trees, hail damage, fire from lightning, wind damage, losing all or part of your roof, flooding, and power outage. Minutes later, the storm passes, and you are shocked by the extent of the damage.
Why is Storm Damage Preparedness Important?
As a business owner or facility manager, you’ll need to prepare and react to keep people working safely and stay productive. Here are 4 summer storm damage prevention tips to help your business survive the sudden summer storm and reduce downtime from storm damage commercial property loss.
#1 Preventative Maintenance
It’s easy to let maintenance items slip as the seasons quickly change from spring to summer. Be prudent and proactive by scheduling an exterior building inspection on your calendar. Here’s a simple checklist to get you started.
Check the condition of the paint and walls.
Check for broken windows and doors.
Check the condition of all railings.
Check for plants growing on the building or its foundation.
Clean the roof. Use care when working in high places; employ adequate fall protection.
Clean roof drains and gutters. Test drains and downspouts by flushing them with water.
Inspect the condition of the roof.
Inspect gutters for adequate anchoring and tighten, if necessary.
Inspect the stack and all roof penetrations.
Remove any plant life growing on the roof.
Clean up any debris found.
#2 Update Your Commercial Storm Damage Insurance Coverage
It’s devastating to discover that your commercial insurance policy doesn’t have adequate commercial storm damage coverage after a property loss. Along with your preventative maintenance and inspection, schedule an annual policy review with your insurance agent. Be sure to discuss coverage and exclusions and be certain that you understand them. This step removes the disappointment and unhappy surprise from a non-covered loss.
#3 Photograph and Document the Condition of Your Commercial Property
A photographic inventory of your business equipment, interior, and exterior of the business property is a tremendous help when navigating a commercial storm damage insurance claim. Your timestamped photographs accelerate the process when working with your insurance adjuster after storm damage has occurred and provides proof of adequate maintenance of the commercial property.
#4 Initiate Emergency Response Planning with SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County
It’s vital to the health of your business to have an emergency plan in place and to update it annually. SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County has a Emergency Response Plan (ERP) program that ensures you and your employees know how to prepare and react to storm commercial property damage. Should you need water damage mitigation, fire damage restoration, or emergency repairs as a result of commercial storm damage, your ERP with SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County will give you peace of mind that you have a strategic partner at the ready to respond to your need 24/7/365. Ask a Marketing Representative to schedule your ERP appointment today.
Don't let storm damage be disastrous to your commercial property. You worked hard to build your company and deserve the most efficient and experienced response. For the best storm damage restoration from fire, water, or wind damage, call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861
The Proper Way to Handle a Basement Water Damage
Let’s face it– most basements aren’t welcoming even on a good day, so when a basement flood occurs, you probably don’t want to be down there. Listen to that little voice because it is trying to tell you the best way to handle a basement flood is to call for help.
Depending on how you utilize your basement, there could be plenty of dangers hiding in those inches of water. If you have electrical items, such as a washer, dryer, water heater or even outlets, it is possible you could be electrocuted if you step into that water. It is well and good to say to shut off the circuit breaker first, but what if that is also located in the basement? Rather than debate on the best course of action, call for help.
If you haven’t dealt with a basement flood before, your first instinct is going to be to do an online search, call friends, or otherwise try to educate yourself on the best way to proceed. Meanwhile, the water damage could be getting even worse. Don’t delay the start of the basement flood restoration — call for help.
On the chance that electricity wasn’t a problem and you’re feeling confident you can jump right in to deal with the basement flood, think about what you plan to do with your soggy belongings. If you don’t know how to salvage things, consider that a professional can save things you might not think possible and would have thrown out. So, one more paragraph ends the same – call for help.
When you’ve reached the realization that calling for help is the best piece of advice in this article, turn to us at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. We can take care of your basement flood safely and minimize losses. We can fully restore your basement, including taking care of drywall repair and painting, so that your basement can be useful again.
Water Damage in your basement? Call the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861
How to Avoid Fire Hazards During the Holiday Season
Enjoy the Holidays and Avoid Fire HazardsFall and winter holidays are exciting times to gather with family and friends, enjoy traditional decorations and eat special foods. Unfortunately, these holiday festivities can also bring about unique fire hazards. Most residential fires happen during the colder months of the year, and are primarily caused by cooking, heating, and electrical malfunctions. A house fire will certainly take the joy out of celebrating the holidays, so take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of your home and your guests. No matter what holidays you celebrate, consider these important steps for staying safe and preventing fires.
1. Cook With CareAlthough cooking with care is always important, it can be easy to neglect caution during the chaotic holiday preparations. More cooking in the kitchen can increase the risk of a fire. Be sure to stay in the kitchen when you have something cooking on the stove top or in the oven. The NFPA recommends keeping pan lids close by so that if a fire starts you can quickly cover it with the lid and remove the pan from the burner. When food preparation is finished, turn off the burners and remove the pans, as the stove top can remain hot.
2. Pay Attention to Indoor DecorationsWhen decorating indoors, test all lights and cords and replace any faulty products before use. Hang indoor lights with clips rather than nails to avoid damaging cords and never use decorations intended for outdoor use only inside your home. If you burn candles indoors, keep them away from children and always extinguish them before you leave the room or go to sleep. Place Christmas trees or seasonal plants at least three feet away from any heat source and turn off any decorative lights prior to leaving your home or going to sleep. Never use real candles to light a tree and water a live tree every day to prevent it from becoming dry and brittle. When the holiday ends or the tree becomes dry, get rid of it. Do not leave a live, dried out tree in the garage or near your house, as they are highly combustible.
3. Use Outdoor Light Displays ResponsiblyMany people show their holiday spirit with outdoor light displays. If you decorate outside, use only electrical decorations and extension cords manufactured for outdoor use. Keep the cords and lights away from snow or standing water and avoid damage to the cord's insulation by ensuring it is not pinched in doors or windows or placed under furniture. Also when installing outdoor lights, use a ladder made of wood or fiberglass, as metal ladders can conduct electricity.
4. Don't Forget Lighters and MatchesAn open flame can pose serious risks if handled improperly. Always keep lighters, matches, and other fire-starting materials away from children. Make sure holiday guests who smoke do so outside and properly dispose of cigarette butts and ashes – by dampening cigarette butts before throwing them in the trash, for example. Exercise caution if using a fireplace or an outdoor fire pit. Gathering family and friends around a fire can be a cozy, enjoyable way to experience the colder weather but make sure you place the fire pit at least 10 feet away from your home or other structures and don't use it in windy weather, as the fire can quickly spread outside the intended area. Have your chimney inspected prior to using a wood-burning fireplace and only burn dry firewood that has been out of the rain for several months. Green or damp wood, when burned, can create additional dangers as it sizzles and smokes. Also avoid a common holiday decorating mistake by never hanging stockings or other dangling decorations in front of a working fireplace.
5. Use Fireworks AppropriatelyRinging in the New Year with fireworks has become an American tradition, but fireworks present dangers when used inappropriately. Before celebrating with fireworks, check local laws regarding their use and follow all regulations. If your area allows the use of fireworks at home, never allow children to use them unsupervised. Use fireworks outside only, away from buildings and trees, and never relight a firework that fails to explode. By understanding the potential fire risks associated with this time of year and taking simple precautions, you can keep your home and family safe, while enjoying the holiday season.
Fire Damage: The Next Steps
Fire Damage can be a scary thing. Especially, if it involves your home or business. Follow the following steps to ensure that the damage is handled properly.
- Don’t touch anything.
Never enter your premises without the express consent of firefighters. Fire damage can result in an array of hidden, unsafe conditions. In addition, touching or removing items could void your insurance coverage - or lessen the amount that you receive for damage reimbursement. Commercial fires are a serious situation. When in doubt, call for professional help.
- Turn all utilities off.
Turn off water at the valve, and gas and electricity at the meter.
- Immediately contact your insurance company.
They can start the claims process rolling by sending out an insurance adjuster to assess damages and discuss the situation. They will also advise you of what you should or should not do to protect your insurance coverage. If you rent or lease space, contact the property owner’s insurance agent as well.
- After the “all-clear,” remove necessary items.
These include business licenses and permits, inventory and accounting records, employee documents, insurance information, cash, credit cards, and checkbooks, and other valuables. NOTE: Do not open fire safes until they have cooled as contents may ignite or the safe explode!
- Notify local law enforcement – and everyone else.
Alerting local law enforcement can help prevent further vandalism, theft, and liability issues. Employees, customers, suppliers and vendors should be notified of the situation, as well as the post office and your utility and credit card companies. Be sure to provide updated contact information.
- Call a pro.
Contact your local Rainbow International professional to schedule emergency board up and tarp over services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This will protect your business against additional intruder and weather related damage. In addition, schedule a remediation assessment with a professional in order to supply a rebuilding estimate and get the ball rolling with your insurance company.
- Keep extensive records.
Carefully collect and document receipts and expenses, and keep extensive records of all phone calls and rebuilding related discussions. Get written estimates before work is begun. Take care to read all items thoroughly before signature or approval.
- Need help?
The Red Cross may be able to offer assistance.
- Consider a loss assessor.
If things aren’t going your way with the insurance company and you feel the funds you’ve been allotted aren’t a fair reflection of the damage incurred, consider the help of a loss assessor or public adjuster. Unlike the loss adjuster, who works for the insurance company, a public adjuster is licensed by the state to negotiate declined claims and disputed settlement issues between your business and the insurance company on your behalf.
- Don’t expect a quick fix.
Though fire damage happens in a flash, understand it will take time to get insurance coverage, clean the site, secure necessary permits, rebuild, alert vendors, suppliers, employees and clientele, and reopen. Be driven, but realistic, about the time and effort involved in rebuilding.
Has your business suffered a fire damage? Don’t wait. Call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. We have the knowledge, tools, and technology to restore your business to its pre-fire condition quickly! 502.241.6861
Preventing Frozen Pipes
During the winter, homeowners must take extra precaution against the freezing temperatures. If not, frozen pipes are in your future. Then, due to increased pressure, frozen pipes burst and can deposit hundreds of gallons of water each day into your home. The water damage is often immeasurable. But, you have an opportunity to prepare each year by winterizing your plumbing system.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
Before freezing temperatures hit home, protect your pipes by following these useful tips:
- Outside, drain any remaining water from your swimming pool or sprinkler supply lines by following the manufacturer’s directions. Never put antifreeze in the lines unless directly told to do so by the manufacturer.
- Remove any outdoor hoses from the faucet, and close inside vales supply the hose. Ensure you drain the hose completely before storing it somewhere dry and indoors. Ensure the outside valve is open to allow any water inside the pipe to expand without bursting the pipe itself.
- Add adequate insulation in the attic, basement, and crawlspaces. Insulation helps retain heat more efficiently.
- Check throughout your home for water supply lines in unheated rooms. Be sure to insulate any pipes you locate, especially in the garage or underneath cabinets.
Here are a few more general tips for preventing frozen pipes throughout your home:
- Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm inside and circulating around the plumbing. Remove household cleaners or harmful chemicals to prevent children or pets from accessing them.
- At night, when temperatures are at their lowest, allow cold water to drip from any faucet with an exposed pipe. Even a trickle of water will prevent the pipes from freezing over.
- Ensure the thermostat is at the same temperature both at night and during the day.
- If you are leaving for vacation, set your thermostat to a minimum of 55-degrees Fahrenheit.
Thawing Frozen Pipes
There are times when, despite your best efforts, the pipes may freeze over anyway. In that case, here is how to thaw frozen pipes:
- Open the faucet. As you work to thaw any frozen pipes, the water will flow through the frozen portion, to the open faucet, and help melt the ice on the pipe.
- Apply heat to the frozen pipe with an electric heating paid, hair dryer, space heater, or by wrapping towels soaked in hot water. Never use an open flame device, blowtorch, or propane heater, though.
- Check all the faucets in your home. If one has frozen over, then chances are quite high that others have also frozen.
- Call for frozen pipes services immediately. The longer you wait, the more potential damage you risk in your home. Avoid water damage with the right team.
If you have frozen pipes in your home, pick up the phone and call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. We provide frozen pipe and water damage restoration services when unexpected damage occurs. Give us a call at 502.241.6861