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Commercial Fires and Water Damage

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Commercial Fires and Water Damage

After a fire at your The Woodlands, TX, business, there's liable to be a significant amount of water damage in addition to the fire damage. It's likely that automatic sprinklers have gone off, and that at least one fire hose was used to extinguish the flames. There may be saturated drywall and carpeting, which can lead to a mold problem if not addressed promptly.

This situation requires the skills of a professional restoration company. They can take care of the damage by:

  • Making a thorough inspection
  • Extracting the water
  • Drying and dehumidifying
  • Disinfecting and cleaning
  • Repairing damage and completing restoration

Damage Inspection and Assessment

The restoration company first makes a careful inspection, assessing the water and fire damage and looking for any possible hidden problems, such as water behind walls. From their assessment they can determine which specialized equipment and techniques are best suited to the task.

Water Removal

As quickly as possible, the technicians begin the process of water extraction. This minimizes the chance of more damage from secondary sources such as mold. Any excess water is removed, using heavy-duty pumps and vacuums.

Drying and Dehumidification

At this point, the restoration team focuses on removing any moisture or humidity that remains. This is done through the use of professional-strength dehumidifiers and air movers.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

After everything is thoroughly dried, the remaining items and surfaces are treated to remove any threat from microbes or mold, using a variety of specialized methods. Any lingering odors are dealt with by using air scrubbers and foggers.

Damage Repair and Restoration

As soon as all moisture has been completely extracted and any threat from pathogens has been eliminated, the repair and restoration work can start. Depending on the extent of the damage, this might involve simple tasks like replacing carpets and painting, or more complex work like rebuilding entire rooms.

If you've had fire damage at your business, you're most likely going to have to deal with water damage as well. Hiring a restoration company can ensure that both problems are dealt with quickly, safely and efficiently.

What To Do After A Fire

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Reducing the risk of electrical fires in one’s home is relatively simple, but the safety benefits are worth a great deal of peace-of-mind.

What To Do After A Fire

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers. 

What NOT To Do After A Fire

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

How To Prevent A Fire In Your Home

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Preparation

It's important to know what to do in case of a fire. The best fire preparation you can do, however, is to prevent a fire from happening in the first place. There are several ways you can keep your home in Houston,TX, safe from a fire.

Stay in the Room

If you are using something that has the potential to cause a home fire, you need to keep a watch over it. There are several instances where this may be the case:

  • Lighting candles
  • Using the fireplace
  • Cooking a meal
  • Smoking a cigarette

Nothing that produces a flame should ever be left unattended. Stay in the kitchen when you cook and extinguish candles and the fireplace before you leave the room. Smoke outside and use an appropriate receptacle to discard cigarette butts.

Avoid Fire Hazards

Certain appliances and areas of your home are more prone to fire outbreak than others. A regular maintenance schedule should help to minimize your risk. Fire cleanup experts often find dryers to be the source of a home fire, but this is easily preventable. Have the machine and the ducts cleaned at least once a year to remove lint buildup. Store any flammable products in your home responsibly. Keep them away from heat sources and out of the reach of children.

Have a Plan

No fire safety preparation is complete without an escape plan. Test all of your smoke detectors regularly to make sure they're working. Practice escape routes so that everyone in the family knows the quickest way to get out of the house and where to meet up in the event of a fire.

With vigilant safety precautions, you should be able to prevent a home fire. Keep a close eye on open flames and keep up with your regular maintenance schedule. If a fire does break out, follow your evacuation plan to get you and your family to safety.

The Invisible Damage of Mold

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Mold thrives in the warm, humid climates of the Houston metropolitan area. If your property has experienced flood damage in recent years, you may have a serious mold infestation lurking behind your walls. For a thorough risk assessment and mold removal, call your neighborhood SERVPRO team.  We are the trusted home restoration leader, and our team of highly trained mold remediation technicians will find the cause of the moisture and mold problem and begin to restore your property quickly.

If a property isn’t cleaned and dried properly after a flood, mold can start to grow at an exponential rate. That’s why it’s important to have a professional and trusted team like SERVPRO of Bear Creek handle the cleanup after water intrusion from a flood, or broken water pipe. Many times, we see mold infestations caused by improper cleaning and restoration techniques, often due to beginning the process before moisture and humidity levels been restored to pre-flood levels. If new drywall, insulation, or carpeting is installed too early, your property is at risk for mold infestation.

While it may be easy to spot mold growing on walls, grout lines, and other areas, it is impossible to see the mold prospering behind the drywall, or under the flooring. Mold needs food, like insulation or carpeting, and a warm, humid environment to thrive. If flood damage cleanup in the home was completed improperly, structural elements like floor joists and framing can be weakened, damaging a home’s structural integrity.

Mold spores travel through the air, often through a property’s heating and air conditioning vents. The ventilation system can harbor mold and provides a highway throughout the home for the mold to spread. That is why it is essential that at the first sight of mold, a professional mold remediation team is called. Our team at SERVPRO of Bear Creek is available 24 hours a day to help property owners after water damage, fire, a severe storm, or a mold infestation damages the home.

In the event our team finds mold in your property, we will work quickly to bring your property back to its original condition. The process starts with a thorough investigation of the water damage, applying a special microbial compound to affected areas that will kill the mold, and then begin the structural drying with industrial dehumidifying fans. This is an integral part of the restoration to help ensure that mold doesn’t grow behind the walls, under the flooring, in the insulation, or in other invisible areas of your home. Call us today if you suspect you have a mold problem; we stand ready to help our neighbors in and around the Houston area with water damage and flood damage cleanup, and mold remediation.  

5 Water Damage Prevention Tips for Your Home

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

5 Water Damage Prevention Tips for Your Home

When you live in Houston, TX, you may find it important to protect your home against possible water damage. Here are five things you can do that may help mitigate damage.

  1. Keep Gutters Clear of Debris

One of the first steps you can take to help avoid a water cleanup in your home is to keep your gutters and drainage areas free of debris. Blocked gutters can lead to water overflow which can back up onto the roof and cause leaks into your home.

  1. Slope Landscape Away from the Home

Another thing you can do is slope any landscaping away from your home. This will keep water from flowing downhill to pool against the foundation, instead directing it away to any intended drainage areas.

  1. Take Care of Problems Quickly

It's best to take care of any water damage you may find in your home as quickly as possible. This can help you prevent long-term problems, as well as possible mold issues.

  1. When in Doubt Contact a Professional

If you believe you may have a problem area, or find damage that needs to be fixed, it's best to contact a professional as soon as possible. Your local damage restoration service may have a variety of recommendations for protecting your residence. They can also help restore any damaged areas.

  1. Winterize Your Water Pipes

One way to avoid broken pipes which may lead to water caused damage is to winterize them when you know cold weather is coming. There are several ways to do this so you may wish to talk to a professional about the best method for your pipe setup.
When protecting your home against water damage these five things may help. Keep your gutters clear of debris to avoid water overflow onto the roof, slope your landscaping away from the house to avoid pooling against the foundation, and winterize your pipes to avoid breakage during cold weather. It's also important to take care of any problems found as quickly as possible, and to contact a professional for help.

How To Clean Water-Damaged Clothing

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

When people deal with unexpected water in the home, their first thoughts are usually of carpets and floors, walls, or furniture. Clothing doesn't usually come to mind right away, but you should consider how expensive a wardrobe can be. Yes, the carpets, walls, and furniture are important, but it is also important to know how to clean water-damaged clothes in Houston, TX.

Decide Which Items You Want to Save

Before you start calculating the costs of dry cleaning for each of your water-damaged items, determine which ones are worth spending the money to save. You'll want to avoid:

  • Anything touched by sewage water
  • Anything that has large stains on it
  • Anything that seems to have a lot of discoloration
  • Anything covered in mold or mildew

In addition, if the items are extremely worn, or if cleaning them will cost more than you spent on the item in the first place, it is a good idea to get rid of them. Once you decide which pieces of clothing you want to salvage, separate the wet items from each other to prevent colors from running and allow them to start the drying process.

Begin the Washing Process

After fixing a broken pipe and starting the cleanup of water in the home, it is time to start washing the clothes you'd like to keep. The water restoration company you work with can tell you if it is safe to use your washer. If it isn't, you can head to a local laundromat. However, note that it is often more cost-effective and safer to hire a dry-cleaning service to try to salvage your water-damaged clothing. A professional's machines and chemicals are much more powerful.

Whether you're dealing with a broken pipe or another reason for having water in the home, don't forget about saving as many of your clothing items as possible during the cleanup process. Clothing may or may not be covered in your flood insurance policy, so salvaging a wardrobe will likely help you to save money.

7 Tips For Cleaning After a Flood

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

7 Tips for Cleaning up After a Flood

Here in the greater Houston metropolitan area, torrential rains and hurricanes often cause flooding. When floods damage your home, give locally owned and operated Houston SERVPRO the opportunity to help you throughout the cleanup and restoration process. Our team has the training, expertise, and tools necessary to help you recover quickly from a flood. Cleaning up after a flood requires patience and persistence and is often an overwhelming task for homeowners. However, if you decide to do the cleanup yourself, here are our best 7 tips for cleaning up after a flood:

  1.  Wear Protective Clothing.  Floodwaters carry potentially hazardous chemicals, bacteria, debris, and even wildlife. It is imperative that anyone starting the cleanup process wears steel-shank and toed boots, mid-arm rubber gloves, eye protection, and heavy clothing.
  2. Use Proper Equipment. As soon as it is safe to your home, extract the standing water with a wet/dry vacuum. Using fans and portable dehumidifiers throughout the home will also help to speed up the process. If electricity has been cut to your home, use a generator and extension cords designed for outdoor use.
  3. Remove Furniture. If possible, place water damaged furniture from your home outdoors to dry, preferably out of direct sunlight.
  4. Remove Carpet. Carpet that has been saturated by floodwaters will need to be thrown out. Cut into narrow strips, roll, and dispose of properly. Be mindful that carpet and padding will be extremely heavy when waterlogged. Rent a dumpster to aid in the disposal.
  5. Scrub Hard Surfaces. Use a combination of bleach and water to scrub all the hard surfaces including floors, walls, countertops, and other items to kill the potentially dangerous bacteria carried by the water. Purchase a large supply of buckets, sponges, stiff scrub brushes, and paper towels.
  6. Apply Mold Inhibitors. In our area, mold starts to develop within 48 hours of water damage. Once the water has been extracted, the drywall, insulation, and carpeting have been removed, and all surfaces have been disinfected and dried, apply a commercially available mold inhibitor, This step will help prevent the need for mold remediation in the future.
  7. Research Restoration Tips.  When water damages personal items like photos, antiques, clothing, or fine art, it can be tempting to throw them in the dumpster with the other damaged items. However, there is a chance that with proper restoration, these items can be salvaged. It is important to use the techniques and processes professional emergency flood restoration teams utilize.

Severe weather is common in our area, and SERVPRO of Bear Creek ensures that all of our team members have the training and the equipment necessary to restore properties to their pre-flood condition. We are honored to be a preferred service provider for many national insurance companies, allowing us to coordinate directly with them, saving you time and frustration. 

Proper Drying of Any Structure

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

Proper Drying of Any Structure

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Bear Creek Water Restoration Services.

SERVPRO of Bear Creek is dedicated to providing the community with safe and accurate restoration and mitigation services. Our goal is to dry any structure within 3 - 5 days of the first notice of loss.

Proper drying protocols are determined by IICRC the leading national council on restorative cleaning processes.  According to IICRC the best way to prevent mold is to properly dry out both the structure and contents within 48 to 72 hours after a water damage. 

Our process includes three distinct steps:

  • Mitigation - mitigation helps to reduce the cost of the loss and prevents moisture from spreading to additional areas of the structure.  Mitigation services include immediate water extraction of standing water on the surface of the structure floors.  This process also includes stabilization of the environment with the introduction of drying equipment.
  • Remediation - remediation includes the advanced drying of the structure and content within the structure.  Content can include furniture, fixtures and personal belongings.  Air saturated with water will not allow materials to dry.  To properly dry both the structure and content we introduce the tag-team of drying equipment which includes dehumidifiers and air movers.  During the remediation process building materials may be removed based on the desecration of the Production Manager on site and the insurance adjuster if the claim is being filed under an insurance carrier.  Building materials that are most often removed include; drywall, insulation, flooring and in many cases ceiling tiles.
  • Reconstruction - the final step of the process and to make your loss, "Like it never even happened." is to replace any building materials that have been removed.  Our in-house construction team can replace any building materials to help make the situation good as new or good as your property was before the water loss happened.

In total the remediation process is a simple, yet important, process in dealing with any water loss.  If you are unsure if your property is in need of restoration or if you think you may be able to handle it contact SERVPRO of Bear Creek at 281-463-9800 to get our professional opinion on your situation and if remediation services are appropriate for your instance.

4 Steps To Prepare for a Storm

1/10/2020 (Permalink)

4 Steps To Prepare For a Storm

If you are expecting a storm in Houston, TX, then it is a good idea to prepare both your home and your family for an emergency. Flood water could affect your safety and cause damage to your house as well. Keep the following tips in mind when you are anticipating severe weather.

1. Inspect Your Home

If your house already has condition issues, then the water damage that comes with a storm could make things even worse. Cracks in the exterior, deteriorated window and door frames, and roof damage can all let in moisture. This can cause building materials to rot and can contribute to the growth of mold. Inspect the building and complete any necessary repairs before the storm.

2. Move Important Belongings

During a storm, you may need to prepare in advance for a flooded building. If your house has multiple floors, move what you can to a higher level. Otherwise, place items inside cabinets or on shelves. Waterproof safes or airtight containers are great options for storing paper documents or small items.

3. Prepare an Evacuation Plan

In some cases, the weather may become dangerous. Watch or listen to the news so you are aware of any changes. Have a plan in case you need to evacuate. Know where you will go and figure out multiple routes that you can take to get there.

4. Make an Emergency Kit

If you plan to stay at home for the duration of the storm, make sure to gather emergency supplies. Flood water can contaminate your water source, so stock up on bottled water as well as canned foods. Your kit should also include flashlights and batteries in case of a power outage.
Using these tips can help you get through the storm safely. However, while you may be able to prevent some damage, flood water may still find a way into your dwelling. If this happens, an emergency cleanup and restoration company can help. They can remove the water, sanitize the building and make repairs to your home.

How to Begin the Insurance Claim Process After Water Damage

12/12/2019 (Permalink)

First, contact a professional water repair and remediation service to remove the water.

An insurance policy is a document that lists the conditions, terms, and details of a contract between you and your insurance company. The contract can protect you by clearly outlining your obligations when you are ready to file an insurance claim in Houston, TX.  On the other hand, the contract also clearly states the terms under which the policy becomes void, and the insurance company does not have to pay. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you follow the terms of your contract.

Insurance Company Requirements

The first step in protecting your interests may be to review your insurance policy and note your legal obligations. If the pipe burst damage requires a police report, speak to law enforcement officers. Most insurance companies ask for a copy of the report if the flood or water damage is a result of:

• Burglary
• Vandalism
• Theft

The next step may be contacting your insurance company to report the insurance claim. Please note that reporting a claim and filing a claim are not the same. When you report the damage to your agent, you are notifying him or her of the damage and asking for an adjustor to review the situation.

Homeowner Insurance Obligations

Protecting your interests can also include documentation. First, contact a professional water repair and remediation service to remove the water. Ask the team to document their efforts, if possible. You may want to record the damage as well. Although your policy will probably not require you to take pictures of the damage, doing so can help you establish a solid claim.

To begin the actual claim process, fill the claim forms out and promptly return the papers to your insurance company. Make copies for yourself in case the documents get lost in the mail.

Beginning the Legal Process

Once you fill in the insurance claim forms, you are starting a legal process that is clearly defined by the terms of your insurance policy. If you fulfill the terms of the policy, the insurance company is legally required to pay. It’s the law.

Visit http://www.SERVPRObearcreek.com/ for more information on water damage.