The month of January brought in two weather fronts that brought us some of the coldest weather for longer than we had seen in while. The first one was early in the month, just after the first of the year and the second came close to the middle of the month. We all try to prepare for the below freezing temps but the timing in which these came caught a lot of people were still out of town. A lot of the homes we worked in that were severely affected were unoccupied over the holidays. Water ran from frozen lines in some homes for up to 5 days in some cases, maybe more some homes the owners were unsure exactly when the burst occurred. As a home owner, if you know these weather conditions are coming and you have already left town, always have a plan, leave a key for someone so they can periodically check in or even hire a house sitter. This one simple move could save you thousands.
Storm 2018 Freeze
If I had to sum up my first storm experience in two words, the words that come to mind first are fast and furious. That is exactly how I would describe it. With this being my first year with SERVPRO and my first storm experience, I’ll admit, it was a little overwhelming at first. It is easy to get overwhelmed in a situation where you are getting so many jobs in such a small window. If it would not have been for my training and for the advice handed down to me by those who had been through it before, I would have been in way over my head. Personally, I believe, without a doubt, that a person learns best when that person does not have a choice but to learn. The training videos do help, but videos can not prepare you for the speedy, nonstop process of a storm. You learn to organize and plan better, because you simply do not have a choice. My first storm experience hit me unexpectedly and was full speed ahead, and for that, I am grateful, because it made me understand how important teamwork actually is. I look forward to learning and growing in areas where we, as a company, can improve to better prepare ourself for the next storm.
SERVPRO of Columbus/Starkville offers mold remediation and restoration; we have the training, equipment and expertise to better assist you.
I spoke with our Mold and Biohazard Manager to ask him some questions about how this process works.
It is preferred that you have an Industrial Hygienist protocol done.
What is that?
This is a process where air sampling and affected areas are tested to provide a detailed remediation and restoration protocol for SERVPRO of Columbus/Starkville to follow. There is also a post-test that will take place once we are finished to confirm clearance.
Every time our team handles a mold job, we are required to wear the appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) which includes items such as coveralls and respirators.
SERVPRO of Columbus/Starkville will make sure to keep anything deemed salvageable; we go above and beyond to ensure restoration before removal. Unfortunately, in most situations there is some tear out involved to remove affected areas such as drywall, flooring, and/or furniture.
During the mold remediation process a HEPA vacuum is used, HEPA filters are designed to capture particles as small as mold spores and to ensure that they do not get reintroduced. Our mold experts use “negative air” containment, which is created by positioning negative air machines to introduce clean air into the affected area and push contaminated air outside the home.
You want to consider getting your HVAC cleaned as well, the mold spores can collect there and be dispersed throughout the home.
Every mold infestation is different, from the amount of mold to the types of materials affected. Each scenario requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. If you have any questions, give us a call today; 662-324-3003.
Can you recreate your home?
Fire Damage- we hope it never happens to you, but unfortunately it does. Fire destroys approximately 1 in 3000 homes. 1 in about 309 homeowners sustains some kind of fire damage over the course of their life. So if your home was to catch fire, are you prepared? ‘Sure’ you said, ‘well I have insurance,’ as most of us do and we know our local and friendly insurance agent will be there to help us when the need arises. Can you ‘recreate’ your home, basically account for what was there- both structural and personal contents. On the structure side, generally this is easy to do. Some homeowners are lucky enough to still have house plans, if not you would simply need to measure and create a simple floor plan from the remaining structure. Now what about my personal belongings? It will be easy to remember the easy stuff like a 55” flat screen, kitchen table that seats 6 and a sleigh bed that was my grandparents. But what about all the little things? The complete set of John Grisham books I have collected, that expensive pottery piece I bought on vacation, the 2 Christmas trees in the attic and all the decorations, etc. It can be overwhelming what you can lose. How will I be able to remember all that stuff? You can’t, no one can- it’s just too much. What you can do is build a virtual tour of your home. You can go room to room and take photos of each wall, list them and save wherever you like in the cloud- but of course make sure it’s stored safe and secure. You can also do this with things like your jewelry box/cabinet, gun cabinet or safe and any other area you feel is important to you. This will help you considerably when you are dealing with your losses and will be a huge help when working with your insurance. Your insurance adjuster or Restoration Company can be of service to you for both or either of these services.
And we have a winner!!
Here in the south, we love our college football, especially in Starkville, home of the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Last Saturday, Mississippi State’s football program, ranked number 16 in the country, was hosting number 1, Alabama. We were able to give a couple tickets away for two lucky fans to go see this great match up. We did a Facebook give away and Tony & Sherry Hays of Eupora Mississippi were the winners of our give away. Tony and Sherry were both very excited to be able to get to go see such a high profile game. While visiting with Tony, he told me that “this was the perfect game for them to be able to go see.” It turns out that they are a house divided, I will not say which one pulls for which side, but Tony ensured me that they were really looking forward to the game. Tony, again congratulations and we hope you had a great time!
Don’t let a water leak damage your home!
There are several things you as a home owner you can do to prevent water damage from happening to you. Here are a few examples of some simple things you can do to reduce your risk.
** Be careful where you plant
Some plants and trees, like weeping willows and elm trees, have pretty invasive roots. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.
** Keep an eye on your water bill
With the majority of your water pipes hidden behind walls and in the floors in your house, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is done. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your monthly water bill. If you see it starting to creep up, or get one that’s uncommonly high, it’s a pretty good sign that you may have a leak somewhere
** Upgrade supply line hoses
Old, brittle or leaky hoses are among the most frequent causes of water loss for home owners. Checking or replacing the supply lines on your sink, toilets and appliances can potentially save you a lot of time, money and headache. Replace yours every five years or so and you might avoid a mess and very expensive damage to your home.
** Never pour grease down your sink
You’ve probably heard this before, but you should definitely avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. It doesn’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. It can still congeal and cling to your pipes, and could still cause some serious damage and blockage.
Some people use detergent to break up grease before pouring it down the drain…and that may help sometimes. But there’s no guarantee that it’ll keep the grease from sticking to your pipes, so why take the risk?
The safest thing to do is just to pour your grease in an empty can, and either let it sit or put it in the refrigerator. Once it hardens you can toss it in the trash and get rid of it.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to a flood zone and work for and meet some great people. This area had flood waters higher than they had experienced in years. There were families that were land locked and could not leave, some houses were underwater completely. There were others that were affected in different ways such as sewage backups and drainage systems that failed due to such a large volume of water. But even in the midst of all the chaos, business interruptions and displacements, the customers were so nice and welcoming to all of us. The restaurants, hotels, service stations we visited while in the area were thanking us as well for what we were doing in the area helping get others homes back in order. There were other franchises in the area from out of state that I had the chance to speak with and they shared the same sentiment. It’s great to be able to work for a company that can have this kind of positive impact in a community where customer can feel comfortable knowing we have their best interest in mind.
What do I do??
One of the most common questions during a water damage is “what do I need to do until help arrives?” Here a few Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to water damage.
- Contact your local restoration company as soon as possible
- Remove as much excess water as possible by shop vacuum, mopping or blotting
- Wipe excess water from around wood furniture after removal of lamps and table top items
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery items such as cushions for even drying
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet
- In the summer, turn on HVAC unit to maximize drying
- Remove colored rugs from wall to wall carpeting areas to minimize staining
- Pick up loose items, such as toys and clothes, to allow maximum air to reach the wet areas
- Leave fabrics wet in place, dry them as soon as possible
- Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature
- Leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet floors
- Use your household vacuum to remove water
- Use TV’s or other household appliances while standing on wet floors
- Turn on ceiling fans to help with drying if the ceiling has been wet
- Keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water
Heavy Rains caused my mold
Heavy Rains caused my mold?
We recently were asked to look at a house that they suspected had mold underneath, in the crawlspace. Our team looked at the job and verified that mold was present and that we should get it cleaned. Let me take a few minutes and talk about what happened in this particular situation. Mold will occur when areas are damp and have minimal air flow. This house had been built for years and had never had this problem before so why now? The answer, surrounding conditions had changed. There was an apartment complex that was built recently behind this customer’s home. The additional dirt work that was done, along with the addition of parking lots added some additional water flow to this home owner’s property. Even though the home had been built for years, the current drainage around the home was not quite enough to allow for proper drainage. This allowed the water to get under the home and sit allowing the mold to begin to grow. Even though you have lived in a home for years always be conscious of your surroundings. Changes in your area can have an effect on your property.
IICRC, Water Technician Class
Myself and a coworker recently had to opportunity to go attend a water training class in on one of our sister franchises here in the state. This was a three day class that focused on getting us informed on the proper drying processes for water damaged facilities. I did not have a background in this industry prior to coming on board with them, so the class was very interesting and educational. I feel that after the class I have a great understanding of the drying processes. I also understand now why timing is such an important factor in getting the job started and not letting the effects of wet material continue to sit unaddressed for any length of time. This was a great opportunity and has allowed me to be able to grow as an associate and be better able to educate customers on the "WHY" behind what we do.