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Five Ways to Prepare for Winter Storm Damage That Leads to Power Outages

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian outlines five ways to prepare for winter storm power outages that could potentially lead to water damage and fire damage.

A winter storm can cause power outages that lead to a myriad of difficulties, including potential fire and water damage. By applying the information in the tips listed below, local homeowners can take steps to prepare before the storm hits so that they put themselves in a better position to recover after the storm passes.

Ensure access to basic necessities

Homes that are not connected to a municipal water supply will not be able to continue to provide water in a power outage. Well pumps do not operate without electricity, so homeowners who use well water will need to have an adequate supply of bottled water on hand. If the forecast gives enough warning, the homeowner can also fill up the washing machine and bathtub to provide extra water sources for bathing, cleaning dishes, or using the toilet.

A stock of nonperishable food items is also essential, especially in the case of an extended outage that leaves a household unable to cook or keep food fresh. Nonperishable foods include:

  • nuts
  • seeds
  • dried fruit
  • peanut butter or nut butters
  • canned fruits, vegetables, and meat
  • chips and crackers
  • granola bars and energy bars
  • civilian or military surplus ration packs
  • freeze-dried meals

Purchase a manual can opener, as well as a backup.

Gather alternative sources of power

Stock up on a wide variety of batteries, from AAA batteries to D batteries to button cell batteries, depending on the needs of the home. Check to see which batteries are used in smoke detectors, medical equipment, flashlights, radios, clocks, and other essential appliances, and purchase plenty of spare batteries in the correct sizes and types. Add extra flashlights and battery-powered radios to the shopping list since these tools are indispensable in the event of power loss.

Equip the car to operate without access to power

When the meteorologist predicts severe winter storms in the forecast, make sure to fill up the gas tank before the power goes out. Gas pumps require electricity to operate, so if the fuel gauge on the car or truck reads at or near empty, it will remain empty until power is restored to the affected area.

Also, keep car chargers on hand to charge phones and devices so that the members of the household can access breaking news, outage updates, and relevant local information. Check to make sure that the car charger is compatible with the devices that will need to be charged.

Collect a supply of fuel for the home

BobVila.com, an online home and garden resource, offers the following recommendation: “Consider how you will stay warm if the power goes out. Even a gas-powered furnace requires electricity to run the fan that sends warm air through the vents. If you have a gas fireplace, consider installing a battery backup for the starter if it doesn’t already have one. If you have a wood stove, stock up on firewood. Do not use a propane heater inside the home unless it is one specifically designed for indoor use; carbon monoxide can build up and create a deadly hazard.”

Some homeowners may have access to a grill that they can use to cook meals. However, grills should never be used inside the home, and neither should candles. When cooking without power, abide by the same fire safety precautions that apply to cooking with power, such as the following safety tips:

  • Do not leave the cooking area unattended.
  • Remove flammable objects and substances, such as paper towels, dishcloths, wooden utensils, and lighter fluid, from the cooking area.
  • Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.

When burning wood to provide heating and cooking, remember that fire damage is a potential risk, so fire safety precautions are essential. Typically, smoke alarms are battery-operated, but if fresh batteries have not been installed recently, replace the batteries to ensure that the unit will be functional in the event of a fire. Also, consider purchasing a fire extinguisher and learning how to use it properly.

Prepare the plumbing for freezing temperatures

An extended power outage is bad enough, but if the home’s water pipes are not well insulated, more trouble could arise when the power comes back on and the temperatures warm up. Frozen pipes can burst and crack, leading to a water damage disaster when the ice melts and water starts to drip or spew from the plumbing. To prepare the water pipes for a winter storm that will cause temperatures to drop to freezing, turn off the main water valve and allow all the faucets to drain until the pipes have been emptied.

Who to call when winter storms lead to property damage

In the event that fire damage or water damage occurs due to the conditions caused by a winter storm power outage, the local community can turn to SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian to rapidly provide damage restoration services. The team is available 24/7/365, and the water damage restoration company can draw on the resources of the wider SERVPRO franchise to provide a clean-up and restoration solution for large loss incidents.

For more information about fire and water damage restoration in Red Oak, TX, call the office at (972) 935-0827 or email SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

How Rodents Can Cause Electrical Fires and Fire Damage in Midlothian, TX, Homes

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian warns the local community about the connection between electrical fires and the presence of rodents in the home.

Fire damage may often result in the need for water removal and water damage restoration. In Midlothian, TX, homes, fire can result from a variety of causes, and one of these causes is the failure of or damage to the home’s electrical components. A sometimes overlooked contributor to electrical fires in the home is rodents. The experts at PestWorld.org, the official consumer education website of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), estimate that “rodents are responsible for 20 percent to 25 percent of all fires of unknown causes because of their propensity for chewing electrical wiring and gas lines.”

Rodents often gnaw on housing materials, such as wiring, insulation, and pipes, because these pests need to be constantly filing down their teeth. If a rodent’s teeth grow too long, the animal will be unable to eat. Once rats or mice chew through the protective plastic insulation covering the electrical wires, the metal is exposed, and sparks from a shorted circuit or heat from the live wire could ignite a fire if the homeowner does not discover the damaged wiring in time. Rodent nests and debris caused by rodent activity can become the fuel that touches off a destructive house fire.

The rodent roundup: What are Texas’ most infamous rodents?

While Texas is home to many different types of rodents, four pests are the most notable: the eastern deer mouse, the house mouse, the brown rat, and the roof rat.

Eastern deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus)

These native Texas rodents can be found throughout Lone Star State, especially in rural areas. Their white and brown coloration resembles that of a deer, hence the name ‘deer mice.’ Eastern deer mice are nocturnal and can reach a size of around three to four inches long, not including the mouse’s tail. When they enter homes, they often do so in order to build a nest.

House mice (Mus musculus)

Although house mice are not native to Texas, they are present throughout the entire state. Like eastern deer mice, they are nocturnal, but they are also active during the daytime. Adults can grow to three to four inches, excluding the tail. House mice are prolific breeders, so eradicating them from a house they have infested can be a challenging task. By the time the pest control company or exterminator has remediated the infestation, the home may have sustained extensive damage.

Brown rats (Rattus norvegicus)

The brown rat, also known as the common rat, the Norway rat, the street rat, or the sewer rat, is one of Texas’ largest pests, reaching an adult body length of seven to nine inches. The species is not native to the area, but they are present in most of Texas, although they are more commonly seen in the north of the state. Brown rats reproduce at a rapid rate.

Roof rats (Rattus rattus)

Alternatively known as the black rat or the house rat, the roof rat is a skilled climber and can make its way to the roof, the rafters, or the attic. Roof rats like to stay in populated areas and can gnaw through a variety of household materials such as wood, drywall, aluminum siding, and electrical wiring. In terms of size, they can grow to a length of six to eight inches, not including the length of the tail. According to PestWorld.org, “Roof rats only live up to one year but have the ability to produce as many as 40 new offspring during their lifetime.”

The two calls homeowners need to make

When a rodent infestation is suspected or detected, the homeowner will need to call in the services of a professional pest control company or wildlife exclusion company that can safely resolve the problem. In addition to dealing with the current rodent problem, a wildlife exclusion service will identify and seal up rodent access points so that the pests do not return to the home.

The second call is to a fire damage restoration company. In the event that rodents have caused fire damage to the home, the services of a restoration company will be essential to remediate the damage and return life to a sense of normalcy. However, it is recommended that homeowners prequalify a full-service damage restoration company before a disaster strikes in order to minimize stress and provide a clear plan of action in case of property damage.

Contact SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian to learn more about fire damage restoration, water damage restoration, and water removal services in Midlothian, TX. The office can be reached by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or by phone at (972) 935-0827.

Helping Businesses in the Automotive Repair Industry Navigate Coverage for Water and Flood Damage

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian outlines strategies for securing insurance coverage that sufficiently safeguards an auto body shop.

The commercial water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian understand the pressures that water and flood damage can put on a business, including auto body shops. Damaged equipment, lost time, and lost profits can take a toll on an automotive repair business, potentially causing it to close down. When water damage occurs, comprehensive insurance coverage can make the difference between a rapid recovery or a sudden shuttering of operations.

Determining the business’s flood zone

Water damage caused by storm-related flooding is not covered in the same way as water damage from a burst pipe. If the auto body shop is located in a flood zone or in an area that commonly experiences water damage from floodwaters, the owner will need to acquire a separate flood insurance policy to ensure that the business is protected against the costs of flood damage restoration. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) “provides flood insurance to property owners, renters, and businesses, and having this coverage helps them recover faster when floodwaters recede.”

Insuring equipment for an automotive repair business

When adding endorsements to an insurance policy, consider the following items for which coverage could be advantageous:

  • Company vehicles and customer vehicles

Multiple forms of vehicle insurance will likely be needed for an auto body shop. The first type of insurance is for vehicles owned and used by the company. A comprehensive commercial auto insurance policy will provide broad coverage that includes protection from events other than automobile collisions. The second type of insurance, called garage keeper’s liability insurance, protects customers’ vehicles that are kept on-site for tune-ups or repairs.

  • Industry-specific machinery and tools

The policy limit is the cap on what insurance will cover when it comes to damaged property and equipment. If it is anticipated that the cost of machinery used in the auto body shop is higher than the policy limit, the business owner should consider increasing coverage or obtaining separate deductibles for each individual piece of equipment. Sufficient coverage will enable the auto repair business to replace its essential machinery and tools, such as hydraulic vehicle lifts, air compressors, engine hoists, floor jacks, transmission jacks, oil caddies, battery chargers, brake lathes, strut compressors, air conditioning recovery machines, and hydraulic presses.

  • Electronics and electrical systems

Water is highly destructive when it comes into contact with electronics, and computers, security cameras, shop lights, and other equipment are vulnerable to being destroyed by flood damage. In addition to replacing damaged electronics, insurance may also pay to rewire water-damaged areas of the facility.

Other situations to consider

  • Building code requirements

Often, a water damage disaster involves structural damage that requires reconstruction services in addition to water damage cleanup and restoration services. However, when reconstruction is needed, complexities arise. A Texas insurance claim attorney explains, “Once a structure has been damaged, the law requires that new construction will have to conform to current building codes. If your location was built over a decade ago, increased costs may include widening doorways or rewiring circuits—costs that are not covered under standard policies. Ordinance and law coverage can provide the payment you need for plumbing upgrades, increased costs of construction, and the expense of meeting new building regulations.”

  • Business interruptions

In severe cases of water damage, the rebuilding process could take an extended period of time: weeks or even months. If the auto body shop has to temporarily shut down while repairs are made, the owner loses much-needed income. Business interruption insurance helps mitigate that loss. According to insurance provider Nationwide, “business interruption insurance helps you pay bills, replace the lost income, and cover payroll when a covered event forces your business to close temporarily.”

  • Catastrophic property damage

Unfortunately, some water or flood damage events are so severe that the most cost-effective response to the disaster is for the auto body shop to close down permanently. However, if the business owner invested in total loss coverage, compensation would cover the value of the unsalvageable building and equipment, enabling the owner to have a fresh start.

Choosing a restoration company that handles the insurance claims process

At SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian, the team works with the client’s insurance company and helps manage the paperwork in order to provide a stress-free insurance claims process. SERVPRO staff ensures that the insurance company is informed about which items are salvageable and which items will need to be replaced. Also, technicians deliver a detailed estimate that is thoroughly documented and includes both images and video. This estimate prevents surprises and is a valuable asset in the claims process.

To learn more about commercial flood damage restoration, call SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian at (972) 935-0827. The office can also be reached by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

What to Do When Appliances Have Been Affected by a Water Damage Disaster

10/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian advises homeowners on how to deal with appliances suffering from water damage safely.

SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian understands the headaches that water damage can cause. Water damage is not only disruptive and inconvenient, but it can also be dangerous when electrical appliances are involved. Most homes have multiple electrical devices in every room. When these devices are exposed to high levels of moisture or become submersed in water, the risk hazard of shock, electrocution, or fire is elevated.

Below are just a few of the electrical hazards in certain rooms of the home:

  • Bathroom: hair dryer, radio, electric clippers, curling iron, fan, portable lamps, cosmetic mirrors
  • Kitchen: coffeemakers, blender, food processor, juicer, air fryer, toaster, microwave oven, television
  • Laundry room: iron, washer, dryer, floor fan, vacuum cleaner, and freezer
  • Home office: computers, monitors, laptop, printers, paper shredder, electric pencil sharpener, fans, recharging station for electronics

How to deal with water-damaged appliances

When entering the home, avoid using any appliances (electric or gas) without first taking necessary safety precautions. The homeowner’s first reaction after a water damage disaster or weather-related flooding may be to venture into the home and assess the extent of the damage. Avoid this impulse. The contents of the house may have shifted, damaging gas lines, electrical wiring, and outlets. The risk is very high. High water may have ripped gas-operated appliances (oven, water heater) from the supply lines. A rotten-egg smell is a strong indication that natural gas is leaking into the home. If a gas leak is detected, immediately evacuate the structure and call 911. Keep everyone a safe distance from the house until the danger is averted.

Moisture and water can quickly render appliances and the HVAC system useless and dangerous. In the case of electrical appliances, the severity of the situation depends on several factors:

  • Extent of exposure
  • Length of exposure
  • Contamination levels from sewage or mold

Important safety tips to keep everyone safe

The safety steps listed below can help families and pets navigate a water damage disaster safely.

#1. Secure the services of an IICRC-certified restoration professional to inspect and assess the damage.

Contact a qualified, reputable property damage cleanup and restoration specialist to inspect and assess the situation. Make sure the company is competent to handle appliances and electronics that have been subjected to moisture and water. Wait for the team to arrive. SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has the fastest response times in the industry. With water-damaged electronics and appliances, minutes make a difference.

The operation of an appliance such as a dishwasher, washing machine, or computer after a few hours of air-drying can destroy the appliance, shock anyone touching the device, or cause a fire. Never enter a home with standing water, especially if the structure still has power. If someone nearby is using a generator to power a home, the power lines could be “hot” with backflow from the generator. The appliance may appear to be thoroughly dried out, but internal components can trap moisture, hindering or preventing fast evaporation of the water and humidity. Testing the appliance can prove to be an “electrifying” experience. Do not operate an electrical appliance until a qualified technician has approved the device or appliance for use.

#2. Do not operate the HVAC system.

It is tempting to operate the HVAC system when humidity levels in the home are high, and the temperature is sweltering. HVAC components inside the house may be water-logged, and ductwork may be flooded or separated. After only a day or two, mold becomes a concern. Activation of the HVAC system can spread mold spores throughout the entire home in a matter of minutes. Once a certified HVAC technician has inspected and approved the system, it can be used to cool the house and lower humidity levels.

#3. Inspect the inside of the refrigerator and freezer for mold issues.

If the refrigerator continuously operates throughout the water damage event, water in the moisture in the insulation dries out slowly. The warm, moist environment is perfect for fast mold growth. Insulation in a refrigerator is located higher up in the unit than insulation in a chest freezer. If the water level was no more than an inch or so deep, insulation in the refrigerator and the freezer should be fine. The compressor and condenser are sealed and, therefore, resistant to water damage.

If the water dispenser and ice maker are hooked up to the waterline and the water has been offline, or under a water alert, it is advisable to change the water filter to the refrigerator. Throw out any ice in the bins for at least two cycles to ensure the ice is safe. Wash and sanitize the container, and flush the water dispenser for several minutes.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian has been serving the area since 2000. The damage restoration company is locally owned and backed by a nationwide system of qualified franchises. Being centrally located in Ellis County means technicians are within a thirty-minute drive or less of any location in the community. The team of water restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration.

For more information about Red Oak, TX, water damage restoration, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

How Maintenance Can Keep a Stove Operating Efficiently While Preventing Possible Fire Damage

10/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers stove care tips for peak operating efficiency of the appliance and fire damage prevention.

SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers tips to help homeowners keep their stoves working at peak efficiency and prevent a fire damage disaster. With regular maintenance and cleaning, Midlothian, TX, homeowners can keep the stove working efficiently and safely. Proper maintenance and early intervention when repairs are needed can also extend the life of the appliance.

COVID-19, remote work, supply chain issues, and high food prices have re-invigorated dining in. The use of the stove has skyrocketed, and this constant, daily usage will take a toll on the stove. A regular routine of maintenance and cleaning will keep the appliance performing at peak levels while extending its lifespan and minimizing the potential for fire damage.

Four basic stove care tips

Tip #1: Maintenance starts on day one.

Maintenance begins the day the appliance is installed. If maintenance has been neglected on a stove already in use, today is a great day to start providing the appliance with the attention and care it needs to operate efficiently and safely for many years to come.

Tip #2: Monthly maintenance makes sense for most situations.

Usage has a bearing on the frequency of the maintenance and cleaning plan. Be proactive. Monthly maintenance is advised. Greater frequency may be needed during holidays and special events when usage is very high.

Tip #3: Read the owner’s manual.

A stove is a major investment with a lifetime of rewards. Take time to read the owner’s manual and highlight key sections, contact information, and warranty information. If a digital version is available, download it for safekeeping. Store the hard copy in a file cabinet with other appliance and device manuals.

By knowing and following the owner’s manual, the homeowner can avoid actions that damage the appliance or nullify the warranty. Proper maintenance will be outlined in the manual. Is it safe to use cleaning solutions on the inside of a self-cleaning oven? The owner’s manual has the answer. Only use cleaning solutions approved in the owner’s manual for usage on the inside of self-cleaning ovens.

Tip #4: Follow safety precautions while cleaning the oven.

Some of these safety precautions include:

  • The oven should be cool to the touch while performing cleaning and maintenance.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using cleaners on the unit.
  • Be sure to unplug the appliance when performing electrical repairs.

Five simple safety tips

A stove is a powerful appliance. A small coil can reach temperatures exceeding 1100 degrees Fahrenheit, while a large coil can exceed 1600 degrees Fahrenheit. When used safely, a stove can bring nutritional benefits and culinary enjoyment. Listed below are five important safety tips.

  • Install a safety bracket to keep the unit from tipping over.
  • Turn pot handles to the back or side to prevent accidental spillage from clothing snagging on the handles or young children reaching up to grab a shiny handle.
  • When opening lids, protect the hands, arms, face, and eyes from steam release.
  • Keep dishes being cooked contained in their safe space. When pots boil over, and when greasy foods and oil splatter, the risk of personal injury and fire rises. The mess is also difficult to clean up.
  • Have a fire extinguisher and a supply of baking soda at the ready in case a pan erupts into flames. Never use water to extinguish flames in a frying pan; the results could be explosive when the water hits the hot grease.

Bonus tip: One of the leading causes of fire damage is unattended cooking fires. When cooking on the stove, stay with the dishes while they are cooking on the stove. Turn off the burners and cover the pans before leaving the kitchen.

Cleaning care tips

A clean stove is a safer stove. As mentioned earlier, use cleaners that are safe for the appliance and humans. Avoid using harsh abrasives on glass top stoves. In contrast, a stainless-steel stovetop responds well to a strong degreaser. For an eco-friendly cleanser, mix equal parts of baking soda, salt, and water to create a mildly abrasive paste. Apply the paste with a soft cloth and rub vigorously to remove the grime.

Avoid using water on knobs and dials. Instead, use a damp cloth to clean the areas around the knobs. Remove the parts and wash them separately. Excessive moisture can damage the electrical circuits in a stove.

Spills, grease, and food can build up and catch fire. Clean around the burners to remove residue that can smolder, setting off smoke alarms. The oven hood, including the fan, needs to be cleaned regularly.

In kitchens where the oven is often used, the inside of the appliance may need more frequent cleanings. Spills, splashes, and drips should be cleaned up without delay to prevent smoke damage or fire. Avoid the use of detergent or soaps on the inside of the oven. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper cleaning solutions and techniques. Remove the racks before running the self-cleaning feature. Avoid allowing grime to build up. Wash racks with hot soapy water in the sink or a tub of water. Include the stove hood in the cleaning process.

Make rapid repairs and replacements

A delay in repairing a stove can cause an electrical fire or result in an injury during the cooking process when a pan tilts and spills on a burner. Replace worn or broken parts such as the stove and oven elements. A faulty door hinge, a broken oven window, a damaged door gasket, a bent, and uneven element, or a broken dial can be disastrous. Most parts can be purchased online from the manufacturer or an after-market provider.

A cooking fire, along with the process used to extinguish the flame, can cause extensive fire, water, and smoke damage. The water and fire damage cleanup and restoration team at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is IICRC-certified, has years of experience, and is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian to learn more about fire damage restoration in Midlothian, TX. The office can be reached by calling (972) 935-0827 or by emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

What Midlothian, TX, Residents Need to Know About Wind Speeds and Storm Damage

10/10/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights the power of high winds to cause serious storm damage in the Waxahachie and Midlothian, TX communities.

SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights the power of high winds to cause serious storm damage in Midlothian, TX, and surrounding communities. Storm damage may be caused by many different factors. Excessive rain is generally thought of as the most common cause of storm damage. The rain may be heavy for a short period of time, and a stalled thunderstorm can spill as much precipitation on an area as a tropical storm or hurricane. Flash flooding can be devastating, especially in areas that are not covered by the FEMA flood insurance program.

Lightning may cause a house fire after a direct strike. One bolt of lightning can take out an entire power grid, putting tens of thousands of people in the dark without water, electricity, or air conditioning.

Wind can also cause severe storm damage. In fact, high winds can damage the roof, gutters, siding, and glass windows and doors of a structure, exposing the home to severe water damage. A brief blast of wind can roll up shingles, underlayment, and OSB board like a piece of carpet. The roof repair might only cost a few thousand dollars, but the water damage could cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair. By fully understanding the power of the wind to cause storm damage, the homeowner will be better able to adequately prepare for, respond to, and recover from a wind-related storm damage disaster.

Wind threat: High to extreme

When the wind threat is high to extreme, windspeeds reach or exceed 90 to 110 mph. At these speeds, the wind poses an extreme danger to life and property. Gusts over 110 mph are catastrophic. Well-constructed homes suffer severe damage to the roof and walls. These winds peel away the roof, exposing the home to severe flooding, and some homes could be a total loss after sustaining this level of damage.

Factories and warehouses will sustain roof and wall damage. Water damage to equipment, inventory, and electronics could be extensive. High-rise buildings sway. Windows are shattered, and airborne debris becomes destructive missiles that increase the damage. Personal injury and loss of life are inevitable for anyone caught in this storm. The infrastructure is crippled. Power, water, phones, and natural gas are disrupted. Trees will lose limbs or be uprooted. Damage to crops and livestock is severe.

According to a local news source, “The strongest winds in D-FW’s history are typically associated with storms. According to the National Weather Service, the highest wind gust on record for Dallas County is 115 mph at Addison Airport on June 12, 1996.”

Windspeeds have been clocked at 115 mph in the North Dallas area. High winds pose an existential threat to life, limb, and property and should be taken seriously.

Wind threat: Moderate

Windspeeds of 60mph to 90mph are more frequent than the higher windspeeds mentioned above. The damage effects of these strong winds are serious. A tropical storm or fading hurricane may produce these wind forces. Homes will suffer roof failure, wall damage, and broken windowpanes. The winds are strong enough to down powerlines and break some power poles. Estimates to replace a broken power pole range from 8 to 18 man-hours.

Well-constructed homes will incur some damage to shingles, siding, gutters, and windows. A storm with wind speeds of 60 to 90 mph will damage many homes with roof damage that is severe enough to allow for major water intrusions if the rainfall is heavy. Do not be lulled into a sense of security when the weather report calls for moderately high winds. If conditions are right, a total roof failure could occur.

Wind threat: Elevated

This wind threat level includes windspeeds from 39-60 mph. These wind speeds are not uncommon, but the homeowner should not ignore them. Some measure of damage is likely, though it will be limited in severity. A few homes may sustain minor damage to roof shingles and siding. Some water intrusion may occur in the attack. If rain persists, the water damage could be extensive. Isolated power outages, some down trees, and a few downed power lines may need some attention. Unsecured items on the lawn, such as garbage cans, swings, lawn furniture, the trampoline, and the unsecured grill, may succumb to the winds. Some diseased trees or tree limbs may break and fall onto the roof. A six-inch limb impacting the roof after a 10-foot fall can cause severe damage at the point of impact. The damaged roof can allow hundreds of gallons of water to flow into the home until the limb or tree is removed, and the roof is tarped.

When storm damage occurs, trust SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian to clean up the mess and restore the damaged areas. The team of restoration experts specializes in residential, commercial, and large-scale disaster cleanup and restoration and is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including on holidays.

To learn more about storm damage restoration, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Tips for Addressing Mold Growth on Hardwood Floors and Securing Mold Remediation Services

9/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian Restoration Company highlights ways to effectively stop the growth of mold on hardwood floors.

The IICRC-certified property damage restoration technicians at SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian have the training and experience to handle property damage disasters of any size and type, including mold on hardwood floors. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, EPA-approved products, and advanced cleaning techniques, technicians are able to tackle the toughest challenges.

Dealing with mold on wood floors

Hardwood flooring, one of the most versatile and durable flooring products available in the market, still requires appropriate care and maintenance as prescribed by the manufacturer to ensure long-lasting beauty and service. After years of service and exposure to spills, moisture, and humidity, wood floors may likely experience some mold growth. When issues are suspected, Red Oak, TX, homeowners must take quick action to identify and remove mold growth under wood flooring and preserve the floor’s beauty.

Causes of mold on and under wood flooring

Mold needs darkness, warmth, organic matter, and especially moisture to grow. Moldy flooring may have many causes in a home, including:

  • a slow water leak from an appliance
  • splashing at the kitchen sink
  • beverage spills in the kitchen, den, or home office
  • increased humidity levels due to poor indoor ventilation
  • leaks around windows and doors

The excess wetness and moisture can seep through cracks and crevices under the floor, providing the wet, dark, food-rich environment mold needs to grow. Mold on the surface of wood flooring may go undetected due to concealment under furniture or in the shadows of the room. Mold under the flooring is impossible to see unless the floor is partially dismantled for inspection. If undetected or neglected, mold on and under the flooring can damage both the flooring and the substrate.

How to identify mold growth on and under wooden floors

When inspecting for mold growth on and under wood flooring, pay attention to the following signs:

  1. Musty and mildewy odors

Mold growth has been taking place long before the spores are visible to the unaided eye. Often, the nose will detect the smell of mold before the eyes see the telltale black, green, or bronze mold stains.

  1. Standing water and moisture buildup on the surface of the flooring

Puddles of water, beads of moisture, or a thin film of condensation on the flooring, especially if left undetected or neglected for hours or days, should be a signal to the homeowner to look for mold growth in those areas.

  1. Water damage

Water stains, warped flooring, and spongy flooring should alert the homeowner to the likely presence of mold in the affected areas. A more aggressive approach to mold detection may involve removing portions of the flooring to inspect for mold in areas with any signs of water damage. Inspection at this level may require the services of a professional floor installer to remove the flooring and then replace it once the inspection and any remediation have been completed.

How to remove mold under wood flooring

Limited surface mold can be handled by the homeowner. More extensive mold infestation calls for advanced mold-killing technology, PPG, special cleaning techniques, and products designed to effectively remove and kill the mold. These factors demonstrate the wisdom of having professionals take care of remediating a mold infestation in and under hardwood flooring.

It is important to determine the extent of a mold infestation. The experienced professional is best qualified to make this assessment. In many instances, the identification of the source of the moisture requires experience and skills only professionals have acquired over the years. The goal is to remediate the mold and resolve the moisture issues that promote mold growth.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian inspect and assess the situation. They provide a detailed, well-documented estimate of the remediation. Any insurance claims can be handled by the staff from the beginning of the project to the end. When the job is completed, the home is clean and safe for humans and pets. The remediation project can also include efforts to avoid the recurrence of a mold infestation. The SERVPRO team can take care of any structural damage, including demolition, removal, repairs, and rebuilds. The mold remediation professionals strive to accomplish long-term solutions.

For more information about Red Oak, TX, mold removal services, email SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or call the office at (972) 935-0827.

Six Steps to Repair a Water Cooler Leak and Deal with the Water Damage in the Office Environment

9/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights ways to diagnose and repair a water cooler leak at the office.

SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian can handle any size commercial water damage disaster, whether the water damage is a 5-gallon water leak at the water cooler or a 5,000-gallon water leak from a water fountain over a long holiday weekend.

The company water cooler serves many positive purposes. The filtered water it provides makes for a great pot of coffee for the management team after several hours of strategizing. Discussions around the water cooler foster comradery and build company morale. The unit is also good at what it was designed to do: dispense cool, refreshing water to thirsty employees and visitors.

If the water cooler is out of commission or springs a leak, the results are not only inconvenient but can also be disastrous. A water cooler can accommodate a five- or ten-gallon water bottle. Should the unit spring a leak, water damage is limited to whatever amount of water remains in the bottle and spills onto the floor.

Reducing the risk of a water fountain water damage disaster

On the other hand, a water fountain connected to a water line has the potential to continuously release one-half gallon of water per minute as long as the water is on. Over a typical weekend, as much as 2,000 gallons can spill onto the floor. If the facility is multi-story and the leaking water fountain is on an upper floor, the water damage could be catastrophic.

Two thousand gallons is much more than the four gallons from the water bottle on the water cooler. The water leak from the water cooler may not need anything more than a mop and bucket to remediate. The water fountain spill may require heavy-duty pumps, wet-dry vacuums, rapid-spin fans, and commercial dehumidifiers to remediate. Installing a water leak detection device on a water fountain provides an effective way to prevent a severe water damage disaster in a commercial setting.

Diagnosing a water cooler leak

Usually, a water cooler is leaking due to a crack or hole in the bottle. Also, pressure changes may be the reason for the water release. Here are some simple steps to identify the source of the leak and repair the device.

Common causes of a leaking water cooler

Some of the common causes of a leaking water cooler may include:

  1. A pinhole leak or hairline crack in the water jug due to age, abuse, or a manufacturing defect

Typically, the cooler unit is not the problem.

  1. A spout malfunction

The spout mechanism may be damaged from stress or from an impact. A valve in the spout mechanism may be failing due to age or wear.

Steps to repair the leak

Once the leak is diagnosed, here are some steps to take to repair the device.

  • Locate the physical owner’s manual or download a version from the web. This manual may contain a parts list. If not, a parts list can be obtained from the manufacturer, probably from the same website from which the owner’s manual was obtained.
  • Tools needed for the repairs include a screwdriver, pliers, wrenches, and a flashlight.
  • Have a towel or two available if the water inside the unit spills out.

How to repair a leaking water cooler in six steps

Step #1: Shut off the water supply.

This step may involve making sure the faucet or spigot is snugly turned off or shutting off the water if the cooler is connected to a permanent supply line. The unit may have an inline shutoff valve which makes this step very simple.

Step #2: Mark the water level.

Mark the water level on the bottle with a piece of tape or a non-permanent marker. The speed of the water loss may help reveal the cause of the leak. A very slow leak may involve a defective or damaged seal, and a fast leak will leave a trail to its origin. In any case, put down towels to absorb any water and thus, prevent unnecessary water damage.

Step #3: Carefully remove the bottle and monitor its contents.

Remove the bottle from the cooler. Place it in a large sink or take it outside. The goal is to prohibit any further water damage. If the water level in the bottle drops, the leak is in the bottle. If the water cooler unit continues to release water with the bottle having been removed, the leak is in the internal components of the device. Place a cup or pan under the spigot to catch any dripping water. The goal is to prevent water damage and avoid any slip-and-fall hazards.

Step #4: Check the reservoir for a clog.

If the reservoir is clogged, water can back up and spill onto the floor, causing water damage and a slip-and-fall hazard.

Step #5: Check the spout and spigot for leaks.

If a crack or leak is discovered, then replace or repair the part.

Step #6: Replace the unit if it is beyond repair.

Sometimes the damage may be so severe that the best recourse is to simply replace the entire unit rather than risk a water damage disaster.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian can handle any size disaster, from a leaky water cooler and ten gallons of water on the office floor to several thousand gallons from a leaking water fountain over several floors. Crews are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays.

For more information about Midlothian, TX, commercial water damage restoration and mold mitigation, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by phone at (972) 935-0827 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Causes and Effects of a Fire on a University Campus and the Importance of Rapid Fire Damage Restoration

9/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains how university and college campuses in Midlothian, TX, can address a fire damage disaster.

SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian provides fire damage cleanup and restoration for college campuses in the Midlothian, TX, area. In many ways, a college or university campus is like a small, tight-knit community with a population ranging from just a few thousand to over 100,000 students, faculty, and staff. The comfortable, cozy accommodations are a home for the co-eds to experience life, learn skills needed for a successful professional or technical career, and earn a prized degree from the academic institution of their choice. However, an unanticipated fire can shatter this idyllic educational environment in a matter of minutes. A fire at a university can have consequences that reach into every facet of campus life, depending on the location and extent of the property damage.

The majority of fires on university campuses occur in dormitories. The most frequent causes of fire are listed as follows:

  • Smoking
  • Cooking
  • Overloaded electrical outlets
  • Alcohol-related activity in which inebriated students engage in behaviors that elevate the risk of a fire

Fire safety in the home is much less complex than fire safety in a housing facility with hundreds of rooms, multiple stories, and limited exits. Lack of familiarity with fire survival and escape protocols can lead to dangerous or fatal consequences. A dorm room fire can quickly spread from one room to another, causing extensive damage to the facility and the loss of students’ personal belongings. Fire and smoke damage can render large sections of a dormitory or high-rise student apartment complex uninhabitable for days, weeks, or even months. Smoke damage and water damage from fire suppression sprinklers and the fire department’s efforts to extinguish the blaze may cause damage far in excess of the actual damage from the flames.

The dormitory may be determined to be uninhabitable until the damage cleanup and restoration process has been completed and the building has been inspected and declared safe. In the meantime, alternate living accommodations must be obtained for the student population displaced by the fire. The services of area hotels may be enlisted to meet these housing needs. If the restoration process is extensive or delayed, the cost of alternative housing could be massive.

A fire in a classroom setting may damage equipment, curriculum, and student projects, so a substitute classroom must be located. If a course requires special equipment, as in the case of a chemistry or biology class, the challenges may be insurmountable in the short term. A virtual classroom works for lectures, but hands-on activities like animal dissections and dangerous chemical experiments do not work in a virtual setting. Postponement may be the only option until the restoration project is completed.

Campus dining halls are not immune to fires and fire damage. However, the fact that personnel and staff are well-trained in fire prevention and mitigation means that the fires that do occur are usually extinguished quickly with little to no interruption of services.

Fires occurring in administrative offices are often quickly suppressed by fire sprinklers or employees who have fire prevention training. Quick, decisive action with a fire extinguisher or fire blanket may prevent the activation of the fire sprinkler system, preventing or greatly reducing water damage associated with the activation of the system. A negative consequence of fire damage in an administrative building may involve the damage or destruction of vital documents, computers, copy machines, or other electronics. Cloud storage capabilities, remote work from home or another location on campus may make the disruption and relocation a minimal and temporary inconvenience.

Disruptions on a college campus can be disastrous, especially disruptions from a fire. Listed below are reasons to pre-qualify SERVPRO of Waxahachie as the dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration service provider for the entire university or college.

  1. Availability 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays

The SERVPRO team of well-equipped, experienced, and IICRC-certified technicians are always available on weekends, holidays, and game days which is important since the population of the university may increase by as much as 100,000 if the football stadium is at capacity.

  1. Rapid response and quick cleanup

The one call the university decision-maker places to SERVPRO of Waxahachie yields a rapid response. Crews arrive on the scene in about an hour to inspect and assess the damage and begin the cleanup and restoration project.

  1. A detailed and well-documented estimate

A highly trained technician inspects and assesses the damage, creating a detailed estimate that includes images and videos. The estimate eliminates surprises and is very helpful in the insurance claims process, which SERVPRO can handle from beginning to end.

  1. Ability to scale

The concentration of SERVPRO service providers in the DFW metro area means that SERVPRO is an excellent choice for a dorm room fire or a dormitory fire involving extensive damage on multiple floors or the entire facility. No other property damage company can provide a large-loss response on a par with the SERVPRO franchise family. Whether the situation calls for two crews or twenty crews, the response is still rapid and the cleanup and restoration quick.

  1. Experience facing challenging situations

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian and the larger SERVPRO franchise family have a proven track record of success working on large-loss cleanup and restoration projects. This success with large-scale disasters breeds excellence.

For more information about fire damage restoration in Midlothian, TX, contact the office by phone at (972) 935-0827 or email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Seven Secondary Water Damage Issues That Can Arise after Fire Damage

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian offers tips on dealing with advanced secondary water damage after a fire.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian specializes in water damage repair after water intrusion from a ruptured supply line, severe weather, or efforts from the fire department to extinguish a blaze by pumping thousands of gallons of water into a burning home or business. Secondary water damage presents serious issues that must be addressed. Failure to identify and resolve these issues can leave Red Oak, TX, homes unsafe and unfit for the family to live in.

After a Fire Has Been Extinguished

When the fire department arrives on the scene, the goal is to extinguish the fire as quickly as possible. A standard fire hose can deposit hundreds of gallons of water per minute into a burning home. The pumping pressure is between 800psi and 2000psi, which sprays water out of the nozzle at 70 miles per hour. Large amounts of water pumped under high pressure into the home will cause serious water damage issues that must be addressed immediately to prevent advanced secondary water damage.

Restoration after the Fire

Never enter a fire-damaged structure until the fire department declares that the site is safe. The utmost caution is advised. Portions of the floor and ceiling may be unstable, and wet or moist flooring increases the risk of a slip, trip, or fall injury. Surfaces and the air may be contaminated with VOCs, which can cause health effects. Even if the power is still on or the sun is shining, the interior of the home will be blackened by smoke and soot, making it difficult to navigate through the debris. Narrow hallways and stairs can be treacherous. Once the damage is inspected and assessed, a detailed and well-documented list of damages, repairs, and replacements must be compiled.

Hidden Water

Large quantities of water streaming into a home, as is the case with water from a fire hose, will soak everything in sight and much of the structure that is not readily visible such as behind walls, in ceilings, in the HVAC ductwork, and in the crawl space. If hidden water and moisture are not addressed, advanced secondary water damage can have a significant impact on the overall cost of cleanup and restoration.

Seven Issues That Need to Be Addressed after a Flood

These issues are common to structures experiencing a blaze extinguished by the fire department using high-pressure hoses to quickly deliver water to the flames. A small fire confined to a particular room such as the kitchen still requires much water to be thoroughly extinguished. A fire damage disaster, whether large or small, that also involves water intrusion is best left to trained, experienced, and well-equipped professionals. The scale of the disaster and the contaminants from the fire, smoke, and soot create a hazardous environment unsuitable for a DIY cleanup and restoration project.

1. Mold Damage

Mold thrives in a warm, moist, dark environment with lots of organic matter for food. A fire-damaged, water-soaked home is highly susceptible to mold infestation. Rapid removal of excess water and thorough drying are essential. Cleanup using EPA-approved cleaners follows the drying process. After the cleanup and restoration process is completed, regular inspections are necessary to spot and treat mold growth before an infestation occurs.

2. Damaged Carpet

Carpets retain moisture and toxins after a fire. If the floor covering is not quickly and properly dried and cleaned, pathogens in the wet carpet will make it unsalvageable.

3. Wood Damage

Wood is porous and readily soaks up water and moisture. Floor covering, substrate, studs, cabinets, doors, and furniture are prone to water damage. Efforts to dry out wood and wood products should receive immediate attention. Dehumidifiers and rapid spin fans effectively mitigate the damage, and moisture-detecting technology can confirm when the drying process has been successful.

4. Ceiling Damage

Water-damaged ceilings are risk hazards and should receive immediate attention. Areas that appear to be about to collapse should be secured or removed before anyone is injured or further damage is caused in the home should the ceiling collapse.

5. Drywall Damage

Drywall and sheetrock will bear the brunt of the water and fire damage. Severely damaged areas can be cut out and replaced. Drywall and sheetrock repair requires special tools and skills. Here is where a full-service cleanup and restoration team can help.

6. Caulk and Seal Damage

Standing water will weaken seals around appliances, toilets, and bathtubs. Cracked or loose seals can result in leaks both at the time of the fire and later down the road. Replace damaged seals and re-caulk where needed to prevent leaks after the cleanup and restoration.

7. Electrical Damage

Electronics, appliances, and the wiring behind the walls and in the electrical panel may have received extensive damage and pose a separate fire risk. Electronics, TVs, and some appliances can be dried and repaired. However, due to the fragile nature of the components, the drying and cleanup must be accomplished very quickly.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian is a full-service property damage cleanup and restoration company. They can manage the project from end to end, including all phases of restoration and replacement. The process starts when the team arrives on the scene to inspect and assess the damage. A detailed and well-documented estimate is prepared for the homeowner. The capable staff can handle the insurance claims process from start to finish.

For more details about fire and water damage restoration, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by calling (972) 935-0827 or emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com