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Prepare Your Home and Family for Winter Weather | SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County South

11/24/2021 (Permalink)

A close-up image of a wiper blade wiping away condensation on a car windshield If winter weather should bring damage to your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South for fast, restorative solutions.

He was a fictional fantasy character, but Lord Stark really knew what he was talking about—winter is definitely coming.

Whether that excites you or fills you with a chilling dread of cold weather, there are some things you need to be ready for. So before your calendar fills up with holiday gatherings and end-of-year festivities, check out a few areas to make sure you’re ready for the chill.

<h3your-family">Protect Your Family

If a winter weather crisis emerged, how prepared would your family be? An emergency action plan will help your family stay in contact, evacuate safely and meet back together at a predetermined spot.

Prepare your cars, too—check the batteries, fluids and tires of every vehicle to ensure they’re ready for winter roads, whether they encounter ice, sleet or heavy rain.

And keep your cars and home stocked with emergency kits full of necessary supplies.

<h3your-home">Protect Your Home

Frozen pipes can be an intense source of water damage if you’re unfortunate enough to experience one. Be ready for those cold snaps that send the thermometer plunging into the ‘teens.

Perform routine maintenance on your home’s heating system as well, making sure it can stand up to the worst winter may bring. Better to have a little work done now than to have it go out on you on the coldest day of the year.

If you burn wood as a source of heat, clean your fireplace and make sure it’s well-ventilated, to avoid potential fire dangers from soot and respiratory dangers from smoke.

<h3your-pets">Protect Your Pets

Pets can’t handle the cold, generally speaking. Bring your pets in from the outdoors for their safety, and give them somewhere comfortable to rest inside.

If you do have livestock or animals equipped for the cold, see to it that they have good shelter and a ready source of water, not ice.

Winter weather around here can surprise you—it only takes one good ice storm to send the region into chaos. But being prepared can give you a leg up on staying safe, protecting yourself and the ones you love from potentially hazardous winter weather.

If winter weather should bring damage or flooding to your home or business, contact SERVPRO for fast, restorative solutions.

The Most Frequent Causes of Fire in the Home | SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County South

11/3/2021 (Permalink)

a firefighter battling a fire with a water hose in hand Regardless of the cause, SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South is here for you if your home is affected by fire.

Fire safety is incredibly important, and we would surely all say that we know it. But to what degree are we living out the knowledge we have?

Studies show we still have a long way to go; in fact, a quarter of all reported fires in the United States are still occurring in the home, despite all that we know about the importance of prevention.

Some of these fires can’t be prevented, but many can. Let’s see what’s going on to get these fires going.

Cooking. Essentially half of all home fires start in the kitchen. These fires have varying causes, but the leading (and yet most preventable) cause is unattended cooking. That’s right, the single most effective thing you can do to prevent a fire in your house is to be attentive when you cook. Stand with your food; that’s really it.

Heating equipment. All heat and combustion invites the risk of fire, but some heaters are more dangerous than others. Portable heaters, especially older ones, present a great hazard, both because of power draw and their tendency to overload or get tipped over. Always remember to keep a three-foot radius around any heat source to avoid potential ignition.

Electrical fires. Electrical fires can spark to life from overloaded or shorted circuits, mismanaged use of power or improper use of extension cords. What’s more, circuits and outlets can degrade over time, and wiring can even be chewed by animals.

Intentional fires. This one is a little hard to swallow, but the research bears it out: Some 8%, or approximately 28,000 home fires per year are started on purpose, meaning somebody intentionally misuses heating elements to set fire to some piece of property.

Smoking materials. This one is both interesting and sad. Though smoking fires comprise only 5% of the total number of home fires, they cause almost a quarter of all home fire deaths. Cigarettes, ash and other materials are always hazardous, especially when people use them while drowsy or otherwise impaired.

Regardless of the cause, SERVPRO is here for you if your home is affected by fire. Contact your local team today to see how we can help.

Why You Need Deodorization After a Fire

10/15/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke and Fire Deodorization

Strong smells often linger after having a fire.  The type of smells that develop are determined by the type of material that was on fire or smoldering.  A hot fire that burned natural building materials will smell different than that of a protein fire from frying or a slow smoldering fire that burned plastics and rubber.  These odors can cause years of problems if they are not handled by a professional.  At SERVPRO of Stone Mountain/Clarkston we employ a multi-step approach to deodorization.

Source Removal

The first step in deodorization is to find the source.  In the case of a fire the area may be obvious, however there are many causes of odor that may not be easily noticed.  Once the source is found by our trained technicians we must remove it. 

Cleaning

The next step in the process is to clean the effected areas.  Many of the soot particles are deposited both on and often inside certain building materials depending on how hot the fire was.  Our technicians are trained on different cleaning strategies dependent on the surface to be cleaned and the soils deposited.

Deodorizing

We employ a combination of pairing and masking deodorization techniques depending on the situation.  Hot fires open the pores of building materials where foul smelling soot can be deposited.  When the fire is extinguished and the materials cool down, the pores of these material shrink, thus trapping odor molecules inside.  In such cases we will use a pairing agent along with a Hot Thermal Fogger to reopen the pores.  The pairing agent will attach to and change the odor molecule so that it no longer smells.

Sealing

While sealing of wood is not always required, we will often do this on studs and structural members.  One of the reasons for sealing is because these building components are often covered up by drywall, or they are located in hard to reach areas.  Summer brings hot weather and as building materials heat up, these materials are capable of releasing odors.  Sealing ensures that any soot not completely eliminated from cleaning remains trapped.

What You Should Know Before Choosing a Service Company | SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County South

10/8/2021 (Permalink)

three green SERVPRO trucks lined up on a side street You can rest easy knowing you’ve got the trusted leader in the restoration industry on the other end of the line, SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South.

Natural disasters, home fires and flooded basements are an unfortunate reality for home and business owners. And when those scenarios present themselves, you’re suddenly forced into some quick decision-making as you try to determine who to trust with the important task of helping you restore or rebuild your property.

It can be difficult in the moment to make a choice, because you may have a glut of options, many of whom provide similar claims for service. But there are some important questions to ask that will help you distinguish a clear choice in your search.

Are They Legit?

When disasters occur, especially disasters that affect a wide area, scammers come out of the woodwork to take advantage. If someone offers you restoration work at a seemingly rock-bottom rate, especially if they have no track record in the area, it’s cause for alarm.

At SERVPRO, we’ve been hard at work for over 50 years, satisfying millions of customers one restored home at a time, and we’ve earned our reputation by keeping promises and providing excellent care.

When prestigious organizations like the PGA Tour entrust us to care for their gorgeous facilities with a meticulous attention to detail, you know you’ll be in good hands when you reach out to us for help at home.

Will They Be There When I Need Help?

If a pipe bursts at night or on a holiday, do you want to wait until the next business day to get help while your carpet soaks in more moisture and mold sets in? We doubt it.

That’s why you can always get in touch with us for emergency service. Your crisis is our crisis, too.

Where’s a Fleet When You Need One?

SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South is locally operated, based right here in the backyard, and that gives us the edge in providing fast, specific expertise for your situation.

But if something more large-scale is needed, we’ve got the full national network of SERVPRO elite teams upon whom we can call for backup and additional help.

When you call SERVPRO, you can rest easy knowing you’ve got the trusted leader in the restoration industry on the other end of the line. When disaster hits home, contact us to get our local experts and nationwide network on your side.

Catch Water Damage Before It Occurs | SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County South

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

a leak in ceiling creating water lines running down an interior wall A water leak can turn into a big problem. Contact the SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South team if you are dealing with any water damage.

Nobody plans for water damage. There’s no water damage “season” we all look forward to like winter holidays—“Ooh, I hope we get a new refrigerator supply hose leak this year!”

And yet, water damage happens on occasion whether we want it to or not. And though it may not choose a defined date or time to occur, if you’re watchful, you may be able to catch some of its likely manifestations before they happen. Let’s check a few spots.

Toilets. There are only a few spots to check your toilet for leaks, and the most common are the flapper (inside the upper tank where the water flows into the bowl) and the valve seal, the rubber ring on the underside of the tank.

Appliances. Any appliance that uses water is going to use hoses and washers that may give way over time. Keep an eye on your fridge, dishwasher and especially the supply hose for your washing machine. Oh, and how old is your water heater? Units over 10 years old have been known to explode.

Clogged gutters. This is one scenario over which you can exert a great deal of control, because it’s a fairly simple matter to check your gutters occasionally and clean out the debris, dirt and leaves that would work together to cause a dam to form in your gutters. Now where’s that ladder?

Roof damage. Your roof’s job is tough. It works hard day after day, taking a beating from the elements, falling tree limbs, squirrels, all kinds of things. Eventually, even the stoutest roof will show signs of wear, and that wear will allow water to pass through to the wood frame and inside to the attic.

Pipes. Pipes can burst in the winter as frozen water expands inside, and other issues like oxidation or loose joints can cause them to fail at other times. You may even have to deal with tree roots intruding into in-ground lines between your house and the main supply at the street.

Blocked garbage disposals. Grease, potatoes and fibrous vegetable skins can all clog your garbage disposal, causing backups and potential damage. And be careful when you plunge, because if your sink’s joints aren’t fully secure (this happens often with PVC), they may separate with intense plunging.

You can’t stop every leak, even at your most vigilant. But keeping an eye on the condition of the various devices that interact with water regularly can make water damage prevention more of a likelihood.

If a water leak erupts into a big problem at home, you’ve got the best team in the business on your side. Contact SERVPRO today so we can get started.

Keep Autumn Fire Safety in Mind | SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County South

9/17/2021 (Permalink)

a small campfire burning bright in the dark night Be mindful about fall fire safety. Always remember that SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South is the trusted leader in the restoration industry.

Y’all feel it? The sweltering summer heat and dripping-wet humidity are finally backing off, leaves are showing their colors, and there are football games popping up everywhere.

Yes, everything is in place for the triumphant return of fall. Final warm-day plans are in place, and orange and brown decorations are going up everywhere.

As you welcome in the mild, crisp autumn air, let fire safety for the new season be part of your plans as well.

Campfire Safety

Fall may be the best time of year for camping. You’ll likely start a fire for nighttime warmth or roasting s’mores, but be sure that you both build and extinguish it safely.

Make sure any structures, tents or vehicles are at least 25 feet away. Only light your kindling with a normal lighter or matches; never employ the use of kerosene or lighter fluid to start or accelerate your fire. Then you can safely build the rest of your fire.

Never leave your fire to burn by itself while you’re out hiking, and extinguish it completely before you break camp by dousing it repeatedly until there are no embers remaining.

Leaf Burning

By now, your front yard is likely covered with dead leaves, and you want those gone for the sake of your grass. You have a few options—have them hauled away, mulch or compost them, or burn them.

If you opt to burn your trimmings and leaves, be sure you first acquire a permit from Georgia Forestry, and alert your local fire station that you’ll be burning.

Also, be aware that it’s illegal and hazardous to burn anything like household garbage, or anything inorganic.

If you have a metal barrel in which to burn your leaves, that’s best. And make sure your fire is safely away (50 feet or more) from your home or any flammable structures.

Halloween

We’ll likely get into more detail on this later, but as you decorate, keep fire safety in mind.

Hanging decorations and cobwebs during the season of pumpkin-scented candles and bonfires can be more dangerous than you realize, especially if you’re hosting spooky-season parties with adult beverages involved.

If a fire hazard should turn from potential to reality in your home, remember the trusted leader in the recovery industry and contact SERVPRO to get your property fully restored right down to the smell of smoke.

Preparing for Summer Storms | SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County South

9/2/2021 (Permalink)

a large lightning strike in a dark stormy sky If storms cause damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South is on the line, ready to make things right.

Summer is a most enjoyable season. It instantly conjures images of sunflowers in bloom, warm evenings at the ballpark cheering on the Stripers and maybe even a vacation to the coast somewhere. The days are long, the lemonade is cold and the sun is close.

But why does it perpetually seem like there’s a 30% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon?

If you’ve noticed storms are often predicted in the summertime, it’s not just you. Our area averages about 10 rainy days per month, during the summer, and the warm weather combines with the sticky southern moisture to turn those rainy days into stormy ones.

Be Storm-Alert

Storms are our most common weather danger, but that doesn’t mean we should ever treat them lightly. Consult local forecasts or weather apps for accurate forecasts and alerts. An NOAA Weather radio can be a great help as well, because it focuses solely on weather and can keep you informed even if a storm knocks out your power.

Flooding can be difficult to predict, particularly flash flooding, but if an alert is issued, you should reexamine any travel plans you may have, or get home if you’re on the road. If heavy winds are forecast, look around the yard and find objects you may need to move so they don’t get blown away or washed down the street.

Yes, preparing for a storm is mundane, and kind of a chore, but don’t ignore it. Storm-related incidents cause dozens of deaths every year, and an ounce of prevention could prevent a high percentage of them.

Be Storm-Safe

During a storm, be inside if at all possible. This gives you the most protection from lightning and wind. Stay indoors until rain has stopped and you haven’t heard thunder for a half hour—this indicates that the storm has moved far enough away that lightning is no longer a threat.

Tubs and showers are a no-no during a storm, as the water and metal conduct electricity and could harm you should lightning strike. Windows can shatter in heavy storms as well, so sit somewhere out of the way.

Stock up your emergency kit with water, food, medication and other items in case an extended power outage occurs or circumstances dictate evacuation.

Flood waters are dangerous in many ways and should be avoided at all costs. They can carry people and cars away, conceal washed-out roads and conduct electricity from downed power lines. On top of that, they can be full of gasoline and harmful chemicals. Just stay away.

There are any number of dangers that can come into play in a thunderstorm, and it’s always best to be cautious and put things on hold until storms safely pass. If storms cause damage to your home or business, SERVPRO is on the line, ready to make things right again.

When Lightning Strikes - SERVPRO of Gwinnett Co. SE&SW

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

The damage from thunderstorms is not always limited to high winds and flooding. Because of the nature of thunderstorms, even those without rain have the potential for lightning strikes, which can be dangerous or deadly.

Storms always carry an electrical charge, meaning there is always a chance they will produce lightning. Lightning bolts are dangerous to humans and objects in their path, as a lightning bolt can reach 500,000 degrees. Knowing the basics of lightning and the hazards it can cause is key to staying safe.

The Basics of Lightning

We’ve discussed that all thunderstorms carry an electrical charge, and a lightning bolt is just a physical manifestation of this electricity, which can strike the ground or across the clouds.

If the lightning does head toward the ground, it will typically seek an object to strike as the air is a poor conductor. If this object happens to be a building, it will make use of the water pipes and electrical wiring to travel toward the ground.

The Basics of Lightning Damage

It is always important to seek shelter if there is lightning imminent. Though the [damages that lightning can cause to a home] are frightening, they are much less dangerous than the damage lightning can cause to a human. If lightning strikes a home it can…

…start fires. Lightning poses a high risk of fire when it strikes a building because it reaches such high temperatures. It can ignite building materials on impact, in addition to causing damage to electrical wiring, which can start a fire later on.

…damage appliances. As lightning routes itself through a home’s electrical wiring, it can transfer its charge along the way. Any electrical appliance not connected to a surge protector is at risk if lightning strikes the home.

…send shockwaves through the home. Shock waves in the clouds are known as thunder, but shock waves on the ground can cause serious damage. These waves travel with lightning and can shatter glass, explode brick and damage a home’s structure with their force.

If your home has been affected by storm damages or lightning-related fires, give us a call today! We are experts in damage cleanup and can restore your damage quickly.

Gwinnett Property Owners Can Trust SERVPRO | SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County South

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

damaged furniture and other home items sitting outside of red brick house When you are dealing with any damage, immediate action is crucial. SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South is your local restoration expert.

Property ownership, whether it be a home or a business, is rife with little fires that have to be put out—that’s part of the job. And as long as those fires remain metaphorical, you should be equipped to handle them.

But when a real fire or other disaster disrupts your status quo, you’re going to need someone outside of your expertise to step in and correct the situation.

That’s when you need us. SERVPRO is the nationwide leader in just this kind of predicament, and there are a hundred reasons why you’re best off with us.

Let’s talk about a few.

We’re Always Ready and Faster to Any Size Disaster

We’ll be onsite to take the reins of your emergency cleanup right away, because we have a team of elite professionals right here in Gwinnett on alert 24 hours a day.

We know every minute wasted means more aggressive mold growth, increased smoke damage or deeper water damage. A speedy response makes all the difference, and the presence of a SERVPRO franchise right here in Gwinnett County means you have a flexible, at-the-ready local team paired with the power and resources of a robust national network.

We’re Trained to Handle Residential and Commercial Services

No home or business is impervious—storms damage commercial and residential property alike. But we’ve spent the last half century crafting solutions to tackle disasters of all shapes and sizes, and we’ve got the right fix for whatever may come up in your home or business.

We’ll Make It "Like it never even happened."

It takes a special commitment to do intensive work and yet leave no scars behind, and that’s exactly what you can expect when we come in to help. We’ll restore your property to its original state or better, and leave no traces that remediation has been done.

We Offer the Services You Need in a Changing World

Disease prevention is more important than ever, and we offer certified sanitation solutions to squash the spread and risk of viruses and pathogens of all kinds. Your space gets clean as a whistle, and your patrons walk in with peace of mind.

Regardless of why you need cleanup or disaster recovery, SERVPRO has the tools, the technicians and the training to get your situation under control. When you’re ready to get help from the best, get in touch with SERVPRO.

Your Yard Can Protect Your House From Wildfire | SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County South

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

a gated long brown pebble driveway tucked next to a large brick home If your home is damaged by fire or any other reason, SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South is ready and able to repair any damage.

Wildfire is a homeowner’s fever dream—the helplessness of watching your home go up against a raging fire. Thankfully you live in Georgia, where that kind of stuff doesn’t happen, right?

Actually, property damage caused by wildfire is a more common occurrence than you may realize. Wildfires happen all over—and with their rate of acceleration and the abundance of fuel for them to devour, it’s a wonder we are ever able to stop them at all.

But we are not totally helpless; there are a few things we can do, other than simply being more careful, to stop the spread of wildfires.

Today we’re learning about “defensible space.”

What Is Defensible Space?

See, NASA has these missiles—no, wait, that’s not it; let’s try again. “Defensible space” is a buffer area with which you can surround your home.

By removing potential fuel like dead trees and leaves, adding hardscape and gravel to the immediate areas around your home, and using purposeful planting and pruning practices, you can decrease the odds that your home will be swallowed up.

Think of defensible space as a protective barrier (aka defense), designed to choke out a fire’s fuel sources as it comes near to your home. Additionally, it gives firefighters their best chance of stopping a wildfire before it breaks through your home’s perimeter.

Defensible space is not required by law in Georgia, but it’s a good fire safety practice to consider all the same.

Why Defensible Space Matters

You may think of wildfires as a California problem, but they can and do happen everywhere in the United States. There were over 59,000 wildfires across the United States in 2020.

Even if you remove California’s astounding 10,000+ fires from that number, the average number of wildfires per state in 2020 was still almost 1,000. And it’s not over—the first six months of 2021 have seen a 25% increase in wildfire occurrence over last year.

Here in Georgia we suffered 1,699 wildfires in 2020, losing nearly 5,700 acres of land to the blazes.

We should take advantage of anything that makes wildfires less likely to impact our homes. Defensible space is just one more way we can protect our property.

If your home is damaged by fire of any sort, wild or not, SERVPRO is ready and able to repair the damage caused. Get in touch today to get the pros on your team.