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Steps to Preventing a Commercial Water Loss

3/19/2019 (Permalink)

Having a water loss in your home is bad enough, however, water damage in your commercial building can be even worse in some cases. There are several reasons why commercial water damage can be more of a nightmare than residential water damage. For one, serious water damage can keep employees out of your office or important business from getting done. Here at SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South, we recommend you do the following things to prevent ever having water damage in your commercial building.

Maintain the Grounds Around Your Building- If you don’t pay close attention, roots from trees in your yard can grow towards your pipes and cause them to break in some cases. The best way to prevent this is to not plant any trees close to any pipes going through your yard, but if you haven’t done that you should pay close attention to make sure you don’t have any roots threatening your pipes.

Look Out for Restroom Over-Usage- All-too-often bathrooms, especially toilets and urinals, can be very prone to flooding. Obviously, this is most common when the bathrooms are frequently used. If you have bathrooms that receive a significant amount of use, you should make sure it receives maintenance checks regularly to catch any problems before they cause you a serious issue.

Have Your Building Inspected by A Professional- It never hurts to call in a professional to inspect your building for any potential water damage risks you may have. A large amount of water damage issues is caused by a small problem becoming more serious and eventually causing a flood. A professional inspection will be able to catch these problems before they lead to any serious problems.

Educate Your Employees- With so many different people in and out of your building every day, there is greater chance of flooding due to human error. To help mitigate this possibility, you should educate your employees about what they should and shouldn’t do to prevent flooding and water damage from happening. Most of these suggestions will be common sense things to do, but making a point of it can help prevent foolish mistakes.

Even following all the steps above there is still the potential that a water loss happens to you. If it ever does, our team at SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South is here to help. Contact us at 770-448-5782 24/7.

After a Storm Event

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

After a storm, our experience from past storms have shown us that people are resourceful and get anxious to get back home and get their business back up and running. What is important to remember is not to jeopardize your health and safety because you are trying to recover as fast as possible.

Too often claims have been compromised because evidence has been disposed of or altered. To avoid your carrier alleging they didn’t see the evidence of the covered cause of loss or the damaged property, you need to document with photo and video, promptly communicate with your insurance company, and ask them for written instructions on when and how to handle the damage. These best practices sound good but often you can’t reach your insurance company after a storm or get a person on the phone. If this happens to you, continue to document and ensure mitigation but do not throw away items or alter the impact of the damages in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Sometimes it takes weeks before an adjuster comes to the property or even weeks to get access to go back to your property

Here are some ideas to consider:

  1. The insurance company is panicked about this storm and the aftermath too. In part, because the storm cuts into their profits, and because the magnitude of loss and number of claims may be too much for their systems and teams to handle.
  2. This may be your adjuster’s first hurricane assignment.
  3. The representative coming to your property doesn’t have a copy of your insurance policy. Deposition after deposition tells us that the adjuster may have access to a declaration page on an IPad but these adjusters are not studying your coverage and endorsements, but are relying on their “experience”.
  4. You can get another copy of insurance policy from the company and you should ask for the complete copy. If you don’t ask for it, some insurance companies may take your silence to mean that you were familiar with the coverage. Some carriers give the impression that any insured who doesn’t ask for help knows all of the insurance provisions backwards and forward and they don’t assist their insureds.

If you have been affected by a storm event. Contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South at 770-448-5782. We are used to speaking with adjusters and can help. We are available 24/7.

Oh No! A Pipe Burst, What Next?

3/4/2019 (Permalink)

It might be the sound of dripping water on the ceiling or behind a wall, or a mysterious puddle on the floor. Maybe you've noticed a decrease in water pressure when you turn on the hot water faucet, or no water flow whatsoever. These are all signs that a pipe may have burst.

It only takes a small hole to cause you big problems when the water starts to melt.

Pipe Bursts Can Be Destructive

They happen most often in the wintertime, when water freezes inside - outdoor plumbing or in pipes near exterior walls. As the water freezes, its volume can expand and it exerts pressure on the pipe's walls. The ice can block the pipe so that the water that is behind it adds even more pressure. Whether the pipe is copper, lead, or PVC, it can give way under the pressure. you may not become aware of the emergency until the weather warms up. Then your first sign might be wet ceilings or walls if the broken pipe is concealed from view.

What to do When a Pipe Bursts

  1. If you discover a leak, try to discover where the leak seems to be coming from, and then turn off the water at the main water valve. That will stop the water flow and hopefully keep the damage down.
  2. If possible, you may need to also turn off the electricity in the affected area.
  3. Call a licensed plumber to repair the leak. Many plumbers have 24/hour availability in emergencies for plumbing repair. It is a good idea to keep a plumber's contact information handy just for these kinds of situations. The plumber will be able to replace the damaged pipes or fittings and turn your water back on.
  4. Once the leak has been repaired, you may mitigation. Mitigation may include water extraction, removal of affected materials that may work as a moisture barrier and setting drying equipment.

How to Prevent Burst Pipes

Here are a couple of things you can do to prevent cold weather emergencies:

  1. If plumbing runs along an exterior wall, leave the water dripping in the faucet and open the under-sink cabinet to let the warmer indoor air in.
  2. If the outdoor temperature is supposed to drop and you will be away, make sure before you go that the inside temperature will be maintained above 55 degrees in your absence.
  3. Insulate pipes in unheated areas.

Call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South at 770-448-5782 for any water emergency needs.

Deep Frying a Turkey Safely

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Every holiday people are lured in by the promise of moist, sweet turkey meat and the deep turkey fryer has become an increasingly popular way to make a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  However, cooking up Tom the Turkey in a vat of boiling oil does come with many dangers.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year deep-fryer fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes and more than $15 million in property damage.

Therefore it is most important to follow a few safety precautions if you choose to fry a turkey for the holidays.

  • Don’t Deep Fry a Frozen Turkey

Frozen turkeys are full of moisture, and we all know how water and hot oil don’t mix well.  Make sure that your turkey is completely thawed before trying to fry it.

  • Turkey Fryers can Easily Tip Over

Be sure that you place your turkey fryer on solid footing so that it will not tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.

  • Don’t Let Oil Get Too Hot

When oil gets around 400-425 degrees it can catch on fire by itself.  Most fryers do not have thermostat controls, and it would be prudent to have a thermometer to make sure you keep the oil below 400 degrees.

  • Don’t Use Too Much Oil

An overfilled cooking pot can cause oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and when the oil runs down next to the flame on the burner, a catastrophic fire could result.

  • Never Deep-Fry Indoors or in a Garage

The best place to use a turkey fryer is on a level spot out in your yard away from the house or anything flammable.

May these tips help you and your family to enjoy a safe holiday with a delicious fried turkey. Remember to call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South if you have any water, fire or mold problems during the holidays. Call us at 770-448-5782. We can help 24/7.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Frigid winter temperatures can cause pipes to freeze. While we can’t control the weather, there are things we can do to prevent pipes from freezing. We’ve pulled together tips to help prevent frozen pipes and a list of suggestions for you to follow if they do.

Frozen water pipes and the damage they can cause are a reality for thousands of people each year. That’s especially the case when you are at below freezing temperatures for an extended period of time.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety says a burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage. That’s because the damage can be extensive.

To prevent pipes from freezing and causing major damage, follow these steps:

  • Drain water from pipes that are likely to freeze. This includes your swimming pool and sprinkler water supply lines.
  • Disconnect any hoses from the outside of your home, drain the hoses and store them in the garage. Make sure to close the indoor valves supplying these outdoor access points.
  • Insulate the area around vents and light fixtures. This helps prevent heat from escaping into the attic.
  • Seal any wall cracks. Be sure to pay careful attention to the areas around utility service lines.
  • Open kitchen cabinets. This allows the warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Keep the garage doors closed to protect water lines.
  • Allow your faucets to drip cold water on the coldest days. The movement will make it harder for the water to freeze.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Never let it fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave your home.
  • Ensure you have proper seals on all doors and windows.
  • Place a 60-watt bulb in areas where you’re concerned about pipes freezing. Make sure there are no combustible materials near the bulb.
  • Take swift action if the pipes located inside an exterior wall are freezing. Cut a hole in the wall toward the inside of the house to expose those pipes to warmer air.

Signs of frozen pipes One of the earliest signs of a frozen pipe is when no water comes out of your faucet when you turn it on. If you notice that, first head to the basement and check to see that the water is still turned on and that you don’t have a leak. Once you’ve confirmed these two things, continue your inspection to make sure one of your pipes has not burst.

If your search reveals that your pipes are frozen but none have ruptured, you have two choices:

  1. Call a plumber to help thaw your frozen pipes. This is a good idea if you don’t think you can safely thaw the pipes yourself, you don’t know where the frozen pipes are or you can’t access the frozen area.
  2. Attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself. Be aware this option can be dangerous if not done correctly.

If you attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep your faucet open. Water and steam will be created during the thawing process, and your pipes need an opening to discharge this. Keeping the faucet open also allows for moving water to run through the pipe, which will expedite the thawing process.
  • Apply heat to the section of the pipe that is frozen. This can be done by wrapping an electronic heating pad around the pipe, scouring the area with a hair dryer or both. If you lack either of these items, using towels soaked in hot water will help as well. Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heaters, a charcoal stove or any other open flame device to thaw your frozen pipes. You should also avoid using a space heater unless you are sure the area is clear of any flammable material.
  • Continue applying heat until water flow returns to normal. Once you have successfully thawed the pipe, turn on other faucets in your home to check for any more frozen water pipes.

Make sure your home is protected. Contact our franchises SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South at 770-448-5782 to make sure you have the coverage you, your family and home need.

Candle Safety

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

As peak hurricane season continues through the end of November and winter storms follow, it’s critical that you and your family know the best practices for staying safe during power outages.

While flashlights and battery-powered lamps are safe sources of light during lengthy power outages, candles are also reliable alternatives if used safely. It’s important to remember that a candle is an open flame, which always runs the potential risk of a fire-related accident. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 20% of candle fires involving fatalities occur during a loss of power.

Here are some safety precautions to follow when the lights go out:

DO pay attention to proximity. It’s important to make sure that you’re not burning a candle on or near anything that could catch fire. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, or any other flammable objects. Place burning candles at least 3 inches apart from one another so they don’t melt one another or burn improperly.

DON’T leave burning candles unattended. Try to restrict people and candles to one room in the house so the location of family members can always be accounted for and you can keep an eye on open flames. Extinguish all candles before going to bed or leaving a room.

DO place candles on a fire-resistant surface. Place a handle in its holder on a stable, nonflammable surface, such as a metal cookie sheet, frying pan or ceramic plate.

DON’T light a candle if you smell gas. If you smell gas inside or outside your home, immediately put out all open flames, shut off your gas supply, leave the area, get to a safe place, and call 911.

DO use pillar or container candles. Broader-based candles are a suitable option for power outages, as these are less likely to be accidentally knocked over. When possible, candles should be enclosed within glass hurricane holders or globes.

DON’T use candles as a search guide or night light. Avoid walking around with a candle. Dark rooms can increase the chance of tripping or brushing against a flammable item. Use a flashlight instead.

DO keep candles out of reach of children and pets. Place candles up high to avoid the risk of pets, children, or adults accidentally bumping candles over in the dark.

If you have any questions on candle safety or need any fire mitigation services, contact our franchises SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South at 770-448-5782. We are available 24/7 to assist.

What is a Water Mitigation Technician?

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

A water mitigation technician works, usually in connection with a water-damage restoration team, to mitigate water damage to your home. If your home is subject to serious water damage, due to burst pipes, flooding, fire-extinguishing water hoses or some other unforeseen catastrophe, it can be a real problem. Your house will be a mess, carpets and furniture can be soaked, and valuables can be damaged, sometimes beyond repair.

A technician from your water-damage restoration company works to dry and remove as much of this water as possible from your home and salvage your possessions to the best of his ability. They are able to do this due to a combination of sophisticated drying equipment provided by the water-damage restoration contractor, combined with expertly trained technicians.

These technicians understand the different types of water damage, such as damage from sanitary water, gray water or black water. They can determine how severe your water damage is, such as damage that only affects part of a room, damage that affects an entire room, damage where ceilings, walls, carpet and insulation are fully saturated, and specialty drying situations.

Do I need a Water Mitigation Technician?

You can certainly try to clean up the water without the help of a water-damage restoration company, but your best chance of getting your life back to normal as quickly as possible is through hiring water mitigation professionals. In addition to saving you a lot of labor and heartache, an experienced, quality water mitigation company like SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South knows the fastest way to effectively dry your home. They can also determine the best way to save salvageable property and how to deal with problems like mold and bacteria. They also know how to work with your insurance and can make that part a smooth process as well.

Where Do I Find a Water Mitigation Technician?

If you need water damage restoration, you can contact our franchises SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South right now. We offer 24/7 emergency water mitigation restoration services. You can contact us at 770-448-5782 for all your emergency needs.

What To Do When Your Water Heater Leaks

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

Waking up is hard to do. You need to get out of your cozy bed, go wash up, get dressed and get some coffee in you before you start your day. Now think of getting out of bed, as hard as that is, walking slowly to the shower, opening the hot water, and waiting for it to run so you can hop in, and nothing happens.

Water stays cold as ice, you realize you can't hit the shower this morning, and you try to figure out what just happened. Could you have forgotten to turn on the water heater? Could it be broken? Time to check it out.

As you walk downstairs you hear a low trickling noise as if a faucet is open somewhere. You keep going, and as you approach the basement, you hear it louder - there is water running somewhere over there. Question is - where? As you reach the last step, you put your foot down and immediately realize you haven't even opened your eyes properly. You're standing in a big pond, which was once your basement. No hot shower today. What now then?

First thing - close the water source. Whether it's the water heater, a pipe or a water leaking in from a window, make sure no more water can get in. Close the water mains, shut down any valve leading to the affected area, and close the window if that was the source of the water.

Second thing you do is take care of all that water. Water spreads fast and has the power to cause lots and lots of trouble over time. If you don't have a water drain in the basement, it's time to call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South at 770-448-5782.

Water leaks and floods should be taken care of as fast as possible. The reason is that most homes aren't waterproof on the inside. Standing water will ruin your carpets, floors, furniture, and even get into drywall if given the opportunity. Moreover, the standing water becomes a health hazard after a while, even if they came from a clean source (also called Category 1 water damage). Another reason for you to hurry is mold and how fast mold can start to grow after your basement suffered from a water damage.

our franchises SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South offers a 24/7 response to all your water damage requirements and needs, providing you a quick and thorough solution to your problem. We'll get your life back to normal in no time.

What To Do When Your Sump Pump Fails?

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

In most cases sump pumps fail during rain events. When that happens, the water usually seeps in through the foundation or basement walls and begins pooling in the lowest area of the basement, gradually rising as more water comes in. So what do you do at that point? Here’s a couple of suggestions to assist you in navigating a difficult situation.

First, you’re going to need to get the sump pump fixed. A plumber is going to be necessary to get the sump pump back up and running. Immediately call a licensed plumber in your area and get on their schedule as quickly as possible. During rain events, it’s not unusual for many homes in the area to suffer the same fate as you, so plumbers will get booked up quickly. Act fast and call for their help!

Second, do the same with a certified water mitigation company.  Many times, it doesn’t make sense for a water mitigation company to come out immediately, because you’re paying them to pump out water as more water is coming in. It’s just an endless cycle that can cost you a lot of money without doing much in the way of saving your home. You may decide that’s worth the money to you, but in many cases, it makes more sense to try and manage things temporarily while you wait for a plumber to fix your sump pump. That said, even if the plumber fixes your sump pump you’re still going to need a restoration company to come in and remove any excess moisture and dry out the affected areas.

Call our franchises SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast or SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southwest at 770-448-5782 for any of your mitigation needs.  

Prevent Moldy Carpets

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

Mold can grow in virtually every area of a home and on any surface, if given the right environment. That includes your beautiful carpets that you spend so much energy trying to keep clean and looking beautiful. While there can be many causes of mold in a home, when it comes to moldy carpets there are a few things you can do to reduce the chances you ever have to deal with it.

Mold damage can be costly.  Not to mention the health effects it can bring upon inhabitants of the dwelling with a mold problem. As with many aspects of home maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Not only can moldy carpets be unsightly and need to be replaced, they can be the tip of the iceberg in terms of more substantial damage to your property. So, consider taking these steps to keep black mold from growing on your carpets!

Control the humidity and temperature in your home

Mold grows best with a certain amount of moisture in the air as well as certain temperature ranges. One way to help prevent mold growth on any surface in your home, including your carpets, is to ensure your humidity levels never reach 60%. And while it’s unlikely you like living in this warm of a house, make sure you don’t set the thermometer to 80 degrees.

Consider a different floor covering in areas prone to moisture

Some areas of a home are just more prone to humidity and moisture. Like your bathroom, for instance. Every design aspect of your home should be done with appearance and functionality in mind, and that includes making sure you’re making smart decisions about the type of floor coverings to have in certain areas based on the area’s usage along with environmental aspects. When it comes to bathroom floors, and to a lesser extent basement floors, sometimes the smartest plan is to avoid carpets altogether.

Use carpet padding that is anti-microbial

There are a few different types of padding most commonly used in residential homes. While some are more budget friendly than others, if you’re considering carpet in areas that may be more prone to moisture issues, consider installing rubber-slab carpet padding. It’s much more resistant to mold growth than traditional carpet pads. 

If you do get standing water on your carpets, get it out fast!

This goes for any surface type in your home, and it’s especially true with carpets. With the right humidity levels and temperatures, mold growth can accelerate quickly when food and water are present. Getting the water and excess moisture out quickly can be the difference between a close call and a serious health problem for your family.

Clean your carpets regularly

Vacuuming your carpets regularly, along with having them professionally steam cleaned, can go a long way in preventing mold growth. One of the components of rapid mold growth is food, and mold loves dirt, grime, food, and any other organic substance that can be found in your carpet fibers. Regularly cleaning your carpets is a great way to help reduce the likelihood of dealing with mold in the future! 

Typically, if you have black mold on your carpets a visual inspection is all that is necessary. But in other instances, you may notice a musty smell or perhaps you’ve also been experiencing some troubling health issues that you think may be attributed to high levels of mold. In most states, mold remediation companies must be different than mold testing companies. The way it works is that the mold testing company will come take environmental samples from your home and have them sent off to a lab to be evaluated. If it’s determined through the testing that your home has a toxic black mold problem, it’s at that point that you’ll want to hire a mold removal company like us. Call our franchises SERVPRO of Gwinnett County South at 770-448-5782.