Living With Mold is Simple, Don't
February 7th, 2020
Living with Mold is Simple……. Don’t
Suppose your house suffered some wind damage recently due to the high winds that came through back in October (2019). You patched the roof with plans to “fix it yourself” when the seasons change and the temps warm up. A temporary tarp or other covering it currently being utilized to minimize further water from leaking into your house. You assume everything will be fine, and come Spring, one weekend you and perhaps some friends and family will simply remove the temporary covering and patch the roof. Everything is then good to go…..right? Not exactly.
See the entire time you have had the temporary patch on the house, water could have leaked in. Not to mention, what happened to all the water that leaked in before? Did you simply mop up what you could find, spray a little Kilz or similar product on the roof in order to remove the visible reminder of your misfortune? Well, when the season warms, and your attic space heats up, mold will begin to form, if it hasn’t already.
The type of mold that forms will cause problems, but what those problems are is hard to tell. Every type of mold runs the potential to cause health issues. As the mold grows, spores are released into the air, eventually getting into your HVAC lines and negatively affecting the air quality in your home. Since mold requires moisture to grow, the moisture it absorbs also absorbs into the wood, potentially causing wood rot. It should be noted that mold itself does not rot wood, but the moisture it attracts does. This is why it is very important to contact SERVPRO if you suffered water damage from any type of storm event in the past.
According to FEMA, using the residents of Hurricane IRENE as an example, once you see you have water damage, you should do everything you can to dry out immediately. If you do not have the proper tools and resources to do it, SERVPRO of LBL North does, and will respond to your call within four hours or less with the proper drying equipment. If you see mold, the general rule of thumb is DON’T DISTURB IT! Contact SERVPRO of LBL North and let us examine the mold, determine the type, and safely remove it from your home. Improperly disturbing/removing mold from your home could give it more moisture/room to grow. It is best to let professionals get rid of it the moment it is detected.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2011, September 18th). Be safe, don't stay in a home infested with mold or mildew. Retrieved from Federal Emergency Management Association: https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2011/09/18/be-safe-dont-stay-home-infested-mold-or-mildew
Getting an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP)
February 7th, 2020
It happens more than you think, but is one of the most seldom discussed subjects at meetings and/or training sessions. What happens when a main water line bursts inside the building, or, when someone detects the smell of gas in the air while the building is being heated? When severe weather strikes, do your managers know where to go, and where to send your customers? What happens when a tornado, hurricane, or flood impacts your business directly? Communication is the key of course, but without the proper plan, there is nothing to communicate on a consistent level.
An Emergency Ready Profile is what separates guessing from an actual plan of attack should something detrimental happen to your business. Here at SERVPRO of LBL North, we have an entire team of professionals who, upon request, will come to your business, and complete your Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for you. We will ask you some questions in reference to points of contact, service providers, etc., and then we will take care of filling in the remainder of the form. Once completed, you will be provided a copy to share with your managers, and insurance providers, and we will keep a copy as well. In the rare event disaster does strike, you will be prepared, and SERVPRO of LBL North will already know how to respond.
To get your ERP completed, please contact our office at (731) 642-1284 for more information and to schedule a visit by our Sales and Marketing Manager, or a Sales and Marketing Representative.
Residential Fire Readiness
February 7th, 2020
Residential Fire Readiness
Ever wonder what the chances of your home catching fire actually are? Well, according to the United States Fire Administration, it depends on how well you are at cooking! Yes, we said cooking. Accord to the USFA, 51.6% of residential fires come from cooking. Generally, this is a grease fire, and once a flame emits from grease running down onto an eye on the stove, someone incorrectly tries to put it out with water. The other causes are Heating (9.1%), Unintentional/Carelessness (7.1) and Electrical 6.5%. So, while there are other reasons, most fires do begin in the kitchen. Let’s discuss a few tips in the event the bacon decides to catch fire one Saturday morning while you are cooking breakfast.
- Get everyone out of the house (remember, have everyone assemble at a rally point).
- Contact 9-1-1
- If the fire is contained to the pan/pot, cover the container with a lid (not a plastic lid).
- If possible, shut off the heat source. This will not immediately put an end to the flame, but it will help in the continued fueling of heat from the source. You will still have to contend with the fire already started.
- If small enough, pour generous amounts of salt and/or baking soda on the flames.
- If available, use a Class B fire extinguisher. These are readily available for purchase at any local Lowe’s, Walmart or other home store.
- DO NOT use water on an oil-based fire. This will cause the oil to splatter, expanding the flames rapidly which will likely result in your home being consumed in flames before the emergency responders can arrive.
It is also recommended that you do not place fire extinguishers in the kitchen, but rather, just outside the kitchen. In the event your kitchen catches fire, you will need to access the extinguisher, and if your kitchen is engulfed in flames, it could render getting to the extinguisher next to impossible. Do what you can with what you have, but most certainly do not put yourself or others in harms way. You and your family’s safety are the most crucial element to dealing with a fire. Educate everyone in the home on the plan in the event a fire breaks out. Make sure they know how to safely exit the home, what to do and not to do, and where to meet up once safely outside of the home. Everyone, down to the youngest child, should be familiar with it.
Should you experience fire damage, contact SERVPRO of LBL North to come inspect the residence and begin work on restoring it “Like it never even happened.”
United States Fire Administration
How to Put Out a Grease Fire
Are You Sure the Toilet Isn't Leaking?
February 7th, 2020
Are You Sure the Toilet Isn’t Leaking?
Do you see stains around the base of your toilet? Notice standing water or damaged tile? How about stains on the ceiling below where your toilet is located (multi-level home)? These can all be indications of a leaking toilet seal. A toilet seal is what connects the toilet to the main drain waste pipe flange in the floor. Typically, you find that if your toilet is rocking, that means that the seal is faulty and needs replaced. However, even if it is not rocking you still may find the toilet seal to have been installed incorrectly, possibly not aligned correctly, or not installed at all.
How to Replace Leaking Toilet Seal?
- TURN off the water at the shutoff valve. (typically located behind the toilet or possibly in the basement or crawlspace)
- REMOVE the toilet lid, hold the handle down, and drain all the water out of the toilet. You will also need to remove the water from the supply tank as well (using a sponge or cup may be helpful to get all the water out).
- DISCONNECT the water-supply tube. This is done by removing the compression nuts off the shutoff value.
- REMOVE the toilet by gently rocking back and forth to break off the pre-existing seal. (Use a putty knife to remove the old seal)
- CHECK the condition of the flange that holds the seal to ensure there are no cracks or broken pieces. (If so, this part will also need replaced)
- CENTER the new seal within the closest flange
- CONNECT the water-supply tube to the fill-valve shank that is located on the bottom of the toilet tank
- PRESS down on the toilet to compress the seal and tighten the bolts (do not over tighten)
- TRIM the tops of bolts, tighten bolts, and replace caps
- CONNECT the supply tube to the shutoff valve, open the valve, flush the toilet
- INSPECT for any leaks
A leaking toilet can seem like a minor issue, but if left unrepaired can turn into a large, costly issue. If the leak is caught in a timely manner, and repaired the homeowner is looking at low costs, and about an hours’ worth of work. However, if left alone to continue to leak, it can cause major damage to the sub-floor of the house or even the walls. Once the floor begins to rot, it continues to spread and before anyone is aware of it, it can destroy an entire bathroom floor, causing showers, cabinets, sinks, and such to have to be removed in order to fix the damaged floor. This then turns into hours of restoration work, and costly materials.
For more information relating to the inspection of, removal or installation of a toilet gasket, please click on the link provided below. If you find that you do in fact have water damage as a result of a leaky/faulty gasket, please contact SERVPRO of LBL North at (270) 753-1160.
Easy Fix for a Leaky Toilet
Diverting Water Away From the Home
February 7th 2020
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
“Home is where love resides, memories are made, friends and family belong, and laughter never ends.” We all want to ensure that our houses will be home to ourselves and our family for many years. The thought of water flooding the home, foundation damage, soil erosion and grass deterioration are all nightmares that we hear of all too often. Although we hope these things never happen, there are ways to help avoid these nightmares. The ability to draw water away from your home could save you time, money, and heartache during the next rainstorm and in the long run prevent expensive foundation repair or other associated issues. If water builds up around the foundation of the house, it can allow for the water to seep into walls, which can cause moisture, as well as mold to begin intruding into your home.
Below we have provided four ways to draw water away from your home…
- Install a Rain Gutter System: North Dakota State University Extension Service has conducted research on this topic, and they found “that 1 inch of water on 1,000 square feet of roof translates to 620 gallons of water”. Slanted roofs cause the water to run off, but without a gutter system the water will begin to pool around the base of the house. “Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends using an extended rain spout of at least 5 feet at the end of the downspout” this allows for enough distance for the water to be discarded away from the house.
- Create A Barrier: Over time your soil is altered by the runoff of water from the roof of your house. This leads to the soil moving and creating those unwanted pools of water that build up around your house. It is suggested to “rebuild” the soil around your house to redirect the runoff water. In an article in the "Chicago Tribune" they suggest “building a slope of topsoil or crushed stone that extends from the home 2 to 3 feet. As well as the NDSU Extension Service suggests that the slopes be 1 inch higher per every foot in length.
- Dig A Trench: Once the water is carried away from the house, then it is important to get rid of the water before it ventures back towards your house. One of the ways to do this is to build a trench. The trench is suggested to be 3 to 4 ft deep, and 2 to 3 ft across by an article in “Chicago Tribune”. The trench should be in the lowest part of the property and in a U-shape. Place filter fabric on the high end to filter out the dirt and silt, as well as fill the trench with gravel or crushed rock.
- Build A Dry Well: If yards are small and easily hold water, the gutters and barriers may not be enough to get rid of water. A dry wall may need to be installed to get rid of standing water that threatens your home. Dry Wells are holes in the ground that are filled with gravel or crushed rock that are 3 to 4 ft wide and 5 to 6 ft deep. These allow for a slow transfer of water to the ground.
Although these seem like time consuming ideas, they can ultimately save you from the nightmares of water damage. If you have questions about the preventative actions check out the link below. Also, if you have any further questions or damage has already begun, please contact SERVPRO of LBL North at (270) 753-1160.
Drawing Water Away From The House
Making a Plan
One of the biggest mistakes any family can make is failing to anticipate disaster striking home. Home fires, floods, lightning strikes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc., all can happen and often with very little warning. SERVPRO of LBL North is taking the initiative in its region to ensure the communities it serves are aware of the importance of planning properly. Taking some tips from Ready.gov, we would like to share some of those tips to our SERVPRO community.
- Receiving Warnings: In the present day, most people have at minimum one smartphone in the home. However, if these smartphones are on silent, vibrate, or are powered down, how else will you receive notice of danger, be it weather or otherwise. Do you have carbon monoxide or smoke detectors in the home? Are the batteries changed routinely? If not, it may be worth your while to either install these devices, or set up a schedule to begin replacing these batteries at the minimum twice annually.
- Shelter Plan: In the event your home suffers a disaster, which makes living in it temporarily impossible, or dangerous to your health, where will you go? In some cases, your insurance policy may contain provisions which will cover temporary lodging in a local hotel. Perhaps you could make emergency arrangements with a family member, or a neighbor. A shelter plan absolutely MUST be part of your contingency, and all members of the household should know this plan.
- Where to Go: In the event of a fire, earthquake, tornado strike, etc., where your home is affected while you and your loved ones are in it, a plan should be made as to where to assemble should everyone need to quickly evacuate the home. Perhaps at the end of the driveway, the mailbox, the neighbors house. These are just some examples of where families could agree to meet in the rare event of a disaster strike. Make sure everyone knows the route to get to the assembly point, and that it is one that is familiar to all members of the household.
- Communication Plan: In this day and age where families are constantly on the go, there is a chance that when disaster strikes some members of the household may not be home. Consider a communication plan that everyone agrees on, and that everyone is aware of that resides within the home. It is also important that immediate family members outside of the home, or neighbors should be included on this emergency plan. In the event an emergency strikes the home, the communication plan should be implemented immediately, with detailed instructions provided as to the 1) the type of disaster, 2) where the family will stay in the event the residence is uninhabitable or a danger to enter, 3) any additional instructions necessary.
These emergency plans should be communicated and discussed with all members of the family, even the little ones, especially since a fire or other emergency could leave the little ones separated from the rest of the family during the event. Find creative ways to share fire safety, earthquake and other natural disaster drills with the little ones and rehearse those on a routine basis. More information can be found by visiting the resources provided below.
Lastly, allow SERVPRO of LBL North to come out and provide to you a free Emergency Readiness Plan (ERP) which we will keep on file in the event disaster strikes your home. This will enable the insurance company, SERVPRO, and other entities that will respond to the scene to quickly assess the important components, and begin to restore your home back “Like it never even happened.”
Department of Homeland Security Ready.gov Website
Department of Homeland Security Ready Kids Website
Customer Service and the SERVPRO of LBL North Promise
February 5th, 2020
Customer Satisfaction and the SERVPRO Promise
Unfortunately, we live in a day and time where convenience seems to trump good old-fashioned customer service. With most organizations, you can either have one, or the other. You can have quick service, get the job done, but it comes with an often times rude, or other individual with less than a desirable personality. However, having both convenience and high-quality customer service is not necessarily a thing of the past. At SERVPRO of LBL North, we embody and strive for providing both of these key elements.
When we arrive at your residence or business, we want to see the issue from your perspective. How will this incident affect you from the time we begin the drying or restoration process to the time we conduct our final clean up. To us, you are not just another customer. We love meeting new people, learning a little about you, and providing you with such a good quality service that we become your “go-to” anytime disaster strikes your home.
In the end, we understand that a happy customer is our greatest asset. If our service does not meet 5-Star expectations, give us the opportunity to make it right. SERVPRO of LBL North is here for you in your time of need. Call our office at (731) 642-1284 and let us know how we can serve you!
Is Your Business Prepared for a Disaster
February 4th, 2020
Is Your Business Prepared for Disaster
Running a business, be it a small locally owned business, or large corporate operation, being prepared in the event an unexpected event happens is crucial to making sure whatever situation arises, the right help is identified and the problem is resolved as fast as possible. In fact, over 50% of businesses close down completely following a major disaster simply because no plan or approach was composed leading up to said disaster.
SERVPRO of LBL North can help with this. Our Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) will help you with putting this plan together. The best part is, we do it for you. All you need to do is provide us with some vital information, and we go to work putting together your profile which once provided, will give crucial details to law enforcement, emergency responders, SERVPRO and other entities which will come to your rescue in the event of a disaster. For example, our ERP includes some of the following information and more:
- Points of Contact (POC) for your organization
- Locations of all water, electric and gas shut offs (including photos of each element)
- A comprehensive list of service providers (water, gas, electric, etc.)
- A detailed chain of command so as to authorize SERVPRO of LBL North to get started as soon as possible following an emergency
- …….Much More
ERP’s can also be put together for a residence as well. If you would like an ERP put together for your home or business, contact our office at (731) 642-1284 to schedule a visit to your location.
SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile
Black History Month: Recognizing Gen. Colin Powell
Gen. Colin Powell
Photo Credit: United States Joint Chiefs of Staff
February 4th, 2020
Black History Month
SERVPRO of LBL South Recognizes United States Army Gen. Colin Powell (ret)
In honor of Black History Month, SERVPRO of LB North would like to recognize retired Gen. Colin Powell. Gen. Powell was born from Jamaican immigrants on April 5th of 1937 in Harlem, New York. At the young age of 16, Powell entered into the City College of New York where he joined the Army Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC), where he attained the highest rank any student in the program can achieve.
Following his completion of college, Gen. Powell quickly climbed the ranks in the US Army by completing various training in US Army Airborne School, Ranger School, then joined the 3d Armored Division in Germany. During his time in the military, which included a stint in the Vietnam conflict, Powell advised a southern Vietnamese infantry battalion. It was during this tour that Powell was injured, thus enabling him to receive the Purple Heart.
In 1979, after years of active duty commission, Powell was promoted to Brigadier General, and assigned work under the Office of the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF). Not long after this assignment. Gen. Powell was called upon by then President Ronald Reagan to serve as the Deputy National Security Advisor under Frank Carlucci. When Carlucci became the Secretary of Defense, Powell was already in line to succeed him.
Over the years, Powell served the nation in various roles, working with leaders from both political parties on issues such as Leadership, National Security, and much more. His was so successful in fact, that upon his retirement, was awarded his second Presidential Medal of Freedom. Queen Elizabeth II also made him an Honorary Knight of the Bath. Since his retirement from public service, Powell has spent his time publishing books, and public speaking, using his life experiences as a foundation to encourage growth in various areas. Powell has continued to serve the nation through his limitless advice on Leadership, and how to overcome obstacles using a common sense approach. He is living proof that hard work and determination has no limits, in so long as one is willing to keep an eye trained on the end objective.
“Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them!” – Gen. Colin Powell
Joint Chiefs of Staff. 2020. Colin Lither Powell. Febriary 04. Accessed February 04, 2020. https://www.jcs.mil/About/The-Joint-Staff/Chairman/General-Colin-Luther-Powell/.
The Military Leader. n.d. 11 Priceless Colin Powell Quotes. Accessed February 04, 2020. https://www.themilitaryleader.com/priceless-colin-powell/.
Mobile Homes and Moisture Issues
February 5th, 2020
Mobile Homes and Moisture Issues
According to an article published in 2009, which uses a United States Census Report, more than 56% of the mobile homes in the nation are located in the southern states. Tie this with the abundance of moisture in the ground, therein arises many opportunities for mold to form in and around the mobile home. Let’s take a moment to understand the dynamics which set the stage for mold growth in mobile homes, then discuss how you can potentially minimize/prevent unnecessary mold growth in your home.
Mobile homes by design (recent ones manufactured anytime after 2000) secure the insulation, water lines, electric lines, and HVAC ducts installed underneath the flooring of the home with a heavy duty plastic (vapor barrier). This plastic lining is there to protect the underside of the home, especially the wood flooring, from vapor rising up from the moist ground beneath it. In the South, as noted above, we have an abundance of both moisture in the ground, which results in the excessive humidity levels we experience. This plastic vapor barrier pre-installed on your home, also has a negative side effect, in that it hides slow leaks which may arise from poor fabrication or wear and tear. These leaks absorb first into the insulation, then begin to trickle down, pooling in a low spot it finds within the vapor barrier. During this course of time, humidity levels trapped between the vapor barrier and the floor sets the perfect stage for mold growth throughout the underside of your home. The spores from this growth eventually finds its way into your home as it grows up through the pores in the flooring and walls.
Preventative Measures You Can Take and What to Report to SERVPRO of LBL North
- Routinely check under your home. Inspect the vapor barrier for sagging spots, which could lead to a slow leak
- Identify why moisture has accumulated at that spot and where it originated from
- Once the source has been identified and the leak eliminated, what path did the water take from the source to the location in which you found it
It is important that you inspect the vapor barrier of your home at least twice a year. Any vapor barrier that is altered (purposefully or unintentional), should be replaced/repaired as soon as possible so as to stop outside humidity levels from permitting mold to grown on all porous materials under the home. Mold can potentially negatively affect your air quality, and the integrity of your home. Call SERVPRO of LBL North anytime you detect moisture or mold in your home at (270) 753-1160.
Manufactured Housing Research Alliance. 2000. "Moisture problems in manufactured homes; understanding their causes and finding solutions." United States Department of Housing and Urban Development . Accessed February 04, 2020. https://www.huduser.gov/portal/publications/moisture.pdf.
Yousef, Hibah. 2009. Most mobile homes are in the south- Census. September 23rd. Accessed February 04, 2020. https://money.cnn.com/2009/09/22/real_estate/mobile_homes/index.htm.