Top Places To Check For Mold In Your Business
Here in Middle Tennessee, we all expect heavy rainstorms and thunderstorms, as well as extreme heat and tornadoes. We also know that high temperatures and humid conditions will create an environment that is right for mold to establish itself in a commercial property, and the best way to stay on top of a mold issue is to do regular inspections of your property for the sights and scents that spell trouble.
You will want to take a look around a day or two after extremely wet weather during the warmer months. Move machinery and office equipment, and look at the places where the walls join the floor and in the corners. Check out the ceiling closely for any recent leaks. Regular inspections can also keep you informed as to whether your roofing or walls have experienced any kind of damage that can result in damp areas that will allow a mold colony to get started.
The spaces where mold thrives will be in dark, moist and unventilated places such as closets, warehouses, and storage spaces.
As you establish the top places to check for mold in your business, you will want to establish preventive measures that will help you avoid this issue:
- Keep all workspaces well-ventilated
- During the more humid months, you may want to use a dehumidifier
- Make sure exterior doors are properly sealed
- Use the floor and walls as little as possible when organizing stored items on shelves
- Cardboard should not be kept in storage areas
- Remove any standing water immediately and dry the area completely
- Keep plant and tree overgrowth under control by trimming back shrubs and plants near structures
Probably the number one way to prevent mold, though, is to keep an eye out for vulnerable areas.
If your home or business has developed a mold problem, SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville is standing by to help - we are mold prevention and remediation experts. We are also experienced in the cleanup after water and fire damage. Give us a call!
What To Do If Your House Floods
If your home has been flooded, the proper steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of your family along with the integrity of the structure. If the levels of flooding are not severe, here are the steps to follow so your house can get back to normal in no time. If the flooding is severe, make sure to bring in the professionals to handle the issue.
Here are some steps to take if your house is flooded:
- Evacuate everyone from the premises as soon as possible once the flooding starts. Find a dry, safe spot away from the house while waiting for the flooding to stop. If flooding is caused by a natural disaster, call the authorities or listen to the local news to find a temporary shelter and relocate to that shelter when possible. Call 911 if anyone needs medical attention and make sure that everyone is accounted for and safe.
- Attempt to find the source of the flooding if it is not from a natural disaster. Stop it at the source, try to turn it off any faucet or seal it up; turning off the main water valve may also solve the issue.
- Turn off the electricity, but do not attempt to reach the fuse box if you have to walk through water to reach it! If you cannot reach the fuse box without stepping in water, call an electrician.
- Document all the damage by taking photos and videos of all the affected areas. This information will be necessary for insurance purposes if you need to file a claim.
Next comes the clean-up process:
- Do not touch the water without the proper equipment, as it may be contaminated with sewage or other hazardous material. If you have to enter the establishment wear waders or waterproof boots.
- All of the water must be removed, and then a wet vacuum or a pump can be used to dispose of any standing water.
- Attempt to salvage any items that were not seriously damaged. Do not eat any food that has been contaminated by floodwater.
- If the water damage is not too bad, dry the space out with fans and dehumidifiers. Anything that was touched by the water also needs to be disinfected.
Warm, wet spaces are an attractive breeding ground for mold colonies, so act as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth.
- Your property needs to be as dry as possible to prevent mold spores from growing. Once a mold colony gets established it is not possible to remove completely. Keep the affected areas as dry as possible and treat them with a strong cleaner, such as a bleach solution.
- Open any windows and doors to let fresh, dry air in and circulate.
If the damage to your home is critical and you doubt you are capable of fixing the issue by yourself, don’t hesitate to call us to assist you in getting your house back to normal. Here at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville, we are experts when it comes to water damage repair and restoration, and we are mold prevention and remediation pros, too.
Fire Prevention In Your Kitchen
Mealtime is a time when families get together. We all look forward to cooking a wonderful meal while visiting with our loved ones. When in the kitchen, you should practice fire safety, so that you can prevent a fire in this room known as the heart of the home. Fire damage can be incredibly costly; a single fire may cause hundreds if not thousands of dollars in fire damage, and can put those you love at risk. Here are some fire prevention tips for your kitchen:
Cleanliness. Before you even begin to prep for the meal, ensure that the entire kitchen is clean by clearing all grime from the oven, washing the microwave, and making sure the floors are swept. Leftover food particles and grease can help a fire ignite before you know it. A clean kitchen is a safe kitchen.
Protection. When cooking, make sure to wear the right clothing. Don’t wear anything with dangling sleeves that could catch or spread a fire. Oven mitts are a must when you bring things out of the stove, too. Hot pots, pans, and utensils can catch other items on fire, so prepare a place to put them after you bring them out. Clear an area for hot items, and make sure the surface is clean and dry.
Children. Mealtime brings the kids into the kitchen, and they will enjoy help you by performing simple tasks, such as helping to get things out of the fridge. You can use this time to teach them fire safety and to ensure that they know to keep away from stoves and any other place where there might be live flames.
Proper Storage. One of the best ways to help prevent fires in your kitchen is to store all chemicals like solvents away from any heat source. Keep cleaning fluids on shelving that is protected far away from the stove and range, and make sure that any pots you are using have all handles away from everyone in the kitchen. Knocking a burning pot or pan onto the floor or a person can cause serious injuries and start a fire quickly.
Your kitchen should always be filled with friends, family, and food, and SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville is here to help make that happen. Whether your home suffers from fire damage, water damage, or a mold infestation, we are ready at a moment’s notice!
Preparing Your Business For Heavy Rain This Spring
Damage prevention is always going to save you both time and money. Preparing your Middle Tennessee business for heavy spring rainstorms will do just that. Water damage is at the top of the list of weather events that a business can suffer from, and the cleanup for this kind of event can be extensive, as well. With that in mind, we would like to share some ways you can prepare your business for heavy rains.
- The number one way to prevent damage from water is through regular maintenance. Taking good care of the drainage areas for your entrances, your parking lots and your roofing will help you to avoid water damage from large amounts of water. All around your premises are areas that can be a risk to your customers and your workforce, so regularly scheduled inspections and repairs for these areas are vital for your preparation.
- Instruct your workforce to say something if they see something. Vigilance will go a long way towards keeping your premises in good repair ahead of the rainy seasons.
- Make it part of your routine to look around your grounds for overflowing ditches or gutters after heavy rains and storms, and take note of standing water, too. Issues like these can cause erosion and potholes, not to mention breed mosquitoes. You can prepare your business for the next round of spring rains by identifying your vulnerable areas.
- If you have a flooding event, large or small, it is always going to be a good idea to get it cleaned up and dried completely as soon as possible. As you are recovering, take the time to record what you have found so that you can ensure that the proper renovations or repairs are made to help prepare you for the next round of storms. You may want to contact professionals to help you determine your most vulnerable areas and what the proper steps may be for storm and heavy rain preparation.
If you need help with cleanup from water damage, large or small, the SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville is always ready to help. You can count on us for assistance with fire damage, mold prevention, and mold remediation, too.
Preparing For Spring Storms
Every smart home or business owner knows that spring storms can be dangerous. You are always interested in protecting your property from damages and injuries that could potentially happen due to violent weather. Although storms are difficult to predict, you can never be too safe when it comes to protecting your investments and your loved ones.
Here are just a couple of ways to prevent damages and ensure your employees, family, and property are safe by preparing for spring storms.
Assessments. The state of your business prior to any potential storms needs to be thoroughly assessed and documented. Document your property via video or photo as protection in case the worst happens. When filing insurance claims, it is necessary to have before and after pictures of your property.
Roofing. Roofs can leak and potentially cause water damage to your business, so you will want to make sure your roof is in the best shape possible. Make sure there aren’t any shingles that are compromised, which can cause water to leak through your roof. It is also important to inspect your ceilings for any discoloration. This is often a telltale sign that you have already sustained some water damage.
Gutters. Clean your gutters regularly throughout the year to prevent them from getting clocked and adding cracks to your foundation. You will want to schedule this project ahead of the seasons that are known to bring large amounts of water to your area. Gutters are designed to keep water away from your property, so it is necessary to ensure the gutters are working properly. If there are cracks in your foundation, water could leak in and cause flooding in your business.
Debris. High winds can cause debris to fly and do some pretty serious damage. Some studies have shown that this is the single biggest danger during a storm. Look around your business for trees that have the potential to fall and threaten your property. If you see any trees that pose a threat, consider seeking assistance in order to help you take care of them properly.
Here at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville, we know that even with all proper precautions storm damage can still affect your home or business. If you or your business have experienced damage from a storm, we can help you recover right away. We are fire damage and water damage experts, and we are skilled at handling mold, too!
Steps To Take When Your Ceiling Is Leaking
It will always be immediately obvious when you have a leak in your ceiling! Drips of water, discolored tiles or plaster, and peeling paint are going to be dead giveaways. It isn’t always as obvious as to where that water is coming from, and it can be difficult to find the source. Common causes will include: include leaky or burst pipes, a toilet or tub that has overflowed, and leaks in your roofing, just to name a few. In addition to unsightly staining and damage to your interiors, it can lead to mold if they are from a smaller leak, while large leaks and burst pipes can cause your ceiling to crumble completely in a fairly short period of time. If you have a serious issue you will probably want to call a professional full-service repair company.
In the meantime, here are a couple of steps to take when your ceiling is leaking:
- Dry the Ceiling. If the damage is minor, you will want to find the source first and repair that. Using fans and dehumidifiers can be a big help after the repair is done, and you may want to rent commercial units for the best effect. You can use scaffolding to raise these machines up near the ceiling, improving airflow and getting things drier faster.
- Paint/Repair. For a minor ceiling situation, you can make repairs without replacing drywall or plaster by scrubbing the area to take away loose debris, wiping the area with a clean cloth, and allowing it to air dry. If your ceiling is painted, apply a primer to block water spots, and then apply 2 coats of paint, blending it into the damaged areas. For a plaster ceiling, just fill in the gaps and cracks with new plaster.
The steps above are great for someone who is a do-it-yourselfer or when the damage is minor, but if you have experienced a large leak in your ceiling with a lot of damage to your building, you can always rely on us here at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville. We’re proud to be able to help all our friends and neighbors here in the Nashville area when the unexpected happens. We are water damage and fire damage experts and skilled in mold prevention and remediation, too.
Dehumidifying Your Home To Prevent Mold Growth
Studies have shown that high humidity can cause many health-related issues; some are very severe. Optimal humidity levels are between 30- 50%, with around 45% being the most desirable for both health and comfort. Dehumidifiers help to maintain indoor humidity at these comfortable levels, keeping the air in your indoor spaces healthy. This can both save you money and help you avoid any number of health risks.
Dehumidifying your home will prevent mold growth:
- MOLD AND MILDEW. Mildew emits a strong odor, which can affect an entire home. If you leave your clothes in the washer too long when humidity is high, they can become "mildewy" and will need to be re-washed, which only adds to your water and energy bills. Since mold and mildew thrive in warm, moist environments, dehumidifiers help keep them in check.
Along with mold and mildew prevention, dehumidifying your home will help you:
- LIVE IN COMFORT. As your body temperature rises, your body releases sweat to help cool you off. When humidity is at an optimal level, your sweat evaporates into the air, leaving you cool and dry. However, air molecules that are already saturated with water have no room to absorb further water, which means you run around wet and sticky. Everyone knows how uncomfortable that can be! Bacteria is another organism that thrives in humid environments, and minor cuts and injuries are more susceptible to infection in such a situation. Some minor medical issues can also be made worse by humidity, such as acne and athlete's foot.
It will also help you save on energy:
- HVAC SUPPORT. When air molecules are ladened with water, it makes them harder to heat or cool down. Did you know that a pan only half full of water will heat and cool more quickly and efficiently than a pan that is full? It’s true! And the same is true of air molecules that are half-filled with water. In the same way, a dehumidifier will help your HVAC system heat up and cool down your home faster and more efficiently by reducing the water in the air, which can significantly save you cooling and heating costs.
SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville is here to help with all your cleanup projects, both large and small, and remember that we are mold remediation experts!
How To Safely Use Your Fire Pit
Now that it’s becoming more pleasant outside, many of us are uncovering our firepits and looking forward to spending time gathering around them to enjoy time with family and friends. Practicing fire safety is going to be an important thing to remember.
Let’s have a quick refresher on how to safely use your firepit:
Whether you prefer a built-in or portable fire pit, choose one that is not too large for the area. The pit should be a minimum of 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials as well as away from trees, fences, sheds, power lines, and telephone wires.
Make sure that the seating area is large enough and properly placed for comfort and ventilation.
Don’t start your fire if it’s really windy; a strong breeze can easily blow sparks onto nearby flammable materials, such as firewood piles or roofs, and can hurt people, too.
Burn only dry material. Damp material will create excess smoke.
Don’t use lighter fluid or gasoline to get your fire going as it can easily burn out of control or even result in explosions. Don't burn tires, aerosols, fireworks, or anything containing paint or foam to avoid toxic fumes which could also explode and cause injury.
To start the fire, use a lighter to ignite crumpled pieces of paper covered with small sticks. Then, add larger sticks and a log or two to keep it burning.
Wear non-flammable clothing and hard-soled shoes when starting, sitting near, or extinguishing the fire.
Never leave the fire unattended, and keep pets and children far away from the fire as they will be attracted to it.
Keep the proper fire extinguishing equipment, or at least a water hose, handy in case there is an emergency. You could also fill a bucket with sand, which can be used instead of water to help extinguish a fire.
As the fire dies down, use a shovel and spread out the ashes to allow them to cool down. Then slowly pour water over those ashes and watch them closely to be sure that no burning embers remain or reignite. Put the cooled ashes in a specially designated ash storage metal can.
SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville is dedicated to providing the quickest response to any fire event that may occur in our area. Immediate action is crucial to limiting the damage, and we have a trained and experienced team, along with the specialized equipment necessary for prompt recovery and restoring your home or business.
What To Do When Your Apartment Sprinkler System Goes Off
The overhead sprinkler system in your apartment complex is there to keep tenants safe from possible fire damage, and everyone is glad the system is in place. However, when it does go off, there is going to be a mess to clean up. What should you do when your apartment complex sprinkler system goes off?
You know that it is important to handle any sort of water issues immediately in order to avoid the costly problems that can arise from your damp property, such as mold and mildew. Keep in mind that any intense heat will cause your sprinklers to discharge, and the sprinkler heads contain a temperature-sensitive mechanism that can only be activated when the temperature at the sprinkler head exceeds the allowable range, so make sure your tenants understand that they need to be careful with heat inside their units. You will also want to make sure that residents know never to hang items from the sprinkler heads, as this can damage them, as well as cause them to go off unexpectedly.
Here are a few cleanup tips to consider when cleaning up after your overhead sprinkler system goes off:
- Prompt professional assistance following a sprinkler discharge could be vital in saving your property and your residents’ belongings from permanent damage. Your actions in the first 24-48 hours can save you significant time and money and eliminate subsequent mold growth.
- Professional followup will also be a big help when it comes to odors, and they can evaluate the water damage and potential for mold growth in hidden areas as well as ensure that any affected building materials are dry prior to work area rebuilding.
- We recommend that you hire an independent water damage and mold remediation expert to represent you during planning, response, and closeout, and work together with their insurance carrier.
- Water within the sprinkler system is stagnant and non-potable, and the water picks up and absorbs oils and other contaminants within the piping, resulting in discoloration and odors from its sedimentary state. Cleanup actions typically not only involve moisture remediation but also involve surface cleaning from stains as well as additional measures to alleviate odors.
- Prompt action for cleaning is essential when it comes to fabric and textile items that have been affected to minimize permanent staining and damage.
If your apartment complex has been affected by water damage, whether from an overhead sprinkler system, flooding, or leaks both large and small, here at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville, we are ready to help right away.
Creating An Evacuation Plan For Your Business
As a smart business person, you know it’s a wise move to be ready for whatever might happen. Your commercial property is an important investment, both for you and for the people who work there as well, and you want to protect that investment and the well-being of all involved.
Having an evacuation strategy in place is a basic requirement for guarding lives and keeping people safe. As you are creating your strategy, think about the types of disasters that are most common to your area, as well as those that are not common or weather-related, such as human threat or fire.
Six important points to consider while you are creating an evacuation plan for your business are:
- Communication. How tenants and workforce members receive emergency alerts or warnings. An alarm system within the building might work best if your commercial building is composed of large shops or warehouses. If your property is an office, then perhaps a phone tree to contact each department or office individually would work best.
- Shelter. What kind of shelters are available onsite for people? For areas that experience tornadoes, for example, an area on the lowest floor or below ground that is constructed to withstand the highest wind forces will be necessary.
- Direction. Ensure that a map is posted in all public areas. It needs to be clear and labeled properly so that anyone can reference it and easily know where to go.
- Updates. During the event and afterward, you will need to be able to communicate with your tenants so that they are updated concerning the state of your building. Your business will be discontinued so that the emergency can be handled, and they will want to know when it is safe and when they can exit shelters or re-enter the building and get back to work. Create a strategy where you can communicate with everyone in a timely and efficient way to prevent misinformation and confusion. Text messages could be the best course here, for example.
- Special Needs. Take special situations into consideration. It is a requirement that any exit strategy is tailored to individuals with any special needs, and you will want to think about older people and those that are impaired visually or in their hearing. Designating areas to gather ahead of time for having volunteers in place that can manage and oversee these situations will be helpful. If your commercial business houses sensitive equipment or machinery that is designed to save lives, this will need to be taken into consideration when dealing with emergency evacuation, as well.
- Guide. Create a complete guide for all tenants and members of the workforce who use your commercial building, outlining the information discussed above and including all templates, maps, and contact information, and place it online for easy access to all.
SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville is here to help you in the event of any emergency or accident. We specialize in water and fire damage clean-ups no matter the size, and we are mold remediation experts, too.