What To Do When Your Basement Floods
A basement flood can create a lot of problems for a homeowner. Since the basement is often used for storage, items such as books, photos, electronics, and textiles can be adversely affected if they become water-logged. Often, the items themselves can become so damaged that they are beyond repair. Your friends at SERVPRO of Hermitage/Donelson have some tips that can help save you from this situation.
Act quickly if you find that your basement is being flooded, but make sure anyone who is involved is being safe. If you have a large amount of standing water in your basement, call your power company, electrician, and/or your professional water damage cleanup team immediately. These professionals have the tools and training to handle the situation properly and will be able to determine the best, and safest, steps to take in beginning the cleanup process without increasing the risk of fire damage from any dangerous scenarios, such as exposed wires, etc.
There are some steps you can take safely, though. A shop-vac can clean up smaller amounts of standing water, and using a dehumidifier or fans will circulate air; this discourages mold growth and mildew. Make sure to keep these machines at least 8 inches away from walls to allow for the best circulation possible. Your air conditioning can be a big help here, too, so it should stay running throughout the building. Make sure no one turns on a window air conditioning unit in the basement while there are damp conditions, however.
To discourage mold from taking advantage of damp surfaces, you can scrub them with a solution of one cup bleach to one gallon of water while wearing gloves and protective eyewear. Remember to keep the room ventilated while you are doing tasks that involve cleaning solutions.
You can actually save valuable documents and papers by placing them in the freezer if they have been soaked. This may stop the growth of mildew or deterioration.
Storing important items in your basement may not be a best practice, but if you don’t have space anywhere else, you may want to try using air- and water-tight plastic bins to protect your items against a flooding event.
Here at SERVPRO of Hermitage/Donelson, we are always ready to help whenever you are dealing with water damage and fire damage, and we are mold remediation specialists, too. We handle large cleanup projects for commercial business owners and smaller projects for area homeowners, and we can get your premises Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!
First Steps For Cleaning Smoke Damage in Your Home
Fire can cause devastating damage to your home, but perhaps even more challenging than facing fire damage is the aftermath it leaves in its wake: smoke damage.
Fire smoke consists of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and soot, which enters walls, paint, furniture, fabric, ductwork, and every other nook and cranny in your home. These harmful chemicals linger in the air as well as become absorbed by your belongings, forming residue on and within your belongings.
Without proper identification and removal, smoke damage and its lingering odor are nearly impossible to eliminate, but there are a few first steps that you can take to address the damage while waiting for cleanup professionals to arrive. Don’t let the impact of smoke damage get you down. Here’s what to do:
- Assess what you can save and what you should discard. If the fire and smoke that occurred caused significant damage, there will most likely be some items that are beyond repair and are not worth trying to salvage. Try to identify these from the get-go and dispose of them as you can.
- Invest in appropriate supplies. In order to go about removing smoke damage, it’s important to have the right supplies to protect yourself from the harmful chemicals that smoke residue contains. Make sure to wear safety goggles and gloves while wiping down furniture and the walls to remove the surface residue. Terrycloth towels and Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) that you can buy at your local hardware store are two essentials to help you break down the grime that smoke has deposited throughout your home.
- Dissolve TSP in warm water to wipe things down. It is generally recommended to dissolve one tablespoon of TSP per one gallon of warm water. Use this solution and a sponge to wipe down your property with protective gear on.
- Wait for the professionals to arrive. Although you can start taking care of smoke damage by following the three steps above, it’s always best to hire a professional for heavy soot or smoke damage as well as deodorization, which is a big, daunting task. It’ll save you time and stress to hire the professionals to take care of the most extensive damage.
If you ever have the misfortune of experiencing fire and smoke damage, contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville by calling (615) 242-9391. We’re trained and ready to help.
We Can Remove Unpleasant Odors After Water Or Fire Damage
The odors of mold, mildew, soot, and smoke easily permeate through your household items and can linger for months after water or fire damage, making your home or business extremely unpleasant spaces to reside or within. Unfortunately, these odors are stubborn, and it often takes more than just opening up the windows and airing out the space to remove them.
Mold gives off a smell that is described as musty, earthy, or meaty. It often smells rotten or like something decaying, and the unpleasant odor is quite pungent. If you smell mold, this could be a serious hazard to your health and your home, and you should definitely get it checked out. Mold growth is often the result of moisture or water damage in some area of your home or commercial space.
On the other hand, fire damage brings its own set of obvious odors with it—smoke, soot, and ashes all can leave your property smelling like secondhand smoke and also deposit particles in the air that can become trapped in your lungs. Without proper ventilation and cleanup, this smoke odor will remain in every crevice of your building unless it is properly removed.
However, that’s where our team here at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville can step in and restore your property back to its original, fresh condition! We are experts in odor removal as well as restoration services, and we will gladly send a team member out to assess your unique situation so that we can remove the odors from your dwelling.
Deodorization is a multi-step process that includes:
- Identifying the odor
- Determining where the odor is located by finding the conditions where it contacts surfaces
- Figuring out the best way to remove the odor
- Removing the odor and eliminating any trace of it
We have a variety of odor removal products and are trained in techniques to penetrate surfaces to neutralize odors that are trapped within them.
Whether you know the origin of the unpleasant odor or you just want your property to smell clean and odor-free once more, give SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville a call at (615) 242-9391. We’re thoroughly trained in deodorization as well as Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned and restoration services to help you clean up after fire damage, flooding, storm damage, mold, biohazards, and natural disasters.
Caring For The HVAC In Your Office
It’s a good idea to have an inspection of your office HVAC done every fall and again in spring, after the heavier-use months during winter and summer. A professional will inspect and clean all of your unit’s wiring and mechanisms, and you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that someone with the proper training and experience has taken good care of your office HVAC system.
As a business owner, there are several simple maintenance chores that you can do yourself to prolong your system’s life and increase its efficiency between professional inspections and maintenance, too:
- Get a high-efficiency, pleated air filter for your system
- Keep your heating units and AC free of pollen, leaves, and grass
- Keep two feet of space clear around your outdoor AC and heating units
- Inspect refrigerant lines every month
- Replace the air filters every 90 days
- Turn off the water running to the furnace humidifier in the summer months
- In the fall, replace the humidifier filter and turn the water back on
Here are some annual to-do’s:
- Replace the carbon monoxide detector battery
- Make sure your outdoor AC unit is on firm and level ground
- Clean AC condensation with a bleach and water mixture
Caring for your HVAC properly throughout the year will keep your work environment air quality and atmosphere pleasant, which is just good for business. It will also save you money by improving and maintaining your energy efficiency throughout your building.
The team at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville is prepared at all times to inspect and maintain your HVAC system, and to answer any questions you might have. We are also experienced in large cleanup jobs such as those needed because of fire damage or water damage, and we are pros at mold remediation. Let us get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!
How To Know If Your Tree Is Dying
Trees are valuable assets to any landscape, providing lovely and restful aesthetics as well as shade for wildlife and other plants. Sometimes it’s obvious when a tree is dying; its leaves turn brown in the summer or its branches are riddled with holes from pests. Sometimes, however, it’s not at all clear when a tree is in poor health. A dead or dying tree located near a building or home can be dangerous since broken limbs can cause injuries to people and pets and can lead to costly repairs if they land on your building or vehicle, so it’s vital for a home or business owner to recognize the signs of a dying tree to avoid costly and dangerous accidents.
Here are some signs that you may have a dying tree so you can take care of it before it does damage to your property.
BARK. The bark of a dying tree becomes loose and starts to fall off, and it may also have vertical cracks or missing bark. You will want to keep an eye out for deep splits in the bark that extend into the wood of the tree since such cracks often create weaknesses that can cause damage in storms or other weather events.
LEAVES AND BRANCHES. Look for branches without lush green leaves on your deciduous trees, and those that have only brown and brittle leaves during the growing season. They may also have dead leaves still hanging on well into the winter instead of dropping to the ground. When it comes to evergreens, these types of trees will have red, brown, or yellow needles or leaves when they are stressed or dying.
PESTS. Pests - such as bark beetles and carpenter ants - prefer trees that are under stress or are in the process of dying. Also, fungal or bacterial infections are more common in dying trees as well, so make sure to pay attention to mushrooms growing on the ground at the base of a tree or on the tree itself. Their presence is a possible indication that you have rot in the roots or trunk of the tree, and such decay can then extend further into the tree’s interior, leading to structural issues in the future.
ROOTS. Determining root damage isn’t always easy. If your tree has a shallow and/or partially exposed root system, pay attention to changes that might suggest exposure to extreme elements or if poor soil compaction have affected the vitality of its roots, such as thinning foliage, poor yearly growth, yellow undersized leaves, dead branches, and wilted brown leaves during the growing season.
Your SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville team is here to help you with all of the challenges that can come from home or business ownership. We can handle fire damage, water damage, and mold remediation, and we’re committed to getting your property Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!
Checking Your Attic For Water Damage
Your attic is the number one place where damage from heavy rainfall can occur, and it’s also one of the places in your home that you won’t visit regularly. A trip up to the attic is only made when you need something you have put away for a special event, such as a holiday or a birthday, but it is very important to check your attic area periodically for leaks and water damage, especially during the summer storm season here in Middle Tennessee.
Your attic will take the brunt of summer storms, just as your roof will. When the roof sustains damage from high winds or flying debris, such as loose or missing roofing material, you will probably see water stains in the attic. These let you know a problem is developing. An issue in the attic that is left unchecked will end up affecting the interior of your property, and spaces that are damp and dark for any length of time will put you at risk for a mold infestation. It only takes a day or two for a colony to start.
Follow these tips to help you keep on top of any damage to your attic:
- Check your attic for damage regularly. It’s important to look over your attic space often, just as you do all the other areas of your home or business. You want to make sure this area hasn’t experienced any water damages, which can spread to problems with your interior ceilings if left unattended.
- Check your roofing after bad weather. It’s crucial to check all roofing after a strong storm and/or high winds to ensure it is still intact. Flying debris, such as tree branches or loose building materials, can cause serious issues in volatile weather.
We are proud to help the Nashville community with cleanup after water damage, fire damage, and mold remediation. If your home or property has experienced damages from Middle Tennessee stormy weather, we are ready to help you get back to normal right away. Our SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville team can get your home or business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!
Safety Tips For Using A Fire Extinguisher
OSHA states that fire is the most common emergency occurrence owners of homes and small businesses should plan for. One of the best ways to be prepared is by having a fire extinguisher readily available, making sure it’s properly maintained and audited, and by being educated on its proper use. This will already be a fire safety requirement for any business, and it’s a good idea for the homeowner, as well.
OSHA requires employers to train their staff thoroughly on how to use a fire extinguisher correctly and to accurately assess the situation if a fire is to occur so that it can be determined if/when an evacuation needs to take place. OSHA has established annual training for employees as a minimal requirement for all places of business, and this training is helpful for homeowners as well.
The PASS training technique is recommended:
- P. Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
- A. Aim the nozzle of the hose at the base of the fire.
- S. Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- S. Sweep the nozzle from side to side, directed at the base of the flames, until the fire is extinguished.
Once someone knows how to properly operate a fire extinguisher, they should then also be trained to follow fire safety protocol. Such training should enable anyone to be able to:
- Locate and activate the fire alarm.
- Call the fire department and emergency responders immediately.
- Determine a safe evacuation route that will direct people away from flames, excessive heat, and smoke. They should also know how to keep the route from becoming blocked,
- Use the PASS technique for discharging a fire extinguisher (outlined above), and know the importance of backing away from the area if the fire flares up again.
- Evacuate the area immediately if the fire is still going and the extinguisher is empty, or if the fire grows beyond what can be safely handled without fire department personnel.
NOTE: Fire extinguishers are made to handle small fires only. If the environment becomes too dangerous, everyone should know when and how to evacuate. Excessive smoke and heat, impaired evacuation routes, and poor visibility are all conditions that can evolve very quickly, and people need to understand that safety comes first and foremost.
SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville is here to help with cleanup projects both large and small and are dedicated to getting your business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned. We also handle mold prevention and remediation, as well as fire damage and water damage.
Preparing Your Business For Inclement Weather
Inclement weather is common here in Middle Tennessee during the summer months, so as a smart business owner we know you’re already thinking about keeping your business investment safe ahead of an event like this. Lots of rainwater can be devastating to a commercial building, causing damage that can take a significant amount of time and expense to repair.
Today we here at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville are sharing some preventive measures you can take that will reduce the amount of flood damage your business sustains, as well as the time and costs it can take to get your operations back to normal.
- STORM DRAINS: The storm drains on your commercial property need to be maintained properly at all times, but most especially this time of year. Storm drains are in place to move excess water away from buildings and parking areas. Your local government is usually responsible for this, but keeping an eye on them around your property will allow you to be able to report a problem right away and to be ready for storm waters.
- GUTTERS: Well-maintained gutter systems are going to divert excess water to proper drainage areas. If your gutters are clogged with dead leaves and debris, rainwater can overflow and saturate the ground around the foundations, causing damage there while backed-up water can spill into wall structures. A regular cleaning schedule for your gutters is a good idea, as well, since mold spores thrive in damp areas and can begin to grow rapidly if left alone in just 24-48 hours.
- RESPONSE PLAN: Have a plan ready for your business employees before any inclement weather comes to your area. In the event of flooding, make sure you have a communication plan for everyone as to their safety and are able to let them know whether it’s safe to come into work or not. Your staff should not feel as though they should be driving through floodwaters or other potentially dangerous areas. Listening to weather updates will tell you what you need to know. Make sure you have an emergency kit on site for any emergencies that contains first aid materials, batteries, radios, flashlights, and snacks.
SERVPRO of Belle Meade/ West Nashville is always standing ready to help if your business does sustain storm damage. We handle water damage, fire damage, and mold prevention, and we can get your business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, too.
Using A Dehumidifier In Your Home
Dehumidifiers help to maintain indoor humidity at these comfortable levels, keeping the air in your indoor spaces healthy by preventing mold and mildew from settling in. This can both save you money and help you avoid any number of health risks.
Here are some benefits to using a dehumidifier in your home, from our team here at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville:
MILDEW/MOLD PREVENTION. Mildew emits a strong scent, which can affect an entire home, large or small. Since mold and mildew thrive in warm, moist environments, dehumidifiers help keep them in check by keeping the air in your home at optimum levels.
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 your skin will remain 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.
HVAC SUPPORT. When air molecules are ladened with water, it makes them harder to heat or cool down. For example, a pan only half full of water will heat and cool more quickly and efficiently than a pan that is full. This is true of air molecules that are half-filled with water as well, such as when humidity levels are at 50% or above. 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 for all your cleanup projects, both large and small, and remember that we are mold remediation experts! We also handle fire damage and water damage, and we are committed to getting, and keeping, your business Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.
Summer Water Saving Tips
Saving water helps us to protect against drought, and it can also help save you time and money. There are lots of ways to take advantage of all the rebates and incentives offered by many utilities for water-efficient upgrades, such as water-smart showerheads or landscaping with drought-tolerant plants. Expanding conservation and efficiency programs can actually reduce water use in cities by up to one half of the previous usage!
Here are some summer water-saving tips for you to try, from us here at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville:
Water evaporates quickly when the sun is high, so you may want to try watering your lawn during the cooler hours so that it will stay in your soil. Take steps to make sure you’re watering your yard, too, and not the sidewalk or driveway. A drip irrigation system works better than sprinklers by sending targeted amounts of water right where it needs to go. You will want to check to see if you qualify for a rebate to make your irrigation system more water-efficient.
Get rid of your ever-thirsty turf grass and replace it with a beautiful drought-tolerant garden that doesn’t need water or mowing.
Leaks are expensive and often hard to find. To see if your toilet is wasting water, you can put a few drops of food coloring or a dye tablet into your tank. If the color shows up in the bowl you know right away that your tank is leaking and could be wasting up to 100 gallons of water a day! An inexpensive rubber flapper made to fit your toilet’s make and model may be all you need to fix it.
Shortening your shower by as little as two minutes can save up to 1,750 gallons of water per person in your household every year, and another cost-reducing trick is to turn the water off while you soap and/or shave. You can also capture the water that’s normally wasted while you wait for the shower to warm up by collecting it in a bucket, and use it for watering your plants; just make sure that if the water gets soapy it’s not toxic to your garden.
Upgrading your showerheads, using your dishwasher instead of handwashing dishes, using a rain barrel, and taking your car to the car wash are all ways you can lessen your water usage during the summer, and during the rest of the year, too.
Taking steps to conserve this precious natural resource is good for Nashville, and that’s important to us here at SERVPRO of Belle Meade/West Nashville. We’re proud to serve our community by helping with fire damage, water damage, and mold prevention. Call us today to get your property Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned!