Why Do Sump Pumps Fail?
Sump pumps are drainage systems that are commonly found in the basements of commercial buildings. They work to pump water out of the basement and away from the building, preventing flooding and water damage. A sump pump failure can lead to a flooded basement and cause water damage to furniture, essential materials, and other important objects, which could prove costly. Understanding why sump pumps fail is the first step in preventing a sump pump failure in your commercial building.
Power outages are one of the most common causes of sump pump failures, especially during the stormy summer months and hurricane season. Storms can dump large amounts of rain water for the sump pump to drain, but a power failure that prevents the sump pump from doing its job can leave your building defenseless and at risk for flooding. To prevent disaster, consider having your sump pump hooked up to a backup generator.
Sump pumps require regular cleaning in order to function properly, so infrequent maintenance can have serious consequences. To keep your sump pump from failing, clean its vents and run a vinegar solution through the unit.
Lastly, your sump pump might fail simply because it’s old. Over time, sump pumps will start to feel the effects of usage and therefore, failure is inevitable after 7-10 years. It’s recommended that your sump pump be replaced after 10 years in order to protect your building from a sump pump failure.
Sump Pump Failure? Call SERVPRO
If your commercial building’s sump pump has failed, resulting in water damage, remember that SERVPRO has you covered. We’re trained in flood and water damage and will use our trusted, advanced drying techniques to prevent mold and mildew growth, rapidly restoring any water damaged areas. Don’t hesitate.
Flash Floods: Know Your Risk
Summer rain showers can change from calm to severe in a matter of minutes. NOAA reports that flooding claims an average of 81 lives every year. While flooding in general is ranked the second most deadly weather-related killer in the United States, flash flooding can be even more dangerous. During a flash flood, rain rapidly creates a forceful rush of water that can destroy anything standing in its way, including buildings, roads, and homes. Due to the elevated humidity levels and slower jet stream characteristic of the summer season, flash flooding is particularly prevalent during the summer. Because flash flooding can strike at any given moment without warning, it is essential that you gain an understanding of how flash floods develop in order to best protect your home this summer.
Causes of Flash Flooding
The jet stream has a significant impact on weather events. During the summer, the jet stream slows, causing storms to spend a longer amount of time than usual over one area. As a result, the area experiencing the storm observes a large amount of rainfall and has a greater risk of a flash flood developing. Generally, increased duration and greater intensity of rainfall contribute to flash flooding. A handful of different storms, such as severe storms (hurricanes and tropical storms) and slow-moving thunderstorms, can produce these conditions.
Topography also plays a prominent part in the development of flash floods. If you live in a coastal town or any area located near bodies of water, including streams and rivers, you may be at greater risk for flash flooding. Urban areas are also at increased risk for flash flooding because they tend to lack drainage systems that can handle large amounts of rainfall.
Know Your Risk
Unfortunately, early warning can often not be given prior to flash floods due to the rapid rate at which they develop. Additionally, homes can undergo major water damage or structural damage when no warning is given before a flash flood. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you understand your area’s risk of flash flooding. If you live in an area that is at risk, be sure to stay alert when the forecast calls for storms. It may also be helpful to put together an emergency flood kit that you can have on hand during a flash flood. In the event that a flash flood strikes unexpectedly and results in damage to your home this summer, call SERVPRO. Our team of storm damage experts are here for you and will restore your home to its pre-flood condition “Like it never even happened.”
The Clothes Dryer: A Potential Fire Hazard
There’s perhaps nothing scarier for homeowners than the ignition of an unwanted fire in the home. When we consider our ideas of the most frequent catalysts of residential fires, the laundry room is most likely not included in that list. A whopping 92% of residential fires originate from an object in the laundry room, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. It may come as a surprise that this object is something that you use on a daily basis: the clothes dryer. Because fires have the ability to spread rapidly to other rooms and areas of the home, it is crucial to learn why clothes dryers can ignite fires and understand what steps you can take to protect your home.
Clean That Lint Filter!
One of the leading causes of clothes dryer fires is neglecting to clean the lint filter, a simple action that only takes seconds. It’s important to clean out the lint filter because lint is highly flammable and with each load, more and more lint accumulates in the lint filter. Additionally, too much lint in the filter can prevent proper airflow, which increases the risk for fire. Therefore, be sure to clean out your dryer’s lint filter between every load. It isn’t sufficient to only clean it out once a week or even once every few days. It’s a small action that can protect your home from disaster in the long run.
Other Ways to Prevent Dryer Fires
In addition to cleaning the lint filter daily, it is also crucial to take several other precautions in order to lower the chances of a fire igniting in your laundry room.
- Pay Close Attention To Clothing Labels
Be sure to check tags for drying instructions on every item that you intend to put in your dryer. Often, tags will tell you the specific heat setting required for that particular item, which can range anywhere from “tumble dry low” to “high heat”. Following these instructions is incredibly important. Some items that require a low drying temperature can contain types of rubber and, if exposed to high heat, the likelihood of a fire igniting may increase.
- Check the Outdoor Vent Flap
While we’re most familiar with managing the dryer inside of the house, it’s important to remember that dryers have outdoor vent flaps as well. This vent flap plays a key role in filtering out lint and hot air from the dryer. As a result, a fire can ignite if the vent flap becomes obstructed. Check your vent flap for debris on a regular basis in order to prevent an unwanted fire.
- Move Flammable Objects Away from the Dryer
In many homes, the laundry room stores general cleaning supplies for the household. However, keeping cleaning supplies located in close proximity to the dryer is risky, as cleaning materials are generally highly flammable. In the event that a fire ignites in the clothes dryer, the fire can spread quickly if there are other flammable materials nearby. Therefore, while it is best that cleaning supplies be stored in another room, be sure to at least keep them a safe distance from the dryer.
If Disaster Strikes…
While it’s a hard reality to face, it’s important to understand that unexpected fires can ignite, even if you take precautions. In the event that your home experiences fire damage as a consequence of a dryer fire, look no further than SERVPRO. We respond immediately and our experienced team of fire damage specialists will restore your home quickly and thoroughly. Damage to your home as a result of a fire is often a stressful and upsetting situation, but know that SERVPRO will be there every step of the way until your home is back to normal.
Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and Soot Facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire.
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
The First 48 Hours – What Happens After a Storm When Water Damage Occurs?
If you have ever experienced flooding in your home because of a storm, then you likely know it doesn’t take long before things go wrong. This is why it is essential to take care of problems as quickly as possible. Remember, water is an unrelenting and destructive force that can cause serious damage in a very short period of time.
One of the first things you should do is to call a professional for help with water and flood restoration services. If you try to handle this on your own, you will find it takes up to five times as long, and you will likely be less than satisfied with the results you achieve. A professional can help clean up the mess that is present and restore the building to maintain health and safety while reducing the likelihood of permanent damage.
Structural Compromise and Water Saturation Issues
If your commercial building or home is suffering from standing water because of a flood after a storm, the water is already working on the hidden wood studs, subfloor and drywall. If wood is saturated in water, it will bulk up and expand beyond its capabilities. This results in cracking, stretching, and eventually, deformities. Usually, this occurs at the bottom part of the wood where stability is essential. The sooner you have all the excess water removed; the less damage will occur.
Sanitation and Health Issues
If your home or commercial building is flooded on the lowest floor of the basement, make sure you don’t contact the water – at all. If you are wondering what may be in the water within the initial 48 hours, consider the list below:
- Paint and related substances
- Cleaning agents and chemicals
- Backed up sewage from the mainline
- Grime and dirt from the outside and that’s in the carpet and flooring
- Dirty laundry water
- Electrical or wiring components
Dealing with Insurance Issues
The initial 48 hours are the most important when dealing with your insurance agent. Before contacting your insurance agency, though, it is a good idea to contact a property restoration contractor.
A restoration and cleaning professional can help document where the water damage originated and can provide this information to you so you can present it to the insurance carrier. Once the carrier has all of the information, coverage can be determined based on your contract/policy. Your insurance adjuster is the only one who can determine coverage based on your contract/policy.
A restoration professional won’t play sides. What the Project Manager can do is to clarify that flooding, rather than pre-existing conditions, resulted in the damage. They can help you by providing professional consultations through the eyes of an experienced contractor.
Why Storm Related Damage Should be Handled by the Pros
After a storm moves through the area, your home may suffer flood damage, wind damage, and more. The situation may leave your home or commercial building devastated. However, if you act quickly and contact the professionals right away, you can minimize the possibility of secondary damage while restoring anything that has suffered more serious problems.
Why Contact the Professionals?
Contacting the professionals at SERVPRO means you have access to experienced and skilled individuals who have restored homes and commercial buildings through the years. They have access to the advanced equipment along with cutting-edge techniques to handle any storm flood damage that may occur.
After flooding has occurred, it isn’t unusual to find interior water damage to the kitchen cabinets, clothing, furniture, floors, ceilings, walls, and other areas in the building or home. If you don’t restore the property properly, flood damage can cause mold infestation and decay. There are several services you can count on the professionals to provide. These include:
- Prompt Response: These professionals understand that when you call for help with flood or storm related damage restoration, timing is critical. This is why they respond to any emergency quickly. The restoration process can begin right away, and the best and most efficient solutions will be used.
- Help with Insurance Claims: These professionals will offer a service that involves listing anything that was ruined during the flood or storm in a detailed list. They will also take an inventory of all the contents in every room.
- Use Professional Grade Tools and Equipment: In most cases, the rental equipment you get from the hardware store may not be able to handle the job effectively. These professionals have access to commercial grade equipment that will completely dry the affected areas to ensure the growth of mold is avoided.
- Removal and Replacement: These professionals will carefully remove or replace any contaminated or unsalvageable structures, such as window trim, door, drywall, padding, and carpeting.
How Does Smoke Damage Affect the Contents in Your Home?
A fire can destroy your property and cause serious, irreversible damage. The flames move from one item to another, burning everything into ash. The heat created by the flames radiate, causing the surrounding items to crack, melt, and in some cases shatter. After the flames are put out, you have to deal with smoke damage.
If smoke damage is not addressed, it can devastate your home along with everything inside it. Smoke damage can even occur in rooms the fire never reached. For example, during wildfires, businesses and homes have been totally ruined just from the smoke while the building stayed untouched by the flames.
Even a small fire that is put out quickly may still cause smoke damage to the items inside. Also, smoke can impact your home’s structure. That is why cleaning up soot and smoke right away after a fire is so crucial. Smoke acts like an acid and can start to corrode many different materials if left too long.
If fire strikes a structure or home, or if you live near areas that are prone to wildfires, you must act fast to reduce the damage that occurs. Professional smoke damage restoration specialists can quickly assess the damage and create a customized mitigation plan to make sure your home is clear of all fire related damages.
What Can You Salvage?
The answer to this question depends on the extent of the damage and what something is made of. You also need to consider the cost of salvaging some items. You can work with a smoke damage specialist to figure out what items you should clean and which ones you should replace or discard.
How Will Smoke Impact Your Home?
Smoke affects materials in unique ways. Also, the type and temperature of the fire will result in different types of smoke damage through your home. One of the worst ways smoke can cause damage is if it gets into small crevices and cracks, since the particles are so small.
In fact, these issues often go undetected for a long time, leaving that lingering smell of smoke that may last for several months. The best way to remove the smell from your home is by removing or cleaning the affected items and to clean the building materials in the home with agents that are designed to remove the smell. Having this handled as quickly as possible will reduce the potential of cross-contamination.
How Quickly Do You Need to Act?
Time is something that is of the essence when you are talking about smoke damage. The sooner that you act, the more likely you will be to prevent serious damage. For example, there are some materials like porous items and synthetic fires that need intervention within hours of exposure to be saved.
Don't Battle A Fire On Your Own
Homeowners don’t usually know where to start and what to do after experiencing a fire emergency for the first time. Most people never have to go through the hardship of having a fire destroy or damage their home or business. But those who do understand the difficulty and challenges a fire can bring.
Most often, even a small fire will displace the family from their home. The smoke and soot residue is dangerous and usually covers everything inside the house. The smoke moves throughout the structure and blankets all of the contents.
Even if the fire was contained and put out relatively quickly, hot smoke migrates to colder areas around the home and can affect other property levels. Smoke can travel through plumbing systems, pipes and go up several stories.
Living with family members or renting short-term is the best way to proceed after fire damage. Removing your family from the dangerous environment allows us to thoroughly clean and restore your home.
Taking care of your home and your belongings is critical. Usually, it is best to carefully pack all contents and move them to our warehouse, where they are inventoried, cleaned, and restored. We keep them safe until the home is ready, then transfer them back for you. This allows for better access to clean and restore the house and eliminates secondary damage during the restoration process.
We will remove and replace any part of the structure that was burned or damaged beyond the point of restoring. Our technicians carefully clean the walls, ceilings, and floors to remove and smoke and soot. The furnace and A/C unit will need to be cleaned thoroughly and ductwork inside the walls.
How to Prevent Wind Damage to Your Home
Check Your Garage Door for Weaknesses and Damage
The part of your home that can be most susceptible to damaging winds is your garage door. The best garage door to have is a heavy one. Some of them are even rated for hurricanes. With a heavy garage door, the high winds are less apt to blow or tear it off your home. You can also have your lightweight garage door reinforced by a garage door installer. Whether you have a heavy garage door or a lightweight one, the next important part of the door is how it is secured to your home. You want to check to make sure that the garage door rails are securely attached to the wall and ceiling of your home. If it is not solidly attached, high winds could possibly separate the rails from the home and blow the garage door down. The last part you want to check is the seal at the bottom of the door. Not only will a properly sealed door prevent water from blowing in but it will also keep the wind from shaking the garage door and damaging it.
Check the Integrity of Your Roof
You want to make sure that your roof shingles are not missing or damaged as this can lead to water seeping into your home and causing damage. Make sure that all of the shingles are properly secured and not loose. A loose shingle can be easily blown off the roof damaging and exposing other shingles to wind damage. If you have a satellite dish or air conditioning unit or any other type of equipment secured to the roof, you will want to check that they are solidly affixed to the roof. A satellite dish that blows off a roof can become a dangerous projectile that can damage windows, cars, and other homes. You will also want to make sure that the screws and bolts that are used to attach the equipment to the roof have some type of sealant around them to prevent water from leaking through your roof.
Check Your Windows and Doors
A common source of water damage from high winds and storms is through cracks and broken seals in windows and doors. You not only want to make sure that your windows and doors can close completely and lock but you also want to check the outside frames and edges for any cracks or broken seals. With windows, water can seep in around the wooden frames between the siding and the window. You can easily seal any cracks up with window & door caulking. You also want to check the door jamb for spaces or tears in the weather seal. Many doors have seals that can be replaced easily once they become torn and brittle. You can also buy similar seals for the bottoms of your windows to keep water from blowing under and into your home.
Check the Perimeter of Your Home for Loose Objects
With damaging winds, loose items in your yard, patio, deck, and gardens can quickly become flying objects that can break windows, rip apart siding, dent cars, tear up roofs, and cause all types of damage to you and your neighbors' properties. If you know a severe storm is coming, you want to make sure any table or chairs is secured to the ground and/or moved inside your garage. If you have a grill, move it into your garage or secure it to a deck railing or large tree. If you have any large trees, you will want to cut down any dead branches on a regular basis. Dead branches can easily break during a storm and cause damage to your home. To protect your cars during a severe storm, either move them into your garage or away from any large trees that could fall on them.
Our Experienced Team Can Help You
As amazing as innovative tools are, it takes a crew of seasoned and highly-qualified technicians to use them to the best effect. Professional water remediation companies deliver their best outcomes when the workers pledge to train and recertify on a regular basis.
When you face water damage in your home, you benefit from cutting-edge equipment and crews who know how to operate them according to industry standards. Even diehard do-it-yourselfers recognize that managing water incursions is a tricky business, requiring not only hard work but also a solid understanding of the science behind water removal and structural drying.
Developing professional expertise to mitigate water damage is why SERVPRO sends our crew members to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) classes. The IICRC is a standard developing and establishing organization worldwide. Skills taught to the employees we sent to remediate and restore your home base their effectiveness on research.
An example of a task that might seem straightforward enough to be within the grasp of every homeowner is carpet water extraction. The equipment resembles a shop vac, and a homeowner typically feels comfortable operating a vacuum. Why SERVPRO requires crew members to complete a comprehensive IICRC course in carpet cleaning relates to the problems that can occur if standards are unknown or ignored.
The art and science of extracting water from carpeting or other floor coverings are not intuitive. An effective way to pull moisture out of a carpet is with a weighted wand extractor. SERVPRO IICRC-trained technicians learned and practiced the techniques that extract moisture without putting stress on the textile floor covering. Inexperienced individuals can stretch the carpet fabric by exerting too much pressure or moving too quickly across a surface. Inappropriate force might cause delamination of the carpet backing from the carpet face.