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Clear Lake Home Safety: What to Do Until Help Arrives After a Fire

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Clear Lake Home Safety: What to Do Until Help Arrives After a Fire Fire damage in a Houston,TX residence

When a fire ravages a Houston area home or business, your Houston SERVPRO team stands at the ready to help. Whether the damage is from a small kitchen fire, mid-sized garage fire, or whole-house blaze, recovery requires comprehensive fire damage restoration. This process includes water extraction; removal and disposal of burned household items, walls, carpets, and floors; and clean-up of soot and smoke damage throughout the property.

What to Do Until Help Arrives After a Fire

After a fire, there may be considerable damage to the structure of your home, and as a result floors, walls, and ceilings may be compromised. It is essential you follow the advice and directives of the fire department, and if your home is deemed too dangerous to enter, please remain outside.

After the fire, call your locally owned and operated SERVPRO of Clear Lake immediately. We can be on scene within an hour to assist you throughout the fire damage restoration process. If the fire department has indicated it is safe to re-enter the home before we arrive, be sure to wear appropriate protective footwear, clothing, and gloves. Remember, a fire leaves behind toxic residue and gases that may affect your health and safety. For their safety, we recommend that children, teens, individuals with respiratory issues, and the elderly be prevented from entering fire damaged and Houston water damaged properties.

While you wait for us to arrive, here are a few things you can do to help expedite the rebuilding and restoration process.

First, call your insurance agent and schedule for an adjuster to come to your property. Second, when you do enter your home, take photos or videos as you walk through as this will be helpful in the insurance claims process. We will assist you with the room-by-room inventory, but these initial photos taken before things are further disturbed, are extremely helpful. Next, while it is tempting to grab clothing, photo albums, antiques, fine art, and other keepsakes and start cleaning them off, this is not a recommended practice. Any cleaning you do at this point could cause soot stains or damage to the items, and result in the smell of smoke being set into fabrics. Please wait for our team to arrive prior cleaning household or personal items.

If you have carpeted floors, please limit the foot traffic in those areas. In some cases, carpets may be able to be professionally cleaned rather than completely replaced. However, the more traffic on the carpet, the greater the chance the carpet will have to be replaced. In hallways and areas you need to access, place white towels down to walk on. Refrain from using colored towels as the dyes could transfer, causing greater damage.

If you really feel you must get started cleaning right away, start with the refrigerator. After a fire devastates the home, the heat from the flames and the steam from the water will damage the food in kitchen. All food and beverages must be destroyed and not consumed. You can empty the refrigerator and freezer, as well as your pantry, to get a jumpstart on the fire damage rebuilding process.

Leave the rest of the cleaning and restoration process to us. We stand at the ready to help you bring your home back to its pre-fire condition. Whenever disaster strikes, call on SERVPRO, and be sure to review What to Do Until Help Arrives brochure before entering your home.

Clear Lake Home Health: How to Kill Mold

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Clear Lake Home Health: How to Kill Mold The best way to control mold growth is to control moisture.

How to Kill Mold

Mold happens even in the cleanest of homes. A mold infestation can be caused by poor air circulation in a bathroom or laundry room, or it may be due to a broken water pipe, a leaky roof, or from flood damage in your Clear Lake home. Mold spores spread through the air, so if mold gets into your ventilation system, it can quickly spread throughout your home. If you suspect that you have mold in your home, turn off your heating or air conditioning system, and open your windows to allow fresh air to circulate while you start the process of removing mold. 

Before you Tackle the Mold, Here are 4 Things You Must Do

  1. Determine the size and severity of the mold infestation. A good rule of thumb is to first determine whether the mold remediation and restoration is a do-it-yourself project. If the mold infestation is in more than one room, it is best to hire a professional mold remediation company. Contact your locally owned SERVPRO of Clear Lake; we have the tools and expertise necessary to safely and completely remove mold from your home.
  2. Wear appropriate protective clothing. Protective footwear, gloves, goggles, and respirators are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. (1) Mold has the potential to cause adverse health affects. Protect yourself as recommended by the CDC and EPA.
  3. Purchase all the necessary cleanup supplies. Supplies such as cleansers, disinfectors, bags for disposal, and other tools are necessary to safely clean up mold in your home. Refer to our article, “14 Must-Have Supplies to Safely Remove Mold From Your Home” for further guidance and suggestions. (Link to article)
  4. Shut off HVAC system to prevent further spread of the mold. If your Clear Lake or Houston area home has experienced previous water damage and it affected your ducts or HVAC system, it is important to have your system and the ducts evaluated, and professionally cleaned, disinfected, and dried to prevent further mold growth and spread.

Now that you have the all the items necessary to kill mold, you can get started for hard surfaces including floors, walls, countertops, and other surfaces, use a solution of 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Use a sponge to apply the solution to affected areas, and scrub thoroughly with a stiff brush if necessary to remove any visible signs of mold.  Once all visible signs of mold are gone, rinse thoroughly with warm water and allow to dry completely with the aid of dehumidifiers and fans.If during the process of scrubbing drywall, you find that it is spongy or weak, you will need to purchase a drywall saw to cut the portion out. Be careful not to cut through electrical or phone lines. Be mindful that a significant infestation may be lurking behind the damaged wall.  Mold can also develop under hardwood floors, carpeting, laminate, and linoleum.

If you come across a spot on the floor that feels spongy or weak, it is time to call in a professional mold remediation team like your locally owned and operated SERVPRO of Clear Lake. Weakened floors may be a sign that previous water damage has caused structural damage, or that mold has damaged the subfloors.For soft items, including draperies and upholstered furniture, professional cleaning is recommended. However, personal items including clothing, bedding, and plush toys that are bleach and washing machine safe can be cleansed at home. Please read all labels before washing.Any dampness in the air, ducts, or on items of your home can cause a new mold infestation within 48 hours. Use fans and dehumidifiers to prevent another infestation in your home. 

Clear Lake Home Health: Cleanup Right After a Storm

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Clear Lake Home Health: Cleanup Right After a Storm SERVPRO Storm Fact: No Job Is Too Large!!

Cleanup Right After a Storm

Severe weather in the greater Houston metropolitan area often bring rising waters, and floods that affect thousands of properties throughout our community. In addition to the mud, sludge, and debris, flood waters can be contaminated with sewage, and even bring snakes, insects, and other critters. Flooding can present a challenge for property owners – risk safety and health to do the cleanup themselves or contact a water damage restoration company. Without proper cleanup, many homes and business will require mold removal in Clear Lake, and the surrounding communities.

While clean water from broken water pipes, a leaky roof, or even a leaking dishwasher, can be safely mopped up, special care needs to be taken with floodwaters. The bacteria and microbes, not to mention the snakes, rodents, and debris can cause health concerns. Professionals recommended that individuals entering floodwaters have proper protective clothing, footwear, and eye protection.  Traumatic puncture wounds due to sharp debris can occur. Take every precaution to keep yourself, and your family safe.

When the water recedes, the prospect of cleaning up after the storm is overwhelming, even for the most prepared. Furniture, personal items, drywall, floors, and the structure of the property must be evaluated for damage, and the water damage cleanup should begin immediately. Depending on the level of contaminants in the floodwater and how long the water remained on the property, will determine in part, the level of water damage to your  home. Saturated drywall will often need to be removed; however, many other items including carpets, furniture, and draperies may be able to be cleaned and restored to their pre-flood state.

SERVPRO of Clear Lake has the tools, training, and expertise necessary to restore your property to its original state. Locally owned, and operated, our team is available 24 hours a day, whenever disaster strikes. Trust us to clean up your property after a storm, fire, or other event to help ensure that a mold infestation doesn’t take root in your home. Our climate, particularly after a severe storm, supports rapid mold growth. It is essential that your property is properly cleansed, and dried, prior to restoration. Often, our remediation team finds mold infestations due to improper flood and storm damage cleanup.

SERVPRO is faster to any size disaster, and we have the resources to respond quickly, regardless of the size of the event. Our disaster recovery teams stand at the ready to help homeowners and commercial property owners mitigate the damage caused by floods, storms, sewage backups, fires, and other events. We will start immediately by assessing the damage, removing the water, drying and dehumidifying, cleaning and repairing, and completing the restoration, so you and your family can resume life as quickly as possible. Call us today for any water damage or mold removal needs in Clear Lake, and throughout the greater Houston area.

Clear Lake Home Health: Step-By-Step Guide to DIY Flood Cleanup

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Clear Lake Home Health: Step-By-Step Guide to DIY Flood Cleanup Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters.

The recent floods in the Houston metropolitan area have devastated countless homes and businesses throughout our community. SERVPRO of Clear Lake stands at the ready to assist you throughout the flood cleanup process, from water extraction to restoration. However, if you prefer to do the cleanup yourself, use these steps.

1.      Make Sure Property is Safe to Enter.  Appliances in standing water can present dangerous electrical hazards. Check with your local authorities or utility companies to ensure that electricity and gas have been shut off. 

2.      Wear Protective Clothing. Floodwaters carry sharp debris, sewage, bacteria, chemicals, and even wildlife. It is important to don sturdy work boots, long-sleeved shirts, heavy jeans, rubber gloves, and protective eyewear.

3.      Document the Damage. When it is safe to enter the property and you are wearing protective clothing, take photos and video of each room to document the damage.

4.      Call Your Insurance Company. When widespread natural disaster strikes, insurance companies often deploy extra team members to assist with the claim process. The sooner you call, the better.

5.      Open Windows.  To speed-up the drying process and improve the air quality in your home, open all the windows and doors in the home, weather permitting.

6.      Extract Standing Water. With a wet/dry vacuum, extract as much standing water as possible from your home. If power is still off, use a generator to provide power to the vacuum.

7.      Remove Furnishings and Appliances. Once the water is extracted, remove all furniture and appliances from your home. Homeowners in Clear Lake with water damage should place items outside to allow greater airflow within the home.

8.      Remove and Secure Personal Items for Restoration. Move all personal items including photographs, jewelry, important papers, and other keepsakes to a dry, safe space. Your local Clear Lake SERVPRO team can restore flood damaged photos and other valuables. Call us for more information.

9.      Setup Strong Fans. The sooner you can deploy fans to help dry your home, the better chance you have to prevent mold growth. In the Clear Lake area, mold starts to develop in as little as 48 hours of the water damage.

10.  Cut Drywall. Drywall that has been saturated by floodwaters must be removed. Use a reciprocating saw to cut 6 inches above the water line being careful to avoid the electrical wiring and pipes that could be behind the wall. Remove any insulation, and dispose of it along with the damaged drywall.

11.  Remove Carpet. Since flood waters can carry potentially hazardous chemicals and bacteria, the carpet and padding must be removed. Cut carpet into strips, 3 feet wide, and roll up for disposal.

12.  Disinfect Hard Surfaces. Using a combination of bleach and warm water, scrub every surface in the home. This includes all floors, countertops, cabinetry, and remaining walls.

13.  Apply Mold Inhibitors. Since mold develops so quickly in our area, it is important to treat all areas additionally with a mold inhibitor. While this does not guarantee complete mold growth prevention, it can be an effective deterrent.

14.Begin Reconstruction. Before beginning the restoration process, it is essential that your home has been thoroughly disinfected and dried. Use industrial fans and dehumidifiers for several days to allow humidity levels to fall. Remember, any electrical wires and outlets that were subjected to standing water will need to be replaced. Call a licensed electrician to complete this step.

When electrical work is complete, replace insulation and drywall. Follow with texture, prime and paint. This is also the time to replace carpet and wood floors that were damaged in the flood. The reconstruction process can take weeks, or months, depending on the amount of time you have to devote to it.

Be mindful that the longer water stands in your home, the more extensive the damage will be. Start the cleanup process as soon as it is safe to do so. If at any time you become overwhelmed, give us a call; we are happy to help you quickly get your home back to pre-flood condition.

Should You Schedule a Mold Inspection Before Buying a Building?

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Should You Schedule a Mold Inspection Before Buying a Building? Commercial Mold Damage in Dickson,TX

Three Reasons To Schedule A Mold Inspection

Buyers in the commercial property market may receive conflicting advice about the importance of mold inspections. An inspection prior to purchase costs less than mitigation, but it can still be a considerable expense for a building you do not already own. Here are three reasons to schedule a mold inspection prior to purchasing a commercial property in Dickson,TX.

1. You Can Smell Mold

If you smell mold, you should try to determine the extent of the growth. Look around the premises for any signs of visible mold. These odors are caused by microbial volatile organic compounds, which are off-gases emitted by mold during the active growth cycle. The odor indicates that active growth is likely present. An inspection can help you discover hidden mold and determine the severity of the mold problem.

2. The Building Has Water Damage

A building that has water damage is also likely to have secondary damage in the form of mold. Try to find out about the origins of the damage, how long it has persisted, and whether restoration has been attempted. If the water damage is still present when you are considering purchasing the property, a mold inspection is even more important to determine the costs of mitigation, restoration, and mold remediation.

3. You Would Like To Avoid Mitigation Costs

If the presence of mold in a building would be enough to deter you from making a purchase, you should schedule an inspection. If you do not want to invest money in the property to get rid of any mold found during the inspection, you can move on to another property that may not have a mold problem.

These are three reasons to schedule an inspection prior to purchasing a commercial property in Dickson,TX . If you suspect that mold may be present, contact a company that provides mold inspection and remediation services.

3 Ways To Save Money on Building Maintenance

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 3 Ways To Save Money on Building Maintenance Water loss in a Clear Lake,TX building

Tips To Save Money On Maintenance

Building owners and managers know that the maintenance cost of any commercial property can be substantial. While cutting corners is rarely a good idea, there are several practical ways to reduce expenses and increase efficiency. Here are three of the best facility management tips to save money on maintenance.

1. Plan on Regular Upkeep

Upkeep can cost significantly less than major repairs or replacements. Although it may seem that keeping all of the systems in a building in working order is expensive, unexpected shutdowns and repairs can be far pricier and result in costly business interruptions. It is often better to schedule maintenance than to be caught off guard.

2. Upgrade for More Efficiency

Whenever you do have to replace a component in a commercial property, consider upgrading to a more efficient alternative. Although efficient parts may be a portion of a yearly maintenance cost, they may amount to more up front. However, these items may need to be replaced much less frequently than inefficient alternatives. This is particularly the case when it comes to lighting fixtures. For example, you can retrofit T12 for T8 or T5 florescent lighting or LED fixtures and do these upgrades gradually to spread out the cost of the improvement.

3. Adjust Climate Conditioning

Building owners and managers may also want to update HVAC controls with automation or scheduling systems. This can significantly reduce cooling or heating expenses while also maintaining safe temperatures for heat-sensitive computer systems or servers and preventing pipe bursts during the winter.

These are just three of the tips that can substantially reduce maintenance costs for a commercial property located in Clear Lake,TX. There are other ways to increase operational efficiency, and owners and managers can work with utility companies to obtain various business incentives. Remember, disaster can still strike even if you keep a building well maintained. So, if the property sustains serious damage from storms or water, rely on the expertise of a local damage restoration company.

How the Professionals Clean Your Electronics After a Fire

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO How the Professionals Clean Your Electronics After a Fire Smoke clean up in a La Marque,TX commercial building

There are few more devastating disasters than a fire. If one becomes out of control, it could completely destroy your office building and even cause injury or death. Even smaller fires can wreak havoc on your building and equipment. One of the biggest concerns you’ll have is an electrical fire will damage items such as computers, printers, servers, or other vital electronics. Fortunately, there are ways to restore these tools and even use them again.

Initial Steps

Clearly, you have sensitive information on your computers and other devices. You can’t afford to lose these or let smoke damage throw off your business. Consider these beginning actions:

  • Calls the pros. Cleaning up after an electrical fire isn’t something you should have to do on your own.
  • Try to remove the storage. Before the professionals arrive at your La Marque,TX, office, remove hard drives and other memory devices.
  • Unplug your devices before the cleanup technicians arrive.

Benefits of Calling the Pros

It’s essential that you immediately contact an experienced team of commercial fire cleanup technicians. Not only will a professional company have the knowledge and skill to handle your computer cleanup and other needs, but the technicians will bring with them the best equipment available. In addition, when you call the pros, you can have peace of mind that they will respond and complete the work quickly. If you try to handle this task by yourself, you could cause further, irreparable damage to your devices.

How Damage Happens

Where there’s a fire, there will be smoke. With smoke usually come some other unwanted invaders. Soot will often cling to your electronic equipment. It has acids in it that can ruin your computers and other equipment. A magnetic charm can also accompany smoke, with will cause problems with your electronics and their circuits.

After an electrical fire, don’t put off calling the professionals. Their efforts can save your equipment and prevent you from wasting time and money.

Tips for Fast and Thorough Water Cleanup

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Tips for Fast and Thorough Water Cleanup Water damage in room due to supply line breaks in the above bathroom

Tips for Fast and Thorough Water Cleanup

When you have a flood in Nassau Bay,TX, you need water removal to be fast and thorough since time and temperature have critical effects on water damage. Here are some things you can do fast, while you wait for professional help:

  • Stop the source of water, such as shutting off water to a flooded toilet, broken pipes or wayward appliance.
  • Begin removal of standing water using pumps, vacuums, mops and rags.
  • Begin the drying process by opening windows and doors, and by running fans and your air conditioning, if you have access to electricity.
  • Prevent moisture from wicking up into furniture by setting wooden legs on aluminum foil or blocks.
  • Salvage important belongings by drying and removing them from the flooded area.

When professionals arrive, expect the thorough part of water cleanup to kick in. You may see them:

  • Prevent further water damage from rain by tarping or boarding open areas.
  • Completely remove water using high-powered extractors, including truck mounted units and gas-powered equipment for areas where utilities are unavailable.
  • Begin removing and cataloging personal belongings for cleanup and restoration.
  • Use specialized training and devices to find hidden water.
  • Use powerful dehumidifiers and fans for fast and thorough drying which helps to minimize warping of building materials.
  • Monitor moisture levels to ensure inhospitable environments for mold growth.
  • Protect your structure by removing porous materials that hold water, such as carpet padding, insulation and lower sections of wallboard.
  • Use expertise and consideration to help decide what can be salvaged and what should be replaced.
  • Restore your home back to its pre-damaged condition.

Being fast and through in the cleanup of water damage prevents subsequent problems. Mold may start to develop in the first couple of days, but professionals can help prevent this with their thorough water removal methods. If mold has already begun, they are also capable of containing colonies during cleanup and prevent further infestation.

Property Management: Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Property Management: Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario Post an emergency checklist in your Clear Lake,TK building

Emergency Preparation

Storm preparedness and emergency planning are both tools in the property managers arsenal. These tools can be the difference between maintained business operations or complete shutdown. The four points below can guide you through the steps and the significance of emergency preparation.

1. Preplan for Disaster

As an owner or a manager, you may find that a significant part of property management revolves around employee safety and disaster prevention. Businesses require this type of preparation to help ensure business continuity; therefore, you will likely want to accumulate a list of contacts and operational procedures in case of an emergency.

2. Prepare an Emergency Checklist

Storm preparedness can be as simple as creating an emergency checklist for employees and clients. You can post this checklist around the property and make sure that every employee has a copy, ensuring that everyone will know what to do during an emergency. These lists should include maps to exits and shelter areas along with an action plan.

3. Practice Emergency Procedures Regularly

While the creation of preparation materials and checklists are a good starting point, these tools are nothing without regular practice and guidance. Many municipalities suggest performing monthly emergency walk-throughs and safety meetings. These monthly meetings will allow employees to ask questions and practice the developed safety routines while allowing management to rectify any potential concerns before a legitimate emergency.

4. Consider Restoration Specialists

When you think of the term restoration specialists, you may not immediately think of emergency preparations, but some restoration companies in Clear Lake,TX, provide a form of emergency planning for businesses. These companies may offer property evaluations to help pinpoint safety concerns as well as offer custom plans for your business in the event of an emergency or disaster.

An essential aspect of most business planning is storm preparedness, but it goes beyond the installation of storm shutters and backflow valves. Storm readiness means preparing for emergencies, not only from a business operations perspective but a safety perspective as well. Creating procedures and checklists as well as performing monthly meetings can all benefit your business and employees, ensuring that everyone and everything is prepared in emergent situations.

Teaching Your Kids How To Escape a Fire: 3 Tips

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Teaching Your Kids How To Escape a Fire: 3 Tips Teaching your kids fire escape techniques can help them escape to a safe location

Teaching Your Kids How To Escape a Fire

Educating your children about fire prevention and what they should do in the event of a blaze at your La Marque,TX, home can protect their lives during such an emergency. However, you may be unsure of how to give this kids safety lesson without frightening them. As a parent, there are a few strategies you can use that might help you talk about this important issue.

1. Create an Escape Route Map Together

If you have young children, combining fire safety lessons with a fun and creative activity can help them absorb the message without fearing it. For example, as you discuss the scenario of a home fire, have your kids draw and color a map of your home and highlight all the possible exits they could use. Afterward, talk about which routes are the safest and why. Have them pin these maps on the fridge or corkboard so they can be reminded about your family’s planned safety route each time they see it.

2. Shop for Fire Safety Tools as a Family

Involving your children in kids safety can make them more aware of its importance. When you shop for fire escape tools such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and window ladders, take your kids along so you can educate them about the importance of each item and its role in helping them leave the home safely during a blaze. Encourage every child to ask questions, no matter their ages.

3. Turn Lessons Into Games

Teaching your kids fire escape techniques can be fun as well as informative. For example, you can play follow the leader or Simon Says during fire crawl lessons. If you have your home’s safety inspected by a fire damage and remediation service, have your kids imagine they are fire technicians and which exits they believe are the safest to use during a fire.

Your La Marque,TX, home is likely a beacon of safety and security for your children. However, teaching them kids safety tactics in case of a fire can help them escape to a safe location until the blaze is put out.