3 Common Water Issues in Commercial Buildings
Broken pipe in Houston, TX building
Managing a business takes a great deal of time, energy and money, but the payoff can be rewarding. Unfortunately, water issues such as leaking pipes can force a business in Houston, TX, to close its doors. Knowing the common water issues that many businesses face can help you prevent water damage to your business.
1. Damaged Pipes
Pipes can become damaged over time, which can result in a break or leak. Both issues can cause long-term damage to your business. If your pipes are leaking, you may notice that your water bill has increased without an increase in purposeful water use. A pipe break is often more sudden and apparent, but it can also cause extensive damage. Maintaining your business’s pipes will help prevent leaking pipes and other damage from occurring.
2. Sewer Backup
If your building has repeatedly had a toilet backup or you notice water isn’t draining appropriately in sinks and other drains, it could be a sign of a sewer backup. Sewer backups can leave your business without functioning restrooms and appliances, and they can also be dangerous to people’s health. Backups can create water damage in a variety of locations in your business and can affect various appliances at once.
3. Foundation Damage
A sturdy, supportive foundation is essential for any building, including businesses. If water has accessed your business’s foundation numerous times, especially in older buildings, the foundation may begin to crack. It’s important to be aware of the state of your building’s foundation, since damaged foundations can make a building unsafe to inhabit. Signs of foundation damage could include visible cracks, sinking floors and doors that won’t easily open or close.
As a business owner, you know the value of having a clean, safe business. Water issues such as leaking pipes can wreak havoc on a business, but knowing what to look for can help you keep your business functioning at its best. If you do experience water issues, qualified professionals can help you fix the issues and prevent future damage.
Do Storm Floods Always Lead To Mold?
Storm damage in Houston, TX
As a homeowner in Houston, TX, you try to prepare for any event. When a bad storm leaves your lower levels filled with water, you may feel caught off guard. Thankfully, you can get professional help from a storm damage cleanup crew to ensure your house is returned to normal. Your cleanup experts can also help you understand the risk of mold growth. Storm floods don't always lead to mold, but the following can increase your chances:
- Passing time
- Contaminated water
- Faulty repairs
Find out more about why these circumstances can lead to the growth of fungus.
Standing water does not have to be synonymous with fungal growth; but, if you don't find the flooding right away, you may have a higher chance of the growth taking place. This is because stagnant water can become contaminated. It's also because many mold spores exist naturally in your home. Once the excess moisture is there, it may only take 24 to 48 hours for the spores to start to grow.
The source of the flood can also affect whether your home has a mold growth problem. Bacteria, mold spores and other contaminants found in stormy waters can allow the fungus to grow even faster than in clean water. This dirty flood may also bring extra spores into your house.
Fixing water problems quickly is an important part of avoiding mold. If you try to undertake this cleanup on your own, you may miss pockets of moisture. Leaving this excess humidity in your house can create the perfect environment for mold. If you want to avoid this type of growth, you may want to make sure every part of your home has been cleaned and dried out after storm-related flooding.
Not every home filled with storm waters will have mold growth. How soon you start the repairs, the source of the water and the efficiency of the repairs may affect the secondary damage your home has to endure.
Clear Lake Home Health: 5 Tips to Minimize the Damage Caused by Water in your Home
Water Damage Fact: Through SERVPROs timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other health issues can be prevented.
Water is one of the most destructive elements on earth, and when water ravages a home, the result is substantial damage to the structure and furnishings. Severe storms, a leaky roof, a weeping foundation, an overflowing dishwasher, or a burst pipe in your Clear Lake home can all cause significant water damage, and time is of the essence to minimize the damage. Here are 6 tips that you can take immediately after a damaging water event.
Stop the Water at the Source. If the cause of the water damage in your Houston area home is from a burst water pipe, turn off the water immediately. If the damage is from a roof leak, try to capture as much water as possible in a large pot or garbage can. The more water you can keep from touching your floors, furnishings, and other belongings, the better. If water is entering your home is due to a flash flood or sewage backup, contact an emergency water damage response team immediately. Flood and sewage waters carry debris and harmful bacteria that can cause injury and illness. Your local SERVPRO of Clear Lake stands at the ready to respond 24 hours a day.
Turn off and Unplug all Electrical Appliances. To avoid potential electrocution and further damage to electrical appliances, it is imperative that you turn off and unplug them as quickly as possible. If the water is high in the home due to a flash flood, evacuate the home immediately. All electrical appliances that have been touched by water in your home must be examined prior to use. The SERVPRO team can evaluate these items and help to determine if they are safe for use.
Remove Furnishings from Flooded Areas. Furnishings and personal items that are easily managed should be removed as quickly as possible from areas in the home that have been touched by the water. This will help to speed the process of drying the floors and furnishings while protecting the floors from further damage. When at all possible, avoid walking on wet carpets, and place aluminum foil under the legs of all furniture that you cannot move prior to your local Houston area SERVPRO arrives.
Photograph and Video the Damage. As soon as it is safe to do so, take photos of the water or flood damage in your home. Be sure to take photos of damaged items, and if possible, videos of the water intruding on your property. This step will help your insurance adjuster to quickly process your claim.
Hire a Professional Water Damage Restoration Team. If improperly handled, water in your home can cause significant structural damage, and even dangerous mold infestations. SERVPRO is locally owned, and our team has the training, expertise, and tools necessary to fully restore your home quickly. From water extraction to dehumidifying and drying, through the rebuilding and restoration process, we can help you and your family get back to life pre-water damage.
Don’t underestimate the level of damage that water can do to your home. Call us immediately after a water damage even to your Clear Lake residence. We are the preferred provider for many insurance companies, and can assist you with the process of filing your claim. We are faster to any size disaster and are proud to serve our neighbors and friends throughout our community.
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How To Identify Black Mold
La Marque, TX home covered with mold
Many homeowners have heard tales of the horrors of mold, but few may have actually encountered it. When you suspect that your home in La Marque,TX, has a mold problem, you need to conduct a mold inspection. While it may be prudent to have this examination done by a professional, you may be able to tell if you have black mold just by observation. Here are a few tips on where to look and how to recognize it.
Where You Find It
Mold loves moisture and pulpy surfaces. Those two factors give you ample places to start your search:
- Ceiling tiles
- Wood paneling or furniture
- Dry wall
A mold problem is especially likely if any of these surfaces are in contact with a lot of water. If you know that a portion of your home experienced water damage, conducting a mold inspection in those areas is a good idea. If you smell a musty odor and cannot locate its source, you may have to hire an environmental hygienist to test for hidden mold.
What It Looks Like
There are many species of mold, but relatively few of them are often present in homes. Mold comes in a variety of shapes, colors, textures and sizes. The strain commonly referred to as black mold is called Stachybotrys Atra. It is typically black with either dark green or gray tints. It is also slimy and less airborne than other species. What it lacks in air travel, however, it makes up for in lateral moves. This type of mold is often found in large patches on walls, and it can grow rapidly. The sooner you identify the mold, the sooner you can get the problem taken care of, and the more likely you are not to let the problem get worse.
Finding mold is only the first step. If you discover that you have house mold during a mold inspection, you need to hire remediation experts to resolve the problem.
Simple Steps of Using a Fire Extinguisher
Fire damage on a storage in Dickinson, TX
Even the largest fires start out small. If you use a fire extinguisher, you can help prevent a blaze in your office from getting out of control. If you and your employees have never used one of these tools, learn how today. A few seconds could help avert a devastating disaster in your Dickinson, TX, workplace.
If you have the opportunity to use a fire extinguisher, you don’t want to falter. Using it correctly could save your life and could prevent excessive fire damage to your office. This process doesn’t have to intimidate you. When using this took, employ the PASS method:
- Pull the pin.
- Aim the hose.
- Squeeze the lever.
- Sweep the hose.
Pull the Pin
First, make sure you are standing a safe distance away from the fire. You should be able to reach the flames from 8 to 12 feet away. If you need to move closer, do so with caution. Grab the extinguisher and locate the pin, which is inserted in the handle. Pull the pin out and hold the extinguisher and nozzle away from you.
Aim the Hose
Take the extinguisher handle with one hand and the hose with the other. Next, aim the hose at the base of the flames, not in the middle or at the top. If you don’t aim for the base, you may not have much or any success extinguishing the fire.
Squeeze the Lever
Once you’re in position, squeeze the two levers together with one hand. Make sure you have a firm grasp of the hose with your other hand. Apply even, slow pressure while squeezing the lever.
Sweep the hose
For the most effective results, move the hose from side to side, still aiming at the base of the flames. As the flames get smaller, move closer and continue spraying.
Whether in a kitchen fire or in any other part of your office, a fire extinguisher can be a lifesaver. Follow these steps, and you can avoid costly cleanup and mitigation.
Tips for First Aid Preparation at the Office
Storm damage in La Marque, TX
It’s storm season in La Marque, TX, and you have probably dealt with some weather-related work interruptions. If you have been so fortunate that you have not had an emergency at work, now is the time to prepare. The best practice for office emergency preparation comes down to two things: having a first aid kit and having a first aid preparation program. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires the following items to be included in your emergency kit for a small office:
- Directions for contacting emergency help
- CPR and resuscitation tools, such as a pocket mask or a bag valve mask
- Adhesive tape
- Various bandages including 2” wide rolling gauze, 4” x 4” gauze pads, 8” x 10” gauze pads, triangular bandages, and adhesive bandages
- Alcohol wipes or other type of wound cleaner
- Elastic wrap
If you have more than three people, you need to increase your emergency kit inventory appropriately or have multiple kits located clearly throughout your building. Check your kit once a month and restock items to ensure you have what you need during emergencies. Keep the kit in a location where it will be easily seen by the workers in the building. Remember to have multiple kits or more supplies for larger offices.
Now that you have a first aid kit, it’s important to create an emergency program. OSHA outlines four elements to making a first aid program: employee and leadership involvement, safety and health training, prevention, and analysis of your workplace risks.
What are the greatest risks in your building? You may not think it is much, but don’t forget weather and other sudden events. You may have trees or other debris that can come through the roof or windows, hail or flood potential. Professional remediation can make your building like nothing ever happened, but human injuries can’t always be resolved so easily. Make sure you analyze your risks, and train multiple people on proper emergency response and use of the first aid kit.
What Do I Do After a Pipe Break?
Clean up after flood damage in Clear Lake, TX
When you're dealing with bursting pipes, a visit from water damage professionals is one of the best things you can do to prevent mold growth and secondary damage. While you wait for that Clear Lake, TX, expert to arrive, there are some steps you can take to avoid further damages.
1. Turn Off the Water
The first step is to stop water from flowing into your home. As soon as you discover the leak, turn off the main water supply to the home. This way you don't have to try to figure out where the water is coming from or mess with water pressure. Make sure that all your family members know where the main water shut-off is because you may not always be home to take care of bursting pipes yourself.
2. Drain the Pipes
After shutting down the water to your home, open up your faucets with the cold-water knob. Flush each toilet once or twice to drain water from the pipes. Turn off the hot water heater and then use the hot water knob to flush hot water from the pipes. By now, the leak should have stopped.
3. Look for the Broken Pipe
Even if you don't have the tools or experience necessary to fix the broken pipe, you'll save a lot of time by locating the source of the trouble. A break in a major water line will be more expensive and take longer to repair than pipes under sinks, for example.
4. Remove Water
The longer water from bursting pipes is allowed to sit, the more serious water damage will become. Mop up as much as you can and use a wet/dry vacuum to get all water cleaned up. If the water has had time to seep into any building materials or furnishings, you may need to contact a Clear Lake, TX, professional for cleanup services.
If a Storm Cancels Your Flight
Coping with the fallout of storms can be a nuisance whether you are at home or on the road. Seasoned travelers flying to or from Clear Lake, TX understand that a weather delay or a canceled flight is always a possibility. However, they also understand that there are proactive and reactive moves to be made when Mother Nature interferes with the best-laid travel plans.
Wise travelers have learned the ins and outs of air travel. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
• Stay informed about the weather forecasts for your points of departure and arrival.
• If at all possible, avoid travel when inclement weather is predicted.
• Try to book direct flights to avoid layover cities where weather can factor into your connection’s timeliness.
• Leave early to avoid traffic and airport security delays even if your flight is running late.
• Pack lightly and carry your bag on the plane; retrieving checked baggage can be complicated if your flight changes.
If your flight is canceled and following proactive storm tips hasn’t helped, don’t despair. There are a few ways to bounce back from a canceled flight.
• Call the airline as opposed to lining up at the airline’s service desk in the airport. You will be served more quickly over the phone.
• Make the most of what airlines are willing to offer. Ask them to help you rebook or reimburse you for a connecting flight.
• Ask for reimbursement for food or lodging if the delay is substantial.
• Ask for reimbursement for a rental car if driving is an option.
• Don’t lose your cool. Calm and persistent customers have more success in getting what they want than those who display anger.
The airline is not required to compensate you unless it bumps you because it oversold the flight. For a canceled flight due to a storm, you are simply rebooked. Visit http://www.SERVPROclearlake.com/ for more information on storm damage.
Lightning Strikes and House Fires
A lightning fire does not discriminate, making it a relatively rare but nonetheless potential fire hazard for homes not only in Clear Lake, TX but also all over the country. However, fires started by nature’s electrical discharge are, statistically speaking, more likely to burn wildlands than homes, and it is reassuring to know that restoration experts can set things right after property losses from a home fire.
Facts Regarding Lightning Strikes on Homes
Although lightning is an unpredictable force of nature, statistics and anecdotal evidence offer suggestions about its patterns that can be helpful information.
• Strikes are more likely to happen during the months of June, July and August.
• More strikes occur in the afternoon and evening hours between 3 and 9 p.m.
• Strikes on homes often, but not always, travel along conductive lines like pipes, electrical lines, gutters, and metal framing around windows and doors.
• The attic is the location where a lightning fire is most likely to begin.
• Shock waves from thunderbolts have been known to damage materials like cinder block, stone, concrete and brick, and they can also shatter glass.
• Unplugging electronics during a storm is a prudent move because surge protectors cannot protect them from a direct strike.
• It is best to stay out of bathrooms and kitchens during an electrical storm to reduce the risk of injury from electricity traveling along pipework. Avoid using corded telephones and computers as well, as they can conduct electricity.
• Some zones, such as Florida’s gulf coast, have more frequent storm activity than other areas.
• Lightning protection systems are available for areas where there is more activity.
The phenomenon of atmospheric electricity is exciting for some people and frightening for others. The fact is, a lightning fire is statistically less likely to threaten your home than another type of house fire no matter where you live. Visit http://www.SERVPROclearlake.com/ for more information on fire damage.
Established Standards for Mold Remediation
Decisions regarding who should handle mold clean up and how to complete necessary mold remediation in Clear Lake, TX depends on several factors. These include:
• The size of the mold problem
• The type of mold present
• Responsibility for the property
• The source of the mold
Another important factor is knowledge of OSHA and EPA standards for handling mold in commercial buildings.
Standards of the CDC, EPA, and NIOSH
One example of these mold standards is available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. On the website, each recommendation for clean up and remediation is accompanied by the appropriate standard reference (e.g. 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.134.) These are standards administered through the EPA.
Standards of the IICRC
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification is a good resource for those responsible for ensuring that established mold standards have been followed. The IICRC standards provide a common language used across the industry and ensure consistency in cleanup and remediation of mold contamination and the treatment of black mold. IICRC is a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and an accredited developer of standards.
Some of the relevant standards for mold in commercial settings include:
• BSR/IICRC S400: Standard Professional Cleaning, Maintenance and Restoration of the Commercial Built Environment
• ANSI/IICRC S500: Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration
• ANSI/IICRC S520: Standard and IICRC R520 Reference Guide for Professional Mold Remediation
• BSR/IICRC S550: Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration on Commercial Structures
In addition to these standards, IICRC also provides a couple of field guides for the safety and health of disaster restoration professionals. These guides are supplements to the existing standards and certification requirements.
Comply With Standards for Safety
Whether you're a mold restoration/remediation professional or a Clear Lake, TX commercial property owner, you should be aware of these standards and take steps to ensure that any remediation efforts are in compliance with mold standards. Visit http://www.SERVPROclearlake.com/ for more information on mold.