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Reducing Your Risk of Home Fire Due to Lightning

2/26/2020 (Permalink)

Thunderbolt over the house with dark stormy sky on the background and moon shining through the cloud Take the steps to reduce a lightning fire in your Morrisville, NC home

Reducing Your Risk of Home Fire Due to Lightning

A lightning fire is a frightening event, but thankfully lightning strikes are not a common occurrence, igniting an average of 22,600 home fires each year nationwide. The greatest number of fires occur during peak rainy seasons when lightning is more prevalent. Naturally, you may want to take every precaution possible to help prevent one from starting in your home in Morrisville, NC.

Things To Do To Help Prevent a Home Lightning Fire

Knowing how to cut your risks of experiencing a house fire can be very useful, especially if you live where serious storms are common. The following are a few tips that may help.

Cut back any branches or trees that are growing near your home to reduce the risk of fire spreading to the roof or siding if they are hit.
Install a lightning rod on top of your home to divert the dangerous energy safely into the ground.
Make sure your electrical system is properly grounded.
Turn off many of the electric devices, such as the television or computers, so they are not a draw during an electrical storm, and avoid using the phone, shower or tub.

What To Do if Lightning Strikes Your Home

When a lightning fire happens, it can be a hot and fast-burning fire. The first and most important priority is to get the family out safely. Because lightning usually occurs during a rainstorm, it is possible that rain water may continue to come in through damaged roof areas even after the fire is extinguished. Fire and water damage specialists in Morrisville, NC, can help with boarding up any exterior holes caused by the flames or firefighters, and help make decisions as to the cleanup and restoration of the home.
If you have taken steps to reduce the risk of a lightning fire, you need not worry excessively about a blaze, but you would also benefit from putting a family escape plan into place. Preparation is the greatest prevention in most cases, and you may rest easier if you know you have done everything possible.

Some Types of Insurance Claims Are More Likely to Raise Your Rates

2/14/2020 (Permalink)

Flooded room Flooded room due to water loss in Apex, NC

When you have damage to your property in Apex, NC, you naturally should consider making a homeowner’s insurance claim. However, before you do, it’s best to evaluate if the claim will raise your premiums more than the amount you receive for repairs.
This can be a little tricky since insurance companies don’t typically share their algorithms for rate increases. Yet you can make an educated guess based on available information. For instance, four items stand out as most likely to raise rates:

  • Dog bites
  • Slip and fall injury claims
  • Water damage
  • Mold build-up

Dog Bites Are a Big Concern for Insurance Companies

Insurance adjusters hate to see dog bite claims. They represent about one-third of payouts overall – around $500 million each year! Once a dog is a known danger, it’s a big red flag. You should take all possible precautions to prevent dogs from biting humans.

Water Intrusion Can Indicate Poor Maintenance of a Home

Water damage is also something insurance companies look for when considering raising your rates. Homeowners are expected to maintain their plumbing, and leaking pipes can indicate a home that isn’t kept in good condition. Mold damage from leaky plumbing or a roof also makes insurance companies nervous.
A home flood may be indicative of a long-standing problem. If it turns out that you are in an area prone to flooding, your rates can be dramatically affected. Most flood damage isn’t included in basic homeowner's insurance. Water damage from an isolated storm, however, may not be a problem.

Slip and Fall Claims Are Also Common

The National Safety Council states that falling causes about one-third of all non-fatal injuries. Studies show that falls are also one of the most common claims on homeowner's insurance, and adjusters look for patterns, especially if you’ve had a second claim for a fall.
If you are unsure about whether or not it’s in your interest to make an insurance claim for damage to your home, your best bet is to talk with your local experienced restoration company. They can give advice about repair costs and may be familiar with the causes of premium increases in Apex, NC.

How a Remediation Company Handles Category 3 Water Damage

1/29/2020 (Permalink)

Two air movers placed on wooden floor. Drying equipment. Water cleanup concept Water cleanup in Cary, NC

Finding contaminated water in your business’s building in Cary, NC, is an emergency situation that needs to be handled with extreme caution and speed. Category 3 water is grossly contaminated water that can contain hazardous chemicals, pathogenic substances, mold, or microbes. Common sources this type of water damage include:

  • Sewer backup
  • Toilet overflow containing feces
  • Flood water from a stream, ocean, or river
  • Water that has been left stagnant for several days

It is important that you never try to handle Category 3 water on your own. Instead, you will need to contact sewage cleanup and restoration professionals to rid your business of all contaminants and to address any water damage that has occurred.

The Sewage Cleanup Process

Here are the steps the restoration specialist will take to sanitize and remediate the area:

Clear the Area: Since Category 3 water cause extreme sickness or even death, the specialist will first ask everyone to leave the area.

Wear Personal Protective Equipment: The specialist will put on protective overalls, sturdy gloves, respirators, rubber boots, and safety goggles before entering.

Address any Hazards: If electrical hazards are present or the structure is unsound, the specialist will first make sure the area is safe to work in.
Find the Source: The source of the flooding is addressed to prevent more polluted water from entering.

Containment: A temporary structure may be put up to avoid spreading contamination.
Water and Sewage Removal: An industrial pump is often used to completely remove the area of all the flood water and hazardous waste.

Sanitation: Items that are beyond repair are disposed of and all salvageable items and surfaces are sanitized using professional equipment.

Drying: The area is dried to remove excess moisture.

Remediation: Damaged items and structures are restored to their original condition.

An experienced water damage cleanup crew will know how to best remove and clean Category 3 flood water from your business. In this situation, it is important to simply leave the area and wait until help arrives.

6 Places Mold Lurks

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

A man pulls back carpet in order to install insulation under the molding Mold can form under carpets

Six Places Where Mold Hides

While water damage may be a top concern for mold growth, this pesky fungus can grow anywhere in your Wilbon, NC, commercial building if the conditions are right. To flourish, it only needs nutrients, moisture, and the right temperature, especially high humidity.
If you think hidden mold may be an issue, below are six main places check.

1. HVAC Systems

Condensation pans can easily become clogged and overflow if not properly maintained. This is especially true for areas with hard water. Clean and inspect units once a year, as well as regularly check around bases to ensure condensation isn’t building up.

2. Ducts

As warm and cool air flows through the ducts, moisture and debris can begin to collect. If there is a leak, moisture can circulate into areas that it shouldn’t. Keeping ducts clean and flowing properly can keep mold growth at bay.

3. Carpeting

Carpet may be durable, but spills and tracking in moisture can eventually begin to be absorbed into the pad. If there isn’t poor circulation, the moisture can spread and create a prime environment for mold to form.

4. Ceilings

It can be easy to forget that ceilings hide a lot. From ducts to water pipers, a lot is happening in your building without being seen. Since they are often porous, any roof or pipe leaks or can quickly absorb and spread. Any signs of a stain indicate there is a problem that needs immediate attention.

5. Walls

Like ceilings, walls can hide mold within and go undetected for a long time. If your building is older, it may not have proper vapor barriers to keep moisture levels in check.

6. Electrical Equipment

While somewhat surprising, electrical components are a main concern for mold damages. Fixtures, outlets, and equipment create a warm environment. If any moisture is introduced, spores can quickly attach themselves and start to grow.
Mold growth doesn’t have to be a persistent, mysterious problem. Knowing hidden areas to check and getting help from a mold remediation expert can eradicate the problem.

What To Know About Preferred Vendor Qualifications

1/23/2020 (Permalink)

Two green vans getting ready to go on the road Insurance providers recommend SERVPRO because they know what to expect from these professionals

What To Know About Preferred Vendor Qualifications

When a business in Raleigh, NC, sufferers fire, storm, flooding, or mold damage their insurance agent may recommend a preferred vendor to conduct the repairs. One of the main reasons for this is that they know a preferred vendor has met all the qualifications required to do the job up to the insurance provider's standards.

1. Know What To Expect

Insurance providers recommend companies from their preferred vendor program like a local SERVPRO because they know what to expect from these professionals. This includes employing reliable professionals on their restoration teams, following all safety guidelines, and making sure all restorations meet IICRC guidelines. In fact, there are 21 different standards these professionals have to meet on every job to maintain their status as a preferred vendor.

2. High Standard of Work

Working with a preferred vendor recommended by an insurance agent is one way to ensure that the team restoring a business property meets a high standard in every aspect of their work. This includes having the proper equipment no matter the size of the job, a quick response time, and the ability to handle a variety of types of damage.

3. Top Quality Results

When working with a SERVPRO team clients can feel confident that they will receive quality results. These teams strive to restore the damaged area so it looks like the disaster never occurred. This includes items and document restoration as well.
One of the main reasons an insurance agent may recommend working with a company from their vendor program is that these preferred vendors meet the standards needed by the insurance provider. They know what to expect from each vendor in their program, know that these standards mean they can expect a high quality of work in all aspects of the job and that this will show through in the results. Working with a preferred vendor like SERVPRO can help ensure that the repairs leave the damaged area looking “Like it never even happened.”

Dealing with a Clog Between the Toilet and the Sewer

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

Clogged toilet in New Hill, NC

Dealing with a Clog Between the Toilet and the Sewer

When you're taking your morning shower, the last thing you expect to see is the toilet overflow. Unfortunately, this issue is not unique, and it is typically indicative of a clog somewhere between the toilet and the sewer. See, because of the clog, when your shower runs, the water has nowhere to go, so it diverts back up into the wastewater lines and causes an overflow. Fortunately, you can often remedy this situation without a thorough sewage cleaning by using a plumbing snake in a couple of areas.

  • Clog in the toilet
  • Clog in the drain cleanout

Clog in the Toilet
You should try using the snake in the most natural and most accessible location first, which is in the toilet. There are two ways to do this. First, you can push the snakehead into the toilet and through the drain. Second, you can remove the toilet and push the head into the pipe directly. In either case, you will push the line into the drain until you feel resistance, at which point you will crank the handle, hopefully pushing through the blockage.

Clog in the Drain Cleanout
If clearing the clog did not work from the toilet, then you are a step closer to requiring sewage cleaning and professional inspections. The next thing you can try is to locate your drain cleanout, which is likely in your basement or crawlspace. Remove the cap with a pipe wrench and feed the snake into the drain. Repeat the steps above.

Other Problems
Unfortunately, if you were unable to either reach or clear the blockage from the toilet or drain cleanout, then you might have more significant concerns than a clogged pipe. Therefore, contact a plumbing specialist in New Hill, NC, to bring out more robust tools and detection equipment, which will help identify and resolve the problem.
Sewage cleaning is not always necessary when a toilet backs up because of a running shower. Sometimes a simple snake or auger will work to clear the problem. However, if it doesn't, then contact a professional for assistance.

Expert Mold Remediation for Quality Results

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

When you recognize the signs of black mold, it's time to contact professionals

Expert Mold Remediation for Quality Results

It doesn't take long for black mold to establish itself in your Fuquay- Varina, NC, home, and within just 48 hours, you could have an expensive problem on your hands. Unfortunately, mold cleanup isn't a good project to tackle yourself. Here are a few of the facts that make it difficult for homeowners to safely and effectively handle this issue:

  • Mold exists naturally and is nearly always present inside and outside of your home.
  • Microscopic spores travel on the air, on pet fur, on clothing, through air conditioning and heating systems, and through open doors and windows.
  • The only requirements for mold colonies are moisture and a bit of organic matter.
  • Even high levels of humidity can support colony growth.
  • The widespread evidence of trouble can only be fully addressed if the initial source is found and remedied.

Within these facts in mind, it's impossible to completely remove mold from your home. Instead, you should contact a mold remediation professional.

Identify the Cause of Mold Trouble

As soon as you suspect that black mold is present in your home, contact a professional with the training and expertise to track down the source of trouble, such as a seeping pipe or a leak in the foundation. After identifying the cause of mold damage, the technician can begin mold remediation in earnest.

Complete the Steps of Remediation

Personal protection gear is used as part of the containment process, so technicians don't track spores throughout the rest of your home. Other containment steps may include covering and taping off openings to limit airflow. Damaged materials, such as drywall and carpeting, may be removed and replaced. If the materials can be saved, professionals run them through a cleaning and disinfection process. Of course, one of the main steps in mold remediation is thoroughly drying out all wet materials and rooms.

Act Quickly

When you recognize the signs of black mold or even suspect its presence, it's time to contact professionals from Fuquay- Varina, NC, who are familiar with the area's environmental conditions. Don't wait for mold to spread; stop this intruder from affecting your home and family.

Types of Contaminated Water and How To Fix It

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Category 1 Water Damage comes from a clean water source, a fresh water line for a refrigerator

Types of Contaminated Water and How To Fix It

Any homeowner in New Hill, NC, knows that a leaking pipe or flooded basement is a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Water and flooring do not mix, and it can cause any number of issues if left unchecked. There are several types of contaminated water and your response to cleanup depends on which is in your home.

1. Category One: Clean Water

If you have to have water in your home, this is the type you want. Category one refers to moisture coming from a clean source of water, like a leaking faucet or supply line. Although you still obviously have to address it, it is not something that will cause immediate health concerns.

2. Category Two: Contaminated Water

This type of water is not completely clean, such as leaks from toilets or washing machines. This does have the potential to be a threat to you or your pets’ health, and it therefore needs to be addressed by a water restoration specialist. If you are confronting this situation, first stop the leakage by shutting off the water. Contact a professional to determine what you need to do and when they will be able to help.

3. Category Three: Sewage or Outside Flood

Category three is the most dangerous type. Sometimes referred to as black water, this is not something you can clean up yourself. There are bacteria and potentially toxic chemicals that can get attached to materials in your home. Professionals will wear the appropriate clothing and breathing gear, as well as use the most effective cleaning tools to make sure your home is fully recovered.
Contaminated water in your home is never expected, but you need to deal with it immediately. If you are lucky and have only category one clean water, you need to make sure it hasn’t had the opportunity to seep into walls and flooring to cause mold growth. If it falls into category two or three, you must contact a professional right away. You’ll then have the peace of mind that your home is safe.

How Business Owners Can Prepare for High Winds

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Keep computer files backed up on an external hard drive or cloud in case of fire damage

Here Are Some Steps Business Owners Can Take Before a Storm Hits

Many small business owners fail to properly plan for hurricane damage. According to National Hurricane Survival Initiative, as high as forty percent of all small business owners never open their doors again after sustaining storm damage. Therefore, it’s critical that businesses prepare ahead of time. Here are some steps business owners can take before a storm hits:

Make a Business Plan

One of the most important things you can do before high winds develop is make a business plan. Your plan should contain all the details necessary to increase employee safety and protect your Wilbon, NC, property. Your business plan should include the following three areas:

  • Protect Your Property
  • Protect Your Information
  • Maintain a Checklist

Protect Your Property

Even though hurricane damage is imminent, there are some things you can do to lessen the injury. First, it’s important to brace large furniture items, secure water heaters and strap electronics before high winds begin. You should also shut off all utilities if possible before a hurricane makes landfall. On the outside of your property, sandbag any areas that are prone to flooding and have a professional inspect your roof.

Protect Your Information

In addition to protecting your property, it’s critical to protect your information. You can prepare your files and documents for hurricane damage by backing them up in the cloud or on hard drives that are stored at another location. You also want to make sure you have a list of important contacts such as banks, accountants, insurers, etc. that you can contact after the storm.

Maintain a Checklist

To assist in keeping everyone safe, it’s imperative that you regularly train your employees on emergency procedures. Part of the training should include a checklist of what needs to be done before, during and after a hurricane. Each business will need to tailor their checklist to meet the needs of their property and employees.

High winds are certain when it comes to hurricanes. Prepare your business before the storm and contact a commercial storm professional after the hurricane to assist in storm cleanup.

3 Ways To Keep Your Pets Safe If a Fire Occurs

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

Place a Window Cling to alert firefighters about pets within your home in case of a fire

Ways You Can Protect Your Pet if a Fire Occurs

Many homeowners in Holly Springs, NC, consider their pets part of their families. However, when it comes to planning for a fire emergency, few people know how to involve them. There are several ways you can help to protect your pets if a fire occurs.

1. Create a Plan That Considers Your Pets

Many people don't think about pet safety when planning for disasters. However, it's often wise to consider your pets when you are planning to deal with the effects of a fire. Purchasing and safely storing items your pets may need after a fire, such as food, water and proof of vaccinations, can be useful. However, you shouldn't go back inside your home to gather these items if your home does catch fire. Remember, fire restoration experts can help restore your home, so safety should be your priority.

2. Keep Your Pets Near Exits

If you let your pets roam freely throughout your house, you know that you can't always control where they go. However, it can be important to make an effort to keep your pets near exits when you leave your house or at nighttime. If a fire emergency does occur, firefighters will more than likely be able to reach your pets quickly if they are in a room close to the home's exterior.

3. Place a Pet Alert Sticker on Your Front Window

In an emergency, seconds often matter. Though it can be helpful to verbally communicate with firefighters about your pets, it can also be wise to place a pet alert sticker that contains information about the number of pets in your home and their names on your front window. This way, firefighters will know how many pets to look for if you are not home when a fire occurs.
You love your pets like family, and it's often helpful to focus on pet preparation when prepping for a fire emergency. You can help keep your pets safe during and after a fire by including them in your planning, keeping them near exits and placing pet alert stickers on your front window.