How to Handle a Commercial Sewage Backup
Discovering sewage damage in your business can be both harrowing and disgusting. However, you'll need to be on your toes for the sewer cleanup. If it's more than a simple floor leak, specific measures need to be taken. While a restoration company can do the cleaning, there are a few procedures you may carry out. Here are four things to do if you find sewage damage in your business.
- Unplug and Turn Off Nearby Electronics
First and foremost, it's essential to get rid of any safety hazards around the sewer backup. Make sure anything that runs on electricity is turned off and/or unplugged. Here are some items to look out for in a business setting:
- Video Equipment
Don't try to use anything electronic that was in the area. If the water touches one of these items, the surrounding area could become dangerous.
- Open Windows
Mold is a serious concern after sewage damage occurs. Therefore, airing out your space is an essential task if you want to deter it. The fresh air also helps to get rid of any putrid smells from, for instance, a flooded toilet.
- Remove Endangered Items
Anything that's been contaminated by the sewage should be left to the professionals, but it's prudent to remove non-contaminated items from the area. If the water keeps leaking, it's liable to reach more of your property. Keep in mind that contaminated items might be restorable.
- Inspect the Damage
The entire sewer cleanup process will go faster if you know what needs to be done. Without coming in contact with the sewage, try to see what damage has been caused. Make sure that restoration experts know your findings. If you can tell that something can't be restored and must be replaced, you'll be able to start that process immediately.
Sewage damage is never pretty, but it doesn't have to be debilitating. Stay attentive and know what steps to take. Once the sewer cleanup is over, you can know you did your best for the business.
If you experience a sewage backup at your commercial property, call the experts at SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia at 334-371-7378.
Winter Fire Prevention
It seems like every year, the holiday season approaches faster and faster—but that means the increased risk of house fires does, too. Our franchise has seen a dramatic increase recently in calls for house fire cleanup.
The leading cause of home fires is cooking regardless of the season, but the chances for heating and electrical-related fires always increases when the weather turns colder. Focusing on fire safety throughout your wintertime celebrations will ensure that fires are far less likely to get a chance to spark.
Tips for Fire Prevention Around the Holiday Season
Keep safe when cooking. Cooking is the top cause of house fires in every season, but during the winter, there are more large, family style meals and far more baking which causes the frequency of cooking related fires to increase. It is wise to always keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and be careful about utensils, potholders, dish towels and curtains being anywhere near the stove.
Heat the house with proper precautions. It is common to use space heaters throughout the winter season to knock the chill off, but it is important to be certain your model has safety features such as a tip over shutoff and overheating sensor. If you have a fireplace in the home, have your chimney inspected annually to reduce the risk of fire, and be sure to never leave a fire or a space heater unattended or going while you sleep.
Decorate with care. The decorations commonly associated with Christmas, such as trees and lights, present an electrical hazard if they are not installed correctly. Christmas tree fires due to electricity are extremely common, often as a result of the lights being plugged in improperly. Make sure to not overload outlets or power cables, and never use decorations with frayed wiring.
If you have fire damage at your home this holiday season, call the fire restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia at (334) 371-7378.
Winter Weather Fire Safety
Winter weather isn’t a common occurrence in our area, but winter storms do happen from time to time. It is important to keep the following advice in mind before, during, and after a winter storm hits our area. These tips will help keep you and your family safe from a winter fire.
- Test all smoke alarms. Do this at least once a month. This way you will know they are working. Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test the alarms.
- Plan two ways out of the home in case of an emergency. Clear driveway and front walk of ice and snow. This will provide easy access to your home.
- Make sure your house number can be seen from the street. If you need help, firefighters will be able to find you.
- Be ready in case the power goes out. Have flashlights on hand. Also, have battery-powered lighting and fresh batteries. Never use candles.
- Stay aware of winter weather. Listen to the television or radio for updates. Watch for bulletins online.
- Check on neighbors. Check on others who may need help.
- Generators should be used outdoors. Keep them away from windows and doors. Do not run a generator inside your garage, even if the door is open.
- Stay away from downed wires. Report and downed wires to authorities.
- Be ready if the heat stops working. Use extra layers of clothes and blankets to stay warm. If you use an emergency heat source, keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away.
- Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room. Turn them off when you go to bed.
There are more home fires in winter than in any other season. Half of all home heating fires happen in December, January, and February.
As you stay cozy and warm this winter season be fire smart! If you do suffer fire damage at your home, give the fire restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia a call at (334) 371-7378.
Protect Your Home from Water Damage
You can protect your home from water damage in order to avoid costly insurance claims and ruined belongings. Follow these five steps to keep your house well-maintained in preparation for any event.
Locate Your Water Main
The best way to avoid water damage in your home is to locate your water main. If you can't locate the source of the water damage, turning off the water supply to your house will at least prevent more water from leaking in the meantime.
Check Your Water Pressure
If the water going through your pipes is too highly pressured, it may cause the pipes or hoses to buckle under all of that weight. Contact a local plumber for a checkup of your residential water system to ensure it is holding the pressure it was designed for. You can also get a damage assessment from SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia if the water leak has already begun and you need additional assistance locating the source or repairing the damage.
Maintain All Appliances
Broken appliances and poorly-maintained HVAC units are common reasons why there is water damage in your home. Invest in regular maintenance schedules so you can stay on top of your appliances. Make sure they still function properly. If you see the signs of disrepair, you can get in touch with a SERVPRO representative and schedule a water damage assessment.
Clean Your Gutters
Gutters should be cleaned 1-2 times per year to avoid too much blockage. Leaves, dirt, and other debris gathers in the gutters over time and can create cavities for water buildup after a downpour. It’s also important to double-check that your downspouts are facing away from the home so the water can freely escape outside of your house.
Watch Your Water Bill
Some water damage is subtle, and you may not realize that you have damage at all. This can happen when the location of the damage is somewhere such as a crawlspace or your backyard. Keep an eye on your water bill to see if your usage charges skyrocket from one month to the next for no reason. This can be a good indicator that water is leaking somewhere in your home.
Call SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia at (334) 371-7378 at the first sign of water damage in your home. Our technicians offer full damage assessment and restorative solutions for issues big and small.
A Sump Pump Can Help Avoid a Flooded Basement
A sump pump can help remove any water that collects in your home’s basement. The sump pump will collect any water that makes its way inside from heavy rains or extra ground water. If the pump fails for whatever reason, any water that collects in the sump basin can eventually overflow into the basement and cause water damage.
Below are 6 tips to ensure that your sump pump is working properly.
- Confirm the pump is working before a storm. Pour a bucket of water into your sump pump to activate the pump.
- Clean the inside of your sump out. Some pumps that are not used regularly are more prone to developing sediment. If the lid of your sump pump does not cover the basin some objects may end up in some pump and cause a clog.
- Install a battery backup system. Install a secondary pump that is battery operated. This is important in the instance of a power outage. The battery backup pump is going to drain the battery when the primary pump does not have electricity, also in the situation where your primary pump is not keeping up with the extra inflow of water.
- Know what type of sump pump equipment you have. If your sump pump breaks or malfunction you know your model and serial number to quickly purchase any parts to fix your pump.
- Know how your sump pump operates. Knowing the workings of the system and how it operates will help you troubleshoot and determine any malfunctions allowing you to save money. Also, knowing how it operates will prevent you from being taken advantage of by professionals.
- Install an alarm system – Installing an alarm will let you know when your sump pump has stopped working.
It is important to either install a battery back-up or an alarm to your sump pump to prevent basement flooding. It will save you money in the long run.
If you experience a basement flooding from your sump pump, call the professional team at SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia at (334) 371-7378.
Your Dishwasher Can Cause Water Damage
The dishwasher is a modern amenity that’s included in almost every household kitchen nowadays. It takes out the stress and hassle of playing paper, rock, scissors to decide who’s turn it is to do the dishes. SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia has seen its fair share of homes dealing with water damage from this kitchen appliance. It can take homeowners on quite the whirlwind of emotions once they discover a pool of water collecting on the kitchen floor. Here are some tips for preventing water damage from your dishwasher in your home.
The door itself may have loose hinges which could cause water to leak out. You may need to tighten the latch and hinge yourself with a screwdriver. If you’re having any issues, you can always call a professional plumber.
The rubber seal around the dishwasher door may have some wear and tear which will cause water to escape. To prevent this, make sure to routinely inspect the rubber seal and replace if needed.
All dishwashers are equipped with two hoses that can be accessed by removing the bottom front access panel. Inspect the hoses for wear and tear. If you notice any moisture collecting in this area, you may need to replace the hoses.
These are the most common causes that homeowners face when they’re dealing with water damage in their kitchen caused by their dishwasher. If you find that a water leak has taken place in your kitchen, here are some steps to take:
- Shut off the main water supply.
- Shut off the electricity if need be, especially if water is pooling near outlets or electronic devices.
- Call a plumber to resolve the dishwasher plumbing situation.
- Once the plumbing issue is resolved, call SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia to notify them of your water damage. We will send our technicians out as quickly as we can.
- While you’re waiting for SERVPRO to arrive, use towels to soak up as much standing water as you can. The longer you let the water sit, the more damage it can cause.
- Once SERVPRO arrives, we’ll walk you through the process and begin drying out the area with our fans and dehumidifiers.
If you experience water damage caused by your dishwasher, call the water mitigation professionals at SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia at (334) 371-7378.
Water Damage Can Happen Fast
When it comes to water damage in your home, time is not on your side. In most cases the longer the water remains an issue the more at risk your home is for water damage. Water damage can turn into mold within a few days, especially in warm environments. Water damage is much easier and less expensive to mitigate before mold starts to grow.
Within a few minutes to a few hours, the water damage starts to spread and can damage flooring, furniture, and other items near the water. Flooring can start to warp and lift, cloth furniture absorbs the water making it hard to extract, wooden furniture begins to swell, leather fades and stains the flooring, and the moisture/humidity mixes with normal household odors and you now have a stinky house.
The longer you leave the water damage untreated the more damage your home is at risk for. Eventually, the flooring and subflooring will be so warped it will not be repairable, if the water is affecting your walls the paint can begin to blister and the drywall will mold, and if left long enough the structural wood will begin to swell, warp, and split apart.
SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia has made its name by performing cleanup and restoration work after water damage. Using advanced extraction techniques, our technicians have the expertise, training, and certificates to help clear away water and mitigate loss. As part of a national franchise, we have access to national resources that ensure our technicians are equipped with the best possible equipment, including Injecta dry systems as well as truck-mounted extractors and desiccant humidifiers. If you notice or suspect water damage, call the water mitigation specialists at SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia at (334) 371-7378.
Toilet Maintenance Can Prevent Water Damage
The professionals at SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia are always ready in the event that you find yourself with water damage due to an overflowing toilet that has flooded any area in your home. However, we know that you are better off to avoid this kind of headache altogether, and following a few tips for proper toilet maintenance can help you to do so.
Clean your toilet regularly. A mild cleaner, such as baking soda, vinegar, or a mild soap will do the job without the risks of harsher chemicals. Cleaning the toilet gives you a more hygienic, better smelling bathroom, while also providing the opportunity to notice any leaks around the toilet.
Check the toilet’s interior mechanisms at least once each six months. Make sure that all parts are in good shape and working properly, that the flapper is sealing completely, and that the fill valve stops at the appropriate water level.
Fix a small leak (or running toilet) immediately. You might not even notice this type of leak if you aren’t looking for it, as it is silent and leaves no puddle. (The leaking water flows into the bowl and down the drain.) This type of leak can run gallons of water through your tank in a day causing a substantial increase in your water bill. To test for this type of leak, place a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank (above the bowl). Wait half an hour, then check the water in the bowl. If any color shows up in the bowl, the tank is leaking. You can get a flapper kit from the hardware store and replace it yourself, if you are a do-it-yourselfer.
Teach every family member how to properly care for the toilet. Teach them what can be flushed and what cannot, how to avoid clogs by using just the right amount of toilet tissue and no more, and how to keep the toilet clean. Teach these things beginning when a child first starts using the “potty.”
Buy the right kind of toilet paper. Commercials tout the benefits of thick, soft, fluffy paper, but a paper that is built to break down quickly is much easier on your toilet system. This is especially true if you are on a septic system where everything that is flushed must be broken down. But even if you are on a municipal sewer system, using too much of the hard to break down paper can cause clogs in the lines inside your home.
Have a flange plunger handy. For simple clogs, a bucket of hot water and a plunger is often all you need. Just turn off the water at the emergency shutoff valve behind the toilet and use the plunger to dislodge the clog. If the plunger doesn’t work, try an auger.
Do not use “drop-in” tablets in your toilet tank for cleaning. These products can cause damage to the rubber flap and other mechanisms, resulting in a leak.
Do not use chemical drain cleaners on a clogged toilet. They can damage fixtures and pipes, kill off the good bacteria in septic systems causing problems in the functioning of the system, are harmful if they come into contact with skin or are inhaled, and are just not something you want to add to your water system.
Do not place a brick in the tank to save water. Newer toilet tanks use 1.6 gallons with each flush. This is the amount that is needed to move waste out of the toilet and through the system. If you have an older tank, consider replacing it. Many new models have two flushing handles, one for liquid waste only and one for solid waste. This type of toilet uses the minimal amount of water needed, while still efficiently moving waste through.
Do not flush anything but human waste and toilet paper down the toilet. Nothing else is designed to break down and safely flow through the system — NOTHING.
If you experience water damage at your home due to a toilet issue, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia at (334) 371-7378.
What Will Insurance Cover After a Water Damage?
Water damage is a common insurance claim among homeowners. If you are about to make a claim on water damage to your home it’s good to know what to expect. However, it is important to note that coverage could be different depending on the situation, insurance carrier, type of coverage, and other factors. There are some items that homeowners generally have an easier time making water damage claims for than others. A few of those common items are listed below.
There are some losses that homeowners typically run into problems when trying to make a water damage claim to their insurance company. These include losses that resulted from gradual damage.
What Is Gradual Damage
Gradual damage is anything that happened over the course of a prolonged period, as opposed to an accident, or sudden damage, which happens as the result of one single event.
Will My Insurance Cover My Gradual Damage?
Loss such as leaky ceilings due to plumbing defects, water damage caused by cracks in the foundation, and in some cases, mold, fall under the category of gradual damage. These things are generally not covered by insurance. However, there may be some exceptions. For example, if mold was the result of another claim that was covered under insurance, but was not properly fixed, the insurance company would likely cover it.
Will My Insurance Cover My Water Loss?
On the other hand, if the water damage is sudden and accidental you’ll probably have a much easier time getting covered for the damages. This is the true nature of insurance – to cover accidents. Of course, everything is dependent upon the language of the policy that you purchased, but this is the very nature of insurance: coverage for sudden and accidental loss. A good practice for homeowners is to keep a record of all repairs and transactions for services that are made to your home.
About SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia
At SERVPRO of Greenville/Troy/Andalusia, we are not only experts at restoring your home as if it never even happened, but we are also experts at dealing with insurance companies. For a stress-free claims process, SERVPRO can help manage the insurance paperwork and process. Contact us today at (334) 371-7378 to learn more about how we can help you through the entire recovery process today!
Mitigate Storm Damage to Your Property
The best way to prevent storm damage is to prepare before the winds and rain hit. Prevent damages, such as missing shingles, a roof leak, broken furnishings, and other havoc by taking specific steps as soon as you know there's a storm on the way:
- Trim trees and shrubs around your business to prevent branches from breaking winds or becoming projectiles.
- Pack up furnishings outside your building and stash any decorations or marketing signs that aren't completely attached.
- Board up the windows. Again, the best time to gather these supplies is before there's any news of a storm. Purchase the hardware you'll need and store it safely until you need to use it.
- Reinforce any garage doors. These doors tend to be relatively flimsy. The damage to the doors or to your exposed inventory or vehicles could become very expensive.
Of course, proper maintenance is an essential step in protecting your company property.
Gather Evidence of the Damages
Before you take any cleanup steps and before you contact professionals to take care of the work, record the damage. First, take photos of all damage to document your losses for the insurance company. Make a written inventory of all commercial and personal property that was damaged. Don't forget to hold onto receipts when work is completed.
Practice Preventative First Aid
After the storm has passed, there are several steps you can take to keep your commercial property safe, avoid that annoying roof leak, and keep your repair costs down. One of the first is to address any damage to the roof. Use tarps and plywood to board up holes in the roof, cover holes in windows and skylights, and inspect the rest of the property.
Turn Major Repairs Over to Professionals
You may find that siding has been blown off the building or a tree branch has broken the building or some property directly. In many cases, a storm damage repair and cleanup professional is the best person to repair your damaged roof. There are many safety concerns to keep in mind before sending an employee to the top of your building. There's no roof leak more important than a person's safety.