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Cooler weather may cause fires

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Room with smoke damage. Even though the fire did not occur in this room, the smoke and soot traveled to the second floor.

As we approach the cooler weather, fires increase inside the homes in Washington, NC. SERVPRO of Bath recently helped a homeowner who left a bulbed Christmas candle in the window which caught a curtain on fire. Almost the entire house was damaged as a result of this fire.

How to prevent fires at home:

Most people know the basics of fire safety at home, such as not leaving burning candles unattended and keeping a fire extinguisher on hand. Here are a few more things you can do to prevent fires at home.

  • Have your heating system serviced regularly by a professional, including chimneys from wood-burning fireplaces. Clean around heat sources and keep dust and other flammable items away from ignition sources.
  • Remove the lint from your dryer filter after every use. A clogged filter and lint trap makes your dryer less efficient, reduces the airflow needed to keep heat from building up in the vents, and forces lint onto the heating coils. Also, never let your dryer run when you are out of the house or when you’re asleep.
  • Keep firewood, piles of leaves, and trash away from the home. If a grass fire starts nearby, these items next to your home could easily become kindling. Never dump hot ashes inside or near your home; keep them in a metal container well away from your house and garage.
  • Avoid using outlet extenders or plug-in power bars: they can quickly overload an electrical circuit. Replace old, damaged, or frayed appliance cords, and never force a three-pronged plug into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Store containers of cooking oil well away from the stove. When cooking with oil, never leave the stove unattended. To stop a grease fire, turn off the burner and place a lid on the pan to suffocate the flames, or pour on lots of baking soda. Never pour water on a grease fire or try to carry the pan outside; water splatters the grease and makes the fire bigger, and the pan will be much too hot to carry.
  • Consider using borrowed heat to keep outdoor pets warm. During winter months, avoid using heat lamps, solar lamps, trouble lights, heated watering bowls, or other such heated devices, which could lead to a potential fire. Borrowed heat involves providing warmth from a heating system located in a separate building. If this isn’t possible, consider bringing your pets inside.
  • Be sure to properly extinguish smoking materials. Smoking materials that are not properly extinguished can smolder undetected for days before igniting a fire. Never discard smoking materials on the ground or in plant pots.

4 Steps To Take When the Toilet Floods

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded toilet. An overflowed toilet can be an emergency. Contact a professional team to solve the problem.

When sewer damage affects your Washington, NC, commercial property, the situation can be classified as an emergency. The potential for exposure to bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants in the water is high. SERVPRO cleanup and restoration professionals have the training, personal protective gear, and cleaning equipment to handle the issue safely.

Take Quick Action

The flooded toilet is one of the most common causes of sewer damage. You may have experienced the dread that comes from watching the water rise too much after a flush. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take right away to prevent further trouble:

1. Shut Off the Water

Look for a shut-off knob or valve right behind the toilet and turn it counterclockwise. If the water continues to rise, take off the lid to the tank and pull the float.

2. Dry Up Overflowing Water

If the water doesn't contain sewage, use old towels to clean up the overflow. Even when dealing with clean water, it's best to protect yourself with rubber gloves and boots with good traction, so you don't slip. If the water isn't clean, it's best to contact a sewage company or other trained professionals.

3. Gather Your Equipment

A plunger may do the trick. Make sure you get a tight seal at the drain inside the toilet bowl. The goal is to force air or water into the drain, applying enough pressure to move clogged items out of the way. After the water moves down the drain, flush once more to be sure you don't need to repeat this step.

4. Sanitize Appropriately

In many cases, it's okay to sanitize the overflow. Be careful when using bleach-based products; these could cause damage to porous surfaces. However, in a commercial property or if there's evidence of sewer damage, your best option is to hire a professional.

If there's any question that sewage may be involved, contact water damage restoration professionals, such as SERVPRO professionals who are Faster to Any Size Disaster.

Preparing Your Home for Vacation To Avoid Water Damage

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Leaking pipe. A leaking pipe can lead to a flood in your Washington, NC, home.

Are you going on a vacation? If so, make sure you take care of that water pipe repair you’ve been putting off. There is nothing worse than coming home after a couple of weeks away and finding your basement flooded or worse. While you can talk to a water remediation specialist in Washington, NC, to discuss preventative measures, there are at least four things you can do to protect your home right now.

1. Inspect for Leaks

Before you go on a vacation, be sure to walk through your property and inspect for leaks or a broken pipe. You’ll want to check all visible pipes for any signs of leaking. You will also want to pull out appliances and check that hoses are secure. Do not leave any suspect pipe or hose unattended. Contact a plumber to fix the problems.

2. Clean Gutters

While a failed water pipe repair is one cause of water damage while a homeowner is away on vacation, clogged gutters are another. If leaves and other debris make it impossible for a gutter system to drain correctly, the excess water will pour out over the sides and down toward the foundation of your house.

3. Request a House Sitter

Even when you assess your home and find nothing wrong, there is still the possibility of the home becoming flooded. Asking a friend or family member to watch your house while you are away can ensure that if water issues arise, someone is there to address them quickly.

4. Shut Off Water at the Main

If you cannot find anyone to watch your home while you are away, it is best to shut off your water supply. Make sure to turn it off at the main, so there is no water coming into your home. It doesn’t hurt to notify the water department because they might be able to turn your water supply off at the street.

Before going on a vacation, make sure any water pipe repair or maintenance is complete. Also, try to find someone to watch your property. If not possible, turn off your water for good measure.

3 Tips for Cleaning After a Flood

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded bathroom in a Washington, NC, home. Cleaning after a flood it's necessary to avoid other serious damages.

If your property has been damaged by a home flood, prompt cleanup is essential for preventing additional damage, such as mold, mildew, or rot. These three tips can help you get started.

1. Stay Safe

Floodwater often contains contaminants and can pose an electrocution or drowning hazard. Always check with local authorities before attempting to enter a flooded home. Have the power and gas service to your home shut off and avoid entering if there are any power lines down in the area. Wear protective clothing or contact a professional restoration company in Washington, NC, to ensure safety during the cleaning and drying process.

2. Remove Wet Materials

Drying out your home as quickly as possible is essential for avoiding mold growth. Remove wet carpet, furniture, and bedding within 24 hours of a home flood, if possible. Keep the damaged contents on site until your insurance adjuster has had a chance to look at them. Carpets, rugs, carpet pads, upholstered furniture, and mattresses will usually need to be replaced. Discard food items, other than commercially canned products that may be salvaged if the labels are removed and the cans are cleaned and sanitized.

3. Prepare the Site for Cleaning

When floodwater from storm damage recedes, it often leaves silt and mud behind. Remove this with a shovel and then wash hard surfaces with a water hose. Wood floors and subfloors exposed to water will likely need to be removed. Flooded walls should be opened to prevent mold growth, decay, and odors in the wall studs. Pump water out of your basement gradually. Use fans and dehumidifiers and open windows and doors to help with the drying process.

While it is important to wait until it is safe to attempt to enter a structure after a home flood, quick action is necessary to reduce additional damage. Contact your local authorities and insurance professional for additional guidance on the cleanup and restoration process.

How To Save Paper Items With Water Damage

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

Cartoon of a wooded floor damaged with water. A flood may cause severe water damage.

A flood in your home in Washington, NC, can leave your important papers drenched and unreadable. Fortunately, that doesn't automatically mean they're lost forever. Whether the damage is caused by a busted pipe or a leak from the attic after a heavy rain, water damage mitigation experts have many different document restoration procedures they can use to save the papers that are important to you.

Document Restoration Procedures

Damaged Items

Professional document drying techniques have a wide variety of uses. You may be surprised how many different items can be saved:

  • Paper documents
  • Photographs
  • Files
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Parchment

Even film, x-rays, blueprints and microfiche records can be revitalized through the techniques used by certified technicians. Before you throw them away, it's worth seeing if they can be salvaged first.

Disinfection Process

Sometimes your items need more than just drying. If your home is flooded by contaminated water, document restoration procedures must also include a disinfection step. To clean delicate items such as paper documents or photographs, technicians use gamma irradiation. The gamma rays break down the bacteria at the DNA level, sterilizing the item and leaving no contamination behind.

Streamlined Service

A benefit of using SERVPRO to conduct your flood mitigation is that document digitization and cleaning are part of the overall service that the team provides. Certified technicians can back up your data securely so that you never have to worry about water damage threatening its safety again. When the same team handles the cleanup of both the documents and the house itself, the whole process runs much more smoothly and efficiently.

Even if your important papers, photos and book collection get soaked in a flood, document restoration experts may be able to save them. Even if the flood water is dirty, there is still hope.Technicians employ various drying and cleaning techniques to ensure that as little precious data and as few fond memories are lost as possible.

Understanding the Resurgence of a Mold Infestation

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a person measuring moisture on mold damaged wall. Mold growth on residential home.

As a homeowner, there are two words you never want to hear: black mold. Unfortunately, the fear of toxic mold can often lead to homeowners attempting DIY removal techniques that do not work.
Mold is not mildew, and that is essential to know. Mildew is a surface growth, meaning you can typically eliminate it with surface cleaners. Mold, however, establishes deep within porous materials. If you attempted a DIY removal without the help of a licensed mold remediation service in Washington, NC, there could be several reasons the problem keeps resurfacing.

3 Reasons of a Mold Infestation Resurgence

1. You Did Not Resolve an Underlying Water Issue

Mold cleanup is about more than removing the problem fungus. You must get to the root cause. Why did mold spores settle where they did? In most situations, mold is the result of a water leak. If you do not resolve the underlying water issue, mold will return. Sometimes, a homeowner fixes a minor water problem, not realizing there is a more significant issue somewhere else.

2. You Did Not Remove the Entire Infestation

Black mold, or any mold, accumulates inside porous materials. When you are trying to remove the growth, you need to excise it in its entirety. If you leave even a small portion of mold in the area, the cluster will repopulate, re-establishing the infestation. If you are not confident in removing the problem, contact a licensed professional, which is the preferred method and approach to mold removal.

3. You Did Not Contain Mold Spread

When professionals remove mold, they do their best to control the spread and release of mold spores that can repopulate an infestation site. These technicians will spray down the affected area, weighing down spores, and they will seal contaminated spaces to ensure spores have nowhere to go.

Black mold or mold, in general, is not something homeowners like to think about. However, if you suspect you have a mold problem, it is crucial to take accurate precautions and eliminate the growth the first time around.

5 Steps of Flood Damage Restoration

6/22/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a flooded building and its surroundings. You may been flood damage restoration after a storm.

Preparing for or enduring a flood at your Washington, NC, commercial property can bring extreme feelings of vulnerability and helplessness. A flood could not only cause costly damage requiring tear out and other major work but could also halt your business. There are ways to prepare if you know heavy rainfall is on its way, but there's probably no avoiding some water damage. After the disaster, the key to minimizing loss is to begin the restoration process immediately.

Steps of the Storm Restoration Process

Here are the typical steps of the storm restoration process:

1. Turn Off Electricity

First, you need to make sure the building's electricity is turned off. If you can safely navigate to the circuit breaker, you can turn it off. Otherwise, call the power company to have it shut off before you do anything else.

2. Extract Standing Water

All standing water must be extracted as quickly as possible. The more time the water is left to linger, the more damage will be done. Every minute counts when it comes to water damage. A wet/dry vacuum is ideal for safely and efficiently removing water and smaller floating debris.

3. Dispose of Unsalvageable Materials

Remove and dispose of anything that's deemed unsalvageable. This includes removing contents and tear out of building materials (e.g., drywall, flooring).

4. Clean and Sanitize Building and Contents

Floodwater can leave harmful contaminants (e.g., biological, environmental, chemical) in its wake, so cleaning and decontaminating are essential. The safest method for this part is calling storm damage restoration professionals to use their expertise and industrial equipment.

5. Thoroughly Dry Everything

The property and contents must be thoroughly dried. If residual moisture remains, mold could begin to grow, causing more problems. You can run fans, dehumidifiers and heat to dry the area.

There are several essential steps to storm restoration to prevent or mitigate the water damage, such as tear out. When you know a flood is likely, do what you can to prepare. Part of your preparation includes knowing how to safely and efficiently clean to minimize loss.

Does Your Home Have a Mold Problem

6/21/2021 (Permalink)

Man looking for the source of mold. Mold can spread through a home in as little as 48 hours. Finding the source is critical to stop continued growth.

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Bath 252-923-0213.

Fire Safety when Burning Candles

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

Image of candles Use candles safely.

A lot of people enjoy burning candles for many different reasons. For some, it’s the tranquility and beauty of having a tad bit of light in a dim room. For others, it’s the smell the candle gives off, filling your house with a delightful scent.  Whatever your reason may be, a candle is still an open flame that is a fire hazard. There are an estimated 8,700 house fires each year from burning candles.

Here are some safety tips to safely burn a candle inside your home. 

Safety Tips To Use Candles 

Before lighting your Candle 

  • Before you burn your candle, always trim your wick to 1/4 inch. Crooked or long wicks could cause uneven burning, flaring, or dripping. If you don’t have a wick trimmer, don’t worry, you can use nail clippers or scissors as well.
  • Always use a candle holder. Candle holders are sturdy, heat resistant, and will catch any dripping. 
  • Burn candles in a well-ventilated room. Avoid air currents, vents, and drafts. This will help prevent excessive dripping, sooting, or uneven burning.
  • Do not burn candle longer than 4 hours and give the candle 2 hours to cool before relighting.
  • Use long matches or long-reach lighter when lighting your candle. Make sure you keep loose clothing and hair away from the flame. 

  While Candle is Burning 

  • Stop burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains, never burn your candle all the way down. 
  • Never put a candle someplace where your child or pet could get a hold of it or knock it over.
  • While your candle is burning keep it away from anything flammable. Curtains, books, bedding, furniture and paper.
  • Never move a candle while it’s burning or while the wax is liquified.
  • Never leave the room while a candle is burning, always put it out.
  • Never use your candle as a night light. 

When Putting out your Candle 

  • Never extinguish your candles flame with water. Water may cause the hot wax to splatter everywhere, causing the glass container to break. 
  • The safest way to put out your candle is with a candle snuffer.
  • Before exiting the room, make sure your candle is completely out. 

Enjoying the comfort of candles in your home can be nice and relaxing. Using these candle fire safety tips can help prevent a fire from starting.

SERVPRO of Bath Smoke and Soot Cleanup

6/2/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a home damaged with smoke and soot. This picture is the aftermath of a kitchen fire at one of our customers homes. Smoke and soot damage can cause a strong odor in your home.

Smoke and soot is very aggressive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke travels to cooler areas and upper levels of a home or building.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may significantly affect your plan of action.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Bath will need to test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Please see below for some additional information regarding smoke and residue:

  • Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
  • Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
  • Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

As you now know each fire and smoke damage disaster is unique. Each requires a unique solution to your situation. Here at SERVPRO of Bath we have the equipment, experience, and knowledge to restore your home or building. We will always treat your family with empathy and respect.  Your property is treated with care and stored at our facility while repairs are being made.