Rebuilding After a Fire
Make sure that the contractor rebuilding your home obtains a building permit and follows the current building, fire and electrical codes for your area.
Ask a professional about having automatic residential fire sprinklers installed during the reconstruction process. It is much less expensive to have sprinklers installed during reconstruction instead of after the construction is complete.
-Make sure that smoke alarms are installed following your local fire protection codes.
We recommend having smoke alarms installed inside each sleeping room, hallway outside sleeping areas, and at least one on every floor of your home. The smoke alarms should be inter-connected so that if one alarm sounds, all will sound. The alarms should be operated by household, power and batteries in case the household power are out. (New fire codes require this type of smoke alarm to be installed. Check with local authorities about the prevailing fire code in your area)
-It is good idea to make sure that you have updated your Family Disaster Plan and replenished essential disaster supplies just in case a disaster happens again.
You will always feel better knowing that you are prepared and ready for anything. The American Red Cross encourages taking five key disaster preparedness steps: make a plan, build a kit, get trained, volunteer and give blood. For more information about preparedness, ask your local Red Cross chapter.
-Consider purchasing homeowner's or renter's insurance.
-Make copies of important documents, such as birth and marriage certificates and insurance policies, and store these in a safe place.
How Water can get into your Home
Groundwater leaks are the problem that basement contractors encounter most commonly. As groundwater pressures build in a basement, they can add a special type of pressure- known as hydrostatic pressure- against foundation walls in a basement or crawl space.
This water will enter the basement or crawl space through any opening it can find, including any gaps or cracks along the foundation walls. While basement flooding is most common through the joint where the foundation wall meets the floor, it's also common for water to leak in through cracks, around pipes leading out of the home, around windows, and through the basement floor. Each of these problems is unique- below are many of the most common sources of groundwater leakage.
Basement Wall Cracks
A crack in the basement wall is leaking, allowing water to flood into the home. They can also be a potential indicate of a foundation issue, especially if the cracks are not vertical. Whether horizontal, diagonal, or vertical, this is a major potential problem that should be looked at right away.
Pipe Penetration Leak
A gap around a pipe that penetrates through the basement wall is allowing water to run from the earth outside into the home. If not a pipe, it could also be a cable or electrical wire, a sewage line, or some other opening. These lines can be much more challenging to seal than a typical wall crack, and because they expand and shrink with temperature, seals can easily work loose.
Basement Leaks on the floor or at the Wall/Floor Joint
Water is seeping upwards from cracks running along the floor, or it's leaking in from the corners of the floor, where the basement walls and floors meet. Often, water will also leak through the walls, especially in cases where field stone walls are present. In the case of block walls, the cavities in the blocks will fill with water, which will then seep through the bottom of the walls.
Leaking Basement Windows
Water is coming in around your windows and leaking down to the basement floor. This is sometimes made worse by window wells that are filling with water, snow, and debris. Basement window leaks are often also caused or intensified by rotting or rusting window frames, which is common with steel and wood framed basement windows.
Water Leak in your basement? Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861
Flooding from any source in an apartment is a concern for both the tenant as well as the property owner. Even though you may be only renting, an apartment’s still your home and the place where your personal possessions are kept. To minimize water damage to your valuables as well as the building’s structure—and ensure you receive any compensation you are entitled—here are some suggestions in the event of a flooded apartment.
- Report any incident of water damage and/or flooding to the apartment management or property owner as soon as it happens.
- If a ruptured pipe, toilet overflow or other ongoing event is flooding the apartment and you are unable to immediately get a response from maintenance personnel or the property owner, call a plumber yourself and request emergency service to stop the water. Keep records, you will have good grounds to deduct the expense from your rent.
- Make sure the premise is safe to enter. A flooded or wet indoor environment can pose electricity hazards if power is still on. Ask management or the property owner to have an electrician verify that power is disconnected at the meter.
- Take as many photos of each affected room as well as all damaged possessions as soon as you enter the premise. Don’t wait until after clean-up begins.
- If you have renter’s insurance, contact your insurance agent to determine whether coverage will apply. Generally, renter’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding from external natural events such as overflowing rivers or severe storms. However, if the indoor flood was caused by a ruptured plumbing pipe or other defect, this may be covered.
- Mold growth is a possible after-effect following flooding or other water damage. If you intend to continue to inhabit the property, ask the property owner to verify that professional mold remediation is included as part of the water damage recovery process.
- Always report any conditions, no matter how minor, which might lead to flooding or water damage to the apartment management or property owner as soon as they are discovered. This would include dripping plumbing pipes, roof leakage during rain, unexplained wet spots on ceiling or walls, as well as sewage issues.
Water Damage In Your Home Or Business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861
The Dangers of Letting Smoke go Uncleaned
Fire and smoke damage can wreak havoc on your personal property and structures. A quick reaction can help you minimize the impact of the destruction as some of your household goods can be salvaged if treated immediately. You should, therefore, hasten the process of hiring a professional to help you manage the damage in a correct manner. Conversely, if left untreated, smoke and fire damage can be more devastating in the following ways:
The restoration cost increases
When the treatment process is extended, the damages begin to worsen and are more difficult to deal with. If smoke goes untreated for long, the odors become more persistent and extremely difficult to neutralize. These challenges make the treatment process harder and more time consuming and ultimately more expensive.
Smoke and ash can mix with water to produce a highly corrosive element. If not cleaned quickly, this corrosive substance begins to slowly corrode away walls, floors, ceilings and any other surfaces in your home. Cleaning up quickly with soap and water is simply not enough. The substance requires proper cleaning with appropriate chemicals to remove it completely in order to contain the damages.
Neutralizing of soot residual and deposits is an effective first clean up step. If left for long, soot can easily travel and penetrate into other rooms that weren't recently affected by the fire, staining the wall paint, carpet, furniture, drapes, clothing and any other household items.
Your property can suffer permanent damage if not treated in a timely manner. Damage begins to set in within hours and prolonged exposure could cause permanent harm to your walls which turns yellow, metal surfaces begins to corrode, clothes stain permanently and wooden furniture which may need refinishing. It also damages the floor which may need replacing.
Following a fire, it is necessary to seek smoke treatment immediately to save yourself from the effects of prolonged exposure to smoke as well as to make it easier for you to restore your home. In the case you suspect smoke damage in your residence and need smoke or water damage cleanup contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861
Signs of Active Water Damage
Water Damage is one of the more serious disasters that can happen in your home. Water in places that should remain dry can lead to severe home damage. Also, water damage is also a likely sign of a water leak, which is not only costly in terms of repairing damages, but also in terms of your water bill. The sooner you can spot signs of water damage, the sooner you’ll be able to put a stop to any leaks and protect yourself, your home, and your wallet. Take a look at some of the signs that you might have water damage and how to spot them.
Use Your Ears
One of the first signs of a water problem isn’t necessarily visible, but instead, it’s audible. Water makes a sound, whether it’s a slow drip or a gush. It’s never a good idea to ignore the sounds of water inside your house when there shouldn’t be sounds of water. Listen for the sound of water running when there’s no reason for it – when the washing machine and dishwasher are off, when there’s no one taking a shower, and when no sinks are in use. If you hear the sounds of dripping or running water, follow your ears. You may track the sound down to a leaky sink or a toilet that needs a new stopper. But if the sound seems to be coming from behind the walls, under the floor, or from the ceiling, you might have a larger problem. You’ll need to examine the area where you hear the water coming from and track down its source so you can determine whether you have a leaky pipe, a leaky roof, or some other problem that may have caused water damage to your home.
Follow Your Nose
Your hearing isn’t the only one of your senses that can alert you to a water problem. Water Damage often comes with a smell – namely, the scent of mold or mildew. If you smell a musty, damp odor anywhere in your house, that’s a sign that you not only have a water problem but that you also already have some water damage. It’s important to track down the scent of mold as soon as you notice it. Mold grows quickly, and can soon become a much bigger problem if you ignore it. It can also cause health effects. Another scent that sometimes arises in a house with a water problem is the smell of sewage. You might smell this coming from plumbing fixtures in your bathroom. Needless to say, the smell of sewage in the house is not a good sign, and you’ll want to have that looked at right away.
Know The Visible Signs of Water Damage
If you spot a puddle or actual wet spot in some place where you know no water should be, that’s a pretty sure sign that you have some type of leak and you should look closer for further signs of damage. But the visible signs of water damage aren’t always so obvious. One thing to look for is an area where your paint is blistering, bubbling, or peeling. For example, if you notice the paint on the ceiling bubbling, it could mean that the roof is leaking, or, if you’re seeing it on a downstairs ceiling in a two-story house, it could mean that a toilet, sink, or bathtub located upstairs is leaking. You might also notice discolorations on your walls or wallpaper. You probably don’t think of water as something that causes stains, but water that leaks down the walls and isn’t cleaned up properly can damage the paint or wallpaper, leaving discolorations behind. It’s worth noting that even if you happen not to smell mold, you may see evidence of it. Look for black or green spots on walls and ceilings. Other signs of water damage include buckling or warping in wood floor planks or laminate flooring, loose tiles, deteriorating caulk, and cracks in cement. You might also notice that wooden door and window frames look swollen or warped, and that doors and windows stick in place and refuse to open or close smoothly. These are all signs that you should call a water damage restoration specialist to check out the problem and get your home on the road to recovery.
Check Your Checkbook
Even if you don’t see any other signs, if you’re losing more and more money every month to your water company, you’ve almost certainly got a problem somewhere. It’s possible for leaky pipes and water fixtures to dump water in a place where you won’t notice it or where it doesn’t cause damage – a leaky toilet, for example, won’t necessarily cause water damage if the leak is inside the toilet system. But it will cost you money. A toilet that’s leaking internally may not damage your floor, but it can drain hundreds of gallons unnecessarily, bringing your water bill higher and higher. And it’s a good idea to get a handle on that kind of leak as soon as possible, because a leak anywhere can lead water damage eventually, even if it’s not currently causing damage, and that only compounds the expense. However, sometimes leaks that don’t appear to be causing damage actually are. If you haven’t been in your basement for a while, you might not see the water on the floor or hear it leaking down there, but it’s definitely still causing damage. And a leak that dumps water outside could be slowly damaging your home’s foundation. So if your water bill is showing signs of a leak, take it seriously and investigate, even if you haven’t noticed anything before. Water Damage is a serious thing, and mitigating it isn’t always something that can be done on a do-it-yourself basis. If you’ve located a water leak in your home, SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County can help. Contact us right away so we can help you treat your home. 502.241.6861
Reduce the Risk of Chimney Fires
There is nothing quite like the warmth and glow of a wood burning fire. Fire is one of humanities oldest tools. It has the power to heat our bodies, cook our foods, refine our metals and light the darkness. We are connected to fire at a primal level and deep down we are all mystified when we see the flames dancing between logs. Nowadays we may be lucky enough to bring that joy inside but the comfort of a cozy indoor fire brings with it, plenty of danger, especially if the fireplace and chimney are not properly inspected and maintained. Here are a few tips to keep your house and family safe from the danger of an indoor fire:
According to The National Fire Protection Association, “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary.” An inspector will come and make sure your fireplace is safe to use and let you know if there are any repairs necessary. If you haven’t used your fireplace in a long time, birds or other creatures may have built nests that could clog your flue or chimney chamber. Winter freeze cycles, inclement weather, and moisture combine to take an annual toll on masonry and liner materials. Year in and year out these elements can cause deterioration that will eventually require attention. Seasonal wear and tear that is left unchecked will affect the performance of your system and the longer the defects go without being addressed, the more expensive the repairs are likely to be. That is why staying on top of your systems is not only the smartest and safest choice but the most cost-effective too.
The best practice is to keep things simple and safe. Make sure to clean the fireplace regularly and know if it’s well built. It is also a good idea to have a professional initially inspect the fireplace and chimney even if you plan to clean and maintain it yourself. The Chimney Safety Institute recommends cleaning the chimney when creosote is 1/4 inch or thicker on the chimney walls or there is visible build up in the system. A chimney sweeping company will take their time to make sure they clean everything and keep your house soot free while doing it. The best time to schedule a cleaning is at the end of the indoor fire season as acids in the creosote, or humidity combined with creosote, can both damage the fireplace mortar. After an initial professional cleaning you should, with the right knowledge, be able to clean and maintain it yourself. Of interest… after cleaning your own fireplace, you could dispose of the ashes and creosote by sprinkling them on flowerbeds. They are a great source of calcium and other nutrients.
These are a small but important piece of your chimney. Having a chimney cap installed can prevent objects, rain, and snow from falling into your chimney reducing downdrafts which lower the performance of your fireplace. These caps have side vents so smoke escapes and the mesh around the cap sides acts as a spark arrester. Chimney caps also prevent animals and other unwanted guests from making their home in your chimney during the spring and summer months. Another tip is to trim trees back that surrounds the chimney and make sure there is no debris building up on our around it. All in all, even though a chimney cap is a small and generally inexpensive piece of equipment, it can prevent numerous issues from happening. It might also save you thousands of dollars in chimney repairs or damage expense.
Experiencing fire or smoke damage can be an incredibly stressful event so be sure to take the appropriate measures in cleaning and maintaining your fireplace and chimney. SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County specializes in water restoration as well as fire and/or smoke damage and we will do our best to get you and your family back on the couch for a cozy, crackling fire on that cold winter evening.
7 Causes of Sump Pump Failures
While there are many ways a sump pump can fail, here are the most common situations in which severe water damage occurs as a result.
1. Overworked Pump
Whether the sump pump is old or the water is just coming in too fast, the mechanism alone cannot handle the amount of water filling into the foundation. This will usually occur during flash floods and other heavy rains. Whether the sump pump is good quality or not can also make a big difference, so a weak plastic model would never stand a chance against a severe thunderstorm.
What to do. Either buy a bigger sump pump or buy another model of the same quality to have twice the amount of water flowing away from the foundation. This way you won’t have to worry about a water damage problem every time it rains.
2. Sump Pump Working But No Water
If there isn’t any water in the sump pump, this means that the model wasn’t installed correctly or it’s not hooked up to drainage system.
Importance of a drainage system. This is just as important as the model itself. It’s best to have a drain tile installed within or outside the sump pump or along the lining of the basement. As long as it collects water and drains it to the pit, using gravity to push it, there shouldn’t be any problem. But if the drain-tile is damaged, not even the sump pump would be helpful.
What to do. Allow a licensed plumber to inspect, fix, or replace the drainage system. You might deal with a hefty bill, but your future self will be thanking you during the next rainstorm.
3. Clogged Sump Pump
There are a number of ways the sump pump can become clogged and back up, leading to a water damage disaster. All of the following are common occurrences:
<p">5. The Sump Pump Loses Power
If you were on vacation and the power is cut off from the sump pump, the entire basement faces the risk of flooding. Common causes of power failures include knocked down power lines, the pump is unplugged, or if the circuit breaker trips.
What to do. While some factors you will be able to control, like the circuit breaker, others involving power outages that can keep you worrying in the dark about whether or not there’s water in the basement. But what you can do is install a battery-powered backup that will add some peace of mind while lighting the candles upstairs.
6. Sump Pump is Running Non-Stop
If you notice the sump pump running when there’s obviously no water, you know you have a problem. But it also needs to be addressed right away before the model burns out. Here are some common causes:
- Wrong sump pump or liner size. In many cases, the sump pump is too small to handle the amount of water coming in from outside. The pit can also be too small, causing the water to fill up too quickly that puts the pump into overdrive.
- Missing or broken check valve. The check valve allows the water to flow in only one direction, one that flows away from the pit. But it it’s missing or broken, water will easily flow right back into the pit, overwhelming the pump and eventually overflowing into the basement.
- Float switches in cheap sump pumps can easily become tangled and clogged.
What to do. Allow a licensed plumber to inspect the pump before each heavy rainstorm to ensure that everything is working properly.
7. Defective Product
While nobody likes to get excited or relieved about buying something and only find out that it doesn’t work, it happens all the time. And sump pumps are no exception.
What to do. Always make sure that the model works properly by testing it and filling the pit up with water.
Water Damage Emergencies
While learning about these common causes and what to do in each situation can certainly help to prevent failures in the future, they are never a guarantee. In any case that you have a basement flood, or any other type of water damage in your home or building call the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. 502.241.6861
How to choose a Restoration Company for a Biohazard Cleanup
A crime or traumatic event is one of the hardest things to imagine ever happening to you or someone you know. So, when something tragic does happen, it’s an emotionally and mentally draining experience. And if the event has occurred in your commercial property, that’s even more challenging because of the cleanup involved in restoring your property back to normal and ensuring it is safe and sanitary for use again.
Whether you’re facing such an event now that has you stressed, or just considering ways to prepare yourself ahead of time for the challenges of being a property owner, there is no time like the present to learn what’s involved in the cleanup of your business should a crime or trauma occur there. These facts can help you be prepared for the worst and be knowledgeable about how to choose a reputable, compassionate crime scene and trauma cleanup-company so you can make the right decisions for your property and get back to normal life as soon as possible.
Is the company certified for crime scene and trauma cleanup?
Unlike the more common cleanup problems that a property can face, cleaning up after a crime or other trauma has occurred involves a very specific, regulated approach. For example, blood and other biohazard contaminants can pose a serious health risk if not removed and discarded of properly. And there may be other hazards in need of removal, all of which may be regulated by local, state, and federal laws to ensure public safety.
Because this type of property restoration is so specialized and demanding, it’s important to select a crime scene and trauma cleanup company that is appropriately certified by the appropriate municipal authorities. A reputable company will be able to provide you with evidence of current certification and assurances of how they remove and discard materials that may be a health hazard.
Is the company well trained, experienced, and properly equipped?
Restoring property after damage due to a crime or trauma often requires the use of specialized equipment and cleaning materials that aren’t necessarily available at your nearest store. A professional crime scene and trauma cleanup company will have everything they need to do the job right. This includes special cleaning agents to handle hard-to-remove stains, as well as ridding the residue that may be left behind from products such as fingerprint powder, evidence-gathering chemicals, pepper spray, and tear gas.
At SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County, our professional technicians have years of combined experience and training in the use of state-of-the-art equipment to help ensure that your property is properly, thoroughly cleaned so you can rest assured in a job well done.
Does the company assist you with documentation for financial assistance and file insurance claims?
You might not realize it, but property insurance policies often offer coverage for a variety of emergency cleanup scenarios, including crime and trauma-related events. And many municipalities and government agencies offer financial assistance and victim relief funds for disaster cleanup because it’s a public health issue. This can include not just floods and other natural disasters, but crime, suicide, and violence related issues as well.
A good crime scene and trauma cleanup company can help point you in the right direction as you locate the various types of financial assistance that may be available to you in your situation. And they should be willing and able to promptly provide you with any documentation you need to file financial assistance, insurance claims, and related paperwork.
Need Help Fast?
When you’re facing an emergency such as a crime or trauma on your property, you need swift assistance in getting things cleaned up and back to normal quickly, so you can go about your life and business again with peace of mind. The professional, experienced, caring team at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County is here to assist you in doing just that.
Contact us today. 502.241.6861
What to do during and after a commercial fire
Preparing for a home fire is a wise investment, however how many of us prepare for a fire at work?
Below, the fire damage experts from SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County explain what to do during and after a commercial fire.
Safety Steps for Employers & Employees
Contrary to popular belief, fire alarm and a fire sprinkler system are not directly connected. This means that when the fire alarm goes off, the sprinkler system will not necessarily activate at the same time. Moreover, some buildings simply don’t have a fire sprinkler system.
The fire alarm is your primary warning to evacuate the building.
Don’t assume that because the sprinklers aren’t activated that no fire exists. Because commercial buildings lack the compartmented features of a house, the fire has the potential to grow much larger, much faster.
Once the alarm sounds, help inform others that may not hear the alarm. If you’re not working on the ground floor, do not attempt to use an elevator.
Look for the closest stairwell exit. Hold your hand to the door knob (don’t touch it), to check for heat.
If the doorknob feels warm, there may be fire on the other side. If possible, find another exit.
Once outside, do not attempt to go back inside the building. If someone is missing, wait for emergency responders to arrive.
Some commercial fire alarm systems will contact emergency services automatically. Once it’s safe to do so, call 9-1-1 to ensure that help is on the way. Inform first responders of anyone who might still be inside.
How to Handle Fire Cleanup
Burned or damaged buildings are vulnerable to break-ins and other offenses. Once the building has been cleared for re-entry, it’s critical that anything valuable is removed. This includes the personal belongings of employees as well as expensive business property.
Once the valuables have been removed, damaged and destroyed property must be carefully documented. You’ll also need to contact your insurance company.
Business owners who want to be sure they’re getting the most out of their insurance policy trust SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County to document and negotiate with the insurance companies.
In addition, SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County can repair damage, clean, and sanitize a fire-damaged work space as well as restore it to like-new condition—this includes expensive property contents like furniture, electronics, paper documents and more.
Avoid the impulse to clean up the property before a thorough investigation has been completed. Insurance companies will want documentation of everything in your claim. If you clean up evidence, you could lose money in the claims process.
Stay Informed; Be Prepared
Every minute counts when it comes to your business. One of the best ways to avoid further damage after a commercial fire is to stay informed and be prepared.
In addition to coordinating a fire safety plan with employees, knowing who to call and when can save you time and money on commercial cleaning and restoration.
SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County is available 24 hours day, 7 days a week . We’ll be there when you need us, so you can get back to work faster after an unexpected disaster.
Call us today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.232.5213
Things to look for in an Emergency Restoration Company
When your commercial property suffers damage due to disaster, it’s vital to initiate comprehensive disaster management services to get your business back in working order as fast as possible.
Fires, floods, and severe storms can seriously damage your commercial property. Following a disaster, prompt professional restoration services can reduce the compounding problems that are sure to arise when moisture isn’t dealt with fast.
- Fire incidents—produce soot and damage due to smoke as well as moisture from firefighting
- Storms and floods—leave behind moisture and can create mold infestation
Here are some things to look for in a commercial emergency restoration management program:
1. 24-Hour Emergency Response Team
Time is a factor when prompt emergency response is needed. The sooner your commercial property’s restoration begins, the better. Look for a company accessible to you seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Rapid response and mobilization of restoration services help you get back to business even after disaster strikes. Faster restoration services lead to decreased impact on your property.
2. Comprehensive Services
Disaster remediation has several types of services necessary to restore commercial properties. Here are some vital ingredients to look for when it comes to disaster remediation:
- Remediation of the disaster incident
- Debris and residue clean up
- Decontamination and deodorization
- If necessary, relocation of property contents to a facility where they can be professionally restored
3. Coordinate with Your Insurance
Look for an emergency restoration company that communicates efficiently and effectively with your insurance adjuster and/or agent. Insurance claims can be a hassle, yet they are vital to disaster insurance coverage. Find a company that will coordinate with your efforts so you can file your claim accurately and promptly. This includes providing you with detailed documentation of the problems and solutions required to get your property back to normal.
4. Digital File Storage and Project Updates
Look for a company that can save photos digitally and record the progress of you job online. This keeps you informed through the cleanup and reconstruction process so you stay in control of the restoration of your business’ property.
Look for a reputable company with the up-to-date equipment needed to provide you with disaster remediation and reconstruction with excellence.
6. Safe and reliable
Hire a company who follows safety regulations during emergency restoration, and swiftly performs the services you need to get back to work.
7. Experience & Expertise
Find a company with multiple years of experience in restoring businesses after disaster strikes. They should have certifications such as from the IICRC to assure you they can scale up and know how to handle even the worst disaster scenarios.
8. Priority service
Look for a company that will give your commercial property priority service.
Look for a company who can keep costs of restoration fair, with a quick response and an established plan for restoration.
Water Damage in your Commercial Space? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. 502.241.6861