Trust a Professional When Dealing With Fire damage
It can be confusing trying to deal with the damages from a fire at your home or business. The IICRC has provided the following helpful information on handling this. Due to the intricate measures needed to properly clean up after a fire loss, having a trained team of professionals will help alleviate some of the stress. Give us a call and we will send someone out to help.
When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.
While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.
These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.
If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.
The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.
This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative.
What Equipment Will Be Used for Water Damage Remediation?
When a water damage occurs many customers feel blindsided by the many steps involved in remedying the situation. The task of removing the water, drying out the home or business, and then putting things back into place can seem overwhelming in the initial moments of finding the loss. That’s where we can help. Our team of highly qualified technicians take great care in walking a customer through the steps necessary to dry and repair their property.
Many different types of equipment are utilized in the drying and restoration process. Here is a glimpse of what you can expect:
Air Mover and/or Axial Fan: Professional grade air movers and axial fans produce more air movement than a standard household fan. The higher volume of air being moved increases the rate of evaporation, helping to dry the structure as quickly as possible.
Dehumidifier: A dehumidifier removes water vapor from the air by condensing it out against refrigerated fins. The water is stored and then periodically purged from the machine by use of plastic tubing. The tubing will generally be run so that it dumps water down a drain, such as a bath tub or sink, or sometimes out a window or door. Professional dehumidifiers pull much more vapor from the air than a household dehumidifier. In this way they are generally more efficient.
Air Scrubber: An air scrubber might be used if your loss is a result of water classified as grey or black, which means that it came from a contaminated source or through building materials. These machines remove airborne particulates by trapping them in HEPA filters. Air Scrubbers are also used in cases where a customer has a health condition that requires the air quality be monitored.
Specialty Drying Equipment: There are a variety of different tools available to our technicians for use in specialty circumstances. For instance, a floor drying mat system allows the technician to create a vacuum system for removing moisture from hardwood floors, in order to try to dry them in place. This helps the floor dry faster, and generally gives us a better chance of saving the hardwood flooring.
Many customers are concerned about the cost of their power bill when they see the amount of equipment needed. This is an understandable concern. Your insurance adjuster can discuss how to handle this with you.
I have Water Damage! What Should I Do Now?
lets set a scenario and say that your in your home in Ocoee, FL and you've had a significant water damage at your home. Multiple rooms are flooded, there is water coming out of your light fixtures downstairs, and then only thing you've been able to do it turn the water to stop the leak. What do you do next? Who do you call?
The good news is that you've turned off the water, so you have started the process of mitigating your loss. The following are some steps you can take to prevent secondary damage from occurring to your belongings while you wait for SERVPRO to arrive.
- Call SERVPRO so that we can send a technician to your site immediately.
- Contact your insurance company (if you haven't already) to report the loss and notify them that you have contacted SERVPRO and that we are in-route.
- Begin removing excess water by mopping and blotting
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs
- Hang furs and leather goods separately at room temperature
- Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting
- Do not use a household vacuum to remove water
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water
- Do not leave books, magazines, or other colored items on wet carpeting
We our technicians arrive on site they will access the damages and being extracting water from porous surfaces. They will also place equipment and explain the drying process. If you have questions at any time during the process of drying your home or business, please call us!
An Important Note About Your Homeowner's Insurance...
Over the years I have found something that concerns me greatly.
As many of you may already know, it is not unusual here in the Florida areas like Winter Garden, Winter Springs, Altamonte and Orlando. Water damage/floods that occur in a home usually involve some mold growth as a consequence. If mold is found, it falls under a special separate category of coverage named Fungi (you can find this if you read your homeowners policy).
The good news is that most insurance carriers in the state of Florida automatically include at least $10,000 in coverage for mold as part of their policy. I will warn you however, even $10,000 may not be adequate for a loss involving a lot of mold that also affects the contents in the home. Please consider calling your insurance agent to up this coverage just in case. Personally, I increased my coverage to $20,000 for my home.
Having said that, not all insurance companies in the state of Florida automatically give you $10,000 in mold coverage. This is one glaring weakness you need to know about. To be fair to insurance agents, when you apply for coverage with them, they ask you if you want this fungi/mold coverage and it is up to the consumer to accept and decline this. Many consumers do decline this coverage not knowing how important it really is.
Over many years, I visited many claims where the homeowner has had water and mold damage and their insurance carrier was a company that did not automatically include this coverage. When mold is found, I urge the homeowner to call their agent to see if they have the fungi coverage. I would say that 90% of these homeowners find out that they do not have the coverage. This means the homeowner is paying a lot of money out of their own pocket to get the mold remediation done. This is bad enough, but the real anger and frustration occurs when the policyholder finds out that nearly all the other insurance carriers in Florida automatically extend to their policyholder’s the $10,000 in fungi coverage. This really upsets them. Even though it is not the insurance agents fault, they take the brunt of the homeowner’s anger and frustration.
Needless to say, the point of this discussion is to highly encourage all homeowners to call their agent as soon as possible to check on their fungi coverage and to add this coverage to their policy if they do not have it.
Spot Cleaning Tips & Tricks
· Wax-We’ve all had it happen. Our favorite candle overflows and wax gets all over our furniture. Or, in my case, my cat knocked over a wax warmer and the wax spilled down the wall and onto the carpet. With this tip we will help you get the wax out. If the wax is colored, chances are that no amount of cleaning will rid you of the new colored area. For hard surfaces, such as tables or countertops (or your wall), allow the wax to cool completely and harden. Then it can be easily scrapped off of the surface and thrown away or re-melted (if you’d like to attempt it again). Removing the wax from your carpet it a bit trickier. You’ll want to grab your iron and a white towel. Turn the iron on to the lowest setting (most carpet is made of synthetic fibers, so this step is VERY important). Then fold your white towel in half and place it over the wax. With even pressure and a steady movement, apply the iron to the top of the towel. This will cause the wax to begin to melt and then transfer to the towel. Again, any stain from the color of the wax will stay on both surfaces. If you choose to try to treat the color issue, we recommend that you contact our office so that we can use professional products on the stain. The products sold over the counter have brighteners in them which can cause bleaching where they were used when you have your carpets cleaned next.
· Red Wine- First-BLOT, don’t rub! You can also try to use the towel & iron method on this type of stain if it is a fresh stain. It should pull SOME of the color out. Red wine contains natural dyes, which are cleaned differently than synthetic dyes like you would find in most wax. Once you’ve tried that, if you still need to extract more color, contact our office. We have special cleaning techniques that may allow for greater success when used as soon as possible.
· Blood- In the case of a major clean up job, it’s always best to call in the professionals. Sometimes though, you might have a couple of small drops of blood on your carpet. You can get a cup of ICE water. It is important that the water be as cold as possible. Then pour a little water on each spot. You’ll probably notice that the blood will pool up in the water. Once you’ve covered the spots in ice water, you can go back and BLOT the spots up. This trick usually works very well.
· Paint- Well, there’s not much you can do in this case except for a very HEAVY rinse. The area will need to be saturated and then extracted. This is the type of stain you want to keep wet with a wet towel until our technicians can get to your location. They will then use the truck-mounted extraction system to extract as much paint as possible. Once the paint is extracted a good cleaning will help make sure your carpet doesn’t get that crunchy feeling.
Some important things to keep in mind: Stains are all going to be in one of two categories, natural or synthetic. Knowing which category your stain fits into will help you and your SERVPRO professionals determine the best course of action in handling your issue.
Vacuuming Tips & Tricks
Most people in the Orlando, Winter Springs and even the Winter Garden area have just enough time to run the vacuum over their traffic areas before company arrives. But did you know that there is a proper way to vacuum and that it will also affect the lifespan of your carpet? The following tips from the Carpet & Rug Institute are very helpful. For more information on carpet care, please visit their web site at www.carpet-rug.org
Proper vacuuming is the easiest and most effective way to keep your carpet clean. Regular vacuuming can also have the largest impact on the air you breathe.
To get the most out of your vacuuming regime, remember these few easy tips:
- A quick once-over doesn’t do much. Slow and steady does the trick.
- When vacuuming, don’t ignore those corners and crevices where dust builds.
- “Top-down” cleaning saves you the step of vacuuming again after dusting. Dust blinds, windowsills, and furniture surfaces first and then vacuum away any fallen dust.
- Remember to replace or empty vacuum bags when they are half to two-thirds full.
How Often Should You Vacuum?
As a rule of thumb, you should vacuum at least once a week with a quality vacuum cleaner. However, the more foot traffic over your carpet, the more you need to vacuum. The general formula is:
- Vacuum daily in high-traffic or pet areas.
- Vacuum twice weekly in medium-traffic areas.
- Vacuum weekly in light-traffic areas, using attachments at carpet edges.
Organization Tips & Tricks
Productivity-we all want it and crave it. Where is it? Why can’t we get more of it? Well, this article gives simple suggestions for how we might achieve it. I am a mother, a career woman, a wife, daughter, friend, etc and my day is so full like many others. Prioritizing is so very important. This article seems almost too simple, but sometimes we forget the simple things and really over complicate life. What if we were not to apply these simple suggestions? Well, I have been there and done that…..We get interrupted so many times in a day with other “crisis”, a phone call, an email…it all takes precedence at that moment. Go back to the list is what I say. Otherwise, we are not accomplishing productivity or even getting things done. We end up just moving things from one side of our desk to another. We have to stick to the some of the basics, especially those of us in management. People count on us. If we are not organized, we will live in total chaos and we cannot help others.
Daily Habits of Successful People: It’s All About Routine
By Brian Tracy
The most successful people all have certain habits in their daily routines.
They help contribute to their success and can be considered good habits to form. It could be something simple like, setting a goal to, “Do good each day,” like Benjamin Franklin did.
It could also be something more elaborate such as spending most of your morning in bed like Winston Churchill. Churchill would wake up at 7:30am daily, eat breakfast, read his mail and newspaper until 11am.
My Favorite Habits of Millionaires:
Habits of Millionaires vary, but I am going to share one of my favorite daily habits of successful people with you. It is something that I use every day and has contributed greatly to my success.
It is the habit of making a list before the day begins.
Let me tell you below why it is so important…
Here are the 3 steps to planning and making your daily list.
1. Plan Your Day The Night Before
Every minute spent in planning saves 10 minutes in execution. Sit down with a piece of paper and write down everything that you need to do the coming day. If for any reason you don’t do this, it should be the first thing you do every morning. When you write a list you have a track to run on.
Writing a list clarifies your thinking and goals…
Writing down a list forces you to think at a higher level…
If you start working from a list you increase you output 25% each day.
One of the habits of millionaires is that they start their day working from a list.
2. Set Priorities On Your List Before You Start the Day
Work from the 80/20 rule. If you have 10 items on your list of things to do, two will be the more important than all of the other items put together.
Go down your list and answer the question, “If I were to be called out of town for a month, what are the most important tasks that I must accomplish?”
Last fall I was out of the country traveling across 15 countries in 36 days. When I looked at my list of things to do before I left, I had to get my most important tasks done.
Once you identify these most important tasks, it brings us to the final step in starting your day.
3. Complete the Most Important Task First
Begin immediately on your most important task and focus on it and only it until completion.
All success in life comes from project completion and living a life of good habits will help you complete more projects.
A project with multiple tasks is called a “multi-task job”. This means that there are several smaller jobs to complete the larger job. Organize your jobs by sequence in a checklist and start on you most important project.
Complete the smaller jobs in your project, until the entire project is complete. This process is called “single handling” and it’s one of the most powerful things that you can use in managing your time. You can increase your productivity by 50% by planning, starting and completing your most important tasks every single day.
If you can develop these habits of successful people and do those three things, plan your day the night before, organize your tasks in order of importance, and complete your most important task first thing during your day, you will increase your productivity overnight.
What to Do If You Have Bats in Your Home
Bats. Bat infestations are becoming a more common problem in central Florida for homeowners throughout Orlando including the areas of Apopka, Altamonte Springs, Ocoee, Winter Park, Sanford, Winter Garden, Oviedo, and Maitland Florida. Bats are the only flying mammal and like to have a private space away from predators and bad weather. Where is a good Place? You’re Attic of Course! Here is a list that may be helpful in determining if you have an issue at your property with bats:
· Are there a large number of bats outside the building?
· Has anyone heard scratching or squeaking noises from walls, the chimney, or attic?
· Are there unexplained stains on walls and ceilings?
· Are there rub marks on the outside of the building around areas with holes or cracks?
Bats can carry different diseases that can harm humans in many ways. Rabies being one of the illness. The other is Histoplasmosis. The Mayo Clinic defines it as:
An infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis is most commonly transmitted when these spores become airborne, often during cleanup or demolition projects.
As a side effect of bats living in a home, mold can start to grow in the bat droppings
There is a specialized remediation process to remove the bat droppings from the attic space and dispose of them. SERVPRO Is highly trained in the remediation process for buildings and homes affected by bat infestations. We have completed everything from single family homes to major hotels.
During the removal process all materials that have come in contact with the bat droppings would have to be removed and disposed of under state regulations for bio Hazardous waste. The Items include:
Drywall, insulation, cloth materials, cardboard and wood (depending on the saturation of droppings)
If you have any concerns or think you may have had an infestation of bats, Please call us for an inspection.
You CAN Save Wet Papers!
In our business, we generally encounter people with homes or businesses that are damaged by water. We spend our time drying these structures as quickly and efficiently as possible so that the owner can be back in them and functioning as normal as soon as possible. This includes drying of contents. Even though we work in areas of Florida like Orlando, Apopka, Ocoee and even Winter Garden its not that easy to dry structurens as fast as we would like. Interestingly, when we discuss contents, people generally think of furniture, clothing, appliances, and electronics. But what about documents? What if the damaged business is a doctor’s office, hospital, or lawyer’s office? Saving the documents in those files could determine a patient’s wellbeing or the attorney’s ability to win a case. Once the paper is wet can it be saved?
There are many factors to be considered when we look at paper and its ability to be restored. Some things that we have to determine are based on the kind of paper it is, did the ink already smear, has the paper changed shape? If the paper is determined to be salvageable, we can attempt to dry it with a process known as Vacuum Freeze Drying.
Vacuum freeze drying is done in steps. The first step requires that the documents be frozen solid in order to maintain their original form. Then they are placed in a freeze drying chamber and a vacuum makes sure to remove all air from the chamber. When the temperature and pressure reach optimum levels the vapors begin to release from the paper. The vapor is then collected on a condensing surface outside of the chamber that turns it back into ice. A final gradual temperature rise pulls off more vapors and releases bound moisture from the document.
This technique works well on many types of documents. Rest assured, if your home or business should ever suffer a water damage, we can help recover your building and ALL of your salvageable contents!
Keep Your House Clean In Less Time!
Most of us have very busy lives. Family life has changed so much in the last 20-30 years that it’s almost unrecognizable to an older generation. Gone are the days where a mother would stay at home and take care of her house and her family while her husband went to work and provided for the family’s financial needs. Most households now have both spouses working to provide financially for the family. In the Central Florida area this is a very big thing.
With the ever growing demand to get from place to place and to have our days constantly filled, how do you handle the chores at your house? We found this helpful chart on Pinterest. By breaking down normal household chores into daily, weekly, and monthly items, we found that it helps to make sure everything is accomplished without making anyone feel overwhelmed. Try it out and let us know what you think!
To print out your own copy of this chart, visit http://thriftydiydiva.com/free-cleaning-schedule-printable-daily-weekly-monthly/