Recent Posts

Roof Damage Due to Summer Sun

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

During the summer, it is not uncommon for us to discover red patches of sunburn across our skin, which can lead to various types of damage such as wrinkling and even skin cancer. What we often forget is that the sun’s oppressive heat can damage more than just our skin. As a business owner, it is important to remember the roof of your business during the summer, as prolonged heat exposure can deteriorate the roof’s materials as well as its over all structure. Recognizing the specific causes of roof damage due to the sun is the first step towards protecting your business’ roof from serious damage.

Longer summer days, filled with more hours of sunlight than spring, autumn, or winter, increases the amount of time that roofs are exposed to damaging UV rays from the sun. Sucking the oil out of the wood from which the roof is made, this exposure can cause major structural damage. In addition to exposure to UV rays, roofs can undergo a phenomenon referred to as thermal shock. With high temperatures during the daytime and cooler temperatures at night, summer weather entails rapid temperature change, which can cause the roof’s materials to expand and contract. Over time, this motion can harm not only the materials, but the roof’s complete structure as well.

The next step in protecting your business is knowing which types of damage to look for when assessing your roof’s condition. One indicator is decay, which is commonly found in older roofs. Surefire indicators of decay in roofs include rotting, deformed, or broken shingles. In newer roofs, warping, marked by curled or bent shingles, is much more common. This kind of damage does not imply that your business’ roof is on the brink of severe damage, but it is a warning sign that the roof has suffered some damage. Regularly examine your roof, as this damage can build over time. Cracked shingles, which occurs when tension increases as the shingles curl, is the most severe of the three indicators of damage. Shingles can crack when that tension becomes too oppressive. Hire an expert to survey the damage as soon as you see cracked shingles, as it can lead to more serious damage if it isn’t repaired quickly.

Being conscious of how severely the sun can damage your business’ roof and which signs of damage to watch for will help prevent your roof from major structural deterioration during the summer.

Summer Weather Calls For Humidity… and Mold

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

When water damages areas of your business, it’s common knowledge that mold is sure to follow if the water isn’t removed and the area isn’t cleaned quickly. While we commonly associate water damage with carpets and floors, mold will grow in any place with excess moisture, including walls and other surfaces. During the summer months, warmer temperatures can cause mold to grow due to the presence of water vapor and therefore, increased humidity in the atmosphere. Thriving in a humid atmosphere, mold will grow and multiply wherever there is moisture within your business if it’s not handled sufficiently. With warmer temperatures outside, condensation can form on walls within your business if it is humid inside, creating prime conditions for mold growth.

As mold can be incredibly difficult to remove, it is of the utmost importance that you prevent it from growing inside your business. There are many steps that you can take as a business owner in order to protect against major damage. First and foremost, control the humidity levels within your business by making sure that humidity levels are below 60 percent. A dehumidifier can be utilized if your business is located in a particularly humid place. In terms of preventing moisture from condensation, dry the area as soon as condensation becomes visible using a sponge or dry rag. Be sure to also keep windows and doors shut while the AC is running to best decrease humidity levels.

There is always the chance that mold will grow even if you take precautions. As soon as you discover mold within your business, be sure to keep steady airflow and low humidity levels throughout the building. These actions will prevent any further mold growth. In the meantime, call SERVPRO to examine the scope of the damage and restore the area. By taking precautions, your business can remain free of mold during the humid summer season.

Protecting Your Business From Summer Storms

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

Severe storms, fueled by moisture and rising warm air in the atmosphere, occur quite frequently during the summer. These storms often times carry dangerous hail and heavy winds, which could leave you, as a business owner, worried about the damage that they could inflict upon your business. Shattering windows and battering roofs, summer storms can lead to major structural damage. Because such damage can require expensive repairs, it is imperative that you formulate an emergency plan to limit the amount of damage to your business in the event of a severe storm.

Before all else, be sure that your business is covered by business insurance, as it can compensate for the expenses to repair damage that is a direct result of the storm. Besides business insurance, there are several precautions that you can take on your own, such as regularly surveying your roof for damage and clearing out any debris left in your gutters from previous storms, since debris can clog gutters and lead to insufficient drainage. As far as windows, installing impact-resistant glass can prevent windows from shattering during a storm. Items located close to windows will also be protected by this glass because it would eliminate the flying glass that would usually be produced by a shattered window. Just in case windows shatter, it would be beneficial to keep valuable items tucked away in safe areas away from windows and high above the ground so that any flying glass cannot reach them. Before a storm, also be sure to secure outdoor equipment as best you can.

Keep an eye on weather forecasts as a general safe practice in order to decrease the chances of your business becoming blindsided by a storm. This is especially important to do if your business is situated within a region that frequently experiences severe storms. Consider formulating an emergency storm plan in order to keep your business safe and keep the cleanup process as stress-free as possible.

Preventing Garage Fires

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

Every year, multitudes of garage fires ignite, which increases the risk of homes subsequently catching fire. This risk is significantly enhanced if the home has an attached garage. As common as they occur, being able to identify the instigators of garage fires will prove imperative in protecting your garage from fire damage. Through this understanding, you can also learn how to prevent fires from starting in your garage in the first place.

Old circuits and overwhelmed outlets can spark or ignite, causing electrical complications that can prove to be dangerous to your home. Nearby combustible items or flammable liquids can also ignite in this situation, increasing the size and severity of the fire. To prevent this from happening, hire an electrician to survey the wiring systems in your garage. In addition, be sure that you’re not using extension cords to bring power to electrical appliances in the garage, as doing so can increase the possibility of further electrical complications. Use wall outlets or hire an electrician to install more outlets instead.

You may look to the garage as a place to store keep discarded items, and while it may seem to be a convenient storage system, a cluttered garage enhances the probability of a fire igniting. Flammable objects sitting idly in your garage can easily catch fire, allowing the fire to grow quickly. Consider cleaning out your garage frequently to prevent this from happening.

Flammable liquids often find their home in garages. These liquids include oil, gasoline, paint, and paint thinner. When in contact with a spark or flame, these liquids can easily ignite, fueling a fire. Keeping flammable liquids in a shed or somewhere that is a good distance away from your home can isolate the fire, preventing it from spreading.

How Do Electrical Fires Start?

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

Accidents involving items such as matches that have a visible flame are typically what we think of when we consider what usually starts residential fires. A considerable percentage of these household fires are ignited by electrical complications. The heavy use of heating appliances and light fixtures during the winter season commonly increases the risk of an electrical fire igniting. The first step to preventing electrical fires from starting in your home is understanding what causes them.

How Electrical Fires Ignite

Light fixtures require light bulbs with the appropriate, recommended wattage. If a light bulb with a higher wattage than what is recommended is placed in a light fixture, an electrical fire can ignite. In order to keep light fixtures as safe as possible, combustible items including cloth and paper should be kept away from the lamp or light bulb, as they would overheat and ignite if they were to come in contact with the bulb.

Electrical fires can also start if frayed electrical wires are being used. Curtains, rugs, and other combustible household items can ignite when appliances are plugged into outlets using damaged wires. Make sure that frayed wires are not running underneath or on top of carpets, as doing so can cause the carpet to catch fire.

When an appliance isn’t located near an outlet, it may seem convenient to utilize an extension cord to power it. However, extension cords are no more than temporary wiring solutions, so using them as permanent wiring solutions would increase the chances of an electrical fire igniting. Make sure that appliances are solely plugged into wall outlets in order to decrease the risk of danger. If your home needs more wall outlets to accommodate the number of appliances, contact an electrician to install more.

It is also important to consider the age of your home and based on that, whether or not its wiring system is deteriorating in condition. If your home is more than 20 years old, it’s possible that its wiring may not be able to accommodate the amount of electrical power required by the numerous electrical appliances in your home, as it was designed in a time when homes housed fewer electrical appliances. In the event of a power overload, your home’s breaker system should be triggered, but an electrical fire can immediately ignite without warning if the breakers are too overwhelmed to send a warning. 

Urban Flooding

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

Urban flooding has become increasingly more prevalent as cities continue to sprout in areas around the world. With virtually no soil into which water can be absorbed, cities flood easily. This absence of soil requires excess water to be eliminated through a limited number of sewage and draining systems that are interspersed throughout cities.

Urban flooding in particular can flood city streets, blocking roadways in its path, and have other negative effects on day-to-day life. When water builds up in drainage systems, drain covers can lift off of the ground in an occurrence called “dancing drain covers”. In addition to dancing, the covers can shift or travel a distance from the drain itself, leaving massive holes in streets that could prove to  be dangerous for cars or pedestrians traveling on the road.

Though the reputation of urban flooding isn’t quite as serious as that of the flooding caused by hurricanes, the damage may be comparable if the storm produces a large amount of rain. It is therefore important to recognize how likely flooding may be in your city based on its geography. The risk of urban flooding is increased in cities that are located by rivers due to their tendency to overflow or those situated by major bodies of water due to high tide and the potential for storm surge. If you live in a city that is of greater risk, it may be helpful to prepare an emergency flood kit, containing necessities such as snacks, water, flashlights, and batteries in case your city suffers from a severe flood.

Surviving Summer Storms

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Over this past 4th of July weekend, parts of Frederick, Maryland and Washington, D.C saw tremendous rainfall and intense flooding as storms blew through the area. Streets were inundated with rain as they began to resemble rivers in a short period of time, swallowing cars and flooding even The White House’s basement. During the summer season, thunderstorms are prevalent due to the increased presence of moisture and rising warm air in the atmosphere, which combine to create the perfect conditions for thunderstorms to form. With this enhanced risk of thunderstorms during the summer and their occurrence throughout the year, it is crucial to be aware of the dangers of thunderstorms and how to protect your home or business from becoming damaged during a thunderstorm.

Lightning

Thunderstorms often produce lightning when rolling through an area, which could directly strike your home or business, resulting in several types of serious damage. Firstly, lightning is powerful enough to sear through roofs and attics or tear shingles and gutters from roofs. Lightning can also cause electrical damage, as the risk of an electrical fire igniting is enhanced during a thunderstorm if lightning strikes the building. Computers, refrigerators, and other electrical appliances have the potential to be destroyed if they are plugged into an outlet when lightning strikes the building.

Flash Flooding

Thunderstorms can also produce large amounts of rain that can result in rapid or flash flooding, inundating road ways and submerging areas in water. The flood water often carries sediment as well as mud, which can contaminate all objects that flood water may touch in your home or business. Understand that mold can grow if the water damage is not removed quickly. Flooring, carpet, drywall, and electrical systems such as heating and cooling systems are usually impacted in floods, so be on the lookout for any signs of damage to those items. It would also be beneficial to check that the flood water has not shifted the building off of its foundation, as it can be a possibility and may require significant restoration.

What Can I Do After the Storm?

 When a thunderstorm hits, check for physical signs of lightning or flood damage to your property as soon as the storm is over and it is safe to enter potentially flooded areas. Also check that your breakers and light switches are functional in order to assess any electrical damage. Leakage from plumbing systems and visible water damage to carpets, walls, or flooring indicate that flood water has contaminated the area and that cleanup must be hasty in order to prevent mold growth. Lastly, lessen the chance of water and electricity reacting during the cleanup by turning off water and electrical systems.

What to Do When Your Washing Machine Floods

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

There’s never truly an opportune time for our washing machines to break, so when they do, it can cause quite a headache. The hoses and seals inside washing machines can break and cause flooding at any given moment, so when it floods, the machine must be repaired quickly and the surrounding area must be cleaned quickly in order to protect against the harmful effects of water damage.

As soon as you become aware that the washer is flooding, unplug the washer and turn off the water in order to keep any more water from flooding and to prevent the water and electricity from reacting during cleanup. Remember to also remove the clothes that were inside of the machine during the flood from the machine before starting to clean up. Eliminate any standing water with towels, a mop, or a wet water vacuum depending on what is available to you. Once the standing water has been removed, dry the area by opening windows or turning on fans or dehumidifiers. Repair and replace items that were harmed or destroyed during the flood. Among the items that typically need to be replaced are carpets and drywall. Be sure to sanitize the area before returning to business as usual. 

In order to prevent the washing machine from flooding again, do not pour an excessive amount of detergent into the machine. Too much detergent can cause suds to form and overflow from the washing machine and cause flooding. Monitor the condition of the machine’s hoses, as corrosion can signify that they may be on the verge of breaking. If this seems to be the case, exercise extreme caution when running loads of laundry until they can be repaired. Keep an eye on the state of the drain line as well, since the washer can flood if the drain becomes clogged.

How to Prevent Grease Fires

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

It might surprise you that grease is the common culprit when it comes to initiating the majority of kitchen fires. Grease fires can become uncontrollable in very little time, so it is necessary to prevent them from igniting in your kitchen. Be conscious of safe and dangerous practices alike for cooking with hot oil in order to best protect your home from grease fires.

Safe Practices

Be sure to remove any flammable objects from the cooking area before you begin cooking. If a grease fire were to ignite, leaving combustible items, including cookbooks or paper towels, on the cooking surface or even in areas surrounding the surface enhances the risk of the grease fire expanding, as those items would also catch fire. While cooking, make sure that you are monitoring the cooking space. Turning your back for even a few seconds can allow for a grease fire to ignite, so it is crucial to be as attentive as possible when cooking with hot oil and grease. Also, be sure to save any cocktails that you may be drinking before the meal until after you’ve finished cooking in order to prevent misjudgment or any mistakes from occurring that could cause a grease fire. In the event that a grease fire does ignite, however, keep a metal lid as well as some baking soda nearby, as both can be used to smother it. It is important to understand, though, that baking soda should only be used to smother small, isolated grease fires.

Dangerous Practices

Throwing food into hot oil would be an example of a dangerous practice when cooking with hot oil. Doing so can cause the hot oil to splash and potentially find its way onto the hot cooking surface, resulting in a grease fire. Instead, be sure to gently place the food into the hot oil. This is especially important to remember when cooking with frozen food. Allow those foods to thaw before cooking them in hot oil. Finally, refrain from throwing any type of liquid onto a grease fire if one were to break out, as doing so may cause the fire to grow instead of smother.

What Causes Pipes to Leak?

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

A common explanation as to what causes flooding in homes is the leaking of pipes. It is important to prevent flooding in homes, as it can lead to water damage. Learning how to recognize indicators of leaky pipes will help you to protect against water damage from leaking pipes in your own home.

Rusting away at pipes, corrosion can damage pipes. This damage will often cause leaking. Corrosion can be spotted with three visible indicators: rusting of the pipes, discolored water emerging from the pipes, and warped pipes. Protect your pipes by investigating the state of the pipes before buying a home and having the water’s pH levels tested by professionals. If the pipes do corrode, be sure to utilize adequate clamps to temporarily fix broken pipes before professionals arrive to sufficiently repair the pipes.

Seals are fixed to water connectors when pipes are installed. Flooding can occur when those seals crack or break due to age or wear. It’s evident that pipes are broken if condensation is present on the pipes or if puddles of water begin to form in areas beneath the broken seal. Watch for these signs in order to best protect the seals in your home from cracking or breaking. It may also be beneficial to run water frequently, as neglecting to run water for extended periods of time can cause seals to crack and dry out pipes. Perhaps ask a neighbor to run your water if you need to leave home for any extended period of time.

Radical changes in temperature can cause pipes to expand or contract, which causes pressure to build inside of the pipes. That pressure can result in pipes cracking and therefore leaking. Watch for an elevated water bill, a stuffy or musty smell emanating from the drain, and changes in the pressure or flow of the water as signs that changes in temperature may have damaged your pipes. To prevent this from occurring, expose the pipes to wam air, run water through the pipes, and keep your thermostat at a set temperature.