5 Tips for Utilizing Smoke Alarms
Test that the smoke alarm is working properly
5 Tips for Utilizing Smoke Alarms
Having a properly installed smoke alarm in your Bastrop,TX, home is an important home safety step for anyone. This tools can help warn you of smoke and fire in the home allowing you time to take appropriate action. Here are a few things you may want to know.
1. Replace Batteries Regularly
One of the first things to remember is to regularly check the batteries in your alarm unit. Most experts recommend replacing them one a year.
2. Have More Than One
The number of units in your home should reflect the size and shape of the house. Experts recommend placing a smoke detector both inside and outside each bedroom, and in areas for fire risk such as a kitchen.
3. Test Functionality
It’s also important to test that the smoke alarm is working properly. Many alarms have a test button that will allow you to temporarily hear the sound you can expect the unit to emit if everything is working properly. If the unit does not seem to be functioning you may want to check the batteries.
4. Know When to Replace Them
Units may vary in their lifespan but most last for about 10 years. If your smoke detector is older than that, or appears to be in poor repair you may want to get a new one.
5. Be Ready To Act
An alarm isn’t much use if you don’t know how to react when you hear it. Be sure to have an emergency plan in place and that everyone in your home knows what it is. Remember, a fire damage restoration service can repair your home, so ensure your family is safe first.
When it comes to maintaining a smoke alarm in your home it’s important to check the batteries regularly to insure functionality, replace the unit when needed, have enough for your home’s size, and know what to do when an alarm goes off. These tools can help buy the time you need to act safely if a fire does occur.
What To Do When Flood Insurance Is Not Enough
Anyone can apply for assistance from FEMA
Unfortunately, not everyone affected by a flood in Austin,TX, has flood insurance. However, federal disaster aid, available to those in federally declared disaster areas, can provide relief for some. Disaster aid can also benefit those whose insurance does not pay out enough to cover their disaster-related expenses.
Who Is Eligible for Federal Disaster Assistance?
Anyone can apply for assistance from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). However, your eligibility will be determined by several factors, including your yearly income, the amount of damage done to your property and flood insurance coverage. If you are approved for a grant, you will be notified of how much money you will receive and the ways in which you can use the funds. In general, spending is restricted to disaster-related expenses, including the following:
- Temporary housing
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Property restoration
How To Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance
You can apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by telephone at 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585 or at 800-621-3362 for video relay service. A FEMA inspector will come to your property, and you will later receive notification of whether your application was approved. If you have already begun repairs, you may be eligible for reimbursement funds. In this case, it is important to have before and after photographs.
What To Do if You Need More Aid
If you are ineligible for a federal grant or you need more financial assistance, you can apply for a low- interest disaster loan from the Small Business Administration. Like grants, these loans are only available to those in a federally declared disaster area and should be used for disaster-recovery expenses. However, unlike grants, these are loans that do have to be repaid. You can apply online at disasterloan.sba.gov.
Although everyone in a flood plane is encouraged to invest in flood insurance, the government understands that this is not always possible, and that insurance does not necessarily cover all disaster-related expenses. It is important to know all the available options in order to get your life back on track following a flood.
What To Do With Fire Damaged Electronics
A professional can restore your electronics
After an electrical fire at a Hyde Park,TX, business, one may be wondering what to do with any damaged electronics. In this situation there are several important things to know.
Several Types of Damage Can Occur
During a fire several types of damage to your electronics may occur. These may include
- Heat that can melt plastic or copper components
- Smoke damage can leave a black film inside the electronics
- The acidic nature of soot can deteriorate electronic components and shorten life span
- Magnetic charge in smoke can short-circuit some electronic components
A Professional Should Be Called
After an electrical fire, you may want to contact a fire damage restoration service to handle any of your cleanup needs. These professionals cannot only work on your business property, but they may be able to restore your electronics as well. The exact methods used will vary depending on the nature of the electronics and the type of damage they have suffered. Fortunately, a professional service will have the tools and knowledge needed do so safely and efficiently.
There Are a Few Ways You Can Help
If you think a computer cleanup could become necessary at your place of business for any reason there are a few steps you can take to help mitigate potential damage. One of the easiest is to backup any data stored on your computers. This may include having a server set up that could be used to restore hard drives, storing information in the cloud where it can be re-downloaded, or keeping backup files at an alternate location. Doing so will allow you know that your company information is safe even if any memory components need to be replaced.
After an electrical fire several types of damage can occur to your electronics. Knowing what type of damage is present, and what type of electronics you are dealing with can help determine the proper restoration methods to use. Fortunately, there are many professionals who can help. You may also want to consider using a backup drive or server to help prevent any information lost during the worst case scenario.
Preparing Your Commercial Building for the Spring Thaw
Make sure any rain gutters are clear and water is able to flow freely
Your business may not be off the hook for the possibility of flooding just because you don’t have a leaking supply line or a frozen pipe. The annual spring thaw can present problems of a different type. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help prevent a spring flood at your business in Hyde Park,TX.
How To Prepare for the Spring Thaw
Make sure to check all of the following to help prevent water from entering your business when the snowmelt and rainy season arrives.
- Have snow and ice buildup removed from the roof of your building
- Make sure any rain gutters are clear and water is able to flow freely
- Prevent snow from accumulating around the base of the building
- Sandbag vulnerable areas such as doorways or window wells if necessary
Putting These Tips Into Action
A buildup of ice or snow can leak through the smallest cracks as it melts and cause flooding to run down through walls or into light fixtures. Keeping it cleared off can literally take a load off your company’s building and help prevent serious water damage.
Any snow that does melt will need to have a runoff point. Make sure that rain gutters are free from leaves or other debris and angled such that water can run freely through them rather than finding other, less desirable outlets.
Snow accumulation can cause leaking into basements or ground floor areas. Keep the snow removed to at least a few feet away from the foundation. Place sandbags at any point known to have standing or flowing water to re-direct the water flow away from doors, windows or any foundational fissures.
Even with the best preventive practices, a spring flood can wreak havoc with your building. If the spring thaw or a frozen pipe allows flooding water in, call a qualified water remediation company in Hyde Park,TX to help work through the cleanup and restoration process. They are Here to Help you get back to business.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Water Heater
Flushing a water heater needs to be done every one to three years
As part of your maintaining your home’s water heater, you need to regularly clean and flush it. Your heater uses both hot water that exits from the tank and cold water that runs down to the very bottom of the tank. Over time, sediment and mineral deposits will accumulate and can cause a variety of problems. Not sure if the heater in your home in Leander,TX, is due for a flush? Here are some useful tips on keeping your heater clean and avoiding some common issues that can occur.
Performing a water heater flush can help homeowners avoid some costly repairs. A few common issues people run into include:
- Water heater tank leaks and bursts
- Low hot water supply
- Loud noises due to overheating
- Component failure
- Clogged pipes
If the tank does leak or burst, you will likely need to replace the heater and extensive water damage can occur. In this situation, you will need the help of a water damage cleanup company to rid your home of the water and repair any damage that occurred.
Performing a Flush
Fortunately, flushing your water heater is easy to do and only needs to be done every one to three years. You can hire a plumber to flush the tank or tackle the task on your own. Start by turning off the gas or cutting off the electricity to the heater and switching off the cold water valve. Next, turn on the hot water in one of your sinks and open the pressure relief valve. Connect a garden hose and have it run to a spot outside or a bucket. Turn on the cold water and allow the tank to flush until the water is mostly clear.
Being proactive in maintaining and regularly flushing your water heater can help you avoid unnecessary hassles and expenses in the long run. If it’s been a while since you’ve checked on your heater, quickly hire a plumber or flush the tank yourself.
The Process Behind Mitigating Wind Damage
Wind Damage after a Storm
If you live in a place prone to windstorms or you know one is coming, then pay close attention to what it takes to prepare. If you currently have a damaged roof or any sign of a roof leak, then your home may not be sound enough to withstand a windstorm. You need to take proper precautions. This may mean repairing any weak areas or covering them so they do not get worse. Here is a list of what you should look out for:
- Broken skylights
- Cracked windows
- Damaged siding
- Missing shingles
Mitigating Wind Damage
A windstorm may cause a variety of problems to your business. On one hand, it may blow off shingles, throw debris at your home or lead to damaged siding. You need to be prepared for just about anything. Not only can the wind cause damage, but the debris the wind brings with it can also. Hard objects can knock shingles off, and large trees may break through your roofing entirely. All of this can lead to a roof leak and further damage.
Once the wind has done its damage, it’s time to pick up the pieces. For any damage done to the roof, tarps can be used to cover gaps created by the missing shingles. These tarps will help keep rain from entering your business while you work on restoration. You want to make sure that you do not have any further water damage. Additionally, you can use plywood to cover the holes on the roof. While repairing the building is one thing, you also want to make sure no other issues arise.
A windstorm can cause costly, extensive damage to your Austin, TX, business. The best course of action is to reduce the risk wind can cause. Whether you have a roof leak or something more dangerous, don’t let any problems sit until they get worse. In some cases, a professional service may be helpful.
Planning for Mold Mitigation Expenses
Mold remediation in a Cedar Creek, TX home
If you have significant mold growth in your home in Cedar Creek,TX, you will likely need professional mold removal. Depending on the extent of the damage, the mold cleanup process can be expensive, and not all insurance policies cover the cost. Here are some guidelines on what to expect when the specialists visit your home.
The Cleanup Process
Black mold removal involves more than just scrubbing visible fungus off the wall. The full restoration process includes the following steps:
- Assessment of the problem
- Removal of moldy items and materials
- Disinfection of remaining surfaces
- Drying of the area
- Air filtration
- Reconstruction of ruined structure
The final bill for mold remediation in your home depends on how long it takes to complete it and how much has to be done. The more extensive the mold removal has to be, the higher the estimated cost.
The Expense Breakdown
If you catch mold early, you may be able to save a lot of money on mitigation. If, for example, the mold damage only goes so far as your crawlspace or a sizable patch on one wall, your price may be as low as $500 or a few thousand dollars at most. If the fungus has invaded the ducts in your HVAC system, however, technicians are likely to need more time to make sure they take care of the whole problem, particularly if the system has been running constantly and thus potentially spreading the growth to other areas of your home. If black mold cleanup involves repairing extensive structural damage, you could be looking at a bill in the tens of thousands.
If you have a mold policy or the growth is the result of covered damage, your insurance company may help with the costs of mold removal. If not, however, you may be footing the bill on your own. Either way, catching the problem early before it causes extensive damage is key to keeping the estimate on the lower side.
How To Clean Your Dryer’s Exhaust
Every time you dry a load of laundry, you must clean the lint screen
Three Areas of Your Dryer That Need to Be Cleaned Regularly
Washers and dryers are convenient to have in your home in Bastrop, TX, but your dryer can also pose a lint fire risk if you do not clean it often enough. Lint is highly combustible, and your clothing sheds a lot of lint during the drying cycle. There are three areas of your dryer that need to be cleaned regularly.
Every time you dry a load of laundry, you must clean the lint screen. There are three ways you can do this:
- With your hands
- With a brush
- With the hose attachment on your vacuum
Remove all the lint from the screen before putting it back in the machine. Fire damage cleanup specialists also recommend that you vacuum out the area that holds the screen and wash the screen with mild, soapy water to remove residue left by dryer sheets every few weeks.
A lint fire can be started by debris within the dryer itself. Every six months, vacuum out the inside of your dryer. To do this, you must first unplug the dryer. Then remove the back panel with a screwdriver. Using the hose attachment, clean every bit of lint you see out of the dryer’s cavity. This can help you avoid a dryer fire and subsequent fire cleanup.
The exterior part of your dryer’s exhaust is the hose that connects it to the wall and the area that exhausts it to the outside. It is a good idea to make sure these areas are lint-free every six months in order to avoid fire damage to your home. Detach the hose from your dryer and vacuum it out. Use a vent cleaning rod with a brush attachment to clean out your wall. Make sure the exhaust hose is clamped to the wall output and to your dryer before using it again.
Cleaning the lint screen every time you use it is only one part of avoiding a lint fire. If you are uncomfortable doing the deep cleaning yourself, you can hire a professional to perform the service.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Flooding?
Tenants and owners of residential buildings located in flood zones should consider obtaining flood insurance
Factors That May Impact the Availability of Flood Coverage for Renters
Tenants and residential property owners may want to know whether renter's insurance policies cover damage caused by flooding. Flood damage is excluded from most property insurance policies. The owners of structures in flood zones are often required to obtain a separate flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or private insurers. Find out more about the factors that may impact the availability of flood coverage for renters.
Check the Covered Perils
Property owners are responsible for restoring structural damage, which should be covered by a flood insurance policy. Tenants should check the terms of renter's policies to make sure that their belongings are protected. Damage caused by flooding is distinct from any of the following types of damage:
Whereas damage caused by storms or water is covered by most policies, flood damage or sewer damage usually require additional coverage, either in the form of an endorsement, rider or supplemental policy.
Look for Exclusions
If a policy is unclear on whether damage due to heavy rain or rising water is covered, a policyholder should check for stated exclusions. Many property and renter's insurance policies explicitly exclude damage caused by any type of exterior flooding or a sewer backup.
Even if a renter's policy excludes flood damage, it may be possible for policyholders to buy this coverage back in the form of an endorsement. If a tenant resides in a structure situated in a flood zone, the additional cost of obtaining flood coverage may offset a catastrophic loss.
Tenants and owners of residential buildings located in flood zones should consider obtaining flood insurance. A tenant should be familiar with the terms of renter's insurance to determine whether damage caused by floods is excluded or can be bought back. Insurance coverage can facilitate the process of recovering from flood damage at a residential building in Austin,TX.
Severe Storm Tips – Regional Flooding preparation
Please Be Prepared
Regional Flooding is occurring more and more often and with greater severity according to NOAA and other organizations. Flooding of this kind often happens with little to no warning and according to FEMA will occur with more frequency in areas previously not known to flood.
What can you do to be better prepared?
Probably the single most important thing a home owner can do is prepare a “ready kit”.
A ready kit should include at least two essential things:
- First, something waterproof with important documents and information such as passport, and phone numbers, insurance info and bank info.
- Second and survival bag with first aid kit, drinking water, hand held radios, flashlight and food rations at a minimum.
Keep these in close proximity to one another and ready at all times. Don’t wait until the storm is on the horizon to be prepared. Evacuation is always the first option, when that is not the option you choose, SERVPRO of Hyde Park / Central Austin says please choose to be prepared.