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Austin Area Water Damage Company Resolves Water Damage Issues

5/22/2020 (Permalink)

Here to Help Here to Help

Summary: SERVPRO of Lakeway/West Lake serves the greater Austin, TX area with highly trained, well-equipped water damage specialists.

For most people, the largest lifetime purchase is a home. All disasters cannot be prevented, but attention to detail may serve to minimize the damage, as the following scenario illustrates.

The homeowner, Chris, performed his due diligence when it came to chores around the house and home maintenance. From the manicured lawn to the sculpted shrubs to the neatly outlined flower beds, the yard was immaculate. Chris made sure to clean out the gutters, pressure wash the driveway, and repaint the fencing and latticework in the flower gardens.

Inside the home, Chris was just as diligent. He inspected the supply lines to the washing machine, tightened the vent connection to the clothes dryer, and repaired any leaking faucets. Several years earlier, his dishwasher had overflowed, causing extensive water damage, so he was wary of potential water leaks.

Chris gave particular attention to the HVAC system since he knew that the Texas heat can cause a well-maintained system to produce up to twenty gallons of water a day. Like clockwork, he changed the filters monthly so that they would not clog and waste energy.

The annual accumulation of mold, algae, and mildew on the coils and in the drip pan concerned Chris. Every year, he would clean the coils with coil cleaner and pour bleach into the drip pan and down the drainpipe. When he finished, the system looked clean and worked well.

Telltale Signs of a Leak

In late August, Chris and his family noticed a musty smell in the house, especially after they had been away for a week’s vacation. Also, there was streaking and sagging in the kitchen and on the hallway ceiling leading to the back door. The sheetrock in the hallway felt damp and soft in places, and the baseboards and flooring were moist and warping. Water was leaking from somewhere. The source had to be found and stopped quickly before any more damage could occur.

Since the visible water damage involved several rooms, Chris called a local water damage specialist for assistance. An emergency call brought a highly-trained, well-equipped professional to the scene. Relying on advanced technology and years of experience, the technician traced the leak to the HVAC system. However, a visual inspection of the coils, drip pan, and drainpipe turned up nothing at the unit other than a small amount of moisture around the unit’s base. The water damage specialist urged Chris to consult an HVAC technician.

The Problem Solved

The HVAC technician asked a few questions and arrived at the answer. Chris had been using bleach and other chemicals to clean the drip pan, drain pipe, and coils. While he meant well, the chemicals had damaged the drain pan in areas that the average homeowner would not be able to see without dismantling part of the HVAC system. The bleach had degraded the ABS pipe and PVC drainpipe, which resulted in a cascade of leaks. It had been several years since a trained and experienced HVAC specialist had inspected the unit, even though Chris had been performing regular maintenance.

Solutions that Work

The HVAC specialist was able to install a makeshift solution to handle the moisture from the unit so the water damage specialists could begin the restoration process. The series of small leaks had added up to a large problem. The condensate drain system needed repairs, and continuous moisture created an environment that fostered mold growth. Insulation needed to be replaced. Sheetrock, baseboards, and flooring needed repair, restoration, or replacement. The project required many hands, much equipment, and great expense.

The SERVPRO Water Damage Solution

The core of the SERVPRO service palate is water damage restoration. Every water damage situation is different and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate the process for the typical water damage emergency.

Step 1: Emergency Contact

Step 2: Inspection and Damage Assessment

Step 3: Water Removal/Water Extraction

Step 4: Drying and Dehumidification

Step 5: Cleaning and Repair

Step 6: Restoration

The SERVPRO professionals can handle the entire water damage restoration process.

Conclusion

The SERVPRO team of Lakeway/West Lake is proud to serve local communities, including Austin, Lakeway, West Lake Hills, and Rollingwood. Emergency 24-hour service means the team is “faster to any size disaster.” Using advanced technology and the latest equipment, the highly-trained and certified professionals can handle any size job. Providing water, fire, storm, mold, commercial, biohazard, and special cleaning, the SERVPRO team of Lakeway/West Lake is ready to serve like pros.

For more information about water damage restoration and other services, visit the SERVPRO of Lakeway/West Lake website at https://www.SERVPROlakewaywestlake.com. To speak with a local SERVPRO representative, call (512) 261-4790.

Irrigation Maintenance Tips for Your Property

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

Winter is finally over, and warmer weather is just around the corner. As you prepare to turn on the underground sprinkling system at your commercial property in North Loop, TX, there are some important irrigation maintenance steps you need to follow before you flip the switch.

What To Check Before Turning On Your Sprinkler System

Slowly open the water valves. If they are opened too quickly, you can damage the valves by pushing too much pressure into each hose. The valves should be opened to the parallel position.
Check the sprinklers at each station. Look for low water pressure or water that is spraying wildly. Get those issues resolved before you begin to use the water system. The problem may be as easy as a damaged sprinkler head or as serious as a cracked pipeline. If you can’t solve the problem easily, call a professional to inspect the system.
After you are confident the sprinklers are running smoothly, reset the timers. It’s a good idea to reset them for a time when you will be onsite to ensure they don’t malfunction.
Clean dirt and debris off the weather sensors to ensure they work as expected.

How To Perform Routine Maintenance
Even after you have inspected your system at the start of the season, you should perform some routine irrigation maintenance. Sprinkler heads can be damaged by lawn mowers or foot traffic. Inspect them for cracks or other damage that can cause them to malfunction, and replace as necessary. Clean out the sprinkler nozzles to make sure they don’t become plugged with dirt or grass clippings. Water can get backed up in the system if the flow is blocked, which can cause serious sprinkler flooding.
After a long winter, you look forward to plush, green grass covering your commercial property once again. Following these smart irrigation maintenance tips will help to make that happen.

3 Things to Know About Mold

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

3 Things to Know About Mold

As a business owner or manager, you have many important tasks and responsibilities. One area that is often overlooked in commercial buildings is mold prevention. There are many misconceptions about mold but it’s important to know the facts so that you know how to prevent it from occurring in your Northwest Hills, TX building. Here are three things you need to know about black mold.

1. Types of Mold
First, it’s helpful to know that there are many different types of mold. The most common molds have complicated, scientific names such as aspergillus and cladosporium. Many people think that stachybotrys atra, or black mold, is the most common and dangerous; however, any type of mold should be treated with precaution. No matter what type of mold you find, contact a mold remediation specialist who has the tools, training, and expertise to properly handle mold.
2. Mold Growth
Mold spores are found naturally in the air. They are microscopic and cannot be eliminated. Mold doesn’t become a problem until moisture is introduced. Mold feeds on damp and dark environments which is why it’s common to find it in basements, attics, and bathrooms. Roof, window, and plumbing leaks are common water sources that provide moisture to mold. The best way to stop mold from growing is to prevent moisture from occurring.
3. Mold Remediation
It’s an incorrect statement to say that mold can be completely removed. Mold remediation is the process used to correct a mold problem. Trained professionals can work with you to find the source of your moisture problem. Once the area of mold is identified, they will work through specific steps to remediate the mold by cleaning the air, building, and belongings.
Any type of mold cleanup, including black mold, needs to be handled by professionals. By understanding that mold thrives on moisture, you can do your part to prevent it from becoming a problem.

Will Solar Panels Stand Up To Severe Weather?

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

Solar panel on a red roof Solar panels are designed to stand up to hurricane-force winds

Solar panels are designed to stand up to hurricane-force winds. When properly installed, this equipment can endure severe storms with minimal damage to the panels or mounting platform. If you have a solar power installation or are planning to install panels at a residence in Rosedale, TX, here are several guidelines regarding severe weather.

Have Panels Professionally Installed

The most common solar installation problems caused by storms involve faulty hardware. All of the following factors are associated with panel or system damage:

  • Clamp failure
  • Improper bolt size or installation
  • Improper racking support

Skilled installation is the best way to prevent panel damage. The most durable mounts may be through-bolted with bolts of the proper size, locking solutions, and lateral racking support. Professionals can recommend the right mounting method for any residence.
Don’t Cover or Dismantle Panels
When severe weather shows up on the forecast, you should be able to trust in the quality of solar power equipment. There is no need to cover or temporarily take down an installation to avoid panel damage. It is important to make sure that the surface on which panels are mounted is in good condition by scheduling regular roofing inspections, maintenance, and roof damage repairs.

Check Insurance Coverage for Damage
Panels may be covered by homeowners' insurance as a part of the structure. The most practical way to plan ahead for the effects of a storm is to confirm whether coverage includes these components and increase the limit of the policy to account for the value of a solar installation in addition to other storm damage restoration expenses.
High-quality solar panels are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. Any panel damage that occurs may be covered by a homeowner's insurance policy. Severe storms in a particular region can expose panels to unique risks, making professional installation a good idea for homeowners in Rosedale, TX.

The 3 Pillars of Commercial Fire Preparedness

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke alarm with the phrase Vacuuming lightly Vacuuming the alarm to remove any dust that might interfere with operation

Commercial Fire Preparedness

Emergency services respond to more than one million structure fires each year. If you consider fires put out by an occupant of the property, the number is much higher. Understanding the importance of early detection, prevention and readiness may raise your level of fire preparation and minimize the fire risk in your Allandale, TX, business.

Early Detection
Working smoke alarms are your best defense against a commercial structure fire. Smoke alarms notify you loudly when smoke is present. If your alarms are malfunctioning, they may not do their job. Consider the following practices:

  • Testing each alarm monthly by pressing the reset button.
  • Vacuuming the alarm to remove any dust that might interfere with operation.
  • Installing new batteries every 6-9 months

Building codes require smoke alarms because they provide early detection, an essential part of fire preparation. Adding smoke alarm maintenance to your annual schedule is recommended.

Fire Prevention
Anticipating the potential causes of commercial fires will inform your strategy for disaster preparation. Consider evaluating your potential risk areas and eliminating them. For example, keeping your heat and dryer vents cleaned out can prevent bird’s nests or lint blockages from igniting. Having your natural gas lines inspected for leaks once per year is an important practice. Exercising caution when using space heaters, candles, and smoking implements is integral to fire preparation. It’s helpful to take a little time to identify and address these types of risks.

Fire Readiness
Readiness means being prepared to respond effectively to a fire. Keeping an adequate number of fire extinguishers in your building is strongly recommended. If you think it would be useful, you can request a consult from your local fire remediation expert. They can help you identify evacuation routes, design fire drills and help you determine the proper number and location of fire extinguishers.
The energy it takes to reduce your fire risk is minimal in comparison to the disruption and cost of recovering after fire damage. A plan that includes early detection, prevention and readiness can turn a potential disaster into a harmless close call.

6 Tips for Keeping Your Business Safe During a Thunderstorm

4/11/2020 (Permalink)

Prise multiple Upon hearing that there’s a thunderstorm warning, unplug any electronics

Follow These Tips

Thunderstorms are so common in some regions that it’s often taken for granted how dangerous they can potentially get. A thunderstorm is sometimes much more than just a rainstorm with lightning; it can present other dangers such as hail, flash flooding, high winds, and even tornadoes. So, it pays to prepare your employees and your commercial building for the worst by following these tips:

1. Construct an Emergency Preparedness Kit

Create an emergency preparedness kit that includes first aid supplies, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, and extra batteries. Also, include important documents such as commercial insurance information, employee contact information and phone numbers of emergency services or businesses you may need during or after the storm, such as storm cleanup services.

2. Unplug Electronics

Upon hearing that there’s a thunderstorm warning, unplug any electronics that aren’t necessary, especially sensitive or valuable ones. Make sure to turn off or unplug appliances such as toaster ovens that were on at the time of a power outage; they could come back on when the power comes back without you realizing it and start a fire. Also, avoid using landline phones.

3. Avoid Using Plumbing

Avoid using plumbing during a storm. Lightning can travel through plumbing making it risky to take a shower or wash dishes during a storm.

4. Clean Gutters

Keep gutters clean and maintained. This will help to prevent flooding and roof damage during a heavy rainstorm.

5. Cut Back Tree Limbs

Cut back loose or dead tree limbs or branches that are close to buildings. Tree limbs can be blown into a building or onto a roof during high winds. They can also create hazards on the ground.

6. Secure Outdoor Items

Secure outdoor items such as tables, chairs, signs and trash receptacles. Just a couple of inches of standing water can put these objects in motion and create dangers to people and property. Substantial winds can also blow them, creating dangerous flying projectiles.

If your Tarrytown, TX, building incurs damage from a heavy rainstorm or high winds, you can rely on storm damage cleanup professionals. They’ll return your building to its preloss condition as quickly as possible.

Can a Moldy Painting Be Saved?

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

brush, drawing beautiful interior over dirty image. concept Can a moldy painting be saved?

If mold is allowed to grow unchecked, it can spread throughout a home in Hyde Park, TX, and cause substantial damage. While this includes flooring and drywall, it can also include objects such as family heirlooms and valuable paintings. When it comes to mold cleaning on sensitive materials, special care must be taken. It will also likely require specialized equipment and advanced training of technicians. Both the paint itself and the material the paint is on—canvas, paper, board or some other surface—suffer from the presence of mold. With care and precision, a painting may be restored to a better condition.

Valuable and Sensitive Belongings

Each home contains items that are valuable in either an economic or an emotional sense. These objects are as varied as the people who own them and may include the following:

  • Paintings
  • Family heirlooms
  • Photographs
  • Writings
  • Antiques
  • Rare books

For the best results in mold remediation, it pays to search for an experienced mold mitigation franchise. Not only will the right company have trained technicians, it may also be able to tap into a larger pool of expertise. Depending on the material in need of restoration, and the amount of mold cleaning necessary, the techniques of air drying, freezer drying and vacuum thermal drying may be employed.

Sensitive Electrical Components

Water damage or mold damage can also affect electrical equipment such as computers and televisions. An electronics technician will know the best method to restore these items. This includes cleaning the exterior elements to prevent further corrosion or degradation. Mold cleaning involves many different situations that a cleaning crew might face. Quite often, there is water damage in combination with the presence of mold. A successful response includes eliminating the source of the moisture and removing as much of the mold spores as possible. With sensitive materials, such as paintings or electronics, additional expertise is called for.

What to Expect With Water Damage Restoration

3/24/2020 (Permalink)

Drywall removed from bathroom found water leaking on pipe causing damage to bathroom Water damage in a bathroom

What to Expect With Water Damage Restoration

Water in your home can easily create severe water damage causing serious hazards. Only drying the water may not suffice if you are up against flood damage leaving inches of water in your business. You will likely have to start with water cleanup and see what you can do from there. Here is some info about what can cause water damage, if you can remove it, and if your mitigation can help you with a water damage restoration project.

What Can Cause Water Damage?

The most common reason for water in your home is plumbing that has become dysfunctional. A small leak that is hardly noticeable can, over time, dump hundreds of gallons of water. Water cleanup to remove flood damage is another common cause of water in the home and water in a business.

Assess Your Situation

Evaluate how severe the water in your business of home is, so you will know how to plan a water damage restoration. Is this a small leak that you need to fix or is this flood damage that has left standing water in your basement? Mitigation of the situation is necessary when it comes to water cleanup if you ever want to complete a water damage restoration.

Water Removal

Removing the water in your home can be done in a couple of different ways. If you have a large amount of water from flood damage, you may need a pump it out using a water pump. For damp and wet carpets a wet/dry shop vac works very well for water cleanup. If things are just a bit damp from water damage, a mop should work pretty well to remove water and get it ready for drying.

Drying by Using Air Movement

Drying can be done by opening the windows for some air movement if the humidity is not too high. An air conditioner can help speed the drying process if you can't open the windows. A dehumidifier can be used to remove moisture from the room. Fans can be used to create air movement.

Hazards Associated With Water Damage

Water in your business or home can cause serious hazards. If the moisture is not removed, it will promote the growth and reproduction of mold and other organisms. Cleaning up as soon as the problem is noticed can find mitigation of the possible effects of water damage.

Mitigation of the terrible things that can happen to your home can be avoided if you know what to do. If you remove the standing water, dry all areas completely with devices that promote air movement, and clean everything well you should have no problem committing yourself to a water damage restoration. 

We are Cleaning Experts

3/20/2020 (Permalink)

guy spraying wall We are here to help to prevent business interruption!

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need 

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. 

Specialized Training 

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis. 

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include: 

  • Kitchen/Food Areas 
  • Bathrooms 
  • Schools/Classrooms 
  • Offices 
  • Retail Spaces 
  • Water Fountains 
  • Shelving/Racks 
  • Sales Counters 
  • Carpets and Rugs 
  • Stair Handrails 
  • Elevator Cars 
  • Playground Equipment 
  • Fitness Equipment 

Specialized Products 

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities. 

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning 

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Hyde Park/ Central Austin- (512) 318-2200

Does Renters Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

3/13/2020 (Permalink)

Renters insurance form and dollars on the table. Does Renters Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

If you are a landlord and rent property in Leander, TX, it is to your advantage if your tenants obtain renters insurance. This policy covers their belongings in the case of a fire or from damage or loss of contents due to vandalism. It also has a component of liability coverage in most cases, which could come back to being a benefit for property owners. That's because the liability aspect covers accidental damages caused by a renter that spills out into other rental units that you own. While legally, tenants are responsible for this damage, if they do not have the money or insurance to pay out, you could be left holding the bag.

The Benefits of Insurance Coverage

The best situation is when both the landlord and the tenant have adequate coverage. In the case of a storm, or some other damaging event, it is common for the property owner to pay for any structural damage, while the tenant pays for damage to his or her belongings. Basic renters insurance covers the following situations:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Damage inflicted by a pet
  • General liability

The coverage for a renter is usually fairly inexpensive. A tenant can also purchase add-on coverage in the form of extra insurance for high-value items or coverage for such things as plumbing malfunctions that destroy contents.

The Advantage of Storm Response

Whatever your insurance coverage is as a landlord, and whatever renters insurance your tenant has, it's always a good idea to partner with a storm remediation team should disaster strike. A fast local response is critical to saving property and reducing expenses. Professionals will have the equipment needed to remove water and deal with difficult situations such as contaminated water from a flood or a sewer backup. A top company will also help you work with your insurance company to get a fair and accurate claim payout.