Recent Posts

How To Prevent Mold in Bathrooms

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

Tile and grout to the spatula Protect your shower by fixing damaged grout

How To Prevent Mold From Forming

If not addressed promptly, water damage can lead to a variety of long term issues. The most important thing you can do after experiencing unwanted moisture is to thoroughly clean and dry the area. When water is left to sit, mold can take hold of porous surfaces and begin to form in as little as twenty-four to forty-eight hours. Luckily, there are several actions you can take to help prevent mold from forming in the first place.

1. Provide Adequate Ventilation
A bath fan, usually installed in the ceiling, will suck moisture out of the room. To ensure the air is dry enough that mold growth should not occur, run the fan while you are in the shower and for half an hour afterward. If the air in your bathroom still feels moist after half an hour, you may need to install a stronger fan that is more appropriate for your bathroom's square footage.

2. Squeegee the Shower Walls
Water can remain on shower walls for hours after the shower is over. Mold can easily begin growing on grout and in cracks and crevices. By squeegeeing the shower walls after your shower, you can remove around three-fourths of the moisture that would cause water damage.

3. Seal the Grout
Over time, grout can begin to wear down. Protect your shower by fixing damaged grout and then applying a waterproof grout sealer once a year.

4. Remove Mold
These mold prevention techniques should keep mold out of your bathroom. However, you could still find some mold growth despite your best efforts. If you discover mold, remove it as soon as you find it by mixing one part bleach with nine parts water.
If you have areas that have sustained water damage in Hyde Park, TX, you may need the help of an expert. Luckily, there are professional mold remediation companies that will have your home looking "Like it never even happened."

3 Actions That May Be Necessary After a Fire at Your Business

7/8/2020 (Permalink)

Two SERVPRO technicians in front on a van with drying equipment. Call a restoration company in Leander, TX

3 Actions That May Be Necessary After a Fire at Your Business

When a fire impacts your Leander, TX, business, the aftermath can be difficult to endure. Smoke damage, standing water from fire hoses, and charred building materials may make cleanup feel overwhelming. While the process can be daunting, there are a few actions you can take that may put you and your business on the path to recovery.

1. Call a Restoration Service
Soot damage to your inventory, office equipment, and carpeting can be difficult to remove with everyday cleansers, so calling in a mitigation and restoration service to assist you may be an effective first step after a fire at your business. Cleaning technicians may take some information over the phone, including the size of the fire, how many floors were damaged, and whether you need restoration services for documents that were affected by soot and water.

2. Secure the Property
If a fire damaged doors and windows, you may want to board up open entryways to discourage further issues like theft and poor weather conditions, including wind and rain. Consider moving undamaged inventory and equipment to a secure location for storage until these problems are repaired and to protect them from smoke damage.

3. Meet With Cleanup Technicians
Once your smoke cleaning and restoration technicians arrive, they will likely survey the entire property and give you service options that may include the removal and replacement of damaged carpeting and other building materials, the removal of smoke odors and soot cleaning and water cleanup. Your technicians may also offer you a walkthrough of the restoration process and estimates so you can plan a repair budget before you reopen your business.
Smoke damage and other issues caused by a fire at your Leander, TX, business can be difficult to remove on your own, especially if the fire affected a large area of the property. Working with a professional cleanup company and knowing which steps to take in the aftermath of a fire may help you get back on your feet quickly.

Think Twice Before Tackling an Overflowing Toilet

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

Overflowing toilet Overflowing toilet in Cedar Creek, TX

Plumbing issues can be much more than just a hassle to deal with in your Cedar Creek, TX, property. That is especially so when it comes to a flooded toilet. While it may seem like no big problem to grab a few towels and clean it up, based on the purpose of a toilet, the water within it is considered black water. That means there are potentially harmful microbes, sewage or chemicals. If it is sewer damage causing the backup, it can be unsafe to clean without the proper tools and techniques.

Common Culprits

Overflows can happen for various reasons. The top three include:

Clogs: This is the most common culprit and is often associated with flushing items that aren’t meant to be flushed. The source of the clog can often be seen.
Leaks: Cracked basins or bowls can lead to serious leaks, which can spread beyond the bathroom. If that is the culprit, it is best to turn off the water to avoid the problem worsening.
Blockage: If there is no apparent reason why the toilet isn’t draining, there is likely sewer damage or a pipe being blocked. Since the culprit isn’t visible, a professional plumber will likely need to be called to address the issue.

Call the Experts
Although the culprits may be common, cleanup shouldn’t be considered a common task. While a sewage company should be called to address the underlying issue, a water remediation and restoration expert should be contacted to properly clean up the damage. Even if the damage seems minimal, water can quickly spread and lead to mold growth. Once that happens, colonies rapidly begin production and can begin affecting other areas of the property within days. Counting on a professional ready to help 24/7 means avoiding mold and ensuring that black water damage is properly cleaned.
If any form of sewer damage happens, count on help that is Faster to Any Size Disaster to ensure proper cleanup and peace of mind that further damage won’t happen.

Why Toilets Overflow During a Shower

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Leakage of water from a toilet due to blockage of the pipe Toilet overflow in an Austin, TX home

A shower should be a time for relaxation. Unfortunately, the simple act of turning on a shower can have negative consequences if a residence is suffering from clogged pipes: Some people in this situation end up with nasty toilet overflow.
These backups are odorous and may damage a home's floors and walls. Routine overflows are not a sustainable situation and repairs are necessary to get a bathroom in working order.

Clean Pipes With Care

Water that travels down a shower drain enters the waste lines. If there is a blockage, then pressure backs up and releases through the first place it can, which is a toilet. SERVPRO crews are Faster to Any Size Disaster. They can locate the source of a pipe clog and restore any damage. They typically use a variety of specialized tools and products for sewage cleaning:

Snake: This accessory is also known as an auger. It is made to navigate the inside of a pipe to remove obstructions. It’s typically made from metal and about 25 feet long.
Enzyme Waste Removal Cleaner: A version of this product is available at home improvement stores. The professional formula is generally better at breaking down organic material.
Chemical Drain Cleaner: This cleaner may be corrosive to pipes and toxic to people or pets. Care should be used when considering it as an alternative to enzyme waste removal products.

Rely on Professionals
Restoration experts prepare the bathroom floor in case there's a surprise overflow — sewage cleaning can be a messy process. Most homeowners also lack the expertise and tools to complete a repair job, in addition to the obvious downside of working with sewage and other wastewater.
Austin, TX, has professionals standing by who can help. They are skilled in residential water repair and can tackle even the most stubborn pipe clogs.
Everyone should be able to take a shower in peace. The experts know how to approach sewage cleaning in order to get a bathroom back to top condition fast.

How To Keep Your Smoke Alarms in Shape

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Changing battery to a smoke detector Remember to change batteries on a yearly basis

Learn How And When To Change Your Alarm

Smoke alarms are a cornerstone of home safety. When alarms need attention, they produce an annoying beep. It's crucial to pay attention to this signal and keep your fire alarms in good working condition. If the alarms in your Bastrop, TX, home are beeping, learn about how and when to change them below.

Changing Smoke Alarm Batteries
Smoke alarms come in many styles, so it's always best to follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you can't access these, don't panic. Most conventional smoke detectors operate in similar ways, so the method for changing a battery will be the same. Here are the basics for changing a battery and ending that piercing chirp and preventing fire damage:

  1. Remove the cover. Depending on the model, you may have to twist, hinge, or lift the alarm's cover to remove it. The main parts inside the alarm are the sensing chamber, a horn, and a battery.
  2. Replace the battery. To do this, you have to unclip the old battery and insert a new 9-volt battery in its place. Be sure to align the battery terminals correctly.
  3. Close the cover. Return the alarm cover to its locked position by snapping it shut or locking it back into its base.
  4. Test it. Find the test button on the detector and push it to ensure the battery works. The detector should beep or chirp when the button is pressed.

Timing Battery Changes
By proactively replacing your fire alarm batteries, you can avoid the bothersome beeps as well as prevent the more devastating event of a fire and ensuing smoke damage. Batteries in most detectors last about 6 months, so changing them twice yearly keeps you ahead of the issue. A helpful tip is to change them on the weekends when we switch between daylight savings and standard time. If you have a lithium battery smoke detector, you will have to replace the entire unit every 10 years.
All smoke detectors contain batteries and you should listen when they start beeping. Take care of your home's safety and regularly change your fire alarm batteries.

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)

watering lawn with sprinklers You should perform some routine irrigation maintenance

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)

Black mold growth under a cabinet Mold growth under a cabinet

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.