Storm Damage Remediation
Air mover on a commercial storm damage in Camas, WA
As homeowners in Camas, WA, and other locations around the country are likely to attest, the clean up, repair, and restoration chores that emerge after a damaging storm are at minimum, a nuisance, and in many cases, a much more serious undertaking. Storm damage remediation can range from a clean up to a tear out to a rebuild, depending on the type and extent of the destruction.
The Usual Suspect: Water
One of the most frequent and frustrating problems property owners face is the damaging effects of water infiltration. To further complicate the challenge of inundation, floodwater from rivers and streams brings the specter of biological contamination, commonly known as black water. Once a destructive storm has passed, assessment of its damage may begin and progress to the following procedures:
- The extraction of water through pumping, mopping and dehumidification.
- Tear out of wet materials to prevent mold growth.
- Drying of the structure.
- Decontamination of salvageable materials.
- Repair and replacement of compromised building material and furnishings.
While it is true that many materials that have been subjected to black water contamination will have to be discarded, other types of water damage can be mitigated. A professional assessment can be very helpful in making the correct determination, especially with regard to the safety of the home and its furnishings.
Documentation is Vital
Document the damage before initiating storm restoration. It is likely to be necessary in filing flood insurance claims, and there may be a delay in the arrival of an adjuster if flooding is widespread. Digital pictures and/or video that can be easily emailed are the preferred media.
Humanity’s relationship to the planet’s most abundant natural resource can seem paradoxical, particularly in the midst of a tear out of the cherished furnishings of a home. Keeping water where it belongs and a balanced perspective are central to the experience of homeownership.
The EPA Has Guidelines for Do-It-Yourself Mold Removal
Mold damage in a Vancouver, WA residential
The government knows that house mold is a problem. They know that removal should be left to professionals. However, they also know that regardless of what they say, you will try to remove it yourself. With that in mind, the EPA has published guidelines for do-it-yourself mold removal. After seeing what is involved, you may decide to contact local mold removal specialists after all. You will find them in Vancouver, WA, and the surrounding area. There are several conditions under which you should not attempt the removal.
- Do not attempt removal if the mold growth extends beyond a single area of 10 square feet.
- If you have health issues, consult your health professional before attempting cleanup.
- If your plan is to solve your mold problem with paint and caulk, stop here. The mold needs to be removed and not just covered up.
Do Not Attempt Mold Removal Without Basic
House mold removal is serious business and safe removal calls for the use of safety equipment.
- Wear an N-95 mask. These are available at your local hardware store.
- Wear long gloves that extend to the middle of the forearm.
- Wear protective goggles that do not have air vents. Your goal with goggles is to keep the mold spores away from your eyes.
It’s Time to Start the Actual Removal Process
If your mold situation meets the guidelines and if you have the proper equipment, then you are ready to get started. There are some things to keep in mind.
- Your job here is to clean the mold, not make it airborne and spread it through the house.
- Don’t expect things to return to the condition they were in before the mold.
- Anyone who is not properly protected should not be near or part of the mold removal.
As you can see, the safe removal of house mold is a detailed and complicated process. For this reason, many people eventually decide to call upon mold removal professionals to handle the job.
The Risks of Commercial Polybutylene Piping
Air mover on a bathroom leak over the basement in a Vancouver, WA church
If you have an older commercial property, it may have polybutylene pipes. As a staple of late twentieth-century construction, it was widely implemented as a cheaper alternative to traditional piping. This material was later found to have problems with longevity. Your Vancouver, WA, business could be at risk because of this pipe type, and here is what to look for and consider.
Identifying the Pipes
The most widely implemented use for this material was to feed water from a water line into a commercial building. The polymer typically comes in a few colors: white, gray and blue. These pipes are typically located in or around a number of locations:
- Water meters
- Shutoff valves
- Water heaters
If you are unsure of what material your business utilizes, an inspector or plumber may be able to give you a definitive answer. The tubing types often look similar and can easily be misidentified by untrained individuals.
Considering Reasons to Replace
A class action lawsuit in 1995, Cox v. Shell Oil, won in favor of consumers with the conclusion that polybutylene pipes damaged too easily and were not a proper installation. It phased out of the market in the United States following that.
Typical chemicals in the water supply, such as chlorine, deteriorate the interior of the pipe until it breaks. This risks a pipe break leading to costly water damage. Local building codes may even explicitly forbid the polymer piping from being used due to these risks.
Replacing the Pipes
With the knowledge of why the pipes are dangerous, you are likely wondering how to remedy it. You can work out what’s salvageable from your old system with the assistance of a plumber. Most likely, you will be advised to install new plumbing.
Treating a Broken Pipe
If you cannot replace the pipes in the near future, you should plan for potential damage. An expert water damage treatment crew can remove water from the affected areas of your property. Alternatively, updated plumbing and proper maintenance of the system can help prevent repair costs related to any problematic polybutylene.
How To Dry-Clean Your Smoke Damaged Clothing
Fire damage in storage on Lacamas, WA
If you recently experienced a fire at your Lacamas, WA, business, and have business clothing that was damaged and can only be laundered by dry-cleaning, you are probably wondering what you can do to fix the appearance and the smell. Fortunately, help is here. Follow these three steps to get your items back in shape.
1. Remove Any Visible Soot
If your clothing has a lot of soot just sitting on it, remove as much as you can before taking any further cleaning steps. You can use a vacuum cleaner or simply shake the clothes off in the outdoor air to get off as much debris as possible.
2. Find Good Content Storage
It is often a good idea to use a fire restoration company, or somewhere similar, to store your smoke damaged items after removing excess soot. This is an important step in the content storage and cleaning process as it gives you somewhere to house everything that needs to be cleaned, rather than forcing you to store it all somewhere that could become soiled from any remaining ashes.
3. Dry Clean Your Clothing
You will want to choose a dry-cleaning company with extensive experience in handling post-fire clothing in order to ensure that your clothing has the best chance of being fully restored. In some cases, the fire restoration and clean-up company that is storing your items may be able to clean them and return them to their original state. Do your research and make sure that the company handling your possessions is one that you can trust.
Dry-cleaning will be your best bet to get your work clothes back in shape after your business’s Lacamas, WA, fire. Understanding your preliminary steps and the importance of research before making any decisions will help you increase your chances of getting your clothing back to the way they were before the damage.
How To Prepare for a Storm
Roof damaged by a wind storm in a Orchards, WA home
As a business owner in Orchards, WA, you know you can't prepare for every eventuality. There are too many problems that can crop up with your commercial building. However, you can prepare for some worst-case scenarios. With the help of a commercial storm damage repair crew, you can create a storm preparedness plan to help you be ready for the aftermath of bad weather. Use these four tips to get started.
1. Collect an Emergency Kit
Having a first-aid kit on hand during bad weather can give you and your employees peace of mind. Your kit should be full of bandages, blankets and nonperishable foods. Make this kit available even when you're not there to help keep everyone who uses your building safe.
2. Institute an Evacuation Plan
How should people leave the building during a storm? Create an evacuation plan for every situation that may affect your area. During flooding, for example, you may want people to go to higher ground. During a tornado, however, your employees may be better served by finding a structurally sound place inside of the building to hunker down.
3. Write Up a Contact List
You may not always be there when a storm strikes. Your employees need to know who to call if a storm damages your building. Part of good property management is creating a contact list. This can include emergency service numbers, and you may also want to include phone numbers for plumbers, storm damage remediation teams and the like.
4. Make a Backup Plan
Think about what you would do if your building can no longer be occupied. In this part of a storm preparedness plan, you may want to come up with a business continuity plan. This can include having interruption insurance or setting up a temporary office space.
You may never know how a storm is going to affect your building until it is over. You can create a storm preparedness plan to help yourself get ready for the worst-case scenario.
What To Do After a Toilet Overflow
Air mover on water loss bathroom in Vancouver, WA
An overflowing toilet is a frustrating problem, no matter what the circumstances involve. However, when the overflow involves a sewage backup, the problem becomes much more serious. Sewer damage could contain viruses, bacteria, and other illness-carrying microbes. The possible risks associated with contamination could affect your Vancouver, WA, home and your family for many years.
- Toilet Overflow: Blockage in the plumbing system causes the toilet to overflow. In this case, the flooding water hasn't passed through the sewer system. Water damage may occur, but you won't have to involve the sewage company.
- Plumbing System Overflow: Water from the sewage system backs up through residential lateral pipes and into homes. This water is often filled with serious contaminants, such as raw sewage.
If you can't tell whether you have an overflowing toilet or a sewage situation, contact a professional immediately. If you have a flooded toilet, you may be able to handle the problem yourself.
Step 1: Stop Flushing
Much of the time when homeowners see something they don't like in the toilet, they flush. Unfortunately, this will only make a flooded toilet situation worse. Each flush contains more than a gallon of water that you'll have to clean up off the floor.
Step 2: Turn Off the Water
There should be a water shut-off valve located near the floor behind the toilet. Once the water has been shut off, you won't have to worry about more water making the situation worse.
Step 3: Clean Up Spilled Water
If the toilet was only flushed once or twice, you can probably mop it up pretty quickly. If there were more flushes and the resulting four to five gallons of water, you may want to contact a professional to prevent water damage.
Step 4: Address the Clog
Hopefully, you'll be able to dislodge whatever was stuck in the pipes and return to your normal daily activities. Otherwise, you may need to contact a professional.
Remember to protect your home and family from sewer damage. Learn how to recognize the type of trouble you have and take the right steps for correction.
Mold Problems: At the Intersection of Water and Dirt
Since mold spores are everywhere, you can't always prevent mold growth.
Your commercial property in Vancouver, WA, can easily become a breeding ground for mold growth. Even with regular inspection and maintenance, mold problems can still occur. Excess dust and moisture can linger in hidden places and combine forces to cause a fungal infestation that can only be remedied by mold remediation experts. Here are the top four places mold likes to hide in commercial buildings.
Carpet has many crevices where mold spores can hide and many surfaces to which it is easy for mold to adhere. While you can't prevent all spills and can't always control how well people clean up after themselves when they do spill, you can dehumidify the room by increasing air flow to the area. This can help dry out the carpet and prevent mold growth.
2. Ceiling Tiles
Ceiling tiles are often made of porous material, which allows mold to take root. Watch out for water damage in ceiling tiles and get it fixed as fast as possible. It only takes a day or two for mold to start to grow in places where leaks have occurred. Because the growth usually starts on the side of the tile that is hidden, it can become a big problem before it is noticed.
Walls present the same difficulty that ceiling tiles do. The moisture problem contributing to the mold issue is often inside the wall and thus can become significantly moldy long before it is detected. When this happens, it is best to let remediation experts handle the problem to ensure it is resolved completely.
4. Air Ducts
The dust in air ducts can attract mold spores and give them a place to grow. When coupled with high humidity, the mold problem gets larger. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the HVAC system is necessary to detect or prevent mold problems in the ducts.
Since mold spores are everywhere, you can't always prevent mold growth. You can, however, stop the problem before it gets out of hand if you are vigilant. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROevancouverclarkco.com/.
5 Ways Furnace Maintenance Can Make Your Home Safer
Regular furnace maintenance is one thing you should always do to keep your home safe.
As a homeowner in Vancouver, WA, you have the worst-case scenario on your mind. After all, if a storm damages your roof or a fire burns your kitchen, you are the one who has to call in a restoration team to deal with the aftermath. Taking preventative measures can help you avoid smoke or fire cleaning. Even something like normal furnace maintenance can help make your house safer.
1. Make Sure It Works: The first thing regular maintenance does is ensure your furnace will work when you need it to. Going through the winter without a working heating device can leave you and your family stranded in a cold situation.
2. Reduce Buildup: Furnace filters help keep the air in your home clean. If these filters aren't cleaned regularly, the gunk in them could cause the furnace to overheat. An overheating furnace could lead to a fire. Regularly replacing your furnace filter can actually reduce the need for fire cleaning.
3. Fix Faults: As furnaces age, they may accumulate faults. Faulty wires and poor shut-off mechanisms can make your home more dangerous. Faulty wires can easily cause sparks that lead to smoky fires and the need for a major smoke cleaning in your house.
4. Contain Gas: If your unit uses gas to heat the home, you have to worry about the gas filling your house. However, proper maintenance looks at the gas lines to ensure everything is hooked up properly. When you have this inspection done annually, it's easy for you to be aware of a potential problem.
5. Protect Fuses: Some older furnaces may cause a circuit in your house to trip. If you have a professional look at the equipment regularly, you will know when it is no longer functioning on the electrical system.
If you don't want to hire a professional to perform smoke or fire cleaning, you need to do what you can to prevent a fire from breaking out in your house. Regular furnace maintenance is one thing you should always do to keep your home safe. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROevancouverclarkco.com/.
5 Steps to Prevent Mold Growth After a Flood
These steps will help prevent mold growth in your Vancouver, WA, home.
If your Vancouver, WA, home has experienced a flood following a storm, you might be considered about mold growth, as you should be. After flooding, homeowners only have about 36 hours to act before mildew and mold can start to grow. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent mold from growing in your home.
1. Remove Wet Items
The first thing to remove from the home are big, wet items like furniture, curtains, and pillows. They can hold a lot of moisture, so move them to the driveway or garage until they dry out completely.
2. Use a Wet Vac
Shop vacs or web vacs can remove water from wet carpets. If you don’t own a shop vac, you can rent one from a hardware store. You can also hire a professional to come in and take care of your carpets for you.
3. Air Out the Area
It might be a good time to invest in a dehumidifier, which will remove the moisture from the area. Fans can also help. If rain has stopped, open doors and windows to give the water somewhere to escape.
4. Remove Molding and Baseboards
Baseboards and crown molding look beautiful, but can prevent the walls from completely drying. Removing all molding from the walls exposes them to air so that they can better dry.
5. Cut Small Holes In the Wall
Walls made out of sheet rock are especially vulnerable to mold growth. Allow them to dry out by cutting small openings along the bottom of the walls. This lets air reach the covering on the inside of the walls in addition to the outside.
These steps will help prevent mold growth in your Vancouver, WA, home. Still, after a few days without power, mold can start to grow. Contacting an expert can help you determine the best route for mold removal. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROevancouverclarkco.com/.
Proactive Wild Land Fire Information
Even though our local home town may not be at immediate risk of wild land fires, we do live in a region of strong possibilities.
In the teachings of the American Red Cross, wild land fires are the number one most likely disaster concern in our territory. Wild land fires can easily reach structures if in the path of the fire line.
The best way to counter act that possibility is to prepare your surroundings and heed the warnings of the local media. Be aware of the different types of warnings.
Take a moment to read and follow the advice below.
- Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
- Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch, and within 10 feet of the house. Learn more about the basics of defensible space on the Firewise website.
- Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
- Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
- Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
- Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
- Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
- Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
- Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
- Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.
If any type of fire disaster has affected your life, home or business, please call us.
SERVPRO of E. Vancouver/Clark Co.