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What homeowners should expect when a roof leak causes water damage to the home

1/17/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Ennis/Red Oak highlights six ways a homeowner can expect a roof leak to damage a home.

SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak is the team of professionals to call for water damage restoration and other property damage cleanup and restoration services. What might seem like a small amount of damage can actually create more significant problems that require knowledge, experience, the right equipment, and advanced cleaning techniques and products to clean up and restore.

Water damage from a roof leak

A roof leak not only creates a mess but also compromises the structural integrity of the home or business. Any property damage disaster, even a minor roof leak, is complex, often requiring a multi-faceted approach to cleanup and restoration.

If left unresolved, a roof leak can create a cascade of damaging effects from the ridge vent at the top of the roof to the foundation of the structure. An understanding of what the severe impact a roof leak can have is strong motivation to identify and repair the problem in its earliest stages. Procrastination can be catastrophic in its consequences when a leaky roof is involved. Below are some of the effects to expect when the roof leaks.

Causes of a roof leak

A roof leak can occur for many reasons, including the following:

  • The ridge vent may let out hot air from the attic but fail to keep out water due to age, storm damage, or inferior installation.
  • The boots around the vents will crack and leak over time.
  • Skylights are notorious for leaking.
  • High winds and hail may have damaged the flashing around the chimney.
  • An aging chimney can wick water into the home through the mortar in the bricks.
  • The foundation may shift and cause leaks around the chimney.
  • A branch may fall on the roof, puncturing the shingles and sheathing.
  • Clogged gutters can back up, flooding the attic with water.

1. Expect damage in the attic and to the ceiling

When the roof leaks, the first point of damage is the roof itself. Sheathing, the plywood or OSB board that covers the rafters and to which the shingles are attached, will warp and rot if the leak is not resolved. Roof leaks are hard to source because the water may travel long distances along rafters. The support beams can warp and rot. Once in the attic, the water can damage boxes, clothes, furniture, and other contents. The roof may leak only when there is moisture or precipitation. Inspect the attic when it is raining or during snowmelt. Listen for the sound of dripping water. Look for stains, and watermarks on the rafters and any flooring in the attic. A moldy, musty, mildewy smell indicates the presence of water or excessively high moisture levels in the attic and the possible presence of mold.

Any insulation in the roof and attic can sustain serious damage upon becoming wet or water-logged. Wet insulation will clump and compress. In this state, the product loses much of its insulating property. The result is higher energy costs during the hot Texas summers and cold winters. Inspect the roof, attic, and insulation on a seasonal basis and after any major weather events. Identify any leaks and resolve the issues before the leaks increase and the damage escalates. Delays in repairing known water leaks and water damage can influence an insurance claims settlement.

2. Expect mold and mildew problems

A water intrusion through the roof provides the moisture that mold and mildew need to thrive. The attic is already warm, dark, and full of organic material (wood, paper, fabric). A roof leak introduces water into the equation, making a perfect environment for a mold infestation. Mold spores can infiltrate the entire structure through the HVAC system, causing further damage. A mold infestation can be avoided with quick action to stop the leak, remove any excess water, and dry out the insulation. SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak can take care of the water damage cleanup process, including mold mitigation.

3. Expect drywall to warp and sag

Drywall is a common building product used in many homes. When exposed to water and moisture, drywall will warp, sag, and eventually fall apart. The water intrusion must be stopped before the drywall has to be repaired.

4. Expect potential fire hazards

The attic and walls contain electrical wiring and outlets. The introduction of water into the electrical system of a home elevates the risk of fire. Have a licensed roofing contractor resolve any roof leaks. If the source of the water is a leaking pipe or sewage backup, have a reputable plumber address the problem. Hire an electrician to inspect any wiring and electrical outlets affected by the water intrusion.

5. Expect surfaces to be slippery

Water and moisture in the home make the floor slippery, creating a slip-and-fall hazard. Mop up the water and dry the surface with a fan. Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels in the home. Identify the source of the water and stop the leak at its source.

6. Expect the overall structural integrity of the home to be compromised

Wood rot, warping timbers, and compromised flooring substrate weaken a home. Moisture around the foundation from overflowing gutters, disconnected downspouts, and poor grading can be catastrophic. The homeowner or property manager who fails to immediately resolve a roof leak should expect the leak to impact the overall structural integrity of the home or business.

When a water damage disaster occurs, secure the services of a reputable, locally owned and operated property damage cleanup and restoration company to remove the excess water, dry out the structure with heavy-duty dehumidifiers, and clean, disinfect, and sanitize affected areas. 

SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak is available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. A crew of IICRC-certified can be on-scene in about an hour. The rapid response and quick cleanup reduce the likelihood of advanced secondary damage such as mold, mildew, and wood rot. The SERVPRO staff can handle the insurance claims process from beginning to end.

To learn more about Corsicana, TX, water damage restoration, contact the SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak office by phone at (972) 937-1494 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Four common ways that floodwaters cause damage to homes

1/11/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: When flooding damages homes in Corsicana, TX, homeowners can turn to SERVPRO® of Ennis/Red Oak to clean up the water intrusion, remediate the damage, and restore the structure.

SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak is the customer’s choice for flood restoration services. A flood is a powerful event that can cause extensive damage to a home or business. Many homes are at risk of flooding. A local river or stream could overflow its banks, or a stalled thunderstorm could cause localized flooding involving only a few houses. The remnants of a hurricane may dump nearly a foot or more of rain in a region that rarely experiences more than an inch or two of rain at a time. The flooding may affect only the garage. A home in a low-lying area may be slowly engulfed by rising waters that fill the structure with only an inch or two of water. In a worst-case scenario, the house could be inundated by several feet of water, causing extensive water damage.

Floodwater differs from water from a burst supply line to the washing machine. Water from the supply line is clean, but floodwater is contaminated with sediment, soil, chemicals, pathogens, and raw sewage. Damage caused by floodwaters creates a complex disaster scene. The cleanup and restoration process is more complicated than removing the water with powerful wet-dry vacuums, eliminating the remaining moisture with industrial-strength dehumidifiers, and replacing unsalvageable flooring. The homeowner must understand the home damage a flood can inflict so that they can be prepared by taking the appropriate steps to protect their property.

How can a flood damage a home?

A flood is a very powerful force that can wreck a home. When flooding occurs, take the following precautions before ever entering a flood-damaged structure:

  • Conduct a visual inspection of the exterior of the home for structural damage.
  • Watch out for downed power lines, broken tree limbs that might have damaged the roof, or hanging limbs that might fall to the ground in a gust of wind.
  • Do a sniff test for gas leaks.
  • If the home had to be evacuated due to the flooding, enter the structure only if it is absolutely safe to do so.

Common examples of flood damage

Flood damage impacts the entire home. The list below addresses some of the most common examples of flood damage:

  • Mold and mildew infestation
  • Appliance damage
  • Electrical and structural damage
  • Septic and well water systems

Mold and mildew

Warmth, moisture, and organic matter such as wood, drywall, clothing, paper, and insulation are abundant during and after a flood. Within 24 to 48 hours, mold and mildew can gain a foothold. By the time the homeowner spots blotches of mold, the infestation is in process. The growth of mold and mildew can be slowed or prevented by removing excess water from the home and running dehumidifiers to dry out the structure. The safest and quickest way to deal with mold and mildew is to hire a team of IICRC-certified flood damage and water damage professionals at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak. They have the powerful equipment needed to remove the water and moisture from the flooded structure. Flood water is filled with pathogens, chemicals, and raw sewage. Delays can lead to advanced secondary damage, including a structure-wide mold and mildew infestation. Due to flooding, the power grid may be down for days or weeks, but the SERVPRO team is prepared with generators to power the cleanup and restoration project.

Appliance damage

Floodwaters can compromise the HVAC system, water heater, refrigerator, and other household appliances. Protect appliances from further damage by shutting off the power at the main breaker. Use the device only after a certified electrician has approved the structure. Do not operate any appliances, including the HVAC system, until the appliances have been properly cleaned, restored, and inspected by reputable professionals.

Structural and electrical damage

Buckled or loose roof sheathing and cracks in the foundation are signs of structural flood damage. Electrical wiring may be frayed. Avoid contact with electrical wiring, outlets, switches, and appliances while standing in water or wearing wet clothes.

Damage to septic and well water systems

During a flood, the septic tank filter may clog with debris from the intake of contaminated floodwater. Schedule an inspection as soon as possible after a flood. Materials carried by the floodwaters can flow into wells, contaminating the well water with sediments, organic debris, and raw sewage. Ensure that the well water is tested and treated before drinking.

For more information about commercial and residential flood restoration services in Corsicana, TX, contact the SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak office by phone at (972) 937-1494 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Workplace fire prevention strategies to avoid a fire damage disaster at Corsicana, TX, businesses

11/15/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak helps office complexes, businesses, and commercial facilities recover from a fire damage disaster.

SERVPRO® of Ennis/Red Oak is a trusted, reliable choice when it comes to fire damage restoration, smoke damage restoration, and water removal and restoration in the workplace. Fire prevention in the workplace should be a top-of-mind priority for the business owner or manager. A workplace fire is not an everyday occurrence, but the exercise of fire prevention strategies in the workplace is and should be a part of the regular daily routine. Fire prevention strategies designated training sessions, and scheduled and unscheduled practice and drilling can dramatically reduce the risk of a workplace fire and the potential for employee injury or death. A small workplace fire can cause a large disruption in normal business operations, putting the future of the business in peril. The business owner and manager should view a workplace fire prevention plan as an investment in the future of the business.

A proactive fire prevention strategy benefits a business in the following ways:

  • It limits liability and the likelihood of litigation.
  • It ensures employee health and safety in the workplace.
  • It minimizes potential property damage that would result from a fire.

Best practices for fire prevention in the workplace

Fire prevention is the best strategy to protect a business from a fire damage disaster. Follow these strategies that aim to prevent the first spark from ever igniting. Some areas in the workplace have a higher risk hazard of fire. These areas deserve special attention.

Fire prevention in the break room and kitchen area

Fire-related incidents in the workplace are often associated with the kitchen area or breakroom. The kitchen has a high concentration of appliances, such as a microwave, a standard oven, a coffee maker, a toaster oven, a waffle iron, and a hot plate. Distractions in the kitchen area of the workplace are similar to distractions in the kitchen area of the home. An urgent phone call, an intense business meeting around the breakroom table, or a flurry of texts from a vendor or customer can lead to more than burnt toast or a charred sandwich.

The following fire-prevention strategies can keep the kitchen area safe from fire:

  • When not in use, appliances should be unplugged. This powerful fire prevention strategy should be both a habit and a policy.
  • Keep combustibles away from heat-producing appliances such as toasters, countertop ovens, and electric kettles.
  • A fire extinguisher should be mounted in a location that is easily accessible.

Fire prevention in and around the office

The office area has its share of electrical appliances, machines, and electronics, each with its own fire risk. Closely inspect the office for common fire hazards. Follow these tips for a safer work environment around the office.

  • Modernize the fleet of copiers, fax machines, computers, monitors, projectors, and paper shredders. Wear and age can compromise the safety of these workhorse machines. Old or damaged wiring needs immediate replacement. An arc or spark can smolder for hours, only to flame up in the evening or on the weekend.
  • Do not overload power strips.
  • Never plug space heaters or other energy-heavy devices into a power strip. Instead, plug the appliances into a grounded outlet.

How to prepare for fire emergencies in the workplace

Once a fire starts in the workplace, the clock starts ticking, shrinking the amount of time available to extinguish the fire or to escape safely. The response should be automatic and reactive. A workspace can fill with smoke and be depleted of oxygen in less time than it takes to safely make it to the door. There is no time for even the slightest delay. A business needs to have a solid, well-constructed emergency fire preparedness plan. Every employee, including onsite vendors and contractors, should know the plan and be able to execute it without error. The key to success is practice and drill. Familiarity with prevention and escape protocols reduces stress and anxiety and increases performance when seconds make the difference between life and death.

Sound the alarm with smoke alarms

The first line of defense against a fire damage disaster is a battery of functioning smoke alarms. Smoke is usually the first sign of a fire. By the time flames are visible, the situation could be out of hand, and a safe escape may be very risky, if not impossible. Smoke alarms should be well-placed and well-maintained.

  • Smoke alarms should have a power supply and a battery backup.
  • Test all smoke alarms monthly.
  • Regularly inspect and test all sprinklers and other suppression systems.
  • Carefully document inspections, tests, and maintenance.

When a fire breaks out, know how to get out!

Create an evacuation plan with multiple escape routes. Post routes around the facility. Exits should be clearly marked and kept free of debris, equipment, and product. Frequent drills are the key to success. Familiarity with the evacuation plan will foster a calm, safe, yet swift evacuation.

A fire in the workplace often involves three components: fire damage, smoke damage, and water damage. This complex disaster scene requires the right equipment, PPG, high-level training and expertise, and advanced cleaning techniques. SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak provides businesses with a rapid response and a quick cleanup and restoration process, so business operations can return to normal sooner rather than later.

Contact SERVPRO® of Ennis/Red Oak to learn more about commercial water removal services in Corsicana, TX. The office can be reached by phone at (972) 937-1494 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

Flood Restoration Services for Homes That Have Suffered Water Damage and Structural Damage

10/17/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak provides a seven-point checklist to help homeowners determine if their house has suffered structural damage after a flood.

SERVPRO® of Ennis/Red Oak is available 24/7 to provide flood restoration services when disaster strikes. Flooding can devastate a home. Too often, some aspects of the damage escape attention until much later. A thorough inspection of the structure to identify the extent of the damage needs to be conducted in the aftermath of the flooding. Damage usually occurs to either the foundation, the structure resting on the foundation, or both.

Homeowners and prospective buyers should familiarize themselves with the dynamic forces causing the damage. This information will ensure the scope of the inspection will identify flood damage. Flood water moving at a speed of 10 miles per hour can exert the same pressure as a gust of wind blowing at 270 miles per hour. The effects of this dynamic force can cause serious structural damage to a home or other structures.

A checklist to identify structural damage

#1. Inspect the home for damage to the framing structure.

When a house has encountered flood waters, support beams and framing timbers may be affected. The structural integrity may be compromised. The inspection begins by observing the structure from a distance of about 50 to 100 feet. Visually inspect all four sides of the home. The structure may be fully intact. However, the flood waters may have altered the soundness of the structure, thus weakening its overall strength. Consider the following important questions:

  • Does the house appear to be out of kilter? Is it leaning or tilting to the degree it is noticeable?
  • Have large sections of the structure been ripped away or broken?
  • Does the home appear to be squarely positioned on the foundation?
  • Has the house partially shifted off its foundation?

Large-scale misalignments signal trouble with the integrity and strength of the building affected by flood waters.

#2. Look for damage to the roof.

Visible signs of sagging or bowing on the roof are warning signs of a lack of structural integrity in the support beams in the attic or of warping of roof sheathing from exposure to moisture. If the roof has undulations or waves, all is not well under the shingles. Look for new lumps on the roof. Step far away enough from the home to be able to see if any portions of the roofing are missing or rolled up like a rug. Are shingles, pieces of plywood, or strips of underlayment strewn across the yard in hanging bushes and shrubs? When a home has been exposed to the dynamic forces of a flood, rafters and trusses in the attic can crack, splinter, or break. If flood waters were intense, venturing into the attic could be dangerous.

#3. Pay close attention to the fireplace and chimney.

  • If the fireplace or chimney leans or has a bow, structural damage may be the cause.
  • Look for gaps where the chimney has separated from the side of the house.
  • Pay special attention to any cracked bricks, broken stones, or loose material.
  • Inspect the base of the chimney for a concentration of displaced mortar, shards of brick, or unexplained rocks or stones.

#4. Examine exterior walls.

Exterior walls tell a story. Warping, bowing, cracks, and ripples in the walls indicate stress from a flood dynamic. Corners should be vertical and straight. Is the wall attached to the roof? Is the wall seated securely on the foundation?

#5. Give special consideration to ceilings and floors.

  • If the floors or ceilings sag or droop, it does not bode well for the home.
  • Soft, spongy floors underfoot indicate water damage.
  • Warping, sloping, or bowing that is new is a sign of flood damage.

#6. Include windows and doors in the inspection.

Look closely for gaps at the doors and windows. Windows and doors that stick or fail to open or close hint at structural damage from flooding or excess water. Test self-opening doors and windows for functionality. Scraping or dragging indicates a problem.

#7. The basement may hold many clues to the extent of water damage.

Be sure to use a flashlight when inspecting the basement. The lighting may be inadequate, resulting in shadows and glare, which makes spotting evidence of damage very difficult.

Look for:

  • Cracks, bows, or waves in the walls
  • Concave or convex shapes in the basement walls
  • Bowing, cracking, or twisting of any beam or posts that are providing support to the floor above

This checklist will help homeowners identify structural damage from floodwater. When disaster strikes, turn to the professionals at SERVPRO® of Ennis/Red Oak for assistance. Certified technicians bring state-of-the-art equipment and cleaning techniques to every challenging situation.

For more information about flooding and water damage restoration services, residential and commercial property damage cleanup and restoration services in Corsicana, TX, contact the SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak office by phone at (972) 937-1494 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

How Stand-Alone Freezers Can Become a Source of Water Leaks and Water Damage

9/7/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak explains how stand-alone freezers can leak, causing water damage. The team also offers prevention strategies to avoid leakage.

SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak, a water damage restoration company serving Corsicana, TX, and the surrounding area, highlights water damage caused by stand-alone freezers and offers prevention strategies for homeowners. Often, mold damage also accompanies this type of water damage because stand-alone freezers are frequently located away from high-traffic areas where leaks go unnoticed until the damage is done.

Stand-alone freezers commonly found in homes come in three styles. The chest freezer opens from the top. A cabinet freezer, usually found in a gourmet kitchen, has pull-out drawers, making access quick and easy. An upright freezer, the most convenient storage option, looks like a conventional refrigerator. Often a stand-alone freezer is kept in a pantry, utility room, the garage, basement, or on the back porch. A freezer enables the homeowner to buy in bulk and preserve the items for as much as a year or more. Modern freezers are very energy efficient.

Why Do Freezers Leak?

Stand-alone freezer leaks can occur for a variety of reasons.

A Crack in the Drain Pan

One of the most common causes of leaks in a freezer is a crack in the drain pan. The drain pan captures excess water from the freezer and holds the water while it evaporates. A cracked drain pan will allow the water to leak onto the floor under the appliance. The hidden water release can ruin flooring, cause wood rot, stimulate mold growth, attract roaches and other household pests, and create an unsanitary condition in the kitchen.

Consult the owner’s manual to determine the exact location of the drain pan. Examine the pan for leaks. A hairline fracture will be difficult to spot. Puddled water under the drain pan is a good indication of a leak in the drain pan. The best long-term solution is to purchase a replacement drain pan. To prevent shock or electrocution, unplug the freezer before making any repairs.

Improper Food Storage

Not all causes of a water leak require mechanical expertise. One cause of water leakage involves the way the food is arranged in the freezer, and the solution may be as simple as rearranging the food placement.

Below are some examples of how food in the freezer can cause water leaks. A large number of items that contain a high concentration of moisture can potentially elevate the overall moisture level in the freezer. If too many frozen items are resting against the back interior wall of the freezer, condensation may collect on the back of the unit, flow down the side of the appliance, and collect on the floor. The solution to the problem is to rearrange the items more evenly inside the freezer.

The Defrosting Process

Ice buildup in the freezer can reduce the efficiency of the appliance. Defrosting is required from time to time to eliminate the buildup. It is all but impossible to defrost a freezer without getting water and ice on the floor. The key to preventing water damage is to cover the area around the freezer with towels or absorbent mats to collect the moisture and melting ice.

Damaged Door Seal

A defective, damaged, or worn-out door seal can result in a water leak that causes water damage. A tight door seal prevents the warmer outside air from entering the freezer. A breakdown in the door seal can allow some or all of the food to thaw and melt, causing a serious water damage disaster. The solutions are simple. A broken or defective seal must be replaced. If grime and mildew are impeding the work of the door seal, thoroughly clean the door seal and the surfaces it touches. A clean and even surface will receive the seal, hold in the cold air, and keep the warm air out. A stand-alone upright freezer should tilt backward about one-quarter to one-half inch. This backward tilt ensures the doors shut properly and seal tightly.

Broken Temperature Control

If the temperature control malfunctions, the food and ice in the freezer may be thawing and escaping through the door or overflowing the drain pan. The best solution is to secure the services of a reputable appliance service company to repair the freezer. Some of the frozen food may be stored in an alternate location. Unfortunately, in this situation, food may be lost.

When a water damage disaster occurs, delays in securing cleanup and restoration services can allow the damage to grow worse. Advanced secondary damage such as warped flooring, swollen baseboards, unsalvageable carpet, and a mold infestation can add unnecessary expense and time to the cleanup and restoration. The IICRC-certified team at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak, available 24/7, 365 days a year, responds on the scene in about an hour to inspect and assess the damage and begin the water damage cleanup and restoration project.

For more information about Corsicana, TX, water damage restoration services, email SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or call the office at (972) 937-1494.

Identifying Six Sources of Mold Growth in the Bathroom and Choosing a Company to Provide Mold Remediation

8/9/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak highlights six factors that can cause mold growth in the bathrooms of Corsicana, TX, homes.

When water damage disasters occur in the Corsicana, TX, area, SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to respond with a crew of IICRC-certified technicians who provide water damage restoration and mold remediation services to local residents.

Important Mold Facts from the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control offers the following description of mold and how it grows: “What is mold? Mold is a fungal growth that forms and spreads on various kinds of damp or decaying organic matter. There are many different mold species that come in many different colors. Molds are sometimes referred to as mildew. They are found both indoors and outdoors in all climates, during all seasons of the year. Outdoors, molds survive by using plants and decaying organic matter such as fallen leaves as a source of nutrition. Indoors, molds need moisture and a carbon source from building materials or building contents to grow. Excess moisture is generally the cause of indoor mold growth. Molds reproduce by releasing tiny spores that float through the air until landing in other locations. When they settle on wet or moist surfaces, the spores can form new mold colonies.”

Causes of Mold Growth in the Bathroom

The bathroom is a prime breeding ground for mold growth since this room is wetter than any other room in the typical house. Running faucets, flushing toilets, and steaming showers and bathtubs send large amounts of moisture onto the floors, walls, and ceilings. The exhaust fan is unable to keep pace with the infusion of water, moisture, and steam. Rugs and mats trap some of this water, which evaporates into the room throughout the day. For many hours a day, the bathroom is shrouded in darkness, and if windows are present in the room, they are seldom opened. Also, wood, natural fibers, and other organic material are found in abundance in the bathroom. Moisture, warmth, darkness, and food make the bathroom a mold paradise.

Mold not only disfigures the beauty of the home, but it also can cause serious structural damage and promote wood rot if undetected or left untreated. Once mold is detected, the homeowner should take action to have the situation inspected by a professional to determine the sources and extent of the problem. The professionals at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak can also offer solutions to the mold problem, no matter how big or small.

Homeowners need to keep a vigilant watch for these six causes of mold growth in the bathroom. By the time mold is visible to the naked eye, the mold has already begun to grow. Upon recognizing the causes of mold growth, the problem can be treated in its earliest stages.

Warning Signs of Mold Growth in the Bathroom

1. Drippy or leaking faucets

A leaky faucet introduces a steady source of moisture into the bathroom. A wet sink, tub floor, or shower stall is a prime location for mold.

2. Clogged drains

A drain clog provides mold with both moisture and food. Hair, grease, soap scum, dirt, and whatever else may be clogging the drain are very nutritious for mold.

3. Wet shower surfaces

Over time, soap scum, grime, and body oils will coat the surfaces of the shower. This organic food source, along with the humidity and heat from the shower, spells trouble. The tile, grout, and glass surfaces invite a mold infestation. If the shower head begins to leak, make repair or a replacement a priority.

4. Inferior ventilation

Modern bathrooms have exhaust fans and at least one window. The fan, in tandem with a working window, can remove most of the moisture while allowing fresh air to enter the bathroom. If the fan breaks or the window sticks, take steps to have the problems resolved.

5. Leaks behind the wall

One of the most difficult warning signs to spot is moisture and water hidden behind a wall. A leaky pipe, cracked grout, or excessive tub or shower splash can introduce moisture behind walls and in the ceilings under the bathroom floor. The wall cavities are dark, moist, and lack ventilation, making the location a prime hideout for mold.

6. Water intrusion from loose plumbing connections

Loose plumbing connections at the toilet tank, around the base of the toilet, or at the wax ring can cause issues beyond a mold infestation. Raw sewage seeping out of a pipe and into a home creates a serious situation. Mold stains, musty smells, and the smell of raw sewage are key indicators of a bad plumbing connection.

If a mold problem is suspected, reach out to the water damage cleanup and restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak. The IICRC-certified mold remediation technicians have the tools, training, skills, and EPA-approved cleaning products to resolve both the water damage and the mold issues.

For more information about Corsicana, TX, water damage restoration services, contact the SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak office by phone at (972) 937-1494 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

Five Frequent Sources of Water Intrusion and Water Damage in Local Businesses

7/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak highlights common causes of water damage in commercial facilities in the Corsicana, TX, area.

SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak provides commercial flood damage restoration for businesses in the Corsicana, TX, area. A rapid response after flooding enables a company to resume normal business operations, and quick action may mean the survival of the business.

A typical business is exposed to water damage on many fronts, and the damage may come from either a water release (internal) or a water intrusion (external). At times, the two vulnerabilities may overlap, but understanding the differences can facilitate a more effective prevention, repair, and recovery strategy.

To form a clearer picture of the areas at risk of water damage in Corsicana, TX, commercial facilities, here is an outline of the most common sources of commercial water damage disasters and practical prevention strategies to reduce the risk.

Common sources of commercial water damage 

1. The Roof

The most common source of water damage in a commercial setting is the roof. A water intrusion through the roof accounts for approximately 15% of commercial water damage claims. Potential leak points dot a typical commercial roof. Examples include ventilation fans, skylights, waste removal conduit, ingress/egress doors, and innumerable nuts and bolts to hold brackets and support beams for rooftop structures.  Roof perforations can easily number in the hundreds for an industrial facility. Roof leaks are the leading cause of ceiling water damage.

The key to reducing or eliminating roof leaks is a comprehensive plan of regular and occasional inspection and maintenance. Severe weather involving ice and snow, high winds, hail, or heavy rain should prompt a visual inspection of the roof for structural damage that could result in a water intrusion. Pooling water on a flat roof may indicate a clogged drainage system, and failure to unclog the system could lead to a catastrophic roof collapse. The inspection should include an examination of leaks and drip points inside the facility. An intermittent drip can short circuit an electrical panel or ruin expensive equipment in the company’s data center. Repairs should be immediately performed and duly noted since leak sites are often repeat offenders.

2. Toilets

Toilets can create a major mess, especially in multi-story complexes with stacked plumbing. Scheduled inspections, vigilance between inspections, pre-emptive replacements of supply lines every three to five years, and the immediate repair of any issues can stem the tide of water damage disasters resulting from plumbing issues (15% of loss claims).

3. Fire Sprinklers

A fire sprinkler system dispenses water to control or extinguish a fire. (A fire suppression system uses gaseous, chemical, or foam fire suppression agents to control or extinguish a fire.) Less expensive than a fire suppression system and very effective at putting out fires, sprinklers malfunction often enough to account for one in seven (14%) commercial water damage losses.

The tradeoff for economy and effectiveness is regular inspections, perpetual monitoring, and immediate maintenance. The deep freeze in February of 2021 exposed the vulnerability of Texas to frozen pipes. As many as 1.2 million people experienced frozen pipes, and businesses had to endure a similar fate.

Anti-freeze low-temperature alert systems, sprinkler heads, and pipes should be checked before, during, and after the coldest months of the year. A late winter or early spring cold blast can make a fire sprinkler system a foe rather than a friend. These core activities can keep the fire sprinkler system functional and safe.

  • Inspect the entire system, including sprinkler heads, on a regular basis.
  • Test system functionality as suggested by the company that installed the system.
  • Replace critical parts before they create a water damage disaster.
  • Repair leaks before they become a problem.

Take care of the fire sprinkler system, and it will take care of the building and save lives.

4. The Water Heater

With a lifespan estimated at only 7-10 years, a water heater is a water damage disaster waiting to happen. Avoid a disaster by replacing the appliance every seven to nine years. The installation of a drip pan can capture small leaks. An automatic shut-off valve installed near the heater can prevent a major water damage catastrophe.

5. The HVAC System

The HVAC system in a large office complex, professional building, or manufacturing facility is extensive. Frozen evaporator coils, clogged drains, cracked condensate pans, and installation errors make the HVAC system one of the leading causes of water damage in a commercial setting. The HVAC system requires regular inspections and maintenance to work effectively, efficiently, and safely. The maintenance supervisor or facility manager would do well to cultivate a close relationship with a reputable, licensed, insured, and bonded commercial HVAC installation and service company.

These top five causes of water damage in a commercial venue account for two-thirds of all water damage losses. Another relationship to establish is one with a qualified, reputable property damage cleanup and restoration company. Important criteria include:

  • Available 24/7, 356 days a year, including holidays
  • Rapid response time of about an hour
  • Able to scale to any size and type of disaster
  • Locally owned and operated
  • IICRC certifications
  • Bonded, licensed, and insured
  • Positive reviews and references

When a business faces the disruption of a water damage disaster, a quickly-implemented water damage restoration process is critical. Business operations need to return to normal as soon as possible to avoid loss of customers, employee displacement, and disruption of the revenue cycle.

Contact SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak to learn more about the company’s flood damage restoration and cleanup services. The office can be reached by emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or calling (972) 937-1494.

Identifying Appliances That Could Cause a Water Intrusion and Water Damage

6/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak highlights appliances that have vulnerable connections that could cause water damage.

When an appliance supply line connection leaks or ruptures, causing a small flood, the technicians at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak are the water damage repair professionals who can provide the rapid response and quick cleanup needed to avoid advanced secondary damage and return life to normal.

Water is essential for life. Seventy percent of the earth is covered with water, and the human body is 60 percent water. Humans can go for weeks without food but only a few days without adequate water. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that males consume about 125 ounces of water per day and females around 91 ounces of water per day. Survival, bathing, cooking, and cleaning require the use of water. Water is everywhere in the home. For this reason, the potential for water damage is great should there be an unintentional or accidental water release that gets out of control or goes unnoticed.

By monitoring the following list of home appliance connections that are susceptible to causing water leaks, the homeowner can avoid a water damage disaster or at least detect a water leak before it becomes catastrophic.

Home appliance connections that are susceptible to causing water leaks

1. The Water Heater

Water on demand is most appreciated when the water heater malfunctions. A hot bath or steamy shower is soothing after a long, hard day. A typical water heater contains forty to sixty gallons of water, which are always under pressure. If the tank springs a leak, large portions of the home could be flooded. If external pipes feeding water to the unit begin to show signs of corrosion, an internal problem could be the cause. White, blue, or green crystal-like deposits on the pipe are a telltale sign that the appliance needs attention. Since the water heater is often concealed in a closet behind a panel, maintenance is difficult and may go neglected. While today’s water heaters are better designed than older models, they still require regular maintenance to prolong their lives.

A gas water heater may last about 8-12 years with proper maintenance, including draining and flushing the unit. An electric water heater may function well for 10-15 years before needing to be replaced. Regular inspections may detect slight leaks before extensive and costly water damage in a home or business.

2. Washing Machine Supply Lines

The introduction of the first electric washing machine in 1908 transformed an arduous and time-consuming household chore, lightening the burdensome load of washing clothes by hand. The amazing technological advance in domestic engineering included water supply lines comprised of rubber or braided stainless steel. Over time, about five to seven years, these supply lines are susceptible to bursting. If a line ruptures, as many as seven or more gallons of water can flood into a home, causing severe flooding. Flooring, baseboards, and sheetrock can be damaged. If the water leaks into the HVAC duct system, mold becomes an issue if the moisture and water are not removed and dried within 24-48 hours. As a rule of thumb, never leave the washing machine running when no one is home. Before going on an extended vacation or trip, shut off the water, both hot and cold, to the appliance.

3. The Dishwasher

Dishwashers are another extraordinary invention that makes cooking and entertaining more manageable. When a supply line ruptures, the results can be devastating. Avoid using the dishwasher while no one is at home. Periodically check under and around the appliance for signs of a leak. Have a professional clean and inspect the unit to keep it up to par.

4. The HVAC Drain Pan

Summer temperatures in Ennis, TX, are hot and muggy, and temperatures consistently rise to the mid to high nineties. This extreme heat can degrade plastic HVAC drain pans, leading to cracks and leaks. Since the water leaks out of the pan, the overflow sensor never shuts off the HVAC system. A typical HVAC system running almost continuously on a hot summer day can produce as many as twenty gallons of water.

When the HVAC technician conducts the annual inspection of the system, verify that the drain pan is not leaking, the lines out of the drain pan are freely flowing, and the water level sensor is functioning properly.

5. Refrigerator Water Supply Line

A ruptured supply line to a refrigerator ice maker can release several gallons of water per minute onto the floor, causing extensive flooding and water damage. Signs of a pending disaster include kinks, crimps, cracks, and leaks around connections. Be very careful when moving the refrigerator for inspections and cleaning.

6. The Sump Pump

Most people do not consider the sump pump an “appliance,” but the device and its backup system are pivotal in preventing basement and crawl space flooding. Inspect and test the system at least twice a year. Clean out any trash or debris that may have collected in the sump area.

Entrust water damage restoration to the property damage experts at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak. Available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays, a crew can be on the scene in about an hour to begin the process. Experienced, well-equipped, highly trained, and certified technicians provide a rapid response and a quick cleanup and restoration that cuts costs and returns life to normal as soon as possible. Customer satisfaction is a core value in the SERVPRO franchise culture.

To learn about water damage cleanup and restoration services in Corsicana, TX, email the SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak office at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or contact the team by phone at (972) 937-1494.

Nine Tips for Maximizing Hurricane Damage Insurance Claims

5/23/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Hurricane damage can be devastating to homeowners. SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak is highlighting tips to help people make the most of insurance claims and recover from storm damage.

SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak cautions homeowners that not all water damage disasters are equal in the eyes of the insurance company. If the water damage was caused by a flood, a homeowners policy probably does not cover the disaster. The homeowner needs to be aware of potential insurance issues. Below are nine important tips to help the homeowner maximize insurance claim payouts for hurricane damages and utilize other assistance to cover losses.

  1. The typical homeowner’s policy does not cover flooding.

The discovery of this coverage limitation surprises many homeowners, especially when the discovery comes after the home has been flooded. The consequences of this oversight can be financially devastating.

Property damage resulting from water, wind, and wind-driven precipitation entering the home through the roof, doors, windows, or openings in the walls most often falls under homeowners insurance coverage. Property damage caused by flooding from the bottom up is not covered. Some examples of damage that are not covered include:

  • Rising water overflowing the banks of a river or stream
  • Overflow from a body of water such as a lake, reservoir, or pond
  • Storm surge from a hurricane
  1. Auto insurance covers flooding.

Comprehensive coverage would include damages to a vehicle caused by flooding. The insurance company may declare the car a total loss, and the car owner would receive a claim payout less the deductible. Beware of buying a used vehicle just after a major hurricane since the market may be flooded with flood-damaged automobiles. Risk hazards can include electrical issues and faulty airbags.

  1. When flooding occurs, immediately inform the insurance company to begin the claim documentation process.
  • Emergency tarping and other minor temporary repairs to limit further damage are encouraged. It is not necessary to wait for an adjuster to arrive on the scene to assess the damage.
  • Record the damage with images and video before making any temporary alterations or repairs. Many digital resources are available to assist the homeowner in the documentation process.
  • Save any receipts for expenses incurred to carry out these temporary repairs. Reimbursements may be available.
  1. Hurricane damage may carry a higher deductible than water, fire, smoke, or sewage backup damages.

Most standard policies cover wind and wind-driven rain damage. Some insurance companies charge separate wind deductibles. The deductibles are usually 5% to 10% of the coverage amount rather than a flat dollar amount. This deductible can be rather painful for the homeowner.

  1. Explore qualifying for other recovery assistance.

A host of nonprofit and governmental agencies at the state level may offer hurricane disaster relief to homeowners. Check out DisasterAssistance.gov or schedule an in-person appointment at a FEMA disaster recovery center.

Hurricane disaster victims may also qualify for SBA Disaster Loan Assistance. This low-interest loan helps renters and homeowners replace or repair damaged property.

  1. Understand limitations for tree damage.

If a tree falls and damages a neighbor’s property, the neighbor can recover some of the damages from their insurance company. If a fallen tree does not do any damage, insurance policies will pay a minimum of $500 to $1,000 for the cleanup and removal.

  1. Living expenses may be covered if the home must be vacated during the restoration and rebuild process.

Living expenses can add up quickly. The insurance company may pay out these expenses before other funds are disbursed, but limits may apply. Rent, food, and utilities may fall within this coverage spectrum.  As always, archive receipts digitally or physically for reimbursement purposes. The insurer may offer a debit card for these expenses.

  1. Inventory possessions to ensure adequate reimbursement.

The task of creating an inventory of the contents in the home may prove to be a chore. A current inventory of household possessions will prove beneficial in the event of a disaster. Include images and videos of rooms, closets, and other storage areas. Store the information on the cloud or offsite. The photos and video will serve to validate the inventory. If possible, include images or hard copies of the original receipts for valuable items. Before removing any debris, archive the scene with pictures and video.

  1. Hire a property damage cleanup and restoration company that takes care of the claims process from start to end.

SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak inspects and assesses the damage scene and creates a detailed estimate, including images and video. Experienced staff competently provide end-to-end claims management, relieving the customer of anxiety and stress. Attention can be focused on recovery from weathering severe weather or a hurricane.

In fact, by pre-qualifying a water damage restoration company before a disaster strikes, the homeowner needs to make only two calls, one to the insurance company notifying them of the incident and the other to the damage restoration company.

Contact SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak for more information about water damage restoration in Corsicana, TX. The office can be reached by calling (972) 937-1494 or by emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com

Septic System Maintenance Strategies to Prevent Expensive Repairs

4/6/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak advises homeowners on ways to avoid expensive sewage damage that requires repair and restoration services.

SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak is the customer’s choice for sewage cleanup and water damage restoration services for property damaged by a sewage backup. Available 24/7, 365 days a year, the team can respond in about an hour. The detailed and documented estimate is helpful for insurance claims. Knowledgeable, experienced, and certified professionals arrive on the scene prepared to tackle the challenges presented by a messy, unwanted sewage spill.

How to Avoid Expensive Sewage System Repairs

Proper septic system maintenance benefits the environment and saves Corsicana, TX, homeowners money. A well-performing septic system helps preserve the purity of the local and regional water supply. Repair or replacement costs for a septic system may range from several thousand dollars to $10,000 or more. On the other hand, recommended maintenance may cost several hundred dollars to $500 every three to four years.

How a Septic System Functions

An inground septic system consists of two components: a septic tank and a drain field. The main drainpipe deposits wastewater from the home into the septic tank, where the solids, greases, and oils separate out. Only the liquid wastewater is able to make its way into the drain field. In the drain field, the wastewater percolates into the soil, and viruses, bacteria, and nutrients are naturally removed from the wastewater.

How to Spot a Sick Septic System

When the septic drain field becomes supersaturated with liquids, sewage will seep to the surface or backup into the home through the toilets, shower, tub, and sinks. The following symptoms of a sick septic system should prompt a call to a licensed, bonded, and insured septic tank professional:

  • Raw sewage and wastewater backing up into the home through household drains
  • The smell of sewage in the vicinity of the drain field and septic tank
  • Thick, green grass thriving over the drain field

Tips to Maintain a Healthy, Safe Septic System

#1: Conserve water.

Reduce the workload on the septic system by cutting consumption. Avoid washing clothes, using the dishwasher, and showering on the same day to prevent overloading the septic system. However, conservation may not simply involve using less water. It may mean wasting less water by rapidly repairing leaks when they appear.

In addition, water-efficient fixtures provide adequate flow and pressure while reducing the amount of water usage. The efficiency of a low-flow showerhead is impressive. According to HGTV, “Simply stated, a new low-flow showerhead will pay for itself several times over in its first year of use alone. Applying the data above, let’s say as an individual you take 25 seven-minute showers each month for 175 total minutes. With a 2.5 gpm showerhead, you’ll soak up nearly 440 gallons of water in one month from shower use alone. With a low-flow showerhead, 175 minutes of showering uses just 262 gallons of water. This means you save about 60 percent every month. Translate that to yearly figures, and a 1.5 gpm showerhead uses just over 3,100 gallons of water versus over 5,200 with a 2.5 gpm model. One person and one low-flow showerhead save 2,000 gallons of water every single year.”

#2: Avoid flushing “flushables.”

Toilet paper and waste are the only items that should be flushed down the toilet. Only toilet paper is engineered to quickly decompose when flushed, and just because a product is described as “flushable” by the manufacturer does not mean the product is healthy for the septic system. Flushable wipes and flushable cat litter can constipate a septic system. Cigarette butts, medications, paper towels, and standard cat litter can make for a sick septic system.

#3: A toilet is not a toxic waste dump.

Toxins such as solvents, oil-based paints, household cleaners, medications, latex paint, and chemical drain openers can kill the beneficial bacteria that keep the septic system happy and healthy. Dispose of the garbage disposal. Putting food scraps, oils, fats, and greases down the drain can gum up the works.

#4: Protect the drain field.

Roots from shrubs and trees can block or severely damage a drain field, and vehicle traffic and heavy equipment can also cause damage. Divert water from sump pumps, roof drains, and other rainwater drainage systems away from the drain field area.

#5: Scheduled maintenance will keep the septic system healthy and flowing.

Every three years, schedule an inspection by a qualified septic system professional. Keep an eye on older systems. If the system is more than 15 years old, it may need to be replaced. If the weather has been unseasonably wet and if a large number of houseguests are expected, proactive sewage system pumping might prevent an embarrassing and inconvenient sewage backup. Seek professional advice before using septic tank cleaners and additives.

#6: Leave the mess to the professionals.

If a sewage backup does occur, call the team of professionals at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak for cleanup and restoration. The rapid response within an hour is crucial to prevent advanced secondary damage such as mold. Sewage cleanup requires protective gear, special cleaning techniques, and safe but powerful cleaning products. For great results, enlist the services of SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak to clean up the mess and make the home safe again.

To learn more about the water damage restoration company, contact the team at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com or by phone at (972) 937-1494.