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Don’t let Water Damage Impact Your Home | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

Don’t let Water Damage Impact Your Home | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County - SERVPRO OF NORTH KENOSHA COUNTY Blog

Water damage from burst pipes, malfunctioning appliances or even storm damage is one of the most common and costliest disasters your home may experience.

But there are plenty of ways to safeguard your home from this common issue that homeowners deal with. Read on for some helpful suggestions.

<h4your-home">Protecting Your Home

Not only will you be dealing with the damage caused by water, but it can have a long-term impact on your home. Since mold begins to grow 24–48 hours after moisture exposure, mold is one of the most common side effects of water damage.

When coming up with ways to protect your home, it may be helpful to break your plan down by areas of impact, such as by basements, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and ceilings.

You can help prevent water damage in the basement by making sure water drains away from our home’s foundation and preventing water seepage. To prevent water seepage, reseal vulnerable areas of the basement. Also look into installing a backwater valve if your home does not have one.

Your kitchen and bathrooms can experience water damage due to plumbing issues and appliance failures.

Be sure you:

  • Regularly inspect all appliances, checking hoses and faucets
  • Ensure that your tubs and showers are watertight by checking the seals and caulking around them
  • Know the location of the main water shut-off valve is in your home
  • Run your washing machine and dishwasher when you are home

It will be difficult to protect the possessions in your home from water damage, but there are things you can do to at least decrease the amount of destruction. The use of waterproof bins for storing items is always advised, as is storing items up off of the floor on shelves, especially in basements and garages.

<h4from-water-damage">Recovering From Water Damage

In the unfortunate event your home does experience a water damage situation, you can stand a good chance at salvaging items if they can be dried out within 48 hours.

Make sure that you immediately contact your insurance agent and evaluate the extent of the water damage in your home. You will need to identify the type of water that is involved.

The three types of water are:

  1. “Clean” water. Can be from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, etc.

  2. “Gray” water. Slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc.

  3. “Black” water. Water from sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, etc. This water can cause serious health problems.

Following a water damage disaster, you will need to remove wet objects, get your home dried out, dehumidify the area and disinfect any remaining materials.

Pro tip: Place any wet books, photos and papers in a frost-free freezer, which will allow you time to get your home back in order, preventing mold and mildew from developing and causing more deterioration. Once able, you can remove them from the freezer and air-dry or fan-dry the pages.

It may seem like recovering from water damage is an overwhelming and slightly impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can call on the highly trained experts at SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County, who are here to make it "Like it never even happened."

How to Deal with Ice Dams

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

If you live in Wisconsin, ice dams are a reality, especially when we have had large amounts of snow and temperatures that have fluctuated as much as they have this winter season.

How do Ice Dams form?

  • Winter storms build up snow on the roof
  • Heat from the building escapes through insulation, chimneys and roof vents or heat from the sun which causes the snow to melt
  • The melted snow runs down roof lines to valleys and eaves
  • The melted snow refreezes at the base of the valley and at the eaves or gutters
  • As day/night time temperatures cycle up and down and heat loss melts the snow, the ice dams and icicles continue to grow

Once these roof and gutter ice dams form, subsequent water ponding behind the ice dam can lead to roof leaks, internal building damage and possible mold issues. Icicles can also cause lower roof damage, deck damage and people safety issues.

How do you deal with an existing ice dam?

  • Remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small chunks. Do NOT use an ax or other sharp tool. You could cut through your shingles. Instead, tap lightly with a blunt mallet. This can be dangerous and take a while, so it’s recommended that you hire someone who is experienced in roofing.
  • Clear out gutters and downspouts carefully. This work can cause damage to plastic or metal gutters and spouts
  • Melt troughs through the ice dam with calcium chloride ice melter. Rock salt can damage paint, metals, and plants beneath the eave and wherever the salty water drains.
    • A good trough maker is a tube of cloth (a leg from an old pair of panty hose works well). Fill it with calcium chloride, tie off the top, and lay it vertically across the ice dam. It will slowly melt its way down through the dam, clearing a path for the underlying water to flow free.

How can you prevent an ice dam?

The above methods will treat the symptoms of an ice dam, but won’t fix the underlying issue, which is a warm roof caused by poor insulation and venting of the space under the roof. Here are some tips on how to prevent an ice dam from forming in the first place.

  • add insulation to your attic
  • remove attic heat sources
  • insulate attic access doors
  • check the exhausts
  • check flashing around chimney

If you experience water damage in your home or business due to an ice dam, call in the experts at SERVPRO of North Kenosha County and we can make it “Like it never even happened.”

Creating a Severe Weather Plan With Your Family | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

1/24/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Creating a Severe Weather Plan With Your Family | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County Having an emergency plan in place can give you valuable time to act in sever weather situations. #preparedness #emergency #safety

Creating a Severe Weather Plan With Your Family | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

How do you ensure the preparedness of your family before an unexpected severe storm situation when we are caught off-guard by Mother Nature?

Fortunately, there are actions you can take and safety tips to follow that will give you the peace of mind you deserve in various severe weather occurrences.

The best way to win at the severe weather game is to compile a family emergency plan and have it available at all times.

If your family does have an emergency plan in place, be sure that it is often practiced and reviewed prior to each weather season so everyone, both young and old, knows exactly what to do.

If you’ve not yet created your family emergency plan, here are some things to think about and take into consideration when creating a plan:

1. How will emergency alerts and warnings be received?

Not only does today’s technology include radio and television broadcasts that alert us as to emergency situations, but thanks to smartphone technology, it is easy to quickly receive emergency alerts and warnings by way of Google or a weather app, giving you valuable time to act in severe weather situations.

2. What type of storm shelter do you have?

A storm shelter should, ideally, be in the lowest part of your home, like a basement, especially if you live in an area where tornadoes are common. But if there is no basement available you’ll want to use an interior room that is away from windows and doors. Check out ready.gov for other situations requiring storm shelters besides tornadoes.

3. What is our evacuation route?

When planning for evacuation, you should always have routes mapped out that can serve for evacuation before situations like hurricanes, floods and fires force you from your home in a hurry. It’s wise to have multiple routes just in case one is impassable, and don’t forget to check where you can stay with your pets along the way if you have furry family members also evacuating with you.

4. How will the family stay in touch?

Staying in touch with your family members during an emergency is important. It’s normal to expect to rely on cell phones for this purpose, but in some circumstances, that just isn’t feasible.

Cell phone towers are often damaged during severe weather, phones could be lost or left behind, and how will batteries be charged on your phones if there is no power? Your family must have an emergency communication plan in place for peace of mind and a safe meeting place for your family to gather in the event you are separated during an emergency.

If a storm does cause damage to your home or business, don’t hesitate to call your friends at SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County to get the cleanup and restoration process started.

Communication is Key

1/24/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has built great relationships over the years with insurance companies, agents and adjusters who all play a big part in the property claims process. We have years of experience from the moment the loss occurs to putting everything back together.

SERVPRO uses Xactimate which is the industry’s most comprehensive software solution for property claims. This software is well known in the insurance industry, therefore making the claims process more efficient. We work closely with you, your agent and your adjuster to make sure everyone understands the status of the job and the scope of work. Communication is key, this can be a stressful time for you!

Take a look at what some of our customers have said about their experience throughout the whole process with SERVPRO of North Kenosha County. Give us a call and we will take excellent care of you and make it “Like it never even happened.”

Space Heater Safety

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

Millions of people use space heaters to keep warm in the winter. They are small, cost efficient and can keep your family warm. During the colder months, space heater fires increase. Improper use of a space heater can cause your home to go up in flames. With subzero temperatures approaching the end of this week here in Kenosha, we wanted to share some safety tips with you should you choose to use a space heater.

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully
  • Only use a heater that has a recognized testing laboratory on the label
  • Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. Do not use the heater if they are frayed, worn or damaged.
  • space heaters need space, keep everything clear of them by at least three feet
  • space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place them on cabinets, tables, furniture or carpet which can overheat and start a fire.
  • plug it directly into a wall outlet and you should never plug a space heater into an extension cord or power strip. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater. This can cause it to overheat and result in a fire.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play too close
  • When not in use, unplug and safely store the heater
  • make sure you have smoke alarms installed on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas

You can count on SERVPRO of North Kenosha County to provide you with the tips that you need to help protect you, your home and your belongings from fire damage. Should fire damage occur, we are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. 

Dryer and Washing Machine Fires

1/14/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Dryer and Washing Machine Fires Remember to have your dryer vent pipe cleaned at least annually.

Between 2010 and 2014, U.S fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 home fire involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. These fires resulted in annual losses estimated at 13 deaths, 440 injuries and $238 million in property damage. Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of these fires, with the leading factor being failure to clean them.

Here are a few simple safety tips that can help prevent a clothes dryer fire from the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).

  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional
  • Do not use a dryer without a lint filter
  • Make sure you clean the lint filter before after each load of laundry
  • Remove lint as collected around the drum
  • Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating
  • Clean lint from the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it one a year or more often if you notice it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry
  • Follow manufactures’ instructions and don’t overload your dryer

In the event you do experience a fire, call the professionals at SERVPRO of North Kenosha County right away and we will get to work to restore your home to its preloss condition.

Making a Disaster Plan for Your Business | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Making a Disaster Plan for Your Business | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County - SERVPRO OF NORTH KENOSHA COUNTY Blog

How about that Mother Nature! She can prove to be quite a formidable foe by throwing everything from floods, hurricanes and tornadoes to wildfires and earthquakes at us. The best defense is a good offense, and that is being prepared in advance for a multitude of worst-case scenarios.

Being prepared for those scenarios involves creating a natural disaster plan for your business. Let’s take a look at some of the aspects to consider when designing that plan.

How to Begin

There are many factor and things you will need to consider and include in a disaster plan for your business, your employees and your assets.

Included in those considerations are the following:

  1. Protecting your employees
  2. Securing your assets
  3. Getting your business up and running again

There are many checklists available from sources like the Red Cross, FEMA and Ready.gov that can guide you in identifying areas that need to be included in your natural disaster preparedness plan. These sources can also help you figure out just how prepared you truly are.

Providing Safety for Employees

If a disaster should strike without warning, your plan should provide for the protection of employees and visitors.

It is extremely important to make sure evacuation routes and exits from your facility are all properly marked, that there is an area available where people can take shelter, that emergency lighting has been installed, and that staff are available to volunteer to serve as “safety wardens” who are properly trained and ready to guide and assist with all emergency efforts.

When you are deciding on a sheltering area, a basement or storm cellar is ideal in case of tornadoes or other high-wind situations. If that type of space is not available, you should designate a small interior room, such as a closet or interior hallway, on the lowest level of the building.

Steps to Take for Asset Protection

If you have a brick and mortar location for your business, you’ll have to make mindful choices about how to protect the assets inside it. From equipment to merchandise, there are thousands of dollars at risk when a natural disaster strikes.

Keep a complete and current inventory of your equipment and merchandise and, if possible, having photographs prior to a disaster is always helpful during an insurance claim process. If your assets are saved on a computer server, take the steps necessary to ensure that regular backups are performed by the backup system and that the storage system cannot be damaged.

If you own your building, work with a contractor to locate areas that may need improvement and strengthening. The contractor can also discuss with you possible safety upgrades and advise on any areas that may not withstand certain weather situations.

Getting Business Up and Running Again

If you find yourself a victim of a natural disaster, it is quite possible that your business will have to be closed for repairs due to damage. And every day you remain closed is another day of lost profits. It is wise to have a “rainy day” fund available to help with additional costs not covered by your insurance.

Make a list of contractors available for construction and repair needs, and familiarize yourself with a cleanup and restoration service will be available to quickly respond to your emergency situation.

With SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County, you can count on us to get to the disaster faster and make it "Like it never even happened." Our training and expertise have prepared us to help with water damage, storm damage, fire damage and mold remediation quickly and effectively.

Knowing what to do when disaster strikes your business is of the utmost importance. When it comes to the cleanup and restoration aspects, depend on SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County to be there for you.

A Breakdown of Mold Remediation | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

When there is a water damage situation that occurs in a home or commercial property, you can be sure mold growth is likely to follow. In fact, mold will begin to grow within 48 hours of moisture exposure.

If you experience water damage and are faced with a mold issue, it is important that you know what steps to take, which is why we’re discussing the subject of mold remediation and what it is in this blog.

Understanding Mold Remediation

It’s quite possible that you’ve already seen or heard ads for mold remediation and promising mold removal, but the latter of the two is a fallacy. Removing all mold from a home or business simply will not happen. What a qualified restoration company will focus on is mold remediation, the goal being getting mold levels back to normal and natural levels.

Both inside and outdoor, mold spores occur naturally almost everywhere. The serious issue occurs when a minor mold problem is left untreated, allowing it to become a major infestation.

During the mold remediation process, technicians will isolate the contaminated areas. Depending on the level of remediation, this will be done by either closing all doors and windows or totally sealing off all doorways and openings with a polyethylene sheeting. Dust in the contaminated areas will then be suppressed by misting.

Wet and mold-damaged materials will be removed and discarded using plastic bags. Any areas exposed to and affected by the mold are then thoroughly cleaned and dried. A HEPA vacuum may also be used in some cases to help with removal of contamination and debris.

The mold area is treated with a biocide and then left overnight to get to work, killing the mold spores. The mold remediation crew returns the following day and will encapsulate the affected and surrounding areas.

Think There’s Mold in Your Home? Do This.

If you suspect that your home or business may have a mold problem, you’ll want to act quickly. Measure and evaluate the size of the problem area and, if the moldy area covers more than 10 square feet, it is time to call in the professionals.

The professionals you hire should be highly trained and certified in the areas listed below:

  • Applied microbial remediation
  • Water damage restoration
  • Applied structural drying

While there are homeowners and business owners that feel they can successfully resolve some minor mold issues on their own, the safest method is to talk to the professionals to ensure a quick resolution to the problem.

At SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County, our mold damage specialists are trained and certified experts in mold remediation. If your home or business is experiencing a mold issue, contact us to begin the mold remediation process.

Watching for Causes of Water Damage in Your Home | SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

Even though severe weather and flooding are usually the first things that come to mind for many when thinking about water damage, weather conditions are often not the main culprits.

Instead, there are items and systems in your home that can be responsible for many situations that result in water damage.

What You Need to Know About Water Damage

Water damage is something that many homeowners will face. It was the third most common reason that homeowners filed a homeowners insurance claim between 2011 and 2015, with an average payout per claim of $8,861.

There is a significant difference between water damage and gradual water damage, which has an impact on homeowner’s insurance claims. Examples of gradual damage are circumstances that have been happening over time, like plumbing issues in the walls causing damage to the walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation, for example. Unfortunately, many gradual water damage issues are not covered by homeowners insurance, while storm-related water damage usually is.

Plumbing Can be a Common Culprit

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the leading causes of water damage are:

  • Plumbing supply system failures. This involves frozen pipes that can burst because the water pressure builds up due to freezing water in the pipes or when the supply system materials fail, causing pipes to leak or burst. Per the study conducted by IBHS, plumbing supply system failures were the leading source of residential water losses and cost an average of $5,092 per incident after the deductible. They also found that homes with ages of 16 to 40 years made up a larger portion of supply system material failure claims.

  • Plumbing drain system failures. This can occur when a sewer drain backs up and overflows into a home, or from material performance issues. In their study, IBHS found that 52% of drain system failures were caused by sewer backups and 37% were related to material performance issues. They also found that the average drain system failure was more expensive in southern region states than in northern region states.

  • Toilet failures. Toilets cause the second highest number of residential water damage losses after plumbing supply system failures and are the result of faulty fill valves or clogged drain lines. According to IBHS, toilet failures on the first floor of a home created more costly insurance claims than those that occurred in basements or upper floors.

  • Water heater failures. If your water heater has reached its life expectancy, the tank begins to rust and corrode, which can result in leaking or bursting issues. IBHS found that 69% of all water heater failures resulted from a slow leak or sudden burst and, on average, cost $4,444 per incident following the deductible.

  • Washing machine failures. These are typically caused by supply hose failures, machine overflows and drain line failures. This situation is one of the top 10 sources of residential water damage losses and, per IBHS, supply hose failures accounted for over half of all washing machine-related losses.

If your home has experienced any water damage, the team at SERVPRO® of North Kenosha County is available to help with cleanup and restoration and make it “like it never even happened.”

Winter weather has arrived!

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Winter weather has arrived! Winter has arrived! SERVPRO of North Kenosha County wants you to be prepared.

We’ve seen our first big snow storm of the season and it is only November. Is your home or business ready for winter weather?

Here are some tips to get you prepared.

HOME:

  • Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or uninsulated areas of your home.
  • Consider shutting off outdoor faucets. Find the shut-off valve in the basement or crawl space and turn it to “off.
  • If you follow the previous step, then open the outdoor faucet to help ensure it drains completely and the inner valve is shut off.
  • Ensure gutters are clean and secure. Leaves and debris accumulate, causing a damming effect on gutters, which could lead to roof problems and water damage.
  • Proper maintenance of your furnace can help reduce the risk of puffbacks.

 BUSINESS

  • Check your business property for downed tree limbs and branches. Weather, such as wind, heavy rain, ice and snow, can cause branches to fall, which could cause damage to the property and potentially cause personal injuries
  • Inspect property, especially walkways and parking lots, for proper drainage to alleviate flood hazard potential.
  • Inspect all handrails, stairwells and entryways to address and correct potential slippery or hazardous areas. Install mats or non-slip surfaces and post caution signs where water could be present.
  • Ask SERVPRO of North Kenosha County about starting an Emergency Ready Profile for your business.

 If you do experience water damage or soot damage, call SERVPRO of North Kenosha County and we will make it “Like it never even happened.”