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How to Prevent Freezing Pipes

5/23/2020 (Permalink)

faucet dripping Allow your faucet to drip

Avoid Frozen Pipes By

Imagine hundreds of gallons of water flooding into your home. Frozen pipes can lead to this disastrous scenario due to the pressure that freezing water puts on a pipe that can’t expand; pressures can rise to over 2,000 pounds per square inch. So, pipe freeze prevention is crucial when you live in a climate that sees temperatures reach 20 degrees or below. Avoid frozen pipes by:

1. Letting Faucets Drip
If temperatures are expected to drop to 20 degrees or below, you should turn your indoor faucets on a slow drip. The constantly moving water keeps pressure from building up in the pipes.

2. Leaving Cabinet Doors Open
Every little amount of heat helps during extremely cold temperatures. Open cabinet doors to sinks to expose the pipes to the warmer air of the home. Also, leave the door open to any rooms that have plumbing but no air vents; these pipes are especially susceptible to freezing.

3. Wrapping Pipes
There are several ways to warm pipes. Electrical heat tape is the most effective method of pipe freeze prevention. It should be chosen for the most extreme climates. Thermostatically-controlled heat tape will automatically turn on when temperatures drop below a certain point.

4. Insulating Pipes
Foam insulation works well for more moderately cold climates. Foam insulation is easy to install; it’s usually just placed over the pipe.

5. Heating Unheated Areas
Unheated areas need to be heated to at least 40 degrees to keep pipes from freezing. However, portable heaters should never be left unattended, so it’s best to have a permanent heater installed.

6. Removing Hoses
Hoses that are attached to outdoor hose bibbs or sillcocks should be detached before the temperatures reach freezing. The water should be shut off to the faucet and the water drained.
Pipe freeze prevention is one of the most important proactive measures you can take during the cold weather months. If your Webster Groves, MO, home experiences a burst pipe, water damage cleanup experts can return it to its preloss condition.

Disaster Preparedness: Tips To Prevent Commercial Property Loss

5/9/2020 (Permalink)

Paper with words BCP Business Continuity Plan A well-designed BCP is an integral part of a business’s risk management strategy

Tips To Prevent Commercial Property Loss

Severe weather events are the primary cause of commercial insurance claims for property damage. Unpredictable conditions, such as flash floods or broken water mains, can also cause sudden water damage. Creating an emergency response plan for your business may reduce your risk of costly cleanup and restoration.

Creating a Business Continuity Plan
A well-designed BCP is an integral part of a business’s risk management strategy and can allow your operation to continue despite an emergency. You will first want to identify the risks specific to your company in order to formulate a response plan. Examples of risks would include a low-lying area on your property or valuable equipment on a first floor or in a basement. Once your risks are identified, these suggestions may help you design your business continuity plan:

  • Thoroughly assess the potential impacts on your operation for each risk.
  • Develop preventive safeguards for each risk area, such as keeping gutters clear to prevent water from collecting at the foundation.
  • Formulate procedures to be followed in case of an emergency.
  • Run test scenarios and drills to ensure your staff understands the details of the plan.
  • Regularly review the plan and update it, as needed.

With a robust business continuity plan, you and your staff have the best chance of working as a cohesive team in an emergency. This often translates into less property loss.

Disaster Preparedness Basics
You should have a basic emergency kit that contains water, snacks, flashlights, batteries, and a first-aid kit. Well-placed fire extinguishers can protect your business from fire damage. Your local fire department or disaster remediation service will generally offer training on extinguisher operation and placement. Posting evacuation routes from your facility and registering for your local emergency notification services are smart practices, as well.
This overview of an emergency response plan may help you save you money while contributing to your peace of mind. With a plan in place for your Affton, MO, business, your task is to update it and improve it, as needed. Disaster preparedness can mean the difference between complete chaos and a coordinated team effort during an emergency.

How To Eliminate Mold Odors

5/9/2020 (Permalink)

Thermal fogging. Deodorizing equipment. Removes mold odors Thermal fogging may be necessary to eliminate a residual mold smell during mold remediation

Here Are Three Measures To Resolve a Mold Problem

Many mold species produce musty odors. Mold smell is often a clear indication of a moisture issue at a building in Webster Groves, MO. This characteristic odor originates with microbial volatile organic compounds released into the air during the fungal growth cycle. Mold remediation professionals will take three measures to resolve a mold problem and eliminate residual odor.

1. Locate Mold Growth
The first step toward solving a mold problem is to locate growth. A fungus smell may be more intense near active growth. This is only a good index if the air is not circulating throughout a structure. If you smell a musty odor, turning off the HVAC system and fans can prevent spores from spreading and make it easier to pinpoint the location of an infestation.
2. Remediate Mold Damage
Getting rid of every trace of an infestation is the best way to banish mold odor. In addition to removing mold and infested materials, it is also necessary to filter spores out of the air and clean air ducts to prevent the problem from recurring. Spores are not the source of a mold smell, and these measures may not be sufficient to eliminate microbial volatile organic compounds from interior air.
3. Use Deodorizing Treatments
Methods of deodorization such as thermal fogging or running an ozone machine or hydroxyl generator may be necessary to eliminate a residual mold or mildew smell during mold remediation. It is essential to remove mold prior to deodorizing a building. If spores are still present in a structure and moisture levels remain elevated, mold may start growing again and release more mVOCs into the air.
Cleanup professionals often filter the air in a structure after mold has been contained to capture spores and reduce odors. Deodorization may be pursued as part of the remediation process to get rid of mold smell after eradicating a fungal infestation.

3 Ways To Avoid a Sewage Backup

4/27/2020 (Permalink)

Round shower drain strainer made of stainless steel. It has horizontal openings. Recently used shower. Prevent clogs by using hair catchers in showers

Three Ways To Reduce Water and Sewage Damage In a Residence

Any homeowner who has experienced a flooded basement as a result of a sewage backup wants to prevent this problem from recurring. Here are three ways to reduce the likelihood of water and sewage damage on the lower levels of a residence in Concord, MO.

1. Prevent Clogs
Home sewer lines often become obstructed by solid materials such as hair or cooking grease that has been improperly discarded. Prevention is the best way to keep clogs from forming. Use hair catchers in showers and dispose of fats and oils with solid waste rather than pouring these substances down the drain to eliminate the causes of most clogs in home lines. Arrange for a plumber to clear any blockages.
2. Maintain Lines
A homeowner can use an enzymatic cleaner on a monthly basis to keep sewer lines clear. These products formulated with beneficial bacteria produce enzymes that break down organic matter. Unlike chemical drain cleaners, enzymatic cleaners are not harmful to the environment or pipe materials. Old lines are more likely to develop blockages from invasive roots and will eventually require replacement.
3. Install a Backwater Valve
A backwater valve is the last line of defense against a flooded basement. This valve allows sewage to pass through but prevents contaminated water from returning. Backwater valves can prevent backups caused by blocked or overflowing city sewage lines. Retrofitting an existing plumbing system with a backwater valve can be a significant investment, but this equipment should minimize expenditures on restoring sewage damage that is excluded from most homeowners' policies.
When wastewater starts backing up, a homeowner should contact a plumber sooner rather than later to determine the cause of the problem. Backups may result from clogs, invasive tree roots, or a line that requires replacement. Taking these measures can reduce the risk of a flooded basement at a home in Concord, MO.

Tips for Getting an Accurate Estimate for Fire Cleanup

4/18/2020 (Permalink)

Boarded up storefronts in White Pigeon Commercial board up building in Marlborough, MO

Tips for Getting an Accurate Estimate for Fire Cleanup

When a fire strikes your company in Marlborough, MO, you might be anxious about the financial impact of the blaze. A professional fire mitigation franchise can provide some clarity on that front after an inspection and assessment of the property. One aspect of this is a thorough and accurate estimate that takes into account the following services:

  • Fire board up services to secure the building
  • Roof replacement or repair
  • Security guard surveillance if needed
  • Water damage and fire damage restoration
  • Smoke odor removal
  • Reconstruction

Each fire is unique, and not all of these services will be needed for every situation. A clear and itemized list of services and expenses can help you understand where you stand.

The Role of a Restoration Project Manager

This person will in large part oversee the entire project. The project manager will work to determine which areas of the property will need to be cleaned and deodorized and if such services as content cleaning and storage space will be needed. All emergency services needed to recover from the fire will be in the estimate. Working with technicians, the project manager will determine the correct cleaning agents, methods and equipment needed for a full recovery. The resulting bid should be clear and transparent, and the manager should be available for any questions or concerns you have.

The Role of an Experienced Company

Taking charge of a commercial fire cleanup is a large job and you want a company that is Here to Help and that has the experience and training to handle the job. Integrity also is crucial. An inaccurate estimate can be full of surprises and result in unexpected charges. Also, a reliable company can help you coordinate claims with your insurance company. This cuts down on duplicate communications and often results in a more efficient claims process. Faster payment to you means less financial uncertainty during a difficult time.

3 Sandbagging Alternatives

3/31/2020 (Permalink)

Inflatable dam, water inflated flood barrier Inflatable barriers are empty bladders that inflate when filled with water

3 Sandbagging Alternatives

The sand bag has been employed as a tool for protecting buildings from rising waters for decades. This tool can be effective, but there are other alternatives.

1. Inflatable Barriers

Inflatable barriers are empty bladders that inflate when filled with water. Once filled with water, they act as flood dams that can block up to six feet of water and silt. When no longer needed, the water can be drained from the barrier, making this an environmentally friendly solution. These barriers are relatively easy to set up, but if you have a large property to protect, purchasing enough of them to create a perimeter around the property can be expensive.

2. Flood Fence Barriers

Flood fence barriers have become a popular sand bag alternative due to their portability and versatility. Flood fences can be erected around the perimeter of a building and moved as needed. Because they need to be in place before flooding beings, they work best as an option for flooding that can be predicted in advance, such as that from an approaching hurricane or a nearby body of water that has been forecast to reach flood stage.

3. Plastic Polytube Flood Barriers

Polytube flood barriers are long tubes that can be filled with sand, dirt or other substances. The tubes work similarly to the other alternatives by being placed around the perimeter of the property to be protected and acting as a barrier to floodwaters. These tubes are relatively easy to fill and place but can be cumbersome to move once filled.
The sand bag is a tried and true tool for protecting property from flooding, but there are alternatives on the market that are easier to set up, more flexible to use and more eco-friendly. Choosing one of these alternatives may help protect your property from flood damage. However, no flood protection method is foolproof. If floodwaters have affected your building in Lakeshire, MO, you may need professional flood remediation services.

Where Does Mold Grow?

3/29/2020 (Permalink)

Old faucet (water tap) over sink in the bathroom. Dirt Bacteria. Hard water stain of soap and mold. Time to clean. Copy space Mold and mildew growth require a water source

Mold damage to your Grantwood Village, MO, home can cause serious problems. Knowing where the growth is most likely to occur can help you prevent infestations.

Water Sources

Mold and mildew growth require a water source. This can come in many forms, from high humidity to flood waters. The following places are the most likely to have enough moisture to sustain a fungal infestation:

  • Bathrooms
  • Basements
  • Around leaks

The best way to prevent mold colonization is to keep your home dry. Repair leaks and clean up standing water as soon as possible. Keep the indoor humidity below 50%. You may need to run a dehumidifier or the air conditioner in wetter months. If the outdoor humidity is low, you can open windows and doors to help keep your home dry. A ventilation fan can home in handy in humid bathrooms.

Food Sources

Mold growth also requires a food source. Organic materials are excellent nutrient sources for fungi. Pulpy products, such as wallpaper and documents, are ideal. Wood, carpet, dust, and drywall can also support mold growth. If your home is especially prone to mold damage, you may choose to replace some materials in your home with their mold-resistant counterparts. An air purifier can help reduce the dust in your home. As an added bonus, the filter can trap the microscopic mold spores before they have a chance to grow.

Heat Sources

Mold and mildew also need warmth to grow. Temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit are most conducive to mold growth. Depending on your family's preference, your home may fall into this range. If necessary, you can run the air conditioner to keep your home below 70 degrees.
Knowing the conditions and locations ideal for an infestation can help you catch fungal growth early. However, if your home does suffer mold damage, you may need a certified restoration company to perform mold remediation quickly and effectively.

OSHA Requires Certain Businesses to Maintain First Aid Kits

3/3/2020 (Permalink)

Folder with label Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA OSHA is happy to provide free guidance for any additional items your business needs in its emergency kit

In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that certain businesses have a first aid kit matching the size of their organization in Grantwood Village, MO. While inspections of kits are rare, not having one when disaster hits can have negative results, including

  • Lawsuits
  • Civil penalties
  • Possible criminal penalties
  • Denied insurance claims

The OSHA Regulations

OSHA says that all businesses that aren’t in “near proximity” to a clinic or hospital must maintain “adequate first aid supplies.” Near proximity is based on the risks and circumstances of your business operations. For businesses with a high chance of life-threatening injury or illness, they must be within a “3 to 4 minute response time.” For businesses that are unlikely to have life-threatening results, up to 15 minutes is allowed.

The Immediate Need for First Aid

Most kits will do nothing more than gather dust. However, sometimes they are the difference between life and death. If you don’t have at least what OSHA requires, you can be held liable for any resulting damages. If gross negligence is proven, you could also face an expensive criminal charge – and possibly spend time incarcerated.

The Items Needed for a First Aid Kit

The items you need are based on the type of operations at your business. However, certain items should be in every kit, including

  • First aid manual
  • Gauze pads
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Small scissors
  • Antibiotics
  • Adhesive tape
  • Rubber gloves
  • Tourniquet
  • Elastic bandage
  • Sling
  • Mylar emergency blanket
  • Breathing barrier
  • Instant cold compress

OSHA is happy to provide free guidance for any additional items your business needs in its emergency kit. Employees must be familiar with where it is and should have a little training in how to use it. The training can be made fun with small rewards, leaving employees to feel like the training was a welcome break from routine.
If your business has an emergency that causes injury and property damage, first get everyone to safety. Next, use your first aid kit or evacuate the injured to a safe medical facility. Then call an experienced damage restoration company to secure the building and begin the repair process.

Why Is Your Fire Alarm Chirping at 3AM?

2/28/2020 (Permalink)

Changing battery to a smoke detector You can pull out the battery to silence the alarm

Batteries are like kittens and babies – they like to go out at the worst possible times. When your fire alarm starts chirping in the middle of the night, it’s normal for everyone within earshot to keep hoping someone else will get it, but eventually, you’re probably the one who will have to get up to fix it.
You can pull out the battery to silence the alarm, but this has led to serious fire damage in Shrewsberry, MO. However, there’s a simple trick to avoid this problem entirely.

What Causes Batteries to Go Bad?

There are three main components that impact how soon a battery will wear out:

  • Internal chemistry
  • External weather conditions
  • Misuse

Standard 9 volt batteries such as the type in your smoke alarm produce electricity by the reaction between the internal metals and electrolytes. In theory, the chemicals could last much longer than batteries do, because it’s actually a build-up of hydrogen bubbles inside that cuts off the reaction. Some batteries are made to last considerably longer; a common type is called an alkaline battery.
The other factors that cause battery degradation in a fire alarm are weather conditions and misuse. Using a battery for applications it’s not intended can cause an overvoltage and potentially a fire. Also, extreme heat and cold can significantly impact a battery’s life.

Why Does a Bad Battery Make That Awful Chirping Sound?
It’s not actually an evil plot against sleep – it’s meant to help keep you alive. As a battery loses voltage, it doesn’t function as well, eventually dropping below the nominal required voltage for a device. The beeping in the detector is telling you that it may fail at any time. Once the fire alarm is issuing the warning chirp, the battery should be replaced within 24 hours – if for no other reason than to stop that infernal beeping.
If a faulty alarm causes smoke damage in Shrewsberry, MO, there’s a local fire cleanup and restoration company that has long experience with returning your home to pre-fire conditions. SERVPRO makes it “Like it never even happened.”

How to Prevent Water Damage While on Vacation

2/11/2020 (Permalink)

Pipe insulation Insulating water pipes is the least you can do to prevent frozen pipes

How to Prevent Water Damage While on Vacation

What could be worse than coming home from vacation to find a flooded house? Maybe a fire. Yet, flooding happens more often than you think. That’s why you should strive to prevent this expensive ordeal with everything you’ve got.
Common causes of flooding in Crestwood, MO include:

  • Heavy rains
  • Pipe breaks
  • Overflowing rivers
  • Storm surges and Tsunamis

Inspect the Plumbing

Check for leaks as the first thing you do when preparing for vacation. Look under every sink for seepage, check the water heater for cracks and make sure all window seals are in good shape. Also, be sure to check all drains for clogging and test the sump pump before wrapping up the inspection. If you find any issues, no matter how small, have a water pipe repair expert fix it immediately.

Insulate the Pipes

Insulating water pipes is the least you can do to prevent frozen pipes. It will mitigate the risk of broken pipe incidents, saving you thousands of dollars in water damage. There are several options for pipe insulation, including rubber, fiberglass, and electric heat tape. Pick one that fits in your budget and have a licensed plumber install it before jumping on that plane.

Ask a Neighbor to Keep an Eye on Your Property

Having someone to check the house while you are gone is a great idea. It can be a neighbor or a family member who can drop by regularly. Ask the helper to make sure the temperature is 55F or more. Also, let them know where to get a reliable plumber in case the house needs urgent water pipe repair.
Leaving your house for a couple of weeks can be stressful, especially after considering all the things that could go wrong. However, don’t let that ruin your holiday. Inspect as described in this article, or make a water pipe repair service do it for you.