Explaining the Different Categories of Water Damage
There are three categories when it comes to determining how to proceed with a water scenario.
Have you ever wondered if there is a difference in the type of water when your house floods due to a storm, your toilet overflows or a supply-line pipe breaks inside your wall?
You’ve probably overheard SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West’s technicians or an insurance adjuster talking about the category of water and have had it explained to you the three categories that we use to classify the damage. The kind of water in a water classification can affect the drying process, so we wanted to give a little info about each category of water:
Category 1 (Clean)
Category 1 is generally clean water that comes from supply lines, or tub/ sink overflows, or an appliance malfunction caused by an incoming water line. Category 1 water doesn’t usually pose a risk from exposure.
Category 2 (Gray)
Category 2 is the next category and is significantly more contaminated that Category 1. Category 2 can cause sickness or discomfort if it contacts human skin and is usually from overflowing washing machines, dishwashers, or any kinds of water that chemicals or detergents could have gotten into it.
Category 3 (Black)
Category 3 is extremely contaminated water that generally comes from sewage, flood waters, or any kind of biological contaminates getting into water. Extreme safety precautions are needed when working with Category 3 water damages.
It’s important to note that a unless water mitigation is started as quickly as possible it is possible for a Category 1 to go to a Category 3 very quickly, which is why it is important to call a mitigation specialist as quickly as possible.
If you have water damage, contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West at 352-374-6589 and let us help you make your tragedy "Like it never even happened."
Smoke, Soot Hazards Following A Gainesville Fire
Smoke and soot present major health hazards if not cleaned and treated correctly following a fire.
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. But not only that, it can also have hazardous health affects if not treated and cleaned properly.
Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts
Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure. Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor. The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of the affects of smoke as a health hazard and the National Cancer Institute discusses how soot can affect you.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
If you have questions about fire restoration or smoke and soot removal, call SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West today at 352-374-6589.
Is Your Kitchen Safe From Fires?
The kitchen is one of the most hazardous rooms in your home if not properly maintained and handled safely.
Fires in the kitchen can quickly escalate. Stay safe and call SERVPRO after the fire is under control to begin the remediation process.
Your kitchen has the potential to be the most dangerous room in your home. It holds many hazards which can cause unintentional fires and burns. There are some basic safety rules you can follow to keep your kitchen free from hazards. If you have experienced a kitchen fire, you need the professional help of our technicians at SERVPRO. We are a trained and experienced fire damage remediation company who has the tools required to restore your home after a fire.
The first thing you should always have in your Gainesville kitchen to prevent fire damage is a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. A smoke detector also needs to be installed and maintained regularly. Any cleaning products should be stored away from children, and do not leave a heat source or fire unattended.
Stove and Oven
Clean your range and oven regularly and thoroughly. This prevents residual grease and food from catching fire. While cooking, keep pot handles turned inward away from the stove’s edge. Do not wear loose, long sleeves which can hang over the stove while cooking. Keep your eye on the oven at all times when it is on and turn it off when you are done cooking.
Flammable items such as dish rags, towels, and curtains should not be near the stove. Also, be cautious with flammable liquids, since a small spark can ignite vapors from these fluids.
Ensure all vents are clear of obstructions and the microwave has enough space for air circulation. Do not put foil or other metals in the microwave oven, as they can create sparks and fires.
Do not use appliances which have not been tested and approved by a recognized facility. Keep electrical outlets from being overloaded and check for broken or worn wiring regularly. Make any needed repairs in a timely fashion and keep cords on the counter so they do not get pulled down accidentally.
Deep Fryers and Frying Pans
The best thing to prevent fryer fires is to use a fryer with a controlled thermostat. Do not allow grease and fat buildup in pans or on the stove since they can easily catch fire. When SERVPRO arrives at your home, we assess the damage first, including any smoke, soot and/or water damage. Before we begin any remediation, we go over the plan with you so you can understand all that is happening.
Call on SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West at 352-374-6589. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to start working on your home or business kitchen fire and make it "Like it never even happened."
Storms increase awareness in Southeastern states
With Hurricane Laura hitting Texas and Louisiana, now's the time to check over your emergency storm checklist.
Advanced planning in the Gainesville-Alachua County area is key
With Hurricane Laura making landfall in Texas and Louisiana, the summer/fall storm season is ramping up throughout the Southeastern states and we need to be diligent in preparation in the Gainesville and Alachua County area.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a warning earlier in August stating an “extremely active hurricane season possible for Atlantic Basin” and urging preparedness as we enter the peak months.
At SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West, we take storm season seriously as we either travel to affected regions or stay in our home area of North-Central Florida to respond to damage resulting from high winds, rain and flooding.
Like any emergency, you want to plan in advance. The State of Florida website offers a comprehensive list for kits, how to secure your home, and dealing with power outages that includes the following:
It is important to create a kit of supplies that you could take with you if you are forced to evacuate. This kit will also be useful if you are able to stay in your home, but are still affected by the storm, such as through the loss of power. One common trend seen when hurricanes are approaching is a wide-spread panic. When this happens, people rush in large numbers to get all the supplies they think they need. However, if you prepare your kit ahead of time, you can alleviate a lot of the potential stress of a very chaotic situation. You should create your kit in a bag that you can easily take with you. Some recommended items to include are:
- Non-perishable food (enough to last at least 3 days)
- Water (enough to last at least 3 days)
- First-aid kit (include any prescription medication you may need)
- Personal hygiene items and sanitation items
- Flashlights (have extra batteries on hand)
- Battery operated radio (again, have extra batteries)
- Waterproof container with cash and important documents
- Manual can opener
- Lighter or matches
- Books, magazines, games for recreation
- Special needs items: pet supplies and baby supplies if applicable
- Cooler and ice packs
- A plan for evacuation and for if family members are separated
Securing Your Home
Know how to secure your home in the event of damaging winds, storm surge and flooding.
- Cover all your windows, either with hurricane shutters or wood.
- Although tape can prevent glass from shattering everywhere, be warned that tape does not prevent the window from breaking.
- If possible, secure straps or clips to securely fasten your roof to the structure of your home.
- Make sure all trees and shrubs are trimmed and clear rain gutters.
- Reinforce your garage doors.
- Bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans, decorations, and anything else that is not tied down.
- If winds become strong, stay away from windows and doors and close, secure and brace internal doors.
In the event a storm should leave you without power, there are a few things to consider and help you be ready and stay safe outside of your normal hurricane preparedness.
- Gas: Make sure your tank is full far in advance of an approaching storm. Most people wait until the last minute, rush to get extra gas for cars and generators, and subsequently gas stations can run out early.
- ATMS: Have extra cash on hand in the event no ATMS in your area are accessible or working.
- Cell Phones: Charge your cell phone and limit use after power is out.
- A/C: This can be the most uncomfortable side effect of losing power during a storm. Try to prevent as much light from entering and warming the house by covering up your windows on the inside. If you have back-up or battery-operated fans, don't run them unless you are in the room. Fans create a difference in perceived temperature but do not cool the room; instead, they create a cooling effect by dispersing the heat off your skin. It is said they can actually add heat to a room just by running.
- Water: Fill bathtub and large containers with water for washing and flushing only.
- Food: Turn your fridge temperature down and/or freeze any food or drinking water that can be frozen if you expect a power outage. Here is a guide on freezing food: Freezing and Food Safety. Have a cooler with ice packs prepared to cool your drinks and snacks after power has been out for more than 4 hours.
- Health/Safety: The CDC has a great guide on how to stay safe in the event of a power outage: Power Outages
And if tragedy strikes and your house floods, a tree crashes into your roof and exposes the attic and rooms below to water damage, or a power outage causes your HVAC to go out creating a possible mold situation, call on SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West at 352-374-6589. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to start working on your home or business disaster and make it "Like it never even happened."
What you need to know about slab leaks
In Florida, you need to keep a careful eye on water and moisture developing around your foundation.
In Florida, the majority of residents live in homes that were built on a concrete slab of foundation. This slab of concrete is the support and main structure for your entire home, so as you can imagine, it is important that it is kept in good shape.
The following is information about slab leaks so that you can keep your home in excellent condition.
What Are Slab Leaks?
A slab leak is the term professionals use when referring to leaking water pipes underneath a house. Typically, copper pipers are buried beneath slabs of concrete underneath your foundation. Unfortunately, this means that they can go unnoticed for a long time. And as the water damage builds up, soaking away at the under structure of your home, these leaks can do considerable damage to the exterior over time.
What Causes Slab Leaks?
Water pipes often use copper because it is resistant to water erosion. However, nothing lasts forever, and nothing is invulnerable. As time goes on the copper in the pipes becomes corroded and eventually cracks and holes develop. When these appear in above-ground pipes, they are called pinhole leaks, but underground where they can go undetected for months, they can cause a lot of damage.
Other causes include things like sinkholes or less severe forms of ground shifts, which are common in Florida with our high-water table and torrential downpours. When the surrounding soil shifts erratically, it can put pressure on the pipes from multiple different directions, leading to stress fractures and warping the metal.
Damage could also be caused by natural abrasion as the pipes shift and grind against exposed surfaces. This is a common issue if pipes were buried too close to the concrete above, or even too close to one another.
Another alternative is that the pipes were simply installed improperly or suffered damage during the installation process. Minor gaps or dents may seem like nothing but can become significant as time and pressure work on them.
Slab Leak Indicators
These leaks typically start small and, because the leaking pipes are buried under thick concrete, are not always easy to detect. However, there are a couple of signals homeowners should know so they can more easily spot a slab leak before it becomes a bigger problem. These signs include:
- Mold or mildew growth or a general musty smell
- Moisture under the carpets
- Low water pressure
- Puddles of water in your yard or near the base of your house
- Pipes or water meters active when not in use
- Sudden increase in your water bill
Understanding these indicators and knowing what to look out for can save you a massive headache and significant repair bills in the future, so keep this list as a reference.
If you notice any of the above factors or have noticed any weird occurrences with your plumbing, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional for help. If you do encounter a slab leak and encounter water damage, reach out to SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West to help get your home restored in quick order. Call us today at 352-374-6589.
Carpet Cleaning For Your Business Is A Must
We offer different types of carpet cleaning depending on what you have.
How often do you get your carpets cleaned? Yearly, every few years, or never? One of the first things your customers see when they walk into your company is your carpeting. And if you have a big stain or it is just dingy looking, that is one of the ways they will rate their overall experience when they do business with you.
Sometimes your carpet looks cleaner than it is. It’s hard to see the dirt, dust, spills, and other debris that gets trapped in your carpet because it sinks toward the carpet bottom. Carpets act like filters that tend to “swallow” or entrap whatever falls on them. The good news is that simple actions can keep your carpet clean, fresh, and looking new.
How to Make Your Carpet Last Longer
Just about all carpet manufacturers agree on what you can do between carpet cleanings to increase your carpet’s life span and keep it clean, fresh, and good-looking. One tip is to clean your carpet before you can easily notice any dirt or soiling. People who wait until their carpet looks dirty frequently find they can never restore their carpet to its former appearance.
Vacuuming is a number one component to proper care and maintenance of your carpet. But carpet manufacturers also recommend:
- Spot removal
- Pilating the carpet to prevent matting
- Moving furniture to change traffic patterns
- Using walk-off mats to limit the amount of soil tracked onto the carpet
SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West can address moderate and heavy soil conditions in your carpets. How often you will need our professional carpet cleaners service depends on soil build-up, traffic, and the type and color of your carpeting. Most people find it wise to professionally clean their carpet every 12 months.
Clean Before You See the Dirt
And did you know that dirt builds up in your carpet in layers? When your carpet looks dirty you are only seeing the dirt at the tips of the fibers. Much more dirt is hiding below the surface down near the base of the pile. The deeper the dirt, the more the damage to the carpet. When a carpet is saturated with dirt, the soil has penetrated crevices and has become firmly lodged.
What We Offer
We also offer a range of specialized cleaning methods:
- Bonnet Cleaning: A less aggressive method for short piled carpets.
- Hot Water Extraction: A deeper cleaning method for all carpet types.
- Deluxe Precondition and Rinse: Helps restore deeply soiled areas.
- Showcase Premier Cleaning: The most thorough cleaning method in the industry.
- Dry Cleaning: When color-fastness is an issue.
Protect your investment by calling us to clean and maintain your carpet and upholstery. The SERVPRO system offers several cleaning options to match any type of upholstery or carpet. Call on our SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West professional cleaning services. At 352-374-6589. SERVPRO’s carpet cleaners service is among the best cleaning services.
New Testing Equipment Helps Ensure Cleanliness
Our new testing ensures our customers that we are properly disinfecting.
When SERVPRO Gainesville West/Alachua County West arrives to do a disinfectant cleaning for your business or residence, we are now armed with a testing device that allows us to detect how effective we are in sanitizing your location.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation earlier this year, we researched equipment that would assist us in providing the best cleaning value for our customers who contacted us to say that their business or residence had a potential or confirmed coronavirus scenario that needed addressed.
One of the tools we purchased is the Hygiena SystemSure Plus luminometer testing device, where we swab non-soiled high touch points around rooms (doorknobs, light switches, heavily used flat surfaces in kitchens, dining areas, etc.) prior to cleaning and measure the initial ATP count. After we finish our in-depth disinfectant cleaning, we re-swab the exact touch-point areas and check the new ATP count to see how effective we were in decreasing the biological matter.
The key feature of ATP monitoring systems is the use of bioluminescence technology to identify and measure adenosine triphosphate, commonly known as ATP. ATP is an energy molecule found in all plant, animal, and microbial cells. All organic matter (living or non-living) contains ATP, including food, bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms. In industries where hygiene control or cleanliness is crucial, ATP testing is an excellent tool for detecting and measuring biological matter that will be significantly reduced after cleaning.
It takes only seconds to give us an accurate ATP count once the swab is pressed firmly onto the testing surface and brushed in a crisscross pattern around a 4-inch by 4-inch radius to gather a good sample size. Using this technology helps to ensure we are doing a good job cleaning and gives our customer the peace of mind that the area we have treated is safer than when we arrived.
To schedule a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation, call SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West today at 352-374-6589.
Hurricane Isaias prompts call for storm preparedness
Don't let the slow 2020 hurricane season to date keep you from being prepared at your business or residence.
With Hurricane Isaias moving toward Florida, it is a good time to check over your severe weather preparedness for the remainder of the hurricane season that begins June 1 and runs through November 30.
While it may be difficult to prepare for the unpredictable, there are steps you can take now to ensure you are ready when disaster strikes. One way to prepare your business for any type of disaster, is to establish an Emergency READY Profile (ERP). Contact SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West to learn more about the ERP and how it can help you.
Consider the following tips when preparing for an approaching storm for both your business and even your home.
Before the Storm
- Build an emergency supply kit and develop a communication plan.
- Unplug any electronic equipment before the storm arrives.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- If you are outdoors, get inside a building, home, or hard top vehicle (not a convertible).
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
During the Storm
- Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.
- Avoid contact with corded phones. Cordless and cellular phones are safe to use.
- Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords.
- Unplug appliances and other electrical items, such as computers. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Avoid contact with plumbing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
After the Storm
- Never drive through a flooded roadway.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
Below is a recommended item for basic emergency supply list
- Water (one gallon per person per day)
- Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferably a NOAA Weather Radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Dust Masks or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, tarps, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Hygiene items
- Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification, and bank account information
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
How Do You Handle A Sewage Backup?
Sewage backups occur for various reasons. Let us help clean up the biohazard scene and get your home or business back to normal.
Water damage is challenging enough when you are dealing with a burst or broken pipe, but it gets even more challenging when you are grappling with a sewer backup. Black Water requires special methods for a safe and secure cleanup.
Cleaning up after a flooded toilet or septic system backup means not only drying the area and cleaning the home furnishings and belongings, but also disinfecting all the affected areas. That’s why it is essential to work with a professional sewer cleanup service like SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West that has the tools to handle the job.
Discovering the Problem
1. Turn off the water to the toilet or other appliance affected by the sewage backup.
2. Contact the cleanup service and your insurance carrier.
3. Keep pets and kids clear of the affected areas.
4. Contact repair services to fix the cause of the backup.
Any cleanup that requires thorough disinfection as part of its process presents a strong risk to well-being from unprotected exposure. We advise that you make sure to minimize any human exposure to the affected areas of your home until after you have gotten professional help with sewer cleanup following the accident. Our SERVPRO crew dons PPE personal protective equipment before we begin the treatment.
Using Sewer Backup Cleaning Specialists
Water damage and restoration companies carry certifications that tell you what kinds of emergencies they are certified to handle. When you are dealing with a flooded toilet or a sewer that has backed up, you need to find a company whose employees are qualified to deal with sewage and other biohazards. That way, you know they can apply the proper disinfectant cleaning protocols during your cleanup.
Repairing Your Plumbing
You may need to line up a plumbing service in addition to your cleaning service, but not always. If you do need a plumber, make sure you let the cleaning crew finish, so any contaminated areas are disinfected. When sewer cleanup goes first, the repair can be completed more quickly and efficiently.
Consider SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West as a local company that can make you feel "Like it never even happened." (352) 374-6589.
Deciding What Is Salvageable After a House Fire
When dealing with the emotional aftermath of a fire, let our professionals assist you with what can be kept and what needs to be discarded.
Dealing with the devastation of a residential fire is never easy. Once you have experienced the heat, flames, and destruction, you are likely to be an emotional wreck. You need a quick assessment of the damage done to your home’s structure, followed by an immediate implementation of a recovery plan by a qualified team of experts.
Who Knows Which Items to Discard and Which to Save?
Although it might seem as though our managers and technicians are focused primarily on the fire damage to your house’s structure, we also have the training and familiarity with the evaluation and appropriate restoration of compromised household goods and furnishings. Sometimes homeowners discard items they could have saved, wasting time and expense to replace. Rely on our professionals for expert evaluation and guidance when you wonder and worry about contents cleaning and recovery after fire damage.
Are Some Household and Personal Items Hazardous to Keep After a Fire?
There are categories of household contents that can pose concerns if kept for use after a fire. Items for consumption that are likely to be in close contact with your family must be evaluated and discarded if no restoration can stop their damaged condition from putting your or your family’s health at risk.
Can You Keep Food After a Fire?
Even if the food looks normal and seems unburned by the flames, there can be many crucial reasons why our crew members recommend that disposal of it should occur.
- Food in opened packages or on counters or tables needs discarding. Smoke, soot, and firefighting chemicals or water contaminate the food, rendering it unfit or even dangerous, for consumption.
- Food still sealed in bags, bottles, jars, and cans might seem safe, but if they had exposure to heat during the fire, the temperature change could activate bacteria inside containers. Food spoilage and poisoning can occur, demanding that you err on the side of caution and throw out any questionable food.
- Toxic fumes and soot can pass through the cardboard and plastic of boxed foods like crackers, cereals, and baking supplies. Particles have been found in jars, climbing the ridges on a screw top. Throw out any foodstuff in this category.
A refrigerator or freezer can provide adequate protection for the foods kept within during a fire under certain circumstances. If all the following is true, the contents are likely to be safe:
- The appliance sustained no fire or heat damage and remained sealed the entire time.
- The power was not cut or four or fewer hours passed without electrical operation.
Regardless of a “passing grade” received by meeting the above criteria, if any of the following is accurate, do not eat frozen or chilled food:
- A smoke smell pervades the interior of the appliance
- Soot is visible inside the appliance
- The temperature of the interior of a refrigerator exceeds 40 degrees
- Items in a freezer are softening and have no visible ice crystals
- Foods have any unusual odor or texture
What Are the Rules About Using Medications, Cosmetics, and Other Personal Care Items After a Fire?
If heat or flames were near over the counter or prescription drugs or treatments, chemical changes may occur, especially if bottles, jars, tubes, or packaging shows melting or warping, then you need to discard.
Anything used on the body, face, or hair also can undergo chemical changes through heat or burning, and soot can pass through packaging. Shampoos, lotions, creams, soaps, body washes, and other items are all of concern. Soot particles are toxic and abrasive, so even tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and similar products, like diapers, cotton balls or swabs, hair or face brushes, sponges, and more can be harmful to use on skin or hair.
Is It Safe to Reuse Linens and Clothing?
Restoration for textiles and fabrics is possible with proper cleaning, disinfection, and deodorization. SERVPRO technicians at our production facility can examine and review the fire damage to these items to make sure you and your family can enjoy them again safely.
What Are the Recommendations for Furniture, Household Goods, and Personal Possessions?
We often suggest a partial pack-out of a wide range of the removal of fire damaged items in your home. We use a detailed Contents Claim Inventory Service (CCIS) to track the articles, employing traditional lists, barcoding, and digital images. Our specially trained content technicians have a wide range of resources and interventions to assess and plan for the restoration of the items. The documentation provided by CCIS helps us keep your insurance carrier apprised and can support claims for our services or replacement when necessary.
Years of highly skilled and well-equipped responses to residential fire damage poises SERVPRO of Gainesville West/Alachua County West to assist you and your family with taking care of all the aspects of fire loss devastation. Call us 24/7 at (352) 374-6589 for compassionate professional restoration and reconstruction services for your home and its contents.