Springtime Tips for Huntsville Homeowners
Spring in Huntsville means rain and storms, and for many people that can lead to wet floors or even flooding. Intrusion of water into your home can result in mold growth, if left unattended. The best way to control mold growth is to control the moisture. Following these maintenance tips could save yourself a lot of problems down the line.
- Check your roof for any cracks or damage. This will help prevent leaking into the upper floors of your home.
- Clean and check your gutters. When gutters are clogged and not allowing water to drain properly, it could be coming back into your basement or crawl space.
- If your home has a chimney, have it cleaned and examined for damage.
If these problems are left to sit, your home could be at risk for water damage and potentially mold damage. This could lead to very expensive repairs to both the interior and exterior of your home. SERVPRO of South Madison County recommends keeping up with your household maintenance before the springtime showers begin.
If you find yourself with a soggy or soaked carpet, give SERVPRO of South Madison County a call! We know how to handle your small water damages as well as your large water damages. If you have any questions or need assistance, just call 256-533-5335 and we will answer 24/7!
Where’s The Water Shut-Off Valve?
Minimize the extent of water damage by knowing how to shut off your water during a water emergency.
In an emergency, you may have to shut off the water to your home. For example, freezing or thawing may cause a water pipe to break. Water pipe breaks are also common with most types of natural disasters (winter storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and more). Take some time to locate your shut-off valve before an emergency strikes so that you will be better prepared to act quickly if needed.
Where’s The Water Shut-Off Valve?
1. Look for the water shut-off valve where the water line enters your house. If you still have a copy of the home inspection report from the purchase of your home, the location of the shut-off valve may be included in the plumbing section of the report. In most homes in Huntsville, the water shut-off valve should be just inside the house where the water line enters through your home’s foundation or exterior wall.
2. Often the water shut-off valve is a quarter-turn ball valve. If that’s what you have, turn the valve a quarter of a turn until it’s perpendicular to the water pipe. Or your home may have a round handle that you turn clockwise until you can’t turn it anymore. Don’t have a master shut-off valve in your home? Have one installed by a plumber.
If You Have Water Damage Call SERVPRO Of South Madison County at (256) 533-5335
3. Another water shut-off option is closing the municipal water meter shut-off valve. This valve, if you have municipal water, typically is in your front or side yard. Look for a round metal lid or box close to your property line. It’s often 24 to 48 inches from the curb or fence line.
Don’t reach into the meter box until you inspect the area for debris and rodents. You may want to wear gloves. Once inside the municipal water meter box, you’ll need pliers or a specialty tool to turn the valve. Turn it until it’s perpendicular to the water pipe.
Shut-Off Valves For Single Rooms
Sometimes you only need to shut off the water to one room. Most newer houses have shut-off valves at every sink and toilet. Your water heater may have several shut-off valves. If your issue is one leaking sink, just shut off water to that sink. If you know the water heater is leaking, just shut the valves to it off.
If you have a young relative who has recently moved out on their own for the first time, share these tips with them. Landlords may also want to make sure that all of their tenants are aware of the location of the shut-off valve.
Drying Out Your Bedroom Carpet After Water Damage In Your Huntsville Home
One of our technicians uses weighted extraction to remove water from the carpet of a Huntsville home.
Rely on SERVPRO for Water Extraction from Carpets
Water damage can happen in your bedroom at any time. All it takes is a leak, a damaged pipe or even extreme weather. A wet carpet is frustrating and you want to get it dried out as quickly as possible. You might be worried about whether your carpet needs to be replaced. That is why we recommend you call SERVPRO at once. We can begin drying your carpet quickly to prevent further damage.
It is understandable to be concerned that water damage in your Huntsville home means disruption for you and your family. However, in some cases, it is possible for our IICRC-certified technicians to dry out your bedroom carpet while it is still in place. Our experts thoroughly examine your carpet and the extent of the harm to determine whether in place drying is a practical option. It may be necessary to remove your bed, but smaller furniture items such as a chest or a chair can simply be moved from place to place within the room until water extraction is complete.
The first step is to extract any standing water. We train our technicians to use the right type of extraction tools to extract the maximum amount of water with the minimum amount of damage to your carpet.
In place, extraction may begin with a wand tool to prevent water migration. However, the most useful piece of gear is a weighted extraction tool, which uses the body weight of one of our technicians standing on it for maximum water removal. SERVPRO understands that drying carpet without removing it means a longer and more thorough extraction process for best results.
Do not worry if your bedroom carpet is wet – it may be possible to save it. Give SERVPRO of South Madison County a call at (256) 533-5335 to find out.
Huntsville's Regulations & Planning To Minimize Flooding
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA). "Approximately 75% of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding."
With all of the rain over the weekend, many communities in the Tennessee Valley have experienced some flooding issues. The most common cause of flooding is water due to rain that accumulates faster than soils can absorb it or rivers can carry it away. While the weather can't be controlled, there are proactive measures that can be taken to minimize flooding.
Thirteen percent of Huntsville’s developed property is within floodplains. Here are some steps that city officials have put into place to minimize flooding:
- Huntsville officials established strict flood mitigation regulations in 1991 that have been constantly re-examined and updated
- All new commercial and residential development must have retaining areas or draining that can manage the flow of excess water
- Any building within the flood zones must be elevated or flood-proof
- Homes in newer neighborhoods in south Huntsville with a proximity to the river and the feeder creeks must be a foot higher off the ground than standard
- Public Works, Landscape Management and Engineering share the role in keeping waterways free of debris, though landowners must assume a role in clearing banks and ditches adjacent to their property
- Land in floodplain area that couldn’t be adopted as commercial or residential has been transformed into greenspace (recreational areas for walking, hiking and biking)
- Most Huntsville residential draining systems are designed for a 10-year storm, meaning an event that has a 10 percent chance of happening each year
- Huntsville is a participant in a National Flood Insurance program through FEMA and also provides updates to residents whose homes are in floodplains
Safety Tips for National Burn Awareness Week
The smell of cookies baking in the oven or tasty sauces simmering on the stovetop is hard to resist for adults and children alike. However, before you dip your finger into the pot to taste that delicious soup, know that the majority of children who are hospitalized for burn-related injuries suffer from scald burns (65 percent) or contact burns (20 percent). Hot tap water scald burns cause more deaths and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns.
Scalds are the most common burn injury among young children and one of the leading causes of accidental death in the home for children under age four. U.S. hospitals treat an estimated 110,000 people under 19 for scalds every year.
While thousands of scald burns occur annually, increased awareness of the dangers can prevent injuries. To help people be mindful of scald burns, the American Burn Association has declared the first week of February National Burn Awareness Week.
Following a few simple precautions will help keep you and your little chef safe from potential burns:
- Cool a burn under cold running water for 10-15 minutes and call 9-1-1 for serious burns.
- Always supervise children in the kitchen and dining areas.
- Create a “No Child Zone” while preparing and serving hot foods and beverages.
- Don’t carry or hold a child while cooking on the stove. Instead, place the child into a high chair or other safe area while cooking.
- Children love to reach, so to prevent hot food or liquid spills, simply use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from its edge; also, keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters.
- Keep clothing from coming in contact with flames or heating elements.
- A small adjustment to your water heater can give you one less thing to worry about. To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or the manufacturer’s recommended setting.
- Make a habit of placing matches, gasoline, and lighters in a safe place out of children’s reach and avoid novelty lighters as they may look like toys in a child’s eyes.
- When filling the bathtub, turn on cold water first then mix in warmer water carefully.
National Burn Awareness Week is the perfect time to share this information, develop a home fire drill, check your smoke alarms, and to make your kitchen safe for your little chef in training.
Huntsville/Madison Biohazard and Crime Scene Cleanup and Restoration
We provide cleanup and recovery services for many biohazard situations.
Recognized as a leading fire, water, and mold restoration provider by hundreds of insurance companies, SERVPRO also offers fast and reliable biohazard, vandalism and crime scene cleanup and restoration services.
Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers and owners. A failure to properly handle and safely remove such hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous environments.
SERVPRO of South Madison County technicians are trained to safely and effectively remove hazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA and state and local health regulations.
Equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products, SERVPRO helps turn unsafe environments into clean, safe homes and offices.
Our services cover the following issues:
- Bloodbourne Pathogens: SERVPRO removes and disposes of bodily fluids, tissue and other potentially pathogenic substance resulting from accident, trauma, crime or death. Technicians clean, disinfect, and deodorize the structure.
- Methamphetamine Labs: Many chemicals used in the production of illegal drugs, are volatile and can leave harmful residues throughout a structure. SERVPRO follows federal and state guidelines to properly clean all surfaces.
- Crime Scene Residues: Fingerprint powder and evidence-gathering chemicals to tear gas and pepper spray residues can be cleaned from surfaces and contents to restore your property.
- Arson and Vandalism: After the fire trucks are gone, your home and belongings likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO has the specialized fire and water damage cleanup and restoration training and experience to quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition. We also have specific training and equipment for odor removal and deep cleaning of upholstery and carpet.
- Sewage Backups: Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment is necessary to safely clean this type of contamination. This water is grossly unsanitary and could cause severe illness or death if ingested, and any contact should be avoided. Sources for category 3 water could include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- Black Water Intrusions: This water is grossly unsanitary and could cause severe illness or death if ingested, and any contact should be avoided. Sources for category 3 water could include flooding from rivers or streams, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, or standing water that has begun to support microbial growth.
- May contain untreated sewage, harsh chemicals, and microbes
- Water from flooding rivers or sewer backup
- Mold Mitigation and Remediation: Mold can produce allergens and irritants and has the potential to cause other health effects. Mold can spread quickly through your home or business in as little as 48 hours. If you suspect that your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property. If mold is found, we have the training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
Water Damage Statistics
When you consider the statistics, it becomes clear just how common a problem water damage can be. According to insurance industry research,
- 14,000 people in the US experience a water damage emergency at home or work each day
- 98% of basements in the US will suffer from some type of water damage during their lifetime.
- 37% of U.S. homeowners claim to have experienced water damage
Water leaks cause incredible amounts of damage and waste.
- Water leaks from homes in the US can exceed 1 trillion gallons of water in a year.
- Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste at least 90 gallons of water a day.
- A continuously running toilet can waste over 200 gallons of water per day, and
- A 1/8 inch crack in a pipe can spill 250 gallons of water in a day.
- A faucet leaking at a rate of 1 drop per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water in a year.
Protecting Your Warehouse Inventory From Water Damage
Damage in a warehouse needs to be dealt with right away so that the items stored have the best chance of recovery.
Commercial water damage presents double trouble to you as an owner and employer. Not only do you need to recover your premises, equipment, and inventory from the effects of leaks or flooding, you also have employees and customers who rely on you to keep your business running even while restoration efforts are in process. SERVPRO works closely with our commercial clients to avoid closure or a shut down even after a significant water damage to your warehouse or other storage facility affects your business. We encourage business owners to consult with us before any warehouse water disaster by developing an Emergency READY Profile.
Preventing commercial water damage in Huntsville may not be possible if heavy storms or flooding affect your warehouse but a review of your preparedness can limit the effects to your bottom line. Take advantage of our training and expertise by scheduling a thorough assessment of your warehouse and other operations. There is no charge for our review of your facilities, and we will use the information to ready your team should the worst happen.
You can also reduce and prevent the impact of flooding and water damage to both business operations and inventory:
- Keep stock off the floor.
- Routinely clean external and internal drains of debris such as leaves, waste, and other vegetation.
- Prevent water entering the building by installing permanent or removable barriers to seal doors, windows and other openings.
- Raise electrical sockets to keep them clear of possible flood water.
Water Damage Ten Times More Likely Than Fire
Water damage can happen to anyone.
Most homeowners worry about experiencing a fire. Few of us worry about having a water damage in our home. A study of claims data from a major insurance company shows that your home is 10 times more likely to be damaged by water than fire.
Fortunately, much of this water-related damage can be prevented and taking a few simple home maintenance steps can help decrease the chances of water damage.
The following list provides preventive measures to help avoid the top four common causes of non-weather related water damage:
Leaks from washing machine hoses: Washing machine hoses should be inspected annually and replaced every five years – or immediately, if there are any signs of cracking or bulging.
Leaky plumbing around water heaters: Plumbing should be inspected annually and repaired if there are any signs of leaks or corrosion. When possible, water heaters should be installed in an area with floor drains to minimize damage if leaks should occur.
Leaks from refrigerator ice machines: Ice maker connections, usually located behind the refrigerator, should be inspected annually and hoses replaced if they appear cracked or corroded.
Clogged drain lines on air conditioning units: Air conditioning drain lines should be checked yearly.
Tips To Prevent Fires In The Workplace
Last week was Fire Prevention Week and we shared tips on fire safety on our Facebook page. While the main focus is on preventing residential fires, it is also a good time to revisit workplace fire safety and prevention especially since several Huntsville businesses have experienced fire damage recently.
12 Tips to ensure a fire-safe workplace:
Step 1. Get Organized– Practice good workplace housekeeping. Clutter contributes to fires by providing fuel and by preventing access to exits and emergency equipment.
Step 2. Designated Smoking Areas – Smoke only in designated areas, and extinguish smoking materials safely. Never smoke in storerooms or chemical storage areas.
Step 3. Fire Extinguishers – Maintaining the appropriate type and number of fire extinguishers and learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
Step 4. Electrical Hazards – Report all electrical hazards. Many fires start in faulty wiring and malfunctioning electrical equipment.
Step 5. Access to Control Panels – Electrical control panels need to have free access maintained so that the electric could be shut off easily.
Step 6. Maintenance – Maintain machinery to prevent overheating and friction sparks.
Step 7. Sprinkler Systems & Smoke Detectors – Never block sprinklers, firefighting equipment or emergency exits. Observe clearances when stacking materials. Testing of sprinkler systems and smoke detectors at least annually.
Step 8. Chemical Safety – Use and store chemicals safely. Read the label and the Material Safety Data Sheet to determine flammability and other fire hazards. Provide adequate ventilation when using and storing these substances.
Step 9. Waste Control & Storage – Control the accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials and residues so that they do not contribute to a fire emergency.
Step 10. Prevent Ignition – Use all precautions to prevent ignition in potentially explosive atmospheres such as those containing flammable liquid vapors or fine particles. Use non-sparking tools, and control static electricity as required.
Step 11. Exits – Emergency exit diagrams should be posted and emergency exits should be well lit with neon-regulation signs.
Step 12. Contact Info – Employees should have a list of emergency contact phone numbers in case of emergency. Remember that people will often panic in an intense situation; therefore basics such as the company address, phone number and floor plan should be posted.
All of these tips can help prevent fires in your business, office or warehouse. But it's important to note that sometimes the unexpected happens regardless of preventative measures. The simple truth is that fire emergencies and disasters can strike anyone, anytime, anywhere. If your business experiences a fire loss, call the fire and water damage restoration experts and we’ll respond immediately to get you back to business.