Recent Posts

Vacation Tips To Prevent Mold

2/14/2019 (Permalink)

Mold prevention is something that few people think about until the damage is done. Mold growth can occur in less than 48 hours, and water damage can decrease that time significantly. No one wants to come home from a vacation to find that they’ve got a problem, but there are steps you can take to avoid that.

Turn Off Your Water

Turning off the water at the main connection might seem like overkill, but it could save you a headache and a lot of money. One leaky connection or busted pipe can quickly lead to thousands of dollars of water damage, and the wet conditions are ideal for mold growth. Shutting down that possibility is a quick and easy mold prevention measure that everyone can take with just a few common tools.

Turn Down the Temperature

Warm, wet spaces are the best place for mold spores to develop into colonies. Keeping the temperature low in your space may not be entirely comfortable when you get home, but it will negate the possibility that mold will grow and spread in your absence. Turn down your air conditioning, or simply turn off your heating system, and relax in the knowledge that your space will be uncomfortable for any lingering mold spores.

If All Else Fails

Call a professional. Even if you’ve been as proactive as you could be, the unexpected can still leave you with a problem. A do-it-yourself fix might seem like a good option in the heat of the moment, but invariably a professional approach is best when it comes to isolating and mitigating mold. A qualified contractor can use specialized equipment to dehumidify your space, filter the air to remove excess spores, and restore your property to its former glory.

Mold prevention is a simple and often overlooked step when readying for vacation. Be sure you use these tips to avoid mold growth and water damage while you’re away. 

Are You Prepared for Spring Flooding?

2/13/2019 (Permalink)

While spring brings the promise of warm weather and longer days, it also brings a variety of conditions that can include heavy rains and severe weather, which can increase your flood risk. During the rainy season, we are at high risk for flash flooding, which can occur rapidly within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall.

As one of the most common hazards in the United States, it's important we prepare for the potential disaster that flooding can cause. Even if you are located in a low risk flood zone remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future.

In order to help prepare you for the possibility of a flood, I offer the following tips:

  • Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan
  • Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk
  • Install check-valves to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your facility
  • Seal basement walls and floors with waterproofing compounds to prevent seepage through cracks
  • Always keep your gutters and downspouts clean to allow water to flow freely
  • Prepare a flood evacuation plan
  • Know how to safely shut-off utilities
  • Keep insurance and vital records in a water-proof box
  • Have a portable radio to listen for important current information

The longer you wait to call, the greater the chance of mold growth and unrecoverable property. SERVPRO professionals have the expertise to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects of water damage.  

What To Do When Your Water Heater Leaks

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

Waking up is hard to do. You need to get out of your cozy bed, go wash up, get dressed and get some coffee in you before you start your day. Now think of getting out of bed, as hard as that is, walking slowly to the shower, opening the hot water, and waiting for it to run so you can hop in, and nothing happens.

Water stays cold as ice, you realize you can't hit the shower this morning, and you try to figure out what just happened. Is it the water heater? Could it be broken? Time to check it out.

As you walk downstairs you hear a low trickling noise as if a faucet is open somewhere. You keep going, and as you approach the basement, you hear it louder - there is water running somewhere over there. Question is - where? As you reach the last step, you put your foot down and immediately realize you haven't even opened your eyes properly. You're standing in a big pond, which was once your basement. No hot shower today. What now then?

First thing - close the water source. Whether it's the water heater or a pipe, make sure no more water can get in. Close the water mains and shut down any valve leading to the affected area.

Second, take care of all that water. Water spreads fast and has the power to cause lots and lots of trouble over time. If you don't have a water drain in the basement, it's time to call SERVPRO of South Madison County at 256-533-5335.

Water leaks and floods should be taken care of as fast as possible. The reason is that most homes aren't waterproof on the inside. Standing water will ruin your carpets, floors, furniture, and even get into drywall if given the opportunity. Moreover, the standing water becomes a health hazard after a while, even if they came from a clean source (also called Category 1 water damage). Another reason for you to hurry is mold and how fast mold can start to grow after your basement suffered from a water damage.

SERVPRO of South Madison County offers a 24/7 response to all your water damage requirements and needs, providing you a quick and thorough solution to your problem. We'll get your life back to normal in no time.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

Frigid winter temperatures can cause pipes to freeze. While we can’t control the weather, there are things we can do to prevent pipes from freezing. We’ve pulled together tips to help prevent frozen pipes and a list of suggestions for you to follow if they do.

Frozen water pipes and the damage they can cause are a reality for thousands of people each year. That’s especially the case when you are at below freezing temperatures for an extended period of time.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety says a burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage. That’s because the damage can be extensive.

To prevent pipes from freezing and causing major damage, follow these steps:

  • Drain water from pipes that are likely to freeze. This includes your swimming pool and sprinkler water supply lines.
  • Disconnect any hoses from the outside of your home, drain the hoses and store them in the garage. Make sure to close the indoor valves supplying these outdoor access points.
  • Insulate the area around vents and light fixtures. This helps prevent heat from escaping into the attic.
  • Seal any wall cracks. Be sure to pay careful attention to the areas around utility service lines.
  • Open kitchen cabinets. This allows the warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Keep the garage doors closed to protect water lines.
  • Allow your faucets to drip cold water on the coldest days. The movement will make it harder for the water to freeze.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Never let it fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave your home.
  • Ensure you have proper seals on all doors and windows.
  • Place a 60-watt bulb in areas where you’re concerned about pipes freezing. Make sure there are no combustible materials near the bulb.
  • Take swift action if the pipes located inside an exterior wall are freezing. Cut a hole in the wall toward the inside of the house to expose those pipes to warmer air.

Signs of frozen pipes

One of the earliest signs of a frozen pipe is when no water comes out of your faucet when you turn it on. If you notice that, first head to the basement and check to see that the water is still turned on and that you don’t have a leak. Once you’ve confirmed these two things, continue your inspection to make sure one of your pipes has not burst.

If your search reveals that your pipes are frozen but none have ruptured, you have two choices:

  1. Call a plumber to help thaw your frozen pipes. This is a good idea if you don’t think you can safely thaw the pipes yourself, you don’t know where the frozen pipes are or you can’t access the frozen area.
  2. Attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself. Be aware this option can be dangerous if not done correctly.

If you attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep your faucet open. Water and steam will be created during the thawing process, and your pipes need an opening to discharge this. Keeping the faucet open also allows for moving water to run through the pipe, which will expedite the thawing process.
  • Apply heat to the section of the pipe that is frozen. This can be done by wrapping an electronic heating pad around the pipe, scouring the area with a hair dryer or both. If you lack either of these items, using towels soaked in hot water will help as well. Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heaters, a charcoal stove or any other open flame device to thaw your frozen pipes. You should also avoid using a space heater unless you are sure the area is clear of any flammable material.
  • Continue applying heat until water flow returns to normal. Once you have successfully thawed the pipe, turn on other faucets in your home to check for any more frozen water pipes.

Candle Safety

1/31/2019 (Permalink)

While flashlights and battery-powered lamps are safe sources of light during lengthy power outages, candles are also reliable alternatives if used safely. It’s important to remember that a candle is an open flame, which always runs the potential risk of a fire-related accident. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 20% of candle fires involving fatalities occur during a loss of power.

Here are some safety precautions to follow when the lights go out:

DO pay attention to proximity. It’s important to make sure that you’re not burning a candle on or near anything that could catch fire. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, or any other flammable objects. Place burning candles at least 3 inches apart from one another so they don’t melt one another or burn improperly.

DON’T leave burning candles unattended. Try to restrict people and candles to one room in the house so the location of family members can always be accounted for and you can keep an eye on open flames. Extinguish all candles before going to bed or leaving a room.

DO place candles on a fire-resistant surface. Place a handle in its holder on a stable, nonflammable surface, such as a metal cookie sheet, frying pan or ceramic plate.

DON’T light a candle if you smell gas. If you smell gas inside or outside your home, immediately put out all open flames, shut off your gas supply, leave the area, get to a safe place, and call 911.

DO use pillar or container candles. Broader-based candles are a suitable option for power outages, as these are less likely to be accidentally knocked over. When possible, candles should be enclosed within glass hurricane holders or globes.

DON’T use candles as a search guide or night light. Avoid walking around with a candle. Dark rooms can increase the chance of tripping or brushing against a flammable item. Use a flashlight instead.

DO keep candles out of reach of children and pets. Place candles up high to avoid the risk of pets, children, or adults accidentally bumping candles over in the dark.

If you have any questions on candle safety or need any fire mitigation services, contact SERVPRO of South Madison County at 256-533-5335. We are available 24/7 to assist.

Basement Water Damage

10/18/2018 (Permalink)

Water damage can happen in any area of your home. However, the basement offers its own unique challenges when it comes to water damages. The most common type of water damage in the basement results from broken water pipes. The first step is to turn off the water at the main valve. You'll need to start cleaning up right away to prevent mold, mildew and bacteria from forming. 

It is important that you remove rugs, furniture and other items that have gotten wet. Take them outdoors where they can completely dry in the sun. Use a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner that is made especially for water cleanup. A submersible pump is a good tool to use if you can rent one. Use a powerful fan to finish drying the room. 

Choose a professional water restoration company like SERVPRO of South Madison County. These types of companies have both the experience and the equipment to remove the water in basement. Call your insurance agent to see if your policy will cover water or flood damage. Water can seep behind walls and other places where major damage can occur. 

Water damage in the basement can also cause structural damage. If this is the case, it will cost a lot more money than simply hiring a restoration expert. Underground water seepage can cause the surrounding ground to shift. Evidence of this type of damage is found with cracks along the walls and ceilings.

Do not hire a carpet cleaning service to restore your basement. They may not have the experience, education or skill to complete the job correctly. Instead, look in your local yellow pages for an actual fire and water restoration company. Pay careful attention to the contract before you sign it. Most restoration companies will guarantee their work. 

Floods and water emergencies can happen to any homeowner. Be prepared for this type of emergency by choosing experts before you need them. A water emergency can occur in your utility room where your washer and dryer is found. Other common places include the dishwasher, refrigerator with ice maker and pipes underneath the house.

Know where your water main cutoff is located before an emergency. Turning off the water will prevent further damage while you wait for a professional restoration company to come to your home.

SERVPRO of South Madison County professionals provide fire and water damage restoration services 24 hours/7 days a week and are ready to restore damage to your home or commercial structure.

Mold Remediation For Your Huntsville Restaurant

10/17/2018 (Permalink)

When mold damage threatens your restaurant, count on the SERVPRO team!

Huntsville restaurants, bakeries, and other food preparation enterprises know inspections are regularly conducted to ensure public health and safety. Mold growth is one of the negative marks your business can receive, so you want to move on mold remediation before the inspector comes. Stick to creating your delicious savory and sweet treats and hire us to manage the mold.

Mold damage in your Huntsville restaurant not only violates health regulations but also repels your customers if they see or hear about it. In a perfect world, your business would never need to deal with mold growth, but the conditions supportive of mold spores are common in most food preparation areas. Mold prefers temperatures from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but some strains thrive at temperatures as low as 30 or high as 120 degrees. Water, even in the form of steam or high humidity fuels the growth of the fungi, and organic materials offer a food source. All commercial kitchens present this type of environment. We are familiar with the challenges of mold remediation in these circumstances.

Expect SERVPRO mold remediation technicians to assess both the current mold damage and the various sources of moisture observed. Unless your business addresses the moisture issues, mold can recur. In kitchens, one of the essentials is an adequate ventilation system, including exhaust fans that move the steam out of the area. Spills, neglected plumbing leaks, and condensation from coolers, freezers, and ice machines all contribute to the water mold spores seek to absorb.

We do our best to complete the mold remediation while allowing your business to operate. The SERVPRO team erects physical barriers to contain the mold area, a zone outside of which your staff and customers remain during the process. Air quality cannot be compromised, so we frequently use negative air pressure machines to prevent the contaminated air from drifting into the rest of your business and employ HEPA filters to catch airborne debris before venting to the outdoors.

Let SERVPRO of South Madison County partner with you when mold damage threatens your food service business. Call us for an evaluation of even a minor infestation at (256) 533-5335, the sooner, the better to retain your hard-earned reputation for unique and tasty delicacies.

The Trouble With DIY Restoration

10/16/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage The Trouble With DIY Restoration When dealing with water damage, it's often the damage that you don't see that ends up causing serious issues.

Huntsville and Madison residents take pride in their homes and properties. When disaster strikes or when you have a substantial mess to clean up, it is a common belief to roll up your sleeves and get to work to fix the problem as best as you can on your own. The trouble with DIY restoration for water incidents is that many homeowners don't get all of the problem addressed, allowing for continued damage.

While a homeowner might see a water damage situation in their Huntsville  residence as little more than a reason to break out the mop and run some fans, there is much more to water damage restoration. Ensuring that the area gets thoroughly dried requires specialized equipment and detection tools. Failure to get your home below moisture standards for a house can lead to worsening conditions that pose a threat to the structure, as well as your family.

One of the reasons that you might consider professional restoration like SERVPRO provides is our ability to respond to your situation rapidly. Even in smaller scale water incidents, fast response time is critical to mitigating loss and to get to work quickly on removing the water and drying up the affected areas.

Another reason that a homeowner should think about our SERVPRO team is our industry-leading equipment, expertise, and unique training. These facts help us quickly assess the full scope of the damage that affects your home and choose the most efficient and practical approach to eliminating the moisture and preserving the construction materials that have gotten saturated by the incident.

As much as you might be among the homeowners that seek to do things for themselves when something happens to their home, situations like water damages require professionals with the right training and equipment to ensure that the job gets done adequately. Our SERVPRO of South Madison County water damage technicians are available 24/7 for any need you might have by calling (256) 533-5335.

Restoring Your Church After A Flood

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

Your Huntsville church serves many residents throughout the community, often several days a week. Even without being used 24/7, elements of the building are prone to wear and tear throughout the drastic weather changes from season to season. 

The resulting flood damages to your Huntsville church might not get noticed immediately due to the sporadic use of the building, which can allow for widespread concerns. Water can move quickly and affect many areas of your church in a brief period.  Prolonged exposure poses even greater concerns for those responsible for the upkeep and maintenance. In any flooding situation, professional restoration experts like our SERVPRO team can help you resolve the situation quickly.

Flooding can do major damage to structural components, but if you contact our technicians immediately, our rapid response team can help to mitigate some of these losses before areas of your church become irreparably damaged. Part of this practice is our pack-out process which removes items that could be at risk for further damage from the area for concentrated restoration work and safeguarding until the building gets restored to preloss conditions.

Our SERVPRO professionals can also help you overcome this situation and guarantee that the job gets done correctly. With flood cuts (where lower portions of drywall get removed throughout affected areas and later replaced), our team can utilize equipment like air movers and dehumidifiers to remove moisture from wall cavities to prevent secondary hazards like mold growth.

While you might never get prepared to face a natural disaster or accident which causes flooding in your church, having the right team of professionals ready to help can take a lot of the weight off of your shoulders. You can count on our SERVPRO of South Madison County to arrive quickly and work to limit your loss and restore your church completely. Give us a call 24/7 at (256) 533-5335.

Every Second Counts During A Fire

10/11/2018 (Permalink)

Fire experts agree, people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out.  In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place.

A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing the escape plan. The following are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency escape plan.

Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.

Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used.

Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.

Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them. Plan for everyone in your home with special considerations for elderly or disabled individuals.

Practice your fire escape plan during the day and at nighttime.