HOW TO MITIGATE COMMERCIAL PROPERTY DISASTERS
There is no such thing as a disaster-proof property. Nor is there a perfect, all-encompassing disaster plan for Texas. Our unique location puts us in the path of tornadoes, hurricanes or floods.
Still, a vigilant property manager can mitigate the impact of these unforeseen disasters with some careful preparation. Here are seven things you should do to be prepared for a disaster and its aftermath:
1) Have an Emergency Action Plan in Place
An effective plan will enable your tenants to vacate the property quickly and calmly, as well as gather at a safe distance from the building. Make sure your exits are clearly marked, unobstructed, and known to all. OSHA provides a great tool for developing an Emergency Action Plan for your property that encompasses virtually any scenario.
2) Know Your Tenants
Do you have tenants with special needs such as those who are visually, hearing, or mobility impaired? Are there small children (apartment complexes, daycares, etc.) that may require extra assistance/attention? What about those with respiratory issues? All of these conditions can impact how you implement your Emergency Action Plan.
3) Keep Your Contact Information Relevant
Make sure your employees and tenants provide you with the latest contact information. If someone is unaccounted for, being able to provide current and correct contact information will assist in any search. Also, make sure your insurance agent’s information is up-to-date, as well as your security personnel, the property owner. Make sure that everyone has your information as well.
4) Have an EAP for Your Data
Do you store sensitive documents on-site? If so, then keep originals and irreplaceable documents in fire-proof cabinets or safes.
How often do you move these to an off-site storage facility? If you aren’t using a cloud service, you should definitely look into an off-site storage location for tape and disk backups. Most banks offer a safety deposit box, which is a great place to store sensitive data. Go over your options with your IT professional.
5) Be Prepared for Insurance Claims
The easiest way to visualize and list assets on a commercial property is to film them. A simple walk-through with a high-definition camera – no need for Oscar-level cinematography here – pointing out large-ticket items like HVAC units, IT equipment, the condition of the roof, the foundation, doors and windows will make claims settlements that much easier in the event of a disaster.
Additionally, you’ll want to meet with your insurance agent to review your policy to make sure there haven’t been any changes to your coverage, or that your property is left exposed to a specific kind of disaster. FEMA provides a great PDF on property documentation here.
6) Consider The Aftermath
This is where things can get expensive. You’ve seen the roofers with ladders on their trucks canvassing your neighborhood after a storm. The same thing happens with commercial properties.
Be careful when employing a company to handle your repairs after a disaster. Ask if they are bonded and insured, as is the case with SERVPRO of McAllen, and make sure to consult your insurance provider as well — they may only work with a select group of service providers. Ask other questions like: What sort of warranties do they offer? How long have they been in business? What seems like a good deal now may cost you a fortune later.
With SERVPRO of McAllen, you can rest assured that all the above criteria are met. No job is too small or too big in our point of view. Our attention to detail and customer satisfaction are our main priority.
SERVPRO of McAllen has the ability to provide you with an Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) for your commercial property. In it, we capture all the pertinent information you might need in the event the structure were to go through any type of loss (Water, Fire etc..) You will have all the necessary instructions and information to start the mitigation portion for the loss. And this will be provided in a printed binder and an App for access from anywhere. This is a free service SERVPRO of McAllen can provide to you and hopefully provide peace of mind as well…
Benefits of a Clean Bathroom Exhaust Fan
Are you planning to have your home renovated? Your home should be the most comfortable and sophisticated place to live in. You don’t have to own expensive furniture or items to make it comfortable and cozy. The most important thing to consider is to make sure that no part of your house is being neglected.
We get so overwhelmed with shopping for items to design our house with modern, contemporary or classic style, though one important item to take note of is maintaining the bathroom, especially the bathroom exhaust fan.
How to Clean a Bathroom Exhaust Fan
How to attend to exhaust fan cleaning? Just take a few minutes checking the appearance of the fan and recall when it was that you last opened it and cleaned it. If it has been months, years, or even decades ago, find a way to have it cleaned right away.
How many times have you had your exhaust fan cleaned in your bathroom? If you haven’t had one scheduled yet for some time now, let me share with you the most important benefits of the clean bathroom fan:
Prevents Mold, Mildew and Other Types of Bacteria
Dirt, bacteria, mold, and mildew can easily appear in the bathroom. In the tub, sink, toilet, tiles, and shower, mold and mildew can easily spread even if we utilize the best cleaning liquid or soap. You might even notice that cleaning the bathroom takes a lot of your time and effort. And who are those who really like cleaning this part of the house? Having a clean and polished exhaust fan will help you a lot in this task.
A clean and good performing exhaust fan help prevent the mold and other types of bacteria. The air flows through it smoothly, and so the dirt and mildew or mold can’t survive. With this, cleaning the tub, sink, and tiles become shorter in time and less tedious.
Keeps the Air Clean and Fresh
Have you been spending too much on bathroom fresheners lately? While it’s not a bad idea to diffuse pure essential oils in your home or bathroom, having a good bathroom fan will provide a resource for clean-smelling air and reduce the chance of mold and mildew growing in your bathroom. But to have that refreshing air and atmosphere, make sure to have that exhaust fan cleaned as well regularly. This helps a lot in making sure that the air inside is good for your health. This is to avoid discussions also when other members of your house prefer a different freshener scent. With a natural, clean air, all would enjoy taking showers at any time of day or night.
Prevents Serious Renovation Expenses
Save a lot of money and time through regular maintenance of your house, especially in your bathroom. Schedule an exhaust fan cleaning with a licensed and professional technician. This would only cost less compared to thousands of dollars that may pile up when this part of the house gets neglected over time.
How To Prevent Mold Growth In Humid Climates
It is true that mold can occur anywhere, but humid climates provide the optimal conditions for the fungi to grow and thrive:
1.-The frequent precipitation and high air humidity typical of wet climates produce large amounts of moisture – the main prerequisite for mold growth;
2.-The temperatures in humid climates are usually high throughout most of the year and contribute to the quick reproduction of mold spores.
The excessive moisture combined with the right temperatures allows for extensive mold growth and causes great troubles – mold damage to personal property, health problems and allergic reactions triggered by mold exposure, etc. Getting rid of the mold is very difficult in wet climate areas, as the right conditions for its development remain present, and mold remediation is extremely laborious and time-consuming. The only good solution under these circumstances is to find an efficient way to prevent mold growth in the first place.
Mold prevention in humid climates, however, is quite the challenge. You need to take certain specific measures in order to thwart mold growth in such a moist environment.
How To Prevent Mold In Your Home
You can neither prevent mold spores from entering your home (they exist everywhere in the outdoor environment and can easily get inside through open doors and windows, air ducts and vents, or even attached to clothes, shoes, and bags), nor deprive mold of its “food” (the harmful microorganisms feed on organic materials, such as wood, carpet, paper, insulation, paint, plasterboard, fabrics, cotton, leather, furniture, and even dust that are found in abundance in the home). Your only option is to make sure the ambient conditions in your house are not right for mold to grow:
Ensure proper ventilation. Stale air provides perfect breeding and development conditions for the delicate mold spores – they can take roots, grow, and reproduce, completely undisturbed. To prevent such “untroubled development”, you need to allow plenty of fresh air inside and ensure good air circulation within your home – keep the windows open on sunny days, open doors between rooms, open drawers and closet doors, reduce clutter and move furniture away from walls to improve the airflow in your house, keep air ducts clean and in good condition, run exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens where steam and moisture can build up as a result of common everyday activities, etc. Make sure all areas of your house are properly ventilated and free of musty odors (especially confined and/or dark spaces);
Take care of condensation. Mold thrives on surfaces with condensation, such as windows, metal pipes, and concrete walls. To reduce condensation in your home, you need to keep the indoor temperature higher and the relative humidity in the house lower. Installing appropriate insulation is the way to go here – have in mind though that in addition to ceilings, walls, and other structural elements of the home, it’s advisable to insulate the surfaces that are most prone to forming condensation as well. If you notice condensation, make sure you dry the surface immediately;
Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers to control your indoor climate and keep air humidity low (see below for more details on how to control humidity in home);
Use mold-resistant products and materials in your home. When living in a humid climate, it’s advisable to equip your home with mold-resistant materials – plastic, metal or glass household items and surfaces (instead of wooden ones), tile or laminate floors (instead of carpeted ones), moisture-resistant drywall in which the gypsum core is covered in fiberglass so that the surface becomes impervious to water (instead of traditional drywall in which the core is pressed between plies of paper), paint that contains mildewcides (chemicals that effectively inhibit mold growth), etc.;
Clean, dust, and disinfect household surfaces. Frequent cleaning helps remove the mold spores from household surfaces and considerably reduces the dirt and grime (excellent sources of organic food for the harmful fungi) in the home. Therefore, you are strongly recommended to wash and disinfect plastic, metal, glass, stone, tile and other hard surfaces in your home on a regular basis and dry them well immediately after cleaning. Also, make sure you dust and vacuum often (preferably with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter) to prevent the accumulation of dust and dirt on your furniture, carpets, draperies, etc. It has been found that about 80% of household mold grows on dust. Consider having the carpets and upholstery in your home professionally cleaned once or twice a year;
Inspect your property at regular intervals and immediately after violent storms, torrential rains, snow meltdown, etc. to detect eventual mold growth in its early stages and prevent it from spreading further into your home;
Remove already affected materials to prevent mold spores from contaminating other items.
However practical and adequate these measures may be though, they will not have a substantial effect if there is enough moisture in your home to allow mold growth. The only way to efficiently prevent mold in the house is to control the humidity in the indoor environment.
How To Control Humidity
Humidity control seems easy to achieve with the help of highly advanced technology – we can use AC units, dehumidifiers, and various other hi-tech devices that have been specifically designed to control indoor climate and maintain optimal temperatures and humidity levels within the home. Controlling humidity in wet climates, however, poses a number of specific challenges – you can’t just open the windows to improve airflow in the home, for example (when outside humidity levels are high, letting outdoor air into your house will increase the indoor humidity).
So, how can you control moisture and prevent mold growth in humid climates?
1) Ensure proper air conditioning:
Use quality AC units properly sized for your house. If your air-conditioning unit is too small, it will run constantly without achieving the desired effect; if it is too big, it will start and stop frequently which will make it difficult to maintain constant temperature and humidity levels;
Set your air conditioner to about 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the hot summer months and keep your home warm in cool weather;
Set the AC fan mode to “auto”, not to “on”. When the fan is set to “on”, it runs continuously and does not allow enough time for the moisture that condenses onto the evaporator coil during the cooling cycle to drain off – it is re-evaporated and blown back into the house, increasing the humidity level;
Close windows and doors when your AC unit is running. If the doors and windows are open, warm, humid outdoor air will enter your cooler home and cause condensation;
Maintain your air conditioner in excellent condition to make sure it works effectively. Clean and replace the filters every month during the summer, inspect the condensate drain pipe to make sure it’s dripping regularly (otherwise water may be accumulating inside the unit or on the floor), call a service professional at least once a year for more complex maintenance, such as cleaning the coils, etc.
2) Use dehumidifiers to keep the humidity level in your home below 50%.
3) Do not let wet items stay inside
Dry washed clothes outside or use a clothes dryer (never hang clothes to dry inside). Make sure they are completely dry before putting them away in drawers and closets;
Do not leave wet towels or other wet items lying around in your home;
Take wet shoes off at the door and clean pets’ paws after walks to prevent water and mud from being tracked into your house;
Thoroughly dry your items before storing them inside, especially if they won’t be used for prolonged periods of time;
4) Prevent water from entering your property:
Keep your property in good repair – Inspect the roof and the chimney on a regular basis and make any necessary repairs without delay, repair foundation cracks, fix plumbing leaks, etc.;
Keep the gutters clean – Replace damaged or rusty gutters and drainpipes in due time and make sure they are free of leaves and other debris to ensure proper water drainage;
Direct water away from your home. Make sure the grading around your house slopes away from the foundation – otherwise water may collect there and seep into your crawlspace or basement;
Cover crawl space floors with plastic coverings to prevent groundwater from seeping inside;
Leak-proof doors and windows to prevent water seepage into your home during storms and torrential rains.
How Can Fire Damage Be Harmful To Homeowners?
Some of the biggest challenges associated with fire damage occur after the flames have gone out. During combustion, water vapor and intense heat are generated, both capable of causing extreme destruction. On top of this, smoke and soot will result in ongoing problems as they both contain toxic chemicals and pungent odors. Just how bad the odors and toxic effects are will depend on the composition of the fuel used for combustion, the intensity of the heat, and the length of time the fire ran before it was extinguished.
Plastics and other synthetic materials can leave behind chemical residues that are harmful if inhaled. Wood smoke, usually the greatest contributor to the amount of smoke in the building, contains methane, carbon monoxide, benzene, sulfur dioxide, formaldehyde, formic acid, acetic acid, and traces of heavy metals. This toxic soup will cause major problems for anyone who inhales the smoke or comes in contact with surfaces harboring smoke residue. Soot and smoke particles have a tendency to settle on carpets, furniture, countertops and walls in the hours following combustion. Before the flames go out, they will send smoke throughout the home, into ductwork, and into wall cavities. In short, there may be no place in the building untouched by smoke, and its presence means trouble.
Smoke particles are incredibly small and may be smaller than .01 microns in size. This is typically too small for standard residential air filters to catch. If the smoke particles are allowed to settle inside the home’s walls, they will create odors that are difficult to track down. Smoke is also acidic in nature, so it will slowly deteriorate various materials within the home. What this means is that a homeowner should contact SERVPRO of McAllen to mitigate as soon as possible. Acting quickly is the best defense in reversing the damage.
Removing smoke and soot requires the proper machinery and expertise. Homeowners should only consider professionals such as SERVPRO of McAllen; SERVPRO is certified through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC. This agency has overseen the certification of fire damage restoration companies for decades and is responsible for regularly updating the best practices in the industry. Technicians with IICRC certification are aware of the most advanced techniques and technologies in the industry. They are among the most knowledgeable members of their field.
During restoration, the technician will need to remove any items that have been destroyed and address any standing water left behind. Pooled water can foster the growth of mold and mildew in carpets and other textiles, so it must be removed quickly. The technician will also have an arsenal of counteractants capable of breaking down any soot or smoke they come in contact with. This is handy for removing ash and soot residue left behind on surfaces. Neutralizing odors left behind will be more difficult, but new methods, including thermal fogging or ozone treatment can break down smoke particles and force odors to dissipate.
It may seem like life will never return to normal following a disastrous fire, but with the help of SERVPRO of McAllen, a family can get back on track before long.
What should I do after a hurricane?
The days and weeks after a hurricane damages your home and neighborhood are incredibly difficult, both from an emotional standpoint as well as a physical one. There can be so many emotions running through a person’s mind in those days that many victims often feel paralyzed about what to do next. SERVPRO of McAllen knows all too well the difficulties that come with these kind of natural disasters. Our country was just hit with 2 of the most devastating hurricanes we’ve ever seen, and for them to happen within a couple of weeks is unprecedented. But as regional and national resources are put in place to begin the rebuild process, it’s important for you as a homeowner to understand there are things you can do to begin the difficult task of getting your property and your life back to normal.
When should I return home?
Often times returning home is dictated by local government agencies. In many instances, there are immediate health threats that make it incredibly unsafe to return home. Whether it’s downed power lines, or the presence of flood waters that are highly contaminated, in many disaster areas it’s simply not feasible to have people wandering around in. It’s always advised that you check your local government’s web site in order to receive up to date information regarding the cleanup efforts along with recommendations regarding your return.
Will my home’s damage be covered by insurance?
This is the most common question homeowners typically have when they return to survey the damage to their home. If the damage is severe, it’s clear it’s going to cost a lot of money to get the property back to its previous condition. We can’t offer a blanket yes or no answer to this question, because every insurer’s policy is different and every homeowners’ situation is different. But what we can do is outline some of the factors that may help you get to an answer more easily. That said, we always recommend you immediately reach out to your insurer to speak with them about your house damage directly.
Do you have flood insurance?
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding and you took out a mortgage for your home, you’ll often be required to carry flood insurance. In the event you do have this additional coverage, you’re most likely covered for the cost of the damages.
Do you have significant wind damage?
In the event you only have homeowners insurance and your house flooded due to a hurricane, you’re most likely not covered for the cost of the flood damage. With that said, you may be covered for other damage the occurred, such as roof damage, broken windows, siding, etc. That said, some insurers do not cover wind damage in area susceptible to hurricanes. So again, you’ll need to check with your insurer to find out what’s covered.
Should I wait to start getting my home fixed?
This is one thing that often trips up homeowners that suffer any type of water damage, whether it’s from a broken pipe or a hurricane. The answer is quite simply ‘no.’ You should never delay the process of cleaning up and restoring your home. That’s especially true when it comes to a natural disaster like a hurricane. Under normal circumstances it might take an adjuster a couple of days to come assess your property. But in the event of a massive natural disaster, insurers become overwhelmed with claims and it often times takes weeks for them to respond. That’s more time for the effects of the flood to cause even more damage to your property.
We always recommend you contact us at www.SERVPROmcallen.com to immediately to begin assessing your options and to begin the cleanup efforts. You’ll end up being able to salvage more of your property and possessions and reduce the cost of the cleanup effort!
Prevent freezing attic pipes
How’s this sound? Its winter, you live in the cozy confines of your suburban home in the heart of the South. You’re sound asleep at night, dreaming of a piece of cake and some hot cocoa. Then all of sudden in your dream you hear the faint sound of rain drops. Then you start to feel them on your face. Then you wake up and think ‘gosh, that was weird!’ You shake your head, rub your eyes and decide you might as well use the restroom while you’re up. Then you put your feet on the floor and feel water and hear a splash. Then all of sudden, you really wake up…sure enough, it’s raining inside your home! What in the world is going on? Well, tens of thousands of dollars in water damage, that’s what!
The above nightmare can happened in winter. You can ended up with extended damages and had to move out of house in the middle of winter. Does that sound like something you would like to avoid? If so, please read on…
Do you have plumbing pipes in your attic?
In states that see cold winters, you never see plumbing pipes in attics, and for good reason. But in the South, it’s not uncommon for homes that are built on a slab foundation to have plumbing systems and pipes in the attics. It’s a logical place to house these key elements of the home, but the gamble is they’ll be safe there. And for the most part, there is never an issue. That is, until that freak cold system blows through and causes extremely low temperatures.
Have you ever been up to your attic? If not, peek your head up there and see what you find. If you notice plumbing pipes that are fully exposed to the elements, understand that you are playing a game of water damage Russian Roulette and eventually you will lose.
Insulate any attic pipes that transfer water!
If you look up in your attic and find exposed pipes, you really need to take immediate action. Luckily the cold weather hasn’t hit yet, so you’ve got some time to protect your home against flooding. Here is what you need to do:
Go to your local home improvement store and buy some pipe insulation material. It’s not very expensive and it’s extremely easy to place over your pipes. You just need to make sure that you don’t leave any area exposed, including joints where sections of pipe connect. So before you go to the store, you need to go up into your attic and take inventory.
How many linear feet of piping do you need to insulate? How many T-joints are there? Any rounded joints? Add up everything and make sure you’ve got a complete list of everything you need. If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up taking 5 or 6 trips to the store for what should have been a fairly easy home improvement project; In one Saturday’s worth of work, you can end up saving yourself thousands of dollars. Because the reality is if you end up with a burst pipe in your attic due to freezing, the amount of water damage is going to be extensive. Within minutes, water will travel throughout your attic, down your wall cavities and through your ceiling. It can potentially flood every floor of your home within a few minutes.
Have you suffered water damage from a frozen attic pipe?
If you find yourself dealing with the nightmare situation highlighted at the top, please stay calm. Right now the best thing you can do is call for experience, competent help that can begin the water extraction process immediately. At SERVPRO of McAllen , our specialty is dealing with emergencies like yours. We have literally seen it all. So if you have home flooding from a frozen pipe in your attic, please give us a call immediately.
Soft Contents Cleaning By SERVPRO Of McAllen
Cleaning Soft Contents is a vital part of the disaster restoration process. Quickly and carefully processing contents improves claim process times.
Change is and will always be a part of life. Throughout history, we have seen examples of those who embraced change and remained relevant, and those who rejected change and became irrelevant.
The insurance restoration industry has seen its fair share of change over the last decade, part of these changes is adopting new technologies, and one of them is the Esporta iS4000 Wash System.
The Esporta Wash System is capable of decontaminating soft contents from all categories of losses; including sewage, mold and can restore damage caused by smoke and soot from a fire. The decontamination efficacy (this means how well it removes the contaminants) has been validated by numerous third party laboratory tests performed by leading hygienists, universities, and industry consultants.
The Esporta Wash System utilizes hydraulic action to force both organic and inorganic contaminants out of the objects to be cleaned. The force applied can be compared to the force of waves crashing against the sand on a beach.
This system is specially designed, scientifically tested and patented. It can’t be found anywhere else. Due to this technology, the Esporta iS4000 restores 90% of soft contents damaged by odor, soot, grime, mold and mildew.
Other traditional washing machines work on a basic principle of using the mechanical energy of an agitator, paddle, or tumbling action to wash.
The Esporta iS4000 cleans 90% of all damaged soft contents. These soft contents include the homeowners clothing, bedding, outerwear, pillows and stuffed animals. It includes leather items such as shoes, boots, belts, purses and jackets. Plus the full range of sports equipment, helmets, rollerblades & ski boots. Even ceramic collector dolls can be held stationary for cleaning.
What types of damage and contamination can SERVPRO of McAllen restore?
1.-Category 1, 2 and 3 water damage
2.-Heavy smoke and soot
3.-Bio waste contaminated goods
SERVPRO of McAllen has tested with an ATP surface swab that has verified that Esporta Restoration’s Wash System restores contaminated items to FOOD GRADE CLEAN by removing 99% of contaminants.
What Type of Items Can Be Restored?
1.-Leather goods of all kinds
5.-Laundry of all kinds
6.-Wash and fold
7.-Press and hang
8.-Household goods of all kinds
13.-Unique articles, such as sports equipment
A wide variety of other articles
How will you benefit?
Customers benefit from 48 to 72 hour turnaround time on emergency items, the recovery of sentimental items, a simpler and faster claim settlement and a satisfaction guarantee. This results in delighted customers, and insurance companies benefit from significantly reduced claim settlement costs.
How Flood Water Affects Your Health and Safety
While flood waters can certainly destroy a property structure and its contents, they can also be extremely dangerous to your health. There are 3 different categories of flood damage, including fresh water, grey water and sewage water. If any contact is made with the floodwater without proper protection equipment, you will face the risk of severe illness.
In addition, floodwaters can carry sharp objects and chemicals that may not be seen below the surface. But despite these severe threats, it is crucial to be aware so that you and your family or staff can be properly prepared when it does happen. Watch out for these risks as to how flood water can affect your health.
While deeper waters will pose higher threats than those that are a few inches, any amount is dangerous and can cause serious harm to you and your loved ones.
Injury from Sharp Objects
While you may not see sharp objects at first, treading through murky water is extremely dangerous. If your house was flooded, any nails, screws, broken glass, or any other small metal pieces can cause an injury and even infection.
To protect your own safety, wear long clothing and thick shoes if you have to tread through the water. Otherwise, it is better to stay away.
Safety Threats from Structural Damage
Because water is heavy, it can put a ton of pressure on a property structure – especially if it contains porous materials – that makes it weak to collapse at any minute. That’s why it is highly recommended to stay away from homes and buildings with severe structural damage.
Safety Threats from Electrical Damage
Even if you are not in any building, any fallen power lines pose a huge risk of electric shock. While many have been submerged underwater, it will be extremely difficult to see them as the water will be murky.
If you do see any power lines that have fallen into the water, be sure to report them to your local electric company and stay away from them. If for any reason that you have to enter the water, make sure that all power in your area has been shut off.
Open Wounds Allowing for Diseases
If you are treading through water and are cut with any sharp objects, get out immediately. Any open cuts or wounds will be exposed to millions of harmful bacteria in the water, discounting any harsh chemicals that can irritate the injury.
If you have any healing sores or injuries, try to avoid the water, or at least ensure the injuries are properly protected before entering.
Harmful Chemicals and Substances Causing Infection
Even if you don’t have any open wounds, anybody who enters floodwaters are still facing the risk of serious infections and diseases caused by a variety of dangerous substances. These can include any of the following:
If any of these were to become ingested, it is likely experience a number of negative health effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and gastroenteritis. If you notice any of the substances in the water that are mentioned above, stay as far away as possible.
Emergency Help after Experiencing a Flood
Without a doubt, floods can devastate homes and buildings, but the safety risks they pose to humans can make the situation much worse. Due to the varying amounts of sharp objects, chemicals, bacteria, animals, loose wiring, and insects contained in the flood waters, it is essential to avoid as much contact as possible.
Instead of treading through the water, it is best to wait for a rescue team to come instead. There will also be flood cleanup professionals, SERVPRO of McAllen , We can help repairing and restoring homes and buildings with significant structural damage. Because we understand the feeling of losing a home and belongings, they will work tirelessly to return your property to its original condition. Don’t hesitate to call as soon as you notice the damage.
10 Most Likely Places to Find Water Leaks
Finding water damage can be one of the most annoying problems to find for property owners; it’s one more task to add to the never ending to-do list and it can be costly to fix, depending on where it has spread. But it is highly recommended by water damage restoration professionals to have it restored as soon as possible to prevent the problem from becoming worse over time. Mold can also develop from any untreated areas containing high amounts of moisture.
Common Places To Find Water Leaks:
Hot water heaters. About 70% of all water heater failures have been caused by a water leak or sudden burst. This can occur after 10 – 15 years of having the water heater, depending on the quality and size of the tank. To check if this is the source of the water leak, remove the drain pipe and listen for a hissing sound. You may also notice a puddle underneath the tank.
Toilets clog all of the time and can become messy if they overflow. But they can also seep water around the seal in the floor. If you find a small puddle around the toilet, turn the water off and inspect the tank. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may have to call a plumber.
Water Pipes . Especially in the winter time, pipe bursts are extremely common as the water expands and adds more pressure to stressed pipes. Be sure to inspect each one thoroughly for any drips or small holes.
Refrigerator and Freezer . Because it is constantly pouring water, ice maker leaks are very common. To see if there is a leak, unplug the appliance and inspect the back of the freezer or freezer to find any water damage on the wall. There could also be a small hole or two in the pipes if they are plastic. If you see any dripping, consider replacing the tubes with copper pipes.
Air Conditioner . While moisture around this appliance is common and won’t hurt anything as long as there is not any moisture on the drywall, excessive dripping can cause significant damage. To see if there is a problem, check the condensate pump, refrigerant, and drain line for any leaks.
Washing Machine . During each cycle, there are about 15 to 30 gallons of water running through the washing machine. Any small hole within the appliance, drain, or tubes can result in major water damage.
Gutters . Not all water damage sources are located within the home. Any gutters containing significant amounts of leaves, dirt, and other debris can cause water to flow over the side and seep into the foundation; this is a very common source of basement flooding.
Showers and Sinks . Next to washing machines, sinks and showers are among the most common sources of water damage. Any holes in the water supply lines or worn-out caulking can spring major damage at any time.
Sump Pump . Especially after a big storm, sump pumps can fail and create the risk for basement flooding, if it hasn’t happened already. After repairing the pump, it would be best to schedule annual maintenance and inspect its condition to prevent future failures.
Air Ducts . Because they are connected to the air conditioning unit, it is common for moisture to accumulate within the ductwork and spring a leak. If you notice any condensation on the air registers or ducts themselves, you may find a leak in another area. Professional air duct cleaning can also prevent this problem in the future.
Restoring Water Damage From Leaks
While you will need a plumber to fix any pipes or leaks, fixing the water damage is crucial to prevent additional destruction. Once an area has been affected, the water will spread and damage additional areas. But as soon as the source has been removed, don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of McAllen to do the mitigation process.
Signs of a Water Leak Behind The Walls
There are many potential causes of water damage in your home. Some sources of water damage, such as floods, burst pipes, and sewage backups, are obvious and homeowners notice them right away. However, there are some sources of water damage that are much more difficult to detect such as water leaks behind walls. Homeowners typically do not notice hidden leaks until they have already caused a considerable amount of damage.
Regardless of the source, it is crucial to react to water damage immediately. The damage caused by excess water or moisture will continue to spread and get worse until the source of the water is repaired and the affected materials are dried and restored. Hidden water leaks behind walls can be especially dangerous because the water will get absorbed into flooring, drywall, and ceilings, as well as wooden support beams and sheetrock. If given enough time, a slow leak can result in very serious structural damage that will make the restoration process longer and more expensive. Mold is also a very serious issue that results from extensive water damage.
While water leaks behind walls happen out of view, there are often several signs that can help you detect these water leaks. The following are common signs of water leakage behind your walls.
The flaking paint and damaged baseboard are signs of a hidden water leak.
Excess water or moisture can create a musty smell when it gets absorbed into building materials like sheetrock, wood or drywall. Wall cavities affected by water damage are vulnerable to mold growth which also has a pungent musty odor. If there is a strong musty smell near a certain area of your wall, there could be a water leak or mold growth behind it.
Mold on Walls and Baseboards
Mold growth normally appears in areas with excess moisture such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. If mold appears on your walls, ceilings, or baseboards, it is very likely that there is a source of moisture behind the walls.
Water from a leak within the walls will get absorbed in the drywall and sheetrock which will cause a noticeable stain. If the stains on your wall continue to get bigger, this is usually a good indication that there is a hidden plumbing leak.
Paint or Wallpaper Peeling
Too much moisture behind the walls can eventually cause paint and wallpaper to start peeling. This normally happens when the sheetrock behind the wall has absorbed too much water. Check for separation in the wallpaper along the seams or flaking paint to help locate a hidden water leak.
When the sheetrock behind a wall absorbs too much water, it will bend and curve which causes the wall to warp. If there is warping on your walls, this is a clear indication of a water leak.
Stained or Buckled Ceilings and Floors
If the sheetrock has absorbed too much water or moisture, it can affect the connected ceilings and floors. Check your floors and ceilings for signs of stains and buckling and if you notice a problem, check the nearby walls for signs of water damage.
Testing for Hidden Water Leaks
The signs discussed above are normally indicative of a hidden water leak, but it can be difficult to know for sure if you have a hidden leak from these signs alone. If you find some of the signs of a hidden leak in your home and you want to know for sure, follow these tips to test for a hidden water leak by using your water meter.
Turn off all faucets in your home as well as appliances that use water.
Check the water meter and record the usage number.
Leave the water off for approximately 3 hours inside and outside the home.
Look at the water meter again to see the usage numbers.
If the water usage has gone up, then there is a hidden water leak.
What To do When You Find A Water Leak
A water leak behind a wall is an issue that requires immediate attention, and it is usually better left to SERVPRO. Addressing a hidden water leak yourself involves removing the wet drywall or sheetrock and either drying out the affected materials, or replacing them. You also must find and fix the source of the water which may be difficult to do. By contacting SERVPRO of McAllen, you can trust that the job will be done effectively and that the technicians will handle all necessary repairs and mold removal. Make sure to check your home regularly for signs of a hidden water leak so you can react before it causes serious damage.