Inspecting Your Property For Storm Damage
Inspecting Your Property For Storm Damage
Lightning and thunder, heavy rains and strong winds, violent hailstorms, and ice storms usually instill fear and awe in the hearts of all who witness their great power and savage beauty. A storm, however, is typically forgotten as soon as it passes away and people give it no second thought, completely unaware that their property might have been damaged during the adverse weather conditions.
Homeowners often fail to inspect their properties after a storm, especially when they have no apparent reason to suspect a problem. Unrecognized storm damage, however, will eventually compromise the integrity of the home.
Property Damage Inspection
Your first step is to check your home and its surroundings for any signs of damage. So, once the storm is over and it is safe for you to go outside, make sure you inspect each and every part of your property for potential problems.
Checking your roof should be your top priority after a storm. It is the roof of your home that will keep you safe and dry when a storm hits. Quite predictably, it is the roof of your home that is most vulnerable to storm damage. Ensuring the excellent condition of the roof system should be your top priority.
- Tree limbs or other large debris on the roof;
- Holes in the roof or missing sections of the roof;
- Missing shingles;
- Bruises or dented asphalt shingles;
- Cracked or broken tile, slate, or concrete shingles;
- Torn or split seams;
- Displaced metal pieces from around the chimney;
- Roofing granules in the gutters or downspouts;
- Water stains on the ceiling or walls.
Any of these common signs of roof damage indicate potential risk and probable water damage to your home.
Storm damage to the siding or stucco is quite difficult to notice, so you should be very careful when inspecting the walls of your home. Possible signs of exterior damage include:
- Cracking, chipping or splitting;
- Dings or dents in the siding;
- Breaks or holes in the stucco;
- Torn metal siding or missing sections of the vinyl siding;
- Cracked wood finishes;
- Stripped paint or discoloration.
Fascia and Soffits
The fascia and soffits are usually made of painted wood or wood wrapped in metal or PVC. When inspecting your property for storm damage, have in mind that both metal and PVC are quite susceptible to dents and cracks. Painted fascia and soffits, on the other hand, can be easily chipped in a storm.
Cracked or broken windows and damaged window casings are the most commonly experienced types of storm damage. So, after a storm, make sure you check your home for:
Make sure you fix any problems as soon after a storm as possible.
Broken windows may present greater hazards than cutting yourself on the shards of glass.
Shattered windows or broken panes;
Fogging between the panes of thermal windows;
Dents and cracks in the window frames;
Holes and tears in the screening.
Good to remember:
1) Watch out for shards of glass;
2) Immediately board up any shattered windows.
To prevent serious problems in the future, you are recommended to install protective storm shutters and ensure that all the windows in your home are properly caulked and counter-flashed.
After a storm, you may notice dents and/or discoloration on the metal or wood door panels and damage to the trim around the door frame.
Check for water getting into the crawl spaces of your home. If you find any, remove it quickly with the help of a sump pump or underground drainage system (otherwise it may result in mold growth and water damage to your property).
Gutters and Downspouts
Metal gutters will dent and PVC gutters can crack when hit by hail or high winds. Detached or broken trims, gutters and downspouts are also commonly seen after a storm.
Driveways and Walkways
Severe storms can cause concrete and other walkway materials to chip, crack and split. This type of damage can pose considerable safety hazards, so you should take immediate measures to fix your driveway (as well as the walkways around your home).
Decks, Railings and Fences
Wooden decks, railings and fences can be splintered or broken by hail or flying debris during a storm. The paint may get stripped or chipped, exposing the wood and reducing the lifespan of the deck or fence. To protect your investment and preserve the value of your property, you need to promptly identify and repair even such seemingly minor storm damage.
How To Stay Safe in case of Thunderstorm.
Each year, the majority of the United States will experience at least one thunderstorm. While they are more prevalent in certain areas than others, due to the differences in the climate and weather conditions, they can also prove to be very dangerous if precautions are not taken.
How to Stay Safe Before the Thunderstorm
- Secure all outdoor belongings to avoid them from blowing around and causing property damage.
- Remove any large debris from the yard, such as large branches, construction and gardening tools, etc.
- Shut all outside windows and doors.
- Unplug all electrical equipment.
- Bring all pets inside.
Staying Safe When Not at Home During the Storm:
- When in the car, close the windows. Do not touch any metal part of the car. Also, do not attempt to drive anywhere safe as flash floods are known for causing severe damage to cars.
- When in an open area, find lower ground as fast as possible that is away from tall objects. Crouch down with your head between your knees while keeping your ears covered.
- If you are in a forest, find an area with smaller trees that are covered by taller ones. If possible, get to lower ground.
- When with a group of people, try to stay at least 15 feet from them at all times.
- Stay away from all metal objects, such as outside equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, bikes, etc.
- Stay out of all areas with water, including the beach, lake, pond, ocean, etc.
How to Stay Safety at Home During the Storm
- Stay away from all windows, doors, porches, and gazebos. Close all blinds and drapes and stay in the center of the home.
- Do not turn on the water or any water-related appliances, such as the sink, washing machine, dishwasher, hose, etc.
- Do not lie or lean against any concrete floors or walls as they may contain wires that conduct electricity.
- Safety After the Storm
- Do not drive through a flooded area.
- Do not drive anywhere with large amounts of debris on the road.
- Help others if they need assistance.
- As pets can be afraid of storms, keep them indoors.
- Report all fallen power lines.
Recovering After The Storm
As you can see, there are many precautions that can be taken to be prepared for and stay safe during a storm. But unfortunately, some storms may be strong enough to still cause damage to a home or building. While strong winds are able to rip off roofs, siding, doors, etc., flash floods are also able to seep into foundations and cause severe water damage.
If you have found significant damage to your property after a thunderstorm, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of McAllen to help with the water damage restoration or storm damage cleanup services.
Tips To Prepare For Hurricane Season
Hurricanes are among the most dangerous types of weather conditions and for six months out of the year, the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are prone to these severe storms during what is known as hurricane season. Hurricanes are dangerous because they dump heavy rain in a short period of time and have very powerful winds. The heavy rain can quickly cause severe flooding and the winds are strong enough to damage buildings and knock down large objects like trees and power lines. These storms are responsible for billions of dollars in property damage each year as well as injuries and death. Most deaths that happen in a hurricane are caused by the flooding.
Hurricane season officially begins June 1 and ends on November 30, but a hurricane can strike land any time of year. If you live in a hurricane prone area near the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico, it is important to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane. A hurricane can happen at any time and having a plan in place and emergency supplies ready will help you evacuate to safety much quicker. The following hurricane preparedness tips will help you get ready for hurricane season. You must address any damage to your property from a hurricane immediately by calling a storm damage restoration expert.
How To Prepare For A Hurricane
County evacuation map and shelters
Evacuation routes are mapped out in hurricane prone areas.
Review your plan: At the beginning of each hurricane season, review your plan for preparing and reacting to a hurricane and update it if needed.
Review your insurance policy: Check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it covers hurricane damage. You may need to purchase separate flood insurance to cover flood damage.
Protect important documents: Put important documents like birth certificates, titles, house deeds, and others in a water proof safe. This safe should be stored on the upper floors of your home for more protection.
Discuss the plan: Share the plan with your family so everyone knows what to do when a hurricane is imminent.
Emergency supply kit: Put together emergency supplies that you will need in case you are trapped in your home without power or forced to evacuate. See the section below for more on what to include in your emergency supply kit.
Evacuation routes: Hurricane prone areas typically have mapped out evacuation routes. Make sure you are familiar with the evacuation route in your area in case a hurricane forces you to evacuate.
If a Hurricane is Imminent
Move objects like furniture away from doors and windows.
Unplug electronics and small appliances. Be ready to shut off the power in your home if necessary.
Water: You should have one gallon of water per person each day for between 3 and 7 days.
Food: Your food supply should consist of non-perishable items and snack foods as well as paper plates, a can opener, and cooking tools.
Clothing: Pack clothing that can withstand the rainy conditions.
Blankets and pillows: Have enough blankets and pillows for each member of your family.
First Aid Kit: Pack necessary medication and prescription drugs as well as bandages and other supplies to deal with minor injuries.
Toiletries: Include personal hygiene products.
Special items: Make sure to pack any special items needed or young children or the elderly.
Flashlight batteries: Pack a flashlight and extra batteries to keep it working.
Radio: Include a small battery operated radio to listen to weather reports.
Cell phones: Keep your cell phones charged and bring extra batteries and a charger.
Cash and credit cards: You may not be able to visit a bank or ATM if the hurricane has caused significant widespread damage.
Keys: Make sure you have your keys for your car and house.
Toys, book, games: These items will help keep your kids occupied.
Important documents: Insurance records, medical records, bank documents, social security cards, and other important documents should be secured in a waterproof container.
Pet care: If you have pets, you must have supplies for them too. Make sure you have the proper identification documents, food and water for several days, a leash, and cage if necessary.
Tools: Having a simple tool kit handy can be useful.
Gas in vehicles: Make sure your car is filled with gas before a storm so you can evacuate without making any stops.
The effects of a hurricane can be devastating but by following these hurricane safety tips, you can help ensure the safety of you and your family. Hurricane season is quickly approaching so make sure you get yourself prepared for the possibility of a hurricane if you live in a hurricane prone area. While these hurricane preparation tips can help you protect yourself and your family from harm, there is not much you can do to protect your home from damage. If your home sustains damage from a hurricane or flood, you must call SERVPRO for storm damage restoration services immediately. SERVPRO can repair the damage to your home or building and provide restoration for flooding.
Flood Preparedness and Response: Strategies for Families
Floods are an inevitable and natural part of life, especially for those who live along streams and rivers. Counties that border rivers are the most flood prone, but serious floods have occurred throughout the state. It is important to be prepared and know what to do before disaster strikes.
Find out if you live in a flood-prone area. If you are new to the area, ask your local public works or emergency management office about local flood history. Ask whether your property is above or below the flood stage water level.
If you live in a frequently flooded area, stockpile emergency building materials. These include plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, hammer, saw, pry bar, shovels and sandbags.
Plan and practice an evacuation route. Contact your local emergency management office or local American Red Cross chapter for a copy of the community flood evacuation plan. This plan should include information on the safest routes to shelters. Individuals living in flash flood areas should have several alternate routes to higher ground.
Have emergency supplies on hand.
- a) Flashlights and extra batteries
- b) Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- c) First-aid kit and manual; essential medicines
- d) Emergency food, water, cooking equipment, can opener
- e) Cash and credit cards
Develop an emergency communication plan. In case family members are separated during a disaster because of work or school, choose a long-distance relative or friend who can serve as the family contact. After a disaster, it is often easier to call long-distance than to place a local call. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address and phone number of the contact person. Make sure that all family members know how to respond after a flood or flash flood.
During a Flood
Listen to the radio for further information.
Fill bathtubs, sinks and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
Move valuable household possessions to the upper floors or to safe ground if time permits.
If you are instructed by authorities, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
Join with neighbors and volunteers to put sandbags or other protection in place. Stack sandbags away from the outside walls of houses to prevent floodwaters from entering.
Do not attempt to walk through moving floodwaters. If moving fast enough, water one foot deep can sweep you off your feet.
Do not attempt to drive over a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
During an Evacuation
Listen to the radio or check the Web for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. Evacuation is much simpler and safer before floodwaters become too deep for ordinary vehicles to drive through.
Follow recommended evacuation routes -- shortcuts may be blocked.
After a Flood
Don't return home until authorities have indicated it is safe. When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Potential hazards include:
Gas leaks. Leave your home immediately and call the gas company if you smell the putrid odor of leaking gas. Lanterns, torches, electrical sparks and cigarettes could cause an explosive fire if there is a leak. Do not turn on any light switches.
Electrocution. Wear rubber gloves and rubber-soled shoes to avoid electrocution. Do not turn on any lights or appliances if the house has been flooded. Turn off the electricity when checking electrical circuits and equipment or when checking a flooded basement.
Structural damage. Watch for falling debris and the possibility of collapsing ceilings and basement walls.
Food and water. Do not use water or eat food that has come in contact with floodwaters.
The answers to 9 frequently asked questions about mold in homes
- What is mold?
Mold is a type of fungus that lives almost everywhere there is moisture, oxygen, and organic matter. Mold plays an important role in nature as it helps decompose organic material. However, mold found indoors can cause health problems, as well as structural problems to buildings.
- Why does mold grow in homes?
Mold releases microscopic mold spores into the air. Since mold spores are airborne, all homes have mold spores in them, some more than others. Mold grows in homes because almost all homes meet the requirements of mold growth: moisture, nutrients (such as cellulose), and time.
- Where does mold grow in homes?
Mold commonly grows in areas that are prone to moisture, such as the basement and bathroom. However, mold can also grow in hidden areas of the home, such as behind walls, under the floor, in the air conditioning system, in the crawl space or in the attic.
- When does mold become a problem?
Although all homes have mold spores in them, larger patches of mold growth can cause health issues and structural damage. Signs of mold in homes include a musty odor and the visible black or white specks in areas of your home that have a water problem.
- Am I exposed to mold?
If there is mold growing in your home, you can be exposed to it. When mold is disturbed, it releases spores into the indoor air that you breathe.
- How does mold affect our health?
Mold-sensitive individuals may exhibit allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, itchy eyes, wheezing, and skin irritation.
- Should I test for mold?
When you suspect that there is mold growing in your home, you don’t have to know which type of mold it is, but you should have it removed as soon as possible.
- Can I clean up mold myself?
Although it is always better to hire a certified mold removal company like SERVPRO, you might be able to remove small patches of mold yourself (which are smaller than 10 square feet). When you’re not sure how to remove mold, or if the infested area is larger than 10 square feet, contact SERVPRO of McAllen .
- How can I prevent mold growth in my home?
Preventing mold requires fixing moisture problems in your home. Repair leaks in the walls, roof, gutters, and plumbing pipes, keep indoor humidity at 30-50% by using a dehumidifier, ventilate appliances that generate moisture, and keep the gutter system clean.
Quickly Identifying And Remediation Mold in Your Home
Mold Growth due a water damage
Mold causes the deterioration of organic matter. Dampness creates ideal conditions for mold, and it feeds off of organic materials such as drywall, wood or cloth. After water damage has occurred, mold can begin growing in as quickly as two days.
When you encounter mold, your ability to breathe properly should be your top concern. Mold can create health problems through the spores it releases into the air. You may be required to evacuate the area when the presence of mold becomes too much.
This means that standing water needs to be removed and cleaned up as soon as you notice it. This eliminates the ideal growing conditions that allow for mold to take root.
SERVPRO of McAllen is a company that has undergone extensive training and is certified in IICRC-the most trusted certification for mold removal.
Their training includes the ability to:
– Determine where water is coming from
– Identify the presence of mold
– Ensure mold does not spread any further
– Remediate mold
– Utilize thorough drying techniques to ensure mold does not return
– Restore property or advise on methods necessary to do so
Identifying the Mold
Mold has no set appearance and it can be any number of colors, including black, gray, white, green or pink.
One sure sign is visible identification of mold. But if the mold is unusual-looking you might not even realize what you are seeing. Mold can form in clusters or spots and it can grow in places you may not be able to see.
Determining the Presence of Mold
Our experts can find mold wherever it may be hiding. They know which signs to look for to determine if mold is present. These include:
– Visible signs of mold
– Musty odors
– Humid conditions
– Symptoms of mold, including itchy eyes and runny nose
– Symptoms of a neurological nature, including dizziness and headaches
– Signs of long-term dampness
– Stained or discolored floors and walls
– Peeled paint and bubbling wallpaper
– Warped walls and bowed supports
– Damp surfaces
What Causes Mold?
Mold is likely growing in your home if you have moisture there. Many types of moisture problems can lead to mold growth. These include damp clothing, leaky pipes, roof leaks, a lack of ventilation, floods, water in the basement, and condensation.
Signs That It Is Time For An Air Duct Cleaning
Dirty Air Duct
The air duct system is an important system of the house because it is responsible for air circulation and distributing the heating and cooling throughout the house. Like most household systems, air ducts need to be cleaned and maintained every now and then to ensure that it continues to function properly and efficiently. Air ducts do not need to be cleaned as often as other areas of the home but it is beneficial for homeowners to be aware of when they need to be cleaned. The following are common signs that it is time to get your air ducts professionally cleaned.
Mold or Mildew
If you notice mold or mildew growing anywhere in your home or within the air duct system, it is a good idea to have the air ducts cleaned. Mold produces spores that spread to other areas by traveling through the air and they can very easily end up within the air duct system where they can get distributed throughout the house or cause mold to grow within the ducts. Having your air ducts cleaned after eliminating a mold problem will help ensure that the mold growth does not reoccur.
Health and Respiratory Problems
Over time, dirt, dust, and other debris accumulate within the air ducts and end up getting distributed back into the breathing air of the home when the heat or air conditioner kicks on. Breathing in this debris can lead to allergic reactions such as coughing, runny noses, or trouble breathing and it can also trigger asthma attacks and other more serious health problems. If people within your home are experiencing these symptoms on a more consistent basis, cleaning the air ducts could help alleviate the symptoms.
Excess Dust and Debris from the Registers
The accumulated dust and debris within an air duct system can reach up to almost 40 pounds on average over the course of one year and this excess dust might gather around the vents or be released back into the breathing air. If you notice excessive dust build up in the vents and registers, it may be beneficial to have the air ducts cleaned.
As the dirt and debris builds up in the air ducts, it contaminates the component parts and slows the air flow, forcing the system to work harder to circulate air. This not only decreases the energy efficiency of the system leading to higher bills, but also increases the risk of breaking down. If you notice that the heating or cooling is turning on more than normal or that your energy bills have increased, it may be necessary to have your air ducts cleaned.
It is easy for homeowners to forget about their air ducts but it is important to look out for these signs to make sure you have your air ducts professionally cleaned when it is needed. Professional air duct cleaning can improve the indoor air quality of your home and the energy efficiency of the HVAC system. Contact a SERVPRO of McAllen to have the air ducts in your home professionally cleaned.
Restore your Carpet with These Spring Carpet Cleaning Tips
Carpet Cleaning in Process
During the winter, people close their homes to keep out the cold weather and heat their homes more efficiently. However, with your home closed up, dirt, dust mites, and other airborne debris will circulate through the home and settle into the carpet. By the time the spring arrives, your carpet is full of dirt and debris from the winter that needs to be removed. This is why carpet cleaning should be part of your spring cleaning effort. Effective carpet cleaning will remove the debris that has been accumulating in your carpet all winter and help restore its look. Removing this debris from your carpet will also contribute to a healthier environment in your home. As you begin spring cleaning in your home, make sure you work in the following carpet cleaning tips to clean and restore your carpeting. If you would like additional help cleaning your carpet, you can always call a professional for carpet cleaning services. spring-carpet-cleaning Start by Vacuuming Hopefully, you have been vacuuming your carpet regularly throughout the winter. Regular vacuuming is the most effective way to maintain your carpet and remove much of the embedded debris from the fibers. By removing the embedded dirt and debris, you can prevent your carpet from deteriorating or looking discolored. You must continue to vacuum your carpet regularly in the spring and throughout the year to keep it in good shape. Vacuuming does not remove everything though which is why you should consider annual professional carpet cleaning. Use Welcome Mats One way to protect your carpet from dirt and debris is to prevent the dirt from being tracked into your home in the first place. Placing welcome mats by every entrance will encourage people to wipe their feet when they enter your home, reducing the dirt and debris being dragged in. People will be walking in and out of your home more frequently in the spring and summer so make sure you have your welcome mats in place. Remove Stains Carpet stains are tough to remove and using an over-the-counter carpet stain remover can be damaging to your carpet if you don’t use it properly. There are a couple of ways you can try removing carpet stains yourself without risking damage to the carpet. Try treating the stains with a solution consisting of one cup of cold water and 1/4 teaspoon of liquid detergent with no bleach. You can also try removing the stain using vinegar and an iron. Make a solution that is one part vinegar to three parts water. Dampen a towel with this solution and lay it over the stain. Iron the towel over the stain until the stain transfers to the towel. If these methods do not remove the stain, you can call a carpet cleaning professional to treat the stain with their specialized products. Protect your Carpet from Stains Applying a stain protector will help you prevent stains in the carpet, but these protectors wear out over time. The spring season is the ideal time to re-apply a stain protector to your carpet. Restore your Carpet with These Spring Carpet Cleaning TipsClean Up Spills Quickly If something spills on your carpet, you must clean it up immediately. The longer you leave a spill to soak up in the carpet fibers, the higher the risk for a stain. Make sure you blot dry a spill as soon as it happens to prevent staining. Remove Odors Like other types of fabric, carpeting can absorb foul odors that can make the room smell bad. Fortunately, you can remove odors from your carpet safely using a mixture of essential oils and baking soda. Add 10-20 drops of essential oil to 16 ounces of baking soda and mix the solution so that the oils become absorbed completely into the baking soda. Sprinkle the baking soda mixture onto the area of your carpet with the odor and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing it with the vacuum. If the odors are persistent, you may need help from a carpet cleaning professional. Fluff the Carpet Heavy foot traffic and furniture can flatten or indent the carpet fibers which will make the carpet look worn out. You can fluff the carpet fibers using only an ice cube, towel, and iron. Start by letting the ice cube melt into the flattened or indented area. Once the ice cube melts, use a towel to softly blot up the excess water and leave the moist towel laid over the area. Turn the iron on a low setting and iron the moist towel until the fibers are mostly dry. Let the carpet continue to air dry and then fluff up the fibers with your hands. Call SERVPRO By working these carpet cleaning tips into your spring cleaning routine, you can help you improve the look and condition of your carpet. However, it is important to remember that while these tips do help, it takes professional carpet cleaning services to completely remove embedded debris and tough stains. Carpet cleaning professionals use advanced cleaning equipment and methods that are designed to lift stubborn stains and debris safely out of all carpet types. As you get your spring cleaning started, follow these tips to clean your carpet and call a professional if you need extra help.
Spring Cleaning in McAllen,TX
Spring is here
In an effort to assist McAllen residents with their spring cleaning, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 29 the city will provide trash bins at select locations “for those who cannot make it out to the Recyling Center or for those items that do not fit in the trash.”
According to a Wednesday news release, the city will provide six locations for residents to drop off bulky items, trash and debris. Items not included are paints, pesticides, chemicals, motor oil, construction material and electronics.
The event is free and only open to McAllen residents. Residents must bring proof of residency such as a Texas ID or utility bull. For more information, visit mcallen.net or call (956) 681-3111.
Roll-off bin locations:
Bill Schupp Park, 1300 Zinnia Avenue
McAllen Recycling Center, 4101 North Bentsen Road
Las Palmas Community Center, 1925 North 25th Street
Old Compost Site, 4101 Idela Road
Sundance Mobile Park South, 33rd Street and Erie Avenue
Development Center, 311 North 15th Street
Cascade Park, 1000 Bales Road
- Paints,pesticides & chemicals
- Motor oil
- Construction material
How To Remove Soot Damage From Household Surfaces
Soot on Structure
Fires are often a comforting sight during the winter as fireplaces and candles can provide warmth during the freezing temps. But with this type of warmth comes a hidden danger to your home; Soot. Soot is a black residue that is left behind when various materials are burnt such as plastics, synthetics, foam and wood. Depending on the material burnt, the soot can have a damaging effect on your walls. This precarious clean up requires precise attention. While it is best for professionals to clean up soot damage, you can make the cleanup process easier by following these safety guidelines.
Removing Soot: Always Be Concerned about Safety
Soot is easily transferred onto various surfaces so ensuring it doesn’t spread is imperative to the cleaning process. To protect your walls, follow these protocols before the professionals arrive:
- Refrain from touching anything during the first inspection of the room. This prevents accidental soot transfer to unaffected rooms and surfaces.
- Always wear protective gear, such as gloves, masks, and long clothing that covers the skin when working in rooms affected by soot damage.
- Keep the room properly ventilated to minimize inhalation of the soot particles.
- Clear unnecessary debris from the room to allow for easier cleanup.
Soot Cleaning and Removal
It is important to use proper cleaning methods to remove soot from your walls, ceilings and surfaces. Improper cleaning can cause the damage to spread or get worse. The first thing many homeowners think to do when cleaning is use basic soap and water, accompanied with a sponge. Always test in a small, discreet location, to see if it incurs any damage. When in doubt, always call SERVPRO of McAllen to avoid serious damage.
When soot is caused by high oxygen fires, using a dry-cleaning sponge or chemical dry sponge is the best method for cleanup. If you attempt a wet method, the soot will smear, leaving a hideous stain. In comparison, low oxygen fires are best met with the wet sponge cleaning method.
When vacuuming soot residue from your surfaces, always hold the nozzle at least one half inch away from the area. Avoid contact with the surface because your touch can smear the soot.