Did I Buy The Right Smoke Detector?
Having a smoke detector in your home is vital to making sure you and your family are safe. You should have one in every bedroom and on every floor of your home. You probably already knew how important these little alarms are, but do you know how to make sure that your smoke detector is a good one?
Smoke detectors can come in any size and shape, and they can be as cheap as $5 or as expensive as $150, so with all of these options, how do you know what to choose? First, there are two different types of detectors: ionized and photoelectric. Some devices are a combination of these two types.
Ionized smoke detectors work best when there are actual flames present. They are quick to sound the alarm when a lot of heat is produced.
Photoelectric smoke detectors work well with fires that start slow and tend to smolder and create a lot of smoke. Smoldering fires like these are usually pretty silent, so people do not always notice them at first; some people will actually develop breathing problems and pass out before they realize that a fire is occurring.
Both types of alarms are designed to detect fire no matter what, and both will be sufficient to get you and your loved ones out of the house in time as long as you keep up with maintenance such as testing the alarms and replacing batteries when needed. If you feel the need, you can put a mixture of the two types of alarms throughout your house. Regardless of what type you choose, make sure you have them in the kitchen, bedrooms, and any other important places in your home.
If your house or office suffers from a fire loss, call SERVPRO® of River Oaks today at (713) 666-9222.
Is Your Family Prepared For A Home Fire?
Every second counts during a fire. 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 with 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 that 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 steps 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 from your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the meeting location 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 at night and during the daytime. SERVPRO of River Oaks wants you to stay safe and prepare now to ensure you are ready for any disaster.
*Tips provided by American Red Cross and National Fire Protection Association
Four Ways To Prevent Water Damage When Your Business Is Closed
Unless your business is open 24 hours a day, you may not have someone on premises at all times. This puts your business at an increased risk from water damage, because if a broken pipe starts leaking water in the middle of the night, it will do a lot of damage before someone arrives in the morning. What should have been a simple water pipe repair is now an expensive visit from a water mitigation company. The good news is there are things you can do to protect your business from water damage when it’s closed.
1. Inspect Your Roof.
The most common cause of water damage is a leaking roof. This is doubly true if you live somewhere that experiences storms with high winds, hail or sub-zero temperatures. Especially if your roof is getting older, regular inspections to make sure it isn’t leaking can save you big time in the long run.
2. Keep Your Equipment in Good Repair.
If your business utilizes appliances that use water, make sure you keep them in good repair. Air conditioners, water heaters, ice machines, dishwashers and washing machines are all likely sources of water damage. Have them inspected regularly to replace filters and gaskets.
3. Update Your Plumbing.
Everyone knows they should deal with a water pipe repair quickly to prevent damage, but you should also take a look at the supply lines in your building. Are they rigid plastic or vinyl? If so, they’re at a higher risk of failure than other types of supply lines. Ask your plumber to upgrade to flexible, braided supply lines. These are more reliable and they’ll last longer.
4. Install Water Sensors.
New water sensor technologies can detect leaks and burst pipes, alert you to the problem and shut off the main water supply in your building to prevent a simple water pipe repair from ballooning into a visit from SERVPRO of River Oaks. If you’re worried about your business becoming flooded, consider installing one of these new smart sensor systems to protect your business.
Why choose Professional Damage Restoration?
According to the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) there are a couple of reasons to choose a professional over doing it yourself. Below are a few reasons:
- The process of fire and water restoration is very involved when it is performed properly.
- With quick reaction time and the appropriate skill set, a technician can help to prevent further damage and repair that which has already been done
- The process and equipment used during fire and water restoration will vary from case to case, since different materials require their own unique care.
- For fire damage, general cleaning is done to remove ash and soot from ceiling to floor.
- The quick remediation of the problem is important for more than repairs, it is also a health consideration
- Choose a company for fire and water restoration with the appropriate licenses and proof that they have the proper insurance.
- Whether the work to be done is in a commercial or residential location, technicians with experience and certification should perform the damage recovery.
Call us at SERVPRO of River Oaks (713) 666-9222 so we can help you with your water, fire or mold damage.
4 Ways to Clean Belongings After a Fire
Watching your Houston, TX home burn can leave you with an ache in your heart. Not only do you have to deal with a massive insurance claim, but there's a good chance you'll end up losing some of your treasured possessions. When you work with a fire damage cleanup crew, some of your smoke-damaged belongings may get saved. Content cleaning is a delicate art that can take the following shapes.
1. Dry-Cleaning: Clothes, furniture and other porous items often have to be cleaned with a dry-cleaning method. This helps remove the smoke and soot that built up during the fire. If you try to wash your clothes on a normal cycle, you may end up causing more damage. The soot has to be removed from the textiles before you can return to a typical cleaning method.
2. Ultrasonic: Non-porous items can go through a more vigorous cleaning than materials that soak up water. The ultrasonic treatment incorporates ultrasound and a cleaning solvent to rid your belongings of soot.
3. High-Pressure Water: If the ultrasonic machine is not big enough for some of your non-porous furniture, the professionals may choose to use high-pressure water. This only works on non-porous items because they won't soak up the excess water.
4. Odor Removal: Smoke isn't the only thing that can cling to your possessions. The odor after a fire can be a long-term reminder of what you went through. After dry-cleaning, ultrasonic or high-pressure water methods have been put in place, you may want to do some sort of odor removal too. Professionals often use thermal fogging or ozone treatments to rid your home of the funky smell.
After a fire, you want to get everything back to normal as soon as possible. This means you need to clean your belongings. If the cleaning process takes longer than expected, you can also use content storage to get your dirty, smelly items out of the house until they're clean.
5 Ways To Ensure Your Ready For A Home Fire
Most people take active measures to prevent house fires, but not many people have implemented fire preparation techniques. Yet, fire prep is just as important as fire prevention, and in fact may be more so when it comes to protecting your home and loved ones. If you have yet to create fire safety procedures, it’s time to do so. Below are five things you can do to get started:
• Test your smoke alarms.
• Plan an evacuation route.
• Teach your children what to do in the event of a home fire.
• Create a communication strategy.
Test Your Alarms
Though your smoke alarms should inform you when they’re low on batteries, it doesn’t hurt to check them periodically. Test them once a month, and to err on the side of caution, replace their batteries at least once a year.
Plan an Evacuation Route
This should be at the top of your fire preparation list. Identify all possible exits for each room in the home and make sure that each family member is aware of where those exits are. Designate a family meeting spot outside.
Teach Your Children
If you have young children, show them what the fire alarm sounds like and advise them on what to do if they hear one. Inform them of evacuation routes as well.
Plan a Way To Communicate
Put together an emergency contact list and make sure that all family members know who to contact if they cannot find one another. Have your young children memorize important phone numbers, beginning with 911.
The best way to ensure that all family members know what to do in the event of an emergency is to practice. Host a fire drill every couple of months and devise different scenarios. In doing so, you can increase the odds that everyone knows what to do and how to escape in a real emergency.
Your Houston, TX restoration team or local fire department can review your fire preparation plan and provide additional tips for how to improve it. Don’t cut corners when it comes to fire safety and start planning today.
How To Prevent Mold From Growing In Your Bathroom
Mold found behind a bathroom vanity
What does mold need to grow? In order for mold to grow, it needs oxygen, moisture, warmth and food. The ideal spot for mold to grow would be a warm place (somewhere between 77 and 86 degrees), with a high amount of humidity or moisture, and organic matter, like cotton, paper or wood for the mold to feed upon. This makes our bathrooms an ideal spot for mold growth. Our bathrooms tend to be warm, they contain things like towels, toilet paper, and woodwork for the mold to feed upon, and they often have high levels of relative humidity from running water and steam from hot showers. So what can you do to prevent mold from growing in your bathroom?
First make sure that your bathroom is properly ventilated. Poor ventilation is one of the most common causes of bathroom mold. Without proper ventilation, steam/moisture in the air from hot showers and running water, settles on bathroom surfaces and makes a perfect environment for mold growth. Every bathroom should have a clean and properly functioning ventilation fan permanently mounted in the ceiling and it should be turned on every time someone showers. They are inexpensive and can be purchased at most hardware and home improvement stores. A properly installed and functioning, ventilation fan in your bathroom's ceiling will help move the air out of your bathroom and clear the humidity caused by hot showers and other running water. It is important however to ensure that your ventilation fan has been properly installed and is venting the moist bathroom air outside of your home versus into your attic or some other room. If it improperly vents into another area of your home, you are simply transferring your problem from one location to another. If your bathroom does not have a ventilation fan, instead of showering with the bathroom door closed, as most of us do, an alternative until a ventilation fan can be installed, would be to leave the bathroom door open while showering. This will allow the steam/humidity to dissipate over a larger area reducing its impact. Another alternative during warm weather months, or in warm climates, would be to open a bathroom window while showering or even putting a box fan in the window with the air blowing out of the bathroom versus in. And of course, abstaining from very long, hot showers is always recommended when trying to prevent mold.
Regularly cleaning your bathroom by wiping down all surfaces at least once a week will also help keep mold in check. And when it comes to cleaning/preventing mold, wiping is always the best approach. Molds are fungi that reproduce by releasing spores into the air. Spraying bleach on mold may look like an easy fix. When you spray bleach on mold it looks like it almost instantly disappears. Unfortunately, when you spray bleach on mold, you are releasing the mold spores into the air. Think of it like a mature dandelion that you have just gently blown upon and released the seeds floating into the air on their white dried flowers. The mold spores that you have just released by spraying bleach upon them, float through the air and settle onto new surfaces, where they can begin to grow again if the conditions are right. Wiping with soap and water, or another cleaner, and then throwing away any rags that may contain beginning mold spores is your best bet.
Also when it comes to mold in bathrooms, consider that caulk and grout are there to block or keep out water and moisture. If you have missing or broken caulk or grout, water and moisture can get behind the tiles and mold can form behind the tiles where it's impossible for you to see or clean. It's important to regularly replace and/or maintain your bathroom caulk and grout.
Lastly, painting your bathroom with a mold resistant paint and/or primer will help you battle mold in your bathroom. As indicated earlier, mold needs a food source of organic matter. Drywall paper can be a source of food for mold. Using a mold-resistant paint on bathroom walls can help stop mold before it starts by sealing off access to a food source.
If you are unable to win the battle with mold in your bathroom, give us a call at (713) 666-9222.
What To Do If You See Mold
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it, you can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, it can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate throughout your home.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of River Oaks
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
SERVPRO of River Oaks specializes in mold cleanup and restoration. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today (713) 666-9222
Where To Look For Signs Of Storm Damage
- Roofs: Look for shingles that have discoloration, tearing, or even holes in them. These can all be signs that your roof has been damaged. Another sign of a rook leak is water marks on your ceilings.
- Gutters: After a hail storm, looking for dents or dings can also give you a better picture of what the storm did to the rest of your home. Your gutters can also give you insight to whether you have roof damage. Check to see if there are granules from the asphalt shingles in your gutter.
- Windows: Look at each of the windows at your homes and note any signs of shattered or broken windows and frame damage. This is especially important after a hail storm or a strong wind storm.
- Exterior: Not only is it important to look at the siding of your home to check for damage, it is also important that you check any appliances. Inspect your AC/HVAC unit as well as items such as a barbeque grill.
- After your inspection, if you notice any signs of storm damage follow up by checking the area for signs of mold, mildew, pests or other secondary damage. If damage has occurred have it repaired immediately. Call SERVPRO of River Oaks at (713) 666-9222 for any restoration needs you may have.
How To Minimize Hail Damage
Hail storms can strike without much warning, leaving you with little time to react. Being prepared in advance — and knowing what to do — can help you stay safe and keep damage to a minimum. Consider signing up for local weather alerts, which deliver warnings when hail storms are approaching your area.
What Is Hail?
Hail is a type of solid precipitation, distinct from, but often confused with sleet. Sleet generally falls in colder temperatures while hail growth is inhibited at very cold temperatures. Hail creation is possible within thunderstorms and is formed when water vapor in updrafts reaches a freezing point. Ice then forms and is suspended in the air by updrafts and falls down to be coated by water again. This process can occur over and over adding many layers to the hailstone. Hailstones can be as small as peas or as large as softballs, and the larger ones can cause injury and serious damage.* The average hailstorm lasts only five minutes, but the damage hailstorms cause totals about $1 billion a year, according to the National Weather Service.
How to Minimize Hail Damage
Large hail can shatter windows. Closing the drapes, blinds or window shades can help prevent the wind from blowing broken glass into your home or buildings.
Whenever possible, park your vehicles inside a garage or under a carport.
Patio and lawn furniture can be dented, broken or even shattered by hail. Move these items indoors or under a covered area when not in use.
If you have plans to replace the roof covering on your home or business, consider using impact-resistant material if you live in a hail-prone area.
If you are ever affected by hailstones or any other type of natural disaster, Call SERVPRO of River Oaks today! (713) 666-9222