How To Prepare Your Home For a Winter Storm
If you are expecting an ice storm, it is important to protect your pipes.
Preparing Your Home Before the Storm Hits
Winter can be a beautiful time of year, but it can also be unpredictable. Ice storms are one such example of a weather phenomenon that can cause damage to homes and disrupt services for days at a time. If you're planning on staying put during an ice storm or if you live in an area prone to these types of storms, here are some tips for preparing your home before the storm hits:
Inspect Your Roof
- Inspect your roof. Check for any loose shingles or tiles and look for any damage to the roof. Look at gutters, chimneys and other structural parts of the house that could be affected by ice accumulation.
- Check around the outside perimeter of your home for signs of leaks that may indicate water seeping in through cracks in windows or doors as well as around pipes and wires entering from outside walls; this could cause serious damage if left unchecked during an ice storm -- especially if it's not just rain but freezing rain!
Protect Your Pipes
If you are expecting an ice storm, it is important to protect your pipes.
Wrap exposed pipes in insulation. If a pipe is exposed and not insulated, wrap it with a towel or blanket—but don't use plastic as that can cause the pipe to crack and leak.
If you have leaking indoor plumbing due to freezing conditions outside your home—or if you're worried about potential leaks—use a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels down inside your house so that there will be less humidity available .
Install Storm Windows and Doors for Heavy Storm Events
Storm windows and doors are an easy way to protect your home from the elements. If you have older wooden storm doors that aren't weather tight, consider replacing them with newer ones. Make sure your kitchen and bathroom windows are also installed with storm windows. Storm windows should be slightly smaller than the window they are covering so that they fit snugly into place. Use caulk or plastic to seal any gaps between the two pieces of glass before inserting them into the opening of each window frame.
If you don’t have a storm door in your home, you can still install temporary protection by purchasing heavy plastic sheeting at a hardware store. Use duct tape along all seams on both sides of this sheeting to seal it against windy conditions while still allowing some light through while keeping out moisture during rainstorms and other inclement weather conditions
Prepare to Reconnect Utilities
If you have lost power and need to reconnect it, be sure to bring the right tools with you. If your home has been without power for more than a day, you may need a special device known as an electric line heater (found at hardware stores or online). You will also need to know how to use this tool properly so that it does not become damaged by the cold temperatures.
If at all possible, do not try to reconnect utilities on your own if you are not qualified. Seek professional help if needed.
As you can see, there are a number of simple steps that you can take to prepare your home for an winter storm. By following these tips, you will be better able to avoid the potential dangers associated with this type of weather event.
How To Avoid Freezing Pipes
Let water drip from faucets to keep the pipe from freezing.
Tips for Preventing Pipe Freezing
Freezing pipes are a pain. They can burst, causing water damage, and cost a lot of money to fix. To prevent this, you'll need to make sure the temperature in your home doesn't drop too low overnight, as well as maintain moderate temperatures throughout the day when no one is home. We've got some tips that will help prevent frozen pipes from happening!
Let Water Drip from Faucets
When the temperature drops below freezing, the water in your pipes will freeze and expand, which can cause the pipe to burst. To avoid this, let water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes, such as the kitchen sink or bathroom sink. If you have a flowing water faucet that is not on an exposed pipe, leave it open about half an inch for a slow drip of water to keep the pipe from freezing. Don't forget to turn off all faucets when you leave the house!
Leave the Heat on in your Home
If you are going away for more than a few days during cold weather, your best bet is to leave the heat on. You can also turn down the thermostat to 60 degrees if you will be away for only a couple of days. The temperature in your home does not need to be set below freezing; it just needs to stay above freezing for pipes that are exposed and outside walls.
Open Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets
Another easy way to prevent pipes from freezing is to open cabinet doors in both the kitchen and bathroom. This will allow heat from your home to circulate throughout the space, which will keep everything nice and warm.
Keep Garage Doors Closed
If you have a garage door that opens into the house, make sure it's kept closed if there are water supply lines in the garage. Cold air can get trapped in the garage when it's opened up to let people and vehicles in and out.
Maintain Moderate Temperatures in your Home
Maintain moderate temperatures in your home, even when away. This will reduce heat loss from your home and keep warm air inside as long as possible.
Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. Maintaining the same temperatures throughout the day and night can help prevent your pipes from freezing and bursting. Though it might cost you a bit more on your electricity bill, it is better than paying the price to repair your home after a water loss.
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into how to avoid frozen pipes. If you have any questions about whether or not your pipes are going to freeze, please contact us. We’re always happy to help! If your home or business has suffered from a pipe burst, our SERVPRO team can assist you with all your water damage cleanup and restoration needs!
Who Pays For the Damage In a Rental Property After a Fire?
A home fire can leave people with a feeling of all is lost.
Who Is Responsible for Repairs After a Fire in a Rental Property?
If you're renting a home or apartment in Carthage, MO, that catches on fire, you might wonder who's responsible for the cost of repairs. The answer is complicated and depends on whether you're covered by insurance or not.
Tenants need renters insurance.
If you rent a space in a multi-unit building, then chances are you live in an area where renters insurance is not required. However, as we've discussed above, tenants are still responsible for any damage they cause to the property itself and its contents during their time in the apartment. Investing in renters insurance is crucial in order to protect yourself and your belongings.
In this case, it's important for tenants to be aware that they need renters insurance—and even more so for those who plan on renting out their homes or apartments. If a tenant does not have renters insurance and causes damage to another person's home or property, that person may sue them for damages suffered resulting from the accident (or series of accidents). In addition, if there is no coverage available from other sources such as homeowners' policies or other personal policies like auto liability insurance then this could lead to financial catastrophe for both parties involved!
Landlords need to pay for building damage.
This is why when there's a fire in a rental property, the landlord is responsible for paying for building damage. This includes replacing walls, ceiling tiles, and flooring.
The tenant is responsible for content damage—anything that's not part of the structure of the building itself. That includes kitchen appliances, furniture, and other belongings you'd find inside your apartment or house.
Landlords should inform tenants about who covers what before signing any contracts, so everyone knows where they stand from day one! And remember to save receipts! In order to get reimbursed later on down the road you'll want proof that everything was replaced by someone else other than yourself.
Documentation is important
As mentioned previously, tenants should always have renters insurance, and document everything. If you don't have renter's insurance, you may be responsible for paying for repairs after a fire or other damage. Fortunately, many of the costs associated with those repairs can be covered by renter's insurance. A typical renter's policy will cover losses due to fire and lightning (including power surges), windstorm or hail, explosion, smoke damage, and water damage. Most policies also offer additional coverage for personal property like computers and furniture up to $2,000 in value—and this is usually limited only if there was loss due to theft or vandalism.
Even though landlords are responsible for the property, they can't be held responsible for everything that happens on it. It's important to have as many protections in place as possible so you're prepared when something unexpected happens. If your home or business in Carthage, MO, suffers from a fire, don’t hesitate and give our SERVPRO of Carthage/Joplin team a call for all your fire damage cleanup and restoration needs!
How Flood Insurance Helps Keep Your Business Afloat
No matter where your business is based, flooding is always a risk.
Three Reasons To Invest In Flood Insurance
Owning a business in Carthage, MO can feel like exploring uncharted waters at times. One thing you don’t want to complicate the experience is damage from actual water, which can add up fast. When the dust settles (and dries), you could be looking at a bill for over $50,000 from just one inch of water. Here are three reasons why investing in a flood insurance policy for your business is important.
1. It's Usually the Only Insurance That Covers Flood Damage
Most commercial property insurance policies do not cover damage from flooding, a fact that, unfortunately, many business owners learn too late. Insurance can be purchased anytime from the National Flood Insurance Program. It offers coverage for up to half a million dollars for both building and personal property.
2. There’s No Such Thing as "No Risk"
You may be wondering why you need a flood policy if your business is not in a high-risk area. Flooding can be caused by blocked sewers and melting snow; even wildfires can increase flood chances in your neighborhood. According to statistics from FEMA, insurance claims from low-risk areas make up over 20% of all flood claims.
3. Other Assistance Options May Be Limited
While there are federal aid programs available to business owners affected by flooding, the president must declare a state of emergency to activate those benefits. What's more, these loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration must be paid back with interest. Because of this, having commercial insurance that also includes flood protection is like a lifeboat that can keep you from drowning in water damage or debt. Your insurance company will work in tandem with your local water damage restoration specialists to help get your business back on track in no time.
No matter where your business is based, flooding is always a risk. Having a flood insurance policy and knowing it inside and out can be the difference between treading water and smooth sailing.
Ways To Keep Water out of Your Crawl Space
Check your rain gutter.
How Do I Keep Water Out Of My Crawl Space?
When it comes to flooding at home, basements, cellars and crawl spaces are among the most common places to find water. While you may not worry too much about a little water in this tiny part of your home, if you neglect the problem, it could lead to more serious issues in your Joplin, MO, home like mold growth. Make sure you take the proper action to help ensure you don’t end up with a wet crawl space.
How it Happens
As a homeowner, you have a host of matters you must deal with to keep your home safe. A flood can frustrate you because of the cleanup and repair costs, not to mention potential health and safety hazards. Here are some signs your crawl space may be at risk for water buildup:
- Broken underground lines
- Poorly graded property
- Broken or incorrectly installed downspouts and rain gutters
Pay Attention to Landscaping
One of the biggest culprits for a wet crawl space is when your property doesn’t have the right slope. Your lawn and other landscaping should slope away from your home so when heavy rain comes, it won’t build up on your property and find its way into your basement. Make sure water is draining away from your house.
Don’t Water too Much
If you’ve got a garden or flower bed close to your home, be careful about how much you water it. Overwatering can easily cause water to leak into your crawl space and cause flooding.
Check Your Rain Gutters
If a storm hits, you count on rain gutters and downspouts to guide water away from your home toward the street. Check these on your house to ensure they are collecting water near your foundation or window wells.
If you’re worried about a wet crawl space, get in touch with a professional to inspect your property. These technicians can also help you clean up after a flood.
Do I Have Mold in My Home? – Warning Signs You May Have a Problem
Don’t let a small problem in your Carthage, MO, MO home grow out of control.
Do I Have Mold in My Home?
The first thing we need to understand about mold is: yes, you do have mold in your home. Mold is ubiquitous, meaning it is found everywhere. Mold in normal amount is not necessarily unhealthy or destructive. When you have increased level of mold is when you have a problem.
What causes an increased level of mold? Molds thrive in areas with high moisture levels. In fact, all mold needs to survive is a food source which is anything cellulose and water. Typically, your home or business is kept well below the 60% relative humidity needed for elevated mold growth. But if you have any sort of water intrusion from a flood, roof leak, or seeping basement the moisture level in the air could increase to a level that is prime for mold growth. What do you need to look for?
Water Spots: Water spots on sheetrock, ceiling tiles, or basement walls typically indicate a water intrusion of some kind. As mentioned above a water intrusion can elevate moisture levels in the air to promote mold growth. You need to find the source of the water. SERVPRO of Carthage-Joplin can safely assist you in this area.
Discoloration: Not all discoloration is mold growth but many times it is a tell-tail sign of elevated mold growth. When you discover the discoloration ask yourself if there is a reason to believe the conditions are right for mold growth? Did you suffer a water intrusion lately? Is the discoloration near a water source like nearby plumbing that could have a small leak? Again, a professional is best suited to further investigate.
Foul Odor: Plain and simple, mold stinks! Literally stinks. Based on the type of mold, the amount of mold, and how good of a sniffer you have it could be a very faint odor or it could be quite pungent. If you believe the odor is mold related you should bring in a professional.
Mold is nothing to ignored. It also can deteriorate you home value as it eats away at the structure and finishes costing you money to repair. Mold is a topic that many time makes people uncomfortable because they have seen extreme examples of how harmful mold can be when out of control. Remember every story of extreme mold clean up usually started small with one or more of the above listed signs. Don’t let a small problem in your Carthage, MO, MO home grow out of control. If you see the signs call SERVPRO of Carthage-Joplin for an evaluation.
Let's Get Prepared for Possible Severe Weather
Have a kit ready.
Severe Weather Reminders
In Joplin, MO, we have had an active spring weather wise but fortunately, we have not encountered much in the way of severe weather here in the four states. But as we all know we are no where near being out of the woods for possible severe storms. We try to help our neighbors be as prepared as possible for any disaster. Here are our annual spring severe weather reminders.
Be vigilant and aware.
There are a lot of ways to receive notice of the threat of severe weather these days. Weather radios (with properly charged batteries) are probably the most reliable but are sometimes impractical. Most people do not carry a weather radio around with them. Weather radios are also limited in accuracy for specific locations. The information released on weather radios covers entire counties. Cell phones are a better way to receive information about specific locations but they rely on a network of towers that can be damaged by strong storms. Television and radio are also great ways to receive updated information but they too can be interrupted by damage to their infrastructure.
Have an Emergency Kit ready.
We all have been reminded many times to have a kit ready. Standard items include food and water for two days. A first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, blankets, etc. The National Weather Service, the Red Cross, and FEMA all have detailed lists you can easily find online. Just don’t procrastinate! Get a kit ready and have it accessible.
Have a rendezvous plan.
Don’t assume if a disaster strikes your family will all be together and accounted for. We all have busy lives and are going in different directions. Have a plan to meet up with loved ones. Start with meeting back at your home, but if that is not possible have a back up plan to meet. Many families use a family member or other contact out of the area to coordinate the rendezvous.
As severe weather season rolls on, please be safe!
3 Places Mold Can Hide in Your Commercial Building
If you own a building with wallpaper, fungi may be lurking behind it.
Places Where Mold Can Hide
Mold can damage your Sarcoxie, MO, commercial building and cause long-term issues, including an unpleasant mold smell. This odor can make your employees and customers uncomfortable, and in some cases, the mold itself may not be visible. There are several places fungi can hide, and calling in a professional mitigation and removal team can help you pinpoint the source of the odor.
1. HVAC Ducts
If your heating, ventilation and air conditioning ducts have leaks or do not operate correctly due to age, this can cause moisture to enter the ductwork, where mold can take hold and grow unchecked. Most types of fungi do not require sunlight to grow and spread, and as the mold eats, it releases a waste product called mycotoxins, which creates the fungus smell. Having your ductwork checked can uncover the source of the odor.
2. Under Carpet Padding
Even a minor flood can cause mold to grow, and if your building experienced a flood, incomplete cleanup may cause mold to grow under carpeting and beneath the padding. Dining room carpeting in a restaurant or in an office may be hiding mold, which can cause a musty mildew smell that is both persistent and unpleasant. Your mitigation technicians may have to remove the carpeting and padding to resolve the issue.
3. Behind Wallpaper
If you own a building with wallpaper, fungi may be lurking behind it and causing a mold smell you cannot pinpoint by sight. Your technicians may use thermal imaging equipment, such as cameras, to find sources of moisture and mold growth. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may have to replace the wallpaper in the affected areas.
An unpleasant mold smell inside your Sarcoxie, MO, commercial building can make your employees and customers uncomfortable. Because fungi can hide in a variety of places, calling in a professional removal team can ensure that the mold and its accompanying odor are completely eradicated.
How To Stay Safe and Minimize Loss During a Flood
Install a sump pump in your basement.
Stay Safe During a Flood
Flood damage is something that many business owners have experienced. You can follow a few steps when faced with a flood to stay safe and minimize the amount of loss you experience.
What To Do Ahead of Time
There are steps that you can take before flooding occurs to protect yourself and your business. The most effective way to get proper protection is to purchase a flood insurance policy. Here are some other things you can do to protect your business:
- Find a storm restoration company
- Know your risk of floods
- Create an inventory of all your items
- Store important documents somewhere safe
Steps To Minimize Your Loss
Aside from these crucial things, there are several steps you can take to minimize your property damage from flooding. For instance, you can elevate and anchor all of your critical utilities, such as electrical panels, propane tanks, sockets, wiring, appliances, and HVAC systems. Another permanent thing you can do is waterproof the basement level of your building and install a sump pump. These pumps can greatly reduce the amount of damage to your building.
You may also need to do some things when rising water levels are predicted, such as clearing out your gutters. When you do this, it may also be wise to put your furniture and valuable equipment in a higher location.
Don’t Forget About Physical Safety
When flooding is imminent in Duquesne, MO, you must put yourself and your employees' safety first. You can do this by staying up to date with the local weather reports and news releases. You can also create an evacuation plan that shows your employees how to get to safety if necessary.
Floods and storm damage is something is a common threat to business owners. To protect yourself, your employees, and your business, you need to know how to prepare for the situation and minimize your loss.
Characteristics of Category 2 Water Damage
Commercial water damage in Sarcoxie, MO.
Category 2 Water Damage
In Sarcoxie, MO, a water loss in your business is nobody’s idea of a good time. Besides the revenue lost from a water pipe repair, there could be permanent property damage and maybe even worse. See below to find out more about Category 2 water and how it affects the severity of the situation.
Second Floor, Broken Pipe
You find out your business needs a water pipe repair when you return from Christmas vacation. A broken line in the second-floor restroom caused Category 1 water to accumulate in the walls and ceiling undetected for the holiday week. By the time everybody returned to work, the Category 1 water had become Category 2 due to the length of time and warm temperatures from a heated building. Not to mention contamination from the bathroom and dust, debris, and insulation between floors.
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification says that Category 2 water can potentially cause illness in humans. This type of water, also known as grey water, might contain hazardous levels of microbes and microbe fuel, along with other things found in a restroom.
Here are some examples of Category 2 water:
- Overflowing toilets containing urine only
- Discharge from a washing machine or dishwasher
- Leaky water beds and aquariums
First Floor, Flooded
The Category 2 water stewing between the first and second floors broke through the ceiling on the first floor, causing a mess in the lobby. Heat in the building kept the water at the right temperature to encourage further microbial growth. If given a little more time, the Category 2 water could have become Category 3 water with vast numbers of microorganisms. Not a very welcome sight for visitors.
If given enough time and the right temperature and contamination, Category 1 water can become Category 2 or 3.