Recent Posts

Should I Replace My Carpet After a Pipe Break?

9/13/2019 (Permalink)

A pipe in the ground bursting out water. In ideal situations, homeowners can usually clean wet carpets rather than replacing them.

When dealing with a pipe break in Summit, Lake, Park & Eagle Counties, CO, it is likely that your carpeted flooring will be exposed to prolonged water saturation. Consider the following three factors when debating whether to clean or replace carpet flooring after a house flood.

1. Water Contamination Level
Any time flooding occurs in your home, the degree of contamination can be determined on a scale from 1 to 3. 1st degree flood water contamination is often referred to as clean water contamination. When water leaks from a sanitary source such as a sink or tub it is not contaminated yet but can cause structural damage. Rather than ripping up your padded floors and throwing them all away, attempt to salvage the carpeting. Pull back the flooring all the way to the padding and dry it out in the following ways:

Open windows for fresh air
Use fans to circulate air
Use a shop vac to suck-up excess sitting water

2. Amount of Exposure
After determining the source of the flooding, figure out how long has the carpet has been soaking in water. Even when a pipe break leaks sanitary water, the water's contamination level can change drastically with time. If your rug has been exposed to water for more than a couple of days the pollution may be considered "grey water" making it less sanitary. Carpeting that has grey or black water flooding may not be as easily salvaged.

3. Resources for Restoring
It's true, flood restoration may sound like a hassle after experiencing a home pipe break. However, restoring rather than replacing your floors can save you a lot of money in the long run. Evaluate the resources you have at your disposal and consider hiring a home water restoration company. These experienced professionals have the tools and experience needed to help you in your effort to save your existing flooring.

3 Types of Flood Water and How They Can Affect Your Workplace

9/12/2019 (Permalink)

Flood waters rising over business such as a McDonalds in the background. Every business owner should know these three categories of water damage.

As a business leader, you're concerned about the profitability of your company. You also have responsibility for the safety and well-being of your employees and for the integrity and functionality of your organization. You probably have plans in place to respond to fires and other emergencies, but are you aware of the dangers of flood water? There are different degrees of severity when it comes to flooding. The more you understand these, the better response you can have in your Summit, Lake, Park & Eagle Counties, CO, workplace.

Flood Causes
Any number of things could go wrong in your office to start a flood. Sometimes, it could be a simple matter of your building succumbing to age and to wear and tear. Often, the following will introduce water on the floors or into the walls or ceiling of your facility:

-A toilet overthrow
-Backed-up sewer line
-Poorly placed rain gutters and downspouts
-Broken or leaking pipes
-Damaged foundation

Category 1 Flooding
This is the least harmful type of flood water. It consists of clean water, so you can take comfort that it won't have dangerous materials in it. Though the water can still damage electronics, documents, furniture, carpet and walls, it won't pose harm to you or your employees. It can occur as a result of pipe problems or a leaking roof.

Category 2 Flooding, Gray Water
This type of water has moderate health concerns for individuals. A broken dishwasher in your break room or a toilet overflow could bring Category 2 water into your office. You should still exercise caution around this water.

Category 3, Black Water
This water can be lethal to humans, as it contains raw sewage, including fecal matter. You may also find hazardous materials such as silt in black water. Never attempt to clean up black water on your own Instead, call a skilled sewage cleanup team immediately.

Flood water can be a serious matter in your building, regardless of the category. Be aware of what characteristics constitute these three types.

How To Know Materials Need To Be Replaced

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

Hallway of home flooded, the living room and brick fire place are in the distance. Water damage can be costly, but repair can lower the expense.

A flooded home can lead to many problems. If materials in your home get waterlogged, you may see buckling or swelling wood. Water mitigation specialists in Summit, Lake, Park & Eagle Counties, CO, can determine whether the materials can be repaired or must be replaced. Here are some of the questions involved in that decision.

Is It Saturated?
There is a difference between a floor or wall that is merely wet and one that has been completely saturated with water from a supply line leak. Some signs that your hardwood floors have taken on water damage include:

Cupping, evidenced by uneven edges
Bulging, evidenced by bowed shape
Buckling, evidenced by detachment from the floor underneath

Boards or other materials that are significantly damaged will probably have to be replaced.

Can It Be Dried?
Technicians will likely set up industrial fans or other means of increasing air flow to the flooded area. This drying process helps them determine what can be dried and salvaged. Slightly swelling wood that retains its shape after being dried may be able to be affixed or nailed back into place. Other items may dry on the surface but still remain warped or show lasting signs of damage. These materials will probably need to be replaced. If a large portion of the floor or wall is damaged beyond repair, it may be less expensive to replace the whole floor or wall rather than try to make new boards or materials fit.

Can It Be Cleaned?
If you have a leak from a clean water source, such as a pipe or supply line, technicians probably won't have to clean the materials to restore them. They can usually just be dried after water pipe repair has been completed. If the water has become contaminated, however, cleaning is necessary in order to avoid secondary damage. Once mold or other extended damage occurs, the affected materials will probably have to be replaced.
Certified experts can determine whether or not the swelling wood in your floors requires repair or replacement.

What To Expect From a Storm Cleanup Crew

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

Thunder storm with a purple sky. Knowing what to expect when a cleanup crew arrives can give you peace of mind.

"When a storm wreaks havoc on your building in Summit, Lake, Park & Eagle Counties, CO, you need the expertise of flood damage specialists to restore your building to its original state. They have to tear out old material and rebuild after the building is clean. You can expect the cleanup crew to work through four basic steps after arrival.

1. Water Extraction
The first thing that has to happen to stop further water damage is extraction. Floods usually leave a significant amount of standing water. Technicians use industrial pumps to remove water and special machinery to siphon off as much of the excess that is left behind as possible. 

2. Material Removal
Flood water typically leaves destruction of structural materials in its wake. The crew must tear out waterlogged drywall and any damp insulation they find. Ceiling tiles or flooring may have to be taken out as well. Anything that is no longer structurally sound has to go.

3. Area Drying
The parts of the structure that are salvageable must be dried thoroughly. If too much moisture is left in your building, your water damage problem can turn into a mold problem. Drying out the area prevents this from happening.

4. Building Restoration
The last thing technicians do before the job is finished is restore your building to its former functionality. Walls have to be rebuilt, and missing ceiling tiles must be replaced. The storm restoration crew will likely match the new materials with the remaining materials so that no one can tell where the former begins and the latter ends. Once the structure is rebuilt and everything looks like its supposed to look, the building is ready for use again.

Talk through the process of extraction, tear out, drying and restoration with your lead technician before the work begins."

-How To Prepare for Storm Season-

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

Heavy storm with dark overtones of storm clouds and orange flashes of lighting. You may not be able to avoid storms, but you can prepare for them.

"Heavy storms can be unpredictable, but one thing you can predict is how you will respond if they affect your building in Summit, Lake, Park & Eagle Counties, CO. You may not be able to prevent all flood water from invading your place of business. Instead, plan what you will do if such an event occurs.

Have an Emergency Plan
Every business owner should have a plan for dealing with a flooded building. There are several questions your plan needs to answer:

Who makes the decision to start emergency protocol?
How do people evacuate the building?
What are the necessary tasks that need to be accomplished, and who is in charge of each one?
How do employees communicate with you and one another during the emergency?

When you know that flood water is an imminent danger, an emergency plan can help you keep the people in your building safe and help you minimize damage to the building. 

Back Up Vital Data
It's always important to back up vital data, but it is especially necessary during storm season. The main threat to the items in your building during a storm is probably water damage. Equipment that cannot be repaired can be replaced fairly easily, but this is not the case with important documents. If the information is lost, it could set your business back. A digital backup may end up saving you money and time.

Set Mitigation Process in Motion
If your building is damaged by a storm, you don't want to wait to call in repairs. A water cleanup company can assess the damage to your building, provide an estimate of the cost of remediation and give you a timeline for how long the process is likely to take. Make sure you have the number of a trusted company readily available in case you need it.

By planning ahead, you may be able to minimize the impact that impending flood water has on your business."

6 Tips and Tricks For When You Find Mold in Your Home

8/1/2019 (Permalink)

1. Don’t panic. Mold can happen in everyone’s home, especially in bathrooms or damp basements.

2. Contact your insurance provider to find out if mold removal is covered under your policy. In most cases it will be, but it may depend on the cause of the mold.

3. It is beneficial to have the mold tested to see what kind of mold you are dealing with and to what extend your home has been affected.

4. Make any necessary changes to minimize mold in your home (caulk around water fixtures, fix any roof leaks, clean gutters, etc.).

5. Decide with your mold specialist whether it is safe to remove yourself or whether hiring a professional to provide remediation is a good idea. Once removed, retest your home to measure mold levels.

6. When you need a professional, turn to SERVPRO of Summit, Lake, Park & Eagle Counties! Our team specializes in stopping mold at the source, cleaning and decontaminating the affected area, and taking measures to prevent more mold growth. With state-of-the-art equipment and proven techniques, we restore your property to its previous condition. 

Are you a Mold Spore or Contaminant Carrier?

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

While the cleaning equipment you use is inorganic and unlikely to cause such a scenario, the question remains: Should you regularly clean and decontaminate it, especially after cleaning such areas as healthcare facilities or the residence of a hoarder where pathogens exist? What about areas where there was a serious mold contamination problem?

Although medical buildings may not look dirty, most of their carpets, flooring, and furniture have contaminates that are easily dispersed by air movement caused by vacuum cleaners, dust mops, or even just being brushed against.

For example, it’s very common for families who escape from a mold-polluted residence to cross-contaminate their new place of residence to which they move by carrying the spores on themselves, clothing, and possessions. You can do the same by not decontaminating your equipment.

But, cleaning equipment before leaving a contaminated jobsite is essential. Otherwise, the vehicle you transport it in will itself end up with mold spores. Then, even if the equipment is cleaned back at your shop or warehouse, it can again become contaminated once it’s loaded back into the same truck—and you’ll carry those mold spores on to the next job.

If your equipment has been used where the flu virus is rampant, wash the surfaces with a general household cleaner to remove grime, then rinse with water and apply an EPA-registered disinfectant to kill germs. Be sure to read the label to confirm it’s EPA approved for effectiveness against influenza A virus. If a surface isn’t visibly dirty, clean it with an EPA-registered product that will both clean (remove germs) and disinfect (kills germs) instead.

If there was mold contamination at your last job site, wipe down all surfaces of your equipment with a disinfectant like Benefect or Sporicidin. Be sure to also replace the filters in vacuum cleaners and any portable air filtration devices before using them again. Recovery tanks on portable carpet cleaning extractors should also be flushed out and cleaned to remove any pollutants that were picked up on the worksite.

Granted, contamination may not happen on every job. And while air movement may scatter contaminates, that same air movement also makes it very hard for microbes to grow, including mold. Since every job is different, you’ll have to make a judgment call. But it’s a good habit to go ahead and clean your equipment after all jobs anyway. Doing so not only makes the units more presentable to your next customer—after all, who wants to see dirty equipment being hauled into their home or business?—but also ensures you won’t end up becoming a “carrier.” 

The Difference between Structure Fire Smoke and Wildfire Smoke

7/7/2019 (Permalink)

No debate needing, inhaling smoke from any type of fire can be hazardous to your health. Smoke inhalation is the most common cause of death in house fires. Just a few minutes of exposure to thick smoke can cause brain damage or even death.

As restoration contractors, we usually aren’t faced with that immediate, thick smoke, but dangers still remain after the fire is out – whether it’s dealing with structural damage from a large house fire, or smoke odor removal following a wildfire.

House Fire Smoke

There are more than one million house fires in the U.S. each year, meaning there are a lot of fire jobs out there for restoration companies. The biggest dangers post-fire come from VOCs (volatile organic compounds) found in the air that have been released from contents within the structure. For example, when some materials burn – like synthetic rubber, plastic, or foam – they can release cyanide into the air. Those substances are commonly found in furniture, clothing, Tupperware, and so much more within any structure.

Research published by the National Institutes of Health back in 2002 said, “During the past 50 years, synthetic polymers have been introduced in buildings in very large quantities. Many contain nitrogen or halogens, resulting in the release of hydrogen cyanide and inorganic acids in fire smoke as additional threats.”

Exposure to these VOCs can cause permanent health issues, which is why proper PPE is critical during fire jobs, especially during the initially scoping, estimating, and demo phase if the fire was severe.

Wildfire Smoke

Wildfire smoke also carries fine particles that can be dangerous when inhaled. These particles tend to come from more organic sources, versus the synthetic sources we talked about above from house fires. When thinking about wildfire smoke, think about burning trees and other plant materials, and just how dense the air can get when the fire is nearby. Add to that litter, synthetic compounds from local structures that have burned, and ash, and it’s a recipe for disaster for human health – even after the fire.

When remediating a structure affected by wildfire smoke, it is important to remember to clean air ducts as well because it’s likely even the most inner parts of the structure have been touched by the smoke and soot.

Protection during Fire Damage Remediation

Here are some quick tips to keep your team safe during fire jobs, no matter the cause or source of the fire.

  1. Wear proper PPE. This includes respirators, and doing proper fit tests for them! A dust mask is not enough.
  2. Avoid direct contact with anything directly affected by the fire. Again, this is why PPE is critical. If you handle affected items with bare hands, it is easy for contaminants to transfer into your body.
  3. Use equipment, like HEPA vacs, that are able to filter out small particles.
  4. Ventilate the area where you are working if possible. But remember, if the smoke damage has not affected the HVAC system, turning that system on before remediating the smoke damage and odor could cause the odor and soot to be circulated throughout an entire building instead of contained to a certain area.
  5. Consider having IAQ testing done to determine VOCs in the air and establish a scope of work and remediation protocol.

Mold Prevention in New Construction

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

In new construction of commercial or residential properties, mold can be a pesky nightmare. While moisture – and the potential for mold – is seemingly inevitable in some situations, there are a number of things that you can do to avoid a major mold problem:

– Utilize a condensate pump and drain, which is used to filter any moisture build up within duct work out so that within that enclosed duct work the moisture does not sit for an extended period of time and begin to grow into mold.

– Activate a dehumidifier, which is used to collect the damp, humid conditions within an enclosed area with little to no air movement that has no outside exposure (such as a basement).

– Use a ventilator system, which is used to filter incoming air and recollects heat from used air before exhausting it out of the new building/new home.

And, in the situations of mold growth, do NOT hesitate to reach out to the team at SERVPRO of Summit, Lake, Park & Eagle Counties –  we are your go-to for mold remediation!

Common Fire Hazards in the Home

6/7/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Hazards in the Home

House fires can happen in the blink of an eye if we aren’t careful. There are easy every day hazards we could avoid to help reduce the chance of a fire in your home.

Common Fire Hazards in the Home:

  1. Candles: Many candle fires are started due to unattended candle usage. Candles should not be left burning for hours at a time and its highly recommended to not use in the bedroom.
  2. Cooking: Kitchen fires are some of the top places home fires start. Never leave cooking unattended. If you leave turn off the burner, oven, or microwave. Clean your oven regularly and the rest of the kitchen appliances. Keep kids and pets clear of cooking areas and always turn pot handles in.
  3. Electrical fire: Use safe appliances. Keep appliances on level surfaces and remember to turn off all electrical appliances when not in use
  4. Matches and lighters: Keep out of reach of children. Make sure they are completely out when done using and if a lighter use all safety measures.
  5. Smoking materials: The misuse of products like cigarettes and pipes can cause house fires too. Make sure to put out all cigarettes and follow all guidelines for electrical smoking devices

These are just a few tips to help keep your home safe