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Air Quality in Commercial Buildings

1/19/2022 (Permalink)

Commercial Air Quality - team members in PPE  Air duct cleanings can help improve indoor air quality

Air quality is an important aspect of every building or home. It affects health, production, and income. This blog will focus on some tips to improve the air quality in your commercial building. 

  1. Vent bathrooms, kitchens, toilets and laundry rooms directly outdoors. Use energy efficient and quiet fans.
  2. Avoid locating furnaces, air conditioners and ductwork in garages or other spaces where they can inadvertently draw contaminants into the house.
  3. Properly vent fireplaces, wood stoves and other hearth products; use tight doors and outdoor air intakes when possible.
  4. Vent clothes dryers and central vacuum cleaners directly outdoors.
  5. Store toxic or volatile compounds such as paints, solvents, cleaners and pesticides out of the occupiable space.
  6. Minimize or avoid unvented combustion sources such as candles, cigarettes, indoor barbecues, decorative combustion appliances or vent-free heaters.
  7. Provide operable windows to accommodate unusual sources or high-polluting events, such as the use of home cleaning products, hobby activities, etc.
  8. Use sealed-combustion, power-vented or condensing water heaters and furnaces. When natural-draft applications must be used they should be tested for proper venting and should be located outside the occupiable space when possible.
  9. Put a good particle filter or air cleaner in your air handling system to keep dirt out of the air and off of your ductwork and heating and cooling components.
  10. Distribute a minimum level of outdoor air throughout the home, using whole-house mechanical ventilation.

For other information or to schedule a HVAC or ductwork cleaning call us today!

Not All Water Is Safe

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Dirty Water Dirty water can be dangerous to you and your house

When we respond to a case of flood damage, one of the most frequent questions our technicians is, "what is black water?" Black water is heavily contaminated water which is not only unsafe to drink but also is hazardous simply to be around. It can be difficult to judge conditions in black water due to its typical gray, brown, or black coloration, with small particles often hiding potentially far greater hazards lying within. Here are a few things that can be found in a typical sample of black flood water.
 
Dirt and Soil
Typically, most of the coloration in black water comes from dirt and soil trapped within. Many cases of flood damage in Goodlettsville and surrounding areas result from heavy storms and rain, and these floodwaters more often than not pick up significant amounts of soil before they ever reach a home. Although this dirt may sound harmless, it, in reality, makes the water much heavier and more difficult to navigate if you get caught in it.
 
Microorganisms in Black Water
Although the amount and type of organisms in flood can vary depending on its causes and specifics, almost all samples of black water contain very high levels of microorganisms. These may be parasites, bacteria, viruses, mold, or many other types of organism, and they may be able to cause health effects if ingested or absorbed through the skin. This is why it is never advised to drink flood waters and to seek medical attention immediately if you have.
 
Sharp Metal and Glass
It can be very difficult to see sharp objects in a mass of floodwater, but even if you feel you are confident that such materials are not in the water, it is best always to assume they are. Sharp materials, even if they are tiny, often constitute one of the water's greatest risks. If they open up a small cut or wound, this spot may go unnoticed by you but later on develop a bad infection. If you have been cut or had black water touch an open wound, immediately disinfect the wound and apply medical aid as needed.
 
SERVPRO of Sumner County deals with black water flood damage so that you don't have to. If your home has been caught in a flood, call us at (615) 822-0200 for mitigation and restoration services

Holiday Light Safety

11/22/2021 (Permalink)

Holiday Lights Holiday lights can make your house look great but can also increase the chance of having a fire

Holiday Light Safety

Christmas is upon us and holiday decorations are in full swing. For many home owners, decorating for Christmas is a tradition and something that is enjoyed by many. Whether you only decorate the interior of the home or you decorate both the interior and exterior, decorations and lights certainly add to the splendor of the Christmas season. According to the National Fire Protection Association fire departments responded to an average of 200 homes for structure fires related to Christmas trees between 2011-2015. Avoid Christmas tree and light related fires by following these simple safety tips.

Trees

When purchasing live Christmas trees, check for freshness and try to avoid dry trees. When you are cutting the tree, cut 1-2 inches from the base of the trunk to ensure optimal water absorption. Live trees require plenty of water. Make sure that you are checking the tree daily and watering when needed. If you prefer an artificial tree, ensure that the tag reads “Fire Resistant”. When placing the trees in your home, ensure that they are placed at least 3 feet away from all heat sources.

Lights

Check all lights to ensure that there are no worn or broken cords or loose bulbs. If you find any damage, dispose of the damaged lights and replace. When purchasing lights be sure to check the label that shows whether or not they are for indoor or outdoor use and purchase accordingly. In addition, read the instructions included with the lights. Most recommend that you plug no more than three strands together so that you are not overloading the socket. Last but not least, turn ALL Christmas lights off when going to bed or leaving the home.

If you find yourself with a damage this holiday season, call our office. Our teams will evaluate your damage and give you a clear explanation of the restoration process.

Commercial Water Damage

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

Servpro Dehumidifier A dehumidifier is one of the many pieces of equipment we will use on a commercial water damage

Despite a push to digital, some record keeping must still be done on paper. These documents record valuable city and county information needed for tracing the history of a title, property boundaries, and other legal requirements.

Commercial water removal in Gallatin doesn't stop at pumps and vacuums. Once the standing water has been removed, it is just as important to remove any excess moisture from your property and the air around it. To do this, SERVPRO uses a series of dehumidifiers. This is a very safe way to pull moisture from plat books and other records kept by county offices and construction companies as well as the offices they are kept in.

The most common type we use is a refrigerant dehumidifier. It extracts moisture from the air by condensation. It operates by air flow forced through refrigerated coils. The condensed water is collected in a tray where it is either drained or pumped out of the machine.

Our SERVPRO technicians use this on job sites where the temperature is usually over 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the available power is limited due to local electrical service being down. It is especially effective on surfaces that are moderate to highly porous and permeable to air and water; carpet, carpet padding and drywall for example.

Another machine we use when the temperature is lower is the desiccant dehumidifier. Moisture is removed by air flow which passes over silica gel. This substance attracts and captures air vapor very effectively. The condensed water is disposed of by heating it and venting it outside of the business structure.

This method is preferred for jobs where the temperature is below 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the power supply is unlimited. It is particularly useful for dense materials which have low permeability and porosity, hardwood floors, and wall framing for example.

If the structure has a large amount of porous and dense materials each, both types of dehumidifiers may be used. Both methods are good for drying out title records and other paper documents without damaging them.

Common Causes For Fire Damage

11/19/2021 (Permalink)

Microwave Fire Microwaves are one of the many house hold items that can cause a fire

Most people are aware of the fire risks posed by candles, smoking, and malfunctioning appliances, but there are also a number of everyday household hazards that may surprise you. Below are some of the most commonly overlooked sources of house fires.

Microwaves

Microwaves - especially out-of-date models - are one of the most common sources of house fires. Accidentally microwaving a piece of silverware or aluminum foil can cause arcing, and dry foods can easily ignite if cooked for too long. To make matters worse, the fan can also provide oxygen to feed the flames, which is why you should never leave a microwave unattended when in use. 

Batteries

While battery-related fires are rare, they do happen. 9-volt batteries are especially hazardous, since the positive and negative posts are so close together. If a piece of conductive metal comes between those posts, it could cause a short, igniting any nearby combustible materials. The best option is to store unused batteries in their original packaging, or to cover the ends with a bit of electrical tape. Never store batteries in a drawer with loose metal or flammable objects. 

Light Bulbs

All outlets are rated for a certain wattage, and use light bulbs that exceed those standards is a fire waiting to happen. If the outlet is unmarked, the safest course of action is to choose light bulbs that are 60 watts or below. If your home includes track or recessed lighting, consider using cooler LED bulbs instead of CFLs in order to avoid overheating. 

Dryer Lint

Every year, more than 15,000 fires are caused by dryer lint. Lint traps do not catch the majority of lint, which means that most of it ends up in the dryer vents, blocking air flow and exhaust gasses and eventually becoming a serious fire hazard. Clean the lint trap between each load of laundry, and take the time to clear lint away from the vent and the back of the dryer at least once a month. 

Laptops

Laptops heat up during regular use, and covering up their cooling vents can result in overheating and even a fire. Avoid leaving your laptop on the bed, couch, or any other surface that might block air flow. 

Reading Materials

Newspapers, magazines, books, and paperwork can easily ignite if stored too close to a heat source. Always store reading materials on a shelf or in another cool, dry place, and consider tossing out anything that you won't use again so that it doesn't become a hazard in the future. 

Heating Pads

Heating pads and electrical blankets that are old, damaged, or improperly used can pose a significant risk to your home and your safety. Replace any pads that have missing covers, tears, cracks, or exposed wires. Avoid bunching pads up during use, and never fall asleep with a heating pad turned on - many older models do not have an auto-off setting, which can lead to serious burns, short-outs, and even fires. 

Charcoal

Barbecue charcoal is highly flammable, even when it's damp. The best way to store charcoal is to keep it inside a metal container with an air-tight lid, so that if a fire does start, it won't be able to spread. Keep charcoal in an area that isn't exposed to sunlight or moisture, such as a shed or outdoor storage unit. 

Clutter

Assorted clutter is a surprisingly common source of household fires. Combustible materials that are stored near light fixtures or electrical outlets can easily ignite; clutter in the bedroom is especially dangerous since it gives you less time to react to a potential fire. Avoid stacking clothing or paperwork in a closet with light bulbs, and vacuum regularly so that flammable dust doesn't accumulate around sockets and light fixtures. 

Old Appliances

Old and outdated appliances are a major fire hazard, even if appear to be functioning properly. Many older appliances do not have the built-in safety features that come with modern models, and pieces may wear out or break down over time with regular use. Check old appliances regularly for worn insulation, exposed wiring, or malfunctioning components.

Preventing Water Damages In The Winter

11/11/2021 (Permalink)

Water Damage During Winter Ice damning is one of the main causes for water damage in the winter

The past couple of years have brought on bitter cold winters and unexpected climate changes. This winter is holding true to form as we battle the current ice storm. These frigid temperatures can result in frozen/burst pipes & ice dams.

Bursting pipes alone can result in more than $5,000 in water damage, including the amount of damage that can be done from a flooded basement or flood damage in other parts of your home. 

Another important and dangerous winter issue is ice dams that collect on the roof. Ice dams are created from snow melting from a warm part of the roof back down to a cold spot where the water refreezes and forms a dam. The ice dams continue to build up over cold days leaving a pocket for water to sit and leak through the roof.

Here are some preparation tips to protect your home this winter: 

Make sure to insulate pipes. Pipe insulation can cost as little as $0.50 per liner foot according to the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).

Clean out gutters. By making sure there are no blockages in your gutters you can avoid ice dams, which cause water to back up and flow into the house.

Ensure there are no broken seals around windows and doors. 

Check the roof for leaks or cracks in seals. These cracks usually form around vent and chimneystacks. Snow, which is mostly likely to collect on the downwind side of the roof, can cause damage to shingles. 

Winter Fire Damage

11/11/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Damage During Winter The chance of having a fire increases during the winter

According to FEMA, home fires occur more in winter than in any other season. 

In fact:

  • Half of all home heating fires occur in the months of December, January & February.
  • Heating equipment is involved in 1 in every 6 reported home fires & 1 in every 5 home fire deaths.

Here are some tips to avoid damage to your property this winter:

  1. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or space heaters.
  2. Keep portable generators outside, away from windows and as far away as possible from your house. 
  3. Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.
  4. Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney and vents every year.
  5. Store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container, and keep it outside at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings.
  6. Plug only 1 heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.

For more information on how to prevent winter fires, you can visit www.usfa.fema.gov/winter/

Fire Damages During The Holidays

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Damage During Holidays During Thanksgiving and Christmas the chances of you having a fire increases

Most homeowners are aware holiday decorations should be used with care. Each year, statistics tell the story of the fire danger resulting from frayed wires, proximity to heat sources, and lights left on unattended. But disaster recovery specialists SERVPRO wants homeowners to know that the danger of fire caused by holiday decorating, and by Christmas trees specifically, actually increases after the holiday. Citing research from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)*, the fire and water damage experts at SERVPRO say while four out of five Christmas tree fires happen in December and January, the 10 days with the highest average number of fires were all after Christmas Day.

"For many families, preparing for the holiday season is a very busy time," said Sue Steen, SERVPRO Industries, Inc. chief executive officer. "Come December 26, it's tempting to relax and stop watering the Christmas tree, replacing bulbs in outdoor lights and tucking indoor garlands back into place. Dry greens, open sockets and decorations that slip dangerously close to light sockets or fireplaces can all increase the risk of fire in the days after the Christmas holiday."

The American Christmas Tree Association** quotes Nielsen research that says Americans purchased 21.6 million live Christmas trees in 2011. That number is significant because, according to the NFPA, Christmas trees remain the number one culprit in holiday fires. Forty-three percent of Christmas tree fires happen in December, but January is close behind, claiming 39 percent -- numbers that demonstrate the danger of allowing Christmas trees to dry out during and after the holiday season. Tragically, Christmas tree fires are particularly deadly, claiming on average one life in every 40 fires compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.

Steen encourages homeowners who choose to decorate with live Christmas trees to be diligent about watering their trees both before and after the holidays. "When a Christmas tree dries out, it takes only a single spark from the fireplace, a draft that blows a candle flame too near, or a carelessly held cigarette to turn your holiday celebration into a tragedy," says Steen. "Beyond the damage from the fire itself, a Christmas tree fire, like any fire, can result in extensive smoke and water damage throughout your home, and can even be deadly."

As the holiday season moves into full swing, SERVPRO reminds homeowners to take common sense precautions based on a clear understanding of the potential danger to help prevent holiday traditions from turning into a holiday nightmare.

Gym Floors in Robertson County

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

Gym Floor Cleaning If you have any type of damage to your gym flor please give SERVPRO a call

How To Care for Gym Floors in Cheatham County

Gym floors are an important part of schools, churches and recreation centers. They are used for various events throughout the year and regular maintenance is important to keep them in good condition. While you want them to look nice it is also important for them to be safe for use. Unkempt floors in disrepair can be hazardous as well as unsightly.

Daily Maintenance

  1. It is important that gym floors be swept daily with a dust mop. Dirt and dust buildup will scratch the finish of the floor when it is walked on and can create a slipping hazard.
  2. Vacuum all walk off mats daily to ensure that the dust and dirt does not transfer to the gym floor.

As Needed Maintenance & Preventative Measures

  1. Use a damp mop once or twice a week to clean the gym floor and prevent dust.
  2. Ensure that there is no standing water left on the gym floor. Excess water on the floor can damage the wood
  3. Ensure that all tables and chairs have felt pads or use a floor covering to protect the gym floor.
  4. Walk-off mats are a great way to minimize the amount of tracked in dirt and water. These are placed at the entries and help absorb debris and water that would otherwise be tracked onto the gym floor.

Call SERVPRO of Robertson County at 615-672-1905 to learn more about our cleaning services or to schedule an inspection. Our team would love to help ensure that your gym floors are in great shape!

Important Information on Flash Flooding

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

Flash Flooding Flash flooding can happen in a short amount of time. Its important to be prepared.

Flash flooding occurs when there is a sudden influx of water onto normally dry land. Flooding can happen for many reasons, including heavy rains, ocean waves, snow that melts too quickly or dams and levees that break. Floods are the most common and wide spread weather-related disasters.

Flooding can happen very quickly with little or no warning. The destructive power of a flood combined with unpredictability make them extremely dangerous. Flooding can occur anywhere that receives rain fall. In the United States floods kill more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning.

What areas are at most risk from flooding?

Areas that are densely populated are at a high risk. Heavy construction and areas that have little to no dirt or grass that is not covered by concrete have nowhere for water to run off. In turn, instead of the water dissipating back into the ground it rises. In these densely populated areas if the streams have been re-routed underground and into storm drains they are at risk of overflowing and causing damage.

Areas near rivers are at risk. Levees are built along rivers and are used to prevent high water from flooding bordering land. If these levees are not maintained or the rains cause them to fail they cause devastating damage.

Mountains and steep hills produce a high amount of water runoff. If there are streams around these areas it causes them to rise quickly due to the rock and soil sediment. A creek or stream that at its regular depth might be 6”-7” can swell to a 10 foot raging river if a thunderstorm with heavy rain lingers.

Flood Alerts:

Flash Flood or Flood Watch-Flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated watch area-be alert.

Flash Flood or Flood Warning-Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent-take necessary precautions at once! Get to higher ground.

Urban and Small Stream Advisory-Flooding of small streams, streets and low-lying areas, such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains is occurring.

Flash Flood or Flood Statement-Follow-up information regarding a flash flood/flood event.

Ensuring that you are well educated on flooding and why it happens is the first step to safety. If you find yourself in a flood situation stay calm and get to higher ground.