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3 Types of Damages Homes Can Get From Lightning | SERVPRO® of Ames

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

lightning strikes in dark stormy sky Lighting Strikes

The dramatic view of lightning streaking across the sky is quintessential to thunderstorms, but it also represents extreme danger. Lightning can often cause severe injuries and damage to property when it strikes, which is why it is essential to know the dangers it presents.

<h3about-lightning">Information About Lightning

All thunderstorms develop an electrical charge, and thunder and lightning are the results of this. What our eyes perceive as a lightning bolt is the storm shooting off some of its electrical charge, which is manifested as a strike.

Clouds are well-insulated for electrical charge, why is why there are so many lightning strikes that arc across the sky. When lightning strikes toward the ground instead, that’s when damages can be caused.

<h3types-of-lightning-damage">3 Types of Lightning Damage

The damage caused by lightning strikes can be caused not only by heat but also due to damage to wires and pipes. These are the three main types of damage homes can get from lightning:

1. Fire damage. Lightning reaches temperatures around 500,000 degrees, making it hot enough to ignite buildings on impact. As it travels through a home’s wires, damage can also be caused inside the walls, raising the potential for electrical fires in the future. An electrician or the local fire department can often test for hot spots and assess the damage.

2. Electrical damage. Lightning has more electrical charge than most electronics are equipped to handle, so lightning traveling through the wires can easily move up cables and ruin appliances. Surge protectors are the common defense against this.

3. Structural damage. The thunder we hear when lightning strikes across the sky is a result of shock waves created by the force. This force is still present when lightning strikes the ground, with enough force to shatter windows, explode foundations and crack chimneys. A thorough home inspection after the storm passes is useful in assessing the damage.

If your home has been affected by storm damages or lightning-related fires, give us a call today! We are experts in damage cleanup and can restore your damage quickly.

Getting Your Business Prepared for Flooding | SERVPRO® of Ames

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

flooding in large room with staircase partially submerged in water Business flooding

For business owners who do not operate in a floodplain, it may seem odd that they should prepare for flooding. However, national disasters include flooding around 90% of the time, and many affected areas are those not traditionally prone to flooding.

It is smart for business owners to consider and plan for the possibility of a flood, both to keep their employees safe and get their business reopened more quickly after a disaster.

<h3to-do-ahead-of-time">What to Do Ahead of Time

By being honest about their risks, training employees and planning ahead, business owners will be much more prepared for a flood and will know how to stay safe. Some key points to plan for include:

  • Referencing the FEMA Flood Map to get an idea of your risk levels
  • Copying all paperwork and records to keep in a safe, external location
  • Drafting your own Emergency Action Plan and training employees for what to do
  • Clearly marking the office evacuation route
  • Considering the purchase of flood insurance if it is something your business insurance does not handle
  • Assembling an emergency kit for the workplace in the event you and other employees are stranded for a time
  • Placing any valuables in the highest possible areas if flooding becomes imminent

<h3documents-to-preserve">The Documents to Preserve

In order to restore and reopen, having your documents copied and safe will be a big assistance. Keep any essential papers, such as:

  • The continuity plan for how you will resume operations
  • Contact information for employees, as well as their emergency contacts
  • Your insurance policy for the business and flood coverage if applicable
  • Vendor information, along with contact information for suppliers and any other third parties that may be crucial to operations
  • Guidelines for how to recover files from computer backups
  • Any pertinent financial documents

If your business has experienced a flood, we are always here to help. Call us 247 to get our team of professionals to your business quickly so you can get back on track.

Why to Choose SERVPRO® After a Fire | SERVPRO® of Ames

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

black smoke coming out of windows from a burning house Smoking House

With the lowered temperatures of winter approaching, higher fire risk is on its way as well. Winter is the most common time for home fires according to the Red Cross, mostly attributed to appliance use and decorations used during the season.

Though it is not enjoyable to plan for a house fire, it is important to think ahead. Not only should you create a fire escape plan to share with your family, but you should also make a decision in advance about what restoration company to use so you can be ready if the time comes.

<h3your-fire-restoration-company">Picking Your Fire Restoration Company

When it comes to choosing the company to restore your home after a fire, you want to ensure you are finding one that can handle restoring both your home and what is in it to its pre-damaged state. By utilizing three methods of deep-cleaning, we are able to do just that.

Structural Cleaning

When it comes to damages from a fire, even the structural elements of your home may need to be cleaned, including carpets, walls and subfloors. Our trained technicians will first perform a test to get an overview of the extent of the damage. This will help us use the best equipment and cleaning techniques to handle your surfaces. In some cases, we will be able to remove mild soot buildup straight from the walls, while in others, we will have to do a full paint preparation so they can be repainted.

Content Cleaning

Your belongings are just as important to restore as your home—that is why we make sure to handle the cleaning of your contents, too. Goods such as curtains, rugs and furniture can be cleaned and deodorized utilizing either wet or dry cleaning processes, depending on the item. We can also restore other items in some cases such as clothing, books and more.

Deodorization Services

Fire can leave behind persistent smoke odors, but it can also leave behind hazardous soot particles that can lead to health issues. Instead of utilizing artificial fragrances to mask the odors, we are able to go to the source and remove them by utilizing air scrubbers and other tools. With a variety of deodorization methods available, we will work with you to find what is best for your situation.

If you’ve been affected by a fire, reach out to us right away! We are here 247 to help you recover.

Surprising Spots for Household Water Damage

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

water damage and flooding on kitchen tile Water damage can happen at any time. SERVPRO of Ames will ensure that each water mitigation job is done correctly and completely. Give SERVPRO of Ames

It is common to associate water damage with flooding, but there are many other surprising reasons water damage can occur in a home—quite a few of which occur in hidden locations.

Because water damage can become worse if it is left untreated, hidden water damage is especially insidious. Many homeowners’ policies do not provide coverage for water damages; when they do, a typical claim will be in the range of $7,000.

Knowing the surprising spots that water damage may be found in and checking them regularly can go a long way in preventing complications.

<h3spots-for-household-water-damage">Surprising Spots for Household Water Damage

  • Inside cabinets. When sink pipes are inside cabinets, it is easy for their leaking to go unnoticed. Keeping an eye on any hidden piping will be helpful.

  • Near bathtub casings. The casing of the bathtub or shower is sealed with caulk around the edges, providing a barrier for water to leak. However, if these have not been recaulked in a while, they can begin to falter.

  • On structural elements. Drywall hides the structural elements of the home, but it can also hide water damage. Though ripping out drywall can be a chore, if there has been a busted pipe or a flood recently, it is wise to check behind it.

  • Around seals in the roof. The vents of roofs are sealed to prevent water from entering, which can deteriorate with time. Checking the roof often for signs of water is a wise choice.

  • Within an HVAC unit. As the HVAC unit pulls moisture from the air, it typically drains it away. However, if there is an issue with any of the drain lines, this condensation can build up within the unit instead.

  • Behind appliances. Appliances are rarely moved unless they are being replaced, but ones such as washing machines and dishwashers can also hide water leaks. Performing an annual inspection for any hidden damage is a good preventive measure.

  • Around exterior faucets. Because outside faucets are connected within the walls of the house, leaks can easily hide. If the faucet is turned off and you still hear sounds of running water, there might be a hidden leak.

If your home has suffered water damage (even in a hidden place like one of these), we are happy to help! Give us a call right away, and we’ll get there quickly.

Facts About What to Do if You Smell Gas in Your Home

9/6/2019 (Permalink)

Gas fire may come in three forms; gasoline, propane gas or natural gas. Gasoline is a petroleum-based liquid which can be used to power automobiles, boats, lawnmowers and other equipment used for construction and landscaping. Propane gas is also a liquid and mainly for use in heating and cooking, such as barbecue grills. Heating and cooking also use the third type of gas.
Most gasses are tasteless, odorless and colorless, so there is a considerable amount of danger when flammable gas goes unnoticed. However, a chemical called mercaptan adds a smell of sulfur or rotten eggs which may be your first indicator that you have a gas leak. Here are a few facts about what to do if you smell gas in your home.
1. Don’t Flip the Switch
All it takes is a spark for a gas fire to ignite. Flipping a light switch or lighting a fire in a gas-filled room can cause a gas explosion that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, not to mention medical costs from injuries suffered in the fire.
2. Leave the House
Evacuate immediately, leave no pets behind, but insure your safety first. Get your family out of the house. Tasteless, odorless and colorless is dangerous. Not only can there be a gas explosion, but the fumes can cause serious injury to the body. Dial 911. No matter what home, or how unsure you are, your local fire department will come when you call.
3. Get Your Lines Checked
Once it is safe to reenter your home, contact a plumber to determine what lines need to be fixed or replaced. Be aware, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace your gas line. Have periodic inspections to maintain the lines throughout your home.
If a gas fire does occur due to faulty lines in your home, it is best to contact a residential restoration service to survey and clean up any damage. The safety and well-being of your family is your first priority. Learn what to do in case of a gas leak, and do your research on what is the best contingency plan for your home.

If by chance you do end up having a fire, in which we do hope you never have to handle, we will be there for you to make sure it’s “like it never happened”. Remember your local SERVPRO of Ames is here for you!

Handling Your Hoarding

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulting discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.” A person with hoarding disorder experiences distresses at the thought of getting rid of items. Many people with hoarding problems don’t see their habits as a problem. Which makes this situation a very sensitive topic. 

Hoarded items are often things that are viewed as junk or garbage such as mail, packaging or old newspapers. Hoarding normally leads to the home being filled with an extreme amount of clutter. Bugs, fleas, roaches, rats, and other vermin see hoarding houses as an ideal breeding ground, at this point an exterminator would need to be called. We here at SERVPRO of Ames encounter hoarding situations in different ways. 

Often, we are called for a fire or water loss and find the hoarding situation when we arrive. We have professionals that can communicate with the insurance regarding their contents coverage and after the approval process, the contents can be packed out and possibly cleaned, dried, stored by us or relocated to a storage facility so work on the fire or water loss can be started.

We may also receive calls from landlords, caseworkers, real estate agents, or family members after the death of a loved one. In these situations, the crew will see if they should look for any possessions that have symbolization or importance while they are continuing the job. Family members are more than welcome to come out and try to help sort through their contents as well. 

Each of these cases is unique and sensitive, but we here at SERVPRO of Ames are here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

The benefits of a sump pump: Is it right for you?

8/22/2019 (Permalink)

As a homeowner, you might be asking yourself, “Do I really need a sump pump?”

Your basement is finally nicely carpeted, stocked with food and drinks, filled with electronics, a home entertainment system and comfy furniture. Now for your basement nightmares: a heavy summer storm that has the chance to threaten your basement.

Putting a sump pump at the lowest point of your house can help with flooding prevention. While not being the prettiest sight, you'll be thankful to not have to pay the couple thousand dollars it costs you to clean up the flooded basement you are getting every couple months.

A sump pump has two parts: a float switch and a mechanical pump. The entire mechanism is placed in the pit of the sump pump which is at the lowest level of a house’s basement. When moisture leaks into the basement the water level rises, eventually lifting the float switch high enough that it activates the pump. The water is then pumped out of the basement through a discharge pipe.

Sump pumps also have the ability to be connected to a dehumidifier, which will help pull the moisture out of the air and dump it directly into your sump pump. This helps prevent unwanted issues in the future like mold. Most homes in the Midwest should require a sump pump, if yours does not, we suggest doing your research and looking into it. No, they're not pretty, but they can save your home before the crisis hits. 

We here at SERVPRO of Ames hope you are looking out for your homes, in case you are having any issues, feel free to give us a call and we will help with the aftermath!

How to treat sewage in carpets

8/20/2019 (Permalink)

Homeowners who experience a double whammy of flooding and power outages from spring or summer storms are especially susceptible to mold growth. Especially when that floodwater is really sewage water. Especially very porous materials like carpet, carpet pad, and insulation that's in walls are going to be the breeding grounds for mold, bacteria and other gross smells. If it’s just plain water the sooner you start cleaning up after that water damage, the sooner you can stop mold from growing under your carpet.

The recommendation for carpet and pad that have been damaged by sewage is that they are removed and disposed of since this is considered a Category III loss. Sewage damage is the most dangerous form of water cleanup. The possibility of blood-borne pathogens and other contaminants is high.

This creates the issue of making all carpet affected by the sewage to be unsalvageable. If a company were to just clean and leave the carpet there and it seemed fine, there is no guarantee it can ever be truly clean. This also means that if the room where the issue occurred were to get warm, you would almost immediately smell the sewage that was ‘cleaned’ from the carpet before. Leaving not only your home in danger but your family.

There is no telling where the sewage is originating from, meaning you have fecal matter and pathogens originating from an unknown foreign source leaving you and your family susceptible to illness and disease. We here at SERVPRO of Ames are trained to properly handle these issues with the proper equipment. Leave it to the professionals to properly handle your home and keep your family safe.

Why should you leave your air conditioning on?

8/12/2019 (Permalink)

Most homeowners assume that the best way to save money on cooling costs is to turn their air conditioners off when they’re not at home. Keeping the air circulating in your home while away will help the system do an important part of its job — that is, keeping the humidity down inside. Moisture holds heat, which will make your system work harder to cool down the home upon your return.

In addition, the extra moisture can impact other features of your home, including wood floors, doors and cabinetry. Try turning your thermostat up instead of turning the AC completely off. More specifically, we suggest turning the set temperature up 7 to 10 degrees while you’re away for the day. Turning up the thermostat is the better option because it can protect your home from mold and bugs, save you money, and keep you comfortable

Turning off your air conditioner can cause your home’s indoor humidity levels to soar. You see, your air conditioner doesn’t just cool your air, it also dehumidifies it. So when you turn your AC completely off, it won’t take long for the humidity in your home to soar to upwards of 60%, which is ideal for mold growth and bug infestations. But if you turn the thermostat up 7 to 10 degrees, your AC will kick on every once in awhile to control the indoor humidity and maintain a healthy humidity level between 45%-55%. There are two things that love humidity mold and bugs and keeping the movement of air through your home will help you to prevent both of those. Saving you more money in the long run than just keeping your air conditioning off. Handling mold mitigation can be expensive and time consuming on your wallet and your life.

How to Prevent Mold in your home

8/5/2019 (Permalink)

Mold is a common problem in homes that is not normally covered in your homeowner’s insurance policy. We here at SERVPRO of Ames have a few ideas to help prevent mold growth in your home.

If you follow these quick and easy tips, you can prevent mold from occurring in the first place, instead of trying to remove it.

15 Tips & Tricks to Prevent Mold in your home

  1. Before painting areas likely to have mold, add mold inhibitors to your paint.
  2. When cleaning your bathroom or kitchen, two areas with a lot of moisture, use mold-killing cleaning products.
  3. Do not put carpets in areas that have a lot of moisture, such as basements.
  4. The ground around your home should slope away from the foundation to prevent water from entering your home or collecting around it.
  5. Remove or replace wet carpets that cannot dry properly.
  6. Keep the humidity in your home between 40 and 60 percent. You can measure humidity in your home with a fairly inexpensive humidity meter from your local hardware store.
  7. Cold surfaces, such as water pipes, can create condensation and mold. Cover these surfaces with insulation.
  8. Using air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and fans can help to remove excess moisture and condensation.
  9. Check under indoor plants to make sure water is not accumulating.
  10. Make sure your roof and roof gutters are cleaned frequently and repaired immediately.
  11. Make sure the drip pan below your air conditioning unit is clean and all of your drain lines are flowing properly.
  12. When leaving home unattended be sure to keep on the air conditioning, to help keep airflow in the house.
  13. If your basement, or any other part of your home, floods, thoroughly clean and dry everything and call SERVPRO to check for mold growth.
  14. Vent appliances that produce moisture, such as dryers or stoves, outdoors.
  15. When you shower, cook, or run the dishwasher or clothes dryer, use an exhaust fan or open a window to let excess moisture escape.

Remember that condensation can be a sign of excess humidity, which can cause mold to grow. Contact us, here at SERVPRO of Ames, regardless of what type of mold it is, to remove it professionally. 

In case of mold growth, Contact your local SERVPRO of Ames to set up your appointment today.