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4 Ways To Tell If Your Shower Is Leaking

10/11/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage 4 Ways To Tell If Your Shower Is Leaking Dehumidifier helping moisture dry quickly after this bathroom was affected by water loss

The cause of a shower leak is not always obvious. Whether you notice a wet floor after showering or signs of moisture and water damage underneath your shower, here are four ways to determine the origin of a shower stall or bathtub leak.

1. Shower Pans and Leaks

Check a basement or crawlspace for signs of a leak from a first-floor shower. A shower pan leak on a higher floor may cause staining on the ceiling below. You may also notice water damage near the shower or in areas that share a common wall.

Test the pan by stopping the drain and filling the shower or bathtub about 1.5 inches deep. Wait between eight and 72 hours. Have someone walk around in the shower to determine whether weight triggers the leak. Replace shower pans that are more than 30 years old.

2. Caulking and Tiles

Spray water along a shower door track for several minutes and check for leaks. Cracked grout between tiles can also permit water to collect behind walls. Allow the area to dry completely before caulking or grouting a bathtub leak. You may also want to have mold testing and any necessary remediation completed before sealing cracked grout.

3. Shower Heads and Escutcheons

Clear clogged spray holes and check the O-ring inside a shower-head. Replace worn out cartridges, stems, or washers inside the valve. Replace the gasket or use caulk or putty on an unsealed escutcheon. Check for leaks between the head and valve by capping the shower head.

4. Drains and Lines

Pour water from buckets or a hose down the drain and have another person monitor the area beneath a shower. Drain leaks are typically caused by a cracked flange or damaged gasket.

Regardless of the source of a shower or bathtub leak, you may want to hire a plumber. If your home has sustained water damage, or you suspect that mold is growing, contact a water damage restoration service in Wichita,KS.

Can Homeowners Identify and Detect Mold Themselves?

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Can Homeowners Identify and Detect Mold Themselves? Mold on your Whichita, KS home?

Nobody wants to discover mold in the home and have to deal with it. However, it is far worse to let mold go undetected and allow it to cause even more damage. It is best to hire a professional company to do mold testing, but many people in Wichita, KS,
wonder if home testing kits can save them some money and detect the mold. This method is not recommended for two main reasons:

  • Home tests are unreliable.
  • Home tests are prone to false positives.

True Mold Tests

To properly assess the mold situation in your home, the actual mold samples that you would get from a mold kit are not as important as the expert mold inspection itself. Professionals who are trained in this field know what to look for. A simple sample of mold could be misleading, and you need a full inspection in order to determine both the extent of the mold and, even more importantly, the source of the mold. Without determining the source and correcting it, your problems will more than likely continue.

Incomplete Information

The DIY mold method does not give you all the information you need. Most kits used for residential mold testing are designed to detect mold through a method that involves the user putting out some sort of container to see if it molds over time. Given the conditions in most homes, mold will almost always form. Just as food molds over time if left in certain circumstances, a petri dish handled the same way will result in the same findings. This could give you a false positive (or false negative) and not provide you with the information you need.

What Experts Recommend

The mold industry has many credible organizations, and most recommend against using a home mold testing kit. They feel that the incomplete and inaccurate information is not helpful in assessing and correcting your home’s situation.

Flood Response: Five Things First Responders Should Keep in Mind

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Flood Response: Five Things First Responders Should Keep in Mind Flooding damage in a Topeka, KS home

Being a first responder is a noble calling, one which has you putting your life at risk to save others in Topeka, KS. You choose, and sometimes even volunteer, to enter hazardous situations in the hopes of minimizing the negative impact of disasters, natural and human-made. An emergency requiring a first response team is a flood. Flooding, like all disasters, is atypical and requires the understanding of a particular set of practices and procedures, and the following five things rank high on those lists.

1. Personal Safety

As personal safety is a top priority, you should make sure that you are up to date on your tetanus and hepatitis immunizations. Additionally, as contamination is likely, appropriate clothing like rubber gloves, boots, and protective eyewear is advisable. You can check with the CDC, your local municipality, or other flood experts to find out other safety tips.

2. Flood Water

Flood water can sweep you away at only 6 inches deep, and beyond that it is likely contaminated, depending on the spread and scope, with sewage and other potentially hazardous materials, making the above safety precautions necessary.

3. Debris/Obstacles

As intense and volatile as flood water can be, it should be no surprise that a first responder will come across potentially dangerous debris from failed structures, metalwork, or uprooted trees. Additionally, flooding can soften the ground creating sinkholes and other dangers.

4. Electrical Hazards

The murky waters of a flood often hide many hazards, and the most dangerous are downed power lines or submerged electrical outlets. Flood response teams should be aware of these hazards and take note of any high-risk areas.

5. Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is another common hazard because as people deal with power outages, they turn to generator use. It is not uncommon, despite the warnings, to find people using generators indoors. Indoor use of generators causes the dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide which can lead to death.

As a first responder responding to a flood, you should take note of all the potential hazards, but also keep vigilant about your safety because the safety of others depends on your continued ability to help.

Quick Guide to Category 3 Water Damage

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Quick Guide to Category 3 Water Damage Commercial equipment for your restoration emergency clean up in Emporia, KS

As a Emporia, KS, business owner, you take pride in your profession and want to make sure that your building is safe and secure after a flood water disaster. If you are told that you have Category 3 water damage on your property, you will want to know what that means and how you can eliminate the problem. Read on for information on what Category 3 damage is and how you can clean it up.

Definition

In order to understand what Category 3 means, you need to recognize all of the levels of water damage. They are:

  • Category 1 damage, or “white water” damage (this is clean water)
  • Category 2 damage, or “gray water” damage (this is clean water that sat for too long)
  • Category 3 damage, or “black water” damage (this is contaminated water that must be quickly addressed)

Category 3 water typically arises from toilet overflow. As mentioned above, this water contains contaminants and can also cause structural damage to your building. Fortunately, professional help is available to clean and disinfect any affected surfaces.

Cleaning Procedures

Your best bet when facing black flood water will usually be to call a water damage restoration company. The trained technicians will typically be able to arrive on the scene quickly and will be able to assess any damage. After this assessment, the steps they will take to clean are as follows:

  1. Water removal
  2. Drying and reduction of humidity
  3. Cleanup and sanitation
  4. Restoration, where possible

The specialists may have suggestions or solutions for replacement when restoration is not an option. For some items, such as important business files, digitization or other less common methods may preserve what could not otherwise be salvaged.

No one wants to think that their company and property could be at risk from flood water. It is always best to face the seriousness of the situation so that you can put a plan in place and seek help to safely resume your business operations.

Tips for Partial Loss After a Commercial Fire

9/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Tips for Partial Loss After a Commercial Fire Fire damage in Topeka, KS

Devastatingly, your business in Topeka, KS, catches on fire. You are ecstatic to find out that the building is not a total loss. In a partial fire loss, fire and smoke damage do not completely destroy the property. When this occurs, what are your responsibilities as the owner? What happens next?

Business Owner Responsibilities

After a partial loss transpires, know what to do. Consider the following tips:

  • File a claim with your commercial insurance agent as soon as possible after the fire loss. Photograph and document all water, fire and smoke damage before the insurance adjustor assesses the loss.
  • Insurance companies typically cover costs to achieve a consistent, uniform look. This means that partially damaged materials, such as roofing or siding, must be matched to the non-damaged areas or replaced entirely.
  • Advocate for yourself and your business if the insurance adjustor does not consider your partial loss case a priority.
  • Contact a professional fire restoration specialist immediately. A delay in beginning the cleanup process risks secondary damage. Water damage from firefighting efforts can spread and lead to mold growth in as little as two days.

Fire Restoration Steps

Once you have done your part, the cleanup and restoration process begins. Know what to expect next:

  • The fire restoration company typically arrives within hours to properly and thoroughly assess the damage. A detailed inspection commonly includes all building structures and systems. This consists of evaluating the siding, roofing, foundation, walls and windows. Plumbing and electrical systems are checked as well. Drywall may require removal to investigate water damage in the walls and insulation.
  • Your building may be boarded up or tarped to increase security and prevent further damage from the weather.
  • If present, excess water is drained with vacuums and pumps. Professional grade equipment cleans smoke and soot from structures, contents and the air.

Even though your commercial property only suffered a partial fire loss in Topeka, KS, you must still act quickly. Immediately contact your insurance agent and a restoration specialist to return your business to pre-fire condition.

3 Essential Tips for Handling Winter Weather as a Business

9/3/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 3 Essential Tips for Handling Winter Weather as a Business Storm damage in Colwich, KS

Winter brings many special considerations when running your Colwich, KS, business. As one of the major potential dangers to operations, winter weather can lead to dangerous work or travel conditions. An ice or snow storm can lead to property damage or employees unable to use the workplace. Here are three essentials tips for making these winter nuisances more manageable.

1. Know What You Are Up Against

Winter weather varies greatly depending on any seasonal weather phenomena or advancing air fronts. There are several types of winter storms. A blizzard is the most dangerous because of extremely limited visibility, frigid wind chill and dangerously strong winds. An ice storm may not sound as dangerous like a blizzard, but it can lead to a power outage, frozen pipe burst or employee harm.

Luckily, weather services offer a winter storm warning. You have at least twelve hours to prepare. There are also “winter storm watches” that should still be heeded even though it’s only a chance of a snow storm. The weather forecast is one of the most helpful prevention tools.

2. Keep the Building Secure From Weather Threats

An inspection by yourself or a professional during the early winter can catch potential hazards. Leaks and cracks in the structure could lead to collapse from heavy snow or harsh winds. Computers should be preventatively secured and backed up in case of sudden or extended power loss. If it’s safe to do so during winter, snow and ice should consistently be removed from roofs and sidewalks.

3. Plan Ahead and Know Whom to Call

A major snow storm is likely disruptive and needs an actionable plan. Employees should be informed of any potential to work from home instead of risking the roads. A local storm damage restoration company should be kept in a contact list of emergency services, so you can treat severe weather damage or stop any minor damage from deteriorating. Things can be kept both functional and safe by acting early. After all, preparation is much cheaper than reparation.

Cleaning Items Damaged by Water

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Cleaning Items Damaged by Water Air mover and dehumidifier on a water damage in a Wichita, KS home

If there’s water in your home, your personal belongings will more than likely be affected. Whether it comes from a broken pipe, storm or flood damage, water tends to go wherever it wants. Knowing how to clean, preserve and protect your property can help make an overwhelming task much more manageable. Here are some helpful tips on taking care of items damaged by water.

1. Put Safety First

Before handling anything that’s been water-damaged, make sure you wear appropriate gloves and masks. You might even consider waterproof clothing. This kind of water can be contaminated by a host of chemicals, bacteria and foreign substances, and no matter how valuable they might be, no personal possession is worth the potential cost to your health.


2. Clean Off the Mud

Once the water in your home is gone, clean any mud or silt off your items. You can rinse them with cool, clean water. Only use clean water in order to prevent additional contamination. If your items have already begun to dry, or if you have soiled clothes that require dry cleaning, don’t scrub them. Use a brush or cloth to wipe away as much debris as you can.

3. Get Them Dry

Remove wet items to a dry part of the house and allow them to air-dry. Use fans and open windows to increase air circulation, which can aid the drying process. Some items, like area rugs and wool blankets, can safely dry in direct sunlight, while others need to be indoors. Place waterlogged books, papers and photographs in the freezer to dry them out slowly. A restoration specialist can advise you if you have valuable or collectible papers, books or photographs.

While water in your home in Wichita, KS, can cause serious damage, many of your personal possessions can be saved and their functionality restored. If you have any questions about the best methods for preserving and restoring a particular item, contact a professional in your area.

After the Flood: Make the Most of Your Insurance Claim

7/20/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage After the Flood: Make the Most of Your Insurance Claim Be sure to file your flood claim within 60 days of the actual flood event.

Now that the flood waters have receded, it’s time to survey the damage and take steps to restore your property. As the holder of a flood insurance policy, you are already ahead of the curve—but there still may be significant work to be done before you can collect on a flood claim. Here are some steps that can help guide you through the process in Wichita, KS.

1. Stay safe. Take every precaution to be certain your home is safe to enter and that there is no threat of further flooding, electrical mishap or collapsing infrastructure. Assume that water is unsafe for human consumption.

2. Contact your insurance company. Contact your insurance claims adjuster as soon as possible. Provide him or her with cell phone and/or email contact information so you will be readily available for an onsite visit.

3. Document the damage. Take photos of the damage to document your loss. If you have pictures of the areas prior to the flood, it would be useful to have them on hand for comparison.

4. Start the cleanup. Begin the cleanup process and call a restoration specialist in [City, State], if needed. If the adjuster has not yet made his or her assessment, be sure to note everything you intend to include on the flood claim. Make a list of lost and damaged items and include dates of purchase, estimated values and receipts, if possible.

5. Retain evidence. Keep any damaged materials you may remove from the house as the adjuster may need to see them for proof of loss purposes. If possible, store these damaged materials outside on your property.

6. Work with your insurance company. Once the adjuster arrives and finishes the assessment, you will likely be asked to sign a proof of loss statement that will follow specifications as set forth in the insurance policy.

Be sure to file your flood claim within 60 days of the actual flood event. By following these steps, you can be assured of the greatest possible chance for a successful insurance settlement. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

3 Tips for Space Heater Safety

7/18/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 3 Tips for Space Heater Safety Follow the above safety tips at your home in Wichita, KS, to avoid a burned space heater.

Freezing air outside in Wichita, KS, makes you long for a warm, toasty atmosphere inside of your home. Warming yourself near a space heater feels good, but is it a smart choice? A burned space heater is one of the top causes of residential fires, particularly during the winter months. Learn how to safely use a space heater by following the three tips below.

1. What Kind To Buy

Space heaters come with options for safety features, such as an automatic shutoff if the unit overheats or tips over. Look for an independent safety certification label, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Ensure the appliance has a sturdy cord that is at least 6 feet in length.

2. Where To Place It

Place the heater on a hard surface, such as the floor. Do not place it in a child’s bedroom or play area or in a garage where incendiary materials are stored. Use the 3-foot distance rule for children, pets, walls, bedding, curtains and furniture. Allow this distance from flammable fabrics to prevent a burned space heater from setting fire to your home.

3. How To Care for It

Plug the heating unit into its own outlet to avoid overheating. Never use an extension cord or place the appliance near water. When you retire to bed for the evening or leave the room, even for a few minutes, turn off the space heater. Remove it from the outlet by holding the plug, never the cord. If the cord is damaged, discontinue use. If the unit has filters, change them regularly.

Follow the above safety tips at your home in Wichita, KS, to avoid a burned space heater. Always remember to practice general fire safety as well. Install and maintain at least one functioning smoke detector at every level of your house, especially near the bedrooms and kitchen. Have an escape plan in case of a fire. If a fire occurs, execute your plan to get your family to safety. For soot and smoke cleanup, contact a fire restoration specialist.  For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.

When Good Intentions Turn Sour: How To Prevent Mold in the Break Room Fridge

7/12/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial When Good Intentions Turn Sour: How To Prevent Mold in the Break Room Fridge Mold loves old, leftover food. Keep your shared office refrigerator in Wichita, KS, clean and free of fridge mold by adhering to the above five simple

Every day, good-intentioned office workers in Wichita, KS, bring their leftovers to work, place their meals in the fridge and absentmindedly leave their lunches to languish for days, weeks, and even months. Unfortunately, mold loves old food, and these good-intentioned individuals have inadvertently created an atmosphere that is prime for mold growth. If you are battling fridge mold in your shared office space, here are five simple ways you can ensure that your lunchroom remains clean and mold-free.

1. Assign responsibility. Since office refrigerators inhabit common spaces, there is often no single person responsible for ensuring their cleanliness. If an individual manages the fridge, others will be inclined to pay attention to their behavior and remove old food.

2. Establish ground rules. Create agreed-upon guidelines regarding fridge use and place them prominently in the lunchroom. Asking that food be labeled or establishing limits on how long one can leave his or her lunch in the cooler are common policies in many offices today.

3. Consume meeting leftovers within 24 hours. Sharing leftover egg sandwiches from this morning’s board meeting is a great way to boost office morale, but these leftovers are also great incubators for fridge mold. Toss out any unclaimed food items within 24 hours.

4. Set up a cleaning schedule. Fridges should be cleaned out once per week. All old food items, with the exception of dressings, oils and other non-perishables, should be disposed of and shelves should be wiped down.

5. Disinfect quarterly. Fridges should be disinfected every three to four months, perhaps more if you notice any mold smell. Disinfecting a fridge does not require harsh chemicals and can be done with soap, warm water, and a sponge. Depending on the size, number, and extent of the job, some companies have decided to hire a professional to assist with this process.

Mold loves old, leftover food. Keep your shared office refrigerator in Wichita, KS, clean and free of fridge mold by adhering to the above five simple lunchroom guidelines. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorthwestwichita.com/.