It doesn't cost a lot to be prepared!
It is no secret that many families and individuals are looking to cut back on spending. But with the frequency of disasters, both natural and manmade, can you afford not to be prepared? Preparedness doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. September is National Preparedness Month, and we are asking you to help your family and friends prepare for whatever may come. Here are a few tips* on how you can protect those that matter to you without spending a fortune.
• Make a Plan. Work with you family and neighbors to make an emergency plan for the types of disasters that affect your area. Make sure everyone in your family understands where to go and what to do in case of an emergency.
• Update Contact Information. Having accurate records for family, friends and neighbors will help you stay in contact and possibly help those in need. Make sure updated contact information is posted in visible places throughout your house and workplace.
• Check Your Policy. Review your insurance policy annually and make any necessary changes – renters, too! When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will get you back on your feet.
• Make a Ready List. You may not need all of the items in ready-made preparedness kits. Choose the essentials that fit your needs and budget. Don’t forget to keep supplies at work and in your car.
• Plan Your Purchases. You can save money by thinking ahead. Don’t buy preparedness items just before a storm when they’re expensive and supplies will be in high demand. Buy items at the end of the season when you can get good deals.
• Shop Sales. Shop at sales and used goods stores. Buy preparedness items throughout the year, instead of all at once, and you won’t notice the cost as much.
• Make Sure it Keeps. Store water in safe, containers. You don’t need to buy expensive bottled water, just make sure your water containers are disinfected and airtight,
• Request a Gift. We all get things we don’t need. Suggest preparedness supplies as gifts from your friends and family. It just might save your life.
• Trade a Night Out. Trade one night out to fund your 72-hour kit. Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80. Just one night staying in could fund your Ready kit.
• *The best tip: start now. Take small steps toward preparedness and before you know it, you will be Ready!
Causes of Water Damage
Water damage occurs when excess water begins to pool in areas where it shouldn’t. Many different factors can create this excess water and thereby contribute to water damage.
When you are aware of the potential causes, you can take precautionary measures to help insure against a leak or flood. You will also be able to spot a problem as soon as it arises and nip it in the bud before it has a chance to cause any additional damage.
The more quickly you notice the problem, the less work the water extraction and water damage restoration company will have to fix.
Causes of water damage include:
- Bursting or leaking pipes
- Issues with the plumbing system
- Buildup in areas prone to collecting water, such as crawl spaces, attics and basements
- Faulty or malfunctioning household appliances
- HVACs (Heating, ventilating and air conditioning units) issues
- Natural disasters and other weather-related water problems
No matter what the issue, you can call the experts at SERVPRO of Baldwin, Putnam and Jones Counties to make it look "Like it never even happened" 478-452-8000.
4 Ways to Minimize the Risk of Dishwasher Leaks
4 Ways To Minimize the Risk of Dishwasher Leaks
Dishwashers are extremely convenient kitchen appliances that many busy households may use frequently. However, if not properly installed or maintained, these machines can cause significant water damage. To help minimize the risk of a leaking dishwasher and reduce the need for extensive flood cleanup and restoration, you should employ the following four strategies.
1. Ensure Proper Installation
In order to operate efficiently, a dishwasher should be level with all four legs securely planted on the floor. An unbalanced machine can result in expedited wear and tear and internal warping that may contribute to leaks.
2. Use Recommended Detergent
There are numerous brands and formulas of dishwashing detergent available on the market, but it’s essential that you consistently utilize only products formulated for these appliances. Other solutions, such as liquid dish soap, may produce excessive suds. This can increase pressure on the door gasket and damage the water-tight seal, resulting in a leak.
3. Routinely Inspect Under Unit
Because many critical components reside under the unit, you may not notice symptoms of a leaking dishwasher until significant water damage has occurred. To help prevent this problem, you should routinely remove the front kick plate while the machine is operating and inspect for drips and dampness. If you discover a broken or loose clamp, seal or hose, you should promptly repair or replace it.
4. Evaluate Door Gasket
If you notice pooled water in front of your machine, a damaged door gasket may be the culprit. Water lubricates this important component and helps prevent it from cracking. For this reason, you should use your dishwasher at least once a week. It’s also important to routinely inspect the seal for signs of deterioration and replace it as necessary.
No homeowner wants to endure a messy flood cleanup. Employing these strategies can help you prevent or detect a leaking dishwasher before extensive water damage occurs.
3 Things YOu May Want to Discard Following a Fire Damage
The loss you experience after a fire devastates your home can be painful. There is much to do and consider, especially when it comes to recovery efforts. As you start to sift through your belongings, you will likely have to decide what you must throw away. The urge to hang onto some items will probably be strong; however, there are a few that can put your health in danger once they have been exposed to the heat of a fire, and knowing which they are might protect your well-being during the recovery process.
1. Packaged or Affected Food
Food packaged in thin or porous packaging, such as cardboard, is probably not salvageable because smoke or soot may have penetrated the material and affected the food. While sealed metal cans or jars may look undamaged, the food inside them could have been heated by the fire and develop harmful bacteria. If any items like this in your pantry came into contact with high heat or flames, it is a good idea to discard them.
Both prescription and over-the-counter medications can be affected by fire. If your medicine cabinet is located close to where the flames broke out, go through them carefully and looked for any warping or charring on bottles. Heat can also change the efficacy of some medicines, so you may have to throw away those that have visible damage. Contact your pharmacist or physician about having costly prescription drugs replaced.
Makeup and other cosmetics that have suffered fire damage should be discarded because they may have taken on soot or been chemically altered by the heat. Warped containers or those covered in fire extinguisher foam are likely no longer usable. Ask your fire damage and restoration specialists about any item you are not sure about.
Knowing which items to throw away after a fire affects your Sandy Springs,GA, home can be challenging. However, when you learn the facts about fire damage, you can protect your health as you move through the recovery process.
Tips for Preventing Wind Damage
During storm season, business owners are most likely to be concerned with hail and rain that might cause a roof leak or flooding. High winds can also impact your building, though. Wind damage is often the result of debris or larger items that are flung against the building, on top of the roof or through windows during the storm. Here are some tips for preventing some of the problems that could be caused by high winds.
The trees and shrubberies on your property should be regularly maintained to avoid a damaged roof. Many problems can result when trees are not pruned properly:
- Decay or disease in trunk
- Leaning sideways rather than growing upright
- Errant branches hanging too far down or over a structure
- Sharp, v-shaped angles in tree forks
- Crowded or crossed branches
If branches are near a power line, it is advisable to have the city or utility company remove them so that they don't fall and break the line when under duress. Responsible maintenance keeps trees healthy and well-shaped so that they are less likely to break and cause a roof leak during a storm.
Take an inventory of your outdoor property, looking at it through the lens of storm preparation. Loose shingles can become missing shingles when breezes speed up. Gravel from the driveway can break windows more easily than mulch or dirt. Decorations, trash cans, signs and potted plants can be broken or hurled through windows. You can also consult storm restoration experts to help you identify potential projectiles and advise which items to bring inside when high winds are expected as part of your storm readiness plan.
Overall, preparing for the high winds that often accompany storms is a matter of limiting the objects the wind can pick up and fling at your building. Trim trees and limit lawn debris, and you will likely limit the probability of a roof leak or other wind damage.
Tips for Homeowners Facing Fire or Smoke Damage
When disaster strikes, severe fire damage can be the most devastating thing to happen to any property. As fire becomes an increasingly prevalent threat, insurance companies are constantly trying to cut corners on fire insurance claims in an attempt to save money. After a fire, you've most likely lost some personal belongings and areas of your home are completely destroyed. The last thing you need is a homeowners' insurance company giving you a hard time regarding your claim.
First Things First, Check Your Policy
Even if you have replacement coverage for your home you actually may only have "actual cash value" for the personal items that were lost. When you call your insurance company, your agent should notify you about this and suggest buying an endorsement so that your belongings will be covered under a replacement policy.
Secure Your Property
The majority of homeowners coverage policy requires you to take reasonable steps to minimize more harm on your property. In short terms, this is known as your duty to mitigate damages. These steps are fairly small and easy to do, such as covering leaking areas with plastic wrap or turning off the water if you discover a huge pipe burst. Your insurance company will most likely pay these costs when you make your claim.
File Your Claim Immediately
Every homeowner policy will require you to report your loss as soon as possible. You will need to make a call to your agent and submit a "proof of loss claim" in which you will itemize your losses in detail and list the value of each. The longer you wait, the faller you fall down the list when it comes time for the company to send an adjuster to deal with your claim.
Always Keep Track Of Your Living Expenses
Every homeowners policy will include a loss of use clause, which entitles you to adequate reimbursement for living expenses while you're out of your home. Keep in mind, these expenses only include additional living expenses, meaning the difference between what it costs you to live on a daily basis and what it is costing you now. For example, if you ate the majority of your meals at home and your groceries cost you $400 a week and now, after a fire, you're eating out and spending $500 a week, you can claim only that additional $100.
Main Causes of Sewage Damage
Sewage damage is one of the most costly and dangerous catastrophes that could happen to a home or business. Sewage damage to a property can cause irreparable damage to the property's structure, carpeting, padding, furniture, appliances, and personal items. Raw sewage can also contain a plethora of dangerous pathogens, viruses, and bacteria that can spawn major illness in those who are exposed to the waste water.
One of the most frequently asked questions about sewage damage is, How does it happen? Sewage damage can happen for many reasons. Whether the damage is minor or severe, it is important for property owners to understand that sewage damage restoration must be handled by highly-trained, certified professionals in order to ensure the safety of the property and the people who have been exposed to the raw sewage.
Toilet or Bathtub Seepage
Wax gaskets around the base of a toilet as well as connecting hoses and pipes leading from toilets and bathtubs should be inspected regularly. Any of these vital pieces can deteriorate or break at any time. It is recommended by water damage experts to inspect these items on a semi-annual basis at least. The time invested in checking these important parts of a septic system can save property owners thousands of dollars in the long run.
Bursting, Deteriorating or Broken Pipes
While most water damages involve bursting or broken pipes, some water damage events happen over time without property owners finding out until it is too late. Deteriorating or leaky pipes can not only cause water damage and mold growth if they are not addressed immediately, but sewage damage can occur as well.
During any water damage event it is imperative for home and business owners to turn the water supply off until a water damage service professional arrives on the scene.
*Tip. Property owners can monitor invisible leaky pipes by checking their water bill. Should there ever be an unusual spike in water usage, it is possible that a broken or leaky pipe is causing damage behind the scenes. This scenario will more than likely require professional mold removal service. Consult with your water or sewage damage provider to make sure they are certified to handle mold remediation.
4 Warning Signs of a Burst Pipe
4 warning signs of a burst pipe in your home/business
It usually doesn't take long to figure out if you have a busted pipe. From atypical sounds to weird smells and visible leaks, here are a few ways you can use your senses to detect hidden plumbing problems.
1. Listen up
If you hear bubbling, whistling, or banging and clanking when you use the sink or flush the toilet, it could be a sign of a broken pipe.
2. Do a sniff test
If drains, sinks, or other areas of your house emit weird odors, there's a possibility that sewage isn't being properly transported from your house through its pipes. And if the water from your faucets has an unpleasant smell, it could be a sign of corrosion or contamination in your plumbing system.
3. Take a look around
Bulging and discoloration of your home's walls and ceiling can signal a burst pipe. If you notice damp drywall or ceiling tiles, puddles of water, or any other visible leaks, it's wise to get a professional inspection as soon as possible.
4. Other signs
If you've been using the same amount of water as usual but your water bill suddenly skyrockets, it might be an indicator of a busted pipe or other plumbing issues. The same can be said for frequent backups or clogs, as well as little to no water pressure when trying to use the dishwasher, laundry machine, or any other faucet in your house.
How to prevent burst pipes
how to prevent burst pipes
Freezing temperatures can be the most common culprit of burst pipes. Since water expands when frozen, it can cause the pressure inside the pipe to increase until it bursts. That being said, there are a few preventive measures you can take before cold weather overwhelms your plumbing system, causing a pipe to burst in your home:
- If you have a sprinkler system and/or swimming pool, drain it per the manufacturer's or installer's instructions.
- After removing and storing your garden hoses in the garage, turn off the water valves to outdoor faucets. Keep the outside valve open, however, in order to let any remaining water escape. This also allows water sitting in the pipe to freeze and expand without busting it open.
- Check for any exposed pipes in unheated areas of your house — like your basement, attic, garage, crawl space, and under bathroom and kitchen sinks. Insulate both hot and cold water pipes with pipe sleeves or heat tape, which you can find at a hardware store.
- Try to keep your garage door closed as much as possible if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- If you go on vacation during the winter months, leave your heater on, set to 55 degrees at minimum.
How Does Hail Damage a Roof?
If you’ve been through a severe storm recently, you may be concerned about the integrity of your home’s roof and siding. Hail can cause some of the most severe storm damage to your home, and may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Here’s a look at what hail can do to your home and why you shouldn’t ignore it.
What a Hail Damaged Roof Looks Like
Roof hail damage can appear differently depending on the storm conditions and the building materials used on your home. While it’s important to be able to spot some of the signs of storm or hail damage, we highly recommend calling an expert to check your roof damage thoroughly. Here are some of the signs of hail damage to your roof:
Hail Damage on Asphalt and Composition Shingles
- Hail damage is random and has no pattern to it
- Where the hail hits should be black in color and soft to the touch, like the bruise on an apple
- The shingles may lose granules, which can expose the roof felt
- The asphalt and/or mat may appear shiny
Hail Damage to Wood Shingles
- Hail damage is random and has no pattern to it
- The split in the shingle will be:
- Brown/orange in color
- Have sharp corners and edges
- Little to no deterioration at the edges
- There will be impact marks or dents along the splits
How Severe is the Hail Damage to my Roof?
The severity of the hail damage really depends on the severity of the storm. Not all hail storms will cause substantial damage to your roof, while others require immediate attention. Factors that play into the extent and seriousness of your roof hail damage include:
- Wind: During a severe hailstorm, the wind direction and intensity will change throughout the storm. The direction and intensity of the wind will play a role in where and how hard the hail strikes your home, and can also cause more damage if you already have loose shingles on your roof.
- Size of Hail: Hailstones can be as small as pebbles and as large as baseballs, and obviously, this will affect the size and severity of the damage. The surface of hailstones are usually rough and jagged, and these uneven edges will cause further damage to your roof and shingles.
- Obstacles: If you home is shaded by trees or adjacent homes, you are less likely to suffer from roof hail damage.
- Types of Shingles and Siding: The building materials used for your roof and siding will also affect how severe the hail damage is. Aluminum gutters, siding and asphalt shingles are likely to suffer from dings, while you may end up with cracks in vinyl siding and wood shingles. Extremely large and hard hailstones may be able to puncture a roof, and the age and condition of your roof will affect its durability.
Why Should You Be Concerned About Hail Damage?
Beyond aesthetics, hail damage will compromise the integrity of your roof. If you leave hail damage untreated, it can lead to shingle loss, roof leaks and further damage to your home. While repairing hail damage to your roof may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, ignoring hail damage can lead to your insurance denying claims at a later time due to your negligence.
If you think you have experienced hail damage to your roof or home, call SERVPRO of Baldwin, Putnam and Jones Counties at 478-452-8000. We are happy to give your roof a thorough inspection and help you make a decision for the next steps.