Recent Posts

What Color is Mold?

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

What Color is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus that consists of small organisms found almost everywhere. Mold can be black, white, orange, green, or purple. Outdoors, molds play an important role in nature, breaking down dead leaves, plants, and trees. Molds thrive on moisture and reproduce by means of tiny, lightweight spores that travel through the air. You’re exposed to mold every day.

In small amounts, mold spores are usually harmless, but when they land on a damp spot in your home, they can start to grow. When mold is growing on a surface, spores can be released into the air where they can be easily inhaled. If you're sensitive to mold and inhale a large number of spores, you could experience health problems.

If you are concerned your home or business may be experiencing a problem with mold, please do not hesitate to call the certified professionals at SERVPRO® of The Hill Country.

Source: WebMD Online

Avoiding Water and Pipes in your Home During a Storm

6/13/2019 (Permalink)

Avoiding Water and Pipes in your Home During a Storm

WATER & PIPES

People on or in or near water are among those most at risk for lighting strikes during thunderstorms, both inside and outside the home. Water is a good conductor of electricity, and many homes have metal pipes (themselves perfect conductors ). Not only can lightning striking your home travel through your pipes but lightning can travel stealthily into your home through shared pipelines that have sustained strikes some distance away from your home. Do not take a bath or shower, wash your hands, do laundry, or otherwise use running water when there is lightning danger in the area.

If your home or business has encountered storm damage, please call the certified professionals at SERVPRO of The Hill Country today to assess the damage and begin restoring your property. Faster to Any Disaster. To learn more about storm and floor damage restoration, click here.

Source: Homeguide

Tips for Reducing Mold Growth in the Bathroom and the Laundry Room

6/12/2019 (Permalink)

Tips for Reducing Mold Growth in the Bathroom and the Laundry Room

In the laundry room:

  • Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
  • Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions, such as lint, and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
  • Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.

In bathrooms:

  • Use exhaust fans to remove moisture to the outside (not into the attic).
  • Use area rugs, which can be taken up and washed often instead of wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Check for leaks around basins and tubs and have them repaired if necessary.
  • Open a window when showering.
  • Avoid leaving damp towels on the floor or in laundry hamper.

Source: WebMD Online. Jan 2019

Top Tips Reducing Mold Growth in the Kitchen

6/12/2019 (Permalink)

Top Tips Reducing Mold Growth in the Kitchen

In the kitchen:

  • Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside (not into the attic) whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
  • Turn off certain appliances if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
  • Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
  • Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.
  • Put a plastic cover over dirt in crawl spaces to prevent moisture from coming in from the ground. If there is standing water or the soil is wet, dry it out with fans before covering the floor.
  • Be sure crawl spaces are well ventilated by using fans and having vents installed in outside walls if necessary.
  • Consider painting concrete floors and using area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpet in basements. If you plan to install carpet over a concrete floor, it may be necessary to use a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting) over the concrete and cover that with sub-flooring (insulation covered with plywood) to prevent a moisture problem.
  • Have your basement floor checked for leaks and have them repaired if necessary. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors or walls.
  • Make sure gutters are working properly and that outdoor landscaping causes water to run away from -- not toward -- the house.
  • Do not finish basement walls with insulation and wall board unless your basement is very dry.

Source: WebMD Online. Jan 2019

Never pour grease down your sink

6/4/2019 (Permalink)

Never pour grease down your sink

You’ve probably heard this before, but you should definitely avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. It doesn’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. It can still congeal and cling to your pipes, and could still cause some serious damage and blockage.

Some people use detergent to break up grease before pouring it down the drain…and that may help sometimes. But there’s no guarantee that it’ll keep the grease from sticking to your pipes, so why take the risk?

The safest thing to do is just to pour your grease in an empty can, and either let it sit or put it in the refrigerator. Once it hardens you can toss it in the trash and get rid of it. Done and done.

Pipe leaks from clogged pipes can cause water damage to your home as well as mold damage if the water damage is not soon addressed.

Source: Farmers Insurance

Storm damage prevention and treatment

5/29/2019 (Permalink)

Storm damage prevention and treatment: reducing damage from storms with preventive action using horticulture

Damage to trees from storms can be minimized by designing and implementing a tree management plan. Designing and executing a plan can help prevent problems.  There is no doubt trees can cause damage and be damaged in storms. However, appropriately placed and well-maintained trees can help to reduce storm damage to structures by deflecting wind, as well as reduce damage to the tree itself. Appropriate actions include: proper placement and planting, structural pruning prior to the storm, and proper species selection. Actions in the weeks and years following a strong storm can help bring damaged trees back to health.

If your home or business is affected by a storm, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of The Hill Country. 

Source: University of Florida

HUD Standards Regarding Fire safety in manufactured homes

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

HUD Standards Regarding Fire safety in manufactured homes

Manufactured homes (sometimes called "mobile" homes) are transportable structures that are fixed to a chassis and specifically designed to be towed to a residential site. They are not the same as modular or prefabricated homes, which are factory-built and then towed in sections to be installed at a permanent location.

The federal government regulates the construction of manufactured housing. Since 1976, manufactured homes have been required to comply with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) manufactured housing construction and safety standards, which cover a wide range of safety requirements, including fire safety. Post-1976 manufactured homes bear a label certifying compliance with these standards.

The HUD standard has been enhanced over the years and the HUD "Final Rule" for smoke alarms in manufactured homes is largely based upon NFPA 501. Today, new construction of manufactured housing is required to contain, among other provisions:

  • factory installed hard wired or 10 year battery source, interconnected smoke alarms with battery back-up (including alarms inside or immediately adjacent to all rooms designated as sleeping areas, top of the stairs and on the basement ceiling near the stairs)
  • provisions for special devices for hearing and visually impaired persons.

NFPA's national fire data indicate that manufactured homes built to HUD standards (post-1976 construction) have a much lower risk of death if fire occurs compared to pre-standard manufactured homes. The latest data (2007-2011) also shows that the overall fire death rate per 100,000 housing units is roughly the same for manufactured homes and for other one- or two-family homes.

Despite the federal requirements for factory-installed smoke alarms and the fact that eight out of ten manufactured homes now are and seven out of ten manufactured home fires now involve post-HUD-Standard units (based on 2007-2011 data), 51 percent of fires in manufactured homes were reported as having no smoke alarms present. This suggests a problem with detection devices being removed by occupants.

Source: https://www.nfpa.org

Fire safety in manufactured homes

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Safety tips

To increase fire safety in manufactured homes, NFPA offers the following guidelines:

  • Choose a HUD-certified manufactured home
    If you are in the market to purchase or rent a manufactured home, select a home built after 1976 that bears the HUD label certifying compliance with safety standards.
  • Keep smoke alarms working
    Never remove or disable a smoke alarm. If you experience frequent nuisance alarms, consider relocating the alarm further away from kitchen cooking fumes or bathroom steam. Selecting a photoelectric smoke alarm for the areas nearest kitchens and baths may reduce the number of nuisance alarms experienced. As an alternative, NFPA 501 permits a smoke alarm with a silencing means to be installed if it is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance. Test all smoke alarms at least once a month by pushing the "test" button. It is not necessary to use smoke or a real flame to test the smoke alarm's operability, and it is risky to do so. Replace batteries at least once a year, and when the alarm "chirps," signaling low battery power. Occasionally dust or lightly vacuum smoke alarms.
  • Make sure you have enough smoke alarms
    If your older manufactured home does not have smoke alarms in or near every sleeping room and in or near the family/living area(s), immediately install new alarms and fresh batteries to protect these rooms.  For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Plan your escape
    Know ahead of time how you will get out if you have a fire. Develop an escape plan which includes having an alternate exit out of every room. Make sure you can open and get out of windows and doors. All post-HUD Standard manufactured homes are required to provide windows designed for use as secondary escape routes for the bedroom. Familiarize yourself with their operation and don't block access to them.  Immediately fix any windows that have been painted or nailed shut, doors that are stubborn or "stuck," and locks that are difficult to operate. Security bars or grates over windows or doors should have quick-release devices installed inside, which allow you to open them in an emergency. Hold a fire drill twice a year to rehearse how you will react if the smoke alarm sounds.
  • Electrical
    Hire a licensed electrician if you notice flickering lights, frequent blown circuits, or a "hot" smell when using electricity. Use extension cords for temporary convenience, not as a permanent solution. Avoid overloading electrical receptacles (outlets). Electrical cords should not be run under carpets or rugs, as the wires can be damaged by foot traffic, then overheat and ignite the carpet or rug over them. Ground-fault circuit interrupters reduce the risk of electrical shock and should be installed by electricians in kitchens and baths. Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters monitor electric circuits for arcing and should be installed by electricians on bedroom circuits.
  • Cooking
    Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires in U.S. homes. Supervise older children who cook and stay in the kitchen when heating anything on the stove. Keep cooking surfaces clean and place anything that can burn well away from the range. Heat oil slowly and know how to slide a lid over a pan if you experience a grease fire. Read more cooking safety tips.
  • Heating
    Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn. When purchasing new space heaters, select appliances with automatic shut-off switches. Kerosene heaters are illegal for home use in some jurisdictions. Check with your local fire department before purchasing a kerosene heater. Turn off portable space heaters before falling asleep or when leaving the room. Refill kerosene heaters outdoors, after the heater has cooled down. Supervise children and pets when space heaters are operating. Read more heating safety tips.
  • Walls
    All post-HUD Standard manufactured homes are required to have wall linings that do not promote rapid flame spread, with special protection around primary heating and cooking equipment, such as the furnace and cooking range. Presently, gypsum wallboard has replaced plywood wall paneling and wood based ceiling panels in the fabrication of manufactured housing walls and ceilings. This action has dramatically reduced the impact of fires in manufactured homes. Do not mount anything on the walls – such as paneling, drapery, or wall hangings – that would reduce this protection, especially near major heat sources.
  • Smoking
    If you have smokers in your home, ask them to smoke outside. Wherever people smoke, set out large, non-tip ashtrays on level surfaces and empty them frequently. Thoroughly douse butts with water before discarding. Check around and under cushions for smoldering butts. Read more smoking safety tips. 

Source: https://www.nfpa.org/

Learning About Smoke Alarms

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Learning About Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. 

Here's what you need to know:

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. 
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound. 
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

Source: https://www.nfpa.org/

Things to Do to Be Prepared in the Event Your Home is Affected by a Hurricane

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Things to Do to Be Prepared in the Event Your Home is Affected by a Hurricane

Take inventory. “The last thing you want to be doing after you’ve been affected by a hurricane is to try to remember everything you had in the house. Having an inventory will make the process of getting through the claim and getting back to normal so much easier.” Keep the inventory list in a safe place away from your home like a safe deposit box.

Update your insurance. Make sure you have the right amount of insurance, and fill in a few key gaps in coverage.  Call your Insurance Agent for more information.

SERVPRO® of The Hill Country will work with your insurance and try to make things go as smoothly as we can for you. Faster to Any Disaster

Source: https://www.kiplinger.com