Protect Your Basement From Storm Damage
Many homes in Hall County have basements, and they are highly susceptible to storm-induced flooding. If your home has a basement or was built partially below ground level, then you need to take extra precautions to keep your property dry and safe.
Why Do Basements Flood During a Storm?
During a storm, gravity pulls the rain to the lowest possible point. On properties that aren’t properly graded or have insufficient drainage, this can cause water to pool near or against your home. This is problematic because, by nature, basements are generally built partly or entirely below ground level. Given enough time, this excess water can seep into your basement, especially if there are cracks in the wall or foundation.
How You Can Prevent Your Basement from Flooding
While your basement is at a higher risk of flooding than any other part of your home, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. If you want to protect your basement, there are effectively 3 things you can do:
- Clean your gutters. Your home’s gutters are your first line of defense against flooding. As rain slides down your roof, it will get caught in the system and be directed away from your home, which will prevent it from pooling in one place.
- Have your yard properly graded. If your yard is flat or slopes towards your house, then you have a grading problem. The immediate area around your home should slope away so that gravity will pull water in that direction. If this is your problem, call a professional landscaper to grade your yard the right way.
- Fix weaknesses in your foundation. Water will find its way into any crack or crevice, so if your foundation has such a problem, it should be fixed immediately. Otherwise, you’re just inviting rain to enter!
What to Do if Your Basement Floods
Suppose you take the above measures and rain still manages to flood your basement. If so, there’s no need to panic: there are still some actions you can take. At this point, you’ll want to focus on mitigation, so here’s what you should do:
- Remove furniture and belongings to higher ground. Water can ruin possessions and encourage mold growth. If possible, your best response is to move as much of your furniture and other belongings upstairs as you can. This will at least keep these items safe.
- Redirect water away from the home. Your next step should be to remove as much of the incoming water as possible. The less water in your home, the less damage you’ll ultimately have.
- Call your local water damage restoration company. In most cases, you’re going to need professional help to extract water and dry affected materials. This is something you’ll want to do after the rain has stopped because companies like ourselves can’t truly help until the water stops coming in.
While you’re waiting for help to arrive, you should remain calm and focus on saving your belongings. If you live in the Gainesville, GA community, SERVPRO of Gainesville is available 24/7 to help you clean up flood damage and reclaim your basement.
Water Mitigation Process
Every situation is different and may require a unique solution. However, the general process is always the same!
Step 1: Emergency Contact
We are always available for you in the event of a water emergency. When you call in, no matter the day or time someone will return your call. The main goal during the initial contact is to understand what is going on so we can dispatch someone to your home or business as soon as possible.
Step 2: Inspection and Assess Damage
When we arrive on site our goal is to know what caused the damage if it is not apparent. This way we can have the issue addressed. The damage may require a third party to be involved (ie. plumber). Once we know what has caused the damage we can continue move on to the next step!
Step 3: Water Removal/ Water Extraction
A licensed technician will use specialized water extraction equipment to remove water from your home. Removal and extraction may result in removal of flooring depending on the type of water damage (ie. sewage back up). Our technicians will document and remove items that cannot be restored.
Step 4: Drying and Dehumidification
We will place machines in your home or business to ensure the space is dry and prevent the possible growth of mold. The average run time for drying machines is between 3-5 days. Of course, it may be more or less depending on the extent of the water damage to your property. It is important that you not unplug or move the equipment from where they were placed by the technician to ensure the space dries properly.
Step 5: Cleaning
Our technicians will clean the affected area and neighboring areas with anti-microbial cleaning products to prevent the possible growth of mold. We ensure we clean every crack and crevice!
Reasons to Trust SERVPRO with Remediation Services
There are many disasters that can befall your clients' commercial buildings. No matter what kind of damage occurs, professional remediation services are necessary to ensure that the building is restored properly. When you need a response that's Faster to Any Size Disaster, SERVPRO is the company you call.
SERVPRO offers full restoration of the damages caused by a variety of problems:
Whenever your clients have damage in their buildings, you need a company you can rely on to provide thorough mitigation. If you recommend a company that also offers restoration to them, the whole process can be tackled by the same team. This can save a lot of time and money.
Another benefit of trusting SERVPRO with your clients' remediation needs is that no matter where the building is located, there is probably a local franchise within a reasonable distance. Once the call center receives the call that help is needed, it can contact the closest location to respond to your client quickly. With the number of service centers totaling over 1,700 nationwide, SERVPRO is well-equipped to be Faster to Any Size Disaster.
SERVPRO's Claims Information Center is your one-stop information hub for all details pertaining to the restoration progress on your clients' property. You can view the original estimate to check it against the insurance claim the client files. As restoration progresses, any changes that have to be made are reported on your clients' records. You get up-to-date reports that both you and your clients can access at any time.
When a disaster destroys all or part of your client's building in Gainesville, GA, you need a restoration service that can respond quickly and professionally. SERVPRO not only offers complete restoration from assessment to rebuilding but also mobilizes the local team as soon as you contact the company. SERVPRO provides services that are Faster to Any Size Disaster.
Ways to Prevent Water Damage in your Business
Many business owners focus on preventing fires, but what about water damage? It's much more likely for water damage to affect your business due to a broken or frozen pipe, natural disaster, or a roof leak. And when these damages happen, your business may need to close for a week or more for the needed cleanup and repairs.
Here, we will go over actions you can take to help prevent a water damage event in your commercial property.
- Insulate water pipes. A major cause of flooding inside buildings during the winter is frozen or burst pipes. Pay special attention to exposed pipes, especially those in unheated or cooler areas of the building. Insulating any exposed pipes should decrease the likelihood of them freezing.
- Have building gutters and drainage cleared. This should be done once a year to prevent clogged gutters. This is best done going from the fall into the winter to get out any fallen leaves or branches. When the gutters of your business clog, they can cause roof leaks, basement flooding, water seepage, or even ice dams on the roof.
- Inspect the roof. Regularly inspect the roof, especially after heavy storms have come through to catch any signs of damage before they cause extensive issues. One small, unnoticed roof leak can cause extensive water damage in your business and cause mold growth across the building.
- Know where the water shutoff valve is. Make sure a few employees that are regularly in the building are aware of the location and how to turn off the water as well. When you're dealing with a water leak from a toilet or water line, you'll want to turn off the water as soon as possible to mitigate damages.
- Install a water sensor. Water sensors notify you when they detect a leak so that you can stop it as soon as possible.
- Inspect for signs of plumbing issues. One of the major causes of water damage in businesses, you'll want to have your plumbing system regularly inspected for signs of old or corroded pipes. In some cases, your plumber may even find a hidden water leak in your business behind a wall or under the floor. If you ever notice your water bill suddenly increase, a water leak may be to blame.
- Think about installing a sump pump. If you have areas susceptible to groundwater flooding, a sump pump can be a good investment to prevent flooding. Sump pumps work by pumping rising water levels away from the building and to a nearby drain.
- Invest in good property insurance. Any business should have adequate insurance coverage in case of a disaster to help lessen the financial impact of the damages. Do research to find what insurance company is right for the needs of your business.
Why Be Proactive About Water Damage in Your Business?
It's simple: When you protect your business from water damage, you will be able to mitigate damages, keep your doors open, or reopen much faster after a flooding disaster. With so many different sources of water damage, proactively taking steps to prevent it is the best thing you can do.
When you don't handle water damage in a timely manner, or it goes unnoticed, mold or mildew will also begin to spread across your property, only making damages worse. The choice is clear: Prepare your business for water damage or pay the price when it happens to you.
Keeping your home safe from fire
Cooking is the number one cause of home fires. Here are some steps you can take to prevent a cooking fire. Each year from 2014-2016, fire departments in the United States responded to an estimated average of 188,800 cooking fires in residential buildings.
- Remember to stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or boiling food.
- If you do have to step away from the kitchen, turn off the burner.
- Keep things that can burn away from your cooking area.
- Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so they won’t get bumped.
If disaster does strike in your home, contact the SERVPRO of Gainesville today (770) 536-1010.
For more information about preventing cooking fires and other fire hazards in your home. Check out www.usfa.fema.gov
When you think about severe storms and how to be prepared for them, one of the most important tools to survive is to have a good Emergency Kit in your home. There are different options that you can buy online, but you can also build your own and accommodate it to your family-specific needs. Even though you can add unique items to yours, there are some things that are basic to any emergency kit and that we recommend that you should have when making your own, those are:
- First-Aid Kit
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Non-perishable food
- Any medicine currently being taken
- Matches and candles in a waterproof container.
- Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Extra change of clothes and shoes
- Pet supplies (if you are taking care of an animal)
- Sleeping bag or a blanket
- Cellphone fully charged
These are just a few examples of what an emergency kit should contain. Residents can add whatever else they may need. There should be an emergency kit in every residential building as well as all commercial buildings if possible. Aside from having an emergency kit ready, a plan should also be in place. If there is a designated storm area inside the home or office, occupants should head there with the emergency kits. Severe storms cannot be avoided, but with the right tools and resources, they can be easier to deal with.
SERVPRO of Gainesville wants to make sure Gainesville, Hall County and the surrounding areas are prepared!
Understanding the Different Types of Water Damage
Water damage can wreck havoc on your Hall County home or business. That being said, not every flood is the same. Flood water is categorized by the types of contaminants present. Understanding the differences among the different types of contaminated water can help you remediate the damage more effectively.
- Clean Water Floods
As their name implies, Category 1, or clean water floods, are categorized by an absence of contaminants. As the least dangerous types of floods, they typically originate from a supply line burst, a shower leak or some other type of clean water source. Just because these floods aren't as dangerous doesn't mean that they shouldn't still be taken seriously. A clean water flood can transform into a Category 2 flood if left untreated for too long.
- Gray Water Floods
Gray water floods are also known as Category 2 floods. This flood contains mildly contaminated water, but nothing that could pose a biohazard risk. These floods are often caused when household appliances malfunction and flood, such as dishwashers and laundry machines. If left untreated for longer than 48 hours, a Category 2 flood will quickly become a dangerous Category 3 flood.
- Black Water Floods
Category 3 floods, or black water floods, are the most dangerous of all. They are categorized by the presence of biohazards, such as human or animal fecal matter, raw sewage and dangerous chemicals or pesticides. You should never attempt to resolve a Category 3 flood by yourself, due to the possible health risks. Instead, you should contact water damage professionals as soon as you can. These floods are usually caused by toilet overflow, sewage back flow or a a flooding riverbank.
All types of floods are capable of inflicting serious amounts of damage. That being said, it's still important for you to learn the differences between the various types of contaminated water make sure to contact flood remediation experts for assistance, no matter which type of flood you're currently dealing with.
Protect your furnace in the winter
Nobody likes being uncomfortable, especially when it’s 20 degrees and your furnace goes out. Then you have to make that painful call to your expensive repair man, who can only work on the furnace while you’re at home. Oh, let’s not forget those pesky Holiday or after hour fees they charge. So now you’re stuck in a freezing house in the middle of winter with no heat, which is not only uncomfortable, but can also be dangerous. Everyone says hindsight is 20/20, so here are a couple of tips you could have used to help prevent this unfortunate situation.
- Keep An Eye On Your Furnace’s Air Filter
The air filter for the furnace is there for just that, to filter out the dirt, dust and debris from your home, and when this filter gets overused, it reduces the amount of air flowing into your system. In turn, this causes a negative impact on your system and starts to make it work harder, making it more vulnerable to those costly breakdowns and running up your energy bill. It’s always smart to change your furnace filter everyone to three months.
- Make Sure You're Keeping Your HVAC System Free of Debris
As previously mentioned, dirt and debris can block airflow and can cause a system to shut down. So making sure the area around your furnace is clean and clear is a must. Also, occasionally checking your air vents to make sure they are open and unblocked by furniture that can impede the heat coming into rooms is a good habit to get into. Contact SERVPRO of Gainesville to schedule your HVAC system cleaning now.
- Have Your HVAC System Maintained Regularly?
Having your HVAC system maintained by a professional who can spot and stop problems not only saves money by avoiding major issues, but also allows your system to run more efficiently ending up with lower energy bills. Ultimately, the visit of the maintenance visit will pay for itself through less money towards bills, fewer repairs and a longer lasting furnace.
What is an ERP?
Are you familiar with the SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP)? This tool can make one very important part of your facility management responsibilities easier.
Every facility manager knows they should have a detailed disaster plan, but coming up with one from scratch can be a time-consuming task. It’s tempting to put this job to the side and deal with the many metaphorical fires you have to deal with every day than prepare for a real, but hypothetical fire in the future.
That’s what’s great about the ERP. One of SERVPRO of Gainesville’s representatives can come to you and walk you through creating a reference document that details the important building and contact information for your property.
The ERP can be used as a standalone document or as a supplement to any existing preparedness plan. Thinking through what to do and who to call in advance is the key to timely mitigation, which minimizes the effects of any weather-related disaster, water, or fire damage to your business.
No matter where you live and work, it is important to be informed and prepared for any disaster that may occur. Though Mother Nature's is often unpredictable, the ERP is one thing we can do to help you take control before disaster strikes.
Contact SERVPRO of Gainesville to establish an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your property. SERVPRO's ERP serves as a quick reference document, In any emergency, make sure you have experienced professionals on the line. No matter how big or small, SERVPRO of Gainesville will be ready to help make your property damage "Like it never even happened."
Avoid Candle Fires in Your Home
With warm light and pleasant fragrances, candles can be an easy way to create the atmosphere that you want in your Gainesville home. However, they can also become a safety hazard if they are not used properly. Candle fires are common, but the following tips can help you avoid them.
- Don’t Leave Burning Candles Unattended
It may seem like an annoyance to extinguish a candle every time you leave the room. However, leaving it burning could result in a candle fire if something gets too close to the flame or if it burns too low. It is best to blow out candles before going to sleep as well, even if you are in the same room.
- Keep Them Away from Flammable Items
When you are using a candle, you should be sure to have the area free of flammable objects. This can include papers as well as fabrics such as curtains and bedding. These types of items should be at least a foot away from any candles that are in use. Flammable liquids should be kept even further away.
- Keep Them Out of Reach of Pets and Children
Both children and pets often come with an excess of energy and curiosity. For this reason, it can be easy for them to inadvertently start a candle fire. Keep burning candles in an area that is not within reach, and do not leave them unsupervised.
- Use an Alternative
Perhaps the easiest way to prevent a fire is simply not to use candles at all. There are a variety of other ways that you can achieve a more relaxing home environment. If you are only interested in adding a nice scent to your home, a wax warmer is a great option. You can also buy battery-operated flameless candles that look and smell like the real thing.
While these tips can help you prevent an emergency, accidents can still occur. Whether it is small or large, fires often require smoke cleanup and some repairs. If this happens, a fire damage remediation company can help return your home to its previous condition.