Preparing for Holiday Travel? Tips To Keep Your Home Safe
Christmas and New Year’s holidays are quickly approaching. When leaving home for vacation, few people consider prepping their homes to prevent water damage. Most people go through a checklist of turning off or unplugging kitchen gadgets, but what happens if you have a leak and need a water pipe repair while you are away? A broken pipe can do a lot of damage, especially if it is left unattended for several days.
Before leaving for an extended vacation, check your home for leaks. Examine the pipes under the sink and the water heater for any cracks or rust. Consider purchasing a water alarm that sends text alerts to your phone. Inspect the hoses that connect to any appliances. Insulate any exposed pipes, especially if you are leaving in the winter and expecting cold weather. A pipe that bursts due to freezing conditions requires repair immediately. Ask a neighbor, friend or family member if they can check in on your home periodically. If you must leave water on consider turning off the water main and drain the pipes.
It is important to not only prep your home to prevent damage from a leak but also from a storm. Make sure your gutters are cleaned so water can flow freely through them. Check your sump pump to make sure it’s functioning properly; clear out any debris you see. Test it by filling the sump pit and turning on the pump. Check window seals and your roof for any leaks; this is especially important for areas that experience heavy rains or storms. . Returning from a vacation to find your house flooded can be devastating. A simple water pipe repair can escalate into a larger problem and can induce microbial growth. Take the time to prep your home against intruding water before you leave so that you can enjoy your vacation worry free. If you experience a problem make sure to call SERVPRO of Lynnwood at 425-774-1148 to help you mitigate any damage.
Initial Steps of Storm Damage Restoration
Storm damage can occur at any time and can cause an immense amount of harm to your home or business. Some regions are more susceptible to storm damage than others. Heavy rains can cause flooding and powerful winds can cause roof damage. Some post-storm damage can create safety and health hazards as well, therefore having a strategy to respond quickly will help you to be ready to take steps immediately after the storm.
Take Safety Precautions
Heavy winds and rain can create physical hazards such as collapsed roofing materials, window damage, collapsed walls or standing water in the building interior. In addition, moisture can soak into furniture, carpeting, and building materials creating the perfect environment for mold growth that may cause health issues. Shut off the main gas line if you smell gas and beware of broken glass, exposed nails, and other sharp objects on the property. Contact SERVPRO of Lynnwood to help secure your property, assess damage and begin emergency services. If necessary, arrange for an alternative place for you and your family or employees while your property is being restored to a safe condition.
Photograph The damage
If it is safe to move around your property, use your cellphone or a camera to photograph the damage so that you will have a record for your insurance company. Documentation is very important to insurance company process and procedures for replacing or restoring your personal items.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance agent or claims center to notify them about the damage to your home immediately. Insurance companies will send out a representative to determine the extent of the damage and to work closely with SERVPRO professionals to discuss job scope and approvals,
Look Into Federal Disaster Assistance
The federal government may have declared the area affected by the storm as a disaster area that is eligible for low-cost loans to help restore your property to normal. You would be required to file documents to receive these loans. When a storm-related disaster strikes, it may seem overwhelming, but these steps can help you to begin the process of restoring your property to normal.
Household Appliances Most Likely to Cause Water Damage
Certain appliances or systems in your home or business can actually increase your risk of flooding. Listed below are the top five sources of water damage culprits that you should be aware of.
Hot Water Heater
Among the top five sources leading to water damage is your hot water heater. A small investment in an annual inspection will help prevent leaks and the expensive repairs that come with it. Be attentive to corrosion and other factors as your heater ages and replace it every 10 years. Keep in mind that after 12 years 75% of water heaters will fail. Flushing the tank every 6 months to remove sediment is a good maintenance practice.
Installing a drainpipe will remove the overflowing water and direct it outside or to a household sewer; this is an alternative to using a drain pan, which will only help contain a small amount in the event of a leak. Attic air conditioners typically cause the most damage because water can leak throughout the entire home affecting multiple rooms from top down. Be aware that the average cost of flooding damage from an air conditioning leak is roughly $5,000.
Leaks around or clamps in the water hose are a warning sign of future failure. Do a monthly personal inspection on your hoses to look out for cracking, dryness or rust, leaving space between the machine and the wall for movement as the wash cycle is running. Replace your hoses every five years despite their outward appearance. Don’t forget to follow your washing machine instructions and turn off water supply when you leave home for extended periods. Unfortunately 78 percent of hose failures occur in an appliance that is less than 11 years old.
The most common cause of a leaky refrigerator is the defrost drain experiencing a freeze or clog. Improper sealing can cause excess condensation. Check the rubber seals along the door to assure a tight close. Inspect you ice maker by checking the hose or waterline to assure they are connected properly.
Hoses, valves or switches are the plumbing connections and can all malfunction to cause water damage issues. Refrain from adding too much detergent to each cycle and if your dishwater is more than 9 years old it may be time for a replacement.
If you suffer water damage from any of these common household appliances do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Lynwood at 425-774-1148 for emergency services. We are available 24/7 365 days a year.
Mobile Preparedness; How to Expedite Disaster Recovery With Your Mobile Device.
Just as you use a smartphone to receive emails and news updates, your disaster preparedness plan can be mobile as well. Your cell phone can be used as a lifeline to communicate with employees, execute response plans and connect with family members during a disaster, especially because most mobile networks often remain active when landlines are down. With the right preparation and utilizing hotspots or Wi-Fi, mobile technology serves as an effective resource that you can integrate into a disaster preparedness plan and keep recovery efforts progressing forward.
Consider taking the following steps to better prepare yourself;
Sign-up for SERVPRO’s ERP (Emergency Ready Plan) and download the App. If you do not have an existing ERP contact SERVPRO of Lynnwood to facilitate one for your residence and business. Make sure to upload all of your emergency shut-off, first responder and contact information. Make note of which vendors will be there for you in the time of need. Remember, SERVPRO of Lynnwood is prepared to respond 24/7 365 days a year to your Water, Fire or Biohazard emergency.
Sign Up for FEMA Text Messages; The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a text-messaging program that provides safety tips about specific types of disasters. In addition, they offer information about shelters and disaster recovery centers. To receive general preparedness tips every month, text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA). To learn about shelters in your area after a disaster, text SHELTER and your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA). For information about open Disaster Recovery Centers, text DRC and your zip code to 43362 (4FEMA).
Dedicate an emergency preparedness training session at your place of work to practice text alerts, particularly if your company issues mobile phones to employees. In addition to providing workers with important numbers to store in their phones, take the time to ensure that all the employees know how to use the necessary features.
Other websites that you may find helpful include:
Don’t hesitate to call our team at SERVPRO of Lynnwood for questions about utilizing preparedness programs and tools, contact us at 425-774-1148.
How To Keep Your Pets Safe When It Comes To Fire Damage
As a pet-friendly office our furry friends are near and dear to our hearts as a special part of the family. Sadly, approximately 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year and many house fires are even caused by pets, especially when left home alone. Read over these tips to help prevent any accidental fire started by your pets and for keeping your pets safe in the event of a fire in your home. When creating your family’s emergency plan make sure you include your dog, cat, or other pets in your plan of action.
To Prevent Your Pets From Starting An Accidental Fire;
- Beware of candles and other open flames. Pets are curious creatures and may take interest in a flickering flame. If you do have any open flames in your home at any time, be sure to never leave them unattended and to keep an eye on your pets. If you're using a fireplace, consider getting a fireplace screen to protect pets when sleeping in front of the fire. Also make sure the fire is completely out before heading out or going to bed. Small sparks and coals can pass through a screen and ignite soft contents such as furniture or carpet.
- Secure wires and cords. Pets are often tempted to chew on loose wires and cords. Exposed wires can be a fire hazard, so consider securing any electrical objects so that their cords are out of reach.
- Avoid using glass bowls for your pets' water. When filtered and heated through glass, the sun's rays can ignite the wood beneath the bowl and set a deck in flames. Try using a stainless steel or ceramic bowl instead.
Keep Your Pets Safe After/During A Fire;
- Place a pet fire sticker on the door or window of your home. In the event of a fire when you're away, having a pet sticker will help rescuers know how many pets to look for, saving valuable time and hopefully your furry friends.
- Use monitored smoke detectors. Pets left home alone can't escape on their own. Monitored smoke detectors contact emergency responders when you're not home and add an extra layer of protection beyond that of battery-operated smoke alarms.
- Keep pets near entrances when you're away from home. Keep collars (with ID tags) on your pets at all times and leave leashes by the entrance or somewhere easy to find in an emergency. This will help firefighters to find and rescue your pets when they arrive.
- Know where your pets' hiding’ spots are. It's important that you can find your pets quickly if there's a fire. Know where your pets like to sleep and especially where they like to go when they are scared or anxious (under the bed or hidden in a quiet corner of the house somewhere).
- Have an ERP (Emergency Ready Plan) in place and make sure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire. Know who will be in charge of getting your pets outside safely. Have someone in charge of leashes and pet carriers so that they can be safely secured once you're outside. In the event that you can't find your pet when exiting, leave doors and windows open on your way out and call to them so that they come out on their own.
- Practice fire drills with your pets. It is important to include your pets in the family fire drills. Practice finding them and getting out of the house. Also practice the "open access" scenario where you leave an exit open (preferably the one they're most comfortable with) and call to them to come out of the home. The more you practice, the more likely they are to come out in the event of an actual fire.
- Don’t forget pet food & water, even medication. Depending on how long you may be displaced after a fire it’s a great idea to have food, water and any necessary medications on hand so that your pet feels more comfortable and doesn’t suffer from hunger or dehydration.
Call SERVPRO of Lynnwood at 425-774-1148 to find out more about what you can do to prepare for the unexpected.
Will you be ready? How to be prepared for a disaster in Lynnwood, WA
Many of you may have heard- Lynnwood’s Health and Safety community Block Party is approaching on September 8th, 2018. This gives community members a chance to network with their first responders and collect information on how they can be better prepared. Tour fire trucks, ambulances, SWAT vehicles, see demonstration from Police K-9 and Motorcycle Units, disaster preparedness tips & skills, grease fire & fire extinguisher demos, fitness & exercise demos, and more.
In case you cannot make it to the Fair on 44th review these tips to be better prepared;
Consider the following steps to help you and your family be better prepared for an emergency;
Register for local alerts and warnings, you can download various apps or check access for wireless emergency alerts
Develop and test your emergency communication plan- who is the first to contact and is everything in place?
Assemble or update your emergency supply kit, make sure nothing is expired or out of date
Learn about local hazards; what things are you in risk of experiencing?
Practice your emergency response drill
Collect and backup critical documents
Make a plan with your neighborhood to share resources
Document property/valuables and make sure you have proper insurance coverage
Make any property improvements that could reduce the risk of injury or damage during a disaster
If you have questions about preparing your property for a disaster contact your emergency preparedness professionals at SERVPRO of Lynnwood- 425-774-1148.
Spring Cleaning Tips For Your Home!
Spring is in full swing here at SERVPRO of Lynnwood! Keeping your home tidy and clean is important for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, a clean home is less likely to face issues like mold damage and other problems that stem from a lack of attention and care. In addition, maintaining the cleanliness of a home will help tremendously in the resale value of the home should the homeowner consider selling down the road. From the kitchen to the garage and from the backyard area to the bedrooms and bathrooms spring cleaning should be part for your yearly routine.
Keep in mind the following tips to keep you home spring clean;
- Clean out your refrigerator – dispose of expired items and sanitize each tray and shelf
- Give all of your doormats a good wash
- Clean your upholstery and carpet with professional grade serums—you may consider professional help from SERVPRO to make sure the job is done right
- Scrub baseboards with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers or similar products
- Dust or wipe down ceiling fans and light fixtures
- Scrub down your stove and oven by removing racks and burners
- Sanitize all sinks and deodorize garbage disposals
- Pressure wash any moss or algae off of your driveways, sidewalks and roof
- Thoroughly clean all bathrooms – including shower doors, shower walls, and drain areas- check for blockages
- Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration
- Inspect your HVAC system and contact SERVPRO of Lynnwood for a duct clean
- Wash all windows and check seals to make sure they are working properly
- Degrease and clean all kitchen cabinets that may have cooking residue
- Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage
- Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads
- Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Limbs and leaves can cut into your home’s paint and force you to have that side of the house repainted. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time
- Call SERVPRO of Lynnwood for any assistance with your spring cleaning at 425-774-1148
Some Quick Facts About Mold Growth
It’s not every day that you come into contact with mold. Therefore, knowing the warning signs of this fungal nuisance — like high humidity or neglected water damage — and determining the cause of contamination in your building can be understandably difficult. If your commercial property in Mill Creek, Washington, is under attack by mold growth and you’re lost as to what to do, here are some simple basics about mold and the effects it can have on your property.
*Mold and mold spores are ever-present entities. Mold spores are all around you anywhere you go, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, and more often than not they’re not harmful. The real issue comes when the mold finds perfect breeding grounds in high-moisture areas and begins to quickly grow out of control. This gives it time to mutate from a benign strain to something more dangerous to humans, like black mold.
*If you fear mold growth is present in your building, close off the area, turn the HVAC system off and call for professional help. Since mold spores are airborne, they can be spread through the airflow coming from your HVAC system. When you’re worried that one area of your property might be contaminated, turning off the building’s airflow keeps the potentially dangerous spores from spreading outward to other rooms or levels. This quick action also benefits the mold remediation team when they arrive to contain and clean up the mess.
*Never let water issues go untreated. Unhealthy mold development is triggered by moisture, so neglecting any water maintenance problems such as leaky pipes, poorly insulated windows or flood damage is simply asking for trouble. Contacting restoration specialists is the best move for finding the true source of water leaks and stopping further damage.
Once you acknowledge these common facts about mold, you’ll be more readily prepared to spot any potential warning signs in your Mill Creek, Washington, building. Knowing that you should treat water damage or high humidity immediately makes preventing mold growth a far easier concept.
More information about mold is on our webpage at http://www.SERVPROlynnwood.com.
SERVPRO of Lynnwood Hosts NARPM® Clock Hour Class
SERVPRO of Lynnwood has been a long supporting member of King County NARPM® since the chapter was founded. NARPM® (National Association of Residential Property Management) is a premiere professional association designed for real estate professionals who know first-hand the unique challenges of managing single-family and small residential properties. They provide resources for residential property management professionals who desire to learn, grow and build relationships.
As a professional association NARPM® offers several different designations. These designations are earned with a combination of property management experience, NARPM® and industry education, service to the association through volunteer activities and clock-hour courses to maintain your license.
Master Property Manager (MPM®)
Residential Management Professional (RMP®)
Certified Residential Management Company (CRMC®)
Certified Support Specialist (CSS®)
Certified Maintenance Coordinator (CMC®)
Certified Residential Management Bookkeeper (CRMB®)
Over the years SERVPRPO of Lynnwood has hosted several clock hour classes at our facility. We enjoy supporting the organization by allowing them to use our classroom and providing breakfast and lunch for attendees. In February of 2018 SERVPRO of Lynnwood hosted the class Intro to Maintenance: Covering the Basics of Standards, Codes & Safety taught by the instructor Fred Thompson, MPM® RMP®.
This courses touches on aspects of the Uniform Housing Code, habitability standards & local codes, policies of insurance companies and NARPM®’s Standards of Professionalism. Participants will explore why it is important to know how buildings are put together and what to look at when taking properties into management.
Our SERVPRO of Lynnwood team enjoys supporting NARPM® education and we look forward to hosting more events in the future.
3 Reasons to Not Attempt Smoke Damage Remediation on Your Own
After a fire is put out, your thoughts then have to turn to smoke damage restoration. Between the flames, soot and smoke, a lot may need to be addressed. You may think it can be easy to handle this on your own or have some people who work for you attempt it. However, at the end of the day, you always want to leave this work in the hands of competent professionals in North Creek, Washington.
1. It Can Take a Long Time to Clean Up
Soot damage remediation involves a lot more than scrubbing the floor and walls. First, you need to address the damage caused by the fire directly. Then you need to look at the items damaged by smoke. There may also be water damage brought in by the firefighters. Fixing all of this can take a while, and if you do not know what you are doing, then it can take even longer.
2. You Do Not Know What to Look For
Smoke damage may not always be readily visible. The damage may have extended to behind the drywall and impacted the building’s insulation. Soot may have made its way inside various electronics that you need to address or risk short circuiting something valuable. Damage restoration experts will not stop until they have inspected every last area of the building.
3. No Access to the Right Tools
To adequately carry out smoke cleaning, you need some heavy-duty tools. Purchasing these items outright can be rather expensive, and you are honestly better off simply hiring professionals to come out who already have the necessary tools. Hopefully this kind of thing will not happen again, so you may never need to use a thermal fogger again.
Smoke damage can upset business operations for a while, which only makes it more paramount to take care of it posthaste. Do not waste time trying to fix things on your own. Always contact the professionals.
For more on smoke damage visit us at http://www.SERVPROlynnwood.com.