Importance of Cleaning your HVAC System
How many homes get their HVAC system cleaned regularly? The answer is not very many. Many homeowners do not make cleaning their HVAC system a priority, but the reality is that it should be cleaned by a professional like SERVPRO® every 3 to 5 years. Why is this necessary? In an HVAC system, it draws the air from within your house and circulates it while heating or cooling it. This means that is picks up several different things in the air and pulls them into the vents. These things include dust and pet hair. The dust and pet hair build up in the vents over time. Some other things that can be found in the HVAC system are critters, like insects, mice, and cockroaches. Additionally, if there is condensation, mold can grow. Some risks with of these unwanted things in your vents circulating throughout your home is risk of health problems, usually this is seen in respiratory issues. Some other problems that can arise from an uncleaned HVAC system is an increased energy cost, reduced efficiency of the heating and cooling system, a smelly home, and circulating dirty air throughout your house. This introduces harmful micro-organisms into your body.
Emergency Ready Profile (ERP)
With a SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan (ERP) a business will always be prepared if a tragedy in the building occurs. An ERP provides specific details about the functionality of the building that a business is housed in. Starting from the important contact information of maintenance, building owner, insurance, and management, all the way to where the water and electrical shut offs are located. There is tons of information stored in the folder given to the property management after a SERVPRO staff member assesses the building and logs in all of the information. This information is important because hypothetically, if the building were to have a water loss, whomever is on site, this could be maintenance or even the front desk attendant, they would know exactly who to call and know exactly where to turn off any electrical systems or water systems without anyone there to assist them. This is also important because with losses of any kind, time is of the essence, the faster the damage can be handled the better. The more damage that is the done, the more expensive the loss will be and the longer a business will suffer from not being able to be in a functioning business. If a loss ever occurs, SERVPRO is open 24/7/365. We are a call away to have a Project Manager come assess the loss, and after get a crew on site to start mitigation and reconstruction if needed to get the business up and running again!
After a hazmat, trauma, or crime scene there is cleanup that needs to be done. SERVPRO has the experience, tools, and chemicals to clean up biological and chemical contaminants. These types of incidences require compliance with all environmental, governmental, and health regulations. We make sure to remember to treat the property with respect and to whomever may be involved with empathy and professionalism. Before we can begin the cleanup process there usually needs to be an investigation by police, after they are done, we assess the property to determine what cleaning products and equipment needs to be used. These types of incidences are handled very much with care, considering out technician’s bodily health and mental health as well.
After a Storm
The first step to cleaning up after a storm is making sure that area has been deemed safe. No one should enter an area that could be hazardous to your safety. Once it has been clarified that it can be entered safely, then the clean up process can begin.
Before entering the structure after it has been deemed safe is making sure you are geared with the correct safety gear. This includes a hard hat, eye goggles, boots that are waterproof and preferably with a steel toe and insole, sometimes ear plugs and waterproof boots are necessary, as well as a fire extinguisher.
To make sure that if anything were to happen, having another individual with you, instead of being alone will assure that help can come if needed. They can also help you pick up heavy objects.
SERVPRO is always here to help after a storm to help with any clean up that is needed. Anything from removing the contents in a home, to tearing out the damages to the structure and then following with the reconstruction process to get you and your family back home into normal daily life.
Winterizing Your Home
Winter is not too far away… That means knowing what to do to winterize your house.
- The number one thing that any homeowner should do because it causes the most damage in the winter time. PROTECT YOUR PIPES! Use tubular pipe wrap, insultation fittings, or rolled pipe wrap (depending where in the United States you live) to prevent them from bursting and causing a huge water loss. We receive many calls in the winter because of broken pipes, so this is very important.
- Prevent roof damage by inspecting the roof for any damaged or missing shingles, clear debris like leaves and dirt that has collected over the fall, clean the gutters so that melting snow can access the roof easily and drain correctly, check the attic for any roof leaks and make sure that its ventilated properly so that mold doesn’t form, another option is installing heated gutters or roof heat cables so that ice doesn’t build up and cause excessive amounts of weight on your roof which could potentially cave in.
- If you have a fireplace and chimney, have it inspected and cleaned.
- As for windows, insulated curtains are very useful with keeping in the heat and locking out the cold or have storm windows installed. Other installation recommendations include weather stripping and insulation. This will not only keep your house warm, but also lower your heating bill.
- Maintain anything that is kept outdoors. Bring in your plants so they don’t freeze and die. Bring in gas grills that have a propane tank, if not disconnect the propane and put a grill cover on the grill. Outdoor furniture can either be brought indoors or covered so they don’t get damaged.
- Make sure you have all the equipment needed for the snow. Have shovels stocked and check to make sure the snow blower is working properly. Stock up in salt to put on your driveway and sidewalks.
- Have your heating source serviced by a professional to make sure it is working correctly, cleaned, and that there is ventilation to the outside. Additionally, have a back up heating source just in case.
These simple tips can help maintain your home so that damages don’t occur with extreme cold. SERVPRO is always an option if there are any option. We are open 24/7, so that means if a water line breaks at 2 in the morning, we will be there to help. Check our website to find out what to do in case of any loss until help arrives.
Persistent odor can be caused by a lot of things, mold, pets, smoke… Getting rid of the odor can be a challenge without the proper equipment. As for removing specific smells, the odor just cannot be removed most of the time, there must be a deep cleaning done. For example, with cigarette smell, there is more than likely nicotine and tar built up on the walls, ceilings, and furniture. That means we would use our special scrubbers for the ceiling and walls. Painting over it, the tar would eventually seep through so it’s always better to just remove the tar out right. Other hard surfaces would also need to be cleaned, like the side tables and anything else of that matter. After all the tar and nicotine has been removed, we use a special odor removing technique, we may use ozone or what is called a hydroxyl machine. Finding the source of the smell will determine what process needs to be done to remove the odor.
All About Biohazards
Biohazards are biological materials that can cause threat to human health and the environment. These biohazard materials can be in the form of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. They can also be biological toxins, such as venom or poisons. Biohazards can be as simple as blood or bodily fluids.
The ten examples of biohazards are:
Bacteria is on the most common biohazard. Some examples of this are Salmonella, E.coli, and Staphylococcus Auras (mRsa).
Another common biohazard ranging in illnesses from the common cold to HIV, Ebola and most the most current Covid-19.
A microorganism that can cause a biohazard. These organisms can cause infections in humans and animals or can cause allergies or asthma.
These are organisms that live in or on other organisms. Health concerns can be as serious as Malaria, Toxoplasma and Giardia.
5. Biological Toxins
Which are toxins that can be produced in living organisms which can be poison's. This can be in the form of venom, Tetrodotoxins, or botulinum toxin. Based by snakes, spiders, pufferfish, or bugs.
6. Bloodborne Pathogens
They are microorganisms that can be transmitted through blood or other bodily fluids. Some examples include HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. These are transmitted thru needles or other sharp objects.
Prions are abnormal infection proteins that can cause a group of rare degenerative brain disorders.
A nutrient-rich organic material resulting from treatment of sewage. These materials are sometimes used as fertilizer in agriculture.
9. Zoonotic Diseases
These can be transmitted from animals to humans. Some examples of this is Influenza (Bird Flu), West Nile Virus, and Lyme Disease. They are spread from infected animals, or through consumptions of contaminated animal products.
10. Environmental toxins
Chemicals or substances that can be harmful to human health or the environment. These toxins can be found in industrial waste, pesticides, and heavy metals. Some examples are Lead, Mercury, and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB).
SERVPRO has the method to clean all biohazards. It is essential you protect yourself from all exposures in the workplace.
Pet Fire Safety
Pets are the cause of on average almost 750 house fires per year. These fires affecting around half a million pets and resulting in almost 40,000 deaths of pets. It is extremely important to be aware of how a pet can cause a fire in home. Accidents happen, but awareness is key. Your pet is family, so they should be included in your fire safety plan along with everyone else in your household. Pets can be trained to know what to do during a state of emergency. This means that if they aren't within eye view, they can be trained to remove themselves from your home when needed. Additionally, when practicing an escape plan, include your pets in this plan as well.
Some simple ways to make helping your pet escape is keeping your pet near entrances if they are kenneled so that fire fighters have easy access to them upon entry. Provide a list that fire fighters have access to on your windows or doors that include the number of pets and their names.
There are ways to prevent your animals from causing a fire. Candles should be small so if knocked over they will go out easier, or even having a flameless candle or a wax melter. Keep space heaters out of the way so they can't be knocked over easily. Stoves are most common source of a fire when it pertains to fires caused by pets. Sometimes household objects can knocked over onto a hot stove or the stove knobs are turned. Cats are notorious for turning knobs on stoves or knocking over candles.
The best thing that any homeowner or tenant can own is a fire extinguisher that is easily accessible! No one ever thinks a fire can happen to them, but it happens a lot more often than people think! Being prepared is extremely important!
Soot and Fire Damage Removal
When it comes to removing soot after a fire, there are special steps that need to be taken. To start the process, highly-trained and experienced professionals with the appropriate tools are needed. Without the proper equipment or knowledge, more damage can be done, so it is always best to do things the right way the first time. The restoration process with a home or business is making everything looks like it did before the fire happened, "Like it never even happened." We want to make sure there is as little disruption in everyone’s life that is involved.
Although the soot and fire damage removal process takes time, we always try to make sure we are moving as fast and efficiently as possible. The most important thing to keep in mind is that we cannot rush the process, doing so leaves room for mistakes. SERVPRO as a company always tries to be as detailed as possible so the homeowner or business owner has no complaints after the job is done.
Steps To Take When There Is Water Damage
There could be a point in your life that you encounter water damage in your home, but what are the steps that need to be taken if this were to happen before help arrives?
The first step is removing the source if it's possible. Is it a broke water pipe in your home? Turn off the water! Sometimes certain housing has to get their water turned off by another party.
The second step is worry about the electricity. The last thing we want anyone to be shocked by electricity. If the area that is wet has circuit breakers. Make sure to turn those off as well. It is important to note that no one should enter an area that may have affected electrical outlets, breakers, or equipment! It is not recommended that ceiling fans should not be turned on is the ceiling is wet!
The third step is, if possible, removing water that can be removed with a mop or towels. Do not use a vacuum!
The fourth step is removing propping furniture up it doesn't sit in the water and become damaged. This can be done putting the furniture on blocks or wrapping the legs of the furniture with aluminum foil. If the upholstery or cushions are soiled, move them to a well ventilated area to air dry. It isn't recommended that they are put into a dryer. All of the other belongings should be moved to an area that is dry. This includes electronics, artwork, clothing, documents, and anything else that is in the affected area.