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3 Things To Teach Your Children About a Fire Escape Plan

11/30/2019 (Permalink)

Paper with the title "Escape Plan." For a parent in a Knoxville, TN, home, ensuring your kid's safety in the event of a fire may be a top priority.

For a parent in a Knoxville, TN, home, ensuring your kids safety in the event of a fire may be a top priority. This is why it’s important to include them in your fire escape plans. While your plan may include important things such as the location of a fire extinguisher or the number of a fire damage restoration company, you may also want to include fire safety lessons for your young ones. Here are three things you may want to teach them so that they know what to do during an emergency.


1. Where Are the Exits
During a home fire, it’s important to know where the exits are in case of a fire. Teach your children how to open an emergency window, or how to tell which door out is the safest. It might help to make a game out of learning possible escape routes.


2. How To Escape Safely
You may also want to teach your kids safety techniques for getting out of the home during an emergency. Teach them to crawl under the smoke, and also to test for heat from a door before opening it. Teach them to press the back of the hand to the door to feel for heat, and if it’s not hot, open slowly and check to make sure the way is clear.


3. Where To Meet Up
Another thing every member of your family should know is where to meet up after a fire. You will want to choose a location safely away from the home that every family member can easily find. This may be a mail box, or a neighbor’s yard. During your fire drills practice getting there as the end goal.


When ensuring your kid's safety in a fire escape plan you may want to teach them these three things. How to get out of the home in the event of a fire, how to do so safely, and where to go afterward. Doing so can help ensure that every member of your family knows what to do during an emergency.

Tips for Stopping Plant Mildew in its Tracks

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

Plant with mildew Plant mildew may not kill your favorite fern immediately, but over time it can cause some serious damage

Whether a chic cactus or a beautiful begonia, plants are attractive, air-clearing additions that generally brighten the atmosphere of our homes. But like many things in the home, plants are susceptible to mildew. While plant mildew can seriously harm foliage, there are ways to prevent it from taking hold. Follow these tips to keep the plants in your Blue Grass, TN, home from becoming victims of this household menace.

What is Mildew?

Like mold, mildew is an unsightly type of fungus. It feeds on organic materials like clothes, paper, ceilings and walls, thriving on moist air. Unlike mold, however, mildew isn’t black. Instead mildew growth:

  • Appears like white or gray spots
  • Looks dusty or chalky
  • Takes hold when plant foliage is dry

Mildew can quickly coat foliage, blocking the sunlight your plant needs. The result is a plant that stops growing and eventually dies. Fortunately, solving a plant fungus problem can be easier than you think.

Clean It Off

Luckily, some of the best tools against plant mildew are right in your cabinet. Start by mixing baking soda with liquid soap to form a spray. Spritz your plants to neutralize existing mildew and prevent new mildew from forming. Spray foliage with mouthwash or mix and spray a solution of one part milk and three parts water to further paralyze mildew spores.

Water Your Plants

While mildew likes moisture, it tends to form on dry plants. Powdery mildew proliferates on dry leaves, in areas with low lighting and high humidity. Keep a regular watering schedule to ensure your plants aren’t becoming dry breeding grounds for this powdery fungus.
Plant mildew may not kill your favorite fern immediately, but over time it can cause some serious damage. Use these simple kitchen tricks to shut it down, or contact a mold specialist to learn more about stopping this and other household fungi in their tracks.

Understanding Plant Mildew

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

Closeup shot of mold growth. It’s natural to be alarmed when you see ugly plant mildew attacking your favorite foliage.

Despite your best efforts, your house plant is covered in white spots. What gives? Powdery plant mildew is a common bane of plant enthusiasts. And while it won’t kill your plants immediately, it can gradually diminish their health. On the bright side, the tools you need to get rid of it are likely in your kitchen. Keep reading to learn more about this fungus and how you can clear it from your Knoxville, TN, home.


What is Powdery Mildew Anyway?
Mildew is commonly mentioned alongside mold, and with good reason: They’re both fungi. Whereas mold tends to be darker and either furry or slimy, mildew often shows up as white or gray, with a powdery, almost chalk-like texture. Mildew attacking plants:

Spreads easily
Favors dry foliage
Thrives in warmth

What Are the Signs of Plant Mildew?
Spots are the telltale signs of a powdery mildew infestation. These white or gray patches may show up on the tops of leaves. The patches will they’ll spread to the underside of leaves and eventually down stems. Foliage will begin to brown and wilt as the fungus leaches nutrients from your plant.

Treating Mildew on Plants
Luckily, it’s relatively easy to get rid of mildew with basic pantry items. Mix up the baking soda and liquid soap to make a spray that can easily neutralize existing mildew and prevent new spores from growing. Plain mouthwash can also be used. Another old trick is mixing three parts of water with one part of milk and spraying leaves. Each substance has an antiseptic effect on mildew.

It’s natural to be alarmed when you see ugly plant mildew attacking your favorite foliage. But you don’t have to be intimidated. Use the above tips to erase plant fungus and consult a local garden or mold removal expert to learn what you can do to prevent mildew growth in the first place.

What To Do Right After a Fire

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

Board up windows and doors of a blue cape cod style suburban home Board up home in Hardin Valley, TN

3 Steps To Take After A Fire

A fire in your home in Hardin Valley, TN, can be devastating. There are people who can give you the assistance you need to rebuild your house if this happens. To expedite the fire restoration process, you will need to file a fire claim with your insurance company. Take these three steps right after the fire happens to make the process go more smoothly.

1. Call Your Insurance Agent

The company that provides your fire insurance is the first call you should make after the flames have been put out. This starts the claims process. An adjuster comes to assess the damage and determine how much the insurance company will pay. The longer you wait to contact your insurance company, the higher the chance that your home will sustain damage that won't be covered.

2. Vacate Your Property

You may be tempted to start cleaning up the moment you hang up from the call with your insurance agent. Fight this urge and leave damage mitigation to the professionals. Instead, take pictures of the damage so that you have an accurate record of them. You may also consider making a list of items that need to be replaced and the approximate replacement cost. This can help you when you are filing your claim, especially if the fire restoration cleanup starts before your adjuster arrives.

3. Protect Your Home

It's likely that the fire that ravaged your home also left it vulnerable to the elements and unwanted guests. When fire remediation specialists arrive to start the smoke cleaning process, they will likely board up the parts of your home that normally would be closed to intruders, animals or bad weather. This can prevent further damage and save you the time and expense of extra repairs.
Fire damage to your home can seem overwhelming. However, there are only a few steps needed to start the fire restoration process.

Is Mold Damage Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?

11/20/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growth on blue wall. When fungus growth does threaten your home in Knoxville, TN, take a good look at your insurance or call SERVPRO for advice.

Once a small amount of water gets where it doesn’t belong, mold can start to develop. While the health hazards are still being discussed, one certain problem with fungus growth is that it damages (and can eventually destroy) the materials that houses are made from. Some homeowner’s policies may include mold insurance, but it depends on the wording and circumstances.


Your Insurance May Cover Mold Damage
Usually, the most important consideration is if the mold was the natural consequence of a “covered peril.” That typically includes such things as the following:

Fire damage
Storm and lightning damage
Accidental discharge from plumbing and appliances

So, if a lightning bolt strikes and damages your roof, allowing water to enter it, that would be covered. If lightning hits a tree, causing it to fall on the roof and encourage fungus growth, the same applies.


There Are Limits, Conditions and Exceptions
When experts tell you to read your insurance policy carefully, it’s because there can be massive differences in the fine print. For instance, even if the mold damage was caused by a covered peril, you won’t be covered if the damage was reasonably preventable – such as knowing about a leak but letting it go for longer than necessary.


Also, homeowner’s insurance will never cover damages from flooding; the National Flood Insurance Program provides that. Keeping a higher indoor humidity than normal also could trigger an exception.


Some policies may have a rider or endorsement that specifically does offer mold coverage. However, there are usually limits to the payout, capping damage awards. Finally, any insurance claim can potentially raise the cost of your premiums, so in some circumstances, you may be better off paying a professional mold cleanup company yourself to fix the problem.


When fungus growth does threaten your home in Knoxville, TN, take a good look at your insurance or call SERVPRO for advice. They can answer your questions and take pride in leaving your home “Like it Never Even Happened.”

What to Do If Your Flight is Canceled

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

Flight information on an airport showing cancelled flights because of a thunderstorm Flight information on an airport showing cancelled flights because of a thunderstorm

Storm Tips That Can Make Your Wait a Little More Comfortable

Storms can cause a variety of issues. It can leave businesses in need of storm damage repair, and it can interfere with people's flight plans. Dealing with a canceled flight in Rocky Hill, TN, is something no one wants to deal with. It isn't uncommon for flights to be delayed or canceled due to a snow storm, thunderstorm, or even high winds. It's inconvenient, but there are several things you can do to help get to your desired location sooner rather than later. If you are stuck for a while, there are some storm tips that can at least make your wait a little more comfortable.

Looking for Alternatives

There may be an alternative that can help you get where you need to be sooner.

  • You can call the airline to see if there is anything they can do.
  • You should also speak with the gate attendant to see if there is a flight they can get you on.
  • You can do your own research as well.

These options may help you find a seat on another flight so you can get to your destination sooner. Consider looking for a connecting flight, even if you were originally on a flight that gets you straight from A to B.

Ask to Be Put Up in a Hotel

If you are stuck in the city due to a canceled flight, with no hope for a same day switch, you can ask the airline if they are willing to put you up in a hotel. This can at least make you a little more comfortable before you decide what your best option is. They may or may not accommodate you, but it's something to consider. They may be willing to provide you with food vouchers or a discount.
It can be really frustrating to deal with a canceled flight, and sometimes, there is nothing you can do. See if there are alternatives that can get you to your destination sooner, by either making a few phone calls or checking with the airline attendants. If all else fails, make yourself comfortable for a while until you can figure out an alternative to get home.

The Financial Toll of Mold Cleaning

11/7/2019 (Permalink)

Closeup shot of mold growth. Cleanup costs for a crawlspace or small area may be as little as $500 and as much as $4,000.

As a homeowner, you will spend a significant amount of money to keep your Knoxville, TN, house looking nice and feeling comfortable. If you detect mold in any part of your home, it is important to act quickly and hire a professional to handle mold removal. It is helpful to know what you should expect to pay to rid this fungus from your property.

How Mold Develops
Mold spores are present outside, floating in the air. They can get into your home on people and pets that enter. The microscopic spores can also come through windows, doors, cracks, and vents. In a perfect environment, the fungus can grow and spread. This happens in the following ways:

When there is poor ventilation in humid areas of the home
When there are slow leaks in the plumbing or HVAC system
When water is not removed and the affected areas are not dried

The Inspection
If you discover mold at home, you should call a professional mold remediation company. An initial inspection of the area and identification of mold will cost between $200 and $600.


Testing for Mold
The remediation team will use a test called air sampling to assess the need of black mold removal. The samples go to a lab where a technician does an analysis. This can cost as much as $150.


The Cleanup
The most expensive and time-consuming part is the actual mold removal. The remediation team will tear out porous material, clean and disinfect walls and floors, and use a special vacuum with air filtration. The cost of this process will vary depending on the extent of the damage and the size of the room.

Cleanup costs for a crawlspace or small area may be as little as $500 and as much as $4,000. If there is mold damage throughout the house, and if there is structural damage, you may be looking at a total cost of more than $25,000.


Mold removal may challenge your budget. However, this is an important process that you don't want to neglect.

File a Water Damage Claim in 5 Easy Steps

10/28/2019 (Permalink)

Tile flooring with pool of water. There are unique aspects to every type of insurance claim.

There are unique aspects to every type of insurance claim. When dealing with water damage, there is an urgent need to dry out your home before mold becomes a problem. Follow these steps to get the claims process moving as soon as possible:


1. Notify the Insurance Company
Once the flow of water from the pipe burst stops, contact your insurer. Do this immediately, even if it is 2 a.m. on Sunday. Leave a voice mail if nobody answers. Start the claim if you get through to an agent. Explain your problem and ask the agent about your coverage. Ask for instructions, then write them down and confirm that you understand them. Request the preferred vendor list so that you can select water damage recovery experts in the Knoxville, TN, area.


2. Follow the Agent’s Instructions
Instructions may involve filling out an insurance claim and preparing for a visit by the adjuster. It is essential to complete these tasks as quickly as possible. If the agent authorized you to contact a cleanup company, do so quickly. Cleanup needs to start as soon as possible.


3. Take Photographs of the Flood Damage
Now is the time to take photos to show what was affected. The adjuster needs to see the original damage. A smartphone is a terrific tool for documenting any issues.


4. Begin the Recovery Process. Make sure that the damaged area is safe to enter. It may be necessary to turn off the power. Next, you should proceed to remove everything you plan to keep. Store undamaged items in a dry area. Send the damaged items out for restoration.


5. Give the Adjuster a Tour of the Damage
Provide the adjuster with your pictures and the information requested by the agent. If all the information is available, this should go smoothly.

Once your insurance claim approval is complete and the local water damage recovery experts are on the job, your home will be on the fast track to restoration.

3 Differences Between Flood Damage and Storm Damage

10/26/2019 (Permalink)

Flooded building entrance Flooded building in Farragut, TN

3 Differences Between Flood Damage and Storm Damage

If your Farragut, TN, building is damaged during a storm, you might think that all of the water damage falls into one category, but this is not necessarily the case. Flood damage is actually a bit different from other types of damage caused by water. The following are a few distinctions.

1. Where the Water Comes From

Perhaps the easiest way to determine whether you are dealing with flood damage or other water damage is to figure out where the water is coming from. Generally, if the water comes from above, then it is regular water damage. This can include leaks and broken pipes. If the water is rising up from the ground, then this is always considered flood water.

2. The Level of Water Contamination

A lot of the water involved in storm damage is considered to be category 1 or clean water. Water from damaged pipes or supply lines also belongs to this category. Flood water, on the other hand, is category 3 or black water. This means that it is highly contaminated and should be avoided. This is because water from a flood mixes with sewage and other contaminants on the ground. Anything that it touches will need to be thrown away or thoroughly sanitized.

3. Whether It is Included in Your Insurance Policy

Another important difference between damage from a flood and damage from other water sources is that flooding is usually not included in your basic insurance policy. If you want coverage for this type of damage, then you will need to purchase a separate flood policy.
Whether you are dealing with clean water or flood damage, you will need to have it taken care of quickly to avoid further damage to your building. Moisture of any type can contribute to weakened materials or mold growth. A cleanup and restoration service can remove the water and perform any necessary repairs.

When Shouldn't You Use Drain Cleaner?

10/18/2019 (Permalink)

New gray and brown drain pipes isolated over white Plastic pipes

When Shouldn't You Use Drain Cleaner?

You may be tempted to treat a clogged drain with store-bought drain cleaner in Bearden, TN. However, you should be careful about when and how you apply this potent chemical liquid. There are certain situations in which drain cleaner should never be used, in order to prevent more damage from occurring.

Plastic Pipes

The chemicals in drain cleaner react together to transfer electrons to and from organic substances, causing them to break down. This process also produces heat- that's how they force their way down further into the pipe. These two factors mean that they can warp and eat through piping made of pliable materials, like plastic. The three types of cleaners you should stay away from if you do have plastic pipes are:

  • Sulfiric or muriatic acid cleaners
  • Lye or caustic potash cleaners
  • Bleach, peroxide or nitrate cleaners

Total Blockage

Often, drain cleaners won't be able to clear a clogged drain if there is a solid mass of hair, oil and debris completely blocking the flow of air and liquid. So, if they are used in these situations, the cleaner ends up sitting there above the block. Given enough time, the strong chemicals can deal out some real damage to your pipes, even if they aren't plastic or old.

Old Pipes

Old pipes will have a lot of the same problems as plastic pipes, because they are brittle and delicate. If you discover that your pipes are old or rusting, you are probably better off replacing your plumbing rather than going through sewage cleaning. New pipes are the best way to ensure that one doesn't burst and you have water damage remediation to deal with instead of a blockage.
Most people don't even know there are other options for dealing with a clogged drain. Instead of chemical cleaner, you can try  or biological options, like a drain snake. Ask your local hardware store for more guidance.