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Water Damage Tips

3/2/2020 (Permalink)

Water Damage caused from washer leaking in Knoxville Water Damage in Knoxville

When dealing with an incidence of water damage or flooding in your home, the last thing you need to be doing is spending hours researching every detail of the water mitigation and restoration process. Highlighted below are a few essential tips to remember before beginning any water damage restoration project.

  1. Time is of the Essence: Once water damage has occurred, you have 24 – 48 hours to address the water damage before mold and mildew begin to grow. This mold may pose a health risk to your family, as well as cause an unnecessary additional headache for you during what is already stressful time.
  2. Safety First: Before you begin any remediation, ensure that you are not endangering yourself or others. Consider if it is safe to be in the house before starting to conduct any restoration activities yourself.
  3. Document Damage: Be sure to take plenty of photos of the affected area(s) before beginning any water damage remediation. Catalog lost items, along with their value, for your insurance company.
  4. Remove Affected Materials: This includes the disposal of floor coverings; carpet, cushion, pad, felt and sheet vinyl, laminate, or tile flooring materials. Remove wet items and clear the floor to mitigate damages.
  5. Call in the Experts: Call SERVPRO of West Knoxville at 865-690-9658 for live help 24/7 from one of our supervisors. When you make a call, day or night, you talk to an experienced professional that can help you in understanding the water damage cleanup process. We’re here to help make the best of a stressful situation!

How to get rid of Mold

2/12/2020 (Permalink)

Mold damage in Knoxville Home due to water damage. Mold Damage Knoxville

Have you ever heard anyone exclaim, "I love mold!" and then proudly give you a tour of their home, pointing out the spots where the beloved mold exists? No. No, you have not. That's because no one likes mold, and people sure as heck don't want it in their home!

But it happens. Mold is everywhere! Literally. And there's just one element that helps mold manifest itself into those ugly black spores that most people are familiar with. That one thing—is moisture.  

One solution to thwarting a potential mold problem is ventilation. Here are some suggestions on where to ventilate and how to do it properly.

Steps To Take:

Investigate

Now dehumidifiers can help control the moisture, but eliminating any water leaks or standing water throughout the house is a must. It's a good idea to inspect your home to see if you've had any recent water damage that would lead to producing mold. (For what to look for regarding possible water damage in your home, read  here.) 

Control Moisture

Controlling the moisture in your home is a good start because, as we know, moisture = mold. However, proper ventilation will help keep your home, and those areas are known to love moisture, such as your bathroom and attic, dry.

Where To Ventilate:

1. Bathrooms

Speaking of your bathroom, being that most are typically small and enclosed, the moisture from hot showers and baths (especially if you keep the door closed) can be a breeding ground for mold. This is one room where fans and vents should be a given. Luckily they're easy to install too. Just make sure that the vent, if it goes through the attic, that it doesn't stop there—it continues through the roof. Otherwise, you're just guiding the air to another enclosed area.

2. Attic

The attic is another spot where you will need ventilation, or you could end up with mold throughout your insulation, wood, and duct space. Some tips for attic ventilation are:

  1. Make sure your ductwork is sealed to prevent blowing warm moist air into the attic.
  2. Seal off where your recessed lights are or purchase sealed recessed cans.
  3. If portions of your insulation have eroded down, don't pile more on top of it, remove it and place new insulation in its place.
  4. Instead of a turbine or fan venting system, perhaps go with a soffit and ridge system. Soffits allow air intake at the lowest point of the roof, where a ridge vent is a ventilation strip placed along the ridgeline of the roof and allows heat to escape up and out of the attic. Plus, there are no moving parts with a soffit and ridge ventilation system.

3. Kitchen

Similar to the bathrooms, kitchens also need ventilation systems, and they need to go up and out of the home, rather than into the attic or the walls. You also want to make sure you choose the best hood for your stove. Whether you have a standard or high-performance stove, or if your oven contains a grill, the shade best suited for your furnace will vary.

4. Basement

Due to the difficulty of keeping air moving and proper ventilation in basements, they are a common area for mold growth. An unvented basement will produce condensation, forming puddles, which in turn will become a breeding ground for mold. To combat this issue, concentrate on maintaining the moisture levels in your basement by using a dehumidifier.

Educate

On top of all the tips above, make sure you educate yourself about your area's climate and how it responds to moisture. And remember, mold and mold prevention is not one-size-fits-all; sometimes, moisture problems require more complex solutions, and sources of moisture may be hidden. 

If you discover you have mold in your home, for goodness sake, DON'T let it go untreated. Also, be sure to call the professionals to remediate your home correctly. If you believe you have a mold problem, call a company that is licensed and trained in mold remediation, such as SERVPRO of West Knoxville

When fire, flood, or storm damage occurs to your Knoxville residential or commercial property, contact SERVPRO of West Knoxville—a restoration company you can trust to get the job done professionally and efficiently, to your expectations, satisfaction guaranteed.

Prepare Your Business

2/12/2020 (Permalink)

Knoxville business has fire damage Knoxville Fire Damage

8 Steps to Prepare My Business for a Disaster

Roughly 40% of businesses impacted by a disaster won’t survive because they didn’t have a recovery plan in place. The stunning wave of problems that arise in the aftermath of an accident can derail the unprepared. Please don’t get caught off guard when it comes to being well prepared for disaster. Although nobody likes to think about it, disaster can strike—from the devastating aftermath of a destructive tornado to the inconvenience of a burst pipe or hot water heater, and disaster can come.

At SERVPRO of West Knoxville, we know that you want to be a successful business owner. In order to do that, you need to minimize the risk of downtime that a disaster can cause. The problem is that without a plan disaster could have a detrimental effect on your organization. That’s a stressful position to be in, and it’s avoidable with some forethought and planning.

Don’t get caught off guard. Get disaster plan steps in place before disaster strikes.

1. Take an objective look at your overall risk

Look internally and externally at your risk.

  • Common risks—Power outage, human error, and failed technology can all present disasters that put your business at risk.
  • Weather-related risks—Storms, tornadoes, and floods are all a possibility when you live in Knoxville—and businesses need to be prepared.
  • Fire—The risk of fire should be planned for no matter your location in the U.S. The devastating effects of smoke damage alone can hit a business hard.

2. Evaluate your business’s most critical daily operations

Make a note of all vital aspects.

  • Payroll, billing, and service fulfillment constitute critical functions.
  • Determine a process for restoring them in case of disaster.
  • What equipment and materials are vital to your daily operations?

3. Decide where you can relocate if the need arises

“Plan B” needs to be in place.

  • To continue your primary business operations, where can you locate that if your building suffers a disaster?
  • Make a note of your alternate location such as your home, another branch, or a nearby business vendor, and decide on a plan for recovery.

4. Stay current on backing up your data

Avoid devastating loss of data.

  • A daily backup is a good idea to keep your information safe.
  • Keep your data offsite, so it remains secure if your business experiences disaster.
  • Test your data retrieval capabilities to verify your backup system is working.
  • Plan how you would replace vital technology such as computers and printers if they were destroyed.

5. Talk with your vendors

It’s always better to make a disaster plan and not need it than it is to need a plan and not have one.

  • Talk through what you would do to continue receiving the materials your business needs after a disaster.
  • Develop a relationship with additional vendors in case it is necessary.

6. Store emergency food and water in case of disaster

Get practical things in order.

  • It’s wise to keep nonperishable food and bottled water on hand in case of an emergency.
  • In addition to food and water, gather the following and have them located in an emergency kit in case of disaster: flashlights, batteries, a radio, cash, passwords, other vital documents, and a first aid kit.

7. Admonish your employees to have a disaster plan in place

Ask employees to prepare an emergency plan for themselves and their loved ones.

  • Your greatest asset is your employees. When planning for disasters, if you get everything in place for your building, but not your employees, there’s trouble ahead.
  • Please work with your employees on their disaster plans so their recovery time from disaster will be minimized.
  • Implement a plan for communicating with your employees if disaster strikes.

8. Develop a communication plan in case of disaster

Be sure to deliver the program in advance so everyone is aware of it.

  • You, your staff, and your vendors should implement a plan for communication in case a disaster causes your phones to stop working.
  • Make a hard copy of email addresses, phone numbers, and, if necessary, physical addresses of your staff and vendors. Store it away from your building in case disaster strikes.

At SERVPRO of West Knoxville, we’ve seen how a disaster can bring significant downtime. We’ve also worked with hundreds of business owners and property managers to ensure they are prepared and covered in case of an emergency.

Commercial Emergency Restoration Management Plan

We believe that businesses should be able to recover quickly and effectively in the case of disaster. Here’s how simple it is to implement our services ahead of time, so you’re ready if disaster strikes:

  1. Call and talk with our team.
  2. Get a complete assessment and recommendation.
  3. Be covered in case of disaster.

Restore your commercial property and recover your business

SERVPRO of West Knoxville is prepared to address your commercial property’s emergency restoration needs promptly, and our team draws from over 50 years of experience. We provide a variety of commercial property restoration services, including:

  • Storm damage restoration—We remove fallen trees for your safety. We provide quick, temporary, safe roof repairs, and offer a temporary power supply when needed.
  • Cleaning and contents management—We preserve relevant paperwork, clean fabric, and protect fragile items in the aftermath of the disaster.
  • Water damage restoration—We restore your business after water damage, including water extraction, drying, and dehumidifying.
  • Fire and smoke restoration—Our team eliminates smoke residue and deodorizes commercial buildings.
  • Mold remediation—We eliminate mold and prevent any future mold growth.

WEATHER WARNINGS ON THE GO

1/2/2020 (Permalink)

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government-alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. There is no sign-up required. Alerts are sent automatically to WEA-capable phones during a threatening weather emergency.
When you receive a WEA, follow any action advised by the emergency message, especially if it involves an immediate evacuation. Seek more details from your preferred television or radio station, NOAA Weather Radio, or another trusted source of information.

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.