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What To Do First If Your Basement Floods

10/17/2019 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement with line marking maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Basement flooded in Cherokee, NC

Too many homeowners have gone to the basement, only to find water has somehow infiltrated and caused a flood. A basement flood in your Cherokee, NC, home can be stressful for you and your family, and you may not intuitively know what to do first. This discussion of the early stages of flood intervention may help you begin tackling the situation.

Prioritizing Safety

A home flood presents unique challenges, such as how to stop the water source and address safety at the same time. Before you step into any pooled water, you may want to consider these important precautions.

Keeping children and pets away from the flooded area
Avoiding contact with electrical wires or fixtures
Disconnecting your electricity
Wearing waterproof boots and gloves
Opening windows and using fans to begin drying and ventilating

Once you have addressed safety, you can focus on stopping whatever caused your basement flood. If you were unable to disconnect your electricity, it’s recommended you call a professional remediation service before moving forward.

Stopping the Source

Whether a broken pipe, an extreme weather event or something else caused your flood, it’s important to identify and stop the source as soon as possible. You may need to locate and turn off your water main if the source is a broken pipe, or check your house perimeter for pooled water and clear any drainage problems. Once the situation is stable, you can begin thinking about cleaning up.

Determining Your Strategy

Once flooding has stopped, you can assess the best cleanup strategy and contact the necessary professionals. If you have an inch or less of water, you can remove the water with a wet vacuum. If the water is deeper, it may be necessary to solicit professional assistance. This is also a good time to inform your insurance agent and discuss any applicable insurance coverage.

A basement flood presents complex challenges, and you may not automatically know what to do first. Focusing on safety and preventing further damage are your first concerns. Once the situation is stable, you can formulate your cleanup plan and start the road back to normalcy.

3 Fire-Prevention Items Every Home Needs

10/10/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke detector Some smoke alarms have 10 year batteries

Have You Ever Used a Fire Extinguisher?

Most people haven’t. A fire can cause devastation to both structures and personal property. No one thinks a fire will happen to them, yet US fire services respond to over 300 thousand home fires each year. Fire preparedness is often the best defense against serious fire damage. This discussion of essential home fire-safety equipment may help you make the best choices for your unique situation.

Smoke Alarms

A working smoke alarm will loudly notify you of smoke or excess heat. If your alarms are malfunctioning, you may never get the warning. It’s important to maintain your smoke alarms so that they will behave as designed if you need them. Consider the following practices:

  • Testing your alarms monthly to confirm proper operation
  • Replacing batteries every six months or
  • obtaining a unit with a built-in 10-year battery
  • Vacuuming the dust and cobwebs off of the alarm openings

If you stay current with inspection and maintenance, smoke alarms can be your first line of defense in case of a home fire.

Fire Extinguishers If you do have a fire, you will undoubtedly be grateful if you prepared several well-placed extinguishers in your home. It is prudent to place a fire extinguisher near potential fire sources, such as kitchens and gas lines, without locating them directly at the source. There is no time to read instructions in an emergency, so it helps to pre-read directions to familiarize yourself with the operation.

Fire Sprinklers

While not required in homes, sprinklers can help control a fire while first responders are on their way. They also have the advantage of activating whether you are home or not. Sprinklers can mean the difference between total structure devastation and a little soot and water damage.

Fire preparedness can save your Maggie Valley,NC, home and property in the unfortunate event of a fire. Working smoke alarms, fire sprinklers and a nearby fire extinguisher are all important elements of a proactive plan to minimize property damage from a home fire.

What Is Category 3 Water Damage?

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

Someone extracting water from the floor with a vacuum Commercial water extraction in a Bryson City, NC building

Cleanup Procedures for Dirty Water

Category 3 water damage is the worst kind of water damage to have because it is considered to be caused by contaminated water. Two common sources of category 3 water are flood water and dirty toilet water. Unless the affected area is very small, clean up requires the help of a professional restoration company. They have the proper skills, equipment and protective gear to get your property back to normal as quickly as possible. There are a number of professional cleanup procedures for dirty water.

1. Initial Assessment

When the restoration company first gets onsite, they will assess where the water is coming from and stop any further damage from occurring. They will move or protect any items from further damage. In a toilet overflow situation, the source of the leak will be stopped, and you may need to have a new toilet installed when cleanup efforts are over.

2. Water Extraction

They will begin the cleanup effort by performing water extraction using special equipment that speeds up the process.

3. Disinfection

Flood water picks up everything along its path including germs, viruses and bacteria. Since the water is considered to harbor bacteria and other organisms, a biocide or disinfectant will be applied to any surface the dirty water may have come in contact with. Disinfection may occur throughout the process.

4. Removal of Items

Any items that have sustained damage may be removed and disposed of. This could include furniture, drywall or other building materials.

5. Dry the Area

Special drying equipment will be brought onsite used to increase the airflow to thoroughly dry the area.

6. Return to Normal

Once the location has been cleaned and dried, the company will replace any building materials that were taken out. After this, it should appear as if nothing ever happened.
If you have experienced category 3 water damage in Bryson City, NC, you can get back to normal with the help of a professional restoration company that specializes in flood water cleanup.

Mold Damage Emergency Tips

9/22/2019 (Permalink)

ceiling fan hanging from wood slat ceiling Since mold spores can travel through the air, it is important to stop the spread as quickly as possible. Turn off your fan.

When moisture invades your residence, you run the risk of having mold grow and spread around your home in as little as 24-48 hours. Black mold is one of the many types of this fungus that can grow on damp surfaces. If you suspect you have mold damage in Brevard, NC, there are a few emergency measures you can take to begin the mold remediation process.

Immediate Actions

Since mold spores can travel through the air, it is important to stop the spread as quickly as possible. You can reduce the chance of the spores spreading to other areas by taking a few preventative measures before beginning mold cleanup:

  • Turn off HVAC system
  • Turn off water
  • Turn off fans
  • Avoid cross-contamination

Check High-Risk Areas First

Mold is likely to grow when spores land on moist, fibrous material. Examples of this type of material include wood, fabric, carpet, and drywall. You can easily inspect the surface of these areas for black mold by looking for clusters of black specks that were not there before. Other types of mold range in color from yellow to pink.

Check Unseen Areas

Mold can grow anywhere there is a moisture problem. After checking obvious areas, look closer at materials that have sustained water damage. Even if you cannot see mold, it may be lurking nearby. For example, if your carpet looks fine on the outside but feels damp under your feet, it could have mold growing in the pad. If you smell a musky odor but cannot find the source, you likely have mold lurking in your home and need the help of a professional.

If you suspect mold in Brevard, NC, you can take immediate steps to reduce the likelihood of mold spores traveling around your house. If you find black mold or suspect unseen mold, you need to hire a mold remediation expert to return your home to its pre-mold condition.

Flood-Damaged Homes Require Complete Decontamination

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

Someone wearing a white protective gear with google, helmet and gloves Someone using protective gear

Flood-Damaged Homes Require Complete Decontamination

Your home can experience different types of floods. Those from a broken water main or plumbing failure are the least toxic. Sewer backups, swarming with bacteria, are a more severe problem. Worst of all are the floods that enter through the front door. They are the most toxic and have extensive cleaning requirements. Expect this type to flood your home with:

  • Sewage
  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides
  • Industrial Chemicals
  • Petroleum products
  • Contaminated mud

Floods Are Serious Health Hazards

One of the most critical cleaning requirements involves personal safety. Each worker should have a toolkit that includes protective gear. They should never come in direct contact with contaminated material or surfaces. At a minimum, these toolkits should include:

  • Work boots
  • Waterproof work gloves
  • Hardhat
  • Mask

It might also be a good idea to make sure that the workers’ vaccinations are current. Tetanus is one common vaccination that may need updating. Protection from typhoid fever and other flood-borne diseases could also be important.

Flood Clean Up Happens in Stages

Early-stage cleaning after a flood closely resembles demolition. It involves emptying the basement, removing debris and shoveling mud out of the home. Put drying equipment in place at this time.
The next stage involves dealing with the contents. Move Items unaffected by the flood to a safe, dry location away from the home. Send Items that require restoration out to the service providers. Dispose of carpets, fabrics and other expendable items.
Finally, clean and disinfect all exposed surfaces. A commercial flood disinfectant will kill the bacteria. A solution of chlorine bleach will clean, kill bacteria and destroy mold spores. Unfortunately, the chlorine solution leaves an unpleasant odor behind. If you decide to do both, do them as separate steps. Mixing the two chemicals could release dangerous toxic gas.

Flood Clean Up Is a Big Job

The cleaning requirements of a flood-ravaged home can be overwhelming. There are flood damage restoration specialists just a phone call away in the Waynesville, NC, area. Their training, experience and special equipment make them an excellent choice for the job. They are Here to Help.

Replacing a Leaking Toilet

8/26/2019 (Permalink)

Leaking toilet in a Dunns Rock, NC

A leaking toilet is a problem that most homeowners will encounter at some point. Many common toilet repair techniques can be completed by the homeowner, although further complications may require the help of a professional. Understanding the cause of the leak, and the steps needed to mitigate the problem, are vital to limiting water damage in the home.

Leak Causes

When a toilet leaks, water often appears at its base. When this occurs, it is vital to quickly diagnose the source of the issue. The most common reason for a leaking toilet is damage to the wax seal. Over time, this area wears away and begins to allow water to seep through at the base of the toilet. Other common causes include the following:

  • Loose supply tube: This is the tube that connects the toilet tank to the home’s water supply.
  • Faulty shutoff valve: The valve is connected to the supply tube and controls the flow of water into the toilet.
  • Cracked tank: The tank holds the toilet’s reserve of water.

Replacing a Toilet

When it becomes clear that the toilet needs to be replaced, you must begin by shutting off the water supply and draining the tank and bowl. Remove the supply tube and the bolts holding the old toilet to the floor. Then gently rock the toilet until the wax seal is broken. Once the toilet is removed, ensure the flange and its parts are free of cracks, and be sure to scrape away the old wax. Add the new wax seal, connect the supply tube, and bolt the toilet over the seal.

When to Contact a Professional

Those who are uncomfortable with home repairs, lack the strength to maneuver the toilet, or have multiple complications from their leaking toilet should consider contacting a professional for help. Likewise, your bathroom may have experienced water damage, which can lead to harmful mold growth. Consider contacting a water damage remediation specialist in Dunns Rock, NC, to assess the situation. Working quickly to identify the cause and working to fix the leak will minimize further damage in your home.

3 Thunderstorm Safety Tips Business Owners Should Know

8/19/2019 (Permalink)

Consider installing a lightning rod

Safety Tips That Can Help Business Owners Prepare For Storms

Though many business owners in Clyde, NC, prepare for various types of disasters, many forget to prepare for a rain storm. However, storms can cause major damage to businesses in a short period of time. There are several safety tips that can help business owners prepare for storms in their area.

1. Consider Installing a Lightning Rod

Lightning strikes are common causes of storm damage, and installing a lightning rod can be beneficial. Though many people believe a lightning rod attracts lightning, this isn't the case. In reality, a lightning rod deflects the strike, and the electricity will pass through the rod and go into the ground rather than striking your building and causing a fire. If you already have a lightning rod installed on your property, then it can be wise to make sure the rod is well-maintained and properly secured to your building.

2. Maintain Your Business's Landscape

Maintaining your business's landscape can be especially important before a rain storm. Before a storm, removing debris from your landscape can lessen the risk of your property sustaining damage. Additionally, cleaning your property's gutters and positioning the gutters away from your building can help to prevent flooding. However, your building is affected by a storm, it may be useful to contact storm mitigation and restoration experts.

3. Prepare Your Employees

Before a storm, it can be helpful to prepare your employees to make certain everyone remains safe during a storm. When a storm occurs, it's often best to avoid going outside. In order to keep everyone safe if a window shatters during a storm, it's wise to make sure employees and visitors stay away from windows, especially if high winds accompany a thunderstorm. It can also be helpful to go over storm safety routinely in order to make sure your staff knows the proper protocol to follow before, during and after a storm.

Although a rain storm has the potential to cause destruction to your property, there are steps you can take to prepare. Installing a lightning rod, maintaining your property's landscape and preparing your employees for a storm can help to minimize the risk of damage to your business.

The Cleanup Process Following a Commercial Fire

8/12/2019 (Permalink)

Roof tarp service in Retreat, NC

If you've experienced a fire at your commercial building in Retreat, NC, you may be wondering what the next steps are. The proper fire restoration steps, including smoke damage, need to be taken in order to ensure that your business is up and running as quickly as possible. Here is what you can expect in the upcoming weeks.

Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service

You should never enter the building before it has been checked and cleared as there could be structure damage. A professional fire restoration company will come assess the situation and create a plan of action. They will go ahead and secure the building so that further issues do not arise. Extreme heat often causes windows to break, so they will likely need to board up those up and put tarps over the parts of the roof that are missing or damaged from the flames.

Smoke and Soot Cleaning

Smoke damage extends beyond just the items that were affected directly by the fire; it often seeps into materials that were never even burned. Smoke cleaning involves using special equipment to remove soot damage and odor from all surfaces, such as the carpet, walls and even your personal items.


This is the part where the professionals work to get your building looking the way it did before the damage occurred. Depending on the size of the fire, this may mean just a few minor repairs, or it may require quite a bit of reconstruction. Your business may need to relocate during this time so that the construction does not interfere with every day tasks that you and your employees are trying to complete.
It is important to begin cleaning up right away so that you can be back in business as soon as possible. Hiring a professional fire restoration company in Retreat, NC, that is able to handle everything from smoke damage to water removal can make the process go much faster and smoother.

What Is Mold?

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

Mold can grow in basements

What is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungi that can be found just about everywhere. There are good types of mold, such as those used to cure or ripen cheese, as well as bad types, like the toxic black mold most people are familiar with. Mold can grow both outside and inside buildings of all sizes. It grows best in damp, dark areas but can survive for some time in a dry environment. There are many places for mold to grow in buildings:

  • Bathrooms
  • Crawl spaces
  • Basements
  • Anywhere there is constant moisture or leaks

Moisture Problem

If you have discovered a moisture problem in a large commercial building in Hazelwood, NC, there is a good chance mold is present, especially if it’s an old problem or in an area that is constantly warm and humid, or leaking. Even if you can’t see mold, you can probably tell something is off by the way the area smells.

Mold Cleanup

Completely removing mold from a building can be a challenge, especially if it’s a problem that has gone unnoticed. Black mold spores can spread easily and become airborne when even just slightly disturbed. If you attempt to take care of the problem, and just a small amount is left behind, it will continue to multiply until you have another full-on infestation.
The EPA provides a detailed guide describing strategies for identifying causes of indoor air quality problems and gives some mitigation strategies for less severe issues. This can help you decide whether the problem can be solved, or if you will need additional help from a specialist.

Mold remediation professionals and the EPA can teach you more about mold and indoor air quality in commercial buildings. Black mold problems only become worse with time, so to maintain the structural integrity and air quality of the building, it’s important to consult with the professionals to get an assessment of the situation and determine the safest and quickest route for remediation.

Renters Insurance and Fire Damage

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

A renters insurance policy can help you recover quickly from fire damage to your home

A fire in your Hazelwood, NC, home can be a stressful event, particularly if you are a renter. Having a good renters insurance policy can put your mind at ease.

Types of Coverage Available

A typical policy may include coverage for any or all of the following:

Liability covers payments made to a third party for any damages or injuries sustained during a fire that are deemed to be the fault of the renter.
Medical payments coverage makes payments to third parties who were injured during the fire (even if the renter is not at fault for the fire).
Loss of use coverage aids the renter in paying for other accommodations while the home is being repaired by fire restoration experts.
Contents coverage pays for the damage done to the renter’s personal belongings during the fire. It is important to have “replacement value” coverage rather than “actual cash value” coverage on your renters insurance policy. This means that the insurance company will pay out enough for you to replace the items rather than only paying out what those belongings were worth at the time of the fire.

Importance of the Home Inventory

The specific process for filing a claim varies depending on the insurance company, but generally documentation of the fire damage is required. Ideally, you should do much of this documentation before you are the victim of a fire.
It is important to keep an inventory of your belongings, basically a list of everything you own and how much it is worth. It is a good idea to save receipts, especially for expensive things like furniture and electronics. You may also want to keep appraisal records for antiques and collectibles. Photos or video of your belongings should also be included in the inventory so they can be compared to the photos or video you take after the fire.
A fire in your home can be a major disaster. Fortunately, there are several types of renters insurance policies that can help you and your family recover more quickly.