Tree Pruning Can Prevent Property Damage
Heavy rain mixed with high winds can wreak havoc on weak and stressed trees, causing branches to snap or trees to uproot. Take a stroll around the outside of your home. Are your trees ready for the next storm season?
Hurricane season seems to be approaching faster each year — and with those hurricanes sometimes can come property damage. While high winds can be scary and dangerous, they are not the only culprit to damage to your home. Property damage can also be a result of falling trees and flying landscape debris. The key to minimizing your risk against property damage is storm preparedness.
Unfortunately hurricane-resistant landscape isn't a real thing but with proper care and timely maintenance overseen by a certified and licensed arborist, your trees can survive the storm!
Pruning is a Vital Component to Hurricane Damage Prevention
You may not have to worry about a strong and rooted tree falling over, but weak limbs buried around the canopy may cause problems. Broken, dead and damaged limbs can be torn from trees during a storm and turned into dangerous projectiles.
Regular pruning done by an arborist over the course of the tree’s life can create a sturdy, well-spaced framework of healthy branches with an open canopy that allows wind to flow freely through.
Trees to Watch Out For
Trees with dense canopies, dead or dying trees, trees with codominant trunks, new plantings and young trees
Consult a certified arborist to see if these, or any other tree hazards, exist around your home.
Tips to Prevent Laundry Room Fires
This Bay Area home suffered extensive damage from a fire that started in the laundry room.
While cooking remains the leading cause of house fires, laundry room fires account for an average of 15,000 fires each year in the United States according to the National Fire Protection Association. That’s exactly how this local Tampa Bay Area fire began. With it being our largest residential fire to date, our team have used all of our tools and resources to get these clients home back to them and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Between structural damage for this 5,000 square foot home the affected contents inside during the fire, we have been busy! Calling in engineers, electricians, plumbers, and even moving companies to help!
If you’re interested in helping prevent a laundry room fire from happening in your home, we’ve listed a few tips to help below!
- Clean the lint filter after every use. Lint is highly flammable, so allowing it to build up in your dryer’s filter is dangerous. Before you start a load of laundry, always make it a habit to pull out the lint filter and clean it. You also need to check around the vent pipes and ducts to make sure that they stay clear of lint.
- Replace your foil accordion vent pipe with a rigid metal pipe.Many dryers have a foil vent pipe that can collect lint that easily gets stuck in the folds of the vent, becoming a fire hazard. You can prevent lint build-up by replacing the vent pipe with a sturdy metal vent, which will reduce the amount of lint being left behind.
- Clean inside, underneath, and behind the dryer.Lint and other debris can build up in the spaces surrounding your dryer. Heat or a spark from the dryer can ignite the flammable materials, causing a fire. You can reduce the risk of fire by dusting and sweeping around your dryer once a week to keep it lint free.
- Avoid drying items that have been exposed to combustible materials.If you have items soiled with oil, grease, or gasoline, don’t put it in the dryer because the heat could cause the item to catch on fire. Instead, hang those items up to dry!
- Check to make sure that there is space between the dryer and the wall.Your dryer needs clearance from the wall so that air can circulate around it to cool it down. If the back of the dryer is blocked, it can easily overheat. Additionally, your vent pipe needs space so that it doesn’t get bent or compressed to prevent lint build up!
MVP for January 2020
The team at SERVPRO of Hernando County is bar none. For years, we’ve honored one team member each month, presenting them with a small token of appreciation and a large amount of gushing and gratitude. Until now, the executive team selected the Employee of the Month; but we’re turning it back on the team now and looking to colleagues to nominate each other for a specific action that demonstrates our company’s Mission, Vision, and Purpose.
For our inaugural MVP award, we received dozens of inspiring notes about the great work of our team, but there was one that stood out. While driving home after an exhausting day in the office, Shanna R., our Project Coordinator for our West Pasco division, saw one of our technicians on the side of the road in distress. He had just gotten into a car accident and was waiting for police to arrive. Being that he is only 19 and his family is states away, Shanna went out of her way to sit with him and help him through the process for over two hours, not arriving home to her own family until late that night. This completely selfless and caring act is exactly what we look for in an MVP. We’re more than just a team at SERVPRO of Hernando; we’re a family and Shanna’s act was a prime example!
Offseason: Ready for Whatever Happens
Here in Florida, especially on the Gulf Coast, storm season is something we take very seriously. But at SERVPRO of Hernando County, we are even thinking about hurricanes and tornadoes in the off season.
Officially, hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin - which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and our backyard, the Gulf of Mexico - begins June 1 and goes through November 30 each year. The season peaks in mid-August through late October, and those dates coincide with our operation’s busiest time of year. In fact, our company handbook outlines hurricane season and encourages the team not to plan non-refundable vacations, weddings or the births of children during that time frame. (Just kidding!)
During the off season, our team balances the daily workload of emergency services response along with preparation for storm response. We focus on training and maintaining industry certifications throughout the spring, allowing the team to ready themselves for the months ahead, and also take time to step back and reflect on how we can improve our preparedness for the next time. Over the years, we’ve added to our standard operating plan a fully-stocked consumables and equipment trailer, locked and ready to be hooked up to a truck and heading out to help at any time. This tactic has allowed us to increase response time dramatically, eliminating any downtime almost completely and making the mobilization as fast as possible and helping clients minimize secondary damage. Warehouse Manager Doug reliably monitors and restocks the inventory as needed so the trailer is always ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Every year in early June, we take a moment as a company to gather with our families for a day of fun. This gives a chance for the company leaders to thank our families for their sacrifices throughout the year, and in advance for bearing through our busy season. Often our crew can be gone for days and even weeks on end, whether they are responding out of town to a storm event or working long hours locally when our own local neighborhoods are facing weather damage.
We want our clients and community to know that we are ready for whatever happens, year round. And we won’t be on vacation when a storm threatens Spring Hill!
Employee of the Month for December 2019
Our hearts are full as we honor our employee of the month for December 2019. As the year came to a close and we looked back on 2019’s highs and lows, this decision was easy. Time and time again, facing personal challenges many can only imagine, this person showed courage, strength and resolve, and a caliber of integrity that inspired the whole team. April P. has been with the company for the last two years as the Project Coordinator for Hernando County, and in that time she has become an important part of the SERVPRO family.
In August 2019, April was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she received the diagnosis, she was determined to make a full recovery will maintaining her full-time work schedule. She was a warrior throughout four chemotherapy sessions, leaning on colleagues and friends for support and keeping a positive attitude throughout it all. Although her journey is not complete, she continues to push forward, maintaining her regular schedule and being a resource to the SERVPRO team and client, and she plans to continue this as she begins additional treatments in the coming months. Just as April has supported our team, we are proud to continue to support her. Thank you, April, for your courage and dedication and for being an example to us all.
Toilet Leak? Top Source #2
This water loss was caused by the supply line malfunctioning. This led to the whole house being effected.
Toilets can develop leaks both internally and externally. An external leak can cause water damage in your bathroom, not to mention some wet feet! And any type of leak can be a huge inconvenience, especially if they are left unattended. Today we’re going to talk about some of the most common causes of a leaky toilet in Bay Area homes and what you should do when you encounter a toilet leak!
- Condensation on the bowl. Before you assume that your toilet has a leak, you should check whether or not the water you’re noticing is simply condensation. Bathrooms can get very humid, especially during and after a shower. This can cause condensation to drip on your toilet. The amount of water produced by condensation is typically small, and it’s not an issue you need to worry about.
- Crack on the tank or bowl. Toilets are built to last, but cracks do sometimes develop on them over time. Often times this will start as a hairline crack that develops into something more severe.
- Rusted pipes. The pipes that lead to your toilet can begin to rust for any number of reasons over time. This can eventually create a crack in the pipe, which will allow water to leak around your toilet.
- Loose or worn out seal at the base. If water is pooling up around the base of your toilet, there’s a good chance that the leak is caused by loose or worn out parts that bind your toilet to the floor.
- Loose or worn out tank-to-bowl connections. The tank and bowl in two-piece toilets are bound together by a collection of gaskets, nuts and bolts. If any of these parts come loose, a leak can develop at that area in the toilet.
- Worn out flapper. Another common cause of an internal toilet leak is a worn out flapper. The flapper blocks water in the tank from entering the bowl, and if that part is worn out it will cause water to continuously leak into your bowl.
What should you do if you encounter a leak??
Toilet leaks should be taken care of as soon as possible before they waste too much water or damage any parts of your home. If you are uncertain of the cause of the leak, call a local, licensed plumber so that they can come to your house to inspect and fix the problem. Although some homeowners might choose to fix simple problems like a worn out flapper on their own, most of the causes of a leaky toilet are best left in the hands of a professional plumber.
Top Water Damage Source #1
1/13 – Top Sources: Hot Water Heater
In a previous blog we discussed the top three reasons our clients experienced water damages in 2019. The number-one source of water damages was a leaking or malfunctioning hot water heater, a trend our colleagues across the country also report. With this knowledge, and a few useful tips, you can take steps to prevent the possibility in your own home. Here, we will describe a few reasons why water heaters may leak, and what you can do if it happens in your home or business.
For homeowners with tank water heaters, the most common mechanism for heating water, knowing and paying attention to these common issues can help prevent a disaster:
One of the most common reasons for a water heater to leak is a loose drain valve. The drain valve will slowly leak water if it becomes loose. Good news - this is an easy fix. All you need to do is a grab a wrench and tighten the valve. It is extremely important that you do not over tighten it; just turn it enough without forcing it.
When the tank begins to build up too much pressure it can also cause a leak to form. When this happens, the excess pressure will force the water to leak out of the tank to reduce the pressure. Typically this occurs if the temperature on your water heater is set too high.
Another thing that can lead to excess water pressure is if the exterior water supply to a house comes in at too high a pressure. A defective temperature pressure relief valve can also lead to an excess buildup of pressure in a hot water heater.
These are all simple fixes but may require a licensed plumber to ensure it is done properly.
Although hot water heaters are designed to last for a long time, as they approach the end of their life cycles, rusting and corrosion start to cause an issue. When the corrosion gets bad enough, it can start to allow the water from the tank to leak out. When this happens, it is a definite sign that the hot water heater needs to be replaced. If you do not replace it, it can cause complete failure of the tank which in turn could flood your home.
Sometimes the hot water heater will trick homeowners into thinking there is a leak when there is in fact nothing wrong. It is normal and natural for condensation to show on the outside of the tank. When cold water first enters the inside of the tank, it can lead to condensation when the outside air is hot. This is not an issue to be concerned with.
Regular maintenance and awareness can help mitigate the possibility of a hot water heater leak and a house flood. If you experience a flood in your home, be sure to call SERVPRO of Hernando County and we will make it “Like it never even happened.”
You've Found Mold...
Mold was found during a water mitigation behind the vanity
Oh No! You wake up, walk into your bathroom and find a pool of water on the floor. Immediately you contact SERVPRO of Hernando County to come out to your home to start the process of drying it out. While inspecting the area they notice some microbial growth behind the vanity. NOW WHAT?
This unfortunate scenario was faced by one of our clients in her beautiful waterfront condo in Dunedin, Florida. Luckily SERVPRO of Hernando County arrived quickly and – as a firm licensed by the State of Florida as a Mold Remediator – we knew exactly what to do. Microbial growth and the dreaded threat of mold sounds ominous, but with a team of trained professionals behind you, it doesn’t have to be scary. Our technicians and project managers are trained to handle such threats so it's “Like it never even happened.”
Here’s a step-by-step of the process we use when dealing with any kind of microbial growth. Our No. 1 priority is safety. This is not only for our technicians but for our clients' health as well. We protect onsite workers with proper PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) first. The next step is equally as important and that consists of us placing containment to separate the uncontaminated area from our work zone and minimize the opportunities for spores to spread. Next we detached all affected material such as the vanity, bathtub, and even the mirror mounted to the wall. It’s crucial to remove anything that could be affected, and if being saved, we clean and treat it before placing it back. It’s worthy to note that while working with mold in any situation we always have air scrubbers in place and negative pressure to ensure that we don’t contaminate anymore of the space. Drywall was then removed, all studs and framing treated and wiped, and the air scrubber was left overnight to get anything that may have been left behind. The final step in treating this kind of disaster is an independent clearance test, in which an independent environmental hygienist collects air samples to confirm any issues have indeed been remediated. This step provides a confirmation that the property is safe for occupancy and that the procedure was successful.
So while mold might seem like a reason to panic, rest assured when you use a firm like SERVPRO of Hernando County.
Employee of the Month for November 2019
In-House Construction Manager Sheldon Borris
Big thanks to Sheldon Borris, the November Employee of the Month at SERVPRO of Hernando County. With his outgoing personality and Caribbean island attitude, Sheldon is a keystone member of our team with almost three decades of experience in carpentry and construction.
He joined the SERVPRO of Hernando County team three years ago after working for another SERVPRO operation in New Jersey for four years. As manager of the In-House Construction team, Sheldon leads with patience and kindness and a spectacular knack for client service. His example is a critical part of our strong team.
We honor Sheldon for his work in November, but really, his skill and attitude are on display every day. Thank you, Sheldon, for all you bring to the team at SERVPRO of Hernando County
Thank you, Sheldon!
Top 3 Causes of Water Damages
Leaking toilet caused a water damage in this bathroom.
With the end of the year approaching quickly, we are looking back at some of the most frequent sources of water damages we have witnessed in 2019! Water damages occur more frequently than you may think and there are more causes than we can count, but here are the top 3 sources we have ran into in 2019, and prevention tips you can use in 2020.
- Hot water heater
Most people know that when their water heater is leaking, it means trouble. This minor nuisance can turn into a major problem before you realize what’s happening, so it is something that should be handled quickly and professionally.
A small pool of water can be easily cleaned up with minimal damage to your floors if you catch it quick enough. However, this small drip will soon turn into a flood that will cause damage to your sub-floors and even dry-wall if left unattended.
You may be able to establish if the leak is an easy enough repair, or if you will need to replace the entire water heater. Regardless of the verdict, we always suggest contacting a licensed plumber to look at the situation and determine the next course of action needing to be taken.
Most of us have dealt with a toilet leak at some point. It is one of those household issues that cannot be left unattended for a long period of time or it can cause serious damage to your home. Detecting the cause of leak can be somewhat of a challenge because of the number of active, working parts.
Depending on the location of the leak from your toilet, it can also change the type of loss you have from a standard water damage to a sewage loss. This can cause more damage than a standard loss and require a larger, more detailed mitigation. I think we all can agree, sewage throughout our home doesn’t sound very appealing.
- Ice Maker supply line
An occasional wet patch under the fridge could be stray backsplash from the water dispenser or a few dropped ice cubes. We’ve all accidently kicked an ice cube or two under the fridge, but when it happens over and over, you’ve got a problem. Those puddles on the kitchen floor are sure signs that your refrigerator ice maker water line is leaking.
Visions of saturated baseboards and mold behind the walls flash before your eyes, but have no fear, SERVPRO of Hernando County is here.
No matter how, where or why your leak has occurred, we are here to help. SERVPRO of Hernando County is here 24/7 to mitigate any water loss that may be affecting your home. We’re only a phone call away!