Recent Storm Damage Posts
Keeping Your Attic and Crawl Space Healthy
Living in the Pacific Northwest has its share of positives and negatives; beautiful scenery and all major seasons of the year. Unfortunately an excess of rain and clouds is part of our typical weather pattern. The damp weather that we’ve grown accustomed can be difficult to keep molds and fungus at bay, or what we call microbial growth. Attics and crawl spaces are the perfect incubator for these nasty microbes. Short of keeping a webcam in your attic (out of sight, out of mind) here are five recommendations to keeping your attic microbial growth free.
- Water intrusion from a leaking roof is a common cause of microbial growth. Confirm your roof is tight and leak proof by having it inspected by a professional.
- The bathroom ventilation, in some homes, exit by way of the attic and through the roof. Make sure that ductwork is sealed, secure, and continuous. If not, warm moist air will blow directly into your attic and can cause unwanted visitors.
- A well-insulated attic stops moisture from escaping your house and entering your attic. It also helps with your home’s energy costs. Is your attic insulated?
- Air ventilation is essential; it makes for a cooler attic in the Summer but also reduces moisture and heat buildup. Air from outside enters the attic by way of soffit vents (under the eaves) and exits through turtle vents (at top of roof). These should be kept clear.
- Is it mold, or is it dirt? Not everything is mold, and for that matter, the scary and often misconceived “black mold.” Proper testing is the only way to know for sure what kind of growth you’re dealing with. Don’t get too worried, but if you have concerns, call a professional.
Microbial growth causes silent destruction in our attics and crawlspaces: wood rot, ruined drywall, and overall structural deterioration. If you discover an issue and feel there’s more than meets the eye, contact a company with experience such as SERVPRO of Bellevue West. It’s crucial to remove microbial growth adequately but also understand where the problem began in the first place. Count on our team to help you keep your attics and crawlspaces clean and healthy.
Restoring Your Home After A Leak
Your home may flood for a number of reasons caused by natural or man-made disasters, a broken pipe or a heavy rainstorm. If your home has water damage, it’s time for restoration! Most people are stumped by how to handle the cleanup process. They may not know which items to throw out, which items to clean or how to clean them.
1. Which Items To Clean
It’s wise not to try to handle the cleanup on your own. A restoration company such as SERVPRO can assess the damage done to your business. They can tell you which items can be cleaned and which cannot be. The rule of thumb to remember is that nonporous objects can be cleaned, whereas porous materials are more tricky. For instance, carpeting, bedding and soft furniture may be difficult to clean. However, hard and smooth surfaces can be washed.
2. How To Clean Your Contents
Call your insurance company to see what type of cleaning coverage is included in your policy. If there is mold or mildew, an expert can assess how it should be cleaned and with what equipment. When clothing is damaged in a flood, it may be salvageable, the SERVPRO team can help you with cleaning all household items.
3. What Items To Throw Out
Upholstered furniture, bedding and paper products should be the first to be removed after a flood. These are objects that can be difficult if not impossible to clean. Document drying is available and should be done as soon as possible. Consult the professionals at SERVPRO for advice!
The cleanup of your flooded home does not have to be a miserable affair, SERVPRO professionals will walk you through the process- were are always on standby ready to help!
Cold Weather Storm Damage Restoration
Cold weather storm events are very dependent on your region and the type of weather you experience in the winter months. Many people across the United States live in warm climates where cold weather storm damage is unheard of. However, for those who live in climates that experience annual cold weather snaps its important to be prepared or the unexpected.
Blinding snowstorms and freezing temperatures can cause extensive damage to buildings in many ways. Homeowners in areas in which temperatures are prone to fall to zero and beyond should consider possible risks and take necessary measures. Snow and ice accumulation can collapse roofs and cause branches to break falling on structures and vehicles. In weather so cold heating systems can freeze up causing dangerously low temperatures for safe living conditions.
Pipes cracking and freezing because of ice damage is also a common issue. Frozen pipes may also cause water to back up and seep into the house walls and flooring, causing structural damage. The flooding caused by cracked frozen pipes plus ground water might require the services of a home restoration expert such as the professionals at SERVPRO. Melting of snow and ice can also cause flooding. Sump pumps can be used to remedy flood water, just ensure they are working properly before cold weather hits. Experts recommend the use of strong and durable pipes which can withstand frozen pipes pressure. At times, pipes with bigger radius help solve the issue of frozen pipes.
Ice damming can also contribute to the damage of a structure, especially roof damage. An ice dam prevents snow from draining off the roof leak. They are formed when a ridge of ice acts as a barrier on the roof's edge. Signs of an ice dam include damaged walls and leaking ceilings caused by thick snow accumulation. Gutter systems can become damaged and should always be inspected after heavy snow.
If you have experienced damage due to a cold weather storm, or if you want to be prepared for next season call SERVPRO of Bellevue West. We are here to be your resource for all cold- weather emergencies!
Common Types of Storm Damage Restoration
Most people live for decades without ever thinking of storm damage restoration, however its important to have a plan and be aware of what kind of storm damage you could face in your region. Let’s examine different types of storm events:
Wind damage makes up for a lot of devastation both in cost and frequency. Roofs, doors, and windows must be checked for cracks and holes. Care should be taken to avoid cuts from glass shards. Wind damage is easily noticeable sometimes. Winds of 50 mph easily topple power lines and trees. It can be very severe when a tree falls on a roof: For roof repair, licensed roofers may be needed for roof damage if it goes beyond roof leaks.
Hurricanes have some of the most devastating effects on houses. Hurricane damage usually includes flooding, wind damage, and hailstorms. Most homeowners who live in regions where hurricanes are common will have special allowances on their home and business Insurance for coverage from these catastrophic events.
Damage also comes in the form of floods, especially for people who live close to rivers. During river flooding, contact with flood waters should be avoided during storms. With river flooding, the ground water and river flood water may raise several inches above the ground and infiltrate a structure making it uninhabitable.
Hailstorms can take place anywhere and can be either be light and sporadic or devastatingly damaging. Hails the size of golf balls cause considerable roof damage. Insurance is offered to alleviate the burden of hail damage. Small hailstorms can also cause both roof and window damage. Patio furniture, air conditioners, and doors should also be inspected for cracks, dents or breaks. Hail damage might also leave behind standing water that may require professional extraction.
Aftermath of a storm should include thinking about home restoration. Item to be inspected and restored include flooring, cabinets, wall finishes and plumbing and electrical systems. It is important to review your insurance coverage and receive quotes from professionals such as the restoration specialists at SERVPRO. Visit http://www.SERVPRObellevuewest.com for more information on storm damage.
Emergency Supply Checklist
Most storm, fire, and water damage happens unexpectedly and emergencies can catch Bellevue residents unprepared.
It is very smart to have an emergency supply bag or container already stocked with the basics you need should an emergency happen. Our SERVPRO team recommends the following items for personal preparedness;
Emergency survival kit
- Store a kit at home, at work and at each child’s school or daycare facility.
- Dry or canned food and drinking water for each person
- Can opener
- First aid supplies and first aid book
- Copies of important documents such as birth certificates, licenses, and insurance policies
- "Special needs" items for family members such as infant formula, eyeglasses and medications
- A change of clothing
- Sleeping bag or blanket
- Battery powered radio or television
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Waterproof matches
- Toys, books, puzzles, games
- Extra house keys and car keys
- List of contact names and phone numbers
- Food, water and supplies for pets
Additional items you can store at home for emergency use:
- Cooking supplies
- Barbecue, camp stove
- Fuel for cooking, such as charcoal or camp stove fuel
- Plastic knives, forks, spoons
- Paper plates and cups
- Paper towels
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Large plastic trash bags for trash, water protection
- Large trash cans
- Bar soap and liquid detergent
- Toothpaste and toothbrushes
- Feminine and infant supplies
- Toilet paper
- Household bleach with no additives, and eyedropper (for purifying drinking water)
- Newspaper — to wrap garbage and waste
- Sturdy shoes
- Gloves for clearing debris
- Ax, shovel, broom
- Crescent wrench for turning off gas
- Screwdriver, pliers, hammer
- Coil of one-half inch rope
- Plastic tape and sheeting
- Knife or razor blades
- Garden hose for siphoning and fire fighting
In Washington flood recovery, earthquake recovery, and recovery from other natural disasters will be much easier if you’re prepared with emergency survival tools and supplies like these. Call SERVPRO of Bellevue West for more information regarding how you can appropriately prepare for an emergency: 425-454-3900.
Puget Sound Natural Disasters
Do you know the basic earthquake safety measures?
This past year was unfortunately infamous with issues that impacted the world far and wide. Aside from the pandemic we experienced many natural disasters throughout our region, specifically climate fueled wildfires. These trying times sharpen our awareness of our region's natural disasters. One of the best ways to prepare is by making our homes safer, more resilient and structurally sound.
The state of Washington has the second highest risk in the country for large destructive earthquakes due to the North American plate and a network of related fault lines. While an earthquake could happen tomorrow or 200 years from now its important to be prepared for this reality. Here are a few recommendations to consider;
Homes built before 1980 in King County should be inspected by a professional to evaluate if they need a seismic retrofit. This is due to the fact that older homes aren't generally tied to a solid foundation.
Residents can take small proactive steps to increase safety measures such as stockpiling food and water along with a useful preparedness kit.
Ensure you are knowledgeable about your major shut-off locations. In homes with gas connections automatic shut-off valves should be installed. Make sure these locations are well marked and contact SERVPRO of Bellevue West for shut-off tags if needed.
Most important educate yourself about resources available in your community and what to do if a disaster strikes. Knowledge and preparedness are key.
How To Mitigate Water Issues Leading To Microbial
When you find mold or water issues in your home or business it’s to get professionals on the case as soon as possible. You should never try to fight mold or water issues yourself, but you can reduce the size of your problem by taking a few key steps to slow its spread by:
Reducing air flow
Maintaining cool temperatures
How Microbial Growth Spreads:
Microbial growth is a form of fungus, and like other fungi, it is known to grow in warm, wet conditions. Therefore, parts of your home experiencing a moisture problem are more prone to mold invasion than areas that are open and receive plenty of fresh air. Mold can travel through both moisture and airflow, so it’s imperative to reduce the presence of these two in your home to slow down the spread of mold while waiting for expert assistance.
The first thing you’ll need to do is turn off your HVAC system. This can prevent air from moving mold spores to different areas of your home where they might otherwise sprout and cause a much larger issue than you already have. Furthermore, you should attempt to keep your home cool without the use of your HVAC system, as mold tends to grow more quickly in warmer conditions.
Eliminate Excess Water
Turning off your water until the professionals arrive to assess the mold issue is the best possible way to reduce the moisture in your home. This stops running water from moving mold spores to other parts of your home and from directly contaminating the water you regularly use. The pros will let you know when it’s safe to turn the water back on.
Taking these precautionary steps won’t eliminate microbial growth, but it can certainly slow down its spread to make the overall damage more manageable until professionals arrive. Visit http://www.SERVPRObellevuewest.com for more information on mold cleaning and steps to mitigate water from your home or business.
Eliminating Microbial Growth
The unfortunate thing about microbial growth is that once it is present, it can spread like wildfire. Mold spores are tiny and lightweight, and even just a puff of air can send spores from one room to the next. If you have discovered mold in your home, the key to controlling the situation is to act fast. To stop mold in its tracks and prevent further damage, do the following four things:
Turn Off Your HVAC System
Mold spores can travel from room to room via your home’s HVAC system. Once in the HVAC system, there is no telling where the spores may go or what type of damage they will cause. To prevent extensive damage to everything from your possessions to your home’s foundation, turn off your HVAC immediately after discovering the problem.
Don’t let mold fester; keep all rooms well ventilated. Turn on the fans in each room, open the windows if it’s not cold outside and check all of your exhaust systems to make sure that they’re working properly. The key is to get mold out, and not let it fester in still air.
Turn on a Dehumidifier
Black mold needs a humid environment to grow and thrive. Keep your home’s humidity levels in check; ideally, the humidity levels in your home should stay between 30 and 50 percent.
Call in a Mold Remediation Team: SERVPRO of Bellevue West
The best way to effectively stop mold in its tracks is to retain the help of your Bellevue, WA mold remediation team at SERVPRO of Bellevue West. A team that specializes in mold cleanup knows how to kill mold as well as where to look for the source of the problem. Once they identify the source, they can advise you on what steps to take to prevent future infestations.
Microbial Growth is a major pain for homeowners to deal with and can quickly spread given the right conditions. However, by taking the proper measures immediately after detecting it, you can prevent extensive damage to your home and save yourself the time, money and hassle of dealing with a larger infestation.
Visit http://www.SERVPRObellevuewest.com for more information on mold, water issues and our cleaning process.
STEP: Students and Teachers Towards Emergency Preparedness
Disasters impact children and youth across the United States. We know this from a first-hand experience and have seen families (and children) displaced from their homes due to flooding and fire issues. This is a tough reality to face; interruption in children’s lives can cause distraction in school and emotional distress. Even the COVID-19 Pandemic has impacted students and their families with unexpected health threats. This is one of the many reasons SERVPRO of Bellevue West works hard to make sure families and their children can get back into their homes as quickly as possible following a disaster.
When children prepare and practice for an emergency, it improves their ability to take immediate action and feel more comfortable, less shock, in an emergency situation. With training, they can actively take part in preparedness in their communities, from home to school. But students, teachers, and parents know that between classes, testing, and extracurricular activities, making the time can be challenging. A new program in place helps teachers be proactive about implementing emergency preparedness training. Many schools nationwide have begun using Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP). FEMA piloted STEP in 2008 for fourth and fifth grade classrooms. STEP’s basic lessons are only an hour long. Students learn skills to build an emergency kit and a family communications plan. These basic lessons taught together build the foundation for the program, or can stand alone. Children are able to bring home what they have learned and share with their families. Teachers can add lessons and customize situations about disasters that might happen in their area- for example tsunamis for coastal cities and hurricanes in the mid-west. STEP includes lessons about fires, severe weather (including extreme heat and cold, tornadoes, and hurricanes), and earthquakes. There are also lessons to include geography, science, English, art, and math. Throughout, instructors can use STEP’s “Disaster Dodgers” video series, handouts, homework assignments, and classroom activities to bring the lessons to life. These features make it adaptable on every level and help create real life situations that children can relate to. Practice makes perfect and this si certainly something worth practicing in school and at home.
SERVPRO of Bellevue West is passionate about emergency preparedness in schools and our local communities. If you are a teacher and would like emergency preparedness coloring books or emergency kit flyers for your classrooms please contact us at 425-454-3900.
Tips on How to Deal With Storm Damage
Severe storms such as tornadoes and hurricanes can cause massive losses in the areas that they affect causing home flooding, river flooding, roof damage, hail damage, roof leak, flood water, and ground water. Just look at the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas or Irma in the Caribbean islands, they left devastating effects on communities. Dealing with water or wind damage in the event of a tornado or a hurricane is both dangerous and difficult. You need a professional water restoration or home restoration company to do the storm remediation.
Damages resulting from a storm can be in many forms depending on the nature and magnitude of the storm. There could be flood water from river flooding — if you live in a place located close to a river — or from the ground water. There could be ice damage, hail damage, wind damage, frozen pipes, ice damming, et cetera. The best thing to do is always to be prepared to deal with such through storm restoration and storm remediation. This is particularly important for people who live in storm prone areas. Here a few tips on how to deal with storm damage after a hurricane damage or river flooding.
Stay Safe from Storm Damage
In the event of a storm, most of the losses occur from wind damage, i.e., falling trees, blown off roofs, etc. and flood water, river flooding, ground water, and home flooding. While it's not possible to prevent high-speed winds from knocking down trees, there's a lot that can be done to prevent flood water from finding its way into the house. Homeowners should ensure that any roof leak is mitigated through roof repair to prevent roof damage and flooding within the house. Hail damage can also result in massive property destruction like shattered windscreens and frozen pipes. Only a qualified water restoration and home restoration company can effectively mitigate hail damage and hurricane damage with their specialized equipment like flood pump.
If there is a roof leak, make sure that it is sealed before the storm hits. Ground water can also find its way to the house via the basement, so there should be a flood pump in there to pump it outside and prevent water level rising down there. As soon as the storm subsides, homeowners should call storm restoration professionals immediately before the damage spreads to carry out storm remediation. The water restoration or home restoration company should act swiftly after a hurricane damage to clear off the water using a flood pump.
Dealing with Ice Dams
Ice damming is the formation of a ridge of ice at the roof of a house. An ice dam keeps water from melting snow from draining off the roof, the water is held behind the ice dam and can easily find its way into the house leading to flooding and frozen pipes. If the water seeps through the shingles into the house, it could lead to damage on the walls, ceiling, and other parts of the structure.
Ice dams or ice damming can be dealt with by breaking them into small pieces with a blunt mallet. Using a sharp tool can damage the shingles and lead to further roof leak — its best to let a professional ice damage company do the work of removing ice damming before you carry out roof repair. Ice dams can also lead to ice damage on the roof and rather than dealing with them after a storm, homeowners should seal air spaces beneath the roof and prevent the format of these ice ridges in the first place. Frozen pipes are another cause of ice damage during storms.
Dealing with Roof Damage
Roof damage can be caused by falling objects or the roof itself getting blown away by the strong winds. If the roof of a house is destroyed as a result of a hurricane damage, homeowners are advised not to climb to the unstable roof in an attempt to carry out roof repair. They should call professionals to do the roof repair for them.
The first thing homeowners should do after storm damage or wind damage is getting in touch with a storm restoration, water restoration, or home restoration company such as SERVPRO of Bellevue West. We are experts in matters to do with storm remediation. For a typical homeowner, trying to undertake the storm restoration process without professional help can even be dangerous.
Visit http://www.SERVPRObellevuewest.com for more information on storm damage.