Preventing Your Pipes from Freezing
Tips for preventing frozen pipes inside and outside your home
Frozen Pipes Can Burst!
It has been colder here lately in Rockingham and Augusta Counties! When cold temperatures happen that can cause pipes to freeze. Frozen Pipes can result in costly repairs to you as a home or business owner. The good news is there are ways to prevent pipes from freezing. Here are some tips for this winter. Frozen pipes are a problem by themselves because they prevent water flow, but even worse, frozen pipes can eventually burst, causing damage and potential flooding. There are ways to protect your pipes from freezing. These include:
- Keeping your house warm - If you are leaving for a period of time, make sure that the heat is kept on at your property. You should inform them that the heat can help prevent pipes from freezing, and if pipes freeze and burst, it can cause a lot of water damage to the property and to their possessions. The heat doesn’t have to be kept as high as you normally would keep it if you were home but keeping it set above 50 degrees Fahrenheit at all times is a good idea. This should provide enough heat to keep the pipes warm and to prevent any water inside from freezing.
- Opening faucets - When temps hit the freezing level it is a good idea to allow faucets to drip. Allowing the faucet to be open like this will relieve pressure in the pipe. If a pipe freezes, it is actually the pressure that is created between the blockage and the faucet that will cause the pipe to burst. With the faucet open you avoid blockage in the pipes.
- Insulation is key - Pipes can be fitted with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to help decrease the chances of freezing. This can be an easy solution for pipes that are exposed but can get expensive if walls, floors or ceilings have to be opened in order to properly insulate the pipe. Additional insulation can also be added to walls and ceilings to keep the pipes warm.
SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us at (540) 433-6100.
Taking on Storms with Technology
Free ERP App for your home or business
These days, it is important to be ready for a storm and disaster can strike at a moment’s notice! Technology working hard to let us be aware of danger with more time to prepare before it hits! Technology can also be a vital tool in preparing for emergencies or disasters, as well as during or after to stay informed of the situation and in communication with others. From common technology you already use on a day-to-day basis to taking a few extra steps to prepare. Below are a few things that will help you be ready in the event of an emergency or disaster.
Store Information Online
There are many places to store important information securely online. Services like Google Drive and Dropbox offer a free way to store different types of files, from a Word document to images of important documents. Ready.gov suggests saving an electronic version of insurance policies, identification documents, medical records, and information on your pets, if necessary.
Follow the News
Stay informed by following agencies such as FEMA, local news channels, and local government on Twitter for the most up-to-date information in a disaster situation. You can also alert first responders if a rescue is needed through Twitter.
Mark Yourself Safe
The American Red Cross offers a Safe & Well check-in site to list yourself as safe or find family and friends in situations where communication is difficult to establish. Facebook also has a feature called Safety Check that is activated after natural disasters or a crisis. You will receive a notification from Facebook if you’re located in the affected area at that time.
Get in Touch
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in your phone and e-mail for communication with family, friends, business contacts, and others whom you may need to get in contact with before, during, or after a disaster.
Keep a portable charger in your car and home in case of an emergency. You may need to recharge this from time to time, but you can also buy solar-powered chargers as well. Get an Emergency READY Profile SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties is proud to offer Emergency READY Profiles (ERP) for free at ready.SERVPRO.com to help prepares you, your property, or your business for an emergency. By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your property or business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your property or business. Put help in the palm of your hand with the Ready Plan App. Get in touch with SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties today for more information on developing an ERP for your property or business!
Thanksgiving Cautions: Dangers to Consider before Deep Frying Your Turkey
Thanksgiving safety tips
Serving a deep-fried turkey on Thanksgiving has grown in popularity over the years as people experiment more in their kitchens. While it may be a mouth-watering option is the risk truly worth it? Many of you may have seen the numerous videos of turkey fryer explosions and fires publicized online. Don’t run the risk of property damage or injury – make sure you take the proper precautions when menu planning this season; especially if you are taking on a deep-fried turkey.
- Turkey Fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area. Consider the placement of the fryer, is it flat, sturdy, out of reach from children?
- An overfilled cooking pot will cause the oil to spill when the turkey is put in and a frozen or partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter (sometimes with great force) when putting in the pot
- Even a small amount of cooking oil spilled on a hot burner can cause a considerable flame or fire
- Without thermostat controls, some turkey fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire. Make sure it’s not too hot.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and handles can get dangerously hot. Protect your hands when maneuvering to prevent injury or spillage
Your friends at SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and remind you to stay safe. Remember, our team is on call 24/7 365 days a year, no matter what holiday or time of night. If you experience a fire SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties will come to your rescue, don’t hesitate to call (540) 433-6100.
7 Tips to Prevent Mold in your Commercial Business
Why should you worry about mold in your building? According to OSHA, some mold, over time, may cause structural damage to wood along with damage to furnishings and finishes. Use the following tips to help prevent mold growth in your business.
#1: Clean Out the Refrigerator
It can be difficult to keep track of shared refrigerators. Some people will always remember to clear out their leftovers, others won’t. Old food storage containers are a perfect breeding ground for mold. Over time, mold can travel to the shelving and even outside the refrigerator. Consider instituting an office refrigerator policy. If something is left in the fridge by a certain time each week, it goes in the garbage.
#2: Look for And Repair Leaks
Leaks from plumbing, windows, roofs, and more can lead to significant water damage in your business as well as an increased risk of mold growth. If you aren’t regularly inspecting your property, it’s easy for these leaks to go unchecked until they create a larger, more costly problem. Watch for telltale signs of a leak such as lower water pressure; wet spots on the floors, ceilings, or walls; and condensation around window sills and in attic spaces.
#3: Keep It Clean
It’s easy for anyone to get caught up in work and let clutter take over his or her workspace. However, clutter creates lots of hiding spots for crumbs and dust, which are both great food sources for mold. Make sure to clear the clutter and wipe down hard surfaces regularly. Make sure to promptly clean all spills as well. Clean and sanitize break rooms and bathrooms frequently. Both rooms provide ample opportunity for mold growth. These rooms should be cleaned at least weekly depending on how regular people use each room.
#4: Turn on the AC/Dehumidifier
Leaks aren’t the only way for moisture to accumulate in your business. High humidity levels can lead to moisture and mold as well. On hot days, fans can cool you off, but they don’t do much for humidity levels. Run your AC or a dehumidifier to cut down the humidity in the building.
#5: Clean out Trash Cans
While you might switch out the liners regularly, can you remember the last time you washed out the trash cans? It’s easy for bits of food and condensation to sneak beneath liners into the can, which is all mold needs to grow. Try washing out office wastebaskets about once a month to prevent mold growth.
#6: Take Care of Your HVAC System
Your HVAC system can quickly distribute mold spores throughout your building if there is a problem. Make sure your HVAC system receives regular inspections. Sometimes moisture condenses inside air ducts or leaks drip onto ducts from ceiling tiles, which can lead to mold growth inside the ducts. Make sure to keep the HVAC drip pans clean and unobstructed. Additionally, replace your filters as needed.
#7: Slope the Ground Away from the Foundation
If the ground around your building slopes toward the foundation, water can accumulate and weaken your building’s structure. Additionally, it provides an ideal environment for mold to grow. The ground should slope away from the building. You should also make sure your building follows the local building codes for drainage. Mold is persistent. Even if you follow all the right steps it’s still possible for mold to grow and spread in your building. Fortunately, at SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties, we have the right experience in mold remediation to make your place of business “Like it never even happened.” Unfortunately, mold doesn’t stay put, it grows quickly. You’ll want to give us a call as soon as you notice it, so we can start the remediation process. Our technicians have the training, equipment, and knowledge necessary to help locate and remediate mold efficiently. If you find mold in your place of business, call us at 540-433-6100.
Avoid a Large Loss: Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes
Don't let cold weather sneak up on you!
Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of these water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following the manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspapers can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
Have Questions? Call Today (540) 433-6100
3 Reasons Your Commercial Toilet Keeps Flushing
Avoid Commercial Water Damage
Water Damage From Toilet
A malfunctioning toilet in your Rockingham or Augusta County commercial building can cause a variety of issues, from a repeated toilet overflow to increased monthly water bills. One common issue that commercial toilets suffer from is repeated flushing when water runs into the unit without stopping. There might be several reasons for this problem and knowing what they are may help you remedy the problem quickly.
1. Dirty Gasket
The gasket within a commercial toilet’s flushing apparatus can become caked with sediment over time. This can be especially common if you live in an area with hard water. Sediment may also affect the gasket’s weep hole and how well the gasket’s suction works. You can remove and clean the gasket and weep hole, which may resolve the continuous flushing.
2. Broken Flapper
Sometimes the flapper, or seal, on the inside of the toilet may become brittle or old. When this happens, the seal can become misaligned and cause the toilet to fill constantly. This constant filling may eventually cause a toilet overflow or a toilet flood, which can cause water damage to your building and require the services of a flood remediation and water cleanup company. The seal is located inside the flush canister, and if it is cracked, you may need to have it replaced.
3. Leaking Toilet Tank
A leaking toilet tank may cause repeated flushing, as the unit will sense it needs to fill due to a water loss. However, you can stop a toilet from leaking with a simple test. Add three drops of red food coloring into the water of the tank and wait about twenty minutes. If the water in the toilet bowl is red when you check it again, this means the toilet tank has a leak and you will need to have it repaired.
Water Damage or Flooding? Call Us Today (540) 433-6100
Commercial Water Restoration Presents Unique Challenges
SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties has the training, experience, and equipment to handle large commercial flooding or water damage emergencies. Whether your water emergency occurs in a small office building or big box store, we will respond quickly to mitigate the damage and manage the restoration project through to its completion. Learn more about our training and certifications.
FALL YARD CLEANING TIPS
SERVPRO during the fall
Aaaah, autumn. The kids are headed back to school, the leaves are turning, and a chill is in the air. If you're like most homeowners, fall also means an opportunity to spruce up your yard and cut down on the work you'll need to do when the weather turns warm again.
It doesn't matter if you're a seasoned landscape professional or somebody who just wants their yard to look as good as it can with as little work as possible, everyone can benefit from backyard fall cleanup. A little bit of work in the fall will really pay off when spring rolls around.
- Rake those leaves. Once the snow flies, an unraked layer of leaves can get matted down over the turf and smother it all winter long. Raking or using a mulching mower in the fall helps avoid dead patches in the spring. But don't worry about getting every last leaf, especially in the garden. They help insulate plants, and as they decompose, they provide valuable nutrients.
- Feed the grass. Fertilizing in the fall is like a day at the spa for your lawn. Using a slow-release fertilizer allows the grass to soak up nutrients and - just as important - spend the cool days and nights of autumn recovering from the summer heat and stress. And building a healthy, rejuvenated lawn is one of the best ways to protect against heat, cold, drought, insects and other stresses.
- Weed all about it. Weeding in the fall is probably the most valuable thing you can do to prepare for spring, and it's one that many people overlook. The good news: Pulling weeds used to be a backbreaking chore, but tools like the Weed Hound have come a long way from the tiny weeding forks of "the good old days." There's no reason to get down on your hands and knees and gouge at the turf. All you do is place the tool over the weed, step lightly on the footrest and pull.
- Remove thatch build-up. A build-up of aboveground roots called thatch prevents sunlight, oxygen, and moisture from getting to the nutrient-hungry soil below. But it's easy to remove, especially if you don't wait until it overwhelms the yard. Just go at the yard with a dethatching rake in early fall, or for an easier - but more expensive - option, rent a power dethatcher.
- Aerate. Heavy use throughout the summer can cause the soil to become compacted. Perforating your lawn with small holes helps reduce compaction and lets water, air, and fertilizer get down to the soil, which strengthens the grass plant's root structure. For smaller yards, a manual aerating tool that removes plugs from the turf while you step should be just fine. If you've got a larger yard, consider renting a power aerator.
- Water trees and shrubs. Dehydration during the colder months is an all-too-common cause of tree damage, but it's easily preventable. To sustain them over the long winter, it's important to give trees a drink before putting them to bed. After they go fully dormant - but before the ground freezes - use a soaker hose or root irrigator to water them thoroughly.
- Clean out your garden. Fruits and vegetables left in the garden can rot all winter long, and provide a comfy home for insect eggs. Gross? Not as gross as they'll be in the spring. Now's the time to get rid of diseased plants, too, but keep them out of the compost pile so the problem doesn't spread to the rest of your garden next year.
- Plant spring bulbs. Fall is not all about closing up shop. It's also the perfect time to plant spring-flowering bulbs like daffodils and tulips. But pay attention to the weather in your area; planting too early can cause bulbs to sprout before winter, and planting them too late can mean their roots don't have enough time to develop before the ground freezes.
- Give your tools a tune-up. When it comes time to put away the backyard tools for the season, don't just shove them into the garage or shed. Spend a few minutes wiping them down and removing debris and dirt, then apply a light layer of oil to keep them from rusting over the winter. That way they'll be all set to go again come spring.
Old Man Winter may be on his way, but with a little work now, you can lay the groundwork for a happy, healthy backyard that's ready to thrive next season.
SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties certified cleaning and restoration specialists are faster to any size disaster. Providing emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays. You can expect an immediate response time, day, or night.
Dangers of Electrical Fires
SERVPRO electrical tip for outlets
Like residential homes, commercial buildings are at risk of electrical fires and you should take precautions to prevent these hazards. Electrical equipment plugs and wiring can all cause a fire. Older buildings can have outdated wiring which poses additional risks. If you are in doubt, call a professional electrician.
Here are a few precautions you can make to minimize your risk of an electrical fire:
- Outlet & power cords – Make sure outlets are updated and in good working condition. The outlet should not be warm to the touch or make cracking sounds and should fit snugly. Have a professional repair them if you experience any issues.
- Cords & Wiring – Do not use a damaged cord. If your cords are frayed, pinched or pierced, throw them out. Damaged, worn, cracked or corroded electrical wires can increase the chance of electrical fires.
The National Fire Protection Agency suggest calling a qualified electrician if you experience:
- Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers.
- Discolored or warm wall outlets
- Flickering or dimming lights
- Sparks from an outlet
Call SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties if you do experience an electrical fire in your business at (540) 433-6100.
Restoring Your Rockingham or Augusta County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event
Fire damage can strike anywhere at any time.
Flooding and water damage events on commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether you’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large-scale event, we here at SERVPRO work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So, when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties
SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
- AMRT - Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
- ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
- ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program
- IICRC Certified Firm
- RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation
- WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician
- CRT - Color Repair Technician
Plan ahead for evacuation in the event of a storm for you and your pets
Storm Damage & Evacuation in Rockingham and Augusta County
SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties has these tips for people in our community dealing with disabilities during an evacuation. You may want to consider, during times of flooding, to pack a bag to have ready in case the worst happens.
Plan for backup if you have your own car. A storm or flood may damage your car.
Ask your healthcare provider to suggest what specific devices you might need if you need to evacuate due to an emergency:
- Where can I get medical supplies?
- How I do get accessible transportation?
- If medical help is needed, where would I go?
- Does this facility have a disability ramp access?
Items to bring with you:
- Written list for emergency contacts
- List of all medications, dosages, and allergies
- Style & serial number of medical devices
- Supply of medical equipment
- Extra battery for a power wheelchair
- Any cushions or padding
- Wheelchairs, canes, braces, etc.
- Medical bracelets
- Medical insurance cards
- List and/or supply of prescription medications
Our service animals are also affected by storm damage. For people who have service animals in Rockingham or Augusta County.
- Packing extra food, water, & other supplies for the service animal
- Tell emergency responders that your service animal travels with you
- Shelters and other buildings may not refuse entry to a service animal
Plan for individuals with special needs.
Why Choose SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties?
SERVPRO of Rockingham and Augusta Counties is locally owned and operated.
Our certified cleaning and restoration specialists are faster to any size disaster. Providing emergency cleaning and restoration services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—including all holidays. You can expect an immediate response time, day, or night.