Recent Posts

The Connection Between Mold and Moisture

3/27/2020 (Permalink)

mold in the corner of a window Mold appearance in a Dunwoody, GA home

If mold appears in your home in Dunwoody, GA, it is a good bet you have a moisture issue somewhere in the house. The two go hand in hand, like a fire and smoke odors or like high winds and missing shingles. Therefore, mold prevention often hinges on taking care of excess moisture or humidity in the house. The following situations are often the precursors to the presence of mold:

  • A roof leak
  • A dripping pipe
  • Standing water in a shower
  • Faulty hose connections on washing machines and dishwashers
  • A damp basement or attic

Taking care of the water issue is a good start to slowing down mold growth. Additional steps, though, should be taken.

Mold Containment and Cleanup

It is important to act quickly and for several reasons. When extra moisture is present, mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours. More time allows the mold spores, which are tiny, to spread to other areas of the home. One key aspect of mold prevention is to limit its spread by trying not to use the heating and cooling system in your home, which can spread spores around. A professional mold mitigation franchise can be on site in a matter of hours and will begin mold containment and cleanup actions. The company can also address any issues with water damage at the same time.

Mold Mitigation

The keys to mold prevention include a professional response from a trained company, the addressing of any water issues, and a thorough cleaning and sanitizing process in accordance with current standards. Failure to properly respond to mold leaves your home vulnerable to damage to drywall, tiling and your belongings. Mold also has an unpleasant musty odor that can permeate rooms, and it can be an allergen and irritant to some people. A clean home free of water leaks and with a low level of humidity is a good recipe for keeping mold under control.

We are Cleaning Experts

3/20/2020 (Permalink)

Hand with glove spraying cleaner We can handle commercial and residential jobs

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need 

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. 

Specialized Training 

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis. 

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include: 

  • Kitchen/Food Areas 
  • Bathrooms 
  • Schools/Classrooms 
  • Offices 
  • Retail Spaces 
  • Water Fountains 
  • Shelving/Racks 
  • Sales Counters 
  • Carpets and Rugs 
  • Stair Handrails 
  • Elevator Cars 
  • Playground Equipment 
  • Fitness Equipment 

Specialized Products 

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities. 

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning 

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of NW DeKalb/Dunwoody/Brookhaven, (770) 396-3883

How To Get a Tax Deduction for Storm Damage

3/20/2020 (Permalink)

Outside from a building flooded Storm damage in Mount Vernon, GA

The CBO estimates that storms cause $54 billion in storm damage every year. The federal government has attempted to make it easier for taxpayers to recover by allowing them to take a deduction on their taxes in some circumstances.

Casualty Loss Deduction

The casualty loss deduction was written into the tax code as a way to help taxpayers who had suffered financial losses due to property damage. Losses must meet these requirements to be tax deductible:

  • The loss must result from an identifiable event that is sudden, unexpected or unusual
  • Value of the loss must exceed the amount recovered through insurance
  • A claim must be filed on all insured property

Value of Your Loss

The value of your loss is considered to be the difference between what your property was worth before it was damaged by the storm and then compared to what it is worth afterward. This calculation is based on the lesser of either the fair market value or the adjusted basis of the property. Different methods may be used to determine the value of your loss, but commonly include the estimated sales price of your property in preloss condition and the cost to repair or remediate the storm damage. Replacement value is not considered.

Amount You Can Deduct

To determine your tax deduction, you must specify the value of your loss and then subtract any compensation you have received or expect to receive from insurance for that loss. You then need to take that amount and subtract $100, plus 10% of your adjusted gross income. However, the $100 deduction, and deduction for gross income, are sometimes waived if the damage is caused by presidentially declared disasters.
If you have sustained storm damage that was not fully compensated by insurance, you may qualify for a tax deduction. A tax professional in Mount Vernon, GA, can help you determine whether your loss qualifies and the value of your tax deduction.

How To Avoid Starting Fires in the Kitchen

2/25/2020 (Permalink)

Pot on flames A grease fire in Briarcliff, GA

When you think of a kitchen, preparing and enjoying meals no doubt comes to your mind. Your kitchen is one of the most popular spots at home. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most common places for fires to stop. It's important to pay attention to fire-prevention tips so you can safely cook and avoid this terrible ordeal.

Pay Attention

Much of avoiding fires in your Briarcliff, GA, home involves common sense and being conscientious. The following hints can spare you a lot of grief and heartache:

  • Never leave the room when you're cooking on the stove.
  • Keep pot and panhandles pointed away from walking areas and toward back walls.
  • Turn ovens and stoves off when you're finished.

Dealing With Grease

A grease fire is a different animal than other types of blazes. If too much grease is in a pan, it can spill out onto the range and start a fire. Your first reaction may be to put water on it. However, this will only increase the size of the fire. Instead, smother it with baking soda, or put a lid over the pot or burner.

Maintain Your Appliances

If you're like most people, you probably rely on your kitchen appliances just about every day. After years of use, however, these appliances can wear down and become faulty. A poorly maintained oven, stove or microwave can spell disaster and cause fire damage. Inspect these units annually and replace them as needed promptly.

Be Careful of Metal

As you consider fire prevention tips in the kitchen, remember that metal and the microwave don't mix. You may know this, but make sure your kids do. This includes aluminum foil wrap as well as clips and fasteners that may be on wrappers.
If you want to avoid calling a professional disaster cleanup team to restore your home from a fire, follow these tips. A few simple actions can spare you a lot of grief.

Toilet Care 101: How to Fix a Leaking Toilet

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

Female fixing a toilet tank Fixing a leaking toilet can be pretty expensive in Gainsborough, GA

Fixing a leaking toilet can be pretty expensive in Gainsborough, GA, as most licensed plumbers charge steep hourly rates. However, most bathroom problems are easy to fix. All you need is a basic understanding of how a toilet works, a few hand tools and this step-by-step guide.

Finding a Bathroom Leak

The first step in fixing any bathroom leak is finding the source. Take a mop and clean any puddles that might be around the toilet, dump in some food color in the tank, and wait a few minutes. You should see where the leak is coming from quite easily.
Some of the most common causes of toilet leaks include:

  • Problem with the wax ring
  • Broken tank flange
  • An inefficient flush valve system
  • Fill valve issues

Fixing Wax Ring Issues

Wax rings are durable, inexpensive and can fit in most toilets and drains. Even so, they sometimes fail, resulting in a leaking toilet. First, close the valve and drain the bathroom to avoid any more accidents. Loosen all the bolts using a wrench then remove the toilet carefully. Once it's off, you should see the device that connects the throne to the sewer line. Replace all the old wax with a fresh coat, then install the lav to complete the job. If that does not work, consider replacing the wax ring.

Solving Tank Flange Issues

Sometimes, the problem goes deeper than a simple wax change. The tank flange should sit ¼ inch above the finished floor to allow adequate space for the wax ring. Anything less than that could result in a leak. To fix this issue, use a flange extension to increase the allowance for a better grip. However, you might need to replace the entire fitting if it's broken.
Using these tips, you can diagnose and fix a leaking toilet without spending a dime on labor. Anyone can do it in less than one hour if they have the right tools and a little motivation.

Signs You Have a Sewer Problem

1/30/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage in basement caused by sewer backflow due to clogged sanitary drain Sewage issues can be sneaky

Signs To Recognize Sewer Issues in Your Commercial Building

Sewage issues can be sneaky. A blocked sewer isn't something you can usually see with a cursory glance. There are several signs you can watch for, however, to recognize sewer issues in your commercial building in Doraville, GA.

Drain Speed

Commercial drains can easily get blocked by obstructions. For example, if something other than waste and toilet paper are flushed, it could result in a toilet overflow. There are several issues that could be indicative of a larger problem, though:

  • Frequent toilet backups
  • Backups in multiple toilets or drains
  • Slowly draining sink

If slow drainage seems to be a widespread problem throughout your building, you may need to have your sewer lines inspected. Tree roots or line deterioration could be the reason for the blockage.

Lawn Issues

When you have a blocked sewer, the substance in the pipes doesn't just magically disappear. It has to go somewhere. Keeping an eye on your landscaping can alert you to a problem. If one patch of grass looks particularly lush, it could be due to a sewer leak underneath it. Look for swampy areas around your property, as this can be a symptom of a leak, too.

Pest Sightings

Mice, cockroaches and other pests tend to live in the sewers. If you have pipe breaks somewhere, they can get into your building through the lines. An outbreak of vermin in your building can be a sign that you have sewer issues, particularly if repeated visits from pest control can't get rid of them.

Secondary Damage

Undetected sewer issues can lead to extensive damage. Foundation problems can stem from undiagnosed sewer leaks. If you see mold growth, it may be due to excess water from a sewer issue. Mold remediation experts can identify the cause of the problem.
A blocked sewer may not be immediately apparent. There are several symptoms to look for, however, to detect a problem so you can get it fixed.

Helping People Rebuild After a Natural Disaster

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Building flooded Flooding from storm

When Mother Nature unleashes her fury in North Atlanta, GA, a catastrophic loss is an unimaginable situation no one wants to find themselves in. Unfortunately, flooding or storm damage can devastate an entire community. While at first it may seem that recovery is impossible, SERVPRO’s Disaster Recovery Teams are ready to mobilize to help people rebuild and get back to normal life.

Safety First

Safety before, during and after the storm is vital. Once it subsides and everyone is safe, a first inclination may be to access the damage while waiting for help to arrive. Before doing so, consider the following to ensure everyone’s safety:

  • Stay up to date on the latest news. Some areas may not be safe to travel through. Tap water may also be contaminated.
  • Structural damage or gas leaks are likely outcomes when there is a catastrophic loss.
  • Do not enter any structures until it has been verified safe to enter.
  • Electrical hazards should be a top concern. Along with downed power lines, if water has entered the home, it may have affected electrical circuits and equipment. If safe to do so, turn the power off at the main source.
  • Any kind of flooding can result in black water. It is best to avoid any standing waters. Wear protective clothing, goggles, boots and gloves if you decide to enter the water.

Rebuilding

After the professionals arrive and a property has been deemed safe to enter, cleanup and rebuilding can happen. In large loss situations, the process can take time. SERVPRO’s disaster teams are elite, highly trained and experienced professionals who will make the process go as smooth as possible. They will provide the assessment, cleanup and restoration services needed in the fastest amount of time possible to make the disaster a distant memory.
As its name implies, a catastrophic loss can suddenly turn your world upside down. No matter the type of disaster, remember that you aren’t alone. Disaster specialists will quickly arrive to help you through the process.

3 Tips for Preventing Mold After Flooding

1/11/2020 (Permalink)

Dehumidifier with the words DID YOU KNOW? A dehumidifier can be set up to pull any remaining water out of the air

3 Tips for Preventing Mold After Flooding

If flooding has been an issue at your Brookhaven, GA, business, then you may be concerned about the possibility of black mold, growth on the property. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help prevent this positional problem for your business. Here’s what you may want to know.

1. Act Quickly

It’s important to act quickly if there is flooding at your place of business. The faster water removal can begin the less likely subsequent mold problems are to occur. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that a local water damage restoration service be contacted to help with repairs. These professionals can also perform a mold cleanup if necessary.

2. Remove the Water

The first step you may see the restoration service do is remove the water from the affected area. Doing so can help prevent the conditions that could lead to black mold growth. This process will often involve the use of a pump for large amounts of water, but professionals may also use squeegees or sponges to pull water out of difficult to reach areas.

3. Dry the Area

Because mold most often appears whenever there is a moisture problem, it’s important to thoroughly dry the area. After the water has been removed equipment such as a dehumidifier can be set up to pull any remaining water out of the air. Your restoration service should have access to these tools and be able to set them up where they will be most effective.
Preventing black mold on the business property can involve several steps. If flooding has occurred it’s best to act quickly and contact a professional as soon as you can. Remove the water from the affected area, and then use a dehumidifier or similar tools to make sure everything has been thoroughly dried. Doing so can help prevent the conditions mold prefers to grow in.

Understanding How Fire Sprinkler Systems Work

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Factory roof structure and automatic fire protection in building system. Fire sprinkler system in a Dekalb, GA building

A fire in your Dekalb, GA, business can cause serious damage. Fortunately, a fire sprinkler can help minimize the fire damage.

How the Sprinkler System Works

Sprinkler systems are very effective, in part, because they are so simple. Here's how they work:

  • Heat activates the sprinkler.
  • The sprinkler releases water to control the fire.
  • The fire department turns off the sprinkler after the fire is fully extinguished.

Sprinkler systems may have slight variations, but most work in essentially the same way. Heat, usually between 135 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit, causes a special material in the sprinkler head to expand. When this happens, the bulb, inside the sprinkler, breaks and the sprinkler releases water. Only the bulbs exposed to the high temperatures break. The water comes through a pipe that is connected to an outside water source. Due to the rapid response of modern sprinkler systems, they have excellent fire-suppression capabilities. However, it is still important to contact your local fire department. They will ensure that the fire has been fully extinguished and the building is safe to enter. They will also turn off the fire sprinkler system once it is safe to do so.

How To Clean Up Afterwards

Unfortunately, all fire-suppression techniques result in at least some water damage. With a sprinkler system, though, the water damage is usually less severe than if fire hoses had been used. Fire sprinkler cleanup follows the same basic steps as any other water damage cleanup scenario:

  • Remove standing water using specialized pumps or vacuums.
  • Remove all items that cannot be salvaged.
  • Dry out remaining moisture using dehumidifiers or fans.
  • Restore and replace damaged items.

Although a fire sprinkler can prevent a business fire from doing maximum damage, there will still be some fire damage and water damage from the sprinkler itself. A professional restoration company can get your business back to normal quickly and safely.

Smoke From a Fire Can Cause More Damage Than the Flames

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke with a sign that says SMOKE DAMAGE STINKS Smoke damage is nastier than fire damage. Call SERVPRO

Smoke From a Fire Can Cause More Damage Than the Flames

Fire damage is easy to spot. Fires burn, char, melt and destroy everything they touch. Remediating fire damage is simply a matter of restoring damaged items to their former condition. Once restoration is complete, everything will look fine, but it won’t smell fine.

Smoke damage is nastier than fire damage in many respects. Particulates created by the fire spread throughout the home, leaving the telltale smell of the fire everywhere. There is nothing simple about smoke cleaning. Complete the following steps, and your home will smell fresh and clean.

  1. Begin air filtration immediately after the fire. Don’t give the smoke odor the chance to permeate everything. It will settle in fabrics, carpets, flat surfaces and every crack and crevasse. The best way to avoid that is to capture particulates out of the air before they have a chance to settle.

  2. Clean everything while air filtration is still in process. Clean carpets, fabrics, ceilings, walls and floors. Some of the particulates will be captured in cleaning while others may go back into the air. Air filtration will capture them.

  3. Ozone removes odors that you cannot reach. You’ve done as much smoke cleaning as you can. Close up your home, load your family and pets in the car, and disappear for a few days. Local smoke and fire remediation specialists in Chamblee, GA, will bring in their ozone generators and do the rest. They will let you know when it is safe to return.

  4. Thermal fogging is the final step. Any odor that survives the above three steps is in your home to stay. Masking that odor is the only remaining option. Thermal fogging is the process of heating a special deodorizer and spreading it as dry smoke, permeating your entire home.

As you can see, effective smoke cleaning requires special equipment and odor removal specialists with the skills to use it. If you have a problem with odors caused by a fire, it’s time to get some help.