Winter Tips to Keep Your Indiana Business Warm & Dry
Commercial generators are critical to your business's contingency plan.
With the cold winter upon us, your business is increasingly vulnerable to water and storm damage. This damage can come in many forms and shapes from frozen pipes, collapsed roofs, condensation, foot traffic, snow, and ice-covered sidewalks, and power outages. While you can’t stop a blizzard from coming or keep the temperatures from dropping below zero, you can take some preventative steps to reduce the risks of winter weather damaging your business and hurting your employees.
With strong winter storms, ice and wind can wreak havoc on trees and power lines. As ice accumulates on tree branches, they eventually break and fall knocking down power lines and killing the power to your business. If the power is out for an extended amount of time and the temperatures are below freezing, the temperature inside your business can drop causing the water pipes to freeze and burst resulting in extensive water damage.
To reduce the risk of a power outage happening, you can invest in a backup power generator that will kick on if your business should lose power. Hopefully, the generator has enough fuel to keep your business heated until the power is able to be restored. It’s important to know how long your generator can run and to be sure to refuel it if the power is out for an extended time.
Keep Your Sidewalk and Parking Lot Clear
Keeping your sidewalk and parking clear of snow and ice will not only help reduce the risk of slip and falls by your employees and customers, but it will also help reduce them from tracking it into your business and soiling your floors. While you can hire a service company to shovel your parking lot and sidewalk, many of them won’t be able to keep them clear if the snow continues. That is why it’s important to have a few people at the office in charge of keeping, at least, your sidewalk clear. Salt on your sidewalk and parking lot can help melt any snow and ice and provide a grip for employees and customers walking into your business.
Employees and customers coming in and out of your business during the cold, wet winters will undoubtedly be tracking in water and dirt throughout the day. It’s important to check the floors and doormats on a regular basis to ensure they stay as clean and dry as possible. Not only will this help eliminate any slip and falls but it will also keep the water and dirt from causing further damage. Wet floors can lead to water and mold damage to your business. For busy entrances, you may want to switch out floor mats with new ones throughout the day to keep the water and dirt at bay.
Leave Sinks Dripping During Extreme Cold Temperatures
If you have any bathrooms or sinks located near exterior walls or colder areas, like a warehouse or garage, you will want to take a couple extra steps during extremely cold temperatures. If you know that the temperatures will be dropping to near or below zero, you will want to make sure your sinks are dripping water. The dripping water ensures that the water in the pipes leading to the sink are moving and don’t have time to freeze and burst the pipes. This is also a good tip to do at home also.
Check Pipes to Ensure They’re Insulated
If you have exposed water pipes in areas of your business that aren’t as well heated, you may want to insulate the pipes to ensure they don’t freeze. Many burst pipes in businesses are found in warehouses, garages, and near entrances that are constantly being opened. Insulating these pipes can also be beneficial during the hot summers as the insulation can prevent condensation on the pipes which can also lead to water damage.
Seal or Close Up Any Drafts
It doesn’t take much of a crack for the cold air and winds to find their way into your business. While that doesn’t seem troubling, if that crack is near a pipe, it could be big trouble. During a cold day, take a walk around your business and check for drafts. You can either check by feel using your hand or use a temperature gun to find any cool spots. If you’ve done any renovations or upgrades, like running cables from the outside into your business, you want to check for any holes or penetrations in the exterior walls that may not have been sealed up completely.
Remove Excess Snow and Ice from Roofs and Awnings
During heavy ice and snow storms, you will want to make sure the snow and ice don’t collect too much on your roofs, overhangs, and awnings. The weight of the snow and ice can cause collapses which can lead to extensive damage to your business. If you have a flat roof, you will want to check the roof after the storms to ensure the snow and ice are melting and that the water is running off and away from your business. Not only can the weight of the snow collapse your roof, but the melting snow can also pool up and leak down through cracks or holes in your roof and/or exterior.
Keep Interior Temps Above 60 Degrees
The last tip is to help reduce any risks of your pipes freezing and bursting. It is advisable to keep the interior temperature at or above 60 degrees in your business. While this shouldn’t be a problem in areas where your employees or customers are usually present, this could be a problem in garages, attics, basements, exterior buildings, storage areas, and warehouses. You may need to add insulation, more ducts to carry the heated air, or additional heaters to keep these areas sufficiently heated. It is usually these ignored or less trafficked areas of your business that will lead to frozen and burst pipes. And because these areas aren’t used or seen, the water damage can be quite substantial.
Keep Your Business Protected from the Cold Indiana Weather
By following the tips above and keeping an eye on the temps in your business, you can greatly reduce the risk of water and mold damage from a burst pipe this winter. But if you should experience water damage to your business, it’s important to act quickly to reduce any further damage and call the water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the expertise and know-how to fix the damage and takes steps to prevent it from happening again. Give them a call any time and any day for your fire, water and mold damage problems.
Tips to Prevent Winter Moisture Problems
Tips to Prevent Winter Moisture Problems
During the cold winter months in Indiana, we tend to keep our homes sealed up tight from the elements. As a result, Indiana homes can suffer from moisture build-up and/or dry air. Both of these symptoms can cause problems and damage to your home. In this article, we will focus on the more damaging effects of moisture in the home during the winter months. We will point out areas that are prone to moisture build up and what to do to fix these problems.
Is Your Home Too Humid?
How do you know if there is too much humidity in your home? There are signs that you can look for and smell for. The first sign of excessive moisture is condensation on the exterior doors and windows. Another sign is a musty smell in the home. Does your house smell like a musty basement or crawl space? Are your bathrooms, laundry room, or kitchen smell musty? If you smell a musty odor, there is a good chance you have an excessive moisture problem. That last sign of excessive moisture is mildew and mold growth. Common areas where you might find mildew and/or mold are around windows, in bathrooms, near water pipes, in dark areas of your home, and in your basement.
How to Reduce Moisture & Fix Problem Areas
Seal or Replace Your Windows
If you have condensation around your windows or doors, first make sure that they are closed completely. If you haven’t closed your windows fully, cold air can seep in and condense around the leak. If your windows are badly insulated or leaky, you can replace them or try taping up any drafts. On really bad windows, some people use plastic sheeting to seal the windows during the winter as a temporary fix.
Use a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is a popular choice for many Indiana basements. A dehumidifier will pull the excess moisture out of the air to keep mold and mildew at bay. You can also use a dehumidifier in bathrooms, laundry rooms and other areas where there is excessive moisture. You obviously want to monitor your dehumidifier and adjust it if the air gets too dry. Dry air can also cause damage to your home. The better dehumidifiers have humidistats that you can set to regulate the humidity level.
While you can’t open your windows to get fresh air in during the cold winter months, you can keep your ceiling fans on to push and pull the air through the rooms. You can also set your HVAC fan to be always on to help push the air throughout your home. Airflow can help lower the moisture in high-risk areas like basements and bathrooms by blowing the air throughout the home. You can also keep your interior doors open to allow air to move in and out. This is especially important for bathrooms. While bathroom exhaust fans can pull the moisture out of the room when taking showers and baths, leaving the door open can allow any moisture build-up to dissipate into the rest of your home.
Keep Rugs and Floors Dry
With snow and rain, water can be tracked into the home fairly easily. It’s important to make sure you keep doormats and rugs dry and clean. If they get too wet, they can cause mold and mildew to grow under them. Also, if you take off your shoes at the door, make sure you clean up any melted snow each day. It’s best to either throw any wet snow pants, jackets, glove and hats in the dryer when you or your kids come inside.
Stay Warm and Stay Dry This Winter
Moisture problems are common during the cold, wet, winter months in Indiana. By following the steps above and keeping the floors dry and clean, you can greatly reduce any risks of moisture and water damage. If you should experience water damage or mold damage to your home this winter, it’s important to act quickly to reduce further damage and call the experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the expertise and equipment to fix the damage and takes steps to prevent it from happening again. Give them a call any time and any day for your fire, water and mold damage problems.
How Winter Storms Can Damage Your Indiana Home
Ice can be particularly damaging to your Indianapolis home or business.
When we think about damaging storms, we tend to think of warm weather storms during Spring, Summer, and Fall. We don’t tend to think of winter storms as being extremely dangerous and damaging to homes. You might be surprised to learn that winter storms are the most damaging type of storm behind hurricanes and tornadoes.
While summer storms can bring high winds, flooding, and lightning; winter storms can bring some of the same and more like ice and snow. Below we will cover the damaging aspects of a winter storm and what steps you can take to reduce the risk of damage to your Indiana home.
The first thing we think about when discussing the dangers of ice are slip and falls. Slip and falls along your sidewalk, driveway, deck, and patio are common and can result in broken bones. But ice can also cause damage to your home. Falling ice from trees and power lines can damage your roof. Ice accumulation in your gutters can cause them to break away from your home. Ice build up on your roof can cause the most damage as the weight of the ice can eventually cause your roof to collapse. Even if ice on your roof doesn’t cause it to collapse or bow, it can also cause water to seep under your shingles and cause water damage in your attic.
Some steps you can take to prevent this is to check to make sure your gutters aren’t clogged. It’s usually best and safest to clean your gutters out once all of the leaves have fallen from the trees around your home. Usually, the temperatures are still bearable and you can find a day where the roof is dry. Once you start having snow accumulations, you need to check your roof on a regular basis to make sure the snow isn’t piling up. As the snow piles up, it can melt and refreeze causing ice dams on your roof. These ice dams can keep the snow melt from flowing off your roof. Instead, the ice can build up and lead to leaks or collapses. A long handle broom or rake can help know off the snow or break up the ice dams.
Winter storms can bring bitterly cold, high-speed winds which can wreak havoc on a home. These winds can blow snow, ice, and water under shingles, into foundation cracks, in cracks around your windows and doors, and through an attic and crawl space vents. They can also blow tree limbs and ice into your siding and windows causing damage and breaks.
While you can take some steps to reduce the risk of ice damage, there’s not much you can do to keep the high winds at bay. The best thing is to check around your home for any signs of damage after a winter storm. Look for damages to your siding, shingles, and windows. If the wind has blown snow up against your home, you will want to shovel it away. Snow buildup can cause water damage to your siding and foundation as it melts and refreezes.
Flooding After the Snow
During the really big snowstorms that usually only happen every few years in Indiana, the melting snow can be as dangerous and damaging as the snow itself. The snow itself can lead to roof collapses if the snow is wet and heavy and deep. But if the temperatures all of a sudden swing above freezing temperatures, the melting snow can cause flooding. Since the ground in Indiana is usually saturated during the winter months, the melting snow can quickly cause flooding in low and high areas.
To keep the flood waters from damaging your home, you want to make sure to shovel as much snow as possible away from your home’s exterior. If you have storms drains near your home, you want to check them regularly to make sure they don’t get clogged from the snow melts. If the snow builds up against your exterior and it starts to melt, the water can seep through your windows and doors that the snow has covered. This is why it’s important to shovel away the excess snow before it has time to melt.
Winter Storms Can Be Messy
Winter storms can be messy in Indiana. Not only do they make driving and walking even more dangerous, but they can also wreak havoc on your home. If you should experience water damage, mold damage, and/or fire damage from a winter storm, contact the cleanup experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the tools, equipment, and know-how to clean up and repair the damage caused to your home. Give them call any time and any day for your winter storm damage emergency.
Space Heater Safety Tips
SERVPRO of Indianapolis West
Unfortunately, each year many homes in Indianapolis catch fire causing death and serious injury to people. Some of these home fires are caused by space heaters and alternative heating methods. Often, these fires can be avoided with better preparedness and using greater caution.
One main reason space heaters produce fires, is that they're placed too close to flammable objects in the home, such as furniture, bedding, mattresses, and clothing. Wiring and insufficient maintenance is another top reason for heater malfunctions.
Dangerous & Convenient
Many people use space heaters to heat their homes or to warm areas that lack sufficient heat, like a bathroom or spare bedroom. Electric space heaters can help warm a room quickly. However, they can be as dangerous as convenient if used improperly.
Think Safety First
Caution should be used no matter what system or device is used to heat your home. Not all homes are equipped with a central HVAC system and alternative heating methods are sometimes needed, such as space heaters, wood-burning stoves, and fireplaces.
Things to Avoid When Using Space Heaters
Never use an extension cord or power strip with space heaters. Always plug them directly into a wall outlet. Space heaters pull a lot of power and can quickly overheat a power strip or extension cord which can result in a home fire.
Home Heating Safety Tips
1. NEVER use an oven or stove to heat your home.
2. Keep heaters away from where children and pets could play with them.
3. Space heaters and candles should NEVER be left unattended or used overnight.
4. If possible, only use space heaters that shut off automatically if tipped.
5. Place all heaters on a level, hard surface with a minimum of three to four feet clearance of any combustible materials.
6. Never place heaters in a doorway or in high-traffic areas where they can be tripped over or knocked down.
7. Test the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
8. Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone who lives in the home.
9. Designate a safe place for everyone to meet away from the house if a fire was to occur.
Is Your Home Ready for the Harsh Indiana Winters?
Is Your Home Ready for the Harsh Indiana Winters?
This winter is supposed to be really bad in Indiana with lots of snow and extremely cold temperatures. With Christmas just around the corner and lots of us taking a day or two off from work, now might be a good time to make sure your home is prepped and ready for the harsh Indiana winter weather. In this blog, we will go over steps and tips to take to reduce the risk of water and mold damage to your Indiana home.
Clean the Gutters and Roof
Now that all the leaves have fallen off the trees, you will want to check your gutters to make sure they are clean. If they full or clogged, they could become damaged over the winter as water pools and freezes in the gutters putting excessive weight on them. You’ll also want to make sure any dead branches are removed off the roof and make sure that the water from the gutters is flowing away from your home and its foundation. It’s best to choose a day that is dry to clean out your gutters as roofs can be slippery and dangerous when wet.
You also may want to trim back any branches, especially dead ones, to keep them from breaking and falling on your roof over the winter. While you are on the roof, you’ll also want to check the flashing around the chimney and the seals around the exhaust pipes on your roof to make sure no water finds its way into your home.
Check Seals Around Windows and Doors
Once you're done with cleaning out the gutters and checking the roof, you’ll want to walk around the house and check all of your windows and doors for broken seals, cracks, or other areas where the cold air and water can get into your home.
You also want to check around your foundation for standing water and cracks in the foundation. Cracks in the foundation can get worse in the winter as water seeps into the cracks and freeze causing expansion and further damage to your foundation. If you find cracks, you will want to seal them before they get worse. If you find standing water you may want to make sure your gutters are directing the water away from your home and grading the ground to slope away from your home’s foundation.
Check for Leaks and Water in Your Basement and Crawl Space
Indiana winters tend to be very wet keeping the ground around your home saturated. With so much water and moisture outside, it’s important to check your crawl space and basement for water leaks and high moisture. You want to seal any cracks or leaks and possibly use a dehumidifier to remove the excess moisture out of the air. If the moisture is too high, it can lead to mold growth in your crawl space and/or basement. You also want to test your sump pump to make sure it is working properly.
Insulate Pipes and Turn Off Faucets
While you are in the basement and crawl space, you will want to cut off the water to your outside faucets to reduce the risk of them freezing and bursting. You also may want to insulate and exposed water pipes in your crawl space and/or basement. This is an especially important step to take in a crawl space as crawl spaces tend not to be insulated or heated and can get extremely cold in the winter. Under the most extreme cold temperatures, water pipes could freeze and burst.
Change Out Air and Furnace Filters
Changing out your furnace filter will not only reduce the wear and tear on your furnace, but it will also reduce the risk of fire. With a dirty furnace filter, dust can quickly build up and your heater will be operating more often to keep your home warm. The excess dust and the heater working overtime can increase the risk of fire as the dust can be combustible. It’s also not good for the air quality or your utility bill.
If you have other air filters, make sure to check them out and replace them if needed also. Another risk from the excess dust is mold growth. If the humidity is too high in the air, it can increase the chance of mold growing on the dust in your air ducts.
Get Prepared for Indiana Winters
By taking the steps mentioned above, you can greatly reduce the chance of water, mold and/or fire damage to your home. If you should experience water, fire or mold damage to your home this winter, it’s important to act quickly to reduce further damage and call the experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the expertise and equipment to handle any Indiana winter home and business emergency. Even a small leak can result in extensive water and mold damage if not dealt with quickly. Give them a call any time and any day for your fire, water and mold damage problems.
Top Things to Know About Mold
Top Things to Know About Mold
We’ve all have seen mold before. Whether it’s in a bathroom, on an exterior wall, in the fridge on some food, or other damp areas; we’ve all experienced mold before. While many people are quite familiar with mold and battling it in their Indianapolis home, most may not know everything about this nuisance. In this blog, we go over some of the top things most people may not know about mold in their Indiana businesses and homes.
Mold Is Practically Everywhere
Mold at it’s smallest form travels as microscopic spores through the air we breathe. It is in the air outside our home and inside our home. There is no simple way to remove all traces of mold from your home. It is naturally occurring and exists everywhere. While there is very little you can do to keep mold spores from entering your home, you can take steps to keep those spores from colonizing and growing into a bigger and more visible mold growth problem. Keep the air circulating throughout your home and eliminate any moisture problems.
Mold Can Grow In Many Places
The key to mold growth is moisture and organic material. In the home, organic material can include carpeting, wood framing materials, drywall, cardboard boxes, clothes, wallpaper, and furniture. In the forest, mold grows or feeds off of dead organic matter like dead trees and fallen leaves. Mold can also grow from the dust on a concrete floor or in your air ducts. If there is organic material and moisture present, mold will find a way to grow.
Moisture is Mold’s Best Friend
While you can’t eliminate organic material from your home, you can take away the fuel that causes mold growth -- moisture and standing water. The reason why you will often find mold in basements, bathrooms, and crawl spaces is because that is where you also tend to find moisture in the air. Since mold spores and organic material are present in most environments, including homes and businesses, it is just a matter of introducing moisture to cause mold to grow.
In basements, you can reduce the moisture with a dehumidifier, In a crawl space, you can line the bare ground with a moisture barrier lock i.e. plastic sheeting. With bathrooms, you can make sure to keep the exhaust fan on when showering and leave the bathroom door open afterward to allow the moisture to dissipate.
If you should have a basement flood or a roof leak or a broken water pipe, it’s important to get the water and the moisture out quickly to inhibit mold growth. Since water can get into areas that may not be so easy to dry, most homeowners and businesses contact a water damage restoration and mold remediation company, like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the equipment and the expertise to remove all of the water and all of the moisture and treat the areas to prevent mold from taking hold. If mold growth has occurred, they can also remediate the mold and eliminate the moisture problem.
Mold Has a Distinct Smell
Mold can’t always be spotted with the naked eye. Sometimes it is hidden underneath or deep within carpets. Sometimes it starts inside walls or in air ducts or in other hidden and unseen areas of your home. If you don’t see the mold occurring, the other tell-tale sign of the presence of mold in your home is the smell of mold. Mold has a distinct musty smell that many may acquaint with a basement or crawl space or wet forest. The smell is the result of the mold eating and metabolizing the organic material it is feeding off of. The material can include most organic matter like wood, carpeting, clothes, cardboard boxes, drywall, and furniture. In the forest, mold feeds off dead organic matter like fallen trees and dead leaves.
Molds Produce Allergens and Irritants
According to the EPA, mold commonly causes allergic reactions in people. These molds tend to be found outdoors and are usually seasonal. Fall allergies tend to be the result of mold from the falling and dying leaves. As they fall to the ground and pile up, the dead leaves hold moisture which can boost the presence of mold in the air. Reactions from mold can include a runny nose, sneezing, red eyes, skin rashes, and sore throat. These symptoms are the typical ones people experience but do not include all reactions that people may experience when exposed to mold.
Call the Mold Remediation Professionals
If the mold should get out of hand or you discover mold growth in your basement or crawlspace, call the mold remediation experts at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. They have the expertise and equipment to safely remove and remediate your mold problem. If your home should suffer flooding or water damage, it’s important to quickly remove the water and moisture to reduce or eliminate potential mold growth. SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can also help homeowners and business owners out with water damage restoration. Give them a call any time and any day for your water damage and mold problems.
Does Your Indiana Business Have a Business Continuity Plan?
Does Your Indiana Business Have a Business Continuity Plan?
In a previous blog, we discussed steps a business can take to prepare should a natural disaster impact their Indiana business. We discussed the importance of protecting your data, planning to work off-site, and/or working with loss of power. Many of those steps should be part of a business continuity plan.
A business continuity plan is an extensive document that a business develops to ensure the business can stay operational in the event of a natural disaster occurring. In this article, we will delve deeper into what a business continuity plan is and the steps to take to create a thorough and effective one for your business.
The Process of Developing a Business Continuity Plan
In order to create a business continuity plan, a business must take several steps in identifying the impact of a natural disaster to your business, document strategies to recover critical business processes, develop plans and teams to implement for the continuation, and conduct training to ensure the strategies and plans are complete.
STEP 1: Business Impact Analysis
The first step in developing a business continuity plan is to conduct a business impact analysis (BIA). A BIA identifies potential loss scenarios that may occur to your business. A natural disaster could impact your business in one scenario but it could also impact one of your business partners in another scenario. Business operations could be affected by delays from a supplier or from delays in a shipper, or both. It’s important during the BIA to identify and consider every scenario that could impact your business.
During the BIA, every department lead should participate in order to identify every impact your business may have due to a natural disaster occurring. Impacts can be financial and/or operational. Once all department leads have provided their reports on potential impacts to their areas of the business and steps to take to recover and restore operations, the next step is to prioritize the steps. The BIA should identify the business departments and processes that could suffer the greatest operational and financial impacts to the business and prioritize them for the business continuity plan.
STEP 2: Continuity Strategies
Now that your business has identified the operational and financial impacts from the BIA, the next step to take is to identify and document recovery requirements and develop strategies to implement in the business continuity plan. By identifying and documenting the steps needed to take, you can then determine if you have the appropriate resources to implement the steps. You may find you do not have the personnel or the capabilities to carry out certain continuity strategies.
It is during this step, that you can explore options to carry out all the strategies. You may also find that you have choices to make in strategies for particular impacts. By working with all department leaders, the strategies that work best for the whole company can be chosen and implemented. Now that you have the strategies to help your business quickly recover from a natural disaster, you can move to the next step of developing the business continuity plan that includes the team, strategy plans, and procedures to take.
STEP 3: Continuity Plan Development
So, you’ve identified the impacts a natural disaster can have on your business and you’ve developed the strategies to take to recover from these impacts, now you need to put it into a plan. The business continuity plan is the documentation that you can provide to every person in your business that shows in detail every step and process to take to manage a business disruption.
The plan should begin with the business continuity teams and leaders. Teams can be key departments or more general business stages like production, shipping, IT, and support. Each team will have a designated leader that will be in charge of implementing and managing the continuity plan. The plan can include checklists that team leaders can easily follow. The checklists can include recovery strategies, locations of supplies and equipment, contact info of team members, emergency personnel and disaster recovery contacts, and manual workarounds for each strategy.
The business continuity plan should be extensive but easy to follow for every leader and team member involved. It also needs to ensure that every team is communicating and working together to ensure the recovery is smooth.
STEP 4: Continuity Plan Training
Once the business continuity plan has been developed and approved, you can’t just file it away and hope you never have to use it. It is important to educate and train every team leader and team member on the plan. Not only should the plan be discussed on a regular basis, but it also must be tested and evaluated.
It is during this critical time of conducting testing of the plan, that many businesses find gaps in the plan that need to be addressed. As you can suspect, it’s better to find these problems and correct them during plan exercises than during an actual disaster where lives and property are at risk. If gaps or problems are identified, you will want to update your business continuity plan as soon as possible to correct them.
When testing your business continuity plan, you want to test scenarios with varying degrees of difficulty and impacts to your business. You also want to reevaluate your plan on an annual basis or when large changes have occurred at your business. These changes could be staff turnover or business growth and expansion. In either case, your business continuity plan may have gaps in it.
An Important Part of Your Business Continuity Plan
If your business should suffer from a natural disaster or an event that impacts the operation of it, it’s important to have a commercial restoration company, like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, as part of your business continuity plan. Whether your business has been damaged by storms, floods, and/or fire, SERVPRO if Indianapolis West can help your business get back to work by repairing any damage your business property may have.
They have the tools and the expertise to handle almost every type of damage your business may sustain. Put them in your business continuity plan and give them a call if your business should ever suffer damage from a natural disaster or unforeseen event.
Indianapolis Home Water Damage Facts & Statistics
Indianapolis Home Water Damage Facts & Statistics
Did you know that water damage and freezing are the second most common damage to a home just behind wind and hail damage? According to the Insurance Infomation Institute, a single family home over 100 years will file 2.38 claims for wind and hail damage and 1.99 claims for water damage and freezing on average.
In this blog, we will dive through the facts and statistics on water damage to Indianapolis-area homes. While some things are unpreventable, there are some statistics that might help you prevent or reduce the risk of water damage to your home.
Average Water Damage Costs
Revisiting the Insurance Information Institute’s data, on average a home suffers around $9,633 of damage from water and/or freezing. Compared to a fire which causes on average around $50,000 of damage, it is not much but it is still significant which is why it’s important to have home insurance. Damages from water and freezing tend to be to the drywall, carpeting, flooring, fabric goods, and furniture.
The other important thing regarding water damage is how quickly the homeowner reacts to cleaning it up. The longer the water sits, the more damage it can cause. Standing water in a basement or water damaged drywall can quickly lead to mold growth and more damage and problems. If you should suffer water damage to your home, it’s important to contact a water cleanup and restoration company, like SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, a soon as possible.
Leading Causes of Water Damage
In another study by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, the top causes of water damage to homes were gathered. According to the study, the five most common causes of water damage to a home were caused by:
Plumbing pipe failures are caused by pipes freezing and bursting or pipes leaking. Freezing pipes can occur when water pipes are exposed to extreme temperatures as a result of the home heating system failing or pipes in crawl spaces or exterior walls are exposed to severe winds and cold temperatures. Water damage from pipe failures results in an average of $5,000 according to the study.
Plumbing or sewer drain failures are a result of sewer backups or leaking from material failure. If you don’t own a basement then you are in luck as 68% of all sewer backups occurred in basements. While disgusting and potentially unhealthy, the average cost of damage from a sewer backup is $4,400.
Backed up and overflowing toilets account for 78% of all water damage from toilets. Toilets failing are the second leading cause of water damage to Indianapolis homes with pipe failures being the first. Due to the fact that toilets occupy upper floors, the damage they can cause can be quite severe due to the water running down through the floors. On average, toilet failures cause around $5,500 in damage to homes.
Water heater failures tend to occur due to the water heater rusting and corroding after years of use. These failures can start as small leaks or turn quickly into expansive water damage if there is a severe failure of the water heater tank. Just like toilets, the damage from a water heater failure is dependent on which floor it is located on. Water heaters located in the basement or garage result in less damage than one that is located on the first or upper floors and fails.
Washing machine failures tend to be due to clogged drains resulting in the machine overflowing. They can also be caused by bad water supply hoses that crack, break or become disconnected. On average, washing machine failures result in over $5,000 in damage.
Most Water Damage is Preventable
In another study by the American Insurance Association, they found that 93% of all water damage to homes could have been prevented. In looking at the common causes of water damage above, you can quickly start to see that many times the water damage occurs due to materials that have failed due to age.
Some ways that you can reduce the risk of water damage to your Indiana home is to check your toilets, washing machine, and water heater on a regular basis for signs of deterioration or material damage. For example, if you notice that your toilet sometimes runs constantly, you may want to check the flanges inside the tank and replace or fix them. With washing machines and water heaters, it’s good to check for any signs of water dripping or pooling around the appliances. If you do spot some water, you will want to find and fix the problem before it becomes a bigger one. With pipes, it’s important to take steps to reduce the risk of freezing during extreme cold weather. If you have a sink that is on an exterior wall, you may want to turn the water on just slightly to reduce the chance of the water freezing in the pipes and bursting.
What to Do If Your Home Suffers from Water Damage
If you should suffer water damage from a burst water pipe, appliance failure or sewer backup, it’s important to act quickly to ensure the water is removed and the home cleaned. After a day or two, water can lead to mold growth which can cause further damage to your home. Whether it’s in the middle of the night, on the weekend, or during the holidays, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West is always available to handle any water damage emergency. SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean up the water damage and return your home back to normal. Give them a call if your Indianapolis-area home should suffer water damage.
Indianapolis Home Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Month
Indianapolis Home Fire Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Month
October is officially Fire Prevention Month and to recognize this month at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West, we’d like to offer these fire safety tips for your Indianapolis home.
Check Your Smoke Alarms
Your smoke alarms should be checked on a monthly basis, so if you’ve missed a few months then now is a great time to check them. Most smoke alarms have a button that you press and hold until they go off. If they do not go off, then replace the battery with a new one and test again. If it still doesn’t work, then purchase a new smoke alarm. Smoke alarms should be placed at every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside every bedroom.
Practice a Fire Escape Drill with Your Family
It’s important to not only have a fire escape plan for your family but to practice it on a regular basis. Practice what to do if a fire should occur on every level of your home. You and your family need more than one escape plan. This could be running out through doors or climbing out through windows. When planning and practicing a fire escape plan, you also need to designate a meeting place outside the home where everyone will meet.
Clean Out Dryer Vent
While you should be cleaning the lint trap every time you run your dryer, you need to clean out the dryer vent tubing at least once a year. Your dryer vent is the tubing that runs from your dryer to the exterior wall where it exits out of your home. Over time, lint and dust can build up inside the tubing and eventually clog. Dryer lint is extremely flammable and if it is allowed to build up, the heat from your dryer can ignite it causing a fire. To clean out the dryer vent tube, you will most likely have to pull out the dryer and remove the tube. While this may take a little time, reducing the risk of a fire happening is worth it in the end.
Check Your Furnace Filter
With the cold season upon us, it’s important to check your furnace filter and replace it if it is dirty and clogged. With a clogged filter, your furnace will have to work overtime to heat your home during the cold season. This not only will increase your heating bill and put undue stress on your furnace, but it could also increase the risk of a fire occurring from the excess dust in the filter. When checking your filter, be sure to make sure your furnace and blower are turned off. Replacing the furnace filter is an easy and quick task that can save you money and reduce the risks of fire.
Check Your Electrical Outlets
If you have computers, televisions, and other electronics throughout your home; it’s a good idea to check all the plugs, wires and outlets for any potential problems. Problems that could lead to a potential fire include frayed wires, loose plugs, and overloaded outlets. These problems can cause sparks or overheating which can quickly cause a house fire. It’s also a good idea to dust off or vacuum up any dust and/or dirt around the outlets. While it’s not always ideal, you don’t want any fabrics or boxes covering up your outlets. Ideally, outlets should be clear of any potentially flammable materials like couches, curtains, storage boxes, stuffed animals, and mattresses.
Use Space Heaters Responsibly
With the cold weather upon us in Indiana, many of you may be pulling out the space heaters from storage and running them. Before you plug the space heater in, you want to check the cord, plug, and heater for any damages. If there are frays in the cord or broken parts on the heater, it’s best to toss it and get another one. Also, be sure to blow or vacuum out any dust in the coils and intake before starting it. Once you start the heater, you will want to observe it while it heats up to make sure it is operating properly. As far as placing your space heater in your room, you want to make sure there is plenty of space between the heater and any furniture, walls, and objects. When you leave the room, it’s always best to turn off the space heater to reduce the risk of a fire occurring. A blanket or drape blown onto the space heater can heat up very quickly and easily ignite within minutes.
When Fires Do Happen
Even with taking all the proper steps to prevent a fire from happening at your home, fires can happen. When they do happen, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West can help clean up the fire and smoke damage and return your home back to normal. Whether it’s the middle of the night or during a holiday, SERVPRO of Indianapolis West is available 24/7 for any home emergency fire cleanup and restoration. Hopefully, you’ve read and followed all the fire prevention tips above. These tips will not only help reduce the risk of a fire happening at your Indianapolis home, but they will also prepare you and your family on what to do if one should occur.
How to Remove Mold from Basement Walls
How to Remove Mold from Basement Walls
When it comes to removing mold from a basement wall, there is no one answer. There are a lot of factors that go into determining if you can remove the mold and how to do it. But before we dive into determining if mold can be removed from a wall, we first must understand what mold is and how it grows.
What is Mold?
Mold is a living organism, or more precisely, it is a fungus. It tends to grow in dark and damp environments and it feeds on cellulose. Cellulose is an organic material that can be found abundantly in drywall, cardboard boxes, carpets, wood, clothes, and curtains. You won’t usually find mold on metals and plastics since they don’t contain cellulose. A quick look around your basement and you can see that there are many places where mold can grow if the conditions are right.
Can Mold Be Removed from Walls?
Now that we know what mold is and how it grows, can it be easily removed from your basement walls? Well, it depends on what your walls are made of and whether they are painted. If the mold is growing on painted drywall or painted concrete, then you may be able to wipe the mold off. You can use a household cleaner that is made to remove mold and spray it down, scrub it off, and wipe it clean.
If the mold is found growing on unfinished drywall, then you might have a problem. Due to the porous nature of the drywall, the mold may be embedded into the drywall and won’t be able to be wiped clean. It is usually best to remove the drywall with the mold and replace it with new drywall.
With unfinished concrete walls, you obviously can’t easily remove and replace the concrete walls like you can with drywall. With concrete walls, you will want to scrub off any mold you can see and then soak the area with a mold cleaner. The cleaner should soak into the concrete and kill off any mold or mold spores that are hiding out underneath the surface.
Household Cleaners May Not Be Good Enough
If you walk down the household cleaners aisle at the grocery store or look up DIY mold cleaning solutions on the web, you’ll notice there are a lot of solutions and recipes to clean/kill/remove mold. While these may seem to do the job at first, most do not remediate the mold problem. Weeks later, the mold can return. Even the mold that has been killed can be harmful to one’s health if not removed. A quick search on the Internet shows some recommend a bleach solution while others say that it isn’t effective or healthy. So what is one to do?
Other Problems That You Need to Be Aware before Cleaning Mold
If you do try to clean or remove mold from your walls, be sure to wear ventilation to protect yourself. Inhaling mold can possibly be dangerous to your health especially when you do not know what type of mold you are dealing with.
Another problem with trying to clean mold on your own is that by scrubbing and cleaning and removing it, you may be unknowingly spreading the mold spores elsewhere. If you are scrubbing mold off a wall, the mold spores can quickly and easily become airborne and travel to other parts of your basement and home. Think of mold like a cup of fine flour. If you throw that cup of flour in the air, the tiny bits of flour can travel easily through the air and spread everywhere. Mold spores are even tinier (can’t be seen by the human eye) and can spread even easier and farther.
What’s the Best Way to Remove Mold from Basement Walls?
If you discover mold growing on a wall or walls in your basement, the best thing might be to call a professional mold remediation team like the team at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West. The mold remediation team at SERVPRO of Indianapolis West have the tools and equipment to inspect and assess the damage and determine the right steps to take to contain the mold, remove the mold, clean the contents, and restore your basement. They will also identify the cause of the water or moisture and either stop it or provide a solution to stopping it so that it doesn’t cause mold growth in the future.
One last piece of advice if you discover mold in your basement, is to leave it alone. If you disturb the area, the mold spores can become airborne and spread elsewhere. Give SERVPRO of Indianapolis West a call anytime 24/7 if you find mold in your basement.