Recent Posts

Alamo Heights is Here to Help with Your Commercial Remediation and Restoration Needs

8/9/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Alamo Heights has the expertise and experience to help with your Alamo Heights commercial damages.  SERVPRO of Alamo Heights has trained professionals to help with any fire, water, or microbial damage remediation.  From a small kitchen fire to a completely engulfed high rise building, SERVPRO of Alamo Heights can help you with your fire remediation needs.  From a small pipe leak to a fully flooded 10,000 square foot office, SERVPRO of Alamo Heights is here to perform the water mitigation.  In addition to these emergency needs, we have the expertise to help with your microbial growth remediation.  As a full service SERVPRO franchise we are able to take any commercial claim from loss to reconstruction utilizing one team.  So, if you are looking for a local family owned San Antonio company then, SERVPRO of Alamo Heights is your remediation experts.  We are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (210) 822-2063.

Preventing House Fires in Your Home | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

8/8/2019 (Permalink)

Most homes come equipped with smoke alarms, but did you know that is not the only way you can mitigate your risk of a house fire?

House fires are more common than most people think and can happen for a variety of reasons. However, being educated about the statistics and prevention methods can go a long way in keeping your home fire-free.

House Fire Statistics

While a house fire may seem like it is something that would never happen to you, the NFPA reports that a fire department responds to a fire every 24 seconds in the United States.

Though over half of house fires are caused by cooking, appliances, faulty electrical wiring and carelessness with open flames are also often to blame. Because of how rapidly fires spread and how devastating they can be, it is essential to be vigilant in prevention for the safety of your household.

How to Prevent House Fires

The best way to handle a house fire is to be proactive so it never happens in the first place. Minimize your risk of a house fire with these tips:

Check smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be tested once a month and replaced every 10 years.

Inspect your dryer. Always clean the lint reservoir of your dryer after each load of laundry. Also check the cords frequently to prevent any frays from developing.

Monitor open flames. Fires can start and spread faster than you think, which is why it is important to always monitor any open flame. Never leave candles or cooking unattended, and always extinguish the heat source when leaving the room.

Maintain electrical cords. Check cables and cords frequently for frayed spots and replace them immediately when they develop. Never run electrical cords under rugs or behind furniture, as they can produce heat.

Read product labels. Many regular household items are also highly flammable, such as products in aerosol cans and certain types of chemicals. Be sure these products stay away from heat and direct sunlight to prevent combustion.

If your home has suffered damage from a house fire, give us a call. We are certified in fire and soot remediation, and here to help 247.

Exploring the Various Causes of Water Damage | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

7/17/2019 (Permalink)

For something that is so necessary to life, water can also become highly problematic in the right circumstances. One such circumstance is water damage.

Where water damage is concerned, there can be numerous causes and reasons behind it. Do you know what some of the top causes are?

Identifying Common Causes

From 2009 to 2015, The Travelers Companies Inc. found that the five most common causes of home claims were:

  • Exterior wind damage
  • Non-weather-related water damage
  • Hail
  • Weather-related water damage
  • Theft

Water damage cracks the top five list twice, simply because water damage is no joke. As pointed out on that top five list, water damage is broken down into two separate categories: non-weather-related and weather-related.

Non-weather-related water damage is the most common at home and stems from things like plumbing and appliance issues. Weather-related water damage can be just as problematic, but is not as common. This type of damage can happen due to rain, snow or melting ice.

When it comes to your home, the top five reasons for water damage are:

  • Plumbing issues
  • Washing machine leaks
  • Busted water pipes
  • Aging water heaters
  • Bad weather

It’s also important to note that from a cost perspective, water damage and freezing issues averaged a payout per claim of $8,861 between 2011 and 2015.

Preventing Water Damage

The cost of water damage can be high, but it could be higher if not covered by homeowners insurance. Be sure to check on your policy to see what is covered—in most cases, the following damages are covered in a standard policy:

  • Damages caused by the weight of ice, snow or sleet
  • Discharge and overflow of water, even if by accident
  • Tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system
  • Freezing of plumbing and pipes

Fortunately, it is possible to prevent some water damage situations and save yourself the hassle of dealing with the mess.

You can utilize preventive fixes and routine maintenance to keep your home as dry as possible. Some of these include:

  • Applying water sensors and automatic shut-off valves
  • Having a plumber install back flow valves and standpipes in basement drains
  • Elevating appliances and personal items in the basement
  • Installing metal mesh connection hoses on the washer and dryer
  • Keeping gutters and downspouts free of leaves and debris
  • Flushing the hot water tank every six months to rid it of sediment
  • Not pouring grease down the kitchen sink
  • Running the sump pump every few months and cleaning it before the rainy season

By following these tips, you may be able to reduce and/or prevent certain water damage situations at home.

Water damage can be a nightmare to deal with, but fortunately, you will always have SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights on your side to help with the cleanup and restoration process.

How to Help Protect Your Home From Flood Damage | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

7/2/2019 (Permalink)

No one likes to consider the possibility of flood waters compromising their home, but the gravity of the situation is that 90% of natural disasters include some form of flooding. While your home may not be in a known floodplain, it’s still beneficial to know proper protocol if the threat of flooding is looming ahead.

Ways to Reduce Flood Damage at Home

We know that flooding cannot be prevented, but it is possible for you as a homeowner to minimize the damage to your property thanks to these steps:

Talk over emergency procedures. You should be creating and discussing disaster plans and various evacuation routes with your entire family. It’s vital that everyone is familiar with these. Be sure that the shut-offs for electricity and gas are known, too. Another smart plan is to have emergency supplies at the ready.

Know your risk. You can check with your local emergency management office or use the FEMA Flood Map Tool to learn more about the risk of flooding in your area and what precautions you should be taking.

Raise valuables. Do you have important items stored in the basement? These could include family memorabilia, tax records and other documents. If so, you’ll want to make sure you have scanned them into a hard drive or have physical copies made. Also, invest in some shelving to help keep items off the floor.

Turn off electricity. While it might seem unlikely that floodwaters will touch your electrical outlets or electrical cords, it’s very possible. And if it occurs, significant damage can occur and the risk of fire greatly increases.

Prepare appliances. Appliances such as washers and dryers can be elevated on bricks or stands to protect the internal workings from water damage in the case of a shallow flood.

Raise hazardous materials. Things like oil, paint and cleaning supplies should all be stored in elevated areas. This can help prevent dangerous spills in floodwater.

Keep propane and fuel tanks anchored. If a fuel tank tips over during a flood, the spill could become dangerous and even a fire hazard. Be sure any fuel tanks on your property are either removed or anchored securely.

When disaster strikes, your No. 1 priority should be keeping your family safe. By taking advance precautions and understanding evacuation procedures ahead of time, you can help protect your home from extensive water damage and protect the family from danger as well.

If you’ve experienced water damage due to a flood or other causes, SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights is here to help. Our technicians are fully trained in water remediation, and our 247 Emergency Line means we’ll be there for you when you call.

Common Types of Storm Damage Produced by Thunderstorms | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

Thunderstorms are commonplace during the spring and summer, and with them, can come the chance for storm damage.

Are you familiar with the most common types of damage caused by thunderstorms?

Thunderstorm Basics

Throughout the world, there are an estimated 16 million thunderstorms each year. In the U.S., the number typically comes to around 100,000 thunderstorms per year, with 10% of those considered severe.

For a thunderstorm to form, moisture and rising unstable air are needed, along with a “lifting” mechanism. This could be hills or mountains that force air to rise, or where warm/cold or wet/dry air bump together, causing a rising motion.

The three stages in the life cycle of a thunderstorm are the developing stage, the mature stage and the dissipating stage. It is the mature stage when hail, heavy rain, frequent lightning, strong winds and tornadoes are most likely to occur.

Thunderstorms and the Damage They Can Bring

There are many aspects of a thunderstorm that can prove dangerous, but one of the greatest risks is the chance of flying debris due to high winds.

In a severe thunderstorm, wind speeds can gust in excess of 57.5 mph, which is more than enough to cause damage to your property.

With high winds, there is an increased chance of even the most harmless-seeming of items turning into a projectile, such as tree branches, gravel, mailboxes, fencing, lawn furniture, potted plants and garbage cans. You should take care to make sure items in your yard are secured prior to any thunderstorms rolling through.

Besides wind damage, thunderstorms can also produce the following damage:

  • Lightning damage. If lightning strikes a home or building, that electricity can pass through the wiring of the home. This could severely damage any electrical appliances that are plugged into an outlet. Lightning can also result in the starting of fires.
  • Tornado damage. Tornadoes are extremely destructive, and they can have wind speeds reaching upwards of 200 mph in the worst of occurrences. Tornadoes can do severe structural damage in a very short amount of time.
  • Hail damage. Did you know that according to NOAA, the cost of hail damage can reach $1 billion a year? Small hail can damage crops, while larger hail can damage vehicles, roofing and windows.
  • Flood damage. It is not uncommon for heavy rains to accompany a thunderstorm, and occasionally, that can lead to flash flooding. These floods can damage structures, tear trees out of the ground and sweep things away.

If a thunderstorm has resulted in damage to your home or business, know that the team at SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights is available 247 to help with cleanup and restoration.

 

It’s All About That “Restore First” Mentality | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

6/7/2019 (Permalink)

It’s well know that when disaster strikes, we provide a fast response to your crisis. However, there are other reasons why we should be one of your first calls if disaster strikes.

Our technicians have a “restore first” mentality, which is aided by the use of specialized equipment and cleaning techniques. This mentality also helps, when it comes to your property, to reduce the interruptions to life and helps get your home or business back to pre-disaster condition.

How We Do It

Knowing what to do after your property has suffered from fire damage is stressful, but that’s where we come in. After you call us, our team will quickly respond and get the project going.

Damage caused by fires is never the same—and while our specially trained team can come up with a unique solution that is tailored to your needs, the general process remains the same.

Here are the steps that are included in our process:

1. Emergency contact. When we receive your call, you will be asked a series of questions regarding the fire damage. This helps us make sure our team is dispatched with the appropriate equipment and resources.

2. Inspection and fire damage assessment. When our team arrives at your location, they will inspect and test adjoining rooms of the property to determine the extent of fire, smoke and soot damage. This helps us determine the right plan of action moving forward.

3. Immediate board-up and roof-tarp service. Because windows, walls and roofs are often compromised by fire damage, we will make sure that your property is secure and protected from further damage by boarding up missing windows and walls and placing a tarp on damaged roofs.

4. Water removal and drying (if water damage is present). Water damage can accompany fire damage; therefore, we’ll begin the removal process right away. Dehumidifiers and air movers are brought in to remove the remaining water and finish up the drying process.

5. Removal of smoke and soot from all surfaces. We have specialized equipment and techniques that are used to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls and other surfaces.

6. Cleaning and sanitizing. Whenever and wherever possible, we will clean restorable items and structures. Not only will they be cleaned, but industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment are used to help remove odors.

7. Restoration. This is our final step in getting your property back to pre-fire condition. Restoration can include minor repairs like replacing drywall, painting and installing new carpet. It could also call for major repairs like reconstruction of damaged areas.

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Could water damage lead to mold in your Alamo Heights home?

6/7/2019 (Permalink)

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If your home or business has had a water damage that may have lead to a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.

Water damage can lead to mold in Alamo Heights

6/7/2019 (Permalink)

Mold growth looms as a potential problem for any homeowner in San Antonio. Mold spores coexist within residential settings, encompassing both outdoor and indoor environments. Although they usually pose little harm, when moisture is present, the invisible mold spores explode into invasive mold colonies. Our mold remediation services can help.

Mold damage is sometime visible in a San Antonio home, but it also announces itself with an unpleasant, musty odor. Ignoring a moldy smell is not advisable as large mold infestations can hide between walls, in attics and foundations, under flooring, and above ceilings. If you notice staining or some feathery or leathery growth, alert our remediation team. A small visible mold issue may be just the tip of a significant mold invasion.

SERVPRO mold remediation teams train to IICRC, EPA, and OSHA standards. We cannot promise to eliminate mold spores, but we can eradicate active mold colonies and take steps to inhibit further mold growth. Some individuals are sensitive to the vast quantities of mold spores generated by colony growth and the byproducts some molds shed as they multiply. Because of this, it is critical that EPA Precautions be observed during remediation.

Mold debris needs containment during remediation. SERVPRO employs a variety of strategies to keep individuals safe during mold abatement. Our employees wear personal protective equipment and shield unaffected areas of your home during the remediation process. We use physical barriers such as heavy-duty plastic sheeting to contain the debris. Negative pressure air scrubbers use filters and suction to keep the moldy particles away from people and clean areas of your home during the project.

Once the chosen containment strategies are in place our crew scrapes and sometimes blasts, using soda as a gentle abrasive, the mold off of surfaces. We bag and dispose of the moldy materials per local codes. Then the surfaces receive an EPA registered antimicrobial treatment to limit the possibility of additional mold growth.

SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights also identifies and recommends elimination of the moisture sources that fuel the mold growth. If the dampness, spills, leaks, or condensation that encouraged mold spores to multiply are not resolved, mold can return.

SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights is ready to help remediate a mold damage issue in your San Antonio home. Call us at (210) 822-2063 if you suspect mold growth and we can assess the situation and develop a plan.

For more information about the Parks in San Antonio, click here.

Avoiding Fire Hazards in the Kitchen | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

The kitchen can be a wonderfully versatile place—a place for family and friends to gather, for quality time to be spent and where some delicious eats are cooked up. Unfortunately, the kitchen is also the space where many home fires can occur.

Cooking fires are the No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries and the leading cause of these kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

In 2017, State Farm paid out over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims related to grease and other cooking fires. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
Kitchen Fire Safety Tips

Staying in the kitchen while cooking is not the only fire safety tip you should be following. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:

1. Be mindful of your clothing. Does your outfit have long, flowing sleeves or is it big and baggy? It could catch on fire if you aren’t careful while cooking over the stove. It’s best to wear short or close-fitted sleeve shirts and make sure any baggy shirts are tucked in or tied back.

2. Watch the items around the stovetop. Make sure you don’t have kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, anything flammable will be moved away from it.

3. Have a fire extinguisher in/near the kitchen. Hopefully you have at least one fire extinguisher located in your home, ideally one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.

4. Do not throw hot grease in the garbage can. The grease may not be on fire, but it could be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. You should let the grease cool a bit and then dispose of it in an old coffee can. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.

5. Have a fire escape plan established. Thinking about the worst-case scenario is never fun, but it’s better to be prepared than unprepared if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.

Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Making Sure Your Business Is Ready for Any Potential Disaster Situations | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

There are a multitude of things that must be taken care of when running a business, but one of the most important factors to think about is emergency preparedness.

While having a plan in place cannot stop all disasters, it can still give your business a leg up on the safety side and at least make sure that your employees know what to do if a disaster or emergency situation should occur.

Making a Plan

Have you taken the time to sit down and work out an emergency preparedness plan for various disaster situations? If not, it should be a priority!

There are numerous emergencies your business should have a preparedness plan in place for, including:

  • Fire
  • Severe weather, including thunderstorms and winter storms
  • Other natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes
  • Human-caused hazards, including accidents or acts of violence
  • Technology-related issues like power outages and equipment failure

It doesn’t matter if it’s a man-made incident or one stemming from nature, if there is no emergency plan for your business, things could get even more stressful quickly.

You should make sure that safety training and familiarization of emergency preparedness plans are included in the company onboarding process, team-building activities and continuing education opportunities. By helping employees familiarize themselves with proper safety protocol and emergency procedures, you’re not only giving them the tools to protect themselves, but you are also setting them up to help protect guests/visitors and the business itself.

Where to Start

When beginning to set up an emergency plan for your business, you’ll first want to evaluate which scenarios are most likely to occur—and those that are a longshot but could still happen. After all, it’s better to prepare for all the worst-case scenarios and not be caught off guard.

There are plenty of online resources to help guide you through this process, including Ready.gov, the American Red Cross, FEMA and the CDC.

You should also conduct a business impact analysis (BIA) to help predict the potential effect a disaster may have on your business. This would include lost or delayed sales and income, increased expenses from repairs, and delayed implementation of business plans. Don’t forget to make sure a crisis communications plan is in place, too.

Once you have come up with an emergency preparedness plan, be sure to go over it and practice with employees. Reviewing and rehearsing various scenarios can help ensure the process remains fresh in their minds and can help employees feel more empowered.

Disaster can strike when you least expect it, but by being prepared and having a plan in place, your business will be better suited to handle whatever Mother Nature has in store. If the worst should happen and your business is damaged, know that SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”