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When Lightning Strikes Your Home | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

9/20/2022 (Permalink)

multiple lightning strikes off in distance of dark purple night sky If you are dealing with smoke or fire damage from a recent fire, call SERVPRO of Alamo Heights to hear about a restoration solution for your issue.

With proper preparation and responsibility, most home fires are preventable. But when the fire risk originates outside in the form of a wildfire or a lightning strike, it can be much harder to predict and prevent.

Lightning damage to homes is actually relatively common. In 2020 alone, 70,000 homeowners reported damage to their homes due to lightning. While your risk of getting personally struck by lightning is still rare, your home might not fare as well.

Where Does Lightning Come From?

Lightning is the reaction caused by a strong electrical current that travels from the clouds down to the earth. While the majority of lightning occurs during strong thunderstorms, did you know that lightning can also occur during extremely hot forest fires and even heavy snow storms or blizzards?

What Happens When Lightning Hits Your Home

If you are unlucky enough to have your home struck by lightning, it may cause a spark large enough to start a fire. Even though you will most likely know that something happened due to the incredibly loud sound associated with lightning strikes, you may not immediately see flames if the fire starts in your attic or within your walls.

One of the most effective ways to help deflect the power of a lightning strike is to install a lightning rod. They work by redirecting the incredible electrical power a lightning strike carries, reducing the impact of the strike on your home.

Also try to unplug as many electronics as you are able to before a storm to prevent a large electrical surge from ruining your TV, computers or gaming systems.

Lightning and Wildfires

Even if you are able to avoid a direct hit on your home, a nearby fire from a lightning strike can still be a risk if it is not contained quickly. If our area is particularly dry or the surrounding vegetation is brittle, a fire can get out of control quickly.

Lightning fires burn incredibly hot and fast, so they can become a large fire if they cannot be contained right away.

Do your best to keep your yard as tidy as possible to give a fire less to consume as it burns. Clear any dead brush and grass and consider surrounding your home with landscaping to give your home a buffer from an incoming blaze.

If a fire starts in or near your home, your first call should be to 911 and then exit your home as soon as possible. Once you are cleared to re-enter your home, then you should call us to come out to start your restoration process.

Our team at SERVPRO of Alamo Heights knows how to best tackle your project, and we are passionate about helping the people in our community.

Have you experienced smoke or fire damage in your home? Call us today to get the restoration finished fast.

Get the Facts: Flooding & Your Home | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

9/7/2022 (Permalink)

a group of residential homes with major flooding in back yards Experienced water damage in your home? Call SERVPRO of Alamo Heights to get the restoration process started right away.

Discovering standing water in your home or basement after a storm passes can make your heart sink. Not only can the cleanup process be extensive, but water can cause lasting damages. Even if it is only just an inch or two, it can still be a massive headache to homeowners.

You may not qualify for any sort of disaster relief or be covered by flood insurance. Knowing that possibility, it is even more important to take preventive measures now to reduce your risk of suffering a large disaster later.

Considering that we are right in the middle of “Flash Flood Alley,” we are at risk of flooding problems frequently. The San Antonio River Basin is prone to overflowing and can cause flash flooding issues quickly. And the steep terrain and narrow river channels around us make us particularly vulnerable.

Start With Your Exterior

When it comes to heavy rain from thunderstorms, having an effective gutter system will help protect your home. It can only work if it is functioning properly, so clear any blockages and keep your downspouts clear and pointed away from your foundation.

Choosing different landscaping options can also help if water seems to pool near your home. Add mulch up against your home to help absorb excess water or plant a garden that will help encourage water to flow away from your home to your vegetables instead.

Protecting the Interior of Your Home

If there is a crack in your foundation, you will find out quickly during the next storm or flooding situation. Try to inspect your foundation frequently for any cracking or obvious weathering and fix the issue right away.

Sometimes even the small steps can make a big difference in regards to protecting your home. Any preventive measures you take will help save you time and money when the situation arises.

Take special care to note any appliance leaks or dripping pipes around your home as well. A small leak can turn into a full burst without much warning, so do any necessary repairs quickly or call a professional to help.

Lastly, water is the enemy of all things paper. Take the time to get any photo albums, scrapbooks or any fragile keepsakes up off of the ground and store them on a high shelf. You should also do the same with a copy of your family’s emergency plan so that you are never without it.

Experienced water damage in your home? Call SERVPRO of Alamo Heights today to get your restoration completed faster.

Watch for These 3 Storm Threats | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

8/21/2022 (Permalink)

a large lightning strike off in the distance of a dark sky When you suffer storm-related damage to your home or business, make SERVPRO of Alamo Heights your first call.

Severe weather can be both exciting and nerve-wracking! Storms can bring much-needed rain or a relief from the humidity, but they also bring the risk of damages to your home.

In this latest blog, we will break down the three main damage threats to your home. Wind, water and impact damages are common and can cause widespread damage if the storm is strong enough.

However, just because a storm is predicted to be strong doesn’t guarantee that your home will succumb to any damages. It all depends on the severity of the storm, the location of your home in town and the landscape choices you made that contribute to your level of risk.

In Alamo Heights, we are at risk of experiencing frequent severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and flash flooding events. It is important to prepare your home ahead of any of these weather events to best protect yourself and your family.

Wind

When it comes to wind speed, tornadoes typically produce the strongest winds at over 300 mph! Severe thunderstorms cannot be overlooked though, as straight-line winds can cause incredible amounts of damage. They can also blow over 100 mph.

When the wind is this strong, trees become weightless and can be easily thrown into your home, and large debris can be picked up and tossed around as well. Stay inside whenever a storm is producing strong winds.

If you have ample time to prepare before the storm rolls into your neighborhood, take the time to tie down your outdoor furniture and clear your yard of dead branches or limbs. These simple things can reduce your damage risk easily.

Water

If water gets into your home during a storm, it can be incredibly destructive. If you have flooding or a water leak somewhere within your home, it can be a massive headache when it comes to the cleanup process. In addition to affecting the structure of your home, mold can grow within just a couple of days.

If you frequently have flooding or water problems in your basement after a storm, it may be helpful to consider grading your property to encourage water to flow away from your foundation. You can also build yourself a rain garden to give all that unwanted water a productive place to flow to.

Also make sure you are paying special attention to your gutters. Any blockages or debris buildup can affect the way they move water away from your home. If water begins to build up on your roof, it can start to leak down through your attic.

Impact

Impact damages occur when anything heavy comes into contact with your home. This includes falling trees or any large objects like cars or trampolines as well. Usually when this type of damage occurs, it can be overwhelming.

Do your best to keep your property maintained, regularly remove any dead or dying trees and try not to keep a lot of yard clutter just laying about. Any steps you can take to remove the amount of debris a storm has to work with, the better!

Overcoming severe weather damages is not only hard work, it is also really expensive! In 2021 alone, American citizens suffered $145 billion in damages. That can be devastating to a family budget or emergency savings.

If you do discover storm damages after the next storm rolls through, call us at SERVPRO of Alamo Heights. We are proud of our quick response time and our thorough approach to your restoration plan.

When you suffer storm-related damage to your home or business, it’s important that you know who to call! Contact us today to get your storm damage restoration started faster.

We Are the Restoration Team to Trust | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

8/9/2022 (Permalink)

a group of employees with restoration tools walking away from SERVPRO van No matter what type of disaster you face, SERVPRO of Alamo Heights is only a phone call away.

Owning and running a business can be both exciting and overwhelming, and oftentimes those emotions go hand in hand! We are an independently owned and operated SERVPRO location, so we uniquely understand what it takes to have a successfully running business.

Just like you, we also have to plan for the unexpected and know how to handle natural disasters and severe weather.

While we wish that we could predict and control the weather to always be kind to us, we know that isn’t a possibility. We still can be prepared for any scenario ahead of time, though, so the impact of any weather or disaster isn’t as damaging.

If you are a business owner in the Alamo Heights area and you also live in the neighborhood, you could be unlucky enough to deal with damages to your property as well as your business. Recovering from both at the same time can seem overwhelming!

Prepping your household and your business for potential threats by creating an emergency plan can keep everyone involved in the process so the reaction to any disaster can be as smooth as possible.

In order to prepare for these potential threats, using local resources is a great place to start.

The American Red Cross operates a great website that collects resources and data points from across the country to offer ideas on how to prepare for natural disasters. In addition to that resource, we have a great resource called Texas Ready that offers great tips on how to prepare for the unexpected.

It is unfortunately likely that you will experience some sort of storm or natural disaster damages to your home or business in your lifetime. How you react to these damages can make all the difference in the world.

Why Choose Us?

We respond to each situation differently. We know that each restoration project is unique and requires different services. Our team knows how to adapt to each situation to give you the best service possible.

To use water damage as an example, more than 14 million homes are in a zone that is at risk of annual flooding. While flooding can be a major issue, it won’t affect every single home in that zone in the same way. We adjust our scale and scope for each situation and can create our restoration plan around your individual situation.

We are available day or night. We are here for you 24 hours a day. If you discover a flooded basement at 2 a.m. or accidentally start a kitchen fire at 10 p.m., we will answer your phone call.

We know that quick action is key when it comes to issues like water damage or discovering mold. Leaving the issue untreated can cause irreparable damages, so it is important to act quickly.

We offer more than just restoration services. In addition to our high quality restoration services, we take it one step further and offer our assistance in every facet of the process.

We will help you pack away your undamaged possessions while the restoration is occurring, and we can help facilitate conversations with your insurance agent to make the most out of your claim. We will take care of you in whatever way you need in order to overcome your situation as quickly as possible.

Regardless if your disaster starts at home or at your business, your local team at SERVPRO of Alamo Heights is here to support you. Our team of expertly trained professionals will start your cleanup quickly and get you back to normal as soon as we can.

When you suffer damage to your home or business, it’s important that you know who to call! Contact us today to get restoration started faster.

SERVPRO wants to help you with controlling water damage, moisture and mold problems

8/8/2022 (Permalink)

Property management, construction and real estate companies in San Antonio, TX face a common challenge from water damage, moisture and mold problems.  As insurance premiums rise to offset the cost of these challenges, real estate industry professionals and insurers must work together to achieve reasonable solutions.

Is media hype making the problems worse?  You Decide!

Since January 1, 2000, more than 8,000 articles have been published on the subject of “toxic” mold

“However according the Center for Disease Control and Prevention “There are very few case reports that toxic molds inside homes can cause unique or rare healthy conditions. The common health concern from molds include hay fever-like allergic symptoms.”

Facts About Mold

·        Mold has existed since ancient times.

·        The human species has always lived in the presence of mold.

·        There are over 100,000+ species of mold identified.  The unique flavor of bleu cheese is produced by mold.

·        We are constantly exposed to thousands of different types of fungi in our everyday lives.  Certain types of fungi tend to exist naturally in soils, plants, fruits and textiles. Exposure to these fungi in naturally occurring doses is generally not harmful to health.

Mold Needs the Right Environment to Grow

·        Water, moisture or high humidity

·        Food (any organic substance)

·        The right temperature (generally 68-86 degrees F, but some can grow in 30 degrees or colder)

·        Lack of ventilation

·        Mold presents greater challenges to young children, the elderly and other immunosuppressed people.

·        Some molds can produce toxins if the environmental conditions are right.

The good news is there are things you can do to reduce the growth of mold.

An Ounce of Prevention Can Protect You

The most important step you can take is to identify and humidity, moisture or water damage problems before they create bigger problems such as mold growth or structural damage.

§  Periodically inspect your building or home inside and out

§  Look for any water or moisture. Pay special attention around pipes, in basements and crawl spaces. If you see a problem, call SERVPRO of Alamo Heights to identify the extent of the damage.  Sometimes moisture in ceilings or wall cavities cannot be seen.  This provides perfect conditions for mold growth.  SERVPRO of Alamo Heights can identify this moisture and remove it.

§  Your nose knows! Musty and moldy odors may be an indicator of growing molds.  Your sense of smell may alert you to potential problems you cannot see.  Remember, the key to protecting your home or business is to identify a problem early, before it gets worse.

§  Control humidity in bathrooms and wherever water is repeatedly used. Exhaust fans, proper caulking and effective cleaning with an appropriate cleaning product will keep problems away.

§  Business: make sure your Emergency Response Plan includes vendors that have the proper personnel and reserves and guarantees response 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  This especially includes plumbers and restoration vendors like SERVPRO of Alamo Heights. 

§  Regularly have your HVAC system and air conditioner inspected to identify moisture problems or drain clogs.

Hurricane Season is happening, Are you ready?

8/8/2022 (Permalink)

Hurricane season has officially begun.  For the Atlantic, the season begins June 1 and runs through November 30th.  The Eastern Pacific hurricane season began in mid-May and also ends November 30th.  Hurricanes can be life threatening as well as cause serious property threatening hazards such as flooding, storm surge, high winds and tornadoes.  Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane.  Plan an escape route, take inventory of your property, and take steps to protect your home or business.

For more tips and preparation tips, visit the Ready campaign website at www.ready.gov/hurricanes

We are here to help, whether it is here in San Antonio or across the country. 

Call Us Today! SERVPRO of Alamo Heights 210-822-2063

Understanding Weather and Storm Alerts | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

a red and white severe weather alert sign If you suspect any damage to your home from a recent storm, call SERVPRO of Alamo Heights.

One of the unique things about the United States is the different types of weather that vary across the nation. From humid and hot summers to ice cold winters, we have it all.

With all of this weather comes the potential for severe threats every season. In fact, the United States has at least 42 different kinds of weather alerts, and they are broken down into six different categories.

When you are in the middle of severe weather, trying to decipher any sort of alert can be confusing if you are not prepared. Thankfully, we really only need to fully understand the types of alerts that affect us here in Alamo Heights.

Alert Creation

Weather forecasting is a series of predictions that meteorologists make that attempt to forecast how different weather situations will play out. Even though they are simply predictions, a lot of research and model interpreting go into each one to make them as accurate as possible.

The National Weather Service is the large organization that is responsible for creating the forecasts all across the nation. They are broken down into six regional offices across the country to help keep the forecasts more localized. Our office is in the Southern Region and is actually located right in Texas in Fort Worth.

When the NWS creates their forecasts, staff use data from radar, seismic activity, solar patterns and other model predictions. From that forecast, then they send out any corresponding alerts. They attempt to be as accurate as possible to make sure the right people are informed of any incoming threats.

Is It a Watch or a Warning?

Understanding the difference between a watch and a warning is of the utmost importance. They are two very simple concepts, but a warning carries a much larger risk than a watch. This language is actually universal across most weather risks.

If a watch is issued in our area, that simply means an incoming storm or weather event has the potential to turn into a more severe threat. Whether the storm is particularly strong or the current weather (heat, humidity, etc) is just right, this is the time to keep an eye on the sky.

If a watch turns into a warning, you should seek shelter immediately. When a warning is issued, there is a dangerous storm or situation present and everyone should be inside and out of the elements.

In Alamo Heights, we commonly see severe storms, tornadoes and flash flooding problems. We are located in “flash flood alley,” after all! It is important to understand each of the corresponding alerts for these events so you can properly prepare for them.

Your Home and Property

Preparing your home in advance of a storm can help minimize damages. If you are aware of any watches before they turn into warnings, you have more time to get ready for any impending weather.

Removing or securing outdoor furniture and clearing your gutters reduces the risk of water issues and property damage. It is also a good idea to take inventory of your emergency kit and make sure it is placed in your safe shelter location.

If you end up suffering damages from a storm, don’t forget to take pictures of the damage, and then call us at SERVPRO of Alamo Heights. Storm damage restoration is our specialty, and we are passionate about helping our community recover after any type of damage.

Understanding the weather risks associated with our area and knowing the differences between the various alerts will help keep you and your family safe this season.

Experienced storm damage to your home or property? Contact us today for a quick response!

Summertime Fun & Fire Safety | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

a close up view of a bright campfire burning at night If you have experienced fire or smoke damage, contact SERVPRO of Alamo Heights.

One of the best things about summertime is the increased opportunities to enjoy time outside with family and friends. Being able to have a bonfire or light up a grill for a family barbecue creates lasting memories.

When it comes to these fun activities, we rely on fire to help us accomplish our tasks. Every time we choose to light a fire, however, it increases our risk of danger and the risk of starting a wildfire.

The National Park Service sees wildfires often, and they believe that 85% of wildfires are started by humans.

By incorporating some easy-to-follow fire safety tips into your daily life, you can help reduce that large percentage! As long as you are responsible with fire, you can still enjoy all of your favorite activities.

Grill Safety and Bonfire Use

When grills, fire pits and fireworks are used, the risk of an accident occurring is heightened. The reason that wildfires are so often associated with these activities is because these types of fires can get out of control quickly or are often regarded with minimal risk.

Grills actually are known to start approximately 8,800 home fires. To reduce your risk, never leave a lit grill unattended and do a safety inspection before every use to ensure the gas lines and propane tanks are working properly.

If your family loves to have campfires or backyard bonfires, choosing a safe location for them is the key to safety. Avoid flammable surfaces, vehicles and anything that would increase the risk of catching fire.

Use only matches or lighters to get it going, and then stick to firewood only once your fire is established. Using gas or any other chemical substance to accelerate the flames is very dangerous.

While the 4th of July has passed this year, if you are considering lighting off fireworks for any other celebration this year, keep in mind that Texas law only permits the sale of fireworks during certain times of the year, and each town and location in Texas has different rules to abide by.

Additional Outdoor Fire Hazards

If you are a homeowner, chances are you need to set aside time each fall to burn off brush or dead vegetation to keep your property cleaned up and looking nice. If you do burn often in your backyard, it is very important that you check on any local burn bans before you light anything on fire. When it gets hot and dry in the middle of the summer, any personal fires can get out of hand quickly.

If you do decide it is safe to start a yard waste burning project, you must have a good understanding on what can be burned. This will help keep your risk low and allow you to safely complete your project. Also check on any local weather conditions and avoid any days that are very windy or particularly dry.

Improperly stored gasoline is also a very common reason for house fires. If you have any gas cans in your shed or garage, get them up off of the floor and make sure they are out of reach of any small children.

If you do unfortunately fall victim to fire damage to your home or property, SERVPRO of Alamo Heights is here to help. We are a team of highly skilled individuals, and we will begin the fire restoration process as quickly as we are able.

Burn safely outdoors. And save some chocolate for us! If you have experienced fire or smoke damage, contact us today to get restoration started faster.

Commercial Damages in Central Texas | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

6/21/2022 (Permalink)

a large commercial building with extensive damage to roof and siding SERVPRO of Alamo Heights is your local commercial disaster team. Contact us to learn more about our commercial damage restoration services.

Businesses make up the backbone of our country. Whether you are a business owner yourself or have a favorite spot that you visit often, businesses are the cornerstone to our lives.

Owning a business can be stressful enough, but when disaster strikes and you are faced with unexpected damages, it can be very costly and can even cause businesses to close if the damage is severe enough.

The cost of damage that comes from natural disasters is inching up over the years in the United States. The NCEI reports that over the last few years, our country has suffered an average of $153 billion worth of damage annually. That is a significant leap compared to previous years.

In central Texas, we are no stranger to thunderstorms and tornadoes. We are right on the edge of one of the most volatile areas in the country for tornadoes!

Do you remember the tornado that touched down in Alamo Heights in February 2017? This EF-2 tornado damaged some gas stations, Carousel Court and the front of the local Edward Jones building. This system caused major damage to our area and local businesses.

Below are some issues that commonly plague business owners and some suggestions to help reduce the risk of damage to your own businesses.

Water Damage

Water damage or excessive moisture is always a large threat to business owners. A storm or a flash flood, or even an overflowing washing machine, can cause a water headache for your business. It can be costly and extensive to repair or replace things following the damage.

If the water comes from an external source, it can seep through doors and through your foundation and actually degrade the structural integrity of your business facility’s foundation. If you haven’t graded the property around your business, consider getting the work done to help keep unwanted water away from your building.

Water damage can also take over slowly from a drip or small leak that goes unnoticed. Inspect your plumbing and appliances regularly to help stop any water in its tracks.

Storm Damage

Storm damage is a very common problem for business owners, and if you own your business long enough, chances are you will encounter this problem at least once.

Strong storms rip off roofs or siding and can break windows. Even seemingly minor storms can cause power outages, and if you rely on any sort of refrigeration for your business, that loss of power can be devastating to your product.

Storms with straight line or very high winds over 100 mph can completely demolish buildings and uproot trees. Consider reinforcing your roof and installing storm-protective window coverings to help diminish the risk of severe damage to your building.

Calling Us to Help

If the damage to your business is severe enough, it can force unwanted closures while the repairs are being done. Closures make businesses suffer.

Thankfully, that’s what SERVPRO of Alamo Heights is here for! We will answer your call day or night and will get you back on track as soon as we can. We will start the restoration process quickly to get you back into business before you know it.

If you have experienced damage to your business or want to learn more about our commercial damage restoration services, contact us today. We’re here to act fast, 247.

Fire Safety Starts With You | SERVPRO® of Alamo Heights

6/5/2022 (Permalink)

interior view of a room with items completely destroyed by fire If your home is damaged in a house fire, SERVPRO of Alamo Heights is here to help. Contact us for any fire restoration need.

In the first five months of 2022, the American Red Cross responded to more than 20,000 house fires. While that number may seem unfathomable, that total is unfortunately not even the full total of house fires that have already occurred in 2022.

Your first line of defense is always a reliable smoke detector on each level of your home. But in addition to the solid protection that a smoke detector brings to your household, there are a few other things you can do to ensure you are minimizing your fire risk as much as you are able.

Organizing and Decluttering

What is the most cluttered and disorganized room or space in your home? If you immediately think of a hallway, stairwell, or a doorway (shoes, shoes and more shoes), you have created a fire hazard in your own home.

Not only is the excess a tripping hazard in the event that you need to exit your home quickly, but it also adds fuel to a fire if the clutter is flammable.

With the weather ramping up for the sweltering summer months here in Alamo Heights, it is incredibly important to make sure your air conditioning unit is free of blockages and any fire danger. Keep the unit free of piles of old grass clippings or fallen leaves. Inside your home, make sure your venting system is cleaned regularly.

If you are a woodworker, sawdust is highly flammable and a very dangerous thing to leave behind in a shop. Take care to continually wipe down your work area to ensure a safe environment.

Preventing Fire During Droughts

While our county is currently in a moderate drought alert, it could quickly turn into a severe or exceptional drought with the right climate conditions.

Since our area is so dry, it is very important to make sure fire restriction rules are being followed and the utmost care is being taken to handle dry brush, grass clippings and any other dry vegetation properly. Don’t let it pile up around your house or block any important venting or air units.

Defensible Spaces, Explained

Your yard can also be used to strategically battle fires! By planting trees and other landscaping plants, you can create a barrier between the fire source and your home. This gives your fire crew valuable time to get to you, and it also protects your home.

States like California have actually enforced defensible zone regulations because of their effectiveness time and time again. Especially in years of drought like we are in, it is smart to adopt some of these practices.

Clean It Or Lose It

Once you have tended to the clutter in your home, simple cleaning tasks come next! Stay on top of your dusting, stove cleaning and chimney inspections to make sure you are giving your home the best defenses in case of a fire.

And a simple dusting every week can make the difference between a minor problem and a major problem.

Thankfully, it doesn’t take a lot of work to help combat house fires on your own. Even the simple act of spot-cleaning throughout your week can make a huge difference.

Our homes do so much for us—they keep us safe and dry and let us relax after long days. Take care of it by adopting some of these ideas into your weekly routine.

If you have experienced fire damage or want to learn more about our fire damage restoration services, contact us today. We’re here to act fast, 247.