Recent Posts

Why Does Mold Happen? Here are a Few Reasons

11/22/2021 (Permalink)

The key to mold control in Pulaski, TN is moisture control. Understanding how to control mold in your commercial building can help employees feel more comfortable in their work environment while preventing expensive repairs from mold and water damage. It's important to perform routine maintenance so you can pinpoint potential water entry issues and properly address them early before they have the chance to become a critical issue. This article will provide you with helpful knowledge necessary to understand why mold can happen in your commercial building in the first place.

Understanding Mold-Causing Condensation

Mold is everywhere and can't be completely eliminated. However, it requires moisture to thrive and spread. Knowing what can cause that condensation will help you pinpoint problem spots and solve them before they can become serious issues.

Condensation forms when warm air encounters a colder surface. Cold surfaces naturally occur with large temperature differences between the inside and the outside of a building. This naturally occurring event where water vapor moves through building materials from moist to dry air is called Diffusion.

Capillary Action, where small openings or pores in building materials allow water to wick upwards into the building, can be another source of water entry. This can be seen in materials like drywall, wood flooring, plywood, and other water-sensitive building materials.

Stack Effect is where moist air rises from a crawlspace or basement into the building's living spaces.

Another source of condensation or water damage can be forceful winds. When the wind combines with driving rain, water can seep into a commercial building or home through cracks and crevices that are normally unseen.

Proper ventilation, building design & maintenance, and a well-functioning AC system help prevent that condensation from becoming a mold-causing issue.

Common Sources of Moisture and Water Damage

The most common place you'll see condensation is on windows, especially if they are foggy or have water spots. Window condensation happens when cool outside air encounters warm indoor air near the window.

Air conditioning ducts are notorious for collecting moisture that then causes mold to grow inside them. The best thing to do to prevent AC issues is to establish a routine maintenance schedule to ensure proper functioning HVAC systems.

Vinyl Wallpaper can also often harbor mold behind it because of diffusion. If installed on outer walls that are more exposed to temperature differences, this issue is more likely to occur.

Condensation on cool metal surfaces such as copper pipes can be another common source of moisture and mold.

Failing building vapor barriers can be more serious moisture and mold-causing issues. When building foundations or walls are installed, usually vapor barriers such as 6mil plastic sheeting, house wrap, or primer paint are also installed to create waterproofing separation between the inside and outside of the building. If too many holes, ruptures, cracks, or damage occur to these vapor barriers, moisture entry is much more likely to occur.

While there are many potential causes for moisture and water damage to a home, getting rid of and preventing mold isn't just an aesthetic matter. That's why SERVPRO of Maury & Giles Counties uses advanced protocols to quickly locate, identify and remediate mold infestations in your home.

Call us today at (931) 388-4248 for rapid 24-hour assistance.

What are the Types of Fire? Understanding Smoke & Soot

11/12/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Damaged Home with charred building materials throughout the picture Fire Damaged Home

How does fire damage your home in Pulaski or Columbia? Depending on what kind of materials burn, the short-term and long-term effects of fire can change significantly. After a fire with incomplete combustion, soot is often left over. To get your home back to normal after a fire, you need to remove the soot from surfaces, especially from non-heat resistant surfaces, such as walls and windows, but also from other areas that have been contaminated by smoke or soot.

Knowing what kinds of soot are left over from a fire will help you clean more effectively. This is because protein residues, natural substance residues, and synthetic residues behave and are cleaned differently from each other. Understanding which type is present before a fire restoration, will help shed light on the cleaning process to follow.

The Science Behind Smoke & Soot

Smoke and soot particles occur when there is incomplete combustion in a fire. Combustion is a process where fuel, oxygen, and heat combine to rapidly oxidize substances. That oxidization process leaves soot particles. When you burn propane from a gas tank, there is usually enough oxygen around the fire to produce a perfectly clean burn with almost no soot residue. However, if you reduce the amount of oxygen available, more and more soot is left over due to this incomplete combustion. Besides soot particles, volatile organic compounds in the form of gasses are often left over, many of which have been shown to be carcinogenic.

Natural Substance Soot & Smoke

Natural Substance Residues are usually left over when paper or wood is burned. This kind of residue tends to be grey to black and has a dry, powder-like texture.  This type of residue, when pure, tends to be quick to clean with vacuums and a combination of wet and dry cleaning techniques. These are usually the easiest kinds of soot residues to clean when compared to the other 2 main types of soot particles after a fire. 

Synthetic Soot & Smoke

This kind of soot residue, sometimes described as oily soot or oily smoke, produces a thick, heavy black substance that tends to smear when touched. In some cases, it can even appear almost like a black spider web. When left undisturbed on a surface, it can sometimes be vacuumed away, but if touched, it will tend to smudge and become more difficult to clean. Plastics, and synthetic materials are the usual culprits for this kind of soot residue.

Protein Soot & Smoke

Protein residue occurs when meat, fish, beans, or other protein-containing substances are overcooked or burned. This kind of soot appears yellow to brown, and feels greasy and sticky. Water-based cleaning solutions work well with this kind of soot as long as the surface it is on can be wet cleaned.

How Do You Clean After a Fire?

Smoke and soot can cause secondary damage to materials when left there for long, and improper cleaning methods can cause more damage to affected materials. This is why when any fire has affected your home or property, it is usually best to call in professionals like SERVPRO of Maury / Giles to make sure your property is restored back "Like it never even happened."

Call us today at (931) 388-4248 for all of your fire restoration and fire cleaning needs.

How To Choose a Smoke Detector

11/10/2021 (Permalink)

white smoke detector and red warning light It is important to use the right smoke alarm for your residence.

There are many types of smoke detectors. This guide will help you select the best smoke alarm for a residence in Lynnville, TN.

Decide On Detection Technology

Various types of alarms rely on different detection methods.

• Ionization generates an electric current that gets disrupted by smoke particles. These alarms are best for detecting small particles from quick-igniting fires.
• Photoelectric detectors contain a strobe light. Large particles from slow, smoldering fires diffract the light. Use this type of detector in the kitchen to prevent false alarms while cooking.
• Dual-sensor models rely on ionization and photoelectric components
• Air-sampling models circulate air through pipes and contain a sensitive sensor to detect smoke
• Combination alarms monitor smoke and carbon monoxide

You can also choose between standard and smart alarms that connect to Wi-Fi to send push notifications to smartphones in the event of an alarm.

Pick a Power Source

A smoke alarm is only effective when a power source is available. Detectors can draw power from

• Replaceable batteries
• 10-year long-life lithium batteries
• Hardwired electricity

Switch out replaceable batteries once or twice a year. Some building codes require that detectors be hardwired.

Provide Complete Protection

Install standard fire alarms in every bedroom, outside of every sleeping area, and on each floor of a home – including the basement. Smart alarms may detect the presence of smoke in a larger area. You can also hardwire alarms together or use a smart listening device to detect the sound of any smoke detector and send a notification.

Maintain Fire Safety

Test each detector once a month. Switch out replaceable batteries every six months or at least once a year. You can also clean detector vents with compressed air while a unit is disconnected.

It is important to use the right smoke alarm for your residence in Lynnville, TN. If your home sustains damage, hire fire mitigation and restoration specialists.

How To Choose Flood Coverage for Your Business

11/10/2021 (Permalink)

Water inside a lobby of a building Stormwater in a Columbia, TN business.

Flood Insurance For Your Business

The National Flood Insurance Program offers both building property and personal property flood coverage for businesses. If your business is located in an area prone to flooding, chances are that you are required to have some type of flood policy. Commercial insurance policies that are specifically designed to cover single-peril events provide protection that your general property insurance does not.

What It Covers

The main differences between building property and personal property flood insurance are the relative mobility and permanence of the damaged item or material. Items that are part of the structure or are hooked up to it in some way are usually covered under the building property policy:

  • Building and its foundation
  • HVAC system
  • Plumbing and electrical systems
  • Fire sprinkler system
  • Installed design features such as carpeting or paneling
  • Machinery that is a permanent part of the structure, such as a walk-in freezer
  • Any apparatus attached to the outside of the building

Commercial insurance coverage for your personal property during a flood includes most items inside the structure. Furniture, appliances, rugs, inventory and equipment are typically covered under an NFIP policy through FEMA.

What It Doesn't Cover

Flood coverage is usually limited to a single event, the structure and the items within that structure. Secondary damage such as mold, which must be mitigated by mold remediation experts, is not covered under your company's flood policy. If the sewer backs up into your building, your commercial flood coverage does not pay for its cleanup, even if it was indirectly caused by flooding. Anything outside the building is not covered, and neither are the costs of keeping your business going. It's a good idea to talk to your insurance agent about adding policies that cover what the flood policies don't to your portfolio.

When your business in Columbia, TN, floods due to a storm or natural disaster, you will be glad you have a policy with the NFIP. These commercial insurance policies are designed to help make your business whole again.

Remember the 3 S’s After a Fire

10/28/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke on ceiling and kitchen cabinets Smoke and soot damage in Mount Pleasant, TN.

Fire Safety Tips

Experiencing a fire in your home can be distressing, to say the least. The healing process involves your mind, body, spirit – and your finances. Through fire restoration, it is possible to salvage some of your belongings and treasures. Consider guiding your actions by these three S’s—safety, swiftness and smarts.

1. Safety is always first. Upon entering your impaired residence, be aware of unsafe floors, walls and ceilings weakened by fire or water. Do not touch damaged items. Leave smoke cleaning to the experts. Check the gas. If there is any suspected leak, use a wrench to turn off the gas meter. Avoid any wires that look unsafe, and unplug all appliances. Discard any food that has been exposed to smoke.

2. Swift action after a fire is often imperative. Contact your fire insurance company and review your policy. Detail your home’s damage through written documents and photographs. Contact a reputable and expert business that handles fire restoration in Mount Pleasant, TN, as soon as possible to increase your chances of salvaging any items.

3. When it comes to emergencies, it is especially important to keep your smarts. This means that you ensure you are dealing with knowledgeable, trustworthy and professional people every step of the way, from reporting your damage to smoke cleaning and restoring your home. While your dwelling is uninhabitable, report it to police so they can help patrol the area if possible. Cover any broken windows or outside walls exposing the interior. Smarts also includes taking care of yourself. There are many nonprofit organizations and churches in Mount Pleasant, TN, that offer counseling, food and clothing to individuals who have been through similar tragedies.

By remembering to be safe, swift and smart in handling the fire restoration of your home, your mind, body and spirit may be stronger. The steps above can help you take the right action to return to your residence as soon as possible.

Get Your Home Mold Problem Under Control

10/28/2021 (Permalink)

Black mold growth on the corner of a wall Black mold damage in Lynnville, TN.

Prevent Mold Growth In Your Home

Many think of mold as an outdoor problem, but in truth, there’s no such thing as a mold-free home. There’s only a home free of the conditions required to allow mold spores in the air to flourish and grow. That’s why you can take precautions to keep your Lynnville, TN, home from turning into a breeding ground for black mold.

Prevention First

You don’t want to have a mold problem and then figure out how to fix it. It’s better to never have a mold problem at all through dedicated mold prevention. Water damage is one of the major culprits in mold growth; if you have mold, odds are you have a leak or have recently suffered flood damage. Here are a few ways to check for water damage that can lead to mold.

• Watch for dark spots on walls and ceilings. Dark spots are usually water damage caused by leaking roofs and windows, sometimes by damaged or leaking pipes. Don’t forget to check for out-of-the-way places, such as under sinks.
• Listen for dripping pipes and inspect periodically. As mentioned, damaged and leaking pipes can create an environment ripe for mold growth.
• Eliminate standing water. You might not think much of getting out of the shower and leaving a dripping mess, but that water can seep under your bathroom floor tiles and start mold breeding underneath the linoleum. Look for other sources of standing water, such as splashed dishwater or leaks beneath appliances.
• Control humidity. Your bathroom fan is a great way to get rid of mold-causing steam and condensation; your stove should also have a fan for the same reason. If your environment is extremely humid, invest in a dehumidifier.

Remediation Next

When mold prevention isn’t enough, you need remediation next. Mold remediation involves professionals assessing the extent of your mold problem and taking steps to eliminate as much as possible from your environment. Mold remediation specialists can also offer advice on further prevention after a cleanup.

If You Rent, Who Is Liable for Fire Damage?

10/28/2021 (Permalink)

Apartment building on fire Apartment fire in Columbia, TN.

Who Is Liable for Fire Damage If You Rent?

When tenants occupy a rental property in Columbia, TN and that property is subsequently damaged by an apartment fire, it can be confusing to work out who’s liable for any damages and items lost in the fire. The tenants don’t own the building but they do still pay to occupy it, so if there’s a fire, who’s responsible for covering the damage?

Understanding Building Liability vs. Content Liability

The difference is determined by who actually owns the property that’s been damaged in an apartment fire. The proprietor owns the building and thus is liable for any structural damage to the building – that means damage to the walls, roofing, fixtures, pipes, and so forth. The tenant owns the contents of their apartment and is liable for those items. Items that tenants may be liable for include:

• Electronics such as televisions, stereos, and DVD players
• Clothing
• Furniture
• Personally owned kitchen appliances
• Art and other decorations
• Books
• Pet care items
• Vehicles or bicycles damaged during the fire
• Personal belongings with or without sentimental value

There may be some confusion regarding appliances, as some appliances will be owned by the tenant and some by the property owner. For example, a refrigerator or stove that was installed before a tenant moved in belongs to the property owner, and thus the owner is liable for any fire damage. However, a coffee maker or toaster likely belongs to the tenant, and the tenant is liable. Determination is made purely on who covered the cost of purchase/ownership.

So What Happens After the Fire?

After the fire, damages are usually assessed by both damage remediation companies and insurance companies. Building owners should have adequate insurance to cover any damage to their properties in the event of an apartment fire. Many tenants do not invest in renter’s insurance, but renter’s insurance usually covers the cost of replacing any destroyed or fire-damaged items that tenants are liable for.

Avoiding Sprinkler Floods: Why Sprinkler Inspections Matter to Your Business

9/26/2021 (Permalink)

Clogged pipe. Irrigation maintenance is vital to the functionality of your sprinkler system.

Sprinkler flooding can cost a business thousands, and if it happens to your business, the best option may be to look in the local Pulaski, TN, area for restoration specialists. However, you may be able to prevent the hassle by performing routine irrigation maintenance and avoiding the following irrigation pitfalls:

1. Avoid Broken or Misaligned Heads

One common cause of sprinkler flooding is a broken sprinkler head; however, the head does not have to be entirely wrecked to cause damage, it can merely be misaligned. Sprinklers end up broken and misaligned in any number of ways, lawnmowers being the most common, but one way to avoid this damage is to install sprinklers on a swing pipe so that they are suspended in the soil.

2. Avoid Costs of Leaky Seals

Another common cause of flooding occurs because of leaky seals. Wiper seals are not made to last forever, and after years of exposure to debris and possible collisions with lawn equipment, these seals wear away or fail. Left unchecked by irregular Irrigation maintenance, these seals can continue to drip costing businesses possibly thousands in wasted water.

3. Avoid Costs of Damaged Pipes

In addition to leaky seals, businesses should be aware of the potential costs from damaged pipes. As pipes are located underground, business owners should inspect the property for any pooling of water or unusual divots because these can be signs of leaks and damage in the lines. If not addressed, this can also cost the business thousands in water alone.

4. Avoid Clogs

While the costs associated with leaks may not be concern enough for businesses to begin biannual inspections of their irrigation systems, they shouldn’t underestimate the risks related to simple clogs. Left unchecked, a clog or blockage in the line can create a buildup of water pressure, possibly resulting in burst pipes and even complete system failure.

Irrigation maintenance is vital to the functionality of your sprinkler system because routine maintenance helps you avoid the common issues above while potentially saving you thousands in costly repairs later.

What You Need To Know About Floods as a First Responder

9/19/2021 (Permalink)

Flood defense. Your unit will provide you with proper training as well and ensure that you are equipped to respond to a flood call safely and effectively.

If you're an aspiring first responder, know that you will be required to attend a lot of flood scenes, especially if you live in a flood plain. For this reason, most emergency teams require responders to undergo rigorous flood training and to obtain certain immunizations. Some of the following vaccinations are required, while others are merely recommended:

• Tetanus required
• Hepatitis B required
• Hepatitis A recommended
• Typhoid recommended
• Cholera recommended
• Meningococcal recommended
• Rabies recommended

Whether a vaccine is required or recommended, the Columbia, TN, flood restoration experts recommend making sure you are up-to-date on all seven of the above vaccines. You never know what illnesses or diseases you may be exposed to on each flood response mission, and you can do your job best if you can respond with peace of mind.

Additional First Responder Requirements

In addition to receiving the required immunizations, there are other requirements you must fulfill before going on your first rescue mission. For one, you need to complete a state-approved emergency responder course. Most courses are about 40 hours and take approximately 30 days to complete.

You also need to obtain your CPR certificate from an accredited organization. Two reputable organizations whose certificates are accepted just about anywhere include the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health.

Once you successfully graduate from the emergency responder course and obtain CPR certification, you can either get your immunizations and start working or go on to take the certification exam for career advancement. There are several reputable organizations that offer this test, the results from which are recognized nationwide.

Of course, your unit will provide you with proper training as well and ensure that you are equipped to respond to a flood call in a safe and effective manner. To learn more about what you need to do to become a first responder, contact your local flood damage control professionals.

Understanding the Basics of Mold

9/14/2021 (Permalink)

Woman looking at mold growth on wall and ceiling. When you understand what causes black mold to grow, it is easier to prevent it.

If you notice a dark, fuzzy substance growing in the corner of your living room, you likely have a black mold problem. Mold is a fungus that grows anywhere there is organic matter and water to feed it. When you own a home in Lynnville, TN, it is important to understand the basics of mold and how to get rid of it if you find it in your house.

The Mold Growth Trifecta

Anywhere there is a moisture problem, there is the possibility of mold growth. Mold needs three things to really thrive:

• A little extra moisture
• An organic surface to attach to and feed on
• A warm environment, roughly between 78 and 85 degrees

Mold is present everywhere. Patches of mold can form without a warm climate, but it won't multiply as rapidly. The closer the environment comes to matching mold's ideal home, the harder it is to keep black mold under control.

Your Mold Prevention Plan

While mitigation experts can perform mold cleanup, the best plan is prevention. The first strategy is robbing mold of one or more of its preferred environmental factors. Keeping your home cooler decreases humidity. The less humid your home is, the less likely it is to develop a mold problem. Even if you see a mold problem forming, a suddenly cooler, drier atmosphere can slow its growth. Another way to slow down the growth of mold is to keep the surfaces of your home clean. Mold attaches easily to dust, grease and other types of grime. Knowing prevention measures can be helpful if it takes a couple of days for the technicians to arrive to fix the problem or if their process gets delayed in the middle of remediation.

When you understand what causes black mold to grow, it is easier to prevent it. By controlling moisture, dirt, and temperature, you are less likely to see mold growing in your home.