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Snow and Cold Bring Frozen Pipes

1/31/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Truck in front of house Day or Night SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South will be there if you have damage from Broken Pipes.

Why Are Frozen Pipes Dangerous?

Frozen pipes are a problem for a couple of reasons. They can create an inconvenience but, more seriously, can cause major damage to your property.

  • Lack of Running Water– The most obvious danger of a frozen pipe is the inability to access running water. This can interfere with your tenant’s ability to do everyday tasks such as washing the dishes or taking a shower. It is a landlord’s responsibility to make sure his or her tenants have running water.
  • Potential to Burst- The second problem that can occur when a pipe freezes is that the pipe actually bursts. Once the actual water in the pipe freezes, pressure is created between the closed faucet and the blockage that can build up to a point that causes the pipe to explode. If the pipe bursts outside, this could also create dangerous slippery conditions while the temperatures are below freezing.

 Signs of Frozen Pipes

  • The Temperature Is Right- Pipes cannot freeze if it is not cold enough outside for them to do so. Water does not freeze when it is 60 degrees Fahrenheit outside, and neither do pipes. When the temperature falls to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you should begin to take precautions to prevent vulnerable pipes from freezing.
  • There Is Frost on the Pipe- For pipes that can actively be seen, such as those under sinks, you may be able to see frost that has accumulated on the exterior of the pipe. This can serve as a warning sign that the pipe is frozen before you ever try to turn on the faucet.
  • No Water Is Coming Out of the Faucet- Another sign that you may have a frozen pipe on your hands is lack of running water. If you or a tenant turn on a kitchen or bathroom faucet and only a slight trickle of water or no water at all comes out, the water pipe leading to the faucet may be frozen.
  • Strange Smells- A fourth potential sign of a blocked pipe is an odd smell coming from a faucet or drain. If the pipe is partially or completely blocked, the only way the odor can escape is back up in the direction of your property.

How Much Does a Frozen Pipe Cost to Fix?

It is very difficult to estimate the cost of fixing a frozen pipe because each situation is so unique. Two factors that play a huge role in cost are the location of the pipe and whether the pipe has burst.

If you are able to easily access the blockage, such as a pipe under a kitchen sink, you might be able to thaw the blockage for free using a hair dryer or hot rags.

If the blockage is buried in a wall, fixing the issue will become more expensive. You may spend a few hundred dollars cutting open sheetrock to find the problem or more than a thousand if you need to hire a plumber to find and thaw out the blockage.

If a frozen pipe bursts You have a flooding issue on your hands, you could be faced with thousands of dollars of damage. You will have to hire a plumber to fix the burst pipe and then you will have to deal with fixing any damage the water has caused inside your property. If you have the property insurance, they should help cover some of these costs. In cleaning up the mess the water will leave behind you can count on SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South. We are water cleanup experts.  

Dealing with Fires

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

House after Fire SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South can help you get through the process should you ever deal with a Fire loss.

House Fires: How to prevent them and what to do if you experience one

Every day, 7 people die in house fires- most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. In less than 30 seconds a small flame can evolve into a colossal fire and become life threatening; in less than two minutes your home can be consumed by flames, producing toxic smoke and gases with temperatures hotter than your oven. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths and surprisingly, heat is more dangerous than flames- Room temperature can reach 100° at floor level and a smoldering 600° at eye level. With that being said, smoke and toxic gases are responsible for more deaths than flames and heat.

Kitchen mishaps, electrical sparks, space heaters, playing with matches are all common causes of house fires. However, they are preventable:

  • Do not leave cooking unattended- More than 60% of kitchen fires begin on the stove. Also, do not use stove range to heat your home.
  • Keep grills at least 10 feet away from siding and out from under branches and roof overhangs.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of home fires. ALWAYS smoke outdoors, never in bed, and always use an ashtray, making sure butts are completely stubbed out.
  • NEVER smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off.
  • Replace all worn, old, or damaged appliance cords immediately. Frayed wires = fires!
  • Avoid having multiple appliances plugged into the same receptable and try not to run extension cords underneath rugs.
  • Keep combustible objects at least 3 feet away from portable heating devices, such as portable heaters- Make sure they have a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Remove lint from dryer filter after every use.
  • Change heating and air conditioning filters regularly.
  • Avoid unattended/careless use of candles.
  • Portable generators should never be used indoors.
  • Make sure combustible and flammable liquids are kept away from any heat source.
  • Discuss at least two escape strategies with your family or housemates prior to a fire and designate a meeting spot that is a safe distance from the home.
  • A working smoke detector significantly increases chances of surviving a deadly fire. Place alarms on each floor of your house, even the basement, and if possible, in every bedroom. Test batteries monthly and replace them once a year. Replace the alarms themselves every 8-10 years.
  • *Contact your local fire department for information on obtaining alarms for people with functional needs, i.e. a vibrating or flashing alarm.
  • Have fire extinguishers on each level of the home and/or in fire-prone areas like the kitchen and near the fireplace. Check gauges often to make sure they have a proper charge.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas found in fumes from combustible fuel- it is potentially deadly as it has no odor, taste, or color. Install CO alarms in central locations on each floor of the home, especially outside sleep areas.

Although preventable, fires still occur and figuring out what to do afterward can be an incredibly stressful and overwhelming process; it can be hard to decide what to do first as your mind is running around in a million directions.

  • Immediately call 9-1-1! But make sure you are out of the house before doing so.
  • Call your insurance company. You will most likely receive calls from public adjusters and contractors trying to get your business. It is recommended you speak to no one but your insurance agent.

If you do not have homeowner’s insurance, your family and community might help you get back on your feet. Some organizations that may help are:

  • American Red Cross (ARC).
  • Salvation Army.
  • Religious organizations.
  • Public agencies, such as the public health department.
  • Community Groups.
  • State or municipal emergency services office.
  • Nonprofit crisis- counseling centers.
  • A fire in your home can cause serious damage to your home and many of your belongings may be badly damaged by flames, heat, smoke, and water. In order to fight the fire, firefighters may have broken windows and cut holes on the roof- Ask your agent or adjuster to recommend restoration companies, like SERVPRO, that can help with cleaning up soot or water damage, boarding up windows, and other construction.
  • Contact your landlord or mortgage lender as well as your credit card company to report any cards lost in the fire.
  • Check with an accountant or the IRS about special benefits for people recovering from fire loss.
  • Save undamaged items from any further destruction. Any items not damaged should be put in a safe place, such as a storage facility.

Handle burnt money as little as possible. If money is only partly burnt, you can take it to your regional Federal Reserve Bank to get it replaced or send it to the Treasury:

Bureau of Engraving and Printing

MCD/OFM, Room 344A

14th and C Streets SW

Washington, DC 20228

  • Fully cooperate with the insurance company’s investigation. When a fire claim is reported, it becomes top priority and in most cases the adjuster will be out to see the loss within 24 to 48 hours after receiving the claim.
  • Find somewhere to live if you home is unlivable. Most policies include “Loss of Use or Loss or Rents” coverage, which pays for shelter, food, and clothing you may need- Make sure to let local police know that the site will be vacant.
  • Do not enter your house or apartment unless the fire department says that it’s safe to do so. If utilities are unsafe, they will be turned off- Do not try to turn them on yourself.

 After a fire, your sense of security may be lost, which can significantly disrupt the regularity of daily life and it can become difficult to take care of yourself with so many other anxieties preoccupying your mind. Experiencing such a tragic loss can take an emotional toll on you so pay attention to how you and your loved ones are handling stress, whether related to the fire or not. Make sure to get plenty of rest and ask for help if needed. Watch pets as well for any changes in their behavior. Scared animals often react by biting or scratching. Keep them out of the home until after the cleanup is done to keep them safe.

It is common to experience a variety of reactions such as:

  • Feeling physically or mentally drained.
  • Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused.
  • Becoming easily frustrated more frequently.
  • Becoming more argumentative with family and friends.
  • Feeling overly tired, sad, numb, lonely, or worried.
  • Undergoing changes in appetite or sleep patterns.

Try to accept whatever reactions you experience as most of them are temporary and should go away over time.  If the above reactions hang around for two weeks or longer is it suggested that you seek help from a medical professional.

For more advice on fire prevention and what you should do after a fire, contact SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South at (440) 237-0077.

Common Damage After A Fire.

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

Large apartment SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South can handle your commercial property big or small.

Common Types of Damage After A Fire

When a fire happens on your commercial property, firefighters and sprinkler systems will do everything they can to put the fire out. While this is definitely a good thing, it does create additional considerations for you during the restoration process. In the hours and days after a fire, water cleanup is just as important as removing smoke and fire damage for maintaining the value and integrity of your property. Here are some tips for dealing with common types of damage after a fire:

  1. Direct Fire Damage
    Fire is an incredibly destructive force when allowed to reach high temperatures.Fire cleanup often requires property restorers to simply remove surfaces or items that have been burned. While some items are often possible to restore, electronics, roofing, and structural elements of a building may have to be replaced entirely at the expense of the insurer or property owner.
  2. Water Damage
    Certain items and surfaces are more vulnerable to water damage than others. During the water cleanupphase of restoration, you should dry furniture and other relatively porous possessions as quickly as possible so that mold cannot colonize them. It is also critical that restorers remove any residual water left on your flooring, as this can infiltrate surfaces and cause mold and structural damage.
  3. Smoke Residue
    Smoke can create residues that are both unpleasant to smell and damaging to your belongings. Smoke residue can build up in computers and other electronics, causing them to malfunction and short circuit. Electronics can often be saved through proper smoke cleanup so you should contact a restoration professional experienced in restoring the items you are worried about.
    If you require a water cleanup after a fire in your Northeast Ohio commercial property, you may be concerned that your property will never be restored to its former glory. With the right help, of SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South, many of your things can likely be saved and protected from secondary damage caused by mold and decay.

Drying Wood Floors Fast in Strongsville

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

Salvaging hardwood floors from water damage in Northeast Ohio

While most insurance policies offer coverage for replacing floors, there are many situations where homeowners can save money by drying instead, especially with solid hardwood. Other types of flooring, including engineered hardwood and laminate, are more prone to structural damage, delamination, and other issues that make replacement preferable. Solid hardwood's durability makes it more salvageable and safer to reinstall.  The durability saves you time and costs when it comes to reinstallation, staining, and refinishing.

If a sudden pipe leak causes water damage to floors in your Strongsville residence, professional disaster mitigation technicians at SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South can restore your flooring to its preloss condition. Commercial-grade equipment an eco-friendly, EPA-registered antimicrobial cleaners work in tandem to salvage floors, sub-flooring, and other structures in the home that are affected by water. Technicians always work with both homeowners and insurance adjusters to handle damages and restoration per local, state, and federal regulations.

SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South works fast not only to save flooring but also to preserve the layers of infrastructure that support it. Without proper mitigation, water damaged floors can become distorted and start cupping or buckling. These conditions can also become host to mold and wood rot that affect the safety and integrity of hardwood floors.  After dispatching a team to your home, they can use wand extractors and back-mounted pumps to collect any remaining standing water. Thermal imaging and penetrative and non-penetrative moisture measurement tools can be used to assess the extent of damage to floors and subfloors. We replace non-salvageable planks as needed.

Desiccant dehumidifiers are often necessary to tackle the remaining moisture in hardwood planks due to hardwood's low evaporation rate. These types of industrial dehumidifiers collect moisture from surrounding surfaces by passing it over desiccant materials like silica gel. Heat then evaporates the collected water into an air stream which vents outside of the home. If odors from water damage are evident, OSHA-approved cleaners and ultra low-volume (ULV) fogging deodorizers can be used to eliminate odor-causing particles.

SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South serves the community by being Faster to Any Size Disaster. Call (440) 237-0077 today.

Cuyahoga Book Club!

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

Woman reading books Owner Michal Fosdick reads the book she bought the entire team. Knowledge makes us better in our personal and professional lives she says!

Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.  The team at SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South takes this to heart as we started our first book club.  Our first book was the “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” by John Maxwell.

As we discussed the book weekly among our technicians, office staff and management we learned:

  • A person must always stand on solid ground. Stick to the rules you represent.  Honesty, Fairness and Good Judgement are the foundation.
  • Your co-workers must respect you, but that respect has to be earned on a constant basis. It’s important that you keep earning this respect over time.
  • Hating losing is a good thing – it keeps you focused on winning. Giving up and losing are not valid options.

Should you ever find yourself in dire circumstances, remember that although you might lose everything else—your job, your possessions, your money, even your health—knowledge can never be taken from you. That is what SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South teaches our team.  So if you needs us, we will be there to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Team culture starts at the top!

1/7/2021 (Permalink)

Management staff posing for picture SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South management meets regularly to collaborate on how to become better.

Teamwork requires a mix of interpersonal, problem solving, and communication skills needed for individuals to work together towards a common goal. These skills become even more important when you work with others on a long-term, sustained basis like SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South does.

To serve our customers the best we can we teach how to work constructively as a team and with our clients.  To help build a collaborative team environment, we work to develop and practice the following:

  1. Trust: Be honest; work to eliminate conflicts of interest; avoid talking behind each other’s back; trust teammates (you must trust them before they will trust you); give team members the benefit of the doubt.
  2. Clarify Roles: Review team member roles frequently; clarify responsibilities when action planning; relate team member expectations to team’s overall purpose; figure out ways to help each other.
  3. Communicate Openly & Effectively: Work to clear up misunderstandings quickly and accurately; seek to understand all perspectives; err on the side of over communicating; reinforce and recognize team member efforts. Learn to listen well.
  4. Appreciate Diversity of Ideas: Evaluate a new idea based on its merits; remember that reasonable people can and do differ with one another; avoid remarks that draw negative attention to a person’s unique characteristics; don’t ignore the differences among team members; try to learn as much as you can from others.
  5. Balance the Team’s Focus: Regularly review and evaluate the effectiveness of team meetings; design individual performance goals that emphasize both results and teamwork; praise individual effort; assign specific team members to monitor task needs and others to monitor relationship needs; hold team celebrations for achieving results.

Adapted from Belgrad, W., Fisher, K., & Rayner, S. (1995). Tips for Teams: A Ready Reference for Solving Common Team Problems. McGraw-Hill: New York.

Water Damage Restoration Service for Northeast Ohio Commercial Buildings

12/16/2020 (Permalink)

Semi trailer in front of apartment building SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South was there fast to help minimize damage to this Cleveland, Ohio apartment building.

Sprinkler System Water Damage After Fire

During a recent fire in a Cleveland high rise apartment building the sprinkler system disbursed water to extinguish the fire.  This helped limit the amount of fire damage done to the property.  It also undoubtably saved lives.  Unfortunately, the fire was on the 11th floor and water damaged units all the way to the first floor.  If not properly addressed, you could be left with a moisture problem.  Sprinkler system water damage can include wet drywall, carpet, and other building materials.  Contents in offices and apartments can be damaged such as couches, beds and even electronics can develop mold and mildew. 

Hiring a water restoration professional, like SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South, is the first step to make sure all water damage is addressed and managed with skill to eliminate future damage. Our service will assess the existing water damage and develop a strategy to return your property back to its original, non-damaged state. The plan includes

    • Clearing out possessions: To avoid further damage to possessions made from wood, cloth, or other porous surfaces, we will remove the property and store it in a safe place until ready to return. Some items may need to be replaced depending on the level of damage and whether or not they are able to be restored.
    • Removing the water: Water pumps, water extraction equipment, dehumidifiers, and air movers can be used to remove water efficiently and effectively.
    • Drying the area: Similar to removing the water, dehumidifiers and will be used to help make sure everything is thoroughly dry, in order to avoid mold and mildew from forming.
    • Repairing: When water damage weakens the structure of a building or drywall, or leaves permanent stains on carpeting and upholstery, restoring the property may require construction or additional cleaning services.  

Water Damage Restoration Service for Northeast Ohio Commercial Buildings

SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South’s 24/7 emergency commercial response will help you minimize damage to your property. We work with your insurance carrier from extraction services to rebuild. When you suffer from damage caused by a sprinkler system, burst pipe, heavy rains, or other water related disasters, we will be there and make it “Like it never even happened”.

24/7 Emergency Water Damage Restoration Service at 800-293-9555.

Do you know that water leaks can highly affect you selling your home?

12/16/2020 (Permalink)

House with For Sale sign Don't settle for less. Let SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South help solve damage related to water before you sell!

Do you know that water leaks can highly affect the sale of your home? What's more, they can be a concern for new home buyers. However, most homeowners are usually unaware of the hidden leaks. With cracked pipes, leaking spigot and broken seals water will easily creep into some places it isn't meant to go. The end results will be more visible damages which include rot, damaged flooring, and blistered paint.

A minor water leak can increase your repair bills. But the good news is that you can easily prevent such situations. Noticing a sagging ceiling above your dining room table is easier. When looking for water damages you have to remember that these damages rarely turn up at the water source.

Some damages to expect

  • Mold and mildew growth. With water leaks, you should also expect an unhealthy environment.
  • Permanent water damages to carpets, wood, wallpapers, furnishing and paint. 
  • Contaminated systems – including the ductwork. 
  • Insulation and drywall which need replacement and removal. 
  • If there is water trapped somewhere in your house, poor airflow will become a major problem.

But don't worry, our technicians At SERVPRO of Cuyahoga South are always ready to check out problems and offer solutions.

Smoke Detectors Save Lives!

11/22/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke alarm showing battery Have you checked your smoke alarm battery? If not, check it today!

Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries.

Here’s what you need to know!

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Larger homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Be sure to test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure that the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms are more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions yet mitigate false alarms.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

Safety Tips During a Lightning Storm

11/18/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning over Cleveland Lightning storms can be dangerous. Know what to do to help keep you safe.

Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. Though the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000, some factors can put you at greater risk for being struck.

Here are a few lightning safety tips:

  • Be aware. Check the forecast before participating in outdoor activities. If it calls for thunderstorms, postpone your trip or activity, or make sure adequate safe shelter is available.
  • Go indoors. Remember the phrase, “When thunder roars, go indoors.” Find a safe enclosed shelter when you hear thunder. Safe shelters include homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with the windows rolled up.
  • Avoid windows, doors, porches and concrete. Do not lie on concrete floors and avoid leaning on concrete walls. Lighting can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.
  • Avoid water. Do not bathe, shower, wash dishes, or have any other contact with water during a thunderstorm because lightning can travel through a building’s plumbing.