Recent Posts

Deep Frying a Turkey Safely

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Every holiday people are lured in by the promise of moist, sweet turkey meat and the deep turkey fryer has become an increasingly popular way to make a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  However, cooking up Tom the Turkey in a vat of boiling oil does come with many dangers.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year deep-fryer fires are responsible for five deaths, 60 injuries, the destruction of 900 homes and more than $15 million in property damage.

Therefore it is most important to follow a few safety precautions if you choose to fry a turkey for the holidays.

  • Don’t Deep Fry a Frozen Turkey

Frozen turkeys are full of moisture, and we all know how water and hot oil don’t mix well.  Make sure that your turkey is completely thawed before trying to fry it.

  • Turkey Fryers can Easily Tip Over

Be sure that you place your turkey fryer on solid footing so that it will not tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.

  • Don’t Let Oil Get Too Hot

When oil gets around 400-425 degrees it can catch on fire by itself.  Most fryers do not have thermostat controls, and it would be prudent to have a thermometer to make sure you keep the oil below 400 degrees.

  • Don’t Use Too Much Oil

An overfilled cooking pot can cause oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and when the oil runs down next to the flame on the burner, a catastrophic fire could result.

  • Never Deep-Fry Indoors or in a Garage

The best place to use a turkey fryer is on a level spot out in your yard away from the house or anything flammable.

May these tips help you and your family to enjoy a safe holiday with a delicious fried turkey. Remember to call SERVPRO® of Gwinnett County SE if you have any water, fire or mold problems during the holidays. Call us at 770-448-5782. We can help 24/7.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Frigid winter temperatures can cause pipes to freeze. While we can’t control the weather, there are things we can do to prevent pipes from freezing. We’ve pulled together tips to help prevent frozen pipes and a list of suggestions for you to follow if they do.

Frozen water pipes and the damage they can cause are a reality for thousands of people each year. That’s especially the case when you are at below freezing temperatures for an extended period of time.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety says a burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in water damage. That’s because the damage can be extensive.

To prevent pipes from freezing and causing major damage, follow these steps:

  • Drain water from pipes that are likely to freeze. This includes your swimming pool and sprinkler water supply lines.
  • Disconnect any hoses from the outside of your home, drain the hoses and store them in the garage. Make sure to close the indoor valves supplying these outdoor access points.
  • Insulate the area around vents and light fixtures. This helps prevent heat from escaping into the attic.
  • Seal any wall cracks. Be sure to pay careful attention to the areas around utility service lines.
  • Open kitchen cabinets. This allows the warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Keep the garage doors closed to protect water lines.
  • Allow your faucets to drip cold water on the coldest days. The movement will make it harder for the water to freeze.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Never let it fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit when you leave your home.
  • Ensure you have proper seals on all doors and windows.
  • Place a 60-watt bulb in areas where you’re concerned about pipes freezing. Make sure there are no combustible materials near the bulb.
  • Take swift action if the pipes located inside an exterior wall are freezing. Cut a hole in the wall toward the inside of the house to expose those pipes to warmer air.

Signs of frozen pipes One of the earliest signs of a frozen pipe is when no water comes out of your faucet when you turn it on. If you notice that, first head to the basement and check to see that the water is still turned on and that you don’t have a leak. Once you’ve confirmed these two things, continue your inspection to make sure one of your pipes has not burst.

If your search reveals that your pipes are frozen but none have ruptured, you have two choices:

  1. Call a plumber to help thaw your frozen pipes. This is a good idea if you don’t think you can safely thaw the pipes yourself, you don’t know where the frozen pipes are or you can’t access the frozen area.
  2. Attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself. Be aware this option can be dangerous if not done correctly.

If you attempt to thaw the frozen pipes yourself, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep your faucet open. Water and steam will be created during the thawing process, and your pipes need an opening to discharge this. Keeping the faucet open also allows for moving water to run through the pipe, which will expedite the thawing process.
  • Apply heat to the section of the pipe that is frozen. This can be done by wrapping an electronic heating pad around the pipe, scouring the area with a hair dryer or both. If you lack either of these items, using towels soaked in hot water will help as well. Never use a blowtorch, propane or kerosene heaters, a charcoal stove or any other open flame device to thaw your frozen pipes. You should also avoid using a space heater unless you are sure the area is clear of any flammable material.
  • Continue applying heat until water flow returns to normal. Once you have successfully thawed the pipe, turn on other faucets in your home to check for any more frozen water pipes.

Make sure your home is protected. Contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 to make sure you have the coverage you, your family and home need.

Candle Safety

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

As peak hurricane season continues through the end of November and winter storms follow, it’s critical that you and your family know the best practices for staying safe during power outages.

While flashlights and battery-powered lamps are safe sources of light during lengthy power outages, candles are also reliable alternatives if used safely. It’s important to remember that a candle is an open flame, which always runs the potential risk of a fire-related accident. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 20% of candle fires involving fatalities occur during a loss of power.

Here are some safety precautions to follow when the lights go out:

DO pay attention to proximity. It’s important to make sure that you’re not burning a candle on or near anything that could catch fire. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, or any other flammable objects. Place burning candles at least 3 inches apart from one another so they don’t melt one another or burn improperly.

DON’T leave burning candles unattended. Try to restrict people and candles to one room in the house so the location of family members can always be accounted for and you can keep an eye on open flames. Extinguish all candles before going to bed or leaving a room.

DO place candles on a fire-resistant surface. Place a handle in its holder on a stable, nonflammable surface, such as a metal cookie sheet, frying pan or ceramic plate.

DON’T light a candle if you smell gas. If you smell gas inside or outside your home, immediately put out all open flames, shut off your gas supply, leave the area, get to a safe place, and call 911.

DO use pillar or container candles. Broader-based candles are a suitable option for power outages, as these are less likely to be accidentally knocked over. When possible, candles should be enclosed within glass hurricane holders or globes.

DON’T use candles as a search guide or night light. Avoid walking around with a candle. Dark rooms can increase the chance of tripping or brushing against a flammable item. Use a flashlight instead.

DO keep candles out of reach of children and pets. Place candles up high to avoid the risk of pets, children, or adults accidentally bumping candles over in the dark.

If you have any questions on candle safety or need any fire mitigation services, contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782. We are available 24/7 to assist.

What is a Water Mitigation Technician?

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

A water mitigation technician works, usually in connection with a water-damage restoration team, to mitigate water damage to your home. If your home is subject to serious water damage, due to burst pipes, flooding, fire-extinguishing water hoses or some other unforeseen catastrophe, it can be a real problem. Your house will be a mess, carpets and furniture can be soaked, and valuables can be damaged, sometimes beyond repair.

A technician from your water-damage restoration company works to dry and remove as much of this water as possible from your home and salvage your possessions to the best of his ability. They are able to do this due to a combination of sophisticated drying equipment provided by the water-damage restoration contractor, combined with expertly trained technicians.

These technicians understand the different types of water damage, such as damage from sanitary water, gray water or black water. They can determine how severe your water damage is, such as damage that only affects part of a room, damage that affects an entire room, damage where ceilings, walls, carpet and insulation are fully saturated, and specialty drying situations.

Do I need a Water Mitigation Technician?

You can certainly try to clean up the water without the help of a water-damage restoration company, but your best chance of getting your life back to normal as quickly as possible is through hiring water mitigation professionals. In addition to saving you a lot of labor and heartache, an experienced, quality water mitigation company like SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast knows the fastest way to effectively dry your home. They can also determine the best way to save salvageable property and how to deal with problems like mold and bacteria. They also know how to work with your insurance and can make that part a smooth process as well.

Where Do I Find a Water Mitigation Technician?

If you need water damage restoration, you can contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast right now. We offer 24/7 emergency water mitigation restoration services. You can contact us at 770-448-5782 for all your emergency needs.

What To Do When Your Water Heater Leaks

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

Waking up is hard to do. You need to get out of your cozy bed, go wash up, get dressed and get some coffee in you before you start your day. Now think of getting out of bed, as hard as that is, walking slowly to the shower, opening the hot water, and waiting for it to run so you can hop in, and nothing happens.

Water stays cold as ice, you realize you can't hit the shower this morning, and you try to figure out what just happened. Could you have forgotten to turn on the water heater? Could it be broken? Time to check it out.

As you walk downstairs you hear a low trickling noise as if a faucet is open somewhere. You keep going, and as you approach the basement, you hear it louder - there is water running somewhere over there. Question is - where? As you reach the last step, you put your foot down and immediately realize you haven't even opened your eyes properly. You're standing in a big pond, which was once your basement. No hot shower today. What now then?

First thing - close the water source. Whether it's the water heater, a pipe or a water leaking in from a window, make sure no more water can get in. Close the water mains, shut down any valve leading to the affected area, and close the window if that was the source of the water.

Second thing you do is take care of all that water. Water spreads fast and has the power to cause lots and lots of trouble over time. If you don't have a water drain in the basement, it's time to call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782.

Water leaks and floods should be taken care of as fast as possible. The reason is that most homes aren't waterproof on the inside. Standing water will ruin your carpets, floors, furniture, and even get into drywall if given the opportunity. Moreover, the standing water becomes a health hazard after a while, even if they came from a clean source (also called Category 1 water damage). Another reason for you to hurry is mold and how fast mold can start to grow after your basement suffered from a water damage.

SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast offers a 24/7 response to all your water damage requirements and needs, providing you a quick and thorough solution to your problem. We'll get your life back to normal in no time.

What To Do When Your Sump Pump Fails?

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

In most cases sump pumps fail during rain events. When that happens, the water usually seeps in through the foundation or basement walls and begins pooling in the lowest area of the basement, gradually rising as more water comes in. So what do you do at that point? Here’s a couple of suggestions to assist you in navigating a difficult situation.

First, you’re going to need to get the sump pump fixed. A plumber is going to be necessary to get the sump pump back up and running. Immediately call a licensed plumber in your area and get on their schedule as quickly as possible. During rain events, it’s not unusual for many homes in the area to suffer the same fate as you, so plumbers will get booked up quickly. Act fast and call for their help!

Second, do the same with a certified water mitigation company.  Many times, it doesn’t make sense for a water mitigation company to come out immediately, because you’re paying them to pump out water as more water is coming in. It’s just an endless cycle that can cost you a lot of money without doing much in the way of saving your home. You may decide that’s worth the money to you, but in many cases, it makes more sense to try and manage things temporarily while you wait for a plumber to fix your sump pump. That said, even if the plumber fixes your sump pump you’re still going to need a restoration company to come in and remove any excess moisture and dry out the affected areas.

Call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 for any of your mitigation needs.  

Prevent Moldy Carpets

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

Mold can grow in virtually every area of a home and on any surface, if given the right environment. That includes your beautiful carpets that you spend so much energy trying to keep clean and looking beautiful. While there can be many causes of mold in a home, when it comes to moldy carpets there are a few things you can do to reduce the chances you ever have to deal with it.

Mold damage can be costly.  Not to mention the health effects it can bring upon inhabitants of the dwelling with a mold problem. As with many aspects of home maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Not only can moldy carpets be unsightly and need to be replaced, they can be the tip of the iceberg in terms of more substantial damage to your property. So, consider taking these steps to keep black mold from growing on your carpets!

Control the humidity and temperature in your home

Mold grows best with a certain amount of moisture in the air as well as certain temperature ranges. One way to help prevent mold growth on any surface in your home, including your carpets, is to ensure your humidity levels never reach 60%. And while it’s unlikely you like living in this warm of a house, make sure you don’t set the thermometer to 80 degrees.

Consider a different floor covering in areas prone to moisture

Some areas of a home are just more prone to humidity and moisture. Like your bathroom, for instance. Every design aspect of your home should be done with appearance and functionality in mind, and that includes making sure you’re making smart decisions about the type of floor coverings to have in certain areas based on the area’s usage along with environmental aspects. When it comes to bathroom floors, and to a lesser extent basement floors, sometimes the smartest plan is to avoid carpets altogether.

Use carpet padding that is anti-microbial

There are a few different types of padding most commonly used in residential homes. While some are more budget friendly than others, if you’re considering carpet in areas that may be more prone to moisture issues, consider installing rubber-slab carpet padding. It’s much more resistant to mold growth than traditional carpet pads. 

If you do get standing water on your carpets, get it out fast!

This goes for any surface type in your home, and it’s especially true with carpets. With the right humidity levels and temperatures, mold growth can accelerate quickly when food and water are present. Getting the water and excess moisture out quickly can be the difference between a close call and a serious health problem for your family.

Clean your carpets regularly

Vacuuming your carpets regularly, along with having them professionally steam cleaned, can go a long way in preventing mold growth. One of the components of rapid mold growth is food, and mold loves dirt, grime, food, and any other organic substance that can be found in your carpet fibers. Regularly cleaning your carpets is a great way to help reduce the likelihood of dealing with mold in the future! 

Typically, if you have black mold on your carpets a visual inspection is all that is necessary. But in other instances, you may notice a musty smell or perhaps you’ve also been experiencing some troubling health issues that you think may be attributed to high levels of mold. In most states, mold remediation companies must be different than mold testing companies. The way it works is that the mold testing company will come take environmental samples from your home and have them sent off to a lab to be evaluated. If it’s determined through the testing that your home has a toxic black mold problem, it’s at that point that you’ll want to hire a mold removal company like us. Call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782.

Prevent Mold Growth in the Summer

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

In the summer, a closed house with the air-conditioning turned off will have higher humidity levels than an air-conditioned home. A vacant house also receives little or no sunlight through closed shades and no air movement with the fan off and the doors locked.

If you simply leave the air conditioning running, it will cool the home and remove moisture from the air and circulate and filter the air.

Molds thrive when the humidity levels exceed 70 percent. Because humidity levels vary from day to day, the thermostat should have been left at or below 74 degrees, and the fan should have been set to "On."

Normally, mold cleaning and remediation processes disturb the spores, which become airborne and can settle on unclean or untreated surfaces, where they continue to thrive in the humid, warm, dark conditions.

The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that self-cleaning should be considered if the area to be treated is less than 10 square feet. A guide to treatment and cleaning is available at http://www.epa.gov/mold/index.html. You can also learn more about mold remediation contractors and remedies for contaminated buildings.

Molds present at typical indoor levels have never been scientifically shown to cause any other illness.

Even when mold spores were at elevated levels, there were no similar elevated reports of illnesses. Examples from the article show certain occupations that are exposed to extremely high concentrations of mold spores.

  • Sawmills: 1.5 million CFU/m3 (colony-forming units per cubic meter of air).
  • Honeybee overwintering facilities: 2,200 to 13,931 CFU/m3
  • Spawning sheds of mushroom farms: 100,000 CFU/m3
  • Municipal waste-composting facility: 8.2 million CFU/m3
  • Farms: 120,000,000 CFU/m3; it's 10 times greater (1.2 billion CFU/m3) on farms where adverse health effects are reported.

In these highly exposed populations, however, there are no reports of brain damage or of many of the other fungal diseases now common in current indoor mold attributions. What I gathered from the article is that some people -- those with asthma, hay fever or suppressed immune systems -- can be affected by low levels of mold spores, while the majority are not aware of the spores in the very air they breathe, even when there are elevated levels.

When mold spores are discovered at elevated indoor levels, you need to contact your doctor first to determine if the mold species will affect you or your family. Then you need to consider some type of removal or treatment of the affected areas.

Will Homeowners Insurance Pay for a Fallen Tree?

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

If a tree falls in your yard, and no one hears it, is it covered by your insurance? What about the cost to remove a fallen tree? The answer, as it is with all insurance questions, is “it depends”. Policy forms vary.

Did a Tree Hit Your Home or Other Structure?   

If so, you probably have coverage for:

The cost to remove the tree

The damage to your home, fence or other structure

But, not coverage of the cost to replace the tree itself.

Is a Fallen Tree Blocking Your Driveway?

Depending on the edition of your home insurance policy, you may have coverage for at least some of the cost to remove a tree that’s blocking your driveway. Even if it didn’t damage any of your property.

Did a Tree Fall on Your Car?

If so, your auto policy, not your homeowner’s policy, might pay to fix your car. Hopefully, you have Georgia auto insurance, and chose to buy “other than collision” (widely known as “comprehensive”) coverage. The cost to remove the tree is not covered by either home or auto insurance, unless the tree blocks your driveway (see above).

If There’s No Damage, There May Be No Coverage

If a tree falls without damaging any insured structures or blocking the driveway, you will likely need to pay the costs to remove it. Some insurance policies provide a limited amount of coverage for these cases. Check with your agent or insurance company to see if yours does.

Did Your Tree Hit Your Neighbor’s Property?

If so, the damage would be covered under THEIR homeowner’s policy, not yours. If the tree fell due to obvious neglect, your liability insurance might apply.

Tips to File an Insurance Claim for a Fallen Tree

Take photos, preferably from different angles to show the damage.

If utility wires are involved, stay away! Call your electric utility to have the wires cleared.

Call your insurance agent or company to report the claim.

If there has been damage sustained by your home, call SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782 and we will be there to help.

What is Considered a Storm Event

5/30/2018 (Permalink)

A storm event can affect a home in multiple ways. You can have a water loss caused by flooding, a tree through the roof or even shingles being blown off. Each of these situations can allow water to infiltrate your home. If this water isn’t dealt with in a timely manner, it can lead to mold. Mold can start within the first 48-72 hours of a water loss. Sometimes that time frame is shorter if the climate cannot be controlled by your heating or air and it is very humid and warm out. Sometimes that time frame can go a little further if the home is conditioned or it is cold and dry temperatures outside.

Most people hear storm event and think of hurricanes or tornadoes, but a storm event can be just a continuous heavy rain or strong winds or even hail. If you have water coming into your home and you are unsure if it was caused by a storm event or just need some advice, contact SERVPRO of Gwinnett County Southeast at 770-448-5782. We are available 24/7 for any of your needs.