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How To Clean Electronics After Smoke Damage

5/6/2021 (Permalink)

empty room burned, walls damaged by fire Smoke damage in Weldon Spring, MO.

When you have an electrical fire at your business, you might think that cleaning up burned items is the end of it. Unfortunately, this is not true. Smoke can be worse than fire when it comes to your electronics.

Types of Smoke Damage

There are three basic types of smoke damage. These are:

Soot - This acidic substance coats the outside and inside of most electronics. It can shorten the life of your wiring considerably.
Magnetics - Smoke carries a mild electrical charge. This charge can short any electronics that are on during the fire.
Film - Smoke leaves behind a black film on everything that it gets near. This can cause your electronics to overheat if you turn them on before cleaning them.

Each of these types can cost you thousands of dollars if you do not properly clean your electronics after a fire, even if they look undamaged at first.

When To Call In Professionals
Cleaning electronics often requires taking them apart and cleaning individual wires and components. If you are not comfortable doing this, call in a professional cleanup company in Weldon Spring, MO. They might even perform this service as part of an overall electrical fire cleaning.

What You Can Do
Although it is not recommended that you clean major appliances, television sets or electrical panels, there are some things that you can do to make it easier for the professionals. The first thing you do unplug everything. This will allow any residual charge inside the item to dissipate. Small items can be taken apart and wiped down but larger more expensive items require a bit more.
For computer cleanup, take off the case and inspect the inside. If you are comfortable, remove the hard drive and take the data off it by hooking it to an undamaged system. If you are not, a computer expert can help you with this. Be sure to tell them the computer was damaged in a fire.
An electrical fire, like any fire, can be dealt with. All you need to do is make sure that your electronics are properly cleaned and serviced to get them back in working order.

How to Develop a Business Continuity Plan After a Storm

4/7/2021 (Permalink)

office flooded, desk, computer, files, documents floating on floodwaters Flooded office in O'Fallon, MO.

Prepare Your Business For A Storm

Storms and flooding can strike very suddenly in O'Fallon, MO. While some predictions can be made about widescale storms, others come without warning, and the results can be a disaster for a community – and spell bankruptcy for a business.
Fortunately, you can act proactively and prepare for problems. There are three critical steps to build resiliency in your business:

  • Get a commercial insurance policy.
  • Develop a continuity plan.
  • Keep key personnel informed.

Know Your Insurance Coverage – and Its Exemptions
Insurance policies can be confusing. Make sure you ask your agent about what is and isn’t covered. If you want flood coverage, you’ll need a separate flood policy .

Establish a Business Continuity Plan
The U.S. Government maintains a website to help citizens and businesses prepare for disasters. They have a detailed description of how to develop your plan, beginning with the business impact analysis.
This starts with a risk assessment to determine what’s high risk for your location and type of business. Are you in a high-risk flood zone? Do you rely on digital information or is everything local? Which natural disasters are most likely?

Which Disaster Is Most Likely – or Most Harmful?
Aim for the most probable disasters based on your BIA. For disasters unlikely in O'Fallon, MO, it may not be worth detailed planning, but general disaster planning can have wide-reaching benefits, even in unforeseen situations.

Key Personnel Should Be in the Loop
The key to resiliency after getting storm damage is to get reopened as soon as possible. Most small businesses will fail within two years if they’ve been closed for more than a couple of days after a disaster. Immediately after the storm, every essential person should be contacted and information shared.
You need to discuss what resources you need to reopen as fast as possible after the storm passes. Calling a commercial restoration specialist immediately after a storm can also be the difference between surviving the disaster and never reopening. Speed is essential, so your restoration company will work with you to get reopened as soon as possible.
With an established continuity plan and good insurance, you can survive the storm and get back to business quickly. Every day you’re closed increases your risk of staying that way.

Protect Your Home After a Fire

3/25/2021 (Permalink)

Broken window in a house, window burned and boarded up. Boarded home after fire damage in St. Peters, MO.

Protect Your Home After a Fire

After your home in St. Peters, MO experiences a fire, the process of returning to normal may seem like a long journey. While a fire damage and restoration specialist will repair, replace and restore it back to its former glory, you still need to protect your home before help arrives. In many cases, windows and other damage happens while extinguishing the flames leave your home exposed. To avoid secondary damage, it is recommended to board up any high-risk areas.

Minimize Risk

While your focus may be on the losses incurred from fire and smoke damage, that isn’t the end of potential risks. An emergency board-up helps in more ways than one.

Insurance Coverage Validity: After experiencing a loss, you want to get the most out of your insurance coverage. The longer you wait to cover existing damage, the higher the chance that additional damage will occur. In many cases, that added damage won’t be covered.
Keep Nature at Bay: Any exposed areas are an instant source of further problems. From wind to water to critters, existing issues may easily become much bigger.
Prevent Property Loss: While the fire may have destroyed or damaged many of your belongings, there is still valuable property inside the home. A boarded-up home helps prevent vandals or thieves from entering and looting.
Reduce Liability: The fire may have created structural damage. If people enter it and get it injured, you will be liable for the injuries.

Services Available

Since every situation is different, so is the type of solution that may be needed. If windows or doors are broken or cracked, a simple board-up will prevent trespassers from entering. If there is roof damage, installing a tarp over the affected area will prevent Mother Nature from wreaking unwanted havoc. In many cases, using both is the best option to get the most coverage possible.

The sooner you board up exposed areas, the better chances you have at getting your home back to “Like it never even happened.”

How To Prevent Water Damage in Your Home

3/12/2021 (Permalink)

Two roofers inspecting a damaged roof Roof inspection in a St. Charles, MO.

Common Locations For Water Damage

Water in a home is a devastating condition. Burst pipe cleanup, in particular, can require extensive restoration. Yet, even small leaks can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your St. Charles, MO, house. Luckily, you can prevent many water losses by performing basic inspections of your plumbing system. Here are some common locations for water damage and how you can keep them dry.

1. Water Heater
Most water heaters last 10 to 15 years. If your heater is older than that, you should replace it before it breaks down. You should also keep the heater in a basement or garage. This way, if it does leak, it will not cause as much damage. Since even a tiny amount of water in a home can be harmful, you should check the heater frequently.

2. Ceiling and Roof
Similarly, the roof of your property should be inspected for holes or other potential issues. Usually, by the time you notice a puddle of water on the ceiling, the liquid has already caused a ton of damage. A licensed professional should know how to spot leaks before they become visible.

3. Pipes
Many water problems are caused by a broken pipe. This often takes place during the winter months when pipes are known to burst. Keep your pipes as warm as possible. You can even purchase leak detection systems that will shut off your plumbing system if a malfunction occurs.

4. Air Conditioners
While air conditioners are incredible inventions, they are prone to water leaks. The drip pan, in particular, can overflow. Maintenance checks are thus a must. You should schedule them for the spring to ensure the system is working properly during the high-usage summer months. Leak detectors can help here, as well, especially for air conditioners in tough-to-reach locations.
Water in homes is a largely preventable problem. By performing proper maintenance and hiring professionals to conduct inspections, you can protect your beloved house.

Do You Have This Certain Type of Pipe? You May Be in for Unnecessary Sewer Cleanup

2/23/2021 (Permalink)

The plumber connects parts of the plastic water pipe using fittings, hands close-up. Do you have polybutylene pipes?

If the pipes in your commercial building were manufactured between 1978 and 1995, you may be in for some imminent sewer cleanup. Polybutylene pipes were used during that time period in place of copper pipes. They were less costly and easier to install. What's not to love? Well, there's a reason manufacture stopped in 1995. However, PB pipes are still commonly found in sewer systems that may lead right into your place of business.

Do You Have Polybutylene Pipes?

There are a few problems with this particular type of pipe:

  • They are chemically reactive, breaking down when exposed to common cleaning agents.
  • PB pipes can become brittle and crack over time.
  • This can lead to leaks, backing up the sewers.
  • These pipes are sometimes uninsurable.

To determine if you have PB pipes, you need to do a little digging. Leave the physical excavating to the experts, but if you can find a pipe coming out of the ground near your building's water heater, sink, or toilet, you can check for classic signs of a PB pipe. It will most likely be blue, black, or gray and one-half to 1 inch in diameter. These are good indicators that you have PB pipes in your sewer system.
However, there may be visible copper pipes and poly pipes hiding underground, closer to the water meter. If you don't want to go full-on detective mode on your pipes, it's OK to contact a sewer expert. Especially if there are any signs of sewer backup, such as a flooded toilet, it's advised to contact these professionals as soon as possible.

How Can You Prepare for Sewer Cleanup?
Preventing water damage from sewer backup issues starts with finding the right insurance coverage. It's harder, but not impossible, to cover PB pipes. Once you find adequate coverage, you will need to find trusted, insurance-preferred remediation experts in Portage Des Sioux, MO, to have on deck if and when disaster strikes. Even if you have this type of pipe, having a restoration plan makes for easier, cheaper sewer cleanup.

The Step Businesses Cannot Forget To Take Before a Storm Hits

2/23/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded office Flood damage in a St. Charles, MO office.

There's no way to predict the exact catastrophic loss that will occur after extreme weather. However, you can look at the historical data. Billions of dollars in the U.S. are spent yearly due to widespread damage from natural disasters. This gives an inside look into just how devastating a large-scale disaster can be. Particularly, if you run a commercial business with several franchises in a storm-prone area, it's best to be prepared.

Types of Damages That Occur

The Bureau of Economic Analysis defines catastrophic loss as any event that causes greater losses than usual. This can include hurricanes, flooding, extremely cold weather, tornadoes, wildfires, and more. Some of the aspects of commercial businesses most affected are:

  • Physical structures
  • Income sources
  • Depletion of goods
  • Employee health
  • Financial standing
  • Document destruction

This is just the beginning. Storm damage can cause long-lasting effects if not tended to promptly and properly.

Professionals That Mitigate Damages
While you can't predict the future, you can plan ahead for storm damage. There are structural and financial steps to take, but there is one crucial element of storm preparedness that cannot be overlooked. Get in touch with an insurance-preferred disaster recovery team that can respond quickly and efficiently if and when disaster strikes. SERVPRO sends many locations to a storm area to help rebuild faster. The best experts across the country are sent to the site, not just the local team in St. Charles, MO.

What You Should Avoid
While SERVPRO operates 24/7 and will get the experts to the affected area as quickly as possible, there are things that you can do to reduce damages in the meantime. You should avoid:

  • Any suspected water contamination
  • Operating electrical machines near water
  • Keeping affected food, even canned goods

You should wear protective clothing and shoes at all times and try to wipe up water from surfaces where you can safely do so. Watch for mold growth. Catastrophic loss is never pleasant, but it can be less devastating with the right plan in place.

3 Tips for Avoiding Mold Growth in Your Restaurant's Kitchen

2/2/2021 (Permalink)

Food in containers inside a refrigerator Keep your food mold-free

3 Tips for Avoiding Mold Growth in Your Restaurant's Kitchen

Running a restaurant in Weldon Spring, MO, can be incredibly enjoyable, but there are some issues you might encounter. One to watch out for is mold growth in the kitchen, which is essential to avoid if you're selling food. If you're wondering how to prevent this, here are three tips for avoiding mold in your restaurant kitchen.

1. Watch Your Food
One of the main ways a restaurant can attract mold growth is through its food. If your food is damp and unprotected, it could begin to get fungal spores. This can eventually result in rotten supplies, so keeping a sharp eye on your ingredients is essential. If you do find fungus, throw out everything that has it. Although it may be tempting, don't save supplies by cutting away the moldy area. Here are some tips for keeping your food mold-free:

  • Get fresh supplies regularly
  • Keep storage areas clean
  • Inspect items that were near the mold
  • Focus on your fruits and vegetables

2. Avoid Humidity
Humidity is an almost sure creator of mold, so avoiding it is crucial. This is especially important if you live in a climate with high humidity or your store is outdoors. If you can get your levels between thirty and fifty percent indoors, you'll be fine. Otherwise, you might want to invest in some dehumidifiers.

3. Use Ventilation
Ventilation is crucial to reducing humidity. Essentially, it keeps humid air from remaining in place. It also prevents water damage from the accumulation of moisture. Therefore, you'll want to be sure that you have the right ventilation for your space. Even if you want to save money, don't get a small system if you have a large kitchen. Avoiding mold is worth the investment.
If you stay vigilant, you can protect yourself against major mold growth in your restaurant's kitchen. In the event that you find some, a mold remediation company can get rid of it.

The Dangers of Black Water

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

Flood water in a home level of water reaches the stairs Flood damage to a home in O'Fallon, MO

Water is categorized into the colors white, grey, and black depending on the substances it contains or has been in contact with. Blackwater is the most dangerous and can cause the most water damage.

What is Black Water?

This category of water can contain:

  • Urine
  • Feces
  • Toilet paper
  • Toilet water
  • Pathogens
  • Cleansing water

It usually comes from toilets and is more commonly referred to as sewage. It is more dangerous than greywater, which usually comes from sinks and appliances, and white water, which is considered pure or clean.

What are the Dangers?
This water carries bacteria and other pathogens that can be harmful. You should avoid any contact with contaminated water. A flood of this category will likely result in more water damage because anything it touches should be considered contaminated. This means items such as carpet, rugs, curtains, and clothing must be disposed of or thoroughly cleaned by a professional. It is also more difficult to clean since using fans or heating systems to dry the area can spread potentially harmful pathogens. Like all flooding, it can also cause molding if it is not properly treated.

What Should You Do?
If you have any contaminated water in your home, you should contact an emergency restoration service in O'Fallon, MO, immediately. They will be able to remove the sewage, dry the area, repair structural damage, and treat the area to prevent molding. They may also be able to clean and restore any belongings that were damaged or contaminated in the flood.
You should not try to clean up the water on your own, as you may expose yourself to harmful substances. Professionals will have appropriate protective gear that allows them to clean it up safely.
Blackwater contains potentially harmful waste and microorganisms and can result in a high amount of contamination and water damage. Floods of this category should always be treated by a professional in O'Fallon, MO.

Steps To Follow When Fixing a Leaky Compression Faucet

1/3/2021 (Permalink)

drop of water coming out of a tap A leaking faucet is easy to fix if you follow these simple steps

A leaking faucet usually indicates that an internal part has worn out. The most common type of faucet is the compression faucet, which has two handles that are screwed into place. One handle is for cold water, the other for hot water.

Let's Take a Look At the Steps Involved In Fixing a Leaky Compression Faucet

1. Shut the Water Off
The pipes underneath your sink will have shut-off handles. Twist them clockwise to shut the water off.

2. Cover the Drain
If you have a sink plug, push it down to plug the sink. If you don't have one, cover the opening with a towel or clean rag. This will prevent any washers or screws from falling into the drain.

3. Remove the Handles and Nuts
Unscrew each handle of the leaking faucet, and pull straight up to remove. Using a wrench, remove both nuts.

4. Lift The Stem Out
The stem is visible once you remove the handles and nuts. Remove that and you will see the O-ring and seat washer.

5. Replace the Seat Washer or O-Ring

Seat washer - Typically made of rubber, a worn washer is the most likely reason for a dripping faucet. Unscrew the brass screw to release it.
O-ring - If the leak is coming from one of the handles rather than the faucet, the O-ring needs to be replaced.

Since washers and O-rings vary in size, it's a good idea to bring the old one along when you visit the hardware store. You should also grease the replacement parts with plumber's grease before attaching them.

6. Reconnect the Handles
After reassembling all the components, reconnect the handles. Hopefully, you will have a fixed leak. If not, it's time to call a plumber in  St. Peters, MO. If you discover water damage, you should call a water damage repair service right away.
A leaking faucet is easy to fix if you follow these simple steps.

Questions About the Cost of Fire and Smoke Remediation

1/3/2021 (Permalink)

Visible damage to a commercial building following a structure fire Commercial fire damage

Questions About the Cost of Fire and Smoke Remediation

A commercial fire can cause a lot of damage to your business in St. Charles, MO. Not only will you have to deal with fire damage, but you will also have to deal with the damage resulting from extinguishing the flames. Thus, many people wonder how professional remediation companies come up with an estimate and what can impact the cost of restoration.

Does Space Matter?
While most companies do not charge you based on square footage, the size of your business matters. The larger the affected area is, the higher your estimate will be. Here are several other factors that can impact your cost:

  • Water damage remediation
  • Soot removal
  • Burnt material cleanup

Is Smoke Cleanup Extra?
The professionals can charge hundreds of dollars extra to clean smoke. This can go higher if the smoke has been sitting for a while.
Does the Method You Use Increase the Price?
Smoke damage can be cleaned up using thermal fogging or ozone treatment. Fogging is great if you need to remove smoke from fabrics. Ozone machines are also great at removing sources of odors. They cost about the same, so the method used should not significantly impact your cost.

Is Cigarette Smoke a Factor?
If the professionals have to deal with cigarette smoke, you are going to pay extra. This type of remediation is typically a few thousand dollars. If you have a smoking section in your business, be prepared to have a very high bill.

Will You Need to Replace Your Suppression System?
You will need to replace your fire suppression system after it activates. This will add a few hundred dollars to your bill. If you have a large business, you could be paying thousands for your sprinklers to be installed.
Restoring your business can cost a lot of money. This is especially true for larger companies. The best way to know if you are getting a fair price is to understand what goes into your estimate. This means reading up on some of the most common questions about remediation services.