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Seven tips to mitigate a water damage or fire damage disaster this winter

1/18/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth offers tips on mitigating a water damage or fire damage disaster during the winter months.

The fire and water damage restoration team at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth understands how a major property damage disaster in the winter months presents many challenges. Less sunlight, frigid temperatures, icy precipitation, frozen pipes, treacherous roads, school and business closures, power grid failures, and supply chain interruptions complicate cleanup, restoration, and recovery. The best course of action is to follow prevention strategies that serve to avoid a catastrophe in the first place.

Below are some practical tips to help the residents of Arlington Heights, Fort Worth, TX, tackle water and fire damage this winter.

Tip: Strive to maintain a healthy HVAC system. Consistent distribution of heat throughout the home will prevent pipes from freezing. Walls, ceilings, and floors may begin to crack and separate if rooms are not kept at a reasonable temperature.

Tip: Ensure that all windows and doors that grant access to the outdoors are shut and tightly locked when not in use. The goal is to prevent moisture from entering the home. Excessive moisture can cause sheetrock to warp and buckle, and a mold infestation can result if moisture is not kept out of the house.

Tip: Reduce the thermostat by five degrees Fahrenheit. The lower temperature will help prevent moisture buildup in the home.

Tip: Allow faucets to emit a slow trickle or fast drip to prevent pipes from freezing when frigid temperatures are in the forecast. A burst pipe can spew 7 to 10 gallons of water per minute, while a fast-dripping faucet only allows a few gallons of water per hour to escape down the drain.

Tip: Identify and seal air leaks with caulk, weatherstripping, or spray foam sealant. Gaps around doors and windows and cracks in walls are some of the main culprits that allow cold air into a home.

Tip: Make sure the HVAC ductwork is sealed. Keep ductwork clean, and the filter changed on the HVAC system.

Tip: Have professional and certified chimney sweep services inspect and clean all parts of the chimney. Make any necessary repairs.

Pre-qualify a restoration company before disaster strikes

Pre-qualifying SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth as a dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration team will not prevent a winter water damage disaster. However, it will make dealing with a property damage disaster hassle-free, stress-free, simple, quick, and easy. Listed below are seven reasons why pre-qualifying SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth is so important.

  1. When disaster strikes, one phone call gets results. A cleanup and restoration team arrives on the scene in about an hour.
  2. There is no confusion regarding basic information about the home or business when the crew arrives to begin the cleanup and restoration. Technicians have access to a basic layout of the house, entrances, the water main shutoff valve, and any electrical panels, as well as contact information for the owner or property manager. The pre-qualification process for businesses, professional office buildings, manufacturing units, retail shops, and medical and dental practices facilitates a rapid response, a quick assessment, and a quick cleanup and restoration project. This proactive strategy can determine the trajectory of a business’s future when a property damage disaster has temporarily interrupted normal business operations, the flow of goods and services, and the revenue cycle, which are the lifeblood of the business.
  3. The customer is confident that the team members are trained, experienced, and IICRC-certified.
  4. Technicians have access to industry-leading equipment, cutting-edge technologies, advanced cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaning products that are safe for humans and pets.
  5. There are no surprises once the work begins. Technicians take every safety precaution for themselves and the occupants in the home. The SERVPRO team treats the belongings of their clients with great care.
  6. A detailed estimate with images and video is presented to each client. This estimate is the basis for the work to be done and for the initial contact with the insurance company. SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth can handle the insurance claims process from end to end. The project progress and payment schedule run smoothly. The SERVPRO staff provides the insurance company with the documents required at the end of the job, validating that the project has been completed as contracted.
  7. Finally, the pre-qualification process gives the customer time to vet the damage restoration company. References can be checked, and social media reviews can be considered. After the stress and turmoil of a fire and water damage disaster, the call to SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth can bring calm, comfort, and confidence to the homeowner in distress.

For more information about water damage restoration in Fort Worth, TX, call SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth at (817) 741-5737. The office can also be contacted by email at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com.

How adding a water heater expansion tank can help homeowners mitigate leaks and water damage

1/18/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth is committed to helping homeowners mitigate a water damage disaster. One way to lower the home's water damage risk is installing an expansion tank to relieve excess water in the plumbing system.

The team at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth provides water removal, water damage cleanup, and water damage restoration services if the excessive water pressure in the home causes a catastrophic failure of the home’s plumbing system, including the water heater and other water-using appliances. To help keep the house dry and safe, the SERVPRO team explains how an expansion tank can aid in preventing water heater leaks and water damage in River Trails, Fort Worth, TX, homes.

When the water heater functions correctly, the homeowner enjoys a stream of hot water from the faucet or showerhead. When water heats up, it gets hot, undergoes thermal expansion, and increases in volume, consequently taking up more space. Hot water can cause a buildup of pressure in the hot water system, and this thermal expansion can lead to serious problems. However, water also expands when it freezes! There are ways to solve these problems and prevent pipes from leaking or bursting. A certified plumber can install an expansion tank to protect the home, plumbing, and appliances from thermal expansion.

How can a closed plumbing system lead to trouble?

Increasingly, homes have a device installed on the supply line to prevent the backflow of contaminated household water into the public water system. This backflow preventer, check valve, or pressure-reducing valve is often installed at the water meter. When correctly installed, the device preserves the purity and safety of a community’s drinking water supply.

The power of water pressure

High water pressure is common in a municipal water system. The water system must service tall buildings while providing an adequate water flow through fire hydrants. The elevated water pressure can cause leaks and sometimes a pipe burst. The solution is simple and inexpensive. A pressure-reducing valve can keep the system safe and the home or crawl space dry. The pressure-reducing valve transforms the plumbing into a closed system, and thermal expansion puts the entire system at risk of catastrophic failure. If left alone, the plumbing system becomes a vulnerability that must not be ignored.

Expansion tanks explained

Most people with a well know what an expansion tank is and does. An expansion tank for a hot water system protects not only the water heater but also the washer, dishwasher, and plumbing system. Installing a pressure regulator reduces water pressures to a safe level, but it does not resolve potential risks arising from thermal expansion. The only solution is the installation of an expansion tank.

The expansion tank takes care of the expansion in the plumbing system. The thermal expansion causes an increased volume of hot water, and the water heater can only hold so much. When the water in the heater expands, the excess water enters the expansion tank. The high pressure in the water heater is relieved, preventing a catastrophic failure and keeping the home or business safe from a water damage disaster.

How to detect a water pressure problem

The homeowner can test the water pressure in the home plumbing system by purchasing an inexpensive water pressure gauge at many hardware or big box home supply stores. The gauge screws on an outdoor faucet. The gauge will register the water pressure when the tap is turned on. A pressure reading above 80 psi may indicate a problem with the pressure-reducing valve. Contact a certified plumber to inspect the system and make recommendations to resolve any issues. If needed, the plumber can replace the pressure-reducing valve and adjust it to accommodate the homeowner's needs.

When to install a water expansion tank

A functioning pressure regulator heightens the need to install an expansion tank to protect the home’s plumbing system and water-using appliances from the damaging effects of thermal expansion. Keeping the water pressure within safe limits can extend the water heater's life. The size of the expansion tank is determined by the plumbing system's water pressure and the water heater's capacity. A plumbing professional can make recommendations and provide competent installation of the unit.

The installation of backflow preventers effectively protects public water systems from contamination. However, backflow preventers have increased the risk of damage to the home’s plumbing system and water heater. In response to this elevated risk hazard, some water heater manufacturers require that a water expansion tank be installed along with the new water heater. Failure to take this step may void the manufacturer’s water heater warranty.

How to handle a water damage disaster

If the plumbing system and water heater suffer a catastrophic failure resulting in a major water damage disaster, contact the SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth professionals to remove the water, repair any damage to the structure, and restore any salvageable contents in the home. The team at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth provides a rapid response and quick cleanup 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays.

For more information about Fort Worth, TX, water removal, email SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com or call (817) 741-5737.

How to recognize the conditions indicating that flash flooding and flood damage are imminent

1/18/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth urges homeowners and businesses to watch out for the red flags pointing to flash flooding and water damage.

With over fifteen years of experience providing fire, water, and flood restoration services, the team at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth takes severe weather and flash flooding risks seriously. FEMA highlights the dangers of flash flooding: “Flash floods can sweep away cars, tear out trees, and destroy buildings and bridges. As little as six inches of moving water can knock a person down. Two feet of moving water can sweep a vehicle away. Often there’s no warning that these sudden and deadly floods are coming. Most flood fatalities in the U.S. happen in flash floods.”

Severe weather occasionally disrupts the usually calm ebb and flow of life. Thunderstorms, a common example of severe weather, include several weather-related risk hazards. Intense thunderstorm activity can cause flash flooding when rivers and creeks overflow their banks. A stalled thunderstorm overwhelms a storm drainage system causing a micro-flood in a neighborhood. High winds associated with thunderstorms topple trees, damage roofs, and cause secondary damage from airborne debris. Tornadoes damage or destroy buildings and vehicles caught in their destructive path.

Texas is the nation’s leader in hail damage events. Texas insurance companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars in claims to cover the tens of thousands of vehicles damaged yearly by hail. Lightning strikes damage homes, ignite wildfires, cause power outages, and inflict personal injury.

Of all these risk hazards — flooding, lightning and lightning-induced wildfires, high winds, tornadoes, and hail — flash floods are the deadliest storm-related weather hazard in the United States. With this fact in mind, survival depends upon knowing the following:

  • what a flash flood is
  • what are the red flags indicating imminent flash flooding and water damage
  • how to prepare for a flash flood
  • how to handle the aftermath of a flood damage disaster

What is a flash flood?

A flash flood occurs very rapidly. Minimal time is available to warn the affected areas. Flash floods have been observed to occur in less than 60 seconds. Dry river beds and small streams are the breeding ground for flash floods. A small neighborhood with a storm drainage system incapable of handling many inches of rain over a short period is at significant risk of experiencing a flash flood. Flooding under these circumstances most likely is not covered by FEMA. A typical flood may result from intense rainfall hundreds of miles or more upstream. The floodwaters may take weeks to reach the areas that actually see the worst flooding.

Remember, pedestrians can be swept off their feet by as little as six inches of flowing water. Flowing floodwaters two or more feet deep can carry away most cars. Do not be deceived by water on the move!

Red flags indicating a flood may be imminent

The accurate prediction of the time and size of a flash flood is challenging because so many variables are involved. The solution is vigilance. Learn and recognize the conditions that point to an impending flash flood.

  1. Flash floods usually occur within six hours of heavy and prolonged rainfall. When severe weather threatens, maintain a heightened awareness. Implement actions outlined in the family or business emergency readiness plan. Stay alert, but stay calm.
  2. Pay attention to news reports of flooding rivers and creeks, dam breaks, or lake flooding. Determine if the flood waters will invade the floodplain around the home.
  3. Take note of slow-moving storm cells that repeatedly drench the same area with heavy rainfall.
  4. Be aware of reports of a hurricane or tropical storm moving through the area.
  5. Standing water may indicate the ground is saturated. Farmland and forests absorb much more water than the roadways and parking lots of the cities and suburbs around northeast Fort Worth. The homeowner needs to know the lay of the land to identify any flood risks arising from terrain issues.
  6. Pay special attention to announcements of a flood watch or flood warning from the National Weather Service. A “watch” alerts the local community that conditions are favorable for a flood. A “warning” is issued when floods are imminent or are already in progress.

How flash floods are predicted

The key to accurately predicting a flash flood risk is to identify a storm’s “bullseye,” which is where the rainfall is most intense. Forecasters must know the following:

  • The amount of actual and anticipated rainfall
  • The rate of rainfall per a set period of time, e.g., inches per hour)
  • The saturation point of the soil
  • The course the water will take once it begins to flow

Through modern satellite and radar technology, forecasters can glean much of this information in real-time and make predictions about the weather that give the people in the affected areas the time they need to take the appropriate measures to save lives.

The flood damage response

When a flash flood devastates a home and its contents, the best solution is to contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth. Crews are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. A team of IICRC-certified technicians arrives on the scene in about an hour or so with industry-leading equipment, advanced moisture-detecting technology, advanced cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved cleaning products.

Contact SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth to learn more about flood restoration services in Meadowbrook, Fort Worth, TX. The office can be reached by phone at (817) 741-5737 or by email at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com.

Helping Colleges and Universities mitigate fire damage during the winter holidays

12/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth highlights practical steps a college or university can follow to mitigate fire damage during the winter vacation. These simple fire safety tips can identify and mitigate fire hazards in on-campus dorm rooms.

SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth understands the seasonal hazards and restoration services that may be needed during the winter months. The team provides property damage cleanup and restoration to more than homes and businesses. Technicians also serve colleges and universities that have suffered fire damage, smoke damage, water damage, or storm damage. SERVPRO also provides biohazard, crime scene, and suicide cleanup and restoration.

The summer vacation begins with students removing everything from their rooms. However, during the holiday vacation, students depart for home while leaving everything in their rooms. The presence of personal belongings in thousands of dorm rooms at a college or university dramatically escalates the risk of fire. A percentage of the unoccupied rooms are a high fire hazard risk. Students are provided with a detailed list of strict instructions before closing and locking the door to the dormitory room. The fog of all-nighters for final exams, the excitement of seeing friends and family, and the rush to start the journey home for the holidays contribute to some students inevitably failing to carefully follow the proper fire safety prevention steps before leaving campus.

According to the fire inspection and safety professionals at Fire & Life Safety America, important lessons can be learned from the past. “Just look at the past. There have been too many blazes that have affected schools before. For instance, the Providence College fire of 1977 that began because of a lamp directed at a manger scene as part of Christmas decorations. Almost 20 people were either killed or injured in that fire. Or more recently, the Seton Hall University fire in January of 2000. Three students were killed, and 58 students were injured when the fire began in a lounge and quickly spread. Even today, there are approximately 4,000 fires on college campuses every year, causing roughly $26 million in property loss.”

Many positive steps can be taken to prevent fires and fire damage in college and university dormitories when classes are not in session, and students are away from campus for weeks. Include these tips when conducting fire inspections during the holiday break.

Inspect and test smoke alarms

A smoke alarm is the first line of defense in discovering, extinguishing, and surviving a fire. This early warning system alerts students and staff to fire danger. The alert gives students and personnel time to investigate the situation and possibly extinguish the fire. If the circumstance warrants, the building fire alarm is activated, and occupants in the building safely and quickly evacuate the facility according to the evacuation plan. In most cases, activation of the building’s fire alarm system also automatically notifies first responders from the fire department, who are on the scene within minutes.

Inspecting dorm room smoke alarms is simple, quick, and ultimately saves lives. Smoke alarms are essential to any fire prevention and survival strategy, and testing and maintenance of these alarms are the top priority.

While most colleges and universities are smoke-free environments, this classification does not always guarantee student compliance. Unfortunately, some students circumvent the rules and disable the room’s smoke alarm. The vacation inspection identifies disabled alarms, which can be re-activated, repaired, or replaced before students return.

Inspect the sprinkler system and individual sprinklers

Dorm life can be rowdy and rambunctious at times, and sprinklers can become damaged. Efforts to decorate a dorm room can compromise sprinkler performance if the fixtures have been tampered with. Paint, string, streamers, garland, mistletoe, and other items may inadvertently impair sprinkler function. A quick but close inspection of each head can identify damage or impairment from decorations.

Inspect holiday decorations in rooms and activity spaces

Combustibles should be located at a safe distance from heat sources, including holiday decorations. Christmas lights and other decorative lighting should be turned off and unplugged, including battery-powered lights. The heat from lights can be an ignition source for nearby combustibles.

Unplug every outlet

As a general rule, all electrical appliances or devices should be unplugged, and power strips should also be unplugged. All electrical outlets should be empty. The power may be shut off in dormitories and buildings with zero occupancies during the holidays. When the power is restored, devices or appliances, if plugged in, may overload and cause a fire.

Look for overloaded extension cords and power strips. Address the issue when students return from vacation. Some schools do not permit the use of hot plates, electric grills, toasters, air fryers, or other cooking appliances in dorm rooms. If institutional policy bans these appliances, they should be confiscated and removed from the room.

Pre-qualify SERVPRO of Carrollton as the dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration provider

With just one call, the campus staff can have SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth arrive onsite in about an hour. The team responds 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays when the campus is virtually deserted. If the disaster involves multiple rooms, several floors, or the entire building, SERVPRO can scale to tackle any size disaster. The latest equipment, cutting-edge technology, advanced cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved disinfecting, sanitizing, and deodorizing products enable technicians to quickly clean up and restore any size or type of damage disaster.

By following these simple tips and implementing these guidelines, a college or university can avoid the primary causes of fire and fire damage in dorm rooms during the holiday vacation. To learn more about seasonal fire damage restoration services in Arlington Heights, Fort Worth, TX 76107, contact SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth at (817) 741-5737 or email office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com.

How to stay safe from common causes of fire damage during the holidays season

12/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth wants every family to have a joyful holiday season. The damage restoration company is sharing home fire safety tips to help keep the holidays free from a fire damage disaster.

The fire and water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth want everyone to enjoy the upcoming holidays with their family and friends safely. During the holidays, the risk of home fires increases. Below are some very important home fire safety tips to ensure safe, fire-free, happy holidays!

By following these basic fire prevention tips, homeowners can significantly reduce the risk of fire hazards during the holidays.

Tips to avoid Christmas tree fires

A live Christmas tree fills the home with a fresh, clean pine fragrance that lets everyone know the holidays have arrived. A live tree can be a safe, memorable feature of the holiday season if the homeowner carefully follows special precautions. If a live Christmas tree ignites, the flames can quickly spread, filling the home with smoke, soot, and harmful gases.

Fire prevention begins with picking a freshly cut tree

Begin by selecting a fresh tree. Look for a tree with green needles. The needles should be difficult to pull back from the branches. Needles on a fresh tree will not easily break, indicating there is still moisture in the tree. Inspect the tree trunk. Flowing sap should make it sticky to the touch. Test the freshness of the tree by bumping the trunk on the ground. If the tree drops a shower of needles, it has dried out and is a serious fire hazard. Continue to sort through the available trees until a fresh tree is identified.

Practice proper tree care

Position the tree at a safe distance from heat sources such as the fireplace, heat vent, gas, or electric heater. The heat and low humidity can quickly dry out the moisture in the tree, and dry trees can ignite very quickly when exposed to sparks, heat, or flames. Keep smokers and ashtrays away from the Christmas tree.

There are two extremes to avoid when displaying a live tree. Avoid putting the tree up too early. Two weeks is a safe window in which to enjoy a live tree. Faithfully fill the water reservoir on the tree stand. Live trees, even though they have been cut, will still uptake water through the trunk as long as the reservoir is filled.

Exercise proper care when disposing of the Christmas tree

Disposing of the tree by burning the needles and branches in the fireplace or wood-burning stove is not advised. When the tree displays signs that it has dried out, immediately discard it by taking it to a recycling center. Some communities will remove trees placed by the curbside. Know what the regulations are for the municipality to avoid a fine for littering.

Bonus tip: If this year’s tree selection is an artificial tree, make sure the item is non-flammable or, at the very least, flame retardant.

Tips to prevent a fire from holiday lights

Proper maintenance can keep holiday lights bright and fire-safe. Begin each holiday season by closely inspecting each string of lights. Look for the following issues:

  • brittle, cracking, or unpliable plastic insulation
  • frayed wiring
  • cracked, crushed, or otherwise damaged male or female plugs
  • exposed or bare spots on the cords
  • cracked or broken light sockets
  • excessive kinking or severe crimps that might signal damaged wiring or a possible short

If the lights are not UL-approved, do not use them.

Avoid overloading electrical outlets or power strips

Three is the maximum number of light strings that should be linked together unless otherwise stated in the product specifications. When stringing lights, the last step is to connect the lights either directly or by an extension cord to the outlet. Working with live lights increases the risk of shock, especially if precipitation is falling or the ground is wet. Every few days, give the lights a visual inspection and touch test. The outlet, plug, and wiring should not be warm to the touch; warmth may indicate a circuit overload or damaged wiring.

Practice extreme caution when displaying seasonal decorations

Non-Flammable or flame-retardant decorations are far safer than combustible decorations. Position the decorations at least three to six feet (or more) away from heat sources. Never leave decorations unattended if they are anywhere close to a heat source.

Bonus tip: Avoid burning wrapping paper in the fireplace or wood stove. The large flames, high heat, and excessive ember and spark production can cause a chimney fire.

Be careful with candles

Avoid the use of lighted candles. Place candles in a safe, stable location, away from combustible materials, especially Christmas trees. Extinguish all lit candles when leaving home.

Fire detection and suppression

Install smoke alarms with fresh batteries on all levels of the home. Test existing devices every month and change the batteries every July 4th to ensure batteries are fresh at Christmas when the fire risk is elevated. Review and practice the fire escape plan. Place a fully charged fire extinguisher in the kitchen, by the fireplace or wood stove, and strategically on every level of the home. Accessibility is the key to survival.

Pre-qualify with SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth before the holiday season arrives. If a fire damage disaster strikes, one call has a crew on the scene in about an hour, 24/7, 365 days a year, including on holidays and Christmas.

For more information about residential fire and water damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth at (817) 741-5737 or email office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com.

How a municipal sewage backup and overflow can impact residents in a community

12/12/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth examines local sewage backup and overflow issues and how they can cause sewage backups in the home.

At SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth, the team of IICRC-certified water damage restoration technicians is trained and experienced in cleaning up property damage disasters, including a sewage backup. The homeowner need not stress over the disruption in the home or the danger of contamination and disease from the spillage. The SERVPRO professionals have the equipment, cleaning techniques, and EPA-approved disinfecting, sanitizing, and deodorizing products to make the disaster area clean and safe.

Local sewage overflow issues: In the streets, in the waterways, and the home

Municipal sewage overflows present a serious challenge to residents in the metro Dallas/Fort Worth region of North Texas. According to a local news outlet, “In 2018, more than 119 million gallons of sewage overflowed onto the streets and lakes of Dallas-Fort Worth. That’s 119,090,756 gallons, to be exact, over more than 1,700 overflow incidents. Let’s break down those numbers a little bit further: 14 million. That’s the number of gallons of sewage that overflowed in the largest single incident last year (2018), which happened in Garland on Oct. 16 and flowed into Lake Ray Hubbard. It was also the single largest sewage overflow in the state last year. 112.8 million: Roughly the difference between the amount of overflow sewage in North Texas last year and the amount of overflow sewage in the Houston area. In fact, North Texas had five times the amount of sewage overflow than all other 15 regions in the state, combined.”

The following lakes and waterways in DFW experienced the most sewage overflow:

  • Lake Ray Hubbard (14,002,405 gallons)
  • Trinity River (10,217,500 gallons)
  • Red Oak Creek (7,677,000 gallons)
  • Sycamore Creek (7,237,800)
  • Mauk Branch Creek (7,119,765 gallons)

The following North Texas locations experienced the most gallons of sewage overflow:

  • Trinity River Authority Central Region Wastewater System (25,008,050)
  • Fort Worth’s Village Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (19,685,106)
  • Garland’s Rowlett Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (14,012,115)
  • Duncanville (13,559,310)
  • Red Oak Creek (8,629,743)
  • Plano (5,031,041)

The top five places on the above list were also the top five places with the most overflow in the entire state. Sewage overflow is a pressing issue with the aging and overtaxed wastewater treatment systems.

How a sewage overflow occurs

Below is an outline of how a sewage overflow happens.

#1: A toilet is flushed. The water and waste flow through underground sewer lines to a wastewater treatment plant.

#2: Waste, pathogens, and toxins are removed from the water at the waste treatment plant.

#3: The clean water is pumped into the public water system to be used for drinking water, bathing, washing dishes and clothes, and cooking.

#4: With age and usage, underground sewage lines develop cracks.

#5: Frequent and heavy downpours saturate the ground. The water seeps into the sewer lines through the cracks, filling the sewer lines to capacity.

#6: The rainwater and raw sewage in the sewer lines back up until they spew out of manholes.

The stress and anxiety of a sewage backup in the home

When the primary sewage system is filled to capacity due to excessive rainwater seeping through cracks in the sewer lines, homeowners should anticipate sewage backups and overflows in the home if the residence is connected to the public sewer system. The system simply cannot receive any more sewage, but the sewage must go somewhere. Look for sewage backups in tubs, showers, and floor drains in the laundry room and bathroom.

Avoid flushing any toilets. If the main sewer system is filled and spewing raw sewage into the streets, a flushed toilet can overflow, spilling raw sewage onto the bathroom floor. If the toilet is on the upper story of a home, the spillage can damage walls, ceilings, and any light fixtures hanging from the ceiling. The upstairs bathroom and the downstairs dining room can become a sewage backup and overflow disaster scene. The issue is not resolved by mopping up the liquid and any solids associated with the spill. Raw sewage is now hidden behind walls, trapped in the ceiling, dripping from light fixtures, puddling on the dining room table under the fixture, and soiling the carpet, rug, or flooring in the dining room.

The dynamics and dangers of a sewage backup in the home

A sewage backup is seldom anticipated and is often an unexpected messy surprise that disrupts the entire house. The stress of having the mess cleaned up and the home restored can be overwhelming. Before a sewage backup occurs, prequalify with SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth. Available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays, one phone call will have a team of property damage cleanup and restoration specialists arriving at the client’s home in about an hour. The rapid response and quick cleanup process are especially important in the event of a sewage backup and overflow and water damage.

Contact SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth to learn more about the company’s water damage restoration services. The office can be reached by calling (817) 741-5737 or emailing office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com.

Can Pruning Trees Prevent Storm Damage from Fallen Trees?

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth lists tips for pruning trees to prevent damage to the home when severe weather hits.

SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth is sharing five tips for pruning a tree to promote strong branches and reduce the potential for storm damage from broken limbs. Trees add real value to a home. A well-planned and well-pruned treescape creates a beautiful setting for the home, and the trees produce shade from the hot summer sun. According to HGTV, “Several recent nationwide surveys show that mature trees in a well-landscaped yard can increase the value of a house by 7 percent to 19 percent.”

Unfortunately, trees can also create serious risk hazards for the homeowner and for neighbors if the trees are not well managed. Occasionally, severe weather in the form of thunderstorms, hail, heavy rain, floods, and high winds roll through an area. Some trees survive the intense weather with negligible damage. A few small limbs fall on the roof and the ground, causing no damage to the home. Other trees suffer serious damage, including the loss of large limbs or significant sections of their branching structure. Damage may be catastrophic, with trees splitting in two or shearing off at the trunk. The services of qualified tree professionals are required to reshape the tree or remove it.

A tree weakened by disease is a risk to the property owner and to neighbors. An unpredictable limb shed makes the tree dangerous. The best and safest solution may be to remove the tree before the dynamics of severe weather cause the tree to drop large limbs or topple over. Preventive measures are available to homeowners to help trees withstand the forces of extreme weather and avoid storm damage.

Tip #1. Prune limbs to create strong branch angles.

Deciduous trees such as oaks and maples may have branches that are too close together. The narrow angles between these limbs and branches create a weak point in the limb structure of the tree. Both the trunk and the crown can exhibit this situation. When two branches grow this close to each other, neither branch can add enough wood to make the limbs strong and resilient to storm damage. The limbs create a weak joint that can easily succumb to the stress of high winds. The solution is simple. If the branches are accessible and the tree is young, the homeowner can remove one of the two branches. The best branch strength is achieved when branch angles are at 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock.

Tip #2. Prune to promote strong branch and trunk strength.

A tree needs balance. When balance and weight distribution are at odds, a tree can suffer limb and trunk damage. Moderate aggravation from storm conditions is all that is needed to send a tree crashing into a home. Branches on the side of the tree should be no more than 1/2 to 3/4 of the trunk width. Larger branches cannot be supported by the trunk and become a serious risk hazard when exposed to strong winds, ice, or snow.

Tip #3. Prune for stability.

Wind, ice, snow, sleet, or previous loss of a prominent limb can cause a situation where the center of gravity is not directly over the trunk. The tree responds under the slightest amount of wind pressure or extra weight with limb breaks, a broken trunk, or a toppled tree, including the roots. The selective removal of branches on the leaning side of the tree can realign the center of gravity and stabilize the tree. The tree is beautiful and safe for years to come.

Tip #4. Remove problem branches, suckers, water sprouts, and temporary branches.

When branches rub together, the friction causes wounds and decay that can lead to disease. The solution is to remove one of the branches. Water sprouts and suckers grow at the base of the trunk or inside the crown, and these branches do not add to the beauty of the tree but only serve to drain resources. For best results, remove these useless branches as soon as possible.

Temporary branches do not grow very high on a tree, and they serve to protect the tree from the sun. After year three or four, remove the temporary branches. Leaves are vital for survival, so when pruning, do not prune more than one-third of the leafy crown of the tree.

Tip #5. Do not prune branches to stubs.

New branches will emerge from the edges of the stub, and because these branches cannot unite firmly with the stubbed branch, the new branches will likely sustain damage in the future. Remove a branch where it connects to the main branch or to the trunk. Never leave a stub.

For more information about storm damage restoration and flood restoration services, contact SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth by phone at (817) 741-5737. The damage restoration company can be reached by email at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com.

Tips for Operating a Pellet Stove Safely and Avoiding a Fire Damage Disaster

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth highlights tips on how to safely operate a pellet stove and minimize the potential for fire damage.

Since home heating appliances are a common cause of home structure fires and fire damage in the United States, homeowners who rely upon a pellet stove for home heating should observe the proper precautions to protect against fire damage. Home heating equipment accounts for approximately 50,000 home structure fires and nearly $1 billion in property damage each year. After a fire, water damage restoration services may be needed as well. However, if the homeowner abides by fire safety practices when operating the pellet stove, the fire risk can be reduced.

1. Use top-quality pellets

A reliable source of high-quality pellets can be challenging to find for the pellet stove owner. A lack of regulation and standardization in quality control leaves the consumer at the mercy of the pellet manufacturer. Investigation into the various options can prove fruitless and, at times, frustrating.

One solution often recommended is to use pellets from a secondary pellet manufacturer. A secondary pellet manufacturer produces pellets as a byproduct of the primary business. An example would be lumber, furniture, or flooring business. The benefit of using pellets from these businesses is that the sawdust typically comes from better-quality wood that has been kiln-dried. Primary pellet manufacturers will use sawdust from a variety of wood sources, but the pellets will be inconsistent in quality.

All pellets need attention to preserve their quality. These quality control tips will keep stove pellets in excellent condition and ready for use.

  • Store pellets in a dry location such as a basement, shed, or garage.
  • The storage bin should be away from the elements.
  • If the only alternative is to store the pellets outside, keep them off the ground. Put a moisture barrier (a piece of plastic) between the pellets and the ground. Cover the pellets with a heavy-duty tarp or thick mil plastic to protect against rain, snow, and ice.

Pellets that are low quality or laden with moisture are difficult to ignite, and slow ignition can cause the burn pot to become overloaded. The excessive amount of slowly burning pellets can suddenly ignite, causing a small explosion inside the stove. Great care should be taken when it appears that such a scenario might develop when lighting the pellets.

2. Practice regular stove maintenance to keep the stove clean and safe

Homeowners need to be aware of the importance of keeping the pellet stove clean. Poor maintenance is a leading cause of pellet stove fires. Fly ash, a very fine ash residue, can collect in the flue and ash traps. At high temperatures, ash will melt. When temperatures drop below the melting point, the ash solidifies. The hard residue buildup can cause a blockage, and ash buildup can clog the air intake holes. These blockages can cause the pellet stove to malfunction, resulting in a fire inside the body of the stove. This potentially dangerous fire can spread to the hopper holding the pellets.

Regular maintenance should include the following tasks:

  • Inspect the burn pot for buildup.
  • Empty the ash pans as needed.
  • Examine the flue for any accumulation of fly ash and creosote.
  • Clean air filters as needed.
  • Vacuum any sawdust from the hopper.

3. Have an emergency battery backup system in case the power goes off

When the power goes off, the stove fire continues to burn, but the blower fans are silent. This situation can allow smoke to get into the room, coating everything with a layer of sticky, smelly soot. A battery backup system will keep the stove operational and the home soot-free during a power outage.

4. Hire a professional to inspect the pellet stove

Many insurance companies require periodic pellet stove inspections. Creosote buildup is much less in this type of stove. However, it still needs regular attention to prevent a pellet stove chimney fire.

5. Keep combustible items away from the pellet stove

The second most common cause of pellet stove fires is the combustion of flammable materials placed too close to the stove. Know the minimum clearance recommended by the manufacturer. Wood framing inside walls should be a safe distance from the flue vent. Sometimes, the wood framing can ignite inside the walls. Some cautious homeowners take the extra step of fitting a spark guard at the end of venting. This safety feature prevents sparks from igniting nearby combustibles.

For more information about fire and water damage restoration for homes in Keller, TX, and surrounding areas, contact SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth by calling (817) 741-5737. The damage restoration company can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com.

Helping Keller, TX, Hotels Overcome the Effects of a Water Damage Disaster

11/8/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Headline: SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth provides commercial water damage restoration services to hotels that have experienced water damage.

Dealing with a water damage disaster on a residential scale is challenging for the property owner, but when water damage occurs at a hotel, the challenges multiply exponentially. Each room in a hotel is like a small, self-contained residence with occupants moving in and out as rooms are rented to different people.

Statistics show the average number of rooms in different types of US hotel chains for the year 2020:

  • Luxury hotels: 316 rooms
  • Upper upscale: 313 rooms
  • Upscale: 143 rooms
  • Upper midscale: 97 rooms
  • Midscale: 79 rooms
  • Economy: 75 rooms

With anywhere from 75 to 300 rooms, hotels must manage plumbing concerns for at least as many sinks, toilets, and showers. Inevitably, plumbing problems, water damage, and toilet backups will arise. The key factors for a successful response to water damage at a hotel are having a solid plan of action and knowing whom to call for rapid, qualified damage restoration services.

How does water damage hurt business at hotels?

A water damage disaster can adversely impact a hotel’s operations and bottom line in several ways, including the following:

  • negative customer perception
  • time lost while repairs are made
  • lack of available rooms leading to forfeited profits
  • potential structural issues in the future

Plumbing problems that plague hotels

Leaks

Whether caused by loose connections, cracked plumbing, or excessive water pressure, leaks can cut into profits and lead to costly water damage. Inspecting every hotel room for leakage is not an efficient solution, but hotel managers have other options available to check for leaks. According to plumbing professionals, “...you can determine if your pipes are leaking by shutting off your main water valve and taking note of the current reading. Check the reading after about two hours — if it’s increased, you have a leak and need to call for service repairs.”

Burst pipes

Burst pipes can result from rust accumulation, water expansion during freezing temperatures, water pressure fluctuations, and age. A burst pipe can cause massive water loss, potentially leading to mold damage or structural damage. Professional water damage cleanup and restoration services will be essential to remediate the situation and prevent it from expanding in scope.

Pipe blockages

Blockages are the bane of hotels. Hair buildup is a common culprit, but soap, hygiene products, and toothpaste can also contribute to a pipe clog.

Periodic maintenance can help keep pipes operating at peak efficiency. Commercial hydro jetting services eliminate blockages in the plumbing system, and a baseline recommendation is to schedule these services on a quarterly basis. However, individual hotels may need hydro jetting more or less frequently, depending on the size of the hotel.

Toilet overflows

Not all hotel patrons practice proper restroom etiquette, and they sometimes flush items other than toilet paper down the drain. Toilet paper is water-soluble and is the only thing that should be used in the toilet. Other paper products can clog the plumbing and cause the toilet to overflow.

A toilet overflow involves black water, which refers to water that contains biological contaminants such as fecal matter. The presence of black water in a water damage disaster introduces a myriad of complexities into the cleanup process, and the situation should not be handled by a hotel employee. Instead, call in a team of commercial water damage restoration specialists who are equipped with the proper safety protocols, personal protective gear (PPG), and damage remediation technology.

Low water pressure

While low water pressure is not necessarily as damaging as the other problems mentioned above, it can be inconvenient to hotel guests and could be an indicator of future plumbing issues. A low water pressure issue may be as simple as a failure to completely turn on a water valve. On the other hand, the pressure decrease could be the result of a blocked pipe, a leak, or mineral deposits from hard water.

When water damage occurs at a hotel, SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth mobilizes a team of property damage cleanup and restoration specialists from the moment the office receives the call for emergency service. A hotel is a unique environment and requires the expertise and experience of a restoration company that is skilled in providing commercial services on a large scale. SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth is a full-service cleanup and restoration company, and no job is too large for technicians to tackle.

Contact SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth for more information about water damage restoration for commercial clients in Haltom City, TX. The office can be reached by emailing office@SERVPROnortheastftworth or by calling (817) 741-5737.

The Importance of Having a Home Fire Plan in Preparation for a Potential Fire Damage Disaster

10/17/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth explains how a home fire plan can save lives when put in place in Haltom City, TX, homes.

SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth provides fire damage, smoke damage, and water damage cleanup and restoration services for Haltom City, TX, homes that have suffered a fire. No homeowner wants to go through the fear, chaos, and trauma of a house fire. But unfortunately, a house fire usually strikes at the least expected and most inopportune time.

If a fire breaks out, seconds can save lives. The following tips can help in the creation of a home fire plan and fire prevention strategy. The key to survival is anticipating a fire event and then planning, preparing, and practicing an evacuation plan and fire prevention strategies.

Tip #1: Plan for everyone, both residents and potential guests.

Inventory the needs of everyone in the home, from young to old and able-bodied to handicapped. Some children sleep through loud sounds, such as a thunderstorm or a smoke detector. Assign an older sibling to help the younger. Have a backup when the assigned companion is away.

Tip #2: Identify two ways to escape.

Start in each room. Locate at least two avenues of escape, including a window and a door.  Check to ensure escape routes are easily accessible for everyone who might find themselves in the room at the time of a fire.  Make sure security bars on windows or doors have emergency release devices.

Tip #3: Make the creation of a home fire plan a teaching moment for children.

When children are involved in the planning, they will be more enthusiastic when the time comes to practice and less fearful of executing the plan in an actual fire incident. If the task is age-appropriate, involve the children in drawing and coloring a map of the home. Each child can mark two escape routes and the locations of smoke detectors on their own individualized map. The maps can be framed, hung on the wall, and admired. An unmarked map can serve as a test and as a review.

Tip #4: Designate an emergency meet-up location.

Assign a meeting place outside the home: the mailbox, a decorative bench in the front yard, or a trusted neighbor’s house.  As tempting as the backyard playground or sandbox is, the meet-up needs to be in the front yard so first responders can easily spot residents upon arrival. Drill into children younger and older: No one goes back into the house after leaving.

Tip #5: Put smoke detectors to the test.

Double-check to make sure smoke detectors are in the best locations in the home and that batteries are always new and working. January 1 and July 4 are popular holidays to also designate as battery replacement days. By associating some of the mundane tasks with celebrations, children will more readily participate in the replacement activity and then continue it as a tradition with their own future children.

A smoke detector should be installed in the following locations:

  • in every sleeping room
  • outside every sleeping room
  • on every level of the home
  • in the kitchen area and laundry room

Tip #6: Make a scene with the street number.

Emergency responders have access to GPS, but making the street number easily visible on the road, on the mailbox, and on the front door can only help. However, the Home Owners Association may have some restrictions or limitations.

Tip #7: Be a quick responder.

Three powerful words explain the priorities of the evacuation plan: serve, safe, swift. The assigned person mentioned above serves the purpose of helping a sibling escape safely and swiftly along with themselves.

Tip #8: Have a backup plan: shelter in place.

If evacuation is impossible due to smoke, fire, or structural damage, then shelter in place. Close all doors. Stuff a damp towel under the door. If at all possible, escape through an exterior-facing window. The family fire plan should include rope ladders for second-floor rooms. Have a powerful flashlight in every room so that occupants trapped in the room can signal emergency personnel of their whereabouts.

Tip #9: Call 911.

In the chaos and mayhem surrounding a home fire, the early notification of the fire department through 911 can be overlooked. Precious minutes can slip by as everyone evacuates the burning home. Sometimes everybody thinks someone else has called 911. The simple solution is to assign everyone the task of making sure someone has called 911.

Share the plan with everyone, especially during holidays and on weekends when many people have guests. When small children are in the home, review and practice some or all of the plan on a monthly basis. As the children grow and mature, the schedule can shift to quarterly discussions and drills. Practice saves lives.

SERVPRO® of Northeast Fort Worth is dedicated to providing dependable fire damage cleanup and other cleaning and restoration services. The SERVPRO professionals are available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. Pre-qualify with SERVPRO before a property damage disaster takes place.

For more information about Haltom City, TX, fire damage restoration services, contact SERVPRO of Northeast Fort Worth, TX, at (817) 741-5737 or office@SERVPROnortheastftworth.com.