8 Tips for Avoiding Plumbing Emergencies
It pays to know where your water shut-offs valves are located, and if they are operational.
Source: Water Damage Defense…
Plumbing maintenance may not be the most exciting topic, but it is well worth your attention! By regularly examining your plumbing system, and performing preventative maintenance, you can save yourself from both costly repair bills and the slow, steady expense caused by drips and leaks. Here is a maintenance checklist to help you stay ahead of common plumbing problems.
- Water heater: Many plumbers recommend draining and cleaning your water heater annually. Most people hire a professional to handle these tasks, due to their technical nature, and often they are even included in your plumbing fixture’s service contract.
- Valves: Locate all your shut-off valves and turn them off, then back to their original position, to make sure they would not be stuck open in the event that you need to shut the water off. While you are at it, look them over for any sign of corrosion, which could lead to an undetected leak. Replace any valves that are not working properly. Finally, make sure that your entire family knows where your shutoff valves are located, especially the main one, since this is very valuable information in case a leak occurs.
- Leaks: Leaks can develop in many different places in your plumbing system and should be addressed immediately to curtail waste and water damage. Periodically check for any of the following signs of trouble: soft flooring near toilets, bathtubs, dishwashers, water heaters or washing machines; dampness inside sink cabinets; soft walls or loose tiles that could signal a leak inside a wall; pipes with rust or mineral deposits; constant dampness around faucets or toilets; and finally toilets that keep running after being flushed. Use water shut off valve or water leak detection systems to alert you when water leaks occur.
- Old or malfunctioning fixtures: Generally, toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, water heaters, and boilers that are more than 12 years old are good candidates for replacement. New appliances will be more energy and water efficient. Check the item’s serial number, since this often indicates the year it was manufactured. Companies use a variety of coding methods, so perform a quick internet search to find out what to look for. Additionally, replace old faucets with new, washer-less models to save on maintenance costs, and replace any hardened or cracked hoses on washers and dishwashers to reduce the risk of a rupture. The old adage “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” does not always make sense when it comes to plumbing! Keep in mind that by swapping the old plumbing fixtures for new, more efficient models you could save money every month on your energy and water bills in addition to avoiding costly water damage repair bills.
- Caulking: Check and re-do any aging caulking around bathtubs, showers, toilets, and sinks that might be allowing water to penetrate the surrounding structure.
- Septic: If you have a septic system, any persistently marshy areas in your drainage field may signal a leak in your septic line. Although pumping a septic tank is an essential element of plumbing maintenance, there is no hard and fast rule governing how frequently you should pump the tank. It depends on several factors, like the number of people in your household, whether there is a garbage disposal, the size of your tank, its system design, and even the temperature in your region. Consult a septic expert to find out how often you should pump your septic tank.
- Low water pressure: Test for low water pressure by running water from your tub faucet and then opening the kitchen faucet. If the pressure decreases when you open the second faucet, you should get a plumber to analyze the problem. Low water pressure is often caused by a leaks or sediment build-up in pipes.
- Drains: Clogged drainpipes can often be avoided by regularly cleaning your drains with an eco-friendly drain cleaner. One easy way to clean your kitchen garbage disposal is to send some ice through it to clean out any grease that may have accumulated inside. Also, look for bubbles escaping up from a drain while water is trying to go down, as this could indicate a drain vent problem.
Whether you perform these maintenance checks yourself or hire a professional to handle them, it is a worthwhile investment of your time or money. By taking preventative measures, you greatly reduce the risk that you encounter costly surprises down the road.
If you do have water damage, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee at 904.729.2401.
Conditions in Nassau County/North Jacksonville Right For Mold
If you suspect mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee at 904.729.2401.
It’s estimated that more than 1 million types of mold exist, yet less than 10 percent have actually been named. This means mold is very common in both indoor and outdoor environments. While mold and humans can sometimes co-exist without issue, there are certain species of mold that can cause health effects for some people.
If the right conditions exist, mold will grow. Those conditions include:
- Water - Different mold types require varying amounts of liquid before growth begins.
- Temperature - Normal indoor temperatures will promote mold growth.
- Time - Initial mold colonizers can take hold within one day after being exposed to an adequate water supply.
Mold growth can occur in any home, so it’s important to keep an eye out for situations that might promote mold activity. Roof/chimney leaks, wet basements, or condensation from ducts that dampen surrounding insulation are just a few examples of issues that make a house a prime target for mold growth.
If you suspect mold in your home, call SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee to assess the situation. We are Florida-licensed mold remediators and have the knowledge, tools and track record to effectively remediate mold in your home or business. If you suspect mold, call us today at 904.729.2401.
Hurricane Preparedness: Check Out the FEMA App
The FEMA app is available to download for free for iOS and Android at the Apple Store and on Google.
We are well into Hurricane Season in North Florida and thought it would be a good time to introduce you to the FEMA App.
The FEMA App provides timely alerts and useful information to help you and your loved ones stay safe before, during and after disasters. You can receive fast and reliable notifications about severe weather for up to five locations nationwide. This simple and easy-to-use resource also provides safety information, emergency preparedness tips, and disaster assistance. In the midst of an emergency, the app can give you directions to open shelters nearby, help you locate someone to talk to at a Disaster Recovery Center, and let you share images of damage and recovery efforts to help first responders and emergency managers.
• Receive real-time alerts from the U.S. National Weather Service
• Monitor severe weather for up to five locations nationwide
• Know what to do before, during, and after disasters, including flooding, fires, hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes, volcanoes, and more
• Prepare for disasters with an emergency kit checklist, emergency family plan, and reminders
• Locate open emergency shelters in your area
• Locate Disaster Recovery Centers near you where you can talk to a FEMA representative in person
• Connect with FEMA to apply for disaster assistance online
• Upload and share disaster photos with our Disaster Reporter
• Toggle between English and Spanish
• Follow the FEMA blog to learn about the work FEMA does across the United States
STAY SAFE & INFORMED
Receive notifications about severe weather for the locations that matter to you – where your loved ones live, where you travel to, where your team plays, where you vacation. The FEMA App is perfect for emergency managers, weather junkies, property owners, businesses, non-profit organizations, outdoorsy types, travelers, commuters, vacationers, empty-nesters, coastal residents, islanders, and anyone interested in staying safe and informed.
The app is available to download for free for iOS and Android at the Apple Store and on Google.
If you suffer water damage as the result of a storm, please call SERVPRO Fernandina Beach/Yulee at 904.729.2401.
Fire Prevention Tip: Why Cleaning Dryer Vents is So Important!
It is important to clean the lint filter before and after each load.
According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.
To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your home, SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee can help clean vents and ducts that may have lint build-up.
Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Association include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by obstacles. Do not use a dryer that does not have a lint filter.
Your first hint that you need to check your vents is when your clothing doesn’t dry after a normal drying cycle.
Other hints include a musty odor in the clothing following the drying cycle, clothes that seem unusually hot to the touch, or excessive heat in the laundry room.
If you would like your dryer vent cleaned to minimize risk of fires, call SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee at 904.729.2401.
Fourth of July Tip From NFPA: Attend Public Fireworks Displays
In recent years, fireworks have been one of the leading causes of injuries serious enough to require hospital emergency room treatment.
Legal or not fireworks are too risky for amateursThat's the message from the National Fire Protection Association who urges families to attend public fireworks displays rather than using fireworks at home or parties. NFPA says that... Permanent scarring, loss of vision, dismemberment – these are too often the harsh realities of amateur fireworks use. To keep the public safe from fireworks-related injuries and deaths, NFPA urges everyone to treat fireworks, whether legal or illegal for consumers, as suitable only for use by trained professionals.
According to NFPA, amateur fireworks use endangers not only the users, but also bystanders and surrounding property and structures. Pyrotechnic devices ranging from sparklers to aerial rockets cause thousands of fires and serious injuries each year.
"There are no such things as safe fireworks," says NFPA Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy Lorraine Carli. "The power and danger of fireworks should not be underestimated.”
In recent years, fireworks have been one of the leading causes of injuries serious enough to require hospital emergency room treatment. Fireworks can result in severe burns, fractures, scars or even disfigurement or death. The thousands of serious injuries each year typically harm the eyes, head or hands, and are mostly reported in states where fireworks are legal. Even sparklers, which are considered by many to be harmless, reach temperatures of more than 1,000°F.
"In the hands of amateurs, fireworks are especially dangerous," says Carli. "Fireworks are unpredictable. They can lead to catastrophe, causing injury, permanent scarring, or even death."
Wooded areas, homes, and even automobiles have become engulfed in flames because of fireworks. Fireworks-related fires have typically caused at least $20 million in property loss each year. A substantial portion of the structure fire property loss due to fireworks typically involves bottle rockets or other fireworks rockets. These can land on rooftops, wedge within certain structures and retain enough heat to cause a fire.
"For most people, family and home represent security and safety, a haven to share our hopes, dreams, and struggles,” says Carli. “Imagine risking all of that for a few seconds of entertainment. It’s not worth it. Avoid fireworks injuries and damage by playing it safe. There are safer alternatives to using fireworks on the Fourth of July or at any other time."
Public fireworks displays are one of those alternatives. Conducted by trained professionals, these displays are the smartest and safest fireworks alternative for anyone because they are established under controlled settings and regulations. After these displays, or any other time, children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over. Fireworks that have been ignited and fail to immediately explode or discharge can cause injury because they may still be active. Children should always tell an adult if they find fireworks rather than picking up smoking or charred fireworks themselves, which is just too risky.
Lead Paint Removal
Contact SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee at 904.729.2401 if you need lead paint testing or removal.
The Facts About Lead
- Lead-based paint was used in more than 38 million homes until it was banned for residential use in 1978.
- Lead can affect children’s brains and developing nervous systems, causing reduced IQ, learning disabilities and behavioral problems.
- Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.
- Lead is also harmful to adults and the elderly.
- Lead in dust is the most common way people are exposed to lead. People can also get lead in their bodies from lead in soil or paint chips. Lead dust is often invisible.
- Projects that disturb lead-based paint can create dust and endanger you and your family.
- In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.
SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee Certified for Lead Paint Removal
EPA's Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 have their firm certified by EPA (or an EPA authorized state), use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices.
SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee has RRP certification and will take the necessary precautions according to current laws. SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee professionals have been trained and certified to follow lead-safe work practices while performing renovation and repair projects in our area.
According to EPA requirements (40 CFR Part 745) contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three simple procedures:
- Contain the work area.
- Minimize dust.
- Clean up thoroughly.
Does Your Property Contain Lead?
Older homes, older child care facilities, schools and other buildings are more likely to contain lead-based paint. Homes may be private, government-assisted or public housing. Schools are preschools and kindergarten classrooms. They may be urban, suburban or rural.
Percentage of homes likely to contain lead:
- Built between 1960-1978 = 24%
- Built between 1940-1960 = 69%
- Built before 1940 = 87%
What You Can Do To Protect Your Family From Lead in Pre-1978 Homes
- If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint.
- Clean up paint chips immediately.
- Regularly clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces. Use a mop, sponge, or paper towel with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead.
- Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
- Wash children’s hands, bottles, pacifiers and toys often.
- Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces.
- Make sure children eat a healthy, nutritious diet consistent with the USDA’s dietary guidelines, which helps protect children from the effects of lead.
- Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil.
Contact us at 904-729-2401 if you need to lead paint testing or abatement at your home or place of business.
Hurricane Watches & Warnings
Stay abreast of weather alerts during Hurricane Season!
The National Weather Service (NWS), part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), issues alerts when weather conditions make hurricanes more likely. Know the terms used to describe changing hurricane conditions and be prepared to take appropriate action.
Tropical Storm or Hurricane Advisory– The NWS issues an Advisory when it expects conditions to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.
Tropical Storm or Hurricane Watch– The NWS issues a Watch when a tropical storm or hurricane is possible within 48 hours. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards local radio, TV, or other news sources for more information. Monitor alerts, check your emergency supplies, and gather any items you may need if you lose power.
Tropical Storm or Hurricane Warning– The NWS issues a Warning when it expects a tropical storm or hurricane within 36 hours. A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected in an area. A warning is issued 36 hours before tropical storm–force winds are expected. During a Warning, complete your storm preparations, and immediately leave the threatened area if directed to do so by local officials.
The best way to stay safe is to keep abreast of changing conditions and follow evacuation orders if these are issued.
Are You Storm-Ready?
Hurricane season started officially on June 1st and we'll soon be moving into peak season. Make your preparations now!
Storm season is upon us. Now is the time to get prepared. Here are some questions that will help you determine whether you are ready for hurricane season.
- Are you aware of your local hazards, and your risk exposure?
- Have you subscribed to local alerts?
- Have you created and tested a family emergency plan?
- Are you properly insured?
- Are you saving money for emergencies, so that you can purchase emergency food and water, pay insurance deductibles, and miss a paycheck?
- Have you been trained, and do you periodically practice how you and your family will respond in times of disaster, until the help arrives?
- Have you stored/updated emergency supplies, and enough food and water to last at least 72 hours at your home?
- Have you backed up computer files and data and made copies of important documents?
- Do you know how to shut off the water & gas in your home?
- Are you prepared to check on your neighbors?
We've been hit hard with Hurricanes Matthew and Irma over the last two years, and we all hope the storms will steer clear of us this year. If you suffer storm-related damage to your home or property, call SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee at 904-729-2401. We'll be there to help 24/7.
The Different Causes of Commercial Water Damage
If you have water damage at your place of business, call SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee at 904.729-2401.
Work Place Water Damage is Restored by SERVPRO
When business owners visualize water damage, they often picture a massive storm wiping out power lines, flooding offices, and shutting down businesses for days at a time. It is true that commercial water damage is often the result of floods and water that stems from weather events and storms.
However, many entrepreneurs and business space renters forget that storms and severe weather aren't the only causes of floods and water damage. Here are some of the typical causes of water damage to commercial buildings.
- Malfunctioning sprinkler systems
Some older office and retail buildings still have outdated sprinkler systems that work in conjunction with fire protection systems. While such sprinklers can come in handy during a fire emergency, they can also cause commercial flood damage if they are faulty or in need of replacement. This could easily damage inventory and business assets.
- Damaged appliances and equipment
This cause of commercial flood damage is more common in restaurants and catering facilities, as well as any business that has appliances and equipment that make use of water. If the appliance fails and sends water across your building, especially during late hours when no one is around, you may come back to work and face a water emergency.
- Broken pipes and plumbing
Just like in a residence, if the plumbing system in your workplace fails water damage could be the result.
4. Backed up sewer lines
This is another cause of commercial water damage that often catches business owners by surprise. Should the sewer line to your building back up or become damaged, realize the potential dangers of contaminated Black Water which can cause health effects and ruin products and office furnishings.
If your business has suffered commercial water damage, SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee will get you back up and running again. Call us anytime 24/7 at (904)-729-2401 for fast help.
Mold & Bacteria Growth in the Duct System
When mold contaminates the ductwork, the spores begin to spread quickly throughout your home or office.
Shown here is a “before” photo of mold in the ductwork of a retail facility in North Jacksonville. The spreading of the mold spores throughout the air in your home or office can cause the infiltration of mold to show up in other places where there is moisture present and can cause respiratory allergic reactions in people who are sensitive to mold. The reaction that many people experience from a mold allergy can be similar to seasonal allergies.
Since your ductwork is essentially the “lungs” of your home or office, you need to make sure it is kept clean of as many airborne hazards and pollutants as possible. Any kind of harmful pollutant in your ductwork will inevitably get carried throughout the air in your home or office. Exposure to mold from your within your ductwork can create some very unhealthy conditions for you, your family, or your employees. If you believe there might be a mold problem in your air ducts, it is very important to have the ductwork checked out and have any contaminants removed.
Why is there mold in my ductwork?
Molds and fungi can be found virtually anywhere where excessive moisture accumulates indoors. This problem can be even worse when there is excessive moisture over an extended period of time. When a surface or material in your home or office is holding moisture and mold spores from anywhere land on it, the mold begins to grow. As long as the source of moisture is present the mold will continue to grow on the surface, whether it’s in your drywall, wood beams, or even in your duct system. The problem will continue to expand until the source of moisture is eliminated and the mold is properly remediated.
Why is mold in my ductwork dangerous?
Your ductwork is the system which distributes fresh air throughout the home or office to keep it comfortable year-round. When mold begins to grow and has contaminated the ductwork, vents, or registers, the mold spores begin to quickly be spread throughout the home or office.
If you need HVAC/duct-cleaning services, call SERVPRO of Fernandina Beach/Yulee at 904.729.2401.