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Winter Months: How To Keep Your Commercial Property Safe!

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Keeping your commercial property safe for residents, employees, and visitors during the winter months require careful planning long before cold weather arrives. Consistent maintenance, property repairs, and seasonal improvements will ensure the safest environment throughout the harsh elements of the season for your patrons.

Inspect your property. Have your landscape management or maintenance team perform a property wide safety check. An inspection of sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and hand rails will ensure that anyone walking the property in slick conditions are kept safe.

-Drop Salt and Sand. Untreated ice creates s slippery layer that is unsafe for tenants and progressively harder to clear as it thickens during sustained cold temperatures.

- Light Things Up! If you don't have it already installed, lighting to high traffic locations throughout your property, adding enhanced lighting to all main entrances, walk ways, stairs, and parking lots adds an additional level of safety and security.

- Remove Snow. Snow plowing of parking lots and driveways and snow blowing of all walkways are both quick methods that can be contracted in advance through a local service. 

- Make a plan. It is important to be prepared well in advance. Outline a winter weather procedure so that all employees, residents, and visitors are ready when the time comes.  

It's Cold Outside, But Fire Doesn't Care!

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

People are at greater risk in the winter season when they cook holiday meals, display decorations, and may use unsafe heat sources. The threat of winter fires is real; winter home fires amount for about 8% of the total number of fires in the U.S. Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires. A heat source to close to combustibles is the leading factor contributing to the start of a winter home fire. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe:

- Place candles in a sturdy candle holder that will not tip over. Think about using battery operated flameless candles.

- Use holiday lighting safely; throw away light strands with frayed or pinched wires. Turn off all your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house.

- Water your Christmas tree everyday. A dry Christmas tree is dangerous because it can catch fire easily.

- Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packages, towels, and curtains- away from your stove top.

- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food to prevent fire. 

- In case of oven fire, turn off the oven and keep the door closed until it is cool.

- Use turkey fryers outdoors. Never use them on a wooden deck or in a garage. 

- Keep snow and ice 3 feet away from the fire hydrant. In case of fire, the firefighters need to be able to get to the hydrants quickly to protect people and property.  

Winter Tips-Water

12/4/2018 (Permalink)

Winter weather brings icy winds and dipping temperatures which can do a lot of damage to your home by freezing pipes and leaving you without flowing water. 

Before Freezing Weather:

- Disconnect and drain hoses from outside faucets. If your home has a separate shut-off valve for outside faucets, then use it to shut the water off to your outside faucets. Then go outside and turn on the faucets to drain water from the line. If your home does not have a separate shut-off valve for outside faucets, then wrap each outside faucets with insulation or newspaper.

-Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas such as the garage, crawl space, or/and attic. Check with your local home improvement store for which materials to use to insulate your pipes.

-Turn off and drain irrigation systems and backflow devices. Wrap backflow devices with insulating material.

-Cover foundation vents with foam blocks, thickly folded newspaper or cardboard.

-Show household members how to turn off water to the house in case of emergencies. The main shut-off valve is often located near the water heater or washing machine. If a pip burst anywhere in the house - kitchen, bath, basement, or crawl space - this valve turns it off. 

Don't forget, we are faster to any disaster, even winter ones! We will make it "Like it never even happened."

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

12/4/2018 (Permalink)

There are many precautions you can take to help you avoid the expense and inconvenience of frozen pipes during an extended cold spell.

 1. Leave the heat on at least 55 degrees and open cupboard doors under sinks, especially where plumbing is in outside walls, to let interior heat warm the pipes.

2. Temporarily, keep a steady drip of cold water at an inside faucet farthest from the meter. This keeps water moving, making it less likely to freeze.

3. If you are away for any length of time, you may consider shutting off your home’s water to reduce the chances of frozen or broken pipes. Contact your water provider for more information on how to do this.

4. Have your plumber and water provider’s telephone number handy. During an extended cold spell, your pipes might freeze despite the best precautions.

If Your Pipes Freeze

1. Determine which pipe(s) are frozen. If some faucets work but others don’t, that means pipes inside your home are likely frozen. If none of your faucets work, there may be a problem at the street - contact your water provider.

2. Find the frozen pipe(s) and attempt to thaw them with a hair dryer using a low setting. Wave the hair dryer back and forth along the frozen area. NEVER thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame.

3. Shut off water and power (or gas) to the water heater if you have a leak or a broken pipe. Contact your water provider if you are unable to find the shut-off valve or the valve doesn’t work. 

Your Commercial Property: Keeping It Safe During The Winter

12/4/2018 (Permalink)

Keeping your commercial property safe for residents, employees, and visitors during the winter months require careful planning long before cold weather arrives. Consistent maintenance, property repairs, and seasonal improvements will ensure the safest environment throughout the harsh elements of the season for your patrons.

Inspect your property. Have your landscape management or maintenance team perform a property wide safety check. An inspection of sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and hand rails will ensure that anyone walking the property in slick conditions are kept safe.

-Drop Salt and Sand. Untreated ice creates s slippery layer that is unsafe for tenants and progressively harder to clear as it thickens during sustained cold temperatures.

- Light Things Up! If you don't have it already installed, lighting to high traffic locations throughout your property, adding enhanced lighting to all main entrances, walk ways, stairs, and parking lots adds an additional level of safety and security.

- Remove Snow. Snow plowing of parking lots and driveways and snow blowing of all walkways are both quick methods that can be contracted in advance through a local service. 

- Make a plan. It is important to be prepared well in advance. Outline a winter weather procedure so that all employees, residents, and visitors are ready when the time comes.  

Don't forget, we are faster to any disaster and we will make it "Like it never even happened."

Fire Safety In The Winter

12/4/2018 (Permalink)

People are at greater risk in the winter season when they cook holiday meals, display decorations, and may use unsafe heat sources. The threat of winter fires is real; winter home fires amount for about 8% of the total number of fires in the U.S. Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires. A heat source too close to combustibles is the leading factor contributing to the start of a winter home fire. Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe:

- Place candles in a sturdy candle holder that will not tip over. Think about using battery operated flameless candles.

- Use holiday lighting safely; throw away light strands with frayed or pinched wires. Turn off all your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house.

- Water your Christmas tree everyday. A dry Christmas tree is dangerous because it can catch fire easily.

- Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packages, towels, and curtains- away from your stove top.

- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food to prevent fire. 

- In case of oven fire, turn off the oven and keep the door closed until it is cool.

- Use turkey fryers outdoors. Never use them on a wooden deck or in a garage. 

- Keep snow and ice 3 feet away from the fire hydrant. In case of fire, the firefighters need to be able to get to the hydrants quickly to protect people and property.  

Five Ways To Prevent Mold In The Winter

12/4/2018 (Permalink)

Although seasonal outdoor conditions have little effect on mold growth inside enclosed environments of a home, airborne spores that spawn mold may infiltrate the house any time of the year. Controlling certain factors specific to the cold season can at least reduce the odds of household mold contamination. Here are 5 tips preventing mold in the winter:

1. Run ceiling fans in the reverse (clockwise) mode for winter. A ceiling fan rotating clockwise pulls warm air upwards and pushes it across the ceiling and down walls and windows. This air circulation dries out condensation, eliminating another source of mold triggering moisture. 

2. Humidify sparingly. Winter air is often dry and irritating to certain individuals. To alleviate these symptoms, humidifiers are commonly utilized to add water vapor to indoor air. Maintain indoor humidity levels at 60% or below to discourage mold.

3. Dry wet areas. Many parts of the house tend to be damp in the winter- windows, mirrors, pipes- due to condensation. By quickly removing moisture with a towel it prevents them from becoming potential for mold.

4. Check the attic. While your roof shingles may shed summer rain effectively, stationary seepage from melting snow on the roof is another matter. Roof leakage due to snow melt or ice dams on the roof is a common cause of mold growth in the attic. 

5. Upgrade your insulation. Some house have minimal or no insulation inside exterior walls. Condensation forms on and inside cold, uninsulated walls in contact with warm, moist indoor air.  

Saving Water In The Winter

12/4/2018 (Permalink)

We all would like to be good stewards of our resources; but the question is asked, "How can we remember to save water?" Let's break it down:

1. Let it thaw, let it thaw, let it thaw! Save water and the energy used by the hot water heater, by thawing foods in the microwave or overnight in the fridge, instead of running hot water over them.

2. Never lighten the load! Holiday fun means party attire, snow gear, and a whole bunch of laundry. Save water and make that pile disappear faster by only washing and drying full loads every time. By using cold water whenever possible, it can reduce the energy needed to wash your clothes, as well help you save on your energy bill. 

3. Keep the tap tight! If you are pulling out the fine china this holiday season chances are you will have to hand wash those beauties. When you are ready to roll up your sleeves, do not let the tap constantly run; plug the drain, fill the sink with soapy water and scrub away.

4. Give the gift of rain. The rain barrel is not a new concept. However, improvements over time have produced models capable of offering maximum effectiveness and durability. Having a barrel specifically designed for rain water collection means you may be able to collect a greater volume of water. 

The Dangers That Snowstorms Bring

12/4/2018 (Permalink)

A winter storm occurs when there is significant precipitation and the temperature is low enough that precipitation forms as sleet or snow, or when rain turns to ice. A winter storm can range freezing rain and ice to moderate snowfall over a few hours, to a blizzard that lasts for several days. 

Winter storms can cause power outages that last for days. They can make roads and walk ways extremely dangerous, impassable, and deaths could occur. Follow these steps to prepare your home in case of a winter storm:

- Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather-stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.

- Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.

- Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in the home knows how to use them.

- Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe burst.

- If you have a wood burning fireplace, consider storing wood to keep you warm if the winter storm knocks out your heat. Also make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.

*Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:

 -Extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm winter coats;

 -Fireplace or wood-burning stove with plenty of dry firewood, or a gas long fireplace. 

The Mold Mitigation & Remediation Process

11/9/2018 (Permalink)

When there’s a water intrusion, like a roof leak or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can affect your health and can also cause significant damage to your property. Fortunately, SERVPRO of North Elkhart County has the training, protective gear, and specialized equipment necessary to handle your mold problem. Although every mold damage scenario is different, requiring a unique solution, the general mold remediation process stays the same. The following steps illustrate a “typical” mold removal process.

Call SERVPRO of North Elkhart County        

The mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call SERVPRO of North Elkhart County. A representative will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed.

Inspection & Damage Assessment            

Your property will be carefully inspected for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water which can be hidden from plain view.

Mold Containment                                  

Various containment procedures will be placed to prevent the spread of mold and isolate the contaminated area with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.

Air Filtration                                      

Specialized filtration equipment captures microscopic mold spores out of the air. SERVPRO of North Elkhart County utilizes powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress.

Removing Mold & Mold-Infested Materials    

The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new colonies from forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.

Cleaning Contents & Belongings          

SERVPRO of North Elkhart County cleans your furniture, decorative items, and other restorable items affected by mold. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings. They are also trained to remove odors and deodorize using fogging equipment.

Restoration

Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may be removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet, or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

SERVPRO of North Elkhart County understands mold and mold growth and has the training and equipment to remediate mold in your home or business.