How Your Toilet Can Damage Your Home
Toilets are an important part of any home, but they have the potential to cause a lot of damage!
Loo. John. Commode. Whatever you call it, the toilet is an important feature in every home. Yet most homeowners aren’t aware that these fixtures can cause a lot of damage. In fact, toilet-related damage can be some of the most expensive kinds of water damage to clean up and restore. That’s why it’s vital to understand how yours can create a disaster in your home.
Nothing makes your stomach sink more than a toilet that backs up and overflows. While this can sometimes be a minor issue, it can also become a much larger problem. In situations where it’s only a low volume of clean water, you can likely dry it up yourself. But if there’s a lot of water or it’s contaminated (i.e. you just used it), there’s where you have a problem.
For starters, dirty toilet water contains bacteria, which we strongly recommend you call a professional to clean up. Even if you’re not worried about touching your own waste, if it’s not properly cleaned up, the remaining bacteria can thrive and cause future health problems for you or your family.
The other problem is that even if the water is clean, if there’s enough of it, it can be too much for someone to handle. Water will enter porous materials, which can cause them to warp and/or hold the moisture and foster mold growth. So even if the water appears to have been dried, it can become a problem in the near future.
Your toilet isn’t likely to last forever. Like most things in your home, they eventually wear out and parts can fail. Whether it’s from the base, the supply line, or anywhere else, a toilet can cause a lot of water damage, especially if it goes unnoticed for an extended period of time. While this water is generally potable, it still poses a major threat to your home in the forms of structural damage and mold growth.
Nobody wants to discover their main sewage line clogged and backed up from their toilet. Yet this is a problem that plagues many homeowners each year. Like any case involving biohazardous materials, a professional cleanup is required because they pose a major health risk. In addition to clean up, there will likely need to be extensive restoration work, depending on the extent of the damage.
Prevent Toilet-Related Damages
As we’ve demonstrated, your home’s toilet can be a potential source of unwanted damage. Because we often take them for granted, it’s important you remain alert to any changes and perform routine maintenance. But if you do have a disaster, be sure to call our team here at SERVPRO of Catawba County West!
How to Prepare for Future Flood Damage
This Hickory home was flooded by the heavy rains that struck our region!
As most of us learned last month, almost everyone in the Unifour area can be affected by flooding. Many of our customers during the flood were completely caught off guard and were unprepared to deal with the damage. While our team was able to help most of the victims, it was a wake-up call for most in the area.
That’s why we’re highlighting some of the ways you can prepare for potential flooding in the future!
- Buy flood insurance. The overwhelming majority of calls we got during last month’s storm were from people who didn’t have flood insurance. As a result, most customers were left to foot the bill themselves, often ranging into the $1000s. That’s why we strongly suggest you invest in flood insurance. (Note: There’s a 30-day waiting period before your flood insurance kicks in, so don’t wait!)
- Purchase a sump pump. If you have a basement, a sump pump is a lifesaver. If your basement floods, the pump will redirect water out of the home to where it isn’t a problem anymore. Of course, they run off your home’s electricity, so ensure yours has a backup battery!
- Move valuables to higher ground. While flooding can certainly occur on upper levels of a home (such as through a crack in the roof), your belongings are generally safer on higher grounds. Most homes we respond to have flooding in their basement or ground-level floor, so moving your valuables can mitigate their risk of damage.
- Assemble an emergency kit. As with any potential disaster, it’s always a wise idea to have an emergency kit. These kits are designed to temporarily hold you over until you can get more permanent help. For a great example of an emergency kit supply list, check out the one on Ready.gov.
Flooding is rarely expected, but even when it is, it’s best to already be prepared. Still, it’s possible that you’ll have flood damage. If that happens, know that you can call on our team of experts here at SERVPRO of Catawba County West!
How to Prepare Your Business for Disaster
Disaster can strike at any business, often when we least expect it. This is one commercial property that had water damage.
After it flooded during the weekend of June 7, many property owners in the Catawba County area were forced to face how unexpected a disaster can be. Rain closed many roads and schools, and the county was forced to declare a state of emergency. Additionally, many businesses took on water and had to experience first-hand what it’s like to address water damage.
As a disaster restoration company, we are dedicated to helping local property owners recover from water and fire damage. To support that mission, we’re providing some ways you can prepare your business for the next potential disaster!
- Create an Emergency Readiness Profile (ERP). Do your staff know where all the emergency shut-off locations are? Do they know who to call? Do you? These are all great questions, but it’s best not to wait until there’s an actual emergency to ask them. An ERP is a great tool that allows you and your staff to have the crucial information they need to respond to a disaster at your property. Fortunately, these tools can be generated for free by reaching out to one of our team members!
- Confirm you have adequate insurance coverage. For the first time, home and business owners recently learned the importance of having flood insurance. While some insurance policies might seem unnecessary (flood, for instance), disasters occur when you least expect them, and you’ll be thankful you had the coverage. Speak to your insurance agent and discuss your policies and coverage today!
- Establish a disaster response plan. Where would you go if your business space was temporarily uninhabitable? What’s your plan if your operations are halted for a few days? It’s impossible if or when your business will face disaster, but if you aren’t prepared for worst-case scenarios, it can threaten your business. Create a disaster response plan with relevant people in your company to establish things such as an alternate production site, communication plans, and more. Having such a plan can help mitigate the overall effect of any incident!
There’s nothing worse than discovering your place of business has been flooded or suffered fire damage. While these threats are always around the corner, you can help reduce the impact they have on your company’s endurance and success. There are many ways you can prepare your business for a disaster, but the above are a few to get you started. Should you happen to have a disaster, call our team at SERVPRO of Catawba County West today to make it “Like it never even happened!”
Know the Difference: Tornado Watch vs. Tornado Warning
Knowing the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning could save your life!
Recently, we’ve had a surge of tornadoes across the United States—including here in Catawba County. Some of these have done substantial damage, such as the one that struck the Kansas City area in May. All of this activity has sprung much official advice to the forefront, including knowing when and how to heed tornado watches and warnings.
What is a Tornado Watch?
A tornado watch is a weather alert that indicates the weather conditions are right for a tornado to form. It does not mean that a tornado has formed—only that it’s possible due to the conditions. When a tornado watch is announced, you should continue to watch for updates and be prepared to take action.
What is a Tornado Warning?
Unlike a watch, a tornado warning is issued when a tornado has either been spotted or appears on the radar. A warning indicates that you need to take immediate action to prepare for possible impact. As with a watch, be sure to follow storm updates until you know you’re in the clear.
Being Prepared for the Worst
Tornadoes and other storms can strike when you least expect it. It’s always a good idea to be aware of weather changes in your area, but it’s also important to be prepared in advance. In fact, we encourage you to create an emergency kit for you and your family as soon as possible. But should disaster strike, know that you’re not alone. You can call SERVPRO of Catawba County West for any of your storm damage needs!
Common Causes of Fire Damage
House fires are disastrous and can happen at any time, often when and where we least expect.
Nobody ever expects they’ll have a house fire, but each year, 1 in 360 insured homes file a claim for fire and lightning damage. What’s worse is that these types of incidents tend to be the most costly. While it’s difficult to fully prevent a fire from ever occurring in your home, it’s important to be aware of the most common causes.
- Kitchen Fires. Cooking-related fires are the number one cause of house fires each year. While there is always a risk of fire, there are a few ways you can mitigate that risk. For one, never leave your kitchen unattended, even for a minute. Also, be sure to clean and remove grease after each time you cook. For more preventative measures, check out our previous blog post on the topic.
- Cigarettes/Smoking Materials. House fires that result from cigarettes and other smoking materials are the leading cause of house fire deaths. If you choose to smoke, it’s highly recommended that you do so outside and ensure it is properly extinguished before disposing of the materials.
- Heat Sources. Space heaters, candles, and fireplaces are great comforts during the winter, but if they are close to flammable objects, they could spell disaster. It’s recommended that you keep any flammable materials at least 3 feet away from heat sources, perhaps even further.
House fires can destroy valuables and displace families—often in just a short period of time. Fortunately, our team at SERVPRO of Catawba County West is capable of restoring your home and preserving many of your valuables. If you have a fire in the Hickory, NC area, call us today at (828) 322-4400!
How Your Business’ Damaged Documents Can Be Saved
It's impossible to undo existing damage, but we can stabilize any of your damaged documents!
Many businesses today keep a digital record of their documents, which are generally easier to preserve in the event of a disaster. But some businesses—such as hospitals, law offices, and others—also use paper documents either as a supplement or in place of digital ones. Unfortunately, these vital records can be damaged in the event of flooding or a fire. However, there’s a possibility they can be salvaged.
Our Document Restoration Process
SERVPRO is known as a fire and water damage cleanup company, but we also have a lesser-known service—document restoration. Each franchise has access to this chamber, meaning we are able to salvage many damaged documents.
When paper gets wet, it becomes soggy and the ink begins to run off the page. While we can’t undo the ink damage, we can prevent further deterioration and stabilize it. Our first priority is to freeze all of the affected documents to prevent further damage. From there, we’ll ship it to our facility in Tennessee where it will be freeze-dried and returned in the same order it was sent.
Fire-damaged documents lose their edges and generally smell like smoke. As with water damage, we cannot undo any of the physical damage, but we can trim burnt edges and deodorize the documents. In any event, we can always digitize them if you prefer!
Your Salvaged Documents
Our goal is to return documents that are both stable and usable, but it’s important to manage expectations. We’re unable to undo damage and restore documents to their original condition, but we can make a strong attempt to save them and prevent further deterioration. If your Hickory, NC business has documents that have been damaged, call SERVPRO of Catawba County West today!
3 Examples of Commercial Properties We’ve Helped
Our franchise had the unique opportunity to drive on Martinsville Speedway's racetrack after helping them with
their commercial water damage!
As a Large Loss Response Team, SERVPRO of Catawba County West has the capacity to handle any size disaster. In fact, we’ve responded to many large-scale commercial property damages over our 10 years of operations. Below are 3 commercial properties we’ve helped recover from disaster.
In January of 2017, a fire broke out in the laundry room of Lees-McRae College’s gymnasium and caused substantial damage to the structure and its contents. Our team immediately responded and deployed much of our resources to help them get their gym back. After a lot of work, it now looks “Like it never even happened!”
Grace Baptist Church
Hurricane Florence devastated North Carolina’s coast late last year. Even though we were hundreds of miles away, we dispatched a team to assist with recovery efforts. In Wilmington, we aided Grace Baptist Church and the affiliated Wilmington Christian Academy, which had suffered massive flooding and wind damage. Initially without power, our team worked well over a month drying water, repairing structures, and cleaning damaged textiles.
Last year, heavy rains in Virginia flooded the nearby racetrack, Martinsville Speedway. As a result, our team traveled north and worked around the clock to extract and dry all of the water damage. We even had the rare opportunity to drive our green vehicles on the track!
Local Support from a Large Franchise
Although we are locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Catawba County West is a large franchise with even larger national support. Having helped countless businesses recover from disaster, we have the expertise and the resources needed to navigate any damages.
Fire Damage Q&A: Can You Restore My Burnt Documents?
While we can attempt to preserve burnt documents, it's not possible to return them to their original conditions.
Perhaps the most devastating part of having a house fire is losing pictures, documents, and belongings with sentimental value. While some things will be beyond any means of restoration, our franchise does have an on-site, textile-cleaning facility and access to a document restoration chamber. But it’s important not to have your expectations set too high before going into the process.
Can You Restore My Burnt Documents?
When it comes to damaged documents, it’s important that you understand what “restoration” means. It’s not possible to return a burnt or wet document back to its original condition. Instead, to “restore” a document is to prevent further deterioration and preserve it in a usable condition.
For example, if the ink has begun to run off the page, or if portions of a document have been burnt, there’s no way to undo that damage. In some cases, in fact, there’s simply nothing that can be done.
However, if there is light fire damage and/or most of the document is still legible, we can prevent further deterioration and even clean and sterilize it. As far as document restoration goes, our goal is to salvage as much as possible. Unfortunately, we can’t undo the damage that’s already been done.
Your Document Restoration Service
We aim to be a one-stop shop for your disaster restoration needs, which is why we offer document drying and restoration services. If you have vital documents that need to be saved, call SERVPRO of Catawba County West today!
SERVPRO of Catawba County West in the Community
We regularly sponsor and play in local golf tournaments that support great causes!
Although SERVPRO is a national franchise chain, SERVPRO of Catawba County West is a locally owned and operated franchise. This means that all of our employees live in and connect with our community. That’s why it’s important to us that we take an active part in the local organizations and activities that support our values and matter to our employees.
Catawba County Chamber of Commerce Involvement
The Catawba County Chamber of Commerce plays an instrumental role in connecting and supporting local businesses. In addition to being members, we are ambassadors and regularly attend events and ribbon cuttings. We’re proud to support an organization that does so much for the community!
Sponsoring Golf Tournaments
It’s no secret that SERVPRO of Catawba County West is a big fan of golf. If the weather’s good and we’ve registered for a tournament, you’ll likely find that we have a team participating. But when we sponsor a golf tournament, it’s not just for the sake of playing or supporting golf; the tournaments we sponsor are hosted to benefit some cause or nonprofit organization. So we’re not just playing, we’re helping support values we believe in!
Hickory Christmas Parade
Every year, Hickory hosts its annual Christmas parade, and every year, we drive a float or one of our green SERVPRO vehicles. In addition to seeing all of the great businesses and organizations that also support our community, we get to interact with many people in the Hickory area. Plus, who doesn’t love the Christmas spirit?
We strongly believe in helping others in need—it’s what we do best. It’s also why we are active participants in the local rotary clubs. As members, we get to help those in need—both locally and globally. It’s rewarding to be part of a great organization!
More than a Disaster Restoration Company
SERVPRO of Catawba County West is known as a disaster restoration company, but we strive to be more than that. We enjoy being active members in the community, helping those in need, and supporting the values that make the Hickory area so great. If you do have a disaster, though, we hope that you’ll call us and allow us to make it “Like it never even happened!”
3 Storm Preparation Tips
A first-aid kit is an important first step in preparing for any type of storm!
Each year, some weather event damages homes in our local community. Last year, we had bad freezes, the outer bands of Hurricane Florence, and heavy snowfall. And of course, we had tornado damage near the end of 2017. These events usually result in numerous homes and businesses suffering from some sort of storm damage. Because you never know how these storms will play out, it’s important you take steps to prepare in advance.
- Always have a fully stocked emergency preparedness kit. An emergency preparedness kit is an essential tool for any type of disaster. Your kit may include several things, but there are usually staple items, such as a First-Aid kit, food, and water. For a full checklist, we recommend you visit Ready.org.
- Prepare your home for potential damage. Each type of storm brings its own set of threats. An ice storm encourages pipes to freeze and burst. Hurricanes and tornadoes can down trees and turn unsecured objects into dangerous projectiles. Once you know what kind of storm you have, visit Ready.org and follow the preparation steps for the respective storm.
- Track the storm. It’s always a good idea to know when and where a storm is going to strike. Not only does this give you a timeline, but it can also help you understand the potential impact and whether you need to evacuate. After all, knowledge is power.
Because storms can be destructive, they involve a lot of preparation. But in the event that your home or businesses has storm damage, we’re here as your local disaster restoration company. We’ll make any storm damage “Like it never even happened.”