Texas Crawlspace Dry Outs
Flooded Crawlspace After Heavy Rain
In Texas, we typically don't have basements. This is due to several factors. Soil can be damp or have clay in it which can expand and contract causing foundation issues. Additionally, the water table and frost line are much shallower which doesn't give the depth in the ground for a basement. Bedrock, which is found throughout a good portion of the state, also makes it expensive to dig through to build.
Without basements, houses in Texas are either built on a slab or pier and beam. Pier and beam equates to many concrete/stone/wood piers that stick out of the ground with wood beams running across the top supporting the weight of the home. Pier and beam means you will have a crawlspace.
For a variety of reasons, crawlspaces can flood. Primarily we have found this is due to poor drainage around the house when it rains. Often, older houses don't have good vapor barriers under the flooring which can allow moisture to seep under the floors and into the house. This may require extraction from the crawlspace followed by drying it out. Special tools and processes like an indirect fired heater and pulling out wet air via ducting and axial fans can assist in this situation. It is also recommended to check the humidity in the living area to make sure elevated humidity does not cause secondary damage to walls, floors, personal items, etc. Having a good water mitigation company at hand is key in these situations.
A mitigation company like SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas can help work through this issue but a permanent solution should be explored. Some homes have built in trash pumps to pump out the water anytime it floods. Other home owners may require more extensive work done such as putting in a new drainage system like French drains.
It's Cold Out There, Beware of Freezing Pipes!
Older pipes coming out of a sink on an exterior facing wall
In Texas, we usually have mild winters with our coldest months being January and February. It does not often fall below freezing at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and when it occurs it typically doesn't happen for long. Because of this, most homes and buildings are not built with pipes that are well insulated or in warmer parts of the house.
When temperatures hit 20 degrees, you can really get into the danger zone with pipes bursting. This can happen with metal and PVC pipes. Ice forms inside the pipe and creates a blockage. When water freezes, it expands building up pressure from the blockage to the faucet. Eventually it is too much and the pipe cracks or ruptures sending water everywhere.
-Moving water has a hard time freezing and is why it is a good idea to keep water at a trickle during these cold weather times. This does not mean you have to turn on every faucet, usually just pipes that have exposure to the cold weather like ones running along exterior walls.
-Add insulation to vulnerable pipes.
-Even if you will be gone, keep the building temperature at least 55 degrees.
-Open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate and reach pipes in these areas.
-Know where your area water shut-off and outside curb valves are located.
-Have the name of a good plumber on hand.
-Have the name of a good water mitigation company on hand.
At SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas, we are here to help with whatever emergency needs may arise such as a pipe bursting in wintertime. Serving the DFW area, give us a call at 214-463-5880.
Residential Fire Odor Elimination
Kitchen Fire - Soot on cabinets & ceiling
Unlike the massive blazes that make the local news, most Dallas home fires are small and usually contained to one area of the home, usually the kitchen. Even a small fire can leave behind some very troublesome soot residues and smoke odors.
Any fire odor in a home can make it very challenging to continue to reside in. At SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas, we understand that no amount of scented potpourri can eliminate a weak odor, let alone the pungent odors present after a house fire. That is why we use a multiple-stage process to remove, clean, and eliminate the source of the unpleasant odors.
Before cleaning any surface, one of our technicians will determine if an item is salvageable. We remove and dispose of any unsalvageable property caused by the fire. This first action eliminates most of the strong odors and helps our restoration crews determine the source of remaining odors and also provide a healthier environment for our employees, homeowners, and anyone else who may need to be onsite like insurance adjusters.
Next, SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas technicians use rubber sponges and a 2 step-chemical solution application to remove residual soot and odor from structural material items such the walls and ceiling.
The following step is to use Thermal Fogging & Ozone. The process uses a fogging device with a heating element to vaporize and dispense a liquid deodorant into the home. The deodorant particles bind to the odors, neutralizing them. The fog evaporates within a few hours and does not stain carpets or upholstered furniture. The last step is to release O3 or ozone into the affected areas. Ozone is an unstable molecule and will break apart odor particles to recombine as a more stable particle which eliminates the odor.
If you have any lingering odors from a recent fire, they do not go away on their own. Our goal at SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas is to eliminate every unpleasant odor in area homes, so the owners can put the fire behind them and move forward. Call us at (214) 463-5880 today to schedule a service call and see what we can do for you.
Texas Fire Statistics to Be Aware Of
Ceiling and Walls After a Kitchen Fire in Oak Cliff
In Texas, a fire occurs almost every 7 minutes.
More than 40% of residential structure fires will have a cause that is unknown.
For every 1,000 residential structure fires, there are around 25 injuries and 6 fatalities.
Of the fatal residential, structure fires, around 25% did not have a smoke/fire detector system present.
People 65 years or older accounted for roughly 30% of these residential, structure fires.
We are thankful to have some brave individuals to help battle these traumatic events and take care of EMS/Life Support Services when they happen. In Texas, more than 70% of our firefighters are volunteers.
At SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas, we can't compete with the job that our brave firefighters do. Our role is to be the essential next step in getting your life back in-order and back to normal. Whether that is cleaning and/or tearing out affecting material or contents restoration, we are there to help anyway we can anywhere in the DFW area!
The Holiday Time of Year - And Time to be Careful
Burned area of candle left unattended in Oak Cliff area of Dallas
We are approaching the time of year where family and friends get together for holidays. This year may be a little different due to everything going on in the world. Wintertime brings on lots of time inside which means finding ways to stay warm. Here are some fire prevention tips to think about this holiday season:
- Be conscious of leaving heaters plugged in when you leave a room, your home or go to sleep. Consider buying heaters that have an automatic shut off for time or if tipped over.
- Keep flammable items several feet away from heaters.
- Make sure that the heater you are using is meant for inside. Gas powered heaters need ventilation and generally are meant for the outside.
- Do not use your oven or stove to heat your home.
- Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy metal mesh or tempered glass shield....and that it is in place anytime there is a fire or even smoldering embers.
- Try to refrain from using candles that have very little life left in them.
- Each night during the winter, do a walk through of your home before bed to check on any potential fire hazards like the heaters, fireplaces and candles mentioned above.
No matter how careful we are, fires do happen. SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas is here to help with your fire clean-up needs.
Socially Distanced Ideas for Halloween in Dallas
We all have grown accustomed to the new life in the pandemic world. It is more isolating and has left us wondering will there be any celebrating of the holidays to come. Below are some safe, socially distanced ideas for the next holiday, Halloween:
- Take it virtual!
- Throughout Oct - Fixation VR - Virtual Reality Haunted House
- Days vary, check store for details - Halloween Themed Kids Crafts with Michaels Stores
- Oct 31 - 5:30-7pm Trick-or-Beat Virtual Dance Event (Adept Dance)
- Try the drive through!
- Oct 30 - 7-11pm American Airlines Center
- Oct 31 - 12-3pm Candy Caravan at Dallas Heritage Village
- Oct 31 - 2-5:30pm Halloween Car Scavenger Hunt at Mei Mei Chinese Buffet (75231)
- Socially distanced outside!
- Throughout Oct - Autumn at the Arboretum featuring the nationally famous Pumpkin Village
- Throughout Oct - Haunted Car Wash (variety of places)
SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas wants to wish everyone in the DFW area a safe and fun filled Halloween!
Specialized Tools for Water Damage to Take Service to the Next Level
Specialty Equipment Used for Water Losses - A Rover
Water is a very intrusive thing. Due to the nature of a commercial building, there are many, many potential sources of water damage. With a lot of area to cover, it is important to accurately and quickly locate the extent of the water damage, and effectively remove the water in a timely manner.
One differentiating tool to use is a thermal camera. With a quick scan a technician can locate and validate the water intrusion. A typical moisture meter can take awhile if there is a lot of ground to cover. In addition, a meter can be thrown off by the electrical wiring, pipes and metal studs often found in commercial buildings.
A second specialized piece of equipment is a weight-assisted, electrically propelled rover. Most mitigation companies will use a wand to extract water on carpeted flooring. This can take a much longer time to cover the same area and will typically still not be nearly as effective.
At SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas, we use these latest tools/techniques among many others. If you have a water damage issue in or around the Dallas-Fort Worth area give us a call at 214-463-5880.
Texas - Thunderstorm & Tornado Central
Aftermath of a house after a tornado touched down in Dallas
Texas has the unlucky statistic of being the state with the most thunderstorms, and tornadoes that touch down. With these weather events you may get lightening, high winds, flash floods, and hail. Texas is one of the few ill-fated states to get hail, with Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri being the other targets. For Texans, this can lead not only to property damage to your home and car, but to person loss of life and injury. Here are a couple tips to help when these events occur:
Make sure you have surge protectors linked to all major electronics and appliances.
Think about installing high impact windows and wind shutters.
Consider installing several heavy bolt locks on outside doors.
If you have advanced notice of bad weather coming, either find a place inside for outside items like patio furniture or tie items down. In addition, find a place to park your car inside.
Unfortunately, no matter the preparation, these events will cause damage, we can only hope to minimize it. Please call SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas to help with any of your storm related damage at 214-463-5880.
Commercial Emergency Readiness Plan, Are You Ready?
Commercial office with water covering the carpeted floor
We like to assume that when it comes to accidents happening in the workplace that things will be status quo and nothing will interrupt our daily business routine. Unfortunately, bad wiring, rusted pipes, broken or loose fittings, long time unused sinks & bathrooms, sudden changes in weather, etc can all cause issues that seem to come out of the blue. Inevitably things will always happen, it's just a matter of time. This is why it is important to have a plan and the appropriate contacts in place when something does happen. Brainstorm situations and take the time to write down your processes for these various scenarios. The next step is to find reliable emergency response teams that can fill these roles. At SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas, we serve a number of commercial building owners, managers, and tenants including large office buildings, condominium complexes, apartment complexes, etc. For these clients, we are the emergency contact for numerous services including water, fire, and sewage losses in addition to bio-hazard clean-up and COVID-19 disinfecting services. Add SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas to your Emergency Readiness Plan today!
Specialized Tools for Fires to Take Service to the Next Level
Specialty Equipment Used for Fire Losses
There are many things that separate companies in any industry: communication, response time, professionalism, knowledge and efficiency. While most of these depend on the characteristics of the team providing the service, a large part of the efficiency relates to the tools to get the job done.
In a fire, you will usually be dealing with a heavy odor from the smoke. Aside from the standard process of cleaning up the soot, a thermal fogger, an ozone machine, a hydroxyl generator, and carbon filter may be needed.
A thermal fogger heats up a liquid solution to a temperature hot enough to morph into a fog. This is distributed to all affected areas, binding to the smoke particles to neutralize the odor.
An ozone generator functions in a similar fashion. Ozone (O3) works at the molecular level by breaking apart the odor molecules and recombining with them to form a more stable molecule which in turn neutralizes the odor.
Hydroxyl generators work by using UV light to sanitize and deodorize a structure. These can be used if residents of the structure are not able to fully vacate the premises during remediation.
Another unique tool is a carbon filter which resides inside an air scrubber. With this special filter, the air scrubber will not only help clean the air but can substantially capture the odor before returning clean air.
These are just some of the advanced tools we use at SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas to efficiently and effectively mitigate fire losses. Give us a call to help with any fire damage you may encounter!