The Power of A Great Combination - SERVPRO & Blackstone
SERVPRO & The Blackstone Group logo
In early 2019, The Blackstone Group bought a majority stake in SERVPRO, a fire and water mitigation company with more than 1,700 franchise locations. SERVPRO was founded in 1967 and stayed a private company until The Blackstone Company partnership.
Blackstone is primarily known as a private equity and real estate business. It holds one of the largest real estate portfolios in the world. Finding an industry leading company that specializes in property mitigation and maintenance made this a perfect fit. Blackstone brings state of the art technology and vision to an antiquated industry. This is a huge separator for SERVPRO and continues add distance from the rest of the pack in the industry.
SERVPRO already had great relationships with the majority of insurance providers in the US but Blackstone inspired even more confidence from those insurance companies. Insurance companies appreciate that we have national coverage, large commercial structure experience, and work with them to standardize practices to make it easier for them and their customers.
Insurance customers like that at the very least they recognize our brand but most likely have also heard of the high level of service that is provided by each location. Contractors in general don't always get a good wrap due to being here one day and gone the next with your money. That will never be the case with a long standing, national, highly insured company. At SERVPRO, we are always here to help. We want to try to make it "Like it never even happened."
Major Catastrophe Assistance - SERVPRO is Here
Flood at a large warehouse during the February 2021 Winter Storm
In February of 2021, a major winter weather event affected a wide swath of US unofficially called Winter Storm Uri. States not accustomed to winter weather of this sort and of this duration like Texas were hit hard compounded by a power crisis resulting in electrical blackouts. Something of this size caused major damage most notably with pipes that froze and burst. This happened immediately and for months after as pipes were weakened. This was the costliest recorded natural disaster in the history of Texas.
In each local area, there were not enough specialty companies like plumbers and water mitigation companies to help the mountain of people needing help. It is during this time that many "new" companies pop up overnight to take advantage of the situation and people in desperate help. Many of these fly-by-night companies not only don't have the right tools to get things done and leave things often worse off but gouge trusting customers.
SERVPRO is a trusted, nationally recognized company with more than 1,700 locations across the US. It is a time like this when we use the power of our numbers to come to the aid of people and companies in dire straights. We have great relationships with just about every insurance company out there with numerous contracted national account agreements. SERVPRO has been around for 50+ years and has the experience, knowledge and family like culture that makes us the choice when it comes to major disasters.
Common Causes of Water Damage
Hot Water Heaters
There are a number of common issues that cause water damage in buildings. Below are some of the causes and some fixes:
- Probably the most common are broken pipes. This often occurs due to age and sudden changes in weather, namely cold to hot.
- Faulty household appliances like washers, dish washing machines, hot water heaters. There are water pressure gauges & FloodStop systems that can be put in place to turn these off should something happen.
- Clogged drains. These should be cleaned regularly but it is a good idea to stay away from chemicals. In the short run chemicals do the job, in the long run they can eat through piping. Snaking the drain or calling a professional is your best bet.
- Clogged gutters. These can cause water to get diverted down a path that will flow inside the building.
- Tree roots. Make sure to monitor or remove trees that are growing next to your house. Tree roots will often grown around pipes and over time can cause cracks.
- Poor drainage. We see this an awful lot in Texas where there are no basements, instead a crawlspace will get flooded. Check your crawlspace when it rains. If there is standing water, there are some solutions but often an expert will need to be brought in.
- New construction or a remodel. Any type of construction leaves the door open for an issue to pop up whether that's an accidental nail through a pipe or a roof that wasn't sealed well.
We hope that you are able to avoid any water issues but if something should happen, SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas is here to help.
New Construction & Remodels - Be Initially Watchful
Thermal camera picture of wet carpet from a commercial construction new build
There is nothing like opening up a brand new building or getting back into a building that has had a fresh remodel recently completed. These are exciting times but hold your breath a little while as there are a lot of moving parts for any type of construction from plumbing to electrical to drywall. There are many opportunities for something small that was missed to blow up into a big issue. Nails errantly nailed into a pipe, roof not completely sealed, appliances not connected appropriately, drainage not designed correctly, etc.
Time will reveal most problems, usually sooner than later. It is a good idea to closely monitor using all senses. Visual inspections are the most obvious but be aware of any odd smells. Additionally, listen close for any dripping or unfamiliar sounds.
A preventative measure worth looking into are leak detection and automatic water shut off systems that can help mitigate water damage if something should happen.
And another part of this initial breaking in period of new construction is having the appropriate contact names on hand. This means not only having the general contractor's contact information but also the subcontractors' contact information along with a great mitigation company like SERVPRO of Southwest Dallas. We hope none of these issues happen at your place of business but we are here to help if something should come your way.
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!