Recent Posts

Tips to Prevent Your Christmas Tree From Catching Fire

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

Christmas tree with palm trees in background Following fire safety trips for your Christmas tree is important during the holidays.

‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, cooking, and decorating. Even in sunny Florida, residents purchase real Christmas trees every year to decorate their home with. Lights are strung, ornaments put on, and stars top the tree. While Christmas trees are definitely a sight to admire, they can be one of the uncommon sources of fire, posing a dangerous hazard to your home .

Every year, on average, 160 fires start with Christmas trees. Typical electrical items, lighting equipment or a heat source, like a candle, were the main causes of the fire. Fires can be very common and with chances increased during the holiday season, follow these tips on preventing a Christmas tree fire:

1. Get a New Tree

Like a brand-new car, a Christmas tree also needs that “fresh off the lot” smell. Your tree should be slightly fragrant, with needles that do not easily brush or fall off when you pass your hand through the tree. If needles fall quickly, pass on that particular tree to something fresher and newer.

2.Hydrate Your Tree

Once you have chosen the perfect tree to showcase in your living room, make sure you are watering your tree regularly. Christmas trees usually require daily watering. A drier tree, like many objects, are easily lit and spread fires much more quickly.

3. Don’t Overload Your Tree

A well-lit tree with plenty of bows and ornaments can really put someone in the holiday spirit. When decorating the tree however, be sure not to overload it. It is also suggested to check the wires on your strings to make sure there are no breaks that can cause a spark. When placing your tree and it’s decorations, be sure to stay clear of any electrical equipment, sockets, and even, for the few Floridians that have them, fire places.

4. Don’t Go Past Four Weeks of Use

Christmas trees last for a maximum of four weeks before they should be taken down. There are plenty of organizations that provide tree pickup and recycling.

If a real Christmas tree seems like too much work, artificial trees are also a great option. Plastic trees can catch fire easily just like a real tree. Choose instead a well-rated fire-retardant artificial tree. Remember to follow similar rules when decorating a plastic tree: always make sure not to over decorate and be cautious around sources of electricity and heat. Either type of Christmas tree is susceptible to house fires and should be handled with care.

Removing smoke from a home and going through the fire restoration process is not exactly the best way to spend the holidays.

Your Home Has Water Damage... Now What?

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

beige carpet with large wet spots This homeowner's bathtub overflowed onto the tile floor, also affecting the carpet in the adjoining room.

You just woke up to pieces of wet ceiling hanging and insulation littering the floor of your home. Or maybe you started running the bathtub water, became distracted and walked away for what you thought was a split second. Either way, now you have a huge mess on your hands with more water surrounding you than any mop or towel is able to soak up. Now what?

Though it is not uncommon to experience a water disaster as a homeowner, many people often are unsure of what to do when they find themselves in these situations. The restoration process can seem daunting when searching for the right answer on next steps. Follow these steps to help ease the stress of water damage to your home.

1. Leave Your Home

If your home is unsafe due to water contamination, electrical hazards or compromised infrastructure, vacating your home is necessary until it is deemed safe to remain in by a professional. 

2. Contact Your Homeowners Insurance Immediately

This is the most important step as you will need to determine whether your scenario is covered. You will get help filing a water damage claim and be directed to collect necessary details to complete your claim.

3. Contact a Repair or Restoration Company

Companies, like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, should be the next call you make if your insurance has not already suggested you do so. Calling a professional for your water cleanup avoids you encountering any potentially hazardous situations. Water that is allowed to sit for too long, regardless of it’s source or area it has affected, can quickly gather bacteria and may eventually turn into mold in your home. SERVPRO’s crew can quickly be on the scene to assess the damage that has been done and provide an accurate estimation of what restoration needs to occur.

 4. Let the Professionals Handle the Mess

Once the extent of damage has been determined and next steps have been explained, our technicians will prepare your home for water removal and restoration. After restoration is complete, we will make sure to leave your home clean, “like it never even happened”.

If you’re still unsure what your next move should be, call our team today. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach can help walk you through filing a claim, scheduling an assessment and provide other water damage emergency tips. 

Consider Water Damage Restoration For Your Home After a Fire

12/1/2019 (Permalink)

A fire can cause extensive damage to a building’s internal and external structure. After a fire, all possible damage to your home should be accounted for and swift action should be taken.

When certain materials are burned in a home they release chemicals that can be dangerous to homeowners. Along with these chemicals, the strength of walls are compromised, valuables are singed, appliances and electronics are damaged from smoke. Odors after a fire are not only a nuisance but are evidence of lingering particles, in the air or on materials, that are in need of eradication. Soot is also the presence of burned material in need of removal and deep cleaning. Aside from worrisome soot and smoke damage, water damage should be heavily considered as well.

Water damage after a fire may seem a bit odd to worry about at first. Consider the fact that fires are extinguished through copious amounts of water, whether that is from a sprinkler or a hose. Sprinklers release 15-25 gallons of a water per minute, while fire hoses pump roughly 150 gallons per minute. To put out a fire, walls, flooring, and possessions are thoroughly wet, posing just as much of an issue as those affected by fire. 

When considering sources for help, it is important to choose a restoration company that provides both water and fire damage restoration. Smoke, soot, and odors need to be removed professionally and safely with proper equipment. Restoration companies also have the ability to asses and restore your valuables if possible. Alternatively, immediately caring for your home and valuables after a fire for water damage means mitigating any risk of further loss as well.  Water has the ability to rot structural foundation’s, making them vulnerable and weak. Mold from sitting water is also a big concern as it takes as little as 48 hours for mold to begin affecting a home.

If fire strikes your home or business and does not have an Emergency Ready Plan, call SERVPRO of West Palm Beach. Our team can walk you through the next steps and process of restoration after a disaster. With a quick response time, caring and knowledgeable team, SERVPRO of West Palm Beach can take care of all of your post-fire needs.

What Are the Brown Stains On Your Ceiling?

11/25/2019 (Permalink)

You may have noticed a brown spot on your ceiling or maybe on your walls. The spot may not be large enough for major concern yet but sizable to raise your curiosity.  Questions like what the spot is and where is it coming from, are the first thoughts that may have run through your head. Before you ponder on the spot for too long, you should consider calling out a restoration company to your home. The presence of a brown spot or water stain can have serious implications on your ceiling.

Water pooling is one big reason behind ceiling stains. This is evident by the brown or yellow discoloration of your ceilings paint. These colors are caused by the surfactants in the paint. Surfactant is usually brown in color and oily. When mixed with water, the surfactant becomes reactivated. If the water is pooling and concentrated in one area, that means the surfactant will as well. This effect can be seen in bathrooms too, where water and moisture is aplenty, and there may be brown streaks running down the walls.

Water in your ceiling can mean a leak in your roof or a burst pipe. Even if water is not pouring down from your ceilings or walls, does not mean there should not be a sense of urgency behind getting down to the root problem or source. If water is allowed to sit too long, serious damage can be inflicted on your home’s structure. Prolonged moisture and water can onset mold damage. It takes only 48 hours for mold to begin to affect your home meaning you need to act fast. As you may be aware of, mold is not exactly a welcomed guest for your home and will need professional mold remediation. Both mold and water can lead to rotting of structural building material. This can be a major, costly problem, especially if your ceiling holds a lot of support for your home.

If you notice stains on your ceiling, don’t ignore them. Allowing them to grow or worsen in condition can cause more damage than you think. Call SERVPRO of West Palm Beach today to schedule an assessment of your ceiling.

Why Commercial Mold Inspections are Important for Your Building

11/18/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial buildings are huge investments, which would make sense why finding the right building to invest in requires a lot of vetting. Along with checking square footage, the surrounding area, plumbing, wiring and the works, a mold inspection should be immediate also.

Mold inspections in commercial buildings are a fairly new concept. Potential health issues and damage brought about by mold was not advocated for until the 90s, when a light was shed on the possible consequences of mold infestations. Now, homeowners and business owners alike are meticulous in inspecting for mold when purchasing a building, as they should be.

Mold can grow on virtually any surface, so long as it is presented with a damp enough climate to persist. Mold spores can be extremely apparent via smell or sight, or it can only be detected through specific testing. Mold survives on or “eats” away at materials, causing damage and change to the look, smell, or structure of whatever it is affecting. Structural changes can include the reliability or strength for a building. For an investor or building owner, this could raise working hazards and building safety.

Allowing employees to work within mold-ridden spaces is another costly situation. Due to mold’s potential health risk, employers and building owners should be weary of allowing employees, visitors, tenants or vendors to inhabit the building. Even if the mold is quarantined to one specific area, it still has the potential to travel through HVAC systems, affecting other areas.

If you are purchasing or currently own a commercial building, a mold inspection should be mandated. A commercial mold remediation company can perform visual assessments, sampling, and mold remediation strategies. Even if mold is not found, remediation companies can provide insight into future issues. Any situation that is a potential playground for moisture accumulation and mold growth will be addressed by a professional. This includes a leaking roof, structural characteristics that may allow water into the building, building maintenance issues or more.

Scheduling pre-move in or purchase mold inspections as well as implementing routine inspections, especially in Florida, are vital to your building and business. 

3 Reasons Why Water Damage Cleanup Calls for a Professional

10/24/2019 (Permalink)

Garage with wet floor and SERVPRO green truck outside. The flood that occurred in this garage may look like easy cleanup but it takes a pro to spot signs of future damage.

An overflowing bathtub or a leaking pipe may occur from time to time for some homeowners. Small mishaps like these are a daily occurrence and are usually handled without any second thoughts once the cleanup is done. Calls for water damage estimates usually are made when there are big leaks or major flooding and the need for restoration is undeniable. It is also rationale, however, to call during small floods and leaks for more than just reassurance.

Why You Should Call a Professional

1. Each Category of Water is Different

There are three categories of water: clean, gray, and black. Water falls into each category based on its source. Each source has different implications including safety precautions and cleanup needs. This means that just because a small flood at home may have water that is “clean”, the water can be potentially harmful, needing more than just a mop and some rags to clean.

2. More Than the Floors May Be Wet

If there is slight flooding in your kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room, these areas most likely are surrounded by tile; they are also surrounded by building materials like cupboards or drywall. Drywall, unbeknownst to you, may become saturated with water and extremely heavy. The more water the drywall holds the more unstable it becomes, causing structural damage that you may not be aware of.

Electrical wires or appliances may have also taken on water, causing a high risk to homeowners as this may pose damage later on for these items.

3. You’re Too Slow

If a flood appears to be small and contained, there may not be a question as to the length of time the water has been apparent. Without properly vetting all surrounding areas and building materials, it is impossible to tell if a “small” flood was truly small and non-damaging. Homeowners lack the ability to make these assessments. Homeowners also lack the proper equipment to dry out areas that have experienced water damage. Even the smallest amount of moisture left, given the right environment, can pose the threat of mold damage. 

When it comes to floods and accompanying water damage, leave the cleanup to the pros. Regardless of the size or area affected, water has the ability to permeate through many materials, locking moisture in where it should not exist. Call a professional restoration company like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach to handle all of your water cleanup needs.

How a Mold Remediation Technician Can Help You

10/22/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, many of our technicians are IICRC Certified in mold remediation. For people who are not in the restoration industry, this certification may not seem like much. When it comes to tackling mold, this certification is what qualifies our crew to provide remediation to any mold damage in your home.

Mold Remediation Technicians have experience analyzing air quality, sources of moisture, and areas that have been affected. Our technicians are also well-versed in the mold remediation process and make recommendations based on the extent of damage that has occurred. Proper training on identifying and utilizing needed equipment is also a big part of a technician’s job as these are the tools they will use not only to remediate current mold but to mitigate any further damage. With any restoration site, our mold remediation crew take precautions to properly seal off the affected area as to not expose anyone to the potentially harmful effects of mold.

Understanding the job of a mold remediation technician and the certifications that come along with it are important to your home, business, and potentially your health.  Often, handymen and other contractors may lack the experience and advance training on how to carefully deal with mold. Relying on uncertified individuals may mean further damage to your home and wallet. It is also important when looking for a reputable company to be weary of any promises of “mold removal”. This is because mold is found almost everywhere, making it near impossible to completely remove it. Using professional, certified services, like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, ensures that your mold infestation will be properly remediated in a safe and efficient manner.

If you are unsure of your next steps or what services SERVPRO of West Palm Beach can offer you, call us today! One of our team members can walk you through the mold remediation process and have someone on site to assess your mold damage.

Categories of Hurricanes and the Damage They Cause

10/6/2019 (Permalink)

House with green SERVPRO truck parked in driveway. No matter the category of a hurricane, taking the warnings seriously and preparing your home is important to mitigate future storm damage.

Floridians are no stranger to all manner of storms. This fact makes the threat of a storm less worrisome for seasoned Palm Beach residents. In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, many residents do not always stir any fear or doubts of their safety. This is because we have weathered many storms before and understand their unpredictability. While this hunker down mentality is understandable it is not entirely applauded. 

Even at a category 1, the winds from a hurricane can cause indirect damage to a home. Let's break down the types of wind and their associated damage for major storms. 

Category 1 & 2

Category 1 produces 74-95 MPH winds. Category 2 winds are up 110 MPH. While these storms are considered less threatening there is still a huge potential of damage to roofs, gutters, and porches. Well-constructed homes are able to sustain these winds without major damage to their foundation; however, it is indirect damage this is possible. Flying debris, fallen trees, or down power lines can cause a ripple effect of damage.

Category 3

Winds of up to 129 MPH classifies storms in this category as major storms. In this storm even well-built homes still have damage occur to their roof and windows. Other storm effects include numerous fallen trees blocking roads, flying debris will be larger, and power lines or water may be unavailable for weeks.

Category 4

Category 4 winds are up to 156 MPH. These winds are so strong that is unlikely older homes will survive without serious structural damage. Buildings and homes that are newly built and up to code have a better chance at undergoing these wind forces though there is still possibility of serious damage.

Category 5

This is the worst winds can get. These storms are catastrophic, seeing winds of 157 MPH or more. This hurricane knows no bounds and storms at this category have known to completely destroy homes and buildings. Many areas after going through this strong of a storm are demolished with buildings almost flattened or bare bones left of their foundations.

Regardless the category or the winds accompanying it, it is important to take any storm seriously and be prepared. Damage can happen from more than just winds; flooding is imminent in some areas as hurricanes bring heavy rains. In the event of a hurricane be sure to keep you and your family safe, taking all warnings seriously until the storm has passed.

New Homeowner Checklist: Mold Inspection

10/5/2019 (Permalink)

destroyed wall with black mold on it Mold flourishes near plumbing in areas with a lot of moisture and poor ventilation.

The home buying process can be stressful for potential new homeowners. There is plenty of paperwork to complete and long to-do lists.  On this to-do list, usually during the closing stages, there are home inspections that take place. These inspections are meant to take a detailed survey of your roof, plumbing, sewer lines and other major systems to look for any broken or damaged infrastructure. Among this checklist, should be inspecting for mold.

Mold has the tendency to quickly spread throughout a home. If left lingering, the damage can be costly. Home buying is already a huge financial endeavor for many people and adding to maintenance bills because of mold is not exactly a welcomed thought. Homeowners should make sure that mold assessment is conducted as one of their first steps. Due to it’s ambiguous physical state, mold damage is not always evident upon first glance; leaving this inspection to the professionals is best. A mold assessor is recommended as they have experiencing spotting tell-tale signs.

Mold can be found in homes and rooms especially, with poor ventilation that are constantly humid. Think of a bathroom constantly being exposed to moisture; mold growth is infamous in bathrooms. It is important to remember mold can also be found in brand new construction as well. A new tightly sealed building may have trapped moisture inside, that may not appear as an issue at first but can transform into a serious mold issue later.

Buying a home is a major investment. Just like with any financial endeavor, protecting your investment is important, making mold inspection a must-do before finalizing your purchase. In the case that mold is present you will need immediate mold remediation. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach has years of experience in helping homeowners with their mold damage. Call us today to discuss how we can help make sure your home is move-in ready!

Removing Smoke After a House Fire

9/23/2019 (Permalink)

Living room with smoke and soot damage This home in Lake Worth experienced a serious fire causing soot and smoke damage to cover the entire living room.

Can damage happen to your apartment from a neighbor's house fire?

If you live in an apartment building, it’s likely you hear all of the commotion of your neighbors and their daily lives. Due to having to share the same floors and walls, you will get your fair share of noise, smells, and disasters. Apartments in close proximity of one another are more than likely in the direct path of every day disasters including flooding, mold, odors, and fire.

If the apartment upstairs were to have leaky pipes or an overflown tub, surely there would be damage to the ceiling of the apartment below. The extent of that damage may even go beyond just the ceiling, soaking the carpet and furniture below. Eventually, as is common with stagnant water and moisture, mold may develop affecting more than just one apartment. As with water damage, smoke and odors from fires are also able to permeate into the walls of multiple units. 

Depending on the size of the fire and materials burned, smoke and odor can easily travel through HVAC systems, while seeping into the walls of units. It is possible for a nearby unit to develop odors. While odors are a nuisance, they are often a symptom of lingering smoke. Smoke from a house fire can be especially dangerous and potentially harmful to a person’s health. Homes today are filled with many different materials, organic and inorganic. Each material burns differently, releasing different chemicals and matter. Thinking the smoke and odors “will just go away on their own”, is not realistic. 

In the event that a unit in your building catches fire, an professional restoration company should inspect your home for any damage relative to the neighboring fire. A thorough inspection will uncover what is not initially seen or smelled. If issues are suspected, a professional restoration company can address these areas, providing proper fire damage restoration.