Recent Posts

Will Florida See Any Hurricanes in 2019?

8/24/2019 (Permalink)

Will There Be Any Hurricanes in 2019?

The beginning of the 2019 hurricane season was quiet for the Atlantic Ocean. Many Palm Beach County residents question if we’re in the clear for the remainder of 2019, with no more to worry about than heavy afternoon rains? While this season has been tamer than most, August to September is actually the most active time for hurricanes. In fact, there are three storm systems in the Atlantic right now. While these systems are not posing an imminent threat to Florida, there is a chance that they can develop into tropical depressions or low-end hurricanes.

Even if the systems lingering off the east coast bring serious rains and winds, the question still remains as to where all the storms have been. Talk of climate change affecting hurricane season has been centered around the notion that we should expect quicker forming and more frequent hurricanes. 2019’s season has been quite the opposite of what was expected especially when looking back on the destructive season’s in 2018 and 2017.

2019’s low activity can be attributed to winds and dust stemming from the Sahara desert in Africa. Moisture and warm sea temperatures are what hurricanes thrive on. As dry air and dust begin to diminish over the next few weeks, systems formed in the Atlantic will no longer be inhibited.

Before breathing a sigh of relief just yet, Florida residents should remain prepared through to October at the very least. At SERVPRO of West Palm Beach we always suggest our customers keep their Emergency Ready Plan, or ERP, up-to-date and handy in the case that they will need it for their home or business. When the storms do hit, an ERP provides organization for customers amidst the chaos of a hurricane. Our crew is also available after a hurricane in the case that your home endures any storm damage. Our equipment and technology work to clean, mitigate future damage, and restore your home or business. 

Call our team today to ask about SERVPRO’s ERP and how to stay prepared during the remainder of this hurricane season, 561-795-5410.

Uncommon Sources of Fires in West Palm Beach

8/19/2019 (Permalink)

A home in West Palm Beach in need of restoration services after a fire affected the entire garage.

When it comes to a fire, there are root causes that are common while others can be deemed as freak accidents. Then there are starters that are rare but still very prevalent in home or commercial fires. Staying vigilant and being aware is important, even when it comes to the most bizarre causes.

  1. Cleaning products

Even the most seemingly benign cleaning products can release vapors when used that can cause combustion. Spraying a cleaner on or near a flame source, whether a stove, candle, or even electrical outlet, should occur with extreme caution.

  1. Glass

Often in cartoons and movies, we’ve seen fires start with a magnifying glass and some sun. While this appears to be an exaggerated situation, it is a very real possibility. When hit with enough direct sun, glass fixtures or décor can create a beam of light. If it so happens that these beams of light are directed at a flammable material, like a curtain or furniture, that material can be easily set ablaze.

  1. Outdated products

Similar to broken wires and cords, products with old or even recalled wires can be a fire hazard. As consumers we forget the length of time in which we’ve had a toaster oven, hair appliance, or television. Assuming an item is fine based on the outer appearance can lead to seriously dangerous situations. Depending on the amount of time the item has been owned, these outdated products can be a generator of a serious fire if their wires have not been replaced.

  1. Home Project Materials

If you’ve recently finished a DIY project, especially if it was building an item of wood or polishing any furniture, there is a possibility that there are highly combustible items within arm's reach. Sawdust and linseed oil when left on surfaces that can easily catch flame are definitely fire hazards. Disposing of these items properly after use is highly encouraged.

  1. Pyrolysis

Often overlooked, pyrolysis is a chemical reaction that occurs when an item is exposed to heat over a long period of time. The chance of this happening is highly present when an item, like wood, is kept directly near a source of heat much like a piece of equipment or electronic appliance. Over time the heat of the equipment can cause the wood’s combustion temperature to lower and self-ignite.

Home and commercial owners have the duty to properly inspect all areas of their property for possible fire hazards. Removing or remedying common, and as shown above, uncommon sources of fire is important as fires are deeply unpredictable. Be sure to take action before finding yourself in a situation where damage remediation and restoration is needed for your property.

The Cost of Water Damage Restoration

7/29/2019 (Permalink)

How much will water damage restoration cost?

If you’re looking for the cost a restoration company will charge for water damage, chances are your need for services is immediate. We understand homeowners are naturally inclined to be curious and slightly stressed as to what an emergency disaster to their home will cost them.  Many homeowners typically submit a claim via their insurance to deal with these types of occurrences. However, there are some homeowner’s who elect to self-pay. Since every homeowner’s needs are different, the costs will most definitely be as well. The cost of water damage restoration is dependent on a few factors including, the source, the size of the affected area, and any other issues stemming from the water damage.

The source of any flooding, leaks, or moisture affect a bill's bottom line. The class of water from these sources are also considered as they require very different precautions and clean-up. Water categorized as clean is much safer and quicker to take care of as there are less health risks. Grey or black water can contain dangerous contaminants from sewer backups or toilet overflows; companies heed these situations with much more caution.

Despite the classification, water should be drained from the home prior to a full 24-hour period and the drying process should begin. If water is left sitting for too long, the extent of the damage is furthered. Heavily wet wood can begin to rot, fabrics tend to develop odors and drywall starts to hold more moisture. As the moisture accumulates in the material and air, it creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew. This could increase the cost of water damage restoration as mold remediation may now be needed.

The size of the area in which your home has been affected, along with damage occurred to your home’s structural materials impact cost as well. For example, it is less time consuming to dry carpet than it would be with flooring underneath the carpet heavily saturated with water. Another factor in price, is the number of rooms or levels, as well as the need to repair or ultimately replace building material.

Regardless of the price tag associated with water damage repair and cleanup, it is important to remember that going through a professional restoration is the best route to take. A DIY water repair can be risky for a homeowner’s health and wallet. Professional companies have the ability to properly price a water damage job with a more accurate estimate. Experienced crews can execute the restoration process with ease and safety equipment that a DIY clean-up cannot. Upon notice of damage, help to save on costs by acting swiftly and calling your insurance or a professional like SERVPRO of West Palm Beach. Our team does our best to have someone quickly onsite to provide a thorough, trustworthy assessment and estimate.

Call today, 561-795-5410.

Removing Smoke, Odor, and Soot After a Fire

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

The Importance of Professional Smoke Removal After a Fire

It may come as a surprise to many that the biggest cause of death and illnesses resulting from a fire is not the fire itself but smoke. Homes and commercial spaces are filled with many different materials, both in the structure and home furnishings. Not all materials burn clean, often releasing hazardous toxins. Some of these chemicals can break into particulate matter: extremely small solid or liquid particles. These particles are easily inhaled or absorbed via skin contact, potentially causing serious health issues. While most every fire has particular matter and carbon monoxide, there are other chemicals to know and be weary of. 

Burning barrels of trash is not encouraged with highly regarded warnings because of the dyes, pigments, coatings, and other components of everyday trash. Allowing these chemicals to be released into the air and environment around you is extremely harmful. This holds true to the burning of non-trash household items as well. For instance, treated wood that is burned can release arsenic, copper, or creosote. The chemicals found in treated wood are used to preserve the wood from everyday wear; they are not meant to be burned, therefore considered as possible carcinogens. Another commonly found material is plastic. Burned plastic can release hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, and other heavy metals. Inhaling any of these compounds can potentially cause damage to the immune and respiratory system.

When stopping to take a look around a place of residence or commercial space, many different materials can be found; some materials are evident and others, like those making up a building’s structure, are not always known. The uncertainty of these materials and the chemicals they extricate should be taken as a warning. When dealing with the aftermath of a fire, the soot and smoke remaining should never be handled by anyone who is not a professional. Inexperienced and DIY cleaning of soot and smoke can lead to serious health effects. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach has dealt with many residential and commercial fires, providing cleaning and restoration in a safe, professional manner. Our technicians have the proper equipment and safety gear to avoid the affects of lingering toxins.

If your home is in need of soot, smoke, or odor removal, call the professionals at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, 561-795-5410.

The Importance of Mold Removal Before Newborn Baby

7/16/2019 (Permalink)

For a parent-to-be there are many hypothetical, scary ideas and scenarios in the world. Many new parents do their best to take as many precautions and prepare for all that they can. For South Floridian parents specifically, they may plan for mosquitoes, critters, pool gates, and  having many options to keep the baby cool during the summer months. One dreadful item to check off the list and which is often overlooked, can be mold.

Mold is not only found pretty much everywhere in nature but is particularly prevalent in Florida’s humid climate. The presence of mold is not always easily detected and can linger around for months or even years before becoming a known nuisance. Depending on the length of exposure and distinction of mold, health problems like allergies or respiratory issues can arise. Thankfully, short-term mold exposure for a pregnant woman is not suspected to be harmful. Even so, it is best to be sure that your home is mold-free pre-arrival of baby.

Calling a professional mold inspector or tester alleviates the stress and direct contact of potential mold. While inspectors usually conduct visible assessments, a parent-to-be should walk the inspector through all of their concerns as they will already go through areas of the house that are naturally more prone to mold. Providing access to restrictive areas, like the HVAC ducts or the attic, is also advised. 

Once the inspection is completed, with hopefully no signs of mold, parents should still take precautionary measures. Air quality is important, especially for developing lungs. Keeping an air purifier large enough to filter the main common areas and even testing your air quality on a reoccurring basis, is a step in prevention and early detection of mold. Maintaining your home’s structure and checking for damage after any storm is pertinent. Implementing additional methods of drying areas that get wet and tend to stay wet, like under sinks or in a bathroom, is also preventative for mold growth. 

The thought of becoming a parent can be scary and parenthood can be hard, but keeping them safe from mold should not be either. Make sure to prepare your home during and after pregnancy to protect your family.

Classes of Fires

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Not all fires are created equal. The classes of fire not unlike the classes of water, are determined by source of the ignition. Most homeowners are unlikely to experience more than one class of fire, while some businesses may be susceptible to various classes. Understanding the different classifications of fires allows for effective extinguishing and restoration.

Class A

Class A fires are the ordinary everyday house fires. Usually caused by wood, paper, plastic or fabric, these fires are easily extinguished by water or monoammonium phosphate. Monoammonium phosphate is found in common fire extinguishers that are kept in homes or offices.

Class B

Any flammable liquid or gas like gasoline, propane, or kerosene are at the center of Class B fires. Businesses or homes that have these highly volatile items are at a higher risk of fire. Any other objects that pose a threat of heat or pressure set off combustion.

Class C

Major appliances, transformers, or fuse boxes are all sources of Class C fires. Fires that are caused by any object with electricity as it’s fuel source are within this category. In homes electrical fires can be damaged cords or underserviced appliances. Businesses with heavy electrically operated equipment are susceptible to Class C fires. Unplugging or cutting off the electrical supply, when safe of course, is the first step to diminishing this fire. Extinguishers with carbon dioxide are ideal.

Class D

Class D fires consist of burning metals. Specific metals are flammable including uranium, potassium, magnesium and more common titanium or aluminum. These metals can take shape in a powder, flake, or chips that are placed under extreme heat. The attributes of these materials typically make for a quickly spread fire. These fires are also not easily smothered and take dry powders before they are put out.

Class K

Class K fires are usually cooking fires, started by a liquid like oil or grease. These fires are much more common and put out with wet chemical fire extinguishers.

As a business or home owner, knowing the potential classes of fire that can occur based on environment is important. Staying prepared with the correct fire extinguisher is imperative in the event that a fire arises.

Different Types of Storms and Damage

6/29/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, we’re somewhat of self-proclaimed storm chasers. At the first news of any storm, our crew is closely watching the storm's formation or path and is prepared the second it causes any destruction. In Florida, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tropical storms are the most common types of storms to occur. For the rest of the United States, there are many more and many different kinds of storms.

  1. Thunderstorms

Mid-day thunderstorms are ever-present during the summer months in Florida. Typical thunderstorms come with thundering clouds or lightening, high winds and adequate rain. The amount of rain that accompanies these storms is not usually enough to stir concern. However, lower lying areas that flood easily, can incur damage to properties or homes should there be an opportunity for water to seep in.

  1. Hurricanes

South Florida is also quite experienced in enduring hurricanes. Hurricanes stem from tropical cyclones with winds reaching over 74 MPH. Storm surges and flooding from heavy rainfall are attributes of a hurricane. These storms making landfall can be as destructive as tornadoes, though usually landfall helps to slow hurricanes down as they feed on low pressure systems over the open waters.

  1. Tropical Storms

Tropical Storms are the predecessor to hurricanes, seeing winds of 39 to 74 mph. These storms are slightly more dangerous and damaging than a common thunderstorm due to the faster winds and heavier precipitation.

  1. Ice Storms and Blizzards

In sunny Florida, ice or snow are not a part of the state’s seasonal changes. The exception to this is for the rare occasion Northern Florida sees small flurries or thin layers of ice on particularly cold mornings. For the rest of the East coast, especially in the Northeast, snow storms most certainly follow changing seasons. During the coldest points of winter, many states see inches to feet of snow, causing guttural and roofing damage to their homes.

  1. Hail Storms

From flying debris or potential flooding Floridians have a lot to deal with when protecting their property during a thunderstorm. Thankfully hail is not on that list. Hail storms form when updrafts during a thunderstorm are strong enough to carry water droplets high enough in which they’ll freeze. Once these droplets become frozen, the process then turns it into hail as numerous water droplets are added onto the one frozen droplet.

No matter the type of storm, when disaster hits South Florida, SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is there to make sure your home or business is back to preloss condition.

How SERVPRO of West Palm Beach Prepares for Hurricane Season

6/24/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, each year it seems as though we blink, and hurricane season is upon us once more. As an emergency restoration services company, hurricane season is a big time of year for us. Preparing our staff and business takes additional time, cooperation, and a lot of organization. Lack of organization allows room for communication gaps that can hurt a business in the event of a hurricane.

We have shared advice on contingency plans and even on how to use SERVPRO’s ERP. An Emergency Ready Plan provides a defined guideline on preparing and staying organized for the unexpected. Our crew members always share the how-to and knowledge on our ERP because they understand how imperative it can be as well as it’s efficacy during storm season.

SERVPRO of West Palm Beach remains open during hurricane season to help our community get back to normal after a storm. As a business we utilize our own ERP to make sure our documents, building, and equipment are secure. Our crew takes inventory of all of our assets including restoration equipment, our fleet, cleaning supplies, computers and important documents. We properly store all assets until we can carefully access them following the hurricane.

Our crew is our number one priority, so we also ensure there are provisions within our ERP that account for the safety of our team. Staying connected in time of a hurricane can be difficult but is possible. Our team stays in constant communication during a storm, checking on the safety and location of each other.

Preparing for a hurricane as a business is not difficult. In fact the two most important factors to your business, your assets and your people, are easiest to arrange and protect. Planning before the storm, helps to bring a peace of mind for business owners during the storm.

Multi-level Water Damage: What This Means for Commercial Building Owners

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

The larger the commercial building along with number of working or inhabited areas the building has, the higher chance of  a water-related accident or damage transpiring. Commercial buildings tend to have more than one floor, hosting a number of pipes. Maintenance on a building can be costly and may occur less often than needed. Lack of maintenance tends to lead toward leaks, burst, or broken pipes and accompanying hardware. Even if a property owner had rigorous routine inspections, emergencies, accidents, and coincidences can still occur.  

A single-level business' concerns mirror that of a multi-level building or business. Restoring damaged roofing, repairing burst pipes, airing out drywall and other nooks are all considerations when experiencing commercial water damage. The contrast between the two businesses is the existence of multiple floors or not.

Even with all things considered including the amount of water and source of the flood, the probability of multiple floors seeing damages is high. Finishing on the floor, subflooring and the material between each level are all permeable enough for water to require serious repair. Most floors only have 12 to 14 inches between the subfloor and the ceiling of the next level. The material in between known as a joist is typically made of lumber, which is in fact processed wood; mold and mildew can indeed grow on treated lumber. 

A reputable restoration company should know to check for damage on all floors, subflooring, and ceilings. Should these layers be neglected for an extended period, damage tends to be irreparable as well as dangerous for multiple reasons. The threat to employees and other building visitor's physical safety increases. Mold growth, wiring damage, and collapsing floors are all hypothetical stemming from standing water and unresolved corrosion of floor material. 

The stress of returning to business quickly after an emergency can be tempting for a commercial building owner or restoration company to forgo crucial steps in water damage restoration. However, when weighing the outcomes of overlooked damage and the potential of having to pause business again, it is best to be diligent and patient.

Commercial property owners need to ensure they are properly vetting restoration companies that will look at all potential damage, current and future. Rushing through a water damage job affects the safety of employees and visitors, continuity of business, and a commercial building’s bottom line. 

What to Expect of the 2019 Hurricane Season

5/13/2019 (Permalink)

2018 saw a higher than average hurricane season with two devastating hurricanes, Florence and Michael. Both hurricanes caused havoc on the Southern coastal states, causing $25 billion in debt individually. Hurricane Michael’s wind force hit Florida with winds of 155 MPH. This Category 4 hurricane was expected to hit the coast with immense strength and vast destruction, while Florence was not predicted to cause the amount of havoc it did. Florence’s inches of rain caused widespread flooding, leaving hundreds of residents with damaged homes or businesses. The aftermath of Michael and Florence is still very prevalent in many communities across the Southeast.

Similar to last year, this year’s hurricane season is anticipated to bring at least twelve storms, three being major hurricanes. While this season is being claimed as a near normal season, there is no telling the potential categories of each storm. Since the patterns and predictions of the hurricane season are based on the conditions of El Nino, and we are still fairly early into the year, the temper of the season has the ability to drastically change. 

With the effects of 2018 still lingering as well as the category and number of storms we will face, weather forecasters and residents alike are preparing themselves for the busy 2019 season. Hurricane season officially starts in June, ending in November. Use SERVPRO’s Emergency Ready Plan link or create a plan for your home or business now. Scientists are claiming for many people to expect quicker forming hurricanes in the coming years due to climate change. A solidified plan, especially for those in the areas that are most heavily impacted, allows for the hypothetical situation that there is less time to prepare for onset storms. When creating a plan, keep in mind the events that accompany storms, like flooding, tornadoes, or power outages. Even if your plan is to evacuate in the instance of a hurricane, your home or business will still need protection. Knowing your area and anticipating any of these effects allows you to incorporate any additional contingency plans or resources you may need.

In West Palm Beach, hurricanes are not a new phenomenon and can have devastating affects for many businesses and homes. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach urges our customers to make arrangements and plan prior to the start of storm season. Contact us today or visit our site for more tips on staying prepared.