Holiday Fun in Huntsville
It's the most wonderful time of the year! There are so many fun things to do with family and friends in Huntsville in December. Here is a short list:
- Galaxy of Lights at Huntsville Botanical Gardens, November 11 - January 1. This is a family favorite! Be sure to check their website and buy tickets online.
- Tinsel Trail in Big Spring Park, Downtown Huntsville, Opens November 26. The lights around the spring are beautiful and the trees are so creative, and bonus, it's free!
- Nights of Santa, Earlyworks Children's Museum, December 13-23. Earlyworks never fails to be a good time for kids so I'm sure this is fabulous. Check their website for tickets and times.
- Skating in the Park, Huntsville Museum of Art at Big Spring Park, November 19-January 17. Being able to skate outside in the south is an amazing experience! Admission and skate rental required.
- Santa Train Rides, North Alabama Railroad Museum, December 2 and 9. I can't imagine a better experience for a child than an afternoon riding a train with Santa! Check their website for tickets, they sell out fast!
- Huntsville Christmas Parade, December 7 at 6pm. Another free fun night! The parade winds through our historic downtown.
- A Christmas Carol presented by Fantasy Playhouse, Von Braun Center Playhouse, December 3-5, and December 10-12. I'm sure everyone has read or seen this classic story on tv, so how exciting would it be to see it live! Check their website for tickets!
- The Nutcracker, Huntsville Ballet, December 10-12. This classic is also a Huntsville tradition since 2021 is their 53rd year presenting The Nutcracker! Check their website for ticket information.
How to Avoid a Fried Turkey Fiasco
Fried turkeys are getting more popular every year, and for good reason. They're delicious! But without following a few tips, they can be very dangerous to prepare.
Turkeys should ALWAYS be fried outside. Just because you’ve been doing it in your garage for 10 years and never had a problem doesn’t mean it can't happen to you. Because the hot oil will spray everywhere when cooking, a 10’ radius around the fryer is necessary. It quickly starts a fire when making contact with combustible materials, such as wood or fabric. If the oil touches bare skin, it can also cause severe burns.
One common mistake people make is using a frozen turkey. This is because when a frozen turkey is submerged into a pot of oil, the oil doesn’t mix with the frozen water on the turkey. Instead, heavy pockets of water will sink to the bottom of the fryer while the oil surrounding them quickly heats it beyond its boiling point. The water then evaporates, expands, and splatters the oil everywhere, including the burner. Upon hitting the burner, the beads of oil ignite into flames that spread out in all directions. If you have marinated your turkey in a brine, make sure it is fully dry prior to putting in the oil.
Measure your oil carefully, making certain that it is 4-6” below rim after the turkey is placed in it. . When you lower the turkey in, be sure to be wearing oven mitts, long sleeves, pants, and closed-toed shoes. Hot oil will stick to bare skin, causing severe burns that can result in an emergency trip to the hospital.
Even a seasoned turkey fryer can have an accident that causes disaster. The turkey can slip from your hands when lowering it into the fryer or your rope-and-pulley system could break, spilling the oil everywhere and igniting a fire. The point is that something can always go wrong when frying a turkey; therefore, you should always be prepared and have a fire extinguisher by your side at all times.
Be safe and enjoy your holiday!
Bonfires are fun, but can be dangerous.
Cooler weathers, leaves changing color, and pumpkin spice may signify the arrival of fall, but one other activity that screams fall is bonfires! Sitting around a bonfire with your family and friends may be a fun way to spend time this fall in Huntsville, but you should never forget the risk that comes with outdoor fires.
What Are Some Safety Measures To Protect Yourself From Fire Damage As A Result Of Bonfires?
- Check the weather before building your bonfire! Don’t set up a bonfire on a windy night.
- Make sure that the area you have your bonfire is in a legal location. Before you begin, find out your state’s regulations about fire.
- Keep an eye on anyone running too close to a bonfire so that no one gets hurt.
- Keep a garden hose or a bucket of water nearby in case the fire spreads. It never hurts to be prepared.
- Make sure that the wood you’re burning is dry and seasoned. No furniture, nothing coated or treated, and certainly no railroad ties should be thrown into the flames.
- Do NOT burn anything with foam or paint! This includes canisters and aerosols. The chemicals from these items can release toxic fumes and are incredibly flammable. Such products are known to explode, so it’s best to stay away from these materials during a bonfire.
- Douse the area with water so that there aren’t any flammable fragments after the bonfire.
How Can SERVPRO of North Huntsville Help With Fire Restoration This Fall?
- We’re faster to any disaster- big or small. Damage is damage, and we strive to restore your Huntsville property "Like it never even happened."
- We specialize in fire and water damage, which is the foundation of our business. This includes fire, smoke, and soot restoration, odor control, fabric cleaning, and water damage restoration.
- We have a “restore vs. replace” mentality. This helps you get back to your Huntsville home or business faster while also lowering costs.
- We know that every fire damage scenario is unique, so we tailor each restoration project to the situation on hand.
A warm, jovial activity such as a fall bonfire can be a festive way to ring in fall, but if you’re not careful, the night can end in disaster. We hope that with these tips, you can have a safe, enjoyable bonfire this season, but if the situation arises (we hope it doesn’t!), our experienced team at SERVPRO of North Huntsville is only one call away. Contact us at (256)534-1177. This franchise is independently owned and operated.
Fall Tornado Season
Stay tornado aware!
Tornadoes can occur any time of the year with spring being the most common time for outbreaks. However, due to rapidly changing weather patterns, fall is a secondary peak season, especially in the South. Since there are more dark hours during this season, there is a greater chance of tornadoes forming while you're asleep.
- Be sure to have a weather radio, or your smart phone nearby so your weather app can alert you.
- Stay weather aware. Know if you're under any watches.
- Have supplies ready, such as flashlights and first aid kits.
- Know where your closest storm shelter is.
- Call SERVPRO of North Huntsville at (256)534-1177 if you have any storm damage.
Odor and Bio-Hazard Remediation - Our Process
Hallway in Gurley, AL. Residence Pre-Remediation
Odor and Bio-Hazard Remediation - Our Process
Have you inherited or purchased a home recently that is heavily affected with odors or contamination from animal and insect waste or general filth? SERVPRO of North Huntsville provides remediation services for situations like this.
What is our remediation process?
Inspection and Estimate: An experienced technician will come to the home or commercial building to inspect the space and the conditions. We will put together a line-by-line estimate showing what we believe needs to be done in order to effectively remove contaminants and odors, as well as what the cost will be. This process is an excellent starting point for a property owner that is just not sure where to begin or exactly what kind of situation they are dealing with.
PPE: When our crew arrives on site to begin the remediation, the first thing they will do is suit up in full PPE (personal protective equipment). This will most likely include a Tyvek suit, gloves, shoe covers, and respirators. The purpose is to protect each technician from breathing in or coming into direct contact with contaminants.
Containment: If applicable, containment will be set up to limit the possibility of cross-contamination between areas that are affected and areas that are un-affected. The location and type of containment will be specific to the situation and could include simply putting a sheet of plastic over a doorway, or something as extensive as setting up a negative-air containment system.
Setting Equipment: SERVPRO prides itself in the knowledge of our technicians and the thorough processes they follow to ensure our work is reliable. In a remediation for odor or filth, we work to reduce contaminants on all surface materials, as well as contaminants that are in the air. Therefore, we often place air scrubbers at the residence, which take in air through commercial grade HEPA filters to remove particulates.
Removal of affected structural materials: A critical step in certain remediations will be the removal of affected structural materials. This may be flooring and subfloor that is saturated with animal urine, or drywall and insulation that has been chewed through and inhabited by rodents. Every remediation is different, and the necessity of structural material removal will be evaluated for each situation. Sometimes, a thorough cleaning is all that is necessary.
HEPA Vacuuming: Have you ever noticed that some older models of vacuum cleaners tend to stir up more dust and dander than they remove? This is because they lack the filtration system that most modern vacuums have. An important step our crew will take in each remediation is HEPA Vacuuming to remove fur, particles, and debris from surfaces such as the ceiling, walls, and flooring without sending particles airborne. This step is far more important than it sounds because it helps to ensure the complete removal of contaminants from crevices or surfaces that would otherwise be very hard to clean (example: popcorn ceilings). It also expedites the next step, hand cleaning.
Hand Cleaning: The next step is cleaning surfaces by hand either with an anti-microbial solution or by the dry-sponge process, dependent on the needs of the item or surface. This process is performed from top-to-bottom, starting with light fixtures and moving on to crown molding, ceilings, doors, trim, windows, walls, baseboards, and flooring.
Duct Cleaning: In many situations, a full duct and HVAC system cleaning is necessary. For an explanation on this, check out our blog post titled ‘HVAC System Duct Cleaning’. Oftentimes when customers call saying they cannot remove an odor from their home, this is the one step that was overlooked.
Deodorization Thermal Fogging: Thermal Fogging dispenses solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles. It is usually the last step performed at the end of a remediation and can make a significant difference in the satisfaction of the homeowner.
SERVPRO of North Huntsville can also include other services in your estimate, such as removing and cleaning contents, rug cleaning, and laundry. We take time to address each of your needs and expectations and will work with you specific to your situation.
Call our office at (256) 534-1177 to ask questions about our services or to schedule your inspection.
Holiday Fire Safety
Any time of year presents the possibilities for a house fire to start, but in the winter it is wise to be extra vigilant about fire safety precautions. According to the Red Cross, most house fires occur in the winter season.
An increase in baking and cooking, as well as the use of heating units and holiday decorations, can all present fire safety issues. While these things should still be enjoyed, it is important to do so with fire safety in mind to avoid making a house fire part of your holiday memories.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
Keep safe when cooking. Cooking is consistently the catalyst for the highest number of house fires during any part of the year, and winter is no different. Winter often brings about large holiday meals and extra baking activities, giving fires more of an opportunity to begin. Avoid keeping flammable objects near the stove and always be sure you have a fire extinguisher handy in case there are any incidents that occur.
Take precautions when heating your house. If you have a fireplace or a space heater, using it to keep warm is likely a daily occurrence—but it should be done with caution. Space heaters have become much safer to use in recent years, so be sure that yours has features such as an automatic shutoff to avoid overheating or tipping. Fireplaces should be inspected yearly for issues, and never left burning unattended or overnight.
Decorate with care. Decorating for the winter holidays is a fun activity, but with the introduction of new electrical wiring brings new concerns. Around 25% of Christmas tree fires start due to wiring, which can be prevented with proper precautions. Never use wiring that is frayed and avoid leaving lights plugged in if you are away or going to sleep. It is also wise to not plug too many things into a single outlet or power strip, as this can lead to sparks.
If you have damage due to a house fire, you can depend on us to help. Contact us 24 hours a day to report damage and receive a quick response from our certified restoration technicians.
Call SERVPRO of North Huntsville at (256) 534-1177.
How does SERVPRO remediate flooding in your crawlspace?
SERVPRO Air Movers in Crawlspace
The crawlspace under your home is a structural design built to reduce the exposure of your main floor to damage from sources such as flooding. Unfortunately, your crawlspace itself can be flooded. While this might not be as pressing and severe as several inches of standing water in the main level of your residence, it is a situation that you want to take care of as soon as possible.
Flood extraction in Madison county homes and their crawlspaces requires a series of powerful tools and proven approaches. Because your crawlspace is a confined area, the methods of extraction and drying change and can be much more complicated. You can count on SERVPRO of North Huntsville to help.
Should I Do Anything About Flood Water in My Crawl Space?
You would not be alone in thinking that standing flood water in your crawlspace is not a considerable problem. You might even be among the homeowners that initially choose to do nothing about this circumstance, assuming that it can get better on its own through natural drainage. In truth, there are many reasons that crawl space flooding should be resolved as soon as it is discovered. These include:
- Deteriorating Structural Elements – Supports and subflooring can become damaged by direct exposure to flooding or the elevated moisture beneath the house.
- Microbial Growth – Increased moisture and dampness throughout this area can facilitate mold growth, which can eventually affect the main floor of the home.
- Bacterial or Viral Pathogens – With natural flooding, there is a high probability that the standing water in your crawl space has some form of bacteria or contaminant. From sewage to decaying organisms, many dangerous substances and solids can be brought into your crawlspace during a flood.
What contaminants should be of concern after flooding?
SERVPRO technicians are trained to treat floodwaters the same as bio-hazards such as sewage water. The reason being that there is no way to know what has found its way into the water. For the technicians that must enter the crawlspace to set up extraction equipment and drying tools, we ensure that each of these professionals wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. This gear includes Tyvek full-body suits, respirators, gloves, and closed shoes. This head-to-toe protection protects our technicians from contaminants such as:
- Decaying Materials
- Chemical Substances
How does SERPVRO remove the water and moisture from a crawlspace?
Confined spaces can be potentially problematic for extraction and drying, especially when it comes to setting up the equipment in the appropriate areas. The right choices can ensure that standing water is promptly removed and structural drying can begin. With some of the pumps and extractors having a limited discharge and intake hose available, only specific extractors and drying tools can be efficient and effective in flood loss events damaging a crawlspace. These include:
- Submersible Pumps – Sump pumps can vary in their power supply, sizes, and strength. While one of the most common extractors used by our SERVPRO team is the electric submersible pump, these are often ineffective in standing water that has solids and debris floating in it. In these cases, gas-powered trash pumps can move this water out of the damaged areas.
- Wet Vacuums – For standing water that is only a few inches deep, wet vacuums can often complete the removal process. These are versatile machines that are highly portable, making extraction of the entire crawlspace fast and efficient.
- Air Movers – Centrifugal and axial air movers both can play a vital role in the evaporative drying of structural elements and the open-air beneath your house. Before permanent long-term solutions can get installed, thorough drying must take place.
Are There Long-Term Solutions to Prevent Flood Damage?
Preventing flooding in the future is not as complicated as it sounds. With crawlspace encapsulation, SERVPRO can take thick plastic sheeting called a vapor barrier and coat every exposed surface in the crawlspace to keep out floodwaters. The installation of drainage and a permanent sump pump can also help to divert water from pooling in your crawlspace if you live in a flood-prone area.
If you find yourself facing flooding in your crawlspace, call SERVPRO of North Huntsville at (256) 534-1177. Our team will work quickly to protect your home, its contents, and its occupants.
HVAC System Duct Cleaning
SERVPRO of North Huntsville offers HVAC System Duct Cleaning services. If you've never had this done before, you may be wondering why you would need your HVAC system cleaned?
Your HVAC ductwork is consistently blowing and moving the air in your home. No matter how clean your house may be, there will be particles of dust, dander, etc. that accumulate in your ductwork from regular use. This is especially the case if you have pets or several people living in the home. Cleaning the ducts removes particle accumulation to ensure the air coming through the filter is as clean as possible.
Cleaning your ductwork can also help remove odor that builds up over time from dander or mildew, helping to keep your home smelling fresh.
The HVAC system itself will benefit from the cleaning, as cleaner ducts result in easier air flow. This can improve the performance of the system, and increase the lifecycle of your unit. Beyond that, our trained technicians may spot underlying issues with your system and ducts as they work, preventing potential damage that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
Do you believe your system is in need of a cleaning? Call SERVPRO of North Huntsville at (256) 534-1177. We can walk you through any details, and provide pricing information over the phone.
Preparing for Winter Weather
Water Damage Remediation from Burst Pipe
Despite the unprecedented challenges that have arisen in the year 2020, time seems to have flown by. October is almost over, and before you know it, it will be the Christmas season. With this in mind, SERVPRO of North Huntsville would like to offer a few suggestions to help you prepare your home for the upcoming season.
1. Invest in weather stripping. This is very inexpensive, but will help keep the warm air in and the cold air out.
2. Clean your gutters. Blocked gutters will be slower to drain and can cause water/ice build up resulting in ice dams. Ice dams can cause a significant amount of water damage to a structure.
3. Evaluate your roof to prevent ice dams.
4. Test your heating and air conditioning system.
5. Prune trees around the house.
6. Stock up on emergency supplies in case winter weather prevents travel.
7. Protect pipes from freezing. Broken pipes are the leading cause of water damage through the winter.
8. If you have a wood burning stove or fire place, have the chimney inspected and cleaned. Make sure your smoke detectors are functioning.
9. Check for cold air leaks and install weather-stripping around exterior doors.
For all of your restoration needs, call SERVPRO of North Huntsville at (256) 534-1177!
Severe Weather Preparation Tips
With heavy storms hitting the Southern coast over the past few months, storm preparation should be at the top of your list. Though we do not face hurricane weather head-on in Huntsville, AL., we do feel the effects of the tropical storms these hurricanes spin up, as well as annual tornado weather. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your home from severe weather.
SEVERE WEATHER PREPARATION TIPS
Become and stay informed.
Tune in to our local radio or TV stations and community alert system for pertinent information. Keep a weather radio on hand with an alternative power source such as batteries or solar power.
Put together emergency kits with a food and water supply.
Put together emergency kits stocked with essential items. Supply lists and other valuable information can be found on the Red Cross website. Stock up with a two-week supply of food and water. Huntsville is not unfamiliar to tornado outbreaks that can leave homes and businesses without power for extended periods of time.
Keep LED flashlights and batteries on hand.
In addition to keeping LED flashlights in your emergency kits, you should also keep a decent supply throughout your home in case of severe weather. Be sure to have the appropriate batteries on hand.
Maintain a household inventory.
Maintain a household inventory for insurance purposes. The easiest method is to take a video of your residence and your possessions, verbally confirming details such as size, make, model, serial numbers, etc. for valuable items. Store these videos on the cloud so that they can still be accessed after natural disasters.
Secure all outdoor furniture.
Secure outdoor furniture and other loose objects or move them inside. An EF-2 (135 mph) or EH-3 (140 mph) tornado can destroy an outdoor swing or wrap a trampoline around a tree. Deck furniture can disappear or become projectiles.
Collect tools and emergency building materials.
Having a supply of useful items such as sandbags, plywood, and waterproof tarps will come in handy if windows are blown out, a roof is damaged, or the shingles are torn off. Limiting water intrusion into your home or business as much as possible will lessen the damage to the interior.
Fuel up vehicles and equipment.
Before bad weather hits, top off your vehicles in case evacuation becomes necessary. If you own a generator, stock up on fresh fuel in approved containers and store in a safe location.
Know how to shut off the utilities.
Should the home or business receive extensive damage, it may be necessary to shut off utilities, such as gas, electricity, and water. If evacuation is required, turn off utilities before leaving if time permits.
Gather documents and records.
After a severe storm, residents may need documentation to prove their identity. Keep important documents in a safe place such as a water and fireproof safe, preferably in a single binder so that quick retrieval is possible. These documents may include Social Security Cards, Birth Certificates, Marriage Licenses, Drivers Licenses copies, Wills, Property Deeds, Vehicle Registration Copies, etc. It is also a good idea to include digital records of valuable items such as family photos or videos.
The best way to weather a storm is to prepare for it before it hits. Use these tips to set your family or business up for greater peace of mind.
If you experience weather or storm-related damage, do not hesitate to give our office a call at (256) 534-1177. SERVPRO of North Huntsville is a locally owned business and an IICRC Certified Firm with the experience, knowledge, and capabilities to properly remediate your storm damage an make it "Like it never even happened."