Tips to Avoid Frozen Pipes
Now that the holidays have passed, the coldest days of winter are coming. One of the most frustrating parts of home ownership is frozen pipes. Here are some tips to keep that from happening:
- If there are water supply lines in the garage, keep the doors closed.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes, especially if they're on exterior walls.
- Let the cold water trickle from your faucets. Running water helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during day and night. It may feel like a good idea to save some money by turning down the heat, but it is not worth it if you end up with busted pipes.
- If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55°. Again, now is not the time to try to save a few pennies.
Sometimes we do everything we can and pipes still freeze and burst. If that happens, call SERVPRO of North Huntsville and we'll help make it "Like it never even happened."
What Tools Does SERVPRO Use That Homeowners Don't Have?
When water damages occur in Huntsville homes, efficiency prevents unnecessary tear out and discarding materials and contents.
When you consider the immense undertakings of restoring damaged Huntsville homes after water disasters, you can quickly see how out of control the situation can become without the appropriate experience, tools, and available professionals. Our SERVPRO team stays ready for water emergencies by keeping pre-stocked trailers and production vehicles loaded with efficient, industry-leading tools and machines for all water restoration facets.
Part of the fast response our professionals can provide for water damage in Huntsville homes hinges on our ability to mobilize quickly when you call. We have technicians trained in each area of Water Restoration (WRT), Applied Structural Drying (ASD), Applied Microbial Remediation (AMRT), and Carpet Cleaning (CCT) through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC.) Some of the unique tools and products our professionals can utilize on restoration tasks include:
- Squeegee Wands – Removing surface water with vacuums and attachments like these can often be one of the priorities of restoration, especially considering how pooling can damage exposed materials.
- Antimicrobial Products – Surface cleaning is also a large focal point for our restoration team, as preventative measures taken initially can reduce the potential for mold growth.
- Desiccant Dehumidifiers – While desiccants are a staple of drying in colder temperatures uncommon to Alabama, they are used because they reintroduce dry, warm air back into the work area to promote further evaporation.
How Can SERVPRO Tell the House is Dry?
We double-check our drying and restoration efforts using multiple tools. By investigating the property for further water damage signs, we can direct drying tools to these areas to prevent microbial growth. Some of these discovery devices include:
- Moisture Meters
- Thermal Imagery
Restoration of water damages can be a complicated situation for inexperienced homeowners, but our SERVPRO of North Huntsville team can help.
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.