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What To Do When Your Kitchen Catches On Fire

3/31/2020 (Permalink)

Have you recently experienced a fire in the kitchen and you are not sure how to clean up afterward? There is typically soot left behind along with smoke damage and a lingering smell. You must be sure to handle this situation correctly to prevent it from worsening or endangering your health. If the damage is not too severe, then these instructions will be a helpful guide for you to repair your kitchen to normal in no time! Your first step should be to open the windows and the doors along with setting up fans within the kitchen to create a current of air to push out any lingering odor. Be sure to not use the AC because it could spread contaminated air to the rest of the house.

After letting the kitchen air out, here is what to do next:

Protect yourself from harmful soot and chemicals by donning protective goggles, gloves, and a face mask.

Clean affected walls and surfaces with a cleaning product and then rinse. You will have to go over the affected areas multiple times before it is completely clean. After rinsing, let the area dry before cleaning again.

Use the correct cleaners and detergents to do the job. Different soaps have differing purposes and will be more effective in different areas.

For soot and smoke removal on floors, furniture, and walls, use a mild soap or detergent mix or you can mix together 4 to 6 tbsp. of tri-sodium phosphate and 1 cup of household cleaner or chlorine bleach to every gallon of warm water. Be cautious with TSP, while it is effective, it can be dangerous when mishandled. Do not use it on ceramic or chrome.

You can use dry soot sponges, as long as completely clean and dry them between each use, to clean all surfaces including fabric. They are specifically made to remove soot and other residues without the use of liquids.

Degreaser products are not as strong as TSP, but they are as great at removing soot on many types of surfaces. 

Always check the details on the whichever cleaning material you decide to use before applying it to the job.

Do not forget to clean within your cabinets, pantries, and drawers as they are not protected from smoke and soot.

Empty everything out and wipe everything down, thoroughly clean every surface and appliance in your kitchen, including the inside of cabinets. 

You will also have to toss out all packaged food, including everything in the refrigerator for safety purposes.

After thoroughly cleaning your kitchen and all affected areas, the scent of smoke still may not be fully removed. Here are some tips to solve this:

Clean non-porous surfaces with an orange citrus cleaner.

Sprinkle baking soda on carpets and other fabrics, let them sit for several hours before going over it with a vacuum.

Set out bowls of vinegar around the house to absorb any remaining scents.

While this is an extensive list of tips you can follow in the event of a kitchen fire, it is important to know that handling soot can be very dangerous. If the fire damage is too massive for you to handle on your own, do not hesitate to reach out to a restoration company such as SERVPRO of North Nashville. We are focused on your health and happiness, and we are ready to help with any kind of restoration project, such as fire damage restoration. Our years of experience make us perfect for the job.

Water Damage Recovery Tips for Your Hardwood Floors

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

An unfortunate flood or spill can easily damage your hardwood floors, but fixing them is not impossible. However, time is not on your side. You will need to move quickly to preserve them and prevent permanent water damage and mold growth. The presence of moisture encourages the growth of the mold, and hardwood flooring will absorb moisture more easily. Work thoroughly and with speed when trying to recover your hardwood floors. Here are tips to follow when your hardwood floors experience water damage:

  • If the source of water has not been stopped yet, be sure to do that immediately. Take precautions and wear proper protective gear.
  • Prevent any possibility of electrocution by turning off the power to the affected room until the water has been taken care of.
  • Remove any items from the affected area and move them to a dry spot.
  • Open any doors and windows to allow for ventilation in the room. This will help the floor dry faster. Fans, dehumidifiers, and heaters can also help with drying the room.
  • Remove the surface water by using a vacuum to remove as much of the excess as possible. 
  • Scrub the floors to get rid of any leftover debris and mud. Use mild detergent and clean water with a brush and clean thoroughly until all dirt is gone.
  • Leave the fans going, and continue to dry the floor. Depending on how serious the damage is, the drying process can take from up to a week or more. Dehumidifiers, fans, and heaters can help speed up the process, but do not attempt to dry it too quickly or the floor can crack. Do not apply direct heat to the floor either, as this can cause other issues as well. 

Even with all of your efforts, properly cleaning and removing moisture from hardwood floors is difficult. Mold can still grow if not properly treated. If the floors are too badly damaged then they might have to be replaced altogether. But if you call SERVPRO of North Nashville today, we can assess the damage and help go in the right direction of fixing your floors! Our Commercial and Residential Restoration and Cleaning Services are not only fast, but also effective. We can fix the damage before it escalates.

Cleaning Your HVAC

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. Make it a priority to inspect the ductwork of your home or business. If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating one or more of the following:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Odors
  • Dirt and debris
  • Other contaminants

Keeping your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units clean can extend the life of the equipment which will save you money and give you cleaner air to breathe. Servicing your HVAC includes benefits such as: 

  • Restoring peak energy efficiency
  • Eliminating offensive odors
  • Reducing the potential for mold growth

Attempt to clean your entire HVAC system, failure to do so can result in recontamination of the system, recontamination defeats the point of cleaning your HVAC in the first place. Here are some steps to take when cleaning your HVAC system:

  • Firstly, gather the proper tools and equipment. These are typical household items and should not be hard to find. Recommended tools include a vacuum cleaner, a dust brush, cleaning cloths, and new filters.
  • Turn on your fan to loosen up dust, making it easier to clean, but be sure to turn off your heat. Also cover up all of your supply registers by lifting up the grills and putting down paper towels to cover them, do this to prevent the dust from getting into other areas of your home.
  • Use your brush or vacuum cleaner to clean the supply registers and sweep out the dust and debris. 
  • Turn off the fan before you start cleaning the main air ducts. Use a screwdriver to unscrew air duct covers and grills. Clean those by wiping them down.
  • Once you are ready to clean the air ducts, use the long hose on your vacuum to suck up all of the dust throughout the ducts, especially in the hard to reach areas. Try to wipe down the interior of the ducts with a cloth as far as you can reach.
  • Replace any old filters that have accumulated large amounts of dust.

Cleaning your HVAC system yourself can be an intensive job to do yourself, but it can be done. However, if you need assistance with this type of project, do not hesitate to reach out to SERVPRO of North Nashville with any concerns you may have. We are experts at cleaning air ducts and HVAC systems and are prepared to handle any kind of situation.

Flood Damage Prevention Tips for Your Business

2/25/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage can cause very serious issues to your business, whether it’s weakening the foundation of your business and causing structural damage or becoming a place where mold can fester. Excess water easily creates mold and mildew in the right environment, which may cause health effects very quickly. Here are some tips you can take to ensure that you and your business are prepared in case flooding occurs.

  • Flood Prevention
    • Keep your gutters clean
      • Make sure there is good drainage surrounding your business. You do not want rainwater traveling anywhere near the base of your establishment. By keeping the gutters clean, it ensures that they will not overflow and cause the water to go where it should not be.
      • It is possible to clean gutters on your own, but if needed, call a professional.
    • If possible, the yard or area surrounding the building should be sloped downwards to avoid having water flow to the base of the building and collecting, where it can cause cracks in the foundation.
    • Have your downspouts directed 5-10 feet away from the business to make certain the water is far away enough from the building to not cause damage.
  • Fix all water leaks
    • Check for any leaks within or around your business, whether it be pipes or appliances. Even if you see drips or any dark spots under pipes, be sure to fix those as well. It is important to identify any leaks before they develop into a serious issue.
    • As previously mentioned, excess water can lead to dangerous problems like black mold or even termites, and leaks are just one this can happen.
    • Keep pipes insulated and have the internal temperature of the building regulated to prevent the pipes from freezing. Frozen pipes can crack and then lead to leakage.
  • Replace roof shingles that are missing
    • It is recommended that you inspect your roof at least once a year for leaks or missing shingles. Damaged shingles need to be replaced as well, and repair any cracked caulking.
    • Snow buildup can cause structural damage and weaken your roof, clean your roof when there is snow or ice buildup to prevent this.

If serious flooding occurs, be sure to evacuate everyone from the building as quickly and safely as possible to higher ground and call the necessary authorities. Anything minimal can be cleaned up by a restoration company, like us, here at SERVPRO of North Nashville. If your business suffers from water damage even after following these steps, do not hesitate to call us! We are professionals at water damage restoration and mold remediation!

What to Expect from a Fire Damage Restoration Project

2/18/2020 (Permalink)

Has your home or business recently been affected by a fire? No matter the size of the fire or affected area, it is important to practice caution while waiting for the restoration company to arrive. Here is what to do and what not to do after a fire:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets. Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open. Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash any houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change the HVAC filter. Tape double layers of cheesecloth over the air register.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service. Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.

Once the restoration team has arrived on the scene, this is what you should expect from a fire damage restoration project. Every situation is different and requires different ways of solving the problem, but the process generally stays the same.

Step 1: Emergency Contact

The restoration process begins when you call us. Our representative will ask questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us respond immediately with the appropriate equipment and resources. 

Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

We carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action. 

Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service

Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, we can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs. 

Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)

The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process. 

Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

We use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces. 

Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing

We clean, sanitize, and disinfect all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to their pre-fire condition. We’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.

Step 7: Restoration

Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet. It may also entail major repairs, such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

Do not hesitate to reach out to us here at SERVPRO of North Nashville! Our employees are professionally trained in property damage restoration to guarantee each job is fully completed and done well. Fire damage is especially difficult to handle, so don’t overwhelm yourself by attempting to take on the job alone!

Steps to Take If Your Hotel Floods

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

Has your hotel been affected by flooding? This is a serious issue and the right steps need to be taken to ensure the safety of the residents along with the integrity of the building. If there are high levels of flooding in your hotel, call SERVPRO of North Nashville immediately to ensure that there is no additional damage being made. If the levels of flooding are not severe, here are the steps to follow so your hotel can be up and running in no time. While it is hard to be prepared for flooding, know that it can happen at any place and at any time. 

  • Evacuate everyone from the premises as soon as possible once the flooding starts. Find a dry, safe spot outside of the hotel occupy while waiting for the flooding to stop. Make sure everyone is accounted for. If flooding is caused by a natural disaster, call the authorities or listen to the local news to find a temporary shelter and relocate to that shelter when possible.
  • Call 911 if anyone needs medical attention. Ensure that everyone who was evacuated is safe.
  • Attempt to find the source of the flooding if it is not from a natural disaster. Stop it at the source, and if possible, try to turn it off or seal it up. Turning off the main water valve may also solve the issue.
  • Turn off the electricity, but do not attempt to reach the fuse box if you have to walk through water. Water is a conductor of electricity and you could be shocked. If you cannot reach the fuse box without stepping on water, call an electrician.
  • Document everything: take photos and videos of all the affected areas. Use this information for insurance purposes.

Once the flooding has stopped, you can start the clean-up process.

  • Do not touch the water without the proper equipment as it may be contaminated with sewage or other hazardous material. If you have to enter the establishment, at the very least wear waders and waterproof boots.
  • This will be a long, difficult process. All of the water has to be removed, then a wet vacuum or a pump can be used to dispose of any standing water.
  • Attempt to salvage any items that were not seriously damaged. Do not eat any food that has been contaminated by floodwater.
  • If the water damage is not too bad, dry the space out with fans and dehumidifiers. Anything that was touched by the water also needs to be disinfected.

Warm, wet spaces are a breeding ground for mold growth, such as a flooded hotel. Act as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth.

  • The property needs to be as dry as possible to prevent mold spores from growing. Once it starts growing, it is difficult to remove. This includes toxic black mold that is dangerous to one’s health. To avoid mold from growing, keep the affected areas as dry as possible and treat it with a strong cleaner, such as a bleach solution. 
  • If it is not humid outside, open any windows and doors to let fresh air in and circulate. 

Flooding does not mean the end of the world. Even if your hotel was flooded, it can still be salvaged. If the damage is critical or you are not capable of fixing the issue by yourself, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of North Nashville to aid you in returning your hotel back to peak condition. Here at SERVPRO of North Nashville, we are experts at water damage repair and restoration along with mold removal and remediation. We are here to help!

Prevent Mold in Your Business This Winter

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

Mold is a serious issue, and it can be exacerbated in the wintertime when precipitation is common. The melting of the snow and ice is the cause of heavy moisture, and when paired with the warm temperature indoors, it can be deadly to your business. Mold spores are all around us and it is difficult to completely remove them. Mold thrives in moist, warm environments where it breaks down material and dead matter, but it can also just as easily damage your business which may result in a costly repair. However, if you take early action, mold growth can be stopped. Your top priority is to make sure there is no excess moisture in your business, and that humidity levels are low. Leaks and high humidity levels are common sources of condensation which may lead to mold growth. Below are some preventative measures you can take to ensure that your business is safe from mold growth this winter:

  • Pipes can be a source of moisture. Make sure they do not freeze as that can cause flooding. This can be done by fully insulating your pipes.
  • Keep all areas clean. Control moisture by drying leaks and any other wet areas immediately. Vacuum and clean regularly to remove sources of mold growth. 
  • Repair any leaks as quickly as possible. Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned regularly.
  • Have adequate air circulation and ventilation. The use of fans for ventilation is beneficial, but make sure to clean them regularly.
  • It is a suggestion to have well-insulated walls which can not only prevent condensation and mold within your walls, but it will also cut down on heating and cooling bills.
  • Check to see if your doors and windows are properly sealed and that moisture is not coming in through the cracks.
  • Avoid carpets or having carpet in the entire room - especially in rooms that are prone to moisture, they can easily trap moisture and be a breeding ground for mold.
  • Try not to store paper, books, and clothing in humid areas because they can be sources of mold growth.
  • If there is a room in your business that is prone to humidity, use a dehumidifier to counter it.

If you take these steps to prevent mold growth in your business, your chances of it occurring will greatly decrease. It is easier to take action early to prevent it than having to remove it. However, even with taking preventative steps, it is not 100% guaranteed that it will not grow. Mold growth can be dangerous, and if you spot any in your business, call the professionals! To guarantee that mold growth doesn’t endanger your business, be sure to contact us at SERVPRO of North Nashville. We are experts at mold removal and remediation, and can make sure your business is back to normal if you do find mold growth!

Smoke Damage Removal from Your Kitchen

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

Have you recently had a kitchen fire where smoke damage left stains and a bad smell? Smoke damage is hard to remove but it is not impossible. Soot stains can stick anywhere from your counter to your walls or even to your ceiling. So what do you do when everything is covered in soot and smells smoky? The wrong techniques can spread soot throughout the rest of your house and make stains permanent. Even worse, soot is detrimental to your health, so it is important to wear protective clothing while handling it such as gloves and goggles.

The first step you should take in fixing smoke damage is creating good air circulation in your kitchen by turning on the fans, along with opening doors and windows. But be sure not to run the AC because it will circulate the contaminated air throughout the rest of your home. However, if the damage is severe then call a professional to properly remove the soot.

Next, assess the damage. Can the surfaces be cleaned? Surfaces with a satin or semi-gloss paint cover can usually be cleaned, washed, and restored easily. Walls with flat paint may be more difficult to clean completely, and you may have to clean as much as possible and then repaint or replace the wallpaper. Once you have followed these steps, follow the tips below to clean smoke damage and removing smoke odor from your kitchen.

Cleaning Smoke Damage:

  • Clear the area that needs to be cleaned, move items so that the affected area is more accessible. Any food exposed to soot should be thrown away, exercise caution by throwing away food if you have any doubt. Clean and wipe down other items that were affected by soot.
  • Create a solution of one gallon water and one tablespoon of trisodium phosphate (TSP). TSP is a harsh but effective chemical because it works well on sticky soot residue. Since it is an irritant, wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves and avoid getting it on your skin. Less harsh alternatives to TSP exist, such as degreaser products and dry soot sponges.
  • Use a sponge soaked with the solution to clean the affected areas. Try not to get too much water on non-water-resistant walls, as this can cause water damage to the home’s drywall or become a source of mold.
  • Wipe down every surface in your kitchen to ensure that all of the soot is removed. Make sure to also wipe down the insides of cabinets, pantries, and even drawers.

Removing Smoke Odor:

  • Even after the stains are removed, you may still find a lingering smoke odor in your kitchen that makes it hard to breathe.
  • Remove the unpleasant smell by wiping down and disinfecting every surface with an orange-scented cleaner. Odor can attach to virtually every surface, so be sure to wipe down areas from walls to cabinets to windows.
  • You can also leave bowls of vinegar out to absorb the smell. If there are areas with persistent smoke smell, create a water-vinegar solution to remove it.
  • For carpets and other fabrics, sprinkle baking soda then let it sit for several hours before vacuuming.

These tips are suitable for jobs that you can attempt on your own but do not hesitate to call the professionals if the damage is severe. Here at SERVPRO of North Nashville, we are experts when it comes to fire and smoke damage restoration and can help you with everything from odor control to fabric cleaning! Your kitchen can be as good as new with our help!

Preparing Your Business for Winter Storms

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

Winter weather is upon us. Are you taking the right precautions for your business to be prepared this winter season? Make sure winter storms don’t take you and your business by surprise by following these simple tips:

  • Stay alert for storms by monitoring your local weather channel. Know your weather terminology and listen for these three terms:
  • Winter Storm Watch: Severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, are possible in the next 12 to 36 hours. Prepare now. 
  • Winter Storm Warning: Severe winter conditions are expected in the next 12-24 hours; 4-6 inches of snow or sleet, or 1/4 inch or more of ice is expected. Seek shelter. 
  • Blizzard Warning: Snow and strong winds (gusts up to 35 mph or greater) can produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and a life-threatening wind chill that is expected to occur for three hours or longer.
  • Stay prepared by having a stockpile of emergency resources. These may include flashlights, first aid kits, battery-operated radios, water, blankets, food, extra toiletries, cell phone chargers, and food just in case the storms get severe. 
  • Invest in a backup electric generator. It is also beneficial to have sandbags, road salt or ice melt, and shovels. Keep any walkways and driveways clear of snow, and salt the sidewalks to prevent mishaps.
  • In severe winter weather, establish space on your property for sheltering. There should be room for all persons currently on your property, such as employees, customers, and so forth.
  • Have a contingency plan. Be prepared for power outages, and determine essential equipment that would require the use of a generator.
  • Stay warm indoors and have a backup heating source. But guarantee that the room you are heating is well-ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Use battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Once the storm has passed, assess any possible damage to your business. Make sure that there is no damage that could possibly hurt customers or employees.

Stay safe and warm this winter season. If the weather is unfavorable, it is ideal to stay indoors until the storm passes. After the snow melts, make sure your business stays mold and water free as mold grows easily when there are high levels of moisture. If you encounter any mold damage or water damage to your business after the weather clears, contact us, SERVPRO of North Nashville, so that we can take care of it for you.

How to Keep Mold Out of Your Nashville Business

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

Are you concerned about mold infesting your Nashville business? Do not fear, there are proactive steps you can take to reduce the possibility of it happening. Mold spores are everywhere, spread easily and cannot be completely removed. It can grow anywhere, from ceiling tiles to clothing to food to inside walls. Not only is mold hard to remove, but it can also be toxic and may cause health effects. It is important to stop mold before it starts or it will be more costly in the long run. Here are tips to prevent mold growth in your Nashville business!

  • Moisture control is important as mold cannot grow without it. Mold growth is also sped up by warmth. Keep mold growth at bay by controlling moisture, heat, and humidity.
  • Identify the problem areas in your business where it is prone to moisture such as areas around pipes or appliances. Address the issue as soon as possible so it does not cost you in the long run. It may be just as easy as installing mold-resistant products or removing carpet. However, it might be as serious as excavation or major waterproofing depending on how prone your business is to moisture.
  • Dry any wet areas immediately, and clean up after messes as soon as possible. Monitor any areas that are susceptible to moisture and make sure they stay dry. Signs of excessive humidity include condensation on windows, pipes, and walls.
  • Use proper ventilation in your business to prevent moisture. To prevent moisture build-up and mold growth, use fans, AC units, and dehumidifiers. Be sure to clean them regularly so they do not develop moisture themselves. It is beneficial to even open a window to create fresh airflow. However, do not open your windows or doors if the AC is on or it will bring humid air into the home. Improving airflow is important, and it can be improved by removing clutter. Clutter blocks airflow and prevents your HVAC system from circulating air.
  • Monitor your humidity levels indoors, which can be measured by a tool found at any local hardware store. The EPA recommends indoor relative humidity to be kept below 60 percent, or ideally between 30 percent and 50 percent. 
  • Clean or repair roof gutters.

By following these steps, you can prevent mold growth in your Nashville business. While these steps are a good start, it is not 100 percent guaranteed to keep mold out. If you encounter mold in your business, be sure to contact us here at SERVPRO of North Nashville. We are professionals when it comes to mold removal and mold remediation, and we will safely solve the problem for you if it escalates beyond your control.