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How To Prevent Biohazards

12/8/2022 (Permalink)

Washing hands with soap Wash hands with soap and water before handling any samples or materials.

Biohazards are among the deadliest threats to property and people. They need to be handled in a very particular way. In this blog, we will talk about what a biohazard event is an dhow to handle it.

What is a Biohazard?

Biohazards can be found in many places, including homes and businesses, so it's important to know how to prevent biohazards in your home or business. A biohazard is anything that could cause illness or injury if exposed to the human body. This includes bloodborne pathogens like HIV or Hepatitis B as well as harmful bacteria like E.coli and staphylococcus epidermidis (SSE). It also includes animal-borne diseases such as rabies or lyme disease that can spread from pets when they bite someone without being vaccinated against it first!

Mold is a fungus that grows on organic matter such as wood, paper and other surfaces. Molds can also grow in your home or workplace, causing serious health problems. Molds produce spores that contain toxins or irritants which are harmful to humans when inhaled or ingested orally by living organisms. Molds are able to grow in places with too much moisture because they require water to survive. Mold is a common secondary issue with a biohazard event. 

Mindful Hygiene

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of biohazard safety, it's important to understand that the first line of biosecurity is mindful hygiene.

  • Wash hands with soap and water before handling any samples or materials. (Did you know that it takes only 20 seconds for germs to spread?)
  • Wear gloves when working with samples or materials, especially if they're wet or damp. (Wear clean gloves every time.)
  • Wear a respirator in areas where there are particles in the air; this includes work areas and storage facilities where biohazards are present.

PPE is Critical

Please note, PPE is a critical part of preventing cross-contamination. Properly worn PPE must be replaced regularly and at all times during work with biohazards. If you are not wearing the correct PPE (or if it's not in good condition), you could be exposed to the hazard. This can result in injury or illness to yourself and others, as well as spreading contamination through your facility.

In order to protect your property, never underestimate the risk of biohazard contamination. It can happen in any building and its effects can be devastating. A biohazard laboratory is no exception; regardless of how careful you are when working with infectious materials, a spill or accident could occur at any time.

We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of handling biohazards safely. It’s not something that should be taken lightly, as contamination can lead to serious problems for both humans and animals alike. If you have a biohazard issue in your home or business, it’s a good idea to call in the professionals at SERVPRO of Lakeway/Westlake. We can get your Austin, TX property back to normal quickly! 

What's Going On When the Toilet Leaks When Flushed?

11/14/2022 (Permalink)

Bottom of a toilet leaking If you have a leaking toilet, it is important to fix it as soon as possible.

What Causes Leaking Toilets and How To Fix Them

If the toilet is the centerpiece of your bathroom and you've lived in it for a while, you know that everything else works around it. That's why when your toilet leaks when flushed, it's time to start asking questions. The good news is that there's no need to panic, most of these issues can be fixed with a little DIY know-how. Read on for answers to common questions about leaking toilets, including what causes them and how to fix them!

Tank flange issues

There are a few things to check when dealing with a leaking toilet, but it's important to first understand what causes this problem. The tank flange is the part that connects your toilet tank to the floor and secures it in place. If this connection fails, water can leak from inside of your toilet onto the floor below—and trust us, no one wants that! It may be time for a new flange if any portion of it appears broken or cracked. It's also possible that something as simple as over-tightening has caused damage; if this is true for you then all you must do is loosen those screws again and go back to normal operation before things get messy!

As always when talking about home repair issues like this one: don't forget safety precautions like turning off power sources before working on plumbing systems so that nothing gets shocked accidentally during installation or repair attempts!

Dry wax ring or improper installation

If you have a wax ring, it may be cracked or too dry. This can cause the toilet to leak when flushed.

To replace the wax ring, you'll need to remove the seat/lid/tank by lifting it up and pulling outwards on both sides. Then you'll need to unscrew the bolts holding down your old wax ring with a crescent wrench or pliers. If you don't have one of these tools handy, ask someone who does! Once removed, take apart your new wax ring kit (it will come in two pieces) and insert this into your toilet bowl.

How often should you replace your toilet and its parts? 

When it comes to replacing your toilet and its parts, there are a few things you can do to make sure that you get the most out of them.

Toilets should be replaced every 10-15 years, but if you keep your tank clean and free of hair and other debris (like bathroom cleaning products), you may be able to squeeze another year or two out of yours. Use vinegar or baking soda instead of a harsh chemical cleaner when scrubbing down your tank, as these won't damage it like bleach might. And remember to keep an eye on the bolts holding your toilet together; if they're rusted or have loosened over time, replace them before disaster strikes!

Don't ignore a leaking toilet!

Leaking toilets can waste a ton water, which costs money. You’ll be paying for wasted water in your monthly utility bills, as well as on the cost of repairing or replacing parts of your home damaged by water damage from a leaky toilet.

Leaky toilets can also cause problems with septic systems and sewer lines. Sewer lines need regular maintenance and cleaning, but if the line becomes clogged because there's too much traffic through it (i.e., because of too many people flushing their toilets at once), this can lead to backups or even sewage leaks into basements and crawl spaces below houses where they might not necessarily be noticed right away.

If you have a leaking toilet, it is important to fix it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage will occur and the more expensive it will be. Even if you can't fix the problem yourself, a licensed plumber should be able to help.

Be Proactive About Mold Prevention

11/2/2022 (Permalink)

Dehumidifier with the phrase STAY DRY Keep humidity levels consistent throughout the property by installing dehumidifiers on the premises.

Mold Prevention

When business owners think about water damage, they likely consider flooding or broken pipes. However, the mold is probably the furthest thing from their minds. Fungal development is a serious side effect of leaks and flooding, and it is something that can spread well beyond the initial contamination site. Unfortunately, its growth does not only occur after significant catastrophes. In fact, your property may have a mold problem right now and you don’t even realize it. Therefore, to reduce your financial risk, it may be beneficial to become proactive about mold prevention sooner instead of later.

1. Repair Seals and Known Leaks

Mold growth most often occurs around sources of moisture. To prevent its development, you should inspect your property, particularly around windows, doors and rooflines where seals may have worn away or sheathing may have been damaged. If you find any weak points or cracks, replace these areas. Additionally, if you know of any small leaks in your plumbing, repair them.

2. Control Moisture Levels

While water damage is an obvious source of mold development, you should not limit yourself to only inspecting areas prone to leaks. Check areas where humidity is higher than average, such as basements and attics. Keep humidity levels consistent throughout the property by installing dehumidifiers on the premises.

3. Improve Ventilation

Beyond controlling humidity and moisture levels with dehumidifiers, you can also use proper ventilation methods by installing HVAC systems and fans. Air returns that are built into HVAC units help to keep air moving, while fans help to reduce the level of humid air in kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms and attics.

4. Install Mold-Resistant Products

Contact a water damage remediation specialist in the Hudson Bend, TX , area to see about putting in mold-resistant products. Drywall and even fabrics exist that repel mold growth.

While water damage is a significant source of fungal development, it is not the only source. Control the level of moisture in your building by ensuring seals are tight and humidity is regulated through the use of humidifiers and ventilation systems. Be proactive.

Why You Shouldn’t Clean Puffback Soot Yourself?

10/13/2022 (Permalink)

Old dirty brickwork in soot Cleaning puffback soot requires special tools and methods

Should You Clean Puffback Soot Yourself?

Puffback is a term used to describe the soot that gets left behind after a fire. There are several types of puffback damage, but it is important to know what type of damage you have before attempting to clean it up yourself. The reason why you shouldn’t clean up puffback soot yourself is because it can be dangerous and difficult to do correctly. Instead, hire professionals, such as SERVPRO of Lakeway/Westlake, who will ensure that they are properly cleaning your Lakeway home so there are no potential risks involved with trying to do this on your own.

What is Puffback Damage?

Puffback is type of fire that happens when there is excessive heat and pressure in the furnace. It's most often caused by a furnace malfunction, but it can also be caused by other problems with your home's heating system. Puffback damage isn't limited to just one type of flue pipe—it can happen with all types, including those made of plastic, steel, or aluminum.

If you have puffback damage to your flue pipe, it should be replaced immediately so that it doesn't lead to any further problems with your heating system down the road!

What Steps To Take After a Puffback Damage?

A puffback damage can be a very traumatic event for you and your family. It’s important to know that it is not safe to clean puffback soot yourself. If you do, you may cause further damage to your home and property—and potentially make things worse if there are any chemicals in the soot.

We recommend calling in a professional when it comes to cleaning up after a puffback disaster. Our trained technicians have years of experience dealing with this kind of situation, so they know exactly what steps need to be taken to restore the affected area back to normal as quickly as possible. We can also help with insurance claims on behalf of our clients, if necessary, which can help save time and money when trying to get back into normal living conditions after a fire in your home or business premises.

Why Shouldn’t You Clean Puffback Soot Yourself?

Well, there are many reasons why you should leave it to the professionals. Firstly, puffback soot contains chemicals that can be harmful for your health if not handled properly. If you don't know how to handle these substances and if you don’t have the appropriate safety equipment, then the risk of getting injured is high. 

Secondly, cleaning puffback soot requires special tools and methods which only experienced professionals know how to use. In addition to that, a professional will be able to clean up all the remaining messes caused by a fire more effectively than someone without the experience and equipment could.

 Finally: hiring a professional fire cleanup company saves you both time and money. Generally, you don’t want to clean up after a puffback yourself. It is best to leave it for the experts.

We hope that by reading this article, you have gained a better understanding of what puffback damage is and how to prevent it in the future. Cleaning up after a puffback is not easy, it should be done with the right knowledge and equipment. If you have any questions about cleaning up after your own puffback, contact us today! We’re happy to answer all your questions about the process and can help clean up your property so that it looks like new again.

3 Ways To Protect Yourself From Flooding After a Wildfire

10/1/2022 (Permalink)

disaster recovery centers staffed with recovery specialists from FEMA Buying FEMA NFIP insurance can help you protect your home against water damage.

Three Ways to Prevent Flooding After a Wildfire

Although wildfires can be nature’s way of clearing the land to bring forth new growth, the area that is cleansed of plant life by the blaze may cause several problems for you as a homeowner. You may believe your home is safe now the fire has been extinguished, but there are other problems that can occur as a result of the wildfire. That is why there are three ways you can protect yourself from further harm, including the FEMA NFIP program.

1. Watershed
After wildfire damage near your home, the shrub, tree, and grass roots are no longer able to support the runoff and erosion rates of water surrounding your home. The possibility of soil detachment becomes much greater. There are probably also areas close to your home where the earth was baked to a point that water cannot seep into the soil and must find another area for penetration. What this means for your home is an increased possibility of flooding. Consider tilling areas at least 8 to 10 feet from your home to allow the water easier access to ground penetration. You may also want to plant vegetation to help retain the rain waters.

2. Flood Insurance
Flood insurance is not covered by most standard homeowner’s insurance policies. That is why the government developed the FEMA NFIP program. This national flood insurance can help protect your home and property should floodwaters invade the building and cause extensive flooding damage.

3. Barriers
If your home in Barton Creek, TX, is especially susceptible to the possibility of flood damage, consider purchasing barriers or creating sand bags to prevent water from invading your home during heavy rainfalls. Stone or brick walls can also help keep water away from your yard as it flows along, though gates may allow some water to get through onto your property. Contact a water mitigation specialist for questions on how to protect your property.
One of the best preventative measures you can take to guard your home against flooding is to plan ahead. Buying FEMA NFIP insurance, building barriers, and planting shrubs can help you protect your home against water damage.

Does Your Toilet Overflow When You Shower?

9/26/2022 (Permalink)

Toilet Does your toilet overflow when you shower?

The worst type of surprise occurs when you step out of a shower and place your newly cleaned foot into a pool of water from a toilet that overflowed. How could that happen? Not only must the water be cleaned from the floor, but you probably want to dry off and get dressed before dealing with the overflowing liquid or the professional service you may want to call for help dealing with the sewage cleaning problem.

Why Did the Toilet Overflow?

The sewage system that links your home to the Rob Roy, TX, main removal lines runs underground for many feet, and all your home’s plumbing pipes converge into a central location to flow into that main pipe and out to the street. So why would your shower water back up into the toilet? Here are a few of the many reasons a toilet overflow may occur.

  • Household obstruction between the street and the main house sewer line
  • Broken sewage line between the house and street
  • Tree roots or debris in the main house line

Any of these problems can cause the water to flow out the toilet instead of out to the city’s main sewage lines. Additionally, each probably requires a professional sewage cleaning solution.

How Can a Professional Help?

Your service professional will likely deal with the standing water first because the longer the liquid sits on the floor, the more damage it can do. Once the water is gone, he or she can figure out where the blockage is and begin to remove the obstruction in the clogged pipe. Water remediation specialists can then sanitize the area and check for any extensive water damage in your home.

When dealing with a serious sewer pipe clog between the house and main line, care should be taken. Calling in a service professional is always a good idea rather than attempting sewage cleaning on your own. Removing the clog in the line may be a quick fix, and the professional can save you time and money.

3 Water Problems You Might Find In Your Commercial Building

9/21/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking pipe with a sign that says Don't wait Don't wait to fix a leaking pipe.

Three Potential Water Issues in Commercial Buildings

If you own a commercial building in Barton Creek, TX, it is likely that you have experienced at least a few water problems. Sometimes these are easy to fix, but some problems, like leaking pipes, can cause lasting damage. If you have any of the following issues, it is best to have them repaired as soon as possible.

1. Leaking Water
This problem is not exclusive to leaking pipes. Any equipment in your building that uses water, such as sinks, toilets, drinking fountains and washing machines, can contribute to this issue. Over time, if the leak is not repaired, it can cause damage to the building and cost you money by adding to your water bill.

2. Clogged Drains
If you are having trouble with sink or toilet backup, then you may have clogging in your drains. Certain items, when they are flushed down the toilet or rinsed down the sink, can contribute to a blockage in the pipes leading away from your building. When this happens, the water will not drain as quickly as it should which can cause backups in the plumbing. In order to prevent this, you should be clear about what items can be disposed of in this way.

3. Broken Pipes
Along with leaks, a pipe break is a common source of water damage. In some cases, such as frozen pipes, this can be caused by severe weather. Other times, it is simply the result of normal wear and tear. Be sure to do regular maintenance on building materials and equipment to reduce the likelihood of broken items.
While leaking pipes and other problems can cause quite a bit of damage to your property, a water damage restoration company can help get everything back in working order. It is best to catch these issues early to keep them from worsening, but even large amounts of damage can be repaired by experienced professionals.

3 Reasons Why SERVPRO Has Become the Preferred Vendor of Insurance Companies

9/1/2022 (Permalink)

Technician wearing protective gear and holding a clipboard. SERVPRO's technicians are highly qualified and certified

Three Reasons Why SERVPRO Has Become the Preferred Vendor of Insurance Companies

For an insurance agent, nothing matters more than helping their client. And when clients need restoration services in Westlake Hills, TX, they want only the most qualified cleanup professionals on the job. Restoration companies compete for business through television commercials, social media marketing and referrals. However, these efforts don't necessarily translate into quality work. Here are three reasons why SERVPRO has become the preferred vendor of insurance companies.

1. SERVPRO National Standard
A business is only as good as its employees, so SERVPRO franchises require that employees meet twenty-one standards to be eligible for referrals from corporate headquarters. Among these standards are background checks for both temporary and permanent employees. SERVPRO also understands the importance of communication. Therefore, its restoration experts maintain contact with the insurance agent every step of the way to report on the progress of the restoration and ensure that there are no surprises.

2. Company-Wide Extensive Training
SERVPRO sustains its status as a preferred vendor program for insurance companies through ongoing employee training. Since 1992, SERVPRO has used its National Training Center to transform its workers into highly qualified certified technicians specializing in upholstery and carpet cleaning and water and fire restoration.
In addition, SERVPRO provides 15-day training programs for both the owners and employees at new franchisees to get them started. Finally, SERVPRO offers continuing education courses in-person to prepare restoration professionals for disasters and online courses to bolster the lessons learned.

3. Corporate Accountability
SERVPRO understands the importance of integrity and the business value of its reputation. As a result, SERVPRO conducts regular internal assessments to remain true to its own values and meet clients' expectations. Furthermore, SERVPRO keeps meticulous records so that insurance companies and their clients are in accord with the work done.
SERVPRO is the preferred disaster mitigation vendor for an informed insurance agent. The company's high standards and thorough training set it apart.

How Can Lightning Start a House Fire?

8/23/2022 (Permalink)

Prise multiple Purchase high quality surge protectors for your house.

Summer is the season of barbecues, swimming pools, and thunderstorms in Westlake Hills, TX. Every year, these storms are responsible for lighting fire to countless acres of land and residential structures. 
Annually, thousands of people are injured in a house fire caused by a severe storm; property damage runs into hundreds of millions.

How Lightning Can Damage Your Home

During a severe weather event, your home is vulnerable to electricity: 

  • Surging through wiring
  • Striking trees nearby
  • Downing electrical wires
  • Lighting fire to your roof or attic

How To Protect Your Property 
Much of the costly damage is due to “transients.” These are high-voltage impulses that travel through your home’s wiring. 
Transients are not usually capable of lighting fire to your appliances, but the voltage from transients can destroy computers, televisions, large appliances and even smoke detectors.

Surge Protectors
The best protection against transient damage is to purchase high quality surge protectors for your whole house. Be sure to select products that are UL certified.

Check your homeowner’s policy to confirm that you have coverage for damage from electrical storms; not all policies will cover your electrical appliances for surge damage.

How To Protect Yourself During a Storm
Have a plan for your family to evacuate your home in this type of emergency.
A direct electrical strike most often results in lighting fire to your roof or attic. If you see flame or smell smoke, evacuate the building and dial 9-1-1.
Downed trees can also damage your home or car. Give large trees a wide berth during severe storms. Avoid any contact with electrical wires. Always treat them as though they are live; they often are.
Your local fire restoration experts can help in the event that your home sustains damage during a storm, but prevention and awareness can make your home and family much less susceptible to harm.

What To Expect From the Disaster Recovery Process

8/18/2022 (Permalink)

Green trailer parked in front a story building If your business has beed damaged by major disaster SERVPRO certified experts can help.

The Disaster Recovery Process: What to Expect

When businesses are hit by a major disaster and require extensive cleaning and repairs, only certified experts can help. Here is what you can expect the disaster recovery process to look like if your commercial property is impacted by a catastrophic event in Zilker, TX.

1. Storm Damage Response Teams Will Band Together
When a severe storm or hurricane rips through one area, the level of commercial damage will often require an increase in manpower. Your local damage cleanup and restoration company can lead the efforts within the community, though that may not be enough on its own. In large-scale events, these experts can rely on their corporate network of support. If needed, a surplus of certified technicians and industry-standard equipment will be available at their beck and call.

2. Extensive Cleanup Will Ensue
Whether your business has been flooded by a hurricane or damaged by a raging wildfire, the disaster recovery process will require extensive cleanup. This could involve the extraction of water and drying of the building, or removing soot and smoke buildup from the structure. Additionally, deep disinfecting and sanitizing will need to occur to get the building sterile before any repairs can begin. Trust only experts to intervene here as improper cleaning methods can cause more damage to the structure.

3. A Lengthy Repair Process Is Possible
While local storm response teams can receive additional help, the effort to repair buildings after a catastrophic event is immense. Even with extra crews working, the extent of damage in these large-scale events often means the repair process will take longer than a minor instance. The full restoration project will vary for every case, but could include full reconstruction of portions of the building.
If your business is hit by a major storm, expect the disaster recovery process to feature a large network of response teams, extensive cleanup and a longer timeline for repairs.