How to Prevent Frozen Pipes and What to Do to Unfreeze Them
Water bursting through frozen pipes is a common sight in homes during periods of very cold weather. You’d be surprised how many calls water damage restoration companies, such as SERVPRO of Des Moines NW, get every winter to restore properties that are affected by frozen pipes. Check out how pipes freeze, how to prevent pipes from freezing, and how to unfreeze pipes — and avoid water damage before it’s too late:
Why do pipes freeze?
Pipes are especially vulnerable to damage caused by expanding water. Water lines that freeze are usually exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, or water sprinkler lines. In addition, pipes in unheated interior areas such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages, and kitchen cabinets, and those that run against exterior walls with little or no insulation are also susceptible to freezing.
Several variables contribute to frozen pipes:
- The type of building construction
- The quality and quantity of insulation
- The decline in temperature
- The direction and force of the wind
- Other weather-related conditions are all contributing factors
Furthermore, buildings that have a poor design and do not withstand severe weather sufficiently can contribute to their own damage. The type and age of the plumbing system is also a factor. Rust or corrosion weakens pipes, making leaks more likely to occur. When freeze-expansion occurs, corroded pipes will often split open. When thawing begins or when the water is turned back on, damage can occur.
During the renovation of older homes, blown-in or foam insulation is sometimes added to wall cavities between interior and exterior wall surfaces and between studs. This process may actually insulate heat away from pipes adjacent to the exterior wall surfaces, making them more susceptible to freezing.
Surprisingly, pipe freezing can be a particular problem in the warmer climates of southern states. In these areas, buildings may not be adequately constructed for cold weather conditions. Pipes often run through non-insulated or under-insulated attics, crawl spaces, or walls. If the temperature drops below freezing for even a day, these pipes may freeze and break.
Damage generally occurs when the water supply is turned back on. Since most modern plumbing lines are inside walls, homeowners usually observe a leak only after water has damaged floors, carpet, walls, or ceilings. Occasionally, an occupant hears the sound of spraying water, but by then it may be too late. The leak has already caused some degree of damage.
Pipes can also freeze during a power outage. Winter wind, snow, and ice storms frequently damage electric power lines and equipment, resulting in interruptions of electric power. Most heating systems depend on electricity, and when the power goes off, so does the heat. In severe cold weather, this can result in extensive freeze damage before power is restored.
How water pipes freeze
Water is a unique substance. As with most materials, when water cools, its density increases, and it settles to the bottom of a container. However, at 32' F, it expands and, therefore, its density decreases! This is why ice floats.
This expansion increases the volume of water by about 11% and creates tremendous pressure on its container (between 50,000 and 114,000 psi). Such containers include metal and plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a material, expanding water will cause it to break.
Frozen water pipes can result in significant to extreme water damage, and the cost to repair is often huge! The following tips can help you prevent pipes from freezing and thaw those that are already frozen.
How to prevent pipes from freezing
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Avoid putting antifreeze in these lines if possible (keeping in mind that antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is very dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping).
- Drain your plumbing system thoroughly. If water lines sag or bow, there may be low spots that are difficult to drain completely. To be most effective, use compressed air to blow out the lines. If not properly done, some amount of water will remain in the low points of the lines that can freeze.
- Disconnect, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Remember to keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Check in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets where water supply lines are located in unheated areas.
- Insulate both hot and cold water pipes in these areas to help prevent freezing. Use specific products for insulating water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed heat tape, heat cable, or similar materials on exposed water pipes.
- Allow a faucet in your home to drip slightly. Moving water (even a drip) will help prevent pipes from freezing.
- During cold winter weather, keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
When leaving home for more than a few days
If you plan to be away from home for an extended period during cold weather:
- Leave the heat on in your home. Set it to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
- Shut off the water supply and drain pipes or appliances.
- Leave all taps open once you’ve shut off the main water supply. If the home loses power, the open valves will help prevent pipes from bursting. Also, shutting off the master valve will ensure that even if there is a break, the result will be minor, compared to an open line running wild!
- Even if you do all the above, arrange for a neighbor to walk through your home once each day – just to help monitor against unforeseen events.
- Have emergency numbers handy such as a plumber, electrician, roofer, and SERVPRO of Des Moines NW in case something does go wrong.
- Have your HVAC system serviced by a professional.
- Before leaving, turn off your water heater. (See owner’s manual for procedures.)
- Install storm windows and/or close shutters to keep in the heat.
- Clean gutters and downspouts to ensure proper water drainage.
- Service your sump pump to ensure proper operation. Adding a backup power source is prudent.
- Unplug all nonessential electric appliances.
- Inform local police if you will be out of town.
How to unfreeze pipes
- Locate the Frozen Pipe – If you’re not sure which pipe is frozen, turn on all faucets in your home. Check which faucet isn’t releasing water at all or just a trickle. The pipe leading to that faucet is likely frozen. Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
- Turn on the Faucet – Once you’ve located the frozen pipe, open the faucet leading to the frozen pipe. Open both the hot and cold handles. This will allow water to flow once you start thawing the pipe.
- Start Thawing Near the Faucet – When thawing a frozen pipe, the best practice is to start closer to the faucet then work your way down to the frozen section. If you start closer to the blockage, the melting ice could get stuck behind the blockage. This creates more pressure in the pipe and increases the chances of the pipe breaking.
- Thawing Exposed Pipes – There are several ways to thaw pipes that you can access:
- Point a hairdryer at the frozen pipe, starting near the faucet. Follow proper safety precautions for the dryer and don’t come in contact with water when using the dryer.
- Wrap hot towels, which have been dipped in hot water, around the frozen pipe. This method is slower but potentially safer than the ones above.
- Apply electric heat tape directly to the pipe. This tape insulates the pipe, defrosting it. You can leave the heat tape on the pipe and turn it on/off when you need to.
- Thawing Enclosed Pipes – You can thaw pipes that you don’t have direct access to in different ways:
- Turn the heat up in your home and wait until the increased interior temperature thaws out the frozen pipe.
- Position an infrared lamp in front of the portion of the wall where the frozen pipe is located. The heat from the lamp could penetrate the wall and help the pipe defrost.
- As a last resort, cut out the section of the drywall in front of the frozen pipe to easily access it. You can then use one of the methods for thawing exposed pipes.
- Know the Risks:
- When trying to thaw a frozen pipe yourself using a heat source, you run the risk of injury and fire.
- Make sure to take proper safety measures when using electrical equipment.
- In addition, if you don’t start thawing near the faucet, the pipe could burst and cause water to flow into your home.
- Also, do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame devices!
- After pipes have thawed, turn off all water to faucets and the ice maker, and monitor the water meter for any unseen leaks.
What to do if a pipe bursts
If a pipe bursts, shut off the water at the main valve. Call a plumber (keep an emergency number nearby for quick access). Then call SERVPRO of Des Moines NW to evaluate and remediate any water damage that occurred. Our technicians stand ready to provide water damage restoration services to your property 24/7.
Known as the “Paramedics of Property Damage®,” SERVPRO of Des Moines NW provides fire and smoke damage remediation, water damage remediation, flood water removal, mold removal, and biohazard cleanup to commercial and residential customers. SERVPRO of Des Moines NW technicians are thoroughly screened, insured, and trained in utilizing the latest in mitigation technology and procedures, while operating under a strict code of ethics. Each SERVPRO office is independently owned and operated. Remember, call SERVPRO of Des Moines NW for all your restoration jobs.
Three Tips For Starting The Commercial Construction Process
One of the most intimidating parts of starting or expanding a business is the commercial construction that will need to be done. This alone is enough to discourage many people from ever taking the leap and starting their own business. This doesn’t have to be the case! Our team of construction experts at SERVPRO of Des Moines NW are experienced in all types of commercial construction and are committed to providing you with the best construction experience possible. For anyone considering beginning a commercial construction job, here are a few helpful tips.
Find The Right Contractor
The first step in any commercial construction job is to find the right contractor. Because this is such a critical step, you should take your time to make your decision. Along with online research, you should also look for referrals from friends and family. You may also want to call a couple different contractors to get a feel of how they will work for you. Basically, don’t jump in headfirst with a contractor until you have done your research and feel confident that they are the right fit for you. Working for a contractor you can trust will significantly diminish the amount of stress and worry you feel throughout the construction process.
Get An Estimate
Unless you are very experienced in the construction industry, it can be very difficult to calculate an accurate projection for how much the job should cost on your own. There is just so much that goes into the construction process like costs of labor, materials, permits, and so on. Thus, getting an estimate is an important step because it will give you a solid idea of the expected cost of your project.
Work With Your Lender
Just like finding the right contractor, finding the right lender is an important beginning step in commercial construction. Even if you have been a loyal customer of a specific bank or credit union for a long time, don’t take it for granted that they are the right choice to be your lender. The main criteria when selecting a lender is the annual percentage rate of charge (APR) they offer. The lower the APR you can find the better. The only way to be sure that you are finding the best deal is to apply to several different banks or credit unions. In the ideal scenario, you get lucky and find a great deal for existing customers of a bank that you are a member of, or a great deal for new customers at a different bank.
Undertaking a commercial construction job for your growing business may be an intimidating endeavor, but don’t let that hold you back. Our team at SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is here to provide you with the quality and service you are looking for in a commercial contractor. We hope you have found the tips above to be helpful and that you don’t hesitate to give us a call for any future construction jobs. Call SERVPRO of Des Moines NW, we will make it "Like it never even happened."
You Have Suffered a Commercial Loss, Now What??
As a business owner, you’ll face many unique and back-breaking challenges over the years, not limited to storm damage. Whether you’re face-to-face with extensive water damage or wind damage, SERVPRO of Des Moines NW can help you put the pieces back together. Despite hiring a local restoration company who knows their stuff, you’re likely still concerned. You’re concerned about re-opening your business and cutting your losses.
The longer your business is shut down because of storm damage, the worse the long-term effects are. You’ll ultimately lose customers and business. We cannot let that happen. The commercial restoration process is a sure thing when time is of the essence.
Commercial Property Restoration After Storm Damage
Whether you’re faced with flood damage or the aftermath of a particularly terrible thunderstorm, the fact is, you need help. You need a certified, local restoration company able to address your property damage concerns quickly — within an hour whenever possible.
Confirming the Damage
The first step, and arguably one of the most important, is to fully assess the damage to your business. Without a firm understanding of the problem, the technicians will be unable to fully address your concerns.
If it’s water damage, the problem is likely soaking into building materials, such as your wallpaper, drywall and flooring. To combat the problem, SERVPRO of Des Moines NW will use a moisture meter to track the water damage, as well as visual signs, and begin reversing the problem.
Drying the Area
Using wet vacuums, air movers and water pumps, any standing water left behind by the storm will be removed and the area will be thoroughly dried.
When drying a commercial property affected by flood or storm damage, it’s important to seal off the space. Any exposure to outside air can promote mold growth and make the job ten times harder.
Unfortunately, some office equipment and furniture may need to be tossed out.
Document the Damages
In order to get your business back up and running, you’ll need money to cover the damages and purchase new supplies or goods. For that, you need insurance. Of course, we all know that insurance companies are picky. They want concrete proof of the damages and will send an adjuster to explore the scene for themselves.
It’s your responsibility to document everything for the insurance company. Take photographs and videos of the damages as proof for your storm damage claim. If any materials must be tossed out, consider renting a garbage container and keeping everything on-site for the time being. The damaged items will serve as further proof for your claim.
To ensure your business is back up and running sooner, call your local SERVPRO for 24-hour storm recovery and water damage restoration services. Please do not hesitate to call our offices!
7 Reasons You Should Choose SERVPRO of Des Moines NW
7 Reasons to choose SERVPRO of Des Moines NW for your Home or Commercial Clean up / Restoration
1. 24-Hour Emergency Response
Timely mitigation is key to controlling damage, downtime and recovery costs. You and those who depend on your facility will appreciate the rapid response, and the training of your SERVPRO of Des Moines NW team will help limit damage and get your facility back in operation quickly. You can count on SERVPRO’s nationwide coverage, full line of restoration services, and the 1-4-8 service guidelines to help make you look good.
You’ll know what’s happening every step of the way. From the first telephone call within the first hour following damage notification, until the job is complete, SERVPRO of Des Moines NW professionals are dedicated to effectively communication with property owners and managers. You will be aware of job status and the progress towards project completion.
Jobs are documented with itemized estimates, digital photographs, signed work authorization forms and regular proves reports. SERVPRO of Des Moines NW professionals, utilizing technology developed for documenting insurance claims, electronically collect and store project information which is accessible to you via secure email link 24-hours. Upon project completion, a signed customer satisfaction form is the final piece of information entered into the file.
3. Reduce Recovery Time
When fire, water or mold damage strikes a commercial facility, it has a negative impact on everyone – the owner, the management team, employees, tenants, and even customers. Even small fire or water damages must be addressed quickly in order to limit secondary damage and to lessen business interruption.
Your SERVPRO of Des Moines NW professionals understand the urgency in responding to your facility following a disaster. By arriving quickly mitigation damage to the structure and contents, and providing effective cleanup and restoration services, SERVPRO of Des Moines NW will help you reopen the doors as soon as possible.
4. Lower Recovery Cost
Emergency Mitigation Services Help Minimize Secondary Damages.
SERVPRO’s 1-4-8 Service Response Guidelines help to ensure timely communication and response. Quick and accurate response can minimize loss expense from secondary damages.
Proper Restoration Versus Replacement of Contents is Less Expensive.
SERVPRO of Des Moines NW professionals strive to restore items to preloss condition. This helps lower mitigation ad restoration cost while allowing treasure belongings to be salvaged when possible.
Faster Recovery Lessens Loss.
SERVPRO of Des Moines NW professionals are nearby, ready to respond quickly. The faster restoration begins, the quicker our customers can return to business.
Pre-Approved Pricing and Procedures
SERVPRO of Des Moines NW professionals will work neatly and efficiently to help you regain control of your property when a damaging event has taken over. We will use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to help ensure the property is taken care of right the fir time.
5. Emergency Response Profile
Like most commercial properties, your facility probably has an emergency exit plan in place, with illuminated signs leading occupants to safety, and even facility maps strategically placed to identify alternate routes out of the building. But have you developed a thorough Contingency Plan? Is emphasis on the first 24-48 hours, to help you get back in your building as possible?
Your SERVPRO of Des Moines NW professionals can provide you assistance in developing an Emergency Response Profile. As part of a well-thought-out Contingency Plan, Your Emergency Response Profile will contain information you will need in the event an emergency situation occurs.
An added advantage to utilizing your SERVPRO of Des Moines NW professionals in the development of your Emergency Response Profile is the opportunity to coordinate a preferred provider relationship including pre-arranged pricing and procedures for handling emergency response for your facility before damages occurs.
6. Full line of Services
Utilizing the right equipment and supplies, a SERVPRO of Des Moines NW professional can handle all of your cleanup needs, such as fire, water and mold restoration services; SERVPRO of Des Moines NW provides cleanup services for those special needs that surpass the capabilities of your regular maintenance staff.
7. A National Leader in Storm Response… Help When You Need It Most!
In the event of a major catastrophe, the SERVPRO system has a nationwide Large Loss Response Team comprised of trained and equipped professionals capable of responding to your facility. While most systems have a waiting list, you get priority service with SERVPRO of Des Moines NW. Call today to find out how.
Each of SERVPRO’s over 1,800 nationwide franchises is independently owned and operated by trained professionals committed to providing the highest level of emergency cleanup and restoration services and customer satisfaction. What this means to you, the commercial property owner or manager, is that should fire, water or mold damage occur in local facilities or a facility across the country, a SERVPRO professional will provide quality professional services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
SERVPRO's Storm Response
SERVPRO Storm Response
The team here at SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is ready for whatever happens, no matter the time, night or day. When it comes to fire & water damage, our professionals work endlessly to make sure our customers are happy and that we walk them through each step of the cleaning process.
We're Highly Trained Storm Damage Specialists
As leaders in the storm and water damage industry, we have advanced training and expertise, not to mention a tremendous amount of hands-on experience. We use this training and experience to quickly dry your home and restore it back to pre-storm condition.
We're Quick to Any Size Disaster
When a storm hits your home or business, you need help immediately. Our quick response will help prevent secondary damage and help reduce restoration costs.
We Have the Resources to Handle Storms and Disasters
We can access the resources and personnel of 1,700 Franchises to handle major storms and disasters. We also have access to special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country to respond to catastrophic storms and events.
Locally Owned and Operated
SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is locally owned and operated, so we are part of this community too. When you have a storm event or flooding emergency, we are in the area and ready to help!
How to Survive a Large Commercial Loss
Large commercial property loss is a facility manager’s nightmare. The sudden occurrence of water damage from a burst pipe, the horror of a fire, the devastation from a hurricane cause your business and operations to cease. How do you survive such a large, catastrophic property loss? Will you be able to stay in business? How will you serve your customers? What happens to your employees?
SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is your large loss expert. With over 40 years of experience in large commercial loss from mold, fires, and water damage, we’ve amassed knowledge, equipment, and project management techniques that have helped thousands of businesses survive large loss. We can help you, too.
What is Large Loss, and Why Does it Matter?
Large loss can be defined by the dollar amount of the claim (over $50,000), the facility size, the square footage of the building affected, or the number of floors affected by the loss.
Large loss affects any facility in any industry including hospitality, health care, retail,manufacturing, property management, and schools. Large loss can demolish a mom & pop shop or devastate a global corporate operation by halting operations, displacing occupants, and threatening to shut down your business. No one is exempt from the threat of large loss, but there are strategies you can employ to ensure business continuity and swift recovery. Knowing and executing these strategies is vital to surviving large commercial property loss.
How to Prepare for Large Loss
In order to survive a large commercial property loss from fire, mold, or water damage, pre-planning is paramount. Take advantage of SERVPRO's Emergency Response Program which includes:
Emergency Respose:SERVPRO of Des Moines NW will work with you to create an Emergency Response Plan for your unique property. This plan allows us to gather advanced knowledge before disaster strikes so that our team is ready to work with your team to mitigate promptly and efficiently.
Pre Disaster Walk Through: Your SERVPRO project manager will visit your facility and identify any areas of vulnerability as well as gain familiarity with ‘the lay of the land’ to speed response and recovery maneuvers.
Priority Response: As an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) Client, you are our priority in the event of a wide-spread weather event such as a tornado or a huge rain storm. We’ll have a crew on site within 2 hours of your call (usually sooner than that). Catastrophic weather affects large populations - you want to be first in line to begin mitigation and repairs.
How to Survive a Large Loss:
When the inevitable, devastating large loss occurs, what actually happens?How does SERVPRO ensure the survival of your business operations? Each loss is different owing to the type of property disaster (water damage, fire and smoke damage, and wind damage) and the industry affected.
When you call SERVPRO, a project manager will return your call promptly and have a crew on-site within 2 hours or less. It’s vital to call SERVPRO of Des Moines NW right away to avoid costly delays from further, secondary damage.
An assessment will be made; the first actions will be the safety of occupants and security of your property. Compleat’s safety assessment and emergency response can include: board up of areas exposed by fire or wind damage such as walls, doors, and windows. SERVPRO can also erect security fencing to protect against injuries or intruders.
Next, SERVPRO will initiate emergency mitigation. In case of a huge water damage, we’ll employ large scale drying response techniques with drying equipment. Choosing SERVPRO to mitigate your large loss means that you have access to our huge capacity and selection of water mitigation equipment to extract large volumes of water and dry any type of structure.
SERVPRO will help you with business continuity during the loss and arrange removal and recovery of affected contents. Should you need temporary storage of equipment or contents, we can assist with arrangements. Temporary operations and office space can be secured so that you can continue to service your valuable customers during the disruption.
Meanwhile, we’re working with your insurance adjuster to expedite your claim. Your project manager will be onsite frequently with support staff to manage the large loss details. While the mitigation is proceeding, plans for reconstruction are being made and those materials and trades such as electrical, drywall, and plumbing are arranged for you. Building permits will be obtained on your behalf so that rebuilding can begin quickly.
As a SERVPRO client, you will be apprised of all of these details. Communication is integral to surviving large commercial property loss and SERVPRO has the tools to accomplish transparent communication with you.
More Than Just Surviving Large Loss
Commercial large loss is overwhelming, but with SERVPRO of Des Moines NW as your strategic large loss partner, you have pre-planning resources to avoid or minimize damage, in-loss response and resources, and our expert coaching and support along the way. Many business owners have been enriched by the relationship with SERVPRO during a large loss and emerge with renewed business vigor and success. Don’t just survive large loss - thrive!
Prepare to Survive and Thrive!
We sincerely hope that you never experience a commercial large loss but unfortunately, it’s not usually “if”, it’s “when”. Prepare to survive, prepare to thrive with SERVPRO by securing your Emergency Response Plan. Give us a call or contact us today to get started. SERVPRO of Des Moines NW, "Like it never even happened".
How to Remove Smoke Damage the Proper Way
Obviously, the smell of smoke is caused by a fire. There’s truth in the saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” after all. Now, the smell of smoke could be caused by a fire in your kitchen because you forgot to turn off the stove. It could be burnt food because your partner can’t cook to save his/her life. It could be smoke from a cigar or cigarette. A smoke smell can be from extinguished candles or incense.
It can even be from your friendly neighbor who is nice enough to burn something right outside your open window. It doesn’t really matter what the source is (though you do need to locate the source for safety purposes, ok?) because it all boils down to one thing – the smell sticks to your house and belongings like glue. And eliminating that smell is just a small part of the problem.
Any kind of smoke that is caused by burning carbon-based materials such as wood, paper, oil, gas, or food can produce carbon monoxide. If you don’t know this yet, this is an odorless, colorless gas that kills hundreds of people each year. Of course, small amounts are not enough to cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
But you should note that lots of household appliances produce this gas, particularly those found in your kitchen so adding to that small amount isn’t going to do your health any favors. That’s not all. Burning organic substances also produce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that are believed to be carcinogenic. It’s pretty safe to say that it’s important that you don’t just eliminate the smell, you’ll need to make sure that the air that you’re breathing no longer contains these particles.
HOW TO ELIMINATE SMOKE ODOR IN HOUSE
When it comes to smoke odor removal, there are several options available. Some may use scented candles, air fresheners, and sprays to get rid of smoke odor or any kind of unpleasant smell.
However, they’ll soon realize that there is only so much scented candles or sprays can do for the problem. In fact, they can make matters worse, as they simply combine with the smoke smell and leave behind something quite unpleasant. Even opening your windows and letting fresh (read that as also polluted) air in won’t be getting rid of the smoke odor completely.
A lot of people believe that a good scrub will be enough to get rid of the smell of smoke in a house. And they’re right in a sense. You can scrub your walls plus your ceilings with ammonia and water to get rid of the smell of smoke, especially if it was just a small amount and the room wasn’t exposed too long to the smoke. You probably won’t be able to smell it anymore. However, it won’t be cleaning something more important – the air you breathe.
Vinegar and baking sodas are natural odor neutralizers and another good option. You can place some vinegar in the room and baking soda in the carpet to start eliminating the smell of smoke. It’s going to work but it’ll take time and several repeats to get the smell completely out.
While using these may be tedious, they’re a lot cheaper than choosing a professional. In fact, if the smoke particles have had time to sink into the upholstery, curtains, and even your clothes, washing them with vinegar and baking soda is your best bet.
But vinegar and baking soda still leave one problem behind – the remaining invisible-to-the-naked-eye smoke particles still hanging around in the air. Plus, since you used ammonia in cleaning the heck out of your walls and ceilings, you may have now added chemical fumes to your indoor air. The world is such a scary place, ain’t it? But there’s no need to panic. Take a deep breath (or not) and calm yourself. There is a way out of this dilemma.
THE REAL SMOKE ODOR EXTERMINATOR
While all the other solutions we gave are handy, they won’t completely clean your environment of harmful gases and chemical fumes. The next step to ensure that your indoor air quality is top-notch is to get yourself an air scrubber.
What is an air scrubber? Well, it’s a portable air filtration system that makes use of a series of filters to capture contaminants in the air and recirculate the clean air in an enclosed space.
Air scrubbers come in a variety of sizes with different features and capabilities. But most of them will operate using the same basic principle – the motor will power a blower or fan that will draw in the air, letting them pass through the filters.
The first stage is the pre-filter stage where the large particles in the air are trapped. The second stage will contain a carbon filter which captures the gas and vapor molecules – the odors that we smell including the harmful smoke particles in the air. The third and final stage is the primary filter which is a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter, able to capture 99.97% of particles in the air that can be as small as 0.3 micrometers.
Once it passes through all three filters, the decontaminated air will be exhausted. What all that means is that the smell, as well as the source of the smell, is completely eliminated. It’s not masked. It’s also not just decreased to undetectable amounts, it’s completely gone.
Take note that an air scrubber “scrubs” the air. Any smoke particles that get trapped in the surfaces of walls and inside fabric will remain there. Which is why you’ll still need to use a little elbow grease to wash away the smell of smoke on your belongings.
Aside from the fact that an air scrubber will clean your air of smoke particles, is there any other benefit to getting one? Good question. There are, actually. First of all, using an air scrubber gets your air clean in a few minutes. You don’t have to do anything but plug it into a power source, place it where the smoke is most concentrated, and switch it on. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to operate this machine.
The second benefit is that it doesn’t only filter out smoke odors. It also filters out mold, dust, pollen, and pet dander. Any particles that could potentially trigger any allergies are eliminated along with the smoke. And the ultimate benefit of an air scrubber is a simple fact that you can “clean” your air every so often. Indoor air pollution is no joke. Just ask the EPA While smoke odor may be the impetus you needed to get this cool tool, it won’t be the last time you’ll be needing it. That’s for sure.
CLEAN AIR, THE NATURAL WAY
Aside from adding an air scrubber to your arsenal, you might be delighted to know that you can also do one more thing to help continuously improve the indoor air quality of your home.
Based on research conducted by NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors Of America, several common indoor plants are able to remove certain chemicals that can be found in our homes such as trichloroethylene (adhesives, paints, printing inks), formaldehyde (paper bags, facial tissues, paper towels, synthetic fabrics), benzene (detergents, dyes, drugs, pesticides), ammonia (window cleaners, smelling salts, floor waxes), and xylene (leather, rubber). So, if you love plants and indoor gardening, you might want to add this to your list of must-haves.
Taking out unpleasant odors in your home, particularly smoke odors, isn’t easy. And if you don’t act fast, you may end up replacing beloved items that are no longer salvageable. Fortunately, technology and nature have made it possible for us to get rid of this pain-in-the-ass smell and breathe quality indoor air. Now, if only we can do something about outside air…call SERVPRO Of Des Moines for all air quality needs!
Why You Should Call A Professional
When my husband and I bought our first home, I can’t express the overwhelming feeling we had. We had finally quit throwing our hard earned money out the window on rent and finally had a place to call our own! A place that we could watch our 3 kids grow into young adults, a place that we could paint the walls whatever color we would like, finally being able to hang our family pictures to the wall instead of trusting the silly putty wall hangers because we couldn’t put nails in the wall and get our deposit back. Your home is your castle, whether it’s a one bedroom one bath starter home that you bought to start your journey in life, or it’s the dream home that you built after years of hard work. You see, it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first or the 100th home you’ve owned, when you pull in the driveway you can’t help but feel pride in ownership. So I find myself trying to answer this question; what would drive you as a homeowner to trust SERVPRO of Des Moines NW to restore your castle after a disaster?
Here are a few reasons why I would trust our crew in my castle:
At SERVPRO of Des Moines NW we believe in treating every home or business we step foot into as if it were our own. One of our company goals is to treat everyone and everything as you would if it was our family going through this loss. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small stain on the carpet or three feet of raw sewage in a basement, we will treat your loss with the utmost respect and professionalism.
At SERVPRO of Des Moines NW we know that communication is key. When you experience a loss in your home, you have many questions. It is our goal to have someone available to answer your questions right away. We want you to know that as our customer, we work for you, not the other way around. We have worked hard to develop our brand in the city as the company that works for you!
You and your insurance company will be informed every step of the way. We always work on an approval only basis. This means that we will only do the work that you as the homeowner and/or your insurance company has approved. We want to make sure this process is as smooth and painless as possible.
At SERVPRO of Des Moines NW we believe in Applied Structural Drying. In simple terms, we do not want to come into your house and just start tearing things apart. We have invested a lot of time and assets into equipment, training, and tools that allow us to dry the structure with minimal disruption. If there is a way to extract and mitigate the damage without tearing out floors and/or walls, we have the equipment and knowledge to do it. By doing this, we minimize the disruption of your life and more importantly keep the overall cost of the loss down.
Highly Trained Specialists
Since first opening the doors in 1967, training has been the backbone of SERVPRO success nationwide. In Des Moines, this is something that is very important to us as a company.
Faster to Any Size Disaster
A fast response is crucial! An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
Water is particularly invasive, quickly spreading throughout your property and being absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, etc. Our Technicians arrive fast and start the extraction right away. The faster we can extract and stabilize, the fewer things become damaged.
At SERVPRO we utilize the 1-4-8 method when responding to emergencies. Within the first hour you will receive a follow-up call from our team, letting you know our estimated arrival. Within the first 4 hours, we will arrive on-site ready to start mitigating the loss. Within the first eight hours, we will have a job scope verbally communicated to the property owner.
Before and After the Storm, What To Do
With hurricane season here, it's very smart to prepare your home and yourself and loved ones ahead of time in order to minimize any damage that you might incur. From gathering the correct hurricane supplies, to evaluating your home insurance policies so you know how they cover storm damage, we've got a guide here to help you navigate what to do both before a storm hits…and after the storm has gone and went.
While it's never good to obsessively worry about the absolute worst happening, it's always good to be prepared ahead of time so if your area is hit by a hurricane, you know that you already have a plan in place.
Make Sure You Have The Correct Hurricane Supplies
As you're preparing for a hurricane, keep this list of supplies handy that way you have everything you need before the first weatherman even breaks the bad news that a storm is headed your way. This is especially helpful just in case you need to evacuate. Waiting until the last minute may only have you waiting in long lines with other panicked neighbors…only to find out that the store is sold out of what you need.
- Have hurricane kits full of your supplies and make sure they're in a suitcase or even a plastic tub.
- These kits should have:
- First aid kit
- 3- day supply of non-perishable food
- Batteries & flashlights
- Plenty of water gallons for each person
- Maps of your area
- Can opener (manual) for food
- Dust mask
- Sleeping bags
You may also want additional items, like contact lens solutions, extra contacts, glasses, prescription medications or formula or baby food, as well as sanitary items like tampons, etc.
Being prepared is never foolish or over-the top: it's smart.
Preparing For A Hurricane: Preventative Measures
First things, first: do you live in a hurricane evacuation area?
If you don't know the answer to that question, you need to find out. Your local government will be able to tell you if you are and also, what their evacuation plans are. Knowing this ahead of time will prevent you from panicking when and if you need to actually evacuate.
Bonus tip: if you are in a high rise or mobile home, have a plan to evacuate even if you're not in an area that is defined as an evacuation zone.
The next big one? Check your insurance coverage so you know how they handle hurricane damage to homes.
What should you look for or have?
- Whether you're renting or you own, be sure that your home or rental insurance covers for flooding
- Know your policy inside and out, so you know what to expect in case your home ends up very damaged or destroyed
- Do a review of your home: is your roof in good shape? What about your home's structure? Do you have anything in your yard that could be a hazard in a storm?
After The Storm: Hurricane Damage To Homes
If your home is damaged by a hurricane, here are some tips to handling this stressful event:
- Check your home before entering with caution and wear protective gear from goggles to work gloves and a mask in case there are any issues with mold, asbestos, etc.
- If you smell gas or there is a downed powerline near your house, don't enter!
- Call your insurance company once your home is safe to enter so an adjuster can evaluate the situation.
- Do call a reputable storm damage cleanup company to help you get through this tragedy. Do not try to manage this on your own. The reality is you are not an expert and by trying to take a project on like that by yourself, you will end up frustrated. Research ahead of time to discover a company you can trust.
The bottom line is Mother Nature is not predictable, and while hurricanes and storms are very stressful, with common sense, a plan and the help of a reputable, honest, professional, and patient company, SERVPRO of Des Moines NW is the one you should call!
Why Should You Test For Mold?
There are thousands of reasons to start your search for the best mold restoration company. But if we put things into place, you wouldn’t need more than a few simple reasons to check for mold in your home or office. Remember that you spend most of your lifetime at your home. The second most important space in your life is probably your office.
If you are a business owner, you wouldn’t require changing space every five years. That suggests you need to take care of the areas you belong to. You wouldn’t want your home to deteriorate, and your office to turn into an unattended Our surrounding environment has the most active impact on our well-being. While a toxic surrounding can negatively impact our health and mind, the opposite shall be noticed when the environment is clean and fresh. Mold concerns your health, Our surrounding environment has the most active impact on our well-being. While a toxic surrounding can negatively impact our health and mind, the opposite shall be noticed when the environment is clean and fresh. Microscopic mold, comes in various avatars. A scientist can detect a minimum of million species of mold. However, in reality, only a fraction of them have already shown themselves to mankind. It’s fortunate that only the preliminary 1000 mold types are actually harmful to humans and their pets. And guess what? They all flourish under indoor environments. The most common spaces are the damped areas that are never wiped. It starts with a single cell, and with significant pace, mold starts multiplying until either you remove it, or it deteriorates the beauty of your home. Mold can peel off the wall paint, and even crumble up insulation. If you live in a region that is prone to heavy downpour, call SERVPRO Of Des Moines NW to help remove mold forming in your home or office.