The Dangers Of A Slow Leak
Slow leaks can devastate the condition of the materials in your home that come into contact with them.
A slow leak is an extremely inconvenient occurrence that happens constantly in the residential homeowner’s world. Slow leaks can go on for weeks or even years without being noticed. Thus they can cause so much more damage than an average leak that is addressed right away and discovered right away. Water that sits for a while without being addressed can cause mold or dry rot to happen.
Water that does not sit and is taken care of right away completely prevents mold and the possibility of dry rot occurring from the water loss. Water, even if it is from a clean source such as a supply line, can become contaminated if it sits for long periods of time un-mitigated. For example, if clean water runs into a crawl space, but there are rodents in that crawl space and feces from the rodents spread throughout the space, the job automatically fits into a Biohazardous one because of the extreme contamination of the water, especially if it sits for a while.
Another example of clean water becoming contaminated is if it slowly leaks between vinyl and the underlayment, damaging glue and adhesive from the vinyl. Many times the vinyl contains chemicals and even asbestos, the older the home the more likely it is to contain hazardous building materials.
Here are some examples of slow/long-term leaks in residential homes that we have encountered. A slow leak behind the valve in a stand-up shower. This was impossible to detect due to a full shower surround and a wall on the other side of the leak. The slow leak was spraying onto the drywall behind the shower surround. This caused black mold to grow and required demo of the shower and replacement of the drywall affected as well as the flooring.
Another example of a slow leak was in a high-end home. The owners noticed the flooring starting to buckle in a single place in the kitchen area, then not long after they noticed it buckling in other areas of the home. Finally when we were called in, we found a hot water supply line in the crawl with a minuscule pin-hole leak that was off-putting a small amount of steam each time someone in the house used the hot water. It is crazy to think that one small leak (smaller than a pinhead) can cause mold to grow throughout a 2,000sqft crawlspace. But that is exactly what happened. This was exacerbated also because the customer ignored the first signs of loss with the floors in their home. The subfloor and underlayment became fully saturated, and all the floors had to be replaced in the home due to warping of the laminate backing.
So if something seems off within your home, there is a musty smell, the floors have started showing discoloration or warping, or you spot a water stain on the wall or ceiling, take action and call SERVPRO! We are here to help and even a single day can prevent the damage of hardwood flooring throughout a home. So never hesitate to take care of you home, it is one of your biggest investments.
Are Large Water Losses More Likely In Commercial Properties?
Commercial Properties Suffer Large Losses More Frequently Than Residential. Can You Guess Why?
The short answer here is yes.
This is partly due to commercial structures being so much larger than the average home. Commercial buildings constructed since the year 2000 in the US have an average size of 19,000sqft. The average American home constructed since the year 2000 is 2,261sqft. The vast difference in sizes between a commercial structure and a residential structure is a huge factor in the restoration industry. More space = more space that can be damaged by water, fire, or any other damages.
Also, commercial properties have more pipes for multiple bathrooms and even multiple kitchens. The hours a commercial structure is occupied also plays a part, usually a commercial building is closed at night. Water damage happens all around the clock, night, morning, and afternoon.
The numbers: The average cost of a water loss in a commercial structure is $24,000 dollars, the average cost of a water loss in a residential home is $7,000. Quite a bit of a difference huh?
A large loss in the restoration world is considered anything that surpasses $50,000. You can see from the numbers that it is much easier for a commercial building to surpass that amount quickly as opposed to a residential property. Overall water losses costs nationwide total in the Billions of dollars and are climbing.
SERVPRO specializes in large loss disaster response as well as residential single family losses. Never hesitate to call a pro if water has affected your home or business!
“Yay! Time to call SERVPRO!” said no one…ever.
A property damage/loss can be one of the most inconvenient times in a customers life. We approach each job with a "How can we help?" mindset.
No property owner looks forward to having a loss in their home or business. But the reality of the situation is damages and losses happen every single day across the nation. No one looks forward to calling us. When we pick up the phone and it’s a customer calling to schedule services we never hear “I’m so excited! There is sewage all over in my house!” that is not the normal phone call we get from customers. We deal with customers every day that are experiencing one of the greatest inconveniences of their life. Some are displaced from their homes, almost all are stressed, some are angry, some are sad, but all of them need help!
That is what SERVPRO is here for.
Our work is vitally important to home and business owners throughout the Willamette valley and nationwide. We hear jokes all the time from property owners like “Well this loss is bad for me, but it’s good business for you guys!” They are right. The fact of the matter is, disaster clean-up and restoration is a huge industry and a much needed service across the nation. Yes, this is how our SERVPRO team members earn their living, but we get to help people every single day while earning our living…and that makes for a pretty spectacular job.
We strive to leave each and every one of our customers in a better place than we found them in with each interaction. We want our customers to feel comfortable and confident in their choice to use SERVPRO throughout the mitigation and restoration process. So call SERVPRO to help when the need arises, we will strive to provide comfort and peace of mind in what can be a very stressful time in a property owners life.
What Does SERVPRO Offer?
Let’s face it, this is an interesting line of work, Disaster Clean-Up & Restoration.
It’s not for everyone, squeezing into crawl spaces one day and responding to crime scene clean-ups the next.
I think the driving force for any employee who comes on at our franchises is an appreciation and drive for helping people.
Helping people is indeed something we do each and every single day at SERVPRO.
Also, the wide variety of services we specialize in can transfer across the board when it comes to this industry.
Someone may start at a water technician and find that they excel and enjoy being a part of the fire team more. We have employees find their passion in areas that they did not start in all the time.
In case you are curious about the kind of work we perform and the diverse services we are trained in, here is a list of our more common services:
-Crime Scene Clean-Up
-Furniture & Contents Cleaning
-Document Drying, Recovery, and Restoration
-Hazardous Materials Testing
-Commercial Large Loss
So if you are looking for a job that helps people each and every day consider joining our team of SERVPRO Heroes.
Storms, Storms, and more Storms!
Wildfires have hit in historic forces these past few years. SERVPRO has been there to respond and help.
SERVPRO is a professional at responding to storms both local and nationwide.
From freezes, to snowstorms, to floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, and extreme wind…we got it handled and we are trained to respond quickly and effectively.
Our teams across the nation respond to large storm events such as hurricane Katrina and the historic wildfires that devastated northern California in the recent years, like the Dixie fire in 2021 that was the largest single source wildfire in California history.
Storms are literally a force of nature, unpreventable, unpredictable, and will always be a source of large loss events nation (and world) wide!
Most of us have experienced a storm event, or been close to someone who has.
What is the first thing that comes to mind in those moments after the smoke settles?
After the wind dies down?
After the water recedes?
“What do I do now?” Is the most common question people ask.
SERVPRO can walk you through the next steps in the process of what happens next. We have so much experience helping property owners navigate losses that there is a wealth of knowledge that we can share to help the experience go as smoothly as possible.
The days following a storm can be very overwhelming and difficult to endure. SERVPRO’s goal is to set clear expectations and an overview of steps that will need to be taken so it’s less of a “guessing game” and more of a process that we can walk the property holder through together.
Nationwide there is no other brand more trusted than SERVPRO in the restoration industry. You can be confident calling SERVPRO if a storm event strikes and you need help in the process of putting your property back to preloss condition.
When a sudden freeze happens the earth becomes covered by a thick sheet of ice, this can cause trees to fall, and traveling to become near impossible.
During a freeze Oregon experienced in 2021 customers described hearing the storm outside and inside their homes. They described the experience of listening to the historic storm as hearing a “cracking” “breaking” or “rumbling” noise. This was due mostly to trees, but also to gutters on their house, pipes within their home, fixtures on the exterior of their home, and the rumbling noises were mostly trees falling or being uprooted throughout the community.
Some of our customers were awakened in the night to the sound of a scary force and noise crashing onto their roof…or through their roof. This of course was due to fallen trees.
We had a historic power outage as well during the freeze, and many people in the valley saw their basements flood due to their sump pumps not functioning. This caused a record number of flooded basements and water pumps needed when responding to these losses. Many of the homes affected had their power out for over a week, some even went 10-14 days without power.
People bought out every single generator at stores throughout the valley. And hotel rooms were booked up due to people not wanting to go a week without power. Insurance claims skyrocketed, and power companies worked around the clock to fix all the downed lines throughout the valley.
When power goes out in modern day America everything gets placed on-hold. Without electricity there is no “screen time” and the average American spends over 7 hours in front of a screen each and every single day. Much more if they have to sit in front of a computer screen at work as well. Kids ages 8-18 also spend 7.5 hours every single day in front of a screen.
Many Oregonians missed work and took time off during the freeze to visit friends of family that still had power. Many of our neighbors took in family and friends that had no power for days at a time. Once the power was finally restored, SERVPRO was able to start tackling jobs quickly and efficiently. SERVPRO helped a record number of people in the Willamette valley in the winter of 2021, we are proud to be trusted nationwide.
The Statistics Of Fire in the USA
Flames in residential homes can spread quickly due to personal belongings and many furniture items.
The Fire Statistics: House-fires are more common than you think…
According to FEMA the number of house-fires in from 2015-2019 was 346,800.
That is actually a 3.2% decrease from 10 years prior.
Fires cost an average of 14.8 billion dollars’ worth of damage to properties per year. This is over a 74% increase from 10 years prior.
Fire deaths are also at a 10 year high at over 3,700 fire related deaths reported in 2019.
Here in Oregon we have 308 registered fire departments.
So far this year (as of May 1st), we have 7 reported deaths due to house-fires in the state of Oregon.
We also lost beloved firefighter Austin Smith during a barn fire in February of this year, he was from the St. Paul Fire District. He was just 30 years old.
Cooking remains the top cause of house-fires at over 50%.
Cooking accounts for approximately 30% of commercial fires.
Education of prevention and the top causes of fires is more important than ever. Especially considering almost 8% of house fires were started due to negligence (not arson). This means that over 27,000 house-fires were completely preventable.
Here is a wonderful tool that you can use for your home whether you own or rent. Print it out, hang it up, go over it with your kids, or anyone that lives in the home with you. Fire Safety Checklist: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/fief/up_in_smoke_home_checklist.pdf
More resources: www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire.html
Backdraft, Not Just A Movie.
One of the biggest warning signs of a possible backdraft is black smoke.
Do you know what a backdraft is?
You may know what it is, or what it looks like, but do you know what causes it?
We have all seen the movie, whether you loved it or not…you remember the epic scene at the end.
Here is a great overview of what backdraft is from Wikipedia: A backdraft (North American English) or backdraught (British English) is the abrupt burning of superheated gasses in a fire, caused when oxygen rapidly enters a hot, oxygen-depleted environment; for example, when a window or door to an enclosed space is opened or broken.
Firefighters are taught to recognize backdraft conditions, due to space fire is contained in, smoke emitting from the fire (how dark is it? How fast is the fire burning?), no visible flame (fires often suffocate in this stage of burning due to lack of oxygen), the biggest sign I think of is the sudden movement of air inward when an opening to the affected space is finally made.
You can learn about all the signs of backdraft more here: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/blog/cb-051920.html
When Water Damages Affect Businesses
Interruption to business due to water losses can be costly!
Businesses in the Willamette Valley have been through a lot over the last couple of years. We lost many small businesses here in Oregon due to the pandemic and the closures. Then came the measures enforced and constantly updated on what it took to keep businesses open. Through this, we still responded to many water losses in commercial structures. Many caused by pipes, toilets, or even the drains in the floors.
Working with small businesses is a huge source of pride for SERVPRO. Helping a small business get back on its feet and reopen its doors after a water loss is a thrilling and fulfilling moment. At SERVPRO we understand the importance of time lost when a business cannot keep its doors open. Time is of the essence, and it helps that we are a 24 hour company with nationwide resources.
Upon arrival to a water loss at a business, one of the first things a SERVPRO Technician does it determine any safety hazards. They may ask the following questions;
-Is the water clean water? Or is it contaminated? This determines how much PPE our technicians will be required to wear.
-Has the electricity been turned off to the structure that is affected? If not, where is the electric shutoff?
-Has the source of the water been fixed? Or is the water still running? If the water is still running, where is the water shutoff?
-All water losses have slip hazards, our technicians need to be sure that our team is equipped with the proper foot attire. Flip-Flops are not appropriate.
-Each one of our technicians will ask the question “How can I stabilize this loss best?” The stabilization of a loss is what it takes to stop any further water damage to the area. In most cases this starts with the removal/extraction of any surplus water from affected materials. It can also include the removal of materials that will not properly dry (carpet pad, insulation, warped laminate flooring, warped trim, etc.).
All of these questions set up a commercial loss response for being successful. Time is of the essence, so our SERVPRO Technician will want to start work right away after addressing any concerns the business owner may have.
Remember calling SERVPRO is the best choice you can make if your business suffers a water loss. We are truly “Faster to any Disaster!”
Working In Rented Commercial Structures
Commercial losses affect both owner and tenant.
SERVPRO works in many commercial structures throughout the country. One of the things we frequently encounter is working within a commercial building that has active tenants or businesses renting the spaces within them. We have worked for many property managers to help return their spaces to preloss condition, and help resolve any concerns that the tenant has about the loss.
Many tenants or businesses that are leasing their commercial space instead of buying, have concerns with business interruption, inconvenience to their clients and customers, noise from the SERVPRO machines may present an inconvenience to any persons that are within the affected area.
Obviously some losses cannot allow the businesses or renters to remain in the area while SERVPRO performs the disaster clean-up. In cases such as this, we understand that the top priority of the commercial building owner or property manager will be getting the businesses or tenants back into the area so they can return to paying the lease for that rented space.
Many times commercial insurance may cover costs of loss of use of space, but many times it is not cost affective to file a claim if it is a smaller loss. Many water losses are small in nature, but it takes time and machines to dry the materials correctly and efficiently.
Fire damage often can affect an entire unit after only a few minutes of smoke. Fire losses may also have water damage due to sprinklers being triggered during the loss.
Any kind of Biohazard loss includes the evacuation of people from the affected area. Biohazard includes everything from sewage to blood borne pathogens. These losses must always be handled with attention to detail and the diligent work of our SERVPRO technicians to remove any contaminants in the affected space.
SERVPRO takes our job very seriously when called out to a commercial building that has occupants or tenants. You can feel confident calling SERVPRO to handle all of your commercial clean-up and restoration needs.