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The Two Keys To Avoiding Winter Storm Damage

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial The Two Keys To Avoiding Winter Storm Damage Commercial water damage in Ladue,MO due to a broken pipe

When the weather outside in Ladue,MO, is not delightful, you’ll be glad you prepared for the latest winter storm. You can prevent storm damage at your business with regular maintenance and minimize any unexpected effects with basic preparation. Even with a pipe break, maintenance and preparation will help you get back to business sooner than you think.

Avoiding Damage Starts With Smart Maintenance

Regular maintenance can prevent winter storm damage. Pay particular attention to these areas:

  • Roof - Make sure the roof is leak-free. As water freezes it expands, so a small drip can create a bigger problem. Take care of it before that happens.
  • Insulation - Be aware of any cracks in the walls or around doors and windows. Freezing air sneaking into walls can freeze pipes. Good insulation can help prevent burst pipes.
  • Landscaping - Look at the trees around your building. Sick trees will be more likely to crack and fall. Removing those trees and overhanging branches now will save you from having to remove them from a broken window later.

Minimizing Recovery Takes Preparation

When the storm is on its way, taking steps to prepare will minimize any necessary post-storm work before you get back to business as usual. Protecting the things essential to your business is key.

  • What are the most valuable tools and items in your business? Elevate them off the floor and cover with a tarp or plastic sheet. This will help keep those items dry in case off a pipe break or flooding. 
  • Where are your most important documents? Store printed documents in a waterproof container such a specially purchased safe. If they are electronic, store backup copies on a remote cloud or on a device you can place somewhere secure and dry.
  • Where is your critical information? Keep contact information for emergency services, restoration professionals, business partners, employees and clients somewhere you can easily find it. You’ll be able to reach out to the people you need quickly.

You can minimize the stress of a winter storm with regular maintenance and a bit of preparation. By preventing damage and protecting your business, you can speed up the return to normal.

Is Black Water Really Black?

10/8/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Is Black Water Really Black? Sewage and flooding is considered a Category 3

Flooding at your home in Clayton, MO, is never a welcome sight. However, some classifications of water damage are more serious than others. The three categories are commonly known as clean, gray and black. How do you know the difference? Can you tell by looking? Is black water really black?

What Does Category 3 Water Mean?

The labels of water refer to the level of contamination present due to the source of the flooding, and not the actual color:

  • Clean, fresh water from pipes is considered Category 1 and not contaminated.
  • Gray water from dishwashers or washing machines (Category 2) is contaminated with dirt and detergent, but not bacteria.
  • Category 3, or black water, comes from highly contaminated sources such as sewage, toilet backflow with feces, river water, seawater or storm water from the ground. Contaminants in the water include microorganisms, bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illness if touched or ingested.

What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Professional?

A water restoration specialist has the training, equipment and specific techniques for dealing with this hazardous water category:

  • Protective gear is used to protect the technicians from touching or breathing in airborne viruses from the tainted water.
  • The unsafe area of your home is professionally contained during sewage cleanup to prevent both secondary damage and the spread of bacteria to other rooms.
  • Porous materials exposed to the soiled water are disposed of and other areas are expertly cleaned and sanitized. Specialized filters clean the air.

Water damage at your home in Clayton, MO, can occur from a variety of causes. The difference in the three categories of water is the level of contamination involved. Although black water may not necessarily be black in color, it is identifiable by the source typically from sewage or storm water seeping through the ground. In this case, contact a professional to mitigate the damage.

Odor Control: How To Rid Your Home of Flood Smells

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Odor Control: How To Rid Your Home of Flood Smells Air movers on a storm damage on a Clayton, MO office

Storm season can cause a lot of damage to your home. You may experience broken windows, a torn up roof and flooding. One thing that you may not consider is the smell that flood water can cause. Mold growth, sewer backup and bacteria-infested water are just a few of the reasons that your home in Clayton, MO, may take on an unpleasant odor after a storm. Here are some ways you can get rid of that odor.


Flooding can cause the sewer to back up, and a sewage loss has a distinct, stinky aroma. Most sewer-related damage will require professional remediation, but there are some things you can do to curb the stench a little:

  • Remove excess water (after your put on protective gear, of course)
  • Bag and discard unsalvageable items
  • Open windows to increase air flow and air out the house

A thorough professional cleaning is what is really going to stop the smell. Remediation experts disinfect all surfaces, clean out air ducts and unclog plumbing fixtures to force sewage back to where it belongs.


Mold growth gives off a musty, stale odor that is hard to miss. Mold is common with flood damage because it thrives on excess moisture. Unless you remove water within the first 24-48 hours, you are likely to experience some type of mold problem. Professionals must mitigate the damage to remove the problem before the smell will go away.


The microorganisms living in flood water can make it malodorous. Disinfecting surfaces may get rid of most of the smell. For stale odors that linger in the air once everything is dry, though, an air purifier or an industrial ozone machine may be more effective for making the air in your home smell fresh again.

Mold growth, bacteria and sewage loss are all possible side effects of flood damage, and they all smell bad. Taking out the cause of the problem, disinfecting everything and clearing the air can get rid of those terrible odors.

3 Pipe Maintenance Tips for Rentals

10/3/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial 3 Pipe Maintenance Tips for Rentals Commercial water damage due to broken pipe in Clayton, MO

Properties with old copper, galvanized steel, or polybutylene pipes may be particularly vulnerable to water damage. Poly pipes were common from the 1970s through the mid-1990s, but this material no longer meets the requirements of building codes throughout much of North America. Chlorine and other oxidants degrade these pipes over time, which can lead to breaks, leaks, or chemicals leaching into water. Commercial property owners can follow these three tips to maintain older pipes in rental properties.

1. Use Enzymatic Drain Treatments

Enzymes are beneficial bacteria that eliminate drain debris to help keep sewer lines clear. If the pipes at a property frequently become clogged, you may be able to improve the condition of these lines by flushing mainline enzymes down a toilet twice a month to start and then every three months. You can also pour enzymes down sink or shower drains once a week for a month and once a month thereafter.

2. Use Root Killer in Old Pipes

Polybutylene pipes are particularly vulnerable to intrusive tree roots, which can cause blockages. Use a foaming root killer formulated to coat pipes twice a year. Avoid treatments containing copper sulfate, which may kill off helpful bacteria and degrade pipes.

3. Post Signs To Prevent Blockages

Signs near toilets instructing tenants about disposal methods for paper products other than toilet paper can reduce the frequency of backups or clogs in a commercial property. You should also provide disposal alternatives such as trash cans in stalls.

If you experience problems with polybutylene or other old pipes at a property, you may want to consider pipe replacement. Short of this drastic measure, you can try to preserve the condition of the pipes in these properties by following these tips. Contact a certified commercial damage restoration company if a rental property in Clayton, MO sustains water damage from a backup or burst pipe.

Help – My Washing Machine Smells!

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Help – My Washing Machine Smells! Mold remediation equipment in a Ladue, MO home

If you notice that your washing machine has been giving off a very strange scent lately, mold growth may be to blame. Soap scum buildup, clothing lint and miscellaneous debris from dirty laundry are just a few possible causes of mold smell. Get an idea of how mold remediation specialists can get your machine back to its original scum-free state by familiarizing yourself with the following steps.

1. Add Vinegar and Baking Soda

The first step involves pouring about 2 cups of white vinegar and one-fourth cup of baking soda that has been mixed with one-fourth cup of water into the machine. This is safer than bleach for the longevity of your equipment. This mixture should go where detergent would normally be added.

2. Run the Washing Machine

At this point, the machine should be run through a high heat, normal cycle with an empty drum. The vinegar and baking soda concoction in step one washes out mold and its accompanying smell, as well as any other mess that is stuck inside.

3. Address Leftover Mess

If any mold spots remain after a wash cycle, they will have to be carefully removed by hand. The same substances above and a sponge should do the trick. Remember that it is important for a trained technician in Ladue, MO, who understands mold and is familiar with its typical growth and proper removal to complete these steps.

If you want to prevent mold from becoming a recurring problem in your washing machine, you can do a monthly cleanup where you run a blend through the appliance to keep any dirt or soap remnants at bay. A vinegar and baking soda combination such as the one discussed above should work to keep your machine clean and fresh-smelling. If you should find more mold in the future, remember that trained professionals should be able to help you get rid of it so you can wash your laundry with better peace of mind.

3 Potential Problems After Partial Loss

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 3 Potential Problems After Partial Loss Smoke and fire damage at Glendale, MO

A devastating fire ravages your building in Glendale, MO, but it doesn't burn the building down. You can still save the building and many items in it. This is called a partial loss. Sometimes, however, a partial fire loss can seem like a bigger headache than an accident that levels the building and forces you to start from scratch. Here are three potential issues to look out for during the fire restoration process.

1. Delayed Assessment

If the fire just affected your business and nothing else, you may see your insurance adjuster fairly quickly. If, however, the insurance company is processing a lot of claims, it may take a while for someone to assess the damage to your property. This is a time for vigilance on your part. Take pictures, shoot video and document in any way you possibly can. Make a detailed list of everything that is damaged. Have restoration specialists give you a bid on how much the repairs and restoration are going to cost. The more information you can gather, the better.

2. Insufficient Cleaning

Sometimes, when the damage from a fire loss doesn't look bad, people will hire cleaners who aren't certified technicians to take care of the minor cleaning. This can be a mistake, because surface cleaning makes things look clean, whereas they may actually be filthy. Smoke damage can hide in the tiniest places. Having professional experts mitigate the damage is the best way to avoid hidden damage in hard-to-reach places.

3. Unmatched Appearance

The standard for restoration after a fire is that the property's aesthetic be maintained. You may have different flooring than you did before, but it all should match. Restoration experts will likely replace even undamaged tiles just to make everything uniform in appearance, and that's what you should expect.

When you experience a partial fire loss, you may not know when to push back and when to give in at first. Once you learn to navigate the potential problems that come with a partial loss, you can protect yourself better.

How To Keep Excess Water Out of Your Building

8/28/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage How To Keep Excess Water Out of Your Building Dehumidifier on mold damage in Ladue, MO

If excess moisture gets trapped inside your commercial property in Ladue, MO, it can lead to many problems. Rain damage can result in mold growth, structural damage or inefficiencies in your HVAC and other systems. You can avoid many of these problems by having a solid building envelope from the roof to the foundation. By keeping excess water out, you can protect everything inside and keep the need for water restoration professionals at bay.

1. Roof

When it rains or hails, the roof often bears the brunt of the storm's impact. Keeping water from seeping in through your roof can help you avoid leaks in the attic and problems such as black mold that often come with such water damage. A sloping roof helps water to drain off, but if your building's roof is flat, you can still control the flow of water with a functional drainage system that directs water away from the building. Joints should be constructed to shed water, not allow it easy access.

2. Sides

Hopefully your commercial property was constructed to allow for thermal expansion or contraction so that the walls are less likely to crack under the pressure of seasonal temperature changes. Walls and windows that are not properly maintained offer several weak points through which water can come in and cause rain damage. Flashing helps by reinforcing the wall at the joints. Make sure the flashing stays in good condition and repair it as soon as you discover a problem.

3. Foundation

Cracks in the foundation of your building can cause several problems, including excess moisture issues. Groundwater can come into the building's basement through such cracks. As soon as you discover that your foundation is compromised, you should have it repaired. The cost of repair is nothing compared to the cost of the problems a vulnerable foundation can cause down the road.

It may be easier to protect your commercial building from rain damage than you think. By ensuring that your building envelope remains strong and intact, it is likely that you will never have to worry about leaks from exterior elements.

SERVPRO Is the Mold Remediation Leader in Webster Groves

8/28/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Is the Mold Remediation Leader in Webster Groves

These days, in Webster Groves, many homeowners are concerned about the effect that mold could have on their home. If you've become more conscious of mold, and what the mold remediation process entails, then you want to prevent it from adversely impacting your residential space. It's important to know that there are several prevention tips you can implement to make it happen. Here are four of them:

Let The Sun Light In. The sun radiates ultraviolet (UV) rays that are an effective mold fighter. In fact, they are ultimately fatal to existing mold with sufficient exposure. While mold thrives freely in dark areas, sunlight has a sanitizing effect that destroys mold colonies. SERVPRO strongly recommends allowing in as much sunlight as is feasible and also ventilating interior air space for better air quality.

Fix Leak Issues Quickly. Leak issues can give rise to a mold infestation. All of the droplets that come from a leaky pipe can accumulate and create water buildup on your property. Once this process is put in motion, the moist, damp setting that mold require for proliferation have been created, increasing the need for mold remediation. When areas of the home like the basement, crawl space, or attic are perpetually moist, you can expect mold to begin thriving. Prevent this from happening by addressing and resolving all leak issues with speed. Periodically check fixtures. 

Keep outdoor Moisture Out. Moisture from the outdoors can infiltrate your residential property through structural flaws and gaps in sub-grade level exterior walls. Other contributors include deteriorated siding, misdirected sprinkler heads, and overflowing gutters and downspouts without adequate rainwater dispersion. Additionally, excess humidity can make its way into your home because of attic condensation or a wet crawl space. Unfortunately, this excess moisture can give rise to mold growth. It is a major deterrent to mold spores colonizing into mold patches by keeping the interior humidity at a minimum of 45%.

First of all, do not ever attempt to complete a DIY project. Although implementing mold prevention tips is an effective way to preclude the fungi from growing on your property, there is still a chance of an infestation. In general, homeowners lack the equipment, expertise, and education to destroy mold on their own. Instead, call a trusted team of mold remediation experts like SERVPRO to handle the work for you. You don't want to expose yourself to health and safety hazards. 

Let SERVPRO Handle Your Mold Remediation Needs

 Our IICRC-certified professionals have extensive industry experience in the field of mold remediation in Webster Groves and will work with skill and speed to eradicate mold and mitigate its return. Don't jeopardize the health and safety of your household, call us.

Locally Owned, with National Resources

SERVPRO of Clayton/Ladue is locally owned and operated, so we’re already nearby and ready to help Webster Groves residents with any size mold remediation need. Call us. (314) 863-4555 

What Happens to Building Materials When They Get Wet

8/21/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage What Happens to Building Materials When They Get Wet Air mover on water damage in a Clayton, MO home

When constructing a home, it can be concerning to see your expensive building materials sitting in all sorts of weather conditions, especially in Clayton, MO. Solid lumber materials — such as roof rafters, wall studs, and floor joists — can be dried without a problem, while other materials may be permanently damaged. Broken water supply lines can wreak havoc on building materials as well. Swelling wood in cabinets or the sub floor, for instance, will likely need to be replaced if it remains wet for too long.

A Soaked Subfloor

When a home isn’t waterproofed as quickly as possible while being built, the subfloor can soak up rain water. It will remain wet if builders do not allow it to dry out completely before installing the flooring. This can cause swelling wood and mold growth in the crawl space underneath and in the floor joists. This is more common in new construction when workers do not ensure everything is dry before proceeding.

Broken Water Supply Lines

Supply lines bring water into your appliances, including toilets, sinks, and washing machines. When a line breaks, it can cause major flooding and thousands of dollars' worth of damage. If this happens, it’s best to call a water pipe repair company to assess the damage and fix it properly, so you can be confident there won’t be any mold growing in the near future.

Preventive Measures

When building your house, be sure to have proper protection and water

proofing in place where needed to avoid distended wood issues. Ask them to set deadlines when the weather is nice and to finish the frame and roof as quickly as possible. To avoid supply line flooding, occasionally inspect the seals on your appliances and replace any that are dripping or look damaged.

Swelling wood in your home, whether that home is brand new or not, can be caused by several factors. The important thing is that you take care of it quickly to avoid extensive damage, such as mold growth and weakened structural integrity.

Flood Safety for First Responders

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

As a first responder in Clayton, MO flooding is one of the most challenging situations you may encounter. It’s crucial to be prepared beforehand, so familiarize yourself with these tips:

• Ensure you have necessary vaccinations.
• Have proper flood gear.
• Prepare for safety risks.
• Know post-flood protocol.


There are two CDC-required vaccinations for first responders. A tetanus booster is required unless you have received one in the last decade. If you’re at risk of contact with biohazards, a hepatitis B vaccine is also necessary.

Flood Response Gear

Appropriate gear is crucial for a first responder. Tall rubber boots, gloves, safety goggles, floatation devices and masks are usual essentials, but your state’s health department may have more recommendations.

Know the Risks

There are various safety hazards to watch out for after a flood.

• Although drowning is an obvious hazard, the risk factors may not be as apparent. It only takes a few inches of water to impair a vehicle’s ability to drive or carry you away on foot.
• Electricity poses a serious risk. The flood water itself may be charged due to power line damage. Electrical equipment may also be wet, so be cautious of touching it.
• Flood water may be contaminated by chemicals or waterborne disease. Make sure your gear can protect you from these risks, and wash your hands often.
• Wild animals, particularly snakes or rodents, may take refuge in buildings. Any animal bite requires immediate medical attention.
• Flooded areas are prime conditions for mold and mildew to develop. Dispose of mold-contaminated material according to local protocol. You may also consider consulting a team of mold experts.

Post-Flood Protocol

After your work is done, always shower and disinfect your gear to prevent further contamination.
Also consider a medical screening once your flood response work has been completed, especially if you’ve been exposed to contaminants or develop new symptoms.

While your duty as a first responder is to aid flood victims, it’s equally important to take precautions for yourself. Following protocols and knowing the hazards you may encounter will ensure not only your own safety but will enable you to continue the brave task of helping others. Visit for more information on storm damage.