Recent Posts

Recognize the signs of hidden water damage

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The SERVPRO blog shares the common signs of hidden water damage to help homeowners recognize them and take timely action.

Recognize the signs of hidden water damage

Visible water damage enables immediate action and restoration. But a hidden water leak in a basement, slow leaks in roofs, and a dripping faucet slowly damage a property. This hidden water damage is a huge concern as homeowners fail to realize there is a problem until the damage is extensive. SERVPRO shares how homeowners and business owners can identify the signs of hidden water damage. This knowledge can help prevent massive damages and restoration costs. 

  1. Mold Growth

Mold grows swiftly when there is water damage in a building for over 48 hours. Mold spores often grow in the seams of ceilings and floors, hidden from view. Before taking on any DIY mold remediation project, it is strongly advised to consult a Texas-licensed Mold Remediation Contractor. Reviewing the Texas Mold Assessment and Remediation Rules (TMARR) is highly useful when looking for a mold remediation company, and understanding what the process entails.

Any green, black, white, or brown spots must be taken seriously. These are signs of mold growth that should be addressed by a professional mold remediation company like SERVPRO before it leads to any health effects. Not only will a professional team have the equipment to detect and remove mold hidden in crooks and crevices, but it will also ensure that there are no recurrences of mold growth by addressing the root cause.  

  1. Musty Odors

If property owners can detect a musty odor, it is a certain sign of hidden water damage. Musty smells are a result of moisture, lack of air circulation, and darkness. This odor can exist even in the absence of visible mold growth. Masking an unpleasant odor in a home is not the solution. It is important to identify the source of the smell and ensure that the hidden moisture is removed at the earliest to prevent any further water damage.

  1. Peeling Paint and Wallpaper

Peeling paint and wallpaper should be a red flag for homeowners. It is a sign of moisture that is hiding within walls and causing the paint and wallpaper to lose their adhesion to drywall and sheetrock. This flaking on walls and bubbling up of wallpaper is not just aesthetically unappealing, it is a warning of impending water damage that can worsen if not addressed.  

  1. Stains and Discoloration

Water-stained ceilings and drywall are a sign of water damage that should not be neglected. Stains and discoloration may be caused by a leaky roof or leaking pipes behind drywall. Painting over these stains is a recipe for bigger water disasters later. The source of this moisture should be addressed at the earliest.

  1. Warped Floors, Walls, and Ceilings

Water permeates easily in wood, drywall, and other hard yet porous surfaces. Once saturated with moisture, these materials begin to buckle and warp, severely compromising their structural integrity. This is extremely dangerous and homeowners must keep an eye out for any warping or creaking in their walls or floors. This is another hidden sign of water damage that can cost not only money but lives.  

  1. Sudden Jump in Utility Bills

As the weather turns cold, a few jumps in utility bills is normal. Any other unusual increases in water bills suggest possible hidden leaks. Homeowners are advised to monitor their monthly water bills closely to find trends in usage so they can identify any anomalies in the bills. These anomalies are indicative of a potential water damage problem.  

  1. Water Damage Under the Sink

Homeowners don’t always inspect their plumbing fixtures for any issues. This may become a reason why some water damage remains hidden. Although a little moisture under a kitchen or bathroom sink isn’t necessarily a cause of concern, a continuous drip or leak is a sign that immediate action is needed. 

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lake Travis / NW Austin, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.

For water damage restoration services in Leander and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin today at (512) 318-2202.

How to mitigate the flood risk in a high rise?

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: This SERVPRO blog recommends some measures that high rises can take to mitigate flood risks.

Flood prevention tips for high rises

Flooding not only impacts single-story homes but also high-rises - not just at the ground level but also on higher floors. SERVPRO, a commercial water damage restoration service, discusses how high rises can mitigate the flood risks.

  1. Understand the flood risk
  1. Location: A high-rise near a water body or in a flood zone is naturally at an elevated risk but there are other factors to consider. For instance, high-rises built in valleys or low-lying areas may be vulnerable to flooding, even though they are far from water.
  2. Construction: Buildings with basements or multiple underground levels may be at an increased flooding risk. High-rises with basements should be checked for sump pumps and generators. This inspection can reveal the absence or inadequacy of this equipment and, thereby, highlight the risks to the building in a flood scenario. 
  3. Property management: A professional property management company can help identify the weak spots and vulnerabilities of a building. With decades of experience and knowledge of the area, these teams can create a foundation for a flood preparedness plan. 
  1. Protect critical systems
  1. The mechanical and electrical systems should be insulated and protected to ensure they are functional in case of flooding.  
  2. The building’s water pump should also be taken care of in case of water shortage. In most cities, the municipal system doesn’t push water beyond the sixth floor in case of floods. That means no water will be available while the occupants are stranded during floods. A water pump would be a blessing. 
  3. The fire pump, which operates the sprinkler system, must be shielded from potential flood damage.
  4. Ensure emergency staircase and corridor lighting will function even during a power outage. 
  5. In taller buildings, at least one elevator must work during an emergency.
  6. Essential backup systems must be maintained and should be functional during emergencies. 
  7. Plan the storage of materials in the basement carefully. Any materials such as fuel or heating oils must be removed lest they become environmental hazards for the residents during the flooding. 
  1. Communicate the emergency plan 

Document a detailed emergency plan encompassing a wide variety of disasters, including fire, medical emergencies, and floods. This plan must include:

  1. Emergency contacts
  2. Evacuation maps and directions
  3. Insurance claim tips
  4. Items for personal disaster preparedness kits 
  5. Provisions to protect vulnerable residents, such as the elderly, people with disabilities, and children. 

These plans are futile without appropriate communication. There are several methods to ensure clear communication such as FirstService Residential’s proprietary system, Resident Alert, sending critical updates via email, text message, or phone during times of crisis.

  1. Review the insurance

It is best practice to review the insurance policy with an insurance agent specializing in high-rise properties annually. This yearly review ensures that the property has the best coverage available at the best price. By implementing policies that mitigate the property’s flood risk, the insurance premiums can also be reduced.

In case of flooding and water damage, high rises must contact commercial water damage restoration companies such as SERVPRO to help restore the property to its original glory, and help residents get back to their lives as soon as possible.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lago Vista and surrounding areas can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire IICRC-industry certification.

For commercial water damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin today at (512) 318-2200.

Flash flooding and its impact

8/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The SERVPRO blog educates homeowners about flash flooding and its impact. 



All about flash flooding 

Flash flooding can wreak havoc on unsuspecting residents in a matter of hours. But a basic understanding of flash flooding can help homeowners prepare better for the eventuality. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin, a storm damage restoration service, discusses flash flooding and its impact in detail below.

What is Flash Flooding?

Flash floods can be caused by heavy rainfall during thunderstorms or breaks in dams or levees and/or mudslides. It is defined as a flood that occurs within 6 hours of heavy rainfall or other reasons, but it can occur in as little as a few minutes as well. It is usually quite dangerous as it combines a flood’s normal potential with unpredictability and a wildly rapid timeframe. 

What causes flash flooding?

Here are a few factors that determine the swiftness and location of flash flooding:

  1. Intensity of rainfall
  2. Location and distribution of rainfall
  3. Land use and topography
  4. Vegetation type and growth/density
  5. Soil type
  6. Soil water content

Despite these factors, urban areas are more susceptible to flash flooding than others due to the presence of buildings and concrete. The capacity of the soil to absorb water in these areas is much lower than in other areas. 

Regions near rivers or large streams are also at an increased risk. If the flow of water drastically changes from upstream, it can cause the river or body of water to expand to dry land, resulting in a flash flood. Ravines and mountains face similar scenarios. 

The FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) flood map helps determine an area’s risk for flooding. Flood insurance is determined by the location of the property in a flood-risk zone. A flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) marks the difference between recovery and a devastating financial loss.

The Impact of flash flooding

  1. Death or Injury

The unpredictable nature of flash floods makes them very dangerous. Due to the lack of warning, many people get injured or killed by these floods. Often these flash floods occur at night while people are sleeping. According to the National Weather Service, flash floods are the biggest cause of weather-related deaths in the US.    

  1. Instant Property Damage

With the combination of the force of water and the large debris that flash floods carry, the amount of structural damage can be immense. The damage caused to homes can make them uninhabitable and disrupt lives.

  1. Irreversible Property Damage

Rooms, vehicles, and other contents that came in the path of floodwaters may not be salvageable. Homes become susceptible to harmful molds. Submerged vehicles bear irreparable water damage to the engine and other critical components.

  1. Loss of Infrastructure

Structural damage to bridges and roadways makes travel impossible. Power, telephone, and cable lines may be damaged by flash floods. The contaminated floodwaters pollute groundwater and make tap water unfit for consumption.

  1. Sediment & Silt

Floodwaters carry sand, silt, and other debris with them as they travel. When the velocity of the flash flood slows, it begins depositing this debris that can make travel difficult. Removing this debris is another huge expense.  

  1. Uninsured or Under-insured Homeowners

Since the usual homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flood damage, many homeowners experience huge financial losses. Homeowners must figure out if their property lies in a flood-risk zone and must get flood insurance through the NFIP.

  1. Business Loss

Flash floods usually wreak havoc on homes and businesses alike. The extent of the damage may delay the recovery process and therefore cause further losses to business owners. 

Just one inch of floodwater can cost $25,000 in damages. Poor drainage systems, neighborhood construction, and broken water mains can also cause flooding or exacerbate the flash flood caused by rainfalls. Flash floods cannot be controlled or stopped, but homeowners can educate themselves, and be prepared in case of this natural calamity. 

When the storm is over, SERVPRO’s storm damage restoration team can help restore and rebuild properties, and help homeowners return to their lives as swiftly and smoothly as possible.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lake Travis/NW Austin, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.



For storm damage restoration services in Spicewood and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin today at (512) 318-2202.

Follow the Tips to Clean a Flooded Basement or Call SERVPRO to Take Care of It

7/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The SERVPRO article talks about the several steps needed to clean a basement that has been flooded. It also mentions why SERVPRO is one of the best options for helping restore a water-damaged basement.

Tips to clean a flooded basement

A flooded basement can occur during dry or wet weather. Understanding and anticipating the causes of flooded basements helps to create a plan of action for the water removal. SERVPRO, a water damage restoration company, shares below the common causes of flooded basements and steps homeowners can take to clean. 

  1. Improper sealing on the flooring and walls

  2. Drainage tile failure

  3. Improperly installed downspouts

  4. Debris in the gutters (eavestroughs)

  5. Water supply line failure (broken, cracked, or clogged pipes)

  6. Hot water tank failure

  7. Sump pump failure

Water removal steps for a flooded basement

  1. Identify the water source

If there is a leak from a source within the basement, the first step is to shut off the water right away. However, when the basement is flooded due to rain storms or melting snow, the plan of action changes.

SERVPRO’s team can reach an emergency within 24 hours, assess the situation quickly, and begin the process of restoration at the earliest. The complete process from assessment and cleaning to insurance claims can be taken care of by SERVPRO experts.

  1. Water removal

Limiting the damage due to flooding is a priority. A sump pump is the best way to remove water from the basement. A wet-dry vacuum or a bucket are other alternative options to remove the water. The water must be dumped outside and away from the house foundation to prevent a backup. 

A professional company like SERVPRO can remove hundreds or thousands of gallons of water from the property, using powerful pumps and truck-mounted vacuum units. This swift and accurate work protects the property from secondary damage.

  1. Dispose off the damaged items

Removing items damaged by floodwater is crucial to avoid mold growth, warping, and rot. Items such as carpets and furniture that absorb water easily can usually be salvaged if they are removed from the water before 24 hours. However, irrespective of the swift response, some items may be beyond saving. Carpeting, carpet padding, insulation, electronics, and paper goods are some of the most easily damaged items. Walls and furniture can also be severely impacted by delayed water removal. It is ideal to use heavy-duty plastic bags to throw things away and avoid overloading the bags. 

  1. Dry and dehumidify

Once the water and damaged items are removed, the basement must be dried out. High-volume fans and structural drying dehumidifiers can be used for this purpose. House fans also work but they take much longer to dry, leading to secondary damage such as mold. The baseboards, if any, can be removed and 1-inch holes can be drilled halfway between the wall studs at the base of the walls. This enables moisture to evaporate from behind the walls.

A professional restoration company like SERVPRO uses the latest dehumidification equipment to monitor the drying progress using moisture meters until the materials return to acceptable drying goals.

  1. Disinfect and Deodorize

Once the basement and its contents are dried, disinfect and deodorize everything. Using bleach is not advised as it can only kill live mold and not mold spores. Household detergent is preferable. It is, however, advised to hire a professional mold remediation company such as SERVPRO to ensure complete removal of mold and prevent its recurrence. To remove odors, sprinkle baking soda around and vacuum it once it has absorbed the odor after a few hours. 

SERVPRO uses adequate cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize contents. It also uses industrial-grade air scrubbers and fogging equipment to ensure odors are completely removed.

  1. Rebuild and Restore

The last step is to rebuild the basement. Make any necessary repairs, such as filling foundation cracks, replacing damaged drywall with a mold-resistant type, and sealing windows and vents. In some cases, painting may be needed. Severe damage may entail purchasing new carpeting or constructing a new drywall.

This is a tedious and complex task, and SERVPRO not only makes minor repairs but also offers a reconstruction of rooms and areas in a home.

A DIY cleaning of the basement is possible in cases of minor flood damage but when the damage is severe, homeowners must opt for a water damage restoration company such as SERVPRO. Why? SERVPRO not only has the expertise and the technology to restore the basement but also enables a smooth insurance claims process.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lago Vista and surrounding areas can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire IICRC-industry certification.

For water damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin today at (512) 318-2202.

SERVPRO: How to Protect Against Lightning Strikes?

7/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The article by SERVPRO states facts about lightning and suggests several lightning safety tips.

Lightning facts and safety tips

Lightning kills as many as 2,000 people worldwide, every year. Hundreds of people get struck but survive, usually with lingering and debilitating symptoms. Although the odds of being struck by lightning in a year are less than 1 in a million, some factors can put individuals at greater risk. Lightning usually strikes people who work outside or engage in outdoor recreational activities. SERVPRO, a storm damage restoration company, shares important facts about lightning and some safety tips.

Facts about lightning

  1. All thunderstorms produce lightning and are dangerous. 
  2. Lightning often strikes outside the area of heavy rain, as far as 10 miles beyond. 
  3. Many lightning deaths occur before and after the storms. 
  4. If one can hear thunder, lightning is an imminent threat.
  5. Lightning leaves many victims with permanent disabilities. Only about 10% of lightning victims die whereas many survivors struggle with intense pain, neurological disabilities, depression, and other health effects. 

Lightning safety precautions outdoors

When outside, the following precautions must be taken to protect from lightning: 

  1. Listen to the forecast: Avoid stepping out in the first place. If there is a prediction of a thunderstorm or lightning, postpone the trip or outdoor activity. Stay home.
  2. Thunder means danger: If thunder can be heard, it is close by. Find a safe, enclosed shelter such as homes, offices, shopping centers, and hard-top vehicles with the windows rolled up.
  3. Follow the 30-30 rule: Once lightning is sighted, count till 30. If it thunders before the count of 30, go indoors. After the last clap of thunder, suspend all activities and stay indoors for at least 30 minutes.
  4. No tents: Most modern tents have carbon fiber or metal poles. They can become a grounding path for a cloud-to-ground lightning strike. 
  5. In case of no shelter: Crouching can reduce the chances of being struck but does not eliminate all danger. Here are few steps to take when there is no safe shelter nearby: 
  • Climb down: Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges, or peaks. Never take shelter under a cliff or rocky overhang. Find a low-lying place such as a ravine or a valley, but beware of flash floods.
  • Baseball catcher’s position: Crouch down in a baseball catcher’s position, with heels on the ground, ears covered, and head between the knees. Ensure minimal contact with the ground. Never lie flat on the ground. 
  • Thick forest: Never shelter under an isolated tree. Find a low area under a thick growth of small trees.
  • Steer clear of water: Immediately move away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.
  • Stay away from conductors: Objects that conduct electricity (such as barbed wire fences, power lines, or windmills) must be avoided.
  • No concrete: Stay away from concrete floors or walls as lightning can travel through any metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring.

Lightning safety precautions indoors

Being indoors is safer than being outdoors during a thunderstorm. But statistically, about one-third of lightning-strike injuries occur indoors. Follow the tips below to keep safe from lightning while indoors:

  1. Avoid water: Do not bathe, shower, wash dishes, or have any other contact with water during a thunderstorm. Water, as well as plumbing pipes, are good conductors of electricity.
  2. No electronic equipment: Lightning can strike through electrical systems, radio, and television reception systems. Don’t plug or unplug electrical equipment during the storms.
  3. Don’t use corded phones: Avoid using corded phones during a thunderstorm. Instead, opt for cordless or cellular phones.
  4. Avoid concrete floors and walls: Lightning can travel through metal wires or bars in concrete walls or flooring. Therefore, do not lie on concrete floors during a thunderstorm. 

Follow these precautions to avoid being struck by lightning. If a person is struck by lightning, call 911 and get medical help right away. For storm damage restoration services, call a professional team such as SERVPRO right away.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lake Travis / NW Austin, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.

For storm damage restoration services in Leander and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin today at (512) 318-2202.

SERVPRO: All About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Ways to Prevent It

7/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The SERVPRO article gives insight into carbon monoxide poisoning and the preventive measures homeowners can take to prevent it.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning 

As per statistics, at least 430 people die in the US every year due to accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the US land up in the emergency department every year due to accidental CO poisoning. SERVPRO explains below what is carbon monoxide poisoning, its impact on health, its causes, and the ways to prevent it.

What is carbon monoxide (CO)?

CO is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that can cause severe health problems and even death. This deadly gas builds up in enclosed or partially closed spaces by burning fuel (gas, wood, propane, etc.) in various appliances and machines. These appliances include stoves, fireplaces, gas ranges, lawnmowers, electric generators, cars, and more.

How does CO affect health?

Human senses are generally unable to detect the presence of CO. Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they pick up oxygen. Once the air is saturated with CO, the body starts replacing oxygen in blood with CO, resulting in damage to tissues and eventual death.

CO poisoning is a risk for all human beings and animals, but unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems are at maximum risk.

Symptoms of CO poisoning

Unless suspected, CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. Two factors determine the severity of carbon monoxide poisoning - concentration of carbon monoxide and the duration of exposure. 

Low to moderate CO poisoning symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and dizziness

High levels of CO inhalation can cause:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

If CO poisoning is suspected, everyone must immediately move outside for fresh air and call 911.  

What are the usual suspects for CO poisoning? 

This toxic gas can originate from the most innocent and ordinary of sources.

Generally, any home appliance or piece of equipment that burns wood, propane, natural gas, oil, charcoal, or coal is potentially a source of carbon monoxide in the house. Some of these appliances and pieces of equipment are:

  • Boilers
  • Furnaces
  • Fireplaces
  • Water heaters
  • Ovens and ranges
  • Space heaters
  • Wood-burning stoves
  • Backup generators
  • Propane and charcoal grills
  • Cars and other automobiles
  • Gas-powered lawn mowers

Preventive tips

  1. Get a CO detector: Install a CO detector and check and/or change the batteries in the CO detector every six months. Purchase a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector.
  2. Regular inspection: Get a certified professional to inspect and/or service the heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances.
  3. Keep outdoor appliances out: Never use gas ranges or ovens to heat the house. Do not use gas camp stoves, hibachis, lanterns, or charcoal grills indoors.
  4. Avoid flameless heaters: Don’t use portable flameless chemical heaters (catalytic) indoors. They burn gas and can cause CO to build up.
  5. Check for seals: While purchasing gas equipment, look for the seal of a national testing agency like Underwriter’s Laboratories.
  6. Vent properly: Gas appliances must be vented properly.
    • Indoor vent pipes should go up slightly as they go toward the outdoors.
    • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or anything else.
    • Keep the vents for the stove, fireplace, dryer, and furnace clear of debris and other blockages.
  7. Clean the chimney: Check the chimney for soot, debris, and corrosion at least once a year. Hire a chimney sweep to clean.
  8. Open the flue: When the fireplace is in use, open the flue. Put out the fire completely before closing the fireplace or damper.
  9. Inspect car exhaust: Never idle a vehicle inside a garage that’s attached to the house or living space. Get a mechanic to inspect the vehicle’s exhaust system once a year to prevent CO build-up.
  10. Maintain distance: Run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine at least 20 feet away from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can’t vent into an enclosed area.

These preventive tips must be followed carefully to protect lives and homes. Homeowners can reach out to a professional team like SERVPRO that is experienced in fire damage restoration as well as soot and smoke removal.  

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lake Travis/NW Austin, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.



For fire damage restoration services in Spicewood and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin today at (512) 318-2202.

SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin: Understanding the Categories And Classes of Water Damage

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin Article is a Discussion about the 3 Categories and 4 Classes of Water Damage that Homeowners May Experience.

The categories and classes of water damage explained

Water damage can disrupt life and lead to massive losses if not addressed properly and on time. Some kinds of water damage are less severe than others and need a different treatment. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin talks about the various categories and classes of water damage that homeowners must be aware of. This categorization and classification help in determining the severity of water damage and the extent of restoration required.

3 categories of water damage

  • Clean water

The safest of all water damages, clean water is category one. This type of damage usually comes from a sanitary source - an overflowing sink or a broken water line. It is the easiest to fix but can easily escalate into a category 2 or 3 situation if left unaddressed for too long or comes in contact with contaminated sources.  

  • Gray water

Clean water that has been left stagnant or dormant for over 24 hours becomes category 2 - gray water. This water damage, more serious than clean water, could occur due to a toilet, dishwasher, or washing machine overflowing. This water usually contains unsafe levels of microorganisms and/or a hospitable environment for the growth of microorganisms. If left unchecked, this category can quickly escalate into Category 3.

  • Black water

The most serious category of water damage, black water, often occurs due to sewage water or natural disasters such as hurricanes and heavy flooding. Occupants must stay away from black water as it can contain anything from chemicals and pesticides to bacterial diseases that can cause serious harm to health if ingested. Some symptoms that can occur from being exposed to black water are nausea, memory loss, vomiting, and liver failure.  

This contamination spreads quickly due to the cellulose in walls and flooring that serve as a food source for pathogens and fungus. The high humidity, warm temperature, and stagnant air offer an ideal environment for bacteria and mold growth.

It is imperative that homeowners do not attempt to remove black water themselves as it could prove dangerous. Professional water damage restoration teams, such as SERVPRO have the know-how and the equipment to deal with such situations.

4 Classes of Water Damage

Water damage is categorized into four classes as per the severity. The volume of the affected area, along with the type of material affected, helps determine the class. The class determines the drying out time and the type of equipment that is needed for drying and restoration.

Class 1

This is the least severe, and easiest to deal with. Here are the factors that help identify class 1 damage:

  1. It has a slow absorption rate. 
  2. A small portion of the room or area is affected.
  3. There is little to no wet carpet to restore. 
  4. Moisture has only affected materials with low permeability like plywood or concrete. 

Class 2

This class is slightly more damaging than class 1. It is characterized by the following:

  1. It has a high absorption rate.
  2. The entire room or area is affected.
  3. The carpeting and/ or cushioning is moisture-laden.
  4. Wetness has wicked at least 12 inches up the walls.
  5. There is moisture in structural materials that can pose a big threat to the safety of the building structure.

Class 3

This water damage entails the following results:

  1. Fastest absorption rate.
  2. Ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, and sub-floors become saturated with moisture. 
  3. The liquid may have come from overhead, and/or it has wicked up the walls over 24 inches.

Class 4

This water damage means:

  1. It is a specialty drying situation.
  2. Water has permeated into hardwood, plaster, and concrete that have deep pockets of saturation. 
  3. Drying these wet materials is very tricky and time-consuming.  
  4. The restoration may require more specialized methods.

Most of these classes and categories of water damage require professional water damage restoration services and cannot be and must not be addressed by a DIY approach. Homeowners can contact SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin for these water damage situations.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lago Vista and surrounding areas can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire IICRC-industry certification.

For water damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin today at (512) 318-2200.

SERVPRO: 6 fire safety tips commercial kitchens can follow

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The SERVPRO article talks of 6 fire safety tips that can help commercial kitchens prevent fires.

6 fire safety tips for commercial kitchen

Statistically maximum fires start in kitchens every year. Therefore it is crucial to understand and implement best practices for fire safety in kitchens, primarily in three areas: preventative maintenance, good housekeeping, and employee training. According to SERVPRO, following these tips can significantly reduce the risk of fire damage in kitchens.

  • Maintenance of kitchen appliances and exhaust systems
  1. Regular inspection and maintenance

Look out for fire hazards as mentioned below to prevent electrical fires

  • Frayed cords or wiring that can spark and cause an electrical fire.
  • Cracked or broken switch plates on outlets.
  • Cords running behind appliances, which should be checked and moved to a more visible location. 
  1. Professional repairing 

It is advisable to get commercial kitchen appliances maintained and repaired by professionals due to the complexity of modern equipment.

  1. Deep fat fryers and open flame cooking
  • The fryers should be kept at least 16 inches away from any source of an open flame. Alternatively, a vertical divider that extends at least 8 inches above the top of the fryer can be installed. These measures prevent the hot oils in the fryer from splashing onto an open flame and igniting. 
  • All deep fat fryers should also be equipped with a high-temperature limiting device.
  1. Inspect and clean exhaust system 

Required by fire safety codes, exhaust systems require different inspections and cleaning schedules depending upon the type of cooking operations.

  • Maintenance of kitchen fire suppression systems and equipment

Complying with fire safety regulations regarding the inspection, testing, and maintenance of the kitchen fire suppression system, including fire alarms and emergency lighting, is crucial for a prevention plan.

  1. Portable fire extinguishers as a backup

While Class K fire extinguishers are necessary for commercial kitchens for fires involving grease, fats, and oils that burn at high temperatures, it’s also advised to keep Class ABC extinguishers on hand for other types of fires (paper, wood, plastic, electrical, etc.). All fire extinguishers should be checked monthly and inspected and recertified annually.

  1. Test kitchen fire suppression system

Kitchen suppression systems, generally very effective, can fail due to a lack of maintenance. 

  1. Regularly test fire alarms

Fire alarms are the first line of defense against fire as they alert occupants instantly, enabling quick escape. They must be inspected regularly to ensure efficiency.

  1. Test emergency and exit lighting

Electrical power may be lost during a fire emergency. Properly functioning emergency lighting will ensure the occupants can find their way to safety if the power goes out during an emergency. Regular inspection and annual testing of all emergency and exit lighting systems must be done.

  • Good housekeeping

According to the data from NFPA, National Fire Protection Association, 22 percent of the commercial kitchen fires each year were a result of a failure to clean.

  1. Clean the kitchen regularly

Built-up grease can be ignited with a single spark and is a fire hazard that can be prevented with good housekeeping. Grease traps as well as grease on walls, work surfaces, ranges, fryers, broilers, grills, and convection ovens, and all vents and filters must be cleaned regularly.

  1. Remove trash and shipping materials

Trash and shipping materials are flammable items that must be kept in a dumpster far from the restaurant.

  • Prioritize fire safety and prevention training

Trained staff can control a fire situation and lead everyone to safety. Regular training can provide a strong first line of defense against fire emergencies.

  1. Staff must have proper training in equipment handling and cooking techniques, especially ones involving open flames.
  2. It is advised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions while using equipment and appliances.
  3. The swift extinguishing of grease fires on cooktops and grills must be taught to employees.
  4. Every employee should know how to properly use fire extinguishers. 
  5. Workers should be trained in how to shut off the gas and/or the electrical power in case of emergency.
  6. Emergency training should be provided regularly and made mandatory.  
  • Post smoking restrictions

“No Smoking” signs should be posted outside the restaurant, particularly in areas where discarded cigarettes can end up on top of mulch, wood chips, or any other flammable objects.

  • Create a fire safety plan

A commercial kitchen should have an evacuation plan that is easily understood and posted at every egress point. 

In case of fire emergencies and fire damage, commercial kitchens can contact SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin for a professional and swift restoration of property.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lake Travis/NW Austin, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.



For fire damage restoration services in Spicewood and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin today at (512) 318-2200.

SERVPRO: How to maintain the beautiful yet expensive hardwood floors

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The SERVPRO article discusses the several steps homeowners can take to maintain their hardwood floors.

7 maintenance tips for hardwood floors

Hardwood floors bring a warm and earthy ambiance to a home. Not only are they stylish but also durable, if maintained well. They are expensive and therefore need a lot of care to make the investment worthwhile. SERVPRO, a commercial cleaning service, shares some maintenance tips for hardwood floors.

  • Daily sweeping and dust mopping

Large pieces of debris can scratch the expensive floor. To avoid this, daily sweeping or dusting with a broom or microfiber dust mop is a must. 

  1. A microfiber dust mop is a superior tool as it creates a static electricity charge that attracts and traps dust, allergens, and dirt particles. Avoid lifting the microfiber dust mop off the floor so the dust and dirt will remain firmly attached to the cleaning pad.
  2. A broom is also an effective tool but it will just push the dirt around.
  3. A robot vacuum is another option if there is a dearth of time. These vacuums are good for hardwood floors since they don’t have beater bars that can scratch or otherwise damage the floor. 
  4. An upright vacuum has beater bars but it can be put on the bare floor setting first. The floor must also be protected from the wheels.
  • Mop with hardwood floor cleaner monthly 

Water and wood are sworn enemies. So when mopping a hardwood floor, only an oil-based, soap-free hardwood floor detergent should be used, especially for older hardwood floors with penetrating finishes. A newer floor with a surface finish can be mopped with warm water mixed with dish soap or a water-based hardwood floor cleaner.

Caution: 

  1. Excessive liquid on the hardwood floor, even one with a protective surface finish, could cause water damage to the wood.
  2. Avoid DIY floor cleaners made with vinegar, lemon juice, tea, or other acidic substances, as they can destroy the floor’s finish gradually but definitely. 
  • Deep clean

The frequency of deep cleaning a hardwood floor depends on the owner’s lifestyle. Kids and/or pets, for example, may warrant a deep cleaning every three to six months. Otherwise, an annual cleaning may suffice.

  • Apply a new coat

As time goes by, the finish on hardwood floors becomes worn out with traffic and time. A new coat of finish every three to five years helps restore the look of the floors and helps them last longer. 

  • Sand and refinish

Every few decades, a hardwood floor requires sanding and refinishing. This helps restore deeply scratched, pitted, and stained hardwood floors. Using mats or rugs at entries and high-traffic areas helps keep a new or newly refinished floor looking new for longer. 

  • Address water spills and excess moisture

A water spill left unaddressed on a hardwood floor can permeate into the wood, causing either warping or discoloration, or both. Water can also leak into the cracks between the floorboards, causing moisture to absorb into the subflooring beneath the hardwood floorboards. This heightens the risk of mold growth. Immediate removal of water from the floor is imperative to protect it from any water damage.

  • Don’t drag heavy objects

Dragging heavy objects like furniture and refrigerators can scratch the expensive flooring. Homeowners can protect the flooring by practicing the following methods:

  1. Lighten the load of the object by removing items stored in it.
  2. Sandwich the heavy object and the flooring with a soft material like folded towels or small rugs to avoid scratching.
  3. Use gliders - special pads that fit under the object and allow smooth movement.
  4. Be careful of wheels as they can seem unharmful but can wreak havoc on the floor.

To maintain the beauty and prolong the lifespan of hardwood floors, SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin offers time-tested and industry-approved cleaning methods. Its proprietary cleaning system allows proper cleaning and restoration of the floor’s original beauty.



Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lake Travis / NW Austin, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.

For commercial cleaning services in Leander and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin today at (512) 318-2200.

Good practices a commercial space can follow to prevent water damage

5/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: SERVPRO shares how to recognize signs of water damage and practical steps to keep a check on potential water damage.



What are the signs of water damage in a commercial property?

Water damage incidents, if neglected, can escalate property maintenance costs. SERVPRO showcases some common causes of water damage in commercial spaces:

  • Equipment and appliances

Any equipment such as air conditioners, water heaters, or anything that uses tubes, pipes, or filters to operate water has the potential to cause water damage. Concerns like rust, cracks, bulges, or signs of moisture can be spotted in time if there is a regular check and maintenance system. Preventative measures can save a property from major water damage restoration costs.

  • The roof

Neglecting any damage to perimeter flashing, roof membrane, or roof penetrations such as drains, pipes, and gas lines could lead to major restoration needs. Checking the roof regularly can help avoid potential leaks, which in turn can prevent mold issues and fire hazards from shortened wires and compromised structural integrity.

  • Pipes and sewage

A regular investigation of the plumbing system for signs of moisture, blue stains, rusting, cracking, and bulging can prevent serious water damage. Scale build-up, cut pipes, and uninsulated pipes are other signs to watch out for. A pipe camera or a leak detection system is very useful for a prevention plan.  

Sewage damage signs such as gurgling sounds or water backing up out of the drain or toilet must be addressed by a professional water restoration company like SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin immediately. Sewer water contains bacteria and other pathogens that cause illnesses and infections.

  • Sprinkler Systems

A malfunctioning sprinkler system in commercial buildings can cause severe water damage. A regular check for signs of damage such as wet surfaces like drywall and carpets, mold, standing water, or rust enables timely action.

  • Mother Nature

Some causes cannot be controlled but can be prepared for. Natural disasters like hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, flash flooding, and tornadoes can do unimaginable damage to businesses. Keeping gutters clear, installing barriers, and storing sensitive files and electronics at a higher level mitigate the damage.

A risk assessment and flood insurance is also a worthwhile investment.  

  • Damaged windows

Windows that are sealed improperly can cause moisture to seep in, triggering issues such as mold build-up and warped wood and drywall. Regular resealing is crucial since caulk eventually breaks down.

  • Building foundations

Clogged gutters and poor drainage can cause water to leak into the property through the roof or the foundation. Nearby puddles and wet framing are the most common signs of leaks in building foundations.

  • HVAC issues

Ducts in the HVAC systems eventually wear out and get damaged, resulting in leaks. The HVAC system must be cleaned regularly and the excess water from the condensation reservoirs should be removed to prevent water damage.

How to prevent water damage in the first place?

Prevention is always better than cure. Even minor damage mended in time can prevent huge restoration costs. 

  1. Flood monitoring system

An efficient flood warning system is ideal not only in flood-prone areas but also to catch flooding caused by plumbing failures, overflowing rivers, and melting snow. 

  1. More insurance coverage

Water damage restoration is an expensive affair. By including water damage in the insurance policy, one can deal with the costs more easily. 

  1. Regular water damage inspection 

Get the property inspected by water restoration professionals like SERVPRO once a year and conduct leak detection in several ways, such as humidity monitoring and the use of spot sensors. Invest in facility maintenance.



One can’t eliminate all risk of water damage to property but monitoring the common culprits, practicing good maintenance, and taking preventative measures can reduce risks phenomenally, and enable a better response mechanism in case of emergencies. 

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lago Vista and surrounding areas can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire IICRC-industry certification.

For commercial water damage restoration, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin today at (512) 318-2200.