Recent Posts

The Impact Mold Has on Indoor Air Quality

11/14/2023 (Permalink)

SERVPRO team member in PPE. If you suspect mold in your home, it's crucial to have a professional mold inspection.

In Lakeland Highlands, a region known for its high humidity, the air you breathe at home plays a significant role in your overall well-being. One often underestimated factor affecting the quality of indoor air is the presence of mold. In this blog, we delve into the critical issue of mold and its profound impact on indoor air quality, shedding light on how it can affect your daily life and offering solutions for a better living environment.

Understanding Mold

Mold is a type of fungus that flourishes in damp, humid conditions. Lakeland Highlands' climate makes it highly susceptible to mold growth. Mold spores are everywhere, but when they find the right conditions, they can rapidly multiply, posing challenges to indoor air quality.

Impact on Indoor Air Quality

Mold contamination can result in significantly reduced indoor air quality. The presence of mold can make the air feel heavy and musty, impacting your overall comfort in your home. Mold emits a distinctive, unpleasant, and pervasive musty odor. This odor can linger in your living spaces, affecting your quality of life. Eliminating this odor often requires professional remediation to eradicate the source of the mold problem effectively.

Beyond its impact on air quality, mold can cause significant structural damage to your home. It thrives on porous materials like wood, drywall, and insulation. Over time, mold can weaken these materials, leading to expensive repairs and compromises in the structural integrity of your property.

Prevention and Remediation

Effective mold prevention hinges on managing moisture. Ensure your home is well-ventilated and free from water leaks. Regularly inspect and promptly address any areas where moisture can accumulate. Routinely cleaning and maintaining your home can also help prevent mold growth. Focus on high-humidity areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Reducing humidity and maintaining cleanliness are essential for minimizing mold's impact on indoor air quality.

If you suspect mold in your home, it's crucial to have a professional mold inspection. Experts can identify the extent of the issue and recommend appropriate remediation methods. SERVPRO® of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands is your local specialist for mold remediation and restoration, ensuring clean, mold-free living space.

Mold can significantly impact the air quality and the integrity of your home. Taking preventative measures, regular cleaning, and seeking professional help when needed are crucial steps in maintaining high indoor air quality. For any mold-related concerns in Lakeland Highlands, contact SERVPRO® for help!

Protecting Your Important Documents from Water Damage

10/9/2023 (Permalink)

Living in the beautiful state of Florida comes with its fair share of water-related risks, from heavy rains and flooding to the occasional hurricane. Protecting your important documents from potential water damage should be a priority for every Florida resident. In this blog, we'll explore practical steps you can take to safeguard your valuable documents and keep them safe and dry.

Identify and Prioritize Important Documents

Start by identifying which documents are crucial and need protection. These may include birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, wills, insurance policies, property deeds, and financial records. Make a list of these documents to ensure nothing important is overlooked.

Utilize Waterproof Containers

Invest in waterproof containers or document bags designed to withstand water exposure. These containers are essential for protecting your documents from unexpected water disasters. Store your important papers in these containers to create a reliable barrier against water damage.

Create Digital Copies

In addition to physical copies, consider digitizing your important documents. Scan them and store them on a secure cloud service or an external hard drive kept in a waterproof container. This ensures that even if the physical documents are damaged, you have accessible digital backups.

Secure a Safe or Safety Deposit Box

For an extra layer of protection, consider storing your most critical documents in a home safe or a safety deposit box at your bank. These secure options can safeguard your valuables against both water and theft.

Regularly Update and Review Documents

As your life circumstances change, so do your important documents. Regularly update your documents and review them to ensure they reflect your current situation. This includes updating beneficiaries, addresses, and contact information.

Consult with a Professional Restoration Service

In the unfortunate event of water damage to your important documents, contact a professional restoration service like SERVPRO®. Our experts are trained to restore and recover water-damaged documents, photographs, and other valuable items.

Protecting your valuable documents from water damage in Florida is a proactive step toward safeguarding your future. By following these tips, you can ensure that your important papers remain safe, secure, and accessible, even in the face of unexpected water disasters. For expert assistance with water-damaged documents or property, reach out to SERVPRO®. We're here to help you through challenging times and restore what matters most.

Tips to Protect Your Electronics in Florida's Unpredictable Weather

9/17/2023 (Permalink)

Water drops on a circuit board. When a storm is on the horizon, make it a habit to unplug your electronics.

Living in the sunshine state of Florida comes with its fair share of perks, but it also means being prepared for the occasional stormy weather that can sweep through the region. One aspect of storm preparedness that often goes overlooked is safeguarding your electronics. From lightning strikes to power surges, the elements can wreak havoc on your valuable gadgets. In this informative guide, we'll explore crucial strategies to ensure your electronics remain safe and sound during storms, allowing you to weather any tempest without worrying about your devices.

Unplugging is Your Best Friend

When a storm is on the horizon, make it a habit to unplug your electronics. Lightning strikes can send powerful surges through power lines, potentially damaging or even frying your devices. Disconnect your gadgets from power outlets and remove cables from surge protectors to eliminate the risk of electrical damage.

Surge Protectors: Your First Line of Defense

Invest in high-quality surge protectors to create a barrier between your electronics and power surges. These devices are designed to absorb excess electrical energy and prevent it from reaching your gadgets. Make sure to use surge protectors with enough outlets to accommodate all your valuable electronics.

Secure Properly Grounded Outlets

Ensure that your home's electrical outlets are properly grounded. Grounding helps dissipate excess electrical energy safely into the earth, reducing the risk of damage to your devices. If you're unsure about the grounding status of your outlets, consult a professional electrician for an assessment.

Elevated Storage

During a storm, it's wise to elevate your electronics off the ground. In case of flooding, this extra step can protect your devices from water damage. Consider placing your electronics on shelves, desks, or other elevated surfaces to keep them out of harm's way.

Sealable Plastic Bags

For extra protection against potential water damage, store smaller electronics such as smartphones, tablets, and remote controls in sealable plastic bags. This simple solution can help shield your devices from moisture if your home experiences leaks or flooding during a storm.

Back-Up and Protect Data

Your electronics are replaceable, but the data they hold may not be. Regularly back up your important files, photos, and documents to a secure cloud service or an external hard drive. In the event of a disaster, you'll have peace of mind knowing your data is safe and retrievable.

Stay Informed

Stay informed about impending storms and weather conditions by utilizing weather apps and alerts. Being aware of when a storm is likely to hit gives you the opportunity to take necessary precautions and protect your electronics in advance.

In the dynamic weather environment of Florida, protecting your electronics during storms is a crucial aspect of overall storm preparedness. By following these proactive steps, you can ensure that your valuable gadgets remain unscathed and functional even in the face of the most challenging weather. From unplugging devices and using surge protectors to elevating storage and investing in uninterruptible power supplies, these measures will empower you to safeguard your electronics and maintain peace of mind no matter how fierce the storm may be.

Rebuilding after Disaster: Essential Steps for Commercial Fire Cleanup

9/12/2023 (Permalink)

commercial fire Seeking services from a professional fire damage restoration company is essential to rebuild.

A fire can cause significant damage to a property, leaving behind a trail of destruction. After a fire, the cleanup and restoration process is essential to ensure that the property is safe to occupy and return to normal life. One of the critical considerations during this process is determining what can be salvaged and what should be thrown away. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the items that should be thrown away after a fire.

Food and Beverages

Food and beverages that have been exposed to extreme heat or contamination from smoke and ash should be thrown away. This includes both perishable and non-perishable food items. Even if the packaging appears to be intact, there's a risk of contamination with harmful chemicals and bacteria that can harm your health. It's best to err on the side of caution and dispose of all food items that have been exposed to the fire or smoke.

Medicines and Cosmetics

Medicines and cosmetics can also be affected by heat, smoke, and moisture during a fire. Any medication showing signs of heat or smoke damage should be immediately discarded. The same goes for any cosmetics exposed to high temperatures, smoke, and ash as they may contain harmful chemicals that can result in skin irritation and other health issues.

Soft Furniture and Textiles

Soft furnishings such as couches, mattresses, pillows, and curtains are particularly vulnerable to smoke, ash, and moisture. Even if they appear sound, it's often best to dispose of these items following a fire. Smoke and ash particles can stick to the fabric, and moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth, which can lead to unpleasant smells and health problems in the future.

Electronics and Appliances

Electronic devices and appliances can sustain damage from both the fire itself, as well as the heat and water used to extinguish it. Even if the electronics appear to be functioning normally, they may have sustained internal damage that could cause hazards or cause them to malfunction later. To be safe, it’s best to have an experienced technician check the electronic devices and appliances for damage and determine if it’s repairable or if they should be replaced.

Building Materials

Lastly, some structural and building materials may not be suitable for reuse following a fire. Materials like drywall, insulation, and flooring can absorb smoke and hazardous chemicals, which can lead to long-term health problems. Professionals can evaluate the extent of damage and determine what needs to be thrown away and what can be salvaged.

After a fire, deciding what to keep and what to throw away can be a difficult decision. But, it’s best to prioritize safety and health over sentimental values. It's essential to seek the services of a professional fire damage restoration company who can determine what needs to be discarded and what can be salvaged. Remember, cleaning up after a fire can be a hazardous and complicated task, and you may risk further damages if you attempt to do it on your own. By contacting professionals and trusting their expertise, you may have a safe and effective cleanup process.

Is Your Water Heater Making Noises? Understanding and Addressing Common Causes

7/17/2023 (Permalink)

water on concrete floor understanding the common causes of water heater noises and taking appropriate action to prevent a water damage.

Your water heater is an essential appliance that provides hot water for various household tasks. While it generally operates quietly in the background, you may occasionally notice unusual noises coming from your water heater. These sounds can be concerning and may indicate underlying issues that require attention. In this blog post, we will explore the common causes of water heater noises, their potential implications, and the steps you can take to address them effectively.

Sediment Buildup

One of the primary reasons for water heater noises is sediment buildup. Over time, minerals and debris can accumulate at the bottom of the tank, creating a layer of sediment. When the burner or heating element heats the water, it bubbles through the sediment, resulting in popping or rumbling sounds. Regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank to remove sediment, can help alleviate this issue.

Expansion and Contraction

As water heats up, it expands and causes the tank to expand and contract. This expansion and contraction process can produce cracking or popping sounds, especially if the water heater is inadequately secured or the temperature is set too high. Ensuring proper installation and adjusting the temperature settings within the recommended range can help minimize these noises.

Thermal Expansion

In closed plumbing systems, thermal expansion occurs when heated water expands and increases pressure within the pipes. This can lead to a banging or knocking noise, known as water hammer. Installing an expansion tank or pressure-reducing valve can help mitigate the effects of thermal expansion and reduce associated noises.

Faulty Heating Element or Burner

A malfunctioning heating element or burner can cause popping, sizzling, or hissing sounds. This could be due to a faulty component or an accumulation of sediment or mineral deposits on the heating element or burner. In such cases, it is advisable to have a professional plumber inspect and repair the water heater to ensure its proper functioning.

Loose or Damaged Components

Loose or damaged components within the water heater, such as valves, pipes, or heating elements, can create rattling, banging, or clanking noises. Tightening loose connections or replacing damaged parts can help eliminate these sounds and prevent further issues.

If your water heater is making unusual noises, it's important not to ignore them. By understanding the common causes of water heater noises and taking appropriate action, you can address the underlying issues and prevent potential damage or system failure. Regular maintenance, including flushing the tank, adjusting temperature settings, and seeking professional assistance when needed, can help ensure the efficient and quiet operation of your water heater. Remember, if you are unsure about the cause or unable to resolve the issue yourself, it is always advisable to consult a qualified plumber to diagnose and address the problem effectively.

Understanding Black Water: The Potential Hazards after Water Damage

6/18/2023 (Permalink)

Pool of water on a concrete floor. Black water refers to water that is heavily contaminated and poses significant risks due to the presence of harmful substances.

After a water damage event, property owners encounter various types of water damage, each requiring specific mitigation strategies. One of the most concerning categories is "black water." In this blog, we will explore what black water is, its potential hazards, and why immediate action is crucial when dealing with this type of water damage.

What is Black Water? 

Black water refers to water that is heavily contaminated and poses significant risks due to the presence of harmful substances. It typically originates from sewage backups, toilet overflows, flooding from rivers or streams, or water damage that have been left untreated for an extended period. Black water is classified as Category 3 water damage, the most severe category, as it contains pathogens, chemicals, and other contaminants that can cause serious illness or infection.

Potential Hazards of Black Water 

Risks: Black water may contain bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other microorganisms that can lead to severe issues. Direct contact, ingestion, or inhalation of black water can put individuals at risk.

Structural Damage: Black water is highly destructive and can cause significant damage to the structure of a building. It can weaken foundations, compromise drywall, damage electrical systems, and deteriorate furniture and other porous materials.

Mold Growth: Black water provides an ideal environment for mold growth due to its high moisture content and nutrient-rich composition. Mold can proliferate rapidly, leading to further damage and posing additional risks.

Odor and Air Quality: The presence of black water often results in foul odors and poor indoor air quality. The noxious smell can permeate the affected area and may be challenging to eliminate without proper restoration.

Immediate Action is Crucial

When faced with black water damage, immediate action is paramount. Here's why:

Health and Safety: Promptly addressing black water damage mitigates the health risks associated with exposure to harmful contaminants, ensuring the safety of occupants and restoration professionals.

Damage Mitigation: Acting quickly helps prevent further structural damage and minimizes the chances of secondary issues such as mold growth and extensive material deterioration.

Restoration Efficiency: Swift remediation reduces the overall restoration time, minimizing disruption to business operations or the daily lives of affected individuals.

Insurance Compliance: Many insurance policies require prompt reporting and mitigation of water damage to maintain coverage. Timely action ensures compliance with insurance requirements, facilitating the claims process.

Understanding the potential hazards of black water is crucial for disaster restoration professionals and property owners alike. By recognizing its contaminated nature and the associated risks, immediate action can be taken to protect individuals, prevent further damage, and restore affected areas promptly. If faced with black water damage, it is vital to engage professional disaster restoration services equipped with the expertise, equipment, and resources to handle the situation safely and effectively.

Can Mold Really Grow in Dry Climates?

5/15/2023 (Permalink)

Mold infestation growing on a ceiling. While mold growth may be less common in dry climates, it is still possible.

When most people think of mold, they likely picture a damp and humid environment, such as a basement or bathroom. However, mold can grow in a variety of conditions, including dry climates. While it may be less common in arid regions, mold growth can still occur in areas where there is moisture present. In this blog post, we'll explore whether mold can grow in dry climates and what factors contribute to its growth.

Can Mold Grow in Dry Climates?

While mold growth is less common in dry climates, it is still possible. In fact, some types of mold, such as Aspergillus and Penicillium, can thrive in arid environments. Mold spores can also enter your home through open windows or doors or by hitching a ride on your clothing or pets. Once inside, the spores can settle on surfaces and begin to grow if there is moisture present.

What Factors Contribute to Mold Growth in Dry Climates?

While dry climates may seem inhospitable to mold growth, there are several factors that can contribute to its development. These include:

Humidity: Even in dry climates, there can be pockets of humidity, such as in bathrooms or near water sources. Mold can grow in these areas if the moisture is not properly controlled.

Water damage: Any water damage, such as a leaky roof or plumbing issue, can create the conditions necessary for mold to grow, regardless of the climate.

Poor ventilation: Poor ventilation can trap moisture in your home, providing an ideal environment for mold growth.

Indoor plants: Certain types of indoor plants can release moisture into the air, which can contribute to mold growth in dry climates.

How to Prevent Mold Growth in Dry Climates?

While it may be more challenging to prevent mold growth in dry climates, there are still steps you can take to minimize the risk. These include:

Use a dehumidifier: If you live in a humid area, using a dehumidifier can help to remove excess moisture from the air and prevent mold growth.

Proper ventilation: Ensure that your home is properly ventilated to prevent moisture from accumulating.

Monitor indoor humidity levels: Keep an eye on indoor humidity levels, and aim to keep them between 30-50%.

Address water damage immediately: If you experience any water damage, such as a leaky roof or plumbing issue, address it immediately to prevent mold growth.

Clean regularly: Regular cleaning can help to prevent mold growth by removing any spores that may have settled on surfaces.

In conclusion, while mold growth may be less common in dry climates, it is still possible. Factors such as humidity, water damage, poor ventilation, and indoor plants can all contribute to mold growth. By taking steps to prevent moisture accumulation and addressing any water damage immediately, you can minimize the risk of mold growth in your home, regardless of the climate.

Smoke, Soot, and Safety: Why You Should Consider Professional Electronics Cleaning After a Fire

4/21/2023 (Permalink)

water damaged electronics It is important to have your electronics assessed by a professional after a fire.

After experiencing a fire, it's common to wonder if your electronics are safe to use. Whether it was a small kitchen fire or a larger structural fire, the effects can be devastating, and your electronics may have been exposed to a range of contaminants. So, should you have your electronics cleaned after a fire? The answer is, it depends.

First and foremost, safety should always be the top priority. If you suspect that any of your electronics may have been damaged by the fire, do not attempt to turn them on or use them. In some cases, electronics can become dangerous if they have been damaged by a fire, and attempting to use them can pose a significant risk to you and your family. It's essential to have a professional assess the damage before attempting to use any of your electronics.

Even if your electronics appear to be undamaged, they may have been exposed to a range of contaminants during the fire. Smoke, soot, and other contaminants can cause damage to your electronics, and may even be hazardous to your health if they are not properly removed. The longer these contaminants are left untreated, the more damage they can cause to your electronics, and the more difficult it may be to remove them.

So, should you have your electronics cleaned after a fire? In general, it's a good idea to have a professional assess the damage and determine whether your electronics need to be cleaned or replaced. If your electronics have been exposed to smoke or soot, it's likely that they will need to be professionally cleaned to remove any contaminants that may have settled on them.

Professional electronics cleaning services can help remove contaminants from your electronics safely and effectively. These services typically use specialized equipment and techniques to remove contaminants without causing further damage to your electronics. They can also help identify any hidden damage that may have occurred as a result of the fire, such as damage to the wiring or internal components.

In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace your electronics rather than have them cleaned. This is especially true if the electronics were old or already in need of replacement. A professional can help you determine whether it's worth cleaning your electronics or if it's better to replace them.

In conclusion, it's important to have your electronics assessed by a professional after a fire. Even if your electronics appear undamaged, they may have been exposed to contaminants that can cause damage or pose a health risk. Professional electronics cleaning services can help remove these contaminants safely and effectively, ensuring that your electronics are safe to use. If you're unsure about whether your electronics need to be cleaned or replaced, a professional can help you make an informed decision.

Hiring a Certified Water Specialist

3/16/2023 (Permalink)

swelling wood Wood will swell after a water loss in your home. Give the professionals a call today!

Water damage restoration is a specialized field that requires extensive training and experience. This means you should only hire a certified water damage specialist to help with your restoration job. However, there are some things you need to know before hiring a professional. The most important thing to remember is not all companies are equal when it comes to their ability to handle water loss situations. Some companies may try to sell you more products or services than what's necessary for the job at hand because they're looking for ways of increasing their profit margins by charging extra fees on top of the initial cost of doing business with them in the first place.

Understanding the Loss.

A certified water damage restoration expert can help you understand the full extent of the damage. They will be able to give you an accurate estimate of how much water was lost, what caused it and what steps need to be taken next.

Certified water damage experts are trained to be impartial in their assessment of the damage. This means that they can help you better understand the full extent of your situation, as well as what it will take to restore your home or business.

If you're facing a large restoration project, it's important for you to understand all of your options so that you can make an informed decision about how best to proceed. Your certified expert will be able to provide this information and guide you through every step along the way.

Hazardous Materials.

Certified experts are trained to handle water damage situations, which means they know how to properly remove and dispose of hazardous materials. For example, if you have standing water in your home, the certified expert will know how to identify potential hazards like mold and mildew before beginning any cleanup process. If there is any visible mold or mildew growth on surfaces such as ceilings or walls, this must be removed with care so that it doesn't spread throughout your home or cause further damage,

Certified technicians also use special equipment like HEPA vacuums that filter out bacteria as they suck up moisture from carpeting and hardwood floors--keeping air quality inside yours safe for breathing!

Advanced Equipment

A certified professional will speed up the restoration process because they have access to advanced equipment and products that are specially designed for drying out homes and businesses. Certified water damage restoration technicians are trained in using this equipment, so they can use it effectively. They also know how to properly use products like dehumidifiers and air movers, which can help dry out your home faster than if you tried it yourself.

When you hire a certified specialist, you're also hiring someone who has been trained to handle liability issues related to dealing with water damage professionals. By signing your property over to a professional repair company or individual, you are taking on the risk of being held legally responsible for any damage that may occur during the cleanup process.

If you have experienced any type of water loss in your home or business, it's important that you hire a certified water damage restoration expert. Certified experts have the right training and equipment to handle water damage situations. They are also trained to handle hazardous materials such as mold and mildew, which are common when dealing with large amounts of moisture. Give SERVPRO a call at the first sign of water damage in your home or business.

Understanding Homeowners Insurance

2/14/2023 (Permalink)

are you ready button Are you properly ready with homeowner insurance in case of a disaster?

Homeowners insurance is a type of property insurance that covers your home and the things inside it. It can also provide protection against some risks that aren't related to the property itself, such as liability or medical payments if someone gets hurt on or near your property. Homeowners insurance policies vary depending on where you live, the size of your home and contents of the home.

Insurance Needs

Any changes in your life could affect your insurance needs. Your house and personal possessions can be protected by homeowners insurance, but it's important to choose the right plan for you and your family.

Here are a few common life changes that could trigger adjustments to your policy:

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Birth of a child
  • Changing jobs (or starting one)
  • New job responsibilities

Finding the right Insurance for you

To find the right homeowners policy for you, start by discussing your options with an agent or broker who can explain what's available in your area and help you get the coverage that's right for you.

What does your Insurance Policy Cover?

Your homeowners policy protects more than just your home, it also covers damage to other buildings that are part of your property and the personal belongings inside them. It also offers liability protection should someone be injured on your property or if you cause damage to another person’s property.

Your renters insurance protects the personal belongings in your apartment or house against theft, fire, vandalism and other hazards. But it doesn’t cover loss due to floods or earthquakes—those types of losses must be covered under separate policies. Consider buying additional endorsements that expand coverage when traveling outside of town, or add coverage for valuables like jewelry and furs that are not typically covered under standard policies

Personal Property Coverage

While most policies cover personal property such as furniture, appliances and clothing anywhere in the world, certain possessions have limits, such as jewelry, fine art or silverware. Ask about how these items are covered under a standard homeowners policy.

Jewelry is typically covered up to $1,500 per item for theft or loss. However, if you want coverage for more expensive pieces of jewelry (costing more than $1,500), then you'll need to purchase additional coverage called "floater" insurance.

Fine art is another type of personal property that may require separate insurance coverage to protect against theft or damage from fire or other disaster scenarios. If you have an original painting worth thousands of dollars then this needs its own protection beyond what a basic home insurance policy offers.

Understanding all of the Details

Talking to an agent about how best to protect yourself is the first step in understanding all of the details about homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance is complicated, and it's important that you understand all of its details.

Homeowners insurance is a good investment, so it can help you sleep better at night knowing that if something happens to your home—like a fire or flood—you'll be protected financially.

If you're looking into purchasing new homeowners insurance, talk to an agent today!