Recent Posts

Black Mold: Understanding Secondary Damage

5/26/2020 (Permalink)

Wet wall, mold starting to grow Water damage can cause mold

In cases where your house in Overland Park, KS has been damaged by a flooded area causing high humidity within your home, there are secondary damage factors that are important to understand and remove. One of the most prominent of these factors is black mold. You don’t want to get caught out months down the line having to repair mold damage that could have been taken care of in the initial repair stages.

What Incidents To Be Aware of

These are a few of the most common types of water-related occurrences that are likely to lead to spore-related damage:

  • Roof or wall leak
  • Pipe leak either in the walls or in a sink cabinet
  • Partial or full flooding of a room
  • Poorly ventilated bathrooms
  • Humidity due to aquariums or weather conditions

Keep in mind that these are the types of incidents that could lead to black mold living in your home. If you want to be certain of any mold presence from high humidity in your home, you can seek the advice of a professional water clean up and restoration service.

What Is Secondary Damage Doing To My Home?
Unfortunately, after a primary damage factor such as flooding, the aftereffects could be just as bad or worse than the initial problem. The spores that attach inside the walls or across the ceiling in your home could be creating soft spots that need to be repaired or completely replaced in the future. More than just creating a home for mold, water damage can lead to such issues as walls buckling, drywall cracking and splitting apart or vinyl flooring pulling away from the ground. All of these issues can be frustrating but are more easily avoided if the primary damage is taken care of quickly and efficiently.
While there are many types of secondary damage caused by water-related incidents, one that is particularly difficult to deal with is black mold. Assessing the likelihood of spore presence in your home directly after an incident can help you take care of a problem before it takes hold of your home.

Home Fire Prevention: Are You Prepared?

5/26/2020 (Permalink)

Young Man Using Red Fire Extinguisher To Stop Fire Coming From Oven In Kitchen Kitchen fire in Leawood, KS

No one wants to think about a fire in their home, but fire preparedness is an essential element home safety. Fire services respond to nearly 400 thousand home fires each year. This discussion about common fire causes may help you augment your household’s fire-readiness plan.

Kitchen Hazards

Building codes require a smoke alarm near the kitchen because nearly half of fires at home are cooking related. Some common sources of kitchen fires include:

  • Gas stove flames can ignite built-up oils or grease on pots and pans.
  • An unlit gas burner accidentally left on can cause dangerous gas build-up in your kitchen.
  • Greasy or dry food that is near a hot broiler coil can spark an oven fire.
  • Small kitchen appliances, such as toasters, can ignite dry crumbs that contact the heating element.

Kitchen fires can cause significant damage and may require professional fire restoration. It is recommended to keep a fire extinguisher near the kitchen.

Human Carelessness
Fires caused by recreational activities, such as barbecuing or smoking, cause thousands of home fires yearly. It’s important to barbecue outside at a safe distance from structures. Following manufacturer’s instructions on cleaning and lighting your grill is essential. Smoking in the bedroom is a common cause of home fires. It is recommended that you not smoke while reclining or while using alcohol. Human error is another reason to keep a fire extinguisher in risk-prone areas.

Heating Appliances
Winter temperatures can make it tempting to heat your bedroom with a space heater before going to bed. An unattended small heater can spark a home fire; it may become overheated or tip over and ignite nearby drapes, carpet or clothing. If you turn a small heater on, it’s recommended you stay in the room throughout its operation.
Fires start because a flame or heating element comes in contact with some kind of fuel. This may be gas, textiles, grease, or oil. It’s important to carefully monitor anything with a heating element in your home. A wisely-located fire extinguisher can save your Leawood, KS, home from extensive damage. Common-sense fire preparedness can mean the difference between a relaxing evening and a devastating fire.

Johnson County Residents need Soot and Smoke Cleanup!

5/25/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home or business, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Leawood/Overland Park will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting.

Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

SERVPRO of Leawood/Overland Park has been helping families and businesses throughout the Northland with their cleanup and restoration needs for over 15 years.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Us Today – (913) 381-6550

Cleaning Up Commercial Sewage Spills

5/11/2020 (Permalink)

Sewage water on the floor A sewer cleanup is a problem that requires high tech equipment and specialized knowledge

Here Are Three Things To Know About The Process

Yes, it's gross. No one wants to deal with a sewer cleanup. The filth is everywhere, seeping into the carpets, drywall, and fixtures. Without a doubt, the water is contaminated with high levels of microorganisms, making the establishment a major hazard for employees and clients. This isn't the job for a few cans of bleach. Rather, business owners in Overland Park, KS, should turn to a reputable water restoration company. The team can work to sanitize the building and belongings. Here are three things to know about the process.

1. Establish Boundaries
When a sewer backup happens, the moisture gets much further than you'd suspect. Within a very short amount of time, the liquid penetrates into the foundation and walls, making its way to other rooms or crevices. When the crew arrives, they can inspect the area, evaluating the depth of the problem. Then, they can section off rooms that have issues. No one without authorization goes in or out. Because of the bacteria and fungal growths, these spaces are now cut off.

2. Dry It Up, and Tear It Out
Part of sewer cleanup is removing heavily saturated porous items. The experts, most likely, will take out the drenched carpeting and baseboards. This not only removes much of the pollution, but it helps to speed up the drying process. Other materials can be relocated for content cleaning purposes. Finally, the rooms must be aired out, usually with professional dehumidifiers.

3. Replace and Restore
Even a flooded toilet can make quite the mess. With the room now bone dry, the staff members get to work spraying the area with antimicrobial chemicals, refusing to let anything remain. Then, anything salvaged is brought back in only after a meticulous scrubbing. New items are bought and installed.
A sewer cleanup is a problem that requires high tech equipment and specialized knowledge. You'll need to limit movement and gut the spaces. With that complete, the business can be put back together again.

What Happens During Mold Remediation?

5/11/2020 (Permalink)

Mold remediation specialist inspects walls Mold remediation is a process that starts with inspection and assessment

Mold remediation is a process that starts with inspection and assessment and continues through containment, cleaning, and restoration. While some services refer to remediation as mold removal, this terminology is not accurate. Mold spores are everywhere. Stopping active growth and preventing old growth from causing a problem if moisture levels rise are the goals of cleanup.

Damage Assessment

An assessment will identify whether mold is present in a building. Several methods may be used to locate and determine the extent of an infestation:

  • Visual inspection
  • Inspection tools
  • Sample analysis

Visual inspection locates mold that can be found without specialized equipment. A boroscope or infrared imaging technology can reveal mold behind walls. An assessment will also determine the square footage affected by an infestation.

Mold Containment
Containing the contaminated portion of a structure stops spores from spreading. After shutting down the HVAC system, remediation specialists may create negative pressurization and use plastic sheeting to isolate the affected area. Toxigenic infestations, such as some varieties of black mold, require a decontamination chamber.

Structural Cleaning
After a mold problem has been contained, trained professionals can start cleaning. Drywall, cellulose insulation, and other porous building materials may need to be torn out and replaced. The use of EPA-approved fungicides may be necessary for mold removal.

Content Cleaning
Mold also contaminates contents. Durable, non-porous items are easy to disinfect. Porous materials may require more gentle methods. It may be more cost-effective to replace some contaminated items.

Replacing building materials that have been torn out is the final stage of mold cleanup. Property owners should consider mold-resistant alternatives to reduce the risk of future infestations.
If water damage has led to mold growth at a commercial property in Leawood, KS, the building owner should arrange for an inspection. Keep in mind that remediation, rather than mold removal, is the only process for managing a mold problem.

Landscaping Tips to Prevent Flooding

4/29/2020 (Permalink)

Garden flowers in rain. Summer flower background. Natural backgrounds Rain garden

Tips to Prevent Flooding

Heavy rains can mean big troubles for homeowners in Prairie Village, KS. While there are many ways to reinforce basements, foundations, and other structural components, which often can be expensive, landscaping is another way to keep outside flooding from coming in. Along with minimizing damage from a rain storm, add some natural elements can also enhance a home’s curb appeal.

Changing the Landscape
Rain drainage is the main culprit behind water entering the home. Along with ensuring gutters are regularly clean and free from blockage, nature itself can be used to assist stormwater runoff.

Swales: These are depressions in the ground that contour around a slope to direct water to another place. They can be natural or manmade and rely on gravity to move water. Since they are not designed to absorb water, rocks and plants can be used to smooth the flow as the water heads to an ideal location.
Rain Gardens: Often the end source of a swale, these provide a place for water to pool and slowly enter the soil. They can range in size, depending on a home’s needs, and can be maximized by using native plants that require minimal maintenance.
Greenery: The addition of perennials and shrubs not only add curb appeal, but they also work to absorb stormwater runoff. Work with a local garden center to find ideal moisture-tolerant plants.

Additional Materials
When outside flooding is an issue, materials are available to enhance landscaping and keep the water going where it should. It can be as simple as added heavy mulch around the foundation in areas where the soil is visible or investing in pervious paving solutions that can help create a patio oasis and reduce standing water.
In extreme cases of outside flooding, keeping the water out may be impossible and require the assistance of a flood and stormwater specialist. Making a few landscaping changes may be a solution to minimize the damage.

Insurance Companies Use 5 Basic Factors to Estimate Fire Damage

4/20/2020 (Permalink)

A fire destroyed five stores Commercial fire in Leawood, KS

Insurance Companies Use 5 Basic Factors to Estimate Fire Damage

After a commercial fire in Leawood, KS, your first thoughts should be about preventing more damage. Typically, this includes tarping and boarding areas exposed to the weather, plus keeping employees and customers away from smoke and fire damage.
After things have been stabilized, you’ll need to get an estimate on the cost of restoration. Broadly speaking, this cost will be based on five factors:

  1. Cost of lost structure
  2. Cost of lost personal items
  3. Amount of fire damage
  4. Amount of smoke damage
  5. Amount of water damage

1. The Value of the Commercial Structure Is Most Relevant
Obviously, an older building with 1,000 square feet won’t cost as much to replace as a larger, newer one. Some policies will cover a full replacement of the building, while others will only pay for market value of the lost areas. Make sure the estimate you’re given matches what the policy covers.
2. Your Policy May Cover Personal Items
Some insurance companies cover personal property as a matter of course, while others may require a rider. Review your coverage with your agent for clarification.
3. Fire Damage Is the Most Obvious
While there can be hidden heat damage, most of the time the areas burned are fairly obvious. This is always covered by a commercial policy, except in cases of arson.
4. Smoke Gets Everywhere in a Fire
Smoke damage can be hidden and is commonly found far beyond the limit of the flames. This is also always covered.
5. Water Damage Can Be the Most Extensive
In a major fire, huge amounts of water are used to smother the flames. All the impacted drywall and wood will absorb standing water, usually requiring replacement. Mold damage is also normal after a fire. Water damage directly from firefighting efforts is always covered, but mold may or may not be.
Also, beware of low-ball estimates. Less reputable companies like to tempt business owners with unrealistic prices, then add on all sorts of extras. Always use an experienced, professional local company with realistic costs to restore your business to its former condition.

How Do You Care for Wet Items After Water Damage?

4/16/2020 (Permalink)

Bathroom interior with water on floor Bathroom flooding in an Overland Park, KS home

Steps to Keep Your Items Safe After Water Damage

When you have water in your home in Overland Park, KS, it is likely that some of your belongings will be affected by the water. There are certain steps you can take in order to keep your items safe.

1. Eliminate the Source of Water

Before you can begin to assess what damage has occurred and start taking care of your items, you should make sure that water does not continue to flood your home if possible. If the water is coming from a broken pipe, for example, turning off the water entirely is likely the quickest way to stop the flow of water. By stopping the source of water, you can prevent additional items from becoming damaged.

2. Allow Items to Dry

Once the water in your home has been removed, you may be tempted to start moving items and cleaning what has been damaged immediately. However, some of your belongings may need to dry before they can be restored. For example, documents and photographs should be handled when dry in order to prevent further damage, cushions and cloth items can be more manageable to move when dry.

3. Appropriately Sanitize Items

When the area affected by water is dry in your home, you can begin make a better assessment of what can be cleaned and what should be replaced. Items that are not badly damaged and that are not affected by mold may only require dry cleaning, which is a relatively quick process. However, you may need to use strong cleaning products on items if they have been left in standing water. When choosing how to sanitize your belongings, it’s often helpful to make sure you are using the appropriate product on each item.

Knowing the appropriate steps to take if water in your home has damaged items can help you feel more prepared. As you begin to clean your personal belongings, it may be helpful to contact water damage professionals who can help to restore your home and your belongings.

Create a Continuity Plan for Your Business

4/9/2020 (Permalink)

Paper with words BCP Business Continuity Plan Creating a business continuity plan will help mitigate the costs in case of an emergency

When business operations are interrupted by weather events or other emergencies, your company in Prairie Village, KS can incur unforeseen expenses and reduced revenues. It’s important to be as prepared as possible so that your company and employees are protected. Creating a business continuity plan will help mitigate the costs in case of an emergency.

Create a Business Impact Study

The first step in developing a business continuity plan is to conduct a risk assessment. Include managers or other members from each department to complete the assessment. Risks to be considered include:

  • Fires
  • Storm damage events, such as flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes
  • Utility outages or cyber attack
  • Hazardous material spills
  • Supply chain interruptions

The risk assessment should also include the operational impact and financial consequence of each risk. Using a numerical formula to rate the impacts will identify those areas of highest concern.

Develop Strategies for Recovery

The next step is to identify the resources that will be needed to mitigate the recovery. Resources include:

  • Employees who will help with the recovery, including what their role will be
  • Technology, such as computers and software
  • Office furniture and other equipment
  • Inventory and production facilities
  • Supply chain services
  • Utilities

The recovery strategy must also include a gap analysis. This analysis will identify the gaps between the requirements needed for recovery and the adequacy of the current system.

Design a Plan

Once you have identified the risks and corresponding impacts, along with the resources needed for recovery, it’s time to develop the plan. Steps include:

  • Assigning recovery teams
  • Designing the framework for the plan, including relocation arrangements
  • Writing procedures for continuity and disaster recovery
  • Completing and approving the written plan

Test the Plan

In order for the plan to be successful in an actual emergency, it must be tested. Develop procedures for testing the system and conduct training with all employees.
Every business owner needs to be prepared in case of an emergency and a continuity plan will help to ease concerns.

Why Is There Mold in My Home After a Rainstorm?

3/26/2020 (Permalink)

Water damage causing mold growth on the interior walls of a property Mold infestation in a home

Why Is There Mold in My Home After a Rainstorm?

Have you ever noticed black mold in your Leawood, KS, house after a rainstorm? This is probably evidence of a moisture problem in your home. The rain is somehow entering your property, leading to mold damage.
Mold growth is evidence of a moisture problem. If you do see or smell mold in your home after it rains, you should check the below areas for possible leaks:

  • Crawlspace
  • Attic
  • Roof
  • Basement

Once you have located the source of the mold, it is not enough to just wipe the fungus away. A more thorough mold cleanup is needed.

Cleaning Mold

If you only have a small amount of mold in your house, you may be able to handle it yourself. Try combining a half-cup of Borax with the same amount of white vinegar. Add two cups of warm water and pour it over the mold. Let the liquid sit on top of the mold for 10 minutes before trying to scrub it away. This both kills the present mold spores and prevents them from coming back.
Black mold and severe mold infestations should not be handled by an amateur. Instead, you should rely on mold remediation professionals. They can both remove the mold and fix the source of the water leak.

Preventing Mold

While you should not do black mold cleanup on your own, you can take steps to limit the growth of this mold. Obviously, you should check for roof leaks regularly and address them before the next rainstorm arrives. You may also want to invest in a dehumidifier to remove any excess moisture in the air. Ventilation and ceiling fans can help, as well.
Black mold after a rainstorm usually signifies a water leak in your home. The mold must be removed from the house, and the leak must be addressed to prevent the spores from returning. Cleaning professionals can perform these tasks safely and effectively.