Recent Posts

Building & Material Properties Affect the Drying Process

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Building and Material Properties Building & Material properties will have a direct effect on successfully drying out a structure following a water damage.

Building and material science is an ever-developing field. Our industry understands more about various materials and how to dry those materials than ever before, but there is certainly more for our industry to learn. As a restorer, our understanding of how buildings are put together (residential and commercial) will determine the effectiveness of our moisture inspections, material and assembly identification, and creation of a detailed demo and drying plan. The more understanding about buildings and materials, the more issues we can anticipate (and the more surprises you can limit).

A solid grasp of building and material science separates the “novice” who simply places drying equipment and the “professional” who establishes a drying plan based on project needs and challenges.

The building’s envelope can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of the drying plan. This is more concerning when outside weather conditions are not favorable for drying (high humidity).

The building envelope separates the interior of a building from the outside environment. The building envelope can include roofs, ceilings, exterior walls, doors, windows, finished floors, and foundations. The building envelope has several purposes such as keeping out wind, rain, and ground water, as well as controlling the transfer of energy between the inside and the outside. Some people refer to this energy control as the energy efficiency of the building. Ideally, the building envelope helps maintain a comfortable temperature and humidity for occupants, while providing adequate ventilation inside. When done properly, the building envelope can help avoid problems such as mold, poor indoor air quality, and water intrusion. Because of the potential impact of energy, air, and moisture movement, even small changes to the envelope can have a dramatic effect on the entire structure.

Structures are not airtight, meaning they are going to leak air. The IICRC S500 identifies three types of building envelopes: tight, moderate, and loose. These are based on the envelopes “ability to keep the outside conditions from adversely influencing the drying environment”. The S500 somewhat defines each of these.

Tight envelope – “drying conditions can be     controlled without significant influence by the outdoors”.

Moderate envelope – “drying conditions will be influenced somewhat by the outdoors”.

Loose envelope – “drying conditions will be significantly influenced by the outdoors”.

There are several factors that help our project managers determine whether the building envelope is tight, moderate, or loose. This includes how often doors or windows are opened; as well as damage to the envelope such as roof, window, or weather strip damage. Our project managers and SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills must also consider the building construction such as vapor barriers or insulation. Even the age of the structure is an indicator. Older homes (built prior to 1990) typically have a loose envelope due to the lack of focus on energy efficiency when they were constructed.

Be Prepared: Locate Your Water Shut Off Valve

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

Shut Off Tags Be Prepared BEFORE a Disaster Strikes!!

Water gushing uncontrollably through your house or business is hazardous, unsafe, and will quickly cause major flood damage. If that water is coming from your home's own water supply, and not from outside sources, you can and should shut it down very fast. NOW is the time to locate your Water Shut Off Valve. Once found, make this known to all family members as they may be home alone when disaster strikes! Our office offers FREE Shut Off Tags that you can place as a reminder to all. The quicker the water supply is shut off the less damage to your home or business.

Three Ways to Quickly Locate the Water Shut Off Valve

Find the Water Shut Off Valve on the Inside Perimeter

The first step is to physically search for your house's main water shut off valve on the inside of the home. Typically, it will be located on the perimeter of the house since that is where the water first enters your house. Also, stay on the side of the house that is facing the street. Your water main begins at the street and heads in a straight line to your home. When you find the valve, turn the handle or knife-style valve.

Find the Shut Off Valve on Your Property Inspection Report

If you still cannot find the cut off valve after physically searching for it, one alternative is to check the property inspection report that was completed for you when you were in the final phases of purchasing your home. Look in the plumbing section of the report. This section should locate the shut-off valve for you and have a photo of the valve. Even if the water system was not defective at the time of the property inspection report, the report should still note the locate the shut-off valve as a matter of course.

Find the StreetSide Shut Off Valve

If the previous methods fail, there is another valve located at the beginning of your water main, at the boundary line of your property and the street or sidewalk. Find the ground-level metal or plastic utility box trap door located at ground level. Call the water company's 24-hour emergency contact line. Staff may direct you to shut off the valve by yourself or to wait for an emergency dispatch team. 

Call our office at 314-858-1688 or email us at office@sevprokirkwood.com to request your FREE Shut Off Tag!!! #SERVPROKIRKWOODSUNSETHILLS

Frozen Pipes

2/3/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen Pipe Be prepared!! As much as a couple hundred gallons of water can spill into your home or business with a couple hours , leading to extensive damage.

Bursting water pipes are a major concern when winter temperatures drop below freezing. But why do frozen pipes burst?

Perhaps surprisingly, freezing pipes do not burst because of ice expanding in place. Instead, it has to do with pressure inside the pipes.

When water freezes, its molecules crystalize into an open hexagonal form, which takes up more space than when the molecules are in their liquid form — that is, the water molecules expand as they freeze.

As the ice expands, it pushes water toward the closed faucet. This causes an immense amount of water pressure to build between the ice blockage and the faucet — eventually, the pipe ruptures under the pressure, usually at a spot where there is little or no ice.

The pipe areas upstream of the ice clog are not typically in danger of bursting because the pressure is not great enough. In this case, the water is not blocked, and can always retreat to its source.

Pipes that are the most at risk of bursting are those located outside of building insulation, or those in unheated interior areas, including basements, attics, and crawl spaces.

Heating or insulating these vulnerable pipes with fiberglass or foam sleeves can help prevent them from bursting. Additionally, keeping the facet open and letting the water run, even at just a trickle, will help prevent the water pressure from building to dangerous levels.

Prepare your home or business before the bitterly cold temperatures arrive!!

Team of Nationwide Franchises

9/29/2020 (Permalink)

Vehicles parked at shopping center Commercial Water Damage at West County Shopping Center

Size is not always an indicator of strength; but when you are a restoration company with the resources of over 1,700 franchises- size matters.

At SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills we are equipped to handle a loss of any size. But the question always comes into play, what happens when there are multiple losses.

Typically, we see this scenario play out during natural disasters or major storms. The benefit that we have at SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills is not only do we have the capacity to produce any size loss; but we can combine our strength with a large network of other SERVPROs nationwide that can provide assistance and extra equipment.

At SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills not only do you get the local franchise, but you also get the strength of one of the nation’s largest restoration company. In the last few years, we have been fortunate to have the network of SERVPRO’s to provide us more equipment and PPE during nationwide shortages.

If you have experienced fire or water damage, we are always here to help! Call us 314-858-1688 so we can address your damages quickly.

Fire Suppression System

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Sprinkler Head Is your Kirkwood business protected by a functioning fire suppression system?

For commercial and residential buildings all around St. Louis, MO, having a working fire sprinkler system installed is the single most effective means of fighting fires. According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics, damages to manufacturing facilities, stores, offices, and healthcare facilities with a working fire sprinkler system installed were 60% lower than damages to building with no fire sprinkler system! Make sure your building, employees, customers, assets, and valuables are safe and secure by installing a fire sprinkler system in your office or government building.

Since fire sprinkler systems need to be in working order at all times, they need to be inspected annually to ensure that they will operate properly during a fire emergency. During a fire sprinkler system test, physical checks are performed on all the parts of your fire sprinkler system. These checks include water flow tests, fire pump tests, alarm tests, and trip tests of dry pipe, deluge, and pre-action valves.

In addition to annual fire sprinkler system inspections, you must also carry out quarterly flow tests. Written records of all quarterly fire sprinkler system inspections must be maintained in accordance with NFPA 25.

If properly maintained and inspected, a fire sprinkler system can provide your St. Louis, MO building with highly effective fire sprinkler protection for decades.

SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills is here to help 24/7/365 if your fire suppression system fails.

Holiday Decor, Storage, and Mold…. Surprise!

9/21/2020 (Permalink)

Mold Discovered behind storage box Area of mold was found while looking for Halloween decorations in the basement of a home in Kirkwood, MO.

As we begin to enter our closets, attics, and basements we get excited for seasonal décor and all our future company. The only down fall is that these are areas of our homes that we usually only enter a few times a year. We get out our pumpkins and scarecrows, followed by a plastic turkey or two, then finally that beautiful tree and all the totes that hold our precious memories. With that being said, we usually discover dust, possible mice droppings, and unfortunately mold!

Upon the discovery of mold or anything you think may be a form of mold, it is best to reach out to your local SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills franchise. After a few simple questions, a Franchise Professional will be able to schedule and perform a proper inspection. We advise that you leave all content in place until we have properly assessed the damage. There are multiple steps that are taken when treating and removing mold.

We would begin services by providing mold containment. This would prevent the spread of mold and isolate the contaminated area. Following the containment, a certified technician of  SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills  would use specialized filtration equipment to capture microscopic mold spores. This equipment may vary depending on the materials and the size of the contaminated area. Technicians would properly remove and dispose of all mold-infested porous materials, such as drywall and flooring. Finally, cleaning and sanitizing those belongings that you so desperately want to display is the last step in making your home safe and ready for the holidays! Our professionals are available 24/7 for all your restoration needs -314-858-1688.

Soot Damage

8/5/2020 (Permalink)

Black Soot on tile floor Fire Damage in Sunset Hills, MO

Smoke and soot from a fire is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home or business causing hidden damage and odor. SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills’s 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 West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills 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.  The professionals at SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills 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.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills – 314-858-1688

EPA Compliance Advisory on Product Claims

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

 

The U.S. EPA recently issued a Compliance Advisory titled “What You Need to Know Regarding Products Making Claims to Kill the Coronavirus Causing COVID-19”. 

The purpose of the Compliance Advisory is to address concerns related to products being used to disinfect surfaces which include claims to kill and/or be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the
coronavirus causing the disease COVID-19. For some of these products, those claims have not been reviewed or accepted by EPA and, therefore, may present a risk to consumers, and healthcare
providers in particular.

The EPA uses the following very strong language that is helpful in advising our clients and
customers regarding the increasing number of new age products and methods that are being pitched with dubious efficacy and other claims in connection with COVID-19, and challenging the use of those questionable products and methods in the marketplace:

It is unlawful for any person to distribute or sell a pesticide in the United States making claims
to that it will kill a particular pathogen, unless that pesticide is registered with EPA and that
particular claim has been deemed acceptable by the agency. The EPA is receiving a steady stream of tips/complaints concerning potentially false or misleading claims, including efficacy claims,
associated with pesticides and devices. These tips/complaints are being actively reviewed and
efforts are being made to identify potentially violative products. The EPA intends to pursue
enforcement against products making false and misleading claims regarding coronavirus. The EPA is working with e-commerce platforms to remove/prohibit these fraudulent and/or otherwise inefficacious products from the marketplace. The EPA is also coordinating with the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal partners to bring the full force of the law against those selling or otherwise distributing violative products.

SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills consistently uses only SERVPRO approved cleaning and disinfecting products and methodologies to help combat the COVID-19 crisis. We are always here to help. 314-858-1688

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program

5/26/2020 (Permalink)

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we are all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we have developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we are offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you have selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We have cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you will be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.We are Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities, we all call home. 
  • Call SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills today at 314-858-1688 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.
  • Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

What's Safe to Flush or Drain?

5/12/2020 (Permalink)

What’s Safe to Flush or Drain?

Disposing of the wrong items in a toilet or drain can cause blockages and slow drainage, flooding, and hazardous sewage back-ups into your home or yard. Fixing them can require costly and disruptive repairs for you and contributes to sewer rate increases for the whole community. Don’t let your hard-earned money go down the drain. Follow these guidelines at home and work.

The sewer pipes that serve the toilet, shower, bath, sinks, washing machine, and floor drains in your home or business are designed to carry only three things: human body waste, toilet paper, and wastewater. When other items are put down the drain, they can combine to cause clogs, put additional stress on the pipes, or get caught up in our wastewater treatment facilities. This material then needs to be trucked to a landfill, causing extra work and expense, and higher rates for customers.

Don't Flush or Drain (Just to name a few!)

  • Bones
  • Bread Dough
  • Butter
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Gravy
  • Paper Towels
  • Rubber Bands
  • Tampons
  • Wet Wipes

DO:

  • Place a wastebasket in your bathroom for disposing non-flushable items.
  • Place liquid cooking fats, oil and grease into a container with a lid and dispose of in trash.
  • Wipe down greasy pots, pans and dishes before washing.
  • Have your sewer rodded or snaked regularly.
  • Dispose of old medicines or drugs at an approved drug take-back site or event.
  • Dispose of motor oil, paint, grease or other dangerous fluids at the St. Louis Household Hazardous Waste collection facility.

If your home or business sustains a backup we are here to help 24/7/365 days!!! Call SERVPRO of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills  314-858-1688