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Prep Your Home for Winter

9/13/2019 (Permalink)

Vehicles covered with snow Winter storm in Bunker Hill Village, TX

Get Your Home Ready for Cold Weather

When you live in Bunker Hill Village,TX, a winter storm means bundling up, scooping plenty of snow, traveling at slower speeds, and driving a dirty, slushy vehicle. While many residents may concentrate on getting their snowblower tuned up and stocking up on ice melt to handle winter hassles, getting your home ready for cold weather is also important.

Winter Woes

Whether it’s a blizzard or a seemingly endless winter, ice and snow are also foes of your house. These are just a few of the problems winter storms may cause to your property:

1. Roof Damage

Ice dams, runoff, heavy snow, and high winds can all cause potential issues that may lead to leaks and big repairs.

2. Frozen Pipes

If water is left in outdoor pipes, it can expand and damage the system. Once temperatures rise and a thaw takes place, a leak or system failure can occur.

3. Tree Limbs

When ice forms on branches or heavy snow comes down, it may create too much weight for a tree branch to handle. If a large enough limb breaks, it has the potential to damage the roof, siding, windows, and outdoor appliances or décor.

4. Flooding

In the midst of freezing temperatures, it’s easy to forget that all that snow will melt. Once it does, it can quickly overflow gutters and seep into the foundation through cracks.

Be Prepared

Before the first winter storm hits, making as many preparations as possible may relieve your worries about the coming winter and let you focus on enjoying the present nice weather. Simple tasks like cleaning the gutters, disconnecting outdoor hoses, trimming trees, and insulating pipes and water heaters can help eliminate future snow and ice issues.
If you live in an older home or know that your roof or siding is approaching the end of its life, consider calling storm damage and restoration experts before a winter storm happens. A professional inspection and temporary repairs, such as ventilating the attic or installing a waterproof roof membrane, may mean the difference between extensive repairs and a carefree spring.

What To Do To Prevent a Apartment Fire

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Two ladders in a building, theres is a window and there is smoke surrounding the building Ensure proper placement of smoke detectors in your apartment building

Three Tips For Property Owners To Keep In Mind

An apartment fire in Houston,TX, can wreak havoc on a commercial property. And regardless of whether a building contains just two – or 200 – units, it only takes a blaze in one flat to possibly cause massive fire damage to the structure. Fortunately, there are things that a landlord can do to help minimize the chance of a destructive fire. Here are three tips for a property owner to keep in mind.

1. Install Fire Sprinklers Throughout the Building

If a blaze begins, a fire sprinkler system can help to extinguish the flames and prevent the fire from spreading to other parts of a building. Therefore, a landlord may consider installing or updating a sprinkler system for the commercial structure. It’s also important that the sprinklers are tested on a regular basis to ensure that they will work properly in the event of an emergency.

2. Ensure Proper Placement and Maintenance of Smoke Detectors

It is generally well known that smoke detectors can save lives in a fire. Smoke alarms may also aid in stopping an apartment fire from burning out of control by providing residents with more time to quickly call for emergency services. Abiding by fire safety rules and regulations and placing detectors in every unit – as well as scheduling regular tests of the alarms – is critical to the safety of residents and the building. It’s always vital to remember that professionals who specialize in fire damage restoration can repair a building. Lives cannot be replaced.

3. Inform Residents About Fire Safety and Have Fire Drills

If building occupants are informed about fire safety and are prepared in case of a blaze, damage may be mitigated. Therefore, a property owner may decide to hold fire drills multiple times a year.
An apartment fire can be disastrous. However, by taking precautions such as the tips listed here, the risk of a blaze may be significantly reduced.

3 Tips for Business Disaster Preparedness

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

A man holding a piece of wood with the word "contingency plan" on it Preparing your business for disaster includes creating a contingency plan

Preparing your company to get back on its feet after a tornado, fire or flood is just as important as paying your rent - but many businesses label this a low priority. Yet without a disaster preparedness plan, your business could face unnecessary losses. Get your Spring Valley,TX business ready - here are three quick ways how.

Top Disaster Risks

Both man and mother nature can be the cause of a disaster. Some of the most potentially devastating incidences include:

  • earthquakes
  • terror attacks
  • flooding

Preparing your business for disaster includes creating a plan with contingencies for all of the above.

Review Your Insurance

One of the easiest ways to prepare for a disaster is making sure you have proper insurance. Review your insurance coverage regularly to make sure you have flood insurance, as well as add-ons for business interruption, loss of use, and extended coverage.

Draft Your Response Plan

A written plan detailing what to do amid a disaster is perhaps one of the most important parts of a disaster preparedness effort. Such business preparedness plans are custom to each business. But at a minimum, they should include things like:

  • emergency phone numbers
  • A map of the building with emergency exits clearly marked
  • Instructions and circumstances for continued operation

Protect Your Data

In a high-tech world, your company’s data can be one of its most invaluable commodities. Make sure your company and its clients are protected during a disaster. Regularly back up files and store in a safe place off-site. That way key proprietary data, as well as sensitive client data, will be safe should a disaster compromise company computers.
Planning for disaster preparedness is just as much a part of running a robust business as paying bills. Don’t just prepare for flood or storm cleanup. Get ahead of the game by using these tips to ensure your business is ready when disaster strikes.

Understanding Secondary Damage to Your Home After Flooding

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Mold colonies Mold begins to form in a home due to several factors

Storms, leaking pipes, and other water-related incidences can cause flooding in your home. While water damage can be detrimental in and of itself, the problem does not necessarily go away once the area dries. Secondary damage, including black mold, can form in as little as a day and spread across your entire home. Proper water cleanup and mold remediation in Hilshire Village,TX, can help protect your household and belongings.

How Mold Colonies Form

Mold begins to form in a home due to several factors.

1. Moisture: Leaking walls and roofs, condensation, and even hanging wet clothes can leave an area wet, which then absorbs and sits in porous areas such as furniture, drywall, and carpeting
2. High humidity: Mold cannot grow in freezing temperatures, so warm humidity levels help keep the moisture in the area and can spawn black mold
3. Improper ventilation: If the inside of the home is humid after receiving moisture, the area should be ventilated to release the humidity, and conversely, closed off if the outside area is more humid than the inside.
4. Time: While mold doesn’t grow instantaneously, it does grow and spread quickly, so it is imperative to dry and ventilate the area as fast as possible

How To Remediate Damage

Black mold is a living organism that exists all around us, so complete removal is often impossible and therefore, not the goal when cleaning a home. Instead, look to remediate the damage by working with professionals to inspect and contain the problem as quickly as possible to prevent further spreading. Mold must then be removed from all surfaces, internal areas, and the air itself. Once removed, the formerly contaminated areas should be sanitized, including walls and other structural areas, plus furniture and personal belongings.
Simply drying the affected areas of the home after suffering water damage is not always enough to prevent secondary damage. With proper mold remediation and specialized drying and cleaning techniques, your home may be protected from further damage due to flooding and mold growth.

Memorial Home Care: Cleaning Carpet After A Flood

8/12/2019 (Permalink)

Some floods develop slowly, and some can build in just a few minutes.

Cleaning Carpet After a Flood

Throughout the greater Houston metropolitan area, hundreds of commercial and residential properties experience flood and storm damage each year. SERVPRO of Town & Country is proud to serve homes and businesses throughout Memorial and Northwest Houston, and we are prepared to help you when disaster strikes your property. Immediately after a flood, it is important to extract the standing water as soon as it is safe to do so. This will help prevent further damage to the structure, and your items that are in the home. Once the floodwaters have receded and standing water has been extracted, restoration to your property can begin.

Many people are shocked to see the amount of sludge and muck that is left behind on carpet after water extraction. If you plan on doing the cleanup yourself, be sure to protect yourself with the proper footwear, clothing, gloves, and goggles. Floodwaters contain bacteria, chemicals, sewage, and a variety of other pathogens that may affect your health. For this reason, it is also recommended that carpets and padding that have been saturated by flood waters are disposed of properly.

However, if a storm causes your foundation or roof to leak, and your carpets are saturated with that type of water for less than 24 hours, you can safely clean and dry your carpets. Here are the steps to take to do it properly:

First, quickly remove furniture and any other items that are sitting on the wet carpet since the dyes from furniture can leave permanent stains on the carpet. Now that all items are removed from the carpet, slowly and thoroughly go over the entire space with a wet/dry vacuum. The goal is to remove as much water as possible from the carpet, and padding. Any residual moisture can lead to mold growth that will require professional mold removal in the coming months.

Once you are confident that you’ve removed as much water as possible, place ventilation fans throughout to facilitate quick and thorough drying. If you have portable dehumidifiers, employ them at this time too. When the carpet is dry, vacuum it multiple times in each direction to loosen and capture any leftover debris. After this use a carpet cleaning  solution, following manufacturer directions. This deep cleaning will help to prevent stains caused by the water damage in your Memorial area home.

Once the carpets have been shampooed, use the fans and dehumidifiers again to further prevent mold growth after a flood. If in a couple of days you notice a musty or mildew smell, you need to contact a professional carpet cleaning service or a locally owned and operated Houston SERVPRO for evaluation. It is possible that you were not able to extract enough water to prevent mold from taking hold in your carpet. Call us at anytime; we are available to assist you whenever disaster causes water damage in your home or business.

Commercial Construction: New Projects In The Heart Of The Galleria Houston Texas

7/25/2019 (Permalink)

Park Place, new highrise luxury living development, breaks ground and begins construction in the heart of The Galleria Houston TX

It seems that Houston is in a construction uptick over the past 12 months - on almost every highway feeder road you can count the cranes putting up steel framing and glass exteriors.  Although the most recent upswing in construction has been around the multi-family sector there are also large developments going up in mixed-use, commercial office and industrial.

  • At the corner of Westheimer Rd and Mid Lane, Stonelake Capital Partners, is constructing a Class-A, 16-story, office building which is expected to house 200,000 square feet of office space.

  • Arise Post Oak is a 36-story highrise that has been long-awaited and has just broken ground on Post Oak Boulevard at San Felipe.  The Dinerstein Cos. is constructing the building according to the Houston Chronicle. Anticipated completion of the luxury living high rise is anticipated to open in mid 2021.  

  • The 32-story, Hanover BLVD Place, is completed in Uptown and hosts 281 apartment units.  The land was originally purchased in 2015 and completed construction mid 2019.  Hanover BLVD Place features two amenity decks: the lower deck includes a resort worthy swimming pool and outdoor entertainment space.  The top deck has an impressive clear-bottom, cantilevered pool, an entertainment reception room with kitchen, plus a health and fitness center with views of Downtown Houston. 

Understanding Categories of Hurricanes: Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale

7/12/2019 (Permalink)

Understanding Categories of Hurricanes

Have you ever heard of a hurricane referred to as a Cat 2 or Cat 5 and you were not sure exactly what that meant?  Not a problem, here at SERVPRO our goal is to help educate the public on extreme weather incidents and be ready for whatever happens to help restore cities and towns after extreme weather storms.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale is a scale used internationally for categorizing storms based on their wind speed.  Although hurricanes, especially the recent Hurricane Harvey out of the Gulf of Mexico, can be known for their wide spread flooding and large amounts of rainfall, most hurricanes are described as "wind events" where most of the damage caused is by the strong wind pressure that cane easily disrupt cities and towns of all sizes.

Here is how the category system works:

  • Category 1: Hurricane winds 74-95 mph - there is no real damage to building structures, damage can be isolated to primarily unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery and trees. 
  • Category 2: Hurricane winds 96-110 mph - some roofing material, door and window damage of buildings.  There may be considerable damage to landscaping and trees with some trees blown down.  
  • Category 3: Hurricane winds 111-129 mph - in many cases you will see structural damage to residential home and utility buildings with minor amounts of curtain wall failures.  It is likely that large trees will be blown down along with shrubbery and foliage blown off of trees.  Low-lying escape routes are cut off by rising water several hours before the arrival of the eye of the hurricane.  Most damage can be isolated to the coastline caused by rapid rising waters and storm surge.
  • Category 4: Hurricane winds 130-156 mph - more extensive curtain wall failures with some complete roof structure failures including wind removed shingles or tiles and even removal of small sections of roofing.  Mobile homes cannot stand up to Cat 4 winds and will be completely destructed. Cat 4 winds can also cause extensive damage to windows and doors.
  • Category 5: Hurricane winds greater than 156 mph - complete roof failure in many cases including residential, commercial and industrial buildings.  Potential complete building failures with buildings being blown over or blown away.  All shrubs, trees and signs blown down.  Severe to extensive damage to windows and doors.

Houston House Fire Causes Roof To Collapse

7/2/2019 (Permalink)

Acrewoods, North Houston, home fire causes roof collapse.

Early Tuesday morning Houston Fire Department received a distress call and immediately dispatched crews D04, D31, E67, E04, E13, E50, L67, L04, A13, M58 & SF30 to the home fire.  The teams worked together to try to end the blaze by utilizing various trucks and hoses.  

During the fire, firefighters rushed into the structure to attempt to battle the blazes.  Luckily no one was home during the fire so they could focus on extinguishing the flame and did not have to do search and rescue.  While firefighters were inside trying to get a handle on the fire, the roof collapsed, separating the firefighters.  

E67 first in crew, was separated by the ceiling and roof collapse and made a mayday call, she was recused within minutes of the call. The firefighters on the scene contribute the swift action, training and proper placement of fire engines to her quick and successful rescue.  Reaction was fast and smooth and the crews were able to exit through a second story window thanks to a properly placed ladder.

It has been confirmed that there were no deaths in this home fire in Acre Woods, North Houston, one firefighter was taken to the hospital for observation after a confirmed back injury. 

How Does SERVPRO Dry Structures?

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

Air movers and dehumidifiers help SERVPRO properly restore any water loss.

SERVPRO is the leading fire & water restoration and cleanup crew in the nation.  In 2018 we celebrated our fiftieth year in business with over 1,700 locations stretching from coast to coast.  With that being said we have the entrepreneurial spirit built into our daily operations as each office is an independently owned and operated franchise location.

With so many moving parts of a $2 BN company we take pride in having standardized operating procedures that ensure all SERVPRO customers receive the best service and quality restoration work across the country.

As part of our green system we leverage cutting edge technology that properly measures, moisture maps and scopes all losses to ensure we have the correct amount of equipment placed at each loss to ensure we meet our drying goals.

The drying process consists of two main types of equipment:

  • Air Movers: air movers are used to vaporize water from surrounding material.  This device creates high-velocity airflow for faster drying.  

  • Dehumidifiers: once vaporized, water evaporates or is collected by a dehumidifier.  The result is the environment is restored to it's original humidity level.

These two powerful machines help to extract hidden moisture from building materials including drywall, wood, concrete and other organic materials.

Commercial Real Estate Women CREW Multi-Family Panel Luncheon

6/11/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Real Estate Women of Houston host multi-family panel speaker luncheon at Houston Junior Leage

Members of the SERVPRO of Town and Country team had the unique opportunity to attend the CREW Houston Multi-Family Panel luncheon hosted at The Junior League of Houston ballroom.

CREW Houston is dedicated to promoting women in the commercial real estate industry through education and providing opportunities for women to connect and do business together.  Their members range from loan officers to architects and every commercial real estate position in between.

The panel consisted of three speakers:

  • Laurie Baker - Camden Living
  • Brian Dinerstein - The Dinerstein Companies
  • Kimberly Erickson - LifeWell Senior Living 

The three speakers had very distinct views on the multi-family industry.  The major theme that surfaced during the panel discussion was the need to truly understand who your ideal tenant is.

Brian Dinerstein referred to his campus housing several times as the next big money maker.  He raved about how college students do very little damage to the property when compared to traditional apartment tenants.  In addition he noted that rent is always paid on time since most of the funding comes from student loans as part of the cost of living at college.

Laurie Baker of Camden noted that they had recently expanded their portfolio to include a 65+ age requirement on one property.  She raved that the tenants are excellent and turn over is very limited as older tenants tend to stay long term and are less likely to move frequently.  She did mention the struggle to continue to provide amenities that aged with her long-term tenants.  Camden has begun investigating if they may need to add in-house medical staff or end of life care as part of their amenity package.

Kimberly Erickson agreed with Bakers comments and stated that working in senior multi-family living is a different ball game.  There are extra amenities needed especially related to at home health care and the over all need to keep properties maintained and well cleaned.  In addition she mentioned their largest strung in owning and operating a assisted living facility is finding the right staff that is personable and well trained in senior care that can stay on long term and maintain the health and happiness of their tenants.

Overall the SERVPRO of Town & Country team got a deep understanding of the many complex business problems that effect the array of property types that exist within the multifamily industry.