Recent Posts

2 Things You Should Know About Drain Cleaners

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage 2 Things You Should Know About Drain Cleaners All drain cleaners are not created equally

Millions of homeowners are surprised by a clogged drain each year, and most of them reach for one of the more common chemical drain cleaner bottles they have on hand or can find in one of the big box stores. While the cleaner may be adept at clearing away a small clog in a toilet or sink, the liquid and chemical granules can do major damage to household pipes in some cases. Here are two things to beware of when you use chemical drain clearing products.

All Cleaners Are Not Created Equally

The majority of drain cleaners fall into one of three categories:

  • Acids such as muriatic or sulfuric
  • Oxidizers such as bleach or nitrate
  • Caustics such as potash or lye

Though they all work with a heat-producing reaction to the area around them, there are differences in clogs that can alter the productive nature of the process. Some hair, toilet paper, or grime clogs may easily break down when the heat interacts with them, while oils, fats, and toy cars may not break down when the heat is introduced. In fact, this type of clogged drain may become more embedded in the pipe as it melts and reforms. If the clog worsens, call a water removal specialist to help in the sewage cleaning process.

Old Homes Have Fragile Pipes

As plumbing pipes age, they can develop stress fractures, movement cracks, and thin spots. If the clog occurs near one of these weak points and a heat or pressurized chemical cleaner is introduced, the pipe may burst or warp from the pressure. The combination of heat and force could also cause the pipe to burst, thus multiplying your water damage problem.

A clogged drain in your White House, MO, home may bring a moment of frustration, but if you use a cleaning solution on your drain, it could cause additional damage. Knowing the facts about how drain cleaners work can keep your plumbing pipes intact.

Know the Difference — Mold Versus Mildew

5/23/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Know the Difference — Mold Versus Mildew Mildew is mostly found on wet surfaces

For some, mold and mildew are synonymous. However, this is not the case. Although both can affect your home, knowing the difference can help you better identify and prevent mold damage and mildew growth in Lemay, MO.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a type of fungus. It is normally invisible to the naked eye until it starts gathering as a colony. It reproduces via microscopic airborne spores, so it can exist anywhere and everywhere. It can be a variety of colors, but in the home, it usually appears black, blue or green. Mold grows as multicellular filaments known as hyphae, which give it a fuzzy appearance. It also emits a distinct musky odor. Mold growth can cause structural damage to your home. Some common types of mold include:

  • Black mold — Stachybotrys chartarum
  • Yellow mold — Serpula lacrymans
  • Pink mold — Aureobasidium
  • Blue/green mold — Penicillium

What Is Mildew?

Mildew is also a type of fungus and closely resembles mold. However, it does not cause as much damage as other types of mold do. It is most commonly found on wet surfaces, so mildew growth is something to look out for in your bathroom or kitchen. It is usually gray or white and appears powdery rather than fuzzy. Mildew also has a musty odor.

What Should You Do About Mold and Mildew?

It is important to be able to tell the difference between mold and mildew because mold damage is a much bigger issue for your home. Mold can never be totally removed because of its nature as airborne microscopic spores, but growth can be stopped and appropriate spore levels reached through mold remediation processes undertaken by specialists. You should not attempt to remove mold on your own. However, if you have identified mildew in your kitchen or bathroom, this is something you can clean yourself with the proper products and guidance.

Mold damage is significantly more problematic than mildew growth, so being able to identify the difference between the two is an important skill for a homeowner. Knowledge is power when it comes to mold.

FAQs About What To Throw Away After a Fire

5/13/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage FAQs About What To Throw Away After a Fire Fire damage in a White House, MO home

After a home fire in White House, MO, you may be uncertain about what items you can keep and what items are damaged beyond the point of repair. Knowing what you can keep and what you should likely throw away after a fire can help you begin replacing and restoring items more quickly.

What Damage Commonly Occurs With Fires?

Before you discard any items in your home after a fire, it can be helpful to understand the ways in which a fire can damage belongings in your home. Common forms of destruction from a fire include the following:

  • Smoke damage, which can cause a lingering odor after a fire.
  • Soot damage, which can cause certain items to deteriorate.
  • Water damage, which often occurs when sprinklers go off or when water from hoses is used to extinguish the fire.

How Do You Know What To Throw Away?

There are certain items that should not be kept and cannot be restored after a fire occurs. The quality of perishable food items often dramatically decreases after a fire, and it’s often best to throw out food that was in the home at the time of the fire. Medications can also become less effective after being exposed to high heat, making it a wise idea to discard medicines, even if they are in sealed bottles, after a fire.

Can Items Be Restored?

Although house fires can be devastating, there are some items that can often be restored. Though fires can cause certain items to deteriorate, belongings that have smoke or soot damage might be able to be restored by fire damage restoration experts. You may be able to salvage items that have not been badly burned and belongings that can withstand various cleanings and treatments, such as pieces of furniture or clothing.

Not knowing what items you should discard after a fire can complicate the restoration process. It can be useful for homeowners to know about the damage that fire can cause to items in your home, what you should throw away and what items can be restored.

Protect Your Business From Disaster-Related Losses

5/6/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Protect Your Business From Disaster-Related Losses Protect your business with a well-thought-out emergency disaster preparedness plan

Necessary Steps to Protect Your Small Business

In spite of the progress made in predicting severe weather, you can never know when a natural disaster might strike your community. Even if you have a day or two of notice, the steps necessary to protect your small business in Lemay, MO, probably require more than 48 hours to complete. Minimize your commercial losses by completing the following disaster preparedness steps:

  • Develop a written emergency response plan.
  • Protect office systems and other data storage.
  • Plan alternatives for critical systems.

The Emergency Plan

The most important factor in putting together your business preparedness plan is completing the plan before disaster strikes. Write out emergency responsibilities and who will be responsible to complete them. Include evacuation routes and emergency phone calls. Clearly outline how communication will continue during and after the emergency. Disaster preparedness professionals may have specific suggestions for writing a plan in your area.

Document Storage

Another crucial component of your disaster preparedness plan is protecting your company data. Store vital documents in a digital format, as well as protecting paper versions in a stormproof container. Back up all your data to a cloud-based platform. Assume ahead of time that you'll experience power outages and make a plan for accessing your business systems, documents, and data from remote locations.

Business System Alternatives

Even with a comprehensive emergency plan of your own, you may experience some setbacks due to problems with vendors and suppliers. You may resolve some of these issues by sharing your plan with those business partners. Share your ideas for supply chain alternatives and similar critical systems. Strong relationships and clear communication could prevent a number of problems.

You can't plan your way out of a natural disaster, but you can protect your business from significant losses with a well-thought-out emergency disaster preparedness plan. It will help you keep employees and clientele safe, provide access to vital business documents, and stay in touch with business partners.

What Happens in a Room Totaled by Fire Damage?

4/28/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What Happens in a Room Totaled by Fire Damage? SERVPRO technicians are standing by 24/7 to help you recover from fire damage. Call us today if you have been affected!

From Structural Issues to Ordering Replacement Furniture, SERVPRO Can Help with Every Step of the Process

In some fires, very little can be done to contain the blaze, and entire rooms or portions of a home may be lost at a time. Although our fast-responding mitigation strategy helps to drive down costs for any fire damage restoration project, some fires simply cannot be stopped. When this happens, we make sure to work closely with insurance providers and the homeowner in order to repair and replace everything we can.

New Materials and Structure

Severe fire damage in White House often requires replacement of materials and structural elements in order to return the home to its natural and normal appearance. Our technicians can carefully survey a damaged room so as to know what materials are needed where, and can help to install new materials in the home. This can vary greatly in amount and type, from limited wall repainting or repair to full-room replacement and brick relaying. No matter the obstacle, our technicians are prepared to surmount it to help get your home back to a livable state.


Across the entire room, intense and thorough cleaning is necessary to get a clear look at the materials underneath and to understand the exact specifications of the project. In many cases, heavy soot and ash may obscure a surface and appear as a burned-out region, while in reality, the area is virtually untouched by flame. We implement a thorough and extensive cleaning process when dealing with any fire, and will know what to replace when we're done.

Furniture and Belongings

We employ both in-house and contracted experts to help salvage and restore furniture and belongings that have sustained fire damage, and many items will typically be viable for restoration in your home. Should we not be able to restore or repair an item, we will always consult you and your insurance provider before ordering or making replacements. The homeowner always gets the final say in what is and is not replaced or thrown out following a fire.

SERVPRO of Oakville / Mehlville provides localized, expert home restoration and repair services with industry-leading response times and trained expertise. If your home has sustained fire damage, call us 24/7 at (314) 846-0600.

Identifying Black Water

4/27/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Identifying Black Water Water that has made contact with sewage, sewer lines, or other forms of biological waste is designated black water by the IICRC standards.

After a serious residential flooding event in Oakville, MO the cleanup process may require you to correctly distinguish between different levels of water contamination. Consider the following procedures and water damage remediation measures when confronted with dirty water in your home.

1. Gray Water

Not all types of standing water receive the “black” designation. Under normal circumstances, water that flows from the sink or bath is termed “gray water” and does not need to undergo the same rigorous treatment process. This is because the amount of chemical and organic contaminants is lower in water that is merely used for washing. Irrigation water, such as the kind used in sprinkler systems or collected in rain barrels from roof runoff, is also typically gray water. After minor flooding, any backed-up liquids coming from these systems can usually be safely removed by hand as long as proper skin protection is maintained during water damage repair.

2. Sewage and Other Sources

Water that has made contact with sewage, sewer lines, or other forms of biological waste is designated black water by the IICRC standards. This means that a qualified HVAC service or restoration professional should perform the bulk of the cleanup. Just because the standing water is currently in the sink or tub does not automatically downgrade it to the less-problematic gray water category. Because flood water usually pervades entire floors of your home, sewage tends to contaminate any contiguous pools and pockets, making the entire water body black. To be safe, only personnel equipped with a hazmat-style protective suit and respirator should attempt to drain and clean surfaces affected by sewage.

Water damage from residential flooding doesn’t have to bring your daily routine to a halt. Whether your problem results from clogged drains, severe weather, or broken mains, you can take the first steps toward a solution by correctly identifying and avoiding black water.

Fire Damage Restoration in Oakville

4/23/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage Restoration in Oakville This Is a Very Serious House Fire.

Smart Steps Toward Fire Damage Restoration in Oakville After the Fire

The weeks, hours and days following a home fire in Oakville can present an uneasy scenario. It is difficult to process the fire damage when surveying the results to precious possessions that are charred and covered with soot. While the most important thing is human safety, it can be disheartening to begin the task of cleaning up once the smoke clears and the hot spots cool down.

How to Begin

Organization is the most important step in the restoration process. After surveying the destruction; a three-ring binder should be utilized to take notes concerning all correspondence and conversations with the insurance company and the professional team hired to perform the restoration. Since the aftermath of a fire is highly stressful, it is easy to miscommunicate or forget vital details. The pockets of the binder can provide storage of all documentation and receipts.

The first call placed after a fire should be to the insurance agent. While the law requires that a claim is filed as quickly as possible, it is also in the best interest of the claimant. At this point, proof of the loss will need to be submitted by the insurance adjuster once he comes out and assesses the fire damage.  The assessment usually happens within a couple of days but may take longer in some situations.

The next call should go to a professional cleaning and restoration company, preferably one that also provides construction services. SERVPRO of Oakville/ Mehlville is such a company that will reduce stress, lower costs and save a great deal of time. Depending on how badly damaged the property is, it may need to be secured through boarding up, fencing or other means. A quality restoration company with the proper skills will take care of this immediately. If necessary, the property should be guarded for protection against trespassers.

The restoration company should work in tandem with the insurance agent to create a recovery plan to restore the structure. A full-service team will examine the damage caused by the water and fire damage. The specialists in restoration and cleaning will determine which items can be cleaned and saved and which items will need to be inventoried and replaced. These services are often on the site, but in some cases, items may have to be removed and stored in a secure facility while another work is taking place.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Oakville/Mehlville is locally owned and operated and we are proud to be part of this community. We are also part of a national network of over 1,650 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large-scale fire, water, and storm disasters.

Our expertise in fire damage is extensive. SERVPRO utilizes IICRC training as part of our on-going education to stay ahead of the curve. Call us for help. (314) 846-0600

How Does Category One Water Differ From the Other Types?

4/20/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage How Does Category One Water Differ From the Other Types? All types of waters causing damage to your commercial building are not created equal.

All types of waters causing damage to your commercial building are not created equal. In fact, the differences in the liquids can be difficult to detect, so restoration industry professionals have established three categories. Be careful, though; to differentiate the clean water from the contaminated water may require a professional evaluation prior to cleanup. Here are the differences in each category.

1. Fresh Water

Water in category one is most often the result of a broken water supply line inside your building and is considered clean. You can frequently tell that this water is clear and has come straight out of the broken pipe simply by looking. You won’t find bubbles, cloudy areas, or dark patches in the water. However, if the category one water is allowed to sit for more than 24 hours, it then changes classifications and becomes category two water due to a possible mold or microbe infestation.

2. Gray Water

Water damage caused by category two flooding is considered gray water damage. Although it may often look like the clean water found in category one, this type of liquid typically contains chemicals, soaps, or dirt from baths and appliances. A category two water event does not contain any solid waste, but the area still requires disinfecting.

3. Black Water

Category three, or black water, is considered to be highly contaminated and therefore, holds the greatest possibility of serious heath risks. This liquid often comes from toilets, sewers, flooding, or heavy storms. Water damage cleanup and remediation teams wear protective clothing when dealing with this type of water. Disinfection of the area is a must after this liquid has invaded the building.

Floodwaters can bring any of these three types of water into your commercial building in Oakville, MO and knowing what category you are dealing with can be central to the way the area is cleaned. If you aren’t sure if you have clean water, be safe and call in a team of water remediation experts.

3 Reasons You Smell Mold in Your Office Building

4/15/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial 3 Reasons You Smell Mold in Your Office Building Given the right conditions, it is possible for mold to spread quite a bit in just a short amount of time.

It’s a common problem. You smell something musty in your business’s Oakville, MO building, but you just can’t figure out where it’s coming from. The likely culprit is mold. In some cases, you will be able to smell the fungus growth before you can see it. Here are a few reasons why you might have that musty mold smell in your office building.

1. Mold Releases Odor-Forming Mycotoxins

Some species of mold produce toxic substances called mycotoxins. When the mold grows, it releases these toxins which begin to produce an odor. If you have a mildew smell in your building, but you cannot find the source, it can be a good idea to hire a professional mold remediation specialist. They can use a thermal camera to locate sources of moisture where a growth has likely formed.

2. Mold Grows in Hidden Places

In many cases, you will have a mold smell without any visible mold damage because it is growing in a hidden area. This will often be inside of walls or underneath flooring. If there are cracks in the building’s exterior, water from storms can enter these areas and allow a mold growth to form.

3. Mold Spreads Quickly

Given the right conditions, it is possible for mold to spread quite a bit in just a short amount of time. You might find that an infestation has appeared overnight. If the fungus smell in your building is overwhelming, you most likely have a large growth that will need to be removed as soon as possible to prevent extensive damage.

The best way to keep mold, and the subsequent mold smell, out of your building is to perform regular maintenance to check for cracks or leaks. These can result in an excess of moisture that makes it easy for mold infestations to form. If you do notice a smell, have an inspection done as soon as you can to prevent the problem from worsening.

Welcome to the Team, Kelly!

4/11/2019 (Permalink)

It’s possible you may already know, but the Thole and Lang family SERVPRO’s just added an accomplished member to the team.

Kelly Kordick, of Iowa and Arizona fame, is joining the team as our Manager of Marketing.

Kelly comes with 9 years of experience from an Arizona SERVPRO where she was a meaningful and important part of that team.

During her years in Arizona Kelly established herself as a professional and a major team contributor. Everything that Kelly has accomplished she’s earned herself. She started in the SERVPRO world as a SMR and over time worked herself into the Sales and Marketing Manager role where she continued to thrive.

She has substantial experience in Storm response having been a Storm Team estimator for multiple disasters including Hurricane Sandy and the 2016 Boulder Floods.

Kelly brings a lot to the table and has the skills and that certain “know-how” to help our franchises reach greater heights of success — in other words, 2019 is going to be a good year.

We are proud and excited to have Kelly on the team and we are looking forward to what the future brings.

Thanks for joining me in welcoming Kelly to the team.

-Team Thole and Lang

SERVPRO of Oakville / Mehlville, SERVPRO of Affton / Webster Groves and SERVPRO of Clayton / Ladue