Recent Posts

What to do when your toilet overflows

2/5/2023 (Permalink)

clogged toliet Toilets overflow causing serious issues and water damages

If your toilet overflows, it doesn't mean that you're going to have to buy a new one. There are ways to deal with this common plumbing problem, and they're easier than you might think.

Shut off the Water

At the first sign of water damage, shut off the water supply to the toilet. Turn off the main water valve that feeds your home, which can be found in your basement or crawl space. Shut off the water supply to the toilet at either its valve or tank, depending on which you find more convenient (if there's a valve for both).

If there's no way to shut off your toilet's water tank (or if turning it feels too dangerous), turn off a faucet nearby and fill up as many buckets as you need with clean water. Now use these for flushing purposes only. If possible, have someone do this so that both of you don't have to deal with any messes from overflowing toilets.

Turn off the feed valve to the overflow pipe

An overflow is one of the more common plumbing problems that you’re likely to encounter. While it may seem like a serious issue, you can usually handle a toilet overflow quickly and easily.

Once the water is turned off, next you want to turn off the water supply to the toilet. Turn off the feed valve to the overflow pipe and use a bucket or plunger to suck up all the water from the bowl, then empty it when you're done. This will help prevent water from overflowing into the floor causing more water damage.

Use towels on the floor to absorb water and prevent damage

If there is water puddles on the floor use old towels to absorb water and prevent damage. Use enough towels to soak up the excess water and protect your flooring. Don't leave the wet towels on the floor as it could cause more problems down the road. Keep the area free of debris to prevent slip and fall.

If you have a bathroom with tile floors, place the towels on top of each other, overlapping them slightly along their edges so that there are still gaps between them where water can drain through. Put them in a pattern around the overflow hole in your toilet bowl so that fluids that seep through can be caught by one of the layers of towels. This will help keep your floors dry even if there is still more water coming out of your pipes after you flush.

Bucket or plunger to suck up all the water from the bowl

Once the water is off the floor, use a bucket or plunger to suck up all the water from the bowl. This is probably your best option if you don't want to deal with a full toilet. Remove all the water from the bowl incase the toilet has to be replaced.

If your toilet has been overused or if there's been an increase in household traffic (such as company staying over), then try flushing less often until things return to normal. This will help prevent future overflows due to excessive use of your water supply system's capacity during peak times.

Use a Professional

If you're unsure about the problem, or if it seems like a more serious issue than your average clog, consider calling a plumber. A plumber can visit your home and assess the situation to determine whether it's something you can fix yourself (and what caused it in the first place). If so, they'll be able to teach you how to prevent future problems with your toilet.

When you are in need of a restoration company for your water damage, give SERVPRO of Oakville/Mehlville a call at the first sign of damage.

Office Fire Safety 101: Tips for Fire Prevention in the Workplace

1/10/2023 (Permalink)

evacuation plan It's always a good idea to have an evacuation plan in place for your workplace.

Tips for Fire Prevention in the Workplace

Fire safety is an important aspect of any business, especially one that deals with large amounts of electrical equipment. However, many firms do not think about fire protection until they have experienced a dangerous situation. By following these tips you can prevent fires and limit damage to your business property if one ever occurs.

Designate a point of contact for emergencies

The most important thing to do is designate a point of contact for all emergencies. This can be anyone in the office, but it's best if they're someone who is familiar with the building and/or has experience dealing with fire safety issues. If you have multiple floors in your office building, try to have someone designated on each floor as well.

Ensure exits are always clear

You should ensure that all exit doors open in the direction of travel, and that they are not blocked by furniture or other items. Exit signs should be clearly visible and illuminated as well. When it comes to ensuring safety in your workplace, there are many things you can do to help keep everyone safe.

Don’t panic when evacuating

If a fire is burning, how do you get out of the building? It's always a good idea to have an evacuation plan in place for your workplace. Be sure everyone knows where the exits are and how far away they are from their workstations. If there's no way out, it may be necessary to break a window so people can escape. But don't assume that just because there's smoke coming into your office that it won't spread quickly; that smoke could actually be blocking another exit route and preventing it from being used by all who need it!

Another important thing to remember: Do not use elevators during an evacuation—they take too long and could become stuck between floors or even stop working altogether due to electrical problems or lack of power (as well as possibly trapping people inside). Instead, take stairs if possible—it'll help speed up the process by keeping people moving at the same rate instead of waiting on an elevator line while they're trying to get back down safely without hurting themselves in any way possible."

Count heads and call 911 once evacuated.

Once you've safely evacuated the premises and called 911, it's important to give the dispatcher all of the information they need. This includes:

  • Your name, address, and telephone number.
  • The nature of the emergency (for example, fire).
  • The location of the fire (house number, street name).
  • Any injuries or casualties involved in this incident.

If possible, provide details about how far away from your property any injured people are located so that firefighters can get there as soon as possible!

Keep important documents and other valuables in a safe place.

If you have valuable documents that you don't want damaged during a fire or water damage, store them in a fireproof safe. You can either purchase one of your own or ask your employer if they have one available for use.

Always keep copies of your most important documents on hand. This way if the originals are lost or destroyed during an emergency, you will still have access to them through the copies.

Make sure everyone who works at the office knows where these items are kept so they can be accessed quickly in case of an emergency situation requiring evacuation or relocation indoors (which happens more often than people think).

A fire safety plan is crucial.

Fire safety is a priority for everyone. It's up to you and your employees to ensure that your workplace has the necessary fire protection measures in place, and that those measures are working properly. Fire prevention is everyone’s responsibility, so it's important that you take steps to prevent fires from starting and spreading in your business.

Keep an eye out for any potential fire hazards in your building or office space (e.g., faulty wiring or overloaded electrical outlets). If you notice anything suspicious or out of place, alert someone immediately so they can take action before disaster strikes!

It’s clear that there are many things you can do to keep your workplace prepared for a fire. As we mentioned at the start of this post, fires can be extremely dangerous and destructive. But with proper planning and maintenance, you can minimize the risk of those events occurring in your workplace.

Mold and Appliances

12/14/2022 (Permalink)

Mold growth inside a refrigerator Mold growth in appliances is a serious issue and should be taken very seriously.

Mold, the fungus that grows on damp surfaces in your home, can be difficult to remove. It thrives in warm, humid environments and spreads without proper ventilation. The most common places for mold to grow are in bathrooms and kitchens. Appliances are another culprit for carrying mold into your kitchen—especially when they're not cleaned regularly or have been exposed to moisture from flooding or water damage. To prevent these appliances from becoming prime breeding grounds for mold, it's important to clean them regularly with a disinfectant spray or other method of sanitization.

Washing Machine

Mold is a common problem in washing machines. If you don't keep your washer clean, mold will grow on the rubber gasket and other parts of your machine, causing it to smell bad. Mold can also lead to your clothes smelling bad if they come in contact with it!

To keep mold from growing inside of your washing machine:

  • Use vinegar to help clean out any buildup around the rim where water collects when you run a load of laundry.
  • Look into replacing the seal around the door of your washer if it looks cracked or torn (this is especially important when trying to prevent mold growth).

Refrigerator

Mold growth in refrigerators is common. In fact, it's so common that you may not even be aware of the mold growing on your refrigerator until it's too late. Like most mold growth in homes, it can be prevented by keeping a clean refrigerator and storing food properly. Mold also thrives in high humidity environments. To prevent mold from forming on your fridge, follow these steps:

  • Clean out your fridge regularly! If you don't remember if something was inside the last time you cleaned it out (and who does?), put an empty box with a note inside for future reference.
  • Don't store foods at room temperature for long periods of time; instead, keep them chilled in the fridge or freezer as needed to preserve freshness and quality.

Freezer

The freezer is the best place to keep food, as it's the coldest spot in your refrigerator. But before you start stocking up on frozen foods, make sure that your freezer is clean and hasn't been used to store anything other than ice cubes or frozen foods. You should also keep an eye out for excess frost—if there’s too much ice buildup in your freezer and/or if it's starting to look like a snow globe inside, you need to defrost it!

Dehumidification

Dehumidification is a way of removing moisture from the air. You can use a dehumidifier to do it, but you can also do it with other devices. A dehumidifier is an appliance that removes moisture from the air in your home and helps prevent mold growth. It's helpful for drying out wet carpets, floors, walls and furniture after flooding or leaks occur. These appliances are available in different sizes and models for small or large rooms. 

Dehumidifiers also come with settings for optimal humidity levels for different temperatures, so you'll always stay comfortable at home regardless of how much time you spend indoors during winter months when heating costs are higher than summer ones when cooling costs are more expensive than average year-round temperatures require less energy usage overall.

Act Quickly

Mold growth in appliances is a serious issue and should be taken very seriously. If so, it's important to act quickly before the problem gets out of hand and leads to major property damage in your Lemay, MO home.

Mold can be expensive and time-consuming, and that’s why SERVPRO of Oakville/ Mehlville is here to help! We want everyone who uses our services to know that they can trust us with any appliance-related mold issues whether they're small or large.

5 Steps To Prepare Your Business for the Next Winter Storm

12/1/2022 (Permalink)

Hand with black plastic glove cleaning a gutter with leaves Create a plan for regularly checking and clearing out gutters.

Follow These Five Steps

If you have a business in Bella Villa, MO, winterizing your commercial property for the colder months ahead should be a top priority once temperatures start to drop. Failing to properly protect your building can have high costs. A winter storm often brings heavy winds and snowfall that can do significant damage. To reduce the chances that you will need to hire disaster restoration professionals for the next spring thaw, follow these five steps.

1. Assess the Risks
Take a look around the property. Ask yourself: What kinds of risks could happen? For example, consider employee injuries and frozen pipes. Make any repairs that might be susceptible to structural stress or other types of storm damage.

2. Assign Responsibility
Another major part of preparing for a winter storm includes assigning roles and responsibilities to qualified staff and professionals. Figure out who is going to make the parking lot safe when it ices over. Additionally, if repairs are complex, decide which company you will call for assistance.

3. Plan for Each Threat
After identifying the wintertime risks your company might face, work with employees to create an action plan for each threat. If, for example, you have concerns about ice dams forming, create a plan for regularly checking and clearing out gutters.

4. Remember To Be Comprehensive
When you protect your building against storm damage, do not forget to be thorough. There are many potential locations for damage to occur. In addition to the roof, plumbing and HVAC systems should be other top concerns.

5. Prepare Your People
Preparing your property is important, but it is only half of the equation. The other half you have to remember includes the people who run the organization. Before the snow starts coming down, make sure you train everyone on any applicable procedures and have a way to communicate updates.
Running a business somewhere with harsh winters comes with unique challenges. Planning ahead can make things easier. You can help your company prepare for the next winter storm by following these steps.

What To Do If a Water Heater Leaks?

11/14/2022 (Permalink)

Close up of a water heater It's critical to understand what to do if your water heater leaks or malfunctions.

5 Steps to Take After your Water Heater Leaks

Water heaters are an essential part of your home. They heat water for showers and laundry, help keep you warm in the winter, and even provide hot water for cooking. However, just like any piece of equipment that runs 24/7, it's important to know what to do if your water heater leaks or breaks down. Here are some tips on how to handle a leaky or broken water heater.

First, shut off the water.

Shut off the water at the main valve. If you have a pressure tank, turn it to “off.” Or if there’s no pressure tank and your home has a well, go outside and shut off its valve as well. If you can't find your main valve or don't know how to turn it off, contact an expert; they will probably be able to help you locate it and guide you through this process safely.

Second, turn off the power to your water heater.

The next step in fixing a leaky water heater is to shut it down. This can be done by turning off the main power switch or circuit breaker, or by opening a cover plate over your water heater and flipping a lever on its electrical box so that you can't turn it back on again until you reset it. You'll also need to ensure that there's no gas running into your unit; if there is, turn off the supply valve for the gas line right away!

If there's no way of turning off both valves—either because they're inaccessible or because one is flooded—turning off power may be your only option for stopping leaks in progress.

Third, empty out your water heater.

The easiest way to drain water from a water heater is to open the drain valve on the bottom of the tank. If you don't see a valve, look for a small hole near the bottom. It should be labeled "drain."

To open the drain valve, use an adjustable wrench to turn it counterclockwise until it clicks into place. Then run your hand along the bottom of the tank to make sure there are no obstructions (like debris) in the way of allowing water to flow freely out of your tank.

The other option is to remove some of the water yourself using a bucket or container—but this isn't recommended unless you have a lot of experience with hot water heaters and know what you're doing.

Fourth, clean the area to prevent mold and mildew.

Once you've removed your items from the area, clean the area. This can help prevent mold growth and other unwanted things from developing if they were to encounter the water in your basement. 

Fifth, repair your water heater or replace it.

If any part of your water heater has been damaged or if there is too much rust on it, it may be time for a replacement. If this is the case, contact a professional plumber who can perform repairs and/or install a new one in its place. Repairing or replacing your water heater will prevent that unit from causing any more damage.

We hope this article has helped you figure out what to do if your water heater is leaking and what the next steps are. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!

Preparing for the Claims Process and Adjuster Visit After a Commercial Fire

11/1/2022 (Permalink)

Man with a white helmet writing on a clipboard The Insurance Adjuster works closely with our team from start to finish.

Preparing for the Claims Process and Adjuster Visit After a Commercial Fire

Depending on the extent of the damage, most business owners will choose to file a fire claim after experiencing such a disaster. Unfortunately, making a claim on your policy can create a lot of stress and anxiety because it is a process that most people are not familiar with. Therefore, to help you prepare for the claims process and the visit from the insurance adjuster, follow these four steps.

  1. Call your insurer
  2. Mitigate further loss
  3. Gather and maintain records
  4. Document loss

Call Your Insurer

Before you can even consider getting the ball rolling on fire restoration, you need to call your insurer and explain what happened. During this phone call, they will probably ask a few probing questions about the fire and the extent of the damage, then they will tell you that they are sending someone out to assess the property and damage.

Mitigate Further Loss

Before touching anything in your property, make sure you clear it with your insurer first, so that you do not jeopardize your fire claim. Most insurance companies expect property owners to take the necessary steps to protect their facility from further property loss. Therefore, they will probably recommend using a fire mitigation company in Bella Villa, MO. Any company you work with may offer board-up or tarping services to protect your building.

Gather and Maintain Records

Next, regardless of the level of fire damage, you will need to gather any relevant records of the damaged property. Also, for any work that you need to complete before the adjuster approves your claim, make sure you keep all receipts and paperwork.

Document Loss

Last, take plenty of photographs of the damaged property. If you have any pictures or documentation of when the items were first purchased, then it may be useful to the adjuster to see those as well. Organize all of the photos and paperwork so that it makes sense.
The process for submitting a fire claim can seem overwhelming, but as with any other bureaucratic process, claims are built around a series of predictable steps. Therefore, when preparing for your claim, follow the steps above and you should be just fine.

Fire Regulations for Businesses

10/13/2022 (Permalink)

EXIT sign EXIT signs can help save lives.

What Are Common Commercial Fire Regulations?

If you own a business and have employees, there are many regulations that you need to follow. As an employer, you have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for your staff. Fire safety is one of those things that can't be overlooked because it's important for both your employees and guests. This blog post will go over the laws regarding fire safety in businesses, as well as how to make sure they're being followed properly.

Exits

There are three types of exits:

Exit passageways (must be unobstructed, clearly marked, and easy to open from inside and outside)

Exit discharge areas (must be a minimum of 3 feet wide and 36 inches high)

Exits (must be a minimum of 5 feet long, 10 feet apart, and must have an opening for passage in both directions)

Callbox

Call boxes are another way to contact the fire department. They are usually located near the front door so that anyone can use them when they need help. Call boxes should have a lighted sign that says “call 911” and any other type of emergency number (depending on your location). The call box should also have a lock on it so people can't get in if they don't need to.

Sprinklers

Sprinklers are an important safety measure for any business. They can be installed in any type of building, no matter the size or shape, and they're a great way to prevent fires from spreading. If you're looking for a way to protect your property, consider installing sprinklers in your building today!

Smoke alarms

Fire alarms and smoke detectors are required in all businesses. Smoke alarms should be installed in every sleeping room, hallway, and near all cooking appliances. These devices should also be tested monthly to ensure that they are functioning correctly. Check the manufacturer's instructions for proper testing procedures.

  • Smoke alarm replacement: Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced at least once per year. You may need to replace your smoke alarm if it has been 10 years since you last replaced the battery or device (the date of manufacture will be on the back label). If you have never changed the battery or device, this would be a good time to do so now before putting them into service again!
  • Carbon monoxide alarms: Carbon monoxide gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless so it can't easily detected by sight or smell alone; however there are carbon monoxide alarms available specifically designed for homes that will alert occupants when dangerous levels of CO exist inside their home due to malfunctioning furnaces/heaters, etc.

Fire extinguishers

You should be familiar with how to use a fire extinguisher and its classifications.

First, if a fire breaks out in your business, you should know how to use the closest fire extinguisher in an emergency.

Second, you should verify that your employees are aware of what type of fire extinguishers are available in each room or area of the building.

Finally, after using an extinguisher on a small blaze, put it back into its designated spot for storage so that it doesn't get damaged or used by mistake later on (if there's another major blaze). In fact, check all updated regulations about which types need to be replaced after each use; some only last for about six months before losing effectiveness! It's important to keep track here because those regulations vary by state-and even upstate vs downstate can differ from one another!

Emergency escape plan

  • Create an emergency escape plan for every building, including all exits, fire escapes, and other routes of escape.
  • List the number of employees inside the building during normal operation and any occupants who may be there at other times, such as contractors or guests. This helps you decide how many people need to evacuate in case of fire or another emergency.
  • In addition to listing your employees, also include a list of those who are unable to evacuate due to age or physical limitations. Make sure they have evacuation assistance plans in place so they can get out safely if needed.

Hazardous material safety plan

Hazardous materials are dangerous. You need to have a plan in place to deal with them and make sure they're stored, transported, and disposed of safely. To do this, you'll need training and certification for staff who work with hazardous materials. Staff must be trained on how to recognize the hazards associated with each type of chemical used at their workplace and how those chemicals should be handled during normal operations.

Hazardous substances can include corrosive liquids like acids or bases; combustible liquids such as gasoline; flammable liquids like paint solvents; poisonous gas such as chlorine gas; oxidizing material such as perchloric acid; radiation-producing sources (for example x-ray films); medical waste that may contain infectious agents.

Regulations are often confusing, but when it comes to fire safety, they're there for a reason.

Fire regulations can be confusing, but they're there for a reason. Your local fire department can help you understand how to comply with the regulations and stay safe.

To find out more about fire safety rules for businesses, contact the fire department in your area or visit their website.

The bottom line is that it's important to take fire safety seriously because if a fire starts in your business, the consequences can be catastrophic. As the owner or manager of a company in Oakville, MO, you have a responsibility to make sure that your employees are safe at all times—and part of that job is ensuring they know what to do when there's an emergency.

What To Do About Sewage Backup

10/1/2022 (Permalink)

Sewage water on the floor If you have a sewage backup, proceed with caution.

What To Do About Sewage Backup

A flooded basement is a homeowner’s nightmare, particularly when it’s a sewage backup resulting from storms and heavy rains. Heavy rainfall, especially over a prolonged period, can place a burden on public sewage systems that have a limited capacity. Once the rainwater exceeds this capacity, excess water may begin backing up and overflowing into your sewer line. This can happen quickly and unexpectedly in White House, MO, as well as most areas of the U.S. When it does, you should take the following three steps.

1. Evaluate the Situation

The first thing you should do after you discover a flooded basement is evaluate the situation. If you have a sewage backup, proceed with caution. Sewage spills that contain infectious waste can create health hazards. Keep humans and pets away from the flooded area until you know what you’re dealing with.

2. Put Safety First

Disconnect all electrical items, including furnaces, before entering a flooded area. It’s a good idea to cut off both the electric and water mains for safety and to stop any water flow. Don't use any appliances or fixtures that utilize water, either, such as showers or washing machines. If a burst pipe played a role in the backup, you don't want to add any additional water or pressure to the situation.

3. Take Quick Action

Take action quickly. Remove any items that have not been affected by the backup to minimize damage. If possible and weather permits, open all windows. Remove as much excess water as you can and run dehumidifiers if you have them. The goal is to dry out the wet area within 24-48 hours to reduce the risk of mold forming. Remember to wear safety clothing such as rubber boots, gloves, and face masks when working in the affected area.

If you have a flooded basement, you should contact a professional cleaning and restoration service. If you have minimum flooding, you might be able to clean it yourself, but it’s still best to consult a professional, particularly when dealing with basement sewage.

5 Essential Storm Preparation Tips

9/27/2022 (Permalink)

Manual completion of the emergency preparedness checklist by team An emergency response kit can help keep your household safe during a storm

Protect Your Home And Family From Severe Weather

Preparation is key when it comes to protecting your home in White House, MO, from severe weather, floodwater and other types of water damage. Planning ahead and making sure you're prepared before a storm hits is key to reducing flood damage and keeping your family safe. Follow the tips below to help protect your home and family from severe weather.

1. Create an Emergency Preparedness Plan.
Craft a clear emergency response plan for your family that is easy to follow. Make sure everyone knows where to go and what to do in the case of a severe storm. Make time to regularly discuss and practice this plan, especially if your local weather channel predicts an incoming storm.

2. Build an Emergency Supply Kit.
An emergency response kit can help keep your household safe during a storm. Suggested items to stock include, but are not limited to, batteries, bandages, gauze, a flashlight and a battery-powered radio.

3. Pay Attention to Local Emergency Alerts.
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) can provide reliable, real-time updates regarding the storm. Make sure everyone in your household signs up for this system so that you can stay updated on new developments.

4. Protect and Waterproof Valuable Items.
Any valuable items that are unlikely to survive a flooded building need to be sealed in waterproof containers and relocated to a high shelf that's at least one foot above the floodwater level. This includes important documents, electronic devices and other important possessions that are susceptible to water damage.

5. Trim Back Overgrown Tree Branches.
Severe winds can quickly transform overgrown tree branches into dangerous projectiles. You can help prevent tree limbs from flying in through your windows by trimming back any branches that are growing too close to your property.
Rising floodwater, dangerously high winds and heavy rains can all inflict devastating damage on your property if you aren't prepared. Contact flood remediation experts if your home has suffered damage from a recent storm or flood.

Which Air Purifiers Filter Out Mold Spores?

9/17/2022 (Permalink)

Air filter for HVAC system - filtration concept A HEPA filter meets a standard for filtering airborne particulates set by the U.S

Which Air Cleaners Remove Mold Spores?

 Air purifiers are helpful for lowering mold spore concentrations in interior air. High-efficiency particulate air filtration technology is not capable of eliminating spores or stopping mold from spreading through a residence located in Mehlville, MO. An air purifier is most useful for reducing the amount of spores that remain following mold remediation.

HEPA Air Purifiers
A HEPA filter meets a standard for filtering airborne particulates set by the U.S. Department of Energy. This standard includes all of the following specifications:

  • Removes at least 99.97% of airborne particles
  • Captures particles 0.3 microns in diameter and larger
  • Meets retention requirements for a HEPA class

There are several classes of HEPA filters, including three classes -- E, H and U. Each class has three subcategories. E class filters have the lowest average retention rate, while U filters have the highest rates of averaged and spot retention.

Carbon Air Filtration
A carbon air filter is used primarily to remove gases. This makes this type of filter useful for eliminating microbial volatile organic compounds released during the metabolic cycle of mold. Carbon filters are effective at capturing spores and mVOCs, making this style of purifier useful for homes undergoing mold remediation.

Ionic or Electrostatic Filters
Ionic and electrostatic filters both function by causing particles to drop down to surfaces where they can be cleaned. A HEPA-rated vacuum can be used to get rid of mold spores that drop down out of the air during operation of these types of charged filters. Technically, both of these filters are ionic and may contribute unwanted ozone to indoor air.
Any air purifier will be of limited use prior to taking measures to resolve a mold problem at a household in Mehlville, MO. HEPA, carbon, or ionic air filtration equipment will be most effective when this air quality technology is deployed during the later stages of mold remediation and cleanup.