Recent Posts

How To Recognize Mold Growth in Your Home

6/14/2022 (Permalink)

bathroom mold Mold growth is a major nuisance for homeowners, so recognizing the signs of mold right away is key.

Mold issues are something that all South Florida homeowners try to avoid. The combination of warm climates and humidity creates a wonderful atmosphere for mildew to flourish, leaving many Floridians frustrated and desperately seeking an answer. The reality is that the best way to deal with mold growth is to recognize it immediately in order to prevent spreading and stop it in its tracks. Mold is defined as a fungus whose purpose is to decompose dead organisms and other substances.

Mold spores are the culprit for rapid spreading, as they allow mold to easily spread through the air. Since dealing with mold once it spread is a headache, the best action to take is to be a proactive homeowner. This means diligently looking out for signs of mold growth. The following are the best ways to recognize mold growth in your home, particularly in bathrooms and the kitchen:

  • Musty and earthy odors
  • Look for visible mold spots, appearing in a variety of colors such as green, black, white, and sometimes spotted
  • Mold may appear to have a texture such as velvet, leathery, or cotton
  • When water damage or moisture is present mold growth is more likely, so keep an eye out for standing water, condensation, leaks, or water stains)
  • If a surface appears cracked, warped, or peeled there may be a mold issue

Mold growth is a major nuisance for homeowners, so recognizing the signs of mold right away is key. Remember to consistently check for mold growth symptoms in places like the kitchen or bathrooms, as those areas are prone to mold damage. As always, if you do recognize a mold problem in your home we are here to help. At SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County we have over 34 years of experience in mold damage restoration. Contact us today to learn more.

Avoiding Kitchen Fires in Your Home

6/1/2022 (Permalink)

kitchen fire Cooking is the leading cause of home fires, accounting for an estimated half of reported home fires.

People often refer to the kitchen as the heart of the home. It’s the place where families congregate and satiate. Think about how much time your family spends in the kitchen. Since the kitchen plays a vital role in our lives, it is imperative to make it a safe space. Your kitchen may pose a great risk to your family. In fact, cooking is the leading cause of home fires, accounting for an estimated half of reported home fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), United States fire departments responded to approximately 172,900 home fires per year in the previous few years resulting from cooking. These fires caused more than $1 billion in direct property fire damage per year.

The following steps will help you to be proactive in protecting your home and family from kitchen fires.

Never Leave Cooking Unattended

The NFPA lists unattended cooking as the leading cause of cooking fires and deaths. The best advice is to only cook when you actually have time to cook. Never put something on the stove while tending to other activities. Moreover, you should never leave the home while your oven is on. When cooking on the stove or in the oven, always set a timer.

Install and Test Smoke Alarms

While smoke alarms do not prevent home kitchen fires, they are an excellent precaution. Your smoke alarms should double as carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. One type of alarm will not substitute for the other. It is essential to have both or a combination alarm. Make sure smoke alarms are UL rated, well-maintained, and properly installed. New smoke alarms have a sealed 10-year battery that is non-replaceable and non-removable. If you are using a smoke alarm with removable batteries, change them twice per year. Install alarms on every level of your home, including basements, and where you sleep. Test alarms and clean regularly by dusting or vacuuming.

Fire Safety Equipment

In addition to smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, equip your kitchen with a fire extinguisher. Read the directions and check on a monthly basis to ensure you are prepared to use it in an emergency. Ensure you are knowledgeable about when and how to use a fire extinguisher. It is important to note that most kitchen fires should NOT be doused with water. The majority of home kitchen fires initiate from grease or electrical appliances. Water will make a grease or electrical fire worse. The best way to put out a kitchen fire, other than when an extinguisher is used, is to cover the fire with either a lid or baking sheet, or by pouring a box of baking soda on top.

Keep Flammable Items Away from the Heat

Clear your workspace prior to starting each time you cook. Dishtowels, oven mitts, paper products, etc. should never be near your heat source. Loose-fitting clothing poses a similar risk; roll up sleeves and tuck in flowy articles of clothing prior to the start of cooking. A flammable object can cause a home kitchen fire even if it is not making direct contact with the flame. Always keep your cooking areas clean and free of clutter.

Cooking Temperatures

Be mindful of cooking temperatures, particularly when using oil for frying foods. Stay cognizant of the flashpoint, when the oil is hot enough to ignite on its own.

Escape Plan

Think about your fire escape plan. In an emergency, thoughts can be unclear and panicky. Your escape route should be well thought out and practiced. Consider all scenarios to best prepare your family.

When in doubt, evacuate your home, close all doors on your way out, and call 911. Fire departments are best equipped to deal with an emergency fire situation. It is important to act quickly to minimize fire damage. Above all, most home kitchen fires are preventable. Keep the heart of your home and your precious family safe by proactive preparation.

Recognizing Leaky Pipes in Your Home

5/17/2022 (Permalink)

leaky pipes Early detection can save you thousands in water damage from leaking pipes.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asserts that water leaks in the home account for almost 10,000 gallons of water wasted each year. Water leaks lead to costly water damage. Many of these leaks are from worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaky valves. Often, these types of leaks are easy and inexpensive to fix which can save homeowners approximately 10 percent on their water bills. Unfortunately, leaky pipes can be difficult to spot since they are in hidden locations like walls and under sinks. The trick is knowing the signs and what to do should you find a leak in your home. Early detection can save your home from further, costly water damage.

Here are signs that you might have a leaking pipe and what to do should you spot one.

Abnormally High Water Bill

If your water bill drastically increases for no apparent reason, it is likely that you have a water leak somewhere in your house. Even a minor leak, can waste thousands of gallons of water and impact your water bill. The Environmental Protection Agency advises homeowners to check their water usage during January or February. If a family of four uses more than 12,000 gallons per month, there is most likely a serious leak (or leaks) in the home.

Water Meter Reveals a Leak

Check your water meter’s leak indicator to see if it is moving. If the dial is moving, you most likely have a leak. You can also check your water usage when the house is empty. Note the numbers on the water meter before leaving and upon return. If the meter has moved, you have a leak.

Reduced Water Pressure

When you have a leaking pipe, less water is running through the pipes. If there is a sudden decrease in water pressure, it may indicate a leak somewhere throughout the pipes.

Water Stains and Damaged Ceilings

Look up at your ceiling. Are there any discolorations or dark spots? These spots are usually a sign on leakage. If the dark spot is below a bathroom, you have evidence of the most probable source of the leak. If the damage is to the ceiling on the top floor of the house, it often indicates a leak in the roof. Visible water damage to the ceiling means the leak has been present for a while. In this circumstance, it is essential that you address the problem as soon as it is discovered.

Floor Stains

Discoloration, warping, and bubbling of your floor is another tell-tale mark of a leaky pipe. Fix the pipes and then address the flooring underneath.

Foundation Cracks

Cracks in the foundation of your home may be from water damage. However, not all foundation cracks arise from leaky pipes. Time and wear and tear may be the source of the cracks. Still, you should have it looked at by a professional.

Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew is often visible and odorous. It is the result of moisture or standing water. Mold and mildew presents as black or dark green spots and emits a musty smell. If left untreated, it will grow and spread causing further damage. Do not ignore a musty odor in your house. Find the cause and resolve the problem immediately.

Running or Dripping Water Noises

Listen to your home. Trickling or dripping water sounds are an indicator that there is a problem with the plumbing. Call a water damage specialist and have it looked at right away.

When dealing with leaking pipes, time is of the essence. Have the situation evaluated and addressed as quickly as possible. Early detection can save you thousands in water damage from leaking pipes. Use these guidelines to ensure your home is safe from devastating damage.

Is Your Business Ready for Hurricane Season?

5/6/2022 (Permalink)

emergency plan Save money and save your business by addressing risks before the impending threat of a hurricane.

The 2022 hurricane season is just around the corner. You probably have a plan in place for protecting your home, but is your business safe? A hurricane preparedness plan is an essential part of being a responsible small business owner. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asserts that nearly 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. With statistics like this working against small businesses, it is more important than ever to have a hurricane preparedness plan in place.

Protect Your Property from Storm Damage

  • Install shutters to protect windows and doors.
  • Clear the exterior of items that could blow away or cause damage. Remove and relocate nonessential equipment to a secure indoor location.
  • Disconnect main electricity to the facility and shut off natural gas supply. This will protect against fire damage.
  • Check fuel in generators, business vehicles, and fire pumps.
  • Check the roof, gutters, irrigation systems, etc. as you would prepare your home to minimize storm damage to the property.
  • Since many standard insurance policies do not cover flooding, including storm surge flooding, inquire about flood insurance for your small business.

Collect and Protect Company Records and Important Documents

  • Adopt a process for saving business documents virtually. Scan documents to the computer. Back up computers onto the cloud, an external hard drive, etc. Store external hard drive in a secure and waterproof location.
  • Make paper copies of essential business documents that are not easily produced such as insurance documents, tax returns, legal contracts, accounting documents, etc. Seal these documents in waterproof containers.
  • Keep copies of important documents in a secure, offsite location.
  • Identify business contacts that are essential to running the business operations. Such contacts may include employees, insurance company, attorneys, accountants, suppliers, banks, etc. Make sure the contact information is accessible from any location.

Establish Preparedness Policies for Personnel     

  • Establish a policy for which employees will be responsible for each part of your preparedness plan.
  • Practice hurricane drills where all employees rehearse their role in preparing for a storm.
  • Keep an essentials toolkit in your facility, including: water, food, masks, flashlight, first aid kit, etc. Should any personnel be onsite during or post-storm, these items will prove to be extremely useful.
  • Develop an emergency communications plan to connect with your employees during and/or post-storm.
  • Establish a plan for employee payroll and time off post-hurricane.

Keep Your Customers Informed During and After a Storm

  • Communicate with customers both during and after a hurricane. Open communication will maintain a trusted business relationship between the parties. You do not want to lose your customers should your small business face temporary or extended closings following a storm.
  • Have customer contact information accessible.
  • Respond promptly to customers.

Storm Continuity Plan

  • Plan how your small business will operate in the face of various emergency scenarios. For example, your company should brainstorm how it will handle limited power, storm clean-up, storm damage, extended closures, etc.
  • Divide responsibilities among employees.
  • Determine essential operations.
  • Educate and train your staff in regards to emergency plans and responsibilities.

Finally, a plan cannot be effective unless it is well thought-out, communicated, and practiced. Assess and address potential risks. Do not be afraid to run drills. Involve your employees in the process. Together, you can increase your small business’s odds of survival by having a disaster plan in place. Save money and save your business by addressing risks before the impending threat of a hurricane.

In the event that your small business suffers storm damage, SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County is here for you. Contact our storm damage experts today to learn more!

Preparing Your Backyard for a Big Storm

4/26/2022 (Permalink)

backyard of house With the 2022 hurricane season quickly approaching, it’s time to prepare your backyard for that big storm.

That seemingly innocent lawn chair, low-hanging branch, pool umbrella, or kiddie toy may pose a greater threat than think. These common items, combined with the right amount of wind, can cause tremendous damage, including water damage, during a large storm or hurricane. South Florida storms are not to be taken lightly. With the 2022 hurricane season quickly approaching, it’s time to prepare your backyard for that big storm.

Hurricane season begins on June 1st and last throughout the month of November, with peak season between mid-August and late October. South Florida frequently finds itself in the path of these destructive storms. Learning how to secure your home and yard in the face of damaging winds, storm surges, and floods will save you money, time, and stress. Start preparing your yard by checking trees, drains, projectiles, and pools using the following list:

Tree Prep Before a Storm

  • Check for dead or damaged trees, branches, and roots. A dead or damaged tree, or part thereof, is more likely to fall off during a storm forming a potentially dangerous projectile.
  • Trim and remove dead and damaged tree parts regularly.
  • Clean up and secure all lose yard debris.
  • Palms do not need to be pruned prior to a hurricane. Never remove healthy fronds from the palms.
  • Potted plants and trees should be moved indoors.
  • Pick produce from vegetable and fruit trees if close to ripe. This includes coconuts or large palm seeds from palm trees.
  • Secure or bring inside all yard tools.

Drainage Concerns Before a Big Storm

  • Remove all debris from storm drains. If storm waters cannot flow correctly, it can cause flooding which will lead to water damage.
  • Inspect runoff areas to ensure the water has somewhere to go.
  • Turn off your irrigation systems or sprinklers. If possible, shut off the water at a main line.
  • Clean out your rain gutters. Remove all debris and properly dispose twigs, leaves, etc.
  • Check that your rain gutters are securely attached.

Removing Projectiles Before a Big Storm

  • Bring in all outdoor furniture, garbage cans, yard decor, flags, wind chimes, and any other items that are not tied down securely.
  • Have a plan for which items will be brought in and those items that require secure fastening.
  • Dispose of broken or unnecessary items that pose a hazard. Ex. Old flower pots, wood, etc.
  • Have a plan in place for safe and secure storage of things like swing sets, compost bins, grills, doghouses.

Preparing Your Pool Before a Big Storm

  • Never empty your pool! This could lead to structural damage and possibly even lift the pool off its foundation.
  • Turn off power to heaters, pumps, lights, filters to conserve energy during the storm and minimize the risk of problems, including water damage, post-storm.
  • Bring in all pool toys, umbrellas, furniture, etc.
  • Securely fasten all large items.

A thorough plan and list will ensure effective preparedness, minimize stress, and keep you and your family safe from those impending South Florida storms. As always, when a big storm is coming SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County is your go-to resource for storm damage restoration or water damage repairs. Contact our office today to speak with an expert!

Where the Customer Experience Matters Most

4/19/2022 (Permalink)

teamwork Simply put, customer service matters at SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County and we would be honored to show you how.

Businesses both large and small often talk about the importance of customer service. In fact, many write about it in their mission statements and company objectives, placing a special emphasis on customer service values and principles. But how many of those organizations actually follow through? At SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County, improving the customer experience is something that we take very seriously.

When an emergency occurs, whether it be water damage, fire damage, mold growth, or a major storm, we know that our customers are in a vulnerable state. With this in mind, we recognize that when a customer reaches out to us it is our number one priority to ensure that they feel heard, understood, and are spoken to in a respectful manner. We have applied this approach for more than 34 years and, in doing so, have carved out a place for our company in our local community.

When people think of SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County, they think of our core customer service principles:

  • Listening
  • Kindness
  • Patience
  • Communication
  • Understanding
  • Attention to detail
  • Continual learning
  • Encouragement of feedback

With these pillars forming the foundation of our damage restoration company, we have found success in both business and in community. When our phone rings, the caller knows that they are reaching an organization who is prompt, efficient, and highly skilled. We work diligently to continually educate ourselves in best damage restoration practices, we invest in the newest, most effective equipment, and we inspire our employees to join us in our pursuit of giving back to the community.

Simply put, customer service matters at SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County and we would be honored to show you how. Contact our North Palm Beach office today to learn more about our services and our commitment to unmatched customer service.

Family-Friendly Fire Escape Plans

4/7/2022 (Permalink)

family planning for a fire The adults in the home must establish a home fire escape plan and share that plan with all members of the household.

A home fire is one of those disasters that everyone thinks is impossible to happen to them. Like in the movies, a home fire is seemingly a random occurrence that is unlikely to happen in real life. However, home fires occur far more often than many South Florida homeowners imagine. As such, being prepared is paramount to keeping your family safe from the potential harms of a home fire. The first step in home fire safety is creating a fire escape plan.

When an accidental fire occurs in a home, a family will depend on three critical elements: 1) smoke detectors and fire alarms, 2) a fire escape plan, and 3) rapid response from the local fire rescue department. With this in mind, homeowners should be in the routine of regularly checking that their smoke alarms are working properly. Check the batteries once a quarter to ensure that you will be alerted to smoke/fire in your home. In addition, the adults in the home must establish a home fire escape plan and share that plan with all members of the household.

Your home first escape plan should include:

  • First, establish all possible exits and ensure that all family members understand where they are and how to access them. This should be determined by looking at the layout of the home and deciding the quickest way to get out depending on where the person may be in the home.
  • Exit strategy should include dropping to the ground and staying low as you crawl to the primary fire exits.
  • Establish secondary fire exits, like windows, in the event that it is not safe to leave through the primary exits.
  • Discuss a meeting location that is far enough away from the house that everyone can reside there while fire rescue professionals address the fire.
  • Practice, practice, practice. It is not enough to create a fire escape plan, family members must rehearse this plan to ensure that everyone is prepared in a high-stress situation.

Young children will need assistance throughout the process of escaping a fire, but knowing a general plan will help everyone in the home to react as safely and as efficiently as possible. As always, if you or a loved one have suffered from a home fire, our fire damage and restoration team is ready to help. Contact SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County today to learn more.

Flooding in the State of Florida

3/29/2022 (Permalink)

flooded floor As a dangerous storm approaches, it is critical that Florida residents make every effort to prepare for a possible flood.

Flooding in Florida is all too common. In fact, Florida flooding is among the Sunshine State’s biggest and most frequent hazards. As a peninsula state, Florida is surround on three sides with ocean water. Plus, Florida often finds itself in the middle of hurricane season’s largest storms. These factors combine to make Florida, especially South Florida, a target for potential flooding. Over the next 30 years, 25 percent of all properties in the state of Florida will be at risk of serious flooding.

South Florida residents, especially those living on or near a coast, must maintain a vigilant eye and be aware of potential flooding issues. There have been a number of very serious floods in history, and the risk continues to expand. Some of the most notable floods include:

  • Tropical Storm Debby, 2012
  • Tropical Storm Fay, 2008
  • Hurricane Dora, 1964
  • Cape Sable Hurricane, 1947
  • Okeechobee Hurricane, 1928

The subtropical climate in Florida means that flooding is always possible. In addition to the climate, the hundreds of miles of coastline create a serious concern. Florida residents in the following regions should pay extra attention to flood warnings:

  • Fort Meyers
  • Miami
  • Sarasota
  • Tampa

As a dangerous storm approaches, it is critical that Florida residents make every effort to prepare for a possible flood. Water damage should be avoided at all cost. However, if the unavoidable occurs, it is important to contact a water damage restoration team right away. For more information, contact SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County right away and our storm damage restoration experts will answer all of your questions.

Getting Your Business Ready for Summer Traffic

3/7/2022 (Permalink)

trees and sun Business owners must make a plan now in order to prepare their staff and operations for the increased foot traffic and buying potential.

It’s no secret that South Florida is a vacation hotspot over the summer, and even during the spring months. For business owners, this means a huge opportunity to capitalize on additional foot traffic and visitors’ budgets for vacation spending. This summer should be an extremely busy one for South Florida. From long winters to the pandemic slowing down, vacationers are going to be eager to travel and, more importantly for business owners, they will be eager to spend money they have saved on travel for the last 2 years.

Owning a business in South Florida can be unpredictable. But for those companies who were able to weather the Covid storm, now is the time to capitalize on the inevitable influx of people heading our way ready to spend their money. Business owners must make a plan now in order to prepare their staff and operations for the increased foot traffic and buying potential. The following are a few important tips to keep in mind:

  • Start an email marketing campaign now to get out of towners excited to visit your store
  • Strategize summer-only promotions and market them accordingly
  • Partner with a likeminded business in the community to cross promote your products/services
  • Sponsor a local sports team or event to get your brand name out there
  • Take inventory now to ensure you are prepared for additional sales
  • Start training your staff to avoid customers delays
  • Develop new sales tactics to close the deal on an interested prospect

No matter which one (or more) of the above tips you implement in your business, they key is to start right away. The summer months will be here before we know it and those business equipped to handle the influx in foot traffic will benefit from the added business. Is your business visibly ready for summer? At SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County, we have years of experience in commercial damage restoration. Contact us today to speak with an expert.

Hurricane Preparation for South Florida Homeowners

2/21/2022 (Permalink)

hurricane supplies Even the most seasoned Florida residents can forget what they need in the chaos of a pending hurricane.

As South Floridians continue to enjoy this near perfect weather, it can be easy to ignore hurricane season lurking around the corner. While there are certainly preparation actions that can wait until it is closer to June, the start of hurricane season, it is still a good idea to begin planning now. Not only is preparing early good for you mental health, it is also good for your wallet. Prices tend to increase right before and during hurricane season, particularly when a hurricane is about to hit. So, making purchases and doing prep work now will save you both time and money in the long-run.

From home maintenance to insurance policies to stocking supplies, there are a lot of tasks to complete to be fully prepared for hurricane season. With this in mind, it is prudent to get some of these things done during the spring season before summer season begins. When the weather starts to turn you will be grateful that you took the following steps:

  • Reviewing your insurance policy to check for the type of protections that you have in place for your home
  • Writing down a list of valuable possessions and taking photos of them to maintain a working list of item conditions
  • Having your roof inspected to check for any loose tiles or shingles
  • Clearing all gutters and drains
  • Gathering bottled water, canned goods, and a first aid kit
  • Planning out evacuation solutions

Even the most seasoned Florida residents can forget what they need in the chaos of a pending hurricane. As such, it is important for all homeowners in South Florida to take action now and avoid the stress of preparing in a pinch. As always, SERVPRO of North Palm Beach County is available for any and all storm damage restoration needs. Give our storm damage repair experts a call today to learn more.