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Preparing for winter storms

1/17/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Preparing for winter storms Disaster supply kit

In certain parts of the United States, you have to be prepared for the conditions that come with winter. Conditions can change rapidly, and become hazardous with little to no warning. You should always be prepared whether you’re at home or driving on the roads. A lot of people don’t realize that when you’re at home, there are still risks associated with cold, snowy conditions. If your electricity goes out during a storm, you may run the risk of freezing. 

A major winter storm can last for several days, and in some cases, it can have high winds with it. Strong winds and high humidity can create a lower wind chill factor, increasing the risk of frostbite to exposed skin. Winter storms can make driving and walking hazardous. Always listen to the radio and tv for the latest forecast. You should also visit the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s travel information site, at http://www.wyoroad.info , before doing any traveling.

Here are some tips on how to be prepared for a winter storm:

Before a winter storm:

  • Have a disaster plan.
  • Prepare a disaster supplies kit for your home and car. Include a first aid kit, canned food with opener, bottled water, battery-operated radio, extra batteries, flashlight, protective clothing, and blankets, and matches.
  • Be aware of changing weather.

During a winter storm:

  • Stay indoors and dress warmly.
  • Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Drink water. Also, drink warm broth and juices.
  • If you must go outside, wear layered clothing, mittens and a hat.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing to prevent the loss of body heat.
  • If you must drive, carry a cell phone with a fully-charged battery.
  • Let someone know where you’re going, just in case your car gets stuck.
  • If you’re car gets stuck, stay with it and wait for help unless help is visible within 100 yards. Use maps and car mats to stay warm.

After a winter storm

  • Avoid driving until conditions have improved.
  • Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling snow are the leading cause of deaths during the winter.
  • Check on neighbors to make sure they are okay.

Your friends at SERVPRO of Casper hope you have a safe and warm winter!!!

Water Categories

12/22/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Categories IICRC

When hiring a restoration company, you want to make sure that they can take care of your damage properly. It’s always a good idea to make sure the lead technician is IICRC-certified in the type of restoration you are having done (water damage, fire and smoke damage, etc.) It is especially important for water damagesWater damage mitigation that is improperly performed can cause health problems for your family in the future.

It is critical that the company working in your home or office is insured for this type of work, and they perform thorough background checks on their employees.  SERVPRO of Casper meets all of these qualifications. With over 30 years of serving the people of Casper, and Natrona and Converse counties, we have developed a strong reputation of honesty and precise, high-quality workmanship.

The industry standard for water damage restoration is ANSI/IICRC Standard S500. There are a lot of technical matters in this standard that must be carefully adhered to. IICRC-certified technicians have been trained on this standard, and can bring your home or office back to a dry, safe, healthy state.

One example of a technical detail in the ANSI/IICRC Standard S500 is determining the category of water in the property. This helps establish the level of contamination in the water, and guides the decisions on what materials can be dried, versus what must be removed and disposed of.

Category 1 – This is a liquid from a clean and sanitary source, like faucets, toilet tanks, drinking fountains and broken pipes. This water has minimal contamination, but must be addressed quickly. If it is not cleaned up in a timely manner, category 1 water can degrade into category 2.

Category 2 – This is often referred to as gray water, and is described as having a level of contaminants that may causes illness or discomfort if ingested. Some sources could be dishwasher, washing machine drainage, sink drains, and toilet overflow that is NOT from beyond the trap, with some urine but no feces. Again, rapid removal and drying is important. Category 2 water that is allowed to dwell for a period of time can degrade into category 3 water.

Category 3 – This category of water is considered to be grossly unsanitary. Often referred to as black water, some sources could include sewer back up, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow from beyond the trap, and stagnant liquid that has started bacterial growth.

SERVPRO of Casper Technicians are IICRC-trained and certified, so they can determine what kind of loss you have and how to properly take care of it so you don’t have any further problems.

Area Rug Cleaning

12/22/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Area Rug Cleaning Commercial or Residential Area Rug Cleaning

Area Rug Cleaning

Home and business owners typically think about the cleanliness of the carpets in their home or office. But area rugs and commercial walk-off mats are often overlooked. Ironically, the rugs and mats usually get more foot traffic than the carpets, and can develop a build-up of deeply-compacted soil. It is important to get them cleaned regularly, to prolong their life.  This is especially true of commercial walk-off mats. They are designed to capture outdoor soils from your footwear, so it is not tracked into the building. Cleaning these mats removes the buildup of soiling, so they can be more efficient in keeping the dirt out of your business.

            Soil protectant is a great add-on service after rug and mat cleaning. It will make them more resistant to permanent staining when an accidental spill or spot happens. Soil protectant can also prevent ordinary soils from strongly binding to the rug or mat fibers, making them more responsive to cleaning. It’s a great way to protect your investment!

            Whether it’s a sturdy commercial mat, or a delicate oriental rug, the professionals at SERVPRO of Casper have the tools and training to keep them looking their best. Call us at 307-235-6558 for a free evaluation and estimate.

Frozen Pipes Part 1

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Frozen Pipes Part 1 Freezing Temperatures in Casper Wyoming

Frozen Pipes 

Sometimes, customers don’t understand why their pipes break after there was frozen water in them. The reason is that water expands when its frozen, exerting a lot of pressure on the pipe that is holding it. With the water expanding in the pipe, it causes it to split and break.

The pipes that are more likely to freeze are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply line, and sprinkler lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior area like basement and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinet.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

How to Protect Pipes from Freezing

Here are some suggestions on how to protect your pipes from breaking, before the freezing temperatures arrive.

  • Drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler supply lines. Follow the manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Check areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes, such as heat tape, pipe sleeve, and heat cable. Newspaper can provide some insulation and protection.
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.

Frozen Pipes Part 2

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Frozen Pipes Part 2 Frozen pipes in Casper Wyoming

How to prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage
  • Open cabinet doors to kitchen and bathroom, and if there is a sink in the laundry room, to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing. Remember, by opening the cabinet doors, you are exposing all the harmful chemicals stored in these areas. Be sure to move them away from kids and pets.
  • When the weather is at freezing temperatures, let cold water drizzle from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Doing this helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature (70 degrees) during the day and night. Your heating bill may be higher, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55 degrees.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (keep away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame devices.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • If you have a frozen pipe it’s a good idea to check the others. Weather that is cold enough to freeze a single pipe will often freeze multiple pipes in the structure.

Holiday Decoration Safety Tips In Casper, WY

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Holiday Decoration Safety Tips In Casper, WY Holiday Decorations

With the holiday season, we all get excited about the cooking, baking, and setting up Christmas decorations. But unfortunately, with all the excitement we become complacent, and we don’t think of safety first. 

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission there were 15,000 injuries related to holiday decorations in 2012. Mishaps send about 250 people to the emergency room daily, with falls, cuts and back strains topping the list of injuries. To ensure you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season with your friends and family, here are 12 tips to keep in mind as you deck out your home:

  1. Keep live trees away from heated sources – Keep your tree from heated sources such as fireplaces and heaters. It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Live trees are highly flammable because of the needles and sap.
  2. Hydrate your tree - When picking your tree you want to pick the greenest one. It’s one way to keep your tree from drying out so quickly. Make sure you check it every other day to make sure the water does not run out. A dried out tree is more flammable then a hydrated one.
  3. Artificial tree - When purchasing an artificial tree you want to make sure that it’s labeled “fire resistant.” Artificial trees that are fire resistant have a low chance of catching on fire.
  4. Burning wrapping paper in the fireplace - Paper can catch fire very quickly and cause a flash fire.
  5. Work as a team - When stringing lights and decorations higher than you can reach, make sure you use a proper ladder and someone supporting the base.
  6. Double check your lights - Check and replace any lights that may have frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections. Make sure you don’t put indoor-rated lights outside; you want to check the label to see if they are designed to be hung outdoors. You want to make sure that you don’t string too many lights together so you don’t over strain the cords and cause a fire.
  7. Power down at the end of the night – Turn off all your lights before going to bed. It’s also a good idea to do that before you leave your home. In case of an electrical short, you can avoid significant damage when caught in time.
  8. Prevent electrical cord damage – Don’t mount electrical cords in areas that are at a high risk of crimping or damaging the cord. When hanging them, make sure you use hooks or insulated staples instead of nails or tacks.
  9. Secure candles – When buying candles, it is best to buy them in a glass container with a lid. Make sure candles are placed on a sturdy platform to help prevent tipping. Always snuff out the candles before leaving your home or going to bed.
  10. Use unbreakable ornaments – If you have fragile ornaments, place them out of reach of pets and kids.
  11. Fake food – It’s best to avoid artificial candy or food around pets and children.
  12. Poisonous plants – Poinsettias are poisonous when eaten, so it’s a good idea to keep them out of reach of kids and pets.

Happy Holidays from all of us at SERVPRO of Casper!

Smoke Damage

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Smoke Damage Smoke Damage in Casper, WY

Smoke has many interesting characteristics, such as where it travels and how easily it is able to penetrate materials. It’s fascinating to learn the different types of smoke and what materials cause it, and the different kinds of cleaning methods necessary for each type. SERVPRO has many different tools, cleaning products, and deodorization methods that are specifically designed to target each type of smoke. Our technicians know which type of product to use, and how to address the little particles of smoke that hide in cracks, corners, and crevices.

 SERVPRO of Casper’s trained technicians are experienced in identifying what type of smoke is present,  what cleaning method is best for the situation, and what needs to be cleaned.  Through the years we have had calls from many customers that have attempted to do the cleaning themselves, They found that smoke cleanup is very challenging, and best left to the professionals for effective restoration. Customers don’t realize all the little stuff that needs cleaned and the areas that are easily missed. They don’t have access to professional smoke removal products, and the deodorization tools to make sure the problem is fully and properly corrected.

The different types of smoke:

Wet Smoke: (Plastics and Rubber materials)

Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Wet smoke has become more common, as we have ever-increasing amounts of plastic items in our homes. These residues are best cleaned up using “wet” methods, such as liquid cleaners. Pre-deodorizing this type of smoke damage with thermal fogging can aid greatly in the cleaning.

Dry Smoke:  (Paper and Wood materials)

Fast burning, high temperatures, fine, dry particles. “Dry” cleanup methods, such as dry-clean sponges, are typically used to remove most of this smoke. Sometimes, additional wet cleaning needs to be done if the smoke is heavily-concentrated.

Protein Fire Residue: (Protein Foods Meats and Beans)

Discolors paints, and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. This is the most difficult type of smoke to effectively deodorize. Wet-cleaning with grease-cutting additives is necessary. Multiple methods of deodorization, including activated oxygen (ozone) are also necessary.

Fuel Oil Soot: (Furnace Puff Backs)

Fuel-oil furnaces are rare in Wyoming, so puff-backs do not occur often. Cleanup of this type of smoke requires special products to break down the oily residue. In most cases, we can restore the contents and structure quickly.

Other Types: Tear Gas, Fingerprint Powder, Fire Extinguisher Dust)

Each particular loss requires special care. SERVPRO technicians understand how to identify these specialty residues, and remediate them on a case-by-case basis.

If you should have smoke damage in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Casper today. We will assess the damage, and develop a plan to restore your property quickly and effectively.

Carpet Cleaning Maintenance

8/7/2017 (Permalink)

General Carpet Cleaning Maintenance Carpet Cleaning

When most people hear the name “SERVPRO”, they think of our fire and water cleaning and restoration services. But did you know that we have been cleaning carpets and upholstery in the Casper area for over 30 years? These services are just as important to the upkeep of a home, and don’t require an emergency to give us a call!

There are many benefits to maintaining carpets:

- Increases the life span of your carpet.

- It is typically necessary to keep your carpet warranty valid.

- Enhances the appearance of any room.

- Removes dust mites that may have found a home.

- Removes spots and stains.

- Makes carpeting look and feel clean and fresh.

Properly cleaning your carpets regularly is good for your health:

- Protects indoor air quality. Carpets trap airborne pollutants. By cleaning the carpet, you are removing the pollutants, protecting the carpet and the indoor air quality.

- Prevents buildup of allergens and bacteria. Soiling of carpets can build up several unhealthy contaminants.

- Improves worker morale in commercial settings. Workers feel better about their work environment when their area is clean.

At SERVPRO of Casper, we can handle light to heavy soiled conditions on your carpet. It is recommended that residential cleaning gets done at least once every 12 months, or possibly more depending on the traffic. Commercial buildings should have their carpets cleaned every six to twelve months, also depending on the traffic. Carpets should be cleaned before they become too heavily soiled. If you wait too long, the carpets may not restore to an acceptable condition. After your carpet cleaning is done, we recommend soil protectant be applied. Soil protectant keeps soils from tightly binding to carpet fibers, so the next cleaning is more effective. It also makes the carpet more resistant to staining, so spills can be easily cleaned up. Our spotting kits also help with these spills. They contain four different products that can handle unexpected spots and spills between your regular carpet cleanings.

With our decades of experience in carpet cleaning, we can help keep your home or business looking its very best. We have all the up-to-date equipment and cleaning products to take care of your carpet cleaning needs. Whether you need just a few rooms cleaned, or an entire house or office, the professionials at SERVPRO of Casper have you covered. Call us for a free estimate at 307-235-6558.

Fire Safety for Kids

8/7/2017 (Permalink)

General Fire Safety for Kids You can never be to careful when it comes to fire safety.

When it comes to potential emergencies, the first thought many people have is “It will never happen to me”. But the reality is that we never really know if an incident will happen to us, or how severe it will be. Whether it’s a medical emergency, a water damage, or even a fire, you should always be prepared for anything, and practice active prevention. You don’t want to wait until after something happens, wishing that you could have done things differently. Every year, fires are caused by children playing with matches or lighters. Some of these fires happen in grassy fields, while others happen inside homes. All of these fires are preventable. We will share some information on escape plans, and some fire safety tips.

When creating an escape plan in your home, you should go over it with your children so they know how to get out the house. Kids typically don’t think about how they would escape from their home in a fire, so this is an important discussion to have with them.

  • Have a plan in place for children that cannot get out on their own, such as infants and toddlers. Talk about which family member is going to wake up the children and help them get out.
  • Always identify two different ways out of every room. You should know multiple ways to exit in every room in case one exit is blocked, or it is too dangerous to use.
  • Choose a destination outside the house to meet, a safe distance away. This could be across the street, or at a neighbors’ home.

In addition to fire prevention with children, there is the concern of burn prevention. In many instances of fires started by children, serious burn injuries can occur. Here are some tips to help keep your kids safe from fire and burns.

  • Children should be at least 3 feet away from anything hot. Stoves, space heaters, and curling irons are all good examples where additional caution is necessary.
  • Keep any kind of smoking materials away and placed up high, such as lighters and matches.
  • Never play with matches or lighters when your children are around. If they see adults doing this, they will think that it is okay, and possibly even fun.

 Accidents can happen at any time. But with some mindful planning, many of these can be completely avoided. If something should still happen, just know that SERVPRO of Casper is here to help anytime. Call us, day or night, at 307-235-6558.

Drapes and Blind Cleaning

7/26/2017 (Permalink)

General Drapes and Blind Cleaning Cleaning Drapes and Blinds are important too.

Drapery and Blind Cleaning

Most people are familiar with our fire and water cleanup services. Some are also aware that we provide additional services such as mold cleanup, upholstery cleaning, and carpet cleaning. But did you know that we clean window blinds and drapery? Sometimes, when Spring cleaning is being done, the window coverings in a home get overlooked. It’s actually pretty important to make sure those items do get cleaned every 2 years. Customers will ask “When should my drapes be cleaned?”

  • It is best if drapes are cleaned every 2 years.
  • Depending on the heating system, smokers in the home, and other factors, drapes may not show soil for two to six years. They should be cleaned before they are visibly soiled.
  • Oily atmospheric soil will gradually cause the fabric to deteriorate.
  • You could triple the life of your life draperies through professional cleaning, which is inexpensive compared to replacement costs.

When you are searching for a company, be very selective on your choice of professional dry cleaners. Make sure your drapes are dry cleaned ONLY!  Some drycleaners have machines that are designed for clothes, while others have equipment are designed for drapes only.  The best thing about hiring a company like SERVRPRO of Casper is that we can dry clean your drapes on-site while they are hanging up. You don’t have to take your drapes down to send them to the cleaners. And your home won’t feel like a “fishbowl” without any coverings on the windows!

In order to clean blinds, we take them down, bring them back to our shop and process them through our ultrasonic machine. Ultrasonic cleaning is a process that uses a tank of water, high-frequency sound waves, and specialized detergents. The sound waves agitate every hard-to-reach surface on the blinds to loosen soils, and the detergent suspends the soils off of the blinds. Cleaning can take anywhere from three to six minutes, depending on the level of soiling. Once the blinds are cleaned, we return them to the house and hang them back up.

Drapes and blinds collect a lot of nasty stuff over time. It is better to get them regularly serviced than let them collect too much soil. If they become excessively dirty, it becomes harder for the technicians to clean and it may not be possible to fully restore them.

We always offer free estimates. Call your local franchise, SERVPRO of Casper, today! 307-235-6558