Recent Posts

Homer Simpson's Guide to Fire

4/3/2017 (Permalink)

"When a fire starts to burn, there's a lesson you should learn. Something, something, then you'll see! You'll avoid catastrophe." - Homer Simpson

Some people would say, “Why would you get advice about anything from Homer Simpson?” I say, “Why wouldn’t you?!” It’s 2017 and nothing is as it should be. Cash me ousside girl is a meme, Voldemort has been cast to play Michael Jackson, the Backstreet Boys have made a comeback, and CeeLo Green now dresses like an extraterrestrial villain in an upcoming Marvel movie. #HowBowDah So why not check out these Homer Simpson quotes and learn what to do (or not to do) if you experience a fire in your home. 

"Operator! Give me the number for 911!"

This one is pretty obvious: call the fire department if you have a fire. After the firetrucks leave, you’ll probably have fire, smoke, soot, and water damage. I know that sounds overwhelming, but calm down! This is what you have insurance for! You should file a claim and call a restoration company right away. The faster the mitigation starts, the less likely permanent damage is. 

"In this house, we obey the law of thermodynamics."

At SERVPRO, we use thermodynamics every day. The process of changing water into a vapor when we dry out a home can be explained, rather complicatedly, using thermodynamic laws. Likewise, the effect that heat has on the structure and contents of a building that has had a fire can also be explained using thermodynamics. The definition of thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with the relationship between heat and other forms of energy. Knowing how hot the fire burned and what material was burned is crucial in the restoration process. How long the soot has been left on contents determines the ability to get it to preloss condition

"It's going to take a lot of fireworks to clean this place up..."

This one would fall under the what-not-to-do category. Although it’s tempting sometimes just to finish the place off, insurance probably won’t cover a firework show in the living room. As stated above, fires are extremely complex to clean up after and many factors go into how you should do it. What kind of smoke residue is left behind is determined by what was burning and the oxygen content of the fire. The residue and surface you are cleaning determines the chemicals that are used to remove the damage. This isn’t a job for a homeowner or cousin Bill that can also fix your lawn mower. Fire cleanup should only be done by restoration professionals to ensure that it is done accurately and completely.

"Oh, people come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of people know that."

-      Fires resulted in 11.6 billion dollars of loss in 2014

-      30.8% of 1,298,000 fires were residential

-      50% of fires were caused by cooking

Conclusion: make sure your insurance coverage is up to date on the structure and contents!!

*Source : (aka not made up)


Restoring Your Cookeville Commercial Property After a Water Damage

9/13/2016 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at Cookeville commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury

SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

For Emergency Services in the Upper Cumberland, Call SERVPRO

8/26/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in Putnam, Smith, Dekalb, Cannon, White and Cumberland Counties. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

  • 24-Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
  • Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment 

Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 – 931.528.9292

Residential Services

Whether your Cookeville home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

Commercial Services

There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your Cookeville commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. Learn more about our commercial services: 

  • Commercial Water Damage Restoration
  • Commercial Fire Damage Restoration

SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile Application Keeps Critical Disaster Recovery and Restoration Information at Property Owners' Fingertips

5/2/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO encourages property owners to take advantage of free download to create an Emergency Ready Profile

For a property owner, a worst-case disaster scenario involving fire or water damage can seem unthinkable and then suddenly become a reality. In the aftermath of a disaster, quick response time by a disaster recovery and restoration specialist can help minimize property damage as well as inventory or home contents loss. To provide home and business owners with a quick and convenient way to call in the experts when disaster strikes, SERVPRO announces the public release of their SERVPRO Ready Plan Mobile Application. The free App is now available to download from app stores across three mobile platforms: Android™, iOS® and Blackberry®.

"The one constant in disasters," says Rick Isaacson, Executive Vice President of SERVPRO Industries, Inc, "is that there isn't any constant. Disasters are unpredictable and frequently strike without warning. That's why SERVPRO's Ready Plan mobile app is so valuable. In the confusion and panic that often surround a disaster, a property owner or manager can reach out for expert help right from the scene, using their cell phones."

The application allows both residential and commercial property managers and owners to create an Emergency Ready Profile that contains critical facility information that can help speed up response time after fire or water damage occurs. In addition to property details, the application tracks prior loss history, utility shut off locations, and key contacts; stores photos of the damage; and integrates local weather forecasts and more, including the address and contact information for the user's preferred SERVPRO Franchise.

Through the application, the user can quickly call SERVPRO or submit an electronic "First Notice of Loss" (FNOL) to the SERVPRO National Call Center setting the wheels of recovery in motion. Rapid response from a disaster cleanup and restoration specialist can help the property owner evaluate options, start the insurance process and take the right steps from the beginning to bring their property back to normal, "Like it never even happened."

"I hope that businesses and homeowners nationwide will take a moment to download our new Ready Plan mobile app to their smart phone," said Isaacson. "Having that information literally at your fingertips in an emergency can prove invaluable if disaster does strike."

SERVPRO specializes in fire and water cleanup and restoration and repair services for both commercial and residential customers. SERVPRO also offers large loss, national storm response, mold remediation and other property maintenance and restoration services.

For more information about SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury, please visit

What is Black Mold?

3/29/2016 (Permalink)

You may have seen sensational news reports that warn about the dangers of “black mold” or “toxic mold”. These reports can be alarming and confusing so it’s beneficial to get the facts to better understand mold.

Stachybotrys chartarum is the type of mold often called black mold, and it does produce allergens and irritants. However, many types of mold can produce allergens and irritants. Treat any mold with caution – stay out of affected areas and don’t touch or disturb the mold.

How Do I Tell If It’s Black Mold?

Since many types of mold can cause reactions, you should contact us regardless of the color or type of mold. In many instances, multiple types of mold may exist in the same house or structure. If you suspect you have a mold problem, contact SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury immediately. 

Understanding Mold

When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here too and are proud to be part of this community. We are also part of a national network of over 1,600 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large scale disasters.

When Hoarding Becomes a Biohazard

2/17/2016 (Permalink)

As the public defines clutter it is usually a situation where the homeowner becomes uncomfortable where they live and believes that the home is not organized. As you imagine every clutter issue is different from one person to the next. What one person considers clutter, another person thinks it is organized and acceptable.

There are those situations where clutter becomes extreme to the point where it becomes a safety and health concern. Again every situation is different and what the local government thinks is extreme maybe different from what you think. The bottom line is that whether the local government or you think that the clutter is an extreme situation can lead to an unhealthy situation including bio hazard situations.

The term bio hazard seems to have a strong context, but it does describe what can happen when extreme cluttering gets out of control. Let’s talk about some of the bio hazards that may be created when major clutter situations occur.

Biohazard Food Concerns

When you first read the word food, you may have thought you read it wrong. But food is a leading cause of biohazard situations with extreme clutter. Those who have major clutter issues, eventually lose the use of the kitchen and the kitchen appliances. They take the food and eat it in every other room in the house. Instead of throwing the food away they leave the left overs where they ate. One of the theories explained, is the concept that those who clutter have a short span of attention. Something takes them away from putting the food back in the correct place.

The next problem is that the food rots and creates mold issues and draws in mice and rats. The mice and rats leave tons of urine and feces. The feces itself has a deadly disease called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. This disease is deadly according to the CDC and can actually be contracted by breathing it in.


Every fire department has complained about extreme cluttered homes. Cluttering can be so bad, that if there is a fire it becomes almost impossible to pull someone out alive. The clutter itself becomes a fire fuel that when lit is impossible to stop. The other issues are the actual clutter following on top of someone and burying them alive. Cases upon cases are documented of people being found days and months later buried in piles of clutter.

Human Feces and Human Urine

A major reason why people clutter extremely is the emotional attachment to what they are cluttering. To part with what they have collected is almost impossible and they will hold on to these items forever without help.

One thing that clutter victims collect is there own urine and feces. Urine is collected in all kinds of bottles and feces stored in plastic bags. These items are stored all around the clutter and underneath piles of stuff.

Clutter clean up with bio hazard

Many families and friends and even professional organizers feel the need to assist in extreme hoarding situations. As they begin the task of removing, organizing and sorting the items they start to smell bad odors. The bad odors they discover come from mold and rotten food and of course rat and mice feces. At this point most friends and family members of clutters hire someone who has certifications and experience.

SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury has trained professionals that are eqipped to handle hoarding problems. Call us today at (931)528-9292.

Us vs. Mom and Pop

2/10/2016 (Permalink)

I was out the other day, trying to get some creative juices flowing. My friend and I start a conversation about what all SERVPRO of Cookeville does, loud enough for people around us to hear. All of a sudden a guy chimes in with, "You can't compete with mom and pop shops in this area." Then proceeds to list all of the reasons why. It really got me thinking….

 There has been a lot of buzz lately about shopping local and supporting small business. The argument for it is pretty compelling. Strictly based on economics, for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $73 remains in the local economy and only $27 leaves. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, where $43 remains in the local economy and $57 leaves. Non-profits receive 250% more from small businesses than large ones.

 SERVPRO is becoming a well known brand. Most people have seen the commercials on TV. To some this give off a very large business/corporation vibe. Although we have a corporate office, all of the franchises are independently owned and operated. This means that we are a small business. All of our employees live in the area we service. We personally buy locally, and our business buys as much as possible locally. Our kids go to school in this area, and because of that, we help with fundraisers and sponsorships. Our local economy and infrastructure are important to our business. To be proactive and involved with this, we are active members of our Chamber of Commerce. We want other small business in our area to succeed, so we are active in local business networking groups.

 If you are in any kind of business, or if you are not and have common sense, you know that customer service matters. I like going to the small boutique on our square because they know my name, size, and style. I feel like it’s a personal interaction more than a business transaction. We treat our customers the same. I run into customers from last year at the coffee shop and catch up with them. They know that they can call us at 2am, and sometimes they do. I love when we get a call that starts with, "I know you don't remember me, but you did some work on my house…" We do remember them and it makes them feel like more than an invoice. And we do work honestly. We're not going to try to upsell you on a product you don't need  

We are a small business and hiring us has all of the benefits of hiring other small businesses, but there is one HUGE difference. Do you know who mom and pop shops call when they have too large a job? They call us. When mom and pop shops are out of equipment, they are out of equipment. Done. We have the resources of another 1,699 franchise, plus our corporate office. If every building in downtown on Main Street floods, we can handle it. When I called our corporate office to see if they could give me a number of just the vehicles in the system, they said there too many to keep a list. That's a pretty big difference.

So to finish my story, the reply that the over opiniated guy got was, " We are a small business with huge resources." And that pretty much sums it up. 

The Worst Advice We've Heard in the Restoration Industry

1/31/2016 (Permalink)

The Internet is a great thing. Without it we wouldn't have Facebook or Netflix and I wouldn't know how to waste 80% of my time. On the other hand we've all seen the Abraham Lincoln quote, "Don't believe everything you see on the Internet" and the State Farm French model commercial. Most of this stuff is just silly and not doing any damage other than dumbing down a small percentage of our society. It's 2016 and just last week there was a Twitter feud between B.O.B. and Neil deGrasse Tyson over the earth being flat. (Dope tracks were dropped and everything. It was a mess.)  

 But what happens when you have water damage in your home and go to the Internet for advice? There's too many websites and YouTube channels claiming to be professionals that aren't. If you follow bad remediation advice it could lead to secondary damage, cost thousands of dollars to properly fix, and result in your insurance claim being denied.  

Here's some advice we've heard that you should avoid:

  • Don't contact your insurance company.
  • Yes, do. You will want to know what your insurance policy covers and what your options are. If it's not covered under your policy, they can at least give you a list of trusted vendors they've worked with before. If it is covered, you will want to see if it's in your best interest to file a claim. Depending on the total cost of remediation and mitigation, specifically how close it is to your deductible, your agent might advise against it.

  • If you have water damage, shut up the house and turn on the heat.
  • While on the surface this seems like it would work, it doesn't. Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. The heat is going to make the water evaporate, but without ventilation the moisture will stay in the air. Mold needs moisture and warm temperature to grow, so doing this makes a perfect breeding ground.

  • Put some box fans on it.
  • Trust me, if this were true, we could save a lot of money going to the dollar store to buy box fans instead of our air movers and blowers. While we do use fans in the drying process, our's are much more powerful. Household fans are not equipped to remove enough moisture or deliver enough air movement to help prevent further damage.

  •    Bleach kills mold.
  • This sentence just wasn't finished. Bleach kills mold it comes in contact with. If you have mold in your bathtub, on the tile, or another non-porous surface, bleach is the way to go. On drywall or wood, not so much. Bleach cannot penetrate these materials, so only the mold growing on the surface is killed.

  • All you need is soap and water to clean up after a fire.
  • Surprisingly enough, we heard this from an adjuster we were working for. It simply isn't true. Fires are extremely complex to clean up after and many factors go into how you should do it. What kind of smoke residue is left behind is determined by what was burning and the oxygen content of the fire. The residue and surface you are cleaning determines the chemicals that are used to remove the damage. While soap and water can be used, unless it is a very small fire, it is almost never enough to thoroughly clean.

  • You can do it yourself. Just YouTube it.
  • Don't be that guy. After a water damage, it takes 48-72 hours for mold to grow. It takes only minutes for permanent discoloration after soot settles. Water, fire and mold damages shouldn't be treated like a DIY project. Hiring a professional can save you time and lots of money in the end. And we won't have to change our slogan to "We Repair what Your Husband Fixed." 

    Understanding and Preventing Ice Dams

    1/13/2016 (Permalink)

    Understanding and Preventing Ice Dams 

    Ice dams can be incredibly destructive in the winter. They can cause leaks that rot away the structure of the house. Fortunately, they can be prevented with a little maintenance and care. You should understand what ice dams are and how to prevent them from forming.

    Understanding What an Ice Dam Is
    An ice dam is something that forms on the edge or lower portion of your roof. The dam is an area of ice that acts like a wall. Ice dams stop snow and water from moving naturally off your roof. The water will begin to accumulate on your roof behind the dam. Ice dams are dangerous because the water on your roof will usually flow under the shingles and into your home. This can cause a massive amount of water damage to the structure of your house. Additionally, the ice itself could punch a hole in the roof that allows water to enter. The dam could tear the gutters out opening a new path where water can enter the house.

    Why Ice Dams Form
    An ice dam can form on any home when the temperatures are right and there is snow on the roof. The main cause of ice dams is the constant melting and then refreezing of water and snow. The melting snow rolls down the side of the roof. The cold air then causes it to freeze. If this process is allowed to go one for some time, then the frozen patches of water will start to grow. This occurs until a tall dam has formed. Homes that are emitting a large amount of heat through the roof are more vulnerable to ice dams.

    Attic Ventilation
    One of the main ways to prevent ice dams is to make certain the attic has good ventilation. A warm attic will cause the snow on the roof to continually melt. The cold weather will cause it to refreeze until an ice dam appears. You should install a fan or other ventilation system so that your attic stays cool in the winter. It will also help to repair any holes or gaps in the roof where water could find a way into your house.

    Upgrading the Gutters
    Another option to prevent ice dams is to upgrade the gutters along the edge of your roof. There are now gutter heating systems available. A series of cables are installed down the length of your gutters. A shield is placed on top of the gutters. The cables are actually heating elements. Any snow or ice that gathers on the edge of your roof is melted with this gentle heat. This reduces the chance that any amount of ice will accumulate and create a dam causing water damage.

    Keeping the Roof Clean
    If your home is prone to ice dams, then you need to keep the roof clean. This means removing as much snow from the roof as possible. Many tools and devices are available that can be used to safely remove snow from a roof without requiring you to climb a dangerous ladder in the winter. Removing the snow prevents it from melting and refreezing into an ice dam.

    Breaking Up an Ice Dam
    If there is an ice dam already on your roof, then it is possible to break it up manually to minimize damage. You will need to use a tool to slowly chip off pieces of the dam. The goal is to create a channel through the dam so that the water trapped behind can escape and flow off the roof. This can temporarily solve the problem although the channel will likely fill in with more ice over time.

    Our technicians are highly trained and experienced with every water damage situation from sewage damage clean up, mold removal, smoke damage repair, fire damage repair, flooded basement, wet carpet, wet walls, carpet water damage, basement water damage, flooded crawl space, sewer backup, sewage removal, mud removal, commercial water damage, restoration, house water damage, building water damage, hotel water damage, flooded building, crawl space water damage, crawl space sewage damage, pump out and dry out.

    When your home is being threatened by water damage from flooding or leaks, SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury's staff have the expertise to prevent or mitigate the devastating effects water damage can have in order to help preserve and restore your property. Our Professionals have the equipment and experience necessary to handle the most challenging water damage and removal situations and are available around-the-clock. SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury professionals concentrate on safely drying, deodorizing and disinfecting the areas flooded or damaged by water.

    SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthge/SmithvilleWoodbury proudly serves Putnam, Smith, DeKalb, Cannon, Cumberland, Jackson, Overton and surrounding counties.

    Contact SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury Regarding Your Water Damage Emergency - (931)528-9292

    FAQs about Air Duct Cleaning

    1/6/2016 (Permalink)

    Cleaning FAQs about Air Duct Cleaning Before and after of a commercial duct cleaning by SERVPRO of Cookeville.

     While many homeowners are beginning to realize the importance of routine duct cleaning, you may still have questions about the process. That's why we've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about who should clean your ducts, why it's necessary, and how it's done.

    "Why do my air ducts need to be cleaned?"

    Over the years, dust, allergens, dirt, and other debris can accumulate in your ducts. In fact, it can build up in layers as much as three inches deep! This filth can trap bacteria and foster mold growth, creating potential health threats for your family. And, to make matters worse, every time your HVAC system turns on, some of these contaminants are circulated throughout your house. Having your air ducts cleaned removes this accumulation of pollutants and greatly improves the air quality of your home. For safe, breathable air, you should have your ducts cleaned at least every four years.

    "How exactly is my ductwork cleaned?"

    Using specialized tools and a negative airflow system (essentially a huge vacuum), air duct cleaners scrape the dust, dirt, and debris from your ducts. The tools agitate the particles away from the sides of the ducts and the vacuum keeps them from escaping into your house. The cleaning should also include air washing furnace and air conditioner components, vacuuming registers, and applying mold inhibiting agents if necessary.

    "Who should clean my ducts?"

    Only trust a professional duct cleaning service. These experts have the knowledge and specialized equipment to effectively remove all of the dust and debris from your ductwork without damaging it or dispersing the pollutants throughout your house. 

    "Will duct cleaning damage my furnace or air conditioner?"

    No: duct cleaners use specialized tools and techniques to remove accumulated dust without harming any component of your HVAC system. In fact, your furnace and air conditioner will actually work better after a cleaning: airflow will be improved, so your heating and cooling system can run more efficiently.

    "My home is new, so I don't need a duct cleaning, right?"

    Wrong! Construction is a messy process, and frequently debris and drywall dust get into your ductwork. This blocks airflow, traps even more dust, and can contribute to mold growth. A thorough cleaning will remove any obstructions, as well as the accumulated dust, to get your ducts into great shape!

    "Will my house be less dusty after my ductwork cleaning?"

    You bet! Because your heating and cooling system circulates dust from your ductwork throughout your home, eliminating that dust means your whole house will be cleaner.

    "Since my new furnace clean, I don't need a duct cleaning, right?"

    Wrong. Even though your new furnace is clean, there is still dust in your ducts. And, because the fan on your new furnace is probably more powerful than the old one, all that dust and dirt is going to be blown straight into your rooms! Most HVAC cleaning specialists recommend a complete ductwork cleaning in tandem with any new furnace or air conditioner installation.

    "Will duct cleaning help my allergies?"

    Most likely. The accumulation inside your ducts includes pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and other allergens as well as dirt. Removing this debris should greatly decrease the concentration of allergens in the air and reduce your allergy symptoms.

    If you have any additional questions about ductwork cleaning or need to schedule a cleaning for your ductwork, contact SERVPRO of Cookeville/Carthage/Smithville/Woodbury. They'll be able to provide additional information and superior cleaning!