Protecting Your Home Against Wind Damage
Wind Damage from Different Types of Storms
While thunderstorms are the most common source of wind and storm damage, winds from hurricanes or tornadoes are more severe and may be more costly. Still, thunderstorms are responsible for a lot of damage, such as lightning, hail, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding. Either way, billions of dollars are spent on wind damage repair and storm damage restoration each year. While understanding the nature of wind damage can’t stop them from happening, it can help you limit the amount of damage to your property and save on restoration and repair costs.
What You Need to Know
Flying Debris is a Damage Risk
Flying debris can cause more damage than strong winds themselves. Damage can result from plants or other unsecured structures and objects. If a storm is approaching your area, make sure any potential debris in your homes such as patio furniture, toys, garbage cans are either secured or brought inside. Bonus tip: For severe weather, secure your doors and windows, too.
A Well-Designed Roofing System Does Wonders
Apply roof deck, shingles, or membrane over the decking. A well-designed roofing system will anchor the trusses and decking to the walls and foundation to keep the entire roof from lifting off the structure in a strong wind. Roofing material should latch to the deck.
The construction phase of building a structure is the most influential piece in reducing damage caused by storms. Loosely connected shingles will lift from the deck, so fasten that siding down. Building codes will likely direct the minimum standards for connections. You, your architect, or your contractor may decide to exceed these minimums for a stronger storm-resistant structure—especially if you live in an area more prone to storms.
Monitor and Maintain Your Trees.
Falling trees and tree limbs are another significant type of damage to structures in a windstorm. Maintain your trees by removing dead limbs. In addition, remove the entire tree if it is dead. Healthy trees should have strong enough roots to withstand fairly strong winds, but dead trees will not.
Mitigating Damage After a Storm
What happens after the storm?
First, close any openings as soon as possible. Roof openings and broken windows are the most common source of water damage in these situations. Keep a roll of plastic sheeting that cuts to size and nail it over the opening. Your insurance policy will likely cover the cost of an emergency close-up, if needed, so contact your agent or claims center to report the damage and seek advice on how to proceed.
If the damage is too much to handle on your own, contact a restoration professional as soon as you can to help limit and repair damage and respond immediately to storm and flooding conditions.
Storm Damage v. Flood Damage: What's the Difference?
Property owners in Cookeville, TN, may have a hard time differentiating storm damage from flood damage—which is important when considering insurance coverage. Commercial properties can sustain water damage from both flood and storms, but there are a few significant differences to keep in mind that may help you manage these risks.
The most general distinction is that storm water comes from above, whereas flood water overspills natural bodies or watercourses and covers at least two acres of ordinarily dry land.
Storm damage to a commercial property may originate from a variety of causes such as:
- High winds
- Heavy rain
Most business insurance plans protect from storm damage. Property owners need additional coverage to offset the expenses of flood damage. If your property is located on a flood plain, you should make sure you carry the policies necessary to protect your property investment.
Flooding occurs when water overflows a body of water or watercourse such as:
- Storm-water channels
In order for water to be considered a flood, it must cover two acres and affect at least two properties.
If a commercial property is located in a high-risk zone, and the owner has a mortgage from an insured and federally-regulated lender, they must maintain flood insurance. Risks tied to flooding and storms should be known, minimized, and dealt with as soon as possible. Regardless of a moisture source, the risk of mold and other secondary damage within a building can be looming over the aftereffects of large, disastrous water events.
Restoring Damage From Storms and Floods
Restoration specialists can help property owners determine the precise causes of damage and the best solutions. If a property in Cookeville, TN, experiences flood damage or sustains damage during a storm, contact SERVPRO of Cookeville at (931) 528-9292 as soon as possible.
Commercial Systems Prone to Water Damage: SERVPRO of Cookeville
Commercial Systems Prone to Water Damage: SERVPRO of Cookeville
Commercial properties present unique risks when it comes to water damage. Unlike residential homes, which are usually one story and have easily accessible crawl spaces and attics, commercial buildings can be many stories high with flat roofs and multiple storefront windows. They also often have expensive specialized equipment that can be very costly to repair or replace if damaged by water. In this blog post, we will discuss the different parts of a commercial building that are at risk for water damage, as well as some tips on how to prevent it.
The first and most obvious risk for water damage in a commercial property is the plumbing system. Because commercial buildings have more bathrooms, kitchens, and other water-using fixtures, they also have larger and more complex plumbing systems. These systems are often located in hard-to-reach places, making them difficult to repair if they spring a leak.
One of the main water damage challenges according to The Hartford Insurance is an improperly maintained sprinkler system. By law, most commercial buildings must have a fire sprinkler system, but many building owners forget to regularly maintain and test these systems. While a well-maintained fire sprinkler system can help prevent extensive fire damage in the event of a fire, improper maintenance or disaster planning can cause extensive water damage that can flood multiple floors.
Another plumbing risk is burst pipes. Commercial buildings, especially high rises tend to run at a higher pressure than residential buildings. Therefore, a burst pipe has the potential to release significantly more water than a home.
One of the ways in which we help commercial property owners prevent catastrophic property damage before it happens is through our app-based Emergency Response Planning program (ERP).
In addition to the plumbing system, there are several exterior commercial building components that can experience water damage. One of the most common is the flat roof. Because flat roofs are not sloped like traditional pitched roofs, they tend to pool water instead of shedding it. This can lead to leaks and eventually, if left unaddressed, major water damage.
Some common commercial roofing systems include:
- Built-up Roofing (BUR): Often called tar and gravel roofs, these commercial roofing systems are built with a semi-continuous membrane installed in layers, then covered in aggregate. While they are usually simple to maintain, best practices suggest inspecting the roof for deterioration and possible leak points at least twice yearly.
- Thermoplastic Single-Ply Membrane Roofing (PVC & TPO): These roofs are installed in large rolls that are then welded together at the seams with heat. The material is very durable and oil resistant. However, the heat-welding methods require skilled installation, which can lead to weak points and leak-prone areas if not performed correctly.
- EPDM Roofing: Some roofers call these "rubber roofs" because the material they are made of ethylene propylene diene monomer is very rubber-like. This kind of roof is derived from oil and natural gas and appears dark gray or black. When installed correctly and with the highest thickness available, this type of commercial roof will last a very long time with little to no issues. Unless you experience storm damage in your area, an annual check for leaks around the roof penetrations should suffice.
Commercial window systems are built for durability and use; however, they can often present a unique water damage challenge for commercial facilities. Most aluminum glazing systems aren't intended to be 100% waterproof. Most commercial window systems are meant to limit water penetration during extreme circumstances while also weeping water back out to the exterior.
By directing all moisture to the sill flashing, storefront systems limit water penetration. It's critical that the sill flashing be installed correctly to avoid water damage. Making sure that sealant is put on the top of the rear leg before installing the sill is one of the most important aspects of a good installation.
The most essential aspect of maintaining water penetration with a storefront is end dam fastening and sealing. Water will enter the building through the jamb locations if end dams are not properly fastened and sealed. Improperly (or missing) end dams can cause significant water damage to the interior drywall or flooring around commercial storefront windows.
Like anything else in a building, time and the elements can cause wear and tear and failure of these commercial window water control systems.
Commercial Water Damage Inspection Services
So if you notice moisture or water damage around your storefront windows, you should consider calling SERVPRO of Cookeville to inspect for potential water damage issues. Our technicians are trained to identify, troubleshoot, and restore all types of commercial water issues.
Call today to schedule your commercial service!
Fire Hazards in Commercial Office Buildings and Tips to Prevent Them
Our homes and our businesses in Cookeville or The Upper Cumberland are our castles, which is why we work hard to make them as safe and secure as possible. Unfortunately, there are some hazards that may not be obvious and can cause damage to your office, in the form of fire or water damage. Even more unfortunate? The cost of these damages, which could run into the thousands of dollars, and can come out of your pocket—whether you’re an individual homeowner or a business owner or landlord. Here are some common causes of fire and water damage in commercial office buildings, as well as tips on how to prevent them from occurring and damaging your home or commercial property.
Understanding Building Fire Damage
Most office building fires are small. But even a small fire can do a lot of damage if it gets out of control or isn’t contained early on. One of the biggest dangers is smoke and fire damage to your home or commercial office's interiors. Smoke can permeate materials, carpets, walls, flooring, ceilings—even drywall joints—leaving hidden danger behind long after flames have been extinguished. Even if you can’t see any visible signs of fire or smoke damage, you should always have an experienced professional examine your property for lingering toxins from before you move back in.
According to this report by the NFPA, there are 7 main causes of fires in commercial office buildings. Cooking Equipment, Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, heating equipment, intentional damage, smoking materials, exposure to other fire sources, and electronic, office, or entertainment equipment. This statistic includes general business offices, banks, veterinary or research offices, engineering, mailing firms, and post offices.
Common Causes of Commercial Building Fires
Most office fires are caused by cooking equipment, accounting for slightly over one in every four commercial office fires. However, while these fires are the most common, they do not account for most of the property damage to office buildings. That position is taken by the intentional damage category. Intentional damage alone accounts for a full 20% of commercial fire property damage. Intentional Property Damage occurs when a person seeks to purposely damage the office property through arson.
Two other leading causes of fire in office buildings are heating equipment, electrical distribution, and lighting equipment. Together, they account for 18% of property damage to commercial office buildings. These can include things such as space heaters, light fixtures, electrical wiring, outlets, electrical appliances, extension cords, and more.
While lower on the list, smoking materials, electronic, office, or entertainment equipment account for 12% of commercial office property damage.
Lastly, exposure fires, as defined by the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), are fires resulting from another fire outside of the commercial building itself. This kind of commercial fire damage accounted for 18% of property loss.
What Can I Do to Prevent A Building Fire?
If your building was constructed with modern building materials, fire damage should be a rare occurrence. But it can still happen if you’re not careful. Make sure all smoking materials are safely extinguished before leaving work each day. A smoldering cigarette can ignite more easily than you think. Also, make sure to regularly inspect your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire suppression systems to ensure they’re working properly. If a smoke alarm goes off for no reason at all, make sure to replace or recharge its batteries immediately.
The NFPA uncovered another intriguing statistic about fires on weekends and between the nighttime hours of 7 pm and 7 am. 19% of fires occurred on weekends but accounted for 31% of fire-related property losses. Meanwhile, fires at night accounted for less than one-third of office property fires yet caused 67% of direct property damage due to fires.
Automatic Fire Detection & Fire Extinguishing Systems: This shows that one of the most important steps you can take towards protecting your office building from fire damage is to install and maintain automatic detection and fire extinguishing systems.
Camera monitoring systems would be best for large-scale commercial properties. Otherwise, self-installed solutions such as those recommended in this article by PC Mag will work well.
For fire suppression systems, the best solution is to pay a proper fire protection services consultant such as Fire Protection Services LLC. Make sure to ask them to help you develop and implement a fire suppression system maintenance plan.
Cooking Equipment Fire Prevention:The best way to prevent fires with cooking equipment is to train your staff properly in its use, cleaning, and maintenance.
When it comes to electrical distribution and lighting equipment, there is a multitude of reasons why fire may start. But according to this article by firerescue1.com, faulty outlets or appliances, light fixtures, extension cords, space heaters, and wiring issues were the 5 most common electrical fire causes.
Electrical Hazards Fire Prevention: To prevent faulty outlet or wiring fire hazards, the first step is to make sure to have a certified electrical contractor or property inspector review your commercial property before purchase. Even if you or a tenant are already occupying your commercial office space, a proper inspection by a certified electrical contractor to ensure code compliance of all building materials and installations will protect you from potentially expensive fire repairs. This is especially important to protect you from having to pay for potential property damages out of pocket.
To protect your commercial property from fire damage due to light fixtures or extension cords, the most important tip is to ensure you follow the manufacturer's maximum recommended wattage and amperage guidance.
A good rule of thumb for selecting an extension cord is the smaller the wire gauge rating, the greater the capacity. According to this article by the Spruce, 12-gauge extension cords can handle up to 1920 watts (16 Amps), 14-gauge cords can handle 1440 watts (12 Amps), 16-gauge can handle 840 Watts (7 Amps), and 18-gauge cords 600 Watts (5 Amps). In addition to wattage capacities, another thing you should look at when choosing a commercial electrical power solution is cord lengths. The longer the cord, the more important it becomes to have a higher wattage extension cord.
For light fixtures, you should follow manufacturer guidelines to prevent property fire damage. However, what you should look out for are potentially dangerous light bulb wattages and materials around your lighting fixtures that could catch fire. High-wattage incandescent bulbs installed on light fixtures that are rated for lower-wattage bulbs can spark flames because of overheating. Also, keeping flammable materials around light fixtures, or allowing dust buildup increases the risk for fire damage.
How Do You Put Out a Grease Fire?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home injuries. A grease fire happens when the oil or fat gets too hot, starts to boil, smokes, and catches fire. The smoking point of vegetable oils is around 450 degrees Fahrenheit; for animal fats, it’s about 375 degrees F.
Prevent cooking accidents by:
- Staying in the kitchen when using the stove
- Removing moisture from food before frying
- Never dropping frozen food in hot oil
- Heating the oil to the recommended temperature
- Having a lid handy in case the oil catches fire
- Keeping kids and pets away from the oven while cooking
Follow These Steps If You Have a Grease Fire
If the blaze is contained in a pot or pan, cover the flames with a metal lid or baking sheet. If you still see fire, pour baking powder or salt on the area to smother it. Don’t use flour, baking powder, or biscuit mix as they’re flammable and will aggravate the problem.
Turn off the burner if you can do so safely. Don’t try to move the pan; the motion can make the flames stronger. For a fire in a microwave or oven, don’t open the door. Turn the appliance off and call 911.
Use a dry chemical fire extinguisher as a last resort. Use the PASS method: pull, aim, squeeze, and sweep. Don’t use water to put out the blaze. When it hits the hot pan, the water will turn to steam, which will spread the oil and the fire.
If you can’t put out the fire, evacuate your home and call 911. Stay at a safe distance and don’t go back in until directed by the firefighters.
A grease fire can do more than ruin your meal. If you find damage in your Upper Cumberland, home, and need whelp with fire cleanup, get in touch with a local fire damage restoration company.
4 Candle Alternatives for Fire Safety
Here are Four Fire-Safe Candle Alternatives
Candles are used to create decorative lighting effects or release fragrances. Whether you are looking for safer mood lighting or a way to diffuse a scent without any risk of a candle fire, here are four fire-safe candle alternatives.
1. Battery-Powered Candles
A flameless electric alternative to candles can be placed anywhere for decorative or lighting purposes. Electric candles come in a wide variety of colors, heights, thicknesses and designs. Some battery-powered models are also designed to release fragrances.
2. Strings of Lights
Another way to get a candle-lit look is to string up Christmas or fairy lights. Strings of lights are designed with fire safety in mind. Choose from strands of single-color or multicolor bulbs. It is also possible to set up lights to blink or flicker if desired. Ultra-efficient LED bulbs make replacements affordable and keep energy costs low.
3. Candle Warmers
A candle warmer may be the best option among these candle alternatives for fans of scented candles. A warmer makes it possible to enjoy these fragrances with a much lower fire risk. A warmer may be a base on which a candle sits or resemble a lamp.
Reed diffusers do not resemble candles. For a different look, reeds in oil can be an attractive, creative and flameless way to release a scent. Diffusers have an even lower risk of fire than an electric candle warmer.
Most candle fires occur around the holidays. Battery-powered candle alternatives and strings of lights are safer options for illuminated decorations. Warmers and diffusers are useful for spreading a fragrance throughout a home with a lower risk of fire. If a fire starts due to a candle or any other cause, you should attempt to extinguish the flames or contact the fire department. Fire damage restoration experts can restore or replace damaged building materials at a residence in the Upper Cumberland.
Deductibles and Storm Damage: Can You Claim Losses as Deductions?
Deductibles and Storm Damage
Storm damage can cause significant losses for a business. However, the answer to whether those losses are tax-deductible or not depends on several factors, the biggest of which is whether items or potential claims are insured. There is a term, casualty loss, which refers to the sudden or unexpected loss of something due to an unusual or sudden event. These losses can be deducted; however, there are several stipulations that may prevent you from using this deduction.
1. Reimbursable Items
You likely cannot claim a casualty loss deduction for items that are considered reimbursable, meaning items that are already insured and protected from loss. Therefore, anything covered under your commercial policy cannot be used as a deduction.
2. Routine Use or Neglect
Also, claiming storm damage loss for items that are already beyond their expected life or not adequately maintained will likely not be accepted as a deduction. For example, claiming an HVAC unit, which has been on the fritz with no routine maintenance checks, has unexpectedly failed due to a storm is not likely to pass muster.
3. Business Interruption
A casualty loss deduction also cannot be applied to projected future profits, meaning that if a storm causes business interruption, you cannot claim a loss on those profits you expected during the shutdown. The reason is due to actual loss and predicted loss. Deductions work by proving actual losses, meaning proven losses. Projections of future income are not proof of that income.
4. Restoration Work
Additionally, a casualty loss deduction will likely not encompass the costs of restoration work unless the work is not covered by your business policy. You can contact your insurer or a disaster restoration specialist in the Upper Cumberland, area to find out more information on coverage and payment options.
Storm damage is an unfortunate occurrence, but one that your business is hopefully protected against through adequate insurance coverage. If not, you may be able to claim a casualty loss deduction, but you will want to review the list above to ensure your deduction claim can make it through scrutiny.
How to Remove 2 Feet of Water From a Garage
Three Different Types of Pump That Can Remove Water From a Garage
There are several equipment options for extracting two feet of water from a commercial garage in Cookeville, TN. Learn about the differences between sump, trash, and truck-mounted pumps, and determine which of these three pump designs could be the best choice.
1. Sump Pump
A submersible industrial pump is a portable solution for removing flood water. These pumps draw water into a tank or container. Sump pumps can be ideal for commercial garages that are not convenient to access with a truck-mounted pump. These pumps may have bilge and ballast, centrifugal, or cantilever designs.
2. Trash Pump
Trash pumps are better suited for pumping up thicker liquids containing mud, silt, and debris than a sump pump or pump truck hoses. These pumps are typically heavy-duty centrifugal designs with deep impeller vanes and large discharge openings. A strainer on the end of the pump ensures that this equipment does not suck up debris that is much larger than leaves or twigs.
3. Truck-Mounted Pump
A pump truck is another portable solution for extracting standing water. This truck relies on industrial hoses to suck up water from a commercial garage or any other flooded location and transports this water to an appropriate disposal facility for black water from a flood. These pumps are particularly used for extreme flooding situations, and may be ideal for dealing with two or more feet of standing flood water.
These three pump solutions can remove standing water from a garage. The right pump depends on the accessibility and location of a garage as well as the quality of the flood water. While all flood water is considered Category Three black water, a large amount of debris or silt may call for a trash pump. Find out which pumping equipment is right for the job by scheduling a consultation with a storm damage restoration service in the Upper Cumberland.
What Can Cause Secondary Damage After a Flood?
A flood, fire or any disaster that involves the quick spread of large amounts of water can quickly lead to further damage from black mold formation at your home in the Upper Cumberland.
What Is Secondary Damage?
This type of damage begins to take hold soon after the threat of the original disaster is under control. It is often due to:
- Improper sanitization measures
- Delay in drying efforts
- Insufficient repairs
- Poor ventilation
Mold is among the most prevalent causes of damage in the aftermath of a flood. It can quickly form and spread in various circumstances, such as after using a fire hose to extinguish flames, when plumbing pipes freeze and break or when water enters a home through cracks or a faulty foundation during a severe storm.
What Is the Best Way To Prevent Black Mold After a Flood?
The most reliable way to avoid mold following a flood is to dry out your space immediately. When dealing with large volumes of water, it is best to contact a professional disaster restoration service to apply urgent and rigorous mold prevention measures. Flood recovery teams can use industrial-strength water extraction machines to reduce high humidity quickly and efficiently remove excess water before it leads to mold.
What Are Some Ways To Manage Mold After It Starts To Form?
If mold has already taken hold, professional restoration services can undertake mold remediation to prevent it from spreading. For example, air filtration and ozone treatments can remove hazardous mold spores and their musty odors from the air. When water saturates walls or ceilings, removing and replacing mold-infested drywall can prevent more severe structural problems. Immediate action can mitigate damage after a flood and may raise the chances for a successful insurance claim to defray post-flood expenses.
Secondary damage from black mold formation is avoidable if you take immediate steps to control high humidity and dry your space after a flood. When in doubt, contact a professional flood restoration service for sound advice.
A Few Answers Related to Home Water Damage
When water overruns the interior of your home, you are likely to have many questions. Your first impulse might be to try and fix things on your own, but any significant flood event requires professional help. You might wonder, "Who should I call?" For major plumbing problems, a plumbing contractor can come to your home and repair the problem. For help with the cleanup and restoration, a local water mitigation company in Cookeville, TN, will have the resources and the personnel to minimize property damage. Technicians will arrive at your home in a matter of hours. They will use advanced equipment and hard-earned knowledge to restore your home to its proper condition.
The Question of Insurance Coverage
Water damage in your home inevitably becomes a financial issue. You will need to repair and replace items and there will be expenses for restoration services. To get the best information, it is vital that you call your insurance agent. In general, though, so long as the water mishap was unexpected and sudden, your homeowner's policy will cover some or all of the following expenses:
- Damage to the structure of your home
- Damage to personal items
- Costs to fix broken pipe
- Costs for restoration services
A flood that originates from the outside of your home is typically not covered. For this you need specific coverage for the overflowing of water into your house.
The Question of a Complete Restoration
How do you determine when your home has been completely restored after water damage? You should make sure all standing water has been removed from impacted areas. It is important to ensure the area has been dried out properly. This can be difficult to determine, so be sure to ask the company doing your cleanup. A reputable franchise will give you an honest answer. Also, pay attention to any lingering odors and insist those are addressed.
A flood in your home is a troubling event. You can overcome this temporary problem with quality help from professionals.