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Halloween Safety

10/25/2021 (Permalink)

Pumpkins with the text "Halloween Safety" and the SERVPRO logo Need post Halloween clean up and restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Halloween is all about letting the kids be creative with decorating, pumpkins, costumes and all of the trick-or-treat riddles a child can come-up with.  Have fun but be safe with some of our Halloween safety tips.

  • Consider alternate decorating ideas for your pumpkins to eliminate carving.  Painting, gemstones, and foam decals are fun ways to really revamp a pumpkin without the need to cut.
  • Speaking of pumpkins, if you’re all about the carved route, look into illuminating them with colorful glow sticks or battery powered candles. You get the creative freedom to change colors throughout the season and eliminate the potential fire hazard. 
  • When choosing a costume, look for reflective fabrics and bright colors to really stand out.
  • Make sure to cross the street at corners and cross walks and to walk, not run across roads.
  • Carry a flash light or glow sticks to help be seen by drivers.
  • If possible, stay on sidewalks in well-lit neighborhoods.
  • Accompany small children on their trick-or-treat adventure.
  • Make sure to go over the trick-or-treat route with your children that will be going unaccompanied.
  • If driving, consider carpooling and parking in a central location to reduce the number of motorists on the road
  • Remind children with phones and other electronic devices to focus on where they are going and to not be on their device on roadways.
  • Consider using face paint over a mask so that their vision isn’t impaired.
  • Make sure children know how to call 911 in case of an emergency and that they have a copy of your name and phone number with them.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a stranger’s home or vehicle.

Need post Halloween clean up and restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Fire Pit Safety

10/11/2021 (Permalink)

Fire pit image with the title Fire Pit Safety and the SERVPRO logo Need fire restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Fire pits have become the backyard must have item this fall season. They provide warmth and add ambience to any outdoor space.  The best part about them is they require minimal maintenance and can bring you years of enjoyment. Here’s a few safety tips to keep in mind when considering a fire pit.

-Only use your fire pit outside and in an open space.  Keep it away from low hanging foliage or anything flammable.  It’s also recommended that you keep it 6-feet away from a home, deck, fence or anything flammable.  The circle of safety!

-Never use or burn plastic materials in your fire pit. Plastic releases toxic fumes into the air and can ruin the surface of a fire pit.

-For wood burning fire pits, only use dry split wood in the fire.  Hardwoods like oak, birch and maple are great for longer fires and stay hotter longer while softer woods like cedar and pine have a higher tendency to spark, create more smoke and may burn faster.

-Just like children and pets, never leave the fire pit unattended.

-Never cook on your gas fire pit.  While it may seem like a great alternative to a grill, fire pits are made differently and food can damage expensive burner components.

- Make sure to read your owner’s manual and find the best method to extinguish the flame.  While the fire may appear to be out, embers can reignite for up to 12 hours. A spark screen is a great addition to any wood burning fire pit.

-Regularly inspect the gas line, fitting, burners or any other components on your gas fire pit. 

-Consider purchasing a cover for your fire pit or storing in a covered area during inclement weather.  If it does get wet, make sure to drain all of the water and let it dry before igniting.

-Check the owner’s manual for recommended cleaning products and procedures but most fire pits can be cleaned with a soft cloth and mild soapy water.

-Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.  Sand is also a great way to quickly put out a fire without damaging a fire pit.  Avoid using water which can weaken and potentially crack a fire pit.

Need fire restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

The Importance of Dryer Vent Cleaning

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

The Importance of Dryer Vent Cleaning text with an emoji version of a dryer with the SERVPRO logo Need your vents cleaned? Get your dryer vent cleaned by the professionals. Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Dryers work by injecting warm air into a spinning or tumbling drum and evaporating the moist air out of clothing.  The moisture has to go somewhere, so it’s released through the dryer vent system. The vent system also collects dirt, debris and lint and over time, can become clogged.

Clogged dryer vents also cause part of the 15,970-washing machine and dryer fires per year.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, 92% of those are caused by dryers. To an extreme, they can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

On the annoying side, a clogged dryer vent also means longer drying times and straining the system. It can also cause excessive wear on clothing and increase your energy bill.

Depending on how extensive your vent system is you may be able to do it yourself with these few steps:

  1. Find your vent and disconnect your dryer.  It’s usually a 4-inch metal tube that runs from your dryer, through the wall and vents to the outside of your home.  Remove any clamps and gently remove the vent pipe from the exhaust.
  2. Using a shop vac or vacuum with a hand-held option, vacuum out any dirt or debris.  Vent cleaning kits are available but be careful to not damage the duct work and they may not reach to the exterior of the home.
  3. Finally, clean up any debris and reconnect your system.  It’s also a great opportunity to check any clamps or components and make sure they aren’t worn out. Also, if you have a foil style vent, you may want to upgrade to aluminum.

By following these few steps, you can enjoy a more efficient dryer and keep your home safe. 

Need your  vents cleaned? Get your dryer vent cleaned by the professionals. Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Smoke Alarm Safety

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke Alarm Safety with an image of a fire alarm Need fire restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost 3 out of 5 home fire deaths were caused in properties with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that failed to operate. Hardwired alarms functioned 94 percent of the time while battery-powered alarms operated 82% of the time. Here are some tips to help keep your home safe in case of a fire.

-When your smoke alarm chirps, it means it’s time to change the batteries.

-The two most common types of smoke alarms are ionization and photoelectric. Ionization is more reactive to flaming fires whereas photoelectric are more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering. It’s recommended to use both types of alarms but combination alarms are available.

-Smoke Alarms should be tested at least once a month by pushing the test button, to make sure it works.

-Conduct a home fire drill at least twice a year.  One during the day and one during the night while practicing different ways to get out of the home.  Also, make sure to teach small children how to get out on their own.

-Choose an outside meeting place where firefighters can easily see you.

-Smoke alarms should be placed on a ceiling or high on a wall with an alarm at least 10 feet from a kitchen appliance to prevent false alarms.

-Make sure everyone in the home knows how to dial 911.

-Interconnected alarms are the most recommended because when one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.

-Make sure everyone knows two ways out of every room.

-Smoke alarms should be placed in every bedroom and outside of every sleeping area with an alarm on every floor of the home, including the basement.

-All fire alarms need to be replaced when they are 10 years old from the date of manufacture.

- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.

-Make sure to never reenter a burning home

By doing simple safety checks on your alarm and preparing your family, you can keep your family safe.

Need fire restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Water Heater Maintenance

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO of Greater Waco logo with water heater maintenance tech and wrench symbol Water heater leak? Need water mitigation services? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Water heaters should last anywhere from 6 to 13 years with most warranties covering the tank and parts for 6 years.  With a little basic maintenance, you can ensure your water heater last as long as possible.  Here are a few tips on maintaining your water heater.

-Check the Pressure Relief Valve or Temperature Pressure Relief (PRV or TPR). Turn off the electric or gas, depending on your water heater, and the cold-water inlet. Put a bucket under neath the discharge pipe and lift the lever on the valve.  If water isn’t released when you lift the lever, then replace the valve. If water continues to flow after testing then you’ll need to replace the valve as well.  Replacement is as simple as draining the tank, unscrewing the valve and replacing the old one while making sure to sure use Teflon tape on the threads.

-Drain the tank and check for sediment. Let the tank drain until it is running clear and is clear of any sediment.  Sediment can cause clogged lines and reduce the life and efficiency of a water heater. Check and make sure there aren’t any additional leaks around the drain valve and that it’s not loose or spinning.  If so, completely drain and replace the valve.

-Check the temperature. You can save money on your energy bill by lowering the temperature as little as 10 degrees.  Simply remove the temperature dial cover and adjust the dial to 120 degrees with a flat head screw driver. Most water heaters come set at 140 degrees.  It’s recommended that you adjust the dial to the lowest setting if leaving for more than a few days.

-Insulate your water heater. A ridged piece of insulation, or bottom board, can save you anywhere from 4-9% off of your energy bill. To know if you need to insulate your water heater, check the R value on the water heater sticker. If the value is below 24 then it needs to be insulated. An insulating blanket is the simplest solution and comes with easy installation instructions.

-Check the anode rod. The anode rod is the long metal magnesium, aluminum or aluminum/zinc alloy that attracts corrosive elements in the water. While it’s recommended that you check the anode rode, realize that by changing it yourself, you may void the warranty.  Before replacing make sure to check your warranty or contact the manufacturer before trying to change it yourself. Most anode rods need to be checked every one to three years and replaced when it is consumed more than 50 percent. By checking the rod, you avoid corrosion inside of the tank and can extend the life of your water heater up to double the expected lifespan.  

Water heater leak? Need water mitigation services? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Fall Fun in Greater Waco

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

A photo of an antique truck and fall background with Fall Fun in Greater Waco text and the SERVPRO of Greater Waco logo When we aren't responding to emergency restoration in the Greater Waco area, we like to enjoy all of the fun the area has to offer.

Cooler temperatures in Texas means hoodies, bonfires and exploring the local area.  We’ve compiled a list of our fall favorites.

-Now through October 31, experience the Robinson Family Farm Fall Festival. Take photos with the family in the pumpkin patch, enjoy farm animals, hay rides, a corn cannon and so much more! Tickets can be conveniently purchased online

-Baylor University Football has a full home schedule playing some of the biggest names in college football. Enjoy watching BYU, Texas Tech, The University of Texas and Oklahoma University take on the bears at McLane Stadium located on the Brazos River. Guarantee your seat by purchasing tickets online

-Enjoy vendors, a barrel train ride and a corn pit at the Point of Truth Pumpkin Patch October 1-30 in Robinson. Admission is FREE with mini pumpkin decorating for as low as $2 and various themed events throughout the month.

-Looking for a spooky date night? Guest 18 and over can do the Paranormal Experience at the Dr. Pepper Museum every Friday and Saturday night in October. According to their website, you’ll get to explore the off-limits basement and both historical buildings where staff and paranormal investigators have seen orbs, apparitions and even heard voices. Spots are limited so make sure to reserve yours online.

-For the tourist, enjoy Silobration 2021 at the Magnolia Silos October 28-30. Enjoy vendors and daytime music all for FREE then purchase tickets and enjoy the evening concert series.

-Waco Art Walk Presents: The Haunted Art Walk on October 23. Enjoy an all-day festival starting at 10 am with a scavenger hunt, music, art and late-night trick-or-treating for the whole family with a costume contest.

- For those looking for something a little more sensory friendly, Elite Therapy Center will be hosting a Sensory Friendly, Drive-Thru Trunk or Treat event on October 24. Families can dress up and enjoy vendors and treats from a safe distance in their car and is FREE to families.

-Cameron Park Zoo will be hosting Brew at the Zoo on October 15-16 for those 21 and older. Enjoy sampling up to 12 samples from some of Waco’s finest breweries while strolling through the zoo. All proceeds help take care of the animals at the zoo.

Need cleaning and restoration services? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Helpful Hints if you ever experience a Business Fire

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

Image of an office with a fire overlay with the SERVPRO logo Experience a fire at your office? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

A fire anywhere can be a traumatic experience, but when it hits your business, it can mean a loss of income for yourself, employees and your lifeline of financial survival. By keeping a level head and following a few steps, your business can come out unscathed.

  1. Take a deep breath and begin going over your contingency plan.  Careful planning before a major event will help alleviate additional stress and keep you on an organized path throughout the chaos.
  2. Take photos and document as much as possible.  The professionals at SERVPRO of Greater Waco utilize 360-degree photo technology to survey the entire structure while documenting every inch of the loss. Make sure to keep any receipts for expenses related to the fire and begin to collect important documents.  Things like proprietary business documents, employee files and insurance paperwork are all things you may need. If you question the need to keep it, keep it.  It’s better to have too much than to accidently throw away that one form you might need.
  3. Call your insurance company.  A quick response means they can begin to file your claim faster and set you up to begin the process of recovery.  You may also want to check if you have business interruption insurance.  Depending on the policy, you may have funds available for specific business expenses incurred from the fire.
  4. Contact your network. Contact any vendors, employees or customers that may be impacted by the shutdown. Delay or cancel any pending deliveries and go over your contingency plan with employees.  
  5. Secure the facility.  If structurally sound, consider boarding up windows or locking the facility to prevent any secondary damage or looting of the facility. Also, make sure anything of value has been removed from the building, Things like important documents, hard drives (even damaged ones) or equipment that can be of value secondhand

Experience a fire at your office? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Preparing for Hurricane Season

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

Text "Preparing for Hurricane Season" with the SERVPRO Greater Waco Logo Got flood damage? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

Hurricane season is in full swing in Central Texas, with September being the most historically active month. Hurricane season runs June through November in Texas. If the most recent winter storm taught us anything, it’s better to be over prepared than not. 

Central Texas isn’t right by the coast, so why be prepared? While Central Texas may not be hit by a hurricane itself, the area is still prone to higher-than-normal rain, flooding and the same conditions that cause tornadoes, can still produce severe storms.

Here are some ways that you can be prepared if severe weather hits your home:

  1. Have trees trimmed that could potentially damage your home.
  2. Make sure to have non-perishable food and a can opener.
  3. Make sure to have at least one gallon of water per day, per person.
  4. Make sure to have a first aide kit and at least a week worth of any medication
  5. If your home is prone to flooding, sandbags are great to have.
  6. Make sure to have at least a week worth of pet supplies
  7. Make sure cell phones are fully charged. You may want to consider purchasing external battery packs for easy recharging.
  8. Consider putting important documents in a water proof bag
  9. Have extra blankets on hand.
  10. Secure lawn chairs, tables and other decorations before severe weather hits.
  11. Make sure to have an evacuation plan.

Mclennan county residents can also register for the Mclennan County Emergency Notification System at https://member.everbridge.net/453003085611240/login .  While those in neighboring counties can register for the CodeRED Notifications System through the Central Texas Council of Governments at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BFF2144C1EE5

Got flood damage? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

How to inspect your home foundation

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

A cracked foundation with the SERVPRO of Greater Waco Logo and blog title Need a professional foundation inspection? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco at 254-224-5999

With a higher-than-normal amount of rain this year, the calls for water damage have increased dramatically, with foundation and slab issues at the peak of calls. While we always recommend having a professional inspect your home, there are a few signs to check for that it may be time to get professionals involved. Here are some things to keep an eye out for when doing a routine inspection on your home’s foundation.

  1. The most obvious is cracks and discoloration in the foundation itself. Horizontal cracks are the biggest things to worry about and are a sign of the wall breaking down by outside pressure. Vertical cracks are usually caused by shrinkage and are the easiest to repair if caught early and repaired.
  2. Check your walls. Walls my show signs by having cracks or discoloration from settling, shifting or potential water damage to the foundation.
  3. Check your basement and crawlspace. Have you noticed any unwelcome bugs or insects?  Is there a musty or mildew smell?  All of these things can be potential culprits or signs of foundation or water damage.
  4. Check your doors and windows. Something as simple as windows and doors not opening smoothly can be signs that your foundation has shifted and may need to be inspected or repaired.
  5. Check your floors. Have you noticed that they are sitting uneven or that flooring is beginning to pull away from the walls or is buckling?  That’s usually a sure sign that the support structure may need to be checked out.
  6. Check your plumbing. Any plumbing issues that have been leaking over an extended amount of time can cause your foundation and supports to bulge and crack and cause erosion to the soil supporting your foundation. In contrast, foundation shifting can also cause your plumbing to leak, crack or even break.

Need a professional foundation inspection? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco at 254-224-5999

How to Clean for Covid-19

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

A drawing of Covid-19 molecules with the words "winning the fight against Covid-19" with the SERVPRO logo Need professional cleaning or a Covid-19 cleaning? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999

According to Yale Medicine, the delta variant of Covid-19 is now the dominate Covid-19 strain that is causing a recent spike in Covid-19 cases around the US. Beyond the recommended vaccination, how can you protect yourself from Covid-19? According to the Center for Disease Control by masking up in public places and cleaning regularly.

  1. Focus on cleaning high touch surfaces regularly. Things like door knobs, faucets and even remote controls can easily be disinfected and prevent the spread of the virus. The professionals at SERVPRO of Greater Waco use,  SERVPROXIDE , which kills and eliminates 99.999% of viruses and bacteria and reduces the spread of germs and pathogens on all treated surfaces. It’s also safe around food, children and pets.
  2. Clean other surfaces as needed or when they are visibly dirty.  It’s also recommended to increase frequency if members of the home are more likely to contract the virus.
  3. While cleaning, ensure for adequate ventilation and use any cleaning agent according to the instructions on the label.  SERVPROXIDE is easy to use and doesn’t require the use of gloves or a mask and is rated the lowest toxicity rating by the EPA, making it great for everyday use.
  4. Make sure to wash your hands for 20 seconds immediately after cleaning or disinfecting as well as after removing gloves.
  5. Make sure to disinfect the home within 24 hours if someone is sick or has contracted Covid-19 to prevent the spread of the virus.
  6. If someone becomes sick, keep a separate bathroom and bedroom if possible, and make sure that they have adequate amounts of separate cleaning and medical supplies.  In shared spaces, make sure the ill person cleans and disinfects surfaces after each use.
  7. Make sure to wear a mask, along with the ill person if you must be around someone that has contracted the virus.
  8. Increase air circulation in your home by opening doors and windows and adjust your HVAC settings to increase ventilation and bring in fresh air. If you’re unable to open doors and windows, consider using air filtration or turning on your bathroom or stove exhaust fans.
  9. Change your HVAC filter to a pleated filter, which is more efficient than a traditional filter and only needs to be changed out every 3 months.

By making small changes and cleaning more, everyone can make a difference in combating the rise of Covid-19 and the numerous variants of the virus.

Need professional cleaning or a Covid-19 cleaning? Call SERVPRO® of Greater Waco 254-224-5999