Recent Commercial Posts

Not all fire damages are structural. What about smoke odor damage?

10/8/2022 (Permalink)

Interior of a building damaged by fire, one window boarded up, walls and ceiling covered with smoke Fire damage cleanup and restoration in Round Rock, TX.

Not All Fire Damage is Structural

Your home or business has been damaged by a fire. How do you know how much restoration is needed? The answer depends on the severity of smoke damage, which can be assessed by a qualified expert. Many people are unaware that “visible smoke” is only about 5% of total smoke produced by a fire. Even if an article isn’t touched by flames or soot, it can still be ruined by smoke odor particles that penetrate soft materials such as drapes, carpeting and upholstery. This can happen even if walls have not sustained structural damage from heat; they may simply smell like an old campfire due to lingering odors from clothing and other household items that were exposed to fumes during the blaze.

The most important step in smoke damage cleanup is to quickly begin the process of removing soot and odor particles.

The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to clean up. As soon as you’re able to safely access your property after a fire, begin removing smoke particles from floors, walls, and ceiling surfaces.

It’s also critical that you use products and equipment specifically designed for cleaning up after a fire or other type of smoke damage. You should never use chemicals or cleaning products on your own; instead, hire professionals trained in handling these types of situations to prevent further damage or contamination of personal items inside your home or business space (such as clothing). These professionals will have access to specialized equipment designed specifically for this. 

You may not be aware that “visible smoke” is less than 5% of the total smoke produced by a fire.

Did you know that “visible smoke” is less than 5% of the total smoke produced by a fire?Smoke is a complex mixture of gases and particles. When it's released into the atmosphere, it can affect everything from temperature to visibility to bacterial growth. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that "smoke damage" doesn't just mean soot from fires—it includes any type of airborne particulate matter. So, when talking about effects on your home or business, don't forget about chemical-laden smoke!

Even articles that aren’t touched by fire or visible soot can be ruined by smoke odors.

These odors may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but they can still damage the structure of your belongings and cause them to become unusable. This is especially true if you use any of these products for business purposes or for personal use.

Once smoke odor particles have penetrated soft materials, they must be removed carefully to avoid creating permanent damage.

Smoke odor particles are often so small that they can't be seen with the naked eye, but they still cause damage to materials and leave behind a smoky smell. Smoke odor removal requires specialized cleaning methods such as vacuuming, wet cleaning, or steam cleaning.

If you have experienced a fire in your home or business, SERVPRO can help restore structure and contents to preloss condition.

We know that a fire can have many effects, not all of which are structural. Smoke odor removal is one example of the damage that results from a fire.

We also offer structural repairs, contents restoration and rebuilding or reconstruction services. To learn more about our services and how we can help you recover from this type of loss, contact SERVPRO of East Round Rock’s office today.

Smoke damage is one of the most common types of fire damage. To remove smoke odors from soft materials, it’s important to know all the different sources of smoke odor, which include:

  • Smoke particles (visible and invisible)
  • Stored chemicals in your home or business
  • Food products that have absorbed smoke odors during cooking
  • Fabric fibers that have absorbed smoke while being stored in plastic bags or boxes after a fire
  • Paint with black pigments (such as automotive paints), which can also absorb soot particles when applied over other surfaces

These are just a few examples of how soot can be transferred onto other surfaces through contact. If you suspect that there might be hidden odors lingering inside your home or business after fire damage restoration efforts have been completed, call us today at (512) 851-1876. Our experts will inspect everything carefully before recommending any additional cleaning services needed for complete restoration!

The Importance of Business Interruption Insurance After a Fire

8/23/2022 (Permalink)

Business interruption insurance form and red pencil to sign. Both interruption insurance and restoration services are needed to recover from a business fire

A fire can harm a business in many ways. Physical damage to a property is the most obvious form of harm. A blaze can wreak havoc with a building and everything inside it, destroying walls, equipment, inventory and more. This destruction impacts a company's ability to continue on with its operations, often resulting in a significant loss of revenue. For this reason, interruption insurance is a vital product that should be a part of every company's strategic plan to survive the unexpected. This coverage is defined as commercial property insurance that covers a loss of revenue due to a disruption to its operations as the result of a covered peril.

The Consequences of Business Interruption

When a company in Round Rock, TX, can no longer sell its products or provide services to customers, it can begin to face a revenue shortage. This scenario can be the result of many situations, with fire being among the most common disasters. A company in this situation will have trouble meeting any of its obligations:

  • Payment to employees
  • Payment to creditors
  • Purchase of products
  • Payments for utilities

With interruption insurance, a company can still make its payments in the aftermath of a fire. Several options exist for this type of insurance, so it makes sense for business owners and managers to speak with an experienced insurance agent.

The Value of Fire Restoration Services
After a fire, a professional fire mitigation team can be essential to helping a company get back on its feet in a timely manner. This is another critical way for a business to reduce the impacts of a revenue loss. A team of trained technicians will come to the property and work to restore the property so operations can resume. A qualified team will work quickly to repair property damage, eliminate smoke odors and protect against secondary damage such as mold growth. Both interruption insurance and restoration services are needed to recover from a business fire.

How Professional Certifications Make for Better Disaster Relief

6/6/2022 (Permalink)

People in a training with IICRC logo on top right side of picture The IICRC plays an important role in certifying workers.

What Can Professional Certifications Do for Disaster Relief?

Though not a household name, the Insurance Institute for Cleaning and Restoration Certification (the IICRC), plays a vital role in disaster relief throughout the country. This organization has helped set the standards for cleaning and restoration practices since 1972. Not only does it partner with contractors and restoration professionals to constantly improve standards for effective restoration methods, equipment and products, but it also plays a key role in many professional certifications and training programs.

A successful brand takes advantage of this professional organization and is closely involved in its success. This is one of the reasons many insurance companies and commercial clients rely on a reputable damage remediation franchise when disaster strikes.

IICRC Certified Firms
A certified firm must gain its designation through hard work and training. This is especially valuable in the cleaning and restoration industry, where firms can claim knowledge and expertise that they do not possess. As a certified firm, SERVPRO franchise in Round Rock, TX, has the expertise to complete complex jobs that restore damage caused by storms, flooding, fire, and mold. The benefits to commercial companies are numerous:

  • Peace of mind that the job will be done right
  • Access to trained technicians in restoration services
  • Confidence in the credibility of the franchise
  • Access to insurance expertise

Specific Worker Certifications
A certified restoration company must have at least one certified technician on staff. This mitigation certificate could be in any of several fields that are needed during complex cleanups and recoveries. To receive this certification, a rigorous course must be passed to show sufficient knowledge in the discipline. Certifications include a microbial remediation technician, applied structural drying technician, building moisture inspection, carpet cleaning technician and commercial drying specialist.
The IICRC plays an important role in certifying workers and firms and upholding the standards in the cleaning and restoration industry. A restoration company that partners with this organization can be trusted for high-quality work.

Requirements for Installing and Maintaining Fire Sprinklers

5/18/2022 (Permalink)

fire sprinkler in an office Any business that has a fire sprinkler system on its property, should be aware of the requirements, both legal and practical.

Requirements for Installing and Maintaining Fire Sprinklers

Any business that has a fire sprinkler system on its property, or is considering one, should be aware of the requirements, both legal and practical, for installing, maintaining and testing the system. These requirements will according to several factors: state and local jurisdictions, the type of commercial enterprise and the size of the building.
For example, facilities that are 55 feet tall or higher must have a sprinkler system on the property. General guidelines do not always have the force of law, but these best practices apply in most circumstances:

  • Water supply valves should be easily accessible
  • Valves should include information on what areas they service
  • Sprinkler heads should be unobstructed for at least 18 inches
  • Water pressure should be calibrated for optimal performance

Fire Suppression System Maintenance
Local fire safety codes in Round Rock, TX, and system requirements will drive inspection and testing schedules. Business owners and managers should make sure contractors follow these codes as non-compliance could lead to fines. Testing of the fire sprinkler system goes by component, with mechanical devices such as sprinkler heads calling for attention on a quarterly basis in most cases. Fixed equipment such as valves will have different time frames for maintenance, ranging from annually to every three to five years.

National Fire Protection Association Guidelines
The NFPA prints the Life Safety Code which contains pertinent information on the installation of water-based suppression systems. Once the system is installed, care must be taken to keep it up to date to make sure it works when needed. Business owners should also know that if the sprinklers do stop a fire, a fire sprinkler cleanup should be initiated. A professional fire mitigation company will send trained workers to clean up any water damage caused by the activation of the system.  
A fire sprinkler system is a smart investment and it is a requirement for some commercial buildings. Proactive maintenance will ensure the system works when needed to stop a fire.

How To Contain Mold Spores During Cleanup

4/14/2022 (Permalink)

Mold Quarantine Mold containment in Round Rock, TX.

Ways That Mold Can Be Contained

Despite your efforts to keep it at bay, you've discovered mold growing at your business in Round Rock, TX. In the best interest of your staff, building, and clients, you've hired a professional mold remediation specialist to handle the mold cleanup. You're wondering: is it safe to continue running my business as usual while cleaning happens, or do I need to come up with a different plan? During cleanup, professionals will use containment strategies to prevent the spread of mold. However, the impact to your business practices will depend on the size of the containment area. Here are the ways that mold can be contained.

Limited Containment

For smaller areas of mold contamination, a single layer of plastic sheeting will be hung to contain the mold spores that will be released into the air during cleanup. The sheeting is attached to the floor and ceiling with duct tape, or a metal frame may be used for larger spaces. The area is kept under negative pressure, which prevents the spread of spores to non-contaminated areas of the building. If the mold is not in your main work area, it is possible that you can continue to run your business. Always follow the direction of the remediation specialist when determining your business plan.

Full Containment

In a larger area, in situations where there is massive mold growth, or in spaces that are harder to contain, a double layer of plastic sheeting will be erected, and airlock chambers will be utilized for entrance to and exit from the mold cleanup area. In both limited and full containment projects, all air vents, fans, doors, and stairs will be sealed off to further protect the building's occupants.

General Prevention

Your mold remediation team will wear personal protective equipment that they will keep in a contained area in order further prevent the spread of mold spores to the rest of the building.
Proper mold cleanup can be an involved process, so deciding how to run your business while cleaning occurs is a decision that you should make under the advisement of a remediation professional.

How To Get Rid of Smoke Odor After a Fire

1/24/2022 (Permalink)

Ceiling and walls covered with smoke and soot, water on the floor Fire damage in Round Rock, TX.

Smoke Damage Restoration

If you’ve recently had a commercial fire in Round Rock, TX, you may be wondering what steps you should take. You’re likely feeling overwhelmed, not knowing what to do or who to call first (after the fire department, that is). Then there’s that awful smoke odor that can linger even after all the burned and destroyed items have been removed. Thankfully, there are highly trained restoration professionals out there who are sufficiently equipped to handle all your smoke cleaning needs. These companies will likely have access to state-of-the-art equipment and techniques that will not only clean up the often overwhelming mess the fire left behind, but also restore your building to its pre-fire condition. Here are a few things you should expect from a smoke damage restoration professional.

Thorough Inspection for Identification of Odor Sources

It may be easy to look at the affected area and simply assume the smell is coming from everywhere. While there is an element of truth to that, these companies have access to equipment that will help them easily trace the strongest odor sources so that they will be able to focus their efforts most heavily on those affected areas. Sometimes, the odor can come from unlikely places on the interior or exterior of the building.

Water and Fire Treatments First

In order to ensure the odor problem is properly treated, any water or soot must be removed from the premises first as part of the smoke cleaning process. Since these are strong sources of odor in themselves, this process will eliminate a large portion of the necessary odor remediation.

Cleanup, Sanitization, and Odor Remediation

At this point in the restoration process, affected, salvageable items will be properly cleaned, sanitized and restored to their pre-fire condition. The smoke odor will often still linger in the affected areas. Using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment, the restoration professionals will now aggressively attack any remaining odors, since the preliminary work has been completed. Once the odor is removed, the final stage of the smoke cleaning process will be any necessary structural repairs.

The Key to Mold Remediation: Small Steps

12/31/2021 (Permalink)

Walls and ceiling covered with mold growth. Mold contamination Mold damage in Round Rock, TX.

Mold Remediation Process

Black mold is a term that incites chaotic images in the mind. The way people talk about it, you may easily get caught up in the fear, believing that mold is the end of your business in Round Rock, TX. Questions swim around your mind. How can you recover? How can you be sure the treatment is effective? Will you always have a mold problem? The answer to all of these is that you can recover and your mold problem can be a thing of the past.

Break it Down

Just like any other problem you encounter in business, break this mold problem into smaller steps and you will find it is quite manageable. The core steps to mold remediation, no matter what kind of mold, are as follows:

1. Inspection. Professionals will identify areas of growth and use special equipment to detect hidden moisture.

2. Containment. A variety of tools may be used during mold cleanup, including physical barriers or negative air pressure.

3. Protection. Protective gear is worn to protect professionals.

4. Removal If porous materials are infected, they may be removed.

5. Disinfecting. Black mold can be killed by disinfectant, just like any other mold.

6. Drying. Removal of moisture is key to prevention of additional mold colonies.

While waiting for a professional, be sure to turn off your HVAC system so you don’t further spread the problem in your building. A mold recovery specialist will execute each of these steps thoroughly so you can be assured no hidden black mold remains. When cleanup is complete, you can actually replace or rebuild anything that is needed.

Focus On Business

The right organization can ease your burden by handling all aspects of the recovery, preventing you from the time-consuming task of finding individual contractors for each step. A mold remediation specialist can even help you with move out and move in services, as well as rebuilding. With one company taking care of all aspects of your mold problem, you can focus on managing a productive business during this time.

3 Facts Every Company Owner Should Know About Business Insurance

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial Insurance Finding the correct commercial insurance for your company can be difficult.

Three Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Business Insurance

Protecting your Round Rock, TX, business from fire, flooding and other disasters with commercial insurance is probably a high priority for you and one of the most effective ways to guard your investment. However, if you only recently stepped into the world of entrepreneurship, you may not be familiar with business insurance or how to purchase a policy that suits your company’s needs. Before you sign on with an agent, you may want to first understand some important facts about coverage so you can make the best policy choices possible.

1. Location Matters

When you first start to browse insurance for your business, it is important to consider the building’s location. Crime rate, the availability of fire crews and possible flood risk may all be factors in what you pay for your policy. For example, if your building is in an area at or near sea level or near a large body of water that is capable of flooding, your policy may be costlier than one for a building with a lower risk.

2. Consider Your Building’s Construction

The overall construction of your building can affect the details of any commercial insurance policy you are offered. If you have only recently purchased a building and want to make some improvements and additions, it is important to discuss them with your insurance agent first. Using flame-retardant material and having your building’s fire risk gauged by a fire damage and restoration company can lower the cost of your premiums.

3. Employment Risks May Affect Premiums

The type of business you run may affect the type of coverage available to you. For example, if your employees perform high-risk work with machinery, such as a deli, you may need to buy additional insurance to cover them as well as the building. You may want to let your agent know about any possible dangers so you can purchase coverage that suits you.

Finding the right commercial insurance for your Round Rock, TX, business can be a challenge. However, when you understand a few basic facts about how to find the right policy, you can have peace of mind that your building and property are covered.

5 Steps To Take When Your Tenant Finds Mold in Their Apartment

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Flood cuts, wet carpet Mold remediation in Round Rock, TX

Mold Cleanup

Mold begins as a minuscule spore, so it is difficult to believe something so small can wreak so much destruction and havoc in a large apartment building. But mold is a clever opponent that loves to hide until the problem is so big it appears to be out of control. That is why it is important to take the following steps in mold cleanup as soon as your tenant notifies you that he or she found mold contamination in the apartment.

1. Telephone your insurance company. Find out what your insurance policy covers regarding mold issues. Sometimes the fungus is a minor problem, but other times it can require extensive cleanup efforts and a big expenditure of money. Also, request an adjuster’s visit.

2. Take photos of the mold and surrounding area. Establish a record of the situation in pictures. The photographs can also help you if you need to file an insurance claim.

3. Contact a mold cleanup and restoration team. Ask the team to locate and address the water problem feeding the mold growth. This process can include removing wet walls, floors, and cabinets; therefore, cleanup can take several days.

4. Request the restoration team’s assistance in removing the mold and restoring the area. After removing the mold spores and colonies, the restoration team can sanitize the area to prevent the mold from returning.

5. Move the tenant to a hotel if cleanup and restoration turn out to be extensive. When your tenant’s belongings must be displaced during the repair process, offer to relocate him or her to a hotel for the duration of the restoration.

If mold is a reoccurring problem in your Round Rock, TX, apartment building, there is probably a hidden water leak. The sooner you can remove the water, the less possibility there is that mold can cause damage to the building’s structure or spread to another tenant’s apartment. Additionally, by removing the underlying moisture allowing mold to grow, you can save yourself a great deal of money by preventing mold from returning and requiring further mold cleanup.

Why Every Business Should Consider Buying a Flood Insurance Policy

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Flood insurance form on a table with a book. Purchasing flood insurance can provide peace of mind, so why delay?

No place is immune from storms that can potentially cause severe damage to your business. When a destructive storm hits, insurance policies act like financial safety nets, allowing businesses to recuperate damaged or destroyed property. However, insurance companies see flood damage and storm damage as entirely different entities that require separate policies.

Examples of Storm Damage

Wind and hail are examples of natural phenomenon that can cause significant damage to your building’s exterior infrastructure. Examples of potential damage include the following:

  • Loosened or detached shingles and siding
  • Cracked roof surfaces
  • Broken windows
  • Damaged or destroyed outdoor equipment

Heavy Rainfall and Flooding
Some severe storms bring heavy rainfall which, if not drained properly, can saturate an area and cause flood damage. To be officially classified as a flooded area, the general rule is the land must be at least two acres in size and a normally dry region. An area where two or more properties are inundated with water can also be classified as a flooded zone.
Flooding can also occur inside your building, especially if the roof or windows were compromised in a storm. In this case, the distinction between flood and storm damage comes down to when the destruction occurred. While this may sound like a minute detail, it is a crucial determination for insurance purposes.

Property Insurance vs. Flood Insurance
Not all insurance policies are created equal, and there is a distinct difference between flood insurance and business property insurance. Most property insurance policies will cover damage resulting from storms, such as damaged windows, roofs and siding. However, if the storm causes flooding and the primary culprit of the damage was flood waters, your property insurance policy will likely not be applicable. Instead, you will have to file a claim on an existing flood insurance policy. Unfortunately, not every business chooses to purchase flood insurance, creating the potential for substantial financial loss.

Purchase a Policy for Peace of Mind
When flood damage occurs, navigating the restoration and cleanup process can be challenging and timely, particularly if your business lacks adequate insurance. It’s hard to predict when the next severe storm will hit Round Rock, TX. Purchasing flood insurance can provide peace of mind, so why delay?

How Can I Prepare My Business for a Potential Fire Disaster?

4/24/2021 (Permalink)

External drive connected to a computer Back up your important data and documents.

How Can I Prepare My Business for a Potential Fire Disaster?

Although it's only a slight chance, you never know when your Round Rock, TX, commercial building could set ablaze. Whether it's a result of a faulty electrical system, a toaster fire in the breakroom, or a wildfire intrusion, it's essential to think about fire preparation before the worst occurs. Being proactive can potentially save lives, your building and your business.

1. Back Up Your Important Data and Documents
The survival of your business could depend on having backups of your essential data and files. As an extra precaution, you can store this data in a separate physical location, such as on a hard drive kept in your own home. However, your best option is to keep backups of everything in the cloud. You can also scan essential paper files and upload them to your cloud storage.

2. Prepare Your Employees
Familiarize all of your employees with the building evacuation plan, the location of fire extinguishers and first aid kits, as well as other critical information. Part of your fire preparation should include routinely practicing fire drills and presenting fire safety rules with all personnel.

3. Review Your Commercial Insurance
A critical part of your plan is reviewing your commercial insurance policy to ensure you have the correct type and amount of coverage. Having the proper insurance could mean the difference between saving your business or losing everything.

4. Create a List of Emergency Contacts
Another vital component of disaster preparation is creating a list of emergency contacts. The list should include local emergency services, your insurance company, fire damage restoration professionals, employees and their emergency contacts, and suppliers. Keep a copy of this list off-site in case the original gets destroyed in the fire.
Any type of disaster at your business can be traumatic for everyone involved. However, having a fire preparation strategy in place can provide you with some much-needed peace of mind.

Infrared Cameras and Mold Detection

1/27/2021 (Permalink)

Thermal Imaging camera It is important that users of thermal imaging realize the temperature differential caused by insulation

Although you may be unable to see it, any mold smell inhabiting your office may be an indication of a fungal problem. Before tearing apart walls to find out if you have harmful growths in Round Rock, TX, use an infrared camera to determine whether hiring a professional mold removal team is actually necessary.

Mold Detection Via Smell

Any variety of fungus smell is cause for concern. Action must be taken if you detect odors that are:

  • Talked about as being earthy
  • Could be characterized as meaty
  • Reminiscent of wet socks
  • Similar to rotten wood

If you identify stenches that fit these descriptions, an investigative inquiry should be undertaken before additional mold damage has an opportunity to develop. An infrared camera can help you target the source of the disturbing mold smell you are experiencing and aid in locating it.

Mold Detection Via Infrared Camera
While infrared cameras are technically not mold detectors, they are highly useful when trying to locate nasty spores. They do so by visually representing colder areas that can be caused by water intrusion. When combined with a suspect mildew smell, the odds of fungal growth being present are significantly greater.
IR cameras are only useful in buildings with air conditioning, the reason being that temperature variations in spaces without indoor temperature controls are too insignificant to be of use. When sweeping your office, point your device toward exterior walls and roofs, as well as the foundation where moisture tends to collect.
It is important that users of thermal imaging realize the temperature differential caused by insulation. Elevations are another issue that needs to be recognized. Because heat rises, overloaded electrical boxes and transformers may display subtle unexpected temperature variations. Any misdiagnosis could trigger unnecessary construction work or failure to identify where mold exists.
A mold smell inside your office may be a warning sign of a situation that needs to be addressed. Utilize technology to be certain you have a problem ahead of turning your workspace into a construction zone.