Recent Posts

Process of Fire Restoration

2/18/2020 (Permalink)

When it comes to fire damage, preparation is the key.

The first 48 hours after a fire often can be the difference between "restoring" vs. "replacing" your property and/or personal items. SERVPRO of Birmingham provides timely response with restoration services ranging from fire, smoke, and soot removal, to content claims inventory and document restoration.

If you have experienced fire damage in your home or business, here is what to expect from us:

One Hour: Within one hour from notice of loss, a priority responder will contact you.

Four Hours: Within four hours of loss notification, our certified technicians will be onsite to assess the damage.

Eight Hours: Within eight hours of on-site arrival, certified technicians will be working neatly and efficiently to clean, restore, and deodorization. Pre-cleaning for restoration, to prevent any further damage from soot and smoke.

Detailed Explanation: A trained and uniformed technician will walk you through the job process step-by-step, explaining what to expect and the anticipated outcome. We then use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to ensure your home or business is back to normal in an appropriate timeframe.

Final Walk-through: After the work has been completed, a final walk-through will be conducted with you to help ensure your satisfaction.

What to do when your pipes freeze

1/22/2020 (Permalink)

Lately, freezing weather has finally been hitting the Shelby and Jefferson County areas! The best thing you can do is know how to keep your pipes from freezing before those below freezing temperatures hit. While common during this time of year, frozen pipes are preventable.   SERVPRO® of Birmingham wants to offer some tips on how to keep this from happening in your home or business. Below Consumer Reports listed ways to help prevent your pipes from freezing and what you should do if freezing does occur.

How to prevent frozen pipes

Some of the steps experts recommend may go against your better instincts of conserving water and heat, but the extra expense is nothing compared with a hefty repair bill. Here’s what to do: 

  • Keep garage doors closed, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, especially if your sinks are on an exterior wall. (If you have small children, be sure to remove any harmful cleaners and household chemicals.)
  • Let the cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during day and night. Again, during a cold snap is not the time to set back the thermostat at night to save a few bucks on your heating bill.
  • If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
  • For the long term, add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in those areas. And to prevent drafts, seal cracks and openings around windows, doors, and at sill plates, where the house rests on its foundation.

What to do if frozen pipes occur

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, you may well have a frozen pipe. If a pipe has broken, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve, which is usually at the water meter or where the mainline enters the house. If the water is still running and no pipes have burst, you can take the following steps. (Of course, if you suspect a more serious problem, call a plumber.) 

  • Turn on the faucet. As you heat the frozen pipe and the ice plug begins to melt, you want the water to be able to flow through. Running water through the pipe, as cold as it is, will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. As tempting as it may be, do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, a charcoal stove, or any device with an open flame; the high heat can damage the pipes or even start a fire.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Check all other faucets in your home to see whether you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Knowledge to Handle a Commercial Water Damage

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® of Birmingham understands that Commercial property water damages have their own challenges.

This does not mean you need to be worried when an emergency does occur because we have certified technicians who understand the importance of getting your commercial property back up to normal as soon as possible. Our trained technicians work quickly to assess the situation, communicate a cleanup and drying plan, and start work immediately. We have the necessary resources to handle any size job. We understand that quick and efficiency must happen to minimize damage and to resume operations as soon as possible. SERVPRO® of Birmingham has a large loss team specifically trained and ready to go in event of a large loss. If your commercial property experiences a water damage emergency call SERVPRO® of Birmingham. Our teams are readily available to make your property “Like it never even happened.” Our teams are staffed with highly trained technicians in property restoration under IICRC industry certifications, our teams are equipped with the education to restore your property.

Top Causes of Commercial Fires

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

Room charred by fire. Walls have black fire damage with a roof which has collapsed Commercial Property Destroyed by Fire

Fire damage to your commercial business can be catastrophic. It does not matter what your business does, it can mean downtime, loss of goods, costly equipment loss, loss of property, or worse. A fire can quickly move through a building and even put your team at risk. If you are not prepared it can be a situation that escalates faster than you are ready to handle. Good planning can help ensure that a fire does not happen or if it does, how it can be handled quickly and effectively. Below the United States Fire Administration has listed the top five leading causes of a commercial fire. 

Top causes of fires in commercial buildings

According to data from the United States Fire Administration, between 2006 and 2015, the top causes of fires in commercial buildings were: 

Cooking

Cooking is a huge danger, and it was a culprit behind 30,900 fires within the past decade. This is why it is so important to install fire alarms and a sprinkler system in your kitchen to prevent against the worst! 

Unintentional and Careless Behavior

This is a broad category. Unintentional and careless behavior, better known as accidents, caused more than 10,900 fires. While it’s hard to stop people from being careless, business owners and property managers can’t afford to be. 

Arson

Intentionally set fires represented 9,800 of the total fires in these properties. 

Electrical malfunction

Problems with the electricity or wiring in a building caused around 7,000 fires in the past decade. 

Heating problems

Problematic HVAC systems are the culprit behind about 6,000 commercial fires nationwide. 

Trust that SERVPRO of Birmingham keeps in mind that time down for your business, is money lost. So our team will work around the clock to make sure it is “Like it never even happened,” and your business is back up and running!

Turkey Fryer Tips & Tricks

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

A fireman dressed in tan fire gear is putting out a fire with large flames in a fryer that is on a wood surface Alabaster Fire Department puts out a fryer fire caused by a frozen turkey

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and there is nothing better than a deep-fried turkey during the holidays! Unfortunately, that also means a rise in house fires. It is estimated that 1000 house fires that occur during the holidays are related to turkey fryers.  Our friends at the Alabaster Fire Department shared a few things to be mindful of when you are preparing your Thanksgiving meal to keep yourself from having a house fire:

  • Keep outdoor deep-fryers off decks, out of garages, and a safe distance from trees and buildings.
  • Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking
  • Place the fryer on a level surface 
  • Follow the manufacture instructions 
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Turn the burner off before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  • Once finished, remove the pot from the burner; place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing of.

The Alabaster Fire Department also helped demonstrate what could happen during a turkey fryer fire if you aren’t careful in this Turkey Fryer Tips & Tricks videoSERVPRO of Birmingham wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday. In the unfortunate event of fire or smoke damage, we are available 24/7. Call us Birmingham, 205.252.8110

Commercial Water Damage

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

water on this commercial building floor with shelving on sides When a commercial business experiences water damage it not only slows production time but can damage the goods used to operate

Downtime means money lost!

Here are SERVPRO of Birmingham, we understand that when a commercial water emergency occurs in your business it is important that the issues is mitigated quickly and efficiently. During these emergencies, it is not just the building that needs to be back up and functioning but the materials and equipment you use on a daily basis that allows your business to be successful.  

SERVPRO of Birmingham has the ability to save things like office furniture, desk, and even sensitive information that may be stored in the office with our Document Restoration. We are in the business of restoring these items that may have been damaged during your water emergency. We always attempt to salvage anything damaged because we understand that it can keep the cost down for you and the insurance company as well the value it has to your company. If an item can be saved or restored it is worth the time to do so.  

SERVPRO of Birmingham works tirelessly to treat each of your items with special care to protect. Our team is trained to keep your items from damage while we do work. Our content specialists team does wonders with your clean-up on all types of materials.  

Trust that SERVPRO of Birmingham keeps in mind that time down for your business, is money lost. So our team will work around the clock to make sure it is “Like it never even happened.” and your business is back up and running!

Facts about Smoke and Soot Damange

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage can cause a long-lasting odor in your home

Smoke and soot can cause hidden damage and odor. Our Production Techs are experts when it comes to smoke damage who can accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a plan of action.   Facts about Smoke and Soot

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

 Different Types of Smoke Did you know there are actually different types of smoke? There is what is called wet smoke and dry smoke! Check out the two types below in more detail. Wet Smoke // Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke // Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises, therefore, smoke rises.

 Protein Fire Residue // Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Storm Damage Types

9/17/2019 (Permalink)

Storms have caused damage to this home's roof due to high winds by tearing away the shingles High winds from a storm can be the reason your roof has damage

Not all Storm Damage is Created Equal!

During storm season in Birmingham, AL we see a wide range of storm types. We see heavy rains, flooding, tornadoes and then wrapping all of those into one hurricane! Any one of these storm types could easily cause damage to your home or business. These damages can keep us from feeling like our home is complete or keeping us from running a business that contributes to our livelihood. No matter what your scenario, It is important to know the different damages that a storm can cause. Wind Damage Storm damage sometimes includes severe wind damage. Roof damage in this situation may range from a missing roof due to strong winds that may loosen flashing. This can cause your roof shingles to be removed from your home or business causing leaks. Even a subtle roof leak can produce damp, moldy conditions. A SERVPRO of Birmingham restoration expert can help property owners address storm damage and roof damage more effectively. Flooding Damage Heavy rains in the Birmingham, AL area can cause river flooding all around the Jefferson and Shelby County areas. Flooding may disrupt municipal water systems which call for experts to assess groundwater and evaluate the condition of pipes following flood damage. Our SERVPRO of Birmingham team can assist in your cleanup process after flood damage has occurred.  Lighting Damage When a storm occurs, many times it brings the loud sounds of thunder which mean lighting is striking. Your home or business may have objects attached to the building that can attract a lightning strike that can cause a fire. A bolt of lightning can reach temperatures of roughly 30,000 kelvins (53,540 degrees Fahrenheit). Lightning strikes, or discharges of massive charges of static electricity, cause about 2% of all fires. If this occurs in your home or business, SERVPRO of Birmingham has the team to help handle the restoration of both the fire and smoke damage.

Be Ready for a Hurricane

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Are You "Hurricane Ready"?

This time of year can always be scary for anyone who lives in the possible path of hurricanes or may have friends and family who do live in a consistent path. Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over ocean water and often move toward land. Hurricanes include high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surge, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents and tornadoes all of which can destroy homes, buildings, and roads. It is important to stay ready so you do not find yourself scrambling to brace for the impact. There is always the potential looming that our area could be hit by a hurricane. Living in the Birmingham, AL area, it can be easy to think you don’t need to worry about the potential of a hurricane. Here are a few things to know ahead of a hurricane if one was to head our direction. 

Know the Difference

  • Flood/Flash Flood Watch—Flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
  • Flood/Flash Flood Warning—Flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. 

How to Prepare

  • Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Because standard homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.

Always Know the RisksTo find your risk, visit FEMA’s “Know Your Risk Map.” Be better prepared for this hurricane season, and learn more at www.ready.gov/prepare

Got Mold?

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

This home in Birmingham, AL found mold growth in their garage

Mold can be in your home and not even realize it. Whether you see the affected areas or not, here are a few things you can do! First, if you see visible mold, do not mess with it. When mold is disturbed, it can release microscopic mold spores. When this happens mold can circulate inside your home using your HVAC system and any fans you have on. This makes it so the affected areas grow and become larger. Check out what to do and not do.

What Should You Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and ALL fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO® of Birmingham for mold remediation services.

What Should You Not Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold

SERVPRO® of Birmingham specializes in mold remediation. We use specialized equipment and techniques to properly clean and resolve your mold problem quickly and safely. The safety and health of you and your family are our biggest concern. If you have mold in your home or business, give SERVPRO® of Birmingham a call at 205.252.8110