Recent Posts

Handling Heavy Rains in Birmingham, AL

4/5/2019 (Permalink)

Spring is here in Birmingham, AL!

We all love the warmer weather, fresh cut lawns, and spring flowers but we all know, spring in the South brings a lot of rain! Springtime can be challenging to our homes, businesses, and landscaping. Many times the rain can bring backed up sewage, holes in our roofs that lead to water damage and flooding the basements. SERVPRO of Birmingham thought it would be important to share some safety tips with you regarding heavy rains and flooding so you can keep the water mitigation to a minimum this season. 

Heavy Rain Tips

  1. Check your Roof-Look for current damage and areas that look vulnerable to leaks. Repair these as soon as possible. If need be, call a roofer to perform the inspection and the repairs.
  2. Trim Foliage-Plants and trees with overgrown branches can pose a danger to your household in harsh winds and rain.
  3. Waterproof Windows-Check the edges of your window sills to see if they need a waterproof sealer or rubber on the edges.
  4. Clear out Gutters-It is important that these are clear in case of heavy rain to prevent any possible flooding. You should check your gutters a couple of times throughout the year as the wind tends to carry leaves and debris into the gutters blocking the water from flowing freely.

Remember, it is very important to keep an eye on these things because a small leak can cause a lot of damage. SERVPRO of Birmingham is always here to help! Call us Birmingham at (205) 252-8110

Why is Board Up Important?

3/22/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Why is Board Up Important? Completed job after the adjacent home caught fire caused damage leading to board up

If your property in Birmingham, AL has experienced a fire, there are several reasons why you might want to board up structural damage or windows. In addition to keeping the external elements out of a building with fire damage, boarding up can also prevent additional losses due to looting and make the fire cleanup process easier.  SERVPRO of Birmingham offers full-service restoration specialists who can also assist in board-up services.  

Here are four reasons to board-up after a fire.

  • In a commercial setting, there may still be viable stock on the premises. If products that appear viable remain in the building, you should consider boarding up. These items may require assessment and cleaning and may not be fit for sale, but having them properly processed rather than stolen can be helpful for insurance purposes.
  • You want to protect electronics and other valuables. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you may be able to restore some electronics or other valuable property to working condition.
  • You need to keep out the elements. If the structure of your property has sustained extensive damage, you should try to keep the elements out to prevent additional damage. Exposure to additional water, wind, or sunlight can compound the damage caused by smoke residue and soot.
  • You want to limit soot damage. It is generally a good idea to reduce foot traffic on the scene of a recent fire. When soot gets embedded into carpeting or upholstery, it can be much more difficult to restore these materials to a pre-fire condition.
Talk to our experts at SERVPRO of Birmingham, about whether boarding up is a good strategy for preventing loss and limiting damage after a fire. Your major concern is likely to be how to recover from fire damage as quickly and completely as possible. Preventing looting and exposure to the elements can make fire cleanup more successful. Call us Birmingham at (205) 664-6770.

Why is Our Basement Flooding?

3/20/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Why is Our Basement Flooding? This home is Pelham, AL experienced flooding issues in their basement and is an example of what could happen if the right steps are not taken.

During this time of year, Alabama sees an increase in rainstorms. When this happens there is the potential to see flooding in the basement in your Birmingham, AL home. By understanding the usual causes of water retention in the lower floors of your home, you can take the necessary maintenance steps to ensure that your property stays dry for years to come. Check out a few tips we have for you: 

1. Location and Climate Factors A primary cause of excess water is above-average rainfall. Choosing to reside in a coastal area, for example, can increase the risk of a basement flood. Even in dryer climates, laying your home’s foundation on a low-lying or sloped part of the property can cause water to pool under walls and seep through the outer layers of the building. 

2. Basement Drainage Should your home sit near or on the water table, a basement drainage system and sump pump will likely be necessary to prevent excess dampness in the flooring. If the pump system breaks down due to electrical or plumbing problems, contact a qualified professional who can perform wiring or pipe repair. A powered mechanism for removing water from the basement after flooding is the most robust method for the prevention of property damage. 

3. Sources of Leakage Sometimes the biggest issues facing the homeowner lie in the ingress of water. Cracked walls or insufficient sealants and waterproof coatings can allow water that would otherwise drain away to enter the basement. Improperly positioned or damaged gutters and downspouts can divert water toward the house rather than into the yard. Gutters can also become clogged with leaves or other material, causing them to overflow. Gaps in roofing tiles or shingles can also cause undesirable water redirection, especially in periods of extreme rain or snowmelt. Controlling the water volume before it reaches the basement is often the best preventative measure. Following the above checklist of troubleshooting tips will usually stop the problem before it begins. Should you experience unavoidable flooding and require basement cleanup and decontamination, contact SERVPRO of Birmingham where we specialize in that process to avoid potential health hazards.

Are You Prepared for a Thunderstom?

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

During this time of year in Birmingham, AL we can experience a lot of rain, which can lead to thunderstorms. It’s important to be prepared and have a plan in place. Talk with your family and create an emergency plan for thunderstorms, floods, and tornadoes. Think about an emergency shelter and evacuation plan. Below we have a few suggestions to make sure you and your family are ready for whatever happens. 

Protect your electronics

Your electronics can get fried if they are not properly protected. Plug electronics into a surge protector to avoid damage during a storm. 

Prepare for power outages

Have battery-operated flashlights and lanterns in easy to get to places. Check on these items from time to time to make sure the batteries still work, replace them if necessary. Also, think about keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors shut to keep food from spoiling. If these food items rise above 40 degrees for 2 hours or more, they should be disregarded. Call your local power company to inform them of the outage and to get information regarding when the power should be restored. 

Stay away from power lines

Do not go near power lines should they fall to the ground, they can be very hazardous. Call 911 if you see downed power lines. 

Go inside when you hear thunder

If you hear thunder, it is likely that lightning is also occurring. Lightning can be dangerous, therefore, make sure to go inside when thunder occurs. 

Seek shelter

There are many different natural elements which can occur and be harmful when outside during a disaster. Therefore, during a storm, it is important to seek shelter and be safe. If your inside, a good place to be is at the lowest level of your home. If you have a basement or storm cellar you can hang out in until the storm passes. 

Keep an emergency kit ready

Consider putting together a kit of things you may want to have on hand during a storm. Items you may want to include would be water, non-perishable food, flashlights, blankets extra batteries, a radio, and a first aid kit. If you have an emergency does strike your home during a thunderstorm, SERVPRO of Birmingham is ready to help get your life back to normal. Call us Birmingham, (205) 664-6770

The Fire Restoration Process

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage is probably the last thing on your mind, but you may want to move it up on your list of priorities; preparation is the key. The first 48 hours after a fire often makes the difference between ‘restoring’ vs. ‘replacing’ your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO of Birmingham provides a timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal, to content claims inventory and document restoration.  

Here is a timeline to help ease your mind of what should be done before and after SERVPRO of Birmingham arrives: 

One Hour

Within one hour from notice of loss, a SERVPRO of Birmingham professional will contact you to arrange for service. 

Four Hours

Within four hours of loss notification, a SERVPRO of Birmingham technician will be onsite to start mitigation services. 

Detailed Explanation

A trained and uniformed SERVPRO of Birmingham employee will walk you through the job process step-by-step, explaining what to expect and the anticipated outcome. 

Pretesting

A SERVPRO of Birmingham employee will begin pretesting for restoration, working from the source of the damage outward. 

Eight Hours

Within eight business hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of the scope is communicated to the appropriate person. 

Cleaning, Restoration, & Deodorization

SERVPRO of Birmingham will work neatly and efficiently to help you regain control of your property. We then use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to make it “Like it never even happened.” 

Final Walk-through

After the work has been completed, a final walk-through will be conducted with you to help ensure your satisfaction. SERVPRO of Birmingham responds quickly, offering a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services to help you return home as soon as possible. Before risking further damage by attempting to clean up the damage on your own, call the fire damage clean up and restoration professionals. Call us Birmingham, (205) 664-6770

Residential Lighting Damage Happens More than You Think

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Residential Lighting Damage Happens More than You Think Strikes happen an average of twice a year

Home Lightning Strikes happen roughly twice a year!

Here at SERVPRO of Birmingham, we can help you with fire damages caused by lightning strikes. When the lightning hits a residence, it travels through the electrical lines to one of the home’s electrical boxes, which can catch fire. These fires can leave severe damage, including smoke damage to your home. SERVPRO of Birmingham’s mitigation team has the ability to do a chem-sponge technique that was used to clean soot off of the walls. In doing this, SERVPRO of Birmingham can ensure that no fire damage or smoke damage goes untreated. If needed, affected walls in all damaged rooms can be painted after the cleanup is completed and drywall replaced where necessary. Our professional in-house crew use a white-glove treatment on your residence and completed the entire project quickly; from the first contact to completion Here at SERVPRO of Birmingham, we are proud to serve the residents of Birmingham, AL, especially when the worst happens. Why chose SERVPRO? Because in the event of fire damage or water damages large or small, we’re here to help. Call us Birmingham at (205) 664-6770

Getting Rid of Unpleasant Odors in your Home

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Getting Rid of Unpleasant Odors in your Home Our equipment is designed to treat your home of unwanted odors

Don’t live a life full of unpleasant smells

Odors from smoke, pets, decomposition or mold can cause lingering odors in your home or business. A simple surface clean doesn’t necessarily get rid of these smells. With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO of Birmingham provides specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by smoke, mold or other sources. Our professionals do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the sources of the odor. Once the source is found, we use SERVPRO’s own proprietary line of cleaning products to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts, and more. Along with our proprietary line of cleaning products SERVPRO of Birmingham uses various techniques and equipment to treat odors. These techniques are capable of penetrating surfaces to neutralize an unpleasant odor thoroughly. Some of the tools we use include: Ozone Generator: The Ozone Generator is one of the quickest ways to eliminate odors from a home or office. We use the Ozone Generator to oxidize odor and eliminate odors from mold, mildew, pets, nicotine, smoke and more without the use of chemicals. Though the room being treated cannot be occupied while in use, the generator works quickly to clean, sanitize and remove offensive odors. Hydroxyl Generator: The Hydroxyl Generator has several benefits that the Ozone Generator does not. The main benefit is that the room being treated can be occupied during the deodorization process; though it does work slower. The Hydroxyl Generator can be used to treat fire and smoke, as well as biohazard jobs, water damage, crime scene situations, and animal odors. Air Filtration Device: This piece of equipment, also known as an air scrubber, is used to remove airborne contaminants during water, fire, smoke, mold, and sewage restoration work. These work by pulling air through HEPA filtration to remove airborne particles from the air. This helps clean the air and remove odors. Whether you are a building manager who needs an apartment cleaned for the next tenant or homeowner who wants to get your home ready for sale, getting rid of offensive odors is a high priority. Fire, water, or mold damage, or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, SERVPRO of Birmingham is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.” Call us, Birmingham at (205) 664-6770 

SERVPRO of Birmingham Can Handle Hoarding Cleanup

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO SERVPRO of Birmingham Can Handle Hoarding Cleanup Hoarding can be a sensitive situation

What is “Hoarding Disorder

According to The American Psychiatric Association ""People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.Hoarding is not the same as collecting. Collectors look for specific items, such as model cars or stamps, and may organize or display them. People with hoarding disorder often save random items and store them haphazardly. In most cases, they save items that they feel they may need in the future, are valuable or have sentimental value. Some may also feel safer surrounded by the things they save.Hoarding disorder occurs in an estimated 2 to 6 percent of the population and often leads to substantial distress and problems functioning. Some research show hoarding disorder is more common in males than females. It is also more common among older adults--three times as many adults 55 to 94 years are affected by hoarding disorder compared to adults 34 to 44 years old” Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H. in July 2017 via www.psychiatry.org

What is Hoarding?

Hoarded items are often things others would throw away or look at as junk or garbage such as old newspapers, junk mail or packaging. Hoarding can lead to homes filled with extreme clutter to full capacity from years of accumulation, making living conditions unsanitary and crowded. Bugs, fleas, rats and other vermin may be present, at which point an exterminator would need to be called. At times, hoarding may spread to outside the home as well, to storage facilities, or even the garage or yard.

How can SERVPRO of Birmingham Help?

SERVPRO of Birmingham encounters hoarding situations in several different ways. We may be called for a fire or water loss and find the hoarding situation when we arrive on-site. We will communicate with the insurance company regarding the customer's contents coverage, and after approval, contents can be packed out and possibly cleaned, dried, and stored in our temporary storage in our warehouse so work on the fire or water loss can begin. Another way SERVPRO of Birmingham encounters hoarding jobs is through calls from landlords, caseworkers, real estate agents, or family members, often after the death of a loved one. In these situations, the crew will see if they should look for any items of importance while they clean the job. Sometimes, family members will come and try to help the hoarder sort through their contents as well. Each case is very different, and hoarding jobs are often sensitive situations, but SERVPRO of Birmingham is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.” If you encounter a hoarding situation at one of your properties, or with your insureds, call us Birmingham at (205) 664-6770

What are those Noisy Water Pipes Saying?

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

What is that noise?!

We all know the noises our home makes. That cracking when it is quiet, the sound of someone walking around in the attic or the quiet drip of the shower even hours after it has been used. Our homes all have a set of familiar noises! However, not all those sounds can be good for your home or your wallet! Especially, the sounds coming from your water pipes may be a warning. While a whistling faucet may simply require a new washer to quiet down, if you have a hissing, whistling sound in multiple fixtures and a hammering noise coming from your pipes, you could be headed for a pipe break! Residential water pressure is usually around 80 psi, but sometimes municipalities have to increase pressure for nearby non-residential facilities. When this happens in the Birmingham, AL area the increased water pressure can damage your home’s plumbing. In addition to the irritation of noisy pipes, high water pressure can:

  • Erode pipes
  • Reduce life expectancy of fixtures
  • Increase water bills
  • Result in leaks
  • Cause a pipe burst

What’s Causing the Noises?

As a large amount of water is forced through fixture openings designed to handle a lower flow, it makes a whistling sound, just like forcing a large amount of air through pursed lips causes a whistling sound. When water suddenly stops flowing through pipes, the momentum causes it to slam around inside the pipe, which causes a clanging or banging sound. Your plumbing has built-in air chambers to prevent this from happening, but when water pressure is higher than normal, the chambers aren’t enough to prevent the hammering sound. The longer you wait to address high water pressure in your home, the more likely it is to cause a pipe break.

What To Do About High Pressure

If you suspect your water pressure is too high, call a plumber in Birmingham, AL area to test the pressure for you. A device called a pressure regulating valve, or PRV can be installed to control the water pressure inside your home. Hiring a professional to prevent a pipe break is far preferable to hiring one to fix a broken pipe inside your walls. SERVPRO of Birmingham wants you to catch an emergency before they occur but if one happens before you can stop it, know that we are ready to help you at a moment’s notice. Our team of highly trained technicians will assess the damages and take the necessary steps to ensure this emergency feels "Like it never even happened." Call us Birmingham at (205) 664-6770

Document Drying Could Save What is Important to You

3/8/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Document Drying Could Save What is Important to You SERVPRO's Freeze Drying Chamber

When you experience a flood at your home or place of business, you can't afford to lose important documents or paper goods to water damage. Using state of the art technology, SERVPRO is well equipped to properly dry and recover paper goods ranging from paper files to books to x-rays and photos.

Why use SERVPRO for document restoration?

The SERVPRO document restoration facility uses the latest vacuum free-drying method in addition to gamma irradiation technology for sterilizing. The facility is under 24-hour surveillance and is managed by HIPAA Master-certified technicians to ensure proper safety and privacy of your documents. The SERVPRO document restoration team has the capacity to handle large scale commercial losses and smaller residential jobs.

Are there other services than just document drying?

Yes, there are! In addition to drying your documents, SERVPRO also offers cleaning/disinfecting, re-jacketing, digitizing, and deodorization. No matter your document restoration needs, SERVPRO of Birmingham is "Here to Help"!

There's no time to waste! Call SERVPRO of Birmingham today at (205) 664-6770