The Phenomenon of Soot Webs
This is an example how soot tags look. You can see how easy it is to assume they are spider webs covered in soot.
Being fire restoration specialists we have seen a lot of fire damaged homes and businesses in Wichita, KS over the years. Sometimes the extent of the damage is very evident especially when the damage is on the walls and ceilings of homes. Other times the most extensive part of the damage is in the attics, or trapped between walls where it is unseen until we dig in with our inspection.
One of the most common visible instances of fire damage are the black spider webs that seem to spring out of nowhere after a fire. These spider webs are actually called “Soot Tags” and actually don’t have anything to do with spider webs. So you can put your worries to rest because there is no such thing as “fire spiders” as one of our customers put it.
Soot Tags form in areas of low circulation when petroleum/synthetic based sources burn. In a fire the heat of the fire moves into colder areas since the air seeks to create equilibrium. Since that soot is riding the air with that heat soot particles follow the air into those colder areas with low circulation and are able to concentrate. Since that soot is a product of combustion the particles themselves are charged which makes it quite easy for them to create long chains of soot or soot tags. So while it looks like a lot of soot got stuck on pre-existing spider webs it is actually a whole new structure.
If your home of business in Wichita is affected by smoke or fire damage give us a call so we can start making it “Like it never even happened.” at (316) 684 – 6700.
Guide to Fire Extinguishers for Homeowners
An example of a fire extinguisher, note do not hold fire extinguishers close to sources of heat.
Owning a home in Wichita, KS means there are many different dimensions of home ownership you must have knowledge about and today we are here to help you with one of those areas. In the past we have written about fire safety and steps that you can take to minimize the risk of fires. We still are giving out smoke detectors and emergency plans so contact us for those today! In this post we will go over what is the best fire extinguisher type for your home.
Fire extinguishers come in many classes and some are better suited for residential properties while others for commercial. Different classes are also better for combatting various types of fires. The ideal fire extinguisher combines these three classes:
- Class A: These extinguishers excel at putting out, textile, plastic, wood, trash and paper based fires. These extinguishers use the chemical monoammonium phosphate.
- Class B: These extinguishers excel at putting out oil, paint, grease, gasoline and kerosene based fires. These extinguishers also use monoammonium phosphate as well as sodium bicarbonate.
- Class C: These extinguishers excel at putting out electrical fires and utilize monoammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate. Class C extinguishers do not conduct electricity.
When choosing a fire extinguisher also consider that the class rating refers to effectiveness and area covered by the canister. The larger the number the larger the area it covers. Buy the largest canister that you can operate yourself. Typically people use a 5 pound canister for kitchens or laundry rooms while many choose to have at least a 10 pound canister for their garages.
Remember that fire extinguishers are only to be used when a fire is contained and found early. Once the fire has spread the safest thing to do is exit the building and call 911. When a fire occurs in your home or business contact a fire restoration specialist and your homeowners insurance agent as soon as possible to begin the restoration process. For more information check out our fire page here.
Is Mold A Problem For Your Wichita Home?
Mold can spread through a home in Wichita in as little as 48 hours.
Mold exists as microscopic spores that occur naturally both indoors and outdoors across the whole country. This means that it is not possible for a home or business to complete rid itself of all mold spores which is why restoration experts understand that mold remediation reduces the count of mold spores down to its baseline level. There are restoration companies that say their “mold removal” guarantees to remove all mold from your home or business but that simply is not possible especially when you consider that:
- Mold naturally occurs indoors and outdoors nearly everywhere.
- Microscopic mold spores drift through the air and can enter homes and business through AC/Heating systems, doors, windows, or even by landing on people or pets going.
- Mold is able to robustly grow when exposed to moisture and that growth can turn into colonies that may produce irritants and allergies.
- When treating mold step one is to insure that the initial source of moisture which allowed a colony of mold to grow has been stopped so that the mold will not return.
- Often times you may be tipped off to the presence of mold by the musty odor that it often produces.
- Even having high humidity in your home or business can lead to mold growth. Keep it in check by maintaining indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If you suspect that your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation. We do free inspections and estimates in the Wichita, Andover, Derby and surrounding areas.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – (316) 684 – 6700.
When Storms or Floods hit Wichita, KS SERVPRO is ready!
A photo of one of our crews loading up during a storm event in Wichita, KS!
SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita specializes in storm and flood damage restoration and have weathered several storm events in Wichita, KS. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment such as thermal cameras to restore your property "Like it never even happened".
Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces the restoration cost.
Resources to Handle Large Events
If it is a large storm event it may mean that many people in Wichita, Derby, Andover and the surrounding areas need emergency restoration services. This could mean many other companies here in Wichita will have waiting lists. When that happens SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita is able to call in reinforcements from other SERVPRO's from Lawrence, Tulsa, and other surrounding areas and make sure that you get the help you need as quickly as possible. We have done it before to great effect!
We can also call for help when huge damage hits Wichita. We can call for help from all 1,600+ SERVPRO's to run a coordinated effort to help people recover from whatever may occur. SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita has gone to other cities such as Houston after a Tornado or Kansas City after historic flooding and been apart of such efforts. For more information about storm damage check our storm damage page.
Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 316-684-6700!
How to Prepare for a Power Outage in Wichita, KS
This is an example of a disaster kit which might help you visualize putting together your own.
Wichita, Derby and Andover have all had their share of power outages and water damages caused by power outages. Aside from outages due to historic ice storms most power outages in our area haven’t lasted very long so many people have not taken steps to ensure they are protected in case of an extended power outage. Depending on the severity of a disaster it could take days for emergency workers to reach you which means you should have sufficient water, food, and supplies to last 72 hours.
Sometimes services such as cellular service, power, water, gas on top of emergency services may be unavailable for hours or longer. Any emergency kit should be able to help you go without until these services have been restored or you are able to leave your home. When putting together your emergency kit these are some good items to make sure you include:
- Nonperishable food (canned, freeze dried, or dehydrated)
- Baby supplies if you have an infant
- Bottled water
- Flashlights for the family
- Extra batteries
- Battery operated clock radio
- Can opener (not electric)
- List of important Phone numbers
- First-aid kit
- Dust Mask
- Deck of cards
- Duct Tape
Once you have put together your emergency kit make sure everyone knows where it is stored preferably in a central location in your home which you would go to in case of a Tornado or some other disaster. Also you will need to check the batteries and state of the food and water so that you can change out any item which needs it. Of course there are many other measures you can take to be prepared and consulting the Red Cross is a great way to continue to prepare yourself so you can be “Ready for whatever happens”.
Furthermore consult you can consult our blog post about fire safety and our efforts with the red cross to make sure you have your home protected from possible fires.
Don’t End up Smelling like a Flood.
This Wichita Hotel experienced a sewer back up so in addition to making sure everything was disinfected making sure the odor was gone was imperative.
Many Wichita businesses who experience a water damage often do not consider the odor that can linger in a building after a flood. The foul odor often smells like sewage and can indicate that mold growth may have occurred or that the water damage has not been adequately dried. No matter why it smells a foul odor is unacceptable for your business because it can drive away your customers. That is where we come in.
- Quick Mitigation Response:
The best way to remove odors from a structure is to prevent them from happening in the first place. In many cases foul odors are caused when water damage is allowed to sit and fester for several days. Even clean water that you could drink will smell like sewage after being allowed to fester for several days. When we arrive on site we are taking as much water out of your structure as possible through extraction. This speeds up the drying process because it removes as much “loose” water in the structure as possible which leaves the remaining “bound” water. That bound water is water that has soaked into the carpet, drywall and other porous materials. That is why we use equipment such as Airmovers and Large Grain Refrigerant Dehumidifiers to get the remaining moisture out as fast as possible.
- Porous Materials Hold Odor Well
If a strong odor is already present regrettably it means that some of the structure and inventory must be thrown away. Items such as carpet pad, carpet, fabrics, furniture and even structural items such as drywall could possibly hold odors and need to be discarded in order to remove odor from a structure. Removing items that can be removed during the initial damage can stop them from ever developing an odor.
- Using Disinfectants can Prevent Odors
What you smell when you smell a water damage is the metabolic process of various bacteria that either came in with the water or developed as the water stagnated. That is why using a disinfectant on the affected area can drastically reduce or stop the development of odor after a water damage.
In the event of a water damage at your business give us a call at (316) 684-6700 and we can come evaluate what needs to be done to stop a sticky situation from becoming stinky.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofnortheastwichita.com/ for more information on commercial water damage
Got Mold in Wichita?
The mold growth seen in this Wichita, KS home was not due to any intrusion of water. It was simply left empty with nothing to bring down the humidity.
We excel at mold remediation here at SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita especially when it comes to mold in crawlspaces. We have the training and experience to quarantine the infestation, filter the potentially harmful spores out of the air, remove the contaminated materials, and help prevent future microbial growth all with a transferable warranty on our work for 2 years.
Mold in your workplace or home?
Imagine you were getting something out of a utility closet at work, and you found mold growing on the back wall. Maybe a pinhole leak from a pipe created an ideal situation for mold to grow in this closet. With the HVAC system in such close proximity it risks taking the mold spores in the air and spreading them throughout the office. We can help you identify the leak if necessary and once the leak has been stopped we can begin our remediation work to ensure healthy air for your employees and customers to breathe.
Quarantining and Filtering the Mold
When our SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita professionals begin a mold remediation project step one is to block off the rest of the building from the mold. The visible mold is gross to look at but because mold releases microscopic spores into the air it can negatively affect people’s health when they breathe those spores.
Each job is different but in most cases our SERVPRO mold mitigation team will set up containment and create negative pressure with our air scrubber. This simply means that the mold spore infested air in the work area doesn’t migrate out of the contained area because air is being sucked into the affected area rather than being blown out.
Removing Materials Contaminated with Mold
Drywall, carpeting, ceiling tiles, and other organic materials are ideal footholds for mold when they are wet. Typically they must be removed in the mold remediation process especially when the mold has started to deteriorate them. This is why it is best to contact us immediately when a water damage occurs because it is much safer and cheaper to take care of a water problem than a mold problem. Removing these materials will cause the spores to be put in the air which is why we use containment, negative pressure, air scrubbers and pre-treatment methods before removing contaminated materials.
Stopping Mold from Reoccurring
Even though we have been remediating mold here in Wichita for nearly 20 years we cannot say for certain mold will never take hold again. Mold exists in non-significant amounts everywhere and if those spores find the right temperature, moisture and nutrient source there is always a chance mold may start growing again. Since we methodically follow industry guidelines on mold remediation we reduce the chances of that happening to as close to 0 as humanly possible.
Call SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita for Mold Today!
If you see mold in your business or home make us your first call at 316-684-6700. We offer free inspections, free estimates and free advice on how to handle your situation. Our free estimates even apply to getting into crawlspaces and attics!
Tips for Handling Water Damage
This flooded basement in Wichita, KS was caused by excessive rains overloading the sump pump.
Tips for Handling Water Damage
- Don’t treat flood water (regardless of source) in unwanted places lightly.
- Water that comes in from the outside of your home can bring in harmful bacteria from outside into your home.
- Even if your basement only has an inch of water in it or is even damp it is the perfect breeding ground for mold.
Did You Know…
Even if your damage seems like it just affected your carpet water can wick-up onto your walls and get them wet risking the growth of mold if not treated properly. If your walls are made of drywall water can wick-up as much as 30 inches!
Here are tips to minimize damage to your basement:
1) Call your insurance company and report your loss right away.
- Have them assign a water mitigation company to your claim or call SERVPRO as soon as possible to take care of your mitigation needs and let your adjuster/agent know you have already called someone out.
2) Disconnect the power, unplug any electronics and remove electronics, furniture, and moveable items to areas that are dry.
- Remember, the faster you get items out water’s way the more likely you’ll be able to save them.
3) Get rid of the water.
- If your sump pump is the issue, have a plumber out right away to fix the sump pump and/or replace it and this will take care of any standing water.
- Note: You will still need a mitigation company to extract the water from your carpet.
- If you have a broken pipe, spigot, or a toilet overflow, shut off the water immediately. Have a plumber out right away to fix the issue.
- If you have a wet/dry vac you can use this to suck up the standing water. Be sure to plug it into outlets far away from water and do not use an extension cord as the connection could short out and give you a nasty shock.
- If you have several inches of water you may want to consider renting or purchasing a submersible pump to remove the water while you are waiting for the mitigation company to arrive.
- Pull wet carpet away from walls to prevent wicking up the drywall. This will minimize the damage to your walls
The faster that you can react and follow these tips as well as get a mitigation company out to your home the better chances you have of saving your flooring, drywall, and personal items, keepsakes, and the less time your home will be in disarray.
SERVPRO at Woofstock 2017!
SERVPRO heroes rocking the booth at Woofstock in Sedgwick County Park! Great pups, great people and a great event! Come on down next year!
Almost everyone who works here at SERVPRO of Northeast Wichita has a dog and everyone here loves them. For the third year in a row we had the opportunity to take part in one of our favorite events in Wichita: Woofstock 2017! It was a great time where we met a ton of great people and great puppers. The overwhelming community support for the animals was truly moving and the fact that everyone had fun while raising over $250,000 dollars speaks to both how great an event Woofstock is and how much compassion is in Wichita residents.
The money we raise will help the more than 16,000 dogs, cats, and little critters that come through the Kansas Humane Society’s doors. The Kansas Humane Society does not receive any kind of federal, state or local government funding and relies entirely on private donations and fees for services they provide.
We have been doing restoration in the Wichita, Derby, and Andover area for 16 years and in that time we have been in many homes and businesses and met many companions and pets. We see first hand how they provide so much comfort and love for people and us them. We just wanted to say thank you to Kansas for caring about these little critters as much as we do!
What Kind of Water Damage is your Water Damage?
There are three categories of water contamination. Don't let a clean water damage turn into a fetid germ utopia.
When you have a water intrusion in your home or business there are many factors at play which will affect what needs to be done in order to make it "Like it never even happened." One of the first determinations we make on the site of a residential or commercial water damage is the waters level of contamination. The level of contamination, along with the specific circumstances of the job, will dictate what actions need to be taken during the remediation process. Essentially the cleaner the water, the more we can save instead of throwing away and replacing building materials; which means a cheaper, less invasive, and shorter job altogether.
In the restoration industry the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (or IICRC) is the organization which sets the restoration industries standards and practices. It is the IICRC’s standards that we follow to ensure every water mitigation and remediation job we tackle is done correctly. When it comes to the sanitary level of water there are three levels:
- Category 1: Clean and Sanitary. Typically comes from a sanitary source such as faucet, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, or water heaters.
- Category 2: Grey Water which can cause illness or discomfort if ingested. Typical sources are dish washers, washing machine overflows, flush from sink drains, or toilet overflows with urine (no feces)
- Category 3: Black Water is grossly unsanitary which could cause severe illness or death if ingested. This includes sewer backups, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces, and stagnant liquid which has supported microbial growth.
These categories are also time dependent so a flood caused by a drinking fountain (Category 1 clean water) will become contaminated category 2 water after 48 hours. Another 24 hours after that it becomes a category 3 loss. This change in category means a tremendous difference in the scope of work, cost of remediation, and time of job.
Take Michael as an example; a clean water pipe broke in his basement while he was at work and now he has wet carpets and wet drywall. At the moment it is a category 1 loss and as long as the carpet pad does not have a vapor barrier we do not even need to pull the carpet back, the carpet, carpet pad and drywall can all be dried in place with minimal disturbance to his day to day.
If Michael waits 48 hours to give us a call now the water is a category 2 loss meaning we have to pull back all the affected carpet, remove and dispose of the affected carpet pad and apply an antimicrobial to the carpet and subfloor. As far as the walls and other materials go they may need to be cut out and removed based on the unique circumstances of the loss or how saturated the materials have become.
If Michael waits another 24 hours to give us a call now we are dealing with a category 3 loss so both the affected carpet pad and the carpet must be cut out and removed. The affected walls will most likely be severely saturated and contaminated and will most likely need to be removed. All furniture and items left in that water will need to be cleaned and sanitized with the possibility that many items will not be able to be saved.
Waiting to take care of water damage is a bad idea that can cost you money, time and cause a lot of hassle. That is why we serve Wichita 24 hours a day 7 days a week so that as soon as disaster strikes we can be there for you. Give us a call, we are here to help.