Recent Posts

7 Reasons Not to Ignore Water Damage

6/5/2020 (Permalink)

If you experience water damage in Northern Georgia, it’s no big deal. Right? Afterall, it’s only water. But water is known as the universal solvent for a good reason - because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid. That includes major structural parts of your home or business. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s are seven negative impacts of leaving water damage untreated:

  1. Devalued Property - The signs of water damage are difficult to hide. They’ll usually reveal themselves to any appraiser even if you attempt to paint over the stains. Also, when water’s left untreated, a repellent smell can linger which will probably turn buyers away.
  1. Structural Damage - this occurs depending on the amount of water surrounding the affected area. Drywall begins to deteriorate and the subfloor can easily warp or even split, meaning you’ll end up replacing and restoring the affected areas. Even solid materials that foundations are made of, whether masonry, concrete or stone, can soak up small amounts of water through their cracks and pores. Unless these pockets of water are removed, they can create defects in the building foundation that eventually weaken the entire structure.
  1. Mold - Any presence of water can cause mold to begin growing in as quickly as 48 hours. Once mold is present, it can be very difficult and expensive to treat and remove. Also, if mold is left untreated it can spread and can cause health effects.
  1. Electrical Damage - Once electrical systems are damaged by moisture, wiring, outlets, and electric boxes become unsafe to use until they’re professionally inspected. Electrical water damage usually occurs to kitchen appliances, washing machines, dryers, hot water tanks, furnaces, and low mounted electrical outlets.
  1. Health Hazards - A home or business exposed to floodwaters are susceptible to harmful bacteria and other microbes. If not treated correctly, toxins will linger on your affected furniture, carpets, and inside your HVAC system long after the water has dried. Those bacteria and microbes can cause serious respiratory issues and other health issues.
  1. Lost Personal Items - The same water that causes structural damage can destroy many personal items including, photographs, books, electronics, and personal documents, among other items. However, if you act quickly and call SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties, we can help save and restore many of your personal items.
  1. And…Bugs! - Bugs love moisture and water damage creates the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, beetles, fleas, ticks, spiders, and more. And the hatching eggs and dying bugs will attract even more insects to the area as well as spread bacteria.

As you can see, when water damage occurs, immediate action is needed as it helps to minimize the damage and cleaning and restoration costs. SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency. Be sure to give us a call so you never have to suffer long from the seven dangerous impacts of water damage.

Cleaning and Disinfecting – They’re Not the Same

5/12/2020 (Permalink)

Our homes are supposed to be a haven where we can relax and recuperate from the pressures of the world. Unfortunately, we wind up bringing home some of the world and its germs through dirty hands, shoes, clothing, and phones.

Even if your North Georgia home looks clean, it could still be hiding contaminants that could affect your health. Dr. Michael Schmidt, professor of microbiology at the Medical University of South Carolina and chair of the American Society of Microbiology's Council on Microbial Sciences, says that the best way to protect your family is to quite simply to clean your house.

Dr. Schmidt points out that after washing our hands, the best way to protect your family is to wipe down countertops, doorknobs, light switches, and common surfaces with a microfiber cloth dampened in a solution of hot water and an all-purpose cleaner twice a day. "The slight abrasion of the microfiber cloth and the cleaning solution will lift and dilute any microbes that have settled on the surfaces," says Dr. Schmidt. "Since electronics don't hold up well to soap and water, use an alcohol wipe with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean cell phones, remotes, and keyboards."

But cleaning shouldn't be confused with disinfecting. Cleaning means you're removing germs, but not killing, while disinfecting means you're actually killing them. This difference is important because you might clean surfaces well but you might not be disinfecting, leaving germs and bacteria to grow.

However, "Disinfecting cleaners can give a false sense of security if they are not used properly and are only necessary if someone in the household is ill," says Dr. Schmidt. The crucial areas to address are surfaces shared by family members and those that come in close contact with bodily fluids. If you have dirty windows, they aren't a big health concern, but a doorknob touched after a sneeze can be.

It’s important to read labels and follow the directions on products. Products labeled as disinfectants will adequately kill viruses and bacteria if used correctly. But if the label promises to just "sanitize" a surface, the fine print might say it’ll kill 99.9% of the bacteria, but not mention if it's effective against viruses or fungi. You want to look for disinfectants because they can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi when used properly.

Before disinfecting anything in your house, decide whether you'll wear gloves and what kind. Rubber gloves are more durable and reusable, but disposable latex ones also work. Just remember to always wash your hands with soap and warm water after using any cleaning products.

If you need help with any deep cleaning and disinfecting needs, contact us at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties. Not only do we use the proper disinfectants, but our professionals receive the necessary training and field experience to service your home or workplace to achieve the highest standards of cleanliness and customer satisfaction.

Bleach Disinfects – But it Can Also Be Dangerous

5/7/2020 (Permalink)

Chlorine-based bleach has been around for a long, long, time. It was invented in Europe in the late 18th century, and many consider it the be-all and end-all solution to their cleaning needs. And now with concerns about the coronavirus (Covid-19), it’s use has greatly increased. The good news is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a diluted bleach solution for disinfecting your home against Covid-19. But make sure your bleach isn’t past its expiration date or it’ll be ineffective against the virus.

The CDC recommends using the following solution on an appropriate hard surface. (See ‘Why Not to Use Bleach’ below.) Be sure to let this solution set for at least one minute:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
    OR
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

For soft or hard surfaces, the CDC  recommends you disinfect with any of these EPA-registered household disinfectants. They meet EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19.

Why Not to Use Bleach

But while bleach can help disinfect your home, in reality it’s a dangerous chemical that can do you great harm if you’re not careful. Here are the Top Ten reasons why bleach isn’t always a good choice for cleaning your Northeast Georgia home:

  1. Chlorine lacks detergency – in other words, it contains no wetting agents that allow it to penetrate soils, so surfaces must be pre-cleaned before chlorine will effectively kill germs. This is a 2-step process that requires more time.
  1. Chlorine is very caustic to human tissue. It can produce irritation and burning on your skin and could cause blindness.
  1. Chlorine reacts with other chemicals to create toxic byproducts and gases. For instance, when bleach mixes with ammonia, it can form chlorine gas, causing cellular damage in nasal passageways and lungs. The accidental mixture of these two products has resulted in death. It’s also incompatible with products that contain hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid and acetic acid (vinegar).
  1. It may harm your children. After using, bleach remains on surfaces and continues to emit fumes. Recent studies show that children who been exposed to bleach in their homes are more likely to suffer from respiratory illness. In addition, various studies have linked the use of bleach in a household to a higher prevalence of asthma and allergies.
  1. Using bleach can hurt your pets. Your cleaning products can stay on a pet’s paws or fur. Since cats and dogs often lick themselves, they may ingest harmful chemicals. Due to their tiny size, birds can become sick upon inhaling only a small amount of the fumes. Bleach poisoning in pets can result in vomiting, convulsions, and sometimes death.
  1. Bleach can kill mold, BUT it depends on the surface the mold is on. Mold grows on both porous and non-porous materials. When dealing with mold on non-porous materials such as shower tiles, tubs, vinyl window trims, counter tops, etc. you can use bleach to kill the mold and disinfect. But using bleach to remove mold from porous materials like drywall and wood can actually accelerate mold growth rather than killing it!

How? When bleach is used on porous materials, the chlorine is left on the surface and only the water component of the bleach is absorbed into the material, aggravating the situation as this provides more moisture for the mold to feed on, where it may then produce allergens and irritants. If you have a mold infestation, call SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties to professionally remove it.

  1. Chlorine is extremely corrosive to metal surfaces and can permanently discolor countertops. It can also damage floor finishes, requiring them to be stripped and recoated, which is an expensive process.
  1. Chlorine discolors fibers and colored surfaces. Carpets, upholstery and clothing are just a few of the materials that may be damaged.
  1. Chlorine bleach’s disinfectant power is rapidly inactivated by contact with organic matter, such as blood, saliva, tissue, urine, feces, dirt, etc. Chlorine is also weakened by sunlight.
  1. Diluted chlorine bleach quickly loses its effectiveness, is unstable and can lose its disinfectant qualities very rapidly compared to other, more stable disinfectants.

Safe and Effective Alternatives to Bleach

  • Baking soda and white vinegar – they’re non-toxic and non-corrosive. Use them to freshen fabrics, eliminate grease, and clean glass. (Not effective against COVID-19)
  • Rubbing alcohol – effectively cleans plastic surfaces of electronics (A concentration of around 70% will kill COVID-19)
  • Hydrogen peroxide – it’s nontoxic and can be used to disinfect household surfaces. Unlike bleach, hydrogen peroxide is safe to use around food products. (Effective against COVID-19)
  • Soap and warm water – the basics! It’ll clean just about anything in your home and won’t present any health risks. (Effective against COVID-19)

Although bleach products may be a bargain, you owe it to yourself, your family or coworkers to use a product that truly cleans, thoroughly disinfects and is safe to use.

We are Cleaning Experts

3/28/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties is Here to Help

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties, 706-896-1880

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

After a Fire, the Danger Isn't Over

3/15/2020 (Permalink)

There’s been a fire at your home or business. Once the firemen leave, your first inclination may be to go inside the structure to see what’s salvageable and start the cleaning process. But cleaning up after a fire is much more complicated than regular cleaning. It’s also very dangerous. Because once the last flame has been snuffed out, the dangers from a fire linger. 

Soot Hazards

Since fire destroys all materials, the soot that covers everything you touch and that you kick up in the air is full of toxic substances. That’s why the highly trained professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties wear heavy duty personal protection equipment (PPE) on fire mitigation jobs until all the soot is removed. Here are some of the poisons found in the soot and ashes of a building fire:

  • Mesothelioma (cancer) causing asbestos fibers from building materials
  • Carbon materials can produce carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides
  • PVC can create hydrogen chloride, phosgene (used as a chemical weapon during World War I), dioxin, Refrigerant-40, bromomethane (a pesticide), etc.
  • Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide (poisonous gasses)
  • Petroleum based items can produce formaldehyde, acrolein, furfural, cresols, and other harmful chemicals
  • Even wood smoke releases more than 100 chemicals also found in cigarette smoke

Removing the Odors

One of the main aftereffects of a fire are odors. These can be difficult to remove without professional know-how and equipment. For instance, did you know that four factors (The Four S’s) can impact the strength of fire odors? Those are:

  1. Size - The bigger the fire, the more objects have burned, and thus there’s been more smoke.
  2. Span -The longer a structure has been exposed to smoke, the more deeply odor has seeped into porous materials.
  3. Space - When a fire occurs in a smaller room, the smoke odor becomes more intense and concentrated.
  4. Stuff - Not all odors are equal. For instance, burning wood, plastic and protein, all emit different smells with varied consistency.

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties has the knowledge and equipment to eliminate the diverse and pungent odors that occur after a fire. Besides the easily accessible areas, we also examine wall cavities, duct work, crawl spaces and plumbing chases to establish whether they also suffered any smoke or fire damage. We’ll ensure that they’re cleaned, repaired and that all traces of odor are removed.

So as tempting as it may be to rush back into your fire damaged home or business once the fire is out, play it safe and call SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties so that we can safely make it “Like it never even happened.”

Do You Have "4" Knowledge?

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

There’s been a fire at your home or business. Once the firemen leave, your first inclination may be to go inside the structure to see what’s salvageable and start the cleaning process. But cleaning up after a fire is much more complicated than regular cleaning. It’s also very dangerous. Because once the last flame has been snuffed out, the dangers from a fire linger. 

Soot Hazards

Since fire destroys all materials, the soot that covers everything you touch and that you kick up in the air is full of toxic substances. That’s why the highly trained professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties wear heavy duty personal protection equipment (PPE) on fire mitigation jobs until all the soot is removed. Here are some of the poisons found in the soot and ashes of a building fire:

  • Mesothelioma (cancer) causing asbestos fibers from building materials
  • Carbon materials can produce carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nitrogen oxides
  • PVC can create hydrogen chloride, phosgene (used as a chemical weapon during World War I), dioxin, Refrigerant-40, bromomethane (a pesticide), etc.
  • Hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide (poisonous gasses)
  • Petroleum based items can produce formaldehyde, acrolein, furfural, cresols, and other harmful chemicals
  • Even wood smoke releases more than 100 chemicals also found in cigarette smoke

Removing the Odors

One of the main aftereffects of a fire are odors. These can be difficult to remove without professional know-how and equipment. For instance, did you know that four factors (The Four S’s) can impact the strength of fire odors? Those are:

  1. Size - The bigger the fire, the more objects have burned, and thus there’s been more smoke.
  2. Span -The longer a structure has been exposed to smoke, the more deeply odor has seeped into porous materials.
  3. Space - When a fire occurs in a smaller room, the smoke odor becomes more intense and concentrated.
  4. Stuff - Not all odors are equal. For instance, burning wood, plastic and protein, all emit different smells with varied consistency.

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties has the knowledge and equipment to eliminate the diverse and pungent odors that occur after a fire. Besides the easily accessible areas, we also examine wall cavities, duct work, crawl spaces and plumbing chases to establish whether they also suffered any smoke or fire damage. We’ll ensure that they’re cleaned, repaired and that all traces of odor are removed.

So as tempting as it may be to rush back into your fire damaged home or business once the fire is out, play it safe and call SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties so that we can safely make it “Like it never even happened.”

Water Damage Can Be Invisible

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

Have you ever seen the disappearing water trick where a magician causes water that’s poured into a cup to magically vanish, as if into thin air? (Spoiler alert: sodium polyacrylate, the stuff in disposable diapers, is first put in the bottom of the cup to soak up the water!)

But water can still disappear even without any “magic” involved. It’s very adept at hiding and can be almost invisible. It sometimes hides so effectively that it can’t be detected unless special moisture meters are used. Why do you need to know this? Because even though water is essential for life, it’s also one the most destructive elements that can attack your north Georgia home or business.

It Can Run…

Water can be elusive because of the way it moves. It spreads out like the letter "T" – moving out and downward from its source. Even if water looks to be setting still, it really isn’t. Gravity continues to pull it down into the surface of the material it’s resting on. And as it moves, it spreads and soaks into whatever porous (allowing liquid or air to pass through) materials it encounters. But after spreading out and down it has another trick up its sleeve. It can also move up. It does this by wicking action. For example, water sitting at the bottom of drywall can wick up the wall at a rate of one inch per hour for the first 24 hours!

Because of water’s meandering ways it can easily hide inside insulation, behind walls and cabinets and in subfloors. Even if a surface feels dry, there may still be moisture hiding underneath or inside of it. What this can mean for your north Georgia home or business is that secondary damage like mold or warping may occur. It can even ruin expensive hardwood floors.

But it Can’t Hide

If you have, or even if you suspect you may have water damage, it’s highly important that a professional from SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties comes out and tests for moisture with specialized moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras. With this equipment we’ll be able to locate the confines of the affected area and show you the scope of the damage. Then our techs will go to work removing and drying the moisture to ensure that no further damage occurs, making it “Like it never even happened."

Why do we do this? Because water can’t hide from SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties!

Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.

We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - 
(706) 896-1880

We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of  Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.

What to Expect

When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.

Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your insurance information (if applicable)
  • The street address of the water-damaged home or business
  • When did the flooding or water damage occur?
  • What caused the water damage (if known)?
  • Is there electricity available (on-site)?

About SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties

SERVPRO of  Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

http://www.SERVPROuniontownsfanningilmercounties.com/crew-photos

Its the Small Things

12/18/2019 (Permalink)

Have you ever heard the old adage that great things come in small packages.  I believe that’s true.  In fact, most of the time, it’s the small things that make life so very special.

As a marketing rep at SERVPRO, I find it’s the small things that make this job so great.  Riding in the Christmas parade and seeing all of your friends waving back at you is not a grand and huge undertaking but it surely is fun!  Decorating a Christmas tree at the Chamber of Commerce is not a huge deal, but it gives you a great sense of satisfaction when it’s done. 

This week I had the opportunity to perform a very small task but it gave a great sense of accomplishment to many folks and for me completed another satisfying day at the job.  I took a ride yesterday and delivered Continuing Education certificates to the participants of our 2 classes this past month.  When I walked in the door with an envelope, they immediately began to smile because they knew what I had for them.  And each of them were so complimentary and gracious in their remarks about SERVPRO and how appreciative they were that our company believes in reaching out beyond our “walls” and providing this service. 

And so thank you SERVPRO for giving us a great opportunity to provide for our insurance agents.  Thank you for the opportunity to build into our community and to make it better!  Thank you to our team who made this possible – our crew who set up, our operations manager who was instrumental in paperwork, etc., our franchise owners who are always behind this great task and our instructor who hit a grand slam.

After all, it’s the small things.......

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Would you be mine?

There’s a new movie in theaters as we speak that celebrates the life and legacy of Mr. Rogers.  It’s starring Tom Hanks and my understanding is that he does an outstanding job representing this kind and gentle man who built his life into our children through the wonderful avenue of television.  While I’ll even bet that the jingle is still playing in your mind and you hear the train whistle and bell clanging as it rounds the corner.

While we think of the music, the sweater, the tennis shoes and the train coming around the bend, we can also think of our company, SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin and Gilmer counties.  After all, I believe that’s why we are in business.  Day after day, we receive multiple calls asking us to rescue those who are in need.  Sometimes it’s dealing with water, flooding, frozen pipes, and mold and then sometimes, it’s dealing with the heartbreaking losses of fire and smoke damage.  I’ve experienced this trauma myself and can speak firsthand of the devastation that goes with it and I would never wish that on anyone.  Many people look at it as a job where I see it as a ministry.  Along the way of reassuring our customers that they are in excellent hands we can even make it as though “it never even happened”.  And we can encourage them emotionally and spiritually as well.  Isn’t this a great job?!

So I’m starting my day with a little jingle, “please won’t you be my neighbor?”