This Valentine’s Day Show Your Carpet Some Love
A great way to spoil your significant other and yourself is to invest in a professional carpet cleaning.
This Valentine’s Day show your carpet some love with these easy steps.
On Valentine’s Day, according to NRF’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights, U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average $136.57, while total spending is expected to reach $18.2 billion. A great way to spoil your significant other and yourself is to invest in a professional carpet cleaning.
Use doormats. The humble doormat does wonders to reduce the amount of sand and dirt tracked into the home. Invest a few dollars in doormats to expand the life of your carpet and keep it clean longer.
Vacuum daily. Yes – daily. If you have difficulty getting to the daily task of vacuuming, then consider purchasing an inexpensive robotic vacuum like those made by iRobot. Daily vacuuming helps pick up dirt and debris before it sinks deep into the carpet. Less dirt expands the life of your carpet.
Clean spots and spills immediately. Not only will a quick clean reduce the rate of absorption but it also helps reduce the bacteria and other problems associated with a spill.
Avoid the hype. A lot of products on the market claim to remove stains, spills and odors but simply mask them or drive them deeper. The stains eventually re-appear looking worse than ever. Don’t spend your hard earned money on inferior products when for just a little more money you can have your carpets professionally cleaned with top quality products by SERVPRO professionals.
Use deep extraction. Deep carpet cleaning is essential to remove deep set dirt, dust, pollen, and other pollutants but don’t add to the problem by allowing the use of harmful chemicals. Instead, ask us about our environmentally friendly “green” carpet cleaning solutions.
Deodorize. Even when a carpet looks clean it can harbor harmful bacteria that give off unpleasant odors. Ask about enzymatic cleaning products capable of eliminating – not masking – odors.
Grooming your carpet. Over time carpets tends to become impacted due to constant traffic and dirt so it is a good idea to have the carpet raked and groomed after a deep cleaning. You might be surprised to find out how good your carpet looks after it has been professionally cleaned and groomed.
The team at SERVPRO of Newberry and Laurens Counties is waiting for your call! Contact them today. Their website is: http://www.SERVPROnewberrylaurenscounties.com/
Southern Homes Particularly Vulnerable During Cold Temperatures
For those of us south of the Mason Dixon line we count on traditionally mild winters. Houses are often built on slab foundations and frequently have water pipes running through the attic, an especially vulnerable location.
Southern homeowners should be aware that pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are all subject to freezing and bursting. If these pipes don’t have insulation or heat to protect them, a strong overnight freeze can cause trouble.
Homeowners in the south need to be alert to the damages of freezing and bursting water pipes when the outdoor temperature threatens to drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Although 20 degrees Fahrenheit is well below the freezing temperature of water, two factors make this the critical outdoor temperature:
- The temperature of an unheated portion of a house is almost always at least a few degrees above the outdoor temperature.
For example, an insulated attic may be at 37 degrees or 38 degrees Fahrenheit when the outdoor temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Water “supercools” several degrees below freezing before any ice begins to form.
In research tests at the University of Illinois, water pipes placed in an unheated, insulated attic consistently started forming ice when the outdoor temperature dipped just below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
The 20 degrees Fahrenheit threshold is primarily for homes in the south and other areas where freezing may occur only once or twice a season.
These suggestions for homeowners in southern states will help them prevent freezing pipe damage:
- Pipes in attics and crawl spaces should be protected with insulation or heat. Pipe insulation is available in fiberglass or foam sleeves. Home centers and hardware stores have sleeves providing one-eighth-of-an-inch to five-eighths-of an inch of insulation; specialty dealers have products that provide up to two inches of insulation. (Check the Yellow Pages under “Insulation” or “Plumbing Supplies” for sources.)
- Heating cables and tapes are effective in freeze protection. Select a heating cable with the Underwriters Laboratories label and a built-in thermostat that turns the heat on when needed (without a thermostat, the cable has to be plugged in each time and might be forgotten). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
- Doors on cabinets under kitchen and bathroom sinks should be left open during cold spells to allow the warmer air of the room to circulate around the pipes.
- Exterior pipes should be drained or enclosed in two-inch fiberglass insulation sleeves.
- Pipes leading to the exterior should be shut off and drained at the start of the winter. If these exterior faucets do not have a shut-off valve inside the house, have one installed by a plumber.
- Hoses should be removed and stored inside during the winter.
- Let faucets drip slowly to keep water flowing through pipes that are vulnerable to freezing. Ice might still form in the pipes, but an open faucet allows water to escape before the pressure builds to where a pipe can burst. If the dripping stops, it may mean that ice is blocking the pipe; keep the faucet open, since the pipe still needs pressure relief.
Information contains in this blog was provided with the help of our friends at Farm Bureau Insurance.
If you should need assistance your friends at SERVPRO are here to help.
Important Business Lessons from Winnie The Pooh
Winnie the Pooh is a children’s classic tale about a honey – loving bear and his adventures with Christopher Robin.
National Winnie the Pooh Day is January 18.
Winnie the Pooh is a children’s classic tale about a honey – loving bear and his adventures with Christopher Robin. Generations of kids and adults have been inspired by the lovable bear and his friends. In honor of National Winnie the Pooh Day here are some quotes that can be used by every business owner and their employees.
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Listen to the customer, no really listen to the customer. Sometimes we feel like we have been doing this for so long and we know exactly what the customer will say. You might be right but by listening to what the customer has to say you can address their concern and you might learn additional information that could either help with other services or offer additional insight.
“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Persistence will eventually be rewarded. Everyone has heard the old adage patience is a virtue. Unfortunately it is one that not many of us have. It’s easy to write someone off after the third or fourth time you’ve taken the time to quote a job only for the customer to not call you back. When the right time comes or after a few mishaps with less experienced companies the customer will be ready to invest in you.
“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
There is a reason why people like to say keep it simple. Customers and potential partners like to feel comfortable with what you are doing especially if they are paying a lot of money for the service. In the office our professionals often talk about the dehuge but in front of customers we always use the proper name of dehumidifier. If you use industry jargon it can be difficult for the customer to understand what you are doing and have the faith that it is being done correctly.
“You never can tell with bees.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Customers can be fickle and every single one of them is different. Stay in touch with your customers and keep a finger on the pulse. If you notice your customers are asking about a facebook page and you don’t have one, you should consider getting one today. We like to stay on top of recent trends in the industry and up on the latest advances on technology to stay relevant to our customer base. The quicker and less painful you can make the process for the customer the happier they will be.
“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” – A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Marketing is one of the very best tools you can have in your business. One of the benefits of being a franchise owner is that SERVPRO has a whole arsenal of marketing collateral for you to use. Not only do they provide national advertising but they provide the tools for you to market your business locally. If you haven’t been taking advantage of what is currently available we encourage you to do so for 2018.
Tips to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
Freezing temps turns lead to frozen pipes. Use these tips to help get the water flowing and avoid burst pipes.
Thawing a frozen water pipe quickly is important. However, it is just as important to thaw the frozen pipe correctly. Here are seven tips to follow to help you get the water flowing and to help you avoid a burst pipe and potentially damaging flood at your property.
Tip 1: Locate the Frozen Pipe
In order to thaw a frozen pipe, you must first determine which pipe or pipes are frozen. Turn on the faucets in your property.
If no water comes out, or only a slight trickle escapes, then a pipe leading to the faucet is likely frozen. If one pipe is frozen, there is a chance others have frozen also.
If the pipes are exposed, such as pipes under sinks, in basements or along the exterior of the house, you may be able to see the frozen portion of the pipe. Frozen pipes often have frost on them or may have a slight bulge. If the blockage is located in part of the pipe that you have access to, you will have more options for easily thawing the pipe than if the frozen portion is enclosed behind a wall.
Tip 2: Open the Faucet
Before you begin attempting to thaw a frozen pipe, you will want to open the faucet that the pipe feeds water into. Make sure to open both the hot and cold handles. This will help to relieve pressure in the system and will allow the water to escape once you begin to thaw the pipe.
Tip 3: Where to Begin the Thawing Process
You should always begin the thawing process near the faucet then work your way down to the blockage.
This will help ensure that the melting ice and steam is able to escape through the open faucet. If you start the thawing process closer to the blockage, the melting ice could get stuck behind the blockage, creating more pressure in the pipe and increasing the chances the pipe will burst.
Tip 4: Thawing Exposed Pipes
If the frozen pipe is located in an area you can easily access, you have several options for attempting to thaw the pipe.
You should continue to apply the heat until the water escaping from the faucet returns to full strength. Here are four options for thawing an exposed pipe.
- Hair Dryer- One of the easiest ways to thaw a pipe is by using a hair dryer. Simply turn the dryer on and point the heat at the pipe, beginning with the portion closest to the faucet. As with any electrical product, take the proper precautions and avoid coming into contact with water when operating the device.
- Heat Lamp or Portable Space Heater- Another method to thaw the pipe is to use a heat lamp or portable space heater. Position the device so that the heat is able to reach the frozen pipe. This indirect heat can help to quickly thaw a pipe. Again, make sure to comply with the safety measures and precautions on the device you are using and keep the device away from water..
- Hot Towels- Another way to thaw a frozen pipe is to wrap towels that have been dipped in hot water around the pipe. This can help to slowly thaw the blockage.
- Electrical Heating Tape- A final option is to apply electrical heating tape directly to the pipe. This tape distributes heat throughout the pipe. You can purchase electrical heating tape that you plug in and unplug as needed or you can purchase heating tape that shuts off on its own.
Tip 5: Thawing Enclosed Pipes
If the frozen pipe is located in an area that you cannot easily access, you have three options for thawing the pipe.
- Turn the Heat Up in the Property- You can attempt to thaw the frozen pipe by increasing the temperature in the property. Turning the thermostat up may be all that is needed to allow the ice blockage to melt.
- Infrared Lamp- If you know where in the wall the frozen pipe is located, you can attempt to thaw the blockage by placing an infrared lamp in front of the portion of the wall where the pipe is located. The heat from the lamp may be able to penetrate the wall and allow the pipe to defrost.
- Cut Out a Section of the Wall- If you are comfortable doing so, you can cut out the section of the drywall in front of the frozen pipe so that you can easily access the pipe. You can then use one of the methods for thawing out an enclosed pipe listed above.
Tip 6: Things to Avoid
Never attempt to thaw a pipe using an open flame, such as a propane torch. This can not only damage the pipe, it can also start a fire in your property.
Tip 7: If the Pipe Bursts
If a frozen water pipe does burst, the first thing you should do is shut off the main water line into your property. This will prevent additional water from flowing and damaging your property. You should know where the shut-off valves are for each of your properties and for each unit. There are usually smaller shut-off valves located near sinks and toilets, but the main shut-off valve is often located near the water meter.
Call a Professional
Call a Professional- If you are unable to thaw the pipe, unable to locate the frozen pipe, do not feel comfortable thawing a pipe yourself or if a pipe bursts, you should call a plumber or other professional. They will be able to remedy the problem for you.
Risks of Thawing a Frozen Pipe
There are two main risks you should be aware of when attempting to thaw a frozen water pipe.
Fire- When using any heat source to thaw the frozen pipe, you can run the risk of starting a fire. Make sure to follow all safety instructions and never leave the product unattended.
Burst Pipe- If you do not begin the thawing process correctly, you could cause the pipe to burst. Always start thawing closest to the faucet.
SERVPRO of Newberry and Laurens Counties is available 24/7 to help with your water and fire damage needs. If you have questions, give us a call at 803-276-0290.
Great tips for Christmas Lights
Don’t leave Christmas lights running when you go to bed at night or when you leave the house.
Newberry and Laurens county houses are all lit up with Christmas lights. It is a beautiful sight to behold. Whether stringing lights across your roof and around your home or using them indoors, take a few moments to run through a quick safety checklist.
- Before you string up a single strand of lights, carefully check them for cracked cords frayed ends or loose connections.
- The combination of shorts in electrical lights and a tinder-dry tree can be deadly. There are 250 Christmas tree fires and 14 related deaths each year, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. So keep your tree well-watered. Not only will it stay fresh and green, but it might also keep your house from burning down.
- Modern lights have fused plugs, preventing sparks in case of a short circuit. Ditch old strands of lights that don’t have fuses and get a set of newer, safer lights.
- Don't connect more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
- If bulbs have burned out, replace them right away, but make sure you use the correct wattage bulbs.
- Water and debris can get into outdoor sockets, so make sure outdoor lights are plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter outlet to reduce the risk of shorts and shocks. Hire a licensed electrician if you need to install GFCI outlets.
- Keep an eye on extension cords, as they can occasionally overheat. Just touch-test the cord. If it’s hot, unplug it.
- Don’t use tacks, nails or screws to hang lights, which can pierce the cable and become electrified. Use insulated hooks instead.
- When running extension cords along the ground, make sure to elevate plugs and connectors with a brick to keep snow, water and debris out of the connections.
- Tape down any ground-level extensions cords to prevent people from tripping over them.
- Check to make sure lights have been rated by a testing laboratory. You can see a list of federally recognized labs on the OSHA website.
- Not all lights are rated for outdoor use. Indoor lights often have thinner insulation, which can become cracked and damaged when exposed to the elements outdoors. So make sure the ones you string up on the house belong out there.
- Don’t leave Christmas lights running when you go to bed at night or when you leave the house.
- When you put your lights back into storage after the holidays, make sure to place them in a well-sealed container to prevent possible water damage and to block hungry rodents looking to turn the cords into lunch.
These tips will help you stay safe and prevent fires. Of course, if you do have a fire, call 9-1-1. Follow these fire safety tips and call SERVPRO of Newberry and Laurens Counties at (803) 276-0290 if you need help with professional clean-up.
This holiday make your office smell good, not overpowering
Make your office appealing not overpowering by using aromatherapy.
We notice if something smells particularly bad or particularly good, but average smells don't usually generate a lot of notice. However, scent can actually affect your mood, for better or worse. That's why it's important to ensure that your office smells good, but not overpowering.
Deodorization and Odor Removal
The first step to making an office smell good is to sniff out the source of any negative odors. This can be surprisingly difficult, as the culprit might be hiding in the walls, ceiling, or floor. Here at SERVPRO of Newberry and Laurens Counties, we're pros at finding and eliminating the source of any negative odors.
Once we've determined what's causing an unpleasant odor in your office space, we use industry-leading deodorization methods to target and remove both the negative odor and its source.
Adding in Positive Scents
While removing an odor can make a huge difference in the smell of a space and on employees' moods, it often isn't enough. Olfactory bulbs, which are the parts of our body that process scents, have a direct effect on the parts of the brain which process emotion and learning. This means that adding positive scents to the office can make working there an incredibly pleasant experience, and can also function to improve productivity!
Scents proven to increase mood and focus are:
Lemon, Jasmine, Rosemary, Peppermint
- Lemon can promote concentration and produce calming effects. It also contains natural antibacterial properties, which can be a lifesaver for offices!
- Jasmine has been shown to lift your mood by producing feelings of confidence and increasing optimism and energy.
- Rosemary helps to improve focus and clarity as well as fighting physical tiredness – great effects for a workplace to have.
- Peppermint increases concentration, focus, and acts as an energy booster to help you come up with brilliant ideas.
Just be careful not to overdo any aromatherapy, as too much scent in the workplace can cause productivity to drop or irritate allergies.
If you have a need for odor removal or deodorization services in the Newberry or Laurens area, SERVPRO of Newberry and Laurens Counties has the technical experience, know-how, and professional savvy to make your office smell brand new again. Contact us today to see how we can help your business smell its best!
A Safe Thanksgiving is a Happy Thanksgiving
Putting too much oil in the fryer or dropping in a frozen or partially thawed turkey lead to most turkey fryer fires.
As you gather to celebrate Thanksgiving with your friends and family, at SERVPRO we want to help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire hazards.
According to data from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA, an estimated 2,000 Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of five deaths, 25 injuries, and $21 million in property loss each year. The leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential buildings is cooking.
The USFA recommends the following tips to keep your holiday safe.
- Make sure you have smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Test smoke alarms monthly and replace them if they are 10 years old or older.
- Keep a close watch on your cooking. You should never leave cooking food unattended.
- Keep oven food packaging and other combustibles away from burners and heat sources.
- Heat cooking oil slowly and watch it closely; it can ignite quickly.
- Don't wear loose sleeves while working over hot stove burners - they can melt, ignite or catch on handles of pots and pans spilling hot oil and other liquids.
- Have a "kid-free zone" of at least three-feet around the stove and areas where hot foods or drinks are prepared or carried.
- Keep a lid nearby to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
Thanksgiving just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the turkey. And deep-fried turkey has become a favorite Thanksgiving tradition in many households. But if used improperly, an overloaded fryer can easily tip over and set an entire house ablaze. USFA offers the following helpful tips to backyard chefs who plan to deep-fry a turkey for Thanksgiving:
- Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings and any other flammable materials.
- Never use turkey fryers in a garage or on a wooden deck.
- Make sure the fryers are used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls. If you do not watch the fryer carefully, the oil will continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or pets near the fryer even if it is not in use. The oil inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot hours after use.
- To avoid oil spillover, do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and water do not mix, and water causes oil to spill over causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- The National Turkey Federation (NTF) recommends thawing the turkey in the refrigerator approximately 24 hours for every five pounds in weight.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. If the fire is manageable, use your all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire increases, immediately call the fire department for help.
The Importance of Continuing Education
Continuing Education Class held in Laurens, South Carolina
The work place is constantly evolving. Continuing education and constant informal learning is required for everyone to stay current with the latest developments, skills, and new technologies required for their fields.
Today, most professions require continuing education to comply with laws, remain licensed or certified. Continuing education requirements are mandated by State or other licensing body is considered key in staying updated with industry advancements and changes.
Most insurance companies and agencies require their agents to take continuing education courses in topic in which they would like their agents to get well versed in. CE is also a good way for agents to acquire knowledge about new lines of insurance and to expand their business.
SERVPRO offers both credit and noncredit courses for insurance agents, insurance adjusters, real estate professionals and franchise staff. These programs are designed to improve knowledge of emergency mitigation. Courses include:
- Water Damage Restoration
- Fire Damage Restoration
- Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry
- Restorative Drying for Loss Control
- Mitigation Awareness Response Seminar
If you have questions about our next continuing education class, contact the experienced professionals at SERVPRO Newberry and Laurens Counties.
Newberry and Lauren County Residents: Tips for a safe Halloween
If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times.
Children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts and dried cornstalks adorning front porches – these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make the holiday special for kids and adults alike.
Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present lurking fire risks that have the potential to become truly scary. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Taking simple fire safety precautions can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun!
Halloween by the numbers
- From 2009-2013, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year.
- Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
- These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage per year.
- Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.
Improve the safety of your Halloween by following these tips from NFPA:
-Costumes: When choosing a costume, stay away from billowing or long-trailing fabric. If you are making your own costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or flame.
-Visibility: Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costumes. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he/she can see clearly out of it.
-Flammable decorations: Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
-Candles/jack-o-lanterns: It is safest to use a glow stick or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. If you choose to use candle decorations, make sure to keep them well attended at all times. Do not leave them near flammable objects or where trick-or-treaters may walk. Remind your children to avoid open flames. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit.
- Exits: Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
Source: NFPA Fire Analysis & Research Division
Strong winds also came with tornado warnings in Cheraw. Chris Jackson took this photo in Chesterfield County.
Tornadoes have caused a lot of destruction in many towns across the United States. South Carolina averages 14 tornadoes per year, resulting in an average of 1 fatalities. Counties in a high risk tornado area include Bamberg County, SC, Saluda County, SC and Richland County, SC. The largest tornado on record occurred on 04/08/1957, measuring a 4 on the Fujita-Pearson scale. Although, we cannot prevent a tornado, we can be more knowledgeable of what a tornado is and the signs of a tornado coming.
Tornadoes are considered nature’s most fierce storms and is formed from a violently narrow rotating column of air that extends from the base of a thunderstorm to the ground. Before a tornado hits, the wind may die down and the air may become very still. A tornadoes location may be marked by a cloud of debris even if the funnel is not visible.
Tornadoes may cause devastating fatalities and damage to many homes and neighborhoods in the matter of seconds.
According to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), “About 1,200 tornadoes hit the U.S yearly.”
Tornadoes are most likely to be seen during May into early June for the Southern Plains and for the Northern plains and upper Midwest, tornadoes are more likely to be seen in June or July. Although, these are the peak tornado seasons, tornadoes can happen at any time of the year. Tornadoes can also happen at any time of the day or night, but are most likely to hit between 4-9 p.m.
Tornado Watch: the conditions are favorable for a tornado.
Tornado Warning: a tornado has been reported, you should seek shelter.
Air Pressure: is the weight of a column of air that extends from the ground to the top of the atmosphere.
Funnel Cloud: a rotating column of wind that has not touched the ground (funnel clouds are called tornadoes when they reach the ground).
Multi-Vortex Tornado: a tornado that has two or more vortices that circle the center of a larger tornado.
Tornado Alley: an area in the United States where tornadoes are more likely to develop.
For more information on tornado safety and what to do in case of a tornado please visit https://www.weather.gov/ctp/TornadoSafety .