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Safeguarding Older Homes from Storm Damage in the St. Louis

9/12/2023 (Permalink)

Heavy rainfall on a roof. Before delving into protective measures, it's essential to identify vulnerabilities that older homes might face during storms.

Nestled within the historic charm of the St. Louis area are older homes that tell stories of a bygone era. While these homes exude character and nostalgia, they may be more susceptible to storm damage due to aging structures and materials. In this blog, we'll explore actionable steps to protect older homes from the wrath of storms, helping you preserve the beauty of the past while fortifying against the challenges of the present.

Recognizing Vulnerabilities

Before delving into protective measures, it's essential to identify vulnerabilities that older homes might face during storms:

Outdated Materials: Aging roofs, windows, and siding may not provide the same level of protection as modern alternatives.

Foundation Issues: Settling or deterioration of the foundation can lead to water intrusion during heavy rainfall.

Weakened Structure: Over time, the structural integrity of an older home may be compromised, making it susceptible to wind damage.

Inadequate Drainage: Older homes might lack proper drainage systems, increasing the risk of flooding and water damage.

Fortifying Your Home

Roof Inspection and Maintenance: Regularly inspect the roof for loose shingles, leaks, and signs of wear. Reinforce the roof with updated materials if needed.

Windows and Doors: Seal gaps around windows and doors to prevent water intrusion. Consider upgrading to impact-resistant windows if appropriate.

Siding Reinforcement: Replace damaged siding and consider adding weather-resistant siding materials for better protection.

Foundation Inspection: Address any foundation issues promptly to prevent water infiltration. Consider waterproofing measures.

Gutter Maintenance: Keep gutters clear of debris to ensure proper water drainage away from the home's foundation.

Tree Trimming: Trim overhanging branches and trees near your home to prevent potential damage during storms.

Insurance Considerations

Review your homeowner's insurance policy to understand the coverage for storm damage. Consider adding endorsements that cater to the unique needs of older homes.

Historic Preservation

If your home is designated as a historic property, consult local preservation guidelines before making any modifications. There may be regulations that affect the types of upgrades you can undertake.

Regular Maintenance

Consistent upkeep is key to protecting older homes. Regular inspections and proactive maintenance can prevent small issues from escalating into major problems.

Final Thoughts

Owning an older home in the St. Louis area is a privilege that comes with responsibility. By understanding the vulnerabilities and taking proactive steps, you can ensure that your historic treasure stands strong against the forces of nature. Preserving the past while embracing modern protective measures allows you to enjoy the charm of your older home while safeguarding its future for generations to come.

Grill Cleaning 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Grill Ready for the Season

8/23/2023 (Permalink)

grill fire Protect your home! Clean your grill to prevent grill fires.

Grilling season is here, and no doubt you are looking forward to some mouth-watering barbecues with family and friends. However, before you get the grill going, it’s important to give it a good clean to ensure it’s safe and free of any leftover food or debris from last season. In this post, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to clean your grill and get it ready for the season.

Turn Off the Gas Supply

Make sure your grill is turned off and the gas supply is disconnected before you start cleaning.

Clean the grates using a wire or nylon brush, scrape the grates to remove any stuck-on food or debris. This will help to prevent any unwanted (and potentially toxic) flavors from contaminating your food. Once you have scraped the grates, soak them in soapy, warm water for 30 minutes. This will help to remove any remaining gunk or residue.

After soaking, scrub the grates with a soft-bristled brush to remove any remaining grease or debris. Rinse the grates thoroughly with water and dry with a clean cloth.

Wipe Down the Exterior

Using a damp cloth and mild soap, clean the exterior of the grill, paying special attention to any areas that have been exposed to grease or food. Remove the cooking grates and clean the interior of the grill with a mild, non-toxic cleaning solution. Wipe down any surfaces, paying particular attention to the burner tubes and heat deflectors.

Once you have finished cleaning, reassemble the grates and turn on the grill to let it heat up for 10-15 minutes. This will help to burn off any remaining residue and sanitize the grates.

Don't forget to clean the drip pan underneath the grill. This is where grease and drippings accumulate. Remove the pan and empty any leftover liquid or debris. Scrub it with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly. If your grill has disposable drip pans, replace them as needed.

Clean the Burner Tubes

Over time, burner tubes can become clogged with grease and debris, affecting the performance of your grill. Use a wire brush or a small bottle brush to clean the burner tubes. Check for any blockages and remove them carefully. This will ensure that the burners provide an even flame and consistent heat distribution.

If your grill has an electric igniter, clean it gently with a soft cloth. Make sure it is free from grease or dirt, as this can prevent it from working properly. If you have a gas ignition system, check for any loose connections and make sure the spark is igniting the gas. It's essential to clean and maintain your grill brush as well. After each use, give it a good rinse with water to remove any grease or food particles. Let it dry completely to prevent the growth of bacteria. If your brush has worn bristles or is not in good condition, consider replacing it for better cleaning performance.

Store Your Grill Properly

Once you have finished cleaning, make sure your grill is completely dry before covering it or storing it for an extended period. Moisture can lead to rust and other damage. Use a grill cover or store it in a dry, covered area to protect it from the elements.

Cleaning your grill regularly not only ensures food safety but also helps prolong the life of your grill. Make it a habit to clean your grill after each use and perform a thorough cleaning at the beginning and end of the grilling season. This will keep your grill in good condition and ready for use whenever you crave some delicious barbecue.

Remember, a clean grill is not only important for food safety but also for optimal grilling performance. By following these tips and maintaining a proper cleaning routine, you can enjoy flavorful and safe meals all season long. Happy grilling!

Dealing with a Toilet Overflow - Steps to Take for Effective Cleanup

7/28/2023 (Permalink)

A toilet overflow can be a messy and stressful situation to handle. Whether it's due to a clog, a malfunctioning float valve, or any other issue, it's crucial to act quickly and effectively to minimize water damage and restore cleanliness. In this blog, we will guide you through the steps to take after a toilet overflow, helping you navigate the cleanup process and ensure a hygienic and safe environment in your home.

Stop the Water Flow

The first step is to stop the toilet from overflowing further. Locate the water shut-off valve near the base of the toilet and turn it off by turning it clockwise. This will stop the flow of water and prevent further flooding.

Before starting the cleanup process, put on gloves, protective clothing, and footwear to prevent contact with contaminated water and potential pathogens. It's important to prioritize your health and safety throughout the process.

Remove Excess Water

Using towels, mops, or a wet/dry vacuum, remove as much standing water as possible. Be careful not to spread the water to unaffected areas. Dispose of the water in a toilet or a sink that is not affected by the overflow.

Dispose of any items that have come into direct contact with the toilet water and are not salvageable. This may include rugs, bath mats, or other absorbent materials. Bag them securely and dispose of them according to local regulations.

Clean and Disinfect

Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces that have been affected by the overflow. Use a mixture of warm water and mild detergent to clean the area. Then, apply a disinfectant solution or a mixture of water and bleach (1:10 ratio) to eliminate bacteria and odors. Pay special attention to the toilet bowl, floor, walls, and any other areas that may have been splashed or contaminated.

After cleaning, ensure the area is properly dried to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Open windows, use fans or dehumidifiers and allow for adequate airflow. If necessary, use moisture-absorbent materials like baking soda or silica gel packs to expedite the drying process.

Inspect for Damage

Check for any signs of water damage to the walls, flooring, or cabinets. If you notice any discoloration, warping, or softness, it's essential to address it promptly to prevent further damage and potential mold growth. Consider consulting a professional if the damage is extensive.

Monitor the affected area for any signs of mold growth in the days following the overflow. Watch out for musty odors, visible mold patches, or any allergic reactions. If you suspect mold, consult a professional mold remediation specialist to assess and address the issue.

Prevent Future Overflows

Take preventive measures to minimize the chances of future toilet overflows. Avoid flushing excessive toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, or other items that can cause clogs. Regularly inspect and maintain your toilet and plumbing system to detect and address any issues before they escalate.

Dealing with a toilet overflow requires prompt action and thorough cleanup to prevent water damage, contamination, and potential health hazards. By following these steps and taking preventive measures, you can effectively manage the situation, restore cleanliness, and ensure the safety and functionality of your bathroom. Remember, if the overflow is severe or the damage is extensive, it's advisable to seek professional assistance to ensure a thorough and proper cleanup.

5 Effective Ways to Prevent Flooding in Your Home

6/14/2023 (Permalink)

Standing water in a front yard. If you do experience flooding, it's important to act quickly to minimize the damage.

Flooding can be a major problem for homeowners, causing significant damage to property and potentially putting lives at risk. While it's not always possible to prevent flooding from occurring, there are steps you can take to minimize the damage and reduce the risk of it happening in the first place. Here are five effective ways to prevent flooding in your home:

Keep gutters and downspouts clean and clear

One of the primary causes of flooding is clogged gutters and downspouts. When debris accumulates in these areas, it can prevent water from draining properly and cause it to overflow. Regularly cleaning and clearing your gutters and downspouts can go a long way in preventing flooding.

Install a sump pump

Sump pumps are an essential tool in preventing flooding. They work by pumping excess water out of your home and away from the foundation. Installing a sump pump can be a wise investment to protect your property from water damage.

Use landscaping to your advantage

Landscaping can play a crucial role in preventing flooding. Planting trees and shrubs strategically can help absorb excess water and prevent it from pooling in areas around your home. Additionally, grading your lawn away from your foundation can help prevent water from seeping into your basement.

Seal any cracks and gaps

Small cracks and gaps around windows, doors, and foundations can be entry points for water. Sealing these areas can help prevent water from seeping into your home and causing damage.

Consider a backflow preventer

If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall or flooding, installing a backflow preventer can be a smart move. This device works by preventing water from flowing back into your home's plumbing system, which can be a common cause of flooding.

By taking these five steps, you can significantly reduce the risk of flooding in your home and protect your property from damage. However, if you do experience flooding, it's important to act quickly to minimize the damage. Contacting a professional restoration company like ours can help ensure that your home is restored to its pre-flood condition and that any potential mold growth is addressed.

Clear the Air: How to Address Mold in Your HVAC System for a Healtheir Home

5/17/2023 (Permalink)

mold around windows Mold can spread quickly through your home if your HVAC is not maintained.

Mold is a common problem in households, and it can grow in many different places, including your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. HVAC systems provide an ideal environment for mold growth, as they create a damp, warm atmosphere. Mold in your HVAC system can cause secondary damages, as it can spread mold spores throughout your home. In this blog, we will discuss how to address mold in your HVAC system.

Identify the Source of the Mold

The first step in addressing mold in your HVAC system is to identify the source of the problem. Inspect your HVAC system thoroughly for any signs of mold growth. Look for visible mold on the vents, ductwork, and other components of your system.

Call in a Professional

Cleaning mold from your HVAC system is not a task that should be taken lightly. It's important to hire a professional to address the problem. A professional HVAC technician will have the expertise and equipment necessary to safely and effectively remove mold from your system. SERVPRO has professional experience and expertise to safely remove mold from your HVAC and ensure your home is mold free.

Inspect and Clean the Ductwork

The ductwork is the most likely place for mold to grow in your HVAC system. A professional HVAC technician will inspect the ductwork and clean it thoroughly to remove any mold growth.

Replace Air Filters

Mold spores can accumulate in your HVAC system's air filters, which can lead to further mold growth. Replace your air filters regularly to prevent mold spores from spreading throughout your home.

Maintain Your HVAC System

Regular maintenance of your HVAC system is key to preventing mold growth. Have your system serviced by a professional HVAC technician at least once a year. This will ensure that your system is clean and functioning properly, and can prevent future mold growth.

Addressing mold in your HVAC system is a task that should be left to professionals. 
Mold can pose a significant threat to both your health and the integrity of your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. Mold thrives in moist and humid environments, making the dark and damp areas of your HVAC system an ideal breeding ground. Once mold spores find their way into the system, they can spread quickly through the air ducts, contaminating the air you breathe and causing various respiratory issues. Moreover, mold can compromise the efficiency and functionality of your HVAC system by clogging air filters, obstructing airflows, and damaging vital components such as coils and insulation. Regular maintenance, including cleaning and inspection of your HVAC system, is essential to prevent mold growth and ensure a healthy and efficient indoor environment.

Identify the source of the mold, call in a professional, inspect and clean the ductwork, replace air filters, and maintain your HVAC system regularly. By following these steps, you can prevent mold growth in your HVAC system and ensure a healthy indoor environment.

Is Your Rental Property Protected? Understanding Renter's Insurance Coverage for Fire Damage

5/1/2023 (Permalink)

insruance Reviewing your policy and understanding coverage can help you understand what is covered incase of an emergency.

If you're renting an apartment or a house, it's important to consider getting renter's insurance. Renter's insurance helps protect your belongings in case of damage or loss due to various circumstances such as theft, water damage, and fire. But does renter's insurance also cover fire damage? In this article, we'll discuss the details of renter's insurance and its coverage of fire damage.

Understanding what insurance covers

To start, it's important to understand what renter's insurance covers. Renter's insurance typically covers your personal belongings such as furniture, electronics, and clothing. It also provides liability coverage in case someone is injured while on your rental property. Additionally, some renter's insurance policies may cover additional expenses such as temporary housing if your rental property becomes uninhabitable due to a covered incident.


When it comes to fire damage, renter's insurance generally covers the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged belongings. This coverage can also extend to damage caused by smoke and water used to extinguish the fire. However, it's important to note that not all renter's insurance policies are the same, and coverage may vary depending on the specific policy you have purchased.

Understanding the Circumstances

In addition, it's important to understand the circumstances that may affect your renter's insurance coverage for fire damage. For instance, if the fire is caused by your negligence, such as leaving the stove on or using faulty electrical appliances, your insurance company may not cover the damages. Similarly, if you fail to report the fire in a timely manner or fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent further damage, your insurance company may deny your claim.

It's also important to note that if you live in an area prone to wildfires, your renter's insurance policy may not cover damages caused by wildfires. In such cases, you may need to purchase additional coverage or a separate policy that specifically covers wildfire damage.

In conclusion, renter's insurance can provide valuable coverage for fire damage to your personal belongings. However, it's important to understand the details of your policy and the circumstances that may affect your coverage. By taking the time to review your policy and understanding your coverage, you can make informed decisions and ensure that you're adequately protected in case of a fire or other unexpected event.

What do I do after a pipe break?

3/6/2023 (Permalink)

copper pipes When your home suffers a water loss from a broken pipe, call the professionals.

A pipe break is a frustrating, stressful, and expensive problem to have. Fortunately, it's also something that can be fixed. In the meantime, here are some things you can do to minimize damage and speed up the repair process.

Turn off the water supply to the pipe.

The first thing you need to do is turn off the water supply valve for your home or business. This will stop any further damage before it can happen and keep you from wasting money on unnecessary repairs that could have been avoided if you had turned off the valve earlier. It's important that you know where this valve is located, so take some time now and check all of your pipes for signs of leaking or damage. If there's no sign of leakage anywhere else in your home, then this may be an easy fix but if there are signs of leaks or flooding in other areas around town, contact a plumber immediately.

Turn off the power to any heating or air-conditioning equipment near the leak.

Turn off the power to any heating or air-conditioning equipment near the leak, turn off the circuit breaker controlling your home's electrical supply. If you cannot locate a circuit breaker, call an electrician to turn off electricity at its source.

Clean up as much water as possible

Clean up as much water as possible using towels or mop, but do not use a vacuum cleaner. You want to stay away from electricity when your home suffers from a water loss. Vacuum cleaners can cause more damage because they suck up the water and pull it into the motor of your vacuum, which will then overheat and burn out your machine.

Call your local plumber for help.

In the event that you do experience a pipe break, it's important to know how to handle the situation. It's important to call your local plumber for help. If you try to fix the leak yourself, you could end up making things worse. Not only does this save money by avoiding unnecessary repair costs, but it also prevents damage to other pipes in your home or business. If you have any questions about how best to handle your leaky pipe problem, contact SERVPRO today!

Evacuation and Fire Escape Plan

2/5/2023 (Permalink)

fire escape plan Having a fire escape plan in place to help prevent injury incase of fire emergency

If you have kids or pets, your evacuation plan needs to be tailored a little differently than that of a household without little ones. In this guide, we'll walk you through some basic steps and considerations when preparing for an emergency situation. Check out our tips below!

Evacuation Plan

When you have kids in your home it is safe to have an evacuation plan in place incase of an emergency. Have a fire escape ladder, a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher installed in the area of the home where the kids sleep and train them how to use in the case of an emergency. Consider having a first aid kit and firer blanket in case of an emergency as well.

Fire Escape Plan

The location of your nearest fire escape is important to know. A fire escape is any exit that leads out of the inside of a building, and can be used to exit in case of an emergency. There are several types of fire escapes, an exterior balcony, an interior stairway or hallway, and even a ladder that can be used on the side of a building.

If you don't have access to a balcony or stairwell, you may have access to a ladder on the side of your apartment building. This kind of escape route could be helpful if there's not enough time for you or your family members to run down several flights of stairs before the fire reaches them. Some apartments will have bars over their windows, which would prevent anyone from climbing out this way without breaking through glass first.

Be sure to know where all smoke detectors are placed within each room so they're easy reachable during times when everyone needs them most. Practice a fire escape plan and have a plan B in place with your family in case of a fire emergency.

We hope that this guide has helped you to think about how you can prepare for a fire. It's important to put together an fire escape plan, and have a plan B in case your home doesn't have sprinklers or other safety features. Knowing the best way out of your home can save lives!

Black Mold: Everything You Need to Know

1/18/2023 (Permalink)

Black mold growing on a wall. Black mold is one of the most common types of mold.

Black mold is one of the most common types of mold. If you see black mold in your home, it may be growing behind a wall or in the attic. Black mold can also grow on porous building materials like wood, drywall, and ceiling tiles if they're exposed to moisture for long periods of time.

Black Mold in Your Home

You can find black mold in other areas of your home, as well. Black mold will grow on wood, drywall, and other porous surfaces like carpets. The bathroom, kitchen, and basement are common places for black mold growth to occur because these rooms have high moisture levels which make it easier for mold spores to grow. If you have an attic or crawlspace in your home then these are also likely places where you may see black mold growing.

Mold Inspection

Mold inspection is necessary in order to determine the extent of the mold problem. You'll want to hire a professional certified individual or company who can provide you with an accurate assessment of your particular situation. This may include visual inspection, black light inspection, moisture meter testing, and more.

Remediating the Mold

If you discover black mold, don't try to remove it yourself. Black mold is often dangerous and should be handled by professionals trained in mold removal. If you discover black mold, don't try to remove it yourself. Black mold is often dangerous and should be handled by professionals trained in mold removal.

Mold remediation involves thorough cleaning of the affected area with specialized products to kill off any remaining spores or fungal growth. This may include using HEPA vacuums, sterile cloths, negative air machines and other equipment depending on the severity of your situation.

Mold removal can take a few days or weeks depending on how large the infestation is and whether or not you have to tear down parts of your home to get rid of it all. If you hire a professional, they'll remove all traces of black mold from your home and then sanitize everything with chemicals that are safe for humans but toxic for molds (like hydrogen peroxide). They'll also use ultraviolet lights that kill any remaining spores so that no new colonies can grow back in their place.

The professionals will wear protective gear like respirators and goggles so as not to breathe in too much dust while removing the infected areas. They will take protective measures against the mold to protect the rest of your home as well. 

If you believe that you have black mold, it is important to call a professional remediation company like SERVPRO of St. Louis County. We are certified by the IICRC and licensed. Black mold can be hazardous, so it's important to get it removed as soon as possible. If you're looking for a professional remediation company in the St. Louis, MO area, contact us today!

3 Reasons a Basement Floods and How To Prevent It

1/1/2023 (Permalink)

Leaking pipe A leaking or burst pipe is one of the most common culprits of water in a basement

Three Causes of Basement Flooding and How to Avoid It

A flooded basement has happened to many a homeowner. Because basements are at the lowest level of your home and partially underground, they are especially susceptible to flooding. Should your basement flood, you can work with a water cleanup and restoration service, but there are several issues you can watch for and act to mitigate to prevent water damage to your home.

1. Plumbing Leaks
A leaking or burst pipe is one of the most common culprits of water in a basement. Often a leak can go undetected for some time, so regular inspection of this part of your home is essential, especially if your basement is not used regularly.

2. Faulty Water Heater
A malfunctioning water heater is another likely reason for flooding in a home. An old tank can corrode, causing gallons of water to gush into your basement. Proper maintenance and inspection can help prevent a faulty tank from creating a major problem. If your water heater is over 10 years old, consider purchasing a replacement.

3. Excessive Rainfall
If your basement is not properly sealed, excessive water from a storm could find its way into your home and cause a basement flood. Inspect your basement walls and foundation and seal any cracks to prevent water from leaking in. Be sure to monitor storm drains near your home and make sure they are free from debris that can cause them to back up.
Water damage is a common problem for homeowners and one of the top five types of insurance claims filed by homeowners. All basement floods are not equal, so be sure you know what is and is not covered in your homeowner’s insurance policy. A licensed plumber or home inspector in Creve Coeur, MO, can visit your home and assess your risk of a basement flood. Understanding the risks and the maintenance required to limit potential damage is a must-do for all homeowners.