Recent Posts

Are Renters Responsible for Water Damage?

5/15/2022 (Permalink)

Family of three unpacking boxes in their new rental home. Family moving into their new rental home.

When you rent out a home in Matthews, NC, your tenants expect a safe place to live. In addition to maintaining your property, you need to be ready for potential water loss. 

Your first question will likely be: Are my renters responsible for any water damage? In most cases they are not. As the landlord, it is your duty to keep the property’s plumbing in working condition. If the water damage is caused by a pipe, faulty appliances, HVAC units or a natural disaster, the landlord is usually responsible. In some cases the renter can be at fault for damage if their personal appliance causes the damage. In most cases the landlord is not responsible for any damage to the renters belongings. 

Signs of water damage to watch for: 

Because you, the landlord, are responsible for most cases of water damage it is important to be vigilant. As a landlord you probably already check your property at least once a year. During these inspections keep an eye out for these signs.

  • Changes in wall and ceiling surface texture: any bending or sagging of plaster or drywall is a sign of water damage. Look for bubbles or cracks that may indicate water. 
  • Odors: When water leaks behind walls it can often be slow enough that it is invisible. While you might not be able to see the damage, mold and mildew can grow causing odors. Mold can cause health effects, so it is important to contact a water restoration company to address both the water and mold. 
  • High utility bills: If you or your tenant notice unusually high utility bills, it can be an indication of a hidden leak that needs to be addressed immediately. 

If your Charlotte, NC, rental property has experienced water damage, be sure to contact SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County to make it "Like it never even happened."

SHOULD I POUR GREASE DOWN MY SINK?

4/25/2022 (Permalink)

Grease in a pan being poured down kitchen sink with running water Grease being poured down kitchen sink.

Leftover grease is something no one likes to deal with, so it can seem like an easy solution to pour it down the sink, here’s why you should never do that. 

No matter how much soap and hot or cold water you pour down with the grease, the grease can still congeal and cling to pipes. This can cause blockages in your pipes. Even heavy detergents that claim to be tough on grease may be no match for grease that clings to your pipes.

If grease backs up your pipes it can lead to leaks and cause water damage and mold. The safest and easiest way to get rid of old grease is to pour the hot grease into a can and let it cool. Once it has solidified it can easily be thrown in the trash.

If a water leak in your Charlotte, NC, home has caused water damage, call SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County to make it "Like it never even happened."

CAN A CURLING IRON START A FIRE?

4/21/2022 (Permalink)

A woman using a curing iron looking into a mirror Are Curling Irons a Fire Hazard?

As innocent as it might seem, a curling iron can cause fire damage to your Charlotte, NC home if not properly used and stored.

Curling irons are heated by an electrical resistor, and if left on for too long, the iron’s circuit board could start a home electrical fire. Even curling irons with an automatic shut-off feature are at risk of starting fires. A report from the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) states that personal grooming appliances, including curling irons, caused an estimated 234,000 fires. 

Tips to Prevent a Curling Iron Fire:

  • Don’t overload bathroom outlets
  • When your hair is done, unplug the iron to avoid a fire or simply a burn to the surface it is placed on → make this a habit!
  • Use the built-in rests that are usually on the iron’s grip so that it doesn’t lay on the countertop
  • Buy a silicon mat if your curling iron does not have an attachment for it to rest on

To protect yourself and your family, always pay attention to where hair tools are, follow all safety instructions, and unplug any tools not in use.

Don’t worry, if your Charlotte, NC home experiences an electrical fire, SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County is never more than a call away. Our highly trained technicians are experienced in fire damage restoration and can assure you that you’re in good hands.

What is an ERP?

4/9/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO emplyee talking with a business owner about creating an ERP What is an ERP?

Do you want to help save your business, time and money, in the event of a disaster? Consider having SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County create a FREE Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your business.

What is an ERP? Our staff completes the ERP on your business's property. Any maintenance employee or office staff can be present as we create the profile. Using an iPad our staff will walk around your business looking for items like shut-off valves, electrical boxes, emergency exits and other important places you would need in an emergency. The ERP will also include emergency contact numbers for utility services.

In the event of a disaster at your Charlotte, NC, business you can open up the ERP and quickly contact SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County or any other emergency contacts. If someone needs to know how to shut off the water or switch off breakers all of that information will be at their fingertips in seconds with the ERP. 

Contact SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County to schedule your complimentary ERP today!

How Technology is Valuable During a Storm

3/30/2022 (Permalink)

4 people using different portable tech devices Using Technology During a Storm

While the idea of technology seems simple on the outside, the constant updates and innovations can deter people from learning all that their devices can do for them. When emergencies or natural disasters hit close to home, it can be extremely advantageous to know how to make the best use of your technological devices. Technology allows you to stay updated on outside conditions as well as let family and friends know where you are.

We recommend keeping portable chargers readily accessible so that you can make the most of your technology during an emergency. Keep these tips on how to effectively use your devices in mind.

Applications for News Updates

Checking apps for updates on your smartphone is a fast and easy way to catch up with the latest news in Charlotte, NC. Make sure you have reliable news apps downloaded before inclement weather hits so that you can stay posted on local weather conditions and national updates.

Mark Yourself Safe

Another helpful feature of social media that not a lot of people know to use is the ability to mark yourself as safe. Facebook offers a feature called Safety Check that lets users mark themselves as safe if there is a dangerous situation in or near where you live. Simply updating your status as safe lets family and friends know that for the time being, you are out of harm’s way. The Red Cross has a similar feature called Safe & Well, which is both an app and website, where users can be marked safe.

Use Online Storage

Websites like Google Drive and DropBox ease the stress of possibly losing important copies of identification cards, passports, insurance policies, medical records, pet records, etc. in the event of a disaster. Be sure to scan and save any important documents before inclement weather is expected.

Make SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County your go-to team when your Charlotte, NC, home or business is in need of any kind of remediation. Call us today at (704) 840–6112.

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Is My Shower Causing Water Damage?

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

Shower head with running water. Text says 'Is my shower leaking? SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County' Leaking shower causing water damage

SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County is frequently called in to Charlotte, NC, homes to help mitigate water and mold damage caused by an unknown leaking shower. So how does water damage happen in the shower?

Grout & Mortar Aren’t Waterproof

People often think that grout and mortar, along with all other types of cement-like materials, are waterproof, but that isn’t the case. The main component of traditional grout and mortar isn’t designed to block water. A safe shower or tub installation includes plastic sheeting or tar paper behind the tiles and over the subfloor. This waterproof material connects to the tub or shower drain, letting any water pass through without reaching the subfloor. If there is no waterproof barrier, every time water touches the tiles, water is likely reaching the subfloor.

Waterproof Barriers Can Degrade

Another problem that can lead to water damage from the shower is the degradation of the waterproof barrier behind the tiles. While these barriers can last for years, they can degrade in certain situations. In some situations, plastic barriers can become brittle, break down, crack, and let water through. The same is true for tar paper barriers.

Cracked Shower Floor

When tile is installed on a shower floor, there should either be a prefabricated shower pan that is made for tile, or a concrete shower pan that is created on-site. These shower pans keep water from reaching the subfloor, but if these pans crack, the water barrier can not hold water.

Water Can Spread

On the surface it might seem like a bathroom leak will only affect the areas where water is visible, but the extent of water damage can be difficult to see. It may seem like a little mold or mildew on the surface of your shower is only a lack of cleaning, but if that mold keeps coming back, it might be a sign of a bigger moisture issue.

What Next?

If you notice buckling floors, a weird smell, or staining, you could have water damage in your bathroom. The best first step to take is calling a plumber. Once the leak is resolved, it’s time to begin the restoration process. Call SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County at (704) 840–6112 day or night for all of your restoration needs.

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Fireplace Safety Knowledge

2/22/2022 (Permalink)

Mother & daughter enjoying fire inside. text Fireplace Safety Knowledge SERVPRO South Mecklenburg County Fireplace Safety Knowledge

A cold winter’s night is a great time to enjoy a relaxing evening by the fire. It is also a good time to review your fireplace safety knowledge. SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg county wants you to be both cozy and safe! We have some tips to share to keep you that way!

Get your fireplace cleaned and inspected yearly

  • Creosote, a sticky flammable substance released by wood-burning, can build up in the chimney. If a chimney is not cleaned a creosote buildup in the chimney can catch on fire.
  • Leaves and animal nests can also build up in chimneys during the off-season.
  • A level one inspection will ensure a sturdy chimney and necessary cleaning for both gas and wood-burning chimneys.

Only burn dry, seasoned wood

  • For the best fire, your wood should contain about 20% water. Fresh-cut wood can contain up to 45% making it hard to catch fire, produces more smoke and creosote builds up faster.
  • You should avoid using other materials like paper, cardboard or foam. These items can cause extreme flames and smoke.

Check the damper

  • A damper is a plate or valve that controls the airflow in your chimney. This is what keeps wind and rain out when the fireplace is not in use.
  • Before starting a fire be sure to open the damper all the way to allow the fire to start and allow smoke to flow upwards. After the fire is strong the damper can be closed partially to keep heat in while letting smoke out. 

Install carbon monoxide detectors

  • Carbon monoxide is produced from burning wood which can build up indoors it can cause serious problems. Be sure to install a detector near the fireplace and in bedrooms to protect from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

To see more fireplace safety tips in action check out this video.

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Insulate Pipes and Protect Your Home

2/18/2022 (Permalink)

“Protect Your Home: Insulate Pipes” with orange pipes on a tan background and the SERVPRO logo Will the pipes in my home freeze this winter?

BRRRR! It is definitely winter in Charlotte, NC! We may not get much snow, but we do get hard freezes. Do you know what to do when that happens? Benjamin Franklin said in 1736, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and this saying definitely applies to our pipes today!

We all know water freezes, and if you have ever put a water bottle in the freezer, you know water expands when frozen. What many people don’t consider is that the same thing happens in your pipes as well. Whether you have the strongest, newest material available, or a regular PVC pipe, freezing water can cause a crack to form. 

Some pipes are more likely to experience a crack than others, the most commonly frozen pipes are: 

  • Pipes that are exposed to cold air like outdoor hose spigots, sprinkler systems, and pool supply lines.
  • Water supply lines in unheated areas of the home like basements, crawlspaces, garages, attics and even kitchen cabinets. 
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls with little or no insulation.

An ounce of prevention...How to Insulate and Protect Pipes

Even though it is already cold in Charlotte, NC, there is still time to prevent a frozen pipe this winter. Protecting your pipes may take more than leaving a faucet on overnight, follow these steps to protect your home:

  1. Drain water from any swimming pools and sprinkler supply lines. Follow manufacturer instructions to do this properly. Unless manufacturer instructions recommend it, avoid using antifreeze in any of these lines. Antifreeze is a harmful substance to humans, pets and the environment. 
  2. Any hoses that are commonly stored outside should be drained and stored in a warmer area during the winter. Close all indoor supply valves to reduce water flow, and open any external valves to prevent any trapped water from freezing. 
  3. Adding extra insulation to easy to reach areas like attics, crawlspaces, basements and garages can help prevent frozen pipes and lower heating and air costs for your home. 
  4. Check your home for other areas where water supply lines may be in unheated areas. This may be under kitchen or bathroom sinks or behind washing machines. Both cold and hot water pipes should be insulated in these areas. 
  5. One of the easiest ways to insulate these pipes is with “pipe sleeves” or heat insulating tape. These materials can be found at your local home improvement store and can be easily installed over the weekend. 
  6. If you have exposed pipes in your home consider relocating them to more insulated areas. 

Ok...what else can you do?

  • Keep garage doors and crawlspace access closed as well as any other parts of your home that may have un-insulated pipes. 
  • Keeping kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open can allow warm air to reach the plumbing. 
  • If you are leaving your home for an extended period of time make sure heat is set to a minimum of 55o F. This might seem high, but even if your house is above freezing inside, your pipes could still be in danger of freezing if the outside temperature is below 20oF for at least six consecutive hours.

For more information on protecting your pipes from freezing visit the City of Charlotte Water website. If you notice an increased water bill after low temperatures you may have experienced a small crack. We recommend contacting your plumber to investigate as a small leak could cause significant damage if it continues to go undetected.

If you find a pipe has frozen or is leaking, please do not wait- call SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County immediately. We will help handle any water damage left behind for you!

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Turn The Water Off Quick!

2/17/2022 (Permalink)

“Turn off the water quick!” with an orange semi-transparent organic circle shape and a picture of water dropping into a puddl Where is my water shut-off valve?

When water is pouring into your home or business, don’t freeze, leap into action and shut off the water. If you don't know where the shut-off valve is or how to use it, read on! 

If you experience a water loss at your Charlotte, NC, property, shutting off the water supply valve can help protect your home from severe damage. If you aren’t prepared to shut off the water supply in an emergency, hundreds of gallons of water can enter your home while waiting for help. We have seen this happen. By shutting the water off quickly, drying time is significantly reduced, belongings are often saved, and the restoration process is much easier. So where is that shut-off valve?

Where should you look for the water shutoff?

  • The master shut-off valve is located on the inside of the house near where the outdoor meter is located. If you aren’t sure where the water meter is, take a walk around the outside of your house and locate the meter. 
  • If your home has a basement or crawlspace the shut-off valve is probably located on the wall closest to the street. Be sure that there is nothing blocking access to the shut-off valve. Anything that needs to be moved to access it will mean more water pouring into your home during an emergency.
  • If your home is built on a slab and has no basement the valve is most likely in the garage or near the hot water heater. 

Found it!  Now what?

  • Once you find the valve, it will either be a ball valve or a gate valve. Those names might not mean much to you, but they affect how to stop the water. A ball valve means there should just be a handle that must be turned perpendicular to the pipe, if it is a gate valve turn the handle clockwise until it is hand-tight.
  • The water should turn off once the valve has been closed. If water continues to flow into your home make sure you properly shut off the water. If the valve is malfunctioning the water may need to be turned off closer to the source. 

Now, take a breath and call in a water specialist to mitigate the water. We know any damage that occurs to your home is overwhelming and can quickly disrupt plans. One call to SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County, and we will handle the rest so you don't have to stress!

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When Water Damage Strikes Your Business, SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County Is Here To Help

2/16/2022 (Permalink)

“Here To Help” in a circle with a dark green background and the “SERVPRO” logo How to prevent damage to my business

Do you know what to do when water damage strikes your Charlotte, NC, business? It can be a devastating experience. Not only does it have the potential of closing your doors for the short term, but many businesses are also unprepared for disasters like water damage and never end up opening their doors again.

How can you avoid being a statistic? Call SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County! We will come to your property and perform and FREE inspection and provide you with an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP)! That means you can be ready before a disaster strikes. By having an ERP, you and your employees can react quickly, significantly reducing the amount of time your business will be closed, and decreasing the chances of shutting your doors for good.

We are Faster to any size disaster,™ no matter the size, but we also offer this proactive tool so you can have peace of mind in the event a disaster does affect your life. Remember, a SERVPRO of South Mecklenburg County ERP is 100% free, and 100% priceless!

Give us a call today and let us set up your ERP appointment!

If you do have a disaster at your Pineville, NC, business, rest easy knowing that we have the equipment, experience, and the expertise to get you back to "Like it never even happened." 

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