Appliances That Commonly Cause Water Leaks
Water damage caused by an overflowed dishwasher
There are an alarming number of situations that can cause water damage to homes—weather incidents, flooding and burst pipes often come to mind.
However, the source can also be from things we utilize every day, such as appliances that require water to operate. Prevention is key to stopping small, sneaky leaks from becoming a big problem, which is why we put together a guide of what appliances to watch out for and how to check them for drips.
What Appliances to Check for Water Damage
Hot Water Heater
Though hot water heaters can typically last as many as 15 years, they can begin leaking water much sooner due to faulty pipes and seals. Check regularly to avoid this from catching you by surprise, and be sure you replace it based on the manufacturer’s recommended time frame.
The ice maker inside of the refrigerator pulls water in to manufacture the ice, but the tubing it uses to do so can often falter. Add that to the fact that refrigerators are seldom moved, and you have a recipe for water damage to get out of hand before you even realize it has begun. Simply pulling the fridge away from the wall and checking for drips regularly is enough to prevent this from becoming an issue that gets out of hand.
A dishwasher can be another common culprit for secluded damage because of how they are typically built into cabinets. Pulling them out of their cubby often is wise, especially if you have an older model. It is not uncommon for homeowners’ insurance policies to not cover water damage from older appliances, so this is extra important to note.
Washing machine leaks are such a common problem that it is recommended to check their hoses as frequently as once a month to guard against wear and tear. Even with regular checks, exercise caution by replacing these hoses every five years regardless of if they appear worn.
All air conditioning units manufacture condensation as part of their operations, but if there is an issue with their draining capabilities, issues can arise. The best way to prevent this is by following your manufacturer’s instructions regarding inspections and maintenance, as well as doing your own visual checks to ensure there is no water out of place in and around the unit.
If your home has been impacted by water damage or you’d like to put a plan in place in case it happens to you, contact us to learn how we can help.
Small Business Fire Safety Tips
Are you a small business? Is your fire evacuation plan compliant?
One fire can completely destroy a company's finances and productivity. In severe instances, the risk can lead to a closure. In addition to ensuring you are compliant with all the fire safety codes, here are some tips to mitigate the threat fire poses to you business:
- Have the right equipment - make sure you have functioning smoke alarms and extinguishers in the workplace at all times. A fire suppression system is also recommended.
- Minimize flammable material in storage - packaging materials, paper files amd batteries, as well as other common office items, can be highly flammable. Minimize the amonth of these materials kept in the workplace, and safely store those that are kept.
- Manage electronics safely - when leaving for the day, always turn off everyting plugged into an outlet. Make sure electrical cords are not damaged as broken wires can start fired, and never allow circuits to be overloaded.
- Regularly check fire alarms - conduct monthly checks to ensure that all fire alarms, as well as the systems that monitor the building, are functioning properly. Alert employees therein to give them ample time to evacuate in the event of a fire.
- Have a written plan - write out a plan that includes evacuation protocols, fire prevention policies, emergency phone numbers and all other matters pertaining to procedures. Make sure all employees have access to the plan.
Emergency Preparedness 101: What to keep in your emergency kit
For more information on emergency preparedness, visit Ready.gov or the American Red Cross.
When it comes to family safety and home security, top-of-mind concerns usually involve crime or household accidents. However, environmental factors force millions of people to evacuate their homes or shelter in place every year. An emergency kit, also known as a survival kit, is the cornerstone of emergency preparedness for these situations. Assemble a well-thought out emergency kit, either in your home or in a travel-friendly “go bag”, to help you stay safe and sound.
While some locations face greater environmental risks than others, dangerous weather can strike anywhere. In 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recorded 124 emergency declarations, which included fires, storms, flooding, high winds, mudslides, tornadoes, earthquakes and even volcanic eruptions. These events and related emergencies often result in the loss of electricity, water, heat, phone lines or other utilities. They may also prevent you from traveling, so plan accordingly using this list.
Emergency kit basics
Your basic preparedness kit should include everyday staples like water, food, essential toiletries, batteries and backup communication devices. The following recommendations are intended to last through relatively minor emergencies until your power can be restored or emergency personnel can reach you.
- Water: The Department of Homeland Security recommends at least one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.
- Food: Assemble a three-day supply (or more) of nonperishable food items. Keep food in a cool, dry place with basic cutlery, including a can opener, easily accessible. If you’re sticking to the basics, choose food items that don’t need much preparation or heating. Some suggestions: granola or protein bars, peanut butter, jerky, nuts, cereal, dried fruit and canned items like legumes, fruit and tuna.
- Family first aid kit: At minimum, your first aid kit should include treatments for minor injuries (bumps, scrapes, cuts, burns, etc.) as well as general purpose over-the-counter medications like pain relievers, cold medicine, anti-diarrheal medicines (Immodium, Pepto-Bismol) and hydrocortisone cream. Create your own from scratch or opt for a preassembled kit. This all-purpose first aid kit represents a good value and includes plenty of kid-friendly items like junior band-aids and topical pain relief. No matter which kit you choose, you should always review its contents and supplement it with items that are relevant for your family. For instance, you might need allergy medicine like Benadryl or epinephrine pens or additional NSAIDs for chronic aches and pains.
- Medical items & prescriptions: The first aid kit prepares you to respond to new injuries and conditions, but anyone in your household with pre-existing conditions should also have a 7-day emergency supply of prescriptions and/or medical devices.
- Toiletries and sanitation items: Prioritize toiletries that you can use without water, especially if you rely on an electric water pump. Moist towelettes/wet wipes with plenty of sealable trash bags are good all-around use items. If you have an infant, baby supplies (diapers, rash cream, etc.) are of utmost importance. Also consider hand sanitizer, feminine hygiene products and toilet paper.
- Glasses and/or additional contact lenses with solution: Coping with an emergency is particularly difficult if your vision is compromised. Make sure to have backup glasses, contacts and contact solution if you have issues with your eyesight.
- Lighting: flashlight, lanterns, candles: Flashlights and camping lanterns are excellent options, as long as you include an ample supply of batteries. Hand-crank flashlights are an even better choice because they don’t require batteries at all. Energizer makes some of the best rated mini versions; this Thorfire flashlight is another great option, with features like solar power, waterproofing and various light settings.
If you stock up on candles, be sure to include matches or lighters, and use them extremely judiciously. Open flames present safety issues of their own. Use tip-proof, heat-proof candle holders and never burn a candle unattended.
- Backup cell phone chargers/battery: Cellular networks often remain up and running even when electricity is spotty. If you can keep your device charged, you can preserve a connection to the outside world. Car chargers can be useful in a pinch, as long as you have the resources to start and run your car. Backup battery packs are reliable, but keep in mind that they usually recharge your device only 1-3 times, depending on the pack size and the type of phone you have.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio: Though radios might seem old-fashioned, they’re the best tool for staying up-to-date on emergency broadcasts during a time of need. AM/FM radios are better than nothing, but they may not provide the best information during hazardous weather. Look for an emergency radio that supports NOAA weather radio. These types of receivers tune into specific public safety radio frequencies that broadcast comprehensive governmental weather news and alerts.
- Multipurpose tool or tool kit: A multi-tool or a small toolkit will help you respond to the environment. At the very least, keep a wrench and/or pliers on hand to turn off natural gas and damaged water valves. Hammer, nails, plywood, tarps and rope may be necessary to re-secure doors and windows. Plastic sheeting and duct tape are also handy reinforcements if the structure of your home is compromised.
- Pet supplies: Don’t forget your furry family members in your planning. Stock up on extra food, bedding and important medications.
- Whistle, maps and compass: Many security authorities recommend packing a high-decibel whistle into your emergency kit in case you need to signal for help. Local maps and a compass can also be lifesavers if you need to travel without your go-to GPS device.
- Emergency blankets or sleeping bags: During an emergency, you or your family members may need to recover from dangerous weather exposure. Heat-retaining household safe or in a waterproof bag or portfolio within your emergency kit.
Advanced survival kit items
There are several possible reasons to increase your level of emergency preparedness, many of them personal. Some people prefer to keep an elevated level of independence and preparation because they live in an isolated setting. Others just want maximum peace of mind. To increase your preparedness level from covering basic needs for a few days to enhancing your comfort and readiness for an extended period of time, start with the items listed above and expand on them as your priorities and resources allow. In some cases, “more” is simply better – more food, more water, more tools. In other cases, consider additional strategic investments in the following items.
- Water filtration: Disease-causing bacteria and other organisms may lurk in seemingly innocuous water, and natural disasters can cause these pathogens to multiply. If you don’t have a way to boil water to sanitize it, emergency water filtration can make non-potable water safe to drink. Make sure to use filters specifically designed for untreated water. Most kitchen water filters are simply meant to make already-drinkable water taste better, not to sanitize it. Water filtration systems meant for the outdoors are more appropriate for emergency prep.
- Generator and fuel: Backup electric generators are available in a variety of sizes, price points and run times. Many people consider quiet, low-capacity inverter generators sufficient for emergency prep in smaller households. Larger portable generators have greater wattage loads and run time, while standby generators are the type that automatically kick on when you lose power, keeping your home (or a significant portion of it) up and running without disruption. All generators require fuel (propane or natural gas) and the greater its size, the more installation and safety concerns it presents. Do your research carefully, matching your wattage needs with your requisite appliances. Amazon has a great guide to get you started.
- Cooking supplies: In an emergency, a hot meal goes a long way. Look for a survival cooking kit that includes a safe heating element or fuel. Many of these emergency stoves work well with either solid emergency kindling or canned liquid fuel. Butane camping stoves and self-heating cooking bags are also an option. Proceed cautiously: cooking flames are dangerous, especially in enclosed spaces. A fire extinguisher makes an excellent addition to your emergency kitchen.
- Comforts (clothing, towels, games, activities): Pleasant diversions can be hard to come by during long-lasting emergencies. Paper, pencils, books, crosswords, puzzles and other games go a long way in keeping spirits up. Cozy clothing, towels and additional bedding are other comfort measures that may make the difference between feeling hopeless and staying positive.
How Planning Helps Reduce Risks for Your Business | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu
Choose SERVPRO of East Honolulu for your restoration needs
Managing your time investments properly is one of the most important aspects of strategic business ownership, but one area where most business owners could stand to invest more time is in their disaster preparedness efforts.
Natural disasters are happening more often than ever before, and while some areas of the country might be more vulnerable, they can occur anywhere and it is important for business owners to have a plan.
Preparing for a natural disaster involves planning both for the occurrence of the event and what to do in the aftermath to resume operations as quickly as possible. By knowing the details about your insurance coverage, creating an emergency plan and understanding how to get your property restored, you can ensure you are prepared for whatever nature sends your way.Planning for Disasters as a Small Business Owner
1. Double-Check Your Insurance
While business insurance is a must for small business owners, not all insurances will cover the same amount of damages after a disaster. Extremely damaging events such as flooding are often not provisioned for in standard insurance policies and require supplemental commercial coverage in order for businesses to be protected.
2. Create Your Action Plan
When a disaster is imminent, those affected often have only minutes in order to evacuate and get to a safer area. For this reason, having an emergency action plan for how you will respond if your business is in immediate danger is quite helpful, as you will not be wasting time deciding what needs to be done. Make sure you determine evacuation procedures, what emergency supplies to take and make copies of all important documents that might need to be salvaged.
3. Rehearse Drills and Prepare Staff
Preparing your employees for a disaster scenario will help everyone stay safe and limit your liability when an emergency occurs. Come up with different, likely scenarios to practice workplace safety drills so it is clear how to proceed when a natural disaster is on the way.
4. Choose a Restoration Company to Work With
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, recovering quickly is one of the most important things for businesses, as a lapse in operations can be devastating for financial security. For this reason, choosing your preferred restoration company well in advance is advised. By doing this, you can call immediately to have your restoration begun and work to reopen as quickly as possible.
If you need to pick a commercial restoration company that’s right for you, call us today! We can tell you all about what sets our process apart.
How Fires Peak in the Winter | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu
Candle fire statistics
While house fires are always a big risk, winter is the most common time that house fires are likely to occur. This is due to a variety of factors that come into play, including an increase in celebrations, a lowering of temperatures and the dangers of an open flame. In order to help you be aware of these factors and remain safe, we have compiled the most common cause of these fires and prevention tips to help.Household Fire Causes in Wintertime
An Increase in Cooking
Regardless of the time of year, cooking is always the leading cause of household fires. In winter, this is compounded with the likelihood that people are cooking more meals and possibly baking unfamiliar dishes, creating more of an opportunity for a fire to occur.
The Risk of Heaters
The way we heat our homes has a lot to do with our overall fire risk, as heaters are often a cause. Using portable heaters with subpar safety features or letting the fireplace run without a screen in place are both common causes of fires that can easily be prevented.
Candles and DecorationsFire Prevention Best Practices
Candles experience a surge in popularity during winter, both for the pleasant smell as well as for holiday celebrations. Any time there is an open flame—even a small one from a candle—there is an increase in the risk of a fire. Additionally, holiday decorations that rely on electricity can pose a fire risk as well, as they can deteriorate in storage and cause sparks or shorts.
Being diligent about preventing fires is a great way to ensure your likelihood of being present for one is lowered. It is important to practice this prevention at any time of year, but these tips are tailored especially to the common instances of wintertime fires:
- Check smoke alarms once every 30 days and replace every 10 years.
- Always monitor open flames.
- Select space heaters with automatic shut-offs in case they tip over.
- Utilize a screen every time you use a fireplace.
- Draft and practice an emergency escape plan with your household.
If your home has been impacted by a fire, call us right away. We are leaders in restoration and can help you recover quickly after a fire occurs.
Damages Flooding Can Cause | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu
Drying of business dance studio after a storm caused water to burst through its doors
While thinking of flooding is not pleasant, it is something that all homeowners should consider due to how common it has become in recent years.
There are many causes of flooding as well as many damages a flood can cause. To give you an idea of the most common damages to be aware of, we have put together this guide so you can be better prepared.Flooding and Its Damage to Homes
Foundational Damage. The ground underneath a home can become waterlogged during a flood, causing unnatural and unprecedented shifting and swelling. This can alter a home’s foundational stability, resulting in structural issues such as cracked walls or ceilings.
Drywall Damage and Mold. While some drywall is in clear need of replacing, not all drywall impacted by a flood will be crumbling and clearly damaged. However, because drywall is such a hotspot for mold after it becomes soaked, it may still have to be replaced even if it looks physically sound.
Insulation Saturation. While some specialty insulations will not be affected by water damage, the majority of the types in today’s houses can become extremely saturated with water and must be replaced after a flood.
Temporary Frame Swelling. The framing of a home is traditionally made out of lumber, meaning it will not always have to be replaced following a flood. While the wood may swell initially, it will usually settle after it dries and remains structurally stable. However, always work with a professional to ensure it is treated for mold.
Appliance Ruining. The appliances that contain insulation such as ovens and refrigerators will generally have to be replaced after a flood, as this insulation can absorb flood water. However, other appliances that are not insulated may be OK to use—just check with a professional to ensure the electrical safety first.
Furniture Damage. Because of how much water upholstered furniture can absorb, it often requires replacement following a flood because of contamination and mold. However, furniture made of other materials may be salvageable after a thorough cleaning, such as metal and wood pieces.
If your home has been affected by a flood, we’ll be here to help you! Give us a call 24⁄7 to learn about our certified flood restoration process.
Water Damage Restoration: What to Do When Your House is Flooded
Flood Preparedness: How to Prepare for a Flood Disaster
If you haven't been affected by storm damage, you should still prepare in case of future disasters. Here are some simple steps that businesses and homeowners can take to reduce the impact of natural disasters:
- Check your insurance policy – Flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners or renters insurance policies. In some high-risk flood areas, home and business owners may be required by law to carry flood insurance. To learn more about your state's requirements check with your Insurance Commissioner.
- Take pictures/video of your business or home as a point of reference in the event of an emergency.
- Back up critical digital files on a portable external hard drive and store it away from the office.
- Properly anchor fuel and propane tanks, so they don't float away in case of flooding. Also, ensure you keep your fuel levels full ahead of storms.
- Have copies of your insurance policies on hand and have an electronic version available.
- Collect family photos and other mementos in a centralized and easily accessible area, preferably in a watertight container.
- Keep medicines together in a waterproof container.
- Prepare an emergency kit with a change of clothes, weather appropriate footwear, flashlight, water, and battery or crank operated radio to monitor the weather without electricity.
- Discuss your emergency plan with your family. Designate a "safe place" inside if you have to take shelter and a meeting place outside in case you have to evacuate.
The Quality of Your Restoration Company Matters | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu
Fire caused by one unit affected multiple residents at this Oahu apartment complex
As winter approaches, it is important for homeowners to be sure they are fully prepared for a fire. The winter months are when the most home fires occur according to the Red Cross.
It is wise for every household to develop their own emergency fire escape plan to prepare for the moment a fire breaks out—but preparing for the aftermath is also important. By deciding in advance what restoration company to work with after a fire, you can get the restoration process in motion immediately in order to have your home back to its pre-fire condition.Fire Cleanup in 3 Parts
Working with an experienced fire restoration company is the best way to get peace of mind after a fire. Not only will you have a guarantee that your restoration will be done right, but they will also be able to handle the majority of your belongings instead of only being able to salvage bits and pieces. After a fire, here are the three types of cleanups we can perform:
Fires can not only damage paint and drywall, but they can also cause harm to the structural elements of your home. By performing testing, we can determine the exact extent of this damage so that we can ensure every damaged element is restored. Then our technicians will bring in their equipment to begin the cleaning and restoration process.
With the contents of your home, it is often far more cost-effective to have them restored rather than to replace them, which is why we ensure we have the ability to do this. We have both wet and dry cleaning machines to handle a variety of object types. We can often restore most of a home’s contents, from electronics to paintings to wooden furniture. This ensures your favorite items are safe to use and that you do not have to go through the stressful replacement process.
Lingering smoke and soot after a fire might cause unpleasant odors, but they can also cause negative health effects. For this reason, air quality cleanup is a very important part of the restoration process. By bringing in foggers and air scrubbers, we are able to fully remove these particles in lieu of simply covering up the scent.
If you’ve been affected by a fire, reach out to us right away! We are here 24⁄7 to help you recover.
Ways for Business Owners to Prepare for Floods | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu
If you've experienced a flood, we are always here to help. Call us 24/7 to get our team of professionals to your business quickly so you can get back
There are many things that business owners must plan for regarding their livelihood, but all too often, floods are left off that list. For those outside of a known floodplain, planning for one can seem like a waste of time—but with 90% of natural disasters involving floods, it is not unheard of for areas not historically prone to flooding to be affected.
Because business owners also have a degree of liability, planning for a flood is a great way to keep your employees safe and ensure your business is well-poised to reopen after the waters retreat. Practicing preparedness provides valuable peace of mind and can have a big impact on the future of your business.
<h3to-do-to-prepare">What to Do to Prepare
There are many ways to practice flood preparedness, but some of the most important are:
- Locating your business on the FEMA Flood Map to determine your risk levels
- Keeping copies of important documents stored away from the business in a secure, waterproof place
- Training employees on your emergency plan in order to educate them on what to do
- Creating evacuation routes that are well thought out and making sure everyone is aware of them
- Inquiring about your insurance coverage and whether adding flood insurance might be a wise choice
- Storing emergency rations and first-aid supplies in case a situation arises where you are stuck
- Elevating valuables so they are not ruined by low-height floods
<h3the-right-documents">Preserving the Right Documents
By having copies of important documents on hand, business owners can ensure they are set up to reopen even if the originals were destroyed. Some of the best ones to preserve are:
- The continuity plan for the business
- Details on how to contact parties essential to the business, such as staff and vendors
- Details on how to file an insurance claim and contact your agent
- Instructions for accessing backed-up digital files
- Banking history, deed or lease information and any financial documents that might be helpful
If your business has experienced a flood, we are always here to help. Call us 24⁄7 to get our team of professionals to your business quickly so you can get back on track.
Questions You Need to Ask Your Restoration Company | SERVPRO® of East Honolulu
Lorenzo air sampling for mold
Any time a property sustains damage, there are many logistical hoops to jump through. For small businesses, there are a few more hoops than normal due to the fact that a business owner’s livelihood could be in jeopardy. It is a dismal yet important statistic: 40 to 60% of small businesses cannot reopen following a disaster.
Because of the high stakes of commercial restoration, asking your potential company some important questions will go a long way in picking someone reputable to work with.
1. What Is the Emergency Process?
Many cases of property damage will continue to worsen as long as they are left untreated. A company with a solid emergency response time, 24-hour emergency line and a team of professionals trained to respond quickly is your best bet for not letting things get out of hand.
We are ready and prepared to respond at all hours of the day thanks to our own 24-hour emergency line that allows us to respond to damage rapidly. This allows us to begin the work of cleaning up so that business owners can focus more on their own tasks.
2. What Is the Employee Training Process?
The technicians who are working to restore your business are the ultimate determining factor in the quality of work. A company that employs and thoroughly trains professional technicians will be happy to share with you a bit about their education process.
The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets forth industry training standards, which are what we use for our own teams. Additionally, certifications and online learning courses are supplied and encouraged so everyone can expand their knowledge.
3. What Is the Equipment Selection Process?
The quality of restoration equipment is essential to the quality of work, and technological advancements have made many pieces of machinery obsolete. That is why choosing a company who carefully selects its equipment is essential.
Our own machinery is chosen based on the guidelines from the IICRC to guarantee we use the best technology to perform the best commercial restoration work.
If you’re in need of commercial restoration, do not hesitate to make the call so you can get your business back faster. Our trained experts are here to help 24/7—contact us today.