Offseason: Ready for Whatever Happens
Here in Florida, especially on the Gulf Coast, storm season is something we take very seriously. But at SERVPRO of West Pasco, we are even thinking about hurricanes and tornadoes in the off season.
Officially, hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin - which includes the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and our backyard, the Gulf of Mexico - begins June 1 and goes through November 30 each year. The season peaks in mid-August through late October, and those dates coincide with our operation’s busiest time of year. In fact, our company handbook outlines hurricane season and encourages the team not to plan non-refundable vacations, weddings or the births of children during that time frame. (Just kidding!)
During the off season, our team balances the daily workload of emergency services response along with preparation for storm response. We focus on training and updating industry certifications in the spring, allowing the team to ready themselves for the weeks and months ahead, and also take time to step away and reflect on how we can be better prepared for the next time. Over the years, we’ve added to our standard operating plan a fully-stocked consumables and equipment trailer, locked and ready to be hooked up to a truck and heading out to help. This tactic has allowed us to increase response time dramatically, eliminating lag time almost completely and making the mobilization as fast as possible and helping clients minimize secondary damage. Warehouse Manager Doug reliably monitors and restocks the inventory as needed so the trailer is always ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Each year in early June, before the threat of storms roll in, we take a moment as a company to gather with our families for a day of fun. This gives a chance for the company leaders to thank our families for their sacrifices throughout the year, and in advance for bearing through our busy season. Often our crew can be gone for days and even weeks on end, whether they are responding out of town to a storm event or working long hours locally when our own neighborhoods are facing weather damage.
We want our clients and community to know that we are ready for whatever happens, year round. And we won’t be on vacation when a storm threatens New Port Richey!
December Employee of the Month
Our hearts are full as we honor our employee of the month for December 2019. As the year came to a close and we looked back on 2019’s highs and lows, this decision was easy. Time and time again, facing personal challenges many can only imagine, this person showed courage, strength and resolve, and a caliber of integrity that inspired the whole team. April P. has been with the company for the last two years as the Project Coordinator for Hernando County, and in that time she has become an important part of the SERVPRO family.
In August 2019, April was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she received the diagnosis, she was determined to make a full recovery will maintaining her full-time work schedule. She was a warrior throughout four chemotherapy sessions, leaning on colleagues and friends for support and keeping a positive attitude throughout it all. Although her journey is not complete, she continues to push forward, maintaining her regular schedule and being a resource to the SERVPRO team and client, and she plans to continue this as she begins additional treatments in the coming months. Just as April has supported our team, we are proud to continue to support her. Thank you, April, for your courage and dedication and for being an example to us all.
Leaking Toilet? Water Damage Source #2
The cause of loss in this picture is the detached supply line leading to the toilet. This unfortunate event caused a whole home to become flooded.
Toilets can develop leaks both internally and externally. An external leak can cause water damage in your home rather quickly, not to mention some wet feet! Today we’re going to talk about some of the most common causes of a leaky toilet in Bay Area homes and what you should do when you encounter a toilet leak yourself!
- Condensation on the bowl. Before you assume that your toilet has a leak, you should check whether or not the water you’re noticing is condensation. Bathrooms can get very humid, especially during and after a shower. This can cause condensation to drip on your toilet. The amount of water produced by condensation is typically small, and it’s not an issue you need to worry about.
- Crack on the tank or bowl. Toilets are built to last, but cracks do sometimes develop on them over time. Often times this will start as a hairline crack that develops into something more severe.
- Rusted pipes. The pipes that lead to your toilet can begin to rust for any number of reasons over time. This can eventually create a crack in the pipe, which will allow water to leak around your toilet.
- Loose or worn out seal at the base. If water is pooling up around the base of your toilet, there’s a good chance that the leak is caused by loose or worn out parts that bind your toilet to the floor.
- Loose or worn out tank-to-bowl connections. The tank and bowl in two-piece toilets are bound together by a collection of gaskets, nuts and bolts. If any of these parts come loose, a leak can develop at that area in the toilet.
- Worn out flapper. Another cause for an internal leak is a worn out flapper. The flapper stops water in the tank from entering the bowl, and if that part is worn out it will cause water to continuously leak into your bowl.
What should you do if you encounter a leak??
Toilet leaks should be taken care of as soon as possible before they waste too much water or damage any parts of your home. If you are uncertain of the cause of the leak, call a local, licensed plumber so that they can come to your house to inspect and fix the problem. Although some homeowners might choose to fix simple problems like a worn out flapper on their own, most of the causes of a leaky toilet are best left in the hands of a professional plumber. If you do happen to encounter a leak that has caused damage to your home, give SERVPRO of West Pasco a call!
#1 Source of Water Damages
Water Heaters are the number one cause of water damages in the home.
1/13 – Top Sources: Hot Water Heater
In a previous blog we discussed the top three reasons our clients experienced water damages in 2019. The number-one source of water damages was a leaking or malfunctioning hot water heater, a trend our colleagues across the country also report. With this knowledge, and a few useful tips, you can take steps to prevent the possibility of any damage in your own home. In this blog, we will discuss a few reasons why water heaters may leak, and what you can do if it happens in your home or business.
For homeowners with tank water heaters, the most common mechanism for heating water, knowing and paying attention to these common issues can help prevent an unfortunate situation:
One of the most common reasons for a water heater to leak is a loose drain valve. The drain valve will slowly leak water if this happens. Good news - this is an easy fix. All you need to do is a grab a wrench and tighten the valve. It is extremely important that you do not over tighten it; just turn it enough without forcing it.
When the tank begins to build up too much pressure it can also cause a leak to form. When this happens, the excess pressure will force the water to leak out of the tank to reduce the pressure. Typically this occurs if the temperature on your water heater is set too high.
Another thing that can lead to excess water pressure is if the exterior water supply to a house comes in at too high a pressure. A defective temperature pressure relief valve can also lead to an excess buildup of pressure in a hot water heater.
These are all simple fixes but may require a licensed plumber to ensure it is done properly.
Although hot water heaters are designed to last for a long time, as they approach the end of their life cycles, rusting and corrosion start to cause an issue. When the corrosion gets bad enough, it can start to allow the water from the tank to leak out. When this happens, it is a definite sign that the hot water heater needs to be replaced. If you do not replace it, it can cause complete failure of the tank which in turn could flood your home.
Sometimes the hot water heater will trick homeowners into thinking there is a leak when there is in fact nothing wrong. It is normal and natural for condensation to show on the outside of the tank. When cold water first enters the inside of the tank, it can lead to condensation when the outside air is hot. This is not an issue to be concerned with.
Regular maintenance and awareness can help mitigate the possibility of a hot water heater leak and a house flood. If you experience a flood in your home, be sure to call SERVPRO of West Pasco and we will make it “Like it never even happened.”
You Have Mold, Now What?
Water damage in this condo has caused mold to develop behind the vanity
Picture this. You wake up, walk into your bathroom and find a puddle on the floor. Immediately you contact SERVPRO of West Pasco to come out to your home to start drying it out. While inspecting the area they notice some microbial growth behind the vanity. WHAT NOW?
This is the same scenario faced by one of our clients in her gorgeous waterfront condo in Dunedin, Florida. Luckily SERVPRO of West Pasco arrived quickly and – as a firm licensed by the State of Florida as a Mold Remediator – we knew exactly what to do. Microbial growth and the dreaded threat of mold sounds ominous, but with a team of trained professionals behind you, it doesn’t have to be scary. Our technicians and project managers are trained to handle such threats so its “Like it never even happened.”
Here’s a play-by-play of the process we use when dealing with any kind of microbial growth. Our No. 1 priority is safety. This is not only for our technicians but for our clients as well. We protect onsite workers with proper PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) first. One of the most important next steps we take is placing containment to separate the uncontaminated area from our work zone and minimize the opportunities for spores to spread. Next we detached all affected material such as the vanity, bathtub, and even the mirror mounted to the wall. It’s crucial to remove anything that could be affected, and if being saved, we clean and treat it before placing it back. It’s worthy to note that while working with mold in any situation we always have air scrubbers in place and negative pressure to ensure that we don’t contaminate anymore of the space. Drywall was then removed, all studs and framing treated and wiped, and the air scrubber was left overnight to get anything that may have been left behind. The final step in treating this kind of disaster is an independent clearance test, in which an independent environmental hygienist collects air samples to confirm any issues have indeed been remediated. This step provides a confirmation that the property is safe for occupancy and that the procedure was successful.
So while mold might seem like a reason to panic, rest assured when you use a firm like SERVPRO of West Pasco.
November Employee of the Month
In-House Construction Manager Sheldon Borris
Congratulations to Sheldon Borris, recognized at our December meeting for his outstanding work during the previous month. Always smiling and exuding the island vibe, Sheldon is a core member of the SERVPRO of West Pasco team and a leader in many ways. Sheldon joined our team three years ago, transferring from a New Jersey operation for a total of seven years within the SERVPRO system. He is a skilled carpenter with more than 27 years spent in the field and now manages the In-House Construction team. While his construction skills are exceptional, his professionalism is bolstered by his patience, attention to detail and kindness and he is a favorite among clients as well as his colleagues. He is not only a member of our management team, but also a trusted mentor who newer employees turn to for advice and guidance.
This honor is for his work in November, but really, Sheldon is consistently a top performer and a leader at our company. Thank you, Sheldon, for all you bring to the team at SERVPRO of West Pasco.
Top 3 Water Damage Sources
Leak caused by a toilet in the bathroom.
With the end of year rapidly approaching, we are taking a look at some of the most frequent causes of water damages we have seen in 2019! Water damages happen every day and there are more causes than we can count, but here are the top 3 sources we have come across this past year, and prevention tips you can use in 2020.
- Hot water heater
Most people know that when their water heater is leaking, it means bad news. This minor nuisance can turn into a significant problem before you know it, so it is something that should be handled quickly and professionally.
A small trickle of water can be easily cleaned up with minimal damage to your floors if caught early. However, this small trickle will soon turn into a flood that will cause damage to your sub-floors and even dry-wall if left unattended.
You may be able to determine if the leak is an easy enough repair, or if you require a brand new water heater. Regardless of your findings, we always recommend reaching out to a licensed plumber to look at the situation and either repair the leak or replace your water heater altogether.
Most of us have dealt with a leaky toilet at some point. It is one of those household problems that cannot be left unattended for long or it can cause serious damage to your home. Detecting the cause of leakage can be somewhat of a challenge because of the number of working parts that go into it.
Depending on the location of the leak from your toilet, it can also change the type of loss you have from a standard water damage to a sewage loss. This can cause more damage than a standard loss and require a larger, more detailed mitigation.
3. Ice Maker supply line
An occasional puddle under the fridge could be stray splashes from the water dispenser or a few dropped ice cubes. We’ve all accidently kicked an ice cube or two under the fridge, but when it happens over and over, you’ve got a problem. Those ponds on the kitchen floor are sure signs that your refrigerator ice maker water line is leaking.
Visions of soaked baseboards and mold behind the walls flash before your eyes, but have no fear, SERVPRO of West Pasco is here.
No matter how, where or why your leak has occurred, we are here to help. SERVPRO of West Pasco is here 24/7 to mitigate any water loss that may be affecting your home with one simple phone call.
Meet our Owner/ Operator
Jeremy George - Owner/ Operator
NAME: Jeremy George
YEARS IN FIELD: 27
- How did you get started with SERVPRO?
I responded to my first water damage when I was 13. My parents, Laurie and Andy, joined the SERVPRO franchise community in 1992, and for the first few years, ran the operation from our home and our family were the primary employees. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, I spent a few years in Dallas before coming home to work full-time in the business and help my parents transition toward retirement.
- What do you feel has been your greatest reward in this line of work?
I love what we do because we help people, plain and simple. But as I’ve grown into my role as owner, the greatest reward for me has been seeing our team come together and grow and develop as professionals, and people. We work hard to promote from within, and watching a team member hone in their interests, skills and goals to begin a meaningful career path that benefits them professionally as well as personally, is extremely rewarding. Working with great people, and watching how SERVPRO can help them reach their own goals, is the best part of my job.
- Does your SERVPRO franchise give back to your community? How?
We do, and it’s easy because our community gives so much to us. This month we sponsored the Festival of Trees, a Christmas tree auction benefitting the Good Samaritan Clinic – one of West Pasco’s most poignant nonprofit operations, providing healthcare on a sliding pay scale to underserved populations. We are also , once again, a proud sponsor of the Celebration of Lights, a seasonal effort launched by my dear friend the late Dave Parris to benefit various charities in West Pasco. If you drive by this weekend you can see the SERVPRO of West Pasco animated light, where an elf is cheerily operating an extractor to remove water from a melting snowman. We also give of our time, with me personally serving on the board of the Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce, and also as an active member of the New Port Richey Rotary Club.
End of the Year Celebration
The SERVPRO of West Pasco team celebrated together at the Gulf Harbors Yacht Club of New Port Richey.
2019, what a year! There are so many accomplishments that we can celebrate, both individually and as a SERVPRO family. What better way to celebrate than together? We laughed, we cried, and we ate a mashed potato bar!
Each year we recognize teammates for exceptional service in three areas, presenting three awards: the Client Service and Care award, the Quantum Leap Award for outstanding professional development, and the Employee of the Year. We were proud to honor the following three teammates:
Samantha A. was honored for exceptional client care and service in her position as Marketing Support Coordinator. Over a year and a half, Samantha has been promoted from dispatcher to a key role within the marketing department, and her focus is ensuring clients receive exceptional care.
Thomas K., was celebrated for outstanding professional development with the Quantum Leap Award. Thomas joined the team as a technician this year and has jumped full force into the industry, receiving IICRC certifications and always demonstrating a can-do attitude.
Leah P. was honored as our Employee of the Year for her steadfast and thoughtful commitment to our company and mission. Known around here at the Water Queen, she goes out of her way to be the calming voice when someone has a water damage in their home and walks them through every step of the way. Her calm nature and clever wit are a bonus!
These three, along with the rest of our amazing team have helped make a difference with not only our company but our community while helping our customers in need. We were lucky enough to expand our company this year promote from within and invest in new equipment – lots to celebrate. We can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for SERVPRO of West Pasco!
What Caused Your Commercial Water Damage?
In homes or residential properties water damages occur pretty frequently. You may be familiar with our company treating your home after water damages, but we also treat commercial size properties. Below are 4 most common cause of water damages to commercial facilities or businesses.
Here in Florida we are aware of our crazy storm seasons. Everything from a light rain to a full-blown hurricane comes our way. When a storm hits, there is a high possibility that it can bring damage to your commercial property. Whether its flooding from a mass amount of rain, a tree that fell and exposed your exterior, or a broken window that created access for water to enter your business facility.
- Plumbing Mishap or Backup
Blocked plumping happens more often than not, and this can lead to a sink or toilet rapidly overflowing. When a backup has been formed within a pipe it is easiest for water to escape the quickest way out, the wrong way. Spilling out into your bathroom area or all over break-room, it can happen. These backups are a result of all sorts of things being put down the drain- paper, large food pieces, grease, clothing materials, etc.- all leading to an overflowing appliance.
Foundation cracks happen to all buildings, new or old, and of any size. Often times it can be a small crack that goes unnoticed until the water starts to seep in. Water entering through your foundation can not only lead to water damage but can lead towards further problems such as mold. It is best to be assertive and investigate for potential cracks in your foundation. If found, contact a professional to assess your damage and create the best plan of action for you and your company.
A broken pipe can occur for a number of reasons---weather, loose fittings, aged material, clogged---and these can all result in water damage to your property. Doing regular maintenance to your facilities system can greatly lessen the chance of a pipe burst. Checking for leaks, not clogging pipes, having a plumber come inspect, etc. all to prevent a possible disaster.