Recent Posts

When You Really Want That Deposit Back

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

A cardboard moving box and roll of tape sit on the floor of a home. Rental deposits can often be several thousand dollars, depending on what is required upfront.

The cost of living seems to be rising higher and higher.  One of the reasons that the real estate market is so hot right now is that rental rates have skyrocketed.  While it has typically been suggested that a person spend no more than 30% of their income on rent, in some places it is inevitable.  Rental property owners usually require a one-month deposit  (or more!) upfront with the agreement that it will be returned upon move-out if the condition of the rental unit is acceptable.  A landlord can deduct money to cover damages caused by the tenant and to clean the residence if it was not left in an acceptable condition.  Problems arise when the tenant and landlord have differing definitions of what "acceptable" actually implies. 

It's always a good idea to document the condition of your rental unit before moving in your belongings.  Take pictures and keep a file on everything so you can identify and repair any damages you may have caused before move-out.  When it comes to deep-cleaning the unit before surrendering possession, it's best not to leave it to chance.

Did you know that SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs are available for move-out cleaning?  We'll clean your rental top-to-bottom, remove stains, clean carpets, and more!  Give us a call today at 501-776-2222 to discuss your cleaning needs.

We're always here to help.

National Fire Prevention Week 2021

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

Animated birds sitting in a tree Don't ignore a chirping smoke detector!

National Fire Prevention Week is the longest-running public health observance in the United States, originating after a 1925 proclamation from then-President Calvin Coolidge.  Observed annually in the week in which October 9th falls, it serves as a week of fire safety education for children, teachers, and adults in order to decrease casualties associated with fires.  The devastating Chicago Fire of 1871 was the impetus for increased public fire safety education after 250 people perished and 100,000 were left homeless. 

National Fire Prevention Week features a yearly theme, designed to draw attention to a particular aspect of fire awareness and education.  The 2021 theme is "Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety."  

While many people are likely familiar with a smoke alarm that periodically chirps once to signal a low battery, any noise from a smoke detector should not be tuned out or ignored.  Smoke detectors are a crucial element in fire safety, so strong batteries and regular maintenance are a must.  A chirping smoke detector doesn't necessarily mean the battery is low.  The life cycle of a smoke detector is 10 years.  It's a great idea to label the date the smoke detector was installed and the date of the last battery change so you can keep track and make sure you're up to date!

A smoke detector is invaluable, but what if you or someone in your household Is deaf or hard of hearing?  There's a solution!  Different types of alert systems are available that function like smoke detectors.  There are pillow or bed shakers and strobe lights designed to alert someone who is unable to hear a traditional smoke detector.  It is important to make sure these devices have been lab-tested. 

Find out more about National Fire Prevention Week at their website: http://www.firepreventionweek.org/

Is it Mold or Mildew?

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

Blue mold grows on a brown wall Not sure what it is? The color and texture hold several clues to whether you're dealing with mold or mildew.

It's a little unsettling to see something growing in or on your home.  Mold growth in a home is often a cause of concern for a homeowner, and a lot of times, they automatically assume the worst.  Mold and mildew are often used interchangeably, but they are two different things with different forms of treatment.  While spots generally need to be treated, first you need to know what it is in order to properly treat it.

Here is a quick rundown of a few major differences between mold and mildew:

Is the spot flat or is it more three-dimensional?  Mildew is always flat, but mold is often raised.

What color is it?  Mildew usually looks white or grey.  It has a dry, or sometimes even powdery appearance.  Mold is either red, blue, green, or black.  It can look slimy or even fuzzy.

How does it smell?  A musty smell like damp socks generally indicates mildew, but a pungent odor is more commonly found with mold. 

It's important to remember that mold and mildew need to be stopped at the source, otherwise the problem is likely to return.  Moisture is the key to their survival and reproduction, so the source of the excess moisture needs to be located and repaired. 

Think you have a mold issue?  We're always here to help!  Give SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs a call at 501-776-2222, and we'd be happy to schedule an inspection and plan a course of action.  We'll make it "Like it never even happened."

Non-Smoking Hotels

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

A housekeeper cleans a Bryant AR hotel room When someone smokes in a non-smoking hotel room, a deep cleaning is required before the room can be re-rented.

A majority of hotels have made the move to become non-smoking over the past decade. Other than designated smoking areas outdoors, hotel guests are not allowed to light up inside their rooms. Should they do it anyway, they often face stiff penalties from the hotel chain, who will likely charge a hefty cleaning fee to get the smell out of not just the room, but the HVAC system. This fine can range from $100-$500.

Depending on the strength of the smoke smell, a variety of techniques are used to remove the tobacco smell from a hotel room. The room is basically stripped, then the walls and ceilings are washed. If the room has carpet, it is shampooed. Curtains and drapes are dry cleaned and lampshades are replaced. It's a time-involved effort that costs the hotel revenue since that room has to be taken out of available inventory to be scrubbed clean.

SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs are well-versed in smoke odor and how to remove it. Do you run a hotel and have a problem making the smell stay away? Give us a call at 501-776-2222, and we'd be happy to assist you. We're fast and efficient and can help you flip that hotel room quickly so it is ready for the next guest.

We're always here to help.

The Danger of Nighttime Tornadoes

8/23/2021 (Permalink)

Lightning Over a Dark Sky The worst types of tornadoes come out after dark.

Tornadoes are one of the most unpredictable types of storms.  Their intensity and strength often expand without warning, making them dangerous at any time of day.  But an entirely new level of danger is involved when a tornado quickly forms and strikes at night, especially in the overnight hours.  Tornadoes that strike between 9 pm to 6 am CST are known as Nocturnal Tornadoes.  These tornadoes are more than twice as likely to be deadly. 

There are many reasons that nocturnal tornadoes are much more dangerous than those that occur in the daytime.  The most obvious reason is that it is next to impossible to see a tornado at night.  Later hours mean that fewer storm spotters are on the road, which makes it more difficult for meteorologists to confirm that a tornado has touched the ground.  More people are likely asleep during the overnight hours, leaving them unaware that a tornado is in their area.  Tornado sirens usually go off during a storm, but the siren could be missed depending on how far away someone lives from the siren range.  A sound sleeper may not wake up at all, which could be dangerous if they live in a structure like a mobile home, which cannot withstand high tornadic winds.

Unfortunately, nocturnal tornadoes have a higher chance of happening in the South.  The states with the highest percentage of tornadoes that strike at night are Tennessee (46%), Arkansas (43%), Kentucky (42%), and Mississippi (39%). 

The South is vulnerable to nighttime tornadoes for several reasons.  Southern states typically have mild winters, which means a tornado can strike at any time of the year, which can be dangerous because once the time changes in the fall, it gets dark much earlier.  Southern states also have a much higher instance of residents living in mobile homes.  These overlapping factors combine to form a very real threat to those who call the South home.  Luckily there are some tools to assist with tornado alerts, many of them are available on your mobile phone.   The National Weather Service sends wireless emergency alerts, as do many weather apps available for both iPhone and Android.  It is always recommended to purchase an NOAA weather radio, which alerts with a loud tone, followed by the details of the warning.  This might be enough to startle a heavy sleeper awake and give them enough time to get to safety. 

Tornadoes are unpredictable and potentially devastating.  Should your home suffer a loss from a tornado, SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs are always here to help.  Give us a call at 501-776-2222 to discuss your needs, 24/7.  We'll make it "Like it never even happened."

How Are Hurricanes Named?

8/10/2021 (Permalink)

Damage from Hurricane Sally in Gulf Shores, AL The name "Sally" was retired in 2020, after Hurricane Sally devastated Gulf Shores, AL.

Hundreds of years ago, in the early days of weather forecasting, many hurricanes were named after saints.  As years passed, a hurricane would hit on the same saint's day as a previous hurricane.  For example, San Felipe (the first) and San Felipe (the second) struck Puerto Rico on September 13, 1876, and 1928.  Hurricane season hits its peak between mid-August and mid-October of each year, so this naming process could get very confusing, very quickly!  During active seasons, there could be several tropical storms or hurricanes forming in the Atlantic at the same time.  The United States began giving short names to hurricanes in 1953.  These names were exclusively female until 1978 when male names were finally added into the rotation.  The World Meteorological Organization maintains the list of hurricane names.

Ever thought you've heard a storm name from the past?  You probably have!  The official storm name list rotates and recycles itself every six years.  Every name doesn't recycle, however.  Hurricanes that were very costly or devastating have their names retired for sensitivity.  No one would want another Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Betsy!

The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season will begin a new naming tradition.  Last year's season was so extremely active, more than 21 named storms occurred, so once the main list of names was used, meteorologists shifted to the Greek alphabet, as in years past.  But 2020 Greek-named storms contained two monsters whose names were retired -- Eta and Iota.  Because of this, the World Meteorological Organization produced an alternate list of names to back up the main list of storm names.

It's always fun to look at the list and see if any of the names correspond with yourself or your friends and family, but as a rule, hurricanes are extremely strong storms that can wreak havoc once they make landfall.  SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs stay alert during hurricane season and can assemble a traveling storm team at a moment's notice to help those affected by the devastation.

We're always here to help.

Category 3 Water Damage in Your Malvern, AR Home

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

Category 3 water in a flooded basement in Malvern, AR This Malvern, AR business suffered a Category 3 water loss when they discovered several feet of standing water in their basement.

Water loss isn't the type of property damage that you can put off until later.  An invisible stopwatch starts running from the moment the damage occurs, and the longer it lasts, the worse the damage can be.  We've previously discussed Category 1 water, which comes from a sanitary source.  We've also discussed "greywater," or Category 2 water, which happens when Category 1 water sits for more than a couple of days.  It can also come from an overflowed washing machine, dishwasher, or toilet that does not contain feces.  Category 2 water is very susceptible to bacterial invasion, and this is when your water loss turns serious.  Should a Category 2 water loss sit for 48 hours, it is now classified as Category 3, commonly called "black water."

Aside from Category 2 water sitting for 48 hours, Category 3 water has many sources.  A sewage backup is automatically classified as a Category 3 loss.  Large rain events can cause flash flooding, which is also Category 3.  Major storm damage, such as flooding from a hurricane is black water, too. 

Take care to never ingest Category 3 water, either intentionally or accidentally.  This water is extremely contaminated, and you could be exposed to serious diseases such as Hepatitis B and C, Tetanus, or even HIV. 

Once your home suffers a Category 3 water loss, it is imperative to have it remedied immediately.  Should that water sit in your home, it could soak not only the contents of your home, but also sheetrock, flooring, and anywhere else it can get.  This poses a huge health risk to the occupants of the home.

SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs understand the severity involved with Category 3 water, and our specially-trained technicians are ready to make it "Like it never even happened."  Call us today at 501-776-2222 to discuss your needs.  We're available 24/7.

We're always here to help.

Firework Safety is Essential

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Fireworks explode over a bridge at night Fireworks are a fun tradition, but make sure you follow state laws and safety precautions.

Tis the season for those little roadside tents to pop up along the landscape.  You know the ones.  You'll see more and more fireworks stands as the calendar edges closer to the Fourth of July.  Admittedly, there is a lot to celebrate this year, with the country making strides in its return to normal.  So maybe you're thinking of going big this year, just to release all the pent-up frustration of essentially losing almost a year and a half of fun and celebration due to the pandemic?

Well, maybe not so fast.

There are some key safety measures to keep in mind before you light that first fuse!  The goal is to have fun, and if safety isn't a priority, your celebration could end with something burning other than the fuse or worse, a surprise trip to the emergency room.

First, familiarize yourself with the state laws pertaining to fireworks in your area, wherever you may celebrate.  Arkansas only permits certain types of firework purchases during specific times of the year, and only to those 12 years old and older.

Secondly, keep yourself safe!  Make sure to never lean over the fuse when lighting it and keep a garden hose or water bucket nearby as a safety precaution.  It's extremely tempting to try and re-light a "dud" firework, but don't do it!  It could explode and burn you.  Did you know that 44% of firework injuries were due to burns?  That's an important percentage to remember, especially when it comes to children.  Many people see sparklers as harmless, but a lit sparkler burns at around 2000 degrees.  Half of the total firework injuries to young children involved sparklers.  Please choose a safer alternative like a glow stick or streamer for your child.  

When it comes to fireworks, don't forget about your furry friends.  Dogs are extremely sensitive to loud noises and flashing lights.  Walk them earlier in the day and leave them indoors when fireworks are in use.  Close the curtains and make them a comfortable spot with music or a television playing to distract from the loud noises outside.

With a little consideration and the proper safety precautions, fireworks can be a lot of fun.  However you celebrate, do it safely!  Happy Independence Day from your friends at SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs!

The Danger of Flash Floods

6/16/2021 (Permalink)

A car is submerged after a storm in Gulf Shores, AL It only takes a foot of floodwater to sweep away a vehicle during a flash flood.

When an area receives an overabundance of rain in a short period of time, the likelihood of a flash flooding event increases.  Flash floods are dangerous because they move so quickly.  According to the National Weather Service, flash floods are the number one cause of weather-related deaths in the United States.  The majority of those deaths are automobile-related.  Never drive onto a flooded roadway because you have no way of knowing the depth of the water or how fast it is moving.  A car can be swept away before the driver fully realizes the extent of the danger. 

A flash flood can happen when the ground is so saturated from heavy rainfall, it cannot absorb any more, so the water begins to rise.  This makes cities and other densely populated areas at a higher risk for flash floods.  More of the land is covered by concrete, roadways, buildings, and the like, so there is less natural ground to absorb the water.  Storm drains often become clogged by debris, causing an overflow into the streets and buildings nearby.  Low areas become extremely dangerous in situations like this.

So what do you do if there is a Flash Flood Warning for your location?  Most importantly, seek higher ground.  If you are instructed to evacuate, do so immediately.  Flash floods can bring rapidly rising water, so seconds count.  Have a disaster plan in place for your family so you know what to do and where to go.  Never try to walk or drive into floodwaters.  It only takes six inches of water to knock you down and sweep you away.  A foot of floodwater can do the same to a vehicle.

Should you find your home or business damaged due to a flash flood, SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs is here to help.  Give us a call at 501-776-2222.  We're available 24/7 and will work with you to make it "Like it never even happened."

We Offer Board-Up Services for Your Fire Loss

6/1/2021 (Permalink)

Boards cover the window and door of burned home in Hot Springs, AR Keep your home secure after a loss with our Board-Up Services. Call today to find out more.

A fire is one of the most traumatizing, intensely personal types of loss to happen to a person.  Once the flames are extinguished and the remains stop smoldering, the structure itself is left vulnerable and open to would-be thieves.  You've already lost enough of your belongings in the fire -- you don't want anything else to happen.  Let us help you with that.

SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs are pleased to offer board-up services after a fire loss.  The openings where your doors and windows used to be will be securely boarded up with plywood to block entrance from any would-be looters.  It can bring some peace of mind to an already stressful situation.

Add us to your phone contacts today: SERVRPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs - 501-776-2222.  Should you suffer a loss, call us, and we'll be there for you.  We're always here to help.