Recent Water Damage Posts

Will the insurance cover my broken pipe?

3/4/2023 (Permalink)

insurance claim paper Filing a claim after you have a broken pipe.

Water damage is one of the most common and devastating types of property damage. Whether it’s the result of a broken pipe, a burst water heater or something else entirely, getting your insurance company involved can help you cover the cost of repairs and prevent any further damage to your home. Here are some answers to common questions about filing an insurance claim after water damage.


If you have a broken pipe and the water is leaking into your home, your insurance company will cover the cost of repairs. However, if your roof has a leaky spot or if there's another plumbing fixture that has sprung a leak (such as a toilet), those damages are separate claims and may not be covered by your policy. It a safe practice to know what your insurance policy covers.

In most cases where pipes break inside the walls of an older home, insurers won't deny claims because of an outdated structure, they'll just pay for the repairs needed to fix them.

Filing a claim.

After filing a claim, the insurance company will send an adjuster out to assess the damage and make a settlement offer. The adjuster is trained in assessing damage and making fair settlements for repairs. If you accept their offer, they'll pay for all necessary repairs and deduct it from your deductible (the amount of money you're responsible for). You can always decide not to accept their settlement offer and continue making repairs yourself.

Making repairs yourself.

If you have an insurance company that is offering to cover the cost of repairs, but not all of them, there are a few things to consider. First and foremost, it's important to know whether or not your policy covers broken pipes. If it does not, then there's no point in filing another claim with your insurance company because they'll just deny it again.

Secondly, if you choose not accept their offer and decide instead repair everything yourself without help from anyone else, then this means paying out-of-pocket for all those expenses as well as taking time away from work or school in order complete them and possibly losing income during those hours when most people would be working.

If these are both options seem like too much work for one person alone then maybe consider hiring someone who has experience repairing burst water lines?

You should file a claim with your insurance company whenever you have water damage. You can always decide not to accept the settlement offer and continue making repairs yourself, but this will take time and money that could be better spent on other things. If you have insurance, filing a claim is your best option

Insurance is there to protect you, so filing a claim is always a good idea. If you don't have insurance or aren't sure if your current policy covers water damage, we can help you find the right coverage for your home. Call SERVPRO today for your water restoration emergency. 

5 Steps to Take After A Frozen Pipe Burst

2/13/2023 (Permalink)

Burst pipe. Here are five steps you can take to mitigate the damage and get things back in order.

A frozen pipe burst can be a nightmare, but it's not the end of the world. Here are five steps you can take to mitigate the damage and get things back in order.

Turn Off the Main Water Valve

To prevent more water from spilling out into your home, it is important to turn off the main water valve. If you don't know where your home's main water valve is, call a professional for help as quickly as possible.

Turn off each individual faucet and drain in your house, as well as any appliances that rely on water—like dishwashers and washing machines. You may also want to consider turning off or unplugging anything that relies on electricity, like televisions and lamps.

Remove the Water

If the leak isn't too severe, try to remove the water from your home. Removing any moisture can prevent secondary damage from occurring on your property. However, in many cases with frozen pipe bursts, the amount of water present is too much for the average person to remove without the proper equipment. In these cases, it is best to call a professional water mitigation expert as quickly as possible.

Waiting to call a professional can result in further damage to your property, so make sure you call someone as soon as you notice the pipe burst has occurred.

Document the Damage

The next thing you should do is get your camera out and take as many photos of the damage as possible. This will be helpful when it comes time to file a claim with your insurance company because it'll give them an idea of how much money they'll have to pay out on your behalf.

You'll want to take pictures of anything that was damaged by the burst pipe—including walls, furniture, personal items like clothing and electronics, and even small things like photographs or decorations on shelves that may have gotten wet.

It is also important to take photos of the cleanup process. These pictures will serve as evidence if there are any disputes.

When working with a mitigation and restoration company such as SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio, they will take care of all of this for you and will extensively document everything from start to finish.

Call Your Insurance Company

As soon as possible after a pipe burst, contact your insurance agent to file a claim and start the claims process. The insurance company will want to know the extent of the damage and any other information that may be helpful in processing your claim.

Call a Disaster Cleaning and Restoration Company

The most important thing you should do after a frozen pipe burst is to call our SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio team for help. Our team is the leading provider of restoration services in the San Antonio area, so you can be sure that we will take care of your property and get it back to normal as quickly as possible. Our team will come in and assess the damage, determine what needs to be cleaned up, and take care of all mitigation and restoration-related tasks for you.

We hope this blog post has given you the information that you need to deal with a frozen pipe burst. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact our team of experts today!

Dealing with Water Damage in Your Attic

12/22/2022 (Permalink)

View of an attic Water damage in your attic is a serious problem that can cause mold and rot, which will lead to structural problems down the road.

Dealing with Water Damage in Your Attic

Water damage in your attic is a serious problem that can cause mold and rot, which will lead to structural problems down the road. If you're worried about water damage in your attic, here's what you need to know about how to prevent it from happening.

Finding the Leak and Damage

If you have a leak in your San Antonio, TX home, it's important to find the source of the water damage and take steps to correct it. If you are unable to identify where the water is coming from, or if you don't know how to fix it, reach out for help.

If there is mold growth around the problem area, clean up any visible mold with an all-purpose cleaner. Use a stiff brush and scrubbing pad (not just disposable wipes) so that you can get into corners and along edges thoroughly; this will ensure that all surfaces are treated equally and no hidden spots remain untreated.

Common Causes of Attic Water Damage

Water damage in your attic can be caused by a variety of sources. These include:

  • A leaking roof
  • A leaking plumbing system
  • A leaking air conditioning system
  • Leaking appliances (including dishwashers, washing machines, and hot water heaters)
  • Water seeping into your home through windows or skylights

Signs of Water Damage in the Attic

There are some signs that could indicate issues in your attic: 

  • If you see any water stains on your ceilings or walls, this could be an indication that there is some kind of moisture problem in your attic.
  • Another sign that you have a water damage issue is if there are obvious signs of mold growth, such as black spots or patches. Mold spores can easily get into your home through an opening in the roof and stay there until they grow into something bigger and more problematic—and even then, they might still be hiding out in other areas of your house! This means that you should take action immediately when you notice any signs of mold growth because it's best to remove these spores before they spread throughout your home and cause more damage than necessary!
  • A musty smell in a room or on your clothes can indicate mold growth. This indicates that bacteria has slowly grown over time due to high humidity levels allowed by leaky pipes under sink cabinets,

How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Attic

Prevent damage to your roof, foundation, and walls. As you've read above, water that leaks into your attic can cause damage to the insulation and to items stored up there. To prevent this from happening, it is important that you repair any roof leaks as soon as possible. If you are not sure what type of repairs should be made, contact a professional like SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio.

Keep gutters clean and free of debris. If your gutters are clogged with leaves or other debris, then rainwater will have trouble flowing down them toward the ground where it belongs; instead, it flows onto the surface of your home's exterior wall or worse yet gets trapped in your attic. 

Make sure you clean out your rain gutters regularly. If left unattended over time this will lead to water pooling around chimneys which could cause costly damage when frozen during winter months causing cracked mortar joints between bricks which could result in expensive repairs later on down the road so better safe than sorry!! We suggest checking them every month during springtime just before warmer weather arrives so no surprises happen later on down south.

How to Fix Water Damage in Your Attic

Once you've determined that your attic has suffered water damage, it's time to get started cleaning up. The first step is to remove any wet insulation and drywall from your attic floor. This will allow the space to dry out completely, which should not be done without taking these precautions. Next, remove wet insulation from joists or rafters in the ceiling. If you have a leaky roof, take care of that as soon as possible by repairing or replacing damaged shingles and decking materials.

Act Quickly

If you have a leak in your roof or attic, it needs to be found and fixed as soon as possible. Water damage can lead to mold growth, structural damage, electrical problems, and property damage. It’s important to get help from professionals if you are not sure how to fix the issue.

It’s important to remember that water damage in your San Antonio attic can lead to serious problems for you, your family and pets. The longer it goes unrepaired, the more damage will occur and the more expensive it will be to fix. If you have any concerns about the condition of your home’s roof or attic, contact us today for mold remediation and water damage restoration in your home. 

Saving a Flooded Basement

11/4/2022 (Permalink)

Sump pump Using a sump pump can help prevent water damage in your facility.

Saving a Flooded Basement

If your basement has been flooded, you need to act quickly. Water can cause mold and mildew to grow, which will make your San Antonio, TX home uninhabitable. If your basement has flooded, the first step is to stop the water from entering. If you haven't already done so, shut off your main water valve and turn off any individual faucets that may be letting in water.

Next comes removing as much of the water from your basement as possible. There are two ways to do this: you can use a sump pump or hire professionals who specialize in draining flooded basements.

Sump pumps are usually installed after a basement waterproofing job or new construction so that they can help remove any excess moisture from beneath floors and walls before it causes serious damage to these structures (and potentially damage to other parts of your home). They're also used when flooding occurs outside an already-installed drainage system—for example, when heavy rains come through during springtime thaw periods—or if there's been some sort of accident involving broken pipes inside homes without proper drainage systems installed beforehand.

If you choose this method for removing excess water from below ground level then make sure all drains are clear before starting up again!

What kind of pump is best to remove water from the basement?

When evaluating the type of pump you need to remove water from your basement, it's important to know a few key performance characteristics. 

First, there's the size of the pump; different models come in different sizes and can move more or less water. Next, there's how much power it takes to operate the pump—a bigger motor means more power, which translates into faster evacuation times. Finally, there are some pumps that are specifically designed for use with sump pits and other low-lying areas where an ordinary submersible model may not be effective at extracting water from underneath the surface of your home's foundation.

To make sure you get exactly what you need from our selection of pumps, here are some specs that may help guide your decision:

  • Gallons per minute (gpm) refers to how much liquid a particular model can pump per minute through its rotating impeller blades at maximum capacity (or "flow rating").
  • Horsepower (hp) refers to how much energy is required by each unit over time while operating under optimal conditions (i.e., fresh batteries).

Drying Out the Basement

To dry out a flooded basement, you will need to use fans, dehumidifiers, and wet/dry vacuums. 


Fans help in drying up water in basements by circulating air around it. The best way to use fans for this purpose is by installing them in one corner of your basement, so they can suck up all the dampness from other corners as well. 


Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture. Not only do they help remove excess moisture but also help reduce mold growth. Mold growth is common after a water damage event, so try to prevent it as much as possible.

You should always purchase high-quality equipment though because some cheaper ones tend to break down very quickly when used continuously over a long period of time. 

How Long Does It Take to Dry Out a Basement?

The amount of time it takes for a flooded basement to dry out depends on several factors. First, the size of the basement will affect how quickly water evaporates. If there's a lot of space in your basement but not much water, it will take less time than if your basement is small and filled with standing water.

Second, how well you can ventilate your flooded basement and how well you're able to dry it out will also affect drying times.

Third, if your floors are wood or concrete and don't absorb moisture easily then this will play into how long it takes for them to dry out after being exposed for several days or weeks (if ever).

Pumping water out of the basement is one way to mitigate flood damage.

Drainage pumps are another popular option for removing water from your flooded basement. These devices come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small-scale pumps that can be operated by one person to large-scale systems that require two people and higher amounts of electricity. They're incredibly easy to install and operate—just plug the pump into an outlet, connect it to your sump pump (or other drainage sources), then turn on the device and wait for the water to be removed from your home.

A similar product is called an electric submersible pump, which is specifically designed for use in flood-prone areas or homes with high groundwater levels. These are also fairly simple to operate: just place them inside your sump hole and turn on the power switch!

If you have a flooded basement and you need to pump water out, there are several options. The best solution is to call SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio to take care of it for you. Give us a call!

3 Ways To Maintain Your Rental Home's Pipes

8/21/2022 (Permalink)

Tree roots and mud Take care of tree roots.

3 Ways to Keep Your Rental Home's Pipes in Good Condition

If you have an older rental home in San Antonio, TX, remember that regular pipe maintenance prevents plumbing issues and potential damage. Follow the tips below to keep your rental home in peak condition and save yourself the headache of cleaning up from leaking or busted pipes.

Why Maintenance Is Important For Your Rental

Problems with pipes often come from clogs or faulty piping. Over time, sludge, hair and whatever gets flushed down a toilet or drain can build up in your pipes, clogging the system. While you can quickly clear sink clogs with a treatment, mainline clogs can lead to leaking and damage.In older homes, polybutylene pipes can become brittle and, without proper maintenance, can break. These pipes made from a plastic resin can sometimes react with oxidants found in public water, resulting in micro-fractures and an overall weakening of your system.
How To Maintain Your Pipes

Use an enzyme treatment: Pour an enzyme mixture down your drains and into your toilet regularly, starting once a week and gradually moving to once a month. Let the mix sit in your pipes overnight, flushing it out with hot water in the morning. You can also find a mainline enzyme mix to clean out your entire piping system four times a year.

Be aware of what you put down your drain: Ask your tenants to be wary of what they put down the sinks. Do not put hair down a bathroom sink or certain food scraps down a kitchen sink, even if it has a garbage disposal.

Take care of tree roots: Tree roots can grow into your home’s pipes, so ensure that you’re plumbing system is not affected by a wandering limb. You can flush a root-killing treatment down your toilet twice a year to kill off any stray roots without harming the tree.

Regular pipe maintenance is essential for keeping older homes free from damage. Use treatments and caution to prevent your home from needing professional services for water damage or plumbing issues. Have peace of mind knowing your rental home is safe.

Commercial Irrigation System Troubleshooting Tips

7/18/2022 (Permalink)

Sprinkler System It is best practice to examine your sprinkler system periodically to avoid future irrigation problems.

Troubleshooting Commercial Irrigation Systems

A working sprinkler system can produce a lush, green landscape for a San Antonio, TX, business. However, if it malfunctions, it could cause flooding. If the ground is too saturated, especially near any buildings, you could wind up with water soaking through cracks in the foundation and entering your basement or concrete slab. If this scenario occurs, you should call in a water damage cleanup team. Before that situation happens, try locating and repairing the leak yourself. Here are some simple ways you can troubleshoot.

Examine Irrigation System

The first thing you will want to do is walk around the area where you have sprinklers.

  1. Stop at each sprinkler head. Inspect to make sure none are broken or missing.
  2. Look for water that is not where it should be or is pooled up. Pay particular attention to any water that is near a building.
  3. Listen for the sound of running water. If you have a leak or a broken pipe, you should be able to hear it.
  4. As you are inspecting your irrigation system, place markers at each location where you have found a problem so you can return to it quickly when you go back to fix it.

Repair and Replace

Once you have finished your walkthrough, return to the flagged areas and start your repairs. Clean out dirt and debris from clogged sprinkler heads. Replace any rubber seals or gaskets that were leaking during your inspection. Repair or replace any broken or missing sprinklers.

Perform Maintenance Checks

It is best practice to examine your sprinkler system periodically to avoid future irrigation problems. Doing a thorough check of your irrigation system when you start using it each year will help identify any repairs needed before bigger problems occur.
Investing time to troubleshoot and repair any problems at your business yourself will save time and money and provide a beautiful landscape for your customers and San Antonio, TX, residents for years to come.

How to Care for Damage Belongings After a Flood

6/9/2022 (Permalink)

Wet documents If you have wet documents caused by a broken pipe or flooding let a professional take care of it.

How to Handle Flood-Damaged Personal Property

You may not sit around thinking much about what would happen in the workplace if there was flooding. However, a flooded company could cause widespread damage and have a disastrous effect on your business. Along with damage to your San Antonio, TX, building, you may have severe damage to contents such as documents, furniture, and electronics. Fortunately, there are ways to salvage and restore these items. 

1. Cleaning Carpets

A flooded company will likely mean that any carpet you have in the building will have extensive water damage. This can make the environment unhealthy. In some cases, you may not be able to save the carpet. But a professional flood restoration company has the equipment and techniques to clean up after many flooding incidents. Technicians will rip out the carpet and then replace the padding underneath. Using industrial-strength machines, technicians will then extract the water. Lastly, the technicians will sanitize the carpet before replacing it. 

2. Dry Cleaning Furniture

Content cleaning will also apply when there is wet furniture. Using a similar process, technicians will thoroughly remove any water from water-damaged furniture. Sanitizing the surfaces will be critical too. The process will also include completely drying the furniture. This will discourage mold growth.

3. Cleaning Electronics

If you have wet computers, printers, or other electronics, don't touch them or turn them on. Let a professional handle this cleaning task. A technician will assess the extent of the damage. Often, the technician will have to disassemble the computer and clean the motherboard. This task requires a delicate and careful approach. 

4. Cleaning Documents

Whether from a broken pipe or other cause, flooding can inflict a lot of damage on documents. These include files, books, maps, and other important paperwork. Freeze-drying is often the most effective technique for salvaging and restoring wet documents. 

If you have a flooded company, you may experience a lot of water damage. Thankfully, professionals can clean many of the ruined items. 

3 Bad Things That Happen When There’s Moisture in Your Crawl Space

4/8/2022 (Permalink)

Workman with protective suit crawing under house from crawlspace underneath a wooden deck - only his legs and feet showing A wet crawl space is a perfect location for mold to grow and start consuming organic materials.

3 Things That Go Wrong When You Have Moisture In Your Crawl Space

When there is a flood in your crawl space, the problem and the damage are clear. However, less obvious moisture can also lead to a wet crawl space and cause problems that you might not expect.

1. Higher Energy Bills

Houses with damp crawl spaces cost more to heat and cool. This is because damp air requires more energy to change the temperature, leading to higher energy bills. In other words, moisture in your crawl space can be an expensive inconvenience.

2. Mold

Mold loves to grow where it can find moisture. As it grows, it eats organic materials, such as wood, paper, and cardboard. Unfortunately, a wet crawl space is a perfect location for mold to grow and start consuming organic materials. Dead insects that crawled in through your vent are also a great source of food for mold. These carcasses encourage mold growth if there is just a little bit of moisture in your basement.

Moisture can seep in through vents or cracks in your foundation. Even the smallest amount can encourage mold to grow and spores to start drifting through the rest of your home. This is a problem that you need to have remedied by a water restoration company quickly. Otherwise, you could be faced with a structurally unsound home that is dangerous to live in.

3. Pests

Dust mites and other pests love a wet environment that your flooding crawl space can provide. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that infest your bedding, carpets, and furniture if left untreated. Additionally, you could end up with termites, spiders, mice, rats, and snakes, all of which love damp areas. Once they enter your crawl space, any of these animals can get into your home.

If you notice that you have a wet crawl space in your home in San Antonio, TX, you should be on the lookout for the associated problems. While some are inconvenient, others can be dangerous or disgusting.

How You Can Prepare for a Home Adjuster's Visit

4/1/2022 (Permalink)

Technician is inspecting something Contact a water damage remediation service in San Antonio, TX, to begin drying everything out and keep further damage at bay.

How To Prepare For A Visit From A Home Adjuster

If you've just sustained water damage to your property, make sure to call your insurance company right away so you can begin the claims process as soon as possible. Soon after the initial call, they'll send out a home adjuster to assess the damage and file a report. Though he or she will be the one to make the official report, there are things you can do that will help move the process along faster. Here's how you can prepare ahead of time to make that happen.

Document the Damage

You know your home better than anyone, so you are not likely to miss anything that's been damaged, no matter how small. Take a detailed inventory of what's been damaged and lost — in writing, in photos and on video, if possible. You can ask the adjuster to include them in the report alongside his or her findings.

Clear a Path

Clear the way for the home adjuster to move freely around your property, so nothing will be missed. If you have to move the debris to do that, make sure you don't remove it entirely. The insurance claim needs as much evidence as possible included so that you receive the proper coverage and reimbursement.

Prevent Further Damage

Contact a water damage remediation service in San Antonio, TX, to begin drying everything out and keep further damage at bay. The team will also help you itemize and categorize the damages and losses you incurred.

Know Your Policy

Before the adjuster arrives, review your policy with your agent. You should know what is and isn't covered, the limits of your policy and when to expect reimbursement so you can start making arrangements for repairs and replacements.
When the worst happens and your home sustains serious water damage, it's nice to know you have qualified professionals in your corner. Your insurance company and the home adjuster will work with you to make sure you get the help you need and get back on your feet as soon as possible.

How To Clean Up a Water Heater Leak

1/24/2022 (Permalink)

Close up of a water heater A leaking water heater can cause damage to your home.

How To Cleanup After Water Damage

A leaking water heater can cause significant problems at a residence in San Antonio, TX. Here are the measures necessary to mitigate water damage.

Identify the Source

There are several reasons a water heater may leak. A quick inspection of the exterior may indicate one of the following issues:

  • Corroded water tank
  • Faulty drain valve
  • Faulty temperature and pressure relief valve
  • Leaky inlet and outlet connections

Even if you cannot identify the cause of a broken water heater, try to determine the source of the leak. Condensation may resemble a leak.

Turn Off the Power

Shut off a leaking water heater at the circuit breaker box or by turning off the gas dial or switch. Turn off the cold water shut-off valve located above or near the heater or the main water valve to your home. These measures can slow down a leak.

Drain the Tank

After the power and water are off, you can drain the tank to attempt a repair. There are several steps to remove water from a heater:

  • Run hot water in a sink or tub
  • Wait for remaining water in tank to cool
  • Open the pressure relief valve
  • Run a hose from the drainage spigot to a bucket
  • Turn on the spigot

These steps can enable you to replace valves safely. If you do not want to drain the tank or attempt repairs yourself, contact a repair specialist or licensed plumber to work on a failed water heater.

Dry the Area

Limit water damage and the risk of mold growth by removing soaked carpets. Dry the floor and any walls exposed to the water. You may want to run a dehumidifier or use a desiccant such as silica gel. Ventilation will promote faster drying.

If a leak is extensive, contact water damage cleanup experts in San Antonio, TX. Specialists can use commercial-grade equipment to extract standing water and recommend the best approach for dealing with materials soaked by a leaking water heater.

The “Hurricane Diaries” – Part VI

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded streets and cars – along with the water damage aftermath – could be the poster image for ANY hurricane. While our journalists DID drive through flooded streets to document the hurricane damage, it doesn’t mean they SHOULD have!

As Category 4 Hurricane Ida roared ashore in Louisiana this past weekend – on the 16th anniversary of Katrina, no less – we once again visit our team member’s storm memories. A veteran of hurricanes since her preschool days, she has chronicled some of her experiences as both a Gulf Coast resident and later, as a working journalist.

We honestly couldn’t imagine a more timely moment for another installment of her recollections in “The ‘Hurricane Diaries’”…and invite you to revisit some of her earlier chapters (Part I, II, III, and IV) and be sure to check out the first part of this particular experience in Part V before jumping into this latest continuation of her Hurricane Alicia story:

“So, there we were – me (the team hurricane Sherpa), Stephen and Chuck, along with my former editor Betsy Webber and her EXTREMELY flatulent dog – riding out the storm in the Galveston Daily News building on the edge of the island. For those who have had limited (if any) hurricane experience, it seems like these newsworthy storms tend to make landfall at night. Who knows why, but that has been my experience more times than not.

“But, in the meantime my fiancé Stephen had reconnected with several of his wire service comrades and negotiated use of their photo transmitter equipment. Mind you, this was before the internet as we now know it, pre-fax machines, so having access to a “drum” transmitter was like hitting the mother lode for a photojournalist. Reporters could use the newspaper landlines to call in their stories (yep…no cell phones or even pagers!) to their respective publications and agencies. But without the ability to send photographic evidence of the personal and property devastation, visual journalists were literally up a creek without a paddle!

“Now the REAL work could begin, as we took to the streets. Mind you, we were exhausted, soaked to the bone and had to ‘charm’ our way past roadblocks and first responders trying to protect the public. They definitely were not catching us at our best! But for journalists, this was the opportunity to shine…careers could be ‘MADE’ by coverage of a hurricane like Alicia. After all, Dan Rather earned his stripes covering Hurricane Carla decades before along the Texas coast!

“Armed with camera equipment and the ubiquitous reporter’s notebook, we documented storm surge, destroyed landmarks, streets flooded with water and random bits of debris, along with a list of evacuation shelters we braved the weather. And while the going was laboriously slow – first finding passable routes and then literally inching our way along roads that normally would have taken us to our destinations quickly, now consumed too many precious minutes – we were fueled by journalistic zeal. And not a lot of common sense! Let’s face it, heading out in a major Category 5 storm would not be considered a ‘smart move’ by most sane people.

“That’s when the full impact of Alicia REALLY hit home…especially seeing the crumbling walls on venerable Seawall buildings that had weathered many previous hurricanes. Yes, cyclonic activity and 150+ MPH winds most definitely can leave a trail of devastation in their wake, but the power of water should never be underestimated. The effects of the sheer force volumes of water, rushing over buildings and through streets, will leave the uninitiated dumbfounded!

“So, with no regard for the well-being of either ourselves or Stephen’s car, we collected insightful images and personal accounts for hours on the stormy streets. Periodically, we returned to the GDN building so Chuck could call in his stories to the Caller-Times and Stephen could develop his film and make prints in the newspaper darkroom. This was followed by the inordinately tedious task of sending out each picture INDIVIDUALLY across the AP and UPI wires…complete with his photo credit. A real career coup for a photojournalist – and yielded impressive additions to his professional portfolio!

“After about a day-and-a-half we were FINALLY able to reach our water-soaked room on the Seawall. Remarkably, some of our clothing was actually dry enough to wear. So we collected our belongings and returned to the Galveston newspaper to finish up our coverage of the storm…relieved to be wearing DRY underwear again! However, in the post-storm light, we noticed SIGNIFICANT ‘seepage’ of storm water inside Stephen’s car…even though it had been safely parked on the ‘protected’ side of the large GDN building during the worst of the storm.

“And the SMELL, once it actually started to dry out, was something ‘special!’ After we made our way back to Liz in Houston, we assessed the real water damage…and it was noticeably worse than any of us had imagined. Eventually, Stephen’s insurance company officially ‘totaled’ the vehicle, even though it was still drivable. That soaked interior and instrumentation were beyond help, and we never did get rid of that ‘storm water’ smell!”

Today, we know MANY people along the Louisiana, upper Texas and Mississippi coast are currently in the midst of similar experiences. And SERVPRO teams nationwide are already mobilizing to assist with the recovery from Hurricane Ida. If only our “Hurricane Diaries” folks had known that SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio actually has specialists in vehicle water damage remediation and restoration! It could have saved the car…although it would have made for a less engaging story!

The “Hurricane Diaries” – Part V

8/11/2021 (Permalink)

A hurricane evacuation roadblock usually acts as a deterrent to people in most flood-prone areas! When a hurricane landfall is predicted, MOST folks would let something like roadblocks deter them from heading INTO a storm…but not our journalists!

It was only a matter of time before a new tropical storm hit the 2021 weather radar, and we’ve got Hurricane Fred warming up in the Caribbean bullpen now. This comes as no surprise, with an active season still predicted by the National Hurricane Center branch of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), coupled with Hurricane Elsa already earning the distinction of being the earliest fifth-named storm on record.

 So, we’re presenting another installment of “The ‘Hurricane Diaries’” from our team member, who has seen more than her fair share of major storms, and shared her past first-hand experiences in “Diary” entries Part I, II, III, and IV. We encourage you to check out these accounts, as we dive into the fifth chapter:

“As I’ve mentioned before, in the early days of my career I was a working journalist and that meant following the story…regardless of the circumstances. And to be honest, usually this took us into the worst possible situations and put us in the position of encountering people on their worst days. Not only did we take these rubble-strewn – and often dangerous – paths, but we did so willingly! Eventually, some of us (like me) chose a less perilous and “grimy” career trajectory.

“However, I heartily admire those journalistic colleagues who devoted their entire professional life to continuing to ‘follow the story.’ In fact, one of the featured characters in this particular Diary entry recently finished up his career – having worked for newspapers for over 40 years. Kudos, Chuck Yarborough! But, I digress…

“It was August of 1983 and my friends (who worked at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times newspaper), along with my fiancé (an award-winning photojournalist also on the C-T staff), had all gathered in Houston to attend an extraordinarily rare reunion concert of Simon & Garfunkel at a local venue…the now-defunct Astrodome. At the time, these were the most we had EVER paid for tickets, and we were understandably excited. So there was no way we would let the “possibility” of a hurricane dampen our enthusiasm!

“My friends had even used precious vacation time for this event, and arranged a babysitter for their toddler daughter. Even reports of Hurricane Alicia heading our direction failed to deter us and we continued to make plans – even though landfall was imminently predicted for that night. Unlike those of us who grew up on the Gulf Coast and were accustomed to hurricanes, the venue and artist management teams made the decision to cancel the concert during their afternoon sound check.

“So here we were, literally all dressed up with nowhere to go. While Liz decided to go hang out with her mother (who was gladly serving as a sitter for little Brandi), the rest of us made the choice to go cover the storm. So Chuck (Liz’ husband), Stephen (my fiancé) and I packed up Stephen’s new-ish Pontiac Phoenix and headed for the ‘action’ in Galveston. Let the adventure commence!

“Now, although Stephen had covered other hurricanes and Chuck had lived in the greater Houston metro area for a number of years, I represented the sole ‘local’ member of our group…and seasoned veteran, having experienced NUMEROUS hurricanes since a toddler. My job on this particular expedition was to serve as a ‘Sherpa’ of sorts, since I knew every ‘alternate’ route covering the area from Conroe to Freeport, and also had numerous resource connections. So off we went, heading straight into Alicia’s path.

“Having gotten authorization from the Caller-Times management to cover the hurricane – since they were in town anyway (and newspapers of the era were notoriously ‘thrifty’) – Stephen and Chuck now had ‘official’ sanction to risk life and limb to, yes, ‘follow the story.’ Taking back roads to reach I-45, otherwise known as the Gulf Freeway, we emerged just north of the main causeway leading into Galveston.

“Now, a piece of hindsight advice might be to question the wisdom of being one of the ONLY cars – aside from official police and militia vehicles – heading the opposite direction of thousands of other cars and trucks! In fact, we encountered several checkpoints and had to not only display our press credentials but do some fancy talking to be allowed to proceed TOWARD the danger. Even then, it did give you a bit of a gnawing feeling to see everyone else headed in the opposite direction. But WE were intrepid journalists!

“Flooded roads? Driving rain? Storm surge? Pffft…nothing to worry about! Yeah, we were young and felt invincible – especially when fueled by journalistic adrenaline. We would learn several lessons the hard way over the next few days!

“Our first stop was at Chuck’s old stomping ground, the Galveston Daily News where I knew the News Editor who I had worked under for several years prior to her move to the GDN. Just a note on ‘Hurricane 101’ – establish a good base of operations in any area where you will be covering a disaster. So while Stephen and I began to make inroads at the newspaper, Chuck went to secure us accommodations. And that’s where things first began to ‘head south’ for our little expedition party!

“Not having actually lived and worked in the area during a major hurricane, Chuck was wholly unaware of exactly HOW powerful such a storm could actually be. So, seeking a prime vantage point, he got us a room right on the Galveston Seawall. We were right up the street from the historic landmark Flagship Hotel…the first hotel in North America located entirely over the water. The perfect spot to document all the mayhem. Yeah, this was the first mistake!

“Rising tides, torrential rains driven by hurricane-force winds, and debris already floating down major thoroughfares could not be stopped by simple brick walls or windows. Not only did our room (and ALL possessions – including changes of clothes) get soaked, but shortly after Alicia made landfall the entire façade of the Flagship began to DISINTEGRATE like a slow-motion disaster movie sequence. Yes…water can do that!

“Additionally, we were unable to even make our way back to the room to retrieve anything for DAYS! So there we were, trying to find someplace to just wait out the storm that night in the cavernous newspaper building while the electricity continued to fluctuate before going out completely. Fortunately, the GDN had back-up power and the business of journalism continued.

“We watched the building’s huge glass windows with trepidation, and found shop rags and anything else available to absorb the water seeping through the walls. And we waited until we could finally spring into action.”

We’ll pick up Debbie’s story in the next installment of The “Hurricane Diaries” next week to see how they weathered the floods, and how SERVPRO could have been of service to these young waterlogged journalists!

Are YOU Prepared To “Go With The Flow?”

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

It doesn’t take a hurricane to cause devastating flooding, and recent storms left damaged homes & businesses in their wake. Those legendary “April Showers” can’t hold a candle to the unprecedented summer rains we’ve experienced…and caught many people completely off-guard!

In Texas, we’re used to “rolling with punches” – so to speak – when it comes to summertime weather. We take the seemingly endless humid heat “like a champ”…in temperatures that have left those in the northern regions literally scorched this summer. We know how to “batten down the hatches” when multiple hurricanes place us in their diverse (yet deadly) paths. We DO have a lot of coastline, after all. And some summer thunderstorms – even those that may carry cyclone activity – are just “par for the course.”

However, these recent and unrelenting thunderstorms have left many completely stymied when both residential and commercial properties have suddenly had to learn how to “go with the flow.” And in the aftermath of these unheard of rains, many worry about what will happen when the 2021 hurricane season REALLY hits! With predictions showing another active tropical storm season and with the first named hurricane (Elsa) already in the books early in July, the prognosis for the next few months is anything but a “rosy outlook.”

Clichés aside, the adage “forewarned is forearmed” might actually be quite applicable in these circumstances. If we look at the recent home, apartment and business floods as a “dress rehearsal” for a hurricane, then we can gain some valuable knowledge which could come in quite handy in the future. And our SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio team saw the quickly escalating flood water situations, and immediately mobilized. But, just as with the “Polar Vortex” in February – even with our specialists literally working around the clock (despite many being personally affected) – there were still only 24 hours in a day.

So, as in any emergency, there IS a triage process. And knowing how to prepare beforehand can lessen the physical damage and trauma associated with any disaster, while you await the arrival of the cleaning, remediation and restoration specialists. With a proven track record as the leading response team nationwide, SERVPRO can be on the scene ready to make it "Like it never even happened,” from simply an inch of water in a garage or storage unit, to a fully-flooded house or business, we definitely have the knowledge and industry-leading equipment to help us “go with the flow” – no matter how torrential! 

And once again, we had the chance to prove it when every corner of Bexar and the surrounding counties was under water. Not only did we mitigate the water damage, but also saved many of the possessions of those affected by the recent flooding storms…and gained the respect of those residents and businesses we jumped in to help.

We’re not in this business to just “do business;” we’re in this to contribute to the well-being, safety, health and prosperity of our entire community. And while we can DEFINITELY “go with the flow” we also KNOW “you do well, by doing good!”

Floods May Wash Away A Multitude Of Sins...But Also A LOT Of Memories!

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

While most possessions CAN be replaced, the damage of keepsakes & treasured family mementoes in any flood can be devastating! The shock of seeing your possessions soaked and probably ruined by a flood can be overwhelming, it’s those irreplaceable items that REALLY matter!

As the old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers”…which soon segue into hurricane and storm season. And here in Texas we know those “springtime showers” can more closely resemble tropical monsoons!

We’ve all seen the pictures and reports of possessions strewn across lawns and streets – and sometimes in even more “unlikely” places. Chances are, at SOME point even you’ve experienced major or minor flooding from those “showers.” Whether some slight interior moisture, or a full-blown gushing water flow, the impact can still be overwhelming.

Yes…you know the SERVPRO name as being synonymous with water damage remediation, restoration and repair. But you may NOT know, this “full-service” expertise extends far beyond drying floors, walls and other structural features. Don’t get us wrong, we’re extraordinarily proud of our long-standing reputation for this type of service…and continue to work diligently every day to maintain that premier standing.

However, we’re a LOT more than state-of-the-art moisture detectors, fans and dehumidifiers! So let’s get real for minute; you can replace sofas and blankets and clothes and carpets. Sure, it’s pain to have to start from scratch to refurnish one room, much less an entire household. But, the key takeaway from this is, you CAN replace that furniture and clothing and kitchenware…sometimes with a noticeable upgrade, giving you a chance to actually “correct” some of those earlier decisions you may now regret!

“Things” can be purchased…but, the “things” that have been in the family for years, the treasured photos and memory books, baby blankets and christening gowns, your grandmother’s china simply CANNOT be replaced! Honestly, nothing is more heartbreaking than discovering a box that has slowly absorbed moisture from an undetected slow leak or seeing your priceless memories water-soaked and scattered across your front lawn – or even the entire neighborhood.

Those precious items represent a lifetime of memories. And once they’re gone, there’s usually no way of getting them back. OR…is there?!? No, even the amazing experts at SERVPRO can’t retrieve the mementoes washed away by flood waters. But, if you think one of these prized items is now “gone” because of water damage, think again!

You will be amazed at the miracles our teams can perform. That’s right we have specialized restoration experts on-call, who have years of experience working exclusively with heirlooms, antiques, documents, collectibles and artwork. These professionals have built their entire careers and reputations on their abilities to bring those one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable memories back to life.

Using custom equipment, advanced restoration techniques, and intimate knowledge gained through years of experience, these professionals represent just another arm of the SERVPRO array of services. From returning water-logged books and papers to their “pre-flood” state, to restoring old family photographs, to removing all traces of water damage on inherited antiques, to eradicating stains from clothing that represents those milestone moments, our team can reclaim those memories you thought had floated away!

We take our motto “Like it never even happened,” VERY seriously at SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio…and that includes preserving and restoring those irreplaceable items AND the memories they will always represent!

When The...Uhhh...”Stuff” Hits A Lot MORE Than The Fan! – Part II

4/9/2021 (Permalink)

When any area is affected by “black” water, it takes professionals to PROPERLY deal with the aftermath! Sometimes a plunger and sponge alone cannot deal with the levels of contamination resulting from “stuff” hitting a lot MORE than a proverbial fan!

We recently shifted focus from “THE” water damage everyone has been talking about lately – broken pipes from the freeze – to hear the story of a home flooding disaster of a “different color”…a waste water pipe overflow!

One of our own team members had the misfortune to suffer just such an “incident” and shared her experience in the first part of this series: “When The…Uhhh…”Stuff Hits A Lot MORE Than The Fan! – Part I” and we encourage you to see how this whole story began. She left us with a bit of a cliffhanger in the previous installment, where the SERVPRO team had completed the initial assessment and clean-up. So let’s pick up with the remainder of her SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio experience:

“Now that all of their initial work was completed, THIS is when I really got the ‘SERVPRO experience.’ The team then brought in air mover, dehumidifier, and air cleaning equipment – more a dozen-and-a-half pieces specifically designed to remove ALL traces of the uhhh…’stuff’ which hit a LOT more than just a fan in my bathrooms, hallway and two bedrooms!

“Now, here’s where I’m NOT going to sugar-coat the experience. While not particularly ‘unpleasant’ it DID require a bit of adjustment to the fans, et al running 24-7 in both bathrooms, the hallway, my bedroom and the guest room. Thoughtfully, they positioned the equipment so I could still ‘navigate’ to the now properly-functioning toilets. But, the multi-toned whirrs and hums continued unabated.

“Every morning, at a mutually-arranged time (mind you, this was now the weekend!), Raul would come and take specific moisture readings to determine how much longer the equipment would need to complete the process. Fortunately, the efficiency of the various machines made fairly quick work of the problems. And while I realize EVERY situation is different, I was thrilled that mine only lasted a few days!

“When the final check-in arrived, the crew quickly and efficiently removed all of their equipment – as expertly as they had done during the set-up. Raul explained the full extent of the completed work, asked me if I had any questions, and prepared his final report for the claim submission, along with documenting photographs of their work.

“Now, the restoration team would have a clean slate! But you know the old saying, “We plan, God laughs”? Well, enter the ‘Polar Vortex’ and understandable delays in beginning my ‘cosmetic’ work…especially when you consider that some people had things a LOT worse than I did! I had working plumbing and a clean house. During those trying days during and immediately after that extended freeze, who could ask for more?!?

“But, what impressed me the MOST – as a ‘customer’ – was the level of courtesy, professionalism and respect the entire team showed me. Although I, too, was part of the SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio team, they treated me with the same level of ‘CARE’ they would provide to any other client…not like some ‘it can wait because she’s one of us’ attitude, but genuine five-star service!”

We would not wish what happened to Debbie on ANYONE, but we’re so honored that she trusted her home, her possessions, and the well-being of herself and her pets, to us. And, no matter HOW “ugly” a water damage situation may be, it’s comforting to know that SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio is there when the…uhhh…”stuff” literally hits the fan – or anything ELSE!

When The... Uhhh...”Stuff” Hits A Lot MORE Than The Fan! – Part I

3/31/2021 (Permalink)

Sometimes “standing water” is the LEAST of your problems when a bathroom floods! Obviously, NO flood in your home or business is pleasant. But, when it happens in a bathroom the impact can FEEL like “stuff” hitting the fan!

Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about flood damage resulting from the extreme – and extended – freezing temperatures we experienced. However, just because this weather-related destruction happened, it didn’t put a stop to OTHER disasters striking…and a need for our services.

And, one of our own SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio team members recently saw the entire process – up-close-and-personal – when an “unfortunate” plumbing incident occurred in her home. This actually occurred just prior to the arrival of the “Polar Vortex”…and she’s sharing her first-hand account of being on the “receiving end” of our services:

“My pets and I had moved into a home about a month before, and were still getting settled in to our new surroundings. Aside from a few minor ‘move-in’ notations, the home had been well-maintained and professionally updated prior to our occupancy.

“Then, one evening I had an ‘interesting’ plumbing experience. The master bath toilet began to leak from the base (not overflow, as it flushed fine), and then it got a ‘colorful’ backup in the tub. I threw down some ‘rag’ towels, and made a mental note to check with the owner the following morning.

“After the tub had drained and the toilet did not appear to be leaking any longer, I put everything into the washer – for obvious reasons. I then went into my office to finish up some work. When I heard the washer stop, I headed for the utility room – and that’s when I saw it. The entire hall bathroom had back-up (toilet, tub) and was now leaking into the hall and the adjacent bedroom!

“I then went back to the site of the ‘original’ plumbing issue. The entire master bath ‘water closet’ was flooded, with several inches now in the tub, and starting to ‘ooze’ over the threshold and along the vanity base.

“Based on this, I surmised the main waste pipe for the entire house must have some sort of major blockage. The washer run-off must have caused all the waste water pipes to back-up. So I now have ‘black’ water leakage in my guest room and entire guest bath, along with the master bath area…and no real toilet options!

“You’ll notice my mention of ‘black’ water. Thanks to my time learning all about the extensive different types of remediation, mitigation and restoration services provided by my local SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio team, I now KNEW this ‘black water’ thing could get very bad, very quickly!

“Fortunately, the property owner responded immediately and dispatched a plumbing team that night. And, as we were speaking throughout the evening, I mentioned that I would also like to contact my SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio franchise to deal with this contamination.

“I let him know they would send over a rep to assess the levels of damage and contamination, carefully document it, then forward an estimate. Another stroke of good luck – the insurer for the property was USAA, where our SERVPRO franchise has a long-standing relationship and is an approved vendor.

“I emphasized that now, after working with SERVPRO and learning all about water clean-up, I now know a mop and towel don’t really cut it when it comes to contaminated water flooding. After the plumbers dealt with the immediate problem that night, they promised to return in the morning to determine the source of the obvious blockage. And, right on cue, Art from SERVPRO was here the following morning to compare notes with the plumbers.

“He took measurements and precise digital readings of all the affected areas (some of which I had not even realized in all of the hub-bub the night before!), then reviewed the scope of the work with me before leaving. The estimate was forwarded to the owner – who happens to currently reside on the West Coast – and then to USAA.

“The next thing I know my SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio team members – who fully observed all COVID precautions as well as those for possible hazardous material demolition – were at my front door. They confirmed Art’s original assessments and verified whether any additional damage may have occurred…then they got to work.

“Under the direction of Crew Chief Raul, moisture measurements were taken and ALL affected materials removed. They took every precaution and cut out impacted sections of drywall, pulled up LVP flooring and drilled holes to allow areas which may have absorbed ‘moisture’ to be reached.

“Then, came my TRUE ‘peace of mind’ – they saturated ALL affected areas with specialized disinfectant spray. And in my head, all I could think was ‘Die, nasty organisms, DIE!’ Finally, I could start to breathe easy again. But, Raul wasn’t done yet!”

And with this “cliffhanger” we’ll pick up Debbie’s story – and subsequent recovery process – in a second installment of her SERVPRO experience. So to see how this all turned out, be sure to check out the conclusion in “When The... Uhhh...’Stuff’ Hits A Lot MORE Than The Fan! – Part II,” right here on the SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio site!

Sometimes “A Drop In The Bucket” Is ALL It Takes!

9/20/2020 (Permalink)

All it takes is the SLIGHTEST moisture left unchecked to cause escalating damage in your home! Whether it’s just that LAST drop or a flood, the long-term effects of water damage can actually be the same!

Normally, we start these little “stories” with tales of devastating natural disasters, epic freak occurrences or heartbreaking losses. Guess what, that’s NOT what we’re talking about today! Instead, let’s focus on those “little” things that just seem to add up over time…the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back”… “tipping point”… and basically we wait “for the other shoe to drop.”

In life, frequently it’s less about the “big” stuff, and increasingly about the picayune things that have a way of mounting up over the days, weeks, month or even years. Before you scoff, think about how arguments usually play out between spouses or friends. It may have STARTED with one seemingly-miniscule infraction, BUT before you know it the situation devolves into a checklist of everything that person has done over the last four decades! And this applies to more than just people!

Our possessions frequently bedevil us with the same “nit-picking” annoyances. Your laptop takes longer and longer to boot-up. As soon as you get one thing fixed on your car, within a month one of those bothersome “alerts” lights up your dashboard. Those gutters you keep promising to clean and repair, reach their limit during a rainstorm. As Roseanne Roseannadanna said: “Well, it just goes to show you, it's always something — if it’s not one thing, it's another."

And then – just like that – one day, your computer gives you the “screen of death,” your car refuses to start, and those gutters dumped water down your foundation walls. Or, it could be something as simple as that leaky faucet or tub with a slow drain. You keep meaning to take a look at them, but never quite get around to it. Sure, it’s no big deal and a “minor” irritation that it’s pretty easy to overlook…UNTIL you discover that little leak has led to BIG problems!

Maybe that leaky faucet has resulted in mold growth under your sink. Or, that gutter water that wasn’t diverted away from your house has now gotten the inside of your walls wet. Could be, that “slow” drain signaled a dangerous pipe breach under your bath. Now what?!?

We’ve seen it time and again – in all sorts of situations we encounter just as a part of “life” – where we find ourselves facing “the drop that caused the bucket to overflow.” And that ONE drop has now triggered a chain reaction of events! Water damage to floors, walls and cabinets, the discovery of mold growing inside those dark corners where we never actually look, new and “interesting” smells suddenly filling a room…all the tell-tale signs of that annoying “final drop.”

So, FIRST (and we cannot emphasize this enough!) call a licensed plumber! It’s pointless to address the effects of water damage without FIXING the cause. Of course, we can come in to restore and remediate the consequences of that water – but it will continue to happen until the SOURCE of that damage is repaired!

However, once you HAVE fixed the offending issue, your next call should be to the trusted and experienced team at SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio. As the “go-to” water damage restoration and remediation specialists for over 20 years, we’ve got the knowledge, state-of-the-art equipment and on-going training to rewind the clock on the repercussions from that “final drop!” Honestly, we’ve ALLLLL been there and we understand how the “little” things in life can add-up, but experience has taught us, sometimes it’s just better to NOT wait for “the straw to break the camel’s back” or that “other shoe to drop!”

The “Hurricane Diaries” – Part I

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

This stretch of land along Galveston Bay has seen more than its fair share of hurricane destruction It may not look like much, but this inlet of Galveston Bay was the scene of SEVERAL chapters in the "Hurricane Diaries!"

As we remembered the 120th anniversary of the epic 1900 Galveston Hurricane this week, one of our team members began to reflect on all the hurricanes she had witnessed during her years on the Gulf Coast. So…we’re turning this over to her, as she shares the first of her “Hurricane Diaries!”

“I grew up in a little Texas town, situated about halfway between Houston and Galveston, called La Porte. Although it has grown over the ensuing decades, if you hear of La Porte on the news, chances are it means our little piece of Galveston Bay is about to be slammed by a hurricane…OR something has gone terribly awry in our little nook of the Houston Ship Channel. As a result, my childhood is filled with MANY memories of hurricanes!

“La Porte has miles and miles of waterfront property, all arising out of our little Sylvan Beach – an early 1900s resort area for the elite of Houston seeking the cooling sea breezes – and is no stranger to repeated hurricane damage over the years. And neither was I!

“Even as a preschooler, one of my most vivid memories involves my parents and I packing towels around my windows and walls of MY bedroom. Our house was situated one row off of the bay, and my bedroom just happened to be facing the bay side of the house. Fortunately, in the glow of that Coleman lantern (my parents were the ‘always prepared’ types), we only had to battle condensation and NOT rising water or rain.

“A construction pro, my Daddy insisted the house be built (or, as I came to learn, the contractor thought ‘over-built’) on a foundation at least six inches higher than our neighbors…or what was considered industry standards at the time. He also clad the entire exterior with a custom brick designed with special fire and wind resistance. Now remember, this was the late 1940s and he was using his GI Bill financing to build their dream home.

“However, aside from a layer of tar paper – or some equivalent thereof – there were no weather-tight house-wrap materials, no rigid insulation boards, no fluffy pink Fiberglas or foam filling open spaces, just those ‘special’ bricks and the framing. No wonder we had condensation forming everywhere as that storm pelted our home!

“But, probably, one of the main reasons I remember that first hurricane, is because they had the audacity to use MY NAME for it – 'Debra!' The nerve…not only did it wreck a perfectly good end-of-summer, but my name was being bandied about everywhere in decidedly derogatory terms. Those memories of 'Debra' were relatively short-lived, as the next year we were at the center of one of the most legendary of modern hurricanes: 'Carla!'

“For that one we DID evacuate! We gathered up whatever preparations my parents had the insight to pack and went into 'downtown' La Porte…since we did not live in La Porte 'proper' but about two miles south along Old Hwy. 146. We gathered with other members of our church congregation in a structure on the property known simply as the 'Telephone Building.' Later I learned the Telephone Building had been built to withstand all manner of havoc and even at one point was designated a civil defense shelter. And, later it served well to house the teenage Sunday School classes – after all, it HAD withstood 'Carla!'

“And while I remember ‘camping out’ in the old Telephone Building with friends and their families, I starkly recall my Mama taking me outside our home just as the first waves of the storm leading edge were beginning to come ashore. To see the water in our streets roiling furiously over our feet, and feel the rain coming down like tiny needles, while the trees bent into shapes I had never imagined, I was instantly struck with awe over the raw power of Mother Nature.

“Fortunately, we all remained safe in that old Telephone Building, and went home after the storm had moved inland – to affect those hundreds of miles from us – to survey the damage. Even those short two or three miles literally opened my eyes (along with a dropped jaw or three) to exactly HOW bad it could be!

“Once we arrived, we saw many of our neighbors’ homes barely standing as shells or watermarks going up the walls that were still there. And, never one to be smug, my Daddy quietly whispered, ‘And THAT’S why I built our house higher!’ We had NO water in our home, and had only lost a few shingles…and a couple of trees. My parents later explained (in those days BEFORE flood insurance was even available), how many people who saw their homes flooding, would literally set their roofs on fire in hopes of getting SOME insurance coverage for their hurricane losses.

“Which leads to one more powerful hurricane memory – my Mama with a spray bottle filled with bleach, as part of her inevitable post-hurricane rituals. Daddy would take down his pre-cut, pre-measured, pre-labeled plywood window coverings and Mama would be spending the next few weeks on-alert for any moisture-related mold and drown those little spores in Clorox! To this day, the smell of bleach makes me think of her.

“After those initial two storms by the time I was in first grade, I can honestly appreciate all of the nifty equipment, modern dehumidifiers and skilled technicians we have here at SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio, and I’m looking forward to learning even MORE about all of it. I only wish someone like this had been around during my early hurricane days…and I bet a lot of others do, too!”

As “eventful” as Debbie’s early hurricane experiences might have been, her “Hurricane Diaries” have MORE chapters we look forward to exploring in subsequent posts. So stay tuned for the next entry in the “Hurricane Diaries!”

When It Rains, It Pours – In More Ways Than One!

8/29/2020 (Permalink)

Regardless of how dire your situation may seem, SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio has the experience and equipment to help Feel like you’re drowning? We’re the helping hand you can ALWAYS count on!

For those of us in central Texas, we can well-appreciate the value of water…or, more frequently, the lack thereof! It always seems to either be feast or famine, as we keep a watchful eye on both weather forecasts and aquifer levels – just HOPING to land somewhere in a happy middle.

So, it’s almost ironic how #WorldWaterWeek – which began Monday, Aug. 24th – just happened to include TWO named tropical storms, one of which became the strongest to ever hit the Texas/Louisiana “Golden Triangle” region when it made landfall as a Category 5! And, in an even more coincidental twist, the entire month of August also marks #NationalWaterQualityMonth… what a “one-two punch” combo. 

Even as some areas experience drought-like conditions, others have an OVERABUNDANCE of water. However, as the recent victims of Hurricane Laura can attest, not ALL water is good! Whether it’s the overwhelming damage of a major tropical storm, hurricane or flood OR “just” a plumbing mishap in your own home or office, the overall effect of water damage remains the same. And, it’s NOT pretty!

The emotional impact should also NOT be underplayed. Seeing documents, photographs, files, textiles (be they clothing, drapes or rugs), furniture and other precious items, soaked and even beginning to mildew can take an even greater mental toll than the damage to the walls, ceilings and floors!

And sometimes that “simple” plumbing leak can end up being SIGNIFICANTLY “messier” than a few inches of rain water. Just as the names suggest, there are three kinds of water: “Clean” or “White Water”… “Dirty Water”… and “Black Water.” Each carries certain inherent hazards if not quickly cleaned, remediated and restored. However, both “dirty” and “black” waters actually bring contaminates right inside, with their flows! Yep…live organisms, toxic substances, and – EWWW – “waste products.” Suddenly, those three inches of water in your living room don’t seem quite so bad.

Now, regardless of the source, SOMEBODY has to clean it up. Do YOU want to tackle all of that…including all the contents, which also got drenched?!? In addition to daunting task of just the physical cleaning, a whole series of steps must be taken after any water damage to ensure everything IS truly dry, safe and restored. Fortunately, the highly-trained team at SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio has the state-of-the-art, specialized, equipment – and the knowledge of its proper use – to literally make it “Like it never even happened.” And that EVEN includes “dirty” and “black” water!

That’s the kind of helping hand we can ALL use – a friend who cares enough to wade in with a lifesaver for us. So even if the “quality” of the water causing your damage might be “sub-par” you can ALWAYS count on SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio to be there…rain or shine!

When Water Damage Occurs From A "Clean" Water Source

4/16/2020 (Permalink)

Ready to help SERVPRO has technicians ready to help you following a water damage

What can you do when you have a water damage from a clean water source?


  • Stop the water source if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building, as long as the access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
  • Remove as much excess water as possibly by mopping and blotting.
  • Absorb excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and lift up wet upholstery cushions to begin the drying process.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood block between furniture legs and wet carpeting. This helps with colors bleeding on carpet or other surfaces.
  • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture to a safe, dry area.
  • Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting and window coverings off damp floors.
  • Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.

What should you NOT do when a water damage occurs?


  • Enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist.
  • Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
  • Leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining.
  • Leave Oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining.
  • Use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possible causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
  • Use TV's or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

Golden Hammer 2019

4/15/2020 (Permalink)

Golden Hammer 2019 Greg and Tammie Hall, owners of SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio, accept their award at the 2019 Contractor Connection Conference

SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio has one the Golden Hammer Award for the 6th year in a row!
We are so incredibly honored to receive the Golden Hammer Award for the 6th consecutive year! We received the esteemed award at the 2019 Contractor Connection Conference & Expo. The theme for this years’ conference was ReStore and our team truly took that to heart!
The SERVPRO of NWSA team won for excellence in customer service. We have always been able to pride ourselves in jobs being completed right the first time and meeting the highest level of quality while maintaining a friendly, can-do attitude. This attitude comes from hiring team members with a “servant’s heart” and a mission to serve those in need.

Our highly- IICRC trained staff works hard every day of the year to bring home 10’s!
Our office staff show’s excellence by answering questions, providing support and understanding how important it is to have an accurate repair estimate for our customers. To top it off, the highly- IICRC trained and certified damage restoration and production crews showed efficiency, courtesy and respect this year (and every year) leading us to win the 2019 Golden Hammer Award.
This award could not have been achieved without the hard work of a team dedicated to the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage and mold. SERVPRO Northwest San Antonio to customer service is award-winning every day!
Our highly-trained, professional, courteous crew and staff are here for you 24/7 for any emergency! You can trust your locally owned and operated SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio to take care of your home or business quickly and thoroughly "Like it never even happened."

Steps to take following a water damage (Part 1)

4/8/2020 (Permalink)

Our fans and dehumidifiers SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio has all the equipment needed to dry out your structure.

You're not alone.  Call us today 210-521-3313

Flooding in your property and the ensuing water damage can devastate your home or business. Burst pipes, malfunctioning sump-pump, sewer back-up, heavy rains, and appliance malfunctions can change your life in an instant. Safety, cleanup and the costs of repair and restoration can be daunting and confusing. SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio is here to help.

Some basic advice on how to handle your safety and property in a time of flooding or water damage can make a world of difference and give you peace of mind. 

1.   Be Safe! First things first: make sure your property and family is safe.

During the flooding

  • Evacuate. If those in the building cannot safely evacuate on their own, make sure to assist.
  • Turn off the power. Water + electricity = danger. If you can safely turn off the power, do so first. If you cannot access your power without entering or standing in your flooded area, evacuate and call a professional electrician.

Upon re-entry after the flooding, continue to prioritize safety. 

  • Dress for the occasion: rubber boots and gloves are your best protection.
  • Don’t use any glasses, dinnerware, or silverware until properly washed.


  • You can place tin foil under the feet of your wooden furniture to prevent stains on your carpet. 
  • Pull out any area rugs that are on wet flooring.

2. Dry Out Your Home

Even after removing the standing water, best to assume your property is still damp and vulnerable to mold (especially in our San Antonio humidity). Central air conditioning can be a good first step; keep your ac system fan in the “on” position. Portable fans and dehumidifiers can also help dry out residual moisture to a certain degree. However, your greatest ally against molds, mildew, and other lingering problems is SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio. We have the professional water damage training and equipment to make sure your home is safe and dry. Don’t let a traumatic experience like flooding grow into lifelong damage. Call us right away.

SERVPRO of Northwest San Antonio is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. Immediate action can save you ongoing headaches and loss. Even a few hours can be make or break when it comes to water damage. When in doubt, there’s no harm in calling. We’re here to help.

Call Us Today - (210) 521-3313