signs of a slab leak

10 Signs of a Slab Leak

A slab leak is one of the biggest headaches any homeowner can experience. Not only are they costly and inconvenient to repair, they can be dangerous if left unresolved. By keeping your eye out for these 10 signs of a slab leak, you can catch this issue before it escalates into a major problem.

What is a Slab Leak?

Every house is built on top of a foundation, which is usually made of concrete and steel. This foundation, also called a ‘slab’, bears the weight of the house and provides the entire structure stability. Water pipes which provide water to the home are usually located below the slab.

A slab leak occurs when one or more of the pipes below the foundation leak. This is a serious plumbing emergency that leads to short and long-term problems.

Common causes of slab leaks include:

  • signs of a slab leakShifting ground: Houses naturally settle over time. In some case, the weight of the house can lead to changes in how the ground is situated, leading to pipe leaks. While uncommon in Atlanta, earthquakes can also shift the ground beneath houses and lead to leaks.
  • Improperly wrapped pipes: Pipes beneath the foundation are wrapped in order to prevent friction between the metal of the pipes and the concrete slab. Sometimes, pipes are not wrapped well, slowly leading to worn spots and leaks.
  • Electrolysis: Water pipes that are made of copper can be vulnerable to electrolysis, a natural chemical reaction that occurs when copper reacts with minerals in certain types of soil.


10 Signs of a Slab Leak

Now that you know why slab leaks are significant and how they’re caused, let’s look at the top 10 signs of a slab leak.

  1. signs of a slab leakCracks in the walls have formed.
  2. Cracks in the floors have formed.
  3. You have noticed a significant increase to the water bill even though you haven’t changed your habits
  4. The carpet on the bottommost floor is wet to the touch. In basements, you may notice a wet spot on concrete or warped flooring.
  5. Tubs, toilets, showers, or sinks have experienced a stoppage or blockage.
  6. You notice hot spots on the floor or in the yard. These are, as the name suggests, areas on the ground which are warm to the touch and indicate a leaking hot water pipe.
  7. Mold and mildew forms on the walls without an apparent cause.
  8. A strange odor that cannot be traced is present.
  9. You’ve noticed a significant decrease in normal water pressure.
  10. Your water meter dial is moving even after you have made sure that no sources of water, such as sinks, washing machines, toilets, or showers, are running.


Why are Slab Leaks Dangerous?

Slab leaks are dangerous for several reasons. Getting the leak repaired as soon as possible can help avoid long-term issues.

  • Water leaks lead to mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew doesn’t usually stay relegated to one area; spores spread and take hold in other parts of the house. Extensive mold and mildew growth can lead to health problems such as respiratory issues and illness.
  • Water erosion can lead to a weakened foundation, which in turn can cause structural problems in the home.
  • Water erosion can also lead to the foundation itself shifting. This is a very serious problem that can lead to collapse.


Slab leaks can cause damage to a home significant enough to make a home unsafe and unlivable until the issues have been repaired.

What to Do if You Have a Slab Leak

A slab leak is a plumbing emergency, so it’s important to act quickly if you notice any of the 10 signs of a slab leak as listed above.

First, shut off the water to your home. This will help prevent further damage to the home’s foundation. Then, call Tidal Wave Response. We are water damage restoration specialists servicing the metro Atlanta area.

Water causes damage within minutes of exposure. That’s why our emergency hotline is open 24/7 so we can answer your call for those unexpected late-night leaks. Don’t let a slab leak ruin your home. Call us!

5 Quick Steps to Prepare Your Gutters for Fall

Although the temperatures in Atlanta will be warm for a while yet, fall is approaching quickly. The changing foliage is always beautiful to see, but as all homeowners know, the falling leaves mean piles of leaves on the yard and clogged gutters. Here are 5 quick steps to prepare your gutters for fall.

5 Quick Steps to Prepare Your Gutters for Fall

prepare your gutters for fallGutters that are clean and in good repair divert rainwater away from the roof and the side of the house. Water that pools on the roof can lead to premature wearing of roofing materials, water leaks, or mold and mildew growth. Water that pools on the ground near the house can lead to foundation problems, water incursion into the basement, or issues with the surrounding landscape.

That’s why it’s important to have your gutters inspected twice per year – once in the spring and at the start of fall. If you live in a home in a heavily wooded area, you may need to have inspections and cleaning once per quarter.

Here are 5 quick steps to prepare your gutters for fall:

  1. Clean your gutters before fall arrives, or hire someone to clean your gutters. This prevents your gutters from becoming overwhelmed with fall foliage, acorns, pine cones, and branches. When you are cleaning your gutters, it’s possible that, you may encounter nests or pests who have made your gutters a home. Call a professional to deal with animals who have taken up residence in your gutters.


  1. Flush the gutters with water to thoroughly remove any remaining debris, as well as to identify if there are any cracks or leaks in the system that need to be repaired.


  1. prepare your gutters for fallInspect the downspouts around the house to make sure that they are not obstructed or damaged. Remove any obstructions you encounter. This will help ensure that water can flow normally without getting backed up.


  1. Inspect the gutters themselves. Gutters which are cracked, broken, or not mounted securely to the side of the house should be repaired or replaced. Water that pours through is not aimed away from the home, and can cause stains or water damage to the side of the house.


  1. Consider installing gutter guards, especially if you live in a heavily wooded area. Gutter guards can drastically reduce how frequently you need to clean your gutters throughout the year. Debris can still accumulate, and gutter guards do need routine maintenance, so this may not be a good option for everyone.


How to Clean Gutters

There are many companies who specialize in cleaning gutters. But if you are a weekend DIY warrior, then you might want to know how to clean gutters for your next project before fall arrives.

You’ll need:

  • Tarp
  • Solid extendable ladder
  • Trowel or gutter rake
  • Sturdy work gloves
  • Hose



  1. prepare your gutters for fallSet up your tarp below the area you want to work on first.
  2. Set up your ladder. It’s recommended that you have a spotter for safety.
  3. Put on your work gloves, climb up the ladder, and remove any accumulated debris in the gutter. Drop the debris onto the tarp below to keep your yard tidy. Use a trowel or gutter rake to help remove debris as necessary.
  4. Work your way around the house, moving the ladder and tarp as needed, until you return to your starting place.
  5. Grab a hose and flush out the gutters. This will help ensure that all remaining debris is washed out. You’ll also be able to double-check that nothing is caught in your downspouts.


Clearing Clogged Downspouts

If your downspout is clogged, here’s what to do:

  1. Place the end of the hose into the roof-side end of the downspout.
  2. Pack a rag or towel around the hose to create a seal.
  3. Turn on the water to maximum pressure and wait. The clog should usually clear within a few minutes.
  4. If the clog persists, you may need to use a plumbing snake to manually clear the clog.


Tidal Wave Response

When you prepare your gutters for fall, you reduce the risk of overwhelming gutters and potentially causing water damage. Clogged gutters can easily lead to water damage on roofs and in attics. If you have found water damage in your attic or anywhere else in your home, call Tidal Wave Response. We’re available 24/7 for a free appraisal of damages. Our team will restore your home back to its original state on time and in budget.

How to Prevent Attic Mold

While mold can grow in just about every condition, it prefers summer the most out of all the seasons. If you haven’t already taken steps to prevent attic mold in your home, it’s not too late. Catching and remediating mold before it has spread to the entire home will save you a lot of time, hassle, and cost.

Causes of Attic Mold

First, let’s take a look at the causes of attic mold. As you may know, mold can live in almost any condition. However, it thrives in certain conditions – all of which are in abundant supply during Atlanta summers.

Causes of attic mold include:

  • Heat: Mold grows more readily in warm conditions, especially within the 60 – 80 degrees range. Attics not only get warm quickly during the summer months, they hold onto heat long after the sun has set.
  • Moisture: Mold thrives in damp conditions. Attics hold onto a surprising amount of moisture. This is especially true in a humid area like Atlanta. The natural humidity combined with attics holding onto moisture provides mold with optimal growing conditions.
  • Roof leaks: Similar to ‘moisture’, roof leaks can go undetected for weeks or months without being noticed simply because of how infrequently homeowners visit their attic. The additional moisture from a leaking roof can quickly accelerate mold growth and cause structural damage.
  • Lack of ventilation: Unless an attic has been converted into a living space with regular airflow, there’s a good chance that an unfinished attic is not well-ventilated. Poor ventilation combines with heat and humidity to create the perfect incubator for mold spores.
  • Food supply: Mold needs a supply of food to survive, such as wood and fiber. Both of these are readily available in any attic space.


As you can see, attics are an ideal environment for mold spores to grow and thrive. But no homeowner wants uninvited guests, especially since mold can be damaging to the structure as well as the health of the home’s occupants.

How to Prevent Attic Mold

The best way to prevent attic mold is to ensure that the conditions within your attic are not suitable for growing.

  • Check Bathroom, Laundry, and Kitchen Exhausts: Sometimes, past shoddy or lazy workmanship finds exhaust pipes from high-humidity areas like the bathroom, laundry, or kitchen venting directly into the attic. Identifying and solving these problem spots can help prevent unnecessary humidity buildup in the attic.
  • Install Ventilation: Installing ventilation in the attic is a great way to keep airflow moving, which detracts from the ideal mold growing conditions usually present in attics.
  • Check Window and Skylight Seals for Leaks: Some attics have windows or skylights. Make sure that the seals surrounding these windows is in good condition at least twice per year. It is also recommended that these spots are checked after heavy storms.
  • Inspection Your Attic Regularly: You don’t necessarily have to hire someone to your home for an inspection. Just grab a flashlight and check the attic space at least once per season. This way, you can notice any slow leaks or mold growth, and track any changes over time.
  • Fix Roof Leaks ASAP: This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. As soon as you notice a roof leak, fix it as quickly as you can. Water damage doesn’t take long to develop, and mold is not far behind the problems that water damage brings.


Preventing attic mold takes some diligence and attention, but a few minor tweaks here and there can save you a lot of hassle and headache in the long run.

Tidal Wave Response Atlanta

If left untreated, attic mold can become a serious problem, spreading to other parts of the house and causing odors, structural damage, and unhealthy living conditions. It is recommended that you treat mold as soon as you notice its presence.

Mold can be challenging to thoroughly remove from any home. Fungicides and specialized chemicals are usually required in order to kill all traces of mold. Many times, insulation must be removed entirely to prevent further spread or cross-contamination to other parts of the home. Cleaning attic mold is best left to the professionals, as DIY techniques unfortunately do not remove all traces of mold and can lead to mold regrowth.

If you’ve found attic mold in your home, call Tidal Wave Response. Our technicians are experts at locating and eliminating mold from homes and businesses. We identify problem spots, clean and sanitize the affected areas to prevent regrowth, and ensure that your home is odor-free. Don’t let attic mold spread; give us a call today!

How to Fix a Running Bathtub Faucet

Drip, drip, drip… These small sounds indicate the early stages of a leaking faucet. Over time, the drips become more frequent, until at last they become a steady stream. Before you know it, your bathtub faucet is running constantly no matter how tightly you turn the handle shut. Today, we discuss how to fix a running bathtub faucet.

What Causes Running Faucets?

Whether located in your bathtub, kitchen, or laundry room, running faucets don’t happen randomly. The main cause of a running faucet is that the internal components are wearing out.

The most common problem components include:

  • Washers
  • O Rings
  • Seals
  • Gaskets


Each of these parts fits on to a ‘stem’, which is also called a ‘cartridge’. Oftentimes, you can replace individual washers or seals, which can solve the problem. However, older leaking bathtub faucets may require a new cartridge altogether. Unless you’re already familiar with the inside of your tub faucet, it’s impossible to tell until you are looking at the cartridge first hand.

You may be thinking that the slow drip in the tub is easy to ignore. Since it’s contained within the tub and not leaking all over the floor, what’s the big deal?

The truth is that leaks never get better on their own. Water wears down even the hardiest materials when given enough time. The same is true with your running faucet.

It may be a minor nuisance now, but as time goes on, more and more water will pour down the drain. This can quickly add to your water bill. Plus, the constant water flow will wear down the enamel in your tub basin much more quickly. Fixing a small leak now will save you a lot of costs later.

How to Fix a Running Bathtub Faucet

After you learn how to fix a running bathtub faucet, you’ll be able to complete this DIY project in an afternoon. If you have more than one leaking faucet, it will be good knowledge to have for the long run!

Note: There are several different sizes and types of bathtub cartridges. If you know the type of cartridge that belongs to your bathtub faucet, go out and grab a replacement before you begin. If you are unsure, follow the steps below to remove the cartridge. Then, visit your local hardware store to find a matching replacement.

10 Steps to Fix a Running Bathtub Faucet

1. Turn off the water to the tub. The method will depend on how accessible the pipes are. If you have access to the pipes in the wall directly behind the tub, then shut off the water flow from there. If you do not have access to the pipes in the wall, then shut off the main water valve to the home. This step is a crucial one: skip it, and you’ll wind up with water everywhere.


2. If your faucet has a handle cap, remove it next and set it somewhere out of the way. You will usually find that the handle cap bears the manufacturer’s logo, or a ‘hot/cold’ indicator. If your faucet does not have a handle cap, then you will see a screw on the side. Remove the screw.

Remove the faucet caps.









3. Remove the handle from the faucet head and set all parts that you remove in a safe place.


4. If your faucet has a single handle, remove the escutcheon, the shield-like cover behind the handle.

5. Remove the stop tube. This part will cover a cartridge. This cartridge is held in place by a retainer clip. Remove the retainer clip.

Remove the retainer clip and stop tube to reveal the cartridge.










6. Remove the old cartridge and replace it with the new one. Secure the retainer clip in its original place.

Remove the faulty tub faucet cartridge.









7. Replace the stop tube.


8. Replace the escutcheon.

9. Replace the handle and handle cap, if your faucet has a cap.

10. Turn on the water to the tub. Now, you are done!


Now that you know how to fix a running bathtub faucet, you can see that this project is pretty straightforward. However, not everyone is comfortable with DIY repairs. When all else fails, call a plumber. If you aren’t comfortable trying this project on your own, then it’s likely best that a professional take over. You could accidentally cause additional damage to your home that could be costly to repair.

Top 10 Outdoor Brush Burning Safety Tips

It’s almost the time of year for brush burning in Georgia. Currently, outdoor burning is permitted between September 1st and April 30th. So, if you’re getting ready to dispose of yard debris, keep these 10 brush burning safety tips in mind.

Top 10 Outdoor Brush Burning Safety Tips

  1. Get your permit from the GA Forestry Commission before you burn. While not exactly a safety tip, this one is important all the same! Make sure that there are no burn bans in place.
  2. Use a hose to dampen the area immediately surrounding the brush pile. This step helps ensure that the fire does not spread out of control.
  3. Choose a day without a lot of wind or breeze. This will help prevent fires from catching surrounding trees or worse, buildings.
  4. Place the brush pile at least 75 feet away from any surrounding buildings or structures.
  5. If you need to run in for a quick snack break, ask another member of your family to keep an eye on the fire while you are gone. It doesn’t take long for a fire to get out of hand when unsupervised.
  6. Make sure that kids keep a safe distance from the fire, and supervise them throughout the whole burning process.
  7. Keep a fire extinguisher or hose on hand to help contain a fire that gets out of control. Rakes and shovels can also help extinguish a fire more quickly, so keep these within reach as well.
  8. As tempting as it may be to ignite a bonfire, using kerosene, gasoline, or other flammable liquids to start the fire can be very dangerous.
  9. Call the fire department as soon as possible if a fire becomes uncontrollable.
  10. Be prepared to react if the wind shifts or the fire becomes uncontained. Extinguish the fire as soon as you can, and if you cannot do so, call the fire department to put out the blaze.


What Can You Burn?

Although burning open season means that you can burn, you can’t just burn anything. The Georgia Air Protection Branch has a complete list of what you can burn during open season. The rules vary depending on county population, summer burn bans, and of course, open season. Remember to check the list before you start burning!

What Are Some Alternatives to Burning?

Burning isn’t always an option for some people, depending on zoning and health concerns. Fires, no matter how small, put out a considerable amount of pollutants into the air that are harmful to the health. Individuals with allergies or asthma are most at risk when the air is polluted.

Fortunately, there are some alternatives to open burning. Consider these if you have any yard debris that needs to be disposed of.

  • More often than not, tree limbs and branches and brush may be composted into reusable landscaping filler. Call your local recycling center; they may have a chipper to convert these types of material into landscaping material.
  • Compost brush into other parts of the yard to both eliminate the brush and provide a natural source of nutrients for your plants.
  • Haul the brush to the nearest landfill for disposal.
  • Take the brush to a commercial processing center for disposal.


For this upcoming year, open burning season starts September 1st, 2017 and ends April 30, 2018. Follow our brush burning safety tips and stay safe through all your yard burning needs!

Tidal Wave Response

Ideally, after following the brush burning safety tips listed above, your outdoor brush burning goes smoothly and without a hitch. If, however, a worst case scenario occurs and your property experiences fire damage, give Tidal Wave Response a call. We are experts at fire and water damage restoration and pride ourselves on restoring properties back to their original condition. Our lines are open 24/7 for even the most unexpected damages to your property.

How to Clean (and Prevent) Hard Water Deposits

If you’ve lived in an area with hard water, you are most likely familiar with the ever-changing colors in your sink and tub. Not long after scrubbing your tub back to white, it has turned an unsightly shade of brown. The Metro Atlanta area is considered to have ‘moderately hard’ water, which means that accumulations will happen over time. Instead of waiting until the tub is completely unsightly, here’s how to clean and prevent hard water deposits.

What is Hard Water?

The term ‘hard water’ refers to water which contains a significant amount of minerals, most notably magnesium and calcium. The relative hardness of the water is classified on a scale which measures parts per gallon. The harder the water, the more minerals are present, and the quicker that accumulations and stains will develop. The softer the water, the longer it takes for stains and accumulations to occur.

Some regions of the US have harder water than others, most notably parts of Texas and the Midwest. Most of the Southeast, including Atlanta, has moderately hard water.

Hard water is sometimes referred to as ‘limescale’.

What’s the Harm of Hard Water Deposits?

If left untreated, hard water can create deposits on faucets over time. The appearance of these deposits varies somewhat from region to region due to the specific mineral mix within the water. Most of the time, deposits range from a chalky white to brown.

Hard water deposits can form within pipes over time, which can be tricky since the accumulation is not obvious to spot. Weak water flow is the number one indicator of hard water deposits in pipes. If you have noticed a steady decrease in water flow, contact a plumber. The problem could be hard water deposits obstructing normal water flow.

How to Clean Hard Water Stains and Deposits

Believe it or not, you probably have everything you need to clean hard water stains in your cupboard.

The basic mix is:

  • Water (50%)
  • White vinegar (50%)
  • Splash of lemon (optional)


For particularly stubborn stains or residue, you can always try using 100% vinegar.

Other tools you might need, depending on the area that needs cleaning:

  • Spray bottle
  • Washcloths
  • Bowl or other container
  • Sponge


3 Steps to Clean Hard Water Deposits

1. First, prepare your mixture. For most stains, all you will need is a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. For more stubborn stains, try 100% white vinegar.

2. Once you have the mixture handy, apply to the area in question. The exact method will depend on the area being cleaned.

  • Soak sink faucet aerators in the vinegar and water mixture overnight.
  • Spray the sides of tubs, sinks, and shower stalls before scrubbing down with a sponge.
  • Pour the solution into toilet basins and let sit for 15 – 30 minutes before flushing and scrubbing with a toilet brush.
  • Dip a washcloth in the solution, wring it out to remove excess moisture, and then drape the washcloth over the area for at least 30 minutes before scrubbing with a sponge.

3. Repeat these steps as necessary.

Note: Do NOT soak iron or nickel fixtures in the vinegar solution, as they can cause permanent damage to these materials.

Preventing Hard Water Deposits

The easiest way to prevent hard water deposits is to clean your faucet, sink, and tub regularly. You can purchase products from your local supply store for this purpose. Alternatively, you can keep a bottle of vinegar/water solution handy, and use it on your tub, shower, or sink every day.

Some people dry their tub and faucet after every use in order to prevent stains from developing as the hard water evaporates.

The most effective way to prevent hard water deposits is to have your water treated. Water treatment greatly decreases the amount of minerals within the water, thus significantly slowing the buildup of hard water deposits over time.

  • Whole house systems: Large filters that are applied to the main point of entry for all water within the home.
  • Point of use systems: Smaller filters that affix to the specific faucet being used.


Both types of systems come with replaceable cartridges so that you can keep fresh, soft water flowing through your home at all times.

Tidal Wave Response

Hard water deposits can destroy pipes and fixtures over time. When this happens, you may find yourself with an unexpected water leak. Call Tidal Wave Response if you’ve found yourself with a leak that causes water damage in your home. We are ready to answer your call 24/7 for a free appraisal and estimate of damages and repairs.

Should I Install a Home Fire Sprinkler System?

A home fire sprinkler system is not required in most residential builds, nor are they very common even though they can save lives and minimize fire damage to a property. It is a personal decision whether or not you install one in your own home. Here, we look at the benefits of installing a home fire sprinkler system, as well as dispel some fire sprinkler myths.

Why Install a Home Fire Sprinkler System?

home fire sprinkler systemA home fire sprinkler system is the first line of defense against home fires. Their sole purpose is to contain and extinguish a fire before it spreads and gets out of fire. Installing a sprinkler system in your home is one of the best ways to protect your family and your property from unexpected blazes.

All fire sprinklers trigger based on heat. Once the sensor built in to the sprinkler head reaches a certain temperature, it triggers and showers the area with water. Unlike what you see in Hollywood, all of the sprinkler heads in the home will not go off; only the unit or units located in the fire area will be activated.

Home Value, Insurance, and Taxes

Fire sprinklers are so common in offices and public spaces that you may not even think about it. Many new apartments even have fire sprinkler systems. This raises the question: why aren’t fire sprinklers common in homes?

Cost is a big factor in most cases. A home fire sprinkler system is a long-term investment. In addition to the initial installation, there are several other financial impacts to take into consideration.

  • Home fire sprinkler systems may affect insurance premiums, depending on your carrier. Check with your insurance company to find out their policies and rates before you set an installation date.
  • Your home taxes may change, depending on where you live. Check with your local government to learn how much your taxes could change.
  • Your home value may change. If you are considering installing a home fire sprinkler system, or if you are in the market for a home which already comes installed with one, speak with your realtor for the most up-to-date market advice.

If you’re only planning to be in a house for a few years, then it may not be the right choice for you. But if you intend to keep your home for many years, the added level of safety may be worthwhile.

Aren’t Smoke Alarms Enough?

home fire sprinkler systemSmoke alarms are a great first alert system – as long as batteries are installed and kept up-to-date. However, they only alert you to the presence of a fire. They do not stop fires before they have spread, or do anything to put the fire out before you or your family are in danger.

Depending on how quickly the fire spreads, you may or may not have time to evacuate the home. It is important for you to have a home evacuation plan which accounts for blocked exits and upper floor rooms.

Aren’t Home Sprinklers a Giant Accident Waiting to Happen?

Although fire sprinklers are great for preventing home fires from harming your family or your property, you may be worried that the same system could lead to water damage in your home.

Your home is full of water pipes, and the pipes used in home sprinklers are no different. In fact, they are usually installed in the same areas that the rest of your pipes are contained. This means that during the winter, you’re already going to be keeping an eye on any problem areas to prevent frozen pipes, and won’t have to do any additional work.

Fire sprinkler water pipes are held to the same build standards as the rest of your home plumbing system. That said, they will need added inspections throughout the year to monitor aging pipes, weak spots, and prevent ruptures and leaks.

You may also be worried that a sprinkler head might trigger accidentally, or worse, without a reason at all. Sprinkler head failures are incredibly rare, with instances of 1 in 1000.

Won’t Fire Sprinklers Ruin My Home When Triggered?

home fire sprinkler systemUnlike what you see in Hollywood, a fire in one room does not trigger all of the fire sprinklers in the house. Fire sprinklers are designed to respond only in the area the fire is located. This design minimizes damage to the home by using water only on the affected area. You don’t have to worry about a flood of water throughout the house!

In fact, fire sprinklers are very efficient. They use considerably fewer gallons of water per minute than fire hoses, averaging at 13 – 18 gallons per minute versus 250 gallons per minute.

The Bottom Line

In the end, whether or not a home fire sprinkler system is right for you is a personal choice, and you’ll need to weigh all factors during consideration. If your home experiences fire or water damage, remember that Tidal Wave Response is here and ready to help restore your home back to its original condition.

Creating a Family Disaster Plan for Fires and Floods

At Tidal Wave Response, we see many types of home emergencies from floods to fires. Family disaster plans aren’t just for earthquakes or hurricanes; they’re great to have for any type of emergency. Here, we’ve compiled some tips for creating a family disaster plan.

Tips for Creating a Family Disaster Plan

Before you create a family disaster plan, it’s important to note that no two plans are going to look alike. Some areas are more prone to certain types of disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes.

Additionally, disasters don’t always require you to evacuate your home. Extended power outages can pose a fire hazard, while floods can lead to electrical or water hazards. Being aware of the potential hazards surrounding a natural disaster or other emergency is the first step to keeping you and your family safe when the unexpected happens.

  1. family disaster planFirst, take into consideration any region-specific emergencies and natural disasters that tend to affect the area where you live. These include tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanoes, to name a few.
  2. Then, consider the types of emergencies that are not region-specific, such as fires and floods.
  3. Once you have identified the most likely emergencies that could happen, discuss with your family the best ways to address these potential circumstances. Make sure everyone is familiar with the family meeting place, any home emergency supplies, and who is responsible for the family pet or pets. Also make sure that everyone knows what to do in case the family becomes separated.
  4. Practice the emergency plan at least once a year, and make revisions as necessary.


For further tips and advice, check out these handy resources:

Preventing Home Fires

Fires are one of the most common home emergencies. Although there is no surefire way to prevent fires from happening, there is a lot you can do to protect your home and your family.

Fire Prevention Tips

  • family disaster planHave an electrician inspect your home at least once per year
  • If you have a HVAC system installed in your home, have the system inspected at least once per year
  • Don’t leave space heaters unattended
  • Don’t leave burning candles unattended
  • Ensure that there is sufficient space between appliance cords and flammable objects, especially furniture and draperies
  • Do not hide cords beneath rugs, as they can wear through quickly and catch fire
  • Do not use frayed cords or attempt to repair them with electrician’s tape; replace them instead


When creating your family disaster plan, be sure to review all possible exit plans for your home. This way, you won’t be caught by surprise in case of a worst-case scenario.

Flood Safety

Some regions are more prone to flooding than others. If you live in a flood-prone region, make sure you and your family have a plan in case of severe flooding.

Flood Safety Tips

  • family disaster planGet to higher ground as quickly as possible; abandon your car and get to higher ground if needed
  • Don’t try to drive through deep water; only 1 foot of water can carry your vehicle away
  • Don’t try to cross deep water on foot; 6 inches of fast-moving water can sweep you off your feet
  • If you are camping, set up your campsite away from rivers and creeks during rainfall, as these sources of water may experience flash floods
  • If you live in a flood-prone region and are advised to evacuate, do so as quickly as possible
  • Do not touch electrical equipment that has not been disconnected from electrical sources; if in doubt, leave the appliance alone
  • Listen to the radio or tune into the news after a flood has occurred to verify whether the water supply is safe to drink
  • Avoid waters brought in by flooding, as it may be contaminated or electrically charged by downed power lines

Tidal Wave Response

Has your home or business experienced a fire or flood? Call Tidal Wave Response! Our experienced and certified technicians are ready to restore your property back to its original condition following fire and water damage.

How does the Hot Water Extraction Process Work?

There are several techniques and methods to clean water damaged carpets. To ensure that a carpet is cleaned correctly, the process must be thorough and can take up to a couple of days, including the drying time. Although it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes the best way to clean water damage is to use more water. One of the most common methods to clean water damaged carpets is hot water extraction.

What is Hot Water Extraction?

Carpet fibers are usually densely woven, providing a comfortable walking surface when dry. These same fibers absorb a considerable amount of water when wet. Water damaged carpets need to be thoroughly cleaned and dried, otherwise residual moisture can lead to mold and mildew growth, structural damage, and lingering odors.

Hot water extraction is one of the most effective methods to clean water damaged carpets and restore them back to their original condition. This process utilizes extremely hot water, detergent, and a specialized brush and vacuum system to simultaneously deep clean and extract impurities from the carpet.

Hot water extraction can usually be done in a day, depending on the extent of the damage and whether a second treatment is needed.

The hot water extraction process:

  1. clean water damaged carpetsCarpet preconditioning: A high alkaline detergent is applied to the carpet surface.
  2. Agitation: A brush or other specialized equipment is used to help the detergent penetrate the carpet surface for thorough cleaning.
  3. Dwell time: The detergent must be given time to work for optimal cleaning; the duration varies depending on the type of detergent used.
  4. Cleaning: A specialized machine performs two actions at nearly the same time. First, a hot water and brush combination scrubs the carpet to loosen ground-in dirt and soil. The hot water sanitizes the carpet while the brush extracts deep stains and dirt. Then, a vacuum removes stains, moisture, dirt, and detergent. This step may be repeated several times depending on how dirty the carpet is.
  5. Drying: Despite how powerful the hot water extraction vacuums are, not all moisture can be removed from the carpet. Floor dryers, dehumidifiers, and standing fans are used to circulate the air and accelerate the drying process.


You may have heard of the term ‘steam cleaning’ before. In fact, ‘steam cleaning’ is a misnomer, and refers to the hot water extraction process. The terms are often used interchangeably.

Whether you call it steam cleaning or hot water extraction, the hot water extraction takes some time and patience, but can be very effective in cleaning and restoring water damaged carpets.

When Carpets Can’t Be Saved

clean water damaged carpetsAlthough the hot water extraction process is useful for most carpets, some carpets simply cannot be saved and must be discarded following water damage. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Exposure to raw sewage
  • Exposure to black water
  • Damage to the subfloor
  • Structural damage below the carpet

Carpets which have been heavily soiled or exposed to sewage must be replaced, since bacteria and other pathogens may be present. Without proper removal and sanitization, an carpet that cannot be salvaged can lead to illness in the long term.

Can you DIY Clean Water Damaged Carpets?

clean water damaged carpetsIf you are DIY enthusiast, you may be wondering if you can steam clean carpets yourself. The answer is that it depends.

DIY carpet cleaning can often be used to solve minor water damage to carpets. Rental steam cleaners are less powerful than commercial units. In addition, many of these machines do not have internal heating elements. Some may call for you to add separately heated water.

Professional carpet cleaners usually have truck-mounted hot water extraction units. These units are very powerful and heat water throughout the process. Professional carpet cleaning is recommended for severe and extensive water damage.

If not dealt with as quickly as possible, carpet water damage can lead to expensive problems such as structural damage, mold and mildew growth throughout the building, and more. It only takes a few hours before water damage begins to have long-term effects.

If you have a water damaged carpet following a leak or a flood, call Tidal Wave Response. Our technicians are on-call 24/7 to respond to late-night emergencies and provide a free, no obligation assessment. Drop us a line today!

Fireworks Safety this 4th of July

There are few things that symbolize Independence Day more than fireworks. Whether as a show put on by the city, a neighbor, or yourself, fireworks are so commonplace and readily available that it can be easy to forget they can be dangerous. Fireworks can harm not only people, but properties as well, leading to home fire damage. Here are a few ways to practice fireworks safety this 4th of July.

Fireworks and Fire Damage

According to the NFPA, fireworks caused over 18,500 fires between 2009 – 2013, which included both vehicle and structural fires.

Fireworks are a source of ignition, especially in dry weather conditions. It is not uncommon for fireworks to spark brush fires. In addition, flying fireworks can land on rooftops or other hard-to-reach places, making these situations difficult to extinguish quickly.

It is advisable to pay attention to any fire restrictions, burn bans, or other related city notices. These notices are announced for everyone’s safety, and should be followed in order to avoid property damage – whether to your own home or someone else’s property.

Top Fireworks Safety Tips

Setting fireworks is an annual tradition in many homes. Keep yourself and your guests safe with these handy fireworks safety tips.

  • fireworks safetyShoot fireworks in an open area; driveways are ideal.
  • Ensure that all spectators are standing at least 35 feet away from the launch area.
  • Don’t stand over lit fireworks or hold them while lit, as this can cause severe injury.
  • Keep a bucket of water on hand to extinguish any unintended fires. If you have a hose, keep it handy as well. Put out a fire as soon as it begins.
  • Make sure that your yard has a clear escape route for a quick exit in an emergency.
  • If a fire begins to spread and cannot safely be extinguished, evacuate your guests and call 911.
  • Soak all used fireworks in a separate bucket of water for at least 20 minutes prior to disposal.
  • Buy fireworks from authorized, licensed dealers. These fireworks must meet certain safety standards, which help ensure the safety of you and your guests.
  • Don’t try to relight “dud” or malfunctioning fireworks. Soak these in water for at least 20 minutes prior to discarding them.

Adults aren’t the only ones who enjoy fireworks shows. When children are present, you’ll need to take a few additional safety tips into consideration to avoid injury or fire damage to your property.

Fireworks and Kids

fireworks safetyShooting fireworks once the sun has gone down is a tradition in many families. Make sure your 4th of July is both a safe and fun event with these kid-friendly tips.

  • Don’t let children under the age of 7 play with fireworks.
  • Always make sure a sober adult is present.
  • Ensure that kids are wearing safety glasses if they are participating in shooting fireworks.
  • Don’t let kids play with or near fireworks that leave the ground or explode.

Taking precautions to ensure the safety of any children who are present will help everyone have a great, safe time at your fireworks show.

Fireworks and Pets

Although people enjoy good fireworks shows, our beloved pets and companions don’t always see it the same way that we do. The loud, unpredictable sounds are frightening to them.

The sound of fireworks travels a great distance, so unless you live in the countryside, it’s not always possible to avoid exposing your pet to fireworks.

  • fireworks safetyDo not have your pet present for fireworks; keep them indoors. A bolting, frightened pet during a fireworks show can quickly become a hazard for everyone in attendance.
  • Choose lower-noise fireworks, as the reduced sound can be less stressful for pets.
  • Turn on a TV or radio to help mask the sound of fireworks outside.
  • Do not set fireworks over livestock or horses in fields; give any neighbors who own livestock or horses advance notice prior to the fireworks show.
  • Ask your veterinarian for advice, if needed, to see if they have recommendations for alleviating your pet’s stress.

After the show, pick up all fireworks debris once cool and dispose before allowing your pet back into the yard.

Fire Damage Restoration Specialists in Atlanta, GA

If, despite all your best efforts, your home has experienced fire damage after your fireworks show, give Tidal Wave Response a call! Our team is ready to answer your call 24/7 for a free, no obligation assessment of damages and repairs.