Recent Posts

April Showers Can Bring Septic System Backups to Torrington Homes

4/16/2018 (Permalink)

Biohazard April Showers Can Bring Septic System Backups to Torrington Homes Whether from a full septic tank, a clogged filter or a blocked line, sewage floods from septic tank backups require professional restoration.

April showers bring May flowers however here in the Litchfield area, heavy rains can be rough on a home's septic system.  On days like today, when rain is falling onto already wet ground, septic problems can be common.

When there is great deal of rain, the drain field in your yard can become saturated and stop the water from flowing out of your septic system as designed. Because the water has no exit point, it can eventually make its way back into your home. The waste water can travel back through the pipes and through your drains and toilets, causing an overflow.  If you have sewage backup through one of your drains, that is a clear sign that your septic system is malfunctioning.  

Other signs of a failing septic tank are: 

  1. A Foul Odor: A clear sign that your septic tank needs inspection is the presence of odors in your house, outside near your septic tank or near the pipe ventilation system. We all know the smell of the methane gas escaping, similar to rotten eggs, so it's not hard to identify! 
  2. Soggy Ground: Saturated areas around your septic tank may also indicate a problem. Excess moisture can be a sign that your tank is full or the drainage pipes are damaged.  
  3. Slow Drainage: If you have a slow draining sink, tub or toilet, it is a warning sign that your septic system is  malfunctioning.  
  4. Gurgling Sounds: If you notice that there is a gurgling sound when you flush the toilet, that is a common sign of septic system failure.  
  5. Contaminated Well Water: Well water tests that show results of high levels of nitrates or coliform bacteria are of concern, as they indicate that untreated sewage is seeping into the ground.  

If you notice any of these signs in your home, we recommend that you call a septic system repair contractor to inspect your system and identify the cause. It could be a blocked line from tree roots, an improperly installed leach field, a clogged filter or a full septic tank that requires pumping. Having the problem repaired before it causes damage to your home is the goal! 

In the event that there is already a backup at your home, call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at 203-267-6262. Sewage floodwaters contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that are dangerous and should be cleaned up by restoration professionals. The SERVPRO crew has the training and equipment to clean up and sanitize your home and belongings and make it "Like it never even happened."

Tips to Keep the Spring Thaw From Flooding Your Harwinton Home

4/10/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Tips to Keep the Spring Thaw From Flooding Your Harwinton Home Clogged gutters will flow over the side, causing water to collect at your houses foundation. This can lead to flooding in your basement.

Although we've still seen some snowflakes coming down in the past week, I think (hope) it's safe to say that winter is finally coming to an end. With warmer temperatures coming this week, the ground is thawing out and with that, excess water will be created. Unless you have a water proof house, this could cause flood problems, particularly in your basement. We've compiled a few flood prevention tips that will help protect your home this spring. If you already have water damage at your home, contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262 for immediate water damage restoration help. 

  • Inspect the drainage system: The drainage system on your property must be free of obstructions so the melted snow and ice will drain away from your home. Open your roof drains and make sure the floor drains of free of debris.  If you have flood drains outside your home, make sure they are clear as well. 
  • Inspect your gutters and downspouts: It's important to make sure that your downspouts and gutters are clear so that any ice and snow that is melting off of your roof has an exit point. With the winter we had, which brought high winds and snowstorms, there can be a plethora of leaves, twigs and branches blocking  your gutters. This can cause water damage by allowing water to enter your home through the roof. Also, if the water cannot drain properly, it will flow over the side of your gutter instead. This causes water buildup near the foundation of your home., which can lead to flooding in your basement. 
  • Test your sump pump: Many houses in Connecticut have sump pumps to assist in keeping the basement dry.  Sump pumps are a fantastic idea but only if they are working! Our Torrington office receives several calls a year from homes in which there is water damage from sump pump failure. There are some simple steps that you can take to make sure that your sump pump is in proper working order. We recommend doing so in early spring. 

It's been a long winter and we are finally coming out of it. Don't let your enjoyment of spring be hindered by a flooded basement or leaky roof. Following our tips takes just a few hours and will help prevent any melting snow and ice from entering your home. If you have water damage from flooding this spring, call the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team for professional water damage restoration with experience and training you can count on.   

Spring is Finally Here! Spring Clean Your Kitchen With These Tips.

4/2/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning Spring is Finally Here! Spring Clean Your Kitchen With These Tips. Check all of your appliances for frayed or damaged wiring. Electrical malfunctions are a common cause of house fires in the Southbury, CT area.

Your 2018 Kitchen Spring Cleaning Cheat Sheet 

Spring is here and although it's still chilly and wet in the Southbury area, we will start having those "open up the windows and let the fresh air in" days soon! There's no better time to spring clean your home, getting rid of the dirt, grime and dust that has accumulated over the winter.  Your kitchen sees more cooking and baking in the wintertime than it does all year, and it probably shows!  The cleaning crew of SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington has compiled a spring cleaning checklist to help you out. 

  1. Clean the Grease –  Wipe down all surfaces – from your cabinets to your appliances – with white vinegar, which is amazing at removing grease!  Spray vinegar on all surfaces, let it sit for ten minutes and then wipe off with a kitchen rag. Don't forget to get under cabinets, your cabinet door knobs and on top of your refrigerator. If you have a particularly difficult grease spot to remove, wiping it with a little vegetable oil will remove it. Follow up with a rinse with a damp cloth.  
  2. Refrigerator – Take everything out and remove the shelving and drawers to clean. Check the expiration date on items, toss the forgotten leftovers and wipe down condiment jars. One trick that we have for keeping a fridge clean is to place rubber shelf liners on your shelves and in your fruit and vegetable drawers. It comes in a roll and can be cut to size. If something spills, it's much easier to remove the liner than the whole shelf!  
  3. Oven – Remove the racks from your oven and clean them. If you prefer not to use the self cleaning option on your oven, use this trick to get it clean with vinegar and baking soda – we've tried it and it works! Don't forget to pull out the storage drawer under your oven, remove all of the pans and clean that too.
  4. Sink – A toothbrush is the perfect tool to clean around the edge of a sink and behind it. If you have a garbage disposal, put ice in your disposal, followed by vinegar. Then, run the disposal. The ice does a great job of scraping the sides of the hard to reach places and removing the debris. The vinegar finishes the job with a cleaning. 
  5. Cabinets - If you're really ambitious, remove all of the items out of your cabinets and wipe down the interior.  This is a great time to get rid of those dishes that are never used or that glass that no longer has a match.  
  6. Pantry – Take all items off of the shelves, discard those open boxes of stale cereal that got shoved to the back a few months ago, wipe down your shelves and replace everything in nice neat lines. Most likely, it won't stay like that but it looks good for now!  
  7. Microwave - Here's a new trick we just tried. Place water and a few lemon wedges in a small microwave safe container. Run the microwave until the water starts to boil. Turn off the oven and let sit, and steam, for a few minutes. When you remove the cup, you will be able to simply wipe everything off without scrubbing. 
  8. Filters –Check your fridge to see if the water filter is due for replacement. If there is a filter in your exhaust vent, it's most likely due for a change as well.  If you have a water filter on your sink, swap it out for a new one.

While you are cleaning your kitchen, take the time to do a safety check. 

Take a look behind your fridge and under your sink and take note of any signs of dripping from the refrigerator supply line or the pipes under your sink. These are two of the most common places that water damage occurs in a kitchen. Also look for any frayed wires on your appliances, as these can be a fire hazard. If you have noticed an electrical outlet shorting out or your light fixtures flickering, have them checked out by an electrician. We've restored many homes that have had kitchen fires and often it's a small problem that causes significant fire damage.  

If you've finished reading this post and thought "A sparkling clean house sounds wonderful, but who has the time?", give us a call at 203-267-6262. We'll come out and make your kitchen sparkle like it never has before!

House Fires Cause Smoke and Soot Damage in Torrington

3/28/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage House Fires Cause Smoke and Soot Damage in Torrington House fires are a traumatic event for homeowners. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is here to help every step of the way.

Not only does a house fire leave devastating structural damage when it carves its way through a home, the smoke that permeates the walls, floors and furnishings also causes substantial loss.  House fires leave a layer of visible soot covering many of the surfaces of a home and unseen smoke in both hard and soft surfaces.  

Soot cannot be cleaned off of surfaces easily and requires professional fire damage restoration. Soot is comprised of fine black particles (about ¼ the size of a dust particle) that is the byproduct of the chemical reaction produced by a fire. It settles on surfaces after being carried through the home by smoke. The composition of soot varies based on the type of solid matter that has burned. Some soot, such as from natural materials like paper or wood, is dry and easier to clean. Soot from synthetic materials, such as plastics and nylon, is sticky, thick and black and the removal process is more complex. It is important to call SERVPRO in to begin work immediately when you have a house fire because the soot that has settled on everything is acidic and will start to damage surfaces if not removed.  When called to your home for fire damage restoration, the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team will inspect the soot in your home to determine what the best course of treatment will be.   

The damage that a house fire can cause is substantial and requires several layers of restoration. First, our team will board up the windows of a home and tarp the roof if required, to protect it from further damage. We then extract the water damage that is usually present due to the fire departments efforts. The next step is the removal of the smoke and soot from your home. Often, we will inventory and pack up your furnishings and belongings to be cleaned off site.  To remove the smoke smell (which has most likely infiltrated everything in your home!), we use thermal foggers. Thermal foggers blanket your home with odor neutralizing particles, eliminating the smell permanently. Air scrubbers remove the smoke particles from your homes circulation system, making it safe to breathe again. Once the water, smoke and soot are removed, we clean and sanitize your home.   

Finally, the rebuilding process can begin. Unlike some restoration companies, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington offers construction services by a fully licensed contractor. Chuck Lynch, is our Construction and Repair Manager, and his crew will rebuild your home, whether you require a few small repairs or a total rebuild.  From the emergency board up to the last picture hung back on your wall, our team is with you 100% of the way through the restoration process after your home has a fire.  

Basements, Attics and Leaky Pipes: The Causes of Mold Growth in Litchfield County Homes

3/22/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Basements, Attics and Leaky Pipes: The Causes of Mold Growth in Litchfield County Homes This home had mold covering the walls and floors of the basement family room. The mold was found under carpeting and behind paneling on the walls.

At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we talk with many homeowners who are concerned when they discover mold in their home. 

There has been quite a bit of attention on mold in homes and the potential health hazards of black mold lately.  Mold exists naturally in our environment and is not harmful at regular levels. It's when mold has the opportunity to grow at a rapid rate that it becomes of concern. 

In order to grow, mold requires certain conditions to be met. Mold spores need to be present and have a food source (examples would be cotton, sheetrock, plywood, etc.). In addition, mold requires darkness, oxygen and warm temperatures. However, these are typical conditions in most homes. The factor that most determines whether mold will grow in your home is moisture.  

Some of the most common causes of residential mold damage are:  

Leaky Pipes:  A slow leak might not be obvious to a homeowner but over time can create an environment that is ideal for mold growth. We have responded to a number of jobs in Litchfield County in which a plumber has discovered mold behind the kitchen cabinets due to a leaking pipe. In these cases, the kitchen cabinetry as well as walls and flooring often requires removal. 

The fix: Periodically check pipes, walls and cabinetry for any signs of leaking.  

Attic Mold: In order to keep moisture levels low in an attic, it must be ventilated properly.  A well-ventilated attic will allow warm air to escape through the peak of the roof via the ridge and soffit vents.  Another reason for moisture in an attic can be a roof leak. 

The fix: Have your ridge and soffit vents checked for blockages and inspect your roof and attic for leaks.   

Basement Mold: Due to low sunlight, condensation, high humidity, flooding and leaks, the basement is a common location for mold growth. In addition, people spend little time in their basement and are less likely to spot it early on.

The fix: If there is flooding, have your basement waterproofed. Keep humidity levels down with a dehumidifier. Repair any leaky pipes. If there is water at your house's foundation, it may be necessary for ditches and drains to be built to protect your Harwinton home.   

The good news is, not all mold requires professional remediation.

If you spot mold in your Torrington area home, give us a call at  203-267-6262. Our mold specialists  are IICRC certified and have over 20 years of experience inspecting mold and will give you an honest assessment of whether mold remediation is required.   

With Another Snowstorm Headed Our Way in Goshen, March is Coming in Like a Lion!

3/11/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage With Another Snowstorm Headed Our Way in Goshen, March is Coming in Like a Lion! Snowstorms cause water damage from ice dams and burst pipes as well as roof damage from fallen trees. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington can help!

I opened up the weather forecast today and did a double-take as there is yet another winter storm warning!  With Nor'easter Quinn having dumped over a foot of snow on the Torrington area last week and another 6 inches on the way, it is clear that March is coming in like a lion! And along with the snow, the storm will bring water damage to homes and businesses due to ice dams, frozen pipes and high winds. 

The most important thing for homeowners to do if they have water damage in their home is to call a professional restoration company immediately.  It is crucial that the restoration begins as soon as possible after water damage. One reason why people who have water damage fail to seek immediate help is due to concerns over whether or not the restoration will be covered by their homeowner's insurance.  Although coverage varies from policy to policy, there are some industry standards that will give you a good idea of whether or not your policy will cover the water damage to your home.  

If the wind from a storm causes a healthy tree to fall on your house, the costs of removal of the tree and repair to your structures is typically covered. If the insurance company has reason to think that your neglect of the tree was the cause of the fall (for example if it was old, rotted and leaning towards your house), they might reject the claim. If your neighbor's tree falls on your house, your insurance company will typically cover the claim however they may negotiate with your neighbor's provider for reimbursement (this is called subrogation). If they are successful, you may not be required to pay a deductible.  

Ice dams cause damage to ceilings, interior walls, roofing shingles and recessed lighting as well as the contents of your home.  Your attic insulation, where the water has all passed through will typically require replacement as well. Fortunately, the damage from ice dams is usually covered.   

Low temperatures can cause the water in the pipes of your home to freeze, in particular those in vulnerable spaces where there may not be adequate insulation such as the attic and garage eaves, under the sink and in converted porches.  Pipes also freeze during power outages – it only takes a few hours of no heat in a home for the interior temperatures to get dangerously low.  Burst pipes send water gushing throughout and cause devastating damage to Harwinton homes.  Sometimes, families might leave the home because of a power outage and return to a water damage disaster. We were once called to a home in which the family had left due to no heat.  A neighbor discovered the water damage when they noticed water pouring out of the closed front door and down the front steps.  In our experience, homeowner's insurance policies will cover water damage due to frozen and burst pipes caused by blizzards and power outages.  

If you have water or wind damage because of the winter weather on Tuesday, call SERVPRO of Southbury / Torrington at 203-267-6262. Our team is ready to help 24 hours a day. By March, we are all eagerly awaiting the first signs of spring however with another snowstorm coming, it looks like we will have to wait just a bit longer.  

Don't Let Water Damage From A Leaking Roof Affect Your Southbury Business

3/6/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Don't Let Water Damage From A Leaking Roof Affect Your Southbury Business When a commercial building has water damage, SERVPRO works with the business to keep their doors open while the restoration process is ongoing.

Business owners know that keeping their doors open is vital to the success of their company. If a commercial building has flooding from a roof leak, it can cause damage to the structure as well as the contents inside.  Even a small leak can allow enough moisture in to be of concern. Although not all roof failures can be avoided, there are some inspection items that all Torrington area business owners should check to reduce their chances of water damage.  

Commercial Building Roof Checklist 

  • Aged Roof - Just like the roof on your house, the one on your commercial building has a finite lifespan. In general, a commercial roof will last about 20 years before it begins to degrade, putting your business at risk.  As a roof ages, the potential for water seeping in due to broken or missing shingles or decaying roofing materials grows. Also, old roofs are often poorly ventilated, which can create conditions conducive to mold growth.  If your commercial building has an older roof, consider replacing it as an insurance policy against water damage. 
  • Poor drainage – If water is puddling on your roof, it will likely leak into your building. There are a variety of reasons why a roof might not drain properly. Perhaps the contractor didn't place adequate downspouts and gutters during installation, or they have been damaged or moved throughout the years. There could also be blockages such as debris in your system. 
  • Flat roof - Many commercial buildings have a flat roof, which has its advantages for large structures that have no need for a sloped roof and require an area for mechanical systems.   Rooftop HVAC systems might have clogged lines which can cause condensation and ponding of water.  A flat roof that has inadequate sloping can also be the cause of water damage. Foot traffic from maintenance workers on the roof can cause damage and erosion. If your building has a flat roof, have it inspected annually for any wear, puddling of water and to have the drains and lines cleaned.  
  • Damaged flashing – the flashing on a roof, which goes over joints where a chimney, HVAC system, gas lines or skylight meets the roof, can be pulled back or damaged from age or wind as well as from improper installation. Water easily gets in the crack and can seep down into the interior walls and ceilings.  

If, despite your best efforts, your commercial building does have a roof leak, call in a professional water damage company immediately.  Regardless of how the water got in, the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team provides dependable service that is backed by the industry's most selective training program. We use the latest technologies such as moisture sensors and readers along with thermal imaging to determine where moisture is hidden and avoid unnecessary demolition to the walls of your building.

Drawing upon years of experience mitigating commercial water damage, our technicians will arrive at your business prepared to determine the cause of the roof leak, assess the damage and formulate a restoration plan. We are committed to restoring your business quickly and efficiently, with as little disruption to your business continuity as possible.  We understand that the water damage from your roof leaking impacts your business, which is why we are available 24-7 to respond to your call. 

The Importance of Duct Cleaning:

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality? In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.  One of the so many services SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington offers is inspecting the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit (HVAC). By keeping the HVAC and duct work clean can potentially extend the life-span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money. Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.  But in some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke, or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, we can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition. If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove, or fireplace, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends they be inspected for proper functioning and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.  We  uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.  The process begins by using our patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins. 

  • Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container. Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
  • As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.
  • Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.

For more information on duct cleaning, or to schedule an appointment, contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington today at 203-267-6262.

When Fire and Water Take Control of Your Life, We Help You Take it Back!

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

Mitigation requires quick action. The faster SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington arrives on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results—including lower claim costs. Within four hours of loss notification, we will be on-site to help ensure that fire damages are handled by utilizing the following services.

  • Structural Cleaning - After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. We will pretest to determine the extent of damage, then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your insured’s structure.
  • Contents Cleaning - All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery.  Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to pre loss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, and much more. Finally, we can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items for your insured.
  • Deodorization - We provide specialized services that rid your residence or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. We do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance. We seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.

Did You Know That Your Ventilation System Can Be the Culprit In Poor Indoor Air Quality?

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know, your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality?  Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home should be a high priority.  In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention.  Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.

A routine part of SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is inspecting the heating, ventilation and a/c unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money.  Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.  We will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns.  This inspection can help save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.

In some circumstances, such as after fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the clean up process.  In these cases, we can often help restore HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.

If you have a fuel burning furnace, stove or fireplace, the EPA recommends they be inspected for proper functioning, and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Our Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost efficient.  What sets us apart from other duct cleaning services is our portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system which examines ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.

If you have any questions concerning your duct work or would like a consultation please don’t hesitate to call us at 203-267-6262!