Recent Posts

What to do if a Storm Damages the Roof of Your Home

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

When storms bring strong winds, they can wreak havoc on homes and businesses as well as the trees and landscape around them.

The roof of a structure is particularly vulnerable to wind damage. In addition to the risk of a tree or tree limb falling on the roof, shingles on the roof can be loosened, which allows rain to infiltrate the protective surface of the roof. This results in disintegration of the wood beneath, affecting the roofs integrity and performance as well as leaving the building vulnerable to water damage. Ceiling leaks and attic mold are common side effects of a roof that has been damaged.

When our office receives a call that you have water damage from a tree falling on your roof or due to roofing shingles being ripped off, we will quickly schedule an inspection appointment. Time is crucial when addressing water damage. Our property manager and crew chiefs will do a thorough examination of the interior and exterior of your building. This will help them determine the level of the damage and give them the information they need to establish a renovation plan.

We understand that this is the first water damage experience  for many of our customers and you might be unversed in the terminology and equipment being used. Our property managers are known for their communication skills and will clearly explain the process and why certain steps need to be taken and are happy to answer all of your questions. 

Depending on what type of damage is present, the restoration work might begin immediately or we will schedule a return visit to begin the work. In the case of flooding, we will use specialized pumps and vacuums to remove water from the affected areas. Dehumidifiers and air movers will be used to reduce the moisture from the air and ensure that mold and mildew do not grow. After removing any unsalvageable insulation, flooring and wall material, our technicians will disinfect the hard surfaces and clean the remaining carpets.

The SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington franchise is unique in that we have on our team a licensed contractor and his crew who are available to repair your roof, replace damaged floors, walls and baseboards and even rebuild your kitchen after the water has been removed.

When is a Water Damage Event NOT Covered by Insurance?

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Wall covered with mold Some mold infestations are covered by insurance. Others are not.

Many of us purchase homeowners insurance for the peace of mind that comes with knowing that if there is a problem with our homes, the repair expenses will be covered.

You might be surprised, however, to learn the home damage scenarios in which your home may not be covered.

  1. Flooding. Flooding caused by natural disasters (such as heavy rain) are generally not covered. If you live an area which is susceptible to flooding, homeowners should purchase separate flood insurance from The National Flood Insurance Program. Accidental flooding such as instances caused by a burst pipe in your home is usually covered by home insurance.
  2. Earth movement, which refers to earthquakes, sinkholes, and landslides, aren’t covered. You can get separate policies for these types of events however in Connecticut, earthquakes are not a high concern to most homeowners.
  3. Mold. Whether or not mold is covered by insurance depends on what caused the mold to grow. If the source of moisture that led to mold growth was due to neglected home maintenance, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be covered. Also, mold occurring after flood damage caused by natural disasters isn’t covered either. However, mold that grows as a result of an unexpected act - such as a fire or pipe burst, is usually covered. In our work at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we remediate mold in homes after they have water damage from a pipe burst.
  4. Construction work damage – Standard homeowners insurance usually won’t cover any damage that arises from renovating your home. When hiring a contractor, make sure they are licensed for any liability.
  5. Termite infestation is a big problem in the U.S.. The National Pest Management Association estimates termites cause $5 billion in damage across the country each year. To avoid this problem, hire a licensed pest control company to inspect your home regularly.
  6. Roof Damage. If damage to your roof was caused by neglect, any subsequent water damage may not be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Roof damage caused by a tree falling on it or shingles ripped off by strong winds, the leaks are typically covered.

You can't plan for every disaster but, in general, maintaining your home properly will help protect you. Also, obtaining special insurance for scenarios that you might be at risk for - such as flooding or mold - gives you extra protection against insurance denial.

Do You Need Renter's Insurance?

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

There are many residents of Southbury who rent their home or apartment and are unsure of whether they should purchase renter’s insurance.

While it’s true that your landlord has an insurance policy on the building, your belongings are not covered under their policy in the case of theft, or a a disaster such as a fire or flooding.  

Having renter’s insurance is an inexpensive way of protecting your furniture, electronics and other belongings. In our years of commercial water and fire damage restoration in New Haven County, we have spoken to many apartment renters who were not insured. It’s devastating enough to wake up to a fire in your apartment and have to leave all of your belongings inside in order to get to safety. But finding out that you will not be reimbursed for your losses doubles the catastrophe.  

In an apartment complex, you are vulnerable to damage from other units. If there is a fire, the smoke will travel easily and cause damage to your belongings even if the fire is several floors away. An upstairs neighbors broken washing machine becomes your problem when the water from flooding crashes through your ceiling.  

We recommend that all renter's purchase insurance. Believe it or not, the average cost of renters insurance is $15 per month. That’s a small price to pay for the protection of your belongings. Most insurance companies offer renter’s insurance. If you are happy with your automobile insurance company, getting a quote on renter’s insurance from them would be a good start.  

Clean Your Gutters to Avoid Water Damage this Fall.

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

leaves and plants growing out of a gutter If there are plants growing out of your gutter, they cannot work properly!

The start of the school year has begun, the weather has been cool and the first day of fall is next week.

With all of the pumpkiny, cinnamon-spicey, sweatery ads popping up in my Facebook feed, it comes at no surprise! And I have to admit that as much as I am sorry to see summer end, fall is my favorite season and I am looking forward to the crisp air and coziness that it brings. We are so lucky to live in New England and be surrounded by the fall colors that the changing of the leaves brings. Of course, those leaves fall and often land in our gutters, which can cause water damage to your home.

I’m sure that it goes without saying for most of you, however, I’m going to go ahead and remind you to clean out your gutters this fall.

I usually find myself doing this task twice- once at the beginning of the season to get all of the wet, decaying leaves and twigs that have accumulated all year out. Then, I go out a second time in November, after all of the leaves have fallen but before the snow falls, to do a clearing of all of the new leaves. I do want to caution our readers that cleaning gutters should be done with care. If it cannot be done safely, please reach out to one of the many wonderful specialists in our area to do it for you. 

A common cause of roof and water damage in residential properties is malfunctioning gutters.

When your gutters are clogged, the water collects and spills out of the top in both directions. When it falls away from your house, it pools and causes problems at your foundation level, causing damage to your foundation and often flooding your basement. When it flows out onto your roof, it can create a leaking problem in your attic. Roof leaks often go unnoticed because most of us don’t make frequent visits into our attic spaces. But, eventually, the water will make its way into the insulation, walls and ceilings of your home. Roof leaks are also a common reason why attic mold grows.

Cleaning out your gutters lowers your risk of basement flooding and roof leaks. 

However, if you do find yourself with a flood due to clogged gutters, don’t worry - we won’t judge! We understand that despite a homeowner’s best intentions, life gets busy and accidents happen! Give our office a call and schedule an appointment with our team to restore your home “Like it never even happened.”

Video on how to clean out your gutters

Contact us if you have water or mold damage.

It's National Preparedness Month. Are you Prepared for a Hurricane?

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States.  Regardless of where your home may be located, there is always potential for flood damage.  Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, or don't live in an area at high risk of flooding, does not mean you won’t in the future.  In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas.

Be Prepared:

  • Water – at least a 3 day supply, one gallon per person per day
  • Food – at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food
  • Radio – either battery powered or hand crank
  • Extra batteries
  • Multi-purpose tools
  • First Aid Kit
  • Copies of personal document (Insurance policies, birth certificates and etc.)
  • Know what your homeowner’s insurance covers and/or doesn’t cover. 
  • Because standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at FloodSmart.gov.
  • Camera – to photograph damages

Responding Appropriately During a Flood:

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice
  • Stay away from floodwaters which may contaminated
  • Keep children away from water. 

Flood Recovery Tips:

  • Return home only when officials declared the area as being safe.
  • Approach home carefully, look for loose power lines, cracked foundation, and other damages. 
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may come into your home through flood water.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear hissing, get out and call fire department
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and boots.

If a flood does strike your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.  Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated properly.  Cleanup can often be an overwhelming task.  We are prepared to handle any size disaster!

Paper or Plastic?

8/21/2021 (Permalink)

In many of the properties that we treat after a fire, the amount of damage is not always visible.

In fact, when you look at photos of the home or building, things might look like they are fine. However, smoke and soot residues are the hidden damage that a fire causes and often require more extensive restoration than the damage caused by the flames themselves. 

There are different types of fire damage and each requires its own unique cleaning plan. The team at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is trained in identifying the different types of smoke damage and how to properly treat your home accordingly. 

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke damage is caused when substances such as paper and wood are the fuel for the fire. These fires are fast burning, have high temperatures and the heat rises therefore the smoke rises. Because the residue is powdery and dry, it is often simpler to clean since it is easy to wipe off. However, it can fall into cracks and porous surfaces, and while the soot may be hidden from view, the smell will remain.

Wet Smoke

Wet smoke damage typically comes from fires in which plastic, rubber and other synthetic materials have burned. These fires are a lower temperature. They can be described as having a smoldering, pungent odor and they leave a sticky and thick residue that is more difficult to remove. 

Protein Residue

Protein residue is left behind after the evaporation of organic material such as food. The residue is produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. The residue is almost invisible however it discolors varnishes, paints, and finishes. It also gives off a strong, offensive odor that our techs know well and can easily identify. Because it is invisible to the eye, however, a homeowners might get frustrated with the pungent smell since they can’t see the source.

When we inspect your fire damaged structure, we will determine which method of cleaning is required. Depending on the type of smoke damage and the surface that is affected, we may utilize the following cleaning methods to remove smoke and soot damage.

  • Dry Sponging
  • Wet Cleaning
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air-filtration (HEPA) Vacuuming
  • Thermal Fogging

We don't expect our customers to become experts in fire damage restoration however we know that a little knowledge helps you understand why we are cleaning your house in a particular way.

Can't Get the Stink Out of Your Commercial Property?

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

Nobody wants to live in a smelly home.

Unpleasant odors in your apartment building can permeate the walls, floors, carpeting and even make their way behind walls and into the ventilation shafts. Apartment complexes are often affected by cigarette smoke residue, animal smells from urine and spoiled meat odors. These odors can make their way out of the originating apartment and be smelled throughout the building, putting the management company in a difficult position. Or perhaps the apartment is vacant and you as the owner are trying to prepare it for a new tenant. Masking and other shortcuts don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent.

A standard cleaning will not remove these odors however the odor removal experts at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington can.

We have the training and equipment to identify and eliminate these offensive odors. By identifying the cause of the odor, and determining the conditions where it contacts surfaces, the odor can often be removed over time without a trace. Our technicians have access to several odor removal products capable of penetrating surfaces to neutralize an unpleasant odor thoroughly.

The science of identifying and eliminating odors can be a tricky thing, so give us a call and leave the restoration to us.

We Rebuild Homes After Water Damage

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

If you home has experienced water or fire damage that has affected your roof, windows or exterior walls, protecting your home is our immediate concern. After receiving your call, our crew will come out to your home and tarp and board up damaged windows and roofs. This prevents additional damage from rain or debris as well as secures your structure and its contents. 

Once we've made certain that no further damage can occur, we begin the restoration process. We remove any remaining water and dry out the structure. Our office staff, Theny and Alexis, will order a dumpster for you and the crew will discard any materials such as flooring, insulation and wet sheetrock that are unsalvageable.  Our team sorts through and inventories your belongings, working with your insurance adjustor to determine which items are salvageable. Contents that can be saved are restored professionally, typically off site at our production facility. Your home will be sanitized and ready for reconstruction.  

The professionals at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington can simplify the restoration process by handling both the initial damage mitigation and rebuilding the affected areas. Having one qualified company for the entire process can save time and keeps costs low. Our Connecticut certified construction team can provide this continuity by supervising a full range of restoration services that will bring a building back to full functionality. 

The services that we provide includes:  

  • Carpet Repair and Installation 
  • Board Up 
  • Document Drying 
  • Dry Cleaning 
  • Drywall Installation 
  • Drywall Removal 
  • Electrical Services 
  • Furniture Restoration 
  • General Contracting 
  • Hardwood Floor Repair 
  • HVAC Services 
  • Linoleum Floor Repair 
  • Marble Floor Repair 
  • Move Out 
  • Painting 
  • Plumbing 
  • Portable Power 
  • Roof Tarp 
  • Roofing Services 
  • Scalable Resources 
  • Temporary Fencing 
  • Temporary Warehouse Space 
  • Tile Floor Repair 
  • Tree Removal 

Whether your home just needs a laminate flooring replaced or a full rebuild after fire damage, the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team is qualified to do the job.

When you call our offices after fire or water damage in the Bantam area, you can count on us to be there from the beginning to the end.  

When it Comes to Water Damage, Timing is Everything

7/24/2021 (Permalink)

If your Woodbury home has experienced water damage, whether from a pipe burst, an appliance line leak or a flooded basement, calling a restoration company immediately will reduce the damage to your home and possessions.  The sayings "time is of the essence" and "there's no time to waste" are applicable here. The longer that your home is left untreated, the greater the effects of the water damage will be.  

What might appear as a water stain in the morning could progress to the ceiling having fallen on your couch by noon.  Once wet, sheetrock can quickly deteriorate and fall to pieces. As time passes after a water damage event, the flooding can cause your porous furnishings such as carpeting, mattresses and furniture to become water logged, rendering them unsalvageable. Home insulation and carpet padding also retain moisture.  Electronics are susceptible to internal degradation from the moisture in the air.  When treated quickly, wood and laminate flooring can often be saved using our floor mat system however if left to penetrate and go beneath the wood to the subfloor, this option is unlikely. 

Secondary water damage issues can also arise if restoration is delayed. What may have entered your home as clean water, such as an ice dam melting through your ceiling or water from a faucet leaking, may become contaminated and change to gray or black water, which can be a health concern and require a higher degree of handling. The growth of mold spores is also a concern when a home has had flooding that goes untreated.  

Upon arrival to your home after we receive your call, one our estimators will assess the damage. If you have not yet determined the cause of the water damage, their first course of action will be to do so.  Our technicians use a variety of tools such as moisture readers and sensors, probes and infrared technology in their evaluation. This, coupled with decades of experience and the highest level of industry training, gives them an accurate picture of the situation.  

Typically, our first course of treatment is to remove any standing water from your home using water extractors, submersible pumps, dehumidifiers and air movers. If necessary, we will order dumpsters to be brought to your home for the disposal of unsalvageable personal items and structural materials such as flooring, carpeting and wallboard. Our crew may also move household belongings from your home to our storage facility while your home is being cleaned. They may also restore some items such as furniture, area rugs, and photos off site.  Throughout the process, our office staff will communicate with your insurance company to address any concerns and gain approval for planned restoration work.  

After we have removed the excess water from your home, we begin sanitizing it. We use both wet and dry cleaning methods to remove dirt and pollution from the carpets, walls, furniture, baseboards, appliances and pieces of furniture that were affected by the water.  Industrial air scrubbers, which clean the air by passing it through special filters, remove any contaminants from the air of the home.  Our crew uses antibacterial and antimicrobial treatments to sanitize and disinfect any contaminated items and deodorization to eliminate any odors. 

Once your home is dry, clean and restored, we are able to bring your household items back, have the dumpsters removed and move our equipment out.  Although each water damage restoration job we encounter is unique, our essential approach is consistent. At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, our goal is to arrive at your home and begin the water damage process quickly after receiving your call, restore it professionally and thoroughly and help you get back to normalcy.  If you experience water damage in the Southbury area, call our office at (203) 267-6262. We are available 24 hours a day and have staff ready to respond to your call. 

Did You Know? Less Common Causes of Household Fires.

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Homes with old electrical wiring.

Pots left unattended on a stovetop.

Candles accidentally tipped over.

We all know these common causes of household fires. However, there are other fire risks in your home that you may not be aware of.

Microwaves
There are a number of ways in which microwaves pose a fire risk.There might be a small amount of metal on a dish or takeout container that can result in a fire. Foods such as popcorn can easily catch fire if left in too long. If you have a fire in your microwave, turn it off immediately to prevent the fan feeding oxygen to flames and wait until it suffocates. Only open the door when you’re certain the fire is extinguished.

Batteries
All batteries pose a fire risk, even those with a weak charge. However 9 volt batteries are the biggest culprit of fire due to the close proximity of their terminals, which can easily short. When left loose in a drawer or container, the batteries can spark and cause a fire. If you don’t have a battery case, store batteries standing up, placing electrical tape over the ends of each battery (all types – not just 9 volts) to prevent shorts. Do not store batteries in metal containers, or near other metal items such as keys, steel wool, and aluminum foil. When discarding batteries, cover the ends with tape so that they don’t start a fire in the garbage can.

Light bulbs
Using a light bulb with wattage too high for a given outlet, called overlamping, can easily result in a home fire. Determining proper wattage is easy. Simply locate the proper wattage on each fixtures outlet. If the fixture is unmarked, stay under 60 watts to be safe. Take caution when using CFLs (compact fluorescent bulbs). These spiral shaped bulbs could result in fire when improperly used. Avoid using CFLs in any lighting unit where the base of the bulb is enclosed by the fixture, such as with track and recessed lighting. If your CFLs are burning out early and you notice they are brown at the base when you remove them, the bulbs are overheating and could result in fire. Choose a cooler option, such as LED.

Laptops
Laptops can get pretty hot during normal operation. Never leave your laptop on a bed or couch, or any place where its cooling vents are blocked.

Stacks of newspaper and magazines
When left near a heat source, such as a wood stove, these items can ignite quickly. If you must keep old newspapers or magazines, be certain to store them in a cool, dry place in short stacks. It may seem a bit unlikely, but we’ve seen the damage having flammable clutter can do to a home.