Recent Posts

Yes, We Can! SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington Restores Your Family Heirlooms of Mold Damage

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

Often when a home is infested with mold, the contents of the home are affected by the mold as well as the structure. Many homeowners are concerned that their special things might not be salvageable. In particular, porous items such as upholstered furniture, stuffed animals, bedding, important documents and even lampshades can become infested with mold spores. Although some household items may be disposable and not worth cleaning, there is the possibility that your families sentimental and valuable items can be saved.  

Our technicians use a specialized process called Gamma Irradiation to treat mold damaged items. This is used for cleaning, disinfecting and decontaminating documents or other consumer goods. In gamma irradiation, high-energy photons are emitted from an isotope source (Colbalt 60) producing ionization(electron disruptions) throughout a product. In living cells, these disruptions result in damage to the DNA and other cellular structures. These photon-induced changes at the molecular level cause death to the organism or render the organism incapable of reproduction. The gamma process does not create residuals or impart radioactivity in processed products. 

If you are concerned that the mold remediation process will result in the loss of your favorite heirlooms, give the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington County office a call at (203) 267-6262 to schedule a consultation with one of our mold remediation specialists. Our specialists are IICRC trained and have decades of experience restoring homes and their contents of mold. 

Keep Your Summer Fire-Free by Following These Barbecue Safety Tips

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Keep Your Summer Fire-Free by Following These Barbecue Safety Tips Grill fires can cause massive damage if used too close to the vinyl siding on a home.

It’s the summer season in Connecticut and we’ve all been cleaning out our grills and enjoying the barbecue weather.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, outdoor grilling causes an average of 8,900 home fires per year. With 64% of households owning gas grills, they are the cause of the majority of home fires.

Grill fires are often avoidable when you take a few precautionary steps.

Check for propane leaks on your gas grill.

Sometimes, propane leaks are evident by the smell of gas but not always. To check for leaks, you can try a soap and water solution on the hose to check for leaks when the gas is on (it will bubble where the leak is).

Grill away from any structures.

25% of home fires start on a balcony or open porch because the grill is located too close to the structure. The grill can stay hot for up to an hour after it’s turned off so don’t relocate the grill closer to the home after turning it off.

If you use a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid.

Be careful to control the spray of the fluid prior to starting the fire. If the fire starts to go out, don’t add any starter fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.

Avoid an unstable grill.

Keep your grill on a stable, flat surface and make sure it can’t be tipped over. 

Keep your grill clean.

Remove grease or fat build-up often. Be certain to clean under the grill grates as well.

Leaking Roofs Causes Water and Mold Damage to Hartford County Homes

6/3/2019 (Permalink)

A leaking roof can cause not only damage the structural integrity of your Southbury home but can be a health and fire hazard as well.  Leaks can be caused by a variety of reasons such as a roof that was incorrectly installed or damage from a storm or high winds.  Here are some of the ways a roof leak can affect your home and family. 

Compromised structure 

A leaking roof can cause damaged rafters, ceiling joists and wall studs, as well as rotting to the interior and exterior trim.  The water causes the wood to warp, weaken and deteriorate. Repairs to the infrastructure of your home can be costly.  

Attic and ceiling damage 

The initial dangers of a roof leak are damage to the attic area and the items stored there. If there is no attic, or the size of the leak is really big, it will damage the interior ceiling. You will notice water spots and perhaps bubbling or peeling on the affected ceiling and walls  The dripping water can also damage ceiling fans and light fixtures. 

Fire hazard from water damage 

If electrical wiring is present in an attic or ceiling, a leaky roof could pose a fire threat from shorted wires. It is highly recommended to turn off electricity to the area that’s affected and have an electrician examine it. 

Interior mold 

One of the more serious issues that occur from a roof leak is mold growth. The consequences of letting the water settle without repairing the leak immediately can be harmful to your health. Mold damage can spread throughout the home’s structure, HVAC system and into personal belongings. Black mold is the most common type resulting from chronic water intrusion. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington can remediate mold found in your Harwinton home.  

High utility bills/wasted energy 

Water leaking through the roof causes damage to the insulation in the attic, which becomes saturated and takes a long time to dry out. If a roof leak repair is put off,  your home will lose hot and cool air, resulting in higher utility bills.

If you discover that a roof leak has caused water or mold damage in your home, call us at (203) 267-6262.

A Year Later: Reflecting on the May 2018 Connecticut Tornadoes

5/29/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage A Year Later: Reflecting on the May 2018 Connecticut Tornadoes The damage caused by the May 2018 tornado that hit the Oxford area was widespread.

It’s been a year since four tornadoes swept through the Connecticut region in one day.

Most of us were taken by surprise. As the person who writes the blog posts for SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, I don’t write often about tornadoes since they are, generally speaking, a rare event in Connecticut. In fact, from 1953 to 1991, Connecticut recorded an average of 1.3 tornadoes per year, ranked 43rd in the United States. And typically, that tornado per year is weak enough to be rated an EF-0. However, 2018, which had nine total tornadoes confirmed in CT, the most in recorded history, reminded us of how vulnerable we are to nature.

When the tornadoes, as well as several microbursts, touched down in Southbury and Oxford last May, our office received hundreds of calls from home and business owners who needed help. The first few days after the storm were spent prioritizing the calls and making sure help was sent where it was most needed first. Homes that had trees through the roof, broken windows and other structural damage were a priority. We sent crews out to remove trees as well as tarp and board up holes in roofs and walls. With many roads closed for days after the storm, our team navigated the mess to reach homeowners and make their homes safe. Power was also out for many days in some areas, requiring us to bring emergency generators to job sites with no power.

Once all of our customers were safe and their homes secured, we were able to begin the water and mold damage restoration process.

With such extensive and widespread damage, the work was ongoing for months after the tornadoes. Many homeowners had to move out of their houses due to the damage and we understood the hardship that they were going through. Nobody plans to spend a summer at a hotel or in a rental apartment because their house has been hit by a tornado.  We are grateful that our customers handled the difficult situation with the best attitude possible while we worked to get them back in their homes.

We’d like to thank our crew for working ‘round the clock without complaint and our office staff for handling the non-stop phone calls with patience and in an organized manner. It was a demanding few months for you all and you showed us how dedicated you are to your jobs and our company.

We don’t know if we will see another day like May 15, 2018 in Connecticut but if we do, we are confident that our team will once again rise to the challenge and see it through.

Unexpected Fire Hazards in Your Household

5/21/2019 (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.

Surprising Events That are not Covered by Homeowner's Insurance

5/13/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Surprising Events That are not Covered by Homeowner's Insurance Is attic mold caused by a roof leak covered by your homeowner's insurance?

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 Milford-Orange-Stratford, 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.

High Winds From Storms Cause Roof Damage to Southbury Homes

5/8/2019 (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.

If you've recently suffered from storm damage and find yourself looking for a restoration company that you can trust, contact us at (203) 267-6262 to schedule an appointment. 

Pet Urine Stinks - But Your House Doesn't Have To!

4/30/2019 (Permalink)

Cleaning Pet Urine Stinks - But Your House Doesn't Have To! Sometimes, pets have accidents. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is here to help.

Animals stink.  

Don’t get us wrong, we love pets of all kinds - from dogs to cats to iguanas - here at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington. But the smells that animals can leave behind in a home can be less than desirable, especially when accidents occur.

Whether it’s because you bought a new home that stinks of pet urine, your aging cat is having more frequent accidents or you have a puppy who isn’t quite able to hold it yet, the urine smell in your home needs to be removed as soon as possible.  The longer pet urine goes untreated, the more likely the urine odor is to permeate deeper into floors, walls and even the framework and foundation of the home. As the urine dries, the liquid evaporates but the urine crystals become even more concentrated and pungent. That’s why the smell might seem to worsen with time, rather than improve.

The team at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is trained and equipped to remove even the worst cases of pet urine and its odors. Whether it’s in carpeting, hardwood floors or sheetrock walls, we have the experience to identify and remove the odors with the least amount of disruption to your structure as possible. We use a range of tools to remove the stink from your home including air scrubbers that use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration. These machines actually remove odorous particles from the air.  Some situations might call for thermal foggers, which neutralize odor, or an ozone generator, which produces an oxidizing agent, as well. Upholstered furniture is at times the victim of a pet accident. Our contents restoration services will leave your furniture smelling fresh again.

If you’ve got a big stink from pet urine, give us a call at (203) 267-6262 for a home to schedule an appointment.

When it Rains, it Pours.

4/23/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage When it Rains, it Pours. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is prepared to meet the needs of our community even in the busiest of times.

When it rains, it pours. In the water damage restoration industry, this is true both literally and figuratively!

When it rains, as we have experienced over the past month in Torrington, it pours. And then...it floods. With the ground saturated, we are getting calls from homeowners with flooded basements on a daily basis. Whether due to a sump pump failure, a clogged drain or a leak in your foundation, you need to get your basement dry as soon as possible.

We know that you can’t wait to have the damage in your flooded basement restored. And often when your basement is flooding, so is your neighbor's! That’s why we do not operate on a skeleton crew or shoestring budget here at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington. Our professional and highly trained crew is large enough to meet the needs of our community even during the busiest of times. We keep a fleet of well maintained vehicles that are stocked with everything that is required to meet your water damage restoration needs.

We know that our carefully chosen project managers are capable of making sure that the job is done right and are available to our customers on a daily basis. And if you ever have a question, our admins are available to help you through the process. Yes, our jobs are busy - especially in the rainy season -  but we have a system in place to make sure that we can do good work on each and every job.

If you have flooding due to heavy rains this week, give us a call at (203) 267-6262 for professional restoration services.

Employee Spotlight: Theny Hovey and Alexis Phouadara

4/16/2019 (Permalink)

This month, we’ve decided to spotlight two of our employees who have really kept our office running smoothly over the past few months. 

Theny and Alexis are the administrative assistants who answer the phone when you call our office.  When our office manager Kathy took a temporary medical absence this winter, Alexis and Theny rose to the occasion and held everything together.

The work of an admin at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington requires the ability to multitask while still paying attention to each detail. Between calls from customers, contacting insurance agents, scheduling appointments as well as conveying information to the crew, our admins have their hands full. Theny and Alexis go through each day their cheerful, enthusiastic selves who are always eager to lend a hand. Whatever situation arises in the day to day business here, both of these ladies use their problem solving skills to help our customers and the team.

Theny Hovey was born and educated in the Philippines. She loves to travel and read.  When asked about her work here at SERVPRO, she wrote “I’m glad to have the opportunity to work at SERVPRO on a team that is of a caring environment.  What I love most about working at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is being able to value work-life balance.”

Alexis Phouadara has been in this industry for 4 years and is certified in Water Damage Restoration. She grew up and still currently resides in New Haven, CT.  She loves collecting, doing make-up and the Golden State Warriors. Her favorite food is almost everything from her culture, Laos and Thai. Last, but not least, her favorite person in the entire world? Her 6 year old daughter, Sophia!

Thank you to Alexis and Theny for your hard work and commitment to our team. You are the glue that keeps us all together and we appreciate all that you bring to our organization.