Recent Posts

Vandalism Cleanup from SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

house with graffiti on it Graffiti on your home can feel like a violation. We can help remove it.

At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we respond to calls other than water, mold and fire damage.

Did you know that we are able to restore homes and businesses that have experienced graffiti and vandalism? A broken window that goes unnoticed in a Southbury area business is not only a security issue, it also can allow rain in and cause water and mold damage. Graffiti removal can be a daunting task however our crew is up to the challenge and have successfully removed spray paint from concrete and brick walls. In addition to removing spray-painted graffiti from exterior walls, our team can also clean driveways, walkways, asphalt, metals, wood, glass, plastic, and masonry. We have also responded to calls from homeowners who have experienced biohazardous vandalism (including feces). Our crew has the training and equipment to safely remove biohazardous materials and any contaminants that might be present.

If your home or business is the victim of malicious vandalism, it can be a very upsetting experience. Call us to come clean it up and make it "Like it never even happened."

CAT 1. CAT 2. CAT 3. What's the Difference?

7/27/2020 (Permalink)

Our approach to treating water damage in Connecticut homes depends on which category it falls into.

CAT 1 or Clean Water

Clean water is just that- water that has come from a source that is not contaminated. Examples of this would be a pipe bursting or a refrigerator leak. Also, if you have a leak that allows rainwater in through your roof, it is considered clean. Although clean water can cause significant damage, it is not considered hazardous to human health as there are no microbes in the water.  The biggest hazard clean water presents is if the area that has been damaged is not properly cleaned and dried. This can result in mold and fungus growth. 

CAT 2 or Gray Water

Gray water is water that is slightly contaminated, either because of the nature of the source or because of neglect. For example, clean water can become “gray” water if it is left untreated for an extended period time. When a toilet or washing machine overflows, the resulting water would be considered gray because of its source. Toilet overflows containing urine only are considered gray.

CAT 3 or Black Water

CAT 3 water is highly dangerous to human health. Black water can include toxic materials such as bacterial diseases, chemicals, pesticides, microbes and more. Sewage based components such as bacteria, fungi, feces, viruses and parasites. Black 3 water situations are usually caused by sewage backups or overflows and flooding. 

Since the human eye cannot see bacteria, it is not always obvious whether the water in your home is a CAT 2 or CAT 3.  If you experience a flood from a heavy rain, the water may look “clean,” but if there is any ground water that has backed up into your home as a result, there may be invisible microbes lurking in the water. 

Any water damage that is not treated correctly will eventually elevate to the next category. Even a simple pipe burst can turn into a biohazard and mold issue if not treated.

If you have any water damage in your home, call Southbury/Torrington at (203) 743-5362 for service that you can count on. 

I Didn't Think of That...The Causes of Household Fires That Nobody Talks About

7/20/2020 (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.

The Common Causes of Flooding in Commercial Properties.

7/7/2020 (Permalink)

Five. That's the number of businesses that have called us in the past week with water damage to their commercial properties. And with businesses just opening back up, the last thing anyone needs is to be shut down due to a flood in their building.

We've seen water damage caused by everything from leaking coffee maker lines to a sink left running however, in general, it is caused by these common scenarios.

Appliance Malfunction. These days, what office doesn't have a break room with a refrigerator and a coffee maker?  When these appliances fail, they can leak a significant amount of water, flooding the entire room or more.

Backed up sewer lines. Public bathrooms get a lot of use and it is not uncommon for the sewer lines to get backed up, releasing dirty water into the building. When this happens, professional clean up is required, as the water can be contaminated with harmful bacteria.

Malfunctioning sprinkler system. All commercial properties are required to have a sprinkler system and because of this, many lives are saved. However, any time the fire alarm is activated, the sprinkler system discharges, creating flooding in the building.  We've also seen scenarios in which the sprinkler system has malfunctioned and activated on its own. When this happens, water damage is widespread throughout the building. 

Broken pipes. It's common to find broken or cracked pipes in a commercial structure, especially an older one. When this occurs, not only might one business be affected, but also all of the businesses who share the building. 

If your business experiences a flood, you know where to find us - we are on call 24-7/365 and ready to help.

Warped or Discolored Walls? Musty Smell in Your Home? It Could be Mold.

6/24/2020 (Permalink)

a mold covered wall Sometimes mold is obvious, as in this photo. Other times, the signs are subtle.

It's not always obvious when your home has hidden mold. Unlike water or fire damage, mold damage can occur slowly and behind the walls of your home or business.  

If your home has had water damage, it is likely that mold will start to grow in your walls or ceilings within 48 hours if the water wasn't removed.  Drywall in particular will absorb water like a sponge very quickly and is an ideal surface for mold to grow on. If water damage in your home has soaked into your drywall, removal of the drywall is necessary to stop the possibility of mold growth.  If your home has a slow leaking pipe, it could cause moist conditions behind your walls, allowing mold to grow.

There are some signs of mold that you you should be aware of.  

  • Damp or soft walls - Inspect your walls for any softness of the sheetrock, which could happen when it is deteriorating from the inside.  Also, if your walls for damp to the touch, the cause should be determined. 
  • Warped walls - If your walls are bulging or warped, that could indicate moisture. 
  • Discoloration – Yellow, brown or black stains or rings on your walls are a sign of water damage from behind them.  
  • Peeling, bubbling or cracking of paint or wallpaper. We recently restored a home that had water damage in Milford, CT. The home had a hot water heater burst in the basement and although the water damage was discovered within 2 days, mold had begun to grow behind the wallpaper.  
  • Musty Smell - If you don’t see signs of mold but you can smell it, it may be hidden in your walls. The best way to describe a mold smell is that it is very earthy, similar to rotting leaves. If you think you smell mold in your home, taking a sniff around your electrical outlets may give you an idea of whether there may be a problem behind your walls.  

If you suspect that you may have mold growing behind your walls, a consultation with a professional mold removal company is recommended. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is IICRC certified in mold remediation and our crew uses the highest level of tools and training to determine whether mold exists in your home and how best to treat it.  

The Appliances That Cause Water Damage and How You Can Prevent It.

6/8/2020 (Permalink)

Floods can happen without warning - you turn on your washing machine that has been working fine and the next moment, water is everywhere. Our team has been to thousands of water damage restoration jobs in the Southbury area and have identified the main causes of flooding from household appliances in our area. 

HOT WATER HEATER

Did you know that about 75% of tank water heaters fail by the time they’re 12 years old, typically due to leaks or burst tanks? The average cost of damage from a water heater failure is $4,000. Proactive tasks include: inspecting your tank regularly for leaks.An inspection should include flushing the tank, inspecting the anode rod, examining shut-off values and checking water heater piping. 

WASHING MACHINE

More than half of all water damage are due to broken washing machine hoses, with damages average more than $6,000. So, an easy way to reduce your risk of a flood is to inspect your hoses once a month and look for signs of impending leaks, such as blisters, bulges, cracks, discoloration or kinks.

DISHWASHER

Dishwashers usually fail when they are 10-12 years old, with flooding damage from a dishwater leak averaging $5,000. Keep an eye on connections and small parts, which are often the cause. Tighten the drain line where it connects to under-sink plumbing. Choosing a steel-braided hose over a rubber one is always recommended as well.

REFRIGERATOR

We all love our ice makers (remember having to fill the old cube trays? However, ice makers are the primary cause for water leaks in a refrigerator. Replace copper water lines with braided steel alternatives. Check the water supply line behind the fridge yearly. Tighten the compression nut to prevent a slow drip from causing hidden damage.

AIR CONDITIONER

When an HVAC air conditioners is installed in the attic, it can cause the most damage because water can leak throughout the entire home. Installing a secondary drain line and drain pan overflow switch can help. Also, have your A/C maintained regularly, which includes changing the filter and checking the refrigerant level.

Why Professional Restoration is Recommended After a House Fire

6/8/2020 (Permalink)

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.  

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – a defensive cleaning program

6/1/2020 (Permalink)

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

Tornado Watch vs. Tornado Warning - What's the Difference?

5/26/2020 (Permalink)

Connecticut doesn't have an abundance of tornadoes however they still do happen here. I know that the storm system that brought several tornadoes and microbursts to our area just two years ago is still fresh in our minds.

We welcome the advanced warning system our phones have brought us. I've received a tornado warning on my phone when I didn't expect one at all and am thankful such a system is now in place so we have a chance to get to safety.

What's the difference between a tornado watch and a warning? Watches are issued when the conditions are favorable for tornadoes, while warnings are issued when a tornado has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar.  If a warning has been issued, you must take immediate action in seeking safe shelter, especially if you are in the tornado’s path.

Shelter options include:

  • Underground options like a basement or storm shelter.
  • The lowest part of your home, in an area that is away from outside walls, doors and windows. Interior closets and bathrooms can be ideal options.
  • If you are outside, try to get to a sturdy building. Mobile homes and trailers are not a safe option.
  • If on the road and no building access is available, do not get under an overpass or bridge. Instead, find a low, flat location and use your arms to protect your head and neck.

We are hoping for calm weather for the remainder of spring here in Torrington however if high winds do cause damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is here for all of your restoration needs. 

Cleaning Up After the Storm - Roof Tarping and Rebuild After Wind Damage

5/18/2020 (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.