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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.

We Have a Crew on Call 24-7

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Many of our clients are commercial property owners. When you own a business in Connecticut, you cant afford to shut your doors for any length of time. If your building suffers from water, mold or fire damage, a quick response and timely restoration is necessary. 

We know that you can't afford to wait around for a water restoration company to call you back and "try to get there by the end of the week". If your business has been damaged, you need help and you need it now. That's why at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we have a crew on call 24-7. If you have an emergency, we will be there asap - even if it's at night or on the weekend. We are part of the community and here to help. If you are reading this because your business is flooded, call us now for immediate service. 

When are Professional Mold Remediation Services Needed?

6/21/2021 (Permalink)

With all of the attention and media coverage about household mold, and its associated health effects, the office staff at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington often field phone calls from concerned homeowners who have discovered mold in their home. 

Unfortunately, the internet is full of misinformation on what is effective and safe mold removal - such as the misconception that bleach kills mold (it does not). While there are some cases where a small area of mold on a non-porous surface can be effectively cleaned by a homeowner themselves, we recommend having a SERVPRO IICRC trained professional come and inspect your home. Our team has decades of experience and training that they use to identify your mold situation and advise you on a course of action.

Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet. A homeowner may have cleaned all visible evidence of mold from a hard surface yet not know the level of mold spores in the air and how it is affecting their home and their health. Mold spores also root into porous surfaces such as carpeting, wood and sheet rock walls and ceilings. So if you scrub down black mold on your windowsill, the mold might appear to have been removed but actually is still present inside of the wood and will reappear.

Mold is a sign that there is a problem in your home. Whether it's a leaky pipe behind a wall that you can't see, water behind some boxes in your basement or inadequate venting in your attic that is causing high humidity, the cause of the mold in your home is something that needs to be addressed. 

Give us a call if you spot mold in your home. We will schedule an appointment for one of our mold specialists to come out to your house, survey the situation and give you an honest opinion of what action needs to be taken. 

When a Garaged Vehicle Catches Fire

6/6/2021 (Permalink)

We recently had a job at a commercial property in which a truck caught fire on a loading dock, causing a massive amount of smoke and soot damage to the warehouse. It’s not the first time we’ve restored a structure of smoke and soot after a vehicle fire. When a car or lawn tractor is parked in a garage, a small fire can turn catastrophic quickly.

Because of the abundance of fuel in a vehicle, a fire can start and spread quickly.

When the car is parked in the garage of a home or business, this can cause structural, smoke and soot damage throughout the entire building. Vehicles can catch fire for a number of reasons:

  1. Fuel or Oil Leaks - not only will these flammable liquids stain your garage floor, parts of your car, including the exhaust system, can get hot enough to start a fire.
  2. Corroded or cracked wiring can cause too much electrical current to be flowing through your system. One sign that this could be a problem in your vehicle is if the fuses blow more often than normal.
  3. A hot engine, catalytic converter, brakes or exhaust system that comes into contact with a corroded wire can spark a fire as well.
  4. Electrical Issues - Heated seats, your car battery, and the heating system can all potentially overheat. An aftermarket accessory that has been installed in your car,  such as an audio system, might also cause an overload and start a fire.

Many vehicle fires can be avoided with careful maintenance and attention to leaks and old wiring however not all garage fires can be avoided. For those times, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is here to help. We have extensive experience restoring homes and businesses of the smoke and soot a fire leaves.

Should Your Water Damaged Carpet be Restored or Replaced?

6/1/2021 (Permalink)

When there is a flood, a building's carpet is usually affected. Whether a traditional cut pile or a commercial glue down, wet carpet always needs to be addressed. Our treatment of damaged carpet is not a one-size fits all application, but rather it varies depending on the category of water loss and current condition of carpet 

There are three categories that water flooding falls into.

Category 1 is clean water that may be found when a bathtub overflows or ice maker line leaks. If the restoration process begins within hours of occurring the likelihood of salvaging the carpet is extremely high. 

Category 2, also referred to asgray water, is water that has picked up some forms of contamination, such as water from the dishwasher or a washing machine flood. The soap, food particles and soil that are found in the water create a CAT 2 water loss.  Salvaging carpets under this condition is also possible however the emergency service of drying must begin quickly.

Category 3 water damage is defined by water that is contaminated and potentially hazardous. Think raw sewage or water damage that started as another category due to prolonged interaction with bacteria and other pathogens on the building materials that populate due to the increased moisture content. Toilet overflows, sewage backups and flooding from ground water are examples of a CAT 3. Carpeting hit by CAT 3 water is not salvageable. 

In the end, safety is our number one priority when determining whether your carpet will be restored or replaced. 

Can Your Hardwood Floors be Saved?

5/17/2021 (Permalink)

One of the biggest concerns our customers have after experiencing water damage in their home is their hardwood floors. Whether you have 200 year old floors or brand new, saving them if possible is a top concern.  

How does water damage hardwood floors? 

Hardwood floors are susceptible to damage during a flood because wood absorbs moisture from not only it’s surface but also the surrounding air. Exposure to water may result in:

  • Cupping – moisture causes the planks to curve downwards
  • Crowning – moisture causes the planks to bend upwards
  • Buckling – planks lift away from the subfloor altogether

When should you call us?

Call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington as soon as you discover that your floors have been flooded.  The longer the wood is wet, the more likely it is to cup, crown, or buckle. There is also more risk of water getting into the subfloor, damaging levels of the home underneath and a higher chance of fungal growth.

While you are waiting for us to arrive, you should:

If there is a potential that the water is contaminated (Such as from from a river, sewer or toilet), we advise you not touch it until we have arrived. Your safety is always more important than your floors. 

However, if the water is from a clean source of water such as an overflowing appliance, you can:

  • Use a mop or towels to soak up standing water
  • Move rugs, books, magazines, textiles, or any other colored items away from the floor to prevent staining
  • Place tin foil under furniture legs to prevent water damage

When we arrive at your home, we will assess the situation by considering:

  • How much water is present and how much has sunk into the floor
  • Whether the water has penetrated to the sub-floor
  • How long the water has been in contact with the floor – it is easier to save floors within 24 hours of the incident
  • The category of water – we cannot save floors flooded with blackwater (which contains sewage and other contaminants)

SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford always tries to restore your hardwood floors when possible.  Give us a call if you have damage and we’ll come on out and give you an honest assessment.

How Does Flooding Protect Your Commercial Property?

5/13/2021 (Permalink)

Do you need flood protection for your commercial property?

If you own a commercial property on the CT shoreline, you may be concerned about flooding and for good reason. The majority of general commercial insurance policy exclude damage caused by flooding. If your insurance policy does not cover ground flooding, consider whether you may need one.  There are a number of reasons why flood insurance for your commercial property is a good idea.

  1. Is your business located on a flood plain?  The Federal Emergency Management Agency maintains flood maps that can help business owners determine whether a commercial building is located in an area prone to flooding. Most insurance providers define a flood as water damage that originates from outside water sources such as rain or rising bodies of water
  2. Are you a “better safe than sorry” business owner?  Even if you are not in a flood plain, there may be a reasonable risk of flooding at your commercial building. According to FEMA, the average flood insurance claim is approximately $33,000 and total property damage due to flooding tops $6 billion every year. Because flooding can happen, you may choose to purchase insurance “just in case”.
  3. Is your mortgage federally regulated or insured? Owners of property located in a flood zone with mortgages regulated or insured by the federal government are required to purchase and maintain flood coverage. Contact an insurance agent that offers NFIP policies or add a flood endorsement or rider to a general commercial insurance policy.
  4. Mold and Other Secondary Damage In addition to excluding flooding, most standard commercial property policies also cut out coverage for any secondary damage that results from this uncovered peril. Without a flood policy, it may be more difficult or prohibitively expensive to pursue mitigation and restoration. As a result, a structure may be prone to mold growth.

Not only can flooding at your New Haven County business cause damage that requires what can be costly restoration, it can also force you to close your doors while the work is being done.

Considering if your business requires additional flood insurance coverage now will help you later.

After the Water is Gone, We Restore Your Home

5/7/2021 (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.  

Mold Growth is a Concern After Flooding

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

Many of our customers have experienced flooding to their home after a storm. Our concern after a flood is that in addition to the floodwater ruining your belongings, carpeting and walls, it can also lead to mold growth if not addressed quickly. 

Even if the water in your home is limited and does not require professional mitigation, there is still the possibility that mold will grow. There are some simple steps that can be taken after water damage to help reduce the risk of secondary mold damage. 

After assessing your situation and determining that it is safe for you to be in your home (i.e. there is no standing water or electrical hazards and the water does not contain sewage or feces), your first step is to remove the water. If you have power and a wet/dry vacuum, you can use it to remove much of the water. Use caution and be sure to plug it in far away from any flood damage to better prevent shock. Avoid extension cords, which can short and cause a shock as well. Without a wet vac, minor flooding can be cleaned the old school way - with towels and mops. If the flood waters are too high or substantial, it’s time to call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.

After all of the water has been removed, it’s important to allow the home to dry out. Open windows and use fans and a dehumidifier to dry the rooms out. Inspect your drywall for any moisture. It is the most likely spot mold will grow after a flood. You might also consider applying a mold control product on the affected surfaces even if there is no visible mold.

While some home flooding can be a DIY clean up, there are many cases when professional help is required. Keep us in mind as your 24/7/365 water damage professionals in the Southbury area.