Recent Posts

Creosote Buildup is the Primary Cause of Chimney Fires in Harwinton Homes

12/11/2019 (Permalink)

Nothing is more devastating in our work than arriving at home that has been destroyed by a fire - especially during the holiday season.

The primary cause of home fires is often a chimney fire. Every year in the United States, there are over 25,000 chimney fires, which incur $125 million-plus in property damage  Flames which have migrated up the chimney cause cracking, melting and warping to the masonry or metal chimney interior and eventually spread to the rest of the home. This is often caused by a buildup of creosote. 

How to Eliminate the Creosote in Your Chimney!

Creosote is a highly flammable by-product of a fire that coats chimney walls and condenses as it moves from the hot fireplace or wood stove into the cooler chimney. With a thick build up of creosote, it can catch fire in a hot chimney and move up the flue.

To reduce the amount of creosote in your chimney, pay attention to these factors:

1. Wood

Burn only seasoned hardwood that has dried for at least six months and contains a moisture content of no more than 20 percent. Unseasoned wood creates cooler smoke than seasoned wood, resulting in buildup. 

2. Air Supply

Keep the damper (a metal plate in the flue that regulates the draft) open during a fire to maintain adequate airflow. Also, refrain from overstuffing the wood box, which also restricts air flow. 

3. Flue Liner

The flue liner is the layer between the flue and chimney walls. If it is uninsulated, we recommend that you insulate it by either wrapping a heat-resistant insulation blanket around the liner or pouring an insulation mix like vermiculite into the space between the flue liner and flue. An insulated flue liner will prevent flue temperatures from getting too cool—a condition that could encourage fire by-products to condense and form creosote.

4. Creosote Removal Products.

As a preventative measure, you can apply a creosote remover in your fire- they come in a powdered and liquid forms as well as logs and both are simply burned in your wood stove. 

Chimney fires can be prevented with regular maintenance and inspections, saving homes and lives. 

Every Winter, We Restore Homes with Water Damage From Ice Dams

12/4/2019 (Permalink)

After the snowfall and freezing temperatures we have experienced in the last week, it looks like we will have a brief respite from winter's wrath.

One concern that Connecticut homeowners may have after the storm is ice dams that may have formed on their roof.

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof.  Typically, this happens after a snow storm, when there is a pile of snow sitting on the roof above your attic. After the weather warms to above 32 degrees and melts the snow, it causes the top layer to form into a mound of ice. The water trickles down between the layer of snow and the shingles until it reaches the eave of the roof, which stays cold because it extends beyond the side of the house. There, the water freezes, gradually growing into a mound of ice.

An ice dam can damage both your roof and the inside of your home because when the ice dam reaches its capacity, it begins to make its way under the shingles. When the ice melts, it drips into your home.  The walls, insulation and ceilings of your home can become damaged. If left untreated, mold can also become an issue. 

If your Harwinton home has an ice dam, there are some steps that you can take to remove it.

1. Remove the ice dam by breaking it free in small pieces by tapping it gently with a blunt mallet. Work slowly and carefully so that you do not damage your shingles.

2. Use calcium chloride ice melter to weaken the ice. This will melt its way down through the dam, clearing a path for the underlying water to drain. Do NOT use rock salt, as it will damage paint and metal. 

The SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team is trained and equipped to restore Litchfield County homes that have water damage from ice dams. Call us at (203) 267-6262 if you have damage to your roof from snow and ice this winter.

We are Open 24/7 - Even on Holidays - to Respond to Your Water and Fire Damage

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

graphic image of a turkey with servpro air cleaner as its body Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season, which is filled with family, cooking and celebration for many of us.

In the Northeast, it also falls during this time when the weather changes drastically and can be somewhat unpredictable. In Torrington,  we've seen temps ranging from 17 to 60 degrees in the month November already.

The potential for freezing weather followed by warming temps and rain makes November a month in which we see a rise in water damage calls. Frozen pipes burst and basements flood. 

Home fires also begin to rise in November, due to the use of wood and electric heat sources as well as cooking fires. With company over and many things on the stove, the kitchen is often left unattended. Our office receives a number of calls each Thanksgiving from homeowners whose holiday was disrupted due to a kitchen fire. 

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving however if you do have water or fire damage, you can trust that SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington will be there to help. We have crew members on call to respond to your call 24/7 - even on holidays. 

Keeping our Seniors Safe at Nursing Homes in Litchfield County

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

When we put our loved ones into an assisted care facility, we trust that they will be well taken care of and kept safe.

From what we have seen in the Waterbury area, our local nursing homes take that responsibility very seriously. All structures are vulnerable to water leaks, fires and mold and nursing homes are no exception. In our experience, those who run these facilities are proactive in keeping their buildings safe for their residents. 

We’ve been called by a number of care facilities over the past year to treat water damage from burst pipes, smoke damage and mold concerns. With a quick response from both the administration and our team, we’ve been able to address and resolve these situations quickly and with as little disruption to the residents as possible. 

Because of our advanced training and decades of experience, we understand how important it is that the damage restoration be done fully and correctly. We are sincere when we say that when it comes to your family and clients, we approach our work as if they are our own loved ones.  

If you are a Southbury area administrator of a care facility, please feel free to call us to discuss how we can help you prepare for the worst.

We will set up an individualized Emergency Ready Profile for your center, giving you and your staff the tools required to respond efficiently to any emergency at your facility. 

Call (203) 267-6262 to schedule an appointment. 

With Winter Comes Chimney Fires and Puffbacks in Watertown Homes

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

exterior of a house with vinyl siding and wood structure burned Chimney fires pose a severe fire risk in homes. Have yours cleaned and inspected regularly.

The wintertime brings unique challenges to homeowners in Litchfield County. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington responds to calls in which homes have been damaged by chimney fires, oil burner puff backs, biohazardous oil spills and space heater fires as well as water damage from rescue efforts. Help your family keep it safe from a house fire while keeping warm this winter by following these recommendations this fall.  

  • Have your furnace inspected and serviced. This should be done by a qualified technician annually. 
  • Have your chimney and vents cleaned and inspected by a professional. They will check for creosote buildup as well as cracks in the lining. This is the easiest way to avoid chimney fires from creosote.  
  • Use dry, seasoned wood in your fireplace or wood stove to avoid creosote build up.  
  • Be sure that your fireplace screen is metal or heat-tempered glass, in good condition and secure in its position in front of the fireplace.  
  • Have a covered metal container ready to use to dispose cooled ashes. (The ash container should be kept at least 10 feet from the home and any nearby buildings.)  
  • Instruct your children to stay at least 3 feet away from the fireplace, wood/pellet stove, oil stove or other space heaters. Place safety gates around heat sources if young children are in the home.  
  •  Make certain that portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off. They should also be plugged directly into an outlet (not an extension cord) and placed at least three feet from anything that can burn such as bedding, curtains and walls.  
  • Test your smoke alarms and make sure they are working. Your home should have smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside each sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area.  
  • Test your carbon monoxide alarms and made sure they are working.  

The fall is the perfect time to get ready for winter. Make sure that your home is ready and safe from fire and smoke damage. If you have a home fire this winter, call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262 for a quick response and home restoration built on over 30 years of training and experience.

Prepping Your House for Winter

11/7/2019 (Permalink)

drawing of a house with earmuffs on Ice dams can cause structural damage to your roof and water damage inside your house.

Most of the leaves are on the ground in Litchfield County and we've already seen some of that white stuff falling from the sky. It's time to switch gears and settle in for the long, cozy New England winter.  Now is the time to take a few steps to ready your Bantam, CT home for the months to come.

Oil Burner Servicing - If you have not already done so, make an appointment to have your oil burner serviced. This is recommended on an annual basis. Having the burner tuned up and cleaned of dust and grime that has accumulated improves system efficiency, which means better heating performance and lower heating costs. It also minimizes the risk of your oil burner requiring a major emergency repair in the midst of freezing temperatures. At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we respond to many homes each winter that have water damage due to frozen pipes caused by a malfunctioning oil burner.

Wood Stove and Fireplace Cleaning - Many of our customers heat their homes with wood or pellet stoves and fireplaces throughout the Connecticut winter. These alternatives to oil heating provide what is often a more affordable source of heat. We recommend that you check your fireplace for any signs of excessive soot, cracks in the chimney and that your chimney cap is secure. Have your chimney swept annually to avoid soot buildup, or creosote. A blocked chimney can cause a  chimney fire, which is not always easily detected. These can spread quickly through the walls and roof of your home and result in massive damage to your home. A blocked chimney or a chimney with an improperly functioning flue can also  cause a buildup of carbon monoxide, putting those inside your home at risk. 

Prepare the outside of your home - Trim trees with branches that are low laying and may be an issue when covered with snow and ice. Snow and ice causes them to be heavy and possibly cause damage to your home during winter storms. Also, check your gutters to make sure they are free of leaves and debris so that they can function properly. If ice dams on your roof have been an issue for your Sherman home in the past, consider installing roof heat cables that help snow and ice melt on your roof before causing water damage inside your home. 

At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we are ready 24 hours a day to respond to your call. If you do experience a frozen pipe that bursts or a chimney fire or puffback this winter, call us at (203) 267-6262

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington Rebuilds Homes After Water and Fire Damage

10/23/2019 (Permalink)

Phot with 2 fireplaces. One with broken crumbled stone and the other with new shiny brick After water and fire damage damaged this home, our team rebuilt it. The work included refinishing the fireplace.

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.  

Why Choose SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington as Your Restoration Specialists?

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

We know that when choosing a restoration company after you have experienced water, fire, mold, storm or biohazard damage, you may do an internet search and see ads from several restoration companies. Most of our customers have little knowledge of the restoration process and are in a stressed state due to the damage to their home or business. The decision of which restoration company to choose may be overwhelming.

At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we strive to stand out from the rest by giving our customers the very best service from beginning to end. Our office staff has decades of combined experience and know the ins and outs of the restoration industry.When you call our office, you may have many questions about our restoration work or how to handle your insurance claim. Our staff helps guide customers through the process and is available to answer all of your questions.

Although SERVPRO is a national corporation, the owner of our franchise, Greg Geaski, and the rest of our team live locally and are part of the community.  We have teams on call and ready to respond to emergencies 24 hours a day. This is our community and we treat our customers as we would a neighbor. We know that having strangers in your home isn’t always easy on a homeowner. Our crew is a group of friendly and respectful men and women who our customers feel at ease with.  Every job is assigned a Production Manager who is available should you have any concerns or questions about the work being done.

You may be surprised to learn that there are no federal requirements for the restoration industry. At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we believe that training and education is an important factor in why we are so successful. As part of a national franchise system that has been the nation’s leader in the water and fire restoration industry for 50 years, all of the training that SERVPRO has to offer is available to us. We also send our team members to classes through the IICRC for advanced training. Whereas, in general, there is a high turnover in the restoration industry, most of our team members have been with us for years- several for over 10 years! Decades of restoration work has provided our restoration technicians with the experience and expertise not found in a classroom.

After the water has been cleaned up and the fire damaged walls removed from your home, our building services team will rebuild your home to make it “Like it never even happened” (or better!). Our construction team is licensed by the State of Connecticut and does beautiful work. Whether you need your roof boarded up, your wood floors replaced or a new kitchen installed, we will repair your home and make it shine again.

Not only do we restore homes in Connecticut,  we are also the area’s first choice for commercial restoration work.  We understand that business owners have unique concerns when their building experiences water or smoke damage. With inventory at risk of becoming damaged, customer and employee safety concerns and the cost of having your doors closed for any length of time, your commercial business needs a quick, professional response. We have the equipment and team to handle large scale commercial property restoration including smoke and soot damage, flooding caused by a sprinkler malfunction, public toilet or sewage backups, apartment complex fires and roof leaks. Whatever your restoration needs, you can count on our team to get your business back in business quickly.

At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we’ve assembled the best team of local folks who are highly trained and experienced in the water,fire and mold restoration industry. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority and we are here to make the restoration process on your home or business go a smoothly as possible. From your first call until the restoration is complete, we will be with you every step of the way.

How to Find the Right Water Damage Restoration Company When Your Home is Flooded

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

Since most people haven’t researched and chosen a water restoration company prior to having a disaster, the decision is often made while in the midst of an emergency situation.

Most of our emergency water damage customers learn about our company in a few ways.

  1. A Personal Recommendation. As stressful as it can be to have your home flooded, having a friend or family member recommend a company that they’ve used can make your situation a bit easier. At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington we get a lot of our jobs from personal recommendations. We work hard to make each and every customer satisfied and, in turn, our customers often recommend us to others. 
  2. An Insurance Agent. The first person who you will most likely talk to when you have flooding is your homeowner’s insurance agent. They are the perfect person to ask for a recommendation - they have more experience with water damage restoration companies than anyone else you’ll find! They know which companies are reliable and professional and they hear all of the complaints as well. Asking your agent for a referral is a smart move if you want to have a positive experience.
  3. An Internet Search. In today’s world, we have access to much more information about a company than we did back in the days of the yellow book. Most restoration companies have a website, Facebook page and online reviews that you can use to make your decision. 

Water damage in your home is stressful but choosing a restoration company doesn’t have to be.

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is highly recommended in the Hartford County area because of our highly trained professionals who go above and beyond to help our customers.

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington Restores Commercial Properties After Fire

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

men working on top of scaffolding in a warehouse, cleaning soot off of the walls SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington technicians clean soot off of the walls of a fire damaged warehouse

Southbury businesses can not afford to have their doors closed for a lengthy period of time due to fire damage.

As a business owner, examining your risk and taking preventative measures as well as educating your employees on procedures can help reduce the damage to your facility. 

Assess the risk that fire hazards may pose to your business. The National Fire Protection Association offers handbooks and other publications on the fire safety code in place for businesses.  You can also call your local Connecticut fire department and ask the fire marshal if they are available to make a visit and identify any risks.  

Maintain your sprinkler system.  An  automatic sprinkler system will dramatically reduce the spread of a fire in your business as well as keep your employees and customers safe. Have your system properly maintained and inspected so that it works when you need it! 

Check your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Standard fire safety practices call for smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on every floor. Your best bet is multipurpose extinguishers, which will douse most small fires with ease, without shorting out your electronics. 

Educate your employees. Make sure all employees are aware of your fire safety plan by conducting a yearly fire drill and educating new employees.  Training in how to use fire extinguishers should also be conducted.  

A fire at your Torrington, CT business can be devastating and even force the closure of your business.

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington has your back - give us a call at (203) 267-6262 if you have a fire at your commercial property