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Scenes From Winter- Icicles can Cause Water Damage to Litchfield County Homes

2/14/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Scenes From Winter- Icicles can Cause Water Damage to Litchfield County Homes Icicles hanging off your roof can look pretty but also cause ice dams, which lead to water damage inside your home.

It can be postcard perfect - long shimmering icicles hanging from a snow covered roof of a beautiful Connecticut home.

But the reality is, snow and ice on your roof can be an indication that you might have an ice dam. Ice dams can cause damage to your roofing shingles as well as water damage to the interior of your home when they cause leaking through the roof.  

Not all icicles indicate an ice dam. If icicles are simply hanging off of your gutters and don’t have a block of ice trapped behind them, they have most likely not compromised the integrity of your roof. However, icicles that are hanging directly from your roof may be preventing water from draining off of the roof. This causes the water to back up under the shingles and enter your home.  

In addition to inspecting your roof for ice, we recommend taking a look in your attic and the exterior walls of your house for water stains. This may be an indication that an ice dam has formed and water has penetrated the roof membrane.  Of course, a sure sign that you have a roof leak from an ice dam is water dripping through your ceiling! 

Ice dam prevention is straightforward.  

ROOF RAKE: A roof rake can be used to gently remove the snow on the edge of your roof, up to about 3-4 feet. Use caution not to damage your roofing shingles in doing so.  

CALCIUM CHLORIDE: Use a calcium chloride ice melt product to melt the ice on your roof before it causes a problem.  Be sure not to use rock salt or sodium chloride, which can damage your roof. Rather than just sprinkling the calcium chloride all over, we love this trick: Fill a nylon stocking with the calcium chloride and lay it across the ice dam. This creates a channel in the ice that deters roof damage.  

Never allow water damage from an ice dam to go untreated.  

If you don’t catch an ice dam prior to damage occurring, professional water damage mitigation is necessary. When water flows through insulation, sheetrock, and wood, it creates an environment where mold can grow hidden behind the walls.

For more information on the water damage restoration services offered by SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, please call us at (203) 267-6262.

Water, Fire and Mold Damage Restoration in Southbury Area Places of Worship

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Water, Fire and Mold Damage Restoration in Southbury Area Places of Worship Older buildings such as churches may present the need for unique water damage restoration solutions from an experienced team.

Places of worship serve such a vital purpose in the Southbury community.  They not only offer community to their congregations, many serve the needs of those in need through their work in food pantries, shelters and fundraisers. When a spiritual center experiences a pipe burst or flooding, it’s vital that the water damage be cleaned up quickly and correctly with the least amount of impact on the community.   

Many of the religious centers in our area are in the beautiful old buildings which are quintessential to the small Connecticut towns that we live in. Old structures can at times present challenges in water damage restoration that requires a team that is highly trained and has the experience necessary. The SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team has decades of experience working in Connecticut and is well versed in treating buildings that were not built in this century. Whether your structure has a small stone crawl space, unique additions that have been added on over the years or a not quite modern heating system, we’ve seen it all.  

Or perhaps your building is modern however you have valuable artifacts that require special handling, protection from water damage and restoration. Our project managers are understanding and respectful of your space and the contents in it. We have a dedicated storage facility in which we can store contents while the restoration work is being done. We also offer document and content restoration services to preserve those special items that are important to your community.  

If your place of worship has water, mold or fire damage, or perhaps is in need of a deep cleaning due to the amount of traffic it sees, give us a call at (203) 267-6262.

Extreme Weather Causes Flooding in Torrington Area Homes and Businesses

1/28/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Extreme Weather Causes Flooding in Torrington Area Homes and Businesses Last week's weather brought freezing temperatures followed by warm weather and heavy rain, leading to frozen pipes and flooded basements.

It's winter and we live in Litchfield County, CT so we expect to have harsh weather and last week we certainly got just that!

The week started with negative temperatures on Monday. This caused pipes to freeze in many buildings. In particular, areas of the home that are poorly insulated such as sunrooms, additions, garages and rooms with exterior walls that are hit by the wind were susceptible. 

This cold front was followed by a dramatic rise in temperature (by almost 60 degrees!) and 3 inches of rain on Thursday. The warm weather allowed the ice in the frozen pipes to melt, and opened the way for hundreds of gallons of water to gush into Litchfield County homes. 

The heavy rainfall was more than the still frozen ground could absorb and led to flooding of basements throughout the area as well. 

When the weather causes the pipes to burst in your home and your basement to flood, give SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington a call at (203) 267-6262. Our crew has the training, experience and resources to restore your home quickly and professionally. 

When Garaged Vehicles Catch Fire, Your Entire Home can be Affected by Smoke and Soot

1/18/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage When Garaged Vehicles Catch Fire, Your Entire Home can be Affected by Smoke and Soot When this lawn tractor caught fire in the garage of this Southbury home, it caused widespread smoke and soot damage.

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.

Call us at (203) 267-6262 if your car catches fire and causes damage to your Middlebury area home or business.

2018: A year of Burst Pipes, Tornadoes and Flooding For Southbury Residents

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage 2018: A year of Burst Pipes, Tornadoes and Flooding For Southbury Residents The tornado that hit the Oxford, CT area in May caused water and storm damage to thousands of homes.

2018 was an unusual weather year for the Southbury area!

January was a month that brought daily phone calls from business and home owners that had flooding due to burst pipes.  It began last January with 10 straight days of single digit temperatures that caused pipes to freeze and crack, followed by a huge leap to almost 60 degrees and several inches of rain that warmed that water up and allowed it to flow.

The spring was a wet one and we were busy with both commercial and residential water, fire and mold damage. In May, a tornado traveled along the Southbury-Oxford line, causing massive damage to homes and businesses.  Over 120,000 homes lost power and roads were inaccessible due to downed trees and power lines. Our franchise received hundreds of calls that week from homeowners who had damage to roofs from wind and downed trees as well as water damage from the rain. We prioritized the work and began heading out to tarp and board up homes so that they didn’t experience further damage. The restoration work continued for the next several months. Mold damage calls have started coming into the office as a result of the water damage sustained last May.

Late summer brought more flooding and water damage caused by heavy rain. And it seemed that winter might have come early when snow fell in November along with cold temps. The pipes started bursting and we thought we were in for a long winter. The holiday season surprised however, with unusually warm weather over the past few weeks.

Who knows what‘s in store for 2019 but whatever Mother Nature brings your way, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is here to help you with your water, storm, fire and mold restoration needs.

Water Damage Restoration After Flooding in Vacant Harwinton Area Homes

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage Restoration After Flooding in Vacant Harwinton Area Homes If your house is vacant because you vacation down South for the winter or are selling your home, be sure to take steps to protect it from water damage

Vacant homes are among the most vulnerable structures to flooding.

Connecticut homes are often left unattended when a homeowner goes on vacation or travels south for the winter. We also receive water damage calls when a home is vacant because it is listed for sale or when the homeowner is deceased and the home is vacant while the estate is being settled. 

During the winter, flooding often occurs due to burst pipes. This can occur for a number of reasons but in vacant homes the culprit is typically that the oil tank runs out.  We've seen this happen even when a home is scheduled to be automatically refilled by the oil company. Errors occur and while typically this would be caught by the homeowner, when the house is vacant it goes unnoticed. 

This results in a substantial amount of water flooding through the home with nobody there to notice it. We were once called by a homeowner who was away and notified of the water damage after their neighbors observed water pouring out from under the front door. Often when pipes burst in vacant homes, the damage is extreme- leaving collapsed ceilings and saturated walls. In addition to burst pipes, we've responded to homes in which water heaters have burst and appliances leaked.

Regardless of the source of the water, there are some precautions that homeowners can take to reduce their risk of damage.

If you are going on a vacation, leave a neighbor a key so that they can check on your home, especially if the temperature dips down into the single digits.

If you winter down South, consider having a family member or property management company care for your home so that missing oil deliveries or a broken oil burner doesn't go unnoticed. 

Homes that are vacant can also be winterized - in which the water is drained from the pipes. The house will go unheated but there is no longer a risk of water damage from frozen pipes, broken appliances or a water heater burst.

Also, be vigilant about oil deliveries and ask your provider to notify you when a delivery occurs. Rather than simply leaving you a slip, request a phone call or email and keep track of the deliveries. This simple step can give you the peace of mind that your home will be dry and as you left it when you return home after the long winter. 

Winter Weather Brings Mold Growth to Southbury Area Homes

12/19/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Winter Weather Brings Mold Growth to Southbury Area Homes Ice dams can cause melting water to seep into ceilings and walls, creating favorable conditions for mold growth.

Winter brings snow and ice, which melt and can leak into homes, causing high levels of moisture. These conditions will lead to an increase in mold growth in homes and businesses. 

Water that has leaked behind walls or seeped into basements unnoticed are often the common culprits, as is the high humidity that rainstorms bring.  

There are some actions that our IICRC trained mold specialists suggest you take to reduce the likelihood of mold growing in your home.  

  1. If you have one of the beautiful old Connecticut homes that has a dirt floor crawlspace, spread a moisture barrier down on the ground. Polyethylene or roofing paper will do the trick. This will help to reduce the moisture entering your crawlspace, and mold spores from entering your home.  
  2. If there are any leaks coming from your roof and you cannot have it repaired until spring, cover it with a tarp to stop any water from entering.  
  3. To stop any water from coming into your basement, grade the ground around your foundation to slope away. This will reduce  the amount of water that is standing around your foundation and it's chances of entering your home.  
  4. If you have a home that tends to get wet, be proactive after a rainstorm. Run dehumidifiers, heaters and fans in the vulnerable area if necessary. 
  5. Keep an eye on windows and pipes for condensation, which can be caused by a leak or another source of high humidity in the room.  

Mold spores can grow easily and spread fast in wet weather. If you see signs of mold after a flood or water damage this winter, give us a call to come out for an inspection. Catch it before it significantly spreads and the treatment process can be done with minimal impact to your life.  

Frozen Pipes Burst, Causing Water Damage in Litchfield County

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Frozen Pipes Burst, Causing Water Damage in Litchfield County Don't let this happen to you! A few precautions can reduce your risk of frozen pipes.

With the thermometer dipping into negative degrees this week, pipes in Litchfield County homes are at risk of freezing, especially because many homes are vacant while families travel for the holidays. 

Although pipes can freeze anywhere in your home, there are some areas that are more susceptible than others.

1. Your Crawlspace - Many older homes in CT have a crawlspace rather than a full basement. These are typically not insulated and the pipes are exposed to the environment. Lining the sides of the space with foam board and the ground with plastic can help. You may also consider installing a heat cable that runs along the pipes and is turned on when the temps drop. 

2. Under the Kitchen Sink - In particular, sinks that are on an exterior wall tend to experience frozen pipes. An easy solution to this is leaving your cabinet doors open to allow the warm air in the home to circulate.

3. Bonus Rooms Above the Garage - Most bonus rooms are built above an unheated garage. They are exposed to the cold air (especially along the exterior walls). Keeping the temperature in your garage above freezing with the use of space heaters on frigid days can help. 

Frozen pipes can happen to anyone. We have responded to water damage from burst pipes in houses built in the 1700's as well as homes that are new construction. We've seen it all and have the experience to restore your home quickly and thoroughly. 

Washing Machine Leaks Cause Water Damage to Torrington, CT Homes

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Washing Machine Leaks Cause Water Damage to Torrington, CT Homes Washing machine leaks can be caused by a variety of reasons, causing water damage to Torrington area homes.

A leaking washing machine can cause substantial water damage to your Watertown, CT home.  When a leak occurs, the water will flow out of your machine or it's hose until you discover the mess. The flooding can cause damage to wood floors, walls, furniture and even through the ceiling to the floors below.  There are preventative steps homeowners can take to reduce their risk of an appliance leak.  

  1. Make sure your hoses aren't kinked. There should be at least 4 inches between the wall and your washing machine.  
  2. Check your detergent. Too much of it or the wrong kind (in high efficiency machines) can clog the overflow tube and cause a leak. 
  3. Inspect to see that the drain hose is properly inserted into the drain line - it can become loose during machine use.  
  4. Check your supply line hoses to make sure they aren't brittle or cracked. We recommend using stainless steel braided hoses to avoid deterioration. 
  5. If your washing machine is in a high risk area (adjacent to living areas or on a second floor) consider installing a  washing machine leak detector with an alarm that alerts you if it detects water on the floor. It will also close the valves so that flooding doesn’t continue.  
  6. Turn off your washing machine water supply at the lever whenever you leave home for an extended period. 

If you have flooding from a washing machine leak in your home, give SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington a call at (203) 267-6262. Our team has over twenty years of experience in water damage restoration in Connecticut.

Malfunctioning Sprinkler Systems Cause Damage to Southbury Area Businesses

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Malfunctioning Sprinkler Systems Cause Damage to Southbury Area Businesses A water sprinkler that discharged caused water damage to this warehouse in New Haven County.

If you have a commercial business, you have a fire prevention sprinkler system in place. Commercial fire protection sprinklers are the best way to save your building (and the lives of those in it!) because of their ability to stop fires in their early stages from consuming more property and becoming costlier.

As much as we are grateful for these sprinkler systems and the lives they save, they can sometimes malfunction and trigger when there is no fire, causing water damage. There are some steps business owners can take to avoid a malfunctioning sprinkler system. 

Sprinkler systems have safeguards to stop them from deploying except during a fire. However, there are a few circumstances that can cause them to accidentally deploy:

1. Frozen pipes - When pipes freeze, the extra pressure causes pipes to break.
2. Structural Damage - Damage can be caused to the sprinkler mechanism by service work done in or around the ceiling by yourself or others.
3. Metal corrosion - from stagnant water in the pipes or sprinklers

The most important step for stopping sprinklers from flooding your business it to identify where your business’ water shutoff valve is located. You should familiarize yourself with its operation, so you can stop the sprinklers if there is no fire. In case you are absent, other trusted employees should also be informed of it.

Water damage can ultimately be prevented with occasional professional inspection of your fire sprinklers. Proper maintenance ensures the system will deploy only when you need it. It’s good practice to make sure the sprinklers are clear of obstructions and not used to hang decorations. 

If you do have a sprinkler malfunction, and once you have turned off the water source, call a professional water damage restoration company immediately so that the work can started quickly. Your actions impact the total cost of such services. With proper measures taken before and during a defective sprinkler incident, you can avoid the devastating damage a sprinkler system can cause.