If you have a fire or water emergency, please call us now at (203) 267-6262

To have the optimal experience while using this site, you will need to update your browser. You may want to try one of the following alternatives:

Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

When Appliances Break

5/31/2022 (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.

When High Winds Damage Your Roof

5/17/2022 (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. 

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.

Flooding Happens. We Can Help.

5/12/2022 (Permalink)

The rain last week has caused flooding to a number of area homes and businesses. We've received many calls from home and business owners who need help drying out their homes. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is considered an essential business and we are open and cleaning homes throughout the closure. For their safety as well as our customers, our team is sticking to safety precautions while we work.

The reality is that flooding still happens and needs to be cleaned up quickly to prevent secondary damage. Quick action is the key to limiting damage if you have flooding. Here are some actions that can prevent mold from growing in your  home. 

  • Protect your belongings – remove light furniture and upholstered items as well as other items that are susceptible (cardboard boxes, carpets and other porous items) from the affected area. 
  • Remove as much water as possible using a wet/dry vacuum. 
  • Use fans to circulate the air and speed up the drying process. A good rule of thumb is to run the fans for an additional week after the area appears dry. 
  • A dehumidifier can be used as well to remove excess moisture and dry out the room. 

Water damage can easily be hidden underneath rugs or carpet, so be sure to give your home a thorough inspection if you suspect water damage. Although carpets can be steam cleaned, they are tough to treat and padding typically cannot be saved. 

If you do have wall to wall carpeting in your basement that has gotten wet from flood water, give us a call. We are an IICRC trained mold and water mitigation company and have the tools and expertise to treat your New Haven County home for damage.

Start to Finish: We're With You all of the Way.

5/4/2022 (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 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.  

Wet Basements Announce the Arrival of Spring

4/11/2022 (Permalink)

We always know that spring is upon us when the phone rings and the caller has a flooded basement.

The reality is that despite precautions, flooding still happens and needs to be cleaned up quickly to prevent secondary damage. Quick action is the key to limiting damage if you have flooding. Here are some actions that can prevent mold from growing in your  home. 

  • Protect your belongings – remove light furniture and upholstered items as well as other items that are susceptible (cardboard boxes, carpets and other porous items) from the affected area. 
  • Remove as much water as possible using a wet/dry vacuum. 
  • Use fans to circulate the air and speed up the drying process. A good rule of thumb is to run the fans for an additional week after the area appears dry. 
  • A dehumidifier can be used as well to remove excess moisture and dry out the room. 

Water damage can easily be hidden underneath rugs or carpet, so be sure to give your home a thorough inspection if you suspect water damage. Although carpets can be steam cleaned, they are tough to treat and padding typically cannot be saved. 

If you do have wall to wall carpeting in your basement that has gotten wet from flood water, give us a call. We are an IICRC trained mold and water mitigation company and have the tools and expertise to treat your home for damage.

Can Your Wet Carpet Be Saved?

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

What’s to be done about carpeting when you’ve had a flood in your home? 

Water damage restoration is not a “one size fits all” solution and while it’s true that carpeting is unsalvageable in many situations, that’s not always the case. 

How does our team overcome wet carpeting?

Our approach to carpet restoration and water extraction varies depending on the fiber count and thickness of the carpet itself, as short pile carpeting (glue down) absorbs less water than plusher options. The restoration of carpets requires a combination of several water removal tools exclusively designed for this porous flooring. Some of the devices and machines our team uses in this process include:

  • Carpet Wands –  The addition of specialty attachments like carpet wands to the wet vacuums and pumps already in use is a versatile implement to the extraction of water. These attachments are a focused vacuum head used on the surface of carpeting to pull the majority of moisture from the fibers and backing material. 
  • Weighted Extractors – When it is possible to restore the carpet, the padding, and the underlying material, it is critical to reduce their oversaturation quickly. The best approach for this is a weighted extraction option that utilizes a technician's weight on a stationary or ride-on unit. The heft of the machine and the operator press the carpet and padding against the subflooring to force moisture to the surface for removal.
  • Floating – Once most of the moisture has been removed by weighted extraction, floating the carpet by placing a centrifugal air mover between the carpet and padding layers dry both materials simultaneously.

It's not always obvious which carpeting can be saved. For a professional assessment of your water damage situation, give us a call!

Three Words.

3/28/2022 (Permalink)

Why choose SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington when you have damage to your home or business? Well, there are tons of reasons why we stand above other restoration companies but we've narrowed it down to 3 words. 

1. Experience

In our decades in business, we have seen most water, fire and mold situations that exist. We've worked on jobs that many other area restoration companies have never experienced. When your life and business are being disrupted by damage, you don't need to be dealing with a contractor who is monkeying around, not sure how to deal with a particular problem. We've been there and done that.  

2. The Expertise

We have the training on how to do things, and how to do them the most efficient and effective way.  Our team is trained by the SERVPRO national system as well as the IICRC. That, along with on the job training by some really knowledgeable guys, gives our technicians the tools to do the job right.

3. The Equipment

We have equipment that we own that can get the job done. We have invested in the tools needed for all situations - whether that is a small home fire or a 20,000 foot warehouse flood. You won't find us scavenging around to get machines to run in your home. 

What more could you ask for?

Oh, yeah, we're also known for being super friendly and quick to respond when asked a question. Folks tend to like that :)

When the Washing Machine Leaks...

3/8/2022 (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.

Commercial Property Damage Restoration Services

2/28/2022 (Permalink)

When you own a business, you know the unexpected can occur. While you can't control everything that happens, you can have a plan in place for most events. Having a commercial restoration company on standby helps businesses to control the impact of fire damage and water damage.

When looking for a restoration company, keep the following criteria in mind. 

EFFICIENCY:  The key to getting back in business is swift action. Look for a company that has the staff and experience to get your business up amd running quickly.  You can't afford to be dealing with a slow moving restoration company. 

AVAILABILITY:  Does the company have staff on call during the weekends and on holidays?  What about nights? The company you hire needs to be ready to respond no matter what time and what day.

COMMUNICATION:  Is there a contact person you will have access to throughout the restoration process?Because of the resulting disturbances that come with damages resulting from flooding, leaks, and fire outbreaks, easy communication is key. 

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is the areas leading commercial property damage restoration company for a reason. We are first to respond, our production managers are always available to answer questions- whether short or long, and we know that time is of the essence when getting your business back up and running. Give us a call to discuss how we can help. 

Special Care for Older Homes

2/7/2022 (Permalink)

The Litchfield County area is known for its beautiful old houses in a picturesque setting. Hundreds of years old, these homes are reminders of how things used to be. We’ve seen homes in which the crawlspaces reveal rocks stacked on top of each other for the foundation. That these structures still stand is a testament to the craftsmanship of our ancestors.

As impressive as old houses are, however, it is inevitable that they might be plagued by structural problems. Foundations crack and shift, creating a risk of water damage.  Old electrical wires that often do not meet code can fray as well as overload the system, causing an electrical fire. The plumbing systems that were added long after these homes were built are often not installed to today’s standards. Septic systems deteriorate and break with age. There are a host of problems that cause water damage to older homes.

If you have an older home in Connecticut, be vigilant about the warning signs of water damage.

Water stains. Water stains are the most common and obvious indication that you have a leak.You may see them on the ceilings or walls. Have all water stains inspected to see what the source is.

Deteriorating wood. In particular, keep your eye on door and window frames as well as baseboards and molding which are the first areas to show water damage because of a leaking window or door.

Buckling floors. If there is an appliance leak that goes unnoticed, a pipe leak under a sink or a gap around your shower door, you may end up with floors that absorb the water. Wood flooring absorbs the water, which makes it swell and buckle. Vinyl will curl up at the edges, which gives you a clue that there is a problem.

Pay attention to suspicious smells. If you notice a moldy or mildew smell, find the source even if there is nothing visible. Water damage can cause mold to grow behind walls and can cause serious damage if not mitigated.

Do you have water damage in your older home? Call Us Today (203) 267-6262.

When are You Not Covered?

1/24/2022 (Permalink)

ceiling covered with black mold If mold in your home is due to neglect, the remediation may not be covered by your insurance company.

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.

Mold Found at Commercial Properties

1/14/2022 (Permalink)

When a business owner finds mold in their commercial property, they know it's something that can't be ignored. 

There has been quite a bit of attention on mold in businesses. Mold can cause health effects. Mold exists naturally in our environment and is not harmful at regular levels. It's when mold has the opportunity to grow at a rapid rate that it becomes of concern. 

In order to grow, mold requires certain conditions to be met. Mold spores need to be present and have a food source (examples would be cotton, sheetrock, plywood, etc.). In addition, mold requires darkness, oxygen and warm temperatures. However, these are typical conditions in most homes. The factor that most determines whether mold will grow in a commercial property is moisture.  

Some of the most common causes of commercial mold damage are:  

Leaky Pipes:  Whether you own a shopping center with public restrooms or an apartment complex, a slow leak might not be obvious to a homeowner but over time can create an environment that is ideal for mold growth. 

The fix: Periodically check pipes, walls and cabinetry for any signs of leaking.  Ask your tenants to report any signs of moisture such as water spots on the ceiling immediately so that the problem can be remedied before mold grows. 

Basement Mold: Many area businesses have a basement. This might be used for storage in the case of an apartment building. Due to low sunlight, condensation, high humidity, flooding and leaks, the basement is a common location for mold growth. In addition, people spend little time in their basement and are less likely to spot it early on.

The fix: If there is flooding, have your basement waterproofed. Keep humidity levels down with a dehumidifier. Again, your tenants and building maintenance crew are your eyes - ask them to report any signs of moisture or mold immediately. 

If you spot mold in your Torrington area business, give us a call at  203-267-6262. Our mold specialists are IICRC certified and have over 30 years of experience inspecting mold. We know exactly how to mitigate the mold at your commercial property with the least amount of disruption to your business continuity. 

Water and Mold Damage at Southbury Medical Facilities

1/4/2022 (Permalink)

When water damage occurs at a medical facility, our team knows that the stakes are high.

When we arrive at the hospital or medical complex, our job will entail not only the typical scope of water damage restoration but also the protection of expensive medical equipment and documents.

For example, a common scenario that we encounter in our work is a water sprinkler setting off, either due to a damaged pipe or a malfunction in a hospital. Sprinkler systems in commercial buildings can release thousands of gallons of water over everything in the facility, causing massive water damage. When we arrive on the scene, we immediately implement a plan for protecting valuable equipment and documents. Not only is it vital to relocate equipment, but drying it out to make sure no further damage occurs is also a priority.

We have the training and the equipment to do our jobs efficiently and correctly. Our team is on call 24/7 so that we can respond to situations like flooding in medical facilities immediately.

You give your patients 100%. We will do the same for your facility.

Smoke and Soot Removal After Home Fires

12/4/2021 (Permalink)

Some of the toughest jobs we respond to are house fires. It can be devastating, both physically and emotionally, for the family who has experienced such a loss. Not only is there damage from the fire itself, the smoke and soot can render many possessions unsalvageable. On top of that, water damage from fire fighting efforts adds another layer of damage. Our team knows how important it is to save whatever we can of your belongings.  We have technicians trained and experienced in the art of content cleaning, which can take different forms depending on the item. 

Dry-Cleaning: In order to remove smoke and soot from porous items such as clothing, furniture and drapery, we use the dry cleaning method. The soot has to be removed from the textiles before they are washed with water. 

Ultrasonic: Non-porous items can go through a more vigorous cleaning than materials that soak up water. The ultrasonic treatment incorporates ultrasound and a cleaning solvent to rid your belongings of soot.

High-Pressure Water: In some circumstances, such as for larger items, our technicians opt to use  high-pressure water treatment on non-porous household items. 

Odor Removal: Smoke isn't the only thing that can cling to your possessions. The smell can linger after all visible signs of fire damage has disappeared. Our team may use thermal fogging or ozone treatments to make your home smelling good again. 

With decades in the business, our team has helped hundreds of families back into their homes after house fires. If you are faced with such a loss, please know that we are available to help.

Winter Storms Wreak Havoc on Connecticut Homes

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

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.

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington Offers Complete Restoration Services

11/28/2021 (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 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.  

Turkey Fryers Can be a Household Danger This Thanksgiving

10/25/2021 (Permalink)

To be honest, I’ve never fried my Thanksgiving turkey. My family has always gone the traditional route and roasted our bird in the oven. I am tempted, however, to give it a try this year because so many people swear by how amazing and flavorful a fried turkey is. 

Working in the fire damage restoration business, however, I’ve seen the damage a turkey fryer can do to a home. Turkey fryer fires are more common than you’d imagine and are devastating because everything surrounding the fire is engulfed in the flames. 

So, why does frying a turkey carry the risk of fire? 

I know. It’s cold in Connecticut by the last Thursday of November and you may not want to be standing outside while the rest of the meal is cooking in the kitchen. But turkeys should ALWAYS be fried outside. Just because you’ve been doing it in your garage for 10 years and never had a problem doesn’t mean it can't happen to you.  Because the hot oil will spray everywhere when cooking, a 10’ radius around the fryer is necessary. It quickly starts a fire when making contact with combustible materials, such as wood or fabric.  If the oil touches bare skin, it can also cause severe burns.

One common mistake people make is using a frozen turkey. This is because when a frozen turkey is submerged into a pot of oil, the oil doesn’t mix with the frozen water on the turkey. Instead, heavy pockets of water will sink to the bottom of the fryer while the oil surrounding them quickly heats it beyond its boiling point. The water then evaporates, expands, and splatters the oil everywhere, including the burner. Upon hitting the burner, the beads of oil ignite into flames that spread out in all directions.  If you have marinated your turkey in a brine, make sure it is fully dry prior to putting in the oil. 

Measure your oil carefully, making certain that it is 4-6” below rim after the turkey is palced in it. . When you lower the turkey in, be sure to be wearing oven mitts, long sleeves, pants, and close-toed shoes. Hot oil will stick to bare skin, causing severe burns that can result in an emergency trip to the hospital.

Even a seasoned turkey fryer can have an accident that causes disaster.  The turkey can slip from your hands when lowering it into the fryer or your rope-and-pulley system could break, spilling the oil everywhere and igniting a fire. The point is that something can always go wrong when frying a turkey; therefore, you should always be prepared and have a fire extinguisher by your side at all times. 

We hate to see someone's holiday ruined by a house fire due to a cooking accident.  But if you do have a Thanksgiving disaster, we have teams on call 24/7 - even on the holidays and are Here to Help.

Flooding at Your Commercial Property?

10/25/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial properties cannot afford to be shut down due to water damage. 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.

What to do if a Storm Damages the Roof of Your Home

10/7/2021 (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.

When is a Water Damage Event NOT Covered by Insurance?

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Wall covered with mold Some mold infestations are covered by insurance. Others are not.

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 Southbury/Torrington, 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.

Do You Need Renter's Insurance?

9/24/2021 (Permalink)

There are many residents of Southbury who rent their home or apartment and are unsure of whether they should purchase renter’s insurance.

While it’s true that your landlord has an insurance policy on the building, your belongings are not covered under their policy in the case of theft, or a a disaster such as a fire or flooding.  

Having renter’s insurance is an inexpensive way of protecting your furniture, electronics and other belongings. In our years of commercial water and fire damage restoration in New Haven County, we have spoken to many apartment renters who were not insured. It’s devastating enough to wake up to a fire in your apartment and have to leave all of your belongings inside in order to get to safety. But finding out that you will not be reimbursed for your losses doubles the catastrophe.  

In an apartment complex, you are vulnerable to damage from other units. If there is a fire, the smoke will travel easily and cause damage to your belongings even if the fire is several floors away. An upstairs neighbors broken washing machine becomes your problem when the water from flooding crashes through your ceiling.  

We recommend that all renter's purchase insurance. Believe it or not, the average cost of renters insurance is $15 per month. That’s a small price to pay for the protection of your belongings. Most insurance companies offer renter’s insurance. If you are happy with your automobile insurance company, getting a quote on renter’s insurance from them would be a good start.  

Clean Your Gutters to Avoid Water Damage this Fall.

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

leaves and plants growing out of a gutter If there are plants growing out of your gutter, they cannot work properly!

The start of the school year has begun, the weather has been cool and the first day of fall is next week.

With all of the pumpkiny, cinnamon-spicey, sweatery ads popping up in my Facebook feed, it comes at no surprise! And I have to admit that as much as I am sorry to see summer end, fall is my favorite season and I am looking forward to the crisp air and coziness that it brings. We are so lucky to live in New England and be surrounded by the fall colors that the changing of the leaves brings. Of course, those leaves fall and often land in our gutters, which can cause water damage to your home.

I’m sure that it goes without saying for most of you, however, I’m going to go ahead and remind you to clean out your gutters this fall.

I usually find myself doing this task twice- once at the beginning of the season to get all of the wet, decaying leaves and twigs that have accumulated all year out. Then, I go out a second time in November, after all of the leaves have fallen but before the snow falls, to do a clearing of all of the new leaves. I do want to caution our readers that cleaning gutters should be done with care. If it cannot be done safely, please reach out to one of the many wonderful specialists in our area to do it for you. 

A common cause of roof and water damage in residential properties is malfunctioning gutters.

When your gutters are clogged, the water collects and spills out of the top in both directions. When it falls away from your house, it pools and causes problems at your foundation level, causing damage to your foundation and often flooding your basement. When it flows out onto your roof, it can create a leaking problem in your attic. Roof leaks often go unnoticed because most of us don’t make frequent visits into our attic spaces. But, eventually, the water will make its way into the insulation, walls and ceilings of your home. Roof leaks are also a common reason why attic mold grows.

Cleaning out your gutters lowers your risk of basement flooding and roof leaks. 

However, if you do find yourself with a flood due to clogged gutters, don’t worry - we won’t judge! We understand that despite a homeowner’s best intentions, life gets busy and accidents happen! Give our office a call and schedule an appointment with our team to restore your home “Like it never even happened.”

Video on how to clean out your gutters

Contact us if you have water or mold damage.

It's National Preparedness Month. Are you Prepared for a Hurricane?

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States.  Regardless of where your home may be located, there is always potential for flood damage.  Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, or don't live in an area at high risk of flooding, does not mean you won’t in the future.  In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas.

Be Prepared:

  • Water – at least a 3 day supply, one gallon per person per day
  • Food – at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food
  • Radio – either battery powered or hand crank
  • Extra batteries
  • Multi-purpose tools
  • First Aid Kit
  • Copies of personal document (Insurance policies, birth certificates and etc.)
  • Know what your homeowner’s insurance covers and/or doesn’t cover. 
  • Because standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at FloodSmart.gov.
  • Camera – to photograph damages

Responding Appropriately During a Flood:

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice
  • Stay away from floodwaters which may contaminated
  • Keep children away from water. 

Flood Recovery Tips:

  • Return home only when officials declared the area as being safe.
  • Approach home carefully, look for loose power lines, cracked foundation, and other damages. 
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may come into your home through flood water.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear hissing, get out and call fire department
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and boots.

If a flood does strike your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.  Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated properly.  Cleanup can often be an overwhelming task.  We are prepared to handle any size disaster!

Paper or Plastic?

8/21/2021 (Permalink)

In many of the properties that we treat after a fire, the amount of damage is not always visible.

In fact, when you look at photos of the home or building, things might look like they are fine. However, smoke and soot residues are the hidden damage that a fire causes and often require more extensive restoration than the damage caused by the flames themselves. 

There are different types of fire damage and each requires its own unique cleaning plan. The team at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is trained in identifying the different types of smoke damage and how to properly treat your home accordingly. 

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke damage is caused when substances such as paper and wood are the fuel for the fire. These fires are fast burning, have high temperatures and the heat rises therefore the smoke rises. Because the residue is powdery and dry, it is often simpler to clean since it is easy to wipe off. However, it can fall into cracks and porous surfaces, and while the soot may be hidden from view, the smell will remain.

Wet Smoke

Wet smoke damage typically comes from fires in which plastic, rubber and other synthetic materials have burned. These fires are a lower temperature. They can be described as having a smoldering, pungent odor and they leave a sticky and thick residue that is more difficult to remove. 

Protein Residue

Protein residue is left behind after the evaporation of organic material such as food. The residue is produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. The residue is almost invisible however it discolors varnishes, paints, and finishes. It also gives off a strong, offensive odor that our techs know well and can easily identify. Because it is invisible to the eye, however, a homeowners might get frustrated with the pungent smell since they can’t see the source.

When we inspect your fire damaged structure, we will determine which method of cleaning is required. Depending on the type of smoke damage and the surface that is affected, we may utilize the following cleaning methods to remove smoke and soot damage.

  • Dry Sponging
  • Wet Cleaning
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air-filtration (HEPA) Vacuuming
  • Thermal Fogging

We don't expect our customers to become experts in fire damage restoration however we know that a little knowledge helps you understand why we are cleaning your house in a particular way.

Can't Get the Stink Out of Your Commercial Property?

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

Nobody wants to live in a smelly home.

Unpleasant odors in your apartment building can permeate the walls, floors, carpeting and even make their way behind walls and into the ventilation shafts. Apartment complexes are often affected by cigarette smoke residue, animal smells from urine and spoiled meat odors. These odors can make their way out of the originating apartment and be smelled throughout the building, putting the management company in a difficult position. Or perhaps the apartment is vacant and you as the owner are trying to prepare it for a new tenant. Masking and other shortcuts don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent.

A standard cleaning will not remove these odors however the odor removal experts at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington can.

We have the training and equipment to identify and eliminate these offensive odors. By identifying the cause of the odor, and determining the conditions where it contacts surfaces, the odor can often be removed over time without a trace. Our technicians have access to several odor removal products capable of penetrating surfaces to neutralize an unpleasant odor thoroughly.

The science of identifying and eliminating odors can be a tricky thing, so give us a call and leave the restoration to us.

We Rebuild Homes After Water Damage

8/16/2021 (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.  

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.

3 Reasons Why Commercial Property Owners Choose SERVPRO

4/14/2021 (Permalink)

1. 24 Hour / 365 Days a Year Emergency Response

The key to controlling water damage and recovery costs? Quick action. The rapid response and training of the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington helps limit damage and gets your facility back in operation quickly. We have teams on call around the clock in order to be available as soon as possible when you need us. 

2. Reduced Recovery Time

When storm,  fire, water or mold damage strikes a commercial facility, it affects everyone – the owner,  the management team, employees, tenants, and even customers. In a business, even what might seem like a small disaster, such as a stove fire or toilet overflow, can lead to a big inconvenience.

We know that every minute counts. Because we arrive quickly, and equipped ready to start the mitigation process immediately, the amount of time it takes to get your business back up and running is reduced. 

3. The SERVPRO Nationwide Large Loss Response Team

With SERVPRO, you get the best of both worlds - we are a locally owned and operated franchise that also has access to the SERVPRO system has a nationwide Large Loss Response Team in the event of a large scale loss. 

Each of SERVPRO’s over 1,900 nationwide franchises is independently owned and operated by trained professionals committed to providing the highest level of emergency cleanup and restoration services and customer satisfaction. What this means to you, the commercial property owner or manager, is if you experience a water damage event, the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington professionals will provide quality service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Water Damage Process Explained

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

Quick action is crucial when you are dealing with water damage. The severity of the damage to your home can increase within just a few hours. This is the case no matter what has caused your water damage- whether it be from a broken refrigerator supply line, a leaking roof or a water heater burst.  

When they pick up your call, Theny and Alexis, our Torrington office staff, understand that you may be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and a bit vulnerable. Our staff has experience of taking hundreds of calls like yours each year and can calmly guide you through the process. 

Upon answering your call, we will gather the necessary information in order to determine what equipment and resources will be needed as well as the size of the crew to send. 

Some of the questions we might ask are:

    • Your name and phone number as well as email address
    • If you are a renter or property manager, the homeowner's contact information
    • Your home insurance policy information 
    • The street address of the water-damaged home or business as well as the billing address
    • When the water damage occurred and what caused it
    • Whether there is electricity and heat available in the home

The following step will be for the office to schedule an appointment for one of our estimators to come to your home along with a crew to inspect the damages and formulate a restoration plan. The information that they have gotten from your call will help them determine how many technicians to send and what type of equipment is needed. Once we have inspected the damage, our crew will begin work.

We know that most of our clients have not experienced water damage before and may be unfamiliar with the terminology used and why certain actions need to be taken. Please know that if at any point you feel this way, our production managers and office staff are available to answer your questions.

The team at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington are your Connecticut water restoration specialists. If you have a flood or leak, call us at (203) 267-6262.

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

3/23/2021 (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.

Water and Mold Damage at Southbury Area Places of Worship

3/10/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Freezing Pipes Burst in Southbury Homes

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

With the thermometer dipping last week, pipes in Litchfield County homes began freezing and, in may cases, burst. 

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

There are Many Restoration Companies Out There. Here's Why We're Different.

1/27/2021 (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, Kathy, Theny, Alexis and Keri, have all been with us for years and have extensive knowledge of the restoration process. 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 Hartford and Litchfield Counties, 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.

Fire at Apartment Complex Causes Soot and Smoke Damage

1/19/2021 (Permalink)

When we have a job in which there was a fire at an apartment complex, the soot, smoke and water damage usually extends well beyond the area in which the fire originated. 

In situations where there are multiple units in a structure, the shared walls, hallways and ventilation system allow for the smoke and soot to spread quickly. Soot is comprised of miniscule carbon particles which are created by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (such as the wood, oil, coal, and more). Containing acids, chemicals and dust, soot leaves a sticky mess as well as a nasty odor behind when it travels through the air. Breathing in soot, or even if it enters a person’s body through their eyes, can cause serious health effects. While we are working in homes and apartments that have been layered with soot, it’s often necessary for those living there to vacate the premises until it is clean. 

While smoke damage is usually not evident by sight, it can be a difficult beast to remove. Along with polluting the air, smoke can be absorbed into both hard and soft furnishings and structural components, such as walls, carpeting and furniture Typically, mattresses and carpeting need to be removed and discarded. Because smoke makes its way into cracks and crevices, part of our restoration process includes cleaning behind the walls.

One thing thing that doesn't always come to mind when people think about a home fire is the water damage that will occur. Apartment complexes in Connecticut all have sprinkler systems, which work wonders to keep tenants safe. However, when one apartment has a fire, the sprinkler system will trigger and soak the whole floor or building. Often, the water damage clean up is more extensive than the damage caused by the fire. 

With proper ventilation, air filtration, the removal of debris and the neutralization of odors, our crew helps you get back into your apartment as quickly as possible. 

Commercial Duct Cleaning in Southbury Area Businesses

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

Did you know, your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality?  Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home should be a high priority.  In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention.  Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.

A routine part of SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is inspecting the heating, ventilation and a/c unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money.  Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.  We will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns.  This inspection can help save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.

In some circumstances, such as after fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the clean up process.  In these cases, we can often help restore HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.

If you have a fuel burning furnace, stove or fireplace, the EPA recommends they be inspected for proper functioning, and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Our Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost efficient.  What sets us apart from other duct cleaning services is our portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system which examines ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.

If you have any questions concerning your duct work or would like a consultation please don’t hesitate to call us at 203-267-6262!

Smell Gas in Your Home? Here's What to Do.

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

SUSPECT A GAS LEAK? USE YOUR SENSES

See

A white cloud, mist or fog, bubbles in still water, blowing dust, or dead or dying plants.

Smell

A distinct rotten egg-like odor.

Hear

Unusual hissing, roaring or whistling.

IF YOU SUSPECT A LEAK, DO ...

Leave
Immediately move to a safe location. Don't start your car, as a spark could ignite.

Call 911
Call 911. Don't assume someone else made the call. Report your location, including cross streets, and whether there's digging nearby.

IF YOU SUSPECT A LEAK, DON'T ...

  • Smoke.
  • Light a match.
  • Open doors or windows.
  • Use your landline or cell phone.
  • Switch on/off appliances.
  • Use a flashlight.
  • Start a car.
  • Attempt to make repairs.

In many cases, a gas leak will not result in a house fire. However, if one does occur in your home, please call us for immediate fire damage restoration service.

The Real Reason Frozen Pipes Burst in Southbury Homes

12/5/2020 (Permalink)

What Causes Frozen Pipes to Burst?

Most people think that frozen pipes burst because water expands when it freezes. And it is true that water molecules take up more volume than liquid form because they take on a hexagonal form during freezing, However, when water in a pipe expands due to freezing, it expands to the sides, not directly outward.

The real reason why frozen pipes burst is because of the increase in pressure on the side of the pipe where the frozen section is. As there is less space available between the ice and the closed tap that is “upstream,” the pressure spikes—which causes the bursting to happen. 

Thawing of the ice increases the risk of pipes bursting, as it raises the pressure further. This is why most of the calls that we receive occur AFTER the freezing temperatures have subsided and the ice in the pipes has started to melt. 

What Can You Do?

One way to prevent pipes from freezing is by adding insulation on the exposed piping (usually the pipes around the water heater). This will prevent the pipes from losing too much heat to the cold air around them, that they freeze.

If you do encounter frozen pipes at some point this winter, call your local plumber to repair the pipe and call us for immediate water damage restoration

Mold Causes and Treatment at Southbury Commercial Properties

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

When a business owner finds mold in their commercial property, they know it's something that can't be ignored. 

There has been quite a bit of attention on mold in businesses and the potential health hazards it poses to employees and customers lately.  Mold exists naturally in our environment and is not harmful at regular levels. It's when mold has the opportunity to grow at a rapid rate that it becomes of concern. 

In order to grow, mold requires certain conditions to be met. Mold spores need to be present and have a food source (examples would be cotton, sheetrock, plywood, etc.). In addition, mold requires darkness, oxygen and warm temperatures. However, these are typical conditions in most homes. The factor that most determines whether mold will grow in a commercial property is moisture.  

Some of the most common causes of commercial mold damage are:  

Leaky Pipes:  Whether you own a shopping center with public restrooms or an apartment complex, a slow leak might not be obvious to a homeowner but over time can create an environment that is ideal for mold growth. 

The fix: Periodically check pipes, walls and cabinetry for any signs of leaking.  Ask your tenants to report any signs of moisture such as water spots on the ceiling immediately so that the problem can be remedied before mold grows. 

Basement Mold: Many area businesses have a basement. This might be used for storage in the case of an apartment building. Due to low sunlight, condensation, high humidity, flooding and leaks, the basement is a common location for mold growth. In addition, people spend little time in their basement and are less likely to spot it early on.

The fix: If there is flooding, have your basement waterproofed. Keep humidity levels down with a dehumidifier. Again, your tenants and building maintenance crew are your eyes - ask them to report any signs of moisture or mold immediately. 

If you spot mold in your Torrington area business, give us a call at  203-267-6262. Our mold specialists are IICRC certified and have over 30 years of experience inspecting mold. We know exactly how to mitigate the mold at your commercial property with the least amount of disruption to your business continuity. 

What Makes Us Shine

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

We are sometimes asked what makes SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington stand out against other restoration companies.

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, Kathy, Theny, Alexis and Keri, have all been with us for years and have extensive knowledge of the restoration process. 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 Hartford and Litchfield Counties, 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.

Keep Us Out of Your Kitchen This Thanksgiving

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

Cooking is one of the most common causes of household fires in Connecticut, responsible for 50% of home fires. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, two-thirds of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Ranges accounted for the largest share (62%) of home cooking fire incidents and ovens accounted for 16%.

It only takes a brief moment for a kitchen fire to start and quickly grow out of control. 

  • Be on alert! Don't use the stove or stove top if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.We have all walked away for a moment while cooking only to remember we were cooking by the smell of something burning.  If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. 
  • Use a timer to remind you of items that are cooking. If you have something cooking, check it regularly
  • Keep flammables at a safe distance. Keep anything that can catch fire — potholders, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stove top.
  • If you have a small grease fire, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • If the fire cannot be contained easily, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. More than half (55%) of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves. 
  • Call 9-1-1  from outside the home

It only takes a moment for a fire to start in your home that can cause substantial damage. In addition to the smoke and soot damage left behind, there will also be water damage from firefighting efforts. 

After fire emergency services have made your home safe, call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262 for fire and water damage restoration. We offer professional services that include water damage clean up, smoke and soot removal, the removal of damaged items as well as the rebuilding of your home to complete the restoration.

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and clean out your gutters.

10/19/2020 (Permalink)

With Halloween in a few weeks and the leaves dropping from the trees, it's time to start thinking about getting ready for winter storms. 

With all of the pumpkiny, cinnamon-spicey, sweatery ads popping up in my Facebook feed, it comes at no surprise! And I have to admit that as much as I am sorry to see summer end, fall is my favorite season and I am looking forward to the crisp air and coziness that it brings. We are so lucky to live in New England and be surrounded by the fall colors that the changing of the leaves brings. Of course, those leaves fall and often land in our gutters, which can cause water damage to your home.

I’m sure that it goes without saying for most of you, however, I’m going to go ahead and remind you to clean out your gutters this fall.

I usually find myself doing this task twice- once at the beginning of the season to get all of the wet, decaying leaves and twigs that have accumulated all year out. Then, I go out a second time in November, after all of the leaves have fallen but before the snow falls, to do a clearing of all of the new leaves. I do want to caution our readers that cleaning gutters should be done with care. If it cannot be done safely, please reach out to one of the many wonderful specialists in our area to do it for you. 

A common cause of roof and water damage in residential properties is malfunctioning gutters.

When your gutters are clogged, the water collects and spills out of the top in both directions. When it falls away from your house, it pools and causes problems at your foundation level, causing damage to your foundation and often flooding your basement. When it flows out onto your roof, it can create a leaking problem in your attic. Roof leaks often go unnoticed because most of us don’t make frequent visits into our attic spaces. But, eventually, the water will make its way into the insulation, walls and ceilings of your home. Roof leaks are also a common reason why attic mold grows.

Cleaning out your gutters lowers your risk of basement flooding and roof leaks. 

However, if you do find yourself with a flood due to clogged gutters, don’t worry - we won’t judge! We understand that despite a homeowner’s best intentions, life gets busy and accidents happen! Give our office a call and schedule an appointment with our team to restore your home “Like it never even happened.”

Video on how to clean out your gutters

Contact us if you have water or mold damage.

We Not Only Restore Your Home, We Rebuild It!

10/12/2020 (Permalink)

Most people know that SERVPRO is the nation's leader in water damage restoration.

You've seen the commercials, our trucks out on the road and perhaps a friend has used our service. However, many of our restoration customers are surprised to learn that our franchise, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, offers construction services as well.  

After the fire is put out, the water is extracted, the structure dried, the odor removed, the mold remediated, and the contents cleaned, there is often still the issue of returning the physical structure back to preloss condition. When our restoration crew has completed the restoration of water and fire damage in a structure, our building services team will take over for the rebuilding phase. 

Our professional and licensed contractors will meet with you to assess the damage and formulate a plan to rebuild your home or business.

Whether you need a few walls in your home sheet-rocked, a total replacement of your kitchen or a new roof, our team is trained and experienced to do the job. We work with your homeowner's insurance company estimator to ensure that the repair costs are in line with your policy's coverage.  

Using our building services team for your construction needs streamlines the process for you, enabling you to get back into your home as soon as possible. If you've had a fire in your Milford home, we know that you have been through a traumatic experience.

Our goal is to leave our customers a home that is even better than before their disaster happened.

OUR WORK

kitchen that we rebuilt after it experienced extensive water damage from a pipe burst in Middlebury.

Flooring, walls and molding replaced after water damage in a Waterbury home. 

Kitchen rebuild in a Torrington home. 

New walls and ceilings after an ice dam caused mold in this New Haven County home.

Commercial Fire Damage Clean Up and Restoration

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

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

Your Home has Water Damage and You've Called SERVPRO. What's Next?

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

Your Southbury area business has had water damage. Perhaps a pipe has broken, a toilet overflowed or your coffee maker line sprung a leak.

You’ve called SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington and have been assured that the crew is on their way to clean up the mess. After our property manager has inspected your property, work will begin based on their assessment. The crew will start to unload the trucks and begin work. While the bright green equipment is getting set up throughout your facility, you will likely wonder what all of it does.

When water damage occurs, we typically use the following equipment.

Air Mover and/or Axial Fans: Professional grade air movers and axial fans produce more air movement than a standard household fan. The higher volume of air being moved increases the rate of evaporation, helping to dry the structure as quickly as possible.

Dehumidifiers: A dehumidifier removes water vapor from the air by condensing it out against refrigerated fins. The water is stored and then periodically purged from the machine by use of plastic tubing. The tubing will generally be run so that it dumps water down a drain, such as a bath tub or sink, or sometimes out a window or door. Professional dehumidifiers pull much more vapor from the air than a household dehumidifier. In this way they are generally more efficient.

Air Scrubbers: An air scrubber might be used if your loss is a result of water classified as grey or black, which means that it came from a contaminated source or through building materials. These machines remove airborne particulates by trapping them in HEPA filters. Air Scrubbers are also used in cases where a customer has a health condition that requires the air quality be monitored.

Specialty Drying Equipment: There are a variety of different tools available to our technicians for use in specialty circumstances. For instance, a floor drying mat system allows the technician to create a vacuum system for removing moisture from hardwood floors, in order to try to dry them in place. This helps the floor dry faster, and generally gives us a better chance of saving the hardwood flooring.

If you have any questions about the equipment being used during the restoration of your commercial property, our crew chiefs and technicians are always available to explain the process and what the function of each of those machines in your building is.

We understand that our customers are not experts in water damage restoration. When you have water damage, we are here to help restore your property quickly and efficiently.

Why SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington?

10/5/2020 (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.

National Preparedness Month: "Make a Plan"

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness month and this year's theme is "Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today."

Here's the thing, it’s just not a high priority to many people because we really don’t believe a disaster will happen to us. We are all guilty of this. However, in our work, we see the reality of what a fire or flooding disaster can inflict on a family.  

So, please take the time to make a plan – especially those with children, disabled and elderly family members in your home. 

Start the conversation over dinner. Discuss what kind of emergencies could possibly happen that would require a plan. What if a storm comes while your children are at school? What if there is a fire in your house? Or their school bus has an accident? It’s important to empower children with the knowledge of what your family's plan is without scaring them. An excellent guide to assist you in achieving this is available at ready.gov/kids.

Practice your fire escape plan by having a home fire drill at least twice a year with everyone in the home.  Don’t forget to include your pets in this exercise, as they will be a concern if an actual event happens. You can practice evacuating in your car as well. Many people have “bug out bags” with basic supplies ready in case of emergency.  

We love the technology that is available to help in disasters. There are group texting apps that can be downloaded that will keep your family and circle of friends easily in contact in case of an emergency.  You can also download the FEMA app, which will give you weather alerts and necessary emergency updates. 

If you have a person in your home who relies on electrical medical equipment, contact your power company to get on a “priority reconnection service” list.  

Look, it takes a few hours every year to work on your plan so set the time aside this week and practice! 

We Remove the Stink from Commercial Properties

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

Nobody wants to live in a smelly home.

Unpleasant odors in your apartment building can permeate the walls, floors, carpeting and even make their way behind walls and into the ventilation shafts. Apartment complexes are often affected by cigarette smoke residue, animal smells from urine and spoiled meat odors. These odors can make their way out of the originating apartment and be smelled throughout the building, putting the management company in a difficult position. Or perhaps the apartment is vacant and you as the owner are trying to prepare it for a new tenant. Masking and other shortcuts don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent.

A standard cleaning will not remove these odors however the odor removal experts at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington can.

We have the training and equipment to identify and eliminate these offensive odors. By identifying the cause of the odor, and determining the conditions where it contacts surfaces, the odor can often be removed over time without a trace. Our technicians have access to several odor removal products capable of penetrating surfaces to neutralize an unpleasant odor thoroughly.

The science of identifying and eliminating odors can be a tricky thing, so give us a call and leave the restoration to us.

What Burned? An Important Factor in Fire Damage Restoration.

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

One of the most important things we need to know in order to properly treat fire damage is what materials burned. 

This information will help us determine what kind of smoke damage you have and establish the proper restoration plan. Not all smoke is equal  and each different type requires a different method of cleaning.  A quick breakdown of the types of smoke residue is:

  • Wet Smoke Residue -Wet smoke residue occurs from smoldering fires with low heat.  During these fires, synthetic materials such as plastics and rubbers, carpeting, furniture and electronics will have slowly smoldered. They tend to have a pungent odor and leave a sticky residue.  During cleaning, wet smoke residue can smear, making cleanup more difficult. 
  • Dry Smoke Residue – Dry smoke residue occurs during fast burning fires that burn at a high temperature. Natural materials such as paper, leather, natural rubber and wood are present in dry smoke fires.  Dry smoke residue is generally dry, powdery, gray in color and does not smear much. Homes that have experienced these fires are easier for our crew to restore. 
  • Protein Residue – Protein fires are most commonly caused when food burns in a kitchen. Protein residue is essentially invisible and a homeowner may be under a false impression that the damage is minor. However, there is actually soot covering the surfaces. If not properly removed, protein smoke will discolor paints, varnishes, and other finishes on your walls and cabinetry. One major indicator that there is an invisible residue after a kitchen fire is a very strong, obnoxious odor. 

The SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team treats each fire damage job individually and will determine which course of action to take after arriving at your home.  Call us at (203) 267-6262 for a quick response, an evaluation of your home's fire damage and a professional restoration plan. 

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. 

As Connecticut cautiously reopens, we are here to help!

5/12/2020 (Permalink)

As Connecticut cautiously reopens, we are here to help!

We are here and ready to aid you in your time of need, providing cleaning services so your facility can be cleaned and ready to resume business.

Our team is available to sanitize area businesses such as:

Nursing Homes
Hair Salons
Manufacturing Facilities
Apartment Complexes
Daycares
Summer Camps
Restaurants
Retail Shops
Medical Offices

We know that one size does not fit all when it comes to cleaning a business. We offer one time sanitization services so that businesses can reopen with a clean slate as well as regularly scheduled maintenance cleaning to support efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19 as customers flow through your building.

We also understand that as we move through this process of reopening, unforeseen situations may arise. Please know that we are here to help you navigate whatever lies ahead.

Spring Rain Brings Basement Flooding to Southbury Homes

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

The rain last week has caused flooding to a number of area homes and businesses. We've received many calls from home and business owners who need help drying out their homes. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is considered an essential business and we are open and cleaning homes throughout the closure. For their safety as well as our customers, our team is sticking to safety precautions while we work.

The reality is that flooding still happens and needs to be cleaned up quickly to prevent secondary damage. Quick action is the key to limiting damage if you have flooding. Here are some actions that can prevent mold from growing in your  home. 

  • Protect your belongings – remove light furniture and upholstered items as well as other items that are susceptible (cardboard boxes, carpets and other porous items) from the affected area. 
  • Remove as much water as possible using a wet/dry vacuum. 
  • Use fans to circulate the air and speed up the drying process. A good rule of thumb is to run the fans for an additional week after the area appears dry. 
  • A dehumidifier can be used as well to remove excess moisture and dry out the room. 

Water damage can easily be hidden underneath rugs or carpet, so be sure to give your home a thorough inspection if you suspect water damage. Although carpets can be steam cleaned, they are tough to treat and padding typically cannot be saved. 

If you do have wall to wall carpeting in your basement that has gotten wet from flood water, give us a call. We are an IICRC trained mold and water mitigation company and have the tools and expertise to treat your New Haven County home for damage.

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington's Response to Coronavirus in Connecticut

4/14/2020 (Permalink)

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit us all hard here in Connecticut. Our owner, staff and crew live here too and are experiencing work and school closures as well as the illness of our fellow residents alongside our neighbors.  Our team has made a commitment to keep our operations going and remain available to help our customers during this time. Not only do our customers continue to need restoration after water and fire damage, they now need the cleaning and sanitization of their homes and businesses.

We've considered ways in which we can keep our crew, as well as our customers, safe during this time. When on a job, our crew will be following social distancing guidelines, keeping 6 feet away from our customers. They now wear protective gear, including masks and gloves on all jobs. Additionally, our team is wiping down all surfaces that we touch with SERVPROXIDE™, a hospital-grade disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces. Currently there are no disinfectants that have been tested specifically for this particular emerging viral pathogen. However, per the CDC, this product can be used against COVID-19.  In addition, SERVPROXIDE™ currently has dozens of EPA-approved claims including Feline coronavirus, Canine coronavirus, Staphylococcus (MRSA), E. coli, Salmonella, Rotavirus, Swine flu (H1N1) and more. Porous materials like carpet, rugs, upholstered items, and draperies that are not water sensitive can also be wet cleaned using SERVPROXIDE™.

We've had calls from our business and residential customers seeking coronavirus cleaning - both as a proactive measure as well as in cases where there has been a confirmed case. In response, we are offering an affordable service to disinfect structures. This consists of applying SERVPROXIDE™ via foggers to sanitize  commercial and residential buildings. Please call our office at (203) 267-6262 for details and pricing on this service.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of our friends and neighbors who have been affected by coronavirus.

Appliance Leaks Cause Water Damage to Southbury Homes

4/7/2020 (Permalink)

With everyone spending more time within their homes during the pandemic, we are experiencing an increase in calls from homeowners with water damage with an appliance leak. It doesn’t take long for the water from an appliance leak to flood a house, leak through the floor and cause widespread damage. Appliance leaks cause damage to the wood flooring, carpets and the walls and ceiling of homes. The good news is that most insurance companies will cover water damage that is a result of a sudden malfunction of an appliance.

Nobody plans on an appliance leak in their home but they happen more often that you would imagine. Your immediate response when you discover an appliance leak at your home will be to stop the flow of water. Turning the water off at the main shut off valve will stop any further flooding.

After the water has been shut off, call our office at (203)  (203) 267-6262. We are open 24-7 and the sooner the water damage restoration process begins, the easier the and quicker the work will be. Our team is practicing safety precautions such as social distancing, the use of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves and sanitizing surfaces to protect them and you from any Covid-19 exposure. 

Despite COVID-19, Water Damage is Still Hitting Homes and Businesses in Southbury

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused most of our lives to halt to a stop. Despite this, home and business owners still face many of the same challenges that existed prior to this outbreak. Dishwashers malfunction, roofs leak and basements flood just like before.

We are all concerned about spreading the coronavirus and some of our friends and customers have expressed concern over having people in their homes and businesses. Yet, water damage must be addressed quickly. Please be assured that our crew is practicing the highest level of safety as they work, for their own protection as well as yours. Some of the practices our franchise is adhering to strictly are:

  • Personal Protection Equipment: Our crew is wearing gloves and masks on every job
  • Social Distancing: We are following social distancing guidelines and maintaining a safe distance from each other as well as those who must remain in the building as we work
  • Disinfecting: We are wiping down surfaces that we touch - such as doorknobs and light switches -  with SERVPROxide, a hospital grade disinfectant. When deemed necessary, we are also applying the same disinfectant with a fogger in order to further sanitize. 

Why can't you just wait for a few weeks until things go back to normal?

Unfortunately, the more time that goes by with untreated damage, the worse the situation gets. 

The First 24 Hours:

  • Drywall, which is found on the walls and ceilings of most Connecticut homes, gets saturated and begins to disintegrate. Many people discover their water leak only after the ceiling is already on the floor. That's how quickly this can happen. 
  • You will notice a musty smell and normal household odors grow stronger. 
  • Any uncoated metal surfaces, which are vulnerable to moisture in the air, will begin to tarnish.
  • Your furniture may begin to show signs of damage. In particular, laminated furniture and flooring will begin to swell and crack due to the moisture. 
  • Free-floating laminated flooring may also begin to pop out of place due to swelling.

48 Hours to 1 Week: 

  • The 'clean water' situation will have been upgraded to a 'gray water' intrusion.
  • You will notice an earthy smell in the home, which is caused by standing water as well as building materials and contents that have begun to decay.
  • Because of the high moisture levels, fungi, mold and mildew will begin to grow at this time, especially on porous materials such as sheetrock and carpeting. 
  • Wood building materials begin to show signs of damage as they swell, warp and split. You will notice this on window frames, wall moldings, the interior doors in your home and even studs and joists at this time. 
  • Rust and corrosion will begin to occur on metal items. 
  • Electronics in the home will begin to malfunction. 
  • Wood flooring and furniture begin to swell from the saturation. 
  • The Indoor Air Quality in the structure is compromised and health hazards can become an issue. Occupants of the home who are at risk due to health issues may begin to experience negative health effects.

More Than 1 Week: 

  • A 'black water' situation is most likely the case at this time due to the growth of bacteria and other harmful contaminates in the home. 
  • Mold spores will spread quickly and begin to break down natural materials, wallpaper, wood paneling, and other building materials
  • The structural safety of the home is in question as wood building materials are compromised.
  • The air quality in the home can pose a danger to all inhabitants.
  • The costs associated with your insurance claim exponentially rises.  The demolition and replacement of, rather than the restoration of, damaged materials becomes necessary. 
  • Our water damage restoration crews will be required to wear personal protection equipment in order to work in your home. 

SERVPRO is Here to Help During This Time of Need

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262.

Concerned About Coronavirus Affecting Your Business? We Can Help.

3/11/2020 (Permalink)

With the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) quickly spreading through the Northeast and Governor Lamont declaring a Public Health Emergency over the Coronavirus, we have started to receive calls from business owners who seek to keep their business clean.

Here's how we can help.

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington first cleans, then disinfects (with a hospital grade disinfectant) when cleaning a commercial space.  Cleaning removes the soil and dirt that harbors the infectious agents, while disinfecting kills the remaining environmental pathogens.

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 waste.
The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar type organisms to COVID-19.


SERVPROXIDE™, SERVPRO’s proprietary disinfectant, is a hospital-grade disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces. In addition, SERVPROXIDE™ currently has dozens of EPA-approved claims including Feline coronavirus, Canine coronavirus, Staphylococcus (MRSA), E. coli, Salmonella, Rotavirus, Swine flu (H1N1) and more.

The CDC encourages the cleaning of high touch surfaces. In a commercial setting, this list includes:

  • Shelves and Racks
  • Displays and Mannequins
  • Packaged Inventory
  • Fitting Room Stalls, Chairs and Walls
  • Doorknobs, Light Switches and Lamps
  • Carpets and Hard Flooring
  • Computers, Telephones and Registers
  • Bathrooms, Toilets and Changing Tables
  • Sales Counters
  • Elevator Cars. Handrails and Escalators
  • Playground and Fitness Equipment
  • Lockers and Water Fountains

The list could go on but you get the idea. When you think about it, almost every surface in a retail setting is touched by many people each day. For more information, see the website that the CDC has created, Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities, which addresses homes, childcare and K-12 schools, colleges and universities, work environments, healthcare settings, and large community events and mass gatherings.   

It's clear from the efforts of others countries that we can't stop the spread of the virus entirely however we can take what others have learned and apply it to the situation in Connecticut. Governor Lamont said he’s talked to other governors, including the governor of Washington State, and what they have told him is that the only thing they regret is that they didn’t do more sooner.

It is important to note that while proactive cleaning can help remove existing contamination, it will not prevent or protect the building from future contamination if an infected person was to enter and occupy the building. 

Call us at (203) 267-6262 to discuss how we can help your business.

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

3/3/2020 (Permalink)

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.

When Winter Thaws, Keep the Puddles Outside!

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

This week has been incredibly warm (with the thermometer hitting 56 degrees in Torrington today!)

With winter coming to an end, the ground is thawing out and with that, excess water will be created. Unless you have a water proof house, this could cause flood problems, particularly in your basement. We've compiled a few flood prevention tips that will help protect your home this spring. 

  • Inspect the drainage system: The drainage system on your property must be free of obstructions so the melted snow and ice will drain away from your home. Open your roof drains and make sure the floor drains of free of debris.  If you have flood drains outside your home, make sure they are clear as well. 
  • Inspect your gutters and downspouts: It's important to make sure that your downspouts and gutters are clear so that any ice and snow that is melting off of your roof has an exit point. With the winter we had, which brought high winds and snowstorms, there can be a plethora of leaves, twigs and branches blocking  your gutters. This can cause water damage by allowing water to enter your home through the roof. Also, if the water cannot drain properly, it will flow over the side of your gutter instead. This causes water buildup near the foundation of your home., which can lead to flooding in your basement. 
  • Test your sump pump: Many houses in Connecticut have sump pumps to assist in keeping the basement dry.  Sump pumps are a fantastic idea but only if they are working! Our Torrington office receives several calls a year from homes in which there is water damage from sump pump failure. There are some simple steps that you can take to make sure that your sump pump is in proper working order. We recommend doing so in early spring. 

It's been a long winter and we are finally coming out of it. Don't let your enjoyment of spring be hindered by a flooded basement or leaky roof. 

If you have water damage from flooding this spring, call the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team for professional water damage restoration with experience and training you can count on.   

What's in Your Ducts?

2/11/2020 (Permalink)

Do you ever wonder about the air quality in your home or business? About what might be in the ducts your air is circulating through and whether it might not be the best thing to be breathing in?

Dirt, debris and other air pollutants collect in duct work and are spread throughout your home. According to NADCA, homes with pets, that have had water damage, have cigarette smokers in them or have had recent construction work have an even higher risk of pollutants in the ducts.

Not only can dirty ducts harm your health, especially in homes in which an occupant has allergies or asthma, they also decrease the efficiency of your system and cost you money.

To schedule an appointment for air duct cleaning in your home, call us at (203) 267-6262. When cleaning your ducts, our crew will also perform an inspection for more hazardous substances such as mouse droppings (yes, it's a favorite spot for mice), mold and mildew.  Cleaning these from your system will eliminate any potential health hazards that can result from the spores being part of the air circulation in your Southbury home.   

A River of Muck Has Overflowed Out of Your Toilet. Our Advice? Don't Panic!

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

Bathroom floor covered with excrement and a newspaper that says welcome home on the floor When a toilet overflows, everything in the water's path will be contaminated.

There's not too much worse than flushing a toilet and watching the water rise up, flow over the edge and create a river of muck throughout the bathroom and beyond.  Especially if you are a guest at somebody else's home or in a public place!

Panic can quickly ensue when you are dealing with a clogged, overflowing toilet and you may not be  sure of how to handle the situation or what to do next. (No, the solution is NOT to call 911, as some distraught homeowners have done!!) 

After shutting off the water valve at the base of the toilet, you'll need to determine if you require a professional clean up. In general, if you have a modern toilet and the spill was limited to a single flush (1.6 gallons), you may be able to mop it up yourself. This is usually the case if you have a non-porous flooring such as ceramic tile and the water did not reach the sheet rock walls or extend out of the bathroom to other areas of the house. If these conditions are true of your situation, you can likely clean the mess up with bleach and hot water, taking care to dispose of all wastewater and cleaning materials properly. 

However, if you were not able to immediately shut off the water valve (many people walk out of the bathroom and don't realize there is disaster happening behind them) or someone repeatedly flushed the toilet, you may have far greater quantity of water spilled. Also, older toilets tanks hold 3-5 gallons of water so the volume of spilled water would be much greater. If the water seeped out to the hallway, saturating carpet or getting under laminated flooring, professional clean up will be required. 

Calling in a specialist will not only save you from having to clean up the mess yourself (let's face it - probably not high on your list!), it's also necessary to keep you and your home safe. Toilet bowl overflows are considered Category 2 water, also known as “gray water”. The water may contain human waste matter and contain bacteria and pathogens, which are harmful to human health. The flooding can allow for mold growth later on, particularly if water seeps into sub-flooring or under molding into interior wall voids. 

It's not a fun scenario for any of us but fortunately, the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team is up to the job. Our technicians are certified by the IICRC as Applied Microbial Remediation Technicians and wont skip any steps to endure your home is properly cleaned. 

Leave the clean up to us - call (203) 267-6262 if you have a toilet overflow that leaves a stinky mess. 

When an Apartment Building Catches Fire - Removing Soot and Smoke Damage.

1/27/2020 (Permalink)

When we have a job in which there was a fire at an apartment complex, the soot, smoke and water damage usually extends well beyond the area in which the fire originated. 

In situations where there are multiple units in a structure, the shared walls, hallways and ventilation system allow for the smoke and soot to spread quickly. Soot is comprised of miniscule carbon particles which are created by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (such as the wood, oil, coal, and more). Containing acids, chemicals and dust, soot leaves a sticky mess as well as a nasty odor behind when it travels through the air. Breathing in soot, or even if it enters a person’s body through their eyes, can cause serious health consequences. While we are working in homes and apartments that have been layered with soot, it’s often necessary for those living there to vacate the premises until it is clean. 

While smoke damage is usually not evident by sight, it can be a difficult beast to remove. Along with polluting the air, smoke can be absorbed into both hard and soft furnishings and structural components, such as walls, carpeting and furniture Typically, mattresses and carpeting need to be removed and discarded. Because smoke makes its way into cracks and crevices, part of our restoration process includes cleaning behind the walls.

One thing thing that doesn't always come to mind when people think about a home fire is the water damage that will occur. Apartment complexes in Connecticut all have sprinkler systems, which work wonders to keep tenants safe. However, when one apartment has a fire, the sprinkler system will trigger and soak the whole floor or building. Often, the water damage clean up is more extensive than the damage caused by the fire. 

With proper ventilation, air filtration, the removal of debris and the neutralization of odors, our crew helps you get back into your apartment as quickly as possible. 

SERVPRO Cleans Up Thomaston Homes After Heating Oil Spills

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

It’s wintertime in Connecticut and the signs are all here -  snowy boots by the doorway, icicles hanging off of eaves and trucks driving down the road at all hours delivering oil to keep our homes warm.

Heating oil is used to heat the majority of homes in the Torrington area. Even those of us with wood stoves also use oil to keep warm. It’s an easy and relatively safe way of heating our homes. However, accidents happen and several times a year, our office receives calls from homes in which there has been a home heating oil spill inside of a home. Typically, these spills occur when a tank is accidentally overfilled or there is a leak in the oil tank.  

There are health risks associated with inhaling the vapors from home heating oil. Fortunately, these spills are usually discovered immediately by the oil delivery company and the occupants of the home are able to leave the premises without being harmed. Inspecting your tank and looking for signs of rust and drips around the tank is the best way to detect a slow leak. 

When you’ve had an oil spill, professional clean up is necessary. We’ve found that local oil companies are quick to assist homeowners when they have made an error and overfilled your tank or caused a spill. While you wait for our arrival, we advise against attempting to clean up the spill yourself. You should ventilate the area where the leak occurred (most likely the basement) by opening windows and doors. Turn off all sources of flames or sparks in the area, such as pilot lights in water heaters and furnaces. Try to contain the fumes out of the living space by closing vents and doors to the basement if possible.

If your oil company accidentally overfills your tank, call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington for emergency clean up service. Our technicians are experienced in restoring homes after home heating oil spills and are here to help.

Happy New Year From All of Us at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Group of people posing for a photo in a restaurant We are looking forward to what the Twenties have in store for us!

With the Twenty-Teens coming to an end, we are amazed at how much our company has accomplished in the last decade.

Most notably, we went from one SERVPRO franchise to three. Our crew and staff numbers grew exponentially, as did our "fleet" (those bright green vans that you see on the road!). With the acquisition of the new franchises also came two new facilities which allowed us to accommodate our customers in new areas of Connecticut.

Looking back, we could not have imagined such growth and success. We owe it all to the collaborative effort of our owner, Greg Geaski, our staff and our crew -  many of whom have been with us for much of the last decade. And, of course, we couldn't have done it without our customers.

We're excited to see how the next decade unfolds and discover what's in store for us in the 2020's!

We wish all of our customers, friends and families a Happy New Year!

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.

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

Yes, We Will Rebuild Your Home After a Water or Fire Disaster.

9/24/2019 (Permalink)

Older man with Servpro shirt on Chuck Lynch, our construction and repair services manager, has over 25 years of experience.

Most people know that SERVPRO is the nations leader in water damage restoration.

You've seen the commercials, our trucks out on the road and perhaps a friend has used our service. However, many of our restoration customers are surprised to learn that our franchise, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, offers construction services as well.  

After the fire is put out, the water is extracted, the structure dried, the odor removed, the mold remediated, and the contents cleaned, there is often still the issue of returning the physical structure back to preloss condition. When our restoration crew has completed the restoration of water and fire damage in a structure, our building services team will take over for the rebuilding phase. 

Our professional and licensed contractors will meet with you to assess the damage and formulate a plan to rebuild your home or business.

Whether you need a few walls in your home sheetrocked, a total replacement of your kitchen or a new roof, our team is trained and experienced to take do the job. We work with your home owner's insurance company estimator to ensure that the repair costs are in line with your policies coverage.  

Using our building services team for your construction needs streamlines the process for you, enabling you to get back into your home as soon as possible. If you've had a fire in your Milford home, we know that you have been through a traumatic experience.

Our goal is to leave our customers a home that is even better than before their disaster happened.

OUR WORK

A kitchen that we rebuilt after it experienced extensive water damage from a pipe burst in Middlebury.

Flooring, walls and molding replaced after water damage in a Waterbury home. 

Kitchen rebuild in a Torrington home. 

New walls and ceilings after an ice dam caused mold in this New Haven County home.

Clean Out Your Gutters This Fall to Reduce Your Risk of Water Damage

9/17/2019 (Permalink)

broken gutter filled with leaves and with water dripping out of it When your gutters are filled with leaves, they cannot function properly and may cause basement flooding and roof leaks.

The start of the school year has begun, the weather has been cool and the first day of fall is next week.

With all of the pumpkiny, cinnamon-spicey, sweatery ads popping up in my Facebook feed, it comes at no surprise! And I have to admit that as much as I am sorry to see summer end, fall is my favorite season and I am looking forward to the crisp air and coziness that it brings. We are so lucky to live in New England and be surrounded by the fall colors that the changing of the leaves brings. Of course, those leaves fall and often land in our gutters, which can cause water damage to your home.

I’m sure that it goes without saying for most of you, however, I’m going to go ahead and remind you to clean out your gutters this fall.

I usually find myself doing this task twice- once at the beginning of the season to get all of the wet, decaying leaves and twigs that have accumulated all year out. Then, I go out a second time in November, after all of the leaves have fallen but before the snow falls, to do a clearing of all of the new leaves. I do want to caution our readers that cleaning gutters should be done with care. If it cannot be done safely, please reach out to one of the many wonderful specialists in our area to do it for you. 

A common cause of roof and water damage in residential properties is malfunctioning gutters.

When your gutters are clogged, the water collects and spills out of the top in both directions. When it falls away from your house, it pools and causes problems at your foundation level, causing damage to your foundation and often flooding your basement. When it flows out onto your roof, it can create a leaking problem in your attic. Roof leaks often go unnoticed because most of us don’t make frequent visits into our attic spaces. But, eventually, the water will make its way into the insulation, walls and ceilings of your home. Roof leaks are also a common reason why attic mold grows.

Cleaning out your gutters lowers your risk of basement flooding and roof leaks. 

However, if you do find yourself with a flood due to clogged gutters, don’t worry - we won’t judge! We understand that despite a homeowner’s best intentions, life gets busy and accidents happen! Give our office a call and schedule an appointment with our team to restore your home “Like it never even happened”.

Video on how to clean out your gutters

Contact us if you have water or mold damage.

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington Offers Free Emergency Plan App to Business Owners

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

house with orange servpro logo on it SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington offers the Emergency Ready Profile app free of charge to business owners.

A big part of our business is restoring commercial properties after a business has had water damage. When there is flooding at a business, there are a number of quick decisions to be made. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington helps businesses prepare a disaster response plan, not just for floods but for anything that requires quick action.  

Our franchise offers a free mobile app, called the Emergency Ready Profile or ERP, which enables your employees to easily respond to any emergency situation. Give us a call and one of our marketing representatives will come out to your facility and help create your plan.  

The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Plan serves as a quick reference of important building and contact information or can be an ideal supplement to any well-designed emergency preparedness or existing contingency program.  Whoever has access to the app will be able to utilize it in an emergency situation. Questions such as “Where are the water valves” or “What circuits need to be shut off” are easily answered. The people who need to be called- such as your plumber, security company or utility company – are all programmed into the app. It can even include the chain of command - people within the company who need to be called and their contact info. With the ERP, no matter who is on duty when a disaster happens, they will have a clear plan to follow and your facility and employees will be protected.   

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington offers the ERP free of charge. Call us today at  (203) 267-6262 to discuss how we can help your business.  

Do you Have Renter's Insurance to Protect Your Belongings From Fire and Water Damage?

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Apartment Building on Fire Purchasing a renter's insurance policy will protect your belongings in the case of an apartment fire. .

There are many residents of Southbury who rent their home or apartment and are unsure of whether they should purchase renter’s insurance.

While it’s true that your landlord has an insurance policy on the building, your belongings are not covered under their policy in the case of theft, or a a disaster such as a fire or flooding.  

Having renter’s insurance is an inexpensive way of protecting your furniture, electronics and other belongings. In our years of commercial water and fire damage restoration in New Haven County, we have spoken to many apartment renters who were not insured. It’s devastating enough to wake up to a fire in your apartment and have to leave all of your belongings inside in order to get to safety. But finding out that you will not be reimbursed for your losses doubles the catastrophe.  

In an apartment complex, you are vulnerable to damage from other units. If there is a fire, the smoke will travel easily and cause damage to your belongings even if the fire is several floors away. An upstairs neighbors broken washing machine becomes your problem when the water from flooding crashes through your ceiling.  

We recommend that all renter's purchase insurance. Believe it or not, the average cost of renters insurance is $15 per month. That’s a small price to pay for the protection of your belongings. Most insurance companies offer renter’s insurance. If you are happy with your automobile insurance company, getting a quote on renter’s insurance from them would be a good start.  

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington Offers Full Water Damage Restoration Services in Commercial Properties

8/28/2019 (Permalink)

Contractor cutting wood in a commercial warehouse After the water damage has been treated, our Building Services Team comes in to repair and replace damaged areas of your commercial property.

When you've had a flood at your business, most area restoration companies will remove the water and perhaps the damaged materials in your home and consider the job done. 

At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we offer complete restorations services. This means that we have a CT licensed construction team as part of our company who will repair and rebuild the damaged areas of your business after our restoration team has done their work.  Our contractors will pick up where our restoration team has left off without missing a beat. Our team understands the full scope of the work to be done.  When you have one contractor do the restoration and another do the reconstruction, an instant gap in communication exists. Dealing with two separate companies can create a situation where things slip through the cracks.  

As a business owner, you need the restoration work completed quickly, efficiently and properly after you've had flooding. We understand the urgency and that's why our restoration crew is on call 24/7 in the case of an emergency. 

If your Southbury business has water damage, give us a call to discuss the restoration and rebuilding process with our office. 

Question From Our Customers: Is Blood Considered a Biohazard?

8/21/2019 (Permalink)

graphic explains why blood is considered a biohazard. Because it contains dangerous pathogens, blood is considered a biohazard and requires professional cleanup when present at commercial properties,

At times, we receive calls from business owners who are concerned that there may be a biohazardous situation in their building that requires a professional clean up.

Most of our customers know that bodily fluids can contain dangerous pathogens and are considered biohazards. However, they are not quite certain whether blood is a biohazard that requires professional clean up or if it they can clean it up themselves.  

The definition of the word biohazard is “a substance that is a risk to human health or the environment arising from biological work, especially with microorganisms.” 

Biohazards include bacteria, microorganisms, biologically derived toxins and viruses.  Exposure to biohazards can be harmful and even fatal to humans and animals. Biohazards can also be toxic to the environment if not properly cleaned.  

Because blood contains pathogens such as HIV and Hepatitis B&C, it is categorized as a biohazard and requires professional removal when present at commercial properties.  Professionals who remediate biohazard situations must follow the protocol that has been established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.  In addition to proper training, this protocol includes the use of personal protective gear such as a face shield or mask, eye protection and gloves.  

The technicians at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington have been trained to effectively and safely clean and remove blood and other hazardous bodily fluids from commercial properties.

Please call us at (203) 267-6262 if you have a biohazard situation at your business that requires our professional and discrete services.

Blown-in Insulation Removal in Southbury Homes and Businesses

8/13/2019 (Permalink)

Blown in insulation can contain animal feces from bats, mice and other animals who are living in your attic.

Many homes in the Southbury area have blown-in insulation. It’s a popular choice as it provides full coverage, is easy to install and is very efficient method of insulating the home. On occasion, a homeowner will find themselves in a situation in which the blown-in insulation will need to be removed from their home.

There are a number of reasons why the removal of blown-in insulation might be necessary including:

Water Damage Events: 

When your home has a leak or flooding, the insulation will have water damage along with the rest of your home. Because wet insulation can promote mold growth, it can be a health hazard for those in the home. Wet insulation also loses its effectiveness because it has become compacted and no longer insulates your home as intended. 

Old Insulation:

Today’s standards of insulation are far greater than what a home would have been required to have 20 years ago. Older insulation is thinner and has a lower R-value. If this is the case in your home, having it removed and replaced will help in keeping your home better insulated. 

Animal Infestations:

Mice, bats, and birds  often make a nice home of your attic space. The feces from these animals spread contaminants and disease in your home.  Animal waste also causes the insulation to compact, creating a better environment for animals to build a nest, which will exacerbate the problem. 

The SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team is experienced in blown in insulation removal.

We use commercial vacuums to safely and effectively remove the old insulation as well as any debris. Once the insulation has been removed, our team is able to assess any further damage to the structure, such as wet subfloors or walls, that will also require treatment or replacement. Once all of the damaged materials have been removed,  the affected area is decontaminated and sanitized prior to the new insulation being blown in. 

If you need the insulation in your home removed, call our office at  (203) 267-6262 for an inspection today.

Meet The Team: Roseann Santamaria, Business Development

7/24/2019 (Permalink)

servpro employee standing Roseann Santamaria is part of the Business Development Team at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.

These days, most of us use online reviews as a factor in our decision of which product to buy or company to hire. Online reviews are especially helpful in our industry, as most homeowners have not researched water damage restoration companies until they find themselves in an emergency situation.

We recently received a recommendation on Facebook from an insurance professional who has worked with Roseann Santamaria, from our Business Development Department, over the years. Judith had received a call from a homeowner who had flooding and was not able to find a restoration company who could come out quickly. Judith knew exactly who to call. 

"I sell homeowners insurance and had an insured call in frantic to put in a claim for a busted pipe. The insured has severe allergies to mold and was very concerned about it. Before she called our office she called two remediation companies, both said they could be there in 1-2 days. She called our office and asked if I knew anyone who could come out. While I was on the phone with my insured I texted Roseann with SERVPRO, she immediately responded. I let my insured know Roseann would reach out to her, before I hung up with the insured Roseann was calling on her other line! Roseann got her crew out the same day and my insured was thrilled with Roseann’s service. Roseann’s quick response and great follow through with my insured made me shine in my clients eyes. I highly recommend Roseann with SERVPRO!"

Roseann grew up in Shelton, CT, and has lived in the area all of her life. She went to school and college locally and raised her family here.  She has been with SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington since 2017, having to come to us after a decade of running her own auto glass business. Roseann loves spending time with her family, visiting Port Jeff, boating, reading and golfing. She hopes to visit Aruba some day soon!

If you live in the area, it's likely that you've crossed paths with Roseann at some point. She is very active in our community and can be found volunteering to play Mrs. Claus at a local school, collecting food for the Sterling House Community Center, participating in a number of charity golf tournaments or attending a Chamber of Commerce event.

Life is not always easy and we are amazed at Roseann's ability to look past her own circumstances and always be on the lookout for a way that she can help others. A while back, I asked Roseann what she loves about her job here at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington. She replied:

"When you get that phone call from your client with a "thank you" that you were able to help their client when they needed you the most.  You know that you have their trust in your team and in you."

Smoke and Soot Removal After Commercial Warehouse Experiences Vehicle Fire

7/14/2019 (Permalink)

After this a vehicle caught fire at this commercial warehouse, the SERVPRO team restored the building of soot and smoke damage.

Our Torrington office is regularly called by business owners who have had a fire in their facility. Often, the structure of the building has not been severely damaged however the smoke and soot that remain are substantial and require professional clean up. 

Soot is comprised of miniscule carbon particles which have been created by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels  such as wood, oil and coal. Soot contains a mixture of acids, chemicals and metals as well as soils, and dust.  When there has been a fire, soot spreads throughout the structure and sticks to the surfaces. 

In a commercial building, soot can cover not only the contents but also the walls, floors and ceilings. We recently had a job in which a vehicle fire occurred on the loading dock of a warehouse. Inside of the 100.000 square foot warehouse, the walls were covered with soot. Not only is soot messy and smelly, it can also pose a health risk to those in the building.

Professional clean up of soot is necessary after a fire at your commercial property. When you call our office for restoration, we understand that yours is an emergency situation. Our team, who is on call 24/7, will arrive onsite quickly after receiving your initial call. One of our project managers will conduct an inspection and assessment of the situation and advise you on their recommendations for restoration.

When your commercial property has had damage after a fire, we will be with you every step of the way to restore your facility and put you back in business.

What's That Smell? The Words No Homeowner Wants to Hear.

7/10/2019 (Permalink)

The hydroxyl generator is a new green technology, and the industry's most advanced solution for eliminating odors.

Let’s talk about stink.

There are some smells that make you want to leave your house. A dead animal behind a wall, cigarette smoke and musty odors can seem impossible to eliminate. The truth about odors is that they can linger despite how much you clean. Once they are embedded into or behind walls and floors, removing the smell can require professional help. 

The technicians at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington are trained to identify and eliminate offensive odors. These odors can come from a number of sources both inside and outside of a structure. You already know that masking with candles or room sprays don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent. At SERVPRO, we utilize a number of techniques to remove odors from surfaces and the air including: 

Absorbents. We often use odor absorbers in hard to reach spaces such as air ducts and behind walls.

Neutralization. Using a neutralizing agent, we are able to change chemical properties of the odor molecules. Thermal fogging works in this manner.

Biocides. When an odor is caused by microorganism growth, biocides are used to stop their growth.

Ozone machines are used by the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team to remove odor They work by attacking ozone molecules and pollutants at their source to oxidize the air.

You deserve to love the way your house smells! If you have found it impossible to remove that stink yourself, give us a call at (203) 267-6262.

Is it Important to Have Your HVAC Ducts Cleaned?

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

If you have an HVAC system in your home, you've probably wondered whether or not it needs to be cleaned.

At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we recommend having your HVAC ducts cleaned on an annual basis. Dirt , debris and other air pollutants collect in ductwork and can be spread throughout your home. In addition, dirty ducts can decrease the efficiency of your system and cost you money. When you call us for a cleaning, our crew will also inspect your ducts for more hazardous substances such as mouse droppings (yep, it's a favorite spot for mice), mold and mildew.  Cleaning these from your system will eliminate any potential health hazards that can result from the spores being part of the air circulation in your Waterbury home.  

Scheduling a duct cleaning is easy. Just give our office a call at (203) 267-6262 and we will schedule an appointment time that works for you.

Fireworks Safety Tips For Your 4th of July Celebration

6/25/2019 (Permalink)

With the 4th of July around the corner, we have already started hearing fireworks being set off in our Southbury area neighborhoods.  Let's face it, it's hard to resist picking up a few things that go bang and some sparklers for the kids.  At the risk of sounding like a killjoy, we do want to remind our customers that fireworks, and even sparklers, cause quite a bit of damage and bodily injury each year. 

In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year. This includes 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and 16,900 outdoor fires. The NFPA recommends that you leave fireworks to the professionals however if you want to set a few off in your driveway, here are a few tips to keep it safer.  

  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show. 
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks. 
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away. 
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles. 
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water. 
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby. 
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers. 
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks. 
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day. 

Adults should always handle fireworks. Although sparklers are fun, they account for roughly one quarter of fireworks injuries. If you give kids sparklers, make sure they keep them outside and away from the face, clothing, and hair. Sparklers can reach 1,800°F (982°C) — hot enough to melt gold. Kids are also drawn to investigate the used pieces of fireworks that lie on the ground after an event. Discourage this, as some may hot and even still be ignited and can cause burns.

Pet safety is also a concern on the 4th of July. Think about your pet. Animals have sensitive ears and can be very frightened or stressed by the noise that fills the day.  Don't bring your dog to the barbecue – they are happier and safer if left inside. Create a comfortable place inside your home for your pet. Finally, make sure your pet has accurate identification tags on them in case they run away because of the loud noises. 

Whether you choose to stay at home or go to a public fireworks show, stay safe and have a great time! 

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)

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)

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)

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. 

When it Rains, it Pours.

4/23/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Washing Machines, Dishwashers and Refrigerators and the Water Damage they can Cause

4/11/2019 (Permalink)

Sometimes, water damage comes from an unlikely source such as an appliance in your home.

In the past month, the team at SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County has responded to water damage emergencies in homes that were caused by leaking washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerator lines. The appliances failed without warning, leaving the homeowners dealing with an unexpected mess.

The problem with appliance leaks is that they often happen when the homeowner is away from the house. How many of us turn on the dishwasher prior to leaving our homes for the day? We expect to return to clean dishes but rather, find our homes flooded. Similarly, many of us run the washing machine while we are sleeping or not at home.In the case of a washing machine, failures can happen due to a leaky door seal, a loose hose or a shot pump. 

It doesn’t take long for the water from an appliance leak to flood a house, leak through the floor and cause widespread damage. Appliance leaks cause damage to the wood flooring, carpets and the walls and ceiling of homes. The good news is that most insurance companies will cover water damage that is a result of a sudden malfunction of an appliance.

Nobody plans on an appliance leak in their home but they happen more often that you would imagine. We’ve seen this in the case of new and old appliances. Your immediate response when you discover an appliance leak at your home will be to stop the flow of water. Turning the water off at the main shut off valve (typically found in the basement of Newtown area homes) will stop any further flooding.

After the water has been shut off, call our office at (203) 743-5362. We are open 24-7 and the sooner the water damage restoration process begins, the easier the and quicker the work will be.

Older Homes in the Torrington Area are at Risk for Water Damage

4/9/2019 (Permalink)

Wood floors buckling and with dark stains are a sure sign of water damage

The Litchfield County area is known for its beautiful old houses in a picturesque setting. Hundreds of years old, these homes are reminders of how things used to be. We’ve seen homes in which the crawlspaces reveal rocks stacked on top of each other for the foundation. That these structures still stand is a testament to the craftsmanship of our ancestors.

As impressive as old houses are, however, it is inevitable that they might be plagued by structural problems. Foundations crack and shift, creating a risk of water damage.  Old electrical wires that often do not meet code can fray as well as overload the system, causing an electrical fire. The plumbing systems that were added long after these homes were built are often not installed to today’s standards. Septic systems deteriorate and break with age. There are a host of problems that cause water damage to older homes.

If you have an older home in Connecticut, be vigilant about the warning signs of water damage.

Water stains. Water stains are the most common and obvious indication that you have a leak.You may see them on the ceilings or walls. Have all water stains inspected to see what the source is.

Deteriorating wood. In particular, keep your eye on door and window frames as well as baseboards and molding which are the first areas to show water damage because of a leaking window or door.

Buckling floors. If there is an appliance leak that goes unnoticed, a pipe leak under a sink or a gap around your shower door, you may end up with floors that absorb the water. Wood flooring absorbs the water, which makes it swell and buckle. Vinyl will curl up at the edges, which gives you a clue that there is a problem.

Pay attention to suspicious smells. If you notice a moldy or mildew smell, find the source even if there is nothing visible. Water damage can cause mold to grow behind walls and can cause serious damage if not mitigated.

Do you have water damage in your older home? Call Us Today (203) 267-6262.

Hoarding Situations Cause Water, Fire and Mold Risks to Connecticut Homes

4/3/2019 (Permalink)

When hoarding affects the safety of a home and those in it, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is here to help.

A few decades ago, when we first got into this business, hoarding existed however it seemed uncommon. The extent to which how many Americans are affected by this problem was not known to the average person. Thanks to reality TV shows and the internet, many people now understand why hoarding exists and how difficult it can be to manage.

Hoarding is a mental health disorder in which a person has a difficult time discarding possessions.

A home affected by hoarding can be a physical danger as well as a health risk. Hoarding might also affect your ability to renew your homeowners insurance policy. If your insurance company becomes aware that a home is not being properly maintained when they do their traditional drive by at renewal time, they may cancel your policy. The potential for water, mold and fire damage as well as insect and rodent infestations in the home of a hoarder are too much of a risk. We have even seen homes in which the structural integrity is compromised (floors bowing in from the weight of the contents of the home) because of hoarding.

We are sometimes called to a home to treat a water or mold damage in which the number of contents in the home make restoration difficult. Hoarders often do not have clear access throughout their homes and windows and doors might be blocked by piles of items. This creates a fire hazard as there might not be a safe way to exit the home in case of fire. Emergency personnel may have difficulty responding to a health call because hoarding has made the home inaccessible.  

Items that are stored and not used become a breeding ground for dust and dirt, which causes poor air quality in a home. Vents are often blocked in the homes of hoarders, reducing air circulation. Puddles, water damage and leaks go unnoticed and are left untreated. Combined with an endless food source from the boxes, fabric and paper that often accompanies hoarding, mold easily grows unnoticed in these homes.

Unstable piles of household goods can cause tripping, slipping and head injuries from falling objects. Flammable items can easily catch fire if they are too close to a heating source or stove. Clutter, garbage, animal or human feces can also cause respiratory and other health problems.  

There is no simple solution to hoarding.

Often the hoarder does not acknowledge a problem and it is only when there is an emergency that the problem is addressed. We approach the restoration of homes with hoarding with sensitivity and an understanding that the removal of items may be difficult for the homeowner. Our crew uses their training and equipment to remove debris, including biohazardous substances. We are able to clean contents to ensure that items being returned to the home are not contaminated. We may need to remove carpets and walls if they contain water or mold damage. We leave the home sanitized, deodorized and safe to live in.  

If you or a loved one feel that the contents of your home have gotten out of control and you are concerned about safety, call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262 for a consultation.

The Causes of Mold in Southbury Area Commercial Properties

3/25/2019 (Permalink)

If you find mold growing at your commercial property, call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington for professional and efficient mold remediation services.

When a business owner finds mold in their commercial property, they know it's something that can't be ignored. 

There has been quite a bit of attention on mold in businesses and the potential health hazards it poses to employees and customers lately.  Mold exists naturally in our environment and is not harmful at regular levels. It's when mold has the opportunity to grow at a rapid rate that it becomes of concern. 

In order to grow, mold requires certain conditions to be met. Mold spores need to be present and have a food source (examples would be cotton, sheetrock, plywood, etc.). In addition, mold requires darkness, oxygen and warm temperatures. However, these are typical conditions in most homes. The factor that most determines whether mold will grow in a commercial property is moisture.  

Some of the most common causes of commercial mold damage are:  

Leaky Pipes:  Whether you own a shopping center with public restrooms or an apartment complex, a slow leak might not be obvious to a homeowner but over time can create an environment that is ideal for mold growth. 

The fix: Periodically check pipes, walls and cabinetry for any signs of leaking.  Ask your tenants to report any signs of moisture such as water spots on the ceiling immediately so that the problem can be remedied before mold grows. 

Basement Mold: Many area businesses have a basement. This might be used for storage in the case of an apartment building. Due to low sunlight, condensation, high humidity, flooding and leaks, the basement is a common location for mold growth. In addition, people spend little time in their basement and are less likely to spot it early on.

The fix: If there is flooding, have your basement waterproofed. Keep humidity levels down with a dehumidifier. Again, your tenants and building maintenance crew are your eyes - ask them to report any signs of moisture or mold immediately. 

If you spot mold in your Torrington area business, give us a call at  203-267-6262. Our mold specialists are IICRC certified and have over 30 years of experience inspecting mold. We know exactly how to mitigate the mold at your commercial property with the least amount of disruption to your business continuity. 

Cigarette and Animal Odors in Southbury Area Apartment Complexes can Cause a Big Stink

3/20/2019 (Permalink)

As cute as they are, your pet can leave a big stink.

Nobody wants to live in a smelly home.

Unpleasant odors in your apartment building can permeate the walls, floors, carpeting and even make their way behind walls and into the ventilation shafts. Apartment complexes are often affected by cigarette smoke residue, animal smells from urine and spoiled meat odors. These odors can make their way out of the originating apartment and be smelled throughout the building, putting the management company in a difficult position. Or perhaps the apartment is vacant and you as the owner are trying to prepare it for a new tenant. Masking and other shortcuts don't work when your odor problem is serious or persistent.

A standard cleaning will not remove these odors however the odor removal experts at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington can.

We have the training and equipment to identify and eliminate these offensive odors. By identifying the cause of the odor, and determining the conditions where it contacts surfaces, the odor can often be removed over time without a trace. Our technicians have access to several odor removal products capable of penetrating surfaces to neutralize an unpleasant odor thoroughly.

The science of identifying and eliminating odors can be a tricky thing, so give us a call and leave the restoration to us.

CAT 1. CAT 2. CAT 3. Know the Different Types of Water Damage.

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

The cause of your water damage determines that type of restoration clean up that it requires.

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. 

Smoke and Soot Removal After the Fire is Out

3/7/2019 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262 to restore your home after damage from smoke and soot.

Not only can the flames of a fire cause enormous damage, the ash, soot and smoke residue create a noxious environment in the home.

Both smoke and soot can create irritating odors, discolor walls or ceilings and cause breathing issues if there is a high concentration of ash left over. 

Even a small home fire can cause a great amount of damage due to soot and smoke damage. We have arrived at jobs where a small kitchen fire may have caused minimal structural damage, yet smoke has managed to permeate items throughout the home and soot has covered every surface of the home.  If you were to look at photos of a home with smoke damage, the damage doesn't appear substantial yet the clean up job is a big one.  

SERPVRO of Southbury/Torrington is IICRC Certified to restore your home after a fire. When called to a job in the Woodbury, CT area, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington crew members have the expertise and equipment to properly treat all surfaces of ash and soot. Because ash can reactive negatively to certain cleaning agents, possibly causing permanent damage and toxic fumes, this is not a job that can be done with store bought cleaning agents. We have a large production facility in which we clean and store personal belongings off site while the home restoration is ongoing.  

Call us at (203) 743-5362 if you need help bringing your Southbury home back to pre-fire condition.

We are Grateful for Our Team on Employee Appreciation Day

2/26/2019 (Permalink)

Thank you to our team on this Employee Appreciation day!

March 1st is National Employee Appreciation Day and we couldn't let that pass without a shout out to our staff and crew for all of the hard work that they do.

We know that the job that they do isn't always easy. Our crew often works in less than optimal conditions - cleaning up sewage backups, household heating oil spills and mold infestations in residences and businesses throughout the Torrington area. They are on call 24 hours a day and seven days a week to respond to water and fire damage emergencies. They bring a positive attitude to each job that they arrive at and help our customers through a difficult time with respect and courtesy.

Our fantastic crew is supported by an office staff who are unparalleled in their ability to keep us all organized and on task while at the same time serving our customers 110%. We are amazed at their ability to juggle so many tasks with calm and ease.

We are grateful to have found this amazing group of people who make up our team and want to send them a BIG THANK YOU on this Employee Appreciation Day!

Does your Southbury, CT Bathroom Have a Mold Problem?

2/20/2019 (Permalink)

An unnoticed small leak behind a toilet bowl can cause a cause a big mold problem to Southbury area homes.

Moisture? Check. 

Darkness? Check. 

Heat? Check. 

Porous material? Check. 

When it comes to mold growth, the environment in a bathroom checks all of the boxes.   

It is indeed the most common place that mold is spotted in residences. In fact, most bathrooms have some traces of mold. It is not a statement about the cleanliness of a house but rather just the nature of bathrooms themselves.  

There are ways, however, to minimize your risk of mold growth in the bathroom.

Keep your eyes open for: 

  • Inadequate Ventilation: Be sure that the exhaust fan in your bathroom is in good working order. The steam created by hot showers and baths requires an exit route. Without one, all of the moisture from the water collects on the walls and ceiling of your bathroom. 
  • Leaky pipes: Pipes can leak under the sink as well as in the walls and go unnoticed, which allows mold to grow unchecked. Behind the walls, mold has all of the elements of life- water, dark and porous materials to grow on.  
  • Water leaks from shower doors and toilets: Is your shower door is malfunctioning and allow a little water out on a regular basis? Or maybe your toilet has a slow leak. Perhaps the kids splash water out of the tub that doesn’t get wiped up immediately. These can all allow the water to seep under the molding and into the walls and floor boards.  
  • Shower Tile: Inside the shower is a very common place for mold to grow due to the moisture and soap present. While mold might begin to grow on them, with vigilance this can typically be cleaned up by a homeowner.  

The good news is that not all bathroom mold is toxic and not all bathroom mold requires professional mediation. Mold that is isolated to non-porous materials such as shower enclosures can be often be cleaned with water and mild detergent.

Mold that is found behind walls and on porous materials such as wood and sheetrock, however, requires professional remediation.

If you find mold in your bathroom, give the mold remediation team at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington a call at (203) 267-6262 to schedule a consultation.  

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

2/14/2019 (Permalink)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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.

Winter Storm Watch, Advisory and Warning- What's the Difference?

11/30/2018 (Permalink)

Know the difference between a Winter Storm Watch, Advisory and Warning to Keep Your Family Safe This Winter!

We have entered that time of year in Connecticut when the weather channels will start to warn us that there is a Winter Storm Watch, Warning or Advisory. Rarely will a week go by without one of these warnings in Connecticut. If you've wondered what the difference is between the three, here you go!

WINTER STORM WATCH is the first level of warning. It signifies that conditions are favorable to produce winter weather: snow, sleet, freezing rain, icy roads and the like. These conditions may or may not occur, but the weather service is alerting residents to the possibility. In Connecticut, heavy snow means 7 inches or more of accumulation in 24 hours or less. A winter storm watch is a long range prediction. They are issued at least 12 hours before the hazardous winter weather is expected to begin. When the storm becomes imminent, or has a high probability of occurring, the watch will be upgraded to a "WARNING".

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is the second level of warning - a middle man between the watch and warning. It is issued when winter weather is likely to create a hazard. Generally, the weather service is expecting snow, sleet, freezing rain, icy roads and other dangerous conditions. You may see a specific Wind Advisory or a Freezing Rain Advisory issued when these conditions are likely to be coming our way.  

WINTER STORM WARNING means that a winter storm is either expected soon or already taking place. Heavy snow, white-out blizzards, sleet, high winds and significant ice accumulations may be imminent, and residents should prepare immediately for deteriorating conditions. This is issued when a dangerous combination of heavy snow, with sleet and/or freezing rain, will occur or has a high probability of occurring within the next 12 hours. 

And in the Torrington area, we're bound to see a BLIZZARD WARNING a few times over the season.This is issued for a combination of strong winds averaging or frequently gusting to, or above, 35 miles an hour and very low visibility due to blowing or falling snow. These are the most dangerous winter storms and can be especially severe when combined with temperatures below 10 degrees.

Of course, as we all know in Litchfield County, the weather can change hour by hour so your best course of action is to check updates regularly and prepare for the worst!

Leaking Roofs Cause FIre, Water and Mold Damage in Torrington, CT

11/16/2018 (Permalink)

A leaking roof can cause not only damage the structural integrity of your Torrington 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 Woodbury 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 Torrington, CT home, call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262.

What to do if the Pipes Burst in Your Southbury Home or Business

11/8/2018 (Permalink)

When pipes freeze and then burst, knowing which steps to take can save your home from extreme damage.

The most common call we get in the winter here in the Southbury, CT area is from customers whose pipes have frozen and burst.  Often, a homeowner isn't aware that their pipes have frozen and they walk into their home after a thaw to a flood.  As devastating as this might experience can be, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the damage while you wait for help to arrive. 

Turn off your water and electricity. 

If you live in a house, turn off your water supply (and don't wait until a pipe bursts to locate it!) as well as the electricity  to the area of the house where the burst has occurred. If you live in an apartment building or condo, be sure to alert your building manager immediately as the water could also affect neighboring units. 

Place a catch bucket under the leak 

If water is coming through the ceiling, place a bucket or garbage can under the leak to catch the water. If the ceiling is bulging or the leaking is widespread, piercing a hole in the sheetrock will allow the water to flow through one spot.  

Drain your pipes 

Run all of the faucets throughout your house with cold water to clear as much water from the pipes as possible. Flush the toilets as well. Turn off your hot water heater and run the hot water from all faucets.  

Call a plumber 

Again, preparing ahead will work in your benefit. It can be difficult to find a plumber who is   immediately available to respond to your frozen pipe emergency.  Choosing and establishing a relationship with a local Litchfield County plumber ahead of time will go a long way in getting quicker service. 

Call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington

Our water mitigation team will respond quickly and begin the clean up process. The sooner we are called to dry the home out and remove wet sheetrock, carpets, flooring  and other materials, the less the damage can spread and cause additional problems. 

Call your Insurance Agency 

The sooner you submit a claim, the quicker you will be reimbursed for payments made to plumbers and contractors.  Our experienced office staff, Theny, Alexis and Kathy, will handle insurance negotiations and paperwork from our end so that you don't have to.  

Discovering that your home is flooded because of frozen pipes can be a stressful experience. We've been told by many customers throughout our twenty years as a franchise that having our team come out quickly and efficiently mitigate the damage has taken much of the stress out of the situation.  Give us a call  at (203) 267-6262 24/7 if your pipes freeze  this  winter in the Torrington area.

Fire, Water and Mold Damage Restoration in Torrington, CT Restaurants

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

Restaurant owners know that it is an unpredictable business.

Anything can be thrown your way and an experienced owner is an expert at handling emergencies quickly and adeptly as they arise.  Restaurants are particularly susceptible to water, fire and mold problems and our franchise receives calls on a regular basis from restaurant owners who require our restoration services.  

With several cooks in the kitchen and hot stoves going all day long, kitchen fires occur frequently. Even a small fire in your commercial kitchen might necessitate a temporary shut down of your restaurant.  The smoke odor quickly spreads throughout the restaurant, is absorbed into upholstered chairs, carpeting, walls and drapery. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington uses specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.  

Often in conjunction with fire damage in restaurants is water damage from rescue efforts. The water damage can originate from a sprinkler system setting off in response to detected smoke or from the fire department’s rescue efforts. Some of our clients have also had water damage in their restaurants due to a burst pipe, appliance malfunction or human error. Regardless of the cause, it is important to call us to restore your building immediately. A failure to properly address water damage in your restaurant can lead to additional problems such as mold growth. 

Mold in restaurants can be particularly troubling as the environment (water and steam) has high humidity levels, creating prime real estate for mold growth. Any mold discovered in your restaurant requires professional remediation. Mold might grow behind walls or ceiling tiles, flooring or even under your restaurant carpeting (think of how many drinks are spilled every day). 

If you own a restaurant in the Torrington area, give us a call at  (203) 267-6262We will schedule an appointment to come out and discuss any current concerns that you have for your building as well as set up an Emergency Ready Profile, which will enable you to quickly act if your restaurant does have fire, water or mold damage in the future. 

Why Should You Choose SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington For Your Restoration Needs?

10/29/2018 (Permalink)

We are sometimes asked what makes SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington stand out against other restoration companies.

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, Kathy, Theny, Alexis and Keri, have all been with us for years and have extensive knowledge of the restoration process. 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 Hartford and Litchfield Counties, 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.

Meet the Team: Kirk Hart, Restoration Technician

10/23/2018 (Permalink)

Kirk Hart is a restoration technician at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.

Our crew works day after day, helping home and business owners during difficult times. They are on call throughout the night, on weekends, on holidays and in bad weather.  Their dedication to their jobs often goes without much recognition. This month, we’d like to recognize one of our crew members who shows up with a smile on his face no matter what the circumstances.

Kirkland Hart has worked in the restoration industry for seven years, the last five with our SERVPRO franchises. Originally from Clarendon, Jamaica, Kirk now lives in Bridgeport with his wife and four children. When not at work, you can find him playing soccer (futbol) or dominos or enjoying his favorite meal, chicken and rice. 

If we were to make a list of what attributes make a valuable employee, Kirk would be in mind. What stands out about Kirk is his can-do attitude and willingness to help our customers as well as others on the crew. If there is a job that needs to be done, Kirk will make it happen - even if that means coming into work early and staying late. He takes pride in his work and easily falls into a leadership role with our newer employees.  

We understand that our customers are dealing with a stressful situation and having a crew in their home can sometimes be difficult. Kirk’s smile and friendly nature enable him to connect with our customers and put them at ease. He is kind and helpful when people need it most. We are grateful to have such a guy as part of our team. 

Water and Fire Damage Restoration After Kitchen Fires in Southbury

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

October is National Fire Prevention Month.

Cooking is one of the most common causes of household fires in Connecticut, responsible for 50% of home fires. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, two-thirds of home cooking fires started with the ignition of food or other cooking materials. Ranges accounted for the largest share (62%) of home cooking fire incidents and ovens accounted for 16%.

It only takes a brief moment for a kitchen fire to start and quickly grow out of control. 

  • Be on alert! Don't use the stove or stove top if you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.We have all walked away for a moment while cooking only to remember we were cooking by the smell of something burning.  If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. 
  • Use a timer to remind you of items that are cooking. If you have something cooking, check it regularly
  • Keep flammables at a safe distance. Keep anything that can catch fire — potholders, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stove top.
  • If you have a small grease fire, smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • If the fire cannot be contained easily, just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. More than half (55%) of reported non-fatal home cooking fire injuries occurred when the victims tried to fight the fire themselves. 
  • Call 9-1-1  from outside the home

It only takes a moment for a fire to start in your home that can cause substantial damage. In addition to the smoke and soot damage left behind, there will also be water damage from firefighting efforts. 

After fire emergency services have made your home safe, call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262 for fire and water damage restoration. We offer professional services that include water damage clean up, smoke and soot removal, the removal of damaged items as well as the rebuilding of your home to complete the restoration.

Protect Your Southbury Home From Soot and Fire Damage

10/9/2018 (Permalink)

Having your chimney cleaned professionally can reduce your risk of a house fire as by removing creosote and identifying cracks in your chimney.

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 Torrington, 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.

Professional Oil Spill Clean Up Services in Litchfield County

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

An oil spill in the basement of your Southbury home requires professional remediation.

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington does more than fire,water and mold restoration and remediation. We often receive calls to Hartford County homes and businesses to clean up oil spills. Such spills occur when storage tanks develop a leak, are overfilled or if the heating system malfunctions. Since the typical oil tank in Connecticut is located in the basement of a home, a spill can contaminate the basement.  

Because oil is combustible, quick clean up is vital to safety. If there is an oil spill in your home, turn off all flame and spark sources. Ventilate the area by opening any windows and doors to the outside. Close all doors and seal any cracks between your basement and the rest of your house with towels to prevent vapors from entering the upper floors.  If you have forced hot air heating, shut off the system and close the grills.  

Protect the health of your family by avoiding the contaminated areas. Do not breathe the fumes and if in contact with oil, wear rubber gloves and boots as well as protective eye wear.  If the odor is strong, it may be necessary to relocate your family for a few days, especially if there are children and elderly in the home.  

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington has the  training and equipment  to properly remove oil spills in the Litchfield County, CT area. Call us at (203) 267-6262 if you have an oil spill – big or small! 

We Clean the Soot and Dust that Covers Your Home After a Puffback

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Puffbacks leave distinctive cobwebs of soot throughout the home.

Many people have never heard of a furnace puffback until they experience one themselves. 

A puffback is an explosion inside the burner chamber of the furnace or boiler. Puff backs can occur due to an oil burner malfunction in which the burner doesn't ignite immediately and oil fumes are allowed to build up before ignition, causing an explosion when the furnace turns on. Puff backs can also be caused by a partially clogged or cracked nozzles, improper nozzle angle, cracked electrodes, poor adjustment of the air-fuel mixture, a defective spark transformer, shorted ignition cables or dirty or low-grade fuel. Regular maintenance can help Hartford County homeowners reduce the risk of a furnace puffback. 

The aftermath of a puffback is the soot and streaks that the explosion blew throughout your home. Often every surface – including carpeting, furniture, walls and drapery - is covered with this black, sticky substance that includes a mixture of oil that is very difficult to remove from any surface. Debris from a puffback can also enter the ventilation system in your home as well as into the cavity behind your walls.

Cleaning up after a puffback is not a do it yourself job- it requires professional cleaning to remove the soot that is spread throughout your home. Do not attempt to clean the soot itself – household cleaners are not effective against soot and may make the problem worse. For example, attempts to wash soot off of a flat-painted wall or ceiling usually leave greasy smears rather than removing the soot. At SERVPRO, we use proprietary tools and cleaners that absorb the soot without spreading it. Fortunately, puffback's are usually covered under your homeowner's insurance.  

If you experience a furnace puffback, call the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington office at (203) 267-6262.

 Our smoke and fire damage specialists have the equipment and training to quickly return your home to a safe, clean, and comfortable environment for you and your family. We're faster to any disaster and are dedicated to responding immediately so that you can recover quickly, with less disruption to your life.

Meet The Team: Matt Caulfield, Production Manager

9/18/2018 (Permalink)

Matt Caulfield is a Production Manager at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.

Going above and beyond is the norm for our employees.

Every day, we see them give their all and then some to our customers. This month, we'd like to recognize Matt Caulfield for his dedication to his work at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.  

Matt has been at SERVPRO for five years, having come from the construction and mortgage industries. He is the kind of guy who throws himself whole-heartedly into whatever he does and has worked his way to a position of Production Manager at SERVPRO.  Matt is an extremely dedicated professional who is courteous, cares about his customers, is quick to return phone calls and sincerely wants the best outcome for his clients. In fact, clients often go out of their way to let us know how impressed they were with Matt's service.  

Matt lives in Milford, CT and is an avid fan of the Minnesota Vikings and the Georgia Bulldogs. An athlete himself, Matt loves snowboarding, football and working out. He can't pass up a piece of pizza and loves country music. I was surprised to learn that his favorite tv show is "This is Us" - you never know who is watching that show! His dream is to spend time on a Caribbean Island someday.  

Matt's co-workers know that if they need a hand with anything, he is there to help- often without being asked. He is a pleasure to work with and brings a positive vibe to our office and the work site.  Matt finds it personally rewarding when he can take an overwhelming loss and turn it around for the very best outcome for the customer. In an industry like ours, where homeowners are dealing with stressful and often emotional situations, Matt's commitment to help, and not just "get the job done", truly makes a difference. 

If You Have a Unique Water or Fire Damage Situation, We Have a Unique Solution!

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

The SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team restoring a warehouse after a vehicle fire caused massive smoke and soot damage.

During our years as a water, fire and mold restoration company, we have been called to thousands of jobs. 

While most of the damage we see is due to typical sources such as frozen pipes, appliance leaks and furnace puffbacks, there are some disasters that cannot have been expected. We’ve been to homes in which electronic toys have caught fire, causing smoke damage throughout the home.  The mess that can be left by an exploding fire extinguisher is astonishing. We’ve also seen more than one commercial building with widespread water damage due to a coffee maker supply line leak. 

Vehicles are also an unexpected but not so unusual source of fire and smoke damage. We’ve been to a home in which a ride-on lawn mower caught fire in the garage as well as cleaned up the glass and debris left when cars have accidently driven into homes and businesses.  We recently responded to a call from a corporation in which a vehicle caught fire on the loading dock of a warehouse, causing smoke and soot damage to the 200,000 square foot warehouse. 

No matter how unique the situation, our team has the experience, resources and training to meet the challenge. We are able to arrive on the scene 24/7 and assess the situation and establish a recovery plan.  As a franchise, we have access to all of the resources that the SERVPRO corporation has to offer.  If you find yourself in a water or fire damage situation that you would never have imagined, give us a call at (203) 267-6262.   

Is Your Southbury Household Prepared For a Disaster?

9/7/2018 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month.

September is National Preparedness Month, a time to go over your family's emergency plan. 

When establishing an emergency plan, be sure to consider the specific needs of the members of your household.  Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan: 

  • Different ages of members within your household 
  • Responsibilities for assisting others 
  • Locations frequented 
  • Dietary needs 
  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment 
  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment 
  • Languages spoken 
  • Cultural and religious considerations 
  • Pets or service animals 
  • Households with school-aged children 

Also consider your elderly friends or neighbors in your plan. They often need help and do not always have local family.  

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is dedicated to helping our community when disaster happens. If you have a flood or fire emergency, call us at (203) 267-6262.

If You Suspect Mold in Your Torrington, CT Home, Take These Steps

8/23/2018 (Permalink)

Mold on your windowsill is typically a sign that your window has a leaky seal. Call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington if you find mold in your home.

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington  specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

Some restoration companies advertise “mold removal” and may even guarantee to remove all mold. This is a fallacy because removing all mold from a house or business is impossible; microscopic mold spores exist almost everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Here are the facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and 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.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

The sooner you address a potential mold problem at your home or business, the less invasive the clean up will be. If you see any suspicious growth or smell a musty, mildew scent in your kitchen or bathroom,  call our Torrington office to schedule an appointment.

Water Damage Restoration of Flooded Basements in Southbury, CT

8/14/2018 (Permalink)

Basement floods can be caused by heavy rains, sewer backups, a broken pipe or a hot water heater tank failure.

The area in a home or business that is most at risk of being flooded is the basement. A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your Torrington, CT basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure

There are some precautions that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of your basement flooding. Many Connecticut residents have a sump pump installed in their home to keep their basement dry. Grading the land around your foundation away from your home or building a drainage ditch are also effective measures. If you don't have a flood but your basement has high humidity that might lead to a mold problem, running a dehumidifier in your basement will help. 

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today - (203)267-6262.

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week
  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques
  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded?

Call Us Today (203)267-6262 – We’re Ready To Help 

Ways That Commercial Property Owners Can Avoid Water Damage To Their Business

8/8/2018 (Permalink)

A coffee maker supply line leak at this office building caused an entire floor to flooded with water.

If you run a business in the Southbury area or own commercial property that you lease out, it is especially important that you are vigilant about water leaks. 

Whether water is leaking in your building due to a plumbing leak, an appliance malfunction or a leaky roof, even a small amount of excess water can lead to significant water damage repair costs. Here are some warning signs that action is needed to protect your property from water damage. 

  • Water Bill. Keep an eye on your water bill. An unusually high water bill can indicate a plumbing leak. 
  • Sinks for a leaking pipe joint or P-trap. 
  • Appliances. Check behind and under refrigerators and dishwashers for any moisture. Appliance leaks often show degradation do the floors they are on top of, such as peeling of vinyl, water stains on the concrete or warping of wood. 
  • Appliance Supply Lines. Check the supply lines to make sure they are sound and free of wear or corrosion. Don’t forget to check your pod style coffee maker, so popular in offices nowadays. We recently mitigated water damage at a commercial property in which the coffee maker supply line burst, causing a flood throughout the facility! 
  • Toilets – Check for broken toilet tank flappers. If a toilet is not flushing properly, is leaking or running have your plumber repair it as soon as possible.  
  • Smells. If your tenants notice an odd or foul smell, it could be a sign of a sewage issue and should not be ignored.  
  • Ceilings and Walls. Water stains on the walls and ceilings directly below bathrooms are an indication of a pipe leak and should be inspected.  
  • Roof. Because of their flat roofs and rooftop HVAC systems, commercial properties are at risk of water damage due to a leaky roof.  Keep an eye out for stains on the ceiling, a musty smell in the attic, peeling paint around your skylights as well as damaged shingles and flashing. 

One of your most important resources in avoiding water damage at your commercial property is your tenants and employees.  If you lease space to others, whether at a shopping center or office park, educate your tenants on the warning signs of a water leak. In our experience, most tenants are very cooperative in keeping an eye out for things such as moldy smells and stained walls. Their business depends on staying open and it’s in their best interest for potential problems to be addressed.  Let your tenants know that you are open to reports of problems at the facility, no matter how small they may seem.  If you own a business, let your employees know what to look out for. Assign somebody to inspect for potential issues on a weekly basis.  

Every commercial property owner should have a good relationship with a local plumber. When you have a problem, it will ensure that you have prompt and quality service.

If you have a water leak or flooding at your Torrington area business, call us at (203) 267-6262 for immediate service. We understand the importance of cleaning up water in commercial properties quickly and have a team on call 24-7 ready to respond to your call.  

Removing Sticky Cigarette Residue and Odor From Your Torrington, CT Home or Apartment

7/31/2018 (Permalink)

The removal of cigarette tar and odors can make a dramatic difference in your Southbury, CT home or apartment.

The residue and tar left on the walls of a home after years of smoking can be difficult to remove. If your home is being sold or apartment being released, the cigarette stains will need to be cleaned off of your walls and odors removed from the home.  

Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is a complex mixture of over 4,000 compounds. Tobacco smoke clouds the air and sticks to every surface of the area. Sticky, highly toxic particulates, like nicotine, can cling to walls and ceilings. The residual gases left behind from smoking can be absorbed into carpets, draperies, and upholstered furniture. The visible signs of tobacco residue can be easily seen as a yellow or brown sticky substance that is left on all surfaces and furniture in areas where smoking has taken place. This residue, made up of very tiny particles of tobacco smoke, is difficult to remove.  Cigarette smoke is absorbed into every nook and cranny of the home- including furniture, carpets, and even behind the walls. If the building has an HVAC system, it can carry the smoke odor throughout the building. If you are an apartment complex manager, this can cause other residents to complain of the air quality in their apartments. 

If you have attempted home cleaning methods and they have not been successful, you may need to call in a professional restoration company.  The process to remove cigarette smoke residue is multi-tiered and requires a number of steps. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington has the training to eliminate offensive odors and remove tar from walls. We have the equipment needed to penetrate surfaces such as carpeting, drapery, furniture and bedding.  We use a tool called an Ozone Generator to oxidize odor and eliminate odors from pets, nicotine, mildew and more without the use of toxic chemicals. Our air scrubbers assist in removing odor particles from the air.    

When the process is complete and your home is free of foul smells and the sticky tar removed from your walls, our team will seal your walls, ceilings and other surfaces and repaint them, leaving you with a fresh, clean surface.  

Rebuilding Southbury After the Storm

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Our crew responding a call after a tree caused roof damage during the tornado that hit the Southbury area in May.

Our franchise continues to work on homes and businesses throughout the Litchfield County area that suffered storm damage after tornadoes struck the area in May. Many of the homes that we are restoring had structural damage from trees that fell on them as well as water damage.

As tornadoes are an unusual occurrence in Connecticut, most of the homeowners that we have been working with were shocked that this had happened to them. We understand that when a home has been severely damaged from a storm it can be an emotional experience for the homeowners. With record numbers of calls coming into our office the day after the storm, we knew that our crew was going to need to be ready and available to put in some long days and weeks to meet the needs of all of our customers.

Many of the homes that we responded to required board ups and tarping of the roofs, walls and windows that had been damaged from trees falling and high winds. As soon as the trees were removed, we were able to send crews out to tarp and board up. The water damage restoration has been ongoing for the last two months and our construction crew has started the rebuilding process in many homes. They've been out rebuilding roofs, laying new carpet, installing new kitchens and replacing walls.

Ours is not a glamorous job but it can be very rewarding to help a homeowner move back into their home. We recently received an email from a customer whose words of thanks really made our day.

"I am a homeowner from Southbury, CT. I wanted to let you know how wonderful your team has been since our first contact with them on 5/16, the day after a tornado hit our home. Peter, Felicia, Anthony, Lucas and Eric have been so helpful. I am most impressed with their kindness, compassion and genuine caring towards us and our situation. They have made a difficult time easier to handle because of their professional and personal response to us. I would highly recommend your services! Thank you!"

Smoke and Soot Damage Restoration in Southbury, CT

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

The vinyl siding on this porch created wet smoke damage, which is sticky and difficult to clean,when it melted during a Southbury house fire.

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (203)267-6262. 

Signs of Mold Growth Behind the Walls of Your Southbury, CT Home

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

When we lifted the wallpaper in this MIlford, CT home that had water damage from a water heater that leaked, we found mold.

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.  

Fire, Smoke and Water Damage Restoration After Southbury Area House Fires

6/11/2018 (Permalink)

House fires are an extremely devastating and terrifying experience. Once safely outside of your home, you and your family must wait outside and watch your home be further damaged while the fire department extinguishes the flames.  House fires leave a home with not only charred walls, soot and smoke damage. There will also be water damage from rescue efforts.  Depending on the severity of the fire, you may not be able to return to your home for some time.  

Structural Safety -  House fires can cause conditions in which your home is no longer structurally sound. Wall studs and other materials integral to the structure of your home may have been burned and compromised during the fire. If the roof was damaged, falling debris might be a hazard. Many homes also have damage to the electrical wiring that requires that the electricity be turned off until it can be repaired.  

Smoke Damage - House fires lead to thick, heavy smoke and soot because there is so much upholstered furniture, carpeting, curtains, clothing, and other household items that act as fuel. This soot and smoke can linger inside of the home for a very long time after the fire has been extinguished and can lead to serious health problems. Not only is soot very toxic, but it is also quite tiny in size at just 2.5 microns (compare that to a dust particle which is 40 microns in size!). Smoke odors are absorbed into many household items- carpeting, upholstered furniture and even wood – and are very difficult to remove. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington uses specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces. 

Water Damage- The amount of water required to put out a house fire can be staggering – in many cases over 1000 gallons can be used by firefighters. All of that is left when the trucks leave. In many of the house fire damage restoration jobs that we work on, the water damage requires more of a clean up than the fire damage itself. The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We will then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process. 

Contents Damage Fire, water and smoke cause extensive damage to household contents. We understand that your belongings are not "just things" and use advanced restoration techniques to save and restore your treasured items. Not everything can be saved but our team will carefully go through and inventory your home with you to identify special items and family heirlooms.  

We can't stop a fire from damaging your Woodbury home but we can help get life back to normal as quickly as possible afterwards. The fire, smoke and water damage restoration services offered by SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington are based on over fifty years of experience. If you have any questions regarding our fire damage restoration process, give us a call at (203)267-6262. 

Meet The Team: Rob Fox, Operations Manager

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Rob Fox is the operations manager for all 3 of our SERVPRO franchises. He has 13 years in the emergency water, fire and mold restoration industries.

Many of our customers have had the opportunity to meet Robert Fox, the Operations Manager for all three of our SERVPRO franchises.  Rob has been in the emergency restoration field for 13 years.  Prior to working for SERVPRO of Southbury, Rob served in the United States Navy as an Aviation Ordnance 3rd Class Petty Officer and Restoration Specialist.  He also has experience as a Basic Life Support instructor and Emergency Medical Technician as well as an iron worker.  

A native of Milford, Rob attended Jonathan Law High School. Growing up, he played lacrosse, baseball and football. These days, Rob enjoys spending time with his family, camping and traveling. He can often be found playing and watching football, golfing and going to the range.  He is a coach for the Naugatuck Youth Soccer Club and a member of the CT Young Insurance Professionals organization.

Rob is a highly certified restoration specialist with a long list of certifications in water, fire and mold damage restoration from the IICRC as well as OSHA. These include Water Damage Restoration, Applied Microbial Remediation, Fire and Smoke Restoration, Odor Control,  Applied Structural Drying, Health & Safety, Exam Monitor, Carpet Cleaning, Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning, Journeyman Fire and smoke Restorer,  Journeyman Textile cleaner, Master Fire and Smoke Restorer, Osha 10 and Lead Certification.  

Rob says that working in the restoration industry has given him the ability to help people from the start to the finish of a job. He is able to play a part in making a disaster into something amazing.  When a job is complete, he takes pride in always giving back a home better than it was. Needless to say, with the years of training and experience he brings, we feel fortunate to have Rob as part of the SERVPRO of Southbury team.  

Does Bleach Kill Mold Found in Your Home?

5/30/2018 (Permalink)

Many customers ask us about using bleach on mold found in their homes. Here's why SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington recommends against this practice.

When it comes to mold found inside of a home, there can be a lot of confusion.  A google search will provide you with many conflicting "facts" and it's not always easy to determine what action you should take if you find mold in your home.  In the next few weeks, we will be addressing some of the common misconceptions about mold to help you have a better understanding of it and its impact on your home and your health.  Today, we address one of the most common myths about mold which is that bleach kills mold.  

We understand how this myth originated. Bleach is an awesome disinfectant and was once recommended by both OSHA and the EPA as an effective mold remover. They have both since changed their recommendations and now advise against bleach for mold removal. 

Bleach Cleans Only the Surface 

To ensure survival, mold roots itself in porous materials like wood and sheetrock. Bleach does not penetrate deep into porous materials. Mold remediation requires a special cleaning process that reaches deep down into wood and other porous building materials to remove or "pull out" the roots. When bleach is applied, the mold might appear to be gone (since the surface was bleached white) however in a few weeks it reappears. 

Bleach can be effective at removing surface mold on some hard, non-porous materials, such as tile and glass. So, if you need to use bleach on your bathtub or toilet bowl, go for it! Otherwise, consider an alternative treatment.  

Bleach Feeds Mold, Adding to its Growth  

What further exacerbates the situation is the fact that bleach is comprised 90% of water, which is essential for the growth of mold. So, the application of bleach actually feeds the mold spores and can allow it to grow even faster. Although the surface may look bleached and clean, the remaining spores will root deeper, stronger and will often return worse than before. 

Bleach Damages Wood 

Chlorine bleach is caustic and causes a chemical reaction that erodes and degrades the wood it has been applied to. The fibers are broken down and the structural integrity of your home can be compromised.  You will be left with mold and damaged wood.  This is not the result you were hoping for.  

Mold Spores are in the Air 

Bleach is not effective in killing mold spores, which are airborne.  At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we use specialized filtration equipment, which allows our crew to capture microscopic mold spores out of the air. We utilize powerful “air scrubbers” and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in process. 

For tips on preventing mold growth in your home, visit this page.  If you have any questions about mold that you find in your Middlebury home, please feel free to call us at (203)267-6262. 

The Water Damage Restoration Process When You Call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington

5/23/2018 (Permalink)

When you call us after having experienced water damage to your Torrington home, one of our administrative assistants will answer your call.

Quick action is crucial when you are dealing with water damage. The severity of the damage to your home can increase within just a few hours. This is the case no matter what has caused your water damage- whether it be from a broken refrigerator supply line, a leaking roof or a water heater burst.  

When they pick up your call, Theny and Alexis, our Torrington office staff, understand that you may be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and a bit vulnerable. Our staff has experience of taking hundreds of calls like yours each year and can calmly guide you through the process. 

Upon answering your call, we will gather the necessary information in order to determine what equipment and resources will be needed as well as the size of the crew to send. 

Some of the questions we might ask are:

    • Your name and phone number as well as email address
    • If you are a renter or property manager, the homeowner's contact information
    • Your home insurance policy information 
    • The street address of the water-damaged home or business as well as the billing address
    • When the water damage occurred and what caused it
    • Whether there is electricity and heat available in the home

The following step will be for the office to schedule an appointment for one of our estimators to come to your home along with a crew to inspect the damages and formulate a restoration plan. The information that they have gotten from your call will help them determine how many technicians to send and what type of equipment is needed. Once we have inspected the damage, our crew will begin work.

We know that most of our clients have not experienced water damage before and may be unfamiliar with the terminology used and why certain actions need to be taken. Please know that if at any point you feel this way, our production managers and office staff are available to answer your questions.

The team at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington are your Connecticut water restoration specialists. If you have a flood or leak, call us at (203) 267-6262.

Emergency Board Ups and Water Damage Restoration in Southbury, CT

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

High winds and hail the size of tennis balls hit the Southbury, CT area, causing damage to homes and businesses.

The storm that hit Connecticut last night has devastated our area. We never think that we can be hit by a tornado in the Southbury area and this storm caught everybody off guard.  Roads are still closed throughout Litchfield County and trees are down on houses and businesses.

If there is a tree down on your house, or windows blown out from the wind, call us for emergency roofing and tarping. Closing up the roof and any broken windows is the first step to restoring your home. Once we have it secure, we can begin the process of cleaning up damaged materials and possessions, removing the water and restoring your home from water damage. 

When strong winds and falling trees cause damage your home by putting a hole in your roof or breaking your windows, quick action will reduce the amount of water damage your home sustains.

Restoring Household Contents After Water Damage in Your Watertown, CT Home

5/6/2018 (Permalink)

If your Southbury, CT home has extensive water damage, we may pack the contents of your home and store them safely at our facility during restoration.

When a home has water damage from a flooded basement or a pipe burst, the contents of the home can be damaged as well as the structure.

The task of sorting through a families belongings to determine what should be restored and what should be replaced can be an emotional one. The SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington crew understands how difficult this can be and is available to help our customers in this process. 

When restoring a home after water damage, we typically order a dumpster to the home in which we place damaged materials such as wet sheetrock, insulation, wood floors and carpeting that cannot be saved. As we go through the contents, there will be some pieces of furniture that clearly cannot be saved. Typically, this would be porous items such as mattresses and furniture which is made out of particle board.

If we are uncertain whether we can save a particular item, we are able to pretest them to determine whether they can be brought back to their original condition.  We utilize several methods of cleaning your contents, including the following: 

  • Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning. 
  • Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues. 
  • Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning. 
  • Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned. 
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.  
  • Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.  

Our franchise offers a Contents Claim Inventory Service to our customers, which provides them a list of their belongings and their values.  This helps our customers provide the needed documentation to their homeowner's insurance company to be reimbursed for damages. 

As we walk through a home, a customer may identify certain items of sentimental value. We will make our best effort to restore these treasured items such as a favorite stuffed animal, a photo album or an important document. We have five options for the restoration of documents, which is dependent on the level of damage to the documents. 

  • Air Drying 
  • Dehumidification 
  • Freezer Drying 
  • Vacuum Freeze Drying 
  • Vacuum Thermal Drying 

Homes that have extensive damage may require the furnishings be removed during restoration. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington offers full content moving service. This includes the packing up of your belongings, transportation to our storage facility and the return of your items when restoration is complete. Not only does our pack out services help us restore your home quicker and with more ease, it also protects your belongings from further damage from moisture in the air, which can cause mold spores to grow.

The SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team understands that it can be difficult to part with sentimental belongings and we are diligent in our effort to restore them if possible. From our initial walk through, to the return of your belongings when the restoration is complete, our goal is to be respectful and helpful to families who are going through a difficult ordeal.  

Understanding Household Mold in Torrington, CT

4/29/2018 (Permalink)

Finding mold in your Torrington CT home, and understanding the mold remediation process, should not be stressful.

Finding mold in a home can bring concern and worry to a homeowner. We receive frequent calls at our office from people who have found mold. These callers are often filled with questions about our mold remediation process. The truth is, mold does not have to be complicated. There a few basic concepts about mold and how it is treated that are good for homeowners to know prior to contacting a mold remediation company.

1. You will hear many different terms used for the treatment of mold in the home including mold removal, mold abatement, mold remediation and mold mitigation. These terms are interchangeable. Because they naturally occur in both indoor and outdoor environments, mold spores are always present in a home. Any company that claims to eliminate mold from your home is probably one to stay clear of. The goal when servicing a home that has mold is the reduction of mold spores to healthy, natural levels.

2. Many internet sources warn of black mold and indicate that it is more harmful than other molds. Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, can cause a range of negative health symptoms on humans. However, not all mold that is colored black produces mycotoxins, which are a toxic substance produced by mold. And many of the 100,000 species of mold that are different colors do produce mycotoxins. So, don't let the color of the mold in your home affect your decision to have it inspected and treated. 

3. Mold does not always require professional remediation. We visit homes on a regular basis to inspect reports of mold. Quite often, we are able to locate the source of the moisture (typically a pipe leak under a sink or a roof leak) and suggest that the homeowner call a plumber to repair the leak.  When we inspect a home for mold, we always give an honest opinion as to whether our services are needed.

If you do require mold remediation, a highly trained mold specialist is required. The team at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is IICRC trained for mold and has the experience and equipment needed to safely mitigate the mold in your home. 

April Showers Can Bring Septic System Backups to Torrington Homes

4/16/2018 (Permalink)

Whether from a full septic tank, a clogged filter or a blocked line, sewage floods from septic tank backups require professional restoration.

April showers bring May flowers however here in the Litchfield area, heavy rains can be rough on a home's septic system.  On days like today, when rain is falling onto already wet ground, septic problems can be common.

When there is great deal of rain, the drain field in your yard can become saturated and stop the water from flowing out of your septic system as designed. Because the water has no exit point, it can eventually make its way back into your home. The waste water can travel back through the pipes and through your drains and toilets, causing an overflow.  If you have sewage backup through one of your drains, that is a clear sign that your septic system is malfunctioning.  

Other signs of a failing septic tank are: 

  1. A Foul Odor: A clear sign that your septic tank needs inspection is the presence of odors in your house, outside near your septic tank or near the pipe ventilation system. We all know the smell of the methane gas escaping, similar to rotten eggs, so it's not hard to identify! 
  2. Soggy Ground: Saturated areas around your septic tank may also indicate a problem. Excess moisture can be a sign that your tank is full or the drainage pipes are damaged.  
  3. Slow Drainage: If you have a slow draining sink, tub or toilet, it is a warning sign that your septic system is  malfunctioning.  
  4. Gurgling Sounds: If you notice that there is a gurgling sound when you flush the toilet, that is a common sign of septic system failure.  
  5. Contaminated Well Water: Well water tests that show results of high levels of nitrates or coliform bacteria are of concern, as they indicate that untreated sewage is seeping into the ground.  

If you notice any of these signs in your home, we recommend that you call a septic system repair contractor to inspect your system and identify the cause. It could be a blocked line from tree roots, an improperly installed leach field, a clogged filter or a full septic tank that requires pumping. Having the problem repaired before it causes damage to your home is the goal! 

In the event that there is already a backup at your home, call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at 203-267-6262. Sewage floodwaters contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that are dangerous and should be cleaned up by restoration professionals. The SERVPRO crew has the training and equipment to clean up and sanitize your home and belongings and make it "Like it never even happened."

Tips to Keep the Spring Thaw From Flooding Your Harwinton Home

4/10/2018 (Permalink)

Clogged gutters will flow over the side, causing water to collect at your houses foundation. This can lead to flooding in your basement.

Although we've still seen some snowflakes coming down in the past week, I think (hope) it's safe to say that winter is finally coming to an end. With warmer temperatures coming this week, the ground is thawing out and with that, excess water will be created. Unless you have a water proof house, this could cause flood problems, particularly in your basement. We've compiled a few flood prevention tips that will help protect your home this spring. If you already have water damage at your home, contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262 for immediate water damage restoration help. 

  • Inspect the drainage system: The drainage system on your property must be free of obstructions so the melted snow and ice will drain away from your home. Open your roof drains and make sure the floor drains of free of debris.  If you have flood drains outside your home, make sure they are clear as well. 
  • Inspect your gutters and downspouts: It's important to make sure that your downspouts and gutters are clear so that any ice and snow that is melting off of your roof has an exit point. With the winter we had, which brought high winds and snowstorms, there can be a plethora of leaves, twigs and branches blocking  your gutters. This can cause water damage by allowing water to enter your home through the roof. Also, if the water cannot drain properly, it will flow over the side of your gutter instead. This causes water buildup near the foundation of your home., which can lead to flooding in your basement. 
  • Test your sump pump: Many houses in Connecticut have sump pumps to assist in keeping the basement dry.  Sump pumps are a fantastic idea but only if they are working! Our Torrington office receives several calls a year from homes in which there is water damage from sump pump failure. There are some simple steps that you can take to make sure that your sump pump is in proper working order. We recommend doing so in early spring. 

It's been a long winter and we are finally coming out of it. Don't let your enjoyment of spring be hindered by a flooded basement or leaky roof. Following our tips takes just a few hours and will help prevent any melting snow and ice from entering your home. If you have water damage from flooding this spring, call the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team for professional water damage restoration with experience and training you can count on.   

Spring is Finally Here! Spring Clean Your Kitchen With These Tips.

4/2/2018 (Permalink)

Check all of your appliances for frayed or damaged wiring. Electrical malfunctions are a common cause of house fires in the Southbury, CT area.

Your 2018 Kitchen Spring Cleaning Cheat Sheet 

Spring is here and although it's still chilly and wet in the Southbury area, we will start having those "open up the windows and let the fresh air in" days soon! There's no better time to spring clean your home, getting rid of the dirt, grime and dust that has accumulated over the winter.  Your kitchen sees more cooking and baking in the wintertime than it does all year, and it probably shows!  The cleaning crew of SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington has compiled a spring cleaning checklist to help you out. 

  1. Clean the Grease –  Wipe down all surfaces – from your cabinets to your appliances – with white vinegar, which is amazing at removing grease!  Spray vinegar on all surfaces, let it sit for ten minutes and then wipe off with a kitchen rag. Don't forget to get under cabinets, your cabinet door knobs and on top of your refrigerator. If you have a particularly difficult grease spot to remove, wiping it with a little vegetable oil will remove it. Follow up with a rinse with a damp cloth.  
  2. Refrigerator – Take everything out and remove the shelving and drawers to clean. Check the expiration date on items, toss the forgotten leftovers and wipe down condiment jars. One trick that we have for keeping a fridge clean is to place rubber shelf liners on your shelves and in your fruit and vegetable drawers. It comes in a roll and can be cut to size. If something spills, it's much easier to remove the liner than the whole shelf!  
  3. Oven – Remove the racks from your oven and clean them. If you prefer not to use the self cleaning option on your oven, use this trick to get it clean with vinegar and baking soda – we've tried it and it works! Don't forget to pull out the storage drawer under your oven, remove all of the pans and clean that too.
  4. Sink – A toothbrush is the perfect tool to clean around the edge of a sink and behind it. If you have a garbage disposal, put ice in your disposal, followed by vinegar. Then, run the disposal. The ice does a great job of scraping the sides of the hard to reach places and removing the debris. The vinegar finishes the job with a cleaning. 
  5. Cabinets - If you're really ambitious, remove all of the items out of your cabinets and wipe down the interior.  This is a great time to get rid of those dishes that are never used or that glass that no longer has a match.  
  6. Pantry – Take all items off of the shelves, discard those open boxes of stale cereal that got shoved to the back a few months ago, wipe down your shelves and replace everything in nice neat lines. Most likely, it won't stay like that but it looks good for now!  
  7. Microwave - Here's a new trick we just tried. Place water and a few lemon wedges in a small microwave safe container. Run the microwave until the water starts to boil. Turn off the oven and let sit, and steam, for a few minutes. When you remove the cup, you will be able to simply wipe everything off without scrubbing. 
  8. Filters –Check your fridge to see if the water filter is due for replacement. If there is a filter in your exhaust vent, it's most likely due for a change as well.  If you have a water filter on your sink, swap it out for a new one.

While you are cleaning your kitchen, take the time to do a safety check. 

Take a look behind your fridge and under your sink and take note of any signs of dripping from the refrigerator supply line or the pipes under your sink. These are two of the most common places that water damage occurs in a kitchen. Also look for any frayed wires on your appliances, as these can be a fire hazard. If you have noticed an electrical outlet shorting out or your light fixtures flickering, have them checked out by an electrician. We've restored many homes that have had kitchen fires and often it's a small problem that causes significant fire damage.  

If you've finished reading this post and thought "A sparkling clean house sounds wonderful, but who has the time?", give us a call at 203-267-6262. We'll come out and make your kitchen sparkle like it never has before!

House Fires Cause Smoke and Soot Damage in Torrington

3/28/2018 (Permalink)

House fires are a traumatic event for homeowners. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is here to help every step of the way.

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.  

Basements, Attics and Leaky Pipes: The Causes of Mold Growth in Litchfield County Homes

3/22/2018 (Permalink)

This home had mold covering the walls and floors of the basement family room. The mold was found under carpeting and behind paneling on the walls.

At SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we talk with many homeowners who are concerned when they discover mold in their home. 

There has been quite a bit of attention on mold in homes and the potential health hazards of black mold lately.  Mold exists naturally in our environment and is not harmful at regular levels. It's when mold has the opportunity to grow at a rapid rate that it becomes of concern. 

In order to grow, mold requires certain conditions to be met. Mold spores need to be present and have a food source (examples would be cotton, sheetrock, plywood, etc.). In addition, mold requires darkness, oxygen and warm temperatures. However, these are typical conditions in most homes. The factor that most determines whether mold will grow in your home is moisture.  

Some of the most common causes of residential mold damage are:  

Leaky Pipes:  A slow leak might not be obvious to a homeowner but over time can create an environment that is ideal for mold growth. We have responded to a number of jobs in Litchfield County in which a plumber has discovered mold behind the kitchen cabinets due to a leaking pipe. In these cases, the kitchen cabinetry as well as walls and flooring often requires removal. 

The fix: Periodically check pipes, walls and cabinetry for any signs of leaking.  

Attic Mold: In order to keep moisture levels low in an attic, it must be ventilated properly.  A well-ventilated attic will allow warm air to escape through the peak of the roof via the ridge and soffit vents.  Another reason for moisture in an attic can be a roof leak. 

The fix: Have your ridge and soffit vents checked for blockages and inspect your roof and attic for leaks.   

Basement Mold: Due to low sunlight, condensation, high humidity, flooding and leaks, the basement is a common location for mold growth. In addition, people spend little time in their basement and are less likely to spot it early on.

The fix: If there is flooding, have your basement waterproofed. Keep humidity levels down with a dehumidifier. Repair any leaky pipes. If there is water at your house's foundation, it may be necessary for ditches and drains to be built to protect your Harwinton home.   

The good news is, not all mold requires professional remediation.

If you spot mold in your Torrington area home, give us a call at  203-267-6262. Our mold specialists  are IICRC certified and have over 20 years of experience inspecting mold and will give you an honest assessment of whether mold remediation is required.   

With Another Snowstorm Headed Our Way in Goshen, March is Coming in Like a Lion!

3/11/2018 (Permalink)

Snowstorms cause water damage from ice dams and burst pipes as well as roof damage from fallen trees. SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington can help!

I opened up the weather forecast today and did a double-take as there is yet another winter storm warning!  With Nor'easter Quinn having dumped over a foot of snow on the Torrington area last week and another 6 inches on the way, it is clear that March is coming in like a lion! And along with the snow, the storm will bring water damage to homes and businesses due to ice dams, frozen pipes and high winds. 

The most important thing for homeowners to do if they have water damage in their home is to call a professional restoration company immediately.  It is crucial that the restoration begins as soon as possible after water damage. One reason why people who have water damage fail to seek immediate help is due to concerns over whether or not the restoration will be covered by their homeowner's insurance.  Although coverage varies from policy to policy, there are some industry standards that will give you a good idea of whether or not your policy will cover the water damage to your home.  

If the wind from a storm causes a healthy tree to fall on your house, the costs of removal of the tree and repair to your structures is typically covered. If the insurance company has reason to think that your neglect of the tree was the cause of the fall (for example if it was old, rotted and leaning towards your house), they might reject the claim. If your neighbor's tree falls on your house, your insurance company will typically cover the claim however they may negotiate with your neighbor's provider for reimbursement (this is called subrogation). If they are successful, you may not be required to pay a deductible.  

Ice dams cause damage to ceilings, interior walls, roofing shingles and recessed lighting as well as the contents of your home.  Your attic insulation, where the water has all passed through will typically require replacement as well. Fortunately, the damage from ice dams is usually covered.   

Low temperatures can cause the water in the pipes of your home to freeze, in particular those in vulnerable spaces where there may not be adequate insulation such as the attic and garage eaves, under the sink and in converted porches.  Pipes also freeze during power outages – it only takes a few hours of no heat in a home for the interior temperatures to get dangerously low.  Burst pipes send water gushing throughout and cause devastating damage to Harwinton homes.  Sometimes, families might leave the home because of a power outage and return to a water damage disaster. We were once called to a home in which the family had left due to no heat.  A neighbor discovered the water damage when they noticed water pouring out of the closed front door and down the front steps.  In our experience, homeowner's insurance policies will cover water damage due to frozen and burst pipes caused by blizzards and power outages.  

If you have water or wind damage because of the winter weather on Tuesday, call SERVPRO of Southbury / Torrington at 203-267-6262. Our team is ready to help 24 hours a day. By March, we are all eagerly awaiting the first signs of spring however with another snowstorm coming, it looks like we will have to wait just a bit longer.  

Don't Let Water Damage From A Leaking Roof Affect Your Southbury Business

3/6/2018 (Permalink)

When a commercial building has water damage, SERVPRO works with the business to keep their doors open while the restoration process is ongoing.

Business owners know that keeping their doors open is vital to the success of their company. If a commercial building has flooding from a roof leak, it can cause damage to the structure as well as the contents inside.  Even a small leak can allow enough moisture in to be of concern. Although not all roof failures can be avoided, there are some inspection items that all Torrington area business owners should check to reduce their chances of water damage.  

Commercial Building Roof Checklist 

  • Aged Roof - Just like the roof on your house, the one on your commercial building has a finite lifespan. In general, a commercial roof will last about 20 years before it begins to degrade, putting your business at risk.  As a roof ages, the potential for water seeping in due to broken or missing shingles or decaying roofing materials grows. Also, old roofs are often poorly ventilated, which can create conditions conducive to mold growth.  If your commercial building has an older roof, consider replacing it as an insurance policy against water damage. 
  • Poor drainage – If water is puddling on your roof, it will likely leak into your building. There are a variety of reasons why a roof might not drain properly. Perhaps the contractor didn't place adequate downspouts and gutters during installation, or they have been damaged or moved throughout the years. There could also be blockages such as debris in your system. 
  • Flat roof - Many commercial buildings have a flat roof, which has its advantages for large structures that have no need for a sloped roof and require an area for mechanical systems.   Rooftop HVAC systems might have clogged lines which can cause condensation and ponding of water.  A flat roof that has inadequate sloping can also be the cause of water damage. Foot traffic from maintenance workers on the roof can cause damage and erosion. If your building has a flat roof, have it inspected annually for any wear, puddling of water and to have the drains and lines cleaned.  
  • Damaged flashing – the flashing on a roof, which goes over joints where a chimney, HVAC system, gas lines or skylight meets the roof, can be pulled back or damaged from age or wind as well as from improper installation. Water easily gets in the crack and can seep down into the interior walls and ceilings.  

If, despite your best efforts, your commercial building does have a roof leak, call in a professional water damage company immediately.  Regardless of how the water got in, the SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington team provides dependable service that is backed by the industry's most selective training program. We use the latest technologies such as moisture sensors and readers along with thermal imaging to determine where moisture is hidden and avoid unnecessary demolition to the walls of your building.

Drawing upon years of experience mitigating commercial water damage, our technicians will arrive at your business prepared to determine the cause of the roof leak, assess the damage and formulate a restoration plan. We are committed to restoring your business quickly and efficiently, with as little disruption to your business continuity as possible.  We understand that the water damage from your roof leaking impacts your business, which is why we are available 24-7 to respond to your call. 

The Importance of Duct Cleaning:

1/11/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality? In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.  One of the so many services SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington offers is inspecting the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit (HVAC). By keeping the HVAC and duct work clean can potentially extend the life-span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money. Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.  But in some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke, or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, we can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition. If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove, or fireplace, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends they be inspected for proper functioning and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.  We  uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.  The process begins by using our patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins. 

  • Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container. Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
  • As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.
  • Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.

For more information on duct cleaning, or to schedule an appointment, contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington today at 203-267-6262.

When Fire and Water Take Control of Your Life, We Help You Take it Back!

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

Mitigation requires quick action. The faster SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington arrives on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results—including lower claim costs. Within four hours of loss notification, we will be on-site to help ensure that fire damages are handled by utilizing the following services.

  • Structural Cleaning - After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. We will pretest to determine the extent of damage, then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your insured’s structure.
  • Contents Cleaning - All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery.  Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to pre loss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, and much more. Finally, we can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items for your insured.
  • Deodorization - We provide specialized services that rid your residence or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. We do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance. We seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.

Did You Know That Your Ventilation System Can Be the Culprit In Poor Indoor Air Quality?

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know, your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality?  Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home should be a high priority.  In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention.  Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.

A routine part of SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is inspecting the heating, ventilation and a/c unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money.  Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.  We will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns.  This inspection can help save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.

In some circumstances, such as after fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the clean up process.  In these cases, we can often help restore HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.

If you have a fuel burning furnace, stove or fireplace, the EPA recommends they be inspected for proper functioning, and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Our Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost efficient.  What sets us apart from other duct cleaning services is our portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system which examines ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.

If you have any questions concerning your duct work or would like a consultation please don’t hesitate to call us at 203-267-6262!

Safety Tips - Candles

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Keep Candles At Least A Foot Away From Anything That Can Burn.

Holiday Safety Tips: 

Candles, pretty lights  and decorations are just a few of the items that add to the charm and cheer of the holiday season, however, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening very quickly. 

Below are safety tips provided by the National Fire Protection Association, to greatly reduce the fire risk in your home this holiday season. 

  • Two out of five home decoration fires are started by candles.  Keep candles at least three feet away from anything that burns.

  • Use sturdy candle holders that are not likely to tip over and place candles on clear, uncluttered surfaces.

  • Never leave candles unattended.

  • Consider using flameless candles instead of real candles.

  • Make sure you have the correct type of light for your desired décor.  Some lights are designed for only indoor or outdoor use, but not both.

  • Carefully inspect light strands before placing them.  Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.  Connect no more than three strands of light sets.

  • Get rid of your tree after Christmas or when it is dry.  Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage.  Check with your local community to find a recycling program.

  • Remember to turn off outside decorative lights and Christmas tree lights before leaving or going to bed.

  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

  • Smoke alarms save lives!  Install smoke alarms on each level of your home, near kitchen and sleeping areas.  Don’t forget to replace all batteries at least once a year. 

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!

Flood Safety & Recovery Tips

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States.  Regardless of where your home may be located, there is always potential for flood damage.

Floodsmart.gov reports, in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods.  Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, does not mean you won’t in the future.  In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas.

On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the United State.

According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster.  American Red Cross offers the following flood safety tips:

Be Prepared:

  • Water – at least a 3 day supply, one gallon per person per day
  • Food – at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food
  • Radio – either battery powered or hand crank
  • Extra batteries
  • Multi-purpose tools
  • First Aid Kit
  • Copies of personal document (Insurance policies, birth certificates and etc.)
  • Know what your homeowner’s insurance covers and/or doesn’t cover. 
  • Because standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at FloodSmart.gov.
  • Camera – to photograph damages

Responding Appropriately During a Flood:

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice
  • Stay away from floodwaters which may contaminated
  • Keep children away from water. 

Flood Recovery Tips:

  • Return home only when officials declared the area as being safe.
  • Approach home carefully, look for loose power lines, cracked foundation, and other damages. 
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may come into your home through flood water.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear hissing, get out and call fire department
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and boots.

If a flood does strike your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.  Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated properly.  Cleanup can often be an overwhelming task.  We are prepared to handle any size disaster!

Tips To Help Prevent Pipes From Freezing:

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Winter is in full effect!  In an effort to help keep your pipes from freezing, consider the following tips:

Outdoor Care:

Disconnect all garden hoses and if there is water shut off valve, turn it off!   Also, consider installing covers on exterior water supplies.

Prevent the water meter from freezing during cold weather by keeping it securely covered.

Indoor Care:

Identify the location of the main and water heater shut-off(s).  Knowing the location of these valves can come in handy during an emergency and could help prevent further damages.

Be sure that your home’s thermostat is NOT below 60 degrees.

Leave cabinet doors below sinks open to allow heat from home to circulate.

Close all windows and seal any gaps open to the outside elements, especially those near water pipes. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze.

Insulate pipes that are near exterior walls or in unheated spaces of your home. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that may run along outside walls.

Seal leaks that allow cold air into your home by weather strip, caulking or insulating.  Check air leaks around flue or chimney chase, electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. Also, consider insulating outside walls that are in unheated spaces of a home.

If away, shut off water supply valves to your washing machine.

Leave lukewarm water dripping slowly from faucets during extremely cold periods.  Water moving through the system should prevent lines from freezing.

If a Pipe Bursts:

Shut off water at the main valve.

If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of water heater should also be turned off.

Call a plumber immediately! Then call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington to make it, “Like it never even happened.” 

Be Storm Weather Ready!

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Be Severe Weather Ready

Severe weather can happen anywhere and at anytime.  Each year, Americans can experience an average of the following intense storms:

·         10,000 severe thunderstorms

·         5,000  floods or flash floods

·         1,000 tornadoes

·         2 land falling deadly hurricanes

Approximately 98% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage.  Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.

Know Your Risk.  The first step to being weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business and your family.  Check the weather forecast regularly and obtain a NOAA Weather Radio.  Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

Take Action. Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communication plan for your home and business.  Put together or purchase an emergency kit.  Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.

Be an Example.  Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter.  Your preparedness may inspire others to do the same.

Microscopic Mold Spores

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from one’s residence or business.

Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level.

Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and 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.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

If you see signs of mold, please contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at 203-267-6262.  We are here to help and have specialized equipment and expertise to help remediate your mold infestation.

Does Insurance Cover Mold?

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

On a weekly basis we are called in to inspect mold. With much attention around black mold and its potential to be toxic to one’s health, many homeowners’ don't want to take a chance when they see mold. However, not every home that we inspect requires professional remediation.  Often enough, we recommend a safe method in which homeowner's can reduce their mold exposure and/or treat it themselves.

In the cases where there has been a mold infestation and our services were required, homeowners were surprised when their home-owner’s insurance did not cover mold remediation. 

Some policies will cover mold under certain circumstances, while other policies may exclude mold. Typically, if your policy does not include mold remediation it can be added.   However, we recommend that you call your insurance agent to learn more about mold coverage.  It can be a preventative measure that can save you thousands. 

If you see signs of mold please don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington at (203) 267-6262.

With Colder Temperatures, Are Your Pipes at Risk?

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

As temperatures continue to drop, pipes are at risk of freezing, especially while families are traveling for the holidays.

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

  1. Crawlspace- Many older homes in CT have a crawlspace rather than a full basement. They 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 temperature drops. 
  2. Under the Kitchen SinkIn 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 forced air heater unit for those frigid days can help. 

When the unexpected happens, we can help restore your home quickly and thoroughly, call us at 203-267-6262. 

Clean Your Gutters!

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

To help minimize potential exterior/interior, water issues be sure to clean your gutters and drains to ensure that water is properly draining from your home or building. 

Our office is commonly flooded with phone calls during the fall due to backed up gutters and drains that enter a home or business and cause water damage. The backing up of gutters is very common due to the simple fact that leaves, acorns, and other debris build up in the gutters and rain water has no where to go but into your home.

This same type of debris indicated above can cover up drains along foundations and patios which will lead to water damage to basements and lower levels of your home. Not only can water damage occur to your interior living space, but the even more costly damage can take place such as foundation damage, peeling paint, rot to sill plates, and other costly items.

Simply put an ounce of prevention will lead to pounds of protection by just maintaining the water drainage system designed to protect your house or building.

If water damage does occur to your home it is imperative to address it immediately. We are available to help 24/7 at SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com

Signs That Your Hot Water Tank Could Be Failing You

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

Signs That Your Hot Water Tank Could Be Failing You!

The average hot water heater lasts approximately 10 years before it needs to be replaced. Internal parts of the heater can corrode or over time and develop mineral buildup.  Mineral buildup can compromise the efficiency of the heater.  Regular flushing and professional annual maintenance can help prolong the life span of the unit. To avoid any disruption or damage of a failing water heater.  Below are indicators that your water heater may be in need of repair and/or replacement.

Common signs to look for:

  • Insufficient water
  • Noisy water heater
  • Cloudy or hot water that may have an odor
  • Metallic water taste
  • Rust or leaks around connections
  • Leaking tank

If you are experiencing any of the above signs, have it serviced immediately by a plumber immediately! For more information we invite you to visit our site at www.SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com.

Safety Precautions When Dealing With Mold

11/28/2017 (Permalink)

Gearing up!

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington follows strict protocols when removing mold. We are a group of highly trained professional ready to restore your property back to pre-disaster conditions, if not better!   We are the experts in mold remediation and restoration for residential and commercial properties.

It is important that safety precautions are used when dealing with any size disaster, especially when dealing with mold. Water & Mold losses have the potential to cause major damage to structures if not handled properly.   Cleanup can be extremely overwhelming, so let us help you take back control of your property.  We are available, prepared and here to handle in any size disaster 24/7.

Should you suspect mold, visit us online or call us call us at 203-267-6262.

Different Types of Smoke

11/28/2017 (Permalink)

an example of a puff back - soot webs in the corners of the ceiling.

Some of the different types of smoke are:

Fuel Oil Soot – Furnace puff backs

Wet Smoke – Plastics and rubbers low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary.

Dry Smoke – Paper and wood fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore the smoke rises.

Protein – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.

Other Types – Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue.

As we enter into the colder months and turn up our thermostats, one of the common types of smoke is fuel oil soot released from your furnace, called a “puff back.”  

A puff back is a different type of smoke, a sudden dispersion of black smoke and soot throughout the house.  Another identifier can be the appearance of cobwebs, but are actually “soot webs” which are much darker and has an oil odor present.  The oil base soot disperses throughout one’s home affecting walls, ceilings, carpets and furniture to name a few.  It is extremely difficult to remove and there may be a foul odor in the affected rooms.

The cause for a puff back may vary from age of boiler, lack of maintenance, failure to make needed repairs and/or a malfunction.  All heating systems, especially oil-fired, should be inspected, cleaned and adjusted at least once a year by a qualified professional.

Should the unexpected happen, clean-up should be handled by a professional cleaning company like SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.

10 Things to Know About Mold

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Black Mold

10 Things to Know About Mold

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are 10 things you should know about mold:

  1. Potential health effects.
  2. No practical way to eliminate mold; the best way is through moisture control.
  3. If mold becomes a problem, you must clean up mold and eliminate the source of moisture.
  4. To prevent mold growth, find the source and fix the issue.
  5. Reduce indoor humidity by venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture sources outside. Use air conditioners and de-humidifiers.
  6. Clean and dry damp or wet materials quickly to prevent mold growth.
  7. Should mold be present, clean surfaces with detergent and dry completely. Materials like ceiling tiles, sheet rock and etc, should be replaced.
  8. Prevent condensation.
  9. In areas where there is a moisture problem, do not install carpeting.
  10. Mold can be found almost anywhere and can grow on just about anything.

For more information on mold visit

Steps To Help Minimize Your Risk To Mold In Your Home

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Steps to help minimize your risk to mold in your home:

  • Caulk around water fixtures – this includes, sink, shower, toilet, and windows.
  • Use mold inhibiting paints in bathroom and other damp areas
  • Use a fan in the bathroom which exhausts outdoors
  • Vent clothes dryer outside
  • Clean refrigerator and air conditioner drip pans
  • Don’t for get to clean your gutters – standing water in your gutters can leak into the eaves and potentially exterior walls.
  • Roof – check the attic for roof leaks
  • Basement and crawl space – check for moisture or standing water. Consider using a dehumidifier in your basement.
  • Consider sealing dirt basement and crawl spaces.
  • Water damage - clean it up immediately.

Should you experience a water loss please contact experts who specializes in water & mold mitigation.  They will properly extract and dry out the affected areas.  Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated properly.  Cleanup can often be an overwhelming task, so call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, we are prepared to handle any size disaster.

Local Business Experiences Mold

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Mold growth behind sheet rock wall.

This is a picture from a local business that experienced mold growth behind sheet rock wall which neighbors to another business. Overtime, the business owner noticed a strong musty odor and decided to further investigate.  After moving around large bulky furniture, they noticed a discoloration and bulge in the sheet rock and thereafter, called SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.  We arrived on scene and carefully inspected for any visible signs of mold.  Our workers set up containment procedures to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup process.  We also set up equipment like air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums which captured the microscopic mold spores from spreading while remediation was in process.

Also, we used an anti fungal and antimicrobial treatment to eliminate mold from forming and disposed of the heavy contaminated mold growth materials. Lastly, restoration begins; we replaced drywall, re-painted and gave them a fresh clean look.

Should you suspect mold, please contact us immediately.  Minor losses have the potential to cause major damages when not treated properly.  Cleanup can often be an overwhelming task; however, we are prepared 24/7 to handle any size disaster.

Part I: Biohazard, Crime Scene & Vandalism Cleanup:

11/20/2017 (Permalink)

Biohazard job tapped off by police dept.

Biohazard, Crime Scene and Vandalism Cleanup:

While we are recognized as the experts in fire, water cleanup and restoration provider by insurance companies, we also specializes in fast, reliable biohazard and crime scene cleanup and restoration services to residential and commercial property owners.

Exposure to biological and chemical contaminants can pose serious health consequences for building occupants, employees, customers, and owners. 

Failure to properly handle and safely remove hazardous substances can contribute to unhealthy and even dangerous environments.  

We are trained to safely and effectively remove biohazardous substances and prepare waste for proper disposal according to OSHA, EPA, and state and local health regulations.  We are equipped with the necessary safety equipment and cleaning products, to help turn an unsafe situation into a clean environment.  We can help with the following issues:

  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Methamphetamine Labs
  • Crime Scene Residues
  • Arson
  • Vandalism
  • Sewage Backups
  • Black Water Intrusions
  • Mold Mitigation and Remediation State and local regulations vary.

For more information on biohazard, crime scene and vandalism cleanup call or visit us at http://www.SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com/.

Flooding

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), “Approximately 75% of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding.”  NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States are:

  • Flash Flooding
  • River Flooding
  • Storm Surge & Coastal
  • Inundation from Topical and Non-Tropical Systems
  • Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused By Wildfires)
  • Ice/Debris Jams
  • Snowmelt
  • Dry Wash (Caused by Heavy Rainfall in Dry Areas)
  • Dam Breaks/Levee Failure

If you never experienced a flood doesn’t mean you may never experience one in the future.  In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities.  On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the United States.  When catastrophic water damage happens, SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford is here and ready to help.   For more information on the National Weather Service, visit them at http://www.weather.gov/

The Importance of Duct Cleaning:

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

The Importance of Duct Cleaning:

Did you know your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality? In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention. Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.  One of the so many services SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford offers is inspecting the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life-span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money. Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.  But in some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke, or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. In these cases, we can often restore the HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition. If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove, or fireplace, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends they be inspected for proper functioning and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.  We  uses a portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system to examine ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.  The process begins by using our patented equipment, including a roto-scraper, which automatically adapts to the duct’s shape and diameter while traveling through the duct, removing debris and filth before vacuuming begins. 

  • Next, a powerful push-pull air delivery and collection system transfers the debris from the ducting to a 16-gallon container. Air is filtered through a HEPA filtration system, removing 99.97 percent of the particles in the airstream. HEPA filters capture debris and keep the indoor environment clean.
  • As an optional process, a sealant or coating product may be sprayed to address odor or microbial concerns.
  • Filters will either be cleaned or replaced to remove odor and dirt.

For more information on duct cleaning, or to schedule an appointment, contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington today at 203-267-6262.

The Importance of Dry Vent Cleaning:

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

The Importance of Dry Vent Cleaning:

According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death. To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your home, SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup. Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap stays open and that it  is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest, or other potential obstacles. For more information on dry vent cleaning visit us at www.SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com or call 203-267-6262.

Safety Precautions For This Heating Season.

11/16/2017 (Permalink)

Pellet Stove

Winter is upon us and with colder weather comes shorter days and lower temperatures!  Many people use alternative heating sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, pellet and wood burning stoves to help keep their homes toasty. Did you know, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths? According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment fires account for $1 billion in direct property damage annually. Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce risk heating-related fires:

  • Keep flammable items at least three feet away from heating equipment like furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater.
  • Have a three foot “kid-free zone” around open fi res and space heaters.
  • Be sure that your fireplace has a screen in front of it to help stop sparks from flying into the room.
  • Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the metal container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or when going to bed.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly and change batteries annually.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Heating equipment and chimneys should be inspected every year by a qualified professional.

Should your property experiences smoke or damage, we are here to help.

Smoke Alarms Save Lives!

11/16/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke alarm

Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level, including the basement. Extra smoke alarms may be needed in large homes. Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA). If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross. Be sure your home has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills with your family.  For more information on how smoke alarms save lives, visit http://www.nfpa.org/.

Preparing for a Flood

11/16/2017 (Permalink)

Preparing for a Flood:

Flooding can happen fast in many environments.  The American Red Cross recommends having the following list of items packed and ready to go in the event of an evacuation due to flooding:

  • Water – 3+ day supply; one gallon per person per day
  • Food – 3+ day supply non-perishable, easy to prepare food
  • Flashlight(s) – with extra batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio)
  • First Aid Kit – including medications and medical items (hearing aids, with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes and cane.)
  • Multi-purpose toolS
  • Sanitation/personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents – deed/lease to home, birth certificates & insurance policies
  • Camera for photos of damage
  • Cell Phone – with chargers
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Maps
  • Baby supplies if needed
  • Pet supplies
  • Tools & supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Insect repellent and sunscreen

For more information on how to prepare for flooding visit the American Red Cross at http://www.redcross.org/.

Did You Know that Floods Are the Most Common Natural Disasters?

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

Roads closed due to severe floodings.

One of the most common natural disasters here in the United States is floods.  Whether your home or business is by the coastline, in a city, near the mountains or even the desert – there is always a potential for flood damage.

On average, floods cost $3 billion in annual losses in the USA.  Commercial flood claims average more than $75k.

According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather related disaster.

Some safety tips offered by the American Red Cross are:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come across a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.  As little as six inches of water can sweep you off your feet.
  • If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising, get out of the car immediately and move to higher ground.  Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of flood water. They are curious and often lack, judgment about running water or contaminated water.  If a flood does strike your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford or Southbury/Torrington immediately, to make it “Like it never even happened!”

Are Your Ducts Dirty?

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

Technician assessing duct/HVAC Unit

Did you know that your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality?  Inspecting ductwork should be a high priority.  In most cases, your HVAC System has been operating for some time without any attention.  Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants like mold, or dust particles which travel throughout your home.

SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford & Southbury/Torrington can help inspect your heating, ventilation and air conditioning units.  Proper cleaning of one’s HVAC system and ductwork can help prolong the life span of the equipment and possibly may help those who suffer from allergies.

In circumstances after a fire, smoke or mold, duct cleaning becomes essential, we can often restore the HVAC system and duct work to its pre-damage condition.  Also, if you have a fuel burning furnace, pellet or wood burning stove, or fire place, the EPA recommends inspection for proper functioning and services to help protect against carbon monoxide poisonings.    For more information or to schedule an appointment, call us at 203-267-6262.

Stuff A Van Food Drive

11/8/2017 (Permalink)

Stuff A Van Food Drive Flyer

It’s that time of year when we help the less fortunate during the holiday seasons. SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford and SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington are proud to be doing a food drive, “Stuff a Van”.  We are collecting non perishable food from November 1st to November 18th for the Sterling House Community Center Food Pantry located at 2283 Main Street, Stratford, CT. 

The food pantry provides food, Thanksgiving food baskets and other needs to families in Stratford and the Greater Bridgeport Area. They have been known to provide over 7,000 people with food not only for the holidays but throughout the year.

We have collections boxes placed in businesses around different locations that are helping collected food in their offices. On November the 18th, we have partnered with a located business, Curran Volkswagen, in Stratford, that we will doing a onsite food collection that day so that on November 20th, we can drive a vehicle full of food to Sterling House Community Center and deliver a van stuffed with food to the food pantry and help them provide meals for families in need.

What is Ultrasonic Cleaning?

11/8/2017 (Permalink)

Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine

ULTRASONIC CLEANING

What is ultrasonic Cleaning?!

Chances are, if you’ve ever had your jewelry or watches professionally cleaned, it was done in an ultrasonic cleaner! Ultrasonic cleaning is an efficient, effective, and detailed method to clean and disinfect a multitude of different items from kitchenware to electronics. As the name implies, these machines use ultrasonic sound waves passed through an aqueous solution consisting of water, a softener, and a mild detergent. This process, known as “cavitation”, is a result of the high frequency sound waves creating pressure in the solution making millions of tiny bubbles that form and implode agitating the surface of the objects being cleaned. Items are submerged and typically remain from 5 minutes up to 20 minutes depending of level of soiling. They are then removed and properly dried.

Why use ultrasonic cleaning?

This method of cleaning helps to ensure that every surface of the item, including difficult to clean areas, inaccessible areas, cracks, crevices, and areas that typically can’t be done manually are thoroughly cleaned. It also achieves better, faster results while substantially cutting down labor and eliminating the need for harsh chemicals.

What can ultrasonic cleaning be use on?

Ultrasonic cleaning has been used in a wide array of different industries, and with good reason! Almost any item can be successfully and safely cleaned using these processes. These can range from dishware, glasses, and golf clubs to medical equipment, circuit boards, and chandeliers. Most contents usually only require a quick bath, however, some more complex items like television and microwaves require some form of disassembly to assure not only every surface is in contact with the solution, but that once removed they can be properly dried and inspected. Ultrasonic cleaning can be used to removed all forms of soot, dust, rust, bacteria, mold, biological contamination and more! The only items that ultrasonic machines are not helpful with are items that any water has the potential to ruin, such as particle board or wood furniture which can absorb too much water and take too long to dry damaging finishes and integrity. They also aren’t the best choice for laundry, that’s best left to the washer and dryer!

Where can I have my contents Ultrasonic Cleaned?

Here at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington we’re proud to have our very own extra large ultrasonic cleaner! We utilize this machine to restore contents from water, fire, and general cleaning jobs where contents have been brought to our in house storage facility! Our machine is located in our contents cleaning wing of our facility and has the capacity to handle jobs of any size! We also have our very own drying chamber to assist in properly removing moisture from any contents we clean! During our open house we held this October, we held live demonstrations of our Ultrasonic Cleaner in action. Anyone who requested to have their personal belongings, keys, jewelry, etc cleaned, walked away very happy and impressed with this machines capabilities! Our ultrasonic cleaner is just one more step in making it "Like it never even happened."

Clean your Gutters!

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

Gutter Clean-up

To help minimize potential exterior/interior, water issues be sure to clean your gutters and drains to ensure that water is properly draining from your home or building. 

Our office is commonly flooded with phone calls during the fall due to backed up gutters and drains that enter a home or business and cause water damage. The backing up of gutters is very common due to the simple fact that leaves, acorns, and other debris build up in the gutters and rain water has no where to go but into your home.

This same type of debris indicated above can cover up drains along foundations and patios which will lead to water damage to basements and lower levels of your home. Not only can water damage occur to your interior living space, but the even more costly damage can take place such as foundation damage, peeling paint, rot to sill plates, and other costly items.

Simply put an ounce of prevention will lead to pounds of protection by just maintaining the water drainage system designed to protect your house or building.

If water damage does occur to your home it is imperative to address it immediately. We are available to help 24/7 call or visit us at http://www.SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com/

Wind Driven Rain

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

Wind damage to roof

On Tuesday evening October 24 2017 at 11:07 PM EST, the national weather service has issued a wind and flooding advisory for New Haven County. http://wtnh.com/weather-alerts/ Heavy rain bands accompanied with driving winds can cause water damage to your home or business property’s through your roofing shingles and/or siding.

If the holding strength of roofing shingles and siding is compromised due to wind gusts and building material lifting begins, then rain water can effectively be driven into the building materials and water damage can set in. Sometimes this can start in a mild fashion and minimal signs of water impact can occur. This can be a potential scenario for mold damage to appear with 72 hours if this type of damage occurs and it is not recognized and dealt with properly. It is very common for a wall cavity or attic area that contains insulation to become impacted on a minimal basis, but just enough for insulation to soak up the wind driven rain and not show signs in the finished living space, until mold forms in these areas.

The staff at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is properly trained in how to inspect, investigate, and detect these potential problems after a wind driven rainstorm event occurs. Please visit our site to learn more about this type of water damage concern at http://www.SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com/. We are available anytime to help with these concerns.

Breast Cancer Awareness

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

WAIP Breast Cancer Strides

SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford was proud to be a sponsor to the Waterbury Association Insurance Professional, the WAIP Striders who recently walked in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.  Our own team member, Roseann Santamaria, walked with this awesome group who raised  $4,205 towards an event total of $57,000. Alongside Roseann and her team of 15 striders in her team was over 500 people who collaborated together to support this event.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer brings about awareness of breast cancer along with the efforts the American Cancer Society is doing to help save lives from this disease and the services it provides to patients and their caregivers.

SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford,  offers a big congratulations to WAIP Striders on a great accomplishment to a wonderful cause. Please visit this link for more info about the cause http://www.waiwctnaiw.org/

SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford and SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington recognize the importance of giving back to the local communities and charities that support these types of events.

High Humidity Effects

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

During a water damage to your home or business while some of your contents might not have been directly affected by the water, however the moisture in the air could have devastating and long lasting effects.


Clothing items, soft fabrics, and upholstered items exposed to high humidity are more likely to be ruined by mold and secondary damages. Besides microbial growth that can occur, high humidity from water damage can deflect, bend, or reshape these soft good items. High humidity will not distinguish between designer suits or an old pair of sweatpants, so realizing the problem and resolving it quickly is the best prevention to protect your content items.


Furniture covered with fabric has a lot of area for potential mold growth. When mold forms on upholstered furniture exposed to high humidity, repair can be very difficult or impossible. And who wants a smelly sofa?


While all of the conditions described above sound upsetting, they’re easily avoided. With Proper Water Mitigation and Drying. Here are SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington we are trained in how to respond when this type of damage occurs. Please check out our website for additional info about water damage and high humidity secondary damages. http://www.SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com/

Ground Water Flooding Due to Recent Storms

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

an example of ground water coming up through the floor.

The fast moving rain and thunder storms that are running across CT on 10/24/17 from west to east are causing flash flooding to many homes and businesses in a widespread fashion. It is crucial for homeowners and business owners to deal with ground water entering their properties in an immediate fashion.

Groundwater can carry unknown contaminants that can travel with the rain water that passes through the soil and pickup potential pesticides and other unknown contaminants and deposit them in your affected areas. For example, Beryllium, naturally occurs in soil and groundwater. To learn more about the effects of Beryllium from water damage, please follow this link for more information https://water.usgs.gov/edu/groundwater-contaminants.html

If you happen to experience water damage to your home or business, we are available to assist in the proper removal and water restoration 24/7 and 365 days a year to your property. For additional tips and info and contact information please click on our website at http://www.SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com/

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is an IICRC certified firm that specializes in water damage restoration.

Video: SERVPRO® Races to Restore Houston

9/8/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® Helps Restore Houston.

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/09/06/work-crews-race-to-rebuild-harvey-hit-homes.html

Thank you, CNBC for highlighting all the work SERVPRO® crews are doing in Texas to quickly and efficiently restore homes impacted by #Harvey before mold and additional damage sets in. #HeretoHelp

A few helpful tips for flood recovery:

  • Return home only when officials declared the area as being safe.
  • Approach home carefully, look for loose power lines, cracked foundation, and other damages. 
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may come into your home through flood water.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear hissing, get out and call fire department
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and boots.

Also remember to:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come across a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.  As little as six inches of water can sweep you off your feet.
  • If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising, get out of the car immediately and move to higher ground.  Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of flood water.  They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.

Heading to Texas with Relief & Supplies...

8/30/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Southbury / Torrington team members delivering relief items to Beacon Hose Company #1.

SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford and SERVPRO of Southbury / Torrington would like to extend a big thank you to Beacon Hose Company #1 for taking the initiative and collecting relief supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Beacon Hose Co. 1 will be heading to the Houston suburb of Galina Park, Texas around midnight tonight in their personal vehicles and trailer with donations collected from generous donors to help the victims. 

Our team at SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford, and SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, are proud to have participated by donating items to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. 

Let's keep the volunteers of Beacon Hose Company #1 in our thoughts and prayers as they travel to Galina Park, Texas to help bring relief to those in need from this devastating storm.

Signs That Your Hot Water Tank Could be Failing You!

7/9/2017 (Permalink)

Hot water storage tank

Signs That Your Hot Water Tank Could Be Failing You!

The average hot water heater lasts approximately 10 years before it needs to be replaced. Internal parts of the heater can corrode or over time, develop mineral buildup.  Mineral buildup can compromise the efficiency of the heater.  Regular flushing and professional annual maintenance can help prolong the life span of the unit. To avoid any disruption or damage of a failing water heater.  Below are indicators that your water heater may be in need of repair and/or replacement.

Common signs to look for:

  • Insufficient water
  • Noisy water heater
  • Cloudy or hot water that may have an odor
  • Metallic water taste
  • Rust or leaks around connections
  • Leaking tank

If you are experiencing any of the above signs, have it serviced immediately! 

The Importance of Carpet Cleaning....

6/27/2017 (Permalink)

Milford Bank Area Rug.

The Importance of Carpet Cleaning…

Carpets act as a filter for trapping particles like dirt, dust, dander and other contaminates.  Regular carpet cleaning can help reduce or eliminate pollutants.   While vacuuming is a key component for proper care and maintenance, it does not remove all trapped particulates.  To maximize your cleaning efforts and to reduce dirt, allergens, dust mites and other microscopic pollutants, it is recommended by the Institute of Inspection on Cleaning & Restoration (IICRC) to professionally steam clean and sanitize your carpet on an annual basis. 

Also, as for Oriental rug, upholstery, and other specialty soft good cleanings, we are happy to offer our customers a service whereby we are available to either pick-up, or clean on site. To learn more about carpet cleaning we invite you to visit us at http://www.SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com/or call us at 203-267-6262. 

Did You Know That There Are 3 Categories and Classes Which Describe Water Contamination?

5/22/2017 (Permalink)

Category 3 - Ground Water

With all the recent rain fall, did you know that there are different categories and classes which describe contaminated water?  According to the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification), which sets the standards for the cleaning industry and water damage restoration training, there are several different levels and classes around water destruction.  From the IICRC’s S-500 standards, they are as follows:

Category 1. This is water from a clean and sanitary source, such as broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involves water supply lines.  The cleanliness of Category 1 water can deteriorate quickly due to contact with building and other materials.

Category 2. This category, once referred to as grey water, contains level of contaminates that may cause illness or discomfort if ingested. Sources include toilet bowls with urine (no feces), sump pump failures, and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.

Category 3. This is the worst classification, once referred to as black water, is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents. If ingested it can cause severe illness or death. Sources include sewer backup, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow with feces, and ground surface water or standing water that has begun to support bacterial growth.

Next are the classes of water damage which determine the probable rate of evaporation based on the type of materials affected, or wet, in the room or space that was flooded.

Class 1. Slow rate of evaporation and easiest to deal with.  Only part of a room or area was affected, there is little or no wet materials, and the moisture has only affected materials with a low permeance rate, such as plywood or concrete.

Class 2. With a fast evaporation rate, this level affects an entire room, carpeting, or cushioning, the wetness has wicked up the walls at least 12”, and there is moisture remaining in structural materials.

Class 3. This class has the fastest evaporation rate.  Ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet and sub-floors are all saturated.

Class 4. This class is labeled as specialty drying situations, which means there has been enough water and time to saturate materials with very low permeance, such as hardwood, concrete, stone, crawlspaces and plaster.

 

Should the unexpected happen and you are faced with a water loss, please call us at 203-267-6262.  We make it “Like it never even happened.®”

 

The Health Effects of Mold:

4/12/2017 (Permalink)

Mold found in attic.

The Health Effects of Mold:


Mold can produce allergens and irritants which can potentially cause health effects such as:



  • Allergy Symptoms

  • Asthma

  • Difficulty Breathing

  • Weakened Immune System & Chronic Sickness


Mold can spread quickly throughout your home in as little as 48 hours. If you suspect that your home or business has a mold, we can help by inspecting your property. If mold is found, we are are the experts to remediate your mold infestation.


To learn more about mold visit us at www.SERVPROsouthburytorrington.com or call 203-267-6262.

A Winter Tip For Your Ceiling Fans

2/13/2017 (Permalink)

A Winter Tip For Your Ceiling Fans

During cold winter months, consider reversing your ceiling blade fans.  In normal mode, ceiling fans spin in a counter-clockwise direction. Their blades are positioned to push air down, resulting in a cool breeze. But did you know by switching your ceiling fan to reverse (low speed), the fan now spins in the opposite direction which pulls air up towards the ceiling, driving the warm air that has risen naturally back down and redistributing warm air back to the edges of the room.

As for the warmer months, you will want the fan to move air straight down, so your ceiling fan will now need to run in a counter clockwise direction. As the temperature rises, increase the speed setting to cool the room.

Did You Know That There Are Different Types Of Smoke?

12/28/2016 (Permalink)

An example of soot webs (aka cobwebs).

Some of the different types of smoke are:

Fuel Oil Soot – Furnace puff backs

Wet Smoke – Plastics and rubbers low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary.

Dry Smoke – Paper and wood fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore the smoke rises.

Protein – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.

Other Types – Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue.

As we enter into the colder months and turn up our thermostats, one of the common types of smoke is fuel oil soot released from your furnace, called a “puff back.”  

A puff back is a different type of smoke, a sudden dispersion of black smoke and soot throughout the house.  Another identifier can be the appearance of cobwebs, but are actually “soot webs” which are much darker and has an oil odor present.  The oil base soot disperses throughout one’s home affecting walls, ceilings, carpets and furniture to name a few.  It is extremely difficult to remove and there may be a foul odor in the affected rooms.

The cause for a puff back may vary from age of boiler, lack of maintenance, failure to make needed repairs and/or a malfunction.  All heating systems, especially oil-fired, should be inspected, cleaned and adjusted at least once a year by a qualified professional.

Should the unexpected happen, clean-up should be handled by a professional cleaning company like SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington, to make it "Like it never even happened."

Flooding Safety Tips

8/24/2016 (Permalink)

Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States.  Regardless of where your home may be located, there is always potential for flood damage.

Floodsmart.gov reports, in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods.  Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past, does not mean you won’t in the future.  In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas.

On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the United State.

According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster.  American Red Cross offers the following flood safety tips:

Be Prepared:

  • Water – at least a 3 day supply, one gallon per person per day
  • Food – at least a 3 day supply of non-perishable food
  • Radio – either battery powered or hand crank
  • Extra batteries
  • Multi-purpose tools
  • First Aid Kit
  • Copies of personal document (Insurance policies, birth certificates and etc.)
  • Know what your homeowner’s insurance covers and/or doesn’t cover. 
  • Because standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at FloodSmart.gov.
  • Camera – to photograph damages

Responding Appropriately During a Flood:

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice
  • Stay away from floodwaters which may contaminated
  • Keep children away from water. 

Flood Recovery Tips:

  • Return home only when officials declared the area as being safe.
  • Approach home carefully, look for loose power lines, cracked foundation, and other damages. 
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may come into your home through flood water.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear hissing, get out and call fire department
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and boots.

If a flood does strike your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington.  Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated properly.  Cleanup can often be an overwhelming task.  SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is prepared to handle any size disaster, to make it like it never even happened!

Be Severe Weather Ready

8/8/2016 (Permalink)

Be Severe Weather Ready

Severe weather can happen anywhere and at anytime.  Each year, Americans can experience an average of the following intense storms:

·         10,000 severe thunderstorms

·         5,000  floods or flash floods

·         1,000 tornadoes

·         2 land falling deadly hurricanes

Approximately 98% of all presidentially declared disasters are weather-related, leading to around 500 deaths per year and nearly $15 billion in damage.  Knowing your risk of severe weather, taking action and being an example are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared to save your life and assist in saving the lives of others.

Know Your Risk.  The first step to being weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you, your business and your family.  Check the weather forecast regularly and obtain a NOAA Weather Radio.  Severe weather comes in many forms and your shelter plan should include all types of local hazards.

Take Action. Take the next step in severe weather preparedness by creating a communication plan for your home and business.  Put together or purchase an emergency kit.  Keep important papers and valuables in a safe place.

Be an Example.  Once you have taken action to prepare for severe weather, share your story with co-workers and family and friends on Facebook or Twitter.  Your preparedness may inspire others to do the same.

Grilling Safety Tips:

7/14/2016 (Permalink)

Hamburgers - photo by Carlos Lopez https://www.flickr.com/people/7632976@N02

Grilling Tips:

There is nothing like firing up the grill during the summer months!  Did you know July is the peak month for grill fires?  A backyard barbecue can become dangerous if safety precautions aren’t considered. 

·         Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors

·         The grill should be placed away from the home, deck railing and out from under leaves and overhanging branches

·         Keep children and pets away from grill

·         Keep your grill clean by removing grease buildup form the grills and in trays below the grill

·         Never leave grill unattended

·         When using a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container

We at SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington wish you a Happy and Safe Grilling Season!

4th of July Safety Tips:

6/27/2016 (Permalink)

4th of July Safety Tips:

Summer is in full swing with barbecues, parades and firework displays; but along with all the festivities are visits to emergency rooms, especially during the month of July.

Each year, an average of 23 people are injured due to fireworks-related incidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Also, fireworks are responsible for thousands of house fires each year with millions of dollars in property damages.

Consider the following tips to ensure your 4th of July celebrations are disaster-free!

·         Light fireworks outdoors on a driveway or other paved surface(s) at least 50 feet away

·        Avoid lighting fireworks near home and away from flammable materials (dry grass or mulch)

·         Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear

·         Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks

·         Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire

·         Never pick up left over fireworks as they may still be active

·         The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals

SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington wishes you a Happy 4th of July and a Safe Summer!

When was the last time your HVAC & Duct system was checked?

3/28/2016 (Permalink)

Did you know, your ventilation system is often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality?  Inspecting the ductwork in your facility or home should be a high priority.  In most cases, the HVAC system has been operating for some time without much attention.  Dirty ducts can circulate odors, contaminants such as mold, and irritating dust throughout your building or home.

A routine part of SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington is inspecting the heating, ventilation and a/c unit (HVAC). Keeping the HVAC and ductwork clean can potentially extend the life span of the equipment by allowing it to operate at peak condition, which may help save you money.  Duct cleaning may not always be necessary.  We will inspect your HVAC system and ductwork and make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns.  This inspection can help save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your HVAC system and ductwork.

In some circumstances, such as after fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the clean up process.  In these cases, we can often help restore HVAC system and ductwork to pre-damage condition.

If you have a fuel burning furnace, stove or fireplace, the EPA recommends they be inspected for proper functioning, and be serviced before each heating season to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Our Duct Cleaning System is proven and cost efficient.  What sets us apart from other duct cleaning services is our portable ventilation and air duct cleaning system which examines ductwork and make a clean sweep, removing years of dust and grime.

If you have any questions concerning your duct work or would like a consultation please don’t hesitate to call us at 203-267-6262!

Tips to Help Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing:

1/6/2016 (Permalink)

Winter is in full effect!  In an effort to help keep your pipes from freezing, consider the following tips:

Outdoor Care:

Disconnect all garden hoses and if there is water shut off valve, turn it off!   Also, consider installing covers on exterior water supplies.

Prevent the water meter from freezing during cold weather by keeping it securely covered.

Indoor Care:

Identify the location of the main and water heater shut-off(s).  Knowing the location of these valves can come in handy during an emergency and could help prevent further damages.

Be sure that your home’s thermostat is NOT below 60 degrees.

Leave cabinet doors below sinks open to allow heat from home to circulate.

Close all windows and seal any gaps open to the outside elements, especially those near water pipes. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze.

Insulate pipes that are near exterior walls or in unheated spaces of your home. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that may run along outside walls.

Seal leaks that allow cold air into your home by weather strip, caulking or insulating.  Check air leaks around flue or chimney chase, electrical wiring, dryer vents and pipes. Also, consider insulating outside walls that are in unheated spaces of a home.

If away, shut off water supply valves to your washing machine.

Leave lukewarm water dripping slowly from faucets during extremely cold periods.  Water moving through the system should prevent lines from freezing.

If a Pipe Bursts:

Shut off water at the main valve.

If the break is in a hot water pipe, the valve on top of water heater should also be turned off.

Call a plumber immediately! Then call SERVPRO of Southbury/Torrington to make it, “Like it never even happened.” 

Categories

Archived Posts