Recent Storm Damage Posts

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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!

Why Do Ice Dams Form and Cause Water Damage to Torrington Homes?

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

When ice dams form, they may cause water and mold damage in your home.

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.

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!"

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.

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.  

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. 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
  • 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!

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.

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

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!”

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. 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 We are available anytime to help with these concerns.

Video: SERVPRO® Races to Restore Houston

9/8/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® Helps Restore Houston.

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.