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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Exterior Services

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

Did you think SERVPRO only performs mitigation and restoration inside of residential and commercial properties? We also do work on the exterior of properties when affected by water, fire or other mayhem.

The picture below is a commercial building that experienced smoke damage when a car parked on the street next to the building caught fire. The building was covered from top to bottom with soot. We used one of SERVPRO’s newest products, a water-less masonry cleaner to clean the soot off of the outside of the building. This square area was a test patch that we did to ensure the product would work to the customer’s liking. The owner of the building was extremely happy with the results of the restoration we were able to perform.

Our SERVPRO can pressure wash vinyl siding that has been affected by smoke damage to make it look fresh and new.

Another exterior service we provide is board-ups and roof tarping. We have an emergency crew available 24/7 if you experience a broken door or window that needs to be boarded up while waiting for a repair. If you have a leaky roof, we can tarp the roof until repairs can be made to stop further damage inside of the home.

Defense Against Mold Growth

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

It is important to start mitigation as soon as a water damage happens to avoid mold growth. Mold can start to become visible in as little as 24-48 hours depending on the conditions. Many times, water damages are not found immediately which makes it vital to respond to water damage as soon as it is found. Mold can be harmful to you and your loved ones, as well as, the building structure. Somethings you can do to fight mold growth: 

  • Keep the humidity between 30-60 percent
  • Provide proper drainage away from the building structure
  • Inspect plumbing and appliances regularly
  • Keep gutters and drains free from debris
  • Inspect windows, doorways, roofs and other areas where water may enter
  • Don't leave it, respond to all water intrusions immediately
  • Call us if you experience water damage!

Celebrate Summer Safely

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

Summer in Central New York is the time to enjoy the great outdoors! It is however, important to keep safety in mind. Please consider the following tips in order to enjoy being outdoors with friends and family in a safe way to keep you and your loved ones safe all summer long!

  • When using charcoal grills, only use start fluids designed for BBQ grills. DO NOT add fluid after coals have been lit.
  • When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight. You want to avoid having a gas leak which may cause a fire to ignite outside of the grilling area. Applying soapy water to the hose will easily help identify any leaks.
  • When camping, always use a flame-retardant tent and set up any camp far away from the campfire.
  • Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area.
  • Clear any vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire.
  • Extinguish the fire before leaving the site or going to sleep.
  • Store liquid fire starters away from the tent area and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.

Steps to Take After a Fire

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Fires can be understandably overwhelming. Here are the first steps to take after a fire.

  • Make sure the local fire department has given the okay to go inside the residence.
  • Call your insurance company so they can start a claim and initiate paperwork. If you are a tenant contact your landlord.
  • Call loved ones to let them know you are okay and inform anyone who wasn’t home what happened.
  • Secure the residence to prevent theft by locking doors and covering windows or holes. If you need help, give us a call! We offer board up services to secure the property. 
  • Get a copy of the fire report by contacting your local fire department.
  • If the residence is uninhabitable, contact a friend or relative in the area to see if you can stay with them or the American Red Cross for assistance.
  • Notify your employer, friends, family, post office, children’s schools, delivery services such as newspapers, utilities, telecom services and the police all of your current move.
  • Consider the cleanup requirements. Does all of your contents need to be cleaned? Does every rooms need to be cleaned? Was the affected area contained to certain rooms in the home?
  • Talk to your insurance company about what your policy covers before having a cleanup and restoration company come on site.
  • If counseling is needed, especially for small children, don’t be afraid to seek help.

How to Save Your Furniture After a Water Damage

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Having water damage can be very frustrating and exhausting. We often hear from customers that they have tried to move all of their contents from an affected area, mop up the standing water, and fix the source of the water damage themselves during all hours! We spend our hard earned money on things that make our houses a comfortable and enjoyable environment. The last thing we want is to lose expensive or sentimental pieces of furniture.

There are a few things you can do in order to save your furniture from being ruined in a water damage situation:

-Assess what items have been affected by the water.

-Take pictures to document the water damage and specific pictures of items that have been damaged due to the water.

-Move any furniture out of the affected area that can be moved. The less time the furniture can be sitting in the water, the better. If you cannot move the furniture, try to put something underneath it that gets it up out of the water. For example, you could use wood blocks or aluminum foil.

-If you have wood furniture that has been affected by the water, make sure you put it somewhere it can air dry. Keep the furniture out of direct sunlight as direct sun exposure could cause the wood to crack or warp.

-Apply mayonnaise to any furniture that is lightly water damaged. Apply a thin layer of the mayonnaise and let it sit on the water damaged area for 1-2 hours. Use a damp cloth to remove the mayo from the area. This should remove the water damaged areas.

Black Mold

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Oswego County, we often get calls from customers with questions or concerns regarding black mold. People worry about how harmful black mold is to their health, how to get rid of it, and how to stop the mold from coming back. In this blog post we will try to create a quick reference on the subject of black mold.

The scientific name for black mold is Stachybotrys Chartarum or Stachybotrys Atra. Black mold usually grows in moist areas with poor circulation. Mold often produces a strong odor. There are many types of mold which have a similar appearance to black mold. An industrial hygienist would be able to identify whether or not the mold you have in your home is black mold or another type.

Mold affects everyone differently. The American Industrial Hygiene Association advise that pregnant women, infants and children, the elderly and the immunocompromised, those with allergies, asthma or respiratory conditions are at risk to more severe side effects than others. 

If you suspect that black mold is in your home there are a few steps needed to correctly get rid of the mold and keep it from coming back. First, you need to figure out where the mold is in your home. You may need to call an Industrial Hygienist to complete an assessment of your home. The hygienist will complete a moisture intrusion assessment, air and surface sampling and relative humidity testing. This investigation will determine what kind, how much and where the mold is present in your home. From knowing these items, you will be able to figure out what is causing the mold to grow and what area of your home mold remediation is necessary. It is important to fix the problem that is causing the mold to grow. For example, if there is a leaky pipe dripping into an area causing mold to grow, the pipe should be fixed before mold remediation takes place. Next, you will need to remediate the mold. By disrupting the materials that mold is growing on, you can easily spread mold spores into the air multiplying the spores rather than reducing them. It is important to contact a company who specializes in mold remediation to get mold levels back to normal. At SERVPRO of Oswego County, our technicians have are highly trained mold remediation specialists. Our technicians have Applied Microbial Remediation Certifications and have completed the New York State Mold Abatement Worker Course.

Preparing for a Natural Disaster

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

With the increasing amount of technology, we are often able to predict storms before they happen. However, natural disaster can happen without much warning. Though, it is important to be prepared and understand what it takes to be prepared. It is often joked about that the only job that you won’t get fired for being wrong is being a weatherman. Whether we believe the storm will affect us directly or not, we need to trust the possibility that if a storm is predicted to hit a specific area and prepare of the worst.

How should you prepare for the possibility of a natural disaster?

-Prepare to be without electricity for several days. Here is a list of very basic items you should have on hand:

>You should have a couple flashlights with extra batteries. Candles and matches.

>Food that will not spoil and does not need to be heated to be eaten or kept cold.

>Plenty of bottled water. Some sources say as much as 1 gallon of water per person per day.

>Blankets and clothing stored in a plastic container that won’t get wet if flooding should occur.

>First aid kit.

>At least a week’s worth of any prescription medication and any over the counter medication you may take.

>Toiletries such as paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo, body wash, tooth paste and tooth brushes, anti-bacterial wipes, hand sanitizer.

Remember that stores and gas stations can get overwhelmingly busy when everyone is trying to prepare for a storm. Be patient and understanding during this time. It is easy to become anxious as no one truly knows what will happen in the days or hours to come.

-Watch the news and stay current on what is happening. In some areas evacuations may be necessary. It is important to know what is going on and what safety measures are being recommended.

-Create a family communication plan. In case you get separated from your loved ones, make sure you have a plan of how you would get back in touch with them. Often we hear on the news that family members were evacuated separately from one another. If this were to happen, you would want to have a plan to get back in touch with your loved ones so that you know quicker that they are alright.

-Be flexible with your plans. Circumstances may change in a moment’s notice and it is important that we remain flexible in our plans. The area you’re in may not be expecting initially to get hit with the eye of the storm. However, this can change very quickly and officials may decide to evacuate your area. You need to be prepared to do so with very little time so that you and your family can get to a safe zone.

Grilling Safety Tips

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

Summer is finally here and we all know what that means…. grilling time! Who doesn’t love a nice steak or veggies cooked on the grill while basking in the sun? It’s easy to forget that while grills are a great way to cook food in the summer, there are some hazards that go along with them. Here are some tips to remember for safe grilling. 

  • Use your grill outside and away from low roofs. This will not only prevent toxins from lingering in your home but will also prevent potential fires.
  •  Place the grill on a flat surface away from anything that may catch fire such as trees, shrubs, fences and hedges.
  • Do not grill with loose clothing or dangling bits that can catch fire or are flammable.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it. It’s also a good idea to have a small squirt bottle fill with cold water nearby to douse any minor flames.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.
  • Do not leave the grill unattended.
  • Smoke and char contain chemicals that have been linked to health problems including cancer. Do not stand over the barbeque and inhale the smoke if at all possible. While char stripes may look good on your steak, char has been known to contain cancer causing toxins. Cook the meat to your liking and then remove it from the grill before too much char builds up.
  • Bristles from wire brushes have been known to get stuck on the grill and then people’s food which enters the digestive system causing abdominal pain. Use a different kind of nylon or plastic brush to clean your grill to ensure no one digests these harmful bristles. If you already use a wire cleaning brush or plan to continue using one, just make sure you check your grill before cooking to clean any bristles off.

Follow these simple safety tips for a fun and safe grilling season!                              

Fireworks Safety

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

When most people think of summer, particularly the Fourth of July, fireworks come to mind. While it’s best to just let the pros take care of bright light displays, we realize that many people often ignite their own fireworks. Here are some tips on how to stay safe while lighting off your own fireworks.

  • Never let young children handle fireworks.
  • Ensure older children are supervised closely by an adult when using sparklers and remind them to keep the sparkler away from their body, clothing, hair and others.
  • Store fireworks in a cool damp place until usage.
  • Do not use or buy illegal fireworks. These typically have names such as M-80, M-100, quarter pounder or blockbuster. Illegal fireworks account for the majority of accidents cause by fireworks in the first place.
  • Never try to make your own fireworks.
  • Read the labels on all fireworks before igniting so you are aware of safety precautions and performance of each.
  • Do not carry fireworks in your hand or pocket as they could ignite due to friction.
  • Never light fireworks in a metal or glass container.
  • Wear protective goggles when lighting fireworks off or if you happen to be near the ignite site.
  • Always have a bucket of water nearby and a hose just in case.
  • Never reignite a dud. Wait twenty minutes and if it still hasn’t gone off, place it in a bucket full of water away from people, structures and flammables for several hours.
  • Never point a firework at someone, even in jest.
  • Ignite fireworks outdoors in an open space away from people, homes, brush and other flammable substances.
  • Only light one firework at a time.
  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water for several hours before throwing them away.
  • Do not pick up firework debris until several hours after the display as many of pieces may still be hot and can cause burns.

Please keep these Safety tips in mind when setting off fireworks this season!

A Storm Can Bring a Great Deal of Destruction

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927

The flooding of the Mississippi River in 1927 was the worst flood in American history. At the height of its power, the flood affected an area approximately 27,000 square miles affecting the states of Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas with Arkansas being hit the hardest. At one point the flooded area was 50 miles wide, a 100 miles long and 30 feet deep. 500 people were killed, 600,000 were left homeless and there were 350 million dollars in damages – approximately 5 billion dollars today.

How did it happen?

Heavy rains came down in late 1926 and kept falling from the sky well into 1927. The tributaries of the Mississippi started to become burdened and the levees overflowed. The single greatest weak point in the levee system was at Mounds, Mississippi but authorities assured residents that the levee would hold. Slaves were made to pile sandbags on top of the levee but once one leak started, the water flow continued to increase. The levee started to shake and eventually collapsed with water flowing more than double the volume of Niagara Falls. The Mounds Landing levee break was significant in that after its collapse, the entire levee system along the river broke. Mounds Landing is known as the most severe levee break in the history on the United States to this day.

Changes

The Mississippi Flood of 1927 brought about many changes to the region and the entire country. Racial tensions soared high and many African Americans migrated north resulting in what is now known as the Great Migration. Under the Flood Control Act of 1928 the world’s longest system of levees were built. In 1941 Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Yazoo Backwater Project which utilizes levees, connecting channels, drainage structures and pumps to prevent flooding in the Mississippi Delta. The Great Flood of 1927 will always be remembered and continues to affect our country, its geography, its people, culture and our landscape to this very day. 

Tips for Making an Insurance Claim for Water Damage

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

Having a water damage is never something expected. Coming home to a house filled with water can be a traumatic experience. It can be hard to think about the appropriate steps to take to resolve the issue as quickly as possible to limit secondary damage and keep the out of pocket cost to a minimum. Below are some tips to help make filing an insurance claim easier.

Something to Know:

Every insurance policy is different. Therefore, what will be covered may only be determined by reading your policy or calling your insurance agent/insurance company to have them determine coverage. 

Knowledge is Power:

Be sure you know who your insurance company is and how to contact them. You may want to list the phone number for your insurance company on your refrigerator for easy access. You could also add your insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number to your cell phone to have ready at all times. You never know when this information is going to be important. 

Stay Calm:

This experience can be upsetting. It's important to stay calm when you are talking to your insurance company so they can ask all the essential questions to set up your claim and get the ball rolling. 

Take Pictures:

Document the situation every step of the way to help your insurance company understand the full extent of the damage. Take pictures of every room that sustained damage, structural materials affected and personal items. These pictures will help your adjuster understand the full picture of what happened and what will be involved in restoring your house and the contents affected.

Ask Questions:

Resolving the water damage issue can be very confusing. Feel free to ask as many questions as you can think of to your insurance company so that you understand what will happen next every step of the way. It's important to know what your roles are and what your insurance company will be doing for you.

Use a company with IICRC Certified Technicians:

While there are many companies that may be willing to help you clean up from your water damage, it is important to utilize a company that has technicians who have been trained to properly perform mitigation. SERVPRO prides itself on the fact that our technicians are IICRC certified. Our technicians go through on-the-job training and complete IICRC training so that we can keep up with the latest techniques and technologies to dry your home out quickly to eliminate further damage. Education and training is very important to satisfying our customers. http://www.IICRC.org/education-certification/ 

Mold vs. Bacteria

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

While mold and bacteria are often grouped together, they are actually two very different organisms. Both occur naturally in nature but certain types of molds and bacteria may be harmful to humans.

Size. Molds are typically a lot larger than bacteria and possess hyphae or long, multi-celled filaments. Bacteria are generally smaller and more numerous in size but less complex.

Cellular structure. Molds are fungi and bacteria are not. Fungi are considered eukaryotes which means their DNA is enclosed in a nucleus (often referred to as a proper or well-defined nucleus) which is separated from their cytoplasm. The nucleus of a bacteria cell is not separated from their cytoplasm making them prokaryotes. What makes fungi cells complex are all the structures within their cell that bacteria cells do no possess.

Growth. There are two types of fungi which are important to consider when talking about growth; filamentous and yeasts. Fungal yeast reproduce by budding and filamentous fungi reproduce by branching or elongation. Bacteria on the other hand, regenerate by binary fission which means each parent cell divides into two smaller cells, typically of similar sizes.

Food and nutrition. Bacteria are autotrophic in that they have the ability to produce their own food via light or chemical energy and they are heterotrophic as well meaning, they can take in energy from other organisms for food if need be. Fungi are a type of heterotroph called saprophytes which get their energy from dead organic matter.  This is why fungi are often found in soil or on surfaces that are in the process of decay.

Fungi and bacteria often come with a negative stigma but don’t forget about all the good they do! They release and create nutrients to provide energy for our ecosystem, are used in the fermentation of chemicals, the production of food and even in our bodies to make certain vitamins. Remember, not all molds and bacteria are created equally. While different, they are necessary to our ecosystems and way of life. 

Mold Precautions

6/1/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Professionals handle water damages everyday and know the prompt action required to prevent mold. Our Operations Manager has been with us for over 11 years and specializes in mold remediation. The following are common things to look for:

  • Ongoing moisture problems which may be present. It's possible that a pipe has had a slow leak for sometime that has gone undetected.
  • Watch for visible mold. Remember that not all mold will be visible to the eye.
  • Strong musty odors
  • Evidence for past moisture problems, look for water stains.
  • Excessive humidity
All of these conditions may require the expertise of a qualified Indoor Air Quality/Environmental Professional to inspect for mold growth and water damage. If you have any questions regarding mold, please feel free to call our office and speak to someone. We can help point you in the correct direction of what steps you should take, we can send someone out to take a look at the possible mold and guide you.

Types of Fire Damage

6/1/2018 (Permalink)

 

Not all fires are the same. They are caused by and thrive on different elements so, as a result, classes of fires came about. Classifications of fires are needed to determine how to extinguish them properly. You wouldn’t want to re-ignite or spread a fire by using the wrong type of extinguisher. Determining what class a fire is, is detrimental to using the proper equipment to extinguish it.

Class A involve ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, plastics, cloth, trash and items that leave ash as a residue.

Class B fires are fueled by flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, propane, butane, paint and oil. Class B does not however include cooking oils or grease.

Class C are energized electrical fires which involve engines, transformers and appliances.

Class D fires are caused by combustible metals such as potassium, magnesium, titanium, sodium, and aluminum.

Class K fires are fueled by cooking oils, animal fat or grease. These normally occur in commercial kitchens.  

In one of our previous blogs, you can read about the different types of extinguishers and which ones should be used for each specific class of fire. 

Thunder Damage Safety

6/1/2018 (Permalink)

Lightning from thunderstorms injures hundreds of people in the U.S. every year and kills dozens. These causalities are easily preventable if you follow these simple safety tips.

1)      Listen to the radio and television for severe thunderstorm warnings. The National Weather Service issues warnings for counties and even sends out text messages now to our mobile phones when storms are on their way. Pay attention and heed their warnings for safety.

2)      Remember the 30 second rule. If there is not 30 seconds in between the time you see lightning and hear thunder, it’s time to go indoors.

3)      Lightning typically strikes the tallest object around so if there is a storm, move indoors if at all possible or into a hard top car if there are no buildings around.

4)      Once inside, stay away from windows, plumbing and electrical. If lightning strikes outside, it can carry inside via land lines.

5)      Get out of boats and away from bodies of water. If you can hear thunder than you are close enough to get struck by lightning.

6)      If you are caught outside, avoid standing by tall isolated objects such as trees. Find a grouping of small trees surrounded by taller ones, avoid bodies of water, and if there is only open spaces, look for a dry low-lying area and try to make yourself the smallest target possible. Do not lay flat on the ground, rather crouch with your head between your knees. Sheds, outhouses and tents provide no safety so keep this in mind when you are hiking or camping. Always think ahead and be prepared in the event that you are caught in a thunderstorm and if possible, turn around on your trip and head home.

Preventing Leaky Pipes

6/1/2018 (Permalink)

Stress on pipes can result in leaks which can be expensive to fix, replace and, not to mention, could cause extensive water damage to your home, business and personal items if they burst. Here are some ways to decrease the amount of stress and pressure on your pipes.

High water pressure can feel nice in the shower and it may seem like the dishes are getting done faster but, this can put an unnecessary amount of strain on your plumbing. You can get a hose bib gauge at your local hardware store to test the pressure. Attach it to an outside spigot and open the valve. Normal pressure is between 40-85 PSI so if you pressure measures above this, you may want to consider hiring a plumber to install a pressure reducer. You can also install a low flow shower head in your bathroom to help reduce pressure there.

Hard water is another obstacle as far as pipes are concerned. Hard water is water with a higher than normal amount of mineral content such as calcium or magnesium present. These minerals can build up inside your pipes which restricts flow and in turn, increases the pressure. Deposits can also corrode joints and fittings over time. If you see a white substance on our faucet heads, you more than likely have hard water. If you are unsure or want more proof, ask your local municipality to view the water quality report they are required to have through the Environmental Protection Agency.  The only way to effectively soften the water in your home or business is by having a plumber install a water softener.

Wrap your pipes. If you have exterior piping and plan on going out of town in the winter months, take precautions to prevent coming home to a disaster. Wrap your pipes in electrical heat tape or a pipe sleeve which you can purchase at your local hardware store to prevent them from freezing. Remember, if the water is not constantly moving and the cold water pipes touch the exterior of the building when the temperature gets below freezing, your pipes will most likely freeze!

Set the spigot valve. If you have a pipe running through cement to your outside spigot valve, it’s always a good idea to install a frost-free hose bib which allows you to shut off water to the inside of the home preventing freezing.

These are all relatively simple and in expensive ways to protect your pipes that in the end could save you thousands of dollars! 

IICRC

5/21/2018 (Permalink)

The IICRC stands for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. They are a non-profit organization that sets the standards for the cleaning, installation, inspection and restoration industry for more than 25 countries. They offer classes, training and certification. 

The IICRC was formed in 1972 by Ed York and was originally intended to be the standard for carpet and upholstery cleaning. Quickly, the organization grew to include water, fire and smoke damage, cleanup and repair, as well as wood, stone and tile cleaning and repair.

How Are the Certifications and Classes Determined?

IICRC’s Shareholders vote to nominate candidates to sit on a Board of Directors which is comprised of 15 industry professionals. The Board only meets four times of year so within the Board, there is an Executive Committee. The Committee is selected once a year at the fall meeting. The Board, along with the Committee, determines the direction of the organization while still following the ethics and guidelines set in place by IICRC. The Board determines what classes and certifications are necessary throughout the industry. The IICRC does not own schools or hire instructors but rather approves them to teach classes according to the organizations standards.

For more information on the IICRC, you can visit the website here: http://www.IICRC.org/ 

Make A Wish Charity Golf Tournament

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

We are preparing for our 15th annual Make a Wish charity golf tournament which will be held on June 12, 2018 at the Pompey Club. This is a great charity event which raises money for children with a critical illness can have a wish granted. In previous years we have been able to raise enough money to grant a child a wish, which completely warms our hearts!

In order to participate in the tournament, players should email John at John@SERVPRO5941.com or call our office at 315-457-3432 to register their team. Players should then send in a check made to the Make a Wish Foundation. The cost is $100 per player. We will play 18 holes of golf. Our sponsors have helped us, so that with your donation you will receieve any drinks that you would like throughout the day, breakfast, lunch and a steak dinner. 

Skins, mulligans and a 50/50 raffle will be offered.

If you would like to donate raffle prizes to the tournament, you can email John Halko to let him know. You can bring them in to our office, arrange for us to pick up the donations or bring them with you to the tourament. Any monitary donations will be donated directly to the Make a Wish Foundation of CNY.

Please contact our office directly if you have any additionl questions. Our office phone number is 315-457-3432. We look forward to seeing you there!

May is National Building Safety Month

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

This is the 38th year of celebrating Building Safety Month! This initiative of the International Code Council. This is an opportunity to educate insurance and commercial property professionals and the public on creating a safe, resilient, affordable and energy efficient homes and buildings. Please feel free to check out the ICC website to get more information.

It is important to understand how codes and code officials improve and protect places we live and work. 

Some important disaster Safety and Mitigation tips highlighted are:

  • the importance of having code approved and tested shutters that provide protection from windbourne debris if you live in a high wind or hurricane prone area
  • building or retrofitting to create a tornado safe room in your home following ICC/NSSA 500 standards
  • removing dead grass, leaves, twigs, etc from areas within 30 feet from buildings in areas that are prone to wildfires
  • refraining from driving through flood waters due to not knowing what may be underneath the water or the true depth of the water

Please consider continuing to the ICC website for more information on building safety. It is important to make sure that your not putting yourself, your family, friends, co-workers, employees or tenants in danger by not following the proper codes.

Preparing for a Thunderstorm

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

During this time of year, we may experience a lot of rain, which can leads to thunderstorms. It’s important to be prepared and have a plan in place. Talk with your family and create an emergency plan for thunderstorms, floods and tornadoes. Think about an emergency shelter and evacuation plan. 

Protect your electronics. Your electronics can get fried if they are not properly protected. Plug electronics into a surge protectors to avoid damage during a storm. 

Prepare for power outages. Have battery operated flashlights and lanterns in easy to get to places. Check on these items from time to time to make sure the batteries still work, replace them if necessary. Also, think about keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors shut to keep food from spoiling. If these food items rise above 40 degrees for 2 hours or more, they should be disgarded. Call your local power company to inform them of the outage and to get information regarding when the power should be restored. 

Stay away from power lines. Don'tgo near power lines should they fall to the ground, they can be very hazardous. Call 911 if you see downed power lines. 

Go inside when you hear thunder. If you hear thunder, it is likely that lightening is also occurring. Lightening can be dangerous, therefore, make sure to go inside when thunder occurs. 

Seek shelter. There are many different nature elements which can occur and be harmful when outside during a disaster. Therefore, during a storm it is important to seek shelter and be safe. If your inside, a good place to be is in the lowest level of your home. If you have a basement, or storm cellar you can hang out in until the storm passes.

Keep an emergency kit ready. Conisder putting together a kit of things you may want to have on hand during a storm. Items you may want to include would be water, non-perishable food, flashlights, blankets extra batteries, a radio and a first aid kit.

Downspout Extensions

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

When heavy rain occurs, water can likely end up getting inside your home causing expensive damage. When water pools around the foundation from the roof or gutters it can leak through the basement walls. One thing that you can do in order to avoid water damage from heavy rain is to install downspout extensions. These extensions will force water away from the foundation from the home. They are simple to install and there are a variety of different types to choose from. 

You can look at your local hardware store to see what your options are. Some extensions look the same as the downspout, but add length making it so the water flows further from your home. There are also cement extensions which stay in place a little better than the plastic or aluminum extensions. 

Additionally, it is important to check your downspouts to ensure that they aren’t blocked by leaves, or debris. If the downspouts become blocked, water may intrude under your roof causing water damage to your ceiling.

Laminate Flooring Water Damage

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Laminate flooring comes in many different looks and can be a great choice when replacing flooring. However, water damage to laminate flooring can cause have many potential problems. If possible, avoid putting laminate flooring down in rooms that are could potentially have water damage. Use caution when installing laminate flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and basements. 

Water can cause laminate flooring to detach and break down. Water can cause laminate flooring to permanently buckle, in which case replacing would be necessary. Many times when we see water damage to laminate flooring, we would recommend removing it in order to avoid mold growth and to allow the subflooring to completely dry in a timely manner.

When laminate flooring is placed in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms, some of the appliances in those rooms can slowly leak water which seeps underneath the laminate. This leakage can go unnoticed until buckling or mold develop. Basements can accumulate water during heavy rain storms, leaky pipes or when sump pumps fail damaging your beautiful flooring. 

Placing a vapor barrier down can eliminate some of the damage. Being conscious of any leaks or damaged ocurring to your flooring is important. It is easier to clean up from water damage immediately when it occurs rather than letting it set, therefore, deteriorating the structure of your home. 

Why Does Mold Form in Different Colors

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

After extensive research on the subject of the different colors of mold, this topic appears to be enigmatic. Scientists have come up with several different reasons why mold comes in such an array colors but can’t seem to nail down one over the other. There is a good chance a number of things are influencing the color of any give mold.

Colors of mold for example, vary regionally. The colors in the Pacific Northwest tend to be more green and blue whereas oranges appear more often in the Amazon. Some molds secrete pigment known as melanin that can act as a barrier to protect them against other rival molds. Other studies indicate that the color of this particular fungi comes from its food source, genus, conditions under which it grows and it’s age. While all of these things do contribute in some way, shape or form, mycologists (scientists that study mold) still haven’t been able to pinpoint one single reason why this mysterious fungi comes in all colors of the rainbow to this day! 

Celebrating 25 Years in Business!

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

Today, May 1st, we are celebrating 25 years in business! John Halko started his first SERVPRO Franchise with one truck, one employee and one dream. His dream was to build a successful company helping people affected by disaster. Today, John’s dream has become a reality. He has over 20 employees, multiple types of vehicles that allows the ability to service those affected by damage to both residential homes and large commercial properties. In 2012, John bought his first office for the company. The new location offers on-site storage for contents that need to be moved away from our customer’s properties for remediation and mitigation can be performed. We now also have room to park our vehicles inside the building extending the life of our vehicles, a clean room to clean contents on-site, a conference room for training and to loan out to those in need of a professional space. Our Operations Managers, Jeremy Wolfe and Matthew Balch, have been with our company for 11+ years individually and have helped us grow and become more versatile as a company. Their training has allowed us to service customers in a variety of different ways. If you see John this week, don’t forget to congratulate him on his achievements! Of course, we also want to reach out to our customers and colleagues to thank them for all of their continued support throughout the years. We could never be the company we are today without the help and support of our community.

Heavy Rain and Flooding Safety Tips

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

This spring we have been having a wide range of different types of weather. This has been both challenging to ourselves as people and to our homes, businesses and landscaping. We thought it would be important to share some safety tips with you regarding heavy rains and flooding. 

  1. Check your Roof-Look for current damage and areas that look vulnerable to leaks. Repair these as soon as possible. If need be, call a roofer to perform the inspection and the repairs. 
  2. Trim Foliage-Plants and trees with overgrown branches can pose a danger to your household in harsh winds and rain.
  3. Waterproof Windows-Check the edges of your window sills to see if they need a waterproof sealer or rubber on the edges.
  4. Clear out Gutters-It is important that these are clear in case of heavy rain to prevent any possible flooding. You should check your gutters a couple times throughout the year as the wind tends to carry leaves and debris into the gutters blocking the water from flowing freely. 

Remember, it is very important to keep an eye on these things, because a small leak can cause a lot of damage. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office so that we can help!

Why you Need a Sump Pump

4/16/2018 (Permalink)

Have you ever had water in your basement or crawl space? Some basements and crawl spaces may get water inside of them after a heavy rain, quick thaw, or a long rainy season. Installing a sump pump in these areas can help keep these spaces dry and stop your property and contents from sustaining water damage. You can choose to install a sump pump yourself of have a plumber come and put it in for you. Sump pumps can be purchased from your local hardware store and usually require approximately a 2 foot by 18 inch hole to set in. Water flows into the hole and immediately gets pumped out through a pipe that leads away from your home.

When you have the sump pump installed, somethings you should consider is:

  • How will the sump pump run if the power goes out? Generally the sump pump is plugged in, and therefore would not work if there was no power going to the home. Storms often trigger the power to turn off, so an alternate power source is important. You could keep a generator handy to hook up if the power were to go out. Another option would be to have a back up battery that would automatically turn on if the power went out. The battery would need to be able to withstand long periods of inactivity.
  • What if my sump pump stops working? We often recommend to homeowners to have a back up sump pump handy and ready for use should yours stop working. It can take a lot of time to get a plumber out to the house to have them fix the sump pump, in this case, you would want to be able to hook up an alternate sump pump in the mean time to stop the sump pump pit to overflow causing water damage to your home.

Dryer Maintenance

4/16/2018 (Permalink)

There are many things in the home that should be checked on a regular basis to stop possible damage to your home. Have you ever checked your dryer vent to see if it is plugged? A plugged dryer vent could stop your dryer from running sufficiently and could possibly cause a house fire.

Dryers that are centrally located in the home are the most at risk of plugging up because the duct system is longer than ones that are located on an exterior wall of the home and vent directly to the outside.

Reasons for a dryer plugging up are:

  • Excess lint build up. Over time, lint builds up in the dryer ducting and can cause a blockage. It’s important to unhook the ducting 1-2 times a year and thoroughly clean it out from any lint or debris that may be blocking it. If possible, you can simply use a vacuum and vacuum out the dryer ducting. However, if your dryer ducting is longer and is ducted through different areas you may need to have someone do this for you. Call our office and we’ll schedule an appointment to have your dryer ducts out for you! We have special equipment that can thoroughly clean all of the dryer ducts.
  • Nesting pets. The dryer ducts can be a warm place for animals to borrow into. Animals may bring debris into the ducts to crate a home for themselves causing possibilities for fire damage. Checking that the ducts are not plugged will help ensure that this does not occur. 
  • Stuck exhaust hood flappers. From time to time, check the exhaust hood flap to ensure that it is not stuck.

No Job is Too Large

4/2/2018 (Permalink)

When your commercial property undergoes a devastating loss, you should feel confident contacting SERVPRO for help! We know the importance of getting your business up and running again as soon as possible. We understand that your business needs to be running in order to thrive. That’s why we will do everything possible to make that happen.

The SERVPRO Commercial Large Loss Division is composed of the best, highly trained people in restoration. We have special large loss training and highly experienced people leading this department. Our large losses are handled directly by a commercial operations manager to ensure we are working efficiently and seamlessly to help your business.

If needed, our SERVPRO will bring in other highly trained franchises to help with manpower and to provide additional equipment.

Our SERVPRO has provided large loss commercial property restorations for schools, universities, the hospitality industry, property managers, municipalities, etc. Our specific franchise has over 20 years of large loss work. We have provided services from damage due to flooding, fires, hurricanes, blizzards and more!

We are available to help you out 24/7, 365 days a year. Don’t hesitate to give us a call for help or with any questions you may have.

Concrobium Mold Stain Remover

4/2/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO has a large list of specialty branded products to clean a variety of different surfaces and materials. We do not sell these products to homeowners or commercial property owners, for the majority or our branded products, they are made for our employee use only. One of the products we have to remediate mold is our Concrobium® Mold Stain Remover. This product is an innovative mold stain remover designed to quickly and easily remove mold stains. Our concrobium physically separates mold from the surface to fully remediate the affected area. After the concrobium is sprayed on the affected area, we will allow the area to dry. Once dry, we will complete a thorough HEPA vacuuming to clean up any residual mold.

This product is safe to be used on most hard, non-porous or semi-porous surfaces. These surfaces include wood, composite wood, concrete, masonry, drywall, grout, fiberglass, tile, plastic laminate and metal. Concrobium Mold Stain Remover was made to remove cosmetic mold stains from surfaces.

If this product sounds like it would be helpful to remove mold stains in your home or property, please feel free to call our office. We can send out an estimator to look at the affected area and provide a detailed estimate on the cost of removal and the amount of time the project would take. From there, you can move forward to schedule to have our team provide remediation for you.

Avoiding Mold in Your Bathroom

4/2/2018 (Permalink)

Bathrooms are one of the most common areas of the home where mold occurs. Steamy showers with bad ventilation and possible leaks from the toilet, shower, tub or sink are the most common reasons for mold in the bathroom. However, you can prevent mold from occurring by watching out for these things:

cracked or missing caulk- when caulk is cracked or missing, it allows water to get behind the wall or under flooring. When water pools and gets trapped, mold could begin to grow. You can prevent this from happening by recalling around the bathtub, sink or toilet.
Bad or no ventilation- some bathrooms lack an exhaust fan allowing the steam from a hot shower to properly exit the bathroom. Without an exhaust fan, the steam causes the walls and flooring to dampen which could cause mold growth. Other times, the exhaust fan is not hooked up correctly or is for show rather than actually venting to the outside. A properly installed exhaust fan vents to the outside the remove the steam from the air.
Broken seals- when seals around toilets or pipes break, they cause leaks that you likely can’t see because the leaks occur behind walls or under flooring.
Sometimes these leaks are are only found when flooring and walls are opened up and exposed.

Spring Fire Safety Tips

3/16/2018 (Permalink)

Spring Forward Safety Tips!

We recently moved our clocks forward an hour to get ready for spring and prepare for the warmer weather coming our way soon. This is the time of year we begin spring cleaning our homes, preparing to spend more time outside, doing repairs and refreshing our lives. This is also a great time to check things in our homes like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers.

SMOKE ALARMS
According to the National Fire Protection Association Association, 3 out of every 5 home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms. Now is a great time to test your smoke alarm to make sure it still works and replace batteries if necessary. If your smoke detector begins making a chirping noise, that is a sign that you need to immediately replace it. The NFPA recommends having a smoke alarm in every bedroom and on each level of your home.

CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that can have harmful affects on people and animals. CO alarms should be installed outside in a central location outside of bedrooms and on each levels of the home. Some smoke detectors are also CO detectors. Use the same rules for CO detectors as you use for smoke alarms, check that they are working and check their batteries.

FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN
Now is also a great time to review your family emergency plan with the people who stay in your home. It’s good to remind everyone of the plan and make sure everyone is on board. Should any changes be necessary to the plan, now is a good time to discuss that as well.

EMERGENCY KIT
Because we never know when disaster may strike, it’s important to have an emergency kit in your home and car. During your spring cleaning, check to see if any supplies need to be restocked or replaced in your emergency kits.

Tree Damage

3/9/2018 (Permalink)

In the recent snow storm, a lot of trees and tree limbs fell. We saw pictures of trees falling in people's yards, on fences, and on people's homes. Trees can cause a great deal of damage, especially those that fall on houses. This can cause damage to roofs, exterior walls and windows.

Here are some tips for what to watch out for before the storm:

-Keep an eye on cracks in tree trunks and large limbs

-Watch out for hollowed, aged and decaying trees, trees that lean to one side

-Branches leaning over the roof or close to the house

-Any trees or branches that are close to or hover over utility lines

All of these things are cause for potential dangers to your home and property. Do you know someone who performs tree removal services? Getting contact information for someone who performs tree removal services is great to have on hand for emergency situations.

Before a storm hits, it's always good to remove dead, diseased or damaged tree limbs. Prune branches close to the house and near utility lines.

In addition to paying attention to the trees, you should also check gutters and remove any debris you might find to prevent a water back up in your gutters. Having a water back up, could cause damage to your ceilings bringing the storm inside your home.

After the storm has passed, be sure to re-evaluate your property. Take precautions and remove any trees or branches that appear damaged. If necessary, call a professional to help.

Covering Up Mold

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

Over the years, we have talked to many home and business owners about mold. We have talked to people who have tried to get rid of the mold on their own and then decided that they need our help. You should know, we’re here for you! We’re here to answer your questions and remove the mold from your home safely and effectively.

We have talked to home owners who have sprayed mold, scrubbed the surface mold, painted over it with paint or Kilz. All of these techniques have ended with the same story, “the mold came back”.

The mold comes back because in these circumstances, your simply covering up the mold or removing what can be seen on the surface. These methods are not actually removing the mold completely from the materials where the mold has invaded.

Materials in your home that mold grows on can be very porous, therefore, even though you cant’t see if anymore doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist under the surface. Likewise, painting over the mold or spraying the mold covers it up for a limited time before the mold continues to grow and penetrates the new surface. Completely removing the mold will remove potential toxins from spreading and affecting the air you breathe.

When SERVPRO gets a call to remediate mold, we ensure that the job is done properly. We start out by containing the area where the mold exists. We HEPA vacuum all areas around where the mold exists. The HEPA vacuum is able to trap the smallest particles of mold. Following this step, we would continue with remediation specific to the affected materials where the mold exists. The whole time that remediation is occurring we run air scrubbers to continue to filter the spores out of the air.

Facts About Smoke and Soot

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Home.

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, we 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 – (315-457-3432)

We Can Help!

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

Do you own a business or commercial property? If so, we know your likely very busy running the business and taking care of the many tasks that goes along with the property. Therefore, you don’t have time to worry about the common wear and tear that gradually soils your office. When your business needs cleaning beyond the scope of your regular janitorial staff, call your local SERVPRO franchise to perform a deep cleaning to spruce up the place! 

We have specialty products to remove strong odors, and to remove tough stains that otherwise ruin carpets and flooring. When you call our office, we’ll come out to do an estimate for pricing. If there are tough stains that you would like to have removed, we will perform a test cleaning in a small area to ensure the stain will come out. 

Our technicians come be scheduled outside of your normal business hours so that we are not causing a distraction from your employees ability to work or hindering your customer’s ability to enjoy your space.

Our technicians are thoroughly trained to do the job right for you! We have over 100 exclusive cleaning products, so we can clean a variety of different types of materials and spaces.

In addition to our regular cleaning services, we also clean:

  • Air ducts
  • Biohazard 
  • Carpet and upholstery 
  • Ceilings, flooring and walls
  • Odor removal
  • Sewage
  • Water and fire damage
  • Trauma and crime scene
  • Vandalism 

Rental Property Cleaning

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

Do you own rental property? Have your previous tenants left an unsightly mess after they have moved out? Perhaps they left a large amount of garbage and debris, dirty floors and walls or left a strong smelling odor that would make it impossible to rent again as is.That can be an overwhelming experience! But don’t worry, we’re here to help get your rental property clean, fresh smelling and ready for the next tenants to move in.

Give SERVPRO a call and we’ll send out an estimator that will thoroughly explain the type of cleaning needed and how we would get your rental property cleaned and sanitized. Our estimators have seen all sorts of damage caused by previous tenants and have a good understanding of what chemicals and cleaning techniques would be needed. They also can estimate the time needed to perform the necessary tasks. This will provide you with an estimated cost and timeline for the cleaning project.

We’ll then schedule a crew to complete the cleaning for you.

Some of the tasks our technicians could do for you to get your rental property ready to rent again:
Clean floors, ceilings and walls
Clean carpeting and upholstery
Thermal fogging- to remove any unwanted odors
Duct cleaning
Debris removal
Cleaning kitchens and bathrooms

If you should find any other tasks not listed, please feel free to call our office and check with any other things you may come across that may need cleaning.

Your Belingings after Fire Damage

2/19/2018 (Permalink)

When you experience a fire in your home, the fire damage affects not only the structure of your house, but also your belongings. SERVPRO is here to help! SERVPRO understands your furniture, clothing, keepsakes and belongings are very important to you. We know that some of these items are essential to making a house a home.

After experiencing a fire, it is common to feel overwhelmed. We are here to make this awful situation better for you. SERVPRO offers a Contents Claim Inventory Service, this provides a detailed and accurate list of your belongings. Our technicians go room to room documenting your contents by creating a list and taking digital photos. This way, the lists and photos can easily be sent to you and your insurance company. Once the list is created, a preload value of contents can be created. This will help produce a detailed and accurate report to settle your insurance claim quickly and accurately.

When necessary, SERVPRO can complete move-outs and pack-outs for you! If your home requires extensive restoration or cleaning due to the damage from the fire, we can organize an efficient move-out of contents from the affected area. Move-outs allow for a quicker rebuild/remodeling and protects contents from damage during the remodel. While the rebuild/remodeling happens, your items can be inventoried and cleaned at our office. Should the remodeling take extra time, we can store your items until the project is finished.

When the restoration project is completed, we will move everything back into your home and help you get settled.

Choosing a Mold Remediation Company You Can Trust

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO, we get a lot of calls from people who are concerned about mold in their homes and businesses. Mold is something that causes a lot of worry as it should. Mold has the potential to cause many different kinds of health issues and can also cause a lot of structural damage. Please know that we're always happy to take your calls and emails to answer any questions that you have about mold.  

If you're considering completing the mold remediation yourself, please know that there are many risks involved. It's important to choose a remediation company that has the proper equipment and knowledge to fully get rid of the mold. If mold remediation is not completed properly, you risk spreading the mold spores and affecting previously unaffected areas.

Things you should consider when choosing a mold remediation company are:

-Does the company understand mold and the potential hazards involved?
It's important that mold remediation is completely properly so that spores are not spread and all of the affected materials are removed and/or cleaned. At SERVPRO, our technicians have completed mold classes and have experienced on the job training.

-Do they recommend mold testing?
New York State requires that mold testing is completed before remediation can begin for most mold remediation work. Therefore, if a company is not completing mold testing they breaking the law. Mold testing allows the remediation specialists to identify the type of mold present which would determine exactly how the remediation is performed. Testing also identifies exactly where the mold is, as mold is not always identifiable to the human eye.

-Does the company keep records of what they are doing, daily notes, pictures of before, during and after?
This is important incase you ever need to go back and ask questions. Documentation is also helpful for insurance companies and if you ever want to sell your property you have specific details of what was done.

-Is the contaminated area properly contained?
This is important to stop the spores from spreading to unaffected areas.

-Is the remediation company insured?
Every SERVPRO franchise is required to be properly insured by our corporate office. Therefore, every SERVPRO is insured in order to be in business. We will gladly send any documentation needed to show what we are insured for.

-Do the technicians where protective gear?
All of our technicians understand the importance of wearing personal protective equipment to keep them safe while on the job.

-Does the remediation company discard the moldy materials?
Any company that completes mold remediation should properly bag the waste materials and remove them from your property so that you and your property are not exposed to the hazardous materials.

If there are any questions that you have, please feel free to call (315-457-3432 or email (SERVPRO5941@SERVPRO5941.com) us. We'll be happy to help!

Facts About Mold

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

When you have a water damage in your home, if not properly mitigated, you are at risk of mold becoming a problem. Today, I'm going to tell you some facts about mold:

  • Mold is a type of fungus.
    • One of the most common type of mold is known as mildew.
    • There are hundreds of different types of mold.
  • Mold can live indoors or outdoors and grows best in damp, warm, and humid environments.
  • Even though bathrooms and basements are typically moist areas prone to the growth of molds, any moist area in the household may harbor mold.
    • Having a properly installed fan in the bathroom can help reduce the moist content in the room. 
    • Running a dehumidifier in your basement, especially during the humid months, can help prevent mold from growing.
  • Some people experience allergic reactions or have negative health side effects when exposed to mold. The likely hood of this depends on the type of mold growing and the person.
  • Controlling the moisture content in your home is the best way to prevent mold.
  • Mold is not always able to be seen by the human eye.
    • This is why we highly recommend having mold testing completed by an industrial hygienist.

What To Do When Your Pipes Freeze

1/15/2018 (Permalink)

Imagine this... you wake up on a cold winter morning, stumble to the bathroom, turn on the sink to splash your face with some water but only a very small trickle of water coming from your pipes. Confused? You call a plumber, and they tell you that most likely you have a frozen pipe. Eek! What do you do now?

Try to locate the section of pipe that is frozen. Using a blow dryer or heat gun blow hot air at the frozen section of pipe. If possible, you could place a space heater near the pipe to begin the thawing. It is important not to use a torch or open flame to attempt to thaw the pipe. Also, don’t place the space heater too close- remember the 3 ft rule! 

Inspect the pipe for any cracks that may occur when the water causes the pipe to expand. Slowly begin the run water and check for any leaks. If you notice water leaking from the pipe, you should turn off the water at the main shut-off valve. Contact a professional plumber to come fix the pipe. 

Don’t forget, we’re available 24/7 to clean up any water damage that may have occurred. It’s important to clean up any water damage quickly and efficiently to prevent further damage from occurring.

Getting Salt out of Carpeting

1/15/2018 (Permalink)

Winter is here! So is freezing temperatures, ice and snow. It’s important to make sure that your business’s parking lots and sidewalks are safe for your employees and customers to walk on to get in and out of your building. Putting down rock salt is a very common way to make sure your sidewalks and parking lots are safe. However, rock salt can leave lasting stains on your carpet. 

Our SERVPRO professional technicians have been trained to clean rock salt stains out of carpet. Our SERVPRO Corporate has created special carpet cleaning solutions to get rid of these stains better than any store bought cleaner. Call our office today to schedule a carpet cleaning so your carpets stay looking their best! The sooner we clean the rock salt stains out of your carpet, the better chance you’ll have to remove the stains. 

During this time of year, we recommend having the carpets vacuumed and cleaned more often to keep the rock salt stains from sticking around. 

Do You Head South for the Winter?

12/7/2017 (Permalink)

Before heading south for the winter, you should definitely check out these important preventative measures to protect your home!

  • Make sure your furnace is set no lower than 55 degrees. There are new thermostats that are considered “smart thermostats” so that you can control the temperature of your home from your phone from anywhere. The Nest https://nest.com/thermostats/ the thermostat that we use in our home and is so easy to use and manage. 

At SERVPRO we have talked to many homeowners who live in the south for winter and have had their heating system fail while they’re away. This leads to frozen pipes that can be undiscovered for long periods of time. Not knowing that your heating system has failed and pipes breaking while your away can lead to water and mold damage that affects large areas of the home.

  •  Winterize your pipes. Shut off the main water supply and drain the system by opening all faucets and flushing the toilets. You may also consider replacing the water traps and drains with a nontoxic antifreeze. Don’t think this is something you want to do yourself? Plumbers will come winterize your home for you.

Let Us Introduce Our Contractor!

12/7/2017 (Permalink)

This year, we gained a valuable asset to our company. We hired a contractor to join our team! Let's take a moment to get to know our contractor, Mark Ruzekowicz!

"I have been doing construction for approximately 20 years spending almost all that time in residential/commercial remodeling and new construction. I am quite proficient in all aspects of this work. I started learning the trades when I was a wee lad from my father and other family members who are also trades folk. Over the years I have worked as a subcontractor for a handful of phenomenal carpenters that helped me expand and refine my abilities. I am elated to join the SERVPRO family and am looking forward to the opportunity to augment the existing team here and provide the best customer service I can when taking the damage to a home or business and making it like it never even happened."

We're so happy to have Mark on our team!

Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing this Winter

12/5/2017 (Permalink)

During New York winters, our homes can take a beating from the freezing cold weather. It’s important to prepare your home before the winter weather hits. Failing to prep your home for winter, may result in a costly disaster later. Freezing cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze which causes the pipes to expand and crack or burs which leads to water damage.

Where the pipes in and around your home are, could mean that they are more likely to freeze than others. 

Pipes that are outside your home are the most likely to freeze as they are directly exposed to the cold weather. For these pipes, it’s best to turn off the water to these pipes and drain the pipes. This will ensure that no water can freeze inside allowing for possible cracks to form. 

Pipes located along exterior walls of the home or in areas of the home that are not heated are the next pipes likely to freeze. Consider whether or not areas of your home such as attics, basements, crawl spaces, garages or unused rooms have pipes in and around them. Because these pipes may be important to be left on throughout winter, it is important to insulate them. Special insulation for the pipes can be found at your local hardware store. Thermostatically controlled heat tape will turn on at certain minimum temperatures. This tape keeps the pipes slightly heated to ensure that freezing does not occur.

If you have had pipes that are inside of walls freeze, consider adding insulation in those walls. It’s possible that there is not enough insulation installed as would be recommended in our climate.

Different Types of Smoke

11/2/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that there are actually different types of smoke which can cause damage to your home and contents during a fire? When we access the damage caused by fire and smoke, we take into account the cause of the fire and the type of smoke damage. This way, we make sure that the proper cleaning supplies and techniques are used to clean the fire and smoke damage. Just like there are different methods you would use to get a stain out of your favorite shirt based on what kind of stain it is, we use different cleaning methods based on what kind of smoke caused the damage to your home and contents.

Wet Smoke is occurs when plastic and rubber burn. The fire most likely burned at a lower temperature than other types of fire and leaves a very strong, pungent odor. Wet smoke leaves a sticky residue. There are often smoke webs in the corners that can be difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke often occurs when paper and wood burn. These materials burn quickly and at very high temperatures. The smoke rises and can cause a lot of damage to the ceilings and even higher levels that were not directly affected by the fire itself. 

Protein Fire Residue occurs from evaporation of material rather than an actual fire. This type of smoke can be hard to see, but causes a discoloration or paints and varnishes. Protein fire residue has a very strong odor which can be hard to get rid of.

Fuel Oil Soot often happens when a furnace has a “puff back”. This is caused when a furnace malfunctions and the HVAC system throws smoke throughout the home by way of the duct system. The furnace will need to be replaced or repaired before cleaning can begin to ensure that the problem does not occur again. A duct cleaning will also need to be performed so that left over soot in the ducts doesn’t get thrown around the affected areas again. 

No need to worry about figuring out what type of smoke damage you have, our SERVPRO team will assess the type of smoke that has affected your property and decide what cleaning methods will be the best.

What Causes Mold to Grow?

10/24/2017 (Permalink)

What causes mold growth? - adamandbrit@gmail.com - Gmail

Did you ever wonder what causes mold to grow? Why sometimes you might see mold in places that have not experienced water damage or water penetration? 

Mold is found everywhere, in the air, on surfaces inside and outside. There are many, many different types of mold. Mold can grow on any substance where moisture is found. 

Mold reproduces by tiny microscopic spores. That is why when we perform mitigation in an area that has preexisting mold, we do not place air movers. The air movers will push the spores around, waking them up and causing them to reproduce at an increased rate. Instead, we like to keep the conditions as still as possible and try not to disturb the mold until we can remediate the mold. We also use air scrubbers to scrub the air clean of any spores that may get thrown into the air. This will stop the mold spores from being able to reproduce. 

There are three main requirements for mold growth: 

  • Moisture- When mold spores land on moist surfaces, they begin to reproduce. Typically mold found inside grows in an area that may have experienced a water damage. If flooring and walls are not properly dried, mold growth can begin. Indoor plumbing can have leaks that are disguised by the surrounding structural materials. This kind of mold damage is often unexpected because the leak went on undiscovered for so long. 

Flooring that is over crawl spaces that do not have vapor barriers can be prone to mold growth as the water condensates seeping into the floor. The underside of the flooring may be wet, but the floor may not be noticeably wet from the perspective that we walk on it. 

Mold is often found initially by sight of smell. Mold can go undetected for a long time as it can grow behind wall paper or paneling, under carpeting and padding, on the back of drywall, etc. 

  • Food for the spores- Food sources for mold in buildings include dust and dander, cellulose-based materials such as wood, cardboard and paper. 
  • Warmth- Mold typically does not grow in colder temperatures. Mold grows best between 77-86 degrees. However, mold can grow when temperatures are between 32-95 degrees. 

Should you have any questions about mold, please do not hesitate to call our office at 315-457-3432. Our office staff are trained on mold remediation techniques and can help you get started on solving a mold problem you may be having.

Damaged Contents

9/30/2017 (Permalink)

When we think of storm and water damage, we often think of structure damage. Did you know that SERVPRO offers content restoration for your affected contents as well? Your contents can be your most valuable and meaningful belongings. We wouldn't want you to have to throw away damaged contents because the water damage they may have endured leads to mold damage and staining. 

Our technicians are specially trained to restore contents damaged by mold, water and smoke. Our technicians start by spot cleaning items to determine what cleaning techniques will work best based on the materials the item is made of and the type of damaged the item sustained. 

The types of cleaning we offer are: 

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

If your home or office requires extensive restoration, a pack out may be required. In this case, the SERVPRO team would inventory and pack out all contents and move them to our office. There, the team would clean all contents and store them in our climate controlled containers until you are ready to have your contents brought back. 

We work with you for 100% of this process letting you make decisions and offering solutions to possible problems along the way. Pack outs, storage, and pack backs are often covered by insurance. We work with your adjuster to ensure they understand any type of necessary cleaning and pack out.

Hurricane Cleanup

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

On August 25th, Hurricane Harvey caused widespread devastation throughout Texas and Louisiana. The area was affected by flooding and destruction from the Category 4 hurricane. Houston's total rainfall during this storm exceeded 50 inches of rainwater. 

SERVPRO mobilized Disaster Recovery Teams from around the country to help the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Over 400 teams initially deployed fully equipped with equipment and supplies to perform mitigation and restoration. 

Then on September 10th, Hurricane Irma made landfall in the southwest of Florida. Flooding and wind damage affected Florida and Georgia. Many people lost power, gas and water. Again, SERVPRO dispatched additional Disaster Recovery Teams to help clean up the affected areas and help families affected by the storm. 

After Hurricane Irma landed on the Florida coast, our SERVPRO sent one of our operations managers, Matthew Balch to go down and assist with the clean up. Our thoughts are with those affected by these disastrous storms. We hope that the families affected can recover quickly and get back on their feet. SERVPRO Industries is working as hard and quickly as possible to make sure things run smoothly so that we can help as many people as possible.

Our SERVPRO sent a team down to Florida to help out with the Hurricane cleanup. We are currently helping perform mitigation and restoration in a country club. Our crews are working as quickly as possible so that the country club get get up and running again.

Maintaining Your Electric System

8/5/2017 (Permalink)

Each year many fires break out in homes and commercial buildings due to a failure in the electrical system. While not every electrical fire can be prevented, there are precautions which can be taken to lessen this risk. 

Electrical fires can be caused by:

  • Broken wires
  • Wire insulation drying out
  • Loose switches or receptacles
  • Overheating caused by dirt an oil

Allstate Insurance company recommends that you have your electrical system checked by a licensed electrician every four years. Having an electrician assess the electrical system will ensure that your home or building is up to code and that any issues are addressed. If you see an appliance that has a broken wire, fix the wire immediately or replace the appliance. While replacement may be costly, it will reduce the chance of a fire. Tighten any switch or plug that appears loose. It is important that switches and plugs are secure. Remember not to overload outlets. If necessary use an electrical adapter with surge protection.

Studies show that faulty wiring is the number 1 cause of electrical fires. Watch for warning signs of faulty wiring:

  • Flickering lights
  • Breakers that always trip
  • Fuses that blow
  • A burning smell when appliances are plugged in
  • Outlets/switches that spark when plugging in or unplugging an appliance
  • Discoloration around outlets

Remember that prevention is the key to safety! Electrical fires spread quickly and can be life threatening and costly. Call your local electrician if you have specific questions or concerns about something in a home of building that you own. Working with electrical work can be very dangerous and it is important to hire an experienced technician to complete any necessary electrical work. 

Flood Watch vs. Flood Warning

7/8/2017 (Permalink)

Flood watch vs flood warning - 

We have been hearing on the news a lot lately that there is a "flood watch" or a "flood warning" in effect. It is important to understand the lingo so that we can be prepared for what is ahead of us. Since the beginning of this year, we have gotten record high rain falls. Many areas of New York State have flooded or had possible flood warnings issued. Knowing what to prepare for can save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

A flood watch simply means: be aware. The conditions in your area are right for flooding to occur. 

Steps you should take are: 

Listen to your TV and /or radio to get the latest updates and emergency instructions. Download an app to alert you of possible warnings or instructions to follow if conditions worsen.

Know where to go should you need to seek higher ground.

Check your emergency kit to make sure your ready for anything! Or create one if you don't currently have one. Search the internet for suggestions of what should be included in your emergency kit!

Prepare your house for flooding by moving outdoor furniture inside and moving items to somewhere it won't be damaged should flooding occur in your home. 

Disconnect electrical appliances.

A flood warning means: take action! Flooding is either already underway or will be shortly. 

Steps you should take are:

Immediately move to higher ground. 

Evacuate if instructed. Don't risk putting yourself or others in danger.

Avoid walking or driving through flooded areas. Remember, 6 inches of water can knock you down and 1 ft of water can move your vehicle.

Precautions You Should Take During Flooding

7/5/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Precautions You Should Take During Flooding Picture from Syracuse.com

There are certain precautions that should be taken when flooding occurs in order to stay safe. Please consider following these steps to be safe in flooded areas:

Do not walk, drive or ride through flooded areas. You don't know what may be in the water below. It is better to use precaution and not go into the water than to risk drowning, getting hit with a sharp object, fall into an unseen hole or be taken by the fast current. Remember that only 6 inches of water can knock down an adult, less for a child.
When evacuations are necessary, list to local officials and get out while you can. This will save yourself and rescue crews from being put into dangerous situations. 
When flash flooding is possible, move to higher ground. It is better to be safe than sorry. It is easier to move to higher ground before the flooding occurs than to get trapped and not be able to get out. Flash floods are the number 1 cause of weather related deaths in the US according to FEMA.
Avoid driving through flooded areas. One foot of water is enough to move a vehicle and leave you unable to control the vehicle's destination. 
Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These ares can quickly flood.
If you have notice of possible flooding, but sand bags around your house in areas that might allow water intrusion. You cannot stop all water intrusions, but this step might save your home from possible water damage.

Large Loss Services

6/1/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that SERVPRO of North and East Onondaga and Oswego Counties has the capabilities to provide water mitigation, mold restoration and fire restoration for your commercial building quickly and efficiently? Our SERVPRO franchise has approximately 20 employees that will mobilize quickly when you need our services.

Should your commercial building experience a large loss, we can quickly activate more SERVPRO trained teammates from other SERVPRO franchises to help us get your building back in order so that you don’t lose revenue. SERVPRO has mobilization teams that travel across the country as needed to support recovery after large storm or disaster events. These teams are familiar with handling the work that goes into a large loss project and are trained to work as efficiently as possible. In the 24 years our franchise has been in business we have brought the mobilization teams in to help a handful of times. Each time, we have had successful outcomes.

Timely mitigation is the key to controlling damage, downtime and recovery costs. Our crews are available 24/7, 365 days a year. SERVPRO of North and East Onondaga and Oswego Counties is dedicated to providing detailed and consistent communication to make our customers aware of job status and progress toward completion.

Fireworks Safety

5/26/2017 (Permalink)

Who doesn’t love fireworks in the summer time? While it is so much fun to enjoy fireworks light up the night sky, it is important to be safe! Please read these safety tips to ensure you have a fun, safe night!

Safety Tips:

-Check to make sure that fireworks are legal in your area before buying and using them.

-Read instructions for proper use of the fireworks thoroughly before use.

-Do not allow young children to play with fireworks unsupervised.

-Do not hover directly over the fireworks at any time when lighting the fuse.

-Do not attempt to re-light fireworks that didn’t ignite on the first try.

-Keep water easily accessible in case of a fire or other accident.

-Do not point fireworks toward another person.

-Do not consume alcohol when using fireworks.

Facts about Fireworks:

-Sparklers are 15X’s hotter than boiling water.

- Approximately 200 people go to the ER everyday from June 17th-July17th with injuries related to fireworks.

-People ages 25-44 make up 40% of injuries reported from fireworks.

- There are 2X’s as many fires on July 4th than reported any other day of the year.

Have fun, but remember to be safe!

Water Intrusion

5/24/2017 (Permalink)

Water Intrusion

Have you ever had water leak into your home through your roof? If so, you understand the ways a roof leak can cause damage in your home. If you haven’t experienced a roof leak- you’re lucky!

It is important to understand the condition of your roof. Knowing that roof maintenance will be needed and what types of maintenance will be required can be helpful! Roof repairs and replacements can be very costly, it helps to know in advance so that you can prepare.

If water starts leaking into your home it can cause a lot of damage in a short period of time.

Damaged shingles is one of the most common sources of roof leaks. Having damaged or missing shingles, it is important to replace them as soon as possible. Missing or damaged shingles will allow a lower layer of the roof to be exposed to nature’s elements and can allow water to seep through the uncovered spaces.

Nails that have backed out due to extreme weather should be hammered back in securely. When the nails are raised or fall out, allows water to seep in.

Flashing that is improperly installed or have been damaged allows water to enter through gaps. Have them inspected to ensure they are properly installed and are well maintained.

Clogged gutters can cause water to back up and overflow onto your roof. This would cause water to possibly intruder into your home through the underside of the roof. If you notice water stains around the perimeters of your home, water maybe backing up into your home from your gutters. Also, gutters that are not pitched properly don’t allow the water to flow the correct direction to the downspouts causing the same damage as a clogged gutter.

Skylights often have leaks if they are not installed properly or have seals that are worn and cracked. Water can seep into the home from the skylight causing damage.

Sometimes water damage from a roof leak goes undiscovered for a long time because of the insulation in the attic or crawl space. It takes a lot of water to seep into the home, soaking the insulation before it reaches the ceiling and walls. In some cases mold forms before water intrusion from the roof is noticed.

If you think your roof needs attention, call a roofer to have them inspect your roof. They can tell you what kind of shape your roof is in, inform you of any repairs that are necessary and give you a quote for the repairs.

Plumbing Checklist

5/24/2017 (Permalink)

Plumbing problems cause a lot of the water damages that we hear about. It is important to ensure that the plumbing in your home is working properly and have any problem areas fixed.

You should check for:

  • Signs of leakage. Ex. Water/puddle marks
  • Corrosion
  • Signs of bad pipe connections
  • Water pressure. Low water pressure may be caused by a water line problem or sediment build up.
  • Any exposed pipes, ceilings and walls that may have pipes in them. If you see water stains or smell a musty odor.

Know where your water supply line valves are. It is important to be able to turn the water off to certain areas or turn off the water completely to your home. In an emergency situation you could completely shut off the water to your home until a skilled plumber can come fix the leak.

Electrical Safety

5/16/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that May is Electrical Safety Month? We would like to give you some electrical safety tips which could help you avoid fire in your home! Between 2007and 2011, 48% of home fires caused by electrical failures were because of distribution errors. This means that the electric usage in the home was at an unsafe level, causing fires to start due to overloading the system.

Items in your home that you should check the wattage of to ensure they are not being overloaded are:

-Bulb wattage- ensure that you are using the correct wattage in lamps and fixtures

- Cords- replace any frayed, cracked or damaged cords as soon as possible

-Extension Cords and Power Strips- Do not over load! Only plug in one high-wattage appliance per power strip

-Outlets- if the outlet feels warm, this is a signal that the wiring is unsafe and should be checked out by a professional

-Appliances- Unplug any unused appliance

-Fuse Box-Make sure the fuses are the correct size for the circuit

-Circuit Breaker Box- Occasionally turn the circuit breakers off and on to make ensure they are in good working condition.

 

Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact an electrician to check out the electrical situation in your home. They are happy to come out and inspect your home for any improvements that can be made. It is important to make sure your house’s electrical system is up to code for the safety of you and your family.

Getting Rid of Mold

5/12/2017 (Permalink)

When customers call to set up an appointment for mold remediation, we start by scheduling one of our certified technicians or managers to go out to assess the situation. Our assessor goes out to do a visual assessment and creates an action plan. They are considering both the structural and content items that need mold removal.

Structural items may include (but are not limited to):

walls
ceilings
flooring
trim or molding
doors or windows
framing and studs
cabinets or vanities
bathtub or shower enclosures
insulation
concrete

Some of these materials would be removed completely during remediation. Other materials may be sanded, or dry ice blasted to remove a thin layer of the material to remediate the mold. Materials like ceramic tile, can usually be wiped clean of mold.

Content items may include (but are not limited to):

clothing
curtains or blinds
appliances or electronics
bedding
mattresses and furniture
dishes
knickknacks

During the remediation process, some items can be cleaned using our SERVPRO branded products. However, some items need to be discarded because of their material. If a material is too fibrous, we would not be able to guarantee that the mold was completely removed. We would recommend the item be thrown out to eliminate that item from contaminating the other structural material or content items. For example, mattresses and upholstered furniture would be recommended to be discarded. These items are cleaned topically and have cushion that would not be cleaned thoroughly enough to ensure the mold spores are no longer present.

Syracuse Breaks 100 Year Old Rainfall Record

5/8/2017 (Permalink)

Have you noticed the Syracuse area experiencing a large amount of rainfall this year? We have had a record setting amount of rain to date! 0.69 inches fell on May 5th as of 3PM alone.

To the west of us, Buffalo received more than 6 inches of rain in April. As of May 5th, Buffalo had already received 3 inches of rain this month! 3 inches of rain is the typical amount of rain Buffalo normally receives in an entire month.

Many of the local lakes, streams, rivers and canal ways are flooding. Over the weekend, events surrounding the Syracuse Creekwalk were canceled and the Creekwalk has been closed for some time due to high water levels. Parts of the Creekwalk are flooded making it unsafe for people to use that area. Lake Ontario water levels are nearing 2 feet above average and are expected to continue rising.

In Oswego County, a beaver dam burst causing water to pour all over State Route 183. Also in Oswego County, a swamp along Lakeshore Road flooded causing the town to close the road completely.

Onondaga Lake Park, had massive flooding throughout the park. High waters in the park caused some of the park benches to be taken into the lake as water levels began to shrink.

Remember, it is important to watch for flood warnings in your area. There are safety precautions that should be taken for health and safety reasons. Do not walk, drive or ride through flooded waters, because you do not know what is underneath the water that could harm you. If you must travel, find detours that lead around the flooded waters.

Have you had flooding in your area?

Preparing for Common Spring Storms

4/18/2017 (Permalink)

It’s finally spring time in upstate New York! AND it finally FEELS like spring! We can’t be happier to break out of the house and enjoy the great outdoors!

However, with spring time comes some unpredictable weather patterns. Something’s we can expect along with the beautiful sunshine are; heavy rain, high winds, and hail. Have you experienced any of these so far? I can attest to seeing heavy rain and high winds! I have also seen warnings to hail in the area.

It is important to be prepared for any weather that might come our way.

Heavy Rain

Before heavy rain comes your way, make sure to check your gutters and down-spouts to ensure they are facing the correct direction and that they are free of any debris that could stop water from flowing through properly. Failing to do this may cause water do back up in the spouts and cause water damage to your roof and ceiling. If your spouts are not facing away from the house, you could have water intruding the foundation of your home causing water damage to your basement or ground level.

High Winds

If you have trees surrounding your home, high winds may cause tree limbs to fall and infringe your roof or side of the house. You may want to trim back any branches that could land on your home causing damage. You should also move inside or tightly secure any outside furniture or decoration that could be blown over or blown away by heavy winds.

Hail

Hail can come in many different sizes. I have seen some hail that is the size of golf balls. This one can be tough to protect your home and belongings from, but make sure anything that can be moved out of harm’s way is. Consider covering anything that cannot be moved from the outside elements to protect it.

We hope you have a happy and safe spring time!

Roof Tarping

4/6/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that your local SERVPRO offers roof tarping? That’s right, our SERVPRO offers emergency service tarping. When you call our office, day or night seven days a week someone will be there to answer your call and we will come out to start work as soon as possible. Because you never know when you’re going to need this type of service and you never plan for it!

 As we approach the heavy rain season, some homeowners may discover that their roof needs repair. You may also find that your skylight is not air tight and is allowing rain to come into your home causing further damage.

For scheduling, financial or weather related reasoning, you may not be able to have the roof or skylight immediately repaired to stop the water from trickling in. However, it is important to prevent water from getting into your home. As a result, tarping is necessary. Our skilled technicians will identify the damaged section of the roof, checking for damaged tiles and check the interior of the home for leaks. We can then tarp the damaged area of the roof to stop water from entering the home. Any water damage that has occurred inside the home can be mitigated by our technicians to stop further damage in your home.

This way, when you are ready and the weather allows, you can have a roofing contractor come and either fix or replace your roof.

Preventing Basement Flooding

4/4/2017 (Permalink)

April showers bring May flowers! The spring time can be a very moist season in CNY. This week for example, has a large amount of rain predicted in the forecast. Forecasters have even issued a flash flooding storm watch lasting several days.

All of this rain may have you thinking about ways you can prevent basement flooding this spring. Whether you have a finished or unfinished basement area, a flooded basement can be very stressful.

Take the following steps to prevent a flooded basement:

  • Keep gutters and downspouts free from any debris. Clear out any leaves, gravel or anything else that may have formed a blockade in your gutters and downspouts.
  • Make sure downspouts face away from your home. If the ground around your downspout has a slant, make sure that when the downspout empties the water is not going to flow back towards your home.
  • Fill cracks in the foundation with an epoxy.
  • Check your sump pump. Make sure the area is cleared from debris and that your pump is in good working order. You may want to have a back up sump pump or an alternative electrical source for the sump pump incase the power goes out.
  • Examine sewer systems and septic tanks.
  • Install window wells on any windows that lead to a lower level. Check the window to make sure it is water tight.
  • Check over your homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure you have the correct coverage. We often find that homeowners do not have a sump pump rider on their policy; therefore there is no coverage when a sump pump fails.

 

It is important to take the right precautions. Completing these steps will not be full proof to preventing water damage. However, it will minimize the risks.

We are Commercial Drying Specialists

3/31/2017 (Permalink)

Our SERVPRO Franchise has taken the IICRC Commercial Drying Specialist (CDS) class and has obtained special certifications to complete water mitigation in commercial buildings. Drying out a commercial building can be much different than performing a dry out service for a residential home. The materials a commercial building and residential home is built of can be completely different. The buildings are also used for different purposes.

The CDS course is a five day class and covers commercial, industrial, institutional and complex residential structures. The class teaches students to become skilled at performing damage inspections and evaluations. The class covers workflow management, process administration and technical methods of effective and timely drying of commercial, industrial, institutional and complex residential water damaged structures, systems and furniture.

Commercial drying projects often have additional potential hazards and safety risks than residential water mitigation projects. According to the IICRC, potential hazards include but are not limited to higher voltages, confined spaces, energized machinery, hazardous chemicals, heavy equipment and forklifts. In addition to this information, it is important that state and local laws for safety and contractor s are still followed.

If you are in need of having mitigation performed on a commercial or industrial building, make sure you utilize a company that has the knowledge to perform the services properly and effectively.

What Causes Mold in a Home

3/30/2017 (Permalink)

When customers call us wanting to get rid of the mold in their home, we often ask them what caused the mold to be there. This is an important question, because if the cause of the mold growth is not fixed, then mold will return after the mold remediation is completed.

There are many different reasons that could cause mold to grow. By failing to get to the root of the problem, mold will most definitely come back.

There are many different types of mold. Mold is essentially all around us. It is indoors, outdoors, settled on materials and in the air. Mold can transfer from place to place by spores wafting around in the air or being transferred via clothing or other items. Mold growth thrives in moist damp areas.

In order to stop mold growth in your home, it is important to follow these recommendations:

  • Keep doors and windows closed during times when the mold count outside is high.
  • Make sure your windows, doors and roofs are not allowing moisture into the home. These are places in the home that often allow water into the home causing mold problems.
  • Make sure your basement is properly sealed and ground water is not settling inside of your home.
  • Ensure that your home is exhausting and ventilated appropriately. Often people find that their bathroom exhaust fan is not ventilating properly and the moisture is getting stuck in the attic space causing mold to grow. Likewise, a dryer vent may be exhausting into a crawlspace rather than all the way to an outside area.
  • Check your pipes and drains to ensure that water is not leaking from these areas.

If you have an area of your home that gets a lot of moisture that cannot be fixed correctly or may be too costly, consider putting a dehumidifier in that area to draw extra moisture out of the air. You may want to consult with someone with knowledge about different types of dehumidifiers do see what kind would best work in the space you are drying to dehumidify.

If you should have more questions on this topic, please feel free to call our office at 315-457-3432 and ask to speak to someone who can further assist you. We would be happy to help!

Concrobium Mold Stain Remover

3/29/2017 (Permalink)

Mold staining can remain on surfaces affected by mold even after the mold has been removed. Concrobium Mold Stain Remover is one of the products that we often use on mold projects for stain removal. This product is designed to effectively eliminate mold staining. This stain remover removed the toughest mold staining and separates mold from the surface for remediation. Once the concrobium has been applied, we let it dry and begin HEPA vacuuming and wiping affected surfaces. Using this solution, stops the need for materials to be physically removed if it is not necessary not possible for the material to be removed.

This solution is safe for use in homes, hospitals, schools, commercial and industrial buildings. The stain remover works on hard, non-porous or semi-porous surfaces such as wood and composite wood, concrete, masonry, drywall, grout, fiberglass, tile, plastic, laminate, metal and fabric.

The Concrobium Mold Stain Remover has a slight odor which will dissipate within a couple hours of usage. Due to the odor, it is important that this product is used in a well ventilated area.

Should you have questions as to whether or not this product could be used on a project you have, feel free to call our office at 315-457-3432 and speak to someone about our Concrobium Mold Stain Remover.

Commercial Carpet Cleaning

3/28/2017 (Permalink)

The flooring in commercial buildings generally get more traffic than residential carpeting. Therefore, the carpeting in commercial buildings need more care and attention. Carpets can get dingy due to how much they are walked on. Carpets also get traffic patterns worn in to them as a result of people walking in the same areas

Even the highest quality carpets can show soiling over time. We offer a variety of different types of carpet cleaning. The different cleaning methods include:

Bonnet Cleaning- a less aggressive method for short piled carpets.

Hot Water Extraction- A deeper cleaning method for all carpet types.

Deluxe Precondition and Rinse- helps restore deeply soiled carpets.

Showcase Premier Cleaning- the most thorough cleaning method in the industry.

Dry Cleaning- for when color-fastness is an issue.

When scheduling a carpet cleaning for a commercial property, we will send a marketing representative out to measure the area, establish expectations for the carpet cleanings, and determine the type of carpet cleaning which is best for your carpeting.

We offer monthly, semi-annual, annual scheduling. We also will schedule cleanings on an as-needed basis. Feel free to give us a call today to meet with a marketing representative about having your carpets cleaned!

Most Reported Causes of Fire

3/14/2017 (Permalink)

The National Fire Protection Association lists the frequency of reported fires by causes on their website. The following are the most frequently reported fires:

Appliances and Consumer Electronics- This list includes but is not limited to cooking equipment, heating equipment, washers and dryers, air conditioners and fans.

Child Play- Approximately 44,500 fires are started each year by children playing with matches, lighters and other fire starting materials not even knowing the dangers this type of play can cause.

Candles- Placing candles in places where they can easily catch fire and leaving them unattended.

Chemicals and Gases- Storing gases improperly and spontaneous combustion.

Holidays- Christmas trees, holiday lights and decorations.

Weather and Outside Elements- Such as lightening, brush, grass and trees.

Smoking Materials- Cigarettes and other smoking supplies.

It is important to take notice that many of the commonly reported causes of fires are preventable to some amount. It is important to take caution when utilizing anything that could have potential to start a fire. Some of the actions seem harmless, such as going to take a shower while baking in the oven. However, fires often start when we least expect it. It is better to be safe than sorry. For more information about fire visit: http://www.nfpa.org/news-and-research/fire-statistics-and-reports/fire-statistics

Severe Thunderstorm Preparedness Tips

3/3/2017 (Permalink)

The American Red Cross was founded in 1881 and is a charitable organization that relies on donations and volunteers to carry out their mission. The Red Cross provides disaster relief, blood donations, military family support, training and certification in CPR, lifeguarding and first aid. The Global Red Cross Network can be found in 187 countries throughout the world. SERVPRO began a partnership with the America Red Cross in 2013 and became a Disaster Responder partner in 2016. The Disaster Responder program provides those in need with support, comfort and assistance in times or disaster. Disaster Responders help communities prepare for disasters before they even happen!

Some safety tips the Red Cross recommends in order to prepare for severe thunderstorms are:

  • Listen to the local news via television or the radio for emergency updates.
  • Put off participation in outdoor activities if thunderstorms are predicted.
  • Pay attention to the weather around you. Watch for signs of a storm such as darkening skies, high winds, and lightening. Lightening can happen even without rain.
  • If a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued get to a safe location. Find shelter or get in a vehicle with the windows closed.
  • Do not use electronics such as telephones, computers, televisions, etc.
  • Close all windows and doors.
  • Do not take a bath, shower or partake in activities that use running water.
  • If you’re driving, pull safely off the road and use your flashers.
  • Do not touch metal surfaces that can conduct electricity.
  • Stay out of pools, or bodies or water.

For more information on being prepared for storms, go to redcross.org.

Removing Odors From Smoke Damage

2/28/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Removing Odors From Smoke Damage Ozone Generator

After a fire, you may have a strong residual smoke odor even after a full cleaning has been performed. Smoke odors can penetrate materials and get in hard to reach crevasses. In order to completely remove smoke odor we have an Ozone Generator that is used to oxidize odor. In addition to smoke odor, this Ozone Generator can be used to eliminate odors from pets, mildew, organic pollutants and more without the use of chemicals.

This Ozone Generator does not leave any residual film. All people and animals should vacate the area while the ozone machine is being used in. We seal the room to prevent dissipation to areas that do not need deodorization.

We recommend customers having their contents and structure ozoned following fire restoration to ensure all odors are removed.

Recently a fire broke out at a local business, Salt City Billiards, during the very early morning. (http://cnycentral.com/news/local/early-morning-fire-at-salt-city-billiards-in-north-syracuse) Many of the customers who play pool at this location had their pool cues and cases stored on-site at Salt City Billiards. The pool cues and cases can be very expensive and absorbed a good amount of smoke odor. We told the customers that they could bring their pool cues and cases to our office and we would put them in our ozone room free of charge to remove the odor.

Keep your Property Safe from Potential Snow and Ice Flooding

2/16/2017 (Permalink)

As we continue to get waves of large amounts of snow and then warmer weather that melts the snow, we need to protect our homes and businesses from water damage.

As we get lots of snow throughout the winter, there are a few ways we are susceptible to experiencing water damage. When the roof has a lot of snow, it can leak water from the roof into the home. Ice backups can occur if the home is not properly insulated allowing water to penetrate the ceiling and walls. When there are cracks in the foundation, melting snow can allow water to seep into the building.

It’s important to pay close attention to the forecast and know what types of weather to expect. However, in order to avoid winter weather from affecting your home there are something’s you can do to prepare:

  • Seal any cracks in the foundation. It is natural for cracks in the foundation to appear. It’s important to keep on top of them and seal any that you notice.
  • Install a back-flow valve. A back-flow valve would prevent a sewer back up to occur during flooding.
  • Install a sump pump. Many people have sump pumps installed in their homes to stop water from rising to higher levels of the home. A sump pump automatically drains any water that intrudes your home. If you already have a sump pump, check it often to ensure it is not blocked and is working properly. If yours uses batteries, make sure the batteries are not old and have backups on hand.
  • Do not store valuable items in places they can be ruined if water damage does occur. Store your valuables on shelving; consider placing stored items on pallets where possible. Keep your items in plastic storage totes to protect them.
  • Remove snow from around your home. You can eliminate the snow from around your home to help keep water out. If there is less melting snow around your home, there is less of a chance the water will flow into your home.
  • Keep sewage drains and downspouts clear.
  • Use a snow rake to remove snow from your roof and stop ice build up.

Mold Remediation Contractor License

2/16/2017 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Mold Remediation Contractor License This is a copy of our Mold Remediation Contractor License

Beginning January 2016, the New York State Department of Labor activated a new Mold Program. Any business performing mold remediation needed to obtain the training and licensing required and adhere to the minimum work standards in order to be in compliance with the law.

The reason for the required training is to protect consumers. By requiring contractors to receive proper training prior to obtaining licensing to perform mold assessment, remediation and abatement services they are ensuring that the technicians doing the work understand the correct ways to perform the job. Contractors are not legally allowed to perform mold assessments, remediation, or abatement without having the proper licensing.

In order for our company to stay incompliance with the new law, all of our technicians and managers have had to complete Mold Remediation Technician and Mold Remediation Supervisor training from a New York State Department of Labor approved trainer. The courses involved 24 hours of training which we were able to obtain locally.

Because of the new mold program, we cannot send any technicians on-site to a mold project without having this license. Before scheduling mold remediation in your home or office, make sure to thoroughly check out the company you’re hiring to ensure they have the proper certifications to perform the work.

Water Damage Alarm

2/14/2017 (Permalink)

What if we told you there was something you could hook up in your home that would alert you when water penetrated an area of your home you didn’t want it to?

Worried about your dishwasher leaking? Concerned about your water heater being old and water seeping out of it? Nervous about having your sump pump fail? Having an alarm that would sound if water infiltrated an area that it was not suppose to be could be helpful in many different spaces in a home or business. If there is an area of your home that has had previous water damages that you may be worried about happening again this water damage alarm could make you feel more comfortable.

If there is a space in your home that you don’t go often, this alarm would notify you of any water damage that occurs. Often, people have areas of their homes they don’t go into on a daily basis. For example, many people don’t or can’t go into their basement every day. Water damages occur in these areas and sit for long periods of time without being noticed. In the mean time, secondary damage occurs. Mold grows, contents get ruined and the already expensive damage becomes a lot more expensive than if it was discovered at the time of loss.

While browsing Amazon.com I found that many of the water damage alarms cost anywhere from $12-$50. When you think about the cost it may save you in the long run, it’s well worth the money! Consider purchasing one (or a few) of these alarms in your home to alert you of a water damage.

Exterior Services

2/7/2017 (Permalink)

Did you think SERVPRO only performs mitigation and restoration inside of residential and commercial properties? We also do work on the exterior of properties when affected by water, fire or other mayhem.

The picture below is a commercial building that experienced smoke damage when a car parked on the street next to the building caught fire. The building was covered from top to bottom with soot. We used one of SERVPRO’s newest products, a water-less masonry cleaner to clean the soot off of the outside of the building. This square area was a test patch that we did to ensure the product would work to the customer’s liking. The owner of the building was extremely happy with the results of the restoration we were able to perform.

Our SERVPRO can pressure wash vinyl siding that has been affected by smoke damage to make it look fresh and new.

Another exterior service we provide is board-ups and roof tarping. We have an emergency crew available 24/7 if you experience a broken door or window that needs to be boarded up while waiting for a repair. If you have a leaky roof, we can tarp the roof until repairs can be made to stop further damage inside of the home.

Should You Have a Mold Inspection Before Purchasing a Home?

2/2/2017 (Permalink)

The spring time is often when the real estate market gets busy. Are you in the market for a new home? Are you worried about existing problems you may find after moving in? Will you have your new home inspected before purchase?

You may want to also consider having a mold inspection before buying a home. Mold can be found behind walls under flooring materials, hidden by furniture and wall coverings and in out of sight locations such as crawl spaces and attics. Therefore, you may not see the mold before buying the home. Mold remediation can be very a costly process.

It has become popular to make homes as energy efficient as possible. The advantage to an energy efficient home is that the utility bill is much lower. Everyone can appreciate that! The disadvantage is that mold flourishes in a sealed environment. Water gets trapped and doesn’t evaporate as quickly. This diminishes the indoor air quality.

Do not think that because you are buying a new or newer home, that mold does not exist in that home. Lack of proper ventilation, construction errors and the time of year the home was built could be a factor as to whether or not mold exists.

A home inspector may be able to find visible mold in the home. However, it is likely that they are not a mold expert. Mold cannot always be seen, therefore, sometimes it is necessary to take air samples and submit them for testing to truly know if there is mold in the home or not. An indoor environmental quality consultant would be able to perform this type of testing for you.

What is Mold Remediation

1/26/2017 (Permalink)

People often ask the question, what is mold remediation? Those who do not work in the mold industry may not know what mold remediation is or the procedures needed to properly get rid of mold.

It is first important to know that mold spores exist naturally just about everywhere. If you have an industrial hygienist come to your property to complete mold testing, they will test the air outside and in different areas inside your property. When the hygienist performs testing, they are looking to see what the spore count is in certain areas and what types of mold are present. Based on the testing, it can be determined what exactly needs to be done in order to remediate the mold in your home or business.

When performing remediation, it is important to follow proper procedures. First, you want to make sure the underlying problem causing the mold growth has been stopped. If your property has a moisture problem, you can remove the areas of mold that are currently present. However, the mold will continue to grow and further remediation will be necessary.

The affected area should be contained. Often to contain an affected area we set up a plastic containment barrier specially created to keep mold spores from exiting the affected area. Containment barriers should be set up around any openings in the room such as closets, hallways and doorways that lead to unaffected areas. Vents should be covered so that the spores to not get into your duct system.

Proper air filtration is necessary. SERVPRO uses air scrubbers to filter the spores out of the air while work is being completed. This step is important because while contaminated materials are being removed or cleaned, mold spores are being thrown into the air. The air scrubbers draw air in from the nearby surroundings and pass it through filters to remove contaminants.

What type of materials the mold is growing on determines the methods taken to remediate the mold. Some of the methods used for remediation are:

  • Removal of the material
  • Dry ice blasting
  • Mold stain remover
  • Mechanical steel grinding

 

Should you have any questions regarding mold, please call our office at 315-457-3432.

How to Save your Furniture after a Water Damage

1/24/2017 (Permalink)

Having water damage can be very frustrating and exhausting. We often hear from customers that they have tried to move all of their contents from an affected area, mop up the standing water, and fix the source of the water damage themselves during all hours! We spend our hard earned money on things that make our houses a comfortable and enjoyable environment. The last thing we want is to lose expensive or sentimental pieces of furniture.

There are a few things you can do in order to save your furniture from being ruined in a water damage situation:

-Assess what items have been affected by the water.

-Take pictures to document the water damage and specific pictures of items that have been damaged due to the water.

-Move any furniture out of the affected area that can be moved. The less time the furniture can be sitting in the water, the better. If you cannot move the furniture, try to put something underneath it that gets it up out of the water. For example, you could use wood blocks or aluminum foil.

-If you have wood furniture that has been affected by the water, make sure you put it somewhere it can air dry. Keep the furniture out of direct sunlight as direct sun exposure could cause the wood to crack or warp.

-Apply mayonnaise to any furniture that is lightly water damaged. Apply a thin layer of the mayonnaise and let it sit on the water damaged area for 1-2 hours. Use a damp cloth to remove the mayo from the area. This should remove the water damaged areas.

How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

1/18/2017 (Permalink)

Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home or business? Did you know that many insurance companies offer a discount for having a fire extinguisher in your home? For a mere $20-$50 you could save money on your homeowners insurance and have a life and property saving tool in your home.

If you have a fire extinguisher in your home, it is important to understand how to properly use it. After reading this article read the instructions on your extinguisher and become familiar with where everything is located on it. Make sure to share the information with everyone in your home so they too can be prepared.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends remembering the word PASS in order to properly operate your extinguisher.

Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the level slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Make sure you store your fire extinguisher in a safe and easily assessable area. Check the date on your extinguisher and make certain it is not expired. Put in your calendar to check the expiration date yearly.

Before purchasing a fire extinguisher, visit NFPA.org to understand which type of extinguisher is right for your property.

Syracuse Crunch/Local Firefighter Night

1/13/2017 (Permalink)

As a way to give back to those in the community that helps everyone in a time of need, SERVPRO of North and East Onondaga and Oswego Counties hosts a Syracuse Crunch/Local Firefighters Night at a Syracuse Crunch hockey game. Our owner, John Halko has been supporting the Syracuse Crunch/Local Firefighter night for 9 years. This tradition started in 2009 when John wanted to show appreciation to local fire fighters and their families for the hard work they put in to our community. They make themselves available to the community and our families to protect us and help in times of need.

We send out flyers, post on social media and visit each of the local fire stations in the area to let fire fighters know that we are offering 150 free tickets to the Syracuse Crunch game. This year’s Syracuse Crunch/Fire Fighter night will be held on Friday, January 20th at 7:00PM against the Binghamton Senators at the War Memorial Arena. Local firefighters can contact our office by email at Sales@SERVPRO5941.com or by calling our office at 315-457-3432 to request tickets for themselves and their families. Tickets will be delivered to each fire station before the event. Firefighters can pick up their requested tickets at their fire station.

During the hockey game, we usually toss t-shirts or hats as an extra token of appreciation. We are looking forward to this year’s event! If you know someone who is a local fire fighter in the CNY area, please give them the information so they can get their free tickets! Please note that tickets are limited.

Restoring Your Commercial Property after A Water Damage Event

1/6/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Restoring Your Commercial Property after A Water Damage Event Here to help 24/7!

Flooding and water damage events in Onondaga and Oswego Counties commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.

Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges

Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.

About SERVPRO of North and East Onondaga and Oswego Counties

SERVPRO of North and East Onondaga and Oswego Counties specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Our technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification for the Following:

Water Damage Restoration

Fire & Smoke Restoration

Applied Structural Drying

Applied Microbial Remediation

Commercial Drying Specialist

Fire Sprinkler System Maintenance

12/30/2016 (Permalink)

Do you ever worry that your sprinkler system may malfunction and water will start leaking from your sprinkler system unnecessarily? Have you ever had water damage due to your sprinkler system? We have provided mitigation many times for companies that have sprinkler systems that malfunction. Many times, the system fails in the middle of the night when no one is around to turn off the water. By the time someone gets to the shut off valve, a large amount of water has already been dispersed throughout the building. Sprinkler systems can be very helpful in putting out fires and saving a building, but they need to be properly maintained to stop damage from occurring outside of having a fire.

In many cases, doing sprinkler maintenance can be very easy. However, remember that in some cases you may need to call in the company that installed the system to do maintenance on the sprinkler system or have another company brought in.

You should check and make sure that any pipe that is in an area that gets very cold is properly insulated. For example, if the pipes to the sprinkler system are in an attic space or outside wall that does not get heated.

Your sprinkler system should have a flow test valve that you can discharge water through the pipes to the outside. This will test the pipes that they are in good working order. Be aware that by running the water to the flow test valve, your fire alarm may go off. Make sure to contact your alarm company to let them know that you will be performing a test so that they do not call the fire department and dispatch an emergency crew.

Ensure that sprinkler heads and cover plates do not get painted over. Check that boxes, shelving units or other contents are not placed in the way of the sprinkler heads.

Should you have a water damage due to a fire sprinkler system malfunctioning, give our office a call day or night and we’ll clean up the water and dry out any structure or contents that have been affected.

Some insurance companies offer a discount for having a fire sprinkler system installed. Check with your insurance company today to see if discounts are available to you!

What if Your Pipes Freeze

12/20/2016 (Permalink)

As we continue to have freezing weather, we must be aware that the pipes in our homes and businesses could freeze at any time. Last week, I talked about how to keep your pipes from freezing. However, we must be prepared if they do freeze.

Some ways you can tell if your pipes have frozen are…

--If you turn on a faucet and no water comes out.

--If you can see visible frost on the pipes.

When you have discovered that your pipes have frozen, you should immediately turn off the main water valve. It is important for everyone in the home to know where they shut-off valves are in your home. Once the water has been shut off, you should begin to thaw the pipes.

Ways you can do to thaw frozen pipes are…

--Wrap hot clothes or heating pads around the frozen pipes. Leave the cloth on the pipes until they have cooled, if needed repeat this step.

--Put a space heater near the frozen pipes. Ensure that the space heater does not directly touch the pipes.

--Use a blow dryer to thaw the pipes.

--DO NOT use any type of open flame to thaw the pipes, this can damage your pipes and is a fire hazard.

Once the pipes are thawed, you will want to turn the water back on to the home. It is important to inspect your pipes and ensure that the pipes did not burst. Remember, as water freezes it expands. Some pipes cannot hold up to the expanded water and crack or break. A pipe can have a very small crack in it which will slowly leak water and can cause a great deal of damage.

If you find that a pipe has cracked or burst, you will want to turn the water off to that area. Call your local plumber to have them fix or replace the broken pipe before turning the water back on. Should you have any water damage, be sure to call your local SERVPRO. We’ll be sure to get there quickly to start mitigation.

How to Keep Your Pipes from Freezing!

12/15/2016 (Permalink)

As we begin getting below freezing temperatures we need make sure we are following the steps to keep our pipes from freezing. Remember, when water freezes it expands which will cause a pipe to crack. When the pipe thaws water will leak from the pipe. A small pipe can allow up to 250 gallons of water to leak out over the course of one day. Larger pipes will allow more water to spew out. This amount of water can cause a hefty amount of damage to your home or business.

There are some steps we should take to keep pipes from freezing…

First of all, all outside hoses and pipes should be drained and unhooked. These hoses should be properly stored away for the winter.

Make sure to keep garage doors shut. You may want to purchase a window and door insulator kit   (http://www.homedepot.com/p/3M-84-in-x-112-in-Indoor-Patio-Door-Window-Insulator-Kit-2144-EP/100143375). This will help keep your home warmer and better insulated from doors and windows which may leak air.

Seal any openings in your home where cold air may get in. You may want to get an expandable calk to help seal any openings.

Properly insulate pipes in attics and crawl spaces. These are areas that are usually unheated, and therefore have the most likelihood of having frozen pipes. Check what grade of insulation is recommended for your area. https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=diy.diy_attic_insulation

When your area is experiencing freezing temperatures, make sure to leave cabinet doors open that lead to pipes. This way, the cabinets are exposed to the same about of heat as the rest of your home. Turn your faucets on so that they slowly drip water. This will keep water flowing through the pipes. You will be able to tell if the pipes stop dripping, there is probably ice blocking the pipe.

Leave the heat set to one temperature. This will surely cost you money to leave your heat at one temperature rather than turning the heat down at night or when you’re not home. However, it will stop areas of the home with plumbing from getting too cold and allowing pipes to freeze.

Preparing for a Winter Storm

12/9/2016 (Permalink)

Now that it is winter in Central New York, we must remember how to prepare for a winter storm. All winter long we get warnings of impending snow. Whether we enjoy the winter season or not, we must be ready at any time for a large amount of snow fall, ice storms, or well below freezing weather.

As for any type of impending storm it is suggested to have enough food and water for everyone who lives in the home to last at least three days. The recommended amount of water per person is 3 gallons. The food should be food that doesn’t need to be cooked or refrigerated. It is also suggested that you have a radio that runs on batteries so you can get updates on what is happening even if the power goes out. Additionally, extra batteries, flashlights and candles should be on hand. If you have a fire place, ensure that the chimney has been cleaned and inspected and that you have wood available. A fireplace, kerosene heaters can be used as alternative heat sources.

There are specific things that can be done right before a winter storm hits. You should fill your gas tank to ensure you have enough gas should you get stuck while traveling. Put blankets and additional winter gear in your car. If possible, you should avoid driving during a winter storm. This will lessen the traffic on the roads and the chance of getting stuck or in an accident.

Check your shovels and snow rakes and put them somewhere that is easily assessable. It is important to keep a shoveled path into your home. Should an emergency arise where emergency responders need to come to the home, it’s important for them to have easy access. Spraying your shovel with WD-40 will stop the snow from sticking to your shovel.

 Make sure your cell phones and other electronics are charged and ready for use.

During the storm, should temperatures dip below freezing you should turn all faucets in your home on so they are slowly dripping. This will help keep pipes from freezing, which could save you in the long run from having to clean up water damage. Leaving the cabinet doors open will help your pipes stay warmer. Wrapping towels or newspaper around your pipes to help insulate them should you lose the ability to heat your home.

Why It's Important to Roof Rake Snow in the Winter

12/6/2016 (Permalink)

Have you ever had large amounts of snow built up on your roof? Ever notice how large icicles can build up after the snow has melted a little and then re-froze? Having large amounts of snow and ice buildup can be damaging to your home.

  • The heavy snow can cause your roof to collapse.
  • When the snow starts to melt and then freezes again, ice can build up on the roof. Ice can be damaging to gutters and downspouts.
  • Ice dams can form causing water damage in your home.

 

Roof rakes can be purchased at most hardware stores. They look like a thin, wide shovel and have an extension pole so that you can stand on the ground to remove the snow from your roof. It can be extremely dangerous to try to get up on the roof covered in snow or to stand on a ladder to remove the snow. The roof rake allows you to stand on the ground and remove the snow.

If ice damming should happen to your home, the affected area of the roof will need to be completely cleaned off in order for mitigation to begin. Otherwise, the snow will continue to leak in through the roof and the drying of materials will not be able to start. Having the roof completely cleaned off can be a very difficult task and often a roofer is needed.

What's the First Step After a Fire?

8/4/2016 (Permalink)

Fires can be understandably overwhelming. Here are the first steps to take after a fire.



  • Ask the firefighters or proper authorities on the scene if it is safe to go inside the residence.

  • Call your insurance company so they can start a claim and initiate paperwork. If you are a tenant contact your landlord.

  • Call loved ones to let them know you are okay and inform anyone who wasn’t home what happened.

  • Secure the residence to prevent theft by locking doors and covering windows or holes. If you need help, there are numerous companies that offer these services.

  • Get a copy of the fire report by contacting your local fire department.

  • If the residence is uninhabitable, contact a friend or relative in the area to see if you can stay with them or the American Red Cross for assistance.

  • Notify your employer, friends, family, post office, children’s schools, delivery services such as newspapers, utilities, telecom services and the police all of your current move.

  • Consider the cleanup requirements. Is this a small fire or a large project you will have to hire a company for?

  • Talk to your insurance company about what your policy covers before having a cleanup and restoration company come on site.

  • If counseling is needed, especially for small children, don’t be afraid to seek help.

Are New Orleans Post Katrina Defense Plans Enough?

7/26/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Are New Orleans Post Katrina Defense Plans Enough? Hurricane Katrina.

Katrina hit New Orleans and it hit HARD. Take a look at this video to see what they have done since to amp up the city’s defense system and how we as a society have contributed to our own downfall regarding flood control.


New York State Mold Laws 2016

7/9/2016 (Permalink)

As of January 1, 2016, New York State has taken the steps to ensure proper mold cleanup and restoration through a new set of laws. These laws are very similar to those regarding asbestos.

Training: Contractors are now required by the State to obtain training prior to being licensed to perform mold assessments, remediation and abatement services.

Licensing: Contractors are not allowed to advertise or perform any mold service to the public without proper licensing. The only exception to this law is if they are performing work on their own home or business.

Minimum Work Standards: The new mold laws establish he minimum standards needed throughout the industry to perform mold assessment, remediation and abatement activities by licensed professionals.

There are three levels of certification concerning mold: contractor, supervisor and assessor. To ensure there are no fraudulent activities surrounding the mold industry, the state has mandated that the same company that performs the actual work of remediation and abatement may not be the same company that assesses if that work is needed.

For any further questions concerning the new mold laws; we encourage you to view the Department of Labor’s website or contact New York State.

Firework Safety

6/29/2016 (Permalink)

When most people think of summer, particularly the Fourth of July, fireworks come to mind. While it’s best to just let the pros take care of bright light displays, we realize that many people often ignite their own fireworks. Here are some tips on how to stay safe while lighting off your own fireworks.



  • Never let young children handle fireworks.

  • Ensure older children are supervised closely by an adult when using sparklers and remind them to keep the sparkler away from their body, clothing, hair and others.

  • Store fireworks in a cool damp place until usage.

  • Do not use or buy illegal fireworks. These typically have names such as M-80, M-100, quarter pounder or blockbuster. Illegal fireworks account for the majority of accidents cause by fireworks in the first place.

  • Never try to make your own fireworks.

  • Read the labels on all fireworks before igniting so you are aware of safety precautions and performance of each.

  • Do not carry fireworks in your hand or pocket as they could ignite due to friction.

  • Never light fireworks in a metal or glass container.

  • Wear protective goggles when lighting fireworks off or if you happen to be near the ignite site.

  • Always have a bucket of water nearby and a hose just in case.

  • Never reignite a dud. Wait twenty minutes and if it still hasn’t gone off, place it in a bucket full of water away from people, structures and flammables for several hours.

  • Never point a firework at someone, even in jest.

  • Ignite fireworks outdoors in an open space away from people, homes, brush and other flammable substances.

  • Only light one firework at a time.

  • Soak all fireworks in a bucket of water for several hours before throwing them away.

  • Do not pick up firework debris until several hours after the display as many of pieces may still be hot and can cause burns.


Fireworks are illegal in many states so make sure you check your state and local laws before lighting up the skies. Happy Fourth of July!

Thunderstorm Safety Tips

6/6/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Thunderstorm Safety Tips Lightning.

Lightning from thunderstorms injures hundreds of people in the U.S. every year and kills dozens. These causalities are easily preventable if you follow these simple safety tips.


1)      Listen to the radio and television for severe thunderstorm warnings. The National Weather Service issues warnings for counties and even sends out text messages now to our mobile phones when storms are on their way. Pay attention and heed their warnings for safety.


2)      Remember the 30 second rule. If there is not 30 seconds in between the time you see lightning and hear thunder, it’s time to go indoors.


3)      Lightning typically strikes the tallest object around so if there is a storm, move indoors if at all possible or into a hard top car if there are no buildings around.


4)      Once inside, stay away from windows, plumbing and electrical. If lightning strikes outside, it can carry inside via land lines.


5)      Get out of boats and away from bodies of water. If you can hear thunder than you are close enough to get struck by lightning.


6)      If you are caught outside, avoid standing by tall isolated objects such as trees. Find a grouping of small trees surrounded by taller ones, avoid bodies of water, and if there is only open spaces, look for a dry low-lying area and try to make yourself the smallest target possible. Do not lay flat on the ground, rather crouch with your head between your knees. Sheds, outhouses and tents provide no safety so keep this in mind when you are hiking or camping. Always think ahead and be prepared in the event that you are caught in a thunderstorm and if possible, turn around on your trip and head home.

Grilling Safety Tips

5/23/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Grilling Safety Tips Grill.

Summer is finally here and we all know what that means…. grilling time! Who doesn’t love a nice steak or veggies cooked on the grill while basking in the sun? It’s easy to forget that while grills are a great way to cook food in the summer, there are some hazards that go along with them. Here are some tips to remember for safe grilling!



  1.  Use your grill outside and away from low roofs. This will not only prevent toxins from lingering in your home but will also prevent potential fires.

  2.   Place the grill on a flat surface away from anything that may catch fire such as trees, shrubs, fences and hedges.

  3.  Do not grill with loose clothing or dangling bits that can catch fire or are flammable.

  4. Have a fire extinguisher on hand and know how to use it. It’s also a good idea to have a small squirt bottle fill with cold water nearby to douse any minor flames.

  5. Keep children and pets away from the grilling area.

  6. Do not leave the grill unattended.

  7. Smoke and char contain chemicals that have been linked to health problems including cancer. Do not stand over the barbeque and inhale the smoke if at all possible. While char stripes may look good on your steak, char has been known to contain cancer causing toxins. Cook the meat to your liking and then remove it from the grill before too much char builds up.

  8. Bristles from wire brushes have been known to get stuck on the grill and then people’s food which enters the digestive system causing abdominal pain. Use a different kind of nylon or plastic brush to clean your grill to ensure no one digests these harmful bristles. If you already use a wire cleaning brush or plan to continue using one, just make sure you check your grill before cooking to clean any bristles off.


Follow these simple safety tips for a fun and safe grilling season!       

Songs About the Great Flood of 1927

5/18/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Songs About the Great Flood of 1927 The Great Flood of 1927.

The Great Flood of 1927 of the Mississippi River not only changed the landscape of the region, the people and government regulations but their culture as well. Many musicians were inspired to express their feelings at the time of the disaster and others continue to do so through conveying those emotions which they so closely associate with those in peril at the time of the flood. Below are some of the most well-known songs about the flooding in 1927.  I have collected primarily songs from the blues genre although you will find some other styles mixed in. Some of these songs and artists have stories and information to share outside of the songs themselves and others simply leave the music to do all of the talking. I encourage you to listen to the songs by clicking on the title, the emotions behind them and add any other songs about the flooding of 1927 that are not mentioned in the comment section below.

Memphis “Minnie” McCoy and Kansas Joe McCoy – When the Levee Breaks

This is probably the most famous song that came about from the Great Flood of 1927. Many African Americans were forced to work, often at gunpoint, on the levees as the river waters rose during the flood for the Mississippi in 1927. At this point in time, many blacks worked on plantations in the Deep South and rented homes from the plantation owners. When the flood came, they had nowhere to go and were forced to move North to find better jobs. This song rose to fame when rock band Led Zeppelin covered it and released it in 1970.

Bessie Smith - Back Water Blues

                This particular song is written about the very early stages of the flood of 1927 which actually started all the way in Tennessee on Christmas Day of 1926. This blues and jazz standard is about the Cumberland River which flows through Nashville and contributed to the overall flooding in 1927.

Barbecue Bob – Mississippi Heavy Water Blues

Charley Lincoln - Mississippi Low-Levee Blues

                Barbecue Bob wrote “Mississippi Heavy Water Blues” about the flood of 1927 and years later his brother, Charley Lincoln (also known as Laughing Charlie) wrote the sequel “Mississippi Low-Levee Blues.”

Charley Patton- High Water Everywhere Pt 1 and 2 – Bob Dylan Covered

                It is believed that Patton was referring to Greenville, Mississippi in this song where African Americans were held after the flood and not allowed to leave by the landowners for fear that they wouldn’t not return to the Deep South and work the plantations. “High Water Everywhere” is debatably one of Patton’s best works and often hailed as his magnum opus.

Terence Blanchard- Ghost of 1927

                While this song is obviously inspired by the flood of 1927 it was actually written circa 2006-2007 for film director Spike Lee’s four hour award winning HBO documentary “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts” about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. What resulted was Blanchard’s album A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) compromised of songs about the flooding of the Mississippi region throughout the years. This album won a Grammy in 2008 for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” and the song “Levees” was nominated for “Best Jazz Instrument Solo.”

Randy Newman – Louisiana 1927

Aaron Neville - Louisiana 1927

                Newman wrote this lamenting song in the perspective of an anonymous resident of the Saint Bernard and Plaquemines parishes recounting the aftermath of the flood. He describes the callous response from the government, the sheer volume of water and the scope of disaster. After Katrina hit, Aaron Neville of The Neville Brothers performed his own version of the song and revived “Louisiana 1927” in way that it not only became the theme song after Katrina but is now considered a Louisiana folk song, staple and standard.

Zachary Richard – Big River

                This song is off Richard’s 20th album Le Fou which was strongly influenced by his roots in Louisiana as is all of his music but more specifically, the BP Oil Spill. This album is hailed as his best and Richard splits his time between Scott, Louisiana and Canada where he is most well-known.

Other songs about the Flood of 1927:

Blind Lemon Jefferson – “Rising High Water Blues”

Lonnie Johnson – “Broken Levee Blues”

Eric Bibb – “Flood Water”

Jed Hopkins and Sarah A Westcott – “The Mississippi Flood Song “

Joe Hoover – “Mississippi Flood Song”

Big Bill Broonzy – “Big Bill Blues,”  “Southern Flood Blues,” and his cover of “Back Water Blues

The New Lost City Ramblers – “Mighty Mississippi” (originally written by Kelly Harrell)

Al Craver  (Vernon Dalhart) - “The Mississippi Flood”

Arthur Fields - “Terrible Mississippi Flood”

Norfolk Jubilee Quartet - “The Old Account Was Settled Long Ago”

Bartmon Montet and Joswell Dupuis - “L’Eau Haute” (High Water Waltz)

The Most Devastating Fire in U.S. History

5/10/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage The Most Devastating Fire in U.S. History Forest fire.

The Great Peshtigo Fire

The Peshtigo fire was the most devastating fire in U.S. History to date killing more than 1,500 people and decimating 1.2 million acres in Wisconsin and upper Michigan. Little is known about the tragic fire of Peshtigo on October 8th of 1871 for two reasons: one; the Chicago fire eclipsed the Peshtigo in the news headlines and two; all of the town’s records were burned in the fire.

The direct cause of the fire is unknown but there is speculation that several contributing factors were at play. The slash and burn method was commonly used during this time period in the area to clear land for farming and railroads. The wood that was cut remained off to the side of the farmlands and railroads where it was left to dry up and created perfect kindling for the fire. It had been a hot, dry year and many of the water resources in the area had been dried up or were at dangerously low levels. No one knows for sure how the fire ignited but with the above mentioned factors combined, it is generally believe that strong winds blew and the smallest spark ignited the kindling all around the area. The intense wind and dry climate created a fire tornado which swept the affected area, even jumping across the Peshtigo River.  The fire burned through 16 towns and the city of Peshtigo was gone in an hour.

There are theories that a comet or meteorite may have hit the Earth on October 8th, 1871 causing both the Peshtigo Fire and the Chicago fire but most scientific research says otherwise.  One other far-fetched tale is that of a cow tipping over a lantern to start the fire. A more realistic assumption is that the railroad workers caused a spark which ignited the brush or a spark flew from a train passing through igniting the brush around the tracks. We may never know the true cause of this horrific fire. The only safe haven during the catastrophe was the Peshtigo River. Today there is a museum and research center in downtown Peshtigo to remember the fire, the damage it caused and those who lost their lives in it. 

The History Behind the Make a Wish Golf Tournament

5/2/2016 (Permalink)

Community The History Behind the Make a Wish Golf Tournament Make a Wish

Owner of SERVPRO NE Onondaga and Oswego Counties John Halko, knew when he got into the business that he would always give back to the community, specifically children. Halko came from nothing and knew if given the opportunity, he wanted to give back to those in need. The idea of a golf tournament came about when other SERVPRO’s recommended it as a great way to bring people together in the business world. Chosen on a recommendation from Nationwide agent Vinny Hollopeter 14 years ago, The Pompey Club proved to be the perfect setting for the event. At first, each year money was raised for a different organization. One year it was the Canteen in the North Syracuse School District, the next Hospice to remember a friend and of course Make a Wish. One year, Halko hit a road block with an organization he was trying to work with so after feeling a bit discouraged, he decided that from then on they would donate to Make a Wish every year because “they appreciate what little we can give them.”

Make a Wish is a nonprofit organization that grants wishes to children with terminal diseases. Halko recalls when wishes were $5,000 and now one wish is approximately $10,000. The goal every year is to grant at least one wish. He plans to achieve his goal with participants in the tournament who donate $100.00 to play golf and receive a free lunch and steak dinner, sponsorships, 50/50 raffles, mulligans, skins and of course, donations. When asked what he considers his most successful year with the tournament he replied; “Every year we can give Make a Wish something. It doesn’t matter how much.”

Make a Wish Fundraiser at Uno's

4/28/2016 (Permalink)

Community Make a Wish Fundraiser at Uno's Uno's Make a Wish Fundraiser.

SERVPRO is partnering up Uno's Pizzeria in Fayetteville! If you purchase a meal or drinks next Thursday May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and either mention SERVPRO/Make a Wish or print the coupon in the photo, 20% of your bill will automatically go to Make a Wish foundation of Central New York! 


Spread the word to your friends, family and co-workers! One wish is now up to $10,000 so we are trying to acheive at least that amount by our golf tournament in the beginning of June to make one child's wish come true. 


For more information, call our office at 315-457-3432 or email holly@SERVPRO5941.com 

The Most Destructive Flood in American History

4/25/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage The Most Destructive Flood in American History Mississippi Flood of 1927.

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927

The flooding of the Mississippi River in 1927 was the worst flood in American history. At the height of its power, the flood affected an area approximately 27,000 square miles affecting the states of Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas with Arkansas being hit the hardest. At one point the flooded area was 50 miles wide, a 100 miles long and 30 feet deep. 500 people were killed, 600,000 were left homeless and there were 350 million dollars in damages – approximately 5 billion dollars today.

How did it happen?

Heavy rains came down in late 1926 and kept falling from the sky well into 1927. The tributaries of the Mississippi started to become burdened and the levees overflowed. The single greatest weak point in the levee system was at Mounds, Mississippi but authorities assured residents that the levee would hold. Slaves were made to pile sandbags on top of the levee but once one leak started, the water flow continued to increase. The levee started to shake and eventually collapsed with water flowing more than double the volume of Niagara Falls. The Mounds Landing levee break was significant in that after its collapse, the entire levee system along the river broke. Mounds Landing is known as the most severe levee break in the history on the United States to this day.

Changes

The Mississippi Flood of 1927 brought about many changes to the region and the entire country. Racial tensions soared high and many African Americans migrated north resulting in what is now known as the Great Migration. Under the Flood Control Act of 1928 the world’s longest system of levees were built. In 1941 Congress authorized the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers Yazoo Backwater Project which utilizes levees, connecting channels, drainage structures and pumps to prevent flooding in the Mississippi Delta. The Great Flood of 1927 will always be remembered and continues to affect our country, its geography, its people, culture and our landscape to this very day. 

Spring Cleaning You Forgot

4/18/2016 (Permalink)

Cleaning Spring Cleaning You Forgot Cleaning supplies.

It’s easy to remember to go through the house and vacuum, dust and polish but what about the deep dark corners of our lives that always seem to be forgotten? No excuses this year! Here is a list of the most forgotten places we all need to go through, organize and clean out.

1)      Wallet and Purse. Go through and make sure there are no expired coupons you no longer need or that library card you never use and throw them out. Ladies, do you have a bunch of stuff in the bottom of your purse that isn’t necessary? Ease that weight on your shoulder and clean it out! If it’s not something you use every day or every week, chances are, you don’t need that item to be in there.

2)      Car. Cleaning the inside of your car can be tedious but you’ll feel much better driving around in a clean car afterwards. Throw out any broken sunglasses, trash or things that just don’t belong in the car and put them in their proper place in the house. This means going through your console, glove compartment and the trunk. If you are going to keep spare change in the car, get a plastic bag to put it in and place it in an easy to reach place for tolls. Go through your trunk, retire your winter gear and prepare an emergency bag to keep in your trunk full of things like warm socks, water, granola bars, a blanket and a lighter just to be safe. Don’t forget the side pockets! After all this is done, go over the upholstery with a vacuum, armor all the dash and clean the windows. This is also a good time to schedule a day when you can switch your winter tires to summer.

3)      Junk Drawer. We all have at least one junk drawer in the house. Clean it out and get rid of those odds and ends you always said you would fix but never do and things you just don’t need anymore. Use plastic trays and small bins to organize what’s left. It’s probably still a junk drawer but at least it’s an organized one now.

4)      Medicine Cabinet. Go through and check the expiration dates. Throw anything out that can’t be used and write a list of things you need to replace to get at the store. Organize by bottle size or by use.

5)      File cabinet. Shred anything that’s more than 6 years old and you don’t really need. Pay stubs, electric bills etc. Take this time to make sure everything is properly labeled and put it in its rightful place. This will make it easier to file things away right after you open them rather than stack a big pile somewhere to “someday” take care of.

6)      Last but not least, the garage and the shed. Throw out any broken tools, duplicates and rusty equipment. Test the lawn mower out, gas and oil it up. Get rid of any pool toys with holes in them. Get a fresh propane tank for the grill and clean the inside of it out. Summer will be here before you know it and the more you prepare now, the more you can enjoy it when it gets here!

Happy cleaning! 

What is a Levee?

4/11/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage What is a Levee? Levee on the Mississippi River.

Levees are natural or artificial embankments made to regulate water flow, prevent flooding, overflowing or to keep certain areas of land dry. People have been attempting to control rivers, oceans and seas for thousands of years through the use of levees.

Natural levees are made of sediment pushed to the side of river banks causing the sides to be significantly higher than the river bed. Manmade embankments are often made of soil, sand and rocks but can also be made of wood, plastic and in some severe cases, concrete. On top, a flat surface is typically left on which sandbags may be piled even higher if needed.

Levees usually run parallel to the course of a river or flood plain to divert the water flow in as natural a manner as possible. If there are any spaces between levees on the same riverbank, the levee becomes useless. This may seem like common sense but it was an issue when the first levees were built by individuals who owned property along riverbanks and not government organizations.  

7 Ways to Maintain Your Septic System

4/4/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage 7 Ways to Maintain Your Septic System Septic System.

It is important to maintain your septic system for the health of your family, your community and for monetary reasons as well. Your septic system is an integral part of your household and the importance of it may not be fully realized until there is a problem. To prevent problems and major life inconveniences involving your septic system, there are a few simple procedures and rules to follow for its maintenance.


1)      Regularly inspect your septic system. Get in touch with an On-Site System Maintainer to regularly inspect your system routine maintenance can save you a lot money in the long run.


2)      Locate your septic system, take a picture of where it is in your yard and put it in a file. This will save a lot of time and aggravation later when you have to get your system pumped. You can also have risers installed to make the pumping and monitoring of your system easier and less time consuming.


3)      Pump your system. Different systems call for different lengths of time between pumping and cleaning out your system. Typically your system should be pumped every 3-5 years. If there are a lot of people in your home or you use a lot of water, you may want to consider pumping your soon. Household amenities like garbage disposals, hot tubs and whirlpools can wreak havoc on your system so if these are present, shoot for every 2-3 years. It’s best to consult our septic system handbook, look it up online, or get the opinion of a professional for a more exact length of time between pumps.


4)      Be water conscience. Fixing leaky faucets and running toilets immediately can prevent strain on your system. If these are not taken care of in a timely manner, your septic tank could overflow contaminating your yard, groundwater and the community in which you live. It’s also important to think before you flush! Only toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. To prolong the life of your septic system avoid flushing items such as tampons, disposable diapers, cat litter, q-tips, condoms and anything other than toilet paper down the toilet and drain.


5)      Proper landscaping can play a large part in the longevity of your septic system as well. Do not plant and shrubs or trees on top of your septic system. Their roots can grow and cause cracks in the system which can cost a lot of money down the road to replace. Never build anything above your system or pour a slab of concrete. It’s safest to just plan grass above the system and the drainfield to let it breathe and work properly.


6)      Direct water from roof and land drains away from drainfield.


7)      Add some yeast to keep the bacteria alive that breaks down solid waste. Flush a ½ cup of dry baking yeast down the toilet the first time and ¼ cup every 4 month after that.


Your septic system is an integral part of your household so do you part to take care of it for the health of your family, your community and your wallet! 

The Difference Between Mold and Bacteria

3/28/2016 (Permalink)

While mold and bacteria are often grouped together, they are actually two very different organisms. Both occur naturally in nature but certain types of molds and bacteria may be harmful to humans.

Size. Molds are typically a lot larger than bacteria and possess hyphae or long, multi-celled filaments. Bacteria are generally smaller and more numerous in size but less complex.

Cellular structure. Molds are fungi and bacteria are not. Fungi are considered eukaryotes which means their DNA is enclosed in a nucleus (often referred to as a proper or well-defined nucleus) which is separated from their cytoplasm. The nucleus of a bacteria cell is not separated from their cytoplasm making them prokaryotes. What makes fungi cells complex are all the structures within their cell that bacteria cells do no possess.

Growth. There are two types of fungi which are important to consider when talking about growth; filamentous and yeasts. Fungal yeast reproduce by budding and filamentous fungi reproduce by branching or elongation. Bacteria on the other hand, regenerate by binary fission which means each parent cell divides into two smaller cells, typically of similar sizes.

Food and nutrition. Bacteria are autotrophic in that they have the ability to produce their own food via light or chemical energy and they are heterotrophic as well meaning, they can take in energy from other organisms for food if need be. Fungi are a type of heterotroph called saprophytes which get their energy from dead organic matter.  This is why fungi are often found in soil or on surfaces that are in the process of decay.

Fungi and bacteria often come with a negative stigma but don’t forget about all the good they do! They release and create nutrients to provide energy for our ecosystem, are used in the fermentation of chemicals, the production of food and even in our bodies to make certain vitamins. Remember, not all molds and bacteria are created equally. While different, they are necessary to our ecosystems and way of life. 

Spring Cleaning List

3/22/2016 (Permalink)

Cleaning Spring Cleaning List Cleaning supplies.

Spring Cleaning List

It’s that time of the year again when we all decide to go crazy and deep clean our homes like our moms taught us to! Here is a list of things to clean so you don’t forget any nook or cranny in your spring cleaning adventure. Here’s to a happy, clean home!

General Cleaning for all rooms:

-Dust your light fixtures

-Blinds

-Baseboards

-Trim around doors and windows

-Wash the curtains

-Wash blankets and pillow covers

-Dust knick knacks

-Clean light switches and cover plates

-Clean doorknobs and cupboard handles

-Move things and dust/sweep/vacuum behind them

-Dust vents

-Dust banisters and wipe with damp cloth

-Dust picture frames and wall hangings

-Window sills

-Mirrors

-Wash/beat out rugs

-Wash the walls

-Clean and wash pet beds and toys

-Clean kids toys

Bathroom:

-Clean around and behind toilet

-Clean inside of toilet bowl

-Mirrors

-Around the sink

-Clean bathtub and shower walls

-Throw out anything that hasn’t been used in a year

-Replace shower liner

-Clean showerhead and fixtures

-Wash bathmats

-Wash brushes and makeup brushes

-Replace toothbrushes

-Go through first aid supplies; throw out expired prescriptions and medicine and make an inventory of items you need to restock up on

Kitchen:

-Clean inside and outside of all appliances such as microwave, toaster, coffee pot, Keurig, etc

-Clean stove, dishwasher and oven

-Wipe down walls

-Throw out expired food

-Wipe down all surfaces in refrigerator and freezer

-Wipe down outside of fridge and vacuum coils

-Clean grease from stove hood

-Wash cabinets inside and out, wipe down backsplash and walls

-Clean out and organize plastic wear and make sure there are lids to match appropriate containers

-Get rid of old, rusty pans you don’t use and any appliances you haven’t used in over a year

-Dust any décor on counters, window sills and walls

-Wipe down counters and in and around the sink

-Wash or vacuum floor depending on type of surface

Bedrooms:

-Wash all sheets, comforters, duvet covers, pillowcases, pillows and curtains

-Throw out any clothing that has a stain, a hole or that you haven’t worn in a year

-Dust ceiling fan and light fixtures

-Clean under and behind beds, dressers and furniture

-Clean winter wear and pack for storage

-Bring out summer clothes, wash if necessary and throw out or donate anything that you won’t wear

-Go through jewelry box and donate or throw out anything that is broken, mismatched and you don’t wear anymore

-Go through bedside table throwing out items you don’t need and reorganizing

Living Room:

-Vacuum in between couch and chair cushions, behind and underneath couch and chairs

-Wax, dust and polish all furniture and fixtures

-Clean out fireplace

-Dust electronics

Office:

-Dust all electronics and blow out the dust

-Reorganize drawers and throw out/donate anything you don’t need or use anymore

-Go through computer, ipods, etc and organize folders, documents and pictures. At the end of this, back everything up on an external hard drive

-Perform computer maintenance

-Shred old/unnecessary documents

Garage:

-Clean out all tools and donate/throw away anything that is broken or that you have a duplicate of

-Organize tools and outdoor equipment

-Bring out summer sport equipment and store winter equipment

-Wash bikes off, fill up tires and oil gears

-Wash cars and clean out interiors

-Sweep out floor and power wash

House Exterior:

-Power wash siding and decking

-Empty out gutters

-Dust light fixtures for cobwebs

-Sweep leaves off deck and porch areas, sidewalks and driveways

-Stain and seal deck/porch if necessary

-Re mulch garden and plant new flowers and plants if desired

-Inspect exterior for damage and cracks

-Spray pest control around house

-Have pool serviced

-Clean out and organize shed

-Inspect all pool toys. Throw out ones with holes and clean those you plan to keep


Outdoor Equipment:

-“Summerize” and put away all snowblowers, shovels, plows, snowmobiles, etc.

-Prep lawn mower for use

-Test hoses for leaks

-Inspect grill, clean out and check propane tank

-Wash, clean and wipe down outdoor furniture

-clean AC unit of leaves and debris

Utilities:

-Replace A/C filter

-Clean ducts

-Start dehumidifier

-Check basement and damp areas for mold and mildew

-Check and replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors

-Check fire extinguisher

-Inspect water heater

-Clean out dryer exhaust vent

-Clean all vents and fans

Happy cleaning!

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

3/7/2016 (Permalink)

Bed bugs are a pretty popular news subject as of late. While these little creatures can be annoying to get rid of, the important thing to know is that they aren’t actually that harmful to your health. Bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases and their bites are itchy but not painful.

If you are worried about these pests invading your home or hitching a ride into your space, there are a few simple precautions you can take to prevent them from entering your home.

Bed bugs are most common in crowded sleeping quarters or places where there is high turnover such as hotels. Before unpacking when on a trip, inspect the hotel bed, especially the corners by the headboards and near the seams for the bugs themselves and little brown trails. If you see evidence of either the bugs or the trails they leave behind, notify the hotel staff immediately and ask for another room far from the infested one. Even if you don’t spot any signs of the critters, place your suitcase on a suitcase holder, on a hard surface such as a table or, hang your clothes in the closet. Bed bugs like warmth, such as upholstery so, it’s best to avoid putting your clothes on the bed, chair or carpeting.

After returning from a trip, if you suspect you may have been exposed to bed bugs, wash all of your clothes from the suitcase in warm water. If you have any delicates, bring them to the dry cleaners or toss them in the dryer under a light cycle. The heat will kill the bed bugs and their eggs. Vacuum your suitcase and store it in the garage or outside in a closed up plastic garbage bag with no-pest strips for two weeks. This will kill all the adults and their eggs.

Inspect places where pets sleep. Animals often carry parasites with them unknowingly.

Vacuum regularly and empty the canister into the garbage. Make sure you take the garbage out immediately if you do in fact suspect you have bed bugs.

Last but not least, keeping a clean, tidy and uncluttered house can save you a lot of time and money by drastically decreasing your chance of bed bugs in the first place. Vacuum, wash your sheets and avoid clutter, especially in the bedroom; and you should be fine.

If you are worried about bed bugs, you can buy encasements for your bed and box spring as well as climb-up monitors for your bed posts which prevent bed bugs from climbing up and trap them climbing down should you already have some. Pesticide use isn’t highly recommended on bed bugs for several reasons; 1) you would have spray around where you and your family sleep and 2) bed bugs are resilient and immune to many pesticides. If you do find yourself with a pest problem, keep in mind that more often than not, these critters are easily taken care of. It is very rare you would have to wash your entire closet or throw away your furniture.

Hopefully you never have to deal with bed bugs but if you do, these tips should help you clean up the problem quickly and allow you to be proactive.

Ways to Keep Dust Down in Your Home

2/29/2016 (Permalink)

Cleaning Ways to Keep Dust Down in Your Home Dust

Dust is made up of a lot of unsavory characters; dead skin cells, fabric fibers, dust mites, animal dander, dirt, hair, pollen, mold spores and a bunch of other unknown components depending on where you live, work and play. Dust is not only a visible nuisance but can also cause health problems such as allergies. Below are some of the top ways to keep dust down in your home and increase your quality of living.

Vacuum. The more you stay on top of vacuuming, the less dust you will have in your home! Vacuum at least once a week, if not more to cut down on the amount of dust floating around. Remember to vacuum upholstery such as couches and curtains that hold onto dust particles as well. Be sure to empty the canister, replace the bag or better yet, get a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to trap tiny particles.

Dusting. A simple dusting can go a long way. Microfiber cloths work best but if you don’t have one handy, run any cloth under a bit of water to use. Microfiber and damp cloths capture and collect dust instead of just spreading it around your house like a dry cloth would.

Declutter. The more things you have to collect dust, the more dust you will have! We all have knick- knacks of some sort but try to minimize them or keep them covered in a glass case if possible. Books can be pushed to the front of the bookshelf to minimize dust collection there as well.

Air filters. Change your air filters in your heating and air-conditioning system once a month to cut down and catch dust particles before they spread throughout the home. Try a pleated or paper filter that carries an electrostatic charge which attracts dust.

Closets. One of the biggest components of dust is fabric fiber shed by your clothing. Keep your closets clean and organized by using clear plastic bins. This way, you can easily see what is in them and you’ll be able to move them around to dust. Store seasonal clothes in plastic bins and garbage bags to prevent their fibers from shedding when they aren’t in use. Another good rule to follow is keeping your closet floor clean. Too often we have items on the closet floor that never get moved and therefore, never get cleaned and hold dust. Would you vacuum the floor more if there was nothing in your way? Probably.

Bedding is another big culprit of dust and dust mites. Change and wash your bedding once a week and don’t forget about those pillows either! Pillows can be taken to the dry cleaners, hand washed or, if you have a new dryer, check for a setting meant for pillows and bedding specifically.

Cut back on carpeting. Hardwoods and tiles don’t collect dust like carpets do. Even if you vacuum regularly, dust can get deep down in the carpet fibers and stay suck there irritating you and your family. If you have rugs, make sure you take them outside and beat them. Beating rugs often loosens up trapped particles that a vacuum can’t get to.

Doormats help trap dirt before it gets throughout the house. Invest in a bristle top mat outside the door and another mat right inside the door as well. Don’t forget to vacuum and beat the dirt out of the mats once a week for best results.

Pet care. Grooming and washing pets regularly can cut back on dead skin cells, hair and dander throughout the house. Using a cover for your cat’s litter box can also help significantly.

Filter the air in the house while you clean by turning your thermostat to “fan on.” This filters the air even when the heating and air conditioning system aren’t on. Just make sure you turn the fan off after about 15 minutes as they are not meant to run all the time.

Using all of these tips combined or even a few at a time, the amount of dust in your house should decrease and provide you with cleaner, fresher air quality. Keep the dust down and breathe deeply!

Tips to Keep Your Carpet Looking Brand New

2/22/2016 (Permalink)

Cleaning Tips to Keep Your Carpet Looking Brand New Carpet.

Carpets can be one of the most difficult things to preserve and keep that clean, brand spanking new look because we walk and put weight on them every day. Regardless of how much we abuse them, there are some precautions you can take to keep your carpets in top shape.

Regular vacuuming is key to preserving your carpets. When dirt and dust get pushed into carpets, they bend, twist and sometimes break the fibers if they aren’t removed. This is what results in that dull dirty look you may see in some spots if you don’t regularly vacuum you carpets. Try to vacuum twice a week in heavy traffic areas and hit the baseboards and any crevices with a brush once a week.

Area rugs and runners can also help keep your carpets clean, especially in high traffic areas. This will minimize soiling and crushing plus cut down on the amount of time you spend vacuuming.

Professional carpet cleaning can breathe new life into old carpets. Routine maintenance is key. Carpets should be professionally steamed cleaned about every 6-12 months to up their life expectancy.  

Cut snags. Snags should be cut immediately with scissors to prevent further damage. Do not vacuum over snags as they may get stuck in the clean and unravel more of the carpet.

Rake dents. Those dents under your couch or other furniture can easily be taken care of. Use a wet rag to saturate the spot where the dent it and gently rake your fingers back and forth. Make sure to do this gently to prevent breakage in the fibers.

Removing stains when they first happen can prevent a lot of frustration later on. Common liquid stains can generally be removed by blotting and dabbing the stain with water at first and then applying a type of carpet stain remover solution. You can always try white apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, shaving cream and grease cutting dish soap lying around the house if you don’t have any chemicals handy.

Last but not least, be more attentive to the types of carpets you are purchasing in the first place! They make carpets with stain repellant which make it had for dirt and stains to stick to the fibers. You can also buy darker carpets with patterns so when stains do show up, it’s much harder to pick them out.

Follow these tips and your carpets should remain brighter and cleaner for longer.  

Classes of Fires

2/16/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Classes of Fires Which class of fire does this cooking fire fall into?

Not all fires are the same. They are caused by and thrive on different elements so, as a result, classes of fires came about. Classifications of fires are needed to determine how to extinguish them properly. You wouldn’t want to re-ignite or spread a fire by using the wrong type of extinguisher. Determining what class a fire is, is detrimental to using the proper equipment to extinguish it.

Class A involve ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, plastics, cloth, trash and items that leave ash as a residue.

Class B fires are fueled by flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, propane, butane, paint and oil. Class B does not however include cooking oils or grease.

Class C are energized electrical fires which involve engines, transformers and appliances.

Class D fires are caused by combustible metals such as potassium, magnesium, titanium, sodium, and aluminum.

Class K fires are fueled by cooking oils, animal fat or grease. These normally occur in commercial kitchens.

In one of our previous blogs, you can read about the different types of extinguishers and which ones should be used for each specific class of fire. 

Different Types of Fire Extinguishers

2/8/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Different Types of Fire Extinguishers Fire Extinguishers.

In order to understand why different fire extinguishers exist, first one needs to understand how a fire exists in general. Using the wrong extinguisher can even cause fires to re-ignite or spread in some cases.

The fire triangle is a model used to illustrate how fires start. The triangle includes 3 elements: oxygen, heat and fuel. Without these three elements, a fire cannot exist. Fire extinguishers are made to take away one or more of the three elements to cease the fire. Since there are different types of fuel involved in different fires, there are a variety of fire extinguishers one can use based on the source of the fire.

Dry Chemical is the most common fire extinguisher used today as it is effective on all types of fires and is most likely the one you have in your home or at your place of business. This type of extinguisher interrupts the chemical reaction by creating a barrier between the fuel source and the oxygen. This can be used on Class A, B and C fires.

Dry Powder extinguishers are similar to dry chemical in that they separate the fuel from the oxygen or remove the heat element of the fire. They are only used for combustible metal fires (Class D) and are ineffective on all other types of fires.

Clean Agent or Halogenated extinguishers use halon agents and halocarbon agents to interrupt the chemical reaction of the fire. Clean agent is mainly used for Class B and C however, it can be used on Class A as well. There are concerns regarding contamination when these are used which brings us to the next type of extinguisher…

Water Mist extinguishers are a newer development and extinguish the fire by taking away the heat component. These are much safer than clean agent extinguishers as no halocarbon is involved and are primarily for Class C but may be used on Class A fires as well.

Cartridge Operated Dry Chemical interrupt the chemical reaction of the three components in the fire triangle and create a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen components when used on Class A fires. This extinguisher is also effective on Class B and C fires.

Wet Chemical extinguishers are unique in that they remove the heat component and prevent re-ignition by creating a barrier. These extinguishers are used for Class K fires which typically involve deep fryers and commercial cooking operations but may also be used for Class A fires in commercial kitchens as well.

Water and Foam extinguishers not only take away the heat element but the foam separates the oxygen from the other elements. These are used in Class A fires only and should never be used in Class B or C. If used in a B or C classified fire, there is a risk of spreading and not extinguishing the fire.

Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers remove the oxygen first and secondly, remove the heat with cold discharge. They can be used on Class B and C fires but aren’t normally effective on Class A fires.

Fire extinguishers exist for your safety but if used improperly, may cause more damage. Make sure you know what kind of fire extinguisher you have and what types of emergencies it should and should not be used for. 

How to Prevent Leaky Pipes

2/1/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage How to Prevent Leaky Pipes Leaky Pipe.

Stress on pipes can result in leaks which can be expensive to fix, replace and, not to mention, could cause extensive water damage to your home, business and personal items if they burst. Here are some ways to decrease the amount of stress and pressure on your pipes.

High water pressure can feel nice in the shower and it may seem like the dishes are getting done faster but, this can put an unnecessary amount of strain on your plumbing. You can get a hose bib gauge at your local hardware store to test the pressure. Attach it to an outside spigot and open the valve. Normal pressure is between 40-85 PSI so if you pressure measures above this, you may want to consider hiring a plumber to install a pressure reducer. You can also install a low flow shower head in your bathroom to help reduce pressure there.

Hard water is another obstacle as far as pipes are concerned. Hard water is water with a higher than normal amount of mineral content such as calcium or magnesium present. These minerals can build up inside your pipes which restricts flow and in turn, increases the pressure. Deposits can also corrode joints and fittings over time. If you see a white substance on our faucet heads, you more than likely have hard water. If you are unsure or want more proof, ask your local municipality to view the water quality report they are required to have through the Environmental Protection Agency.  The only way to effectively soften the water in your home or business is by having a plumber install a water softener.

Wrap your pipes. If you have exterior piping and plan on going out of town in the winter months, take precautions to prevent coming home to a disaster. Wrap your pipes in electrical heat tape or a pipe sleeve which you can purchase at your local hardware store to prevent them from freezing. Remember, if the water is not constantly moving and the cold water pipes touch the exterior of the building when the temperature gets below freezing, your pipes will most likely freeze!

Set the spigot valve. If you have a pipe running through cement to your outside spigot valve, it’s always a good idea to install a frost-free hose bib which allows you to shut off water to the inside of the home preventing freezing.

These are all relatively simple and in expensive ways to protect your pipes that in the end could save you thousands of dollars! 

Why Does Mold Come in Different Colors?

1/25/2016 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Why Does Mold Come in Different Colors? Moldy orange.

After extensive research on the subject of the different colors of mold, this topic appears to be enigmatic. Scientists have come up with several different reasons why mold comes in such an array colors but can’t seem to nail down one over the other. There is a good chance a number of things are influencing the color of any give mold.

Colors of mold for example, vary regionally. The colors in the Pacific Northwest tend to be more green and blue whereas oranges appear more often in the Amazon. Some molds secrete pigment known as melanin that can act as a barrier to protect them against other rival molds. Other studies indicate that the color of this particular fungi comes from its food source, genus, conditions under which it grows and it’s age. While all of these things do contribute in some way, shape or form, mycologists (scientists that study mold) still haven’t been able to pinpoint one single reason why this mysterious fungi comes in all colors of the rainbow to this day! 

What is the IICRC

1/18/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage What is the IICRC IICRC Logo.

The IICRC stands for the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. They are a non-profit organization that sets the standards for the cleaning, installation, inspection and restoration industry for more than 25 countries. They offer classes, training and certification.


The IICRC was formed in 1972 by Ed York and was originally intended to be the standard for carpet and upholstery cleaning. Quickly, the organization grew to include water, fire and smoke damage, cleanup and repair, as well as wood, stone and tile cleaning and repair. 


How Are the Certifications and Classes Determined?


IICRC’s Shareholders vote to nominate candidates to sit on a Board of Directors which is comprised of 15 industry professionals. The Board only meets four times of year so within the Board, there is an Executive Committee. The Committee is selected once a year at the fall meeting. The Board, along with the Committee, determines the direction of the organization while still following the ethics and guidelines set in place by IICRC. The Board determines what classes and certifications are necessary throughout the industry. The IICRC does not own schools or hire instructors but rather approves them to teach classes according to the organizations standards.


For more information on the IICRC, you can visit their website here: http://www.IICRC.org/

Different Types of Water Damage

1/14/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage is split up into three different types of categories and four different types of classes according to the Institute of Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) which sets the industry standards for the water damage restoration and repair industry.

The following categories describe the type of water involved:

Category 1: This is water from a clean source such as faucets, toilets, tanks, drinking fountains, etc.

Category 2: Liquid in this category is sometimes called grey water. The level of contaminants in grey water may cause illness if ingested and comes from sources such as dishwasher or washing machines, sink drains and toilet overflows with some urine but no fecal matter.

Category 3: This is the most unsanitary classification as it could cause severe illness or even death if ingested. Liquid in this category is also known as black water and comes from sewer backup, flooding from rivers, streams, toilet overflow with fecal matter and stagnant liquid that has begun to grow bacteria.

The classes below describe the level of destruction.

Class 1: Only one area of the room was affected, little or no wet carpet, and water has only touched materials with a low permeance rate such as plywood or concrete. Evaporation rate is slow in this class and damage is the easiest to deal with.

Class 2: In this class, the evaporation rate is fast and water has affected the entire room, going up the wall at least a foot leaving a lot of moisture in materials.

Class 3: Liquid may have come from above and the ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet and sub-floors are all saturated and have the fastest evaporation rate.

Class 4: Specialty drying situations are placed in this class when there is enough water to completely saturate materials with very low permeance such as hardwood, brick or stone.

These categories and classes are used by the restoration industry to determine what type of plan and process should be used in each water damage situation.  Ask your restoration company beforehand if their technicians are IICRC certified to ensure the highest quality and standards in the cleanup process of your home or business.

Holiday Hazards

1/14/2016 (Permalink)

The holidays are a cheerful and exciting time but if you don’t take certain precautions, they can result in tragedies for you and your family. Follow these simple tips to keep everything joyful and bright!

Christmas Tree Hazards

Be sure when picking out a tree, you pick one that is full of lots of green needles. Brown needles indicate the tree is too dry and dry trees are more likely to catch on fire. Another good test is to see if the branches snap easily. A healthy tree’s branches will bend and be tough to break.

When you put your tree up, be sure to water it every day to keep it from drying out. When the needles start falling off at a rapid rate or start to turn brown, it’s probably time to get rid of the tree.

For all of you artificial tree people out there, check to make sure the tree you have or the one you are buying is labeled fire resistant or flame retardant.

Holiday Lights

Before using lights indoor or outdoors, check the label to make sure you are using them in the right location. There will be an indictor on the packing and the cord itself telling you if it is safe for indoor or outdoor use.

Whether the lights are brand new or old and faithful strands, check for frayed wires and shortages. If there are any, throw these strands out. For broken light bulbs, unplug the light strand and replace the bulb with one of the proper wattage for that strand.

When placing lights on the tree, as mentioned in the previous section, if the tree is watered enough there shouldn’t be any problems.

Never overload your circuit! If you need to use more than two plugs in an outlet, use a surge protector instead of many different extension cords.

Candles

Many people use candles during the holidays to create ambience. Just make sure candles are several feet away from any flammables. Never leave a candle burning when you leave your home; you never know what could happen while you are gone.

Cooking

If you are like most people, you probably do a little more cooking than usual around the holidays. It never hurts to review simple cooking safety tips. Do not leave the oven or stove unattended. Make sure you clear any flammable materials away from heat sources such as pot holders and curtains. It’s also not a bad idea to keep a fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink in case of an emergency. Last but not least, make sure you don’t have any loose hanging clothing on while you are cooking.

Stay safe this holiday season and happy holidays!

How To Prevent Window Drafts

1/14/2016 (Permalink)

Drafts not only cause chills but can put a dent in your bank account as well. Here are some simple quick and easy tips to seal up windows in your home to save you money and keep you warm on those brisk nights.

1) Caulk. You can find caulk and a caulking gun at any hardware store, in your dad’s garage, or the neighbor down the street. Look around the window for cracks and crevices and fill them in. Try not to use too much caulk to prevent clumps. You can also smooth it out by wetting your finger and slowly moving it on top of the caulk line.

2) Self stick weather sealing is another great way to start. Measure and cut the foam stripping to fit the top, bottom and sides of the window where it meets the stop (or the frame for those of us less construction term inclined). Peel off the backing and press the strip into place between the window and the molding. When the window is closed, everything should seal up nicely!

3) Window film. While this may be tedious, you have to admit, it works. Window film kits can be bought at hardware stores or your big box stores such as Walmart as well. The film comes on a big roll (think saran wrap), so you will need to stretch it out on the floor. Then measure your windows, including the casing (framing) and cut the film to size. I like to cut the film a little larger than my windows because, well, mistakes happen. Place the tape where you would like the outer edge of the film to sit. Then use a hair dryer on medium to high heat around the edges to seal everything tightly.

4) Curtains. Hang curtains to keep the heat in and the cold out. Insulated curtains work best but any curtains are better than none. Blankets, while not as pretty, can also be used for the same desired effect.

It’s starting to get chilly out there so take care of your home, your family, and your wallets! Happy sealing my friends.

3) Window film. While this may be tedious, you have to admit, it works. Window film kits can be bought at hardware stores or your big box stores such as Walmart as well. The film comes on a big roll (think saran wrap), so you will need to stretch it out on the floor. Then measure your windows, including the casing (framing) and cut the film to size. I like to cut the film a little larger than my windows because, well, mistakes happen. Place the tape where you would like the outer edge of the film to sit. Then use a hair dryer on medium to high heat around the edges to seal everything tightly.

4) Curtains. Hang curtains to keep the heat in and the cold out. Insulated curtains work best but any curtains are better than none. Blankets, while not as pretty, can also be used for the same desired effect.

It’s starting to get chilly out there so take care of your home, your family, and your wallets! Happy sealing my friends.

How Not To Deep Fry a Turkey

1/14/2016 (Permalink)

Ever thought of deep frying your turkey for Thanksgiving? Deep frying is quickly becoming to the go to method as far as turkey cooking goes. There are some right and wrong ways to deep fry a turkey so let’s go over the big mistake many amateur deep fryers will make this Thanksgiving.

Thaw out your turkey! And by this, we mean, all the way! As most of you know, water and oil don’t mix. If you place a frozen turkey in a pot of boiling oil, you will get an explosion. The water in and on the turkey will quickly evaporate and has no where to go but up and out. When the water from in the turkey which is in the hot oil goes up and out of the pot, so does the oil in the form of a BIG explosion. Not only could you ruin Thanksgiving dinner but you could injure yourself, others and your house.

How to Deep Fry a Turkey the Right Way:

1.When deep frying a turkey, take care to thaw the turkey out all the way through.

2.When you get ready to set up your deep frying station, do so outside. This way, in the event that something does happen, there are less materials around to get damaged.

3. Since you will be setting up the deep fryer outside, moving it away from the house or any structures is also a smart idea.

4.Make sure the oil isn’t hotter than necessary. Only fill the pot 3/4 of the way full and heat the oil to 350° F.

It’s a good idea to wear protective flame retardant gloves and make sure someone keeps an eye on the turkey at all times.

Now here’s a funny video of how NOT to deep fry a turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!

https://youtu.be/IP3qh6Qym40

Top Causes of Home Fires

1/14/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Top Causes of Home Fires Fire

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires are the leading cause of all fire deaths in the United States. For the most part, home fires are easily preventable.

Here are the top causes of home fires:

 1.Cooking equipment. This may seem like a no brainer but believe it or not, cooking equipment is the leading cause of all home fires. Do not leave the stove or oven unattended while cooking. If you do need to leave the room, even for a second, make sure there are no flammable items such as dish rags,cookbooks, grease, curtains or paper products near your appliances. It’s always a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen as well, just in case.2. Heating, the second most common cause of home fires. Most fires involving heaters are caused by portable space heaters. They may be nice and convenient but blankets, lint and other flammables can easily get caught in them. If you have to use a space heater, make sure there are no loose materials that could easily burn around it.3. Smoking. Cigarette’s and their ashes can easily catch on curtains, bedding and clothing which can quickly result in an out of control fire. Many fires caused by smoking happen in the bedroom when someone falls asleep with a cigarette in their hand. If you must smoke, do so outside your home for the safety of everyone involved.4. Electrical fires can happen for a variety of reasons. Here are the top four:
  • Never remove the grounding plug on an appliance. Three pronged plugs exists on appliances that need extra power to operate. Get an electrician to install the proper outlet if you find this a problem in your home.
  •  Lamps and light fixtures. You should never install a bulb with wattage that is too high for a particular appliance. This will cause the bulb to overheat and in turn, catch the lampshade or other flammables nearby on fire. Another thing to avoid is covering your lamp shade or fixture with a cloth or paper. While it may look nice, it’s not worth the potential fire you may cause.
  •  Faulty cords and outdated appliances. Never use a cord that is worn or frayed. For this reason, you should also avoid running cords under rugs where they could become worn and go unnoticed for a long amount of time.
  •  Last but not least, outdated wiring. If your home is more than twenty years old, you may want to have a licensed electrician take a look at the wiring system. While replacing the system can get costly, it is nothing compared to a life or the belongings you could lose if the old wiring causes a fire.
Take the time to look around your house and ensure the safety of your friends and family by checking these common fire causes. Do you have a fire extinguisher? A working smoke alarm? How about a carbon monoxide detector? While it may seem tedious to check these items and think ahead, you will be able to sleep more soundly at night knowing you did.

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