Winter Weather is here and after the storms over the Christmas holiday, now is a good time to make sure your home is prepared for a potential storm.
- Prevent frozen pipes and pipe bursts
- Any faucets that are connected to pipes in areas that are unheated (attic, crawl space, outside) are more likely to freeze when the temperature drops. Be sure to let cold water drip from those faucets to help prevent freezing.
- If you plan on leaving your home for multiple days during freezing temps leave your heat on. Heating costs may rise a bit, but comparatively to a burst pipe in your home you’ll be happy you did.
- Prevent ice dams
- When warm air from your home heats the roof and melts the snow on the roof it collects in unheated areas and refreezes, making ice dams that limit drainage off the roof and can cause damage to your home.
- Make sure to clear your gutters and downspouts so that water can drain off the roof and doesn’t collect anywhere to refreeze
- Install gutter screens to help keep out debris build up in gutters
- If you live in an area with especially large amounts of snowfall, consider installing snow guards to prevent snow accumulation on your roof and lining under your shingles to prevent leaks as snow melts
- Ensure you know where and how to shut off your water in case of an emergency
- When pipes freeze or burst it is important to be able to respond immediately and prevent the issue from getting any worse. Make sure that you know where your water shut off is and turn it off the second you discover a leak.
When taking the proper steps you can have a stress free winter. Call SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour and Sullivan counties if a disaster does occur. We are ready to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Winter season is here and the simple pleasures of gathering around the fireplace become more and more common. To ensure the safety of yourself and family members, be sure to follow these crucial steps before deciding to light a fire.
Have your fireplace professionally cleaned – According to the National Fire Protection Association, you should have your chimney swept at least once a year by a professional cleaning service. This type of service entails cleaning inside and outside the chimney.
- Always cap your chimney – Placing a cap on your chimney prevents outside debris, rain, and even vermin from entering your fireplace.
- Burn seasoned wood – Not all wood is safe for your fireplace. If you have any questions about what wood to choose, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America website.
- Place a small amount of wood in the fire – A small amount of wood generates less smoke. Less smoke is not only beneficial to your own health, but it also means less damage to your chimney.
- Place the wood on a metal grate – This allows the air to circulate around the logs.
- Use a guard – Placing a guard on both sides of your fireplace can prevent any sparks from flying out and potentially harming yourself or any appliances that are nearby.
- Put out the fire safely – After the fire dies down, be sure to bury the logs at the bottom of the fireplace and pour sand on it to ensure that it is out.
Types of Chimney Fires
- Free Burning: Extremely loud blaze with visible flames and smoke coming out of the chimney top.
- Slow Burning: Much quieter than a free burning fire. This type of chimney fire often goes unnoticed since they burn slower and at high temperatures. Slow burning fires are still extremely dangerous.
At SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties, safety is our #1 concern, and we hope that you and your family are able to enjoy the splendors of a fireplace fire this winter season.
Water Damage Causes
Unlike other parts of the country, rain isn't the main cause of water damage in homes and other buildings. Get to know some of the common causes of water damage so that you can do what you can to prevent it from happening on your property.
- Broken Pipes – A broken pipe can do a lot of damage to your home in just a short amount of time. Before you know it, gallons short amount of time. Before you know of water could be spewing through your home. Pay close attention to any leaks, drips, and signs of deterioration. Have a plumber come out to your house for regular maintenance, and if there ever is a broken pipe, you can always turn the water off before the plumber arrives to avoid further damage.
- Pinhole Leaks – common if a home has copper plumbing, a pinhole leak is a puncture of a copper pipe due to corrosion. If your home has a copper water system, check your pipes for signs of corrosion often.
- Old/Faulty Appliances – If your fridge or washing machines aren’t maintained well, or have gotten too old, they could start to leak and create a significant amount of water damage in your home. It’s especially important to keep an eye on the appliances in your kitchen, as water damage caused by your fridge or dishwasher can affect not just your floor, but your cabinets as well. Often, leaks that go undetected for some time will cause significant water damage behind cabinets, which in turn can lead to mold if the problem goes unnoticed for an extended period.
- Roof Leaks– Check your roof frequently and take care of any maintenance or repairs. That way you won’t have to worry about your home flooding next time a storm hits.
- Accidents – Sometimes luck just isn’t on your side and one tiny mistake can lead to a big problem. A clogged toilet or too much soap in the dishwasher or washing machine can have water coming across your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. These parts of the home are generally better equipped than the rest of the house to handle a larger spill, but water moves fast and could potentially cause damage to the walls, ceiling, or other rooms in the home.
If an accident ever does occur that you think calls for a professional, call SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties and we’ll make it "Like it never even happened."
Businesses are always at risk for mold infestations, especially if they are leasing older buildings that may need repairs.
SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties will work around the customer's schedule to remediate the problem, so that the business can be restored as quickly and seamlessly as possible. We know that commercial mold infestations can cost a business thousands of dollars in productivity; it is always our goal to get you back up and running right away.
If You See Visible Mold
If you see visible mold on your premises, do not disturb it; you could inadvertently spread the mold infestation to other areas. When mold is disturbed, it can release microscopic spores which become airborne and circulate inside your home or business.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
About Our Mold Remediation Services
SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business. Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 570-759-0966
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire…
DO NOT disturb contents in your home or business after a fire - improper methods may actually make things worse!
The First 48 Hours...
At SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties, our skilled technicians know well that the first 48 hours after a fire can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings in your home or business. Soot and smoke can permeate many surfaces and materials and can be very dangerous, even toxic. The longer they have to seep into your home or business and all of its contents, the harder it may be to salvage them - it may not even be possible!
What Can You Do?
The first, and most important thing you can do after experiencing a fire is to call us at SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties. Our professional crews are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays, to beat the clock in attempting to salvage your home and property. But while you wait for us to arrive, you can take these precautions to help mitigate the damage:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
- Coat chrome faucets, trim, and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
- Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.
- Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery.
- Do not clean any electrical equipment.
- Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
What is Water Loss Mitigation?
IF you ever experience a water loss and find yourself in need of the services of SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties, it will probably be the ONLY time that you need us for such a mitigation. We have only ONE chance to make a positive impact in your life and provide the personal, professional service that we strive for everyday.
So How Do We Do It...?
Once we arrive on-site, one of the first steps in evaluating the damage at your home or business is to understand the situation based on your first-hand account, and walk the affected areas with you to do a visual inspection and note any safety concerns. Once we gauge the types of materials that are affected, we use the appropriate type of moisture meter to map out the extent of the damage. We also take some atmospheric measurements that are essential to properly dry the space, including relative humidity and temperature. All of these data contribute to a strategy that may involve:
- extraction of standing water, or water soaked into carpets or other materials
- demolition of non-salvageable materials, such as carpet, drywall, or baseboards
- setting up specialized drying equipment such as dehumidifiers and air movers in a specific and strategic way to optimize air flow and to promote drying
When the Dust Settles...
The average dry time for most residential and small commercial water damages is three to five days - but we don't just set our equipment and forget it! Our skilled technicians return once every 24 hours (working around your busy schedule) to monitor the equipment and to make sure that our drying plan is going accordingly.
Long Story, Made Short...
We at SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties are committed to see your loss through, from the moment we set foot on-site, until the last efforts are made to restore your home or business to a safe, clean, healthy state - "Like it never even happened."
Winter Storm Events
SEVERE WEATHER 101
Winter Weather Basics
A winter storm is an event in which the main types of precipitation are snow, sleet or freezing rain.
Why can winter storms be so dangerous?
Most deaths from winter storms are not directly related to the storm itself.
- People die in traffic accidents on icy roads.
- People die of heart attacks while shoveling snow.
- People die of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold.
Everyone is potentially at risk during winter storms. The actual threat to you depends on your specific situation. Recent observations show that:
- Of injuries related to ice and snow:
- About 70% occur in automobiles.
- About 25% are people caught out in the storm.
- Majority are males over 40 years old.
- Of injuries related to exposure to cold:
- 50% are people over 60 years old.
- Over 75% are males.
- About 20% occur in the home.
SERVPRO Equipment and Technology
Advanced Technology and Techniques
The past few decades has seen a rapid advancement in the technology and techniques used in the restoration industry. These advancements allow SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to restore a property back to preloss condition quickly, reliably, and more effectively.
The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) sets practical standards for restoration and cleaning. The IICRC S500 Water Damage Guide is a specific set of practical standards that incorporate the field of psychometry, which involves the manipulation of temperature and relative humidity to remove moisture and dry a property quickly and effectively.
Moisture Detection and Measurement Equipment
Scientific drying principles rely upon specialized equipment to detect, measure, and monitor a property’s moisture levels. Recent advances, like infrared cameras, can help us detect water through a wall, ceiling, or floor.
- An infrared camera may be used to identify water location for thorough water removal.
- Sensitive moisture detectors, hygrometers, and other meters measure the extent of moisture saturation.
Water Extraction Equipment
Powerful extraction equipment speeds the drying process by removing the bulk of the water from your home or business.
- Submersible and gas-powered pumps for continuous pumping of high-level water.
- Truck-mounted and portable extraction units perform efficient water removal.
Industrial strength air movers and dehumidifiers are needed to remove the remaining moisture from ceiling, walls, and floors of your home or business. Proper drying helps to prevent swelling and warping of floors, walls, and furniture.
- High-speed air movers causes moisture to evaporate at a faster pace.
- Industrial grade dehumidifiers pull the water vapor from the air.
Odor Removal and Deodorization
Water and fire damage often causes powerful odors. The machines we use remove airborne contaminants and control the air quality during the restoration and cleanup process.
- Air scrubbers remove airborne particles and contaminants.
- Thermal foggers and deodorization agents control odors.
Sanitizing Agents, Germicides, and Anti-Microbial Treatments
The use of OSHA-approved cleaning agents may be needed to clean and remove odors and/or contaminants on your property.
- Cleaning agents help to stop the growth of bacteria, fungi, mildew, and other harmful microorganisms.
Employee Certification and Training
Since the year 1967, SERVPRO Industries, Inc., has been redefining the mitigation and restoration industries. In addition to training at the regional level, SERVPRO developed the National Training Center in 1992 to teach restoration and mitigation skills to Franchise Owners and insurance industry employees.
Employee Certification Training
The Employee Certification Training is a self paced program which is designed for the franchise employee. The certification is awarded after the successful completion of course materials as well as an examination. Newly implemented training consists of the HeroReady Training Program which separates training for Production Technicians and Crew Chiefs. SERVPRO allows for continuing education in the mitigation and restoration industry by continually reworking their training in order to benefit the technicians and the clients best.
The Employee Certification Training Modules include the following:
- Crew Training
- Fire Restoration
- Water Restoration
- Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Services
SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?