Recent Posts

How Space Heaters Can Cause Fires

2/9/2019 (Permalink)

Space heaters continue to be a source of household fires resulting in fire damage. Sometimes it is a case of the space heater sparking a fire, or causing a plug to overheat and causing a fire inside a wall at the plug's location. Both types of fires leave water, smoke, soot and odor problems that must be addressed quickly to prevent secondary damage from occurring.

Once the fire is out in your home, your SERVPRO team can go to work for you. First, they quickly access the damage to gauge the scope of the fire and immediately begin to remove any standing water from putting out the blaze using the most expedient method for your situation.  

After removing the water, air movers can be used to dry the affected areas and discourage mold growth. Then, we can begin addressing the residual fire damage to the structure of the home. Smoke can contain soot, ash, and also harmful tars and carbons. Carbon monoxide is of particular concern, as it is harmful and has no odor to alert you to its presence. That is why it is standard for SERVPRO to test the burned areas for carbon monoxide to ensure your home doesn't contain harmful fumes.

We use special cleaners and dry sponges to remove smoke and soot residue on nonporous surfaces and objects. After thoroughly cleaning the floors and walls, the removal of the odor from the affected room or rooms is the final step in the remediation process. One method that effectively removes odors quickly is the use of a thermal fogger which recreates the heat and pressure of the fire and pushes deodorizer in the room and over possessions in the same manner the smoke penetrated them.

You can rely on the experts at SERVPRO of South Albany County to come to your home any time of the day or night to turn back the clock on your fire damage.

Avoid a Dryer Fire

2/9/2019 (Permalink)

Do you have a dryer? Of course you do. One of the most needed appliances in our homes can also cause the most damage if not taken care of properly. The fear of a dryer fire is one that is not commonly heard of, however, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires. Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper dryer vent setups. The financial costs come to nearly $100,000,000 per year. In some cases faulty appliances are to blame, but many fires can be prevented with proper dryer venting.

Here are some small steps to take to Avoid a Dryer Fire:

1. Dryer's produce large amounts of lint. Be sure to clean the lint trap after EVERY use of the dryer.

2. Dryer Vents should ONLY be made of metal and be short and straight. Bends and curves result in lint buildup increasing the risk of a fire. 

3. Do not run the dryer when you are away from home or sleeping. 

Contact SERVPRO of South Albany County today for fire damage restoration.

Emergency Services During a Storm

2/9/2019 (Permalink)

You can’t plan when a storm strike. Whether it is a weekend, a holiday, or overnight, there is a company that is there to help. SERVPRO of South Albany County has an experienced crew that is there to go whenever you call.

We understand at SERVPRO that the most crucial time to start remediation on water is immediately. So, using the most advanced equipment, we begin water removal and treatment of space to quickly restore your home back to preloss condition.

We are here for you 24/7, large or small. Make sure to have these answers on hand:

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)?

SERVPRO of South Albany County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after damaging event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility for regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. SERVPRO wants our team to be part of your team! 

When Storms Bring Water Inside Your Home

2/9/2019 (Permalink)

Whenever a violent storm makes its way, your property is at risk for damage. Every year, flood removal is a significant portion of all insurance claims. Severe thunderstorms and other extreme weather can cause problems with your home in several ways. When rain pours down the ground outside can get saturated causing the groundwater underneath your home to make its way into your dwelling. Water can also build up outdoors and find its way into your house through your lower door seals, forcing you to call in a professional flood removal company such as SERVPRO to remove moisture from your contents and building materials.

Rainwater can also enter your house if excessive winds blow objects into your walls or windows. Any time moisture gets into the inside of your dwelling it is wise to call in SERVPRO to conduct flood removal. We know that removing water when it is in its liquid form is much easier than pulling it out of your building materials and contents or out of the air. To accomplish this, we utilize heavy-duty extraction equipment to vacuum up moisture. If there is any standing water we remove that first and if it is more than two inches deep we use a submersible pump that puts the water into a sewage drain.  

Once all of the standing water inside your house gets removed, we begin vacuuming moisture out of your carpet and upholstered furniture. To do this, we usually use our powerful truck-mounted extractors. We hook up the vacuum motor to different types of extraction tools depending on what materials with which we are working.  Sometimes we use small handheld units that work well for removing moisture from chairs and couches.  Other scenarios require more advanced equipment is.  

When carpets get saturated, we use tools like Water Claws that use the weight of the operator to compress materials to pull out as much moisture as possible. If you ever get water entering your home after a storm, call us.

Where to Look for Water Damage

2/9/2019 (Permalink)

Water damage can come from many different places and is not just a problem for people living on the coast. While the damage from a flood is pretty apparent, there are many ways water damage can happen to your home when you don’t even realize it.

Here are some common causes of water damage and how you can spot the warning signs.

Weather is a common cause of water damage. Rains cause flooding that can get into your home. Even if it isn’t raining or snowing there is still moisture in the air. Damp air can lead to condensation and water damage to your walls. This is especially true of basements, bathrooms, and other damp areas of your home that don’t get much airflow.

Appliances like your washing machine, garbage disposal, water heater, toilet, and air conditioner can all contribute to water damage if they leak or stop draining properly.

Water from our pipes and plumbing systems can also cause water damage. Leaks and drips can go on for months, or even years, raising your water bill and doing unseen damage to your home.

So if these are all the ways water can sneak into your home, what are the signs of water damage?

Here are a few warning signs that you have a water damage problem in your home.

Standing water – This may sound pretty obvious, but if you notice water pooling in your house you have a water problem that needs to be taken care of immediately.

Bad smells – While water doesn’t normally have much of a smell, the mold and bacteria that grow in damp environments can give off a distinct musty, wet odor. If you smell mold or mildew you might have a water issue.

Stains and spots – Stains on the ceilings or walls can be a sign of water damage. You might have a leaky pipe or roof. Call a professional to determine the cause of the problem and to clean up the damage before it becomes a serious mold problem.

Peeling paint – Paint damaged by water will start to peel, bubble, or flake off.

Uneven surfaces – Water damage can cause floors, ceilings, walls, and other surfaces to warp and feel uneven.

Cracks – Water is always seeking the path of least resistance out of your home. Water can enter through cracks and once water finds its way in, the crack will expand allowing even more to get into your home. Make sure you seal all visible cracks on your property.

Preventing Water Damage in a Commercial Building

2/9/2019 (Permalink)

According to disaster safety.org, here are some items to keep in mind to prevent water damage in a commercial building. When looking at your property, keep in mind that it isn't always the obvious that causes water damage. 

Ground Maintenance:

Grounds maintenance and landscaping are major components of the interconnected systems that work together to protect a commercial building from water damage. In sometimes unexpected ways these outdoor activities and elements can have sudden and extreme impact on the building itself. 

The Building Envelope 

All buildings are different, but each is at risk for water damage. From a minor roof leak to violently destructive hurricanes, any unwanted water intrusion can significantly impact the value of a commercial property. Protecting the roofs, walls, windows, and other components of ‘the envelope’ are essential to reduce the likelihood of water damage.

HVAC Systems 

Proper operation and maintenance of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system is essential to reduce the risk of water damage to a commercial building.  

SERVPRO of South Albany County is IICRC trained and certified to clean up after all types of water damage. The quicker we get in to clean up, the less damage there will be and you can get back to operating your business!

How Fire Damage Can Continue to Affect Your Home

1/18/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage does not end the moment the firefighters leave your home or once the fire has been successfully put out. More damage may result from the water that was used to extinguish the fire; therefore, our restoration team employs specialized techniques to attend to the various challenges that arise. Though the restoration procedures may sound the same, your property requires unique solutions after such experiences. 
 
The Fire Damage Restoration process begins the moment you call our SERVPRO team. We understand that such situations require an immediate response, and our representatives usually ask questions regarding the event. By responding to our questions, we are in a position to immediately respond with appropriate resources and equipment. To determine the extent of the damage caused by the soot, smoke, and fire, we perform a careful inspection of the building. The examination helps us to formulate a relevant plan of action. 

Some fire incidents may compromise the roofs, walls, and windows of your property. By offering immediate roof-tarp and board-up solutions, we can attend to such concerns. Such services ensure the security of the building is maintained and help in minimizing further damage. If water is present, we employ appropriate water removal techniques. For instance, pumps to physically extract the water, as well as using air movers and dehumidifiers to dry wet areas. 
 
When soot particles are mixed with water and penetrate hard to reach areas, rotting may take place, and the odor challenge may result. Our SERVPRO technicians are trained to locate and eliminate the unpleasant odors through a process known as deodorization. We can use thermal foggers to dispense deodorants into target locations and neutralize the odor causing particles. Where possible, we physically remove any decomposed particles to control the odor problem. 

Make Commercial Appliances a Priority

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Flood damage, burst pipes, and storms, OH MY! It feels like, between all the crazy weather we have had in the past year, we have enough to worry about when it comes to potential water damages affecting our businesses. However, there is a hidden danger that lies within your business's walls that needs to be paid attention to. Leaking and blocked appliances may not seem like a big deal, but it does not take a lot of time for a little leak to cause a lot of damage to your business. Taking the time to pay attention and keeping your appliances up to date can not only save you a lot of money in the long run, but it can also ensure you are keeping your business doors open and operating. Here are some helpful tips on how to make sure you're making your appliances a priority.

Mark Your Calendar

When you purchase new appliances, make sure you write down the expiration dates and recommended replacement dates on their parts and hoses. You have enough to remember throughout your busy days, so this allows you to write it down and forget about it (until the time comes to make replacements that is).

Make a Date Every Friday Afternoon

Cut out 30 minutes every Friday afternoon and walk around and check all your appliances that are hooked up to a water source. Check for blockages, the hoses, and any leaks, so that you can make sure you are not leaving them unattended for a whole weekend. A small leak over a two-day span could not only create a large amount of damage, but it could be the cause for you having to close your business's doors for a few days. Keeping up with your appliances will help keep your weekend as stress-free as possible.

Don't Put it Off

When you find the problem, fix the problem. Replace a leaky hose, or call a plumber to clear the blockage in your drains or sinks before it is too late. Finding and fixing an issue early on will save you a lot of trouble, time, and money, so don't put it off!

Commercial Water Damage Restoration Facts

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

In the restoration industry, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to water and the havoc it can wreak.  

Water Restoration Facts

  • A sheet of drywall standing upright in 1/2" of water can absorb as much as 6 inches in less than 3 hours.
  • Water is known as a "universal solvent" because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid.
  • Mold typically begins to grow within 24 to 48 hours in an untreated, moist environment.
  • A puddle of water around a water heater indicates a slow leak, or rusted or corroded fittings.  Act quickly as water heaters are under a great deal of water pressure.

Water Contamination Categories in the Restoration Industry

  • Category One-Water from a clean source that poses no risk of sickness or discomfort such as from an overflowing bathtub or from a broken water supply pipe.
  • Category Two-Water that has a significant degree of chemical, biological and/or physical contamination such as water from a dishwasher or washer, or aquarium leak or discharged Category One water that sits untreated for more than 24 hours becomes a Category Two.
  • Category Three- Water coming from a grossly unsanitary source or carrying disease causing agents such as releases from septic systems and flood waters or discharged Category One water that sits for more than 48 hours becomes Category Three, or discharged Category Two water that sits for more than 24 hours becomes Category Three.

The use of chemical agents that act as biocides may be used when there is a need to control or destroy pathogenic microorganisms during a restoration project.  The EPA defines three levels of biocidal activity:

  • Sanitizers which are designed to reduce the number of microorganisms
  • Disinfectants which are designed to destroy or inhibit the growth, but not necessarily  the spores.
  • Sterilizers which are designed to destroy all microorganisms and their spores, such as mold, bacteria, viruses, etc.

Water Damage in Commercial Building

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Last week this local commercial building suffered a large water loss. In this particular instance, our SERVPRO team was called after hours to respond to the unpleasant surprise for the local building. Our SERVPRO team responds day and night and is always "faster to any disaster". 

In this case, the water affected a large portion of the basement in a massive building. The basement had concrete and carpet floors that were affected by the water. Unfortunately, some of the area was an office building. Luckily, the SERVPRO team responds very quickly and they were able to minimize the water seeping into the carpeted area. 

The first night our SERVPRO team responded, the water level was higher than expected. But in just a few short hours our SERVPRO team had the water drained and were beginning to clean the area. After the water was drained, they could begin the drying process. Luckily, our team has all of the necessary equipment and we were out of there in just a few days!