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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Get Back to Business

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Whether it is caused by a severe storm that sends floodwaters rolling through your area, a leaking roof, a malfunctioning appliance, a clogged toilet, failing pipes or some other plumbing disaster, water damage is bad for business. It is a predicament that demands a prompt, effective response.

SERVPRO can supply precisely that with our commercial water damage restoration services. The problems caused by water damage. Why is water damage such a problem? While water is vital to life, uncontrolled water that infiltrates spaces where it does not belong can do a great deal of harm. It can cause structural damage to your commercial facility and destroy the property, equipment, and inventory that you have stored inside it. It can also produce the ideal conditions for mold growth, setting the stage for a potentially hazardous mold infestation. In fact, unattended water damage can produce health hazards and liability issues that can leave your business vulnerable to lawsuits, so it is vital that the damage is dealt with properly. When water damage occurs, time is not your friend. Any delay in addressing it allows the damage process to continue, which is likely to increase both your losses and your restoration costs. The disruption triggered by water damage can also lead to lost productivity. After all, every hour that you spend working to restore your commercial space is an hour that you were not able to spend focused on what you do best. The solution that your business needs water damage can be a significant problem for your business, but it is one with a clear solution.

-Professional water damage restoration services. -Experts with the right combination of training and resources can quickly identify the problems plaguing your property, take steps to restore your property and belongings, and return the area to a safe, healthy space so that you can get back to work without unnecessary delay.

At SERVPRO, we understand the damage that water can do, and we are always ready to make it “Like it never even happened.” Our teams include restoration professionals trained in water damage restoration, applied structural drying, odor control, and upholstery and fabric cleaning. When you reach out to us for help, we do not hesitate. We move quickly to assess the situation and prevent further damage. We use our knowledge and specialized equipment to identify all the areas impacted by the water, including any hidden pockets of moisture.

After identifying the source of the water, we will create a plan to effectively deal with the troubles at the scene. If water remains, we can use professional-grade pumps and vacuums to extract it before shifting to dehumidifiers and air movers as we carefully monitor the drying process to ensure that the structure and its contents are properly dried.

We also begin working to clean and restore your belongings. With an expansive arsenal of professional tools and techniques, we can save items that many others would forsake, so you retain more of your property and reduce your replacement costs. We can also take steps to sanitize the location with antimicrobial treatments to prevent mold issues and deodorize the space to remove musty, unpleasant odors. We work diligently to restore your commercial facility to its preloss condition so that you can get back to business.

If water damage is threatening your business, don’t wait. Contact SERVPRO to arrange for our commercial water damage restoration services today

Commercial Carpet Cleaning

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Our SERVPRO team has other specialties other than just mitigation and restoration. Our team also specializes in cleaning. We can clean pretty much anything. And one thing our team likes to clean is carpets for your commercial businesses!

A dirty carpet isn’t something any business wants to have. It looks unprofessional and unkept. Luckily, our SERVPRO team will come in and clean your carpet.

We take every job seriously and commercial carpet cleaning is one of them! We offer a variety of different carpet cleaning methods.

  • 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 areas.
  • Showcase Premier Cleaning: The most thorough cleaning method in the industry.
  • Dry Cleaning: When color-fastness is an issue.

Call your local franchise to schedule a carpet cleaning for your business today.

What to do when your business has a fire

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

The 

word “fire” strikes fear in the hearts of most people and for good reason. Whether it’s your home or business it can bring life, as you know it, to a screeching halt. 

If your business or commercial property caught on fire, don't panic. Instead, call the professionals of SERVPRO and let us start cleaning up immediately. Acting right now is the key to limiting damages and expediting the restoration process, and choosing our team of industry specialists is the secret to attaining the sophisticated services you deserve. All of our IICRC-certified technicians will work with diligence and determination to get your commercial property back in pristine condition.

Knowing which steps to take in the face of a commercial fire can help prevent you from becoming anxious, losing money, and undergoing extensive property damages. To handle fire damage successfully and speedily, implement the following four tips:

1.Call The Insurance Company Immediately.

Be sure that you call your insurance company once the fire is out. This step is important because your insurance agent will work with you to file a claim and determine how much coverage you'll attain for the commercial damages.

2. Contact A Fire Remediation Expert.

In addition to fire, smoke, and soot damage, your business may also suffer from water damage as a result of the firefighting efforts.

SERVPRO specializes in fire and water damage restoration. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment and can quickly restore your business to pre-fire condition. Don't ever attempt to handle any of the cleanups, drying, or restoration processes on your own. Doing so could put you in peril of injury and illness.

3 Assemble Your Records.

In addition to contacting a fire remediation expert, make sure that you assemble your business's essential records. You'll want to have this information with you when you start working with your insurance company. To guarantee that you can have your entire files ready in a safe place, make a point to buy a fireproof safe where they can be stored.

4. Get Permission To Reenter The Building.

Always ask the fire department or another local authority whether you can reenter your building. In some cases, a fire can weaken the structural integrity of the commercial property and make it subject to collapse. This is why you need to assure that reentry is safe for you and your employees.

Insurance Claims with Water Damage

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Severe storms and water damage. It’s one of the first things that comes to mind for many, but while severe storms and flooding can cause extensive water damage, they are often not the main culprits.

Were you aware that various items in your home could be responsible for many situations that result in water damage?

Water Damage is a Major Threat for Homeowners

Homeowners may at some time face water damage as it is the 3rd most common reason that homeowners filed homeowners insurance claims between 2011 and 2015, with an average payout per claim of $8,861.

Understanding the difference between water damage and gradual damage and how they can impact insurance claims is important. Examples of gradual damage are things that have been happening over time, such as plumbing issues in the walls causing damage to the walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation. Some aspects of gradual water damage are not covered by homeowners insurance, unfortunately, while some storm-related water damage is.

If your home has experienced any type of water damage, the team at SERVPRO of South Albany County is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help with cleanup and restoration and make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Damage in an 1800's Home

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

A fire occurred at our customer’s home in their kitchen due to a cardboard box catching fire near an electric stove. Our customer stated that there was 5 to 6 feet of backsplash affected by the fire and white ash from the cardboard and paper towels throughout the home. Our technicians spent several days properly cleaning the homes structure, contents, and upholstery.  Due to the ornate woodwork and moldings within the home, along with the historic wallpaper that dated back to the 1800’s, we took extra time to insure these areas were properly restored. In the photo you will see the wallpaper that covered the ceiling of the dining area and the ornate base of the dining room's chandelier. When our work was completed the customers were very satisfied with our quality of work and timely restoration. 

Why Unseen Storm Damages Cause the Most Damage

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

There's always cause for concern whether you come home to a small water leak or a large water leak. Why should someone worry about a small leak? It is the water you can't see that actually causes the most damage! Your SERVPRO professionals understand how disruptive unseen water damage is. The water can contain bacteria, within a few days cause mold, and stopping the source can be very difficult if you can not easily see the water. That is where we come in! Do not risk secondary damages trying to cleanup the mess yourself. Call your SERVPRO professionals to ensure the source of the leak is stopped, the structure is completely dry so that mold will not spread, and to give you a peace of mind!

Here are a few tips to prevent leaks and a headache when they do happen:

1. Always keep your roof inspected and up- to- date on all repairs.

2. Document your possessions.

3. Keep your trees trimmed to prevent them from falling onto your roof.

4. Keep all gutters and spouts cleared out to make sure they are draining properly.

5. Guard your foundation and basement.

6. Keep up with your HVAC equipment and appliances.

Getting Rid of Mold Behind Wallpaper

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Usually people who have mold behind wallpaper may not suspect that it is there. The most common place for mold to grow is behind the wallpaper that is in bathroom. As you can imagine, this is where there is a lot of moisture present from daily showering, etc. Therefore, it is a breeding ground for mold because the glue also attracts organic materials, such as dust, which is the favorite food combination for mold.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), inexperienced people who have attempted to remove mold from behind wallpaper usually exacerbate the problem by releasing a “massive” number of spores when the wallpaper is taken down. They also state that just by killing mold, and not getting rid of it, it can still cause serious health problems to some people. Therefore, when dealing with mold behind wallpaper, what you should know is that it is best to contact an expert mold remediation company, SERVPRO of South Albany County. This will ensure that the problem will be effectively resolved and will provide a safe environment for you and your family.

Why You Need to Stay Ahead of Mold

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

When you have a flood in your home mold can start to develop in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Your going to want to start to be activewith the clean up as soon as possible. SERVPRO of South Albany County is available 24 hours a day, everyday of the year.

Here are some things you can start to do before SERVPRO arrives:

  • Remove excess water by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn air conditioning on for maximum drying in summer.
  • Remove colored rugs from wet carpeting.
  • Remove art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Gather loose items from floors.

SERVPRO uses advanced equipment and techniques to remove the water quickly and properly dry out your home or business.

Let us help you stay ahead of the mold if possible but rest assure if the mold follows the water damage SERVPRO can handle it. We are here for any type of problem.

What to Do When a Storm Damages Your Home

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

If you have storm damage, we can clean it up. We are here to help and have 24/7 staff and equipment. If you have water damage from flash flooding, structural damage from high winds, or smoke damage from a lightening fire. We are here to help. Our trained staff are here to assess the situation and stabilize your structure for you.  We can help you find the resources you need to quickly clean up any situation weather you have a large tree that has come down or a roof that needs repaired. We have business relationships with contractors and vendors that we partner with that are here to assist even with things we are not able to do ourselves. We are able to bring in large equipment if needed to solve any problem that you have.  We are here to help be that resource for you in that time of need when a disaster happens. You can turn to SERVPRO and know that we are here to help.  We know that your family and/or business are important to you and it is important to get things back to normal quickly.  We work hard to help make it "Like it never even happened."

How to Handle Mold Problems

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise “mold removal” and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a fallacy. Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

Mold Facts You Should Know

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

When water intrudes into your property, mold growth can start in as little as 48 hours. In humid climates, mold can easily take root in areas that have moisture problems. In building with Water Damage, mold will most likely be present unless the area has been promptly dried and ventilated. If the water problem is not treated however, the mold cannot be eradicated. Water Damage is necessary to prevent the allergic reactions, odors, and damage that the spores cause.

Consider the following mold facts:

  • Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
  • Mold spores are microscopic, float along in the air, and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
  • Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
  • Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
  • Mold often produces a strong, musty odor, and that odor can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
  • Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.

When Mold Removal and Water Damage arise, contact us! SERVPRO is certified company specializing in Mold Removal and Water Damage. Every mold damage scenario is different and requires a unique solution, but the general mold remediation process stays the same.

Mold has the potential to cause health effects and can spread through your property in as little as 48 hours. SERVPRO understands mold and mold growth and has the training and expertise to remediate the mold in your home or business. Protect your health; call us if you are facing a mold problem.

You know SERVPRO as a leader in Water Damage, but our expertise can also make it “Like it never even happened."

3 Steps for Preparing for Mold Remediation

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Take the following steps when preparing for mold remediation. Many businesses have built these steps into their maintenance protocols to avoid costly repairs in the future.

1. Learn how moisture gets into your buildings. Before you call a mold removal professional, you can begin resolving this problem by finding the source of moisture. This often requires visually inspecting your entire property. If mold has spread throughout your building, the source of the problem may be pretty far from the initial source of moisture. Professionals will also want to inspect the source of trouble to prevent future mold growth.

2. Make a record of the problem. Insurance companies in Cookeville, TN, often require proof of mold before agreeing to pay for remediation. Your written records and photos of the area could also be used by professionals when they plan their remediation efforts. Your records may also be used to determine the extent of the problem. 

3. Plan for three to seven days of remediation work. The mold removal process typically includes the same steps:

• Resolving the water problem 
• Isolating areas of mold contamination
• Misting contaminated areas to control dust
• Removing and disposing of damaged materials
• Thoroughly cleaning and drying infected areas
• Replacing removed materials

These steps can effectively address mold issues. After the area has been cleared by professionals, you can safely begin using that part of your property again.

Our Process for Fire Damage Restoration

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

We’re not going to kid you. Fire damage restoration is tough work. People call SERVPRO of South Albany County frequently to ask for advice on how to clean up after a fire.  Here are seven of the best tips we give people who ask about fire damage restoration.

Most people can put these tips into practice. But remember that fire damage restoration takes time, work, and skill. Realistically consider whether you want to try these ideas on your own or whether you’d be better off hiring trained experts who will guarantee their work.

  1. Remove Smoke Damage

With any fire you’ll have a degree of smoke damage to your walls, wall paper, and paint. If the smoke damage is not too serious, you should be able to scrub it clean with detergents and bleach. Soot from smoke damage is greasy stuff, so always try to dust as much of it off from a surface before trying to scrub the surface clean. Often, you’ll want to repaint, but make sure all surfaces are clean and dry before you paint.

  1. Limit Activity & Other Simple Fire Damage Restoration Steps

Until your house is restored, limit your activity and movement in the house. This helps prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets. Keep people’s hands clean so you don’t further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. Protect your things by placing clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas. Before you clean know the best cleaning method for that particular cleaning job (one example: Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.) Wash both sides of the leaves on your houseplants. Change your HVAC filter and tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

  1. Get Rid of Mold & Mildew

Firefighters are great. They save many a live and many a home. But they do introduce mold and mildew into houses when they must use water to extinguish the fire. SERVPRO highly recommends you hire fire damage restoration professionals to deal with mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can cause serious health problems. It’s difficult for a nonprofessional to know for certain if he’s clean up all the areas affected by the mold and mildew. And mold and mildew can contaminate your furniture, carpets, clothing, mattresses, walls, and vents. The best thing you can do immediately is to air out every room and clean out all vents and filters.

  1. Replace Carpets. Clean And Dry Your Floors

Your floors and carpets end up absorbing the worst of the damage from all the water used to put out a fire. In almost every case, SERVPRO recommends that you pull up any carpets that have water damage and replace them. Water can also seep underneath vinyl flooring and into the cracks in hardwood. You must address this. If you have experience with flooring, you can lift it up and clean under it. But you may want to call a professional fire damage restoration company to assist you.

  1. Avoid Smearing Soot Into Clothing

Cleaning smoke damage from clothing is one of the biggest jobs you’ll have after a fire. Make sure you don’t smear the greasy soot into the clothing or just throw the smoky clothes into the wash. Often times dry cleaning is the best bet, and you should ask around local dry cleaners to see if any have experience with post-fire laundry. Removing odor is another issue and we’ve covered it in another blog post.

  1. Scrub, Soak, And Cleaning Dishes

Dishes are also important items to clean thoroughly after a fire because they will be in contact with your food. Scrub all dishes well, let them soak in a solution of bleach and water (2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon) for at least 20 minutes and scrub some more for safety. When in doubt, if a dish, pot, or pan won’t come clean, cut your losses and throw it out – especially rubber or wooden dishes that absorb smoke.

Restaurant Fire Damage Restoration

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of South Albany County was called after this fast food restaurant had a fire that started near the fryer in the kitchen area.  The fire department extinguished the fire, which turned this fire and soot job into a water job as well.  While the employees and customers were safe, there was work to be done to get this restaurant cleaned out and back to operation. Our fire and commercial cleaning crews were ready to respond. They used the professional drying equipment first, then moved on to the demo work, then finished with the detailed cleaning phase. Our team worked with the restaurant owners to make this process as smooth as possible.  

Are You Prepare for a Home Fire?

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

House fires can be devastating for a family. You may never truly feel prepared, but there are steps you can take to become prepared. The American Red Cross has gone to great lengths on their web page providing tips and suggestions on home fire prevention. 

The 7 Ways to Prepare for a Home Fire

  1. Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  3. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
  4. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  5. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
  6. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  7. Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

Preventing Electrical Fires

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Electrical fires are one of the top five causes of fires in manufacturing plants. Here a non-exhaustive list of specific electrical hazards:

  • Wiring that is exposed or not up to code
  • Overloaded outlets
  • Extension cords
  • Overloaded circuits
  • Static discharge

The damage caused by these fires can quickly compound thanks to several of the other items on this list. Any of the above hazards can cause a spark, which can serve as an ignition source for combustible dust, as well as flammable liquids and gasses.

How to prevent electrical fire incidents

As with the previous risks, the key to preventing electrical fires is awareness and prevention. This involves training, maintenance, and following best practices. Here are a few to put into practice right now:

  • Don’t overload electrical equipment or circuits.
  • Don’t leave temporary equipment plugged in when it’s not in use.
  • Avoid using extension cords, and never consider them permanent solutions.
  • Use antistatic equipment where required by NFPA or OSHA.
  • Follow a regular housekeeping plan to remove combustible dust and other hazardous materials from areas that contain equipment and machinery.
  • Implement a reporting system so that anyone who observes an electrical fire risk can report it without consequences.

For more information on electrical safety, consult NFPA 70: National Electrical Code and OSHA’s “Electrical Safety in the Workplace.”

Preparing Your Home for a Storm

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

Being in the path of a severe storm in Albany can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to think about your safety, but you also have to consider the damage that your home might sustain from flood water. Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to help minimize the chances of flooding or other issues.


1. Check Your Gutters

Your gutters are one of your home’s main ways of preventing water from leaking into your home. However, they likely won’t work properly if they aren’t clean. Leaves, sticks and other debris can get stuck in the gutters, which can lead to water damage in your home. Double check that they are clear before it starts raining. Additionally, check for damage to your gutters so you have time to repair them before the storm hits. This will reduce the chances of a flooded building.

2. Inspect Trees Around Your Home

Flood water isn’t the only thing you need to look out for when preparing for a storm. If you live in an area surrounded by trees, then you should consider having your trees trimmed before the storm arrives. Trees that still have a lot of leaves on them or have particularly heavy branches are more likely to fall due to heavy wind and rain. Furthermore, you might see branches that already look like they are about to detach and fall, which should be removed immediately.

3. Do Your Homework

Sometimes, even when you do everything right, there is nothing you can do to prevent flood water from entering your home. Finding a storm damage restoration company beforehand can help relieve stress if your home winds up needing repair. It’s also a good idea to keep important phone numbers in a safe location. If you do not evacuate, have an emergency kit and be prepared for an extended time without power.

It can be helpful to take these steps when you know a storm is headed your way. Ensure your gutters are clear, your trees are trimmed, and you are prepared with emergency items. These things can reduce water damage, stress and danger during a storm.

Why You Shouldn't Wait for a Storm Adjuster

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

After a severe storm or flood in Albany NY many residents are likely to report damage. Regardless of whether you need to file a storm or flood damage claim, you should immediately document damage and take measures toward mitigation as soon as possible. Here are three reasons why you should not wait for a flood insurance adjuster.

1. Adjusters Are Busy

If the storm was severe or affected a large area, adjusters will have their work cut out for them. Even if you notify your insurance company of damage in a timely manner, you may still be a on a long waiting list. In the meantime, the damage in your home will intensify.

2. The Damage Will Get Worse

If you wait so that an adjuster can witness the full extent of the damage firsthand, primary storm or flood damage will worsen and secondary issues, such as mold damage, may arise. Most homeowner's and flood insurance policies require that policyholders take reasonable steps to mitigate damage. You may be able to obtain an advance on your policy to cover some of the cost of mitigation.

3. You Just Need Documentation

Extensive photographic and video evidence are all you need to support a claim. You may be able to make an even stronger case if you have relatively recent footage from before the flood or storm. It is a good idea to capture the condition of every part of your home once or twice a year and back these files up in remote and secure cloud storage.

As long as you gather evidence of the damage and losses your property has suffered, you should be able to file a homeowner's or flood insurance claim. Contact a residential mitigation and restoration service as soon as your residence sustains flood or storm damage or if you suspect that mold damage may be present.

Advanced Equipment for Water Damages

12/20/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO knows that staying on the cutting edge of technology in our industry will help our customers the most. That's why we add new equipment to our inventory on a regular basis. We are proud to be able to offer the best to our customers. 

You may be wondering why this is importat. Check out this information found on aboveboardchamber.com: 

Many homeowners feel that if the water is removed, the work of water damage cleanup is done. This is because it is difficult to see or feel the extent of the saturation of water in building materials without moisture detection equipment used in the water damage industry. What follows is that either the homeowner will attempt to remove the water and simply place household fans around, with or without removing drywall; or they will tell the water damage restoration contractor to leave when the water is extracted and before equipment is placed. The paradox here is that these decisions are made to save time and money. In some cases, they may have done just that. However, in most cases, the resulting long term water damage is both costly and time consuming in addition to being inconvenient and stressful. Added to that is the fact that the cost of mold remediation consequent of an improperly dried flood damage will likely not be covered by insurance policies because the water damage or sewage damage was not dried properly to begin with.

You have probably noticed by now that it is not the water removal service that is the important part of taking care of water damage. It is actually the drying part that makes your home safe from long term mold or building material damage. In fact, there is no time to waste when it comes to drying a water damaged home. Mold begins to start growing within 24 hours and continues “growing like a weed” damaging building materials as it spreads.

Water damage restoration companies spend a tremendous amount of money on drying equipment for a very good reason. They dry quickly, effectively, and safely. After all, think about it, if we could just use household fans and a couple of blowers, we would save a tremendous amount of money on equipment. If I thought those types of equipment did an effective job, I would be all over saving money by purchasing those at less than $50 each rather than a $300-400 blower and $3000 dehumidifiers. However, I know the importance of having industrial equipment to keep your home safe and dry. Further, all of the equipment works together to both dry the structural materials (blowers), remove the moisture from the air as the wet materials dry and the water from them turns to vapor (dehumidifiers), and clean the air to prevent allergens that permeate through the air during drying (air scrubbers).

2 Things Not To Do After Water Damage to Your Home

3/24/2018 (Permalink)

When your home has suffered extensive water damage after a broken pipe or flooding, your first instinct may be to start cleaning up the mess. As strange as it sounds, this may not be the best course of action. If you plan on filing a claim with your insurance company, you’ll need to provide evidence of the damage and get approval before making any repairs. Not only that, hiring a professional water damage mitigation service, to handle the clean-up and restoration of your home can save you time and money. 


1. Don’t Throw Anything Away


Before you throw away any possessions damaged by a broken pipe or flood, you’ll need to photograph or video them, record their make, model, age and condition and allow a claims adjuster to inspect them. It’s also worth letting a water damage expert assess the damage too. They have specialized equipment for drying, cleaning, deodorizing and restoring everything from furniture to photographs, so there’s a fair chance they can salvage damaged possessions.


2. Don’t Try To Remove the Water Yourself 


As distressing as it is to see so much water in your home, don’t try to get rid of it yourself. Again, you’ll need to have the damage assessed by an adjuster before you begin clean-up. When you contact your insurance company, talk to them about hiring your own public adjuster to do the assessment as a way to speed the process along. 

Experts in water damage mitigation have access to specialized equipment that will make water removal faster, more efficient and much easier than anything you can do on your own. Their industrial de-humidifiers and fans can dry out your belongings before they begin to grow mold, saving you the cost of replacing furniture and carpets. 

It’s easy to panic when a broken pipe or other disaster floods your home, causing extensive water damage. Whatever you do, however, don’t throw anything away or try to remove the water yourself until you file an insurance claim and talk to an expert in water damage mitigation.

What is Mold?

3/24/2018 (Permalink)

When it comes down to it, not many people actually understand what mold is. So what is mold?  Well, in this blog we are going to discuss just that.

What is Mold:

The word “mold” refers to a group of fungi that are very common on food or wet surfaces. This fungi will include the green mold that produces penicillin as well as the mold that you will commonly see on fruit, bread, or cheese as it spoils. Most molds you will find growing on damp building materials are actually found in soil and is adapted to grow on a wide variety of materials. In the outdoors mold will grow in soil, on plants, and on decaying matter. There are thousands of different types of this fungi we refer to as mold. These types will range from different moisture conditions as well as a vast array of different colors. Many times (but not always) there is a very musty odor that can be associated with the presence of mold. Live spores will act like seeds in spreading and forming new mold growths that we refer to as colonies under the right conditions. We are all exposed to a variety of fungal spores on a daily basis both indoors and outdoors. So how does this fungi we call mold find its way into our homes and buildings? Let’s discuss.

How mold enters a structure:

We now understand that mold and fungal spores naturally occur outdoors. Indoors, however, mold will require moisture in order to grow. This will commonly occur from water damage in your home or building. Water damage may appear in your home due to flooding, roof leaks, storm-driven rain, pipe leaks, damp basements, or condensation on cold surfaces. Fortunately, there are several ways in which to prevent mold growth which you can read about in our next blog!

Inspection and Water Damage Assessment

3/24/2018 (Permalink)

When responding to a water damage emergency, we begin with a detailed inspection of your home or property, including a damage assessment. At this stage, our professionals are trying to determine the scope of the damage so that we can develop an appropriate plan of action.

We will identify the category and classification of water damage to ensure our professionals restore your property based on industry guidelines. The level of contamination of the water will affect the specific restoration processes we use.

  • Category 1: "Clean Water"
  • Category 2: "Gray Water"
  • Category 3: "Black Water"

We inspect and test to determine the extent of damage and how far the moisture has traveled to ensure proper and complete restoration. In addition, we will inspect for safety concerns that may be evident. If there are any safety issues like lead or asbestos, please bring them to our attention.

  • Survey Damage
  • Complete Safety Inspection

We move furniture and property contents and block items to help prevent rust or furniture stains on wet carpet.

What Homeowners Should Know About Sewage

1/28/2018 (Permalink)

Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter homes or buildings. It contains fungi, bacteria and viruses, many of which are disease causing. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the hazards that sewage presents, particularly for the very young or very old, or for those with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems.

The IICRC complied guidelines for professional sewage cleanup called the Standard for Water Damage Restoration (S500).

Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups:

  • Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic – disease causing – fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
  • Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
  • It is not safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
  • Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly.  This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too.  There’s simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
  • Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy. 

If you have any sewage issues, call SERVPRO of South Albany County.

How to Prevent Water Damage

1/28/2018 (Permalink)

Most Homeowners insurance policies cover basic water damage claims up to the purchased limit.

But you know what’s a lot easier than going through the claims process? Preventing the water damage in the first place!

Check out these 5 suggestions for preventing water damage:  

  1. Be careful where you plant 

Some plants and trees, like weeping willows, have pretty invasive roots. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.  

  1. Clean out roof gutters

You know it’s on your to-do list anyway, so if you can, take a safe climb up to your roof next Sunday and check out your gutters. If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and whatnot up there, your gutters may not be doing the job you hired them for. And on a rainy day, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. That could cause some serious water damage! So next time you’re doing some seasonal cleaning, make sure those gutters are clean. And if your gutters are too high, be safe and get a professional to check them.  

  1. Keep an eye on your water bill

With so many water pipes hidden behind walls and in the floors in your house, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is done. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your monthly water bill. If you see it starting to creep up, or get one that’s uncommonly high, it’s a pretty good sign that you may have a leak somewhere.  

  1. Use a drain snake instead of unclogging chemicals

No matter how crazy clean you are, from your shower to your kitchen sink, clogs are going to happen. And chances are at some point in your life you’ve used one of those powerful chemical drain cleaners to get things moving again. But as convenient as they may be, most folks don’t realize those caustic chemicals are also eating away at their pipes (and they might not be too good for you either). If you rely on them a lot, you could be setting yourself up for leaks. That’s why owning a drain snake is a good solution to clear away clogs. They’re pretty inexpensive, you can get them at your local hardware store, and they can cut through most any clog you’ll have without damaging pipes or making your eyes red and teary.  

  1. Never pour grease down your sink

You’ve probably heard this before, but you should definitely avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. It doesn’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. It can still congeal and cling to your pipes, and could still cause some serious damage and blockage.

Some people use detergent to break up grease before pouring it down the drain…and that may help sometimes. But there’s no guarantee that it’ll keep the grease from sticking to your pipes, so why take the risk?

The safest thing to do is just to pour your grease in an empty can, and either let it sit or put it in the refrigerator. Once it hardens you can toss it in the trash and get rid of it. Done and done.

10 Fire Tips for Your Home

1/28/2018 (Permalink)

For most people, homes are one-time assets, containing their most precious belongings. A home is the most important thing you own. It is prudent to ensure the security of your home and family from destructive elements such as fire.

Many homes are destroyed due to fires. Fires may occur due to accidents through carelessness or negligence. It is therefore essential to know of ways and means to keep your house safe from fires.

Listed below are 10 tips for ensuring fire safety for your home:

1 Install a few smoke detectors, preferably on each level. Smoke detectors help save lives and property with early-warning mechanisms. All instructions regarding smoke detectors must be observed scrupulously.

2 Maintain and test smoke detectors periodically. Replace smoke alarm batteries. Most detectors give out signals when the batteries get low to avoid the danger of forgetting about you batteries.

3 Keep an eye out for potential fire hazards. Look for things like frayed or torn cords on electrical devices such as televisions, stereo systems, lamps or computers. Watch out for heaters that are too close to flammable items such as clothing, fabric, books, magazines or old newspapers.

4 Keep match boxes and lighters out of reach of children. Children are fascinated with fire, and curiosity can get dangerous. Keep temptation at bay by hiding matches and lighters. Better still, keep them locked away.

5 Stay on guard when cooking or baking in the kitchen. Many home fires begin in the kitchen. It's always best to be cautious and exercise care in attending to areas that are prone to fire accidents.

6 Have an emergency fire-exit plan handy at all times. Family members should be aware of this plan, and safety drills are in order from time to time. Escape plans have helped families to be safe in fires.

7 Always exercise caution when using, placing or lighting candles. Candles can easily allow other things to catch fire if you are not careful. Have proper candle holders, protective covers and extinguishers for candles.

8 Avoid electrical fires by always unplugging all electronic devices and appliances after use. Plugged-in appliances and electronic devices are fire hazards.

9 Take good care of fireplaces or wood-burning stoves that you use during the winter. Ensure proper safety and upkeep of such devices and keep children out of reach of fire.

10 Teach children about the hazards of fire and ensure they are aware of fire safety rules. Remember, the wellbeing of your family is important and everyone is responsible in understanding the hazards of fire.

SERVPRO Helps Keep Your Home Liveable

1/28/2018 (Permalink)

Except in the most severe situations, you should be able to live in your home even as SERVPRO technicians go through the motions of water damage restoration. We always try to keep residents in their homes wherever possible, even if it means making accommodations in how we go about our business. Of course, access to some parts of your home may be impeded while we do our work, but these efforts are designed to keep the rest of the building working and livable with as little trouble to you as possible. Here's a brief overview of how we try to keep your home functioning as normal during restorations. 

Quarantines 

When water damage in your home has especially strong odors or mold presence, our technicians may put in place some quarantine measures to keep a section of your home separate from the rest of the structure. While this may entirely cut off access to part of your house, it also stops odors and mold spores from reaching beyond where they have already taken hold. Our quarantines range greatly in size, from a small area in the corner of a room to an entire wing or section of the home.

Safety Markers 

SERVPRO technicians put up markers and warnings wherever there may be a safety hazard, helping to keep them as well as you safe from harm. This can be especially beneficial in situations with flooding or otherwise serious water damage where major electrical, structural, or chemical hazards may exist. 

Active Cooperation 

Our personnel is always careful to inform homeowners and insurance companies alike when the situation changes or needs shift. If anything happens that may change your living conditions or personal safety in any way, our technicians or representatives always contact you before going any further in their work. Keeping homeowners informed and updated on the restoration process has helped to earn us a national reputation for quality care and service.

American Red Cross Ready Rating Program

1/28/2018 (Permalink)

Teaming Up to Help You Be Ready

SERVPRO is teaming up with the American Red Cross to help business and homeowners across the nation get READY for any disaster.

The American Red Cross Ready Rating program is a free web-based program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. Through the Ready Rating program website, readyrating.org, property owners complete a 123-point self-assessment of their level of preparedness for weather-related or other emergencies. The Ready Rating assessment also offers tips and best practices to help improve their level of preparedness.

“Through the generosity of SERVPRO, the Red Cross will help empower workplaces to re-open more quickly after natural or man-made disasters such as water main breaks, medical emergencies, power outages, tornadoes, floods and hurricanes through the Ready Rating Program,” said Tom Heneghan, manager of Business Continuity Programs for Red Cross.

“Up to 40% of businesses never re-open their doors after such disasters; SERVPRO’s partnership will enable more businesses, schools and organizations to become better prepared.  We are excited to have SERVPRO join us in community outreach efforts to educate and highlight the importance of community preparedness in neighborhoods across the country.”

“This partnership just makes perfect sense,” said Rick Isaacson, Executive Vice President of SERVPRO Industries, Inc., “and truly completes the readiness equation for businesses and other property owners. The Red Cross Ready Rating Program allows individuals to assess their readiness for a disaster, so they can take all the necessary steps before disaster strikes to protect their property from damage and loss.  But, when disaster does strike, knowing what to do and who to call saves time-and fast response is key to minimizing damage and downtime.  That’s where SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Program can help. Together, these two programs offer maximum peace of mind to businesses and other organization.”

Protecting Your Home from Storms

1/28/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding in your home can happen at any time, but your home can be even more exposed to water damage when it rains. As we move into the late fall and winter months, storm damage becomes more of a threat to your property. Follow these tips to help protect your home from water damage during the next rain storm.

  1. Modify your homes water valves. If the city's main sewer line gets backed up during a heavy rain storm, you could find yourself standing in a a puddle of you-know-what. You may want to consider installing a interior or exterior backflow valve. Backflow valves prevent your water system from being contaminated from water flowing backwards into your supply lines. 
  2. Clear gutter, drains, and downspouts. Clogged gutters and downspouts can end up in a messy flood. Take the time to clean them and clear them of any and all debris before the rain comes.
  3. Cover air vents. One of the most common ways water fins its way into a home is through the home's air vents. If you know that heavy rain is in the forecast and that you are at risk of flooding, cover your air vents with thick plastic sheeting from both the outside and the inside. 
  4. Check your sealant surrounding doors and windows. Make sure that any gaps or holes in the sealant surrounding the doors and windows are filled in. This will help stop rain water from finding its way into your home. 

Water Damage isn't a DIY Project

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Trained and Equipped to Quickly Dry and Protect Your Home and Belongings

A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for black water intrusions. SERVPRO is trained to safely clean and restore your home, utilizing the following procedures:

  • Identify the Source/Type of Water
  • Measure Temperature and Humidity for Drying Analysis
  • Survey the Extent of Damage and Inspect the Premises
  • Perform Emergency Water Extraction
  • Move and Block Furniture
  • Provide Floor Service
  • Inspect Carpet Pad/Carpet and Provide Service
  • Apply Necessary Treatments (Disinfectants/Deodorization)
  • Utilize Dying Equipment and Monitor Drying
  • Dispose of Refuse

Emergency mitigation means that under normal circumstances, SERVPRO is on-site within four hours to begin drying and decontaminating your home and restorable contents. SERVPRO is trained and understands how to manage the drying process. By utilizing the proper equipment and moisture measuring devices, a structure is quickly and thoroughly dried, which helps prevent secondary water damages. 

Safety First

Abiding by OSHA guidelines and all applicable health regulations, SERVPRO removes moisture, sewage, and contaminants, disinfecting and deodorizing as they safely clean your home and restorable belongings. 

Any water damage in your home is bad. Especially when the water contains potentially harmful bacteria that can affect the health of your family and the value of your home. Toilet overflows, sewage backups and other dark water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly messes; these biohazardous damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a home, as well as the moisture necessary to support their growth. 

SERVPRO understands how disruptive black water damages can be for your entire family. For this reason, SERVPRO offers 24-hour emergency response, and, under normal circumstances, will have trained, uniformed technicians on-site of a water damage within four hours to begin emergency mitigation services. By responding quickly with a full line of water cleanup and restoration services, SERVPRO can help you regain control quickly while drying, deodorizing and protecting your home and belongings. 

So, before you risk your health by attempting to clean up the mess yourself, call your local water damage cleanup and restoration experts at SERVPRO of South Albany County. 

Understanding Different Water Types

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup. There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source. The term gray water is when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals. When you have a water damage, don't leave your property to chance. Call SERVPRO. Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive. 

Damage from Clean Water

  • Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
  • Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist. 
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items. 
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow even more drying. 
  • Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place. 
  • Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining. 
  • Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner. 
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.

Damage from Contaminated Water

  • Avoid all contacts with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items. 
  • Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas. 
  • Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air. Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants. 
  • Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas. 

Holiday Safety Tips to Prevent Fires

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Lights, candles, action- it’s the holiday season again. Brightly lighted decoration, elaborate meals and large gatherings are all apart of traditional holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, these seasonal traditions also cause an average of 230 home fires each year, with an average of 4 deaths, 21 injuries and $17.3 million in property damage.

Christmas tree lights and candles are just two of the holiday traditions that increase the likelihood of a fire starting in your home. There are about three times as many cooking-related fires on Thanksgiving Day and almost twice as many on Christmas Day as there are on non-holidays. It only takes a single distracted or careless action to turn a family get-together into a tragedy.

Homeowners can help keep their homes and their families safe during the holiday season by understanding the dangers and taking some simple, commonsense precautions.

Holiday Cooking Fire Facts
Thanksgiving Day has three times the average number of reported home structure fires involving cooking equipment.
The two other peak days for cooking-related fires are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips
Supervise items on the stove top. Fifty-eight percent of Kitchen Fires involve ranges: homes with electrical cook tops have a higher risk of fire than homes with gas cook tops.
Keep flammable items-potholders, packaging, wrapping, wooden utensils, loose clothing-away from the stove top.
Don’t let lack of sleep or alcohol consumption affect your ability to concentrate on preparing the meal.

Holiday Decorating Fire Facts
Half of all holiday decoration fires start because the decoration is too close to a heat source.
On average, 32 candle fires are reported each day. December is the peak month for candle fires.

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips
Keep all decorations away from heat sources like radiators, portable heaters and fireplaces.
Use flameless candles.
If you do use traditional candles, burn them in sturdy candle holders, well away from the drapes and other flammable materials. Never leave them unattended and never allow them to burn down to less than one inch in length.

Christmas Tree Fire Facts
50% of live tree fires occur between December 22 and January 5.
31% of tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
14% involve decorative lights.


Christmas Tree Safety Tips

Keep live trees well-watered to reduce the chance of fire.
Check wiring on lights for breaks and wear, replace worn strings and don’t exceed manufacturer guidelines for connecting multiple strands of lights.
Don’t leave tree lights plugged in when you are away from home or asleep.

“We hope these tips will be a reminder to area families to make fire prevention a priority in their holiday preparations, so they can spend the season enjoying family and friends, not dealing with the aftermath of a fire.”

For more fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, contact SERVPRO of South Albany County at 518-456-1111.

Commercial Water Damage Restoration in Albany County

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Quick and Efficient Water Restoration Services

Water and flood damage in the capital region can have a significant impact on your business. It can destroy valuable items and documents, and undo work that took many years to complete. Worse still, you may have to relocate while the building is undergoing repairs. In the end, you may lose a lot of time and even important clients along the way.

When a water disaster happens, you can count on SERVPRO for quick and efficient commercial water damage restoration services in Albany NY. We have a thorough emergency response team that can return your premises to preloss conditions in no time, "Like it never even happened."

The first step our IICRC-trained technicians take is using special equipment to inspect the severity of the commercial water damage. Once this is done, they begin extracting any standing water. The exact process depends on whether the water is inside the property or on the property (or both, in some cases).

To counter water damage under the property, we use an extractor to vacuum up the water so that the contents are no longer soaking wet. If the culprit was a broken pipe, we fix it and then eliminate contaminated soil, spray antimicrobial products, and add new, fresh soil.

To deal with water damage inside the property, we first remove the furniture from the area or place it on blocks. If the carpeting and padding were contaminated with dirty water, we usually throw them away. Clean water can be dried off of the carpet using special procedures. If the wall also sustained water damage, we make small holes to allow air movement for a quicker drying process.

When plumbing leaks happen in a multi-story building like a hotel or office building, switching off the water supply at the main valve is important to prevent further water damage.  We identify where the problem is and then check whether the water valve is located nearby. Turning off the water supply at the mains can also prevent additional damage from mold and mildew. Keep track of your monthly water bills and maintain safety protocols at your business to minimize commercial water damage.

If you detect the presence of water damage in your premises, SERVPRO can help restore your property. We’re Faster To Any Size Disaster, and our technicians have access to advanced tools and products to ease the restoration process. For queries and emergency services, we are on call 24/7.

The Benefits for Commercial Clients

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Multi-family, Residential and Commercial Property Managers

If you work in the property management industry you understand the value of a quick response and fast turn around time when it comes to an emergency situation. A quick response time can mean a reduction in the size and scope of the damage, It can also mean the difference between having a chance at saving business critical documents and equipment for the clients that are most important to you.

Multi-family, residential and commercial properties throughout the region have seen better days. Despite proper maintenance, many 30 to 50 year old structures were in danger of slowly succumbing to the severe showers saturating Albany in early spring.

Our area experienced record setting rainfall, causing intermittent flooding throughout the area. Strong winds ravaged roofs, hurling twisted limbs and branches into gutters, which sagged under the weight of rainwater. Our crews were out mitigating various types of water damage, remediating and restoring apartment complexes, commercial offices, retail establishments, and government property.

Commercial Client Benefits

Choosing SERVPRO for your commercial damage mitigation accrues you benefits not limited to:

    • Working with you to tailor the solution to you, priding ourselves in accurate and straightforward communication.
    • 34 years of experience sets us apart from the competition, we are the leader in commercial damage mitigation.
    • Every large commercial loss is supervised by a local commercial operations manager to help ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation.
    • The SERVPRO Commercial Large Loss Division is composed of our best of the best in restoration. Our elite large-loss specialists are pre-qualified and strategically positioned throughout the United States to handle any size disaster.

We are Faster to Any Disaster!

An extra wet winter meant SERVPRO answered the call for commercial property managers in the capital region.

Call us today!

Contact the Commercial Fire and Water damage experts at SERVPRO.

How to Make Your Office Smell Good

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

We notice if something smells particularly bad or particularly good, but average smells don't usually generate a lot of notice. However, scent can actually affect your mood, for better or worse. That's why it's important to ensure that your office smells good, but not overpowering.

Deodorization and Odor Removal

The first step to making an office smell good is to sniff out the source of any negative odors. This can be surprisingly difficult, as the culprit might be hiding in the walls, ceiling, or floor. Here at SERVPRO, we're pros at finding and eliminating the source of any negative odors.

Once we've determined what's causing an unpleasant odor in your office space, we use industry-leading deodorization methods to target and remove both the negative odor and its source.

Adding in Positive Scents

While removing an odor can make a huge difference in the smell of a space and on employees' moods, it often isn't enough. Olfactory bulbs, which are the parts of our body that process scents, have a direct effect on the parts of the brain which process emotion and learning. This means that adding positive scents to the office can make working there an incredibly pleasant experience, and can also function to improve productivity!

Scents proven to increase mood and focus are:

Lemon, Jasmine, Rosemary, Peppermint

  • Lemon can promote concentration and produce calming effects. It also contains natural antibacterial properties, which can be a lifesaver for offices!
  • Jasmine has been shown to lift your mood by producing feelings of confidence and increasing optimism and energy.
  • Rosemary helps to improve focus and clarity as well as fighting physical tiredness – great effects for a workplace to have.
  • Peppermint increases concentration, focus, and acts as an energy booster to help you come up with brilliant ideas.

Just be careful not to overdo any aromatherapy, as too much scent in the workplace can cause productivity to drop or irritate allergies.

If you have a need for odor removal or deodorization services in the Albany area, SERVPRO has the technical experience, know-how, and professional savvy to make your office smell brand new again. Contact us today to see how we can help your business smell its best!

3 Tips to Keep Your Construction Site Clean

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

A dirty and disorganized construction site will not only make for an eyesore but will also present serious health and safety risks to workers, supervisors, and anyone who visits the site. With the huge volumes of waste that accumulate during and after a construction project, cleaning as well as managing and disposing of waste is likely to present a major challenge. To ensure that the project is completed within the set time-frame and avoid unnecessary complications, you should consider following these tips to keep your construction site clean.

Have clean-up tasks regularly

With the different materials used in construction sites, it would be important to separate the scrap material. Materials such as concrete, metals, and wood can be piled up in an organized manner before being recycled. You should also identify effective and safe ways of disposing of materials that are not recyclable.

To ensure that cleanup tasks are carried out on a regular basis, specific tasks should be assigned to individual workers. This will help to hold each worker to account at the end of the cleaning exercise. For better services, you should consider hiring commercial cleaning services.

Place trash cans on site

Having trash cans and dumpsters on the site will make it easy for you and the construction workers to manage waste. In case there are smaller scraps that cannot be categorized in any specific pile, the trash cans will hold them until the designated time for getting rid of waste. Workers at the site will also have a place to place any wrappings, bags, and containers after eating or drinking various products. In the end, you will have a clean construction site that promotes the health and safety of all workers and visitors.

Choose a responsible contractor

Any responsible and professional construction contractor understands the importance of keeping a construction site clean. Such a contractor will be aware of the various Albany laws relating to environmental conservation. This is why you should shop around before settling on a contractor of your choice. Contractors who have been in business for a number of years will have the experience needed to maintain a clean construction site. This will ensure that they educate everyone at the site on the importance and effective ways of promoting a clean and safe working environment.


With these simple tips, you will create a safer and more productive work environment. This will go a long way in helping you to avoid expensive lawsuits and claim settlements.

How to Keep Your Flooring Shining Bright

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

We spoke about how to properly maintain commercial carpeting in our last blog, but what about the commercial properties that have purchased hard surface flooring instead? We’ve got those commercial properties covered in this article. Although many people view hard flooring as an easier cleanup, it still takes the proper care and maintenance year round to keep it looking presentable and clean.  According to the Institute of Inspection of Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the first step to maintaining your hard surface flooring is identifying the type you have. The IICRC states that there are primarily six different categories of hard flooring such as, natural stone, concrete, ceramic, wood, resilient and specialty. Each category may take a different method of cleaning to ensure that it lasts a long lifetime.

·      Using a walk off mat is critical to keeping dirt and extra contaminants from entering your building and sticking to your flooring. Just as dirt wears down carpet, it also can damage and cause erosion on hard surface flooring. According to the IICRC, five feet of walk off mat will reduce dirt from entering the building by 33% and 25 feet of walk off mat will reduce almost all dirt by time the person has entered your clean Nashville business.

·      Make sure to clean up spills right upon discovering them. This is not only extremely important for your customers’ safety, but also will stop from causing a stain or water damage on your flooring. Find the proper cleaning product for the type of flooring you have, mark off the area, clean the spill up and dry the area fully before letting people walk back over the surface.

·      We spoke previously about vacuuming carpet regularly to eliminate dirt build up and although there is isn’t much material for dirt to build up on with hard surface flooring, the dirt will cause erosion, breaking down the flooring and possibly causing visible damage. Make sure to provide daily maintenance to the surface by mopping, scrubbing and cleaning the area thoroughly after the commercial traffic is done for the day. This will lead to a longer lifespan and will help eliminate replacing the flooring early on.

·      Last but not least, sometimes it’s nice to treat your flooring to some special treatment. If there are stains or tough to clean spots that have developed over time, this doesn’t always mean that the floor needs to be replaced. Contact your local restoration company to help clean the surface with their specialty equipment.

Emergency Planning for a Storm

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

How quickly your company can get back to business after a tornado, fire, or flood often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies.

The following are basic measures business owners and managers can take to begin preparing.  A commitment to begin planning today will help support your employees, customers, the community, local economy, and even the country.  It also protects your business investment and gives your company a better chance for survival.

Develop a Business Continuity Plan.

Your organization’s risk needs will vary depending on the specific industry, size, scope and location. Begin by reviewing your business process flowchart, if one exists, to identify operations critical to survival and recovery. Carefully assess your internal and external functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. You should also establish procedures for succession of management.

Review Insurance Coverage.

Inadequate insurance coverage can lead to major financial loss if your business is damaged, destroyed or simply interrupted for a period of time. Insurance policies vary; check with your agent or provider about things such as physical losses, flood coverage and business interruption.  Understand what your policy does and does not cover.

Prepare your Emergency Plan.

Your employees and co-workers are your business’ most valuable asset. Communication is central before, during and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee e-mails and/or other communication tools.

Practice the Emergency Plan.

Some disasters will require employees to leave the workplace quickly. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each individual building. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.

Secure Your Facility and Equipment.

Install fire extinguishers, smoke alarms and detectors in appropriate places. Secure all entry and exit points and plan for mail safety. Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not usable. Secure valuable equipment.

Improve Cyber Security.

Protecting your data and information systems may require specialized expertise, but even the smallest business can be better prepared. Use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date. Don’t open e-mails from unknown sources. Use hard-to-guess passwords. Protect your computer from intruders by using firewalls. Back up your computer data and download security protection updates known as patches regularly.

How to Handle Flood Damage from a Storm

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

It is tragic when a flood brings devastation and water damage to your home. But rapid water removal, clean up and repairs certainly must get under way for you home to get back to normal with minimal losses.
 
Safety is a top priority. After the flood damage, evaluation of the home's safety issues must be completed before you dare to enter your home again. 
 
You do need to call your insurance agent to ascertain if you are covered under your standard home owners policy or if you do possess flood insurance. An insurance adjuster will be dispatched to your property to inspect the damage and eventually offer a settlement. Ask for help in retaining a competent water damage restoration company.  We can assess and document all water damaged items, help you with your claims and paperwork, and expedite the water removal and restoration. We can check your home for structural damage and any possible electrical issues since water and electricity are a dangerous duo. This inspection will indicate to you the severity of the water damage that your home has suffered and any potential health issues you may have to address during the process of getting the flood damage repairs done on your home. 
 
When these concerns have been addressed, and if you have been given permission to enter your home, you should also document all the flood causing water damage for insurance purposes. Be sure that you do take pictures of the flooded areas of your home and any damaged belongings, including damaged furniture. This, along with the input from SERVPRO,  will help you to be fairly compensated by the insurance company. 
 
Once you have done the documentation and the adjuster had done his inspection, then the clean up starts to get under way. The home needs to be made dry and needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible to prevent any other damage from occurring. This will also lessen the likelihood of mold and mildew growth. Contamination is a given if the flooding is the result of groundwater intrusion, whether from rain, bodies of water, or a sewage blockage. Do not attempt to clean and sanitize on your own. The potential for future illness is too great.
 
It is wise to call the professionals from SERVPRO; because they can immediately begin to pump out the water and mitigate on-going water damage. And they have the skill and knowledge, along with the professional equipment required to start and complete the entire restoration process for you. 
 
After the water removal and clean up are in operation, then repairs need to be done. They could be extensive, depending on how much structural damage has occurred and the condition of the contents of your property. SERVPRO can start with water removal and finish your project with complete water damage restoration "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO are the Storm Damage Experts

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Quick Response and High Standards Will Leave you Satisfied after Remediation

When heavy rains and high winds hit hard, property destruction and loss can be devastating to you as a homeowner. Structural damage to the exterior of your home is followed by interior devastation from water and winds. Storm damage is rarely isolated to just a few buildings in an area adding the challenge of finding a restoration company that can respond swiftly to your needs to an already anxiety provoking situation. SERVPRO delivers the help you need swiftly even when a local disaster is widespread as we are able to call upon a network of over 1,650 franchises nationwide to respond if the need is great. 
 
Storm damage can feel overwhelming, but your fear and panic will disappear when our team of professionals responds to your water, wind and flooding repair and restoration needs. Your particular situation is of paramount importance to us, and you need not worry that your repairs and restoration will take a back seat even when many in your area are struggling to recover from the same issues you face. Choosing our company puts in motion a vast support system, but our local ownership means you will receive a personalized approach to your particular situation, efficiently returning your home back to its pre-storm condition just “Like it never even happened.” 
 
Placing your trust in SERVPRO for your storm damage needs will reap you benefits that less qualified companies simply cannot deliver. We use state of the art equipment to clean, repair and restore your home and in the process, we also restore your and your family’s peace of mind. Our technicians are highly trained and qualified, current in Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IIICRC) for any procedure needed to bring your home back to the comfortable and comforting refuge you deserve. We also work closely with your insurance company, ensuring that all the work necessary is approved and compensated according to the terms of your policy. Our high standards and relentless drive to do the job on time while meeting local specifications means you and your family will quickly return to the quiet enjoyment of your house and neighborhood. We are not satisfied until you are happily back in your restored dwelling. 
 
Once you make sure that your family is safe after a major storm, your first call should be to SERVPRO.

Where to Test for Black Mold

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Black mold is one of the worst fears you might have as a homeowner. Toxic black mold grows in common household features such as carpet, drywall, insulation, and sub-flooring. It grows when these household materials have been in contact with moisture. As it grows, it releases spores into the air. 

Where to Test for Black Mold

Testing for mold is essential, and you should have a dwelling inspected for black mold before you buy it or sign a lease. If you suspect there may be black mold in your home, or you have never had your home tested, contact SERVPRO of South Albany County for professional mold remediation services in the area. While many aspects of home-ownership can be handled in a D.I.Y. fashion, black mold is not something to be messed around with.

Carpet

Black mold loves to live on the carpet. Dust collects in carpet fibers and those same fibers trap the humidity and dampness that enables mold to grow. Carpets in below-ground levels are especially susceptible to mold as there is more humidity there.

Carpet mold is often not visible from the surface, except in severe cases, which makes testing for it necessary even if you don't see any evidence.

Air Conditioning and Heating Vents

Air conditioning and heating vents actually create ideal conditions for black mold to grow. Dual-purpose vents that both heat and cool your house raise that risk as they are in constant use.

When you have mold in your air vents, those spores are being circulated throughout your home. The sooner you can perform mold remediation procedures, the better. SERVPRO of South Albany County has a 24-hour mold emergency service hotline to quickly begin the process of cleaning your air vents.

Drywall

Mold is unfortunately common in drywall, as it traps humidity. This is especially common as the seasons change from winter into spring. Because of the nature of it, mold in drywall is rarely visible except in severe cases. For this reason, it's imperative to have a potential home be tested for mold in the walls before you sign a lease or put down a deposit.

How to Remove Mold for Good

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Mold is a serious problem. For some Albany County homeowners, it can cause problems for the foundation of their home and even trigger health issues. At SERVPRO, we know how dangerous it is. Many of our clients want to know how to prevent mold from coming into their home and prevent it from coming back. Many homeowners are delighted to learn there are easy steps they can take that will help with mold remediation. Such steps can help make sure the mold stays away from all areas of your home.

Moisture and Humidity

This problem is frequently caused by too much moisture and humidity in the home. Water encourages the growth of spores. If the initial treatment did not stop the problem, it's a good idea to think about where water in the home originates. We do our best to examine each area to make sure there is no problem with water. However, sometimes things can be missed. Water may be coming from other areas of the home as a result of a new problem. In that case, steps need to be taken to remove the moisture again.

Ventilation

Clean, fresh air can help get rid of mold. New mold remediation efforts may focus on bringing cleaner air into the home. It's a good idea to think about air circulation. If the air is stagnant, the problem can recur. Items like a ventilation system in each bathroom can help. Ventilation systems help remove water vapor and improve air circulation in your home. They're easy to install and can be turned on after a quick shower to remove the moisture in the air.

Periodic Cleaning

In addition to a ventilation system and a complete inspection of the property, it also helps to clean as often as possible. Cleaning helps with mold remediation efforts by keeping humidity and moisture at bay. Spills should be mopped up quickly. Vinegar is an effective cleaning agent that kills most mold species instantly. Distilled vinegar can be poured into a spray bottle and used to clean the walls each month. This will help kill any new spore growths. Wipe it down after cleaning to keep moisture out of your home.

Benefits of Mold Remediation

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Excess moisture in your home, whether from a flood, leaky pipe, or  high humidity, can lead to mold growth. Once mold grows, it requires a company such as SERVPRO of South Albany County to safely and completely remove mold and mold spores and prevent its return.

Due to heavy rains and high humidity, Albany County homes are at risk for excess interior moisture. This leads to the growth of mold and mildew in the home. Basements, attics, and crawl spaces are especially susceptible to mold, though it can occur in any area where there is dampness or moisture. Mold remediation ensures that mold is safely and completely removed from an area while also preventing further growth. 

Remediation is a multi-step process that requires a certified and licensed professional such as SERVPRO of South Albany County. It is not safe to attempt as a do-it-yourself task. We can test the areas to see where mold spores are located and what kind of mold is growing to best combat the problem. Once that is determined, technicians seal off the area with heavy-duty sheeting and duct tape to prevent mold from escaping. Then, we remove all objects that can not be clean, such as porous items like drywall that has mold grown all the way through.

After sealing and removing items from the home, work can begin. Technicians use air filtration and professional-grade cleaning agents to start the process. We scrub and clean the area off of non-porous items such as wood and tile. The detergents used are effective and environmentally-friendly and safe for homes and businesses. Once clean, technicians dry the area using fans and dehumidifiers. We also search for the cause of the mold growth if not already treated. 

Mold remediation will ensure your Albany County home is safe and healthy for you and your family. If your home has had water damage, whether minor or major, or there are damp or humid areas, it is a good idea to call a professional company to test and see if remediation is required. Call us to set up an appointment today!

The Top 3 Warning Signs for Mold

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Nothing sends shivers through a homeowner's spine like mentioning the word "mold." Not only can it cause damage to your home and make it hard to sell, it also can be a health hazard to you and your family. Here are three warning signs of this insidious fungus that you don't want to ignore:

1) Water spots

Any wet spot in your South Albany County home can be a potential sign of fungus growth. This can include water spots on your ceilings or walls, or on floors in your basement or crawlspace. If you find evidence of water spots, you need to find the potential moisture source and get it taken care of promptly. Using a highly-recommended remediation company like SERVPRO of South Albany County is the best option.

2) Discoloration

If you find a spot on a wall or floor that's discolored, it is a potential sign of mold. Discoloration that is green or black is a definite warning sign of fungus growth. However, any discoloration can mean growth is present, even if it isn't of the tell-tale colors.

3) Bad smell

If you have fungus growth in your home, it can cause a bad smell. Depending on the type of growth and how much of it you have, you could have a very strong smell or one that is faint. It can smell musty or earthy, or it can produce a smell that is more pungent. Any bad smell needs to be investigated.

Mold can be harmful and is not something to be ignored. If you experience any of these warning signs, call SERVPRO of South Albany County to investigate. Our staff receives extensive training on how to effectively deal with mold infestations. We also have the equipment and start of the art techniques to carry out remediation tasks and keep your home safe and clean.

Tips for Cleaning Your Chimney

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of South Albany County, we know the lovely warm glow a chimney can add to any home. Sitting in front of a fireplace in your Nashville home on a crisp day is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy an evening with family. There is nothing more important than keeping your home and family safe. To help keep those fires going, it's useful to make sure the chimney is periodically cleaned. Chimney cleaning can help a fireplace stay in good shape and reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in your home. Additionally, the chimney allows smoke, fumes and dangerous toxins escape the home through its ventilation. Read on for some helpful tips on having your chimney services.

Inspect the Brick

All chimneys should be completely cleaned at least once a year. Proper cleaning is important to make sure that the chimney is in good working order. Any homeowner should also perform an inspection on their own. This can help identify any potential problems that must be addressed as soon as possible. It's a good idea to bring a flashlight and have a good look at the floor. All the ashes in the chimney accumulate here. The flooring needs to be kept in good shape to make sure the fire can be turned on. Note any problems with the brick surrounding it. The bricks used in a fireplace are more heat tolerant than ordinary bricks. They need to be maintained to prevent any fire in the fireplace from spreading to other areas of the home. If a single brick is out of place, this can make the rest of the chimney far less functional.

Have a Look Up

After having a good look at the area surrounding the fireplace, it's a good idea to have a look at the rest of the chimney. Put on some old clothes and get in the area surrounding the fireplace. Have a look at the chimney area. You should see if there's any obstruction or other issues. Small birds and rodents often find themselves stuck or you could have a thick layer of creosote and soot sticking to the flue and masonry inside the chimney. When this gets too thick, all it takes is a spark and you have a chimney fire on your hands.


According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 30 percent of home fires are caused by chimney fires. Be sure your home is not one of them and have your chimney cleaned regularly. If you do run into trouble with smoke or fire in your home, give us a call. At SERVPRO of South Albany County, we take pride in making it like it never happened.

5 Ways to Prevent Electrical Fires

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

In the United States, 50,900 fires each year are attributed to electrical failure or malfunction, resulting in 490 deaths and 1,440 injuries. And almost every one of those injuries or deaths could have been prevented. The fact is that many fires of this nature happen because of human error. Taking preventative steps now will help you avoid a fire in the future. Here are five ways you can prevent such a fire in your home or business.

1) Fix or replace broken plugs and cords

Frayed electrical cords and broken pugs can overheat or throw off sparks. Both of these can cause a fire. It is not difficult to replace most appliance cords or plugs. If you are not able to do the work yourself, an electrician can do the work for you.

2) Don't overburden electric outlets

Plugging too many appliances or electronics into the same outlet can cause overheating. An overheated plug can spark or blow out completely and cause a fire. If you need to plug more than one thing into an outlet, use a power strip with built-in overload protection.

3) Have faulty wiring fixed

If you have flickering lights, buzzing outlets, or breakers that constantly trip, you have faulty wiring somewhere. Faulty wiring is often hidden in the walls or ceiling cavities. So, leave faulty wiring to an electrician. He can diagnose and fix the problem quickly and effectively.

4) Keep flammable materials away from electrical appliances

Your home and business abound with flammable materials, such as paper, rugs, draperies, towels, and blankets. Keep electrical appliances well away from these flammable materials. This includes electric heaters, hair dryers, irons, and lamps. Never hide cords under rugs because they can overheat and cause fires.

5) Get an electrical inspection done

If your home or business is an older property, consider a thorough inspection performed by a professional electrician. Older homes often contain aluminum wire or even knob and tube wiring, which are both prone to cause fires more than modern copper wiring. It may be time to rewire your century-old building.


Each of these tips will help you prevent an electrical fire from starting in your home or business. Now, if the worst happens, and you do sustain damage from a fire, you need the help of professionals to get your home and business straightened out. Call on the fire damage restoration specialists here at SERVPRO of South Albany County.

How to Prepare for Rainy Days

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Your home is your most valuable asset so don’t get caught in the rain.  Take steps now to secure your property before April showers dampen your mood.  

Storms can happen in the blink of an eye with little to no warning.  The aftermath of not being prepared can be stressful and costly.  Taking the time to address a few key areas of concern can make a huge difference between staying high and dry or up to your knees in water.  One of the best things you can do to get prepared is to pretend there is a storm coming right now and take action.  

1. Go out and purchase any supplies you may need should you lose power or water supply for a period of time; batteries, a backup generator, bottled water, canned foods and gas just to name a few.  By having these items ahead of time, you can avoid standing in line for hours and risking supplies running out.  

2. Make sure that you have the proper insurance plan in place. Check on your policy so that you are familiar with what is and what is not covered and to make sure that everything is current.

3. Do what you can to secure your property. Seal up any cracks or gaps around windows and doors and check your roof for any broken or loose shingles. Installing items such as window shutters, garage door braces, and roof clips can all help to protect your home as well.  These resources can be costly but they can save you money in the long run!  

4. Take care of the trees surrounding your home.  Make sure to keep trees pruned and healthy.  Remove any dead branches and trim back any limbs that could become a danger to your house.  Overhanging limbs can scrape the roof and damage shingles or can bust through windows.  Properly maintaining your landscaping is an easy and necessary task in being proactive against storm damage.  So, keep your yard picked up and clear of debris.  

5. Also, secure patio furniture and pick up any items such as sporting equipment or lawn items and put them in an appropriate storage space.  

Storms are truly unpredictable and sometimes damage is unavoidable. Taking proactive measures can help but also be sure to have the contact information for your local service company handy should you need help with the aftermath!

Protecting Your Home or Business from Storm Damage

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Snow isn’t the only thing leaving its mark on our homes this time of year. It may not be springtime yet, but storms are still whipping through cities causing power outages and home damage. According to the National Storm Damage Center (NSDC), damage caused by trees during severe weather, account for over $1 billion in property damage. Broken limbs or trees can cause mass amounts of damage to your property if they make contact. Such damage can be done to roofing, siding, windows and even structure to the home, causing lots of expensive repairs. Unfortunately there is no way to stop the unpredictable weather, but there are ways to prevent damage from happening to your home. 

Assessing your tree

The National Storm Damage Center insists on trying to keep trees healthy and surviving as long as they’re not posing an immediate threat, but how do we know if the tree is ready to be taken down or not? There are different ways that a tree can be assessed to give you a better answer to that question.

·      Broken limbs – the larger amount of large limbs that are broken on a tree, the less likely it is to survive or recover from storm damage. This tree is unfortunately probably ready to be taken down.

·      Amount of limbs broken – A tree showing more than 50% of it’s limbs broken or damaged means that it will most likely have a difficult time producing leaves in the upcoming season, therefor making it harder for it to survive.

·      Leader branch – Is the upward-trending branch at the top of the tree broken? Without this branch being intact, it is likely that the tree’s growth will be stunted, making it less likely to survive.

·      Location – Last, but not least is location. Saving trees is important for our environment, but keeping lives safe is obviously more important to us. The biggest decision on whether to keep a tree in your yard or not is purely the location of the tree. Is it in a location that could cause damage or injury to your home, car or family if it were to break? If so, it is better to be safe than sorry and get it removed before a storm comes through. 

How to Prevent Water Damage While You're on Vacation

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

One of the highest insurance claims by homeowners is water damage, according to a study done by the Insurance Information Institute. In fact, leaky pipes and in often cases appliances cause millions of dollars of damage in freezing weather and storms annually. While you’re on vacation, it’s no surprise that a leaky pipe can burst and cause hundreds of dollars of repairs. This is why it’s important to read our steps below on how to prevent water damage to your home while you’re away.

Step 1. Check for Leaks Before Going on Vacation

Before embarking on your trip, check pipes under your sinks and the water heater for any rust, cracks, or damage. You should also check the seals around your windows to make sure there are no cracks that might cause water damage. Additionally, check the exterior of your house and see what condition your roof shingles are in. If any show damage, getting them replaced before leaving for vacation is a good idea.

Step 2. Inspect Your Major Appliances

It’s important that you inspect the hoses that connect to important appliances in your home, such as dishwashers, washer/dryers, and refrigerator. If there is any damage, you should get the hose replaced before you leave to prevent extensive water damage.

Step 3. Clear Out Your Gutters

Make sure to get any debris out of your rain gutters before leaving for vacation. This way, you won’t have any blockages that can cause damage while you’re away.

Step 4. Inspect Your Sump Pump

Make sure it is in good condition and clear any debris from clogging the pit. You should also run a few tests, listening to the sounds it makes and making sure that the water in the pump is actually going outside. You should also install a battery-powered backup in case there is a power outage while you’re away.

Step 5. Insulate Exposed Pipes

If you are planning on being away from your home during the winter, it can be a good idea to insulate any exposed pipes. This will prevent them from freezing while you are away.

Step 6. Get Someone to Check on Your Home

Call a friend or hire a professional house sitter to check on your home every week while you are gone. Instruct them to ensure that the heat is always on if your vacation is during the winter. Also, show them where the water main is in case of an emergency.

Step 7. Turn Off the Water

Lastly, if you cannot find someone to check on your home, you should turn off the water main. You will also want to drain the pipes completely so that they do not freeze or burst during the colder months. To do this, run the water and flush your toilet after you turn off the water. You should also open the cabinets under your sink to let the warm air surround the pipes.

How to Spot Water Damage Early

12/19/2017 (Permalink)

Spotting Water Damage Early

Water is one of the most important natural resources. However, when there is a leak in your roof or plumbing system, water damage will make for one of the most stressful problems you will face as a homeowner. Before water can cause damage to your property, you will need to identify the problem and request professional help.

Standing water

If you notice standing water around your property, you should suspect a problem with the plumbing system or flooding. Regardless of the source of the problem, stagnant water will weaken the foundation of your home if allowed to stand for a considerable period of time. The water will also form a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Water spots and stains

Another common sign to look for is water spots and stains on your walls and ceilings. While there will be no visible water in such cases, any leaks that manifest in this form could damage your drywall or wooden flooring. Once you notice this sign, you should consider assessing the extent of the damage to take the necessary measures.

Mold

If part of your home is damp and has been out of sunlight for a while, mold may start growing on the surface. While it is possible to treat and remove mold that grows on these surfaces, it would be important to hire the best experts.

Evidence on walls

If your drywall is sagging or appears to be saturated, this could be a sign that water is causing damage to your property. Some of the other subtle signs you should never ignore include bubbling or peeling paint. Such defects should be repaired before water deteriorates your building material further.

Musty smells

If your home is not well ventilated, odors and smells will be trapped in the space in case there is a persistent leak. The smells will not only be a sign of damp areas but could also be an indication of mold growth.

Sounds of water running

When you are sleeping at night and the house is quiet, you may hear sounds of running water in the pipes or dripping inside the walls. This could be a sign of water damage.

Once you have noticed any signs of water damage, it is advisable to call a reliable company to carry out repairs. SERVPRO of South Albany County has the expertise and experience to help you address such problems and prevent them from recurring.

Storm Flood Tips

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Flood Tips and Action Steps

After a Flood

Safety First (For businesses and home owners)

  • Account that all employees or family members are safe by establishing evacuation plans in advance, identifying areas outside the building that are designated meeting places. Assign select individuals to keep a list of their assigned team's names and contact numbers in order to account for their whereabouts. 
  • If water enters the building and evacuation becomes impossible, move to an upper floor, and wait for rescuers. 
  • While evacuating, avoid attempting to drive through floods or rising water, nearly half of all flash flood fatalities are auto-related. 
  • Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. 
  • Do not walk through moving water. Even six inches of moving water can make you fall. 
  • Use no open flames (there may be gas escaping from ruptured mains.)
  • Avoid floodwaters. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged. If the water has entered the structure through the flooding of a creek, stream or river, or if it has filtered through insulation during its intrusion, it is considered to be black water and could be hazardous to your health. Avoid contact with contaminated items as much as possible. 
  • Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters. 
  • Listen for news reports to learn if the community's water supply is safe to drink.
  • Return only when authorities indicate it is safe.

Secure the Property

  • Contact local emergency officials. 
  • Secure main entrances to building. 
  • Alert security company and Alarm company of the situation. 

Stabilize the Property

  • Open basement or low-level windows to equalize water pressure on the building's foundation and walls. 
  • Begin water damage mitigation steps only if local emergency officials deem the structure safe to enter. 
  • Notify your insurance agent or Risk Manager to determine insurance policy guidelines and steps to take.  

Mitigation Tips:

  • Take the greatest caution while entering your home, and wear sturdy shoes and protective clothing when dealing with flooded areas. Wear protective clothing at all times. 
  • Take photos or video to record conditions of collections and structure. Make sure images clearly record damage. 
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. 
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items. 
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying. 
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting. 
  • Remove any paintings, art objects, documents and other sensitive materials to a safe, dry place. 
  • Place fans at 45-degree angles to walls and move large furniture away from walls to create the best air circulation. 
  • Appoint a media liaison to report conditions and need for help/volunteers. You may have to limit access to collections. 
  • Do not enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist. 
  • Do not attempt to operate any electrical equipment while standing in wet or damp locations. 
  • Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining. 
  • Do not leave oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining. 
  • Do no use TVs or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors. 
  • Do no turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water. 
  • Do not turn on heat unless required for human comfort. 
  • Do not move objects or collections without documenting their condition. 
  • Throw away all foods - even canned goods - that have come into contact with flood waters. 
  • If your home has a crawlspace, be aware excess moisture in this area can often foster mold growth. 

For Fires, Every Second Counts

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Every second counts during a fire. Fire experts agree; people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it's too late to get out. In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing the escape plan. The following are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency escape plan. 

Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily. 

Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used.

Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan. 

Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them. Plan for everyone in your home, with special considerations for elderly or disable individuals. 

Practice your fire escape plan during the day and at nighttime, at least twice a year. 

Keep Fall Fire-Free

The fall season brings cooler temperatures, beautiful colors, and an abundance of outdoor activities. Plan ahead this season to help ensure it is safe and fire-free. 

  • Fall decorations, like dried flowers and cornstalks, are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations away from open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters. 
  • Keep emergency exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes. 
  • Teach children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. 
  • Remember safety first when choosing a Halloween costume. Consider avoiding billowing fabric. If you are making your costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or a flame. 
  • It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. Use extreme caution if using a real candle. Place lit pumpkins away from anything that can burn, and ouf of they way of doorsteps, walkways, and yards. 

A Business Plan...For Fire Emergencies

An emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses; however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends building an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business during an emergency. OSHA suggests the following steps when developing such a plan. 

  • Organize an Emergency Preparedness Procedures review with employees to review your company's emergency plans. You may wish to select an individual or team of individuals to lead and coordinate your emergency plan.
  • Once a plan is developed, post evacuation procedures, including routes and exits, where they are easily accessible to all employees. Ensure all exits and routes are clearly marked and well lit, wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel, and unobstructed and clear of debris at all times. 
  • Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside of the facility where employees can regroup, recover, and conduct a head count. Once completed, evaluate how well the plan worked and if additional training or exercises are needed. 

Biohazard Remediation

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Blood, bodily fluids, and other biohazards can endanger anyone who comes in contact with them. Even trace amounts so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye can pose serious health risks. When a site in your home or business has been contaminated, how do you make it safe again? Rely on the professionals at SERVPRO of South Albany County for top-notch biohazard cleanup and restoration services.


Avoiding Health Risks
Is it necessary to seek professional assistance in cleaning up a location impacted by crime, trauma or death? With the risks posed by blood-borne pathogens and dangerous communicable diseases, cleaning a scene contaminated with biohazards like blood is a perilous undertaking for anyone who lacks the proper training and equipment. It is unpleasant to think about, but blood and bodily fluids are prone to splattering so that minute amounts can affect a wide area. The air at these scenes can be hazardous since small particles can become airborne if dried material is disturbed. Anything removed from the scene must also be disposed of properly to avoid spreading the contamination. Ultimately, the best way to make sure that a place is once again safe is to use a professional organization like SERVPRO that is experienced in biohazard restoration.

Preventing Legal Repercussions
As if the health risks created by biohazards are not dire enough, failure to have a contaminated space properly cleaned can also have serious legal consequences. There are regulations and laws regarding how biohazards are handled that must be followed. These rules are designed to safeguard everyone, and ignorance is not considered an acceptable excuse for disregarding them. Individuals and businesses that do not follow these rules may find themselves facing hefty fines. They might even be held liable if someone else is injured by their actions. Using a professional team that understands what is required to comply with the various rules and regulations governing biohazards in your area can shield you from both health risks and legal issues.

Focusing on Your Safety
At SERVPRO of South Albany County, we are committed to the well-being of our customers. Offering emergency services 24 hours a day, we will rapidly respond whenever you request our assistance. Our technicians follow the protocols established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, so you can be confident that they have the expertise and training to remove all biohazards and dispose of them properly. We use specialized equipment that allows us to detect the smallest trace of a biohazard, and we do not stop until your scene is thoroughly sanitized. As biohazard restoration professionals, we can often salvage items that others might have to discard, and we ensure that any material that does need to be removed from your location is disposed of appropriately.

Dealing with a crime, trauma or death is undoubtedly difficult, but you can depend on SERVPRO of South Albany County for courtesy, empathy, and the quality biohazard cleanup and restoration services that you need. Safety-minded, we are ready to do our part in restoring your space and your peace of mind. If a traumatic event has occurred on your property and you require assistance with the cleanup, contact us now to discover more about our biohazard restoration services and secure our help.

The Process of Drying

12/18/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water-damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages. If your business suffers a water damage, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals will:

  • Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet to hep prevent secondary damage from happening.
  • Measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
  • Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment. 

What exactly does it mean to help "Speed up Mother Nature"? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material - but only if the air is, indeed, drier. 

The only problem is, nature often takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out. 

Your SERVPRO of South Albany County Franchise Professionals have the tools and equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more. Your SERVPRO of South Albany County Franchise Professionals also use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business. 

It's not only the equipment, but the technology too. SERVPRO has developed DryBook, a proprietary tool that provides real-time documentation and updates on the drying process and helps ensure industry drying requirements are met. With DryBook Mobile, you have the ability to know exactly where your property is in the drying process. 

The bottom line? SERVPRO of South Albany County Franchise Professionals have the training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened."

Fire Safety Tips for the Winter

12/3/2017 (Permalink)

Use proper fire safety tips this winter

The winter season is just around the corner.  This means that home fires occur more often by unattended candles, space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces. Taking the necessary fire safety tips into consideration is crucial.  

At SERVPRO of South Albany County, we want to remind everyone to follow some simple steps to protect your home and family from fires this winter. Practicing the best fire safety is how you can be most prepared for unexpected disaster in the winter.

7 Fire Safety Tips 

Here are some fire safety tips to prevent most heating related fires from happening:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have your chimneys and vents checked. Fireplaces produce creosote which can ignite. If you light fires frequently, you need a chimney sweep service once a year. When you burn wood, make sure it's dry and seasoned so that it produces more flame and less smoke.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms. Make sure batteries are fresh. Place smoke alarms in the kitchen, laundry room and in bedrooms.
  • Beware of lit candles. Candles can set the mood for relaxation, and that's how they get forgotten or knocked over by kids or pets. Light candles only when you're around to watch them and blow them out when you're ready to leave the room.
  • Beware of space heaters. The name should give you a clue space heaters need space. Like fireplaces, people and pets should not be allowed to sit any closer than three feet.
  • Don't put space heaters near curtains, tablecloths or other fluttering fabrics. Make sure the space heaters you buy have automatic shut-offs before reaching dangerous temperatures.

If you have the unfortunate experience of fire or smoke damage in your home or business call SERVPRO of South Albany County.

We are available 24 hours a day and are always Here to Help! Call Us Today –(518) 456-1111

Tips for Smoke Alarms

12/3/2017 (Permalink)

Have you checked your smoke alarm recently?

In the event of a deadly home fire, a working smoke alarm will significantly increase your chance of survival.

Tips for Smoke Alarms

Follow these tips to insure you're prepared.

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, all throughout the home.  Upstairs, downstairs, basements.  Make sure you have inside and outside of bedrooms.
  • Replace the entire smoke alarm every 8-10 years.
  • Test your batteries monthly.
  • Once a year, replace batteries in smoke detectors that are battery-powered and hard wired smoke alarms. (the only exception are detectors that contain 10 year lithium batteries.)
  • Install both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms, or dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.

There will be times that you may be cooking something that puts off smoke.  Even though its tempting, never disable your smoke alarm.  That one time could be a costly mistake.  Never ignore the sound.  Always react promptly until you ultimately know that your safe and there is not a fire.  In the event you are put in that situation, make sure you are safe and leave the building.  Your life is more valuable then the contents inside. 

When fire impacts your home or place of business, call on the professionals to get the job done. You don't have to wait, you can reach a team member any time of the day or night. We are on standby for you  24/7, 365 days a year! We can guarantee that anytime you call, you will get a SERVPRO professional on the line to help.

7 Causes of Mold in Homes

12/3/2017 (Permalink)

Have you been seeing mold in your home more often?

Mold is a vital piece of nature, assisting with the disintegration of natural matter and the recycling of supplements in biological systems. While outdoor mold is fundamental, mold developing inside present’s health risks and can bring about property damage. Molds recreate by method of minor airborne spores that travel essentially anyplace, even in our homes.

Despite the fact that there are hints of mold spores indoors, they require the right "ingredients" to produce mold. Unfortunately, the conditions for mold development are found in many homes: a nourishment source, (for example, drywall, rugs, and wood), warmth, lack of light, enough time to develop, and above all, dampness.

7 Causes of Mold in Homes:

Since dampness is a fundamental factor in mold development, here are the most common culprits that cause mold in homes:

  • Flooding can cause a measurable amount of water into your home, bringing on serious water damage and conceivably cause mold development inside 24-48 hours. Calling an expert restoration professional such as SERVPRO promptly is your best defense with regards to mitigating water damage and preventing mold development.
  • Increased humidity can happen in homes from multiple sources — muggy climate, persistent rain, cooking, showering, and so on. To help prevent development of mold growth in your home, ensure your home is all around ventilated and keep the humidity below 55 percent.
  • Deficient ventilation leads to increased humidity, and due to this, mold development and different issues like indoor contamination. Try to open entryways as well as windows when viable and to utilize fans as needed.
  • Leaking pipes are a typical issue in homes and should be settled promptly. In many cases, leaks are hidden from view, such as inside walls or above the ceiling, so make a point to investigate wall and ceiling stains routinely.
  • Roof leaks are additionally a way for water to saturate your home and cause mold. In the event that you see water stains on the ceiling, check for water damage in the attic and have your roof assessed and repaired at the earliest opportunity.
  • Condensation happens when warm dampness loaded air interacts with chilly surfaces. Condensation can be seen on walls, windows, solid floors or metal pipes. Reduce condensation by adjusting the humidity in your home.
  • Basements give astounding conditions for mold development because of poor ventilation, cooler temperatures (that advance condensation), and incessant water leaks and flooding.

Mold can also grow in various unexpected areas in the home, which can make mold remediation more difficult. For professional mold removal, as well as fire and water restoration services, contact the professional experts at SERVPRO today.

How to Save Personal Belongings from Water Damage

12/3/2017 (Permalink)

One of the most common topics after a client suffers water damage, is how and what they can save from water damage.  Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer to this question. Every water damage is unique in some sense, so what can be saved is really on a case by case basis. However, here are some guidelines that you can use to make the best decision possible.

What Type of Water Damage

Determining whether the water that damaged your personal belongings is clean or contaminated will be a big factor in whether or not it can be salvaged. Obviously, if you are dealing with clean water, the chances of you being able to save some of your belongings is higher.  Even though it may be possible to restore something that is damaged by contaminated water, it is more than likely not worth the health risk that it may bring.

Porous vs Non Porous Materials

Porous materials such as fabrics, wood, and paper are very good at retaining water. This also means it increases the chance of other dangers like mold growth, and damage beyond repair. This is not always the case and if handled quickly and properly, many times these items can be saved as well. On the other hand, porous materials like marble, metal, and porcelain - among others - usually have no problem being restored. Since there is really nothing for bacteria and mold to root itself in, a simple cleaning is usually no problem.

The Amount of Time the Water Saturated

Another factor that will come into the equation of determining what can and cannot be saved is how long the materials have been wet for. The longer an item sits in water, the deeper it can penetrate. As you can imagine, this makes it increasingly more difficult to bring it back to its normal state. The perfect example of this is wooden furniture. It takes quite a bit of time for it to really absorb and become completely water logged. If you get personal belongings out of the standing water and begin the drying process right away, you have a good chance of being able to save them.

Factor in the Replacement Cost

Water damage restoration of personal belongings is no different than any other type of repair. You will always want to evaluate how much it is going to cost to repair something versus simply replacing it. Is the item you want to save really worth paying a professional to do work on it? Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not.

You should also take into account that paying for restoration does not guarantee your item will be returned to its original state. If that’s the case, you’ll have to replace the item anyways.

If you are unsure about whether or not one of your items could be salvaged, it is best that you get it analyzed by a professional. If you hire a water damage restoration company to handle a dry out of your property, they will be able to assist you in assessing damage to your personal belongings as well. To speak to a professional water restoration representative at SERVPRO, contact us today.

Ozone Deodorization: How Does it Work?

12/3/2017 (Permalink)

The use of ozone can be a very effective way of removing odor from a property. SERVPRO may commonly use this method following fire damage cleaning, skunk odor to the property, mold or full property cleaning. SERVPRO will provide a free estimate of your situation and decide if Ozone will be the best and most appropriate method of odor removal. 

When it comes to successful deodorization the first step is to clean/remove or fix what is causing the odor, for example the best chance of success would be to clean the fire damage first, fix a leaking pipe that is causing a musty odor, or remove the garbage from an area before starting the ozone process. It will be crucial to remove items emitting odor.

How it works: Basically, ozone removes odor by destroying the molecules, bacteria, and spores that cause unpleasant smells.  Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive molecule and is very quick to chemically react with particles that it comes into contact with in the air and on surfaces.  The extra oxygen atom in the ozone attaches itself to other molecules, chemically changing their structure to create non-offensive molecules – eliminating the smell. *Ozonesolutions.com

For more questions regarding our deodorization methods please feel free to call our office and we would be happy to help!

Restoring Mold Damaged Documents

12/3/2017 (Permalink)

If your home or business has important documents that are affected by Mold, we can help.

We use a specialized process called Gamma Irradiation. This is used for cleaning/ disinfection and decontaminating documents or other consumer goods. In gamma irradiation, high-energy photons are emitted from an isotope source (Colbalt 60) producing ionization(electron disruptions) throughout a product. In a CAT 3 situation (sewage or flood water), documents are not only deteriorating but are also infected with all types of bacteria. In most storm situations you are dealing with CAT 3 water: therefore, most of the affected documents that you will encounter will be contaminated. If this is the case then decontamination is always a must. In Living cells, these disruptions result in damage to the DNA and other cellular structures. These photon-induced changes at the molecular level cause death to the organism or render the organism incapable of reproduction. The gamma process does not create residuals or impart radioactivity in processed products.

For additional information or questions on processes involving fire, water, or mold damaged documents please call our office, and we would be happy to further discuss and provide a free estimate for services.

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