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Tips to Help Protect Your Home From Water Damage | SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Tips to Help Protect Your Home From Water Damage | SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County Water damage can be one of the costliest damages to experience in a home or business.

Water damage has proven to be one of the most costliest yet common disasters a home can experience. From a burst pipe to a malfunctioning dishwasher or storm damage, there are countless ways water damage could occur in your home.

While water damage can be an especially common issue for homeowners to deal with, there are plenty of ways you can help protect your home.

Protecting Your Home From Water Damage

Water damage is a huge hassle to deal with, it can have a long-term impact on your home, one of them being mold. It’s one of the most common side effects of water damage because it begins to grow and flourish within 48 hours of exposure to moisture.

When beginning to think of ways to safeguard your home against water damage, it might be easier if you break it down by areas of impact. These areas could include basements, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and ceilings.

In the basement, you can prevent water damage by preventing water seepage. Do this by resealing vulnerable areas of the basement, making sure water drains away from your home and installing a backwater valve.

Your kitchen and bathrooms can experience water damage due to plumbing issues and appliance failures.

Be sure you:

  • Inspect your appliances regularly, especially the hoses and faucets
  • Check to make sure there are no leaks in the seals or caulking around your showers and tubs
  • Know where the main water shut-off valve is in your home
  • Don’t leave the house while the washer or dishwasher is running

There are things you can do to protect the possessions in your home from water damage, but don’t be surprised if it is not always possible. Use waterproof bins to store items and keep items stored on shelves up off of the floor.

How to Clean Up After Water Damage

If your home does experience a water damage situation, there is a good chance you can salvage items that can be dried out within 48 hours.

Be sure that you contact your insurance company immediately after the water damage situation and evaluate the extent of the water damage in your home as well as identify the type of water that is involved.

The three types of water are:

  1. “Clean” water. Can be from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, etc.

  2. “Gray” water. Slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc.

  3. “Black” water. Water from sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, etc. This water can cause serious health problems.

Removing all wet items from your home and getting it dehumidified and dried out after a water damage disaster is important. You will then need to thoroughly clean and disinfect all remaining materials.

Here’s a tip from the pros: Freeze wet books, photos and papers in a frost-free freezer, allowing you extra time to deal with them after everything else has been taken care of. This prevents mold and mildew from developing and causing more deterioration. Once able, remove them from the freezer and air-dry or fan-dry the pages.

It may seem like recovering from water damage is an overwhelming and slightly impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. You can call on the highly trained experts at SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County, at 845-831-3600. We are here to make it "Like it never even happened!"

Do you own a vacant home? Best practices for avoiding frozen pipes

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Do you own a vacant home? Best practices for avoiding frozen pipes Avoid this damage by preparing your vacant property for winter temps!

If you own a 2nd home, rental property or have a vacant property for sale, it's important to have it winterized before the winter starts and to have someone available to check on it for you while it's vacant.

While there are always unforeseen issues that can happen, it's the water that causes the most damage. Water can and will get into everything, continuously finding a way out is the name of the game.

Don't turn the heat off in the colder months, follow good instructions to protect your pipes and utilities, have your furnace and heating systems checked regularly, seal windows and doors if possible, check outside spigots and water sources. Speak with your insurance agent about tips they have and make sure your policy is where it needs to be.

Should you ever suffer from water damage, or any kind of loss to your property, call the experts in damage restoration. SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County has been the local leader in the industry for over 25 years, we're here for your emergency 24/7 with certified technicians and the best technology around.

Call us immediately so we can give you piece of mind quickly, no matter the damage and no matter the size, 845-831-3600.

Prepping for Severe Weather | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County

1/25/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Prepping for Severe Weather | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County Help your family be prepared for unwarned severe weather!

While we may have advanced warning for some types of severe weather, there will be times when we will be taken by surprise.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take and safety tips to follow that will ensure your family is prepared for the unwarned severe weather occurrences.

Why You Should Plan for Severe Weather

One of the best ways to prepare your family for these situations is to have an established family emergency plan prepared.

If your family does have an emergency plan in place, it is important to have drills to practice that plan and review it as the weather seasons change throughout the year so everyone knows exactly what to do.

If you’ve not yet created a family emergency plan, we’ve compiled some information of things to take into consideration when creating one:

1. How will you receive emergency alerts and warnings?

Thanks to today’s smartphone technologies, it is easy to receive emergency alerts and warnings on your smartphone in addition to the emergency broadcasts on the radio and television. If you have a weather app or Google on your smartphone, you can quickly receive emergency alerts, which gives you valuable time in severe weather situations.

2. What type of storm shelter is available?

If your home is in an area where tornadoes are a frequent occurrence, you’ll want to be in the lowest part of your home. Basements are preferable, but if there is no basement, choose an interior room on the lowest level of your home that is away from windows and doors. Tornadoes are not the only situations that require a form of storm shelter, and there is more information available about those situations at ready.gov.

3. What is your evacuation route?

Before an emergency happens, you should map out evacuation routes, since things such as hurricanes, flooding and fires can force you from your home at a moment’s notice. It’s always wise to have multiple routes planned as some routes could become impassable, and be sure you find places to stay with your pets along the way if you have furry family members that need to be evacuated.

4. How will everyone stay in touch?

We can have peace of mind when we are able to communicate with our family members during an emergency. Our first instinct is to rely on cell phones, but in some circumstances, that may not be possible. Cell phone towers can be damaged, phones may be lost or left behind, and if power is lost, you will not be able to recharge the batteries.

For these reasons, your family should have an emergency communication plan in place and a pre-arranged meeting spot to gather in case you are all separated during the evacuation.

If a storm does cause damage to your home or business, don’t hesitate to call your friends at SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County to get the cleanup and restoration process started.

The Basics of Making a Disaster Plan for Your Business | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial The Basics of Making a Disaster Plan for Your Business | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County Be able to roll with the punches by creating a natural disaster plan for your business.

With so many floods, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes in the news, Mother Nature is proving to be a force to be reckoned with. The key to being able to roll with the punches, so to speak, is to be prepared for the worst.

Preparing for worst-case scenarios involves creating a natural disaster plan for your business, which is why this blog will discuss aspects for consideration when working to design that plan.

Consider This

There are many different factors to consider when working out a disaster plan for your business. Those considerations to include are:

  1. How to protect your employees
  2. How to secure your assets
  3. How to get business up and running again

Thankfully, emergency agencies like the Red Cross, FEMA and Ready.gov have developed many helpful checklists that can identify areas that need to be included in your natural disaster preparedness plan and also areas you may have overlooked.

How to Protect Your Employees

If a disaster were to strike without warning, it is important that your human assets, employees and visitors, are protected by having a plan that lays out procedures and safety measures.

Make sure there are clearly marked evacuation routes and exits from your facility, consider installing emergency lights, have an area designated for use as a shelter, and have put together designated volunteer staff as “safety wardens” that are properly trained and ready to guide and assist with all emergency efforts.

When establishing shelter space, your first choice should be a basement or storm cellar in the event of tornadoes or other high-wind situations. If that type of space is not available, find a small interior room on the lowest level of the building, such as a closet or interior hallway.

Asset Protection in Disaster Plans

For businesses located in brick and mortar buildings, there is still the necessity to make mindful choices about protecting the assets inside that building. Your business is at risk for losing thousands of dollars in merchandise and equipment when a natural disaster strikes.

Always be sure that there is a detailed and complete up-to-date inventory of these items, and, if possible, take photographs as they will be helpful if insurance claims are made. If your assets are based on a computer server, take the steps necessary to ensure that the backup system operates correctly and the storage system cannot be damaged.

If you own the building your business is in, talk with a contractor to uncover areas that may need structural improvement. The contractor can suggest possible safety upgrades and advise on areas that may not hold up in certain weather situations.

Ways to Get Back in Business Quickly

When a natural disaster does occur and your business location sustains damage, it is very likely that your business will have to be closed due to that damage and while repairs are being made. Every day you remain closed is another day of lost profits, so it is wise move to have a “rainy day” fund set aside to help with additional costs that your insurer may not cover.

Have a list of contractors available for you to call on that would be available for repairs and construction concerns, and know which cleanup and restoration service company that will be available to quickly respond to your emergency situation.

With SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County, you can count on us to get to the disaster faster and make it "Like it never even happened." Our training and expertise have prepared us to help with water damage, storm damage, fire damage and mold remediation quickly and effectively.

Knowing what to do when disaster strikes your business is of the utmost importance. When it comes to the cleanup and restoration aspects, depend on SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County to be there for you. Call us no matter the emergency, 24/7: 845-831-3600.

SERVPRO is helping to protect the environment by using Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products!

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO SERVPRO is helping to protect the environment by using Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products! More than ever, it's important to protect our environment. SERVPRO has environmentally friendly cleaning products!

Did you know SERVPRO® offers “GREEN” alternatives for some of our products? SERVPRO® is a proud member of the EPA’s Design for Environment initiative (EPA/DFE).The EPA/DFE has established a set criteria for formulating environmentally friendly cleaning products. The initiative is designed to allow chemical formulators (such as our very own in-house chemists) a resource to formulate environmentally friendly cleaning products using environmentally friendly raw materials.

Some of the "Green" products SERVPRO® offers are:

Benefect® Botanical Disinfectant

SERVPRO® All Surface Green Clean

SERVPRO® Carpet & Upholstery Green Clean

SERVPRO® Window Green Clean

Contact us for more product information! SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County 845-831-3600.

It's Frozen Pipe Season! Follow These Handy Tips to Avoid a Serious Problem!

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage It's Frozen Pipe Season! Follow These Handy Tips to Avoid a Serious Problem! This is an extreme example of how much damage frozen pipes can do to your home.

Subzero temperatures can cause even interior pipes to freeze

When temperatures plummet, the risk of your pipes freezing and bursting skyrockets. In fact, burst pipes are one of the most common causes of property damage during frigid weather and can cause thousands in water damage—easily $5,000 or more, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (PDF).

The pipes most at risk are those in unheated interior spaces such as basements, attics, and garages. But even pipes running through cabinets or exterior walls can freeze. The good news is there are some simple things you can do to keep your water running and your house dry.

“Pipe insulation can cost as little as 50 cents per linear foot at your local hardware store,” says Susan Millerick, IBHS spokeswoman. “So for not much more than the cost of the aspirin you’d need, you can avoid the headaches of cleanup, loss of precious keepsakes, and the cost of your insurance deductible.” Use the pipe insulation liberally to protect any vulnerable pipes.

Both the IBHS and the American Red Cross, which is in the business of emergency preparedness, have useful advice on how to prevent your pipes from freezing, as well as how to thaw them if they do. 

How to Beat the Freeze

Once the temperature starts dropping outside, you should take measures inside to keep your pipes warm and water running. Research conducted by the Building Research Council at the University of Illinois shows that the “temperature alert threshold” is 20° F, especially if you have uninsulated pipes running through an uninsulated space.  

Some of the steps experts recommend may go against your better instincts of conserving water and heat, but the extra expense is nothing compared with a hefty repair bill. Here’s what to do:

Keep garage doors closed, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. (If you have small children, be sure to remove any harmful cleaners and household chemicals.)

Let the cold water drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe—even at a trickle—helps prevent pipes from freezing.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature during day and night. Again, during a cold snap is not the time to set back the thermostat at night to save a few bucks on your heating bill.

If you plan to be away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

For the long term, add insulation to attics, basements, and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in those areas. And to prevent drafts, seal cracks and openings around windows, doors, and at sill plates, where the house rests on its foundation.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, you may well have a frozen pipe. “If you suspect the pipes are frozen, be careful when thawing them out because if the pipe has already burst, the water will come flowing out and flood your home,” says John Galeotafiore, who oversees Consumer Reports’ testing of home products and power gear.

If a pipe has broken, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve, which is usually at the water meter or where the main line enters the house. If the water is still running and no pipes have burst, you can take the following steps. (Of course, if you suspect a more serious problem, call a plumber.)

Turn on the faucet. As you heat the frozen pipe and the ice plug begins to melt, you want the water to be able to flow through. Running water through the pipe, as cold as it is, will help melt ice in the pipe.

Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. As tempting as it may be, do not use a blowtorch, a kerosene or propane heater, a charcoal stove, or any device with an open flame; the high heat can damage the pipes or even start a fire.

Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. Check all other faucets in your home to see whether you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Call a licensed plumber if you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe.

Careful with that space heater!

If you need a space heater, use it safely. If you need supplemental heat, you can add a space heater to a room where pipes may be at risk. And though we don’t recommend using a space heater in a bathroom, if you really need one, make sure it’s plugged into an outlet with a ground-fault circuit interrupter and do not use an extension cord.

Sometimes, no amount of prep and prevention can stop situations like this, just remember that SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County is here 24/7 for when water damage happens. Call us at 845-831-3600 and we'll make it "Like it never even happened."

reference: Consumer Reports, How to Prevent Your Pipes From Freezing, https://www.consumerreports.org/home-maintenance-repairs/how-to-keep-pipes-from-freezing/

These Things Could Lead to Water Damage in Your Home | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County

12/7/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage These Things Could Lead to Water Damage in Your Home | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County Severe weather is not always the main culprit in causing water damage.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about water damage? When thinking about water damage, severe weather is usually one of the first things that comes to mind, and while storms and flooding certainly can cause catastrophic water damage, they are often not the main culprits.

Instead, many items in your home could be responsible for many situations that result in water damage.

Understanding Water Damage

Water damage is something that many homeowners will face. It was the third most common reason that homeowners filed a homeowners insurance claim between 2011 and 2015, with an average payout per claim of $8,861.

There is a difference between water damage and gradual damage, which can impact insurance claims. Gradual damage is something that has 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, for example. Sadly, many claims for gradual water damage are not covered by homeowners insurance, while storm-related water damage usually is.

Common Water Damage Culprits

According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the leading causes of water damage are:

  • Plumbing supply system failures. This happens when pipes freeze and burst due to the buildup in water pressure caused by freezing water or when the supply system material fails, resulting in leaking or bursting pipes. Per IBHS, plumbing supply system failures are the leading source of residential water damage losses, and the average cost was $5,092 per incident after the deductible. It was also found that homes 16 to 40 years of age made up a larger group of supply system material failure claims.

  • Plumbing drain system failures. Sewer drains can back up and overflow into a home due to drains backing up and overflowing into a home or from material malfunction issues. In their study, IBHS found that 52% of drain system failures were caused by sewer backups and 37% were related to material performance issues—and they also noted that the average drain system failure caused more expense in southern region states than in northern region states.

  • Toilet failures. Toilet failures are the second largest source of residential water loss after plumbing supply system failures, and can result from faulty fill valves or clogged drain lines. According to IBHS, toilet failures that happen on the first floor of a home were the reason for more extensive claims than those that happened in basements or upper floors.

  • Water heater failures. Water heaters only last for so long, and if your water heater has reached its life expectancy, the tank will eventually begin to rust and corrode, resulting in leaking or bursting issues. IBHS found that slow leaks or sudden bursting were the cause for 69% of all water heater failures and, on average, cost $4,444 per incident following the deductible.

  • Washing machine failures. Washing machine failures can typically be caused by supply hose failures, machines overflowing and drain line failures. This type of failure is listed as one of the top 10 sources of residential water damage losses. Per IBHS, supply hose failures were the culprits for over half of all washing machine-related losses.

If your home has experienced any water damage, the team at SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County is available to help with cleanup and restoration and make it “like it never even happened.” Call us at 845-831-3600.

Another valuable fire safety tip when it comes to dryer vents!

12/4/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Another valuable fire safety tip when it comes to dryer vents! Good cleaning tips can help prevent this scary situation

Protect your clothes—and possibly a whole lot more—with these simple maintenance tips:

Not taking care of your dryer causes several issues, starting with longer drying times, which can lead to shrunken clothes and heat-damaged fabrics. It can also drive up your utility bills, since the dryer is one of the more energy-intensive appliances in the home.

Another symptom of poor dryer maintenance: your dryer's automatic cycles could start to be less accurate, resulting in laundry that's either damp or dried to a crisp.

Last but certainly not least, a neglected dryer poses a serious fire hazard. In fact, some 7,000 fires, 200 injuries, and 10 deaths are attributed each year to dryer fires, according to estimates by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Not cleaning the dyer is the leading cause of the blazes.

Here’s how to get peak performance, efficiency, and safety out of your clothes dryer in a few simples steps.

Step 1: Empty the Lint Screen

This needs to happen every time you use the dryer. Not every week or every so often—every single time. If you allow too much lint to build up on the screen, heated dryer air won’t move freely through the machine, which will prolong drying times.

Step 2: Clean the Dryer Vent

Even if you’re diligent about emptying the lint screen, small fibers will get through the trap and into your dryer vent. Left unchecked, this lint can slowly snowball, to the point where an errant spark could lead to a serious conflagration inside the dryer vent. That’s why it’s critical to clean the dryer vent every few months or so, depending on how often you use the dryer and the types of laundry you dry. 

It’s a pretty simple task, assuming you can access the dryer vent by pulling the dryer away from the wall (if not, you’ll need to hire a professional). Always disconnect the dryer from its main power source at your home's electric panel. Then separate the vent from the dryer and vacuum both ends using the crevice attachment of your vacuum.

A few years ago, we tested the Lint Lizard, a device that can be attached to the end of your vacuum. It was extremely effective at sucking up dryer lint, so it might be worth the $10 investment. Just note the Lint Lizard’s sharp point could harm flexible dryer ducts made of foil or plastic. That being said, we strongly recommend metal dryer ducts, because they don't sag, making lint less likely to build up. Also, if a fire does start, a metal dryer vent is more likely to contain it than one made of plastic or foil.

Step 3: Clean the Moisture Sensors

Our top-rated dryers all have moisture sensors that work in conjunction with auto-dry cycles to detect the laundry’s dampness and shut off the machine when clothes are dry. Over time, these sensors can get covered with film, especially if you use dryer sheets. The buildup can prevent the dryer from knowing when the laundry is dry, leaving them either damp or overcooked.

To counter this problem, clean the sensors with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol every few months, or any time the auto-dry cycles seem to be missing the mark. The sensors are usually located just inside the dryer, underneath the door. Look for thin metal bars, about 6 inches long, with a slight curve that follows the contour of the door. If you don't see the sensors there, check your owner's manual for their location.

Be diligent and avoid fire hazards! If you have experience fire and/or water damage in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County to alleviate the burden of restoration, 845-831-3600.

(reference: Consumer Reports, How to Clean Your Dryer Vent and Other Quick Tips, https://www.consumerreports.org/clothes-dryers/how-to-clean-your-dryer-vent/)

Western Dutchess County residents: Follow these safety tips if you suspect mold!

11/30/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Western Dutchess County residents: Follow these safety tips if you suspect mold! If you see mold, leave it alone and call us!

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today – 845-831-3600. We'll help make it "Like it never even happened."

Protecting Your Property From Damaging Winds | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Protecting Your Property From Damaging Winds | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County Protect your property from damaging winds!

There are many concerns that come with severe storms, and damaging winds are always a threat. These winds, which can come with little to no notice, can be devastating and cause long-term structural impacts.

The Concern With Damaging Winds

While many consider damaging winds to come from a tornado or hurricane, those are not the only times when they may come into play. Traditionally, damaging winds are considered those with wind speeds exceeding 50–60 mph. They can stem from a strong thunderstorm and are called “straight-line” winds, which cause damage much like tornadoes and, yet, the damage is different.

The damage from these winds can be especially destructive, as they can also cause loose objects on your property to become projectiles. Windows and the roof are especially vulnerable and can take the brunt of this damage, and if the damage is extensive, water damage can result inside the home as the outside elements are allowed indoors.

Anyone who lives in a thunderstorm-prone area will be at risk from damaging winds, but there are some structures that are especially at risk in winds over 80 mph, including mobile homes, even those that are anchored.

Protecting Your Property From Damaging Winds

There are a number of ways you can protect your property from damaging winds, but keep the “Two R’s” in mind: reinforce and remove. A few of these are listed below:

  • Have a professional reinforce your garage door.

  • Remove and/or anchor loose objects on your property, such as trash cans, grills and outdoor furniture, that could be moved or tossed by the wind.

  • Hire a professional to remove large or dying trees and branches that could fall over onto your home.

Not all high wind circumstances come with advanced warning, but some of these action items could be the difference between damage and little-to-no damage.

Also, when building a new home or renovating an older home, be sure the windows, walls and doors are up to code for the weather in your area.

Should your home ever be hit by damaging winds and resulting water damage, our highly trained specialists at SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County are here to help with the cleanup and restoration of your home at all times of the day. Call us at 845-831-3600.