Storm Damage: What You Need to Know
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New York has seen its fair share of heavy rainfall in the past few months of summer 2018. Heavy rainfall and its accompanying floods are only some of the common types of damage from storms.
There are several major storm types:
- Snow storms
- Tropical storms
Under 100 miles to the Atlantic Ocean, Dutchess County is not unfamiliar with storms caused by severe tropical weather. Since Dutchess County is also so far north and close to the coast, it’s very likely that residents might experience each of these types of storms.
The fact remains that hurricanes can still cause damage far past the coast. New Yorkers remember just how widespread the damage from Hurricane Sandy was.During a hurricane, most damage is caused by a combination of floods, storm surge, and wind.Storm surge: the most damage
As a hurricane approaches the shore, its powerful winds push extra water along with it. If the wind is powerful enough, it can push so much water shoreward that the water has nowhere to go but up and inland. This is storm surge: when the water level rises so far high above the predicted tide level and then surges inward toward land. The force of storm surge can be strong enough to destroy buildings and roads.Floods: the most common
Floods tend to be incredibly common and seemingly inevitable in hurricanes. They are caused by heavy rainfall and by storm surge. A tropical storm can cause widespread heavy rain, as far out as 100 miles. This much surplus water cannot drain quickly enough or properly and thus causes flooding.Wind: the speediest
Winds that come from hurricanes range from 74 mph to 155 mph. At this speed and force, winds can cause substantial damage. Not only can wind knock down trees, but it can also carry those trees as well as other debris and hurl them into buildings, vehicles, or anything else in its path.
The damage from storm surge, floods, and winds can be overwhelming to deal with. After a storm, call SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County to make it like it never even happened.
Mold: Basic Facts for Homeowners
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Almost every homeowner and renter has encountered the problem of mold. Unfortunately, it’s a widespread problem in many households. Because mold is common, you might think that a common solution is all you need. But that’s not the case. Often, a mold issue requires professional services to be dealt with effectively.
This blog has helpful information about mold so that you can decide if and when to call for a professional to help.
First, you should know that mold can be dangerous. Mold spores are airborne - so there may be more present than what you can actually see. You might be aware of this if you have a mold allergy, but mold can also cause other serious respiratory problems and can also irritate the skin.
Mold can grow in unexpected places - like walls. Most susceptible to mold growth is drywall. Untreated drywall that’s more porous is an easy place for mold to grow. Mold in the walls can cause significant upheaval. If the colony has grown more than 10 sq. feet, that section of the wall will probably have to be removed.
All that mold needs to grow is water and/or humidity. This means that your bathroom is the most likely breeding ground. Often mold can be found at the bottom of your shower liner or in between shower tiles. Other common spots for mold include damp basements, crawlspaces, and leaky attics.
If you have a recurring mold problem, call SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County. SERVPRO® can make it like it never even happened.
Floods and Storm Damage: How to Prepare
Did you know that climate change is increasing the chance of floods even in areas previously considered to be [low risk]?(https://www.economist.com/briefing/2017/08/31/the-likelihood-of-floods-is-changing-with-the-climate) As rainfall increases, so do floods. As heavy rain has continued to fall in New Jersey in recent months, it’s more important than ever to be prepared for flooding.
If at least two properties (or acres) are totally or partially submerged in water, then a flood has occurred.
But safety will always matter a lot more than a legal definition if a flood does occur.
To prepare for a flood and storm damage, you should be able to answer these questions:
<3feafcb99072e28ad92c9f281b6ede7b>Follow these guidelines to prepare for flood and storm damage.
- Do you know the risk of a flood?
- Are you prepared for a flood?
- Are you able to evacuate if needed?
Before a storm ever hits, you should know the chances of flooding. The best resources for this? The local government or FEMA office. The more informed you are, the better prepared you are. For the Western Dutchess County area, start here.
You could also buy a weather radio to stay informed about possible storms and flooding.
All households should have an emergency preparedness kit. Your car and office should also have an emergency kit. For floods, a smart tip is to store important documents in water proof casing. Flood waters can contaminate usual water sources (like the kitchen tap), so it becomes extra important to keep fresh, clean water in your emergency kit. If you aren’t sure how to prepare a kit, read this.
An emergency generator is equally important as an emergency preparedness kit. Severe storms have the ability to knock out the power grid for your area. An emergency generator will keep the lights on in the event of a storm. The size of your house and its power needs influence the kind of generator that you need.
An evacuation order might be issued. Evacuation orders are common under the threat of severe storms and flooding. It’s important that you know how to follow this order if it comes. To learn the official evacuation procedure, contact your local government. You can use this procedure as a jumping point for creating a family evacuation policy. The entire family should practice the evacuation plan until everyone has it memorized.
Remember, high flood waters can conceal damage and debris. Always use caution.
After a flood has receded and it’s time to clean up the damage, call SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County.
HVAC Maintenance for Every Home | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County
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In extreme temperatures, there’s nothing like having a central heating and air system to keep your home comfortable – but there is, of course, a cost associated with operating them. Energy Star states that about half of a household’s energy bill comes from running the heating and cooling system. While that’s a significant sum for creature comforts, with a little bit of maintenance, you can make your investment extend much further.
Performing regular maintenance and upkeep is a great way to extend the longevity of your HVAC system and catch problems before they become serious and costly. These are the HVAC maintenance checks every homeowner should do:
- Change filters. Maintaining maximum air quality and efficiency is much easier with a regular change of the filters. Change HVAC filters every 30 to 90 days depending on your manufacturer’s recommendation. Additionally, use the highest-rated filter for your HVAC model and ensure a secure fit when filters are installed.
- Check drainage. As the air circulates through your HVAC system, the cooling coils are doing their job of removing water from the air and draining it away. Check drain pans and nearby surfaces for moisture accumulation to stop problems such as mold and water damage before they start.
- Eliminate dust. Clearing dust and debris before it has a chance to invade your air flow system is as simple as keeping up with routine dusting and vacuuming and will do wonders for your HVAC cleanliness. Additionally, always use the highest efficiency filter for the vacuum, purchasing one with a HEPA certification if possible.
Tip: If you’re doing construction or renovations in the home, seal off supply and return registers in the house before dust has a chance to get into the ducts.
- Schedule regular maintenance checkups and cleaning. The best way to ensure your HVAC system is healthy is by having a professional assessment. While there are quite a few things you can do on your own for maintenance, a professional cleaning can create a noticeable improvement in air quality and the efficiency of your unit.
If it’s time to have a professional look at your HVAC system, contact SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County today!
Preventing Mold Growth After You’ve Experienced Water Damage | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County
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The devastating effects of water damage are well known to any home or business owner that has been affected by it. Not only can it cause extensive damage, but it can also present unique health hazards and risks.
One of the most dangerous of these risks is mold growth. Many negative symptoms associated with mold exposure have been reported by the CDC, and the problem is made worse due to how quickly mold can grow.
If you’re concerned with preventing mold growth after your home has been affected by water damage, here are the steps you can take to help stop mold before it takes hold:
Before You Start
- Wait for the go-ahead from officials that water has receded and you are safe to enter.
- Take photos and videos of damage throughout for insurance claim purposes, making sure to include furniture and walls.
Tips for Drying
- Open windows and doors to maximize airflow for as long as weather permits.
- A heavy-duty, outdoor vacuum can be used before the professional cleanup crew arrives.
- Make use of fans, dehumidifiers and heaters to speed up drying time.
Sorting Items Exposed to Water
- Due to the non-porous nature of metal, plastic and glass, they can often be cleaned, disinfected and reused.
- Discard any porous materials, such as wood, upholstery and paper of any kind, as they can trap mold spores.
- It is important to note that drying carpet will not necessarily remove mold spores if they’ve already begun to grow.
A Professional Should Always Be Consulted
Mold is commonly associated with discolorations and foul odors, but can also lurk unnoticed long before it is seen, posing a serious danger to your household health. Carpets can often be salvaged after water damage, but at minimum, experts typically recommend replacing the carpet pad.
While a pad replacement is less costly than a full re-carpeting of the home, only a professional can determine if this is adequate enough in your situation.
If you’ve encountered water damage, SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County can help with the restoration and remediation of any water and mold damages you need assistance with.
What You Can Do Safely Before Fire Restoration Help Arrives | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County
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Learning that you’ve been affected by a home fire is a devastating feeling. The good news is, much of the damage can be mitigated through restoration if you hire a professional.
Not only will a professional work with your homeowner’s insurance company on your behalf, but they will also be able to salvage more items in the cleanup. However, it’s natural to want to do what you can to get started as you’re waiting for help to arrive.
While some things should always be left to the professionals, there are a few things you can do while you wait. If you’d like to start on fire restoration ASAP, here are three things you can safely do:
Starting laundry right away is a great way to help the cleanup process, as most things will have to be washed several times. As long as your machines have not been affected, washing any clothing, bedding or other machine washable materials with an alkaline cleaner or vinegar solution is a great place to start. Leave delicate fabrics, upholstery and curtains to professional care.
If weather allows, reduce the smoky smell by opening windows and doors, and let them remain open as long as possible. While the restoration team will bring industrial-grade equipment to aid this process once they arrive, this is a small step you can take toward helping the process along.
Non-porous surfaces—such as tile and countertops—can benefit from a scrub with soap and water to cut through the outermost layer of grime. A mild dish soap or alkaline cleaner will get you started, but let the professionals handle the usage of anything more heavy-duty. Cleaning improperly can result in more severe and possibly permanent damage to your surfaces, so anything you’re unsure about should be left to the pros.
In the event of a house fire, SERVPRO® has a team of trained professionals that can help your life get back to normal, faster.
Why Carpet Cleaning Is a Smart Choice for Your Home | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County
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If you’re like most homeowners, carpet cleaning is likely not on your list of regular chores. Many assume that vacuuming will suffice—unfortunately, simply running over the carpet doesn’t tackle the heavier debris lying below the surface.
It’s true that most carpet companies require regular cleaning to maintain the manufacturer’s warranty, but there are several other reasons why regular carpet cleaning is important. By improving indoor air quality, allowing for easier floor maintenance and banishing bugs and mites, carpet cleaning is a smart choice for any homeowners looking to have clean and well-maintained floors.
Still not convinced? Here are some ways that carpet cleaning can be beneficial:
Improve indoor air. Carpet routinely holds on to dirt, but more dangerous pollutants and bacteria might also be lurking within the fibers. Any time your family comes inside, they’re unknowingly bringing contaminants from the outside air in with them. Because vacuuming only handles surface-level debris, the other pollutants are free to degrade indoor air quality until they’re professionally removed.
Have easier floor maintenance. While vacuuming only handles the surface dirt, professional cleaning and regular vacuuming can make your life much easier! Regularly cleaned carpets are simpler to vacuum because the heavy-duty dirt and debris have already been removed, so they’ll stay cleaner, longer.
Extend your carpet’s life. In remodels, carpet is often ripped out because it looks “tired”—which is just another way to say that it’s been too dirty for too long. Every time dirty carpet is walked on, the debris becomes more embedded and serves as sandpaper against the fibers, leading to a shorter lifespan.
Remove mites and bugs. Like any soft material, mites and bugs are quite happy taking residence within carpet fibers. Thankfully, professional cleaning creates an inhospitable living environment for the critters, and staying on a regular schedule will prevent them from coming back.
Still unsure how carpet cleaning can benefit your home? Contact our team of professionals today at 845-831-3600!
Building Your Family’s Emergency Kit the Right Way | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County
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In 2017, over $306 billion in damage was declared that directly correlated to natural disasters. Emergency situations happen now more than ever, and being prepared is a sound investment in safety and peace of mind.
At SERVPRO®, we’re committed to educating the community about emergency preparedness. That’s why we’ve assembled tips on how to pack a natural disaster kit for the whole family, so you can have everything you need until help arrives:
Food and Water: When deciding how to pack food and water rations, it’s recommended to set aside a 72-hour supply per family member. Not sure what to include? Shelf-stable items like granola bars, trail mixes or nearly anything you might find in a store’s camping section are filling, require no preparation and don’t take up much space. If you have pets, the same 72-hour rule applies to their food and water as well.
Tip: Canned foods and dehydrated dinners are great, but typically require the use of a camping stove or water heater to prepare.
Stay Comfortable: Remember your emergency kit is for the worst-case scenario—meaning you might be dependent on it for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Things like pillows, blankets and extra clothes might not seem important, but you wouldn’t want to go several days without them. Keep the living space sanitary by packing practical items like hand sanitizer and paper towels as well.
Tip: Pack cards, books and puzzles for the kids (and adults!) to pass the time with.
Odds and Ends: The odds and ends regularly get overlooked, but are often the handiest items. Remember the first-aid kit, as well as any prescription medication, copies of important documents, and cash or travelers’ checks. Additionally, survivalist tools such as flashlights, headlamps, a Swiss Army Knife and duct tape are useful for many situations, with the added benefit of taking up almost no space.
Tip: Forgetting something? Make note of everything your family uses in a three-day period—chances are, if they use it, you should pack it.
If you need help with disaster preparedness or recovery, SERVPRO can help. Contact our Western Dutchess County location today to get connected with our team of professionals.
Keep Mold From Becoming an Unwelcome Houseguest | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County
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In any home, moisture and dampness are problems that will eventually present themselves. Moisture from faucets, pipes or steam will encourage mold spores to move in, and once they’ve made themselves at home, they’re quite difficult to evict! Thankfully, you can prevent mold from becoming your new roommate through a bit of room-by-room prevention.
We understand mold remediation, so we’re familiar with the many surprising places it can take hold. No one wants a mold infestation, so we’re going through room by room to help you know how to keep the home clear.
A typical laundry room isn’t the site of standing moisture, but pipes and laundry machines can mask mold growth easily. To stop the growth before it starts:
- Check the pipes, joists and connectors for leaks.
- Never allow clothes to sit in the washing machine after a cycle.
- Let the washer and dryer air out after use.
- Check the dryer vents for excessive lint—it can encourage mold to spawn.
There are a lot of water sources in the bathroom, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of mold’s ideal residences. Thankfully, preventing mold in the bathroom just takes a few tasks:
- Annually seal tile grout to prevent moisture from getting between cracks.
- Replace curtain liners and launder shower curtains.
- Open a window or install a vent fan to clear out steam quickly.
- Keep a squeegee handy to remove excess moisture after showers and baths.
When people think basements, mold comes to mind. While they’re notorious for moisture accumulation, basements also have the most hands-off mold prevention strategies. Here’s how to keep your underground mold-free:
- Invest in an automatic dehumidifier, so moisture levels stay low to begin with.
- Clear out any clutter mold could hide behind.
- Insulate piping to guard against bursting and leaks.
- Regularly inspect foundation and walls for excess water.
If you need help with mold prevention or remediation, our team of experts at SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County will be happy to help!
Cleaning Your Walls to Achieve Perfect Paint | SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County
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If you’re freshening up your home or doing a remodel with a tight budget, a DIY paint project is a common way to extend your dollar further. Before you pop open that paint can, though, make sure you’re taking the proper steps to prepare your walls.
Painting over dirty walls isn’t one of the “DIY horror stories” you often hear about, so most homeowners don’t know the danger until it happens to them. Thankfully, having a paint job that lasts a lifetime is as simple as properly preparing your walls.
Even on a shoestring budget, investing in clean walls will save your remodeling budget in more ways than one. We’ve seen a lot of things go wrong, which is why SERVPRO® of Western Duchess County has put together a list of ways to make sure your paint project goes right.
###Paint Is Likely to Chip or Flake The paint industry has come a long way over the years, but no matter how high-tech your brand, there are some things it just won’t stick to. Painting over dust or dirt might be passable in the short term but will have long-term consequences for homeowners. At first, the paint will just appear uneven, but in time it will begin to flake, leading to the ruin of an entire wall. Fixing this mistake requires cleaning and paint—an expense not in many DIY budgets.
###Greasy Walls Interfere With Binding Dust and dirt is one thing, but painting over grease can be just as harmful to your project. Grease and residue can come in between the paint and the wall and prevent the binding process that makes paint long-lasting. While this is common in kitchens and mudrooms, if your home has central heat or air, this debris can be carried all throughout the house. The paint will dry unevenly, and once this happens, walls must be sanded, cleaned and re-painted to look even again.
###It Will Make it Harder Down the Road You might be itching to sell or ready to stay in the home forever, but eventually, it will be time for a switch in the color palette. Paint that isn’t flaking might look OK aesthetically, but if there’s residue trapped underneath, a professional will eventually have to sand and prime the walls. You might have to cover this cost, or you might have a buyer that requests a lower selling price—regardless, that’s money coming directly out of your budget.
Whether buying, selling or just sprucing up a bit, a professional wall cleaning service is an investment that will save you time and money in the long term. A properly prepared wall will leave you with beautiful paint that will last a lifetime…or until your décor tastes shift!
If you’re doing a remodel or just a change of style, SERVPRO® of Western Dutchess County can help your walls look like new.