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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.

Frozen Pipes 101

11/23/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Frozen Pipes 101 These easy tips will help prevent a massive headache

Pipe bursts are one of the most common water damages that SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County receives from the months of December to March. 

Simple fact, when water freezer it expands. When water freezes in a pipe, that pipe can only expand so much before it bursts. However, it's not necessarily the frozen water the caused the burst. The water pressure between the ice and the closed faucet has enough pressure to break a pipe and cause water damage in your home or business. 

Some tips on how to prevent frozen pipes:

-Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells.

-Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through the faucets.

-Keep your home or office temperature no lower than 55 degrees F.

-If going away, have someone check on your house or business daily to make sure it's warm enough.

-Seal leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.

-Insulate pipes in crawl spaces and attics. These are the most susceptible to freezing.

If you find you have frozen pipes, call a plumber immediately. Should you have any water damage, call SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County at 845-831-3600 and we'll clean up all the damage.

We really are a one-stop shop!

11/23/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO We really are a one-stop shop! No matter the work needed, we'll make it "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County is offering reconstruction services for all mitigation damages! No longer do you need to find someone else to perform your restoration portion of the water, mold or fire damage! After we come in and perform the cleanup services, we can smoothly transition into the reconstruction services to help restore your home or office back to preloss condition!

With our new Reconstruction division, we are excited to offer the following services during the reconstruction process: 

  • Structural repairs
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Windows/Doors
  • Interior Design
  • Flooring Replacement (all types)
  • Ceilings
  • Roofing
  • Drywall
  • Siding
  • Exterior Finishes
  • Carpentry
  • Framing
  • Tile Work

Call today for more information 845-831-3600 or visit our Facebook Page or our website for tons of helpful articles, blogs, tips, pictures and posts!

Fireplace tips to help keep your Western Dutchess County home safe

11/23/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Fireplace tips to help keep your Western Dutchess County home safe While fireplaces can provide warmth and comfort, if you are not careful, they can also be a hazard.

When the colder temperatures start to set in, many homeowners will turn to their fireplace, wood or pellet stoves as an additional heat source. While fireplaces can provide warmth and comfort, if you are not careful, they can also be a hazard. Keep in mind the following precautions to help ensure a safe winter season.

Keep Your Chimney Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean

  • Have your chimney, fireplace, wood or pellet stove inspected and cleaned by a licensed chimney specialist. They should be maintained annually to help ensure they are functioning safely and efficiently. 
  • Be sure to keep the area around the hearth clear of debris, decorations and any other combustible materials.
  • If you have a wood burning, insert or pellet stove, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for additional guidance related to operation and venting.

Keep Fires Burning Safely

  • Be sure the flue is open before lighting your fire to help ensure the fireplace will vent properly. Do not close your damper until you are sure the fire is out.
  • When starting a fire, only use a match or commercial firelighter. Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Glass doors of a fireplace should be kept open while burning a fire. This allows the fire to receive enough air for complete combustion and to help reduce creosote build-up in the chimney.
  • Metal mesh screens should remain closed whenever your fireplace is in use to help keep embers in the fireplace.
  • Only use dry wood in your fireplace. Wet wood can increase creosote buildup, which can lead to chimney fires.
  • Do not burn plastic because it can release toxic chemicals and cause damage to your chimney, fireplace or wood stove.
  • Never burn a Christmas tree in your fireplace as the sparks from the burning needles can increase the risk for a chimney fire. Also, do not burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper or trash in your fireplace.
  • Never leave a fire in a fireplace unattended. Before leaving the house or going to bed, you should make certain to fully extinguish the fire.
  • Allow ashes to cool completely before disposing of them — ashes can take several days to cool completely. Never empty ashes directly into a trash can. Instead, place ashes in a covered metal container located at least 10 feet1 away from your home and any other building.

Keep the Outside of Your Home and Your Chimney Safe

  • Firewood should be stacked at least 30 feet away from your home.2
  • Your roof and chimney should be kept clean of leaves, pine needles and other debris. Prune trees and branches to keep them away from your chimney.
  • Install a chimney cap with spark arrester to help keep debris, leaves, branches and animals out, and to help prevent burning embers or sparks from escaping and creating a fire hazard.

Keep the Inside of Your Home Safe with Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors to help make your winter even safer, we recommend that you take the time to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A smoke detector is the most effective way to detect smoke from a fire and signal an alarm so that you can get you and your family out safely. A carbon monoxide detector can alert you to the buildup of this dangerous odorless and colorless gas. Make sure you test the detectors monthly, and after you change the batteries to ensure they work properly.

Source: 
1 National Fire Protection Association. (2015). Wood and Pellet Stove Safety. PDF accessed from http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/safety-tip-sheets.
2 National Fire Protection Association. (2015). Wildland Fire Safety. PDF accessed from http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/safety-tip-sheets.

(Reference: The Travelers Companies, Prepare & Prevent-Individuals-For Households-Fire Safety, www.travelers.com/resources/home/fire-safety/fireplace-safety-maintenance)

Did you know we perform air duct and HVAC cleanings too?

11/23/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Did you know we perform air duct and HVAC cleanings too? Don't let a dirty filter wreak havoc on your HVAC system, call SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County for more info!

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality. Make it a priority to inspect the ductwork of your home or business.

If your HVAC has been operating for some time without attention, it could be circulating one or more of the following:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Odors
  • Dirt and debris
  • Other contaminants

SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County Professionals routinely inspect the heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC).  Keeping them clean can extend the life of the equipment. This can in turn save you money and give you cleaner air to breathe.

However, duct cleaning is not always necessary. We will make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This can save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your system.

The benefits of servicing your HVAC unit include:

  • Helps to restore peak energy efficiency.
  • May help to eliminate offensive odors.
  • Helps reduce the potential for mold growth.

For more information on HVAC and air duct cleaning, call SERVPRO of Western DUtchess County today, (845)831-3600.

What do you do when important documents are damaged? You call SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County

11/21/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO What do you do when important documents are damaged? You call SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County The SERVPRO Drying Chamber

Think about all the important documents at a hospital, law office, government building, home or any other job where a water loss has occurred. Who is going to take care of those documents? Instead of using a subcontractor, keep it green and call us, SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County has an invaluable service called Document Restoration.

Documents that can be restored could be as small as precious family keepsakes such as a bible or photo albums, to an entire hospital's medical documents. Items will be cleaned using a special process, deodorized and can be digitized and returned to you in a timely fashion. Other key points:

  • Vacuum freeze drying is the most efficient and effective way to salvage water-damaged documents.
  • SERVPRO’s technicians are trained to use the most advanced technology available for document recovery and drying; in fact, the Document Restoration Team uses the same technique the Library of Congress uses to dry water-damaged books. 
  • All employees of the Document Restoration Team are HIPAA Master certified and once your items arrive at the SERVPRO facility, 24/7 video surveillance is guaranteed.

This process is another great service SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County offers to anyone who might need it and another great way we can make it "Like it never even happened."

Questions about document Restoration? Call us today at 845-831-3600.

Taking a little bit of time now can be an invaluable resource later- consider doing a home inventory

11/20/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Taking a little bit of time now can be an invaluable resource later- consider doing a home inventory Having a list of your home's inventory can be a big stress reliever in the event of a fire.

A relatively painless process can help you recover more from insurance after a catastrophe-

The devastation from the recent California fires is a reminder of why it’s important to take stock of what you own now—before something happens.  

In the unlikely event of a fire, a wind storm, a robbery, or another unexpected event, homeowners insurance can help you repair your home and recover or replace your belongings. But you’ll need to remember what you’ve lost—which can be a challenge during a time of trauma.

That’s why it’s wise to consider doing a home inventory. Having a list or visual reminder of your belongings can make a big difference in how much the insurer will pay, and thus how well you’ll recover financially.

“A home inventory is beneficial because it gives homeowners and insurers a clear picture of how many items are in a home and how much it would cost to replace them in the event of a natural disaster,” says Michael Barry, a spokesperson at the industry-sponsored Insurance Information Institute, based in New York City.

It's Easy to Get Started:

Creating a home inventory doesn’t have to be difficult.

“It can even be as simple as standing in the middle of each room and taking a 360-degree video, and uploading to the cloud or emailing it to yourself,” says Melanie Hart, senior underwriting manager for the San Antonio insurance company USAA. 

To start, focus first on the big and valuable: major appliances, jewelry, furniture, rugs, electronics, and art or collectibles.

Using your smartphone’s video feature, sweep the camera around a room, narrating the description of items you’re filming and—if you remember—what you paid. (Photograph receipts if you have them.) Capture serial numbers and brand names when possible so that the insurer can replace what you had with exact or similar items.

Once you’ve cataloged the pricier items for your home inventory, open cabinets, drawers, closets, and boxes and do the same. But don’t sweat the small stuff too much. An insurance adjuster is likely to create a “bulk estimate” of those things—for example, $200 for everything in your utility closet, insurers told us.

Store the Information Right

Store the images and video for your home inventory on a cloud service, such as iCloud or OneDrive, or put it on a thumb drive and stash it in a safe deposit box or fireproof safe.

Several insurers even offer free web-based home inventory storage tools and apps. American Family Insurance’s DreamVault, for instance, lets anyone create a digital home inventory; it’s available online and as an Android or iOS app.  

If you experience any kind of fire damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of Western Dutchess County is here to help 24/7, 845-831-3600.

(Reference: Consumer Reports, Homeowners Insurance, Do A Home Inventory Now- Avoid Heartache Later  https://www.consumerreports.org/homeowners-insurance/do-a-home-inventory-now-avoid-heartache-later/)