Employee Spotlight: Kirk Hart, Restoration Technician
Kirk Hart is a Water, Fire and Mold Restoration Technician with SERVPRO of MIlford-Orange-Stratford.
Our crew works day after day, helping home and business owners during difficult times. They are on call throughout the night, on weekends, on holidays and in bad weather. Their dedication to their jobs often goes without much recognition. This month, we’d like to recognize one of our crew members who shows up with a smile on his face no matter what the circumstances.
Kirkland Hart has worked in the restoration industry for seven years, the last five with our SERVPRO franchises. Originally from Clarendon, Jamaica, Kirk now lives in Bridgeport with his wife and four children. When not at work, you can find him playing soccer (futbol) or dominos or enjoying his favorite meal, chicken and rice.
If we were to make a list of what attributes make a valuable employee, Kirk would be in mind. What stands out about Kirk is his can-do attitude and willingness to help our customers as well as others on the crew. If there is a job that needs to be done, Kirk will make it happen - even if that means coming into work early and staying late. He takes pride in his work and easily falls into a leadership role with our newer employees.
We understand that our customers are dealing with a stressful situation and having a crew in their home can sometimes be difficult. Kirk’s smile and friendly nature enable him to connect with our customers and put them at ease. He is kind and helpful when people need it most. We are grateful to have such a guy as part of our team.
We Restore New Haven County Apartment Buildings After Fire,Mold and Water Damage
If your Milford area apartment complex has a fire, water or mold disaster, call us at (203) 301-0500. We have the resources to restore your property.
When you own or manage an apartment building in New Haven County there are many factors that can cause disaster in your complex.
Home to many families, all it takes is one tenant being forgetful and leaving a pot of boiling water on the stove to cause widespread smoke damage. A toilet overflow can cause water and sewage damage to multiple residences. Often, tenants don’t report problems inside their apartments such as a water spots on the ceiling or a musty smell and by the time you discover it, the damage is a big problem.
The tenants in your apartment building count on you to prevent water, fire and mold damage in the building and address them as they arise. As the owner of the building, the maintenance and upkeep of the facility falls to you directly.
The services offered by SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford can assist commercial property owners. We provide preventative maintenance, such as commercial cleaning of carpets and upholstered furniture in common areas as well as air duct cleaning. We are also your local professionals for water, fire, mold, sewage and vandalism clean up.
There are many ways in which your apartment building can be damaged by water. For example, heavy snow can cause roof leaks or even a collapse due to the weight of the snow. Our franchise provides emergency tarping and boarding up 24 hours a day/7 days a week in the event that there is damage to your roof or windows.
Appliance leaks are commonplace in apartment buildings. Supply lines to refrigerators and ice makers, dishwashers and washing machines fail, causing water damage to not only the apartment itself but also to the floors below. We also see restore a number of commercial buildings each year after the pipes freeze and burst.
Quick cleanup is essential in commercial water damage situations-the longer water sits, the less salvageable items such as hardwood flooring, carpets and personal belongings become. As an apartment complex owner, the more you can save, rather than replace, the better. Mold can begin to grown in as little as 24 hours and spread throughout the building if the water removal process is not addressed immediately.
Even the smallest apartment fires can cause tremendous smoke and soot damage in your building. Because of the shared walls and ventilation systems, smoke and soot can easily travel throughout the building, filling the apartments with smoke. Our franchise has the crew and equipment to respond to widespread fire damage and begin the restoration process quickly and efficiently. We have the technology to not only clean the building itself but also restore the contents of the apartments, removing soot and smoke odors.
With so many families and tenants that trust you to keep them safe and take care of any problems that may arise, you need to have a restoration company that you can trust to be on the job and taking care of you if you have a water or fire emergency. SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford offers an Emergency Preparedness Plan that helps you have all of the pieces in place to best respond to an emergency in your commercial building. Give us a call today at (203) 301-0500 to discuss how we can help you keep your building safe.
Commercial Water, Mold and Fire Damage Restoration Services
The commercial restoration team at SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford cleans a warehouse after a fire caused damage.
SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford offers full commercial cleaning services. Whether your business has experienced a flood or a fire and requires restoration and clean up or you discover mold in your offices, we help New Haven County businesses get back to conducting business as usual, as fast as possible. You can’t afford to have your business doors shut and we have the team, equipment and resources to professionally restore the damage quickly and correctly.
Water Damage Restoration
When it comes to water damage at commercial properties, we’ve seen it all – from coffee maker lines bursting to basement flooding. We offer 24 hour service, 7 days a week because floods don’t wait for business hours. No matter where your business is located and no matter if you are a small privately owned business or a big box store, we have the resources and training to fix your problem.
Fire Damage Restoration
If your company has experienced a fire, business continuity is your primary concern. In addition to smoke, soot and structural damage from the fire itself, most businesses that have had a fire also have extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. As a trusted leader in fire and water damage restoration, SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford knows the ins and outs of fire damage and the extra damage that can come with it. We have training and experience in fire and smoke restoration, odor control, upholstery and fabric cleaning as well as all aspects or water damage restoration.
Mold can be frightening to discover at your Fairfield County business. Mold, whether from a leak or plumbing, can cause serious problems to those who enter your business, give us a call to discuss how we can manage it as we work fast to address the mold. We know how to contain mold growth while reducing the number of mold spores in the air and on surfaces. Our crew members have training as Applied Microbial Remediation Specialists as well as Applied Structural Drying.
Our team, based out of Woodbridge, CT has the experience, knowledge, and expertise necessary to keep your business running after a water, fire or mold disaster. It’s our business to keep you in business.
Avoid Basement Floods With Proper Sump Pump Maintenance
Properly maintaining our sump pump can help you avoid flooding in the basement of your Milford, CT home or business
Many of our customers have a sump pump installed in the basement of their New Haven County home to keep it dry. Sump pumps ensure that the water drains properly and does not collect in your home, causing water damage. If you maintain your sump pump, it should perform it's job and you will forget that it is there. However, If you neglect your sump pump, a failure can happen, resulting in water damage and a big mess. Inspecting a sump pump is a task that a homeowner can do on their own. We recommend doing an annual inspection.
- Check the power source for the pump. It should connect to a ground fault circuit interruptor (GFCI) for maximum safety. Inspect the cord to the pump, looking for evidence of wear and tear.
- Find the outlet pipe that allows the water to drain outside of your home. Make sure that there aren't any clogs or damages done to the drain making it impossible for water to exit the home and flow away from the foundation.
- Make sure the pump is level and upright. When it runs, the vibrations from the motor or the force of the water can cause it to tilt, which will let the float shift out of place.
- Locate the sump pump in the lower level of your home and check the inside of it to ensure that the pump is not clogged with debris.
- Take the pump out of the basin. At the bottom, there should be a grate, which needs cleaned of any debris that could cause a malfunction.
- Slowly pour approximately 5 gallons of water into the pump to simulate if a storm were to hit. As you pour, watch for it to turn on and start pumping the water out of your home. If should start pumping when the water reaches about 8-12 inches below the basement floor. This task simply assures you that the pump will run when it needs to and that nothing has malfunctioned.
- If your sump pump contains a float in the basin, make sure that it is also functioning properly and not caught on anything while running the test. This float is what lets the sump pump know when the water reaches a certain height and activates the pump.
Most sump pumps work with no issues however we do receive calls from those unlucky homeowners that experience a failure and have a flooded basement. If your sump pump fails, give SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford a call at (203) 301-0500.
Having an Inventory of Your Household Contents Will Help in the Case of Disaster
Taking an inventory of the items in your home will help make the reimbursement process go smoothly in the event of a theft or water damage.
One of the best pieces of advice that we can give homeowners is to take a full inventory of their household contents. Most of us have a house full of belongings that we have accumulated over a lifetime which have both sentimental and monetary value. If you experience a theft or home disaster due to a storm, it may be difficult to recall every item in your home that may be missing.
By taking an inventory of your home, you will simplify your life in a number of ways. If there is a theft in your home or a water or fire loss, having an accurate accounting of your belongings will make your insurance claim much easier. Not only is keeping track of your things difficult under normal circumstances, if you have had a tragic event, your emotional state might make the ability to recall things even harder. An accurate list, with photos and values included, will help both you and your insurance company streamline the process of reimbursement of your losses.
Having a detailed list will also assist you in determining how much insurance coverage is needed to adequately protect you. If your home has been affected by a weather-related disaster such as a tornado or a hurricane and are eligible for assistance or a tax break, keeping an inventory can be beneficial.
When making a household contents inventory list, include both new and inherited items. Don’t forget to include items found in your shed or garage – the value of lawn tools can add up! We recommend going room by room as you add items to the list. Take photos of each item and include these in your document. If you have a receipt for valuable items, scan it as well and include the copy on your list. The same should be done with any items that you have had appraised.
Make sure that you will have access to your list in the event that your computer is damaged or not accessible after the water damage. Although a hard drive or memory card could be used as a backup, they are also at risk of being destroyed. The best option is to keep your inventory list on the cloud or other external storage site.
Taking an inventory of your household items will give you peace of mind. It can be done in a day and then simply added to if you purchase or are gifted new items. Preparedness is the key step for recovering from a disaster smoothly. And while you have done your part, SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford will do ours. Whether you have a flooded basement due to storm water, broken glass from a theft or water damage because your roof was damaged when a tree fell on your home, our team will clean it up and help you get back to your normal life.
Why Professional Restoration is Necessary When Mold is Found in Your Home
Whether it's just a small patch of mold in your attic or your basement walls are covered with it, call us for a professional recommendation.
With all of the attention and media coverage about household mold, and it's associated health risks, the office staff at SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford often field phone calls from concerned homeowners who have discovered mold in their home.
Unfortunately, the internet is full of misinformation on what is effective and safe mold removal - such as the misconception that bleach kills mold (it does not). While there are some cases where a small area of mold on a non-porous surface can be effectively cleaned by a homeowner themselves, we recommend having a SERVPRO IICRC trained professional come and inspect your home. Our team has decades of experience and training that they use to identify your mold situation and advise you on a course of action.
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. A homeowner may have cleaned all visible evidence of mold from a hard surface yet not know the level of mold spores in the air and how it is affecting their home and their health. Mold spores also root into porous surfaces such as carpeting, wood and sheet rock walls and ceilings. So if you scrub down black mold on your windowsill, the mold might appear to have been removed but actually is still present inside of the wood and will reappear.
Mold is a sign that there is a problem in your home. Whether it's a leaky pipe behind a wall that you can't see, water behind some boxes in your basement or inadequate venting in your attic that is causing high humidity, the cause of the mold in your home is something that needs to be addressed.
Give us a call at (203) 301-0500 if you spot mold in your New Haven County CT home. We will schedule an appointment for one of our mold specialists to come out to your house, survey the situation and give you an honest opinion of what action needs to be taken.
The Top Causes of Residential Water Damage
After the pipes froze and burst in this Bethany, CT home, the water flooded the basement.
As a homeowner, you are at risk of experiencing water damage in your house.
This is true regardless of whether your house is old or new, big or small, in the country or in the city. From supply line leaks to bathtub overflows to frozen pipes, our water damage restoration team has seen it all here in New Haven County.
These are the most common causes of residential water damage that SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford responds to.
Water Heater Leaks
Usually located in the basement, a water heater leak can be an especially damaging event because it is not always immediately discovered. Water heater failures occur for a variety of reasons. Often, the leak is caused by a loose or faulty drain valve. Inspecting your heater’s valves and tightening them if needed is an easy way to avoid disaster. As water heaters age, they can corrode and rust, causing degradation to the tank. This can cause your water heater to leak and flood your basement.
Clogged pipes can occur due to several reasons but the result is eventually the same- water damage. Keep a lookout for the signs of a clogged pipe such as reduced water pressure. Look for small leaks from your pipes as well as mildew, mold and water stains on walls. If water drains slowly in your sinks or shower, that is a sign that your pipes are partially clogged. If you hear gurgling sounds when there is no water running through your pipes, that may indicate a clogged sewer line. Educate your family on what items should be disposed of in your toilet to avoid a toilet clog. If you have a septic system, the regular use of enzymes in your toilet and shower drains can help keep them clear.
Household Appliance Malfunctions
We have seen water damage from all household appliances-especially refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines. This can occur from a supply line leak – although the line is often small, the water that runs through it is unlimited. Supply lines can deteriorate and fail with age but we’ve even seen new lines break, so keep an eye behind your appliances for potential issues. Replacing rubber hoses with braided stainless steel ones will reduce your risk of a supply line leak. Washing machines can leak due to a water pump failure and broken door seals, gaskets and latches. Regular maintenance of your washing machine is recommended.
In Connecticut, frozen pipes are a common event and keep our crews busy through the winter months. Pipes usually freeze because the home or area of a home such as a sunroom is inadequately heated. The pipes are forced to expand due to the frozen water, causing the pipe to crack. When the temperature warms up, the water flows freely through the cracks, causing massive damage. If you lose heat to your home due to a power outage during a snowstorm, feel your pipes to make sure they aren't freezing and use an alternative heat source if available.
On the Connecticut shoreline, basements are inherently damp. They are prone to flooding, and are the home to pipes that may leak. If you have high levels of moisture in your basement, install a dehumidifier to dry it out. Make sure that the ground around your home is graded away to reduce flooding. Check your foundation for any cracks that may be allowing water in and seal them up. Broken gutters that are not properly directing the water away from the house can also contribute to basement flooding.
Sump Pump Failure
A sump pump can be a life saver if you have a wet basement but if it fails, you can have major water damage. If your sump pump fails to operate, whether due to a power failure, or malfunction, the groundwater level around the foundation can rise to the point that it flows up and out of the sump onto the basement floor. Take the time to inspect your sump part regularly and check your basement if you have a power outage.
Prompt action is the number one thing a homeowner can do if they have water damage. The sooner the restoration process begins, the less work that will need to be done. SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford is New Haven County’s water restoration experts. Our team is highly trained and experienced. Call our Woodbridge office at (203) 301-0500 if your home is flooded with water.
Hoarding Conditions Inside of Homes Contributes to Water, Fire and Mold Damage
Hoarding can cause a home to be at risk of fire, water and mold damage.
Hoarding is a mental health disorder in which a person has a difficult time discarding possessions.
A home affected by hoarding can be a physical danger as well as a health risk. Hoarding creates conditions inside of a home that makes it vulnerable to water, fire and mold damage.
Hoarders often do not have clear access throughout their homes and windows and doors might be blocked by piles of items. This creates a fire hazard as there might not be a safe way to exit the home in case of fire. Emergency personnel may have difficulty responding to a health call because hoarding has made the home inaccessible.
Items that are stored and not used become a breeding ground for dust and dirt, which causes poor air quality in a home. Vents are often blocked in the homes of hoarders, reducing air circulation. Puddles, water damage and leaks go unnoticed and are left untreated. Combined with an endless food source from the boxes, fabric and paper that often accompanies hoarding, mold easily grows unnoticed in these homes.
Unstable piles of household goods can cause tripping, slipping and head injuries from falling objects. Flammable items can easily catch fire if they are too close to a heating source or stove. Clutter, garbage, animal or human feces can also cause respiratory and other health problems.
There is no simple solution to hoarding. Often the hoarder does not acknowledge a problem and it is only when there is an emergency that the problem is addressed. We approach the restoration of homes with hoarding with sensitivity and an understanding that the removal of items may be difficult for the homeowner. Our crew uses their training and equipment to remove debris, including biohazardous substances. We are able to clean contents to ensure that items being returned to the home are not contaminated. We may need to remove carpets and walls if they contain water or mold damage. We leave the home sanitized and deodorized.
If you or a loved one feel that the contents of your home have gotten out of control and you are concerned about safety, call SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford at (203) 301-0500 for a clean up consultation.
What Causes Sewage Backups and How Avoid One in Your Milford Home
After a toilet overflowed due to a clogged pipe in Fairfield, SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford cleaned up the job.
After a sewage backup at your home, your floors and the bottom of your walls may become saturated with sewage, as well as any household items such as bathroom cabinets that may have gotten caught up in the flood. Water from sewage is considered black water because it may contain bacteria and viruses. It is pertinent that if you have a sewage backup, it is cleaned up quickly and by a professional restoration company to reduce the risk of contamination spreading.
Knowing the causes of sewage backups can help you to avoid one.
Causes of Sewage Backups
- Clogs – If your home's drain pipes get clogged, you might have a backup.Aside from objects that shouldn't be flushed down the toilet,hair, grease, or other solid materials that end up in the drains can also create a clog.
- Tree Roots – Trees can grow really long roots that intertwine with your sewer line. Roots can grow into a pipe and cause holes or crush the sewer line by growing around it. Even if the roots in your yard are not the problem, roots from nearby trees can reach your sewer line and damage it.
- Damaged Sewer Lines – Most susceptible to sewage line malfunctions are older pipes (pre-1950) which are made of cast iron or even clay. Aging sewage systems can break down and crack, which can cause sewage backups and flooded basements. Newer homes usually have plastic sewer pipes, which are easier to install and handle however are more susceptible to breaking.
- Heavy Rainfall – If you are on a public sewer system, a large amount of rain can overburden your city’s sewer lines. If the public sewer can’t handle excess rainfall, the water can make its way into connected sewer lines, including the ones in your home. If you have a septic system at your home, it can be flooded by heavy rain as well and cause it to backup into your home.
How to Prevent Sewage Backups
- Don’t pour grease down the drain. Cooking oil can harden within your pipes; it gradually stops debris from draining, creating a clog. To properly dispose of grease or fat, pour it into a heat-resistant container and throw it in the trash after it cools off.
- Add drain traps. Insert drain baskets or strainers to catch solid objects and foods that might not easily break down.
- Dispose of paper products properly. Flushing hygiene products such as paper towels, diapers, or feminine products down the toilet can easily clog your sewer line. Save yourself some trouble and discard paper products in the trash.
- Cut tree roots.If you discover that tree roots are growing dangerously close to your sewer lateral, take the preventative measure of cutting the tree roots.
- Install a backwater prevention valve. This fixture allows sewage to leave but prevents it from backing up into your home. Backwater valves are typically installed into a sewer line and sometimes into a drain line in the basement.
- Clean your drains. An easy way to keep those drains clear, use an enzyme treatment or flush with one cup of baking soda followed by one cup of white vinegar and warm water on a monthly basis.
Will My Insurance Company Cover Mold Growth in My Milford Home?
If not immediately treated, mold can quickly spread throughout a home, causing extensive mold damage that may not be covered by your insurance agency.
When a homeowner discovers that mold is growing behind their walls, in their attic or under their carpeting, one of their first questions is whether the mold will be covered under their insurance policy.
Although there is no universal answer to that question, as homeowner's insurance policies are unique from provider top provider, there are some general guidelines that most insurance companies adhere to.
Typically, your homeowner's insurance policy will cover mold remediation if the mold is caused by "covered peril". What this means is that the cause of the mold growth is already covered by your insurance policy. Since mold is caused by high moisture levels, covered cases are generally from water damage claims. In addition, most of the homes that we restore after fire damage also have secondary water damage as a result of firefighting efforts. Because mold growth can happen within 24 hours, even water damage that is being properly addressed can lead to mold growth.
If the mold found in your home is not from a sudden and accidental event, it mostly likely will not be covered. Mold damage that is caused by a water leak or high moisture levels that could have been prevented typically do not fall under a homeowner's insurance policy. Insurance companies expect that a home should be properly maintained and any defects that could lead to mold growth addressed.
A scenario we frequently see is that of a pipe that bursts in the basement. If the homeowner discovers the damage later that evening and calls a restoration company to begin the cleanup, any mold growth caused by this event should be covered. However, if the water and mold damage from a pipe burst isn't discovered for two months because a home has been left vacant with no caretaker while the owners are away on winter vacation, an insurance company may decide that the home was being neglected and deny coverage.
A water leak from a washing machine that has been properly maintained would usually be covered. However, if the machine has old hoses that have been slowly leaking for months, that would be considered neglect and may not be covered.
Roof leaks are also a common cause of mold growth. Attics tend to be high moisture areas that aren't frequently visited. If you find mold in your attic despite having a newer roof that is properly maintained, you may be covered. A roof that has 40 year old shingles is considered past it's life and mold growth at that home may not be covered.
Most homeowner's insurance policies in Connecticut do not cover flood damage. If you have mold growth after heavy waters from a rainstorm leave a few inches of water in your basement, neither the water nor the mold damage will be covered. If you live in a high risk area for flooding you may consider purchasing separate flood insurance for your home.
Prevention is the key to avoiding uncovered mold damage at your New Haven area home. If you notice high moisture, damp areas of carpeting, buckling of vinyl or wood flooring or water stains on your ceiling or walls, do not ignore it! All of these are signs that there is a leak or high levels of moisture that can cause mold growth. As tempting as it may be to turn a blind eye to potential issues, acting on them quickly can save you thousands of dollars in the end.
If, despite proper home maintenance and vigilance, you still worry about mold in your home, a separate mold insurance rider can be purchased from most insurance companies.
If you see black, green or any shade of mold growing in your home, give us a call at (203) 301-0500. Our IICRC mold remediation professionals will inspect your home, find the source of the mold and advise you on a corrective course of action.