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Yes, We're Open and Safely Restoring New Haven County Homes After Water Damage

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused most of our lives to halt to a stop. Despite this, home and business owners still face many of the same challenges that existed prior to this outbreak. Dishwashers malfunction, roofs leak and basements flood just like before.

We are all concerned about spreading the coronavirus and some of our friends and customers have expressed concern over having people in their homes and businesses. Yet, water damage must be addressed quickly. Please be assured that our crew is practicing the highest level of safety as they work, for their own protection as well as yours. Some of the practices our franchise is adhering to strictly are:

  • Personal Protection Equipment: Our crew is wearing gloves and masks on every job
  • Social Distancing: We are following social distancing guidelines and maintaining a safe distance from each other as well as those who must remain in the building as we work
  • Disinfecting: We are wiping down surfaces that we touch - such as doorknobs and light switches -  with SERVPROxide, a hospital grade disinfectant. When deemed necessary, we are also applying the same disinfectant with a fogger in order to further sanitize. 

Why can't you just wait for a few weeks until things go back to normal?

Unfortunately, the more time that goes by with untreated damage, the worse the situation gets. 

The First 24 Hours:

  • Drywall, which is found on the walls and ceilings of most Connecticut homes, gets saturated and begins to disintegrate. Many people discover their water leak only after the ceiling is already on the floor. That's how quickly this can happen. 
  • You will notice a musty smell and normal household odors grow stronger. 
  • Any uncoated metal surfaces, which are vulnerable to moisture in the air, will begin to tarnish.
  • Your furniture may begin to show signs of damage. In particular, laminated furniture and flooring will begin to swell and crack due to the moisture. 
  • Free-floating laminated flooring may also begin to pop out of place due to swelling.

48 Hours to 1 Week: 

  • The 'clean water' situation will have been upgraded to a 'gray water' intrusion.
  • You will notice an earthy smell in the home, which is caused by standing water as well as building materials and contents that have begun to decay.
  • Because of the high moisture levels, fungi, mold and mildew will begin to grow at this time, especially on porous materials such as sheetrock and carpeting. 
  • Wood building materials begin to show signs of damage as they swell, warp and split. You will notice this on window frames, wall moldings, the interior doors in your home and even studs and joists at this time. 
  • Rust and corrosion will begin to occur on metal items. 
  • Electronics in the home will begin to malfunction. 
  • Wood flooring and furniture begin to swell from the saturation. 
  • The Indoor Air Quality in the structure is compromised and health hazards can become an issue. Occupants of the home who are at risk due to health issues may begin to experience negative health effects.

More Than 1 Week: 

  • A 'black water' situation is most likely the case at this time due to the growth of bacteria and other harmful contaminates in the home. 
  • Mold spores will spread quickly and begin to break down natural materials, wallpaper, wood paneling, and other building materials
  • The structural safety of the home is in question as wood building materials are compromised.
  • The air quality in the home can pose a danger to all inhabitants.
  • The costs associated with your insurance claim exponentially rises.  The demolition and replacement of, rather than the restoration of, damaged materials becomes necessary. 
  • Our water damage restoration crews will be required to wear personal protection equipment in order to work in your home. 

Septic Backups in Commercial Properties Cause Damage to New Haven County Businesses

3/20/2020 (Permalink)

Sewage backups are a literal mess and when you are a business owner, the call can come at any time.

Whether you own a restaurant and your public toilet has overflowed during the dinner rush or your retail business has a sewage flood that is quickly spreading on the carpeting, it’s a call that you don’t want to receive.

Toilet overflows and sewage backups are not an ordinary water damage event. Sewage is contaminated and the flooding caused can damage your commercial building and its contents as well as create a risk of disease. Knowing the causes, the preventative actions that can be taken and having a plan of action in place can help business owners reduce the extent of the damage to their building.

What causes a sewer backup?

Most often, sewage backups are caused by a blockage in the lateral line from your building to the main sewer. This can be caused by tree roots that damage pipes as well as debris that has clogged up the lines. Damage to your lines can also occur due to aging pipes that develop cracks. Even driving heavy equipment such as a moving truck across the lawn can damage the pipes buried there. 

Most sewage backups that occur due to blocked pipe occur over time, so there are some strategies that a business owner can take to reduce the chance of this happening.

You already know that a good plumber is essential to protecting your structure. Have your plumber conduct an annual inspection with the purpose of identifying potential problems before the pipes are completely blocked and flooding has occurred.

Follow your plumbers advice as to whether a water pressure reducing valve or a pop-up sewer release valve might protect your property in the case of a sewage backup.

Steps to Take if You Have a Sewage Backup

Our commercial property customers know to call us immediately upon the discovery of any water damage but this is even more important in the case of sewage flooding. Contaminated water poses a health risk and as it quickly makes it way into walls and flooring, the danger spreads.

It is essential that your employees do not clean up a sewage backup themselves. They can actually make the situation more dangerous and put themselves at risk. We recommend that the area is evacuated until the SERVPRO of Milford- Orange-Stratford restoration crew is on the scene to assess the damage and immediately begin the restoration process.

Our team is trained in how to execute a professional and efficient sewage damage restoration plan. We will remove not only the sewage, but also properly remove damaged materials and sanitize your structure and restore contents. One of the worst parts of a septic backup is the smell. Our team uses odor removal equipment to get rid of the stench left behind.

If you are not already familiar with the services that we offer commercial properties, give our office a call at (203) 301-0500 to see how we can help you protect your business from damage.

SERVPRO is Here to Help During This Time of Need

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford at (203) 301-0500.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

Concerned About Coronavirus Affecting Your Business? We Can Help.

3/11/2020 (Permalink)

here to help text written over virus cells If you are concerned about how coronavirus will affect your Milford business, call us to discuss how we can help.

With the Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) quickly spreading through the Northeast and Governor Lamont declaring a Public Health Emergency over the Coronavirus, we have started to receive calls from business owners who seek to keep their business clean.

Here's how we can help.

SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford first cleans, then disinfects (with a hospital grade disinfectant) when cleaning a commercial space.  Cleaning removes the soil and dirt that harbors the infectious agents, while disinfecting kills the remaining environmental pathogens.

Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of waste.
The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar type organisms to COVID-19.


SERVPROXIDE™, SERVPRO’s proprietary disinfectant, is a hospital-grade disinfectant that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces. In addition, SERVPROXIDE™ currently has dozens of EPA-approved claims including Feline coronavirus, Canine coronavirus, Staphylococcus (MRSA), E. coli, Salmonella, Rotavirus, Swine flu (H1N1) and more.

The CDC encourages the cleaning of high touch surfaces. In a commercial setting, this list includes:

  • Shelves and Racks
  • Displays and Mannequins
  • Packaged Inventory
  • Fitting Room Stalls, Chairs and Walls
  • Doorknobs, Light Switches and Lamps
  • Carpets and Hard Flooring
  • Computers, Telephones and Registers
  • Bathrooms, Toilets and Changing Tables
  • Sales Counters
  • Elevator Cars. Handrails and Escalators
  • Playground and Fitness Equipment
  • Lockers and Water Fountains

The list could go on but you get the idea. When you think about it, almost every surface in a retail setting is touched by many people each day. For more information, see the website that the CDC has created, Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities, which addresses homes, childcare and K-12 schools, colleges and universities, work environments, healthcare settings, and large community events and mass gatherings.   

It's clear from the efforts of others countries that we can't stop the spread of the virus entirely however we can take what others have learned and apply it to the situation in Connecticut. Governor Lamont said he’s talked to other governors, including the governor of Washington State, and what they have told him is that the only thing they regret is that they didn’t do more sooner.

It is important to note that while proactive cleaning can help remove existing contamination, it will not prevent or protect the building from future contamination if an infected person was to enter and occupy the building. 

Call us at 203-301-0500 to discuss how we can help your business.

With Spring Showers Comes Basement Flooding. We Can Help.

3/3/2020 (Permalink)

Boy, does it feel like spring today in Woodbridge!

It was a mild winter this year and unless a big surprise is on it’s way, it looks like it’s coming to an end. It’s at this time of year that our restoration team switches gears from “frozen pipes” to “flooded basements”. Basement flooding can occur at any time, but we see it especially in the spring, when snow melts and spring storms begin. 

When we get a call about a flooded basement, we always advise that the homeowner shuts off the electrical supply to the basement (if it’s safe to do so) as well as the main water supply if the water is caused by a burst pipe. With floodwaters, it’s always possible that the water is contaminated and for that reason, wearing protective clothing is a smart precaution to take. Calling your insurance company immediately is recommended. If you have a sump pump installed, wait for it to drain the floodwater. If the pump has a backup battery, it should drain the water even if the power is off.  If all of this seems overwhelming, our team is quick to respond and will be at your home quickly to mitigate the water damage. 

How can you reduce your risk of basement flooding? 

  1. In the fall, clean your gutters and downspouts and make sure that they will divert any rainwater at least six feet away from the house. The ground around your home should slope away from the structure. 
  2. Install a sump pump that automatically drains water from your basement and prevents water from rising. Choose one with a backup battery. 
  3. Seal openings or cracks in the walls, floors, foundations, and windows of your house.
  4. Install porous pavement around your home to help absorb rainwater and thawed snow.
  5. Ensure that your drainage systems and plumbing are working properly. Have them checked periodically by a professional.

Smoke Detector Effectiveness: Proper Placement and Mounting

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

Thanks to public safety awareness campaigns and building codes,most Connecticut households have a smoke detector in their homes.

Unfortunately, many homes still have an inadequate number of detectors and some of those may be mounted incorrectly. An improperly placed smoke detector can affect the devices ability to sense smoke quickly and put your home at risk of a fire. 

Because modern furnishings – from appliances to bedding to carpeting- are primarily made from synthetic materials, house fires spread faster than in the past, when furnishings were from natural materials. This creates a need for more detectors throughout the home in order to give everyone time to escape. The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code requires an alarm inside and outside of every sleeping room as well as on each floor of a home, including the basement.

Smoke detectors might also be installed in an ineffective place in a room.  When placed on a wall, it should be between 4" and 12" from the ceiling. When on a ceiling, it should be 4" from the adjoining wall, to avoid the "dead space", as seen in our graphic to the right. If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak). In a basement, the best place to install your alarm is at above the bottom step. Avoid installing near doors, air ducts and windows, as they might interfere with detection.  

Most of the smoke detectors found on store shelving today have a permanent, non removable lithium battery that will last ten years. This removes the need to replace the battery when it starts beeping – or worse, the battery being removed and not replaced. Of course, the detector itself will require replacement after ten years.  When the alarm starts chirping at the end of its lifespan, that is your signal to replace it. 

In our work as fire damage restoration professionals, we have seen the devastation that a house fire can cause. It's heartbreaking to see a home and all the contents that were very sentimental to those who lived there destroyed.

Take the time today to check your smoke detectors and make sure that they are properly placed, that there are enough of them and that they are in working order.  

"Hey, SERVPRO - I Have a Question..."

2/11/2020 (Permalink)

The first person you will likely talk to when you call our office is one of our administrative assistants- Theny and Alexis, or our office manager Kathy. These ladies have heard it all in their line of work - from exploding fire extinguishers, to toy drones catching on fire to a neighbor driving their car into a house. And we won’t even go into the things that children have shoved down toilets, causing overflows of epic proportions!

Typically, though, a day in the life of one our admins usually includes phone calls with questions such as:

Will this be covered by my homeowner’s insurance?

Whether it’s mold discovered in the basement, water damage from a leaky roof or broken windows from a fallen tree limb, this is often a question we get asked. And, the answer depends on your particular policy and will need to be answered by your insurance agent. That said, the majority of homeowner insurance policies cover water damage scenarios such as water damage from broken appliances, pipe leaks, burst and frozen pipes and toilet overflows. What is typically not covered? Flooding from storm water is typically not covered on a basic homeowner’s insurance policy. Nor is mold when due to a failure to maintain a home properly. For example, if you know that you have a roof leak and don’t address the problem, mold that grows as a result may not be covered. 

I’m nervous about workers in my home - who do you hire? 

We understand that it can be stressful to have a disaster in your home and unknown people working inside of it. We employ only people who we feel comfortable allowing into our own homes and on top of that, all of our employees have undergone a background check to ensure that they are trustworthy and safe. Our Production Managers oversee the crew as well as the work being done in your home and are available to you should you have any concerns at any time during the restoration. In addition to possessing advanced knowledge in the restoration industry, our main criteria when we select someone to be a Production Manager is that they are an easily approachable, “people person” who will put our customers at ease. 

How quickly can you get here?

You’ll see that we advertise that we are open 24-7. We have a crew on call throughout the night and on weekends to respond to emergencies. When you call during the day, we will typically be at your home or business within 1.5 hours. If there has been an unusual storm that has affected thousands of people in the area, we may take a little longer and prioritize our calls based on the level of need of our customers.

What services do you provide?

SERVPRO of Milford-Orange-Stratford is a full service, start to finish restoration company. We provide water and fire damage restoration as well as mold remediation in homes and businesses. Our team is trained to clean up biohazards such as oil spills, blood, feces and animal waste. Our cleaning services include duct cleaning as well as carpet and general cleaning. And our Building Services team is licensed to repair your home - offering services such as kitchen and bathroom installations and roof replacement.  

Not sure if we can help with your unusual disaster situation? Give us a call and ask. Chances are, it won't be the first time we've heard it!

Bad News Doesn't Get Better with Age - Resolve Your Ceiling Stain Problem Now to Avoid Further Damage

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

ceiling with water stain in the corner It's a small ceiling stain that you might want to ignore - but dealing with it now will save you a lot of trouble later!

Many homeowners turn a blind eye when they spot a yellow stain on their ceiling. I don’t know what we are thinking when we do this - clearly the spot was caused by a leak of some sort and isn’t going to disappear.

The old adage “bad news doesn’t get better with age” comes to mind here.

We can avoid the problem by averting our eyes away from the spots on the ceiling, however the problem will likely get worse the longer it is ignored. 

Ceiling stains are typically caused by a few common scenarios. 

  1. Leaks - Even a small leak can eventually cause water damage and mold. The leak usually occurs directly above the ceiling stain. An overflowing bathtub, leaky washing machine hose or broken toilet is often the culprit. Old caulking can allow water to leak onto the floor as well. Leaky pipes also create water spots. It’s common for water to run along rafters or damaged pipes and drop onto the ceiling. This causes the pooling of water in that spot. 
  2. Ice Dam Leakage: When stains appear at ceiling corners or outside walls, the most probable cause is ice dam leakage  We’ve also seen cases where the water from ice dams has made its way across the ceiling. A good way to see if your attic is not sufficiently insulated is to inspect the nail heads for condensation. If they are rusted or their sheathing is stained, condensation is the issue.
  3. Condensation: Sometimes, the connection between an exhaust pipe and roof cap is not airtight and moisture that should be released outside condenses wildly at the joint. The water slides down to the duct bottom and falls right back out of the exhaust pipe. Water damage from condensation can also occur when an air duct is not properly insulated. 

We know that you want to ignore the problem but doing so won’t make it go away. And if you read our blogs regularly, you know that denial can lead to further water damage and mold growth.

So, take your head out of the sand and figure out what is causing that spot! In many cases, ceiling stains are caused by easily remedied problems and if addressed immediately, will cause little disruption to your life. 

Connecticut Business Owners- Call Us to Set Up a Free Emergency Mobile App

1/21/2020 (Permalink)

a hand holding a phone with a SERVPRO app on it on a rainy street The SERVPRO Emergency Ready App helps businesses prepare for the worst.

We have developed a relationship with many of the wonderful business owners on New Haven County. At some point, most businesses have, or will, need our services. After all, no building is immune from a water leak, kitchen fire or toilet overflow. I wanted to share with commercial property owners in our area a service that we offer that you may not be aware we offer. 

Our franchise offers a free mobile app, called the Emergency Ready Profile or ERP, which enables your employees to easily respond to any emergency situation.

In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. It is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business. This includes emergency contacts, shut-off valve locations, and priority areas.  Whether you are a hospital, university or small mom and pop shop, setting up an ERP will prove invaluable should your property experience water damage or a fire in which quick action needs to be taken to protect it.

The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Plan serves as a quick reference of important building and contact information or can be an ideal supplement to any well-designed emergency preparedness or existing contingency program.  Whoever has access to the app will be able to utilize it in an emergency situation. Questions such as “Where are the water valves” or “What circuits need to be shut off” are easily answered. The people who need to be called- such as your plumber, security company or utility company – are all programmed into the app. It can even include the chain of command - people within the company who need to be called and their contact info. With the ERP, no matter who is on duty when a disaster happens, they will have a clear plan to follow and your facility and employees will be protected.   

All it takes to set up an ERP is calling our office at (203) 301-0500. Danielle, Roseann or one of our Production Managers will come out to your property and help create your individualized plan, free of charge.

Sewage Backups Stink. The Clean Up Doesn't Have To.

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

drop of water with descriptions of types of water damage written on it Toilet overflows and sewage backups contain Gray and Black water - both which require professional clean up.

We know that when you have a toilet overflow or flood that contains sewage in your basement, you may be tempted to clean up the mess yourself.

Let’s face it, most homeowners would rather avoid an insurance deductible when possible. And, yes, there are times when flooding is minor enough that a homeowner can clean it up themselves. However, in the case of a toilet overflow or sewage flooding, we advise against this. It’s simply not worth the potential health risks.

Sewage is not clean water - it contains “gray” and even sometimes ”black” water. Gray, or CAT 2, water contains discharge from utilities such as sinks, tubs, showers, and dishwashers. Black, or CAT 3, water is what you have if there has been a toilet overflow with feces (which is often the case) or a sewage backup. 

Sewage floodwater contains contaminants including parasites, viruses and bacteria. Touching sewage water without protective gear on can be a serious risk to your health. Improper clean up of Gray or Black Water can leave behind those contaminants and cause subsequent problems such as illness and mold growth. 

As a professional restoration company with decades of experience, we restore your home by:

  • Pumping out the sewage water and removing any remaining debris 
  • Removing wet and contaminated drywall, flooring and other structural material 
  • Using industrial dehumidifiers and air scrubbers to speed up the drying process
  • Sanitizing the area using specialized cleaners and procedures; this helps eliminate bacteria and mold to prevent health risks and preserve infrastructure and belongings.
  • Restoring your home to prime condition. Our Building Services team is available to replace walls, ceilings, flooring and even your entire bathroom if necessary. 

Sewage backups stink. The clean up doesn’t have to.

Contact us for more information on how we can help.