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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Can Business Owners Be Sued for Mold Growth?

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth in a kitchen. Mold grows in moisture environments in your company in Emporia, VA.

Because mold can damage buildings and personal property, mold insurance claims and lawsuits are sometimes filed against building owners, contractors, and other types of businesses because of mold damage. This guide provides an overview of what you need to know about mold growth lawsuits.

What Is Mold?

Molds are a type of naturally occurring fungi found in most indoor and outdoor environments. The thousands of different species reproduce by creating spores that travel to different locations through the air. Mold needs oxygen and moisture to grow and is often found in damp environments:

  • Wet foundations
  • Areas with leaking pipes
  • Surfaces with condensation
  • Buildings with poor ventilation
  • Spaces with poor air circulation

When Can Businesses Be Liable for Damages?

Businesses are sometimes liable for mold-related damages suffered by customers, tenants, employees, or others. Some types of businesses are more likely to experience a mold claim than others. Examples include property managers, landlords, architects, contractors, and structural engineers.

When Can Landlords or Property Managers Be Sued for Mold Damages?

Most states require residential landlords to maintain the rental property in habitable condition. If a landlord or property manager fails to take proper mold remediation steps, such as contacting a mold remediation company in Emporia, VA, to remove mold growth, and a tenant's property is damaged because of a mold infestation, the landlord may be liable for damages. The landlord may also be liable for expenses incurred by a tenant who must move out of a rental that is not safe to live in because of mold. Commercial landlords are generally not held to as high a standard but may be subject to mold insurance claims if their negligence causes the building to become unfit for its intended use.

When Can Contractors Be Sued for Mold Damages?

Because water damage can lead to mold growth, contractors may be sued if defects in their work cause water leaks or other problems that contribute to mold infestations. Claims against contractors usually result from allegations that the contractor used the wrong types of materials, installed materials incorrectly, or caused damage during the construction process that led to the mold problem.

When Can Architects and Structural Engineers Be Sued for Mold Damages?

Structural engineers and architects may be liable for damages when the design of a building or its systems results in excessive moisture that contributes to mold growth. Claims may arise if the mold growth causes damage to the claimant's property.

How Can Business Owners Avoid Mold Lawsuits?

Taking steps to prevent mold from growing is the most important strategy for avoiding lawsuits. Building owners should regularly check buildings for sources of moisture, such as condensation, leaks, poor drainage, and faulty window seals. Ventilation and HVAC systems should also be regularly inspected. When problems are found, take immediate action to dry out wet properties and fix the source of the excess moisture.

Mold insurance claims and lawsuits can result when business owners fail to take appropriate steps to prevent mold infestations. Some commercial insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for mold damage, so it may be a good idea to speak with your insurance professional to ensure you are protected.

How To Prevent Pipes From Freezing

9/20/2021 (Permalink)

Frozen pipe. Prevent frozen pipes to avoid further damage in the pipes of your Surry, VA home.

Winter can take a toll on your home in Surry, VA. One of the most common problems homeowners face when a big freeze hits the area is frozen pipes. Not only does this issue keep water from getting where it needs to go, but it can also cause a great deal of damage to the space around the fissure. Here are several ways you can keep your pipes from freezing and tips on how to handle the mess if they do.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

Winterize Your Home

Before the first freeze, your maintenance plan should include getting your house ready for cold extremes. There are several tasks you must check off your list to prepare for winter:

  • Tune-up furnace
  • Replace old insulation
  • Check for air leaks in windows and doors
  • Make sure the attic is properly ventilated

Winterization makes good economic and ecological sense by saving energy, but that's not the only benefit. By taking measures to keep cold air out of your home and warm air inside, you are more likely to avoid a pipe freeze.

Keep Pipes Warm

Even if your plumbing is located within an exterior wall, you can still avoid frozen pipes by keeping them warm. In addition to the insulation in the wall, you can insulate the pipes themselves, giving them extra protection. Heat cables can also be wrapped around pipes to keep them from freezing. For extra warmth, consider keeping cabinets open and a small drip going overnight.

Keep Thermostat Consistent

When you see your utility bill start to skyrocket during the winter, it can be tempting to turn the heater off during the day while everyone is at work or school. This can end up costing you more trouble and money in the long run, though. Pipes can freeze even when the sun's out if the temperature is cold enough. Keep your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees throughout the season to protect them.

Safeguard Outdoor Faucets

Some of the most vulnerable pipes in your home are the ones attached to outdoor faucets. Since you probably don't use your garden hoses often when it's cold outside, detach them from their water sources and store them for the winter. Then drain the line that leads to the pipe so that no water can get trapped and bust the pipe. Cover the faucet to protect it from the elements.

Clean Up Quickly

Despite your best preparation, pipes can still freeze, especially if your area experiences blackouts that cause you to lose power to your home for many hours. If this happens, you may still be able to avoid extensive damage by turning off the water main and warming exposed pipes with a hairdryer. If this doesn't help, the pipe burst may be inside the wall. Call a plumber as soon as possible to fix the pipe, and contact water damage mitigation specialists to remove ruined materials and restore the structure surrounding the pipe.

There are many things you can do to prevent frozen pipes in your home. Take the necessary precautions and keep trusted professionals on speed dial to protect your home during winter.

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe During a Fire

8/26/2021 (Permalink)

A dog. Train your pets so they would know how to act if a fire emergency happens in your South Boston, VA, home.

If you have children, you have probably taught them what to do if a fire breaks out in your home in South Boston, VA. What about your family pets? Here are some fire emergency tips as well as extra precautions you can take to keep your beloved animals safe.

Evacuation Plans

You want your pets to be able to get out of your burning house and make it to safety. There are several considerations to add to the family evacuation plan if you have pets in your home:

Practice - Pets should be part of your family fire drills. It teaches them to come to you when they hear the sound of the smoke alarm and follow your lead out of the house rather than finding a place inside to hide.

Survival kits - Just as each family member should have an emergency kit packed and ready to go in case of a fire, so should your pet. Include food, treats, and copies of important documents such as shot records.

Carriers - If your pets are small enough to fit in a carrier, it's a good idea to have one handy enough to grab quickly during fire evacuation. It's much easier to carry a scared animal out in a carrier than in your arms.

Home Alone Strategies

Pet safety can be trickier when you are not at home with them, but it's still possible. Animals are just as curious about their environments as young children, so put yourself in that mindset before you leave them to freely roam the house in your absence. Go through each room in your house and imagine what you would want to change if you knew a toddler was going to be alone in the room for a few minutes.

To avoid a fire emergency in the kitchen in your absence, fire damage remediation experts recommend that you remove the knobs on the stove or cover them so that they cannot turn easily even with persistent nudging. Keep cords hidden or out of reach of animals that tend to learn by chewing. Consider keeping young animals or pets in training crated or confined to a small area, preferably near the front door where firefighters can easily find them, while you are gone.

Fire Safety Measures

Part of pet preparation for the house is getting rid of things that enhance the opportunity for fire to break out. Even when you are at home, excited or curious pets can make extra fire precautions necessary. You may love the look of candles but unfortunately, so does your cat. Consider switching to flameless candles or other types of subtle lighting that don't have an open flame. The main thing to remember is that you should never leave anything that could cause a fire if bumped or tipped over unattended, especially if you have pets.

It's important to follow fire safety tips that take every member of the family into account. Including pets, in your fire, emergency plan, and taking extra precautions to guard against safety hazards helps protect every family member, even the furry ones.

Expectations of Severe Storm Damage

8/26/2021 (Permalink)

Severe storm. To prevent some severe storm damage in your Emporia, VA, home, you must know the different risks your house can suffer.

Severe weather presents significant risks to manmade structures, including houses. As a homeowner, little can be done to prevent extreme weather and the tear-out it can lead to, but you can prepare for the potential damage to your house’s structure. If you reach out to a storm restoration company in Emporia, VA, the representatives can help you understand the four types of storm damage you might encounter. They can also help you develop a plan in case you experience such damage in the future.

1. Roof Damage

The most vulnerable surface of your home’s exterior is the roof. While it is solid, it is susceptible to wind damage. Depending on the style of roof and roofing materials, some houses will be more vulnerable than others.

Wind can lead to significant damage during a storm, but debris, hail, lightning, and more can result in damage to the roof as well. While there is little you can do to help prevent damage other than staying current with maintenance schedules and repairs, remediation companies can help you mitigate loss after a storm.

2. Water Damage

Severe weather can lead to storm surges, floods, and other types of water damage. The key to limiting the damage caused by rain and flooding is to remove the excess water as soon as possible. You will also need to tear out any damaged surfaces, like drywall, to limit the possibility of mold growth.

A storm restoration service is capable of handling all mitigation efforts. By dealing with water problems quickly, you can protect your insurance claim, giving yourself the best opportunity for claim approval.

3. Wind Damage

Severe weather often brings with it high winds. High winds alone are capable of breaking glass, damaging roofs, and causing structural loss. However, winds can also pick up debris, creating projectiles that can further bombard a structure.

You can purchase storm shutters to protect against high winds. Shutters are an excellent idea if you live in an area prone to hurricanes or other wind storms. You can also opt for a less permanent installation, such as a plywood sheet.

The primary goal of wind protection is to cover those areas that are most vulnerable to damage. For most properties, the vulnerable spaces are windows and glass doors.

4. Fire Damage

Many people underestimate the potential of a fire in the middle of a storm, but it is possible. Lightning accounts for many residential fires every year.

The best protection against a lightning fire is a lightning rod. Contrary to common assumptions, lightning rods do not attract lightning. Instead, they create a high point on your roof, making it a more likely target than your roof. If lightning strikes, its charge is carried through the rod and connecting cable down to the ground where it is safely dispersed.

Even if you have a lightning rod on your house, it is wise to install a few smoke detectors in the attic, garage, and upper floors of the house. Not all lightning fires start right after a strike; some take hours to present.

While storm damage often leads to tearing out to prevent secondary damage, there are some things you can do to reduce your risks of loss. Talking to professional mitigation companies or disaster response leaders can help.

7 Reason Why You Should Change Polybutylene Pipes

8/16/2021 (Permalink)

Changing polybutylene pipes. Consider changing polybutylene pipes to avoid water damage.

Older buildings often carry higher insurance premiums because these buildings are more likely to experience problems caused by aging or outdated systems. One such example is polybutylene pipes. If your building has this type of plumbing, there are several reasons you should consider changing it.

1. Chlorine Can Break Them Down

Public water supplies contain chlorine and other antibacterial agents that can break down these pipes causing water damage. The pipes become brittle and flake as they age and are particularly vulnerable at the fittings due to micro-fractures. These micro-fractures can lead to a leaking or burst pipe.

2. Pipes Can Not Be Repaired or Exchanged

Because of the numerous problems created by their use, manufacturers stopped making polybutylene pipes more than a decade ago. This means that when problems develop with your pipes you can not simply repair or replace a section of the pipes. Because you don't want to have to schedule a plumber in South Boston, VA, to put new plumbing in when your existing pipes start to break down, it is better to replace them before problems develop.

3. Damaged Pipes Can Degrade Water Quality

Flaking pipes may leach chemicals into the water lowering its quality. This could create a liability issue for your business. For this reason, most commercial building owners choose to replace these pipes before they become a problem.

4. May Be a Code Violation

The use of this type of plumbing is a code violation in many parts of the United States. You may need to replace your plumbing to get your building up to code.

5. May Lower Resale Value

Buyers may be reluctant to purchase a building that has this type of plumbing because of the cost of replacing the pipes and the difficulty they have in finding insurance. This may make your building more difficult to sell or drive the sales price down.

6. Higher Insurance Prices

Because of the high number of water restoration claims due to pipe failure, many insurance companies will not insure a building that has this type of plumbing. If you don't replace the pipes, you may have to seek insurance in a high-risk market, which typically costs more.

7. Ruptured Pipes Can Cause Substantial Damage

Whether your pipes have a slow leak or burst suddenly, they can cause substantial damage to your building. Slow leaks may rot flooring and stain walls. They can also lead to higher water bills and mold growth. A sudden burst can dump a large amount of water into your building before you can get the water source shut off. This can cause substantial damage to walls, floors, inventory, carpets, equipment, and anything else it comes in contact with. Additionally, the sudden loss of water service may force you to shut down your business until the water service is restored.

Because of the high rate of failure, it can be a wise decision to replace polybutylene pipes before they begin causing problems. This allows you to schedule your downtime, rather than having to pay high prices for emergency plumbing services.

Benefits of Pretesting

7/30/2021 (Permalink)

Image of an insurance claim form and a hand filling in the form. Pretesting helps reduce the expense of claims.

When your commercial clients in Emporia, VA, need to fill out an insurance claim, it is in everyone's best interest to keep the total cost low. One of the reasons SERVPRO is a preferred vendor for many providers is its commitment to start each cleanup job with a thorough assessment. Here are several ways that pretesting helps reduce the expense of claims.

3 Advantages of Pretesting 

1. Identifying Source

The first thing that certified mitigation experts do when they arrive on site is look for the source of the problem. For example, if they are there to repair water damage, they inspect the building for common causes:

  • Pipe break
  • Faucet leak
  • Toilet overflow
  • Unresolved storm damage

Identifying the source of the water loss helps to stop damage in its tracks. The cleanup team can restrict the flow of water to the area until the problem is resolved, thus minimizing claims expense.

2. Reveal Extent of Problem

Pretesting also shows how much damage your client's building has sustained. Just as an insurance agent or adjuster completes a walkthrough to verify the claim, SERVPRO technicians inspect the whole building to identify exactly which procedures are needed to mitigate the damage. Both you and your client can view this information as well as any updates to the process or the overall estimate through the Claims Information Center.

3. Prevent Secondary Damage

One of the most important results of a pretest is the prevention of mold growth or other secondary damage to the building. Knowing the full scope of the problem from the beginning reduces the likelihood that water damage will be left to fester and cause more issues in the future. The rigorous standards SERVPRO sets for its technicians ensure a job well done.

The first step to solving any problem is defining it properly. Pretesting allows cleanup experts to get a full picture of how much damage your client's building has so that they can formulate an appropriate mitigation process.

Can Carpets Be Saved After Water Damage?

7/30/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a carpet being cleaned. Carpet cleaning.

Carpeting can be one of the most difficult materials to salvage when you have water damage in your home. Rugs that have been damaged by clean water, such as water from a pipe break, may be salvageable, but other types of water damage may result in the need for replacement.

3 Factors to Consider When Saving a Carpet After Water Damage

1. The Source of the Water Is Important

Wet carpeting can be problematic because it is difficult to dry and can promote mold growth in your home if not removed or dried promptly. For this reason, a professional restoration company in Emporia, VA, may be necessary for homeowners who want to try to save their carpet. The main determinant of whether your rug can be salvaged is what the source of the water damage was. Restoring water damage is sometimes possible when the source of the water is clean:

  • Pipe break
  • Overflow from a clean sink or toilet
  • Leak from a water supply line

However, sources that may contain contaminants, such as raw sewage, an overflow from a toilet with urine or feces, or dirty water from a washing machine may cause damage that contains bacteria and other harmful agents that can not be removed. Carpets damaged by contaminated water usually need to be replaced.

2. How Long the Carpets Have Been Wet Also Matters

Carpets damaged by clean water that are dried within 24 to 48 hours can often be salvaged. However, if they stay wet longer than that, they usually need to be replaced.

3. How Difficult the Carpets Are To Clean and Disinfect Is a Factor

Area rugs without foam backing are the most likely to be salvageable, as long as they were damaged by clean water and dried promptly. However, wall-to-wall carpeting is difficult to completely dry and the padding almost always needs to be replaced.

If you have a small rug that was damaged by a pipe break, you will probably be able to salvage it. However, most other types of carpeting will need to be replaced.

3 Essential Tips for First Responders During a Flood

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded neighborhood of Emporia, VA. Flood can affect entire cities.

As an Emporia, VA, first responder, you're always ready and willing to help your community when a disaster occurs; your work could be your passion. Most importantly, though, you need to know all the ways to keep yourself safe while working in potentially dangerous situations, such as a flood. Otherwise, it's difficult, if not impossible, to help others during this difficult time. Stay safe during a flood response by considering these suggestions.

1. Standing Water Can Be More Powerful Than You May Realize

Many people don't realize how deceptive even a seemingly small amount of standing water can appear. Only a few inches of water can sweep you off your feet and even carry a vehicle away. These waters may not even appear to be rushing. Therefore, it's essential to approach floodwaters with caution until you're sure you can navigate them safely.

2. Vaccinations Will Help Keep You Safer

It's vital for a first responder to get the proper immunizations before starting on the job. You can be exposed to contaminants in floodwaters that can put you at risk for multiple diseases and other issues such as hepatitis B and tetanus.

3. Floodwaters Can Contain Toxic Substances

It's impossible to know for sure all of the pathogens, such as bacteria and toxic chemicals, floating in floodwaters. If possible, it can be very beneficial to initially have storm damage remediation professionals mitigate some of the standing water. This means you should always wear protective gear, such as disposable gloves and a face mask, before coming into contact with the water. Taking these additional steps will make the situation safer for everyone involved.

Being proactive as a first responder can ensure you remain as safe as possible while navigating disaster areas. Planning ahead will give you the peace of mind you need to assist the people of your community in making it through the unthinkable.

Places Where Mold Can Hide in Your Home

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on a hidden place of a home. Mold growth in Emporia, VA.

Mold is one thing that you never want to see. Unfortunately, it is not necessarily the mold that you can see that is the problem. Mold growth can extend far into places where light does not shine. It is important to know where mold might be so you can eliminate it before it becomes a problem.

Places Where Mold Might Grow in Your Home

Look For Moisture

One of the quickest ways to find hidden mold is to look for moisture. Places that have:

  • Poor ventilation
  • High humidity
  • Leaking pipes
  • Flood damage

Each of these is a place where mold is likely to grow. This is not to say that it will not grow elsewhere.

Check Drip Pans

Refrigerator and air conditioner drip pans are other sources of mold. This mold can overgrow the pan, and then you have mold on wood. Once this happens, you might want to consider a professional mold remediation company in Emporia, VA. Both the refrigerator and the air conditioner are two places you don't normally see.

Check Under and Around Windows

Windows are notorious for allowing water in. Mold growth is extremely common in the tracks and around the sills themselves. It is a classic place to look for leaks as well. Where there are leaks, there is often mold.

Behind Drywall

Another place where mold is often lurking is behind drywall. When you have a leak inside one of your walls, it can result in moldy drywall. Although you cannot immediately see it, you might be able to smell it. Moldy growths can result in a musty or earthy smell.

Mold Under Carpets

Another hidden place where mold can grow is underneath your carpet or on the carpet pad. This usually happens when a carpet is wet and not properly dried. When you have mold underneath a carpet, you have to clean the carpet, carpet pad, and wood underneath both.

Mold growth can happen anywhere there is a damp or humid area. Remember, just because you can't see it doesn't mean that it isn't there.

Storm Services and Your Insurance Agent

6/28/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a person restoring a home. The cost of restoration after a flood may be included in your insurance coverage.

Storm restoration services are an essential part of recovering from flooding due to storms. A quick response is crucial to preventing long-term, deep-seated damage. As a homeowner in Emporia, VA, your insurance coverage may include the cost of restoration services:

  • Water removal
  • Flood damage cleanup
  • Repair and restoration
  • Damage mitigation
  • Mold cleanup and prevention

Schedule a quick response from cleanup and restoration professionals to catch small problems before they get larger and keep costs down.

Cleanup and Restoration

Arrange for Insurance Coverage

If you don't already have flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or provider. You may qualify to benefit from the National Flood Insurance Program that is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Ask your insurance provider about this part of your storm response.

Speed Up Your Claim

Once your policy is in place, there are steps you can take to speed up your storm restoration claim:

  • File your claim as soon as possible after the damage has occurred.
  • Provide your agent and insurance adjusters with necessary information as thoroughly and quickly as possible.
  • Take pictures, write out an inventory, and keep all receipts. The more organized and clear your records, the faster and more accurately your claim can be handled.
  • Consider hiring your own adjuster. This second perspective comes from a professional working for you rather than for the insurance provider.

In addition to taking these steps, you should keep family members, friends, and pets out of the damaged area. It's easy to cause secondary damage to an area that has been weakened by water.

Choose Reliable Professionals

Storms often occur with very little warning, and the resulting flood damage could be devastating to your home and community. This means your chosen storm restoration professionals should have solid backing from their corporate office.

This central resource can lead to a faster response to your home, speedier claim resolution, and a smaller timeframe from the beginning of the damage to the completion of restoration and repairs.

5 Tips for Preventing Mold Damage After Flooding

6/22/2021 (Permalink)

Image of sandbags placed on door to block water from entering a building. After a flood it's important that you follow these steps to avoid mold damage.

Without mitigation, mold growth can begin 24 to 48 hours after a flood. These five tips can help you avoid this problem.

Tips to Help You Avoid Mold Damage

1. Remove Water Promptly

One of the most important steps to take is to remove standing water promptly. You can use a mop and bucket or rent vacuums created for the purpose. However, floodwaters can contain hazardous materials and should not be touched without wearing protective gear. In most cases, it is better to contact a flood remediation company in Emporia, VA, than to attempt to remove the water yourself.

2. Dry Wet Surfaces

Removing standing water will help prevent mold growth, but you also need to completely dry wet surfaces. Dry rags or mops can be used to soak up water on surfaces. Renting industrialized fans can also help dry out rooms quickly. However, using fans runs the risk of spreading any mold that may have already developed throughout your building.

3. Remove Wet Carpets and Rugs

Wet carpets and rugs take a long time to dry. Remove them from the building and place them outside to dry in the sunlight if possible. Have the rugs steam cleaned to remove contaminants.

4. Sanitize Surfaces

Once you have everything dried out, clean and sanitize surfaces to kill bacteria and other contaminants. Diluted bleach or over-the-counter cleaning and sanitizing solutions can be used.

5. Keep the Humidity Level Below 50 Percent

Mold grows best in an environment with humidity over 50%, so try to keep humidity levels in your building below this. If your business is located in a humid environment, try using a dehumidifier. You can also open windows and doors on days when the weather is sunny and dry to help lower humidity levels.

Preventing mold growth after a flood can be challenging. However, if you implement these tips quickly, you can increase your chance of success.

Do you have an Emergency Ready Plan?

6/11/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial-Insurance-Claims Commercial Claims are a lot of work.

It serves as a reference guide of important building and contact information. Remember, preparation is a key factor in making it through any type of disaster, big or small. Whether your business experiences a small water leak, big fire, or flooding due to a storm having a plan in place will help ease stress during that time. The best time to plan for such possible events isn’t when they happen, but well before they do! 

50% of Business Fail after Disaster

Did you know that approximately 50% of business that close because of a disaster, like a flood or fire, never reopen? But, of the businesses that do survive, the great majority of them have a preparedness plan in place. 

Having an ERP is the perfect companion to any well thought out emergency preparedness plan. The ERP outlines who the proper contacts are for the specific types of loss. It also includes photos and detailed descriptions as to where the different turn offs are within your building. This can prove to be very important during a flooding situation! 

Having a plan like this in place helps so that you are not simply reacting to an emergency or disaster situation. Be proactive and take the measures to establish a relationship with a restoration services company BEFORE you need them! 

By working with us to develop a personalized Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your business, you will receive the benefit of having professionals on your side who are thoroughly experienced in reducing the impact of both natural and man-made disasters. 

SERVPRO is a leader in fire and water damage response and mitigation. We will be here to help you get your property and business cleaned up and back in working order quickly and efficiently. 

Preventing Fire Sprinkler Flooding

6/11/2021 (Permalink)

Commercial-Fire-Sprinkler Fires Sprinklers in a Commercial Building

Many commercial business owners probably don’t think about the flooding effects of their fire sprinklers being activated. However, if this does occur, it is an issue that should be dealt with immediately, before it gets out of control and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Of course, the obvious solution is preventing your businesses fire sprinklers from going off accidentally. Here are a few things you need to know about accidental fire sprinkler activation. 

Preventing Accidental Fire Sprinkler Activation

Did you know that the modern fire sprinkler system is NOT activated by fire alarms or even smoke caused by burnt food in the employee break room? They actually have to be subjected to extreme heat that melts the metal sensors or bursts the red liquid bulb on the device. Here are a few common reasons that can cause this to happen and sprinklers to accidentally activate: 

  • Improper fire sprinkler system installation
  • Vandalization of the system
  • A factory accident
  • Inappropriate use of the sprinkler heads

Preventing Loss by Taking Immediate Action

If the fire sprinklers do activate in your business, your first step should be to turn off the water. This is the first and most important step in any emergency flooding situation. Make sure that you have multiple people in your organization that know how to perform this task. Once the water is turned off, the next step is to begin the clean up process. With fire sprinklers, it is possible that hundreds of gallons of water have been released in a short period of time.

Therefore, water damage to machinery, equipment, electronics, walls and floors can happen very quickly. You should call a reputable and experienced water restoration company right away! The professionals at SERVPRO can quickly and properly dry every surface and reduce the risk of mold. 

Preventing It from Happening Again

Once you have your initial cleanup underway, you should contact your insurance provider and work on preventing this from happening again. Your employees should be trained to never hang anything from the sprinkler head, or even touch it! You should also consider the placement of sprinkler heads. They should be in a location in which it is difficult for person, or even a machine, to accidentally come in contact with it. 

While a flood in your business may seem inconceivable, you should take these steps to minimize damage in the event this does happen. If you do experience water damage in your commercial property, give us a call.

4 Ways To Lower Business Interruption Flood Loss

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a flooded building and surroundings Flooding can lead to severe damage to your building.

Wherever you locate your business, there's always some risk of flooding, however small it is. It could be a result of a broken pipe or heavy rainfall. Your employees, clients and overall business need a plan in place for the unexpected so you can minimize the impact on your company if the worst occurs.

Minimize the Impact of Business Interruption Due to Water Damage

1. Identify Risks

To identify risks that could potentially cause business interruptions, you must assess preventable risks versus ones that aren't. Then, you can identify each element involved, including your property's vulnerability to the threat, all of your assets that are at risk and the total impact if it happens. How likely is the chance of a flood? How severe would the result of a flood be on your business?

2. Analyze the Impact of the Risks

To fully prepare, you must analyze the impact of potential flooding risks to estimate the costs of the various interruptions. These can include lost income for the business and employees, expenses to fix the problems, business delay, and multiple fines and penalties the company might incur.

3. Identify Ways of Preventing and Mitigating Risks

You'll need to identify any preventable hazards that could occur. Then, determine how to avoid these hazards from occurring. Some risks like large water damage from natural disasters are unavoidable. You must be proactive, taking measures to control and contain the hazards as much as possible before they occur. Part of this preparation is knowing which water damage restoration professionals to call.

4. Review Your Insurance Coverage

Business interruption insurance is helpful for property damage that suspends business operations. Make sure you understand the details of your insurance policy to know what's covered and what's not, including limits and exclusions.

A business can be susceptible to many negative factors. Knowing how to protect your Surry, VA, property and minimize the risk of significant damage from flooding can lessen the worry.

How To Use a Fire Extinguisher

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a person holding a fire extinguisher Use a fire extinguisher properly

Every home needs at least one fire extinguisher. In fact, fire restoration experts recommend that you have several throughout your home that are easy to access. It doesn't do much good to have them if you don't know how to use them, though. Following these four basic steps, or the PASS technique, helps you remember the procedure more easily.

4 Steps to Use a Fire Extinguisher

1. Pull

The first thing you have to do to avoid extensive fire damage from a small fire is pull the pin at the neck of the device. This unlocks the extinguisher and makes it ready to use. Inspect every extinguisher in your house on a regular basis to ensure that the pin is still intact. If not, replace it.

2. Aim

Before you dispense the extinguishing agent, you must aim the nozzle correctly. Point it toward the base of the fire. This will allow you to cut off the fire at its source.

3. Squeeze

Standing a safe distance from the fire, squeeze the lever at the top of the fire extinguisher. This releases the extinguishing agent from the canister and, if the nozzle is aimed properly, directs it to the base of the fire.

4. Sweep

If you have a kitchen fire, you want to make sure you put out all the flames. To do this, you must sweep the spray back and forth along the base of the fire. Doing this evenly distributes the agent. If you use all of it and the fire is still not out, do not get another extinguisher. Call emergency personnel in Surry, VA, to come put out the fire.

Having a fire extinguisher in every area of your house where a fire can more easily start should be part of your overall safety plan. Knowing how to use it is just as vital. Following these simple steps can keep a small fire from becoming a large problem.

How Does Storm Damage Cleaning Differ From Ordinary Damage?

5/28/2021 (Permalink)

Image of the surroundings of a house flooded. Storm damage

There is storm damage and flooding due to a pipe break or sewer backup. These are two different things and need to be cleaned separately. They might seem the same, but they really are not.

Flood Category

The EPA classifies the different types of water damage with different categories. A simple pipe burst is a category one, and a storm flood is a category three. The different categories denote different types of cleanup and handling. For practical purposes, the different types of water are called different names. There are:

  • Clean water is self-explanatory
  • Grey water is water without any harsh contaminants such as a flood or pipe break
  • Black water is sewage, seepage and chemicals

Both types of damage can contain grey and black water.

Cleanup Methods

When cleaning up flooding from a pipe break, a flood remediation company in Surry, VA, is concerned with simply drying out your home. If the flood is from a storm or other widespread phenomena, then the cleanup is considerably more intensive. The solid waste needs to be dealt with more aggressively to prevent bacteria from growing.

Level of Cleanup

Ordinary damage from clean water just involves fans and sometimes chemical drying solutions. It is relatively easy and is usually done in a matter of hours. Flood damage is a lot different. Professionals in storm damage restoration have to wear specialized gear to prevent contamination.
The damage during a flood is also a lot more extensive than ordinary water. In cases where entire rooms are flooded, the drywall, flooring and carpet usually need to be torn out and replaced. The areas behind walls and under floors will also need to be cleared and thoroughly dried before you can re-enter your home.

Flooding cleanup is possible no matter what type of damage you have. Cleaning up after a flood caused by a storm is categorized differently and is a much more intensive process to get your home back to normal.

Tips on Responding to Water Damage

5/20/2021 (Permalink)

South Boston Home with Roof Leak A roof leak can be a big problem unless you are able to clean up the damage quickly.

Water damage to residential and commercial properties can be very challenging and costly for property owners. From general plumbing issues, like overflowing toilets and bathtubs, to forces of nature, like hurricanes and storms, there are many things that can cause flooding. Although some flooding may appear to be easy to clean up and restore on your own, there are many unconsidered benefits of hiring a professional to do the repairs for you. 

Prevent Mold from Spreading

While you may think you’ve dried all the water caused by flooding to your property, you may have missed some. Any water or moisture left behind can cause mold to grow and spread throughout your property. A water damage restoration company, like SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston, is trained to properly clean areas when water moves that a homeowner may not be able to get to; like between walls, under floorboards, and those other hard-to-reach places. These professionals can save areas that would have had to be replaced without proper cleaning. And, in areas where mold has already developed, a professional can clean it properly to prevent the mold spores from spreading.

 Avoid More Damage in the Future

If someone who is inexperienced cleans an area and/or property that has been affected by water, it is possible that mistakes can be made, and the damage can become worse and escalate if it is not handled correctly immediately. Trained professionals in this line of business are able to use the proper techniques to ensure that the cleanup and restoration process is done the right way, the first time. They can also help to prevent further damage or problems from developing.

Identify Hidden Signs of Moisture

An experienced restoration professional will be able to use state-of-the-art tools to identify hidden signs of moisture that could have become future problems for home and business owners.

Get the Best Restoration Results Possible

At SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston our goal is to make it, "Like it never even happened."® Our technicians will be able to replace and restore flooring, insulation and dry wall using the highest quality materials available to them, for a wonderful finished product! 

Handling a Toilet Overflow

4/30/2021 (Permalink)

Image of cartoon of a flowing toilet A toilet overflow can cause severe damage.

Toilet overflow does not happen every day but it is a common enough occurrence. Most often the cause is a clog that needs to be snaked out or forced through with a plunger. In more rare instances, the overflow is the result of a backup and sewer damage, which will require the help of a water mitigation company in Surry, VA. However, it is necessary to focus on the more common issue before worrying about backups. There are a few steps to dealing with the aftermath of an overflow.

3 Steps To Handle a Toilet Overflow

1. Stop the Flow of Water

Before calling a sewage company, especially if the water has not flooded the bathroom yet, see if you can stop the flow of water. Remove the lid from the tank and press down on the flapper valve at the bottom of the tank — do not worry, the water is clean. With the valve pressed down, lift the float to stop the water (This is only useful if the water started to overflow immediately after a flush). If the water still does not stop, turn off the valve at the back of the tank.

2. Deal With the Clog or Problem

If the water level stops rising in the toilet, it is safe to say you have a clog in the waste line, meaning you likely do not have significant sewer damage. You can use a plunger or a drain snake or auger to attempt to remove the clog. If neither tool is helping, you might need something with more power or greater reach, meaning you will need the help of a professional.

3. Call a Professional for Help

If the flooded toilet is the result of a clog, professionals will have augers with significantly longer reaches than a typical house snake. However, depending on the depth of the problem and if the water stopped rising, you might have more problems than a simple clog.

While sewer damage is not the most common issue for a toilet overflow, it can happen. Always remember that a professional water mitigation service has the tools and skills necessary to help.

How Long Does Water Damage Clean Up Take?

4/30/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a speedometer with letters stating "fast service" A fast responsace for water damage cleanup is very important.

If you have damage from bursting pipes or another source of water, one of the primary questions on your mind may be how long it will take to clean up your home.

Water Damage Cleanup

What Should You Do?

The faster you act when a water emergency occurs, the more you can reduce your damage. If your damage was caused by bursting pipes there are several steps you should take:

  • Shut off the water to your home at the main shut off valve
  • Contact a plumbing professional to fix broken pipe
  • Contact a SERVPRO franchise in Surry, VA

While you are waiting for assistance, contact your insurance company to file a claim. You can use a mop or wet-dry vac to remove some of the excess water. Wipe down any furniture or other items that have become wet. Remove saturated upholstery and cushions. Use wood blocks or aluminum foil to lift furniture legs off wet carpet. Collect up loose items from the floor and remove any colored rugs.

How Long Will It Take?

Your SERVPRO franchise in Surry, VA, prides itself on being Faster to Any Size Disaster. The water damage cleanup process for most homes takes about three to five days; however, special circumstances, such as wood flooring, may extend this time to around seven to ten days.

What Is the Process?

When you contact SERVPRO, a specialist will ask you some questions about your situation. Next, an inspection of your property will be scheduled. After the inspection, technicians use powerful pumps to remove the water. Once most of the water is gone, drying and dehumidification begins, followed by cleaning and sanitizing. The final step is restoring your home so that it is "Like it never even happened."

If you have damage from bursting pipes or another water emergency, SERVPRO can have most homes restored in less than a week. Your local franchise is Here to Help.

Prevent Flood Damage With Advance Preparations

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

Image of sandbags placed on door to block water from entering a building. Use proper materials to prevent flood damage

Flooding is one of the most common types of damage after a natural disaster. It can happen anywhere, during any time of the year, and as the result of many causes.

Prevent Flood Damage

One of the best ways to prevent flood damage is to prepare before any signs of trouble:

  • Consistently inspect and repair check valves and vulnerable spots where sewer and utility lines enter your facility.
  • Protect vulnerable equipment, such as appliances, computers, and heaters, by moving them above the water level.
  • Reach out to Surry, VA, water damage cleanup and prevention crews for tips on improving the watertight qualities of your building.
  • Contact your insurance provider to be sure your policy includes water damage and for specific damage prevention advice.

Once you've done what you can to minimize any damage if water does get into your building, the next step is to keep as much flood water out when storm damage is imminent.

Water Control Supplies

There are several items you can purchase and keep on hand that are helpful when flooding occurs:

  • Keep sandbags on hand to place around doors and windows.
  • Store flood boards for your doors, so water doesn't get in when doors are opened.
  • Keep a pump on hand to remove floodwater.
  • Plastic sheeting, plywood, nails, and hammers are necessary for protecting vulnerable areas of the facility.
  • Include a few shovels in your storage.
  • Make sure you have first aid emergency kits installed around your facility, so they are easy to access.

With the right supplies on hand, you and your employees may feel more confident when rain or rising rivers threaten your business.

Routine Training and Education

Finally, you and everyone in your building should know how to behave when your facility is threatened. Create a flood plan that includes contact information for emergency response teams, anyone involved in caring for the building, and other critical team members. This plan should also include posted maps that show evacuation routes, shut-off points, and first aid kits.

When flooding does happen, you don't have much time to respond. When you've prepared, however, your employees know how to respond quickly for safety and damage control.

When water takes over your life, we are here to take it back!

7/27/2020 (Permalink)

Large water loss green desiccant trailer mount. Brick building in the background With the power of 272 dehumidifiers, drying time is greatly reduced saving loss of use cost, RESTORE vs. REPLACE.

The comfort of knowing that no matter how much water has entered a structure or the damage that has been done, that your local restoration experts at SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston have your back! Our trailer mount desiccant is heavily equip with a 130 Kilowatt Generator and a 5,000 CFM Desiccant. This machine has the power of 272 dehumidifiers which speeds up the drying time significantly. This will help minimize down time and loss of revenue cost. 

Drying Capabilities:

  • Water Damage and Remediation
  • Document Drying
  • Mold and Fungus Prevention
  • Industrial Surface Preparation 

Our goal is to provide our local community partners with the best outcome when the unexpected happens to us.

Examples for areas of use:

  • Shopping Malls
  • Office Buildings
  • Schools
  • Hotels
  • Hospitals 
  • Manufacturing Facilities
  • Churches

Strategic Placement of Air Movers Help Alleviate Water Damage

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

Let SERVPRO help limit your home’s losses after a storm or flood.

Homes can suffer large amounts of damage from storm and flooding situations. As weather alerts reach their peak during the spring and summer months, the threat of flash flooding from storms increases. Flash floods can move up to nine feet per second, picking up rocks, sand, and mud along the way. The pure force of rushing water can break through door and windows, quickly bringing flood waters into the lower levels of homes which leaves homeowners powerless. You may not be able to stop floodwaters, but you can definitely limit your losses caused by storm water by bringing in the professional at SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston.

Emergency services for storm damage are available in Emporia, South Boston and the surrounding areas year-round. The emergency aspect of water mitigation and restoration depends on the removal of water quickly so as to diminish losses. The role of a restoration company does not stop with the removal of standing water. Wet furniture, rugs and clothing are just as likely to suffer damage as flooded property themselves. SERVPRO’s trained technicians ensure the drying procedure is as effective as diminishing losses, as the removal procedure is to stopping the most immediate concerns.

Wet floors raise the humidity levels as the moisture evaporates in your home. As water evaporates, it can create a layer of air that restrains further evaporation. To fight this, our technicians use air movers to keep air circulating and replace humid boundary layers with dryer sheets. This plays a major role in the amount of time it takes to restore property to their preloss condition.

The technicians at SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston could use as many as twenty air-movers to promote constant airflow. Air movers use centrifugal motion to move large amounts of air and they also use a daisy chain fitting to ensure multiple units can be set up in a room with just one power supply.  This type of placement ensures that it’ is possible to move air from one or two open points of outdoor air. And, if security is a concern, we can position air movers in a closed-circuit system which uses dehumidifiers to provide dry air.

Quick drying of flooded property can reduce claims and any secondary losses. Contact SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston today if you have suffered storm or flood damage. We are available to help 24/7, give us a call at 434-262-6792.

How to Protect Your Home or Business from Breached Pipes

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston would like to offer homeowners some helpful household tips.

Did you know, that per the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), the average cost associated with a breach in your pipes could be up $5,000 – or more if there are water damage expenses associated with the breach? Did you also know that pipe insulation, which is something a homeowner can easily install around exposed piping, costs as little as fifty cents per linear foot?

Take a look at the following places in your home for possible standing or leaking water:

  • The pipes along your home’s exterior walls,
  • Under your kitchen and bathroom and bathroom sinks,
  • In your attic and in the crawl spaces under your home

Some simple signs to help you spot a breached pipe you are the following:

  • Wet spots under your sinks, cabinets and counters,
  • Clogs throughout your home.
  • Slow moving drains,
  • Wet spots or puddles and/or sewer odors within your yard.

Every homeowner should know where the main water stuff off is for their home in case of an emergency. This shut off is normally located just outside the house. If you cannot locate your shut off, you need to ask someone such as a plumber or the builder so they can show you where it is located.

If you should happen to experience water damage due to a burst pipe in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston. We are available 24/7 at 434-262-6792 – the safest way for you to prevent damage is let the professional handle the clean-up!

Top Reasons To Call an IICRC Company in Emporia/South Boston

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

The main reason someone should call an IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) company when dealing with mitigation and restoration is because the unknown and unseen, such as water, mold, smoke and soot, can cause damage to your property. Even the littlest bit of hidden water or smoke and soot residue from a fire has the ability to cause indoor air quality issues and structural damage to your home or business over time.

The solution to preventing costly expenses later is to reach out to a team of professionals immediately. An IICRC company is trained to use the right equipment and technologies from the beginning, which can make a significant difference in reducing your damage and the costs associated with fire and water damage loss.

SERVPRO of South Boston/Emporia is an IICRC company. Our team of technicians is trained using the latest technology and equipment needed to help diminish your losses from a fire or water or storm damage.

SERVPRO will use moisture sensors to detect water in your carpets, walls, and baseboards. Moisture meters are used to help determine the amount of moisture in your property and to accurately monitor the removal and drying process. Our thermo hygrometers will measure the temperature and relative humidity which helps calculate and create an environment that will aid the drying process.

After the moisture is removed, an ultra-low-volume (ULV) foggers can be used to dispense liquid deodorizing agents which produces a fine mist which can easily penetrate where odor-causing residues have accumulated. These can also be used to inject disinfectants and fungicides into drywall and other areas which are hard to reach. Thermal foggers, which dispense solvent-based products, can also be used to create a dense fog of particles that can attach to property and neutralize any odor causing particles.

When handling a contaminated loss, remember that drying and deodorizing and disinfecting a structure are all equally important in the restoration and mitigation process - something an IICRC Company is trained to so. If you have damage, don’t be afraid to call SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston, we will help restore your property quickly and professionally so you can move past the damages and on with your life.

Water Damage in Your Home – Types and Categories

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston we know that water damage is the leading cause to require water restoration needs. Here we will explain a few basic types of water damage and how they can affect your property and your health. 

Many times, when people hear “water damage”, they imagine it to be caused by flooding of a nearby river, storm surge from the ocean or another natural disaster. But, while these events can cause water damage, often times water damage in homes is more commonly caused by: 

  • Overflowing toilets
  • Leaking appliances, including the refrigerator, washing machine, ice machine, etc.
  • Overflowing showers, bathtubs or sinks left running without attendance
  • Leaking or broken pipes behind the walls and ceilings
  • Property draining issues
  • Leaking roof or compromised exterior
  • Damage from rain, wind and/or storms 

Now that you know the ways water can enter your home, from both internal and external origins, it is important to now know what kind of water you are dealing with. At SERVPRO, we recognize water in three different categories. 

  • Category 1 – We refer to this type of water as “Clean Water”, because it has originated from a sanitary source. Generally, this type of water will not pose a health risk to you or your family.
  • Category 2 – This category is also referred to as “Grey Water”, meaning that the water may contain some contamination. It is not safe enough for human consumption and can pose a health risk if ingested.
  • Category 3 – The final category, as called “Black Water”, is a type of water that is entirely contaminated and may contain harmful materials and other disease-causing organisms. 

Each of these categories of water comes with its own guidelines of do’s and don’ts on how to handle them to ensure minimal property damage and risk to you and your family’s health. Water damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston have advanced training, knowledge, and hands-on experience to handle these types of emergencies.

If you are in need of water damage restoration, call us today at 434-262-6792.

How to Clean and Restore Fire Damaged Fabrics?

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Restoration in Emporia/South Boston Often Requires Restorers to Clean Fabrics 

When a fire burns a home, business or any other type of property, the smoke produced can spread throughout the entire space. Due to the fact that smoke rises with heat and attaches to cooler surfaces, extensive damage can be caused to your property. Soot and soil residue are left behind by the gases from the burn onto every surface they touch within your home. 

Remember, smoke can travel through every room, not just the room where the fire initially starts. This means that you can have fire damages throughout the entire space. Many fire damage projects in and around the Emporia/South Boston area require extensive cleaning and soot removal during the restoration process. 

SERVPRO technicians use a variety of different techniques to clean the different rooms and surfaces in fire damaged properties. This is important because different blazes emit different types of smoke based on what burns. 

When SERVPRO first arrives to the property, our first step is to test clean the materials and contents that were affected by the fire. By doing this before beginning the restoration process, the Emporia/South Boston team will be able to determine what can be salvaged with cleaning and what soot removal methods will work best for each item. 

For example, because heat rises, carpets can often times be restored through the cleaning process. But, in some cases, carpets can collect the fallout of burnt smoke particles. When cleaning carpets, our technicians start by vacuuming the entire affected area. SERVPRO vacuums are high-efficiency filters that are designed to remove even light soot residue from fabrics. 

If soot residues are soaked deeper into the carpet, detergents and deodorizers are often used to complete the cleaning process. 

On upholstered items, like furniture and curtains, fire damage residue is often removed using dry cleaning methods. Vacuuming and dry sponges are able to remove soils and soot on the surface of upholstered furniture. However, if the soot has caused a stain, SERVPRO technicians will clean them with a one percent chlorine bleach solution to remove any stains. 

Have you noticed soot or soil residue after a fire? Call SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston today at 434-262-6792.

Storm Damage vs. Flood Damage – How to Know the Difference

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

For some, it may be hard to differentiate between storm damage and flood damage. The most general distinction between the two is that storm waters come from above, while flood waters typical spill over from a natural body of water and covers at least two acres of land that would typically be dry land. 

Storm damage typically originates from things such as:

  • Heavy rain
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • High winds
  • Blizzards and/or heavy snow fall 

Storm damage is covered by most insurance policies. However, home and property owners will need additional and/or different insurance coverage to have protection and cover expenses caused by flood damage. This is why it is important to know the difference between the storm damage and water damage. Damage to property will be considered flood damage if it covers two acres and affects at least two properties. 

If your property is located in a flood plain, you should make sure you carry the necessary insurance policies to ensure that your property/investment is well protected. 

Flooding occurs when a body of water overflows, like:

  • Creeks and/or rivers
  • Lakes
  • Dams
  • Storm-water channels 

No matter if the damage is caused by a storm or a flood, severe problems can arise for property and homeowners. These damages should be planned for, prevented as much as possible, and handled as soon as they occur. 

Regardless of the source of the water, moisture in your property increases the risk of mold and secondary damage, especially if action is not taken quickly. 

SERVPRO of Emporia/South Boston is here to help you! Give us a call anytime at 434-262-6792.


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