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Why Use SERVPRO for your Mitigation Needs

11/14/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Why Use SERVPRO for your Mitigation Needs Flooded Kitchen in Columbia County, PA

When you have flooding from a broken pipe, pipe burst cleanup is the first thought that pops into your head. You are a smart person, a homeowner and a handy one at that! So you can easily fix a pipe and clean some water, right? Unfortunately, you may be wrong. Water damage causes serious issues that may not be visible to the untrained eye. Restoration specialists have the skills necessary for any type of water damage, whether you require a clean water removal or sewer cleanup company. Remember the three Ts when considering if a restoration company is right for you:

1. Training

Our water restoration specialists are trained in the specific needs of both residential and commercial properties. Certification by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) ensures that the technicians of SERVPRO are knowledgeable and current in their field of expertise. This includes health and safety concerns, drying methods, pipe burst cleanup procedures and restoration of both structural elements and contents.

2. Tools

Restoration specialists have tools that you do not have at your disposal. Professional grade pumps and vacuums are used to remove excess water. Moisture levels are monitored with hygrometers and other specialized detectors. Industrial strength dryers and dehumidifiers remove any remaining moisture to prevent secondary problems such as mold. Hidden moisture is detected using infrared cameras.

3. Techniques

Restoration companies employ specialists in many areas, including water damage, storm damage and mold remediation. Different techniques are employed depending on your specific situation. For water restoration, a variety of cleaning methods are used including immersion, foam, wet, dry and others specific to the needs of the material. Restoration processes are tailored as well.

Pipe burst cleanup is not the same as wiping up a glass of spilled water. When you have significant water damage in your home, SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties has the training, tools and techniques to restore your residence to preloss condition.

Why SERVPRO when it comes to storm damage!

11/14/2018 (Permalink)

Although no one can stop the rains, there are ways to limit flooding in your home. Overland flooding or backups due to overwhelmed storm sewage systems are but two of the sources of floodwaters in the lower levels of your home. Regardless of the source of the water, we have the technicians and the equipment to help you recover.
 
Even though the water causing flood damage to your home may be drawing your eyes down as it seeps into the foundation or lower levels, the problem often is at the roofline. Clogged gutters and damaged downspouts cause water to pound down near the perimeter of your home, saturating the soil and ultimately invading through the slab, poured, or cinder block foundation. We can respond to and restore the damage but expect suggestions from our managers or production crew to minimize or even eliminate future flooding.
 
The grading and landscaping around your home can also contribute to the seepage of floodwaters into the foundation. Over time even correctly graded ground can erode and shift, encouraging rainwater to drain into your home rather than away from it. SERVPRO crews also see scenarios where plantings surrounding your home contribute to excess water moving into the porous materials making up the base and protecting the lower levels of your house. Irrigation systems or merely an overdone watering of foundation gardens have the unhappy result of a wet home.
 
SERVPRO evaluates the characteristics of the water flooding into your home to determine whether it needs to be contained and disposed of according to local regulations. The sooner you get our team to your home the more likely that the water checks out as Category 1. If the soil around your home is loose, dirt particles can flow in with the water. Lawn chemicals, fertilizers, and even pet wastes can taint the water, requiring careful handling. Gutter overflow can also contain bird and animal waste and mold, threatening the flooded area with microbial growth if not disinfected and dried out after the flood water evacuates.
 
Submersible pumps and water extractors pull most of the flood water out of your home. If Category 1 we can drain it outside, but take care to deposit far from the house to prevent it from flooding again. We use moisture meters and infrared scanners to locate hidden pockets of moisture and to set a baseline for drying goals. SERVPRO crews position air movers, heaters, and dehumidifiers to dry out the affected space. The moisture numbers are monitored to ensure we achieve standard levels.
 
The team at SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties has the necessary training and experience to remediate seepage-based flooding. Do not hesitate to call us if we can help!

Doing What It Takes

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Doing What It Takes SERVPRO will do what it takes to accomplish our goal of satisfying the customer!

SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Co performed quite a number of flood cleanups following the many flash floods in Columbia, Sullivan and Bradford Counties from July thru September 2018. Our most notable cleanup wasn’t the house itself, which sustained approximately 12” of flood water from a nearby creek. It was the access to the property that caused some consternation among the crew. The cabin among others, is isolated across a creek that was, until the July flooding, was accessible by driving across a ford area. The flooding dredged the ford to a lower point making the drive impossible. The only access is to cross a 180’ suspension bridge, installed after the 2011 flooding destroyed an earlier foot bridge. This suspension bridge, while being safe to cross, tends to bounce and sway when crossing it. Especially when taking equipment such as airmovers and dehumidifiers across, also when carrying cleaning supplies. Just goes to show that SERVPRO will do what it takes to accomplish our goal of satisfying the customer!

Its That Time of Year, Protect Your Home During Extreme Cold Weather

11/8/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Its That Time of Year, Protect Your Home During Extreme Cold Weather Cold Weather

Protect Your Home During Extreme Cold Weather 

Extreme cold weather can be hard on both you and your home. Here are some tips to put into practice when freezing weather, snow, and ice hit your area.

How to Deal with Frozen Pipes

  • Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
  • Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers.
  • Turn off water to outside faucets, if available, and open valves on faucets to allow them to drain.
  • Turn off sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the lines to drain them.
  • Close or cover foundation vents under house and windows to basements.
  • Close garage doors.
  • Insulate exposed pipes (both hot and cold) under house with foam pipe insulation.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks.
  • Drip hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath. Drip single control faucets with lever set in middle.
  • Set ice maker to make ice if the water line to it runs under the house.
  • Don’t forget to check on pipes to your washing machine in the laundry room
  • Locate water main cut-off valve, and have a cut-off key handy.
  • Use a hair dryer, heat lamp, electric heat tape, or a portable space heater to thaw frozen pipes that have not burst.
  • Keep the faucet open when thawing frozen pipes to allow water to begin flowing through it.
  • After the weather has warmed above freezing and any frozen pipes have thawed, turn off dripping faucets and monitor your water meter to check for unseen leaks.

How to Keep Warm in Your Home

  • Have your furnace inspected before cold weather arrives. Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, install a clean air filter, and check the thermostat to see if it’s working properly.
  • Inspect fireplaces, and chimneys before using, and have them cleaned if needed.
  • Keep drapes and blinds closed, except when windows are in direct sunlight.
  • Put up storm windows, or install sheet plastic window insulation kits on the inside of windows.
  • Cover or remove any window air conditioners.
  • Insulate electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals available at home centers. 
  • Caulk any cracks or holes on the outside of your house.
  • Repair or replace weather stripping and thresholds around doors and windows.
  • Run paddle ceiling fans on low in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to circulate warm air.
  • Put draft snakes on window sills, between window frames, and against doors.
  • If you heat with propane or fuel oil, make sure the tank is full.
  • If you heat with wood or coal, have plenty of fuel on hand.

How to Protect the Outside of Your Home

  • Spray an ice repellent solution on steps and walks before freezing weather arrives
  • Check antifreeze levels in cars. Add if needed, then run the engine to circulate the new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.
  • Add freeze resistant windshield wiper fluid, and spay to circulate it in lines.
  • Check air pressure in tires, since cold weather causes the pressure to lower.
  • Bring in container plants, add mulch around plants, and cover plants that are prone to frost damage. Remove covering when temperatures warm above freezing.
  • Drain birdbaths and fountains
  • Gently sweep snow off plants and shrubs in an upward motion with a broom.
  • Use rock salt, sand, or clay based kitty litter on walks and drives (NOTE: Salt can damage grass and other plants).
  • Don’t overdo it when using a snow shovel.
  • Clean your gutters and downspouts before cold weather arrives to prevent ice from forming in them.
  • Stay off your roof during freezing weather, but once the ice and snow have melted, inspect your roof for any damage.

Snow Storms & Extreme Cold

11/8/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Snow Storms & Extreme Cold Are You Ready?

During Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

  • Stay indoors during the storm.
  • Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule and your route; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. Use caution, take breaks, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and lift lighter loads.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • If you must go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
  • Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a hat and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss.so, which route will be safest for you to get home. Drive with extra caution.

After Snowstorms and Extreme Cold

  • Bring any personal items that you would need to spend the night (such as toiletries, medicines). Take precautions when traveling to the shelter. Dress warmly in layers, wear boots, mittens, and a hat.

  • Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Winter Weather Watches and Warnings

  • Familiarize yourself with these terms to help identify an extreme winter weather alerts:
  • Freezing Rain - Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.

  • Sleet - Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.

  • Wind Chill- Windchill is the temperature it “feels like” when you are outside. The NWS provides a Windchill Chart to show the difference between air temperature and the perceived temperature and the amount of time until frostbite occurs. For more information, visit: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/winter/windchill.shtml.

  • Winter Weather Advisory - Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening. The NWS issues a winter weather advisory when conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is used, these situations should not be life-threatening.

  • Winter Storm Watch - A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for more information. The NWS issues a winter storm watch when severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area but the location and timing are still uncertain. A winter storm watch is issued 12 to 36 hours in advance of a potential severe storm. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, local radio, TV, or other news sources for more information. Monitor alerts, check your emergency supplies, and gather any items you may need if you lose power.

  • Winter Storm Warning - A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.

  • Blizzard Warning - Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 miles per hour or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.

  • Frost/Freeze Warning - Below freezing temperatures are expected.

Fire Safety

11/8/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Safety Please clean & inspect your chimney before first use this season!

As the weather starts to change, so should your fire safety considerations in your home. Preventing fires is important all year long, and focusing on the appropriate fire safety tips for the season can make your efforts more worthwhile.  Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as the temperature gets cooler and the leaves start to fall.

1. Candle Safety- You might be tempted to start bringing out your favorite fall scented candles soon. There’s just something about a beautiful, fragrant candle that feels comforting on a fall day. Candles come with their own safety considerations, however. Keep candles 12 inches away from anything that can burn and blow out candles when you are leaving the room. Never use a candle if there is oxygen being used in your home for medical purposes; electric candles are a safer option.

2. Heating equipment- Make sure your heating equipment is in working order and has been inspected before you start to use it. Since this equipment has been out of use for the last several months, it’s important that you follow the appropriate steps to make sure the unit is clean and functioning properly. If you use space heaters, make sure that they are surrounded by three feet of empty space and that they are turned off when you leave the house or go to bed.

3. Chimney inspection- if you have a usable fireplace, it’s essential to make sure that it is cleaned and inspected before you start using it to prevent built up creosote from starting a fire. Cozying up next to a beautiful fire might be a quintessential part of your fall, but make sure that you do so as safely as possible. Also, consider using a screen to prevent sparks from igniting a fire somewhere in your home.

Frozen Pipes

11/8/2018 (Permalink)

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

How to Protect Pipes From Freezing

Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.

Chimney Safety

10/25/2018 (Permalink)

As we approach the winter season, the simple pleasures of gathering around the fireplace become more and more common. To ensure the safety of yourself and family members, be sure to follow these crucial steps before deciding to light a fire.

Have your fireplace professionally cleaned – According to the National Fire Protection Association, you should have your chimney swept at least once a year by a professional cleaning service. This type of service entails cleaning inside and outside the chimney.

  1. Always cap your chimney – Placing a cap on your chimney prevents outside debris, rain, and even vermin from entering your fireplace.
  2. Burn seasoned wood – Not all wood is safe for your fireplace. If you have any questions about what wood to choose, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America website.
  3. Place a small amount of wood in the fire – A small amount of wood generates less smoke. Less smoke is not only beneficial to your own health, but it also means less damage to your chimney.
  4. Place the wood on a metal grate – This allows the air to circulate around the logs.
  5. Use a guard – Placing a guard on both sides of your fireplace can prevent any sparks from flying out and potentially harming yourself or any appliances that are nearby.
  6. Put out the fire safely – After the fire dies down, be sure to bury the logs at the bottom of the fireplace and pour sand on it to ensure that it is out.

Types of Chimney Fires

  • Free Burning: Extremely loud blaze with visible flames and smoke coming out of the chimney top.
  • Slow Burning: Much quieter than a free burning fire. This type of chimney fire often goes unnoticed since they burn slower and at high temperatures. Slow burning fires are still extremely dangerous.

At SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties, safety is our #1 concern and we hope that you and your family are able to enjoy the splendors of a fireplace fire this winter season.  

School Flooding

8/23/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage School Flooding This flooded classroom was caused by recent flash flooding.

August 13 was a day of devastation for many in Columbia County as well as other counties. SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan County was performing water and flood damage cleanup for residences even before the Monday storm. On Tuesday morning, the Benton School District contacted Tom Hess and indicated help was needed at the L. Ray Appleman Elementary school: several class rooms, hallways, bathrooms, and large numbers of contents were damaged by flooding.

SERVPRO personnel Tom Hess, Jennifer West, part time personnel Mason Hill and Destinee Good arrived after 12:00 PM and met with the staff to decide how best to tackle the cleanup. School is scheduled to open on Wednesday, August 22. The school staff: Jim Hartkorn, John Hook, Mark Force, Jeff Kelsey, Steve Diltz, Zanna Kinney, Melissa Hudack, James Mathews and Jim Matthews were all very hard working individuals and made the SERVPRO personnel feel welcome and part of the crew.

The school staff took care of moving contents (desks, chairs, cabinets, misc items) out of the rooms. They then removed the heavy amounts of mud. SERVPRO personnel did the detail cleaning of the floors, walls, contents. SERVPRO moved many of the contents back into the classrooms.

From Tuesday afternoon to Friday at 2:00 PM, the SERVPRO crew, aided by Adam Prukala and Makayla Hill, and the excellent staff at the Benton Elementary school worked diligently and cooperatively to complete the interior cleaning and prepare for the teachers to set up their classrooms for the coming year.

Columbia, Montour & Sullivan County Residents:We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration!

8/23/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Columbia, Montour & Sullivan County Residents:We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration! This Columbia County home’s basement flooded due to heavy rains.

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today - 570-759-0966

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Columbia, Montour & Sullivan Counties and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week
  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques
  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help 570-759-0966