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What To Expect From A Water Damage Restoration Service

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

About 40 percent of American homeowners say they’ve experienced some loss due to water damage. Interestingly, most cases of water damage are easily preventable.

Water damage can prove costly. Dealing with the problem promptly, however, can help you minimize the losses. One way to handle cases of flooding and water damage is by contacting a water damage restoration service right away.

But what exactly should you expect from water damage restoration services? More importantly, what should you look for in a water damage company? These are some of the issues we discuss in this comprehensive guide. 

Keep reading to learn more.

How Does Water Damage Occur?

Before you seek help with water damage, it helps to know what exactly causes water damage. This way, it’s easier to prevent it from happening or to deal with it more effectively when it does happen. 

Water damage happens when there’s excess water in areas where it shouldn’t be. There are many causes for this. These include:

  • Burst or leaking pipes
  • Plumbing issues
  • Water pooling in attics, basements, or crawl spaces
  • Faulty household appliances, e.g. the fridge
  • Weather-related issues

The moment you spot any signs of water damage, you need to address the issue right away. Contact a reputable water damage company to help mitigate the problem.

Types of Water Damage

Water damage restoration professionals classify water damage in three categories. The type of water damage determines the scope of the mitigation. Let’s examine each of these categories closely:

Category 1

Category 1 water damage is also referred to as clean water. Sources of this type of water damage include water leaks from burst pipes, tub overflows, and the shower. Such water damage typically doesn’t pose health risks to residents. 

Category 2

This category of water damage is also known as grey water. Such water usually contains a considerable degree of biological and chemical contaminants. These contaminants can be harmful to people.

Sources of grey water include toilet overflows, sump pump failures, and leaks from the washing machine. 

Category 3

This category of water damage is also referred to as black water. The water contains bacteria, fungus, and unsanitary agents that can cause potentially serious illnesses. Sources of category 3 water damage include overflows from sewer lines, ground surface water, rising waters from rivers, storms, and so on.

When left untreated, category 2 water damage can quickly escalate to category 3.

Immediate Steps to Take After You Become Aware of Water Damage

As soon as it’s clear that you have water damage in your home, you need to assess the situation and take necessary steps. Generally, you’ll need to do three things. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Talk to a Plumber

In many situations, the cause of water damage is a plumbing issue. In such a situation, call your plumber to help identify the source of the water. Once they’ve identified the source, it’s easy to fix the problem.  

Talk to a Water Damage Restoration Service

Sometimes, you need to contact a water extraction company. Such a company will usually have the appropriate personnel and equipment to tackle water damage effectively. Your plumber may be able to assist in this step.

Call Your Homeowner’s Insurance Provider

One of the primary reasons you have homeowner’s insurance is to help recover losses after water damage. Notify your insurance provider the moment you become aware of water damage in your home.

Your insurance company may have a list of technicians, plumbers, and water damage restoration services they recommend, although it’s within your rights to work with whomever you feel comfortable with.

The Water Damage Restoration Process

As soon as you’ve contacted a water restoration service provider, they'll determine the scope of the damage and then create an action plan for structural dry-out. Where necessary, they'll also test for asbestos before beginning the dry-out process.  

Depending on the building materials, the restoration company may use different methods to fix the water damage. They may use air movers, dehumidifiers, and air movers.

During the drying process, contaminated items will first be removed from the house. All affected materials are then cleaned and dried to industry standards. The best companies will also offer thorough cleaning and sanitizing services, so your home is as fresh as possible.  

During the entire restoration process, the water damage company maintains photos and moisture logs to ensure nothing goes missing. The company will also maintain communication with you in case you have relocated to another house.

The best water damage restoration companies also communicate with the insurance on your behalf to make sure you receive full coverage.

Choosing the Best Water Damage Company

Now that you know what to expect from a water damage restoration company, it's time to talk about what you need to look for in one. The fact is that not all water damage companies are created equal. Here are three things a water damage company needs to have.

Certification

Water damage restoration is a tough job that should be handled by a qualified contractor. That’s why you should only work with certified technicians. If a contractor cannot prove that they have the necessary legal documents for the job, it’s a massive red flag.

A Stellar Reputation

Ask for references before working with a particular water damage restoration provider. Check out their website for customer reviews. If previous customers seem happy with a company’s services, chances are you will be too.

Availability

Incidences of water damage can happen without warning. You want to be sure that your prospective water damage restoration service provider is available 24/7. If a company cannot guarantee availability at any time of day or night, move on.

Find the Best Water Damage Company for You

Water damage can prove disastrous, so you need to act at the first sign of trouble. Identifying a reliable water damage restoration service provider is a great way to stay prepared.

Are you looking for cost-effective water damage restoration services? Please contact us today.

Water Damage In Home: How To Recover Your Home From Water Damage

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

Water Damage in home Fungus in gypsum ceiling interior building damaged from water leaking

One storm could cause billions in property damages. In fact, storm-related flooding and hurricane winds cost $54 billion in annual costs alone. That doesn't include flooding caused by accidents, such as leaving a faucet running. 

If there's water damage in your home, you need to react quickly. Otherwise, letting the water linger could cause mold to develop. Leaving standing water in your home might even attract bugs. 

It's best to call a water restoration company right away. While you wait for them to arrive, use these five water damage recovery tips to minimize the damage. These water damage in home tips can help you clean up before problems stack up. 

Get started with these tips today!

1. Safety First

Before starting with these "water damage in home" recovery tips, take the time to prioritize your safety.

First, complete a walkthrough of your home. Do you notice any visible structural damage, such as a cracked foundation? Does anything look loose or about to fall?

Search for holes, cracks, or warping in the walls while you're at it.

If you notice any serious structural damage, don't head inside. Instead, prioritize your safety and call a professional team first. They have the experience and tools necessary to handle a dangerous environment. 

If your home's foundation looks safe, check your utilities next. Were any sewer, water, gas, or electric lines damaged? If you notice damages, call the proper utility company.

After all, you don't want to cause more damage to your home. 

Once you determine it's safe, pull on a pair of shock-resistant safety shoes or boots. You might not realize there's an electrical problem until it's too late. To minimize potential injuries, turn off your home's water and electrical sources right away.

Make sure to complete this step even if power isn't working. You never know when it might turn back on. You don't want to find yourself standing in a puddle of water, trying to clean up, when the power returns. 

Turn off your home's individual fuse connections and the main fuse. 

These safety precautions can help you avoid a potential accident during the water damage recovery process.

2. Photograph Everything

Before you start cleaning up, grab a camera or your phone. Take photos of every room. It's important to document the damages before you start cleaning up.

Video footage can help you keep track of the damages within your home as well. Consider completing a full walkthrough of your home before you begin the water damage recovery process. 

During your walkthrough, take photos for every room. Don't forget to focus on any possessions that sustained damages. Staying organized will help you reference and track your losses.  

After taking photos and recording video footage, make sure to save everything electronically. You want to have easy access to your files to send to your insurance company. If your camera or photo sustains damage, you can rely on your electronic copies. 

Making an official record of these damages before making repairs is essential for your insurance claim. Otherwise, you could impact the coverage you'll receive from your claim. 

3. Gather Equipment

Once you're done taking photos, you can start clearing out the water damage in your home. You'll need to gather the right equipment first. 

There's a chance the flooding caused sewage or chemicals to make their way into your home. You don't want to step inside and breathe in those chemicals. Instead, make sure to have your high-waisted, waterproof boots and a pair of rubber gloves ready.

It's also important to wear clothes you're okay with tossing out once you're done.

Once you're dressed, start removing any water-damaged items throughout your home. Remember, you don't want to leave anything wet sitting around. Otherwise, mold could grow

Don't forget to write down any possessions you'll need to toss out. If you think something is contaminated, throw it away. Remove anything that came into contact with floodwater before mold gets the chance to spread. 

4. File Your Claim

As you work through your "water damage in home" process, don't forget to contact your insurance company. Water damage caused $10,849 in homeowners' losses between 2014 and 2018.

Do you live in an area where flooding occurs regularly? Consider keeping your insurance company's information on your phone. That way, you don't have to dig around your flood-damaged home to find their number. 

If you live in an area that's prone to flooding, it could take time before someone processes your claim. Contact your insurance company's headquarters if you can't reach your agent.

Sometimes, your homeowner's insurance policy won't cover groundwater flood damage. You might need to work with your insurer throughout the water damage recovery process. 

Let your insurance company representative know which repairs you intend on making. While you're at it, don't forget to send them your photos and video footage. Your insurance company will let you know if you need to follow specific instructions before making repairs. 

As you clear the water damage in your home, track any repairs you make, along with the costs. 

Keep a record of your conversations, too. If you need to reference any notes or agreements, you'll have copies you can review. 

5. Remove Water

After contacting the insurance company, start removing any standing water. If you're not sure how to proceed, don't forget to contact a professional flood team. They can make sure all the water gets removed from your home.

Otherwise, leaving water damage in your home will attract flies, mosquitoes, and termites. 

Open your doors and windows as you start cleaning to improve airflow.

Is it still storming? In that case, keep the doors and windows closed. You'll want to prevent as much additional damage as possible. If there's damage to your roof, make sure to use a tarp to keep the water at bay.    

Water Damage in Home: 5 Tips for Minimizing the Damage

Dealing with water damage in home problems? Don't let the water linger. Otherwise, standing water can lead to additional damages like mold growth. 

Ready to clear the air? Call our water damage recovery team. Contact us today to get started! 

What to Expect From the Water Damage Cleanup Process

7/10/2020 (Permalink)

Flooded Houses A flooded house—even just a couple of inches of water—requires complete water damage restoration to prevent mold infestation.

It's a homeowner's worst nightmare. You've gone on vacation and when you return, there are 2 inches of water flooding the house.

Those 2 inches of water can cost you up to $27,000 in repairs.

Water damage cleanup isn't a task to take lightly. If not done properly, the damage to your home will get worse. Not to mention it can expose your family to harmful bacteria and mold.

To ensure your family and home are protected, you need to act right away. Call in a professional water damage restoration crew as soon as possible.

Why do you need a restoration crew? Here is a look at the process to clean up after a flood.

Step One: Assessing the Water Damage

Before any work begins, the restoration team needs to know the type of flooding. There are two key factors that determine how they will approach the cleanup job.

The first factor is the type of water flooding your home or business. There are three categories:

  • Clean water flooding: Caused by rainwater or freshwater pipes
  • Graywater flooding: Water from a toilet or appliance with chemicals
  • Blackwater flooding: Water contaminated by sewage and toxins

Failure to identify the type of floodwater can lead to serious health issues. These issues include tetanus, skin rash, and gastrointestinal illness.

The second factor the restoration crew must consider is how much water is involved. The four categories are:

  • Class 1: Minor flooding on nonporous surfaces like sealed concrete and tile
  • Class 2: Minor flooding in contact with surfaces like wood floors and drywall
  • Class 3: Major flooding in contact with the carpet, furniture, etc. 
  • Class 4: Major flooding involving contaminated water on porous surfaces

The more water involved, the more effort it will take to clean up. This is why consulting a professional is important. An average homeowner won't be able to tell the full extent of the flooding.

Step Two: Removing All Standing Water

It is important to remove all standing floodwater as soon as possible. The longer it is allowed to sit, the more water absorbs into your flooring and walls.

Do not enter a flooded building to remove the water yourself. Floodwater can hide live electric lines, broken glass and dangerous bacteria. 

The restoration team will begin by pumping out any deep standing water. The submersible pump uses a long hose to move the water into your yard.

Any remaining water is removed by mopping, using a floor squeegee or running a wet vac. 

Step Three: The Drying Process

Drying out the building is the most important part of water damage cleanup. If you try to rush this process, it will lead to a mold infestation. 

The first step in the drying process is to open up the windows and doors. 

Next, the restoration team will use specialized equipment to circulate air in the affected rooms. These machines include:

  • Air scrubbers: Designed to filter odors and mold spores from the air after a flood
  • Air movers: Blow air through the affected rooms to speed drying time for porous surfaces
  • Dehumidifiers: Remove water particles from the air

How the restoration team uses these machines depends on the type of flooding involved.

For instance, using a dehumidifier in a warehouse flooded by blackwater isn't advisable. There is too much air space for the dehumidifier to work as intended.

Step Four: Time for Water Damage Cleanup

Once your home is dry, the hard part begins.

You need to document the damage to your personal belongings. Take pictures that are clear and well lit to provide your insurance company with an accurate record of what happened.

While you're taking pictures, make a list of items that you think can be cleaned. 

Keep in mind, if your home is flooded by blackwater, almost everything will have to go. Bacteria from raw sewage soaks into porous materials. It is virtually impossible to clean them fully.

The water restoration team will know for sure what items can be salvaged. Always take their expertise into account when deciding what items to keep.

Major flooding soaks into everything. The restoration crew may need to remove flooring, drywall, and other construction materials. This is necessary to prevent mold and bacteria from infesting your home.

Any items the team doesn't remove are cleaned and sanitized. Before they leave, they will make sure there are also no lingering odors from the flood.

Step Five: Restoring Your Home After Water Damage

There is one more step to water damage restoration before you return to normal life: bringing in a team to repair and replace any materials removed during the cleanup.

If possible, look for a water damage restoration company that covers repairs, as well. Using an all-in-one company reduces your overall costs and speeds up the recovery process.

During the restoration process, the company may need to:

  • Replace carpet or wood flooring
  • Repair tile or marble flooring
  • Install new drywall
  • Fix the plumbing problem that caused the flood
  • Repair a leaky roof
  • Restore water-damaged furniture and appliances
  • Apply fresh paint to the walls

Before you sign a contract, make sure the restoration company has a contractor license. Do not hire a company that won't show a license or proof of insurance. If they make a mistake, you will be forced to pay even more to fix it.

Don't Wait to Start Water Damage Restoration in Your Home

Time is of the essence when it comes to water damage cleanup. Even if the water is gone, the damage lingers. Your family may experience health issues until a restoration team gets rid of possible mold sources. 

To make recovery after a flood easier, SERVPRO deals directly with your insurance company. Our goal is to get you back to your normal life as soon as possible.

SERVPRO of West Hartford, CT has 50 years of experience in this field. Let our local experts tackle your restoration needs. In no time at all, it'll look "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO offers 24-hour emergency services. Contact us any time, day or night.

SERVPRO of West Hartford
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro 
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.206.6141
24-hour emergency service

7 Surefire Signs of Water Damage (And What You Need to Do ASAP)

7/9/2020 (Permalink)

Water Damage in Ceiling Detecting water damage before the problem gets worse.

The main purpose of living indoors is to stay safe and keep away from outside elements like water. However, sometimes those elements still make their way inside and create issues.

If you're reading this article, it's probably because you're currently experiencing that scenario. Luckily, we're here to help. Take a look at the information below to learn how to check for signs of water damage.

The Primary Signs of Water Damage

Normally, the signs of water damage are pretty obvious. However, some signs are more noticeable than others. Here's how you can spot it:

1. Bad Odor

Chances are you'll most likely smell water damage before you see it. The odor is similar to wet paper or cardboard and smells worst as you go near the area where the water damage occurred. It may feel humid in that spot as well.

If you notice a bad stench in your home, don't ignore it. Take a bit of time to investigate and see where it's coming from. 

2. Stains and Discoloration

One of the main signs of water damage is discoloration or stains. Normally, the perimeter of the stain will have a brownish color that's different from the ceiling or paint color. Discoloration happens when the area gets wet and then dries.

Unfortunately, you may not notice a stain until days after the water damage occurs once the moisture has had a chance to dry.

3. Mold

Water damage mold is a serious issue that could be damaging to your health. Sometimes mold goes unnoticed because water damage may take place behind a wall or an area where it's not easily detected.

However, the moment you notice mold, it's vital to get a specialist in your home immediately.

4. Cracked Paint

Water damage causes drywall and the ceiling to swell. When that happens, the swelling pushes against the paint causing it to crack or peel. This scenario usually occurs when you have pipe leakage or plumbing issues.

5. Rotting Wood

Another one of the primary signs of water damage is deteriorating wood. When water gets onto wooden pieces, like the door or window frames, it can cause it to break down and rot.

It only takes a small amount of water to damage wood, and if this happens it has to be replaced. Otherwise, it could become a hazard depending on the location of the wood.

6.  Expensive Water Bill

Even when you don't notice any water damage signs within your home, a higher water bill could be an indicator that there's a problem. In that situation, it's best to look for leaks and plumbing issues throughout your house.

A small amount of water leakage could lead to a larger problem. The sooner you find the root cause of the leak, the better chance you have of preventing water damage cleanup.

7. Rigid Wood or Drywall

Water damage can cause wood and drywall to bulk. It may even create a hole in it. If there's a problem, the area will likely be difficult to walk on and have a difference in texture around the affected area.

Causes of Water Damage

There are several culprits that can lead to leakage in your home. Sometimes the source of water damage is noticeable and other times it's not. Here are some of the reasons why you might have a water leak:

Weather

Rain or snow could become a huge problem for your home if your house is not weatherproof. A bad thunderstorm could cause damage to your roof which inevitably causes water damage.

Make sure that your roof is in good condition and that your rain gutters are clean. Also, check to make sure that the windows and doors don't have cracks in them that can let water in.

The same thing goes for snow. Ice and snow on the roof can become detrimental once it begins to melt and drain down your roof, into your ceilings, and other areas of your home.

It's best to insulate your attic to ensure that there isn't any damage that happens as a result of ice dams.

Plumbing

One of the main causes of water damage is plumbing. It's a good idea to regularly check your plumbing systems in your house at least once a year. Also, be aware that plumbing pipes only have a certain lifespan.

Be sure to check how old the plumbing fixtures are and have them replaced once they reach a certain age.

Pipes

A pipe can burst for many different reasons. Cold weather may cause it to freeze, or there may be issues with the swimming pool or supply line. Whatever the reason, if you notice a pipe leaking, make sure you fix it as soon as possible.

Old Water Heater

Water heaters don't last forever and they should be replaced about every 10 years. To find the age of your water heater, can check the serial number on the manufacturer's sticker. 

If you notice decay, mold, or moisture build-up around the water heater that could be a sign that it's time to replace it.

Keep Your Home Dry and Safe

 Once you notice the signs of water damage, contact a professional immediately. Even if you only have a small amount of damage, it's best to get it taken care of before it leads to bigger issues.

With that said, if you need assistance with getting your home in order, we're here for you. SERVPRO West Hartford offers a variety of services from fire damage to mold remediation.

We're located in West Hartford, CT and we service the surrounding areas. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

SERVPRO of West Hartford
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro 
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.206.6141
24-hour emergency service

Our Cleaning Services Combat Pathogen Contamination

5/7/2020 (Permalink)

A blood sample held by a gloved hand in front of a background of a virus image Protect your family, customers and employees with SERVPRO of West Hartford's proactive cleaning and disinfecting of homes and businesses.

Sometimes the smallest things cause the biggest problems. Pathogens—those microscopic particles such as viruses and bacteria—can lay low not only individual humans, but—left unchecked and with no available treatment—an entire society.

SERVPRO has a well-earned reputation for tackling the toughest, most urgent cleaning jobs, including biohazard cleanup of contamination such as sewage, chemicals and blood-borne pathogens. Now, as a new and devastating pathogen circulates the globe, we provide proactive cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection of commercial and residential properties. SERVPRO of West Hartford offers homeowners and business owners cleaning services with extra reassurance that their homes and facilities are clean and disinfected, with the goal of minimizing the transmission of viral and bacterial pathogens.

As a corporation, SERVPRO was prepared for this time of urgent need, because we have long put a premium on having the expertise, training, equipment and personnel to respond to just about any disaster—even, today, a global health crisis. With a single phone call to SERVPRO of West Hartford, you can keep your family and friends, customers and employees safer from a new and uncertain threat with proactive cleaning of your home or business.

Proactive Cleaning of Pathogens Is a CDC Best Practice

Viruses, in particular, spread primarily through personal contact. Transmission occurs when an infected person coughs or sneezes, producing airborne respiratory droplets that carry the virus. These drops travel through the air and can infect others within the sneeze or cough zone (generally around six feet). Therefore, medical experts advise avoiding groups larger than ten people and keeping a six-foot distance from others.

Many viruses can survive on surfaces from a few hours to a few days, making it possible to catch the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. This is why experts advise washing your hands frequently and not touching your face.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of … viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.” (We at SERVPRO encourage you to check back with the CDC frequently for update on the current crisis and viral pathogens.)

SERVPRO of West Hartford is prepared—right now—to clean, sanitize and disinfect your home or business to eradicate traces of viral and bacterial pathogens. Whether you suspect your structure may have been contaminated or not, SERVPRO of West Hartford is ready to help avoid exposure within your building.

Understandably, while SERVPRO’s cleaning process can remove existing viral pathogens, structures we clean proactively are not protected from future contamination if an infected person subsequently enters the building.

Cleaning and Disinfecting for Homes and Businesses

Both homeowners and business owners hire SERVPRO of West Hartford for proactive cleaning. Whether you want reassurance that your building is free from contamination or you are coping with a suspected contamination situation, rely on SERVPRO to restore your peace of mind, health and safety.

Especially in a situation where a family member has been infected with a virus, you can be confident that you’ll reduce the risk of exposure for other residents of the home with our cleaning services for homeowners.

Business owners, too, can directly protect the health of their employees and customers with our proactive cleaning service. With a call to SERVPRO of West Hartford, you will be doing what you can to keep Americans—those you know and those you’ll never meet—safe.

In the midst of a viral threat, with so many unknowns, people seek reassurance. By having your facility proactively cleaned by SERVPRO, you reassure your customers that your business is a safe place to be, even as table service at restaurants and bars may be temporarily closed down and the hours of nonessential businesses are curtailed. Hiring SERVPRO to clean and sanitize your facility demonstrates that your business is doing all it can to protect the health of your customers and the public.

These and other types of businesses can benefit from SERVPRO’s proactive cleaning, which targets viral and bacterial pathogens:

  • Restaurants and bars
  • Retail stores
  • Offices, especially medical offices
  • Schools
  • Nursing homes, senior centers and rehabilitation facilities
  • Gyms
  • Banks
  • Hotels, B&Bs and other hospitality sites
  • Libraries
  • Theaters and entertainment venues
  • Apartment buildings
  • Factories and warehouses

We Were Ready for This

SERVPRO’s business model is to be prepared at all times with the expertise, equipment and staffing to respond to just about any disaster. This foresight makes us uniquely ready to provide proactive cleaning of viral pathogens for these five reasons.

Our Crews

On a day-to-day basis, we are fully staffed and prepared for your most difficult job. Our employees are trained in the use of all our equipment and cleaning products, and we keep them protected by adhering to rigorous safety training and procedures.

SERVPRO of West Hartford is one of four top-performing local SERVPRO franchises—the other three are SERVPRO of Manchester/Mansfield, SERVPRO of Glastonbury/Wethersfield and SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield—that are owned and operated by Ralph and Noemi DiCristofaro. This means we can get to your job faster, and we allocate staff and equipment—including thousands of different pieces of equipment and dozens of trucks and other vehicles—as needed to tackle the really big, urgent jobs.

Our Protective Gear

We are well-supplied with the appropriate personal protective gear for the job. Our crew will wear a mid-grade protective suit if there is no indication that your facility or home has been contaminated by a pathogen, but if contamination is suspected or confirmed, they will wear a top-grade suit, which is thicker and features integrated boots and hoods. Every crewmember wears an individually fit-tested N-95 respirator to ensure complete coverage and protection.

Our Cleaning Products

We use hospital-grade cleaning and disinfecting products that are both safe to use and effective at killing germs. These products can be difficult, if not impossible, for other vendors to locate. But SERVPRO, with its foresight and purchasing network, has secured a substantial supply of pathogen-fighting cleaners and disinfectants.

Our Cleaning Process

We use two different stages of cleaning to attack viral and bacterial contamination. First, we seal off your home or place of business and fog it with cleaning and disinfecting agents. This delivery method, which uses electrostatic sprayers and misters, allows deep penetration into crevices that would otherwise remain untouched.

Next our crews perform hands-on cleaning and disinfecting of every flat surface in your structure, including furniture, fixtures and objects, leaving the disinfectant in place for the CDC-recommended amount of time necessary to kill disease-causing germs.

Our Coverage

You do not need to worry about any additional liability when you hire SERVPRO of West Hartford. As a professional damage restoration and cleaning company, one of more than 1,800 SERVPRO franchises across the United States, we are fully insured against any hazards we may encounter on a job.

What We Clean and Disinfect

Cleaning removes the soil and dirt that harbors infectious agents, while disinfecting kills the remaining environmental pathogens. SERVPRO meets or exceeds the CDC’s guidelines to clean high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards and tablets.

We clean these and other areas of the home or business:

Throughout

  • light switches
  • doorknobs
  • floors: hard surfaces/wood
  • carpets, rugs and mats
  • hallway and stairwell handrails
  • water fountains

Kitchen/food areas

  • tables and chairs
  • countertops and tabletops
  • cabinets and pulls
  • food contact surfaces
  • paper towel/napkin dispensers
  • push doors
  • salt and pepper shakers
  • sinks and sink hardware
  • soap dispensers

Bathrooms

  • bathroom stalls
  • countertops
  • cabinets/vanities and pulls
  • grab bars
  • paper towel/napkin dispenser
  • sinks and sink hardware
  • soap dispensers
  • toilets
  • diaper-changing station

Classrooms

  • book covers and binders
  • chairs
  • computer equipment
  • countertops, tabletops and desktops
  • small hard-surface items
  • paper towel/napkin dispensers
  • sinks and sink hardware
  • soap dispensers

Offices

  • chairs
  • telephones
  • computer equipment
  • countertops, tabletops and desktops
  • lamps
  • shared office equipment

Retail space

  • shelving and racking
  • displays
  • mannequins
  • packaged inventory
  • fitting room stalls
  • tables and chairs
  • telephones
  • computer equipment and registers
  • sales counters

Other

  • fitness equipment
  • storage bins
  • lockers
  • playground equipment
  • elevator cars

Porous and Non-Porous Surfaces: Cleaning

Cleaning—using a detergent and water to physically remove germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces and objects—can remove but not necessarily inactivate viruses on porous and non-porous surfaces. However, many viruses are encased in fatty envelopes, so it is likely that the same soaps that break down grease can puncture that outer envelope and inactivate a virus, too.

Removing contamination from smooth surfaces is easier than getting it out of upholstery or carpeting. Porous materials that are not water-sensitive, like carpet, area rugs, upholstered items and draperies, can be wet-cleaned using a hot water extraction or preconditioner-and-rinse method. But cleaning methods typically used on water-sensitive materials, such as vacuuming or dry sponging, are not effective because they do not remove enough soil and residue.

We effectively wet-clean non-porous materials, like hard-surface floors, cabinets, countertops, doorknobs and plumbing fixtures, using a variety of SERVPRO hard-surface cleaners (general purpose) and cleaning methods.

Note: some materials, such as paper and paper products, cannot be cleaned with detergent and water without being damaged.

Non-Porous Surfaces: Disinfection

SERVPRO follows CDC recommendations that advise using a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant that kills germs and disinfects non-porous surfaces or objects. We spray or mist these disinfectants and let the disinfectant remain on the surface for ten minutes, sufficient to kill germs.

We adhere to the CDC’s recommendations to use disinfecting wipes on electronic items that are frequently touched, such as phones and computers, and use additional wipes to keep the surface wet for the recommended length of contact time.

Note: not all porous surfaces (such as carpet, area rugs, upholstered items and draperies) can be disinfected.

Safety is Our Priority

SERVPRO prioritizes the health and safety of our people—our most important asset. Our workers are thoroughly trained and equipped to handle potentially contaminated areas and materials. While working, our employees don personal protective equipment, including individually-fitted N-95 respirators, appropriate protective suit with integrated hood and boots, nitrile gloves and goggles.

As we work to rid your home or place of business of viral or bacterial contamination, we frequently clean and disinfect our own tools and equipment to avoid spreading any germs.

After cleaning your building, our crew bags, removes and disposes of its waste (such as used gloves, wipes and disposable respirators), and bags up and removes towels to the SERVPRO facility for laundering.

We’re Here for You in a Time of Crisis

In just about any disaster situation, the professional team at SERVPRO of West Hartford has the training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home or business. In this unique time of uncertainty and peril, we offer the expertise and preparation to reassure you, your family, customers and employees that your safety and health will be protected. Call SERVPRO of West Hartford (860.216.2785) any time.

When you have suffered a disaster at your home or business, call SERVPRO of West Hartford at 860.206.6141

SERVPRO of West Hartford
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro 
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.206.6141
24-hour emergency service

When you have suffered a disaster at your home or business, call SERVPRO of West Hartford at 860.206.6141

We Provide Coronavirus Cleaning Services

3/18/2020 (Permalink)

A graphic illustration of the coronavirus Call SERVPRO of West Hartford for proactive coronavirus cleaning. With our personnel, training, equipment and procedures, we are ready to help!

If you saw or read news coverage of a senior health care center in Kirkland, Washington at the epicenter of the early coronavirus outbreak, you may have noticed that among those performing coronavirus cleaning and disinfecting of the facility were crews from SERVPRO franchises in the Seattle area.

In response to the coronavirus crisis, SERVPRO offers proactive cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection of commercial and residential properties with the goal of minimizing the transmission of emergent viral pathogens, including the coronavirus. As the novel coronavirus, which causes Covid-19 disease, circulates the globe, SERVPRO can offer homeowners and business owners extra reassurance that their homes and facilities are clean and disinfected.

As a corporation, SERVPRO was prepared for this time of urgent need, because we have long put a premium on having the expertise, training, equipment and personnel to respond to just about any disaster—even, today, a global pandemic. With a phone call to SERVPRO of West Hartford, you can keep your family and friends, customers and employees safer from this new and uncertain threat with proactive cleaning of your business or your home.

Facts About the Coronavirus and Covid-19

Declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus outbreak has changed almost every aspect of social and business life, almost overnight. With this new virus, there are so many unknowns that it can be difficult to know how to protect yourself and your family—and for business owners, how to protect your employees and your customers.

The coronavirus is believed to spread primarily through personal contact, between people who are within about six feet of one another. This occurs through airborne respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These drops travel through the air and can infect others within the sneeze or cough zone.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that "transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented." However, available research suggests the coronavirus can live on surfaces from a few hours to a few days. Therefore, it may also be possible to catch the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes. Along with avoiding groups larger than ten people and keeping a six-foot distance from others, the most common advice from experts is to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.

In this rapidly changing situation, Americans are experiencing unprecedented canceling of events and widespread closings of schools, restaurants and workplaces. “Social distancing” has become both our new word-of-the-day, and in the absence of a vaccine, the key to slowing the pandemic.

Visit the CDC’s website for the latest and most accurate information on the coronavirus and Covid-19. Because this outbreak is unfolding rapidly and unpredictably, we at SERVPRO encourage you to check back with the CDC frequently for updates.

Proactive Cleaning Is a CDC Best Practice

According to the CDC, “Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.”

SERVPRO of West Hartford is prepared—right now—to clean, sanitize and disinfect your home or business to eradicate traces of coronavirus or other pathogens. Whether you think your structure may have been contaminated with coronavirus or not, SERVPRO of West Hartford is ready to help avoid coronavirus exposure within your building.

Understandably, while SERVPRO’s cleaning process can remove existing viral pathogens, including the coronavirus, structures we clean proactively are not protected from future coronavirus contamination if an infected person subsequently enters the building.

Proactive Cleaning for Homes and Businesses

Both homeowners and business owners hire SERVPRO for coronavirus proactive cleaning. Whether you want reassurance that your building is free from contamination or you are coping with a suspected contamination situation, rely on SERVPRO to restore your peace of mind, health and safety.

Especially in a situation where a family member has tested positive for Covid-19, you can be confident that you’ll reduce the risk of exposure for other residents of the home with our cleaning services for homeowners.

Business owners, too, can directly protect the health of their employees and customers with our proactive cleaning service. With a call to SERVPRO of West Hartford, you will be doing what you can to keep Americans—those you know and those you’ll never meet—safe as you slow the spread of coronavirus.

In the midst of this viral threat, with so much news and so many unknowns, people seek reassurance. By having your facility proactively cleaned by SERVPRO, you reassure your customers that your business is a safe place to be, even as table service at restaurants and bars may be temporarily closed down and the hours of nonessential businesses are curtailed. Hiring SERVPRO to clean and sanitize your facility makes it clear that your business is doing all it can to protect the health of your customers and the public.

These and other types of businesses can benefit from SERVPRO’s proactive cleaning, which targets the coronavirus and other pathogens:

  • Restaurants and bars
  • Retail stores
  • Offices, especially medical offices
  • Schools
  • Nursing homes, senior centers and rehabilitation facilities
  • Gyms
  • Hotels, B&Bs and other hospitality sites
  • Libraries
  • Theaters and entertainment venues
  • Apartment buildings
  • Factories and warehouses

We Were Ready for This

SERVPRO’s business model is to be prepared at all times with the expertise, equipment and staffing to respond to just about any disaster. This foresight makes us uniquely ready to provide proactive cleaning of viral pathogens for these five reasons.

Our Crews

On a day-to-day basis, we are fully staffed and prepared for your most difficult job. Our employees are trained in the use of all our equipment and cleaning products, and we keep them protected by adhering to rigorous safety training and procedures.

SERVPRO of West Hartford is one of four top-performing local SERVPRO franchises—the other three are SERVPRO of Manchester/Mansfield, SERVPRO of Glastonbury/Wethersfield and SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield—that are owned and operated by Ralph and Noemi DiCristofaro. This means we can get to your job faster, and we allocate staff and equipment—including thousands of different pieces of equipment and dozens of trucks and other vehicles—as needed to tackle the really big, urgent jobs.

Our Protective Gear

We are well-supplied with the appropriate personal protective gear for the job. Our crew will wear a mid-grade protective suit If there is no indication that your facility or home has been contaminated by coronavirus, but if contamination is suspected or confirmed, they will wear a top-grade suit, which is thicker and features integrated boots and hoods. Every crewmember wears an individually fit-tested N-95 respirator to ensure complete coverage and protection.

Our Cleaning Products

To fight the coronavirus, we use hospital-grade cleaning and disinfecting products that are safe to use and effective at killing germs. In the midst of a pandemic, these products are difficult, if not impossible, for other vendors to locate. But SERVPRO, with its foresight and purchasing network, has secured a substantial supply of coronavirus-fighting cleaners and disinfectants.

Our Cleaning Process

We use two different stages of cleaning to attack coronavirus contamination. First, we seal off your home or place of business and fog it with cleaning and disinfecting agents. This delivery method, which uses electrostatic sprayers and misters, allows deep penetration into crevices that would otherwise remain untouched.

Next our crews perform hands-on cleaning and disinfecting of every flat surface in your structure, including furniture, fixtures and objects, leaving the disinfectant in place for the CDC-recommended amount of time necessary to kill disease-causing germs.

Our Coverage

You do not need to worry about any additional liability when you hire SERVPRO of West Hartford. As a professional damage restoration and cleaning company, one of more than 1,800 SERVPRO franchises across the United States, we are fully insured against coronavirus or any other hazards we may encounter on a job.

What We Clean and Disinfect

Cleaning removes the soil and dirt that harbors infectious agents, while disinfecting kills the remaining environmental pathogens. SERVPRO meets or exceeds the CDC’s guidelines to clean high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards and tablets.

We clean these and other areas of the home or business:

Throughout

  • light switches
  • doorknobs
  • floors: hard surfaces/wood
  • carpets, rugs and mats
  • hallway and stairwell handrails
  • water fountains

Kitchen/food areas

  • tables and chairs
  • countertops and tabletops
  • cabinets and pulls
  • food contact surfaces
  • paper towel/napkin dispensers
  • push doors
  • salt and pepper shakers
  • sinks and sink hardware
  • soap dispensers

Bathrooms

  • bathroom stalls
  • countertops
  • cabinets/vanities and pulls
  • grab bars
  • paper towel/napkin dispenser
  • sinks and sink hardware
  • soap dispensers
  • toilets
  • diaper-changing station

Classrooms

  • book covers and binders
  • chairs
  • computer equipment
  • countertops, tabletops and desktops
  • small hard-surface items
  • paper towel/napkin dispensers
  • sinks and sink hardware
  • soap dispensers

Offices

  • chairs
  • telephones
  • computer equipment
  • countertops, tabletops and desktops
  • lamps
  • shared office equipment

Retail space

  • shelving and racking
  • displays
  • mannequins
  • packaged inventory
  • fitting room stalls
  • tables and chairs
  • telephones
  • computer equipment and registers
  • sales counters

Other

  • fitness equipment
  • storage bins
  • lockers
  • playground equipment
  • elevator cars

Porous and Non-Porous Surfaces: Cleaning

Cleaning—using a detergent and water to physically remove germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces and objects—can remove but not necessarily inactivate viruses on porous and non-porous surfaces. But because all coronaviruses are encased in fatty envelopes, it is likely that the same soaps that break down grease can puncture that outer envelope and inactivate the coronavirus, too.

Removing coronavirus contamination from smooth surfaces is easier than getting it out of upholstery or carpeting. Porous materials that are not water-sensitive, like carpet, area rugs, upholstered items and draperies, can be wet-cleaned using a hot water extraction or preconditioner-and-rinse method. But cleaning methods typically used on water-sensitive materials, such as vacuuming or dry sponging, are not effective because they do not remove enough soil and residue.

We effectively wet-clean non-porous materials, like hard-surface floors, cabinets, countertops, doorknobs and plumbing fixtures, using a variety of SERVPRO hard-surface cleaners (general purpose) and cleaning methods.

Note: some materials, such as paper and paper products, cannot be cleaned with detergent and water without being damaged.

Non-Porous Surfaces: Disinfection

While no disinfectants have yet been tested specifically for the coronavirus, SERVPRO follows CDC recommendations that advise using a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against viruses similar to SARS (CoV-2). Our hospital-grade chemicals kill germs and disinfect non-porous surfaces or objects. We spray or mist these disinfectants and let the disinfectant remain on the surface for ten minutes, sufficient to kill germs.

We adhere to the CDC’s recommendations to use disinfecting wipes on electronic items that are frequently touched, such as phones and computers, and use additional wipes to keep the surface wet for the recommended length of contact time.

Note: not all porous surfaces (such as carpet, area rugs, upholstered items and draperies) can be disinfected.

Safety is Our Priority

SERVPRO prioritizes the health and safety of our people—our most important asset. Our workers are thoroughly trained and equipped to handle potentially contaminated areas and materials. While working, our employees don personal protective equipment, including individually-fitted N-95 respirators, appropriate protective suit with integrated hood and boots, nitrile gloves and goggles.

As we work to rid your home or place of business of coronavirus or other contamination, we frequently clean and disinfect our own tools and equipment to avoid spreading any germs.

After cleaning your building, our crew bags, removes and disposes of its waste (such as used gloves, wipes and disposable respirators), and bags up and removes towels to the SERVPRO facility for laundering.

We’re Here for You in a Time of Crisis

In just about any disaster situation, the team at SERVPRO of West Hartford has the training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home or business. In this unique time of uncertainty and peril, we have the expertise and preparation to reassure you, your family, customers and employees that your safety and health will be protected. Call SERVPRO of West Hartford (860.216.2785) any time.

When you have suffered a disaster at your home or business, call SERVPRO of West Hartford at 860.206.6141

SERVPRO of West Hartford
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro 
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.206.6141
24-hour emergency service

When you have suffered a disaster at your home or business, call SERVPRO of West Hartford at 860.206.6141

Avoid Water Damage During Frozen Pipe Season

2/18/2020 (Permalink)

Water bursts from a frozen and ruptured pipe A frozen pipe often means a burst pipe, and that means lots of water damage to your home or business. Prevent it by following our tips.

Wintertime, and the pipes are freezing! That’s not music to any homeowner’s ears: a frozen and burst pipe can do astounding amounts of damage—and quickly—to a home or business. This article gives you ways to avoid that kind of water disaster—and ways to recover fast if you do end up with a frozen and burst pipe.

The most common cause of a burst pipe is freezing. (Other causes of a ruptured pipe include rust, improper installation and physical damage to the pipe.) When water freezes, it expands in volume by about 9 percent, and the pressure inside pipes may shoot from 40 psi to 40,000 psi, causing the pipe to break open. The rupture usually occurs where water pressure finds a weak spot in the pipe, which may or may not be at the spot where it froze. And then the trouble starts: water seeps or even gushes out into your home or office. Sometimes this happens out in the open, but often it occurs behind walls or ceilings, or in an attic or basement.

Lots of damage can occur without you even knowing it. In fact, up to 250 gallons of water can flow from your ruptured pipe in just 24 hours. The second-most common insurance claim filed in the U.S., an average residential water damage claim is $10,000–15,000, and total cleanup costs can be $5,000–70,000.

The best way to avoid that kind of disaster is to keep your pipes from freezing. Logically, that means keeping your pipes too warm to freeze. Luckily, there’s a lot you can do before, during and after the temperature drops to prevent a frozen pipe in your home.

Before a Freeze

Start getting your pipes ready to handle the cold before the temperature drops. Start with an inventory of your pipes. Look for:

  • Exposed pipes in unheated areas of your house. Check your basement, attic, garage, crawl space and under bathroom and kitchen sinks.
  • Pipes that show wear or damage.
  • Un-insulated areas of the house.

Once you’ve identified vulnerable pipes or chilly areas, get to work:

Protect your pipes

  • Wearing protective gear, install un-faced fiberglass insulation around poorly-protected pipes in the attic, crawl space or other out-of-the-way place. Don’t worry about being neat, just get those pipes wrapped.
  • Install a heat trace cable to keep cold pipes from freezing. Some heat tapes are wrapped around the pipe, while others run along the length of the pipe. Look for ready-to-use cable, with one end terminated and insulated and the other end equipped with an electrical plug.

Keep the cold out

  • To insulate a big area, use foam board. Faced or un-faced foam board will work, especially if this is temporary. Install it by scoring, snapping and screwing the foam board to your wood framing.
  • Using rigid foam insulation, close and seal all foundation vents that are near water pipes, and insulate foundation walls and the ends of the floor joists.
  • Caulk and seal around doors, windows, house faucets and outside outlets.
  • If you own an older house built over an un-insulated crawlspace, turn up your thermostat to warm up the crawlspace. (And put “insulate and air-seal crawlspace” on your to-do list!)
  • Turn off the water valves to outdoor faucets, keeping the outside valve open to let any remaining water escape

If you will be away from home

If you will be away from your home at all during a cold snap, take a few steps that could mean the difference between returning to a warm, dry house and returning to a water disaster.

  • Set your thermostat to 55° F to conserve energy while providing a margin of safety against frozen plumbing.
  • Close the valve to the house's main water supply.
  • Give a trusted neighbor a key to the house and your contact information. Request that he take a quick look inside once a week.
  • If your house is heated with propane or fuel oil, be sure that your fuel supplier has contact information for you and your neighbor.
  • Install or subscribe to a freeze-sensing system to monitor your home's internal temperature using a phone or the internet.

During a Freeze

Now that you know which pipes are at risk, take some or all of these steps when the temperature plunges.

  • Open the doors to cabinets, vanities, closets and pantries to allow room air to warm the pipes.
  • Turn faucets on to allow a trickle of water to flow through the pipes.
  • Set up fans to blow heat into cold rooms or your crawl space.
  • Keep the garage door closed if there are water supply lines there.
  • Place a lamp with a 60-watt bulb in a potential problem area to warm the walls and pipes. (Make sure there are no combustible materials near the bulb.)
  • Heat the most vulnerable pipes (usually in basements and crawl spaces or near exterior walls) with a hair dryer. Leave the faucet on while you apply heat.
  • If your water pipes are freezing inside an exterior wall, cut an opening in the wall to expose the pipes to the home's warm air. Place fiberglass insulation around the pipes and against the exterior wall. (The hole in the wall can be covered later with a hinged door or panel that can be removed during future cold spells.)

After a Freeze

When the freeze is over, your work is still not done. Now is the time to do another survey of your vulnerable pipes to see if there has been any damage.

  • Visually inspect any exposed plumbing in your attic, basement, garage or crawl space.
  • Even if your pipes didn't noticeably freeze, or if they thawed out without bursting, they may have developed pinhole leaks. Run your fingers over the seams and joints to check for hard-to-spot leaks.
  • Do the same inspection of your pipes under sinks, too.

Throughout the rest of your home and property, pay attention to other clues that may indicate a leak:

  • Dripping, bubbling, whistling or sounds of water rushing in pipes or behind walls.
  • Odd or unpleasant odors from drains, sinks or other areas of your house.
  • Bulging and discoloration or water marks on walls and ceiling.
  • Discolored water coming from your faucets.
  • A decrease in water pressure when you wash your hands, fill your sink or take a shower.
  • No water at all coming out of a faucet or a toilet that doesn’t refill after flushing.
  • Drips, puddles or gushing water.
  • Unexplained water or sinkholes in your yard.

If you find a problem or notice a drop in water pressure, turn off the water and call a plumber for help.

If You Found a Frozen Pipe

You’ve done your detective work, and you discovered a frozen pipe. Because it’s still frozen, there’s no water leaking … yet. Fortunately, you can still take measures to prevent or minimize water damage.

  • Shut off the water at the main valve or the meter in case the pipe does burst. Then, open up all the taps in your house to relieve any pressure building up inside the lines.
  • Thaw the ice blockage by warming the connecting pipe. Using a hair dryer, start at the faucet or fixture and work your way back.

When the pipe is thawed, you’ll need to find out if it has burst somewhere along its length.

  • Turn the water on and recruit a friend or two to help spot any leaks. Station your friend in an unheated area of your home, like your attic or crawlspace, to look and listen for leaks as you turn the water back on.
  • If a pipe has burst, you'll immediately notice a rushing sound in the walls or a flood of water. Shut off the water to your house immediately.
  • If you identify no apparent leaks, check each of your faucets in turn. If you notice low water pressure at a particular fixture, you may have a slow leak in that line.

If You Found a Leak

You’ve located water leaking from a pipe, so now’s the time to act fast.

  • First, shut off the main water valve to your home. Open a faucet after you shut off the water main to relieve any remaining pressure in the pipes.
  • Depending on where the leak is and how substantial it is, shut off the electricity to your home, too, to prevent shocks.
  • Clean up any standing water to prevent slipping and falling, reduce the chances of water damage to your home and furnishings, and minimize the odds of mold growth.
  • If the burst pipe is overhead, drain ceiling cavities by punching or drilling “weep” holes.

Immediately after a freeze, getting a plumber to your home can be challenging, so you’ll want to slow or stop that leak as soon as you can. (Or call an experienced water disaster recovery company, like SERVPRO of West Hartford, that has the resources and expertise to get to your home fast, stop the leak and begin cleanup.)

  • For a pinhole leak, wrap duct tape around the pipe; this will often provide enough pressure to seal the leak until help arrives.
  • If duct tape doesn’t stop the leak, make a patch out of a piece of flexible rubber (such as an old radiator or heater hose), place it over the leak, lay a small block of wood over the patch and clamp it in place using a C-clamp.
  • An even better option, especially for larger leaks, is a sleeve clamp, which consists of a circular clamp lined with rubbery material that makes a waterproof sleeve for the pipe. (Note: you’ll have to buy a clamp sized to your specific pipe.)

Dry Your House Out

Once you or your plumber has stopped the flow of water and you’ve done basic cleanup, you need to dry out your home. An experienced water disaster remediation company like SERVPRO of West Hartford can do all the work and restore your home and property to their before-disaster condition.

Your goal is to prevent mold growth. Although it takes a few days to appear, mold thrives on wood, paper and particle board, so it’s essential to dry everything out before you rebuild. IICRC-certified professionals, like SERVPRO, use a variety of precise instruments to measure when a building is dry.

If you choose to do the work yourself, follow these tips.

  • Remove pools and puddles of water with a wet/dry vacuum. For hard-to-reach places, use a mop to soak up the water.
  • Open windows and use several fans to circulate the air and send moisture out the windows.
  • If you have dehumidifiers, turn on one or several and close the windows.
  • Or if you have a HVAC system, use that to dehumidify your home. Start by setting the air conditioning to cool your house and pull out humidity. Then, when your home has cooled, turn the heat on until it reaches 80 degrees, which will saturate the air with moisture. Once 80 degrees has been reached, turn the air conditioner back on to remove the moisture from the house. Repeat this process until the house has dried.
  • Remove water from wet furniture by taking it outside to dry in the sun or placing it in a closed room and running a dehumidifier.
  • If your indoor carpeting is saturated (unless it’s a thin covering over a bare wood floor), you must remove and replace it, as well as its padding, to keep mold and mildew from forming.

If your home or business suffers a flood, call SERVPRO of West Hartford today at 860.206.6141 for immediate water damage cleanup and restoration of your structure and property

We’re Here for You

The team at SERVPRO of West Hartford has specialized training and experience in water damage remediation, fire restoration services, natural disaster prevention, chemical cleanup, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of West Hartford (860.206.6141) any time.

SERVPRO of West Hartford
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro 
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.206.6141
24-hour emergency service

If your home or business suffers a flood, call SERVPRO of West Hartford today at 860.206.6141 for immediate water damage cleanup and restoration of your structure and property

Prevent a Chimney Fire!

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Flames shoot out of the top of a chimney. A chimney fire can be a fast-moving disaster that destroys your home and puts your family at risk. Avoid a fire in your home by following this advice.

Each year in the U.S. there are 25,000-plus chimney fires, which cause more than $125 million in property damage. A poorly maintained chimney can lead to a fast, loud, terrifying and destructive chimney fire—or a slow, quiet and eventually, equally damaging one.

Either way, you will not be able to control a chimney fire. It’s a true emergency, so call 911 immediately! Because firefighters have to fight the flames from the top of the chimney, they will send water flooding through your house, causing water damage on top of the fire damage. Simply put: you can lose your home to a chimney fire. 

Fortunately, by performing regular maintenance and keeping watch for any signs of trouble, you can prevent most chimney fires. Read this article to understand what a chimney fire is, how it starts and how to stop one from occurring in your home.

Chimney Fires, Fast and Slow

With a fast chimney fire, you’ll first hear cracks and pops that could be as loud as gunshots, followed by a deep, rumbling sound. You’ll see black, flaming creosote falling into the firebox. And then, it’ll seem like an explosion. Flames will shoot out of the top of the chimney and back down into the firebox. Smoke will get pushed into your living space. Finally, the flue may crack, allowing flames to shoot into your walls.

Slow-burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or have enough fuel to burst into plain sight, but they can still be hazardous. You may not even know the fire took place until you get your chimney inspected. Still, the temperatures reached in a slow-burning fire are high enough to cause the same amount of damage to the chimney structure and nearby combustible parts of your home as their louder and more shocking siblings.

What Causes a Chimney Fire?

The job of chimneys that serve fireplaces and wood stoves is to expel the substances produced when wood burns. These by-products of combustion include smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles and more. These substances exit the fireplace or wood stove at high temperatures and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, resulting in condensation and the eventual buildup on the inner walls of the chimney of a black or brown residue called creosote. The longer the smoke stays in the flue, the more likely it is that creosote will form. Creosote can be crusty and flaky, or sticky and drippy, or shiny and hardened—and each form is highly combustible. When creosote builds up on the inside of your chimney and the internal flue temperature gets high enough, a chimney fire can start and burn at up to 2,000°F.  

Creosote is more likely to build up in your chimney if your fireplace or stove:

  • is burning unseasoned wood
  • isn’t pulling in enough air
  • has cooler than normal chimney temperatures

What to Do if You Have a Chimney Fire

If you discover a chimney fire, immediately:

  • Get everyone out of the house, including yourself
  • Call 911

If you can do so—only without putting yourself at risk—take these additional steps to help save your home:

  • Place a chimney fire extinguisher or fire suppressant into the fireplace or wood stove, which will consume oxygen and starve the fire
  • Pour sand or baking soda onto the fire in the firebox (keep a bucket of sand nearby for this purpose)
  • Close the glass doors on a fireplace or the air inlets on a wood stove

Once outside, use a garden hose to spray down your roof (not the chimney) to keep the fire from spreading while you wait for the fire department.

Once the chimney fire is completely out, call an expert fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of West Hartford, who will remove all traces of damage, smoke and soot from your home and possessions.

And before you light another fire, hire a certified chimney sweep to inspect for fire damage restoration to your chimney and fireplace, whether it’s masonry, prefabricated metal or a wood stove. 

Prevent a Chimney Fire: Regularly Clean and Inspect

Every chimney is vulnerable to a chimney fire. It’s how you maintain your fire-burning equipment that makes the difference and keeps you safe.

Once oily, black, sticky creosote has condensed on the inside of your chimney, it will lurk there, building up and growing into a real fire hazard, until it is removed.

Additionally, rain, wind or animals can carry flammable debris into the chimney, which can quickly fuel a chimney fire if touched by loose embers from a fire. If a chimney is not protected by a flue cap, wind can blow leaves and twigs inside, and birds, squirrels and other vermin can build nests.

The best way to ensure that you never have a chimney fire is by cleaning and inspecting it regularly. A chimney sweep will remove both creosote and any debris that’s in your chimney. In addition, the sweep will inspect your chimney to detect:

  • creosote built up to a honeycombed or puffy appearance
  • warped metal in the damper, smoke chamber or chimney
  • cracked, damaged or collapsed flue tiles
  • discolored and/or distorted chimney cap
  • creosote flakes and pieces on the roof or ground
  • roofing material damaged by hot creosote
  • cracks in exterior masonry
  • soot deposits around mortar joints of masonry or tile liners

Try to have your chimney cleaned and inspected each year before fire burning season starts. (If you haven’t done it yet this season, call today before you light another fire!) 

In addition to scheduling an annual chimney cleaning, you should pay attention to the condition of your chimney and fireplace. Schedule another cleaning when you notice creosote that: 

  • falls into the firebox during a fire
  • resembles a honeycomb on the inside of the chimney
  • is more than 1/4-inch thick

You’ll also want to do more frequent cleanings if you:

  • burn fires more than a couple of times a week
  • use a lot of artificial logs
  • burn green or unseasoned firewood

Prevent a Chimney Fire: Pay Attention

In addition to scheduling an annual chimney inspection, you should watch for these indications that you may be headed for a chimney fire. If you spot any of them, call a certified chimney inspector before you light your next fire.

Buckling brick or stone

Look for cracking or settling of masonry inside the firebox or anywhere on the surround or hearth. Just a small gap can provide a direct route for sparks and high heat to reach the flammable parts of your home’s structure.

Soot in your firebox

If you notice crumbly black soot accumulating in your firebox, that may mean that creosote is building up, so call for a chimney cleaning.

Debris in your firebox

Of even more concern is finding what appear to be broken tile or pot shards in your firebox. Older homes may have masonry fireplaces with terra-cotta chimney liners, so finding these pieces may mean the liner has already been damaged by a chimney fire. Do not use your fireplace until it’s been inspected by a certified chimney sweep.

Smoky odors

If you smell smoke beyond what you’re used to when you use your fireplace—or smell it outside the room the fireplace is in—extinguish the fire and call 911. Your local fire department will check for danger and damage to your chimney with heat-sensing guns or thermal imaging.

Changes in your walls

If heat has been escaping from cracked masonry, a damaged liner or an improperly installed prefab metal firebox, your home’s wood framing can become dry and charred and capable of igniting at a much lower temperature. Signs of excessive heat inside your walls include pictures falling off the wall or areas of bubbling or peeling paint. Call for an inspection if you see any of these changes.

Prevent a Chimney Fire: Prepare Your Fireplace

Beyond cleaning and inspecting your chimney and keeping an eye on potential trouble spots, you should always follow some best practices in preparing your chimney and fireplace or stove so that it burns efficiently and safely, every time.

Keep the damper open to maintain sufficient airflow during a fire (the damper is the metal plate in the flue that regulates the draft). This will allow enough air to quickly move heated smoke up the chimney. Likewise, when using a wood stove, avoid closing down the stove damper or air inlets too soon or too much. Overloading the firebox of a wood stove in an attempt to get a longer burn time also contributes to creosote buildup.

Insulate your chimney’s flue liner (the layer between the flue and chimney walls) to prevent flue temperatures from getting too cool, which can encourage fire by-products to condense and form creosote. Wrap a heat-resistant insulation blanket around the liner or pour an insulation mix such as vermiculite into the space between the liner and flue.

Install a chimney cap on the crown around the outside opening of the flue to keep debris and critters out of your chimney. A cap will also prevent acidic rainwater from entering and corroding the chimney. 

Prevent a Chimney Fire: Burn Fuel That’s Clean, Never Green

When you start a fire, you want it to burn hot, fast and clean to create far less smoke, vapor and unburned wood particles, allowing little to no creosote to form in the chimney. On the other hand, low-temperature, slow-burning fires, particularly those left to smolder overnight, produce more smoke and leave behind more unburned combustible material. When that hardens into creosote on the chimney walls, there’s an increased risk of chimney fires.

Use the right fuel and build your fire the right way by following these tips.

Always burn seasoned hardwood. That means the wood has dried for at least six months and has a moisture content of 20 percent or less (you can test this with a wood moisture meter). When you burn green or unseasoned wood, energy is used initially just to evaporate the water trapped in the logs’ cells. This, in turn, keeps the resulting smoke cooler and more likely to condense in the chimney and form creosote.

Use the best fire starters for fuel, kindling and tinder, such as well-seasoned hardwood or CSIA-approved logs. Never use gasoline and kerosene to start a fire—these flammable liquids can quickly create a conflagration. And burn coal only in a coal-burning wood stove, because it can significantly raise the temperature in the flue, increasing the risk of a chimney fire.

Build a clean fire by using the top-down burn method, in which the largest logs are at the bottom of the fire and the smallest pieces at the top. Start by placing the largest pieces of wood in the bottom of the fireplace or wood stove, with the ends at the front and back, which allows the air to mix well with the fuel. Next, stack four to five smaller levels of wood on top of the first layer, each layer perpendicular to the one below, until the stack is about half the height of the fireplace. Then place kindling (the smallest pieces of wood) in smaller and smaller pieces, adding wood shavings or crumpled newspaper on top. Light the material on the top and the fire will gradually burn its way down to the largest logs.

Use dried twigs or branches for kindling and torn or crumpled newspaper or pine cones for tinder. Cardboard or glossy magazine pages contain chemicals that can emit toxins when burned.

Enjoy a Happy Ending to Your Fire

Before retiring for the night or leaving your home, always extinguish your fire safely and thoroughly. Use a fireplace poker to spread out the wood and embers, then shovel ash from the bottom of the fireplace to cover them. Next, completely cover the cooled wood and embers with baking soda, which will extinguish any remaining embers. After the firebox cools (for a minimum of three hours, but preferably eight), shovel the ashes into a metal container. Fill the metal container with water and store it outside your home and away from other flammable materials until you’re ready to discard them.

Enjoy your clean and safe fireplace, avoid a chimney fire … and live happily ever after!

If your home or business suffers damage from a fire, call SERVPRO of West Hartford today at 860.206.6141

We’re Here for You

The team at SERVPRO of West Hartford has specialized training and experience in fire restoration and cleanup, as well as natural disaster and storm damage cleanup, water damage and mold remediation, and chemical and biohazard cleanup. Call SERVPRO of West Hartford (860.206.6141) any time.

SERVPRO of West Hartford
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro 
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.206.6141
24-hour emergency service

If your home or business suffers damage from a fire, call SERVPRO of West Hartford today at 860.206.6141

Commercial Restoration by SERVPRO

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

The interior of a banquet hall with water and drying equipment on the floor. SERVPRO of West Hartford gets you back to work fast after your business suffers a water, fire, storm, mold or other disaster.

If your business has suffered a water, fire, smoke, mold, storm, biohazard or other disaster, one call to SERVPRO of West Hartford will get you back in operation as soon as possible. Regardless of your property type or size, SERVPRO of West Hartford will respond quickly to clean your property and manage your restoration project through to its completion.

We handle all aspects of your commercial disaster remediation job:

  • Inventory, pack out, clean and store all affected items and furniture in your facility
  • Remediate the damage to your facility and its contents
  • Repair and reconstruct the building as needed
  • Return items and restore your facility to its pre-disaster condition
  • Oversee the insurance claims process

We Minimize Downtime and Lost Revenue

SERVPRO of West Hartford has the training, experience and equipment to handle large commercial emergencies, and we are ready for your disaster. We know that the time spent cleaning up your commercial business site means lost revenue and productivity for you, so we act fast, bringing the right resources and staff to halt the damage and get you back in action as quickly as possible.

We start with an expert evaluation of the damage, based on which we determine the right mix of resources to assign to your disaster. Our skilled project manager then oversees a team that takes your facility through the entire remediation process quickly and thoroughly, and communicates with you all the way.

Our Emergency Building Services

We provide emergency building services to help prevent and reduce damage and get your property restored faster. Once the initial threat to your commercial facility has been halted, one of your first concerns may be temporary protection to prevent the existing damage from growing worse. SERVPRO will make temporary fixes, like placing tarps over a damaged roof or boarding up a broken window, while together, we plan the permanent repairs.

Speed, Reliability and Comprehensive Service

Commercial businesses depend on SERVPRO of West Hartford because:

  • We provide 24-hour emergency service.
  • We offer immediate, appropriately-scaled response to any size of commercial disaster.

For commercial water, fire, smoke, mold, storm or other disaster restoration needs, call SERVPRO of West Hartford today at 860.206.6141

Help Is Here

The team at SERVPRO of West Hartford has specialized training and experience in water damage restoration services, fire and smoke damage restoration services, biohazard cleanup and natural disaster prevention and cleanup. Call SERVPRO of West Hartford (860.206.6141) any time.

Other Helpful Blog Posts

SERVPRO publishes educational articles on how to protect your home or business from disasters and how to deal with water, sewage, storm, mold, fire and other damage.

SERVPRO of West Hartford
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro 
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.206.6141
24-hour emergency service

For commercial water, fire, smoke, mold, storm or other disaster restoration needs, call SERVPRO of West Hartford today at 860.206.6141

Stay Warm—and Safe—With a Space Heater

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

A space heater is plugged into an outlet. Space heaters are a great way to ward off the chill. But they do bring risks, so please follow these safety guidelines to prevent a fire in your home!

Space heaters cause about one-third of all winter house fires and 80 percent of all winter heating fire deaths, and more than half of those deaths are caused by having combustible materials too close to the heater. 

The good news is that space heaters are getting safer and more efficient. Many of today’s space heaters are not just better-looking but also safer. In the past 10 years manufacturers have improved technology and added built-in safety features like a tip-over shut-off switch.  

Be Safe

Follow these simple safety rules to greatly reduce or eliminate any space heater hazards.  

  • Use newer space heaters, not older models.
  • Always buy a new—never used—space heater.
  • Only buy a space heater that has a safety certification from the Underwriters Laboratories or Intertek’s ETL Mark.
  • Don’t leave your space heater on when you’re not in the room.
  • Plug your heater directly into an outlet, not an extension cord or power strip. Those devices could overheat and start a fire.
  • Keep a three-foot perimeter around the space heater clear of people, furnishings or objects.
  • Never store clothing around or on the heater. Don’t place it too close to curtains or a bed.
  • Keep children and pets away from the space heater. Either could knock it over.
  • Unplug the heater when you’re not using it.

Safety Features to Look For in a Space Heater

Certification. Make sure the heater you buy carries a safety certification label from an independent testing organization, such as the UL mark, the ETL label from Intertek or certification from CSA International.

Shutoff features. A smart sensor that automatically shuts off a heater when it overheats is a must. You’ll also want a tip-over switch that does the same if the heater is knocked over.

Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) plug. Most space heaters don’t come equipped with a GFCI plug, which prevents electric shock. If yours does not, do not use it around water.

Sturdy cord. To prevent overheating, never use an extension cord or a power strip with an electric heater. Most space heaters come with a cord that’s 6 feet long.

If your home or business suffers damage from a fire, call SERVPRO of West Hartford today at 860.206.6141

We’re Here for You

The team at SERVPRO of West Hartford has specialized training and experience in fire restoration and cleanup, as well as natural disaster and storm damage cleanup, water damage and mold remediation, and chemical and biohazard cleanup. Call SERVPRO of West Hartford (860.206.6141) any time.

Other Helpful Blog Posts

SERVPRO publishes educational articles on how you can protect your home and business from fire, water, mold, sewage, storm, natural disaster and other damage.

SERVPRO of West Hartford
100 Peters Road, Bloomfield, CT 06002
IICRC Certified
Ralph DiCristofaro 
Certified SERVPRO technicians
Call 860.206.6141
24-hour emergency service

If your home or business suffers damage from a fire, call SERVPRO of West Hartford today at 860.206.6141