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3 Effects of Water Damage

1/20/2023 (Permalink)

Water leaking from a roof into a bucket. It is important to know the long-term effects of water damage.

Water damage can strike at any time and in the most unexpected places. Whether it's from a leaking pipe or a broken appliance, water damage is always serious and should be addressed as soon as possible. In fact, if you don't get the problem fixed quickly and correctly, there are three long-term effects of water damage that can occur: mold growth, rotting wood, and structural damage to your home or business.

Mold

Molds are one of the most common long-term effects of water damage. The growth of mold may occur in as little as 24 hours after a flood and can spread quickly. Mold can obstruct visibility by residing above ceilings, behind walls, beneath floors, behind cabinets, and in other places where you cannot see it. It can damage your property in the long term if left untreated.

Rotting Wood

The deterioration of wood often occurs after a water loss. Moisture can cause wood to rot, crack or warp, and even swell. In addition to rotting wood, mold will begin to grow and spread.

The first step in mitigating the damage is to dry out the wood. If moisture remains in the wood, it can cause mold to grow later on. You should also clean up any standing water and remove any damaged items that may have been affected by water damage.

If the damage is extensive, you may need to remove and replace the affected wood. If you are not sure how to do this yourself, seek professional help.

Structural damage

When a home or business is damaged by water loss, there can be some long-term effects. One of the most common problems is structural damage. If the foundation is not properly sealed, water can erode it, causing flaws and compromising the structure of the house. If insulation becomes wet, it can reduce how well a home's thermal envelope works. This means that more heat will escape through your home's walls and windows compared to what would have happened if they weren't damaged.

Act Quickly

You should call SERVPRO of Berlin/Williamstown as soon as you discover the problem. Our team can help you mitigate and restore your property after a water loss, and they have the tools and expertise necessary. 

In conclusion, it is important to know the long-term effects of water damage. The most important thing is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you do have a problem, don’t try and fix it yourself; call a professional as soon as possible!

Preparing Your Home for a Hurricane

12/9/2022 (Permalink)

Documents in plastic containers Protect importan documents in plastic containers

How To Prepare Your Home for Hurricane Season

Due to the location of New Jersey, NJ hurricanes do not usually hit the state straight on. However, it is not impossible, and the state has been hit over 100 times in its history. Hurricane season is a scary time of year. You may be wondering how to prepare your home for hurricane season. 

How To Prepare

The best way to prepare your home for a hurricane is to get it ready ahead of time. Even if you live in the Northeast, you should have a go bag in case of emergency. You can never be too prepared!

In addition, make sure all doors are closed and locked, especially those leading outside. If possible, tape up windows or buy plastic sheeting that can be used as temporary protection against flying debris and rain.

It’s also important to put any essential items on high shelves or in closets where they won’t get wet from flooding caused by broken pipes or heavy wind; these include medications, flashlights with extra batteries, and radios with backup power sources.

Gather Supplies

As you prepare your home for hurricane season, it's important to gather supplies that will help you weather the storm. Having adequate food and water on hand is essential, as well as flashlights, batteries (and a way to recharge them), and a first aid kit. The amount of food and water you need depends on how long your power may be out:

  • For an overnight power outage: enough for two days
  • For an extended outage lasting multiple days: at least three days' worth of basic needs

Make an Emergency Plan

An emergency plan should include a list of emergency contact numbers, including the numbers for your local police department, fire department, and hospital. Your plan should also include information about where you keep important papers like insurance policies and banking records. This way, you can easily access this information if you have to leave your home quickly.

You should update your plans regularly as well. If there is an event that may force evacuation or cause major damage to your area, make sure that everyone in the household knows what to do immediately upon hearing the news.

Finally, don't forget about pets! They need food and water just like people do during an emergency situation—but they can't be counted on to remember these things when they're scared or hungry! If possible, bring pets inside during a hurricane warning; otherwise bring along cages/leashes so that animals can be safely secured outdoors until after the storm passes by.

Prepare To Either Evacuate or Stay at Home.

If you decide to evacuate, make sure to have a plan in place. If you decide to stay at home, make sure that you have a plan in place.

If you are staying at home, secure your property as much as possible by boarding up windows and doors and removing anything that could become airborne during high winds (limbs, debris).

Conclusion

If you're in a hurricane warning area, it's important to prepare for the worst. Even if you don't live in an evacuation zone, you should still be prepared for the possibility of an evacuation or power outage. Gather supplies and make sure that your home is secure before the storm hits. You can also create an emergency plan with your family so there's no confusion during difficult times!

What Can Cause a Flooded Basement?

11/2/2022 (Permalink)

Downspouts with the phrase Avoid Flooding Make sure downspouts are extended to at least three feet away from your house to avoid flooding in a basement

What Could Flood a Basement?

When a home floods, it can be devastating. And while some homes flood after days of heavy rains or snow, some homeowners may experience flooding from a simple faucet drip or a faulty sump pump. The good news is that there are ways to prevent basement flooding in your home. But what can cause a flooded basement? 

Heavy Rainfall

Probably one of the most obvious causes of a flooded basement is heavy rainfall. Rainfall can cause basement flooding, but you can take some steps to prevent that. If you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall, keep your gutters and downspouts clean and make sure they don't overflow when it rains. Make sure all of the windows on your home are secure so water doesn't leak through them into your basement or crawlspace. You should also replace any damaged gutters or downspouts as soon as possible to avoid further damage from rainwater seeping through cracks in the structure of your house.

If heavy rainfall does cause flooding in your basement, call a professional right away for help with cleanup and repair services.

Melting Snow and Ice

Melting snow and ice is also a common cause of flooding. When the snow melts, it can cause water to flow into your basement. If this is the case, you will want to call an expert for help in removing the excess water as soon as possible so that it doesn't damage your home any further.

Faulty Downspouts

Faulty downspouts are another common reason for basement flooding. Downspouts are designed to divert water away from the foundation of your home, but if they're broken or not connected to the storm sewer or drain system, they can cause water to back up into your basement.

To make sure that this isn't happening at your house, inspect all of your downspouts and make sure that they're clear of debris and working properly.

Faulty Sump pumps

Sump pumps are designed to remove water from a basement. They are often located in the basement and controlled by a switch. Sump pumps can fail if they get clogged, or if the float switch sensor fails. If this happens, water will continue to enter your basement until it reaches a certain level, at which point it will flow over into your home.

It’s also possible for an older sump pump system to have been upgraded without checking its compatibility with newer wiring and other electrical components installed in your home’s foundation walls during construction or remodeling projects.

Sewage or Drain Backups

Sewage or drain backups are also a serious problem that can easily cause a basement flood. Sewage can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illness. Some of the most common pollutants found in sewage include:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Parasites

Your House’s Location

Your house’s location can play a role in the likelihood of flooding. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, it is more likely that your basement will flood if there are severe storms or other weather conditions occur. For example, if your home is located near a river or lake, then it may be susceptible to flooding during heavy rains. The same goes for homes on hillsides; these types of homes are vulnerable to erosion and landslides that could lead to water entering the home.

Broken Sewer Lines and Clogged Drains

A broken sewer line or a clogged drain can be a major problem that causes water to leak into your basement. A broken sewer line is more of an emergency situation, as it can cause raw sewage to leak into your home and potentially contaminate all the contents inside. This is especially true if the break is large enough for wastewater to flow from one side of the break to another side (for example, through your basement wall). 

Causes for Flooding

It's important to note that there are a variety of causes for flooding, all of which can lead to mold problems and structural damage if not corrected quickly and properly.

If you suspect that there may be any amount of water damage in your home after a flood event, make sure to get an inspection from our team at SERVPRO. We'll carefully go through every inch of your property before giving you our assessment of what needs attention so we can pinpoint where any potential problems lie so they don't become bigger ones later on down the road when they aren't addressed right away.

If you’re experiencing flooding in your basement, it can be a stressful situation. However, there are many reasons for basement flooding that can be easily fixed. If you notice water collecting around the foundation of your house, contact a professional immediately to determine the cause and remedy it before further damage is done.

How To Use a Fire Extinguisher?

10/7/2022 (Permalink)

Man using fire extinguisher to stop fire in the office. Concept of protection and security It is important to know how to use a fire extinguisher.

A Fire Extinguisher: How Do I Use One?

Fire extinguishers are one of the most important tools in every home and building. Having a fire extinguisher that is properly charged and ready to use can be critical in getting a fire extinguished while it's still small. That way, you don't need to call the fire department or wait for help—you can take care of the problem yourself! But where do you start? How do you know if your fire extinguisher has been serviced? And what exactly do I mean by that anyway? Here's everything you need to know about keeping your own fire extinguisher in good working order so it will be ready when an emergency strikes:

Step 1: Pull the pin. Most fire extinguishers use a pin to hold the handle in place

To use a fire extinguisher, you need to pull the pin. You probably know this already, but make sure you've actually done it before using it. If you don't pull the pin and then activate your extinguisher, it won't work at all.

Step 2: Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

The next step is to aim low. You want to point the extinguisher at the base of the fire, so it won't affect surrounding items or property. This will help put out the flames faster and prevent any damage from occurring.

Step 3: Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

Once you've got the handle in your hand, make sure to hold it firmly and keep it level. Then, begin squeezing the lever slowly and evenly. If you have a Class A extinguisher (the most common type), don't overdo it—you're not trying to empty all of the contents onto the fire at once!

While you're squeezing, turn in a wide circle so that any flames that are near can be put out. Don't spray directly at them; instead, aim slightly above or below where they are burning. This helps prevent accidentally spreading those flames around more than necessary—and makes sure that no one gets burned in the process!

Step 4: Sweep side to side. Move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is out.

If you are unsure, call the fire department.

The final step is to sweep side to side. This will help ensure that the fire is out and your home is safe again.

Knowing the type of fire you are dealing with is important.

You should know that the type of fire you are dealing with is important. Knowing how to use a fire extinguisher is also important because, if you don’t, you can endanger yourself and others.

It is vital that you have the right tools for the job, especially when it comes to putting out fires. It’s not just about getting rid of flames—you also need to take care of preventing damage by containing them so they don’t spread further and cause more damage than necessary.

Understanding how to use the fire extinguisher is important.

It is important to know how to use a fire extinguisher. You should not have to guess what type of fire you are dealing with and which fire extinguisher to use.

Do not just read the label or instructions on the back of your fire extinguisher, but also watch this video on how to use it properly! If there was an emergency, what would be your first step? Would you know where all of your family members are?

With these steps, you’ll be on your way to safely using a fire extinguisher. If you do choose to buy one for your home or office, make sure all the other people who might need to use it know how as well. For example, if there are kids in the house who can help put out fires and adults who can call 911 when necessary (like in an emergency), then everyone needs training!

3 Facts To Know About Water Damage and Flood Recovery

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

A specialist removing water damage from of a house SERVPRO of Berlin/Williamstown has trained restoration technicians ready to help after water damage.

Water Damage and Flood Recovery: Three Things to Know

When flooding affects your Whitehall, NJ, home, it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to cleanup efforts. Whether the flood was caused by a pipe burst in your cellar or bathroom or from an overflow of a nearby creek during a rainstorm, it can ruin your home’s building materials and your belongings. Before you attempt to recover from water damage, there are a few facts you can keep in mind that may make the process less stressful.

1. Not All Flood Damage Is the Same

The amount of damage your home suffers from a flood can depend on many factors. For example, basement flooding caused by a leaking or ruptured water line may be less invasive than water that enters your home forcefully during storm flooding. The condition of the water can also play a part, as water from outdoor flooding is typically a category three, or black water situation, where water that comes from a kitchen pipe burst or water line is usually much more sanitary and therefore simpler to clean up.

2. Building Material Damage Is Not Always Apparent

After a flood there will likely be problems that are instantly visible, such as standing water that can occur during heavy flooding. However, there might also be water damage that you cannot see, especially if water levels reached more than a few inches. Drywall and interior insulation can be badly affected and may even grow mold if left untreated. Calling in a flood damage and restoration company to inspect these areas can help prevent costly issues later on.

3. Restoration Is Possible for Many Items

It is important not to discard items until they are inspected by your flood damage professionals. For example, if a pipe in your basement has burst and you had items stored there, such as furniture, photographs and important documents, they may be restored if salvaged properly.

How To Identify and Prevent Black Mold

8/27/2022 (Permalink)

Broom, wet tile, mold growth on drywall Mold damage on Library, NJ due to humidity

Stop The Spread and Keep Growth From Worsening

As soon as you suspect a destructive fungal invasion within your home in Library, NJ, perform a comprehensive mold inspection. Swift recognition will allow you to abruptly stop the spread and keep growths from worsening.

Identification
Among the spores that most commonly form, black mold is the worst. It can be easily detected via:

Location. Look for outgrowths within carpeting, drywall, wood paneling, and ceiling tiles. Any damp area becomes particularly vulnerable.
Shape and size. Black mold features a dark green or inky coloration and often consists of a slimy texture.
Smell. Suspicions should rise when detecting musty or mildewy odors.

If your efforts reveal any form of fungal infiltration, have a mold removal professional eliminate the matter with urgency.

Prevention
Conducting the periodic precautionary mold inspection can help clamp down on perilous conditions from developing. Look out for leaky pipes and malfunctioning household appliances that use water, as spores cannot take hold without adequate moisture. When seepage is discovered, thoroughly dry the affected area and take outside any materials that have absorbed dampness.
Cleanliness is key to maintaining dryness. Perform spot checks in areas prone to humidity and diligently apply mold and mildew removal products, paying particular attention to bathrooms and kitchens.
Reduce the potential for moisture by employing humidifiers or vapor steam cleaners in closets and restrooms. When storing items, be certain everything is thoroughly dried before packing begins. Insulate walls and check that your basement’s foundation drain remains unblocked. Proactively thwart HVAC disasters by regularly servicing your unit.
Finally, check your ventilation. Open windows and move furniture away from walls to accommodate better airflow. Closet doors and access portals to confined spaces should be intermittently left open to allow for breezes that discourage house mold.
Perform the periodic mold inspection in your residence and observe basic measures that hinder black mold from forming. Such efforts may well impede a stressful situation from unexpectedly striking.

Driving on Flooded Roads: 3 Safety Tips

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Collection truck in a flooded street Avoid driving through a flooded street

How To Stay Safe On The Roads During A Flood

Powerful storms in Williamstown, NJ, can cause localized flooding and fill roads and highways with water. Flash floods can catch you unaware and put you in danger in a matter of moments, and a flooded street can present a serious problem because the water may be deeper than it appears. Keeping a few tips in mind about how to stay safe on the roads during a flood can help prevent an emergency situation and protect you from flooding danger.

1. Avoid Driving Through Floods
When you encounter flooded roads, you may think you can navigate the water easily. However, even standing floods can cause your car’s tires to lose contact with the road and cause it to float. If it becomes caught in an undercurrent, it could carry your car away. Turning around when you come upon a flooded road and finding an alternate route can keep you safe.

2. Reduce Your Speed
During heavy storms, you may find yourself on a flooded street in a matter of minutes, especially if the area is prone to flash floods. If this occurs, you may want to reduce your speed so your car does not skid or hydroplane across the surface of the water. This can cause you to lose control of the vehicle and lead to a crash.

3. Obey Warning Signs
One of the most important travel tips you can follow is to obey road signs related to localized flooding. During a flood, water damage and mitigation services may be working on flooded residences and emergency workers might be in the area to repair affected streets or clogged sewer lines. Follow detour signs and directions from any personnel directing traffic in flooded areas.
Powerful storms in Williamstown, NJ, can create a flooded street and trap you in your vehicle. Keeping a few safety tips in mind as you drive through a storm can reduce the risk of flood-related danger and keep you and your passengers safe.

What Can Discolor Ceiling Tiles?

7/28/2022 (Permalink)

Vintage looking Damage caused by damp and moisture on a ceiling Ceiling tile damaged by water

Find Out More About Differences In Tile Discoloration

Ceiling tiles can become slightly discolored over time, but faster and more noticeable discoloration may be due to water exposure or tile mold. Find out more about differences in tile discoloration due to moisture, mold, dirt, smoke or ultraviolet light. Any of these factors could be the cause of discolored ceiling tiles at a building in Clementon, NJ.


Moisture and Mold
Moisture and mold that results from water damage that has not been restored are two common culprits behind discolored tiles. There are several ways in which these elements may change the appearance of ceiling tiles:

  • Damp tiles appear dark
  • Ongoing water exposure stains tiles
  • Mold growth may be patterned


Tiles that are currently damp can appear dark in color. It is important to stop the flow of a leak and dry or replace tiles that have suffered water damage. Tile mold tends to grow in patterns and have distinctive surface textures. Mold may show up as soon as 24 to 48 hours after water causes damage.


Dirt or Smoke Particles
Over time, airborne particles of dust and dirt can settle on a ceiling and alter the color of tiles. In buildings where smoking is still allowed, residue can cause discoloration. Smoke residue contains a combination of nicotine, tar and other substances that can turn ceiling tiles brown or gray.


UV Light Exposure
Repeated exposure to bright ultraviolet light used indoors at manufacturing or medical operations can bleach ceiling tiles. Light damage lightens the color of a ceiling rather than introducing darker staining. This type of discoloration poses no allergen or health risks.
A building owner may want to replace discolored ceiling tiles. In the event of tile mold growth, remediation will be necessary before restoration can take place. Replacing building materials without addressing the underlying cause can lead to further ceiling tile discoloration at a building in Clementon, NJ.

Making a Fire Escape Plan

7/19/2022 (Permalink)

Evacuation plan - first floor An emergency evacuation plan is basically a map posted throughout your building.

An emergency escape plan outlines the routes you should take to exit a building. It is excellent to have one in the event of a fire. This is because it not only helps with evacuation but can designate meeting and communication strategies as well. This should be part of any companies fire preparedness strategy. However, many questions come into play when you are creating one.

What Is an Emergency Evacuation Plan?

An emergency evacuation plan is basically a map posted throughout your building. It is designed to tell employees and customers the safest and fastest exit routes during a fire.


Why Should You Have One?
There are many reasons that you should have a fire escape plan for your business in West Berlin, NJ. The main motivators include:

  • Quicker response times
  • Improved employee safety
  • Established chain of command
  • Faster arrival of remediation professionals


How Often Should You Practice Your Plan?
Practice your exit plan at least twice per year. This ensures that all of your employees know the routes and your plan is still effective.


How Can You Draw the Maps?
To create the maps in your fire escape plan easily, you can use online templates. There are also map makers that you can use. This means you don't need any drawing or advanced technology skills.


Does It Improve Your Workplace Atmosphere?
By creating a plan, you are showing that you care about your employees. This will make your workplace feel more positive and can encourage employees to feel comfortable at work.


What Technology Do You Need to Make a Good Plan?
The simplest way to make a plan is by using online drawing tools. These operate on most computers, tablets, and phones. The only thing you will need to operate these is an internet connection. If you prefer to make your plan the old-fashioned way, you can use any office-type program.
Having a fire escape plan can improve your company's reaction to a disaster. This plan is easy to create thanks to online templates and should be practiced regularly for maximum effectiveness.

Stinky Microwave? Tips to Get It Clean

7/12/2022 (Permalink)

man covering his nose when opening a microwave oven Wipe down your microwave after each use.

Homes in Clayton, NJ, with an over-the-range microwave, may appreciate the extra counter space, but it often means taking a little extra care of your appliances. Daily cooking can go up through the vent grill and create a smoke smell in the microwave. If a grease fire happens, the damage may require a professional fire and smoke damage remediation expert to remedy it. In most cases, that smell can be avoided with regular care and maintenance.

Keep It Clean

A good habit to form is to wipe down your microwave after each use. Food particles can quickly accumulate, which could affect how the appliance functions. The grease filter should also be removed and cleaned regularly. For an overall clean, common household items can be used to freshen them up.

Vinegar: Boiling a cup of water with a few tablespoons of vinegar for about four minutes can help loosen particles that have been crusted on. To remove grease, use one part vinegar and one part water and wipe out the unit.

Lemon Juice: The zesty lemon is a natural deodorizer. Use the same process as vinegar, but only use a few teaspoons of lemon. Fresh lemon slices can also be boiled in the water. Limes, oranges, and other citrus juice can also be used.

Baking Soda: For tough stains and smoke smell, this is a less acidic alternative. A water and baking soda solution, about one quart of water with five teaspoons of powder, can be used to wipe down the microwave. Use less water to create a paste for tougher stains.

Replacement Parts
Like with most things, there are components of a microwave that should be regularly replaced. Over-the-range models feature a charcoal filter. It is designed to absorb pollutants, including odors, and re-circulate air. If it can’t do its job right, your appliance can easily become smelly. It is recommended to replace filters every six months.
With just a little extra care, you can avoid a smoke smell in your kitchen and keep your appliances operating at their best.