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How to Deal with Water Damage to Your Home

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

If you’re facing water damage, there are some steps you can take to minimize the costs of restoring your home. The following are tips that can help you lessen the effects of any future water damage.

Just remember that depending on the extent of the damage, sometimes your smartest move is to call a professional right away.  Your first priority needs to be making sure you and your family are safe.

Safety First

Before you can clean and restore your home, you first have to get rid of the mess. 

Molds and bacteria flourish and grow in any damp space with little air flow, and can be very dangerous. Anyone working on cleaning-up water damage ought to wear protective clothing such as masks, gloves, and safe footwear. 

Electrical hazards and the potential to slip and fall are the other major safety concerns – only perform those clean-up activities you know to be safe. 

When belongings get wet, they can become much heavier than normal; you don’t want to attempt to lift something that is too heavy and hurt your back on top of everything else!

Remove Damaged Items

If your basement has flooded, you need to get the damaged items out. Unfortunately, many things may be beyond saving, or easier and cheaper to just replace rather than try to salvage. If you can make some of these decisions earlier rather than later, it may help you save costs in the long run.

Remove Water and Let Your Home Dry

Sometimes, the amount of water will be too much to remove yourself and you should call your cleaning and restoration professionals right away. Prop-up wet cushions and upholstery somewhere they can dry out. And place a piece of aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting to prevent further water damage.  

Ripping up soaked carpet will most likely be necessary - be careful of nails and carpet tacks.

DO NOT use any electrical appliances that may have gotten wet or damaged themselves.  A household vacuum cleaner is generally not a good option for cleaning-up after water damage, however, if you can get your hands on a commercial grade shop vacuum, that may help you clean and save some money in the process.

Disinfect

Once you’ve removed the water and damaged items, you’ll want to use a disinfectant to clean up the remaining affected areas. There are some green products that are safe to use and can help make a difference to the amount of professional grade cleaners you may ultimately need. Just be sure to read the labels and wear your protective gear.

Get the Air Circulating

The extent of bacteria and mold growth will depend on a number of factors, including moisture level, temperature, and the presence of wood and paper materials on which they can feed. If significant mold growth develops, that will increase your remediation costs – so it’s important to start drying as much as you can as soon as you can.

While your household fans can’t compete with professional equipment, they certainly can help and ultimately reduce remediation costs. Running a dehumidifier can also help remove excess humidity from the affected environment. 

If you do require professional water damage restoration services, the professionals at SERVPRO of Eatontown / Long Branch offer 24-hour emergency service. We’re a locally owned and operated company here in your community providing the highest caliber water inspection, extraction, drying, and restoration equipment and service. 

5 Tips to Help Your Business Weather Out a Bad Storm

2/7/2019 (Permalink)

Just when you think winter may be over, the New Jersey Coast can still see a major winter storm which can batter the Shore area with wind, rain, snow and flooding.

If you own a business that is in a high-risk area for flooding, these tips can help you minimize damage you may be unfortunate enough to endure

Get Prepared 

1. Store important documents and valuables and in a location that will be dry and secure. 

2. Check your gutters and spouts to ensure they won’t be clogged.

3. Make sure to have a working sump pump.

4. If possible, move any electronics or other costly items to a higher floor or at least try to raise them several feet off the floor to minimize any flood damage.

Safety First

1. Turn off electricity in any affected areas.  Even if there’s a power outage, the power may be suddenly restored without notice and could cause a shock hazard.

2. Be cautious of any structural compromises or falling debris ff you choose to enter a damaged building. 

3. Keep out of the floodwater as much as possible to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall hazards and bacterial contamination.

4. Be sure to wear protective clothing – including slip-resistant shoes, gloves, eye protection, and a mask – in order to minimize potential risks.

Clean-Up ASAP

When flooding occurs, the quicker you can start your cleaning and restoration efforts, the better your chances of minimizing long-term damage and costs.

Here at SERVPRO Eatontown / Long Branch our expert technicians are available 24/7 to respond to any flooding emergency big or small.  We have the advanced training, skills, and equipment necessary to clean and restore your business to its pre-flood condition as quickly as possible.

The Science Behind Mold

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

Not all molds are actually toxic.  That’s the good news. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other molds that are toxic -- but they’re not black.

If you’re concerned about mold in your home or business, here are the basics you need to know in order to keep safe:

What Kinds of Mold Are Toxic

If you follow the news, you’ve probably heard the scientific term Stachybotrys used to categorize black mold that produces toxins. (Specifically, the toxins that are produced are mycotoxins, which is the scientific term for any toxic substance produced by a fungus).

However, mycotoxins are not always produced when mold is present.  Scientists have identified specific strains of Stachybotrys, such as Stachybotrys chartarum and Stachybotrys atra, which have been shown to cause many health issues for humans.  But as there are literally hundreds of thousands of mold species that we currently know of in existence, it’s not necessarily likely that you will have these particular kinds.

What’s more, dangerous mycotoxins can be produced by other kinds of mold besides Stachybotrys.  And these molds don’t have to be black.

The bottom line is that your best protection against a mold problem is to prevent mold in the first place.  And if you do see some mold, you need to know when it’s okay to try to clean it on your own (hint: only if it’s small in area, less than 10 square feet).  In most situations, however, if you think you have a mold problem, you should call in professional services to be sure. Remember: safety first.

Weather is Unpredictable

2/6/2019 (Permalink)

Just like winter itself, it’s difficult to predict what can happen in any weather situation. The main rule of thumb is to always be prepared, but should something unforeseen occur, know that the experts at SERVPRO are equipped to handle any kind of disaster – from flood to fire and everything in between.

The recent mild weather in the beginning of February, but we're not out of the woods yet as far as extreme weather is concerned! Living by the Jersey Shore, we should always be prepared for that next storm which could potentially bring severe coastal flooding.

Wetter seasons are packed with more extreme weather events with sea rise, coastal erosion and other factors leading to flooding issues, even in places that haven’t experienced it since records began. 

“Forewarned is forearmed” is the mindset to have if you live in a flood-prone region. As destructive as flooding can be, with some forethought, planning and the right information, you and your loved ones can endure the trials posed by the rising waters.

Here are some helpful tips and suggestions:

For Your Home

  • Obtain Flood Insurance: It’s best to know with some research or asking a realtor before you move into a new home if it’s located in a flood zone.
  • If Feasible, Elevate Your Property: It may be expensive at the outset to do so, but if flooding is frequent, you may want to consider elevating your entire home to lift it higher than historic flood lines.
  • Waterproofing: Another fix to consider is waterproofing your basement. You will also need to maintain your sump pump system and keep it operational.
  • Reduce Potential Debris: In anticipation of the flood and evacuation, move furniture and loose items to a higher floor to minimize debris.

If you do end up with water damage due to storm surge, extreme wind and rain or any other reason, SERVPRO Eatontown/Long Branch has experience restoring businesses and homes affected by storms and flooding. We can respond immediately with highly trained technicians who employ specialized equipment and techniques to restore your home or business back to pre-storm condition.

4 Tips to Prevent Fire Damage During the Cold Weather Season  

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know there are more fires during the Winter months than any other time of the year? During the cold weather season, it makes sense that people are looking for extra ways to keep warm.  Unfortunately, many alternative heating methods can also be fire hazards, especially when they’re not approached with care.

If you want to protect your home and/or business from fire damage during this cold weather season, here are 4 tips to keep in mind:

Know the Dangers of Fireplaces and Wood Burning Stoves

Sitting in front of a fire on a cold winter’s night may sound cozy – unfortunately, a large percentage of fires start with issues to a chimney or fireplace.

  • Shield the fireplace with a grate to prevent flying sparks from igniting in the room.
  • Keep any flammable materials at least 4 feet away from the fire place.
  • Perform regular maintenance and cleaning on your fireplace and/or wood burning stove.
  • Make sure there are no cracks in your chimney and that the top is properly capped to keep out debris throughout the year.

Know the Dangers of Space Heaters

Space heaters are wonderful for keeping us extra warm on cold days. But this extra heating equipment is also a major cause of winter house fires.

  • Use only space heaters with a “tip switch,” ones that shut off automatically if tipped over.
  • Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
  • Keep the space heater at least 3 feet away from anything flammable.
  • Make sure there is adequate ventilation and base/floor support in the areas where you will use a space heater.

Know the Dangers of Electric Blankets

On a cold night, it’s comforting to curl up in a warm bed.  However, if you want to use an electric blanket, make sure to be cautious – these can quickly catch fire if the blanket material is ignited by an overheated electrical element within the blanket.

  • Check for charred or frayed cords or any dark spots, these may indicate a potential problem with the electrical element.
  • Don’t allow anyone or anything on top of the blanket when it is in use, this could lead to overheating.
  • Similarly, don’t fold or tuck in the blanket when it is in use, as this could also lead to overheating.
  • An electric blanket should never be left unattended or used while one is sleeping.

Make Sure Your Smoke Alarms are Working

If a fire accident should happen, you want to make sure your smoke alarms are in working order, so that you can address the issue immediately.

It’s generally a good idea to regularly check the alarms each year (many people remember to check the alarms on the days when daylight savings time changes).  However, it’s also wise to double-check the alarms before you start a fire or use a heating element, just in case.

These tips can help make sure you, your property, and your family all stay safe during the cold weather season when we’re all trying to stay warm. If, however, you do experience a fire accident, know that SERVPRO of Eatontown / Long Branch is here to help. We pride ourselves on being “faster to any disaster,” no matter the size. And we can help you get back to normal ASAP!

What You Can do to Reduce Your Exposure to Mold

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

So what can you do to reduce your exposure to mold? Attack mold first by prevention:

Get your house tested for mold. SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch has a list of local environmental testing companies.

Fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water. If you have mold in your crawl space or basement, locate the source and stop the water from coming in.

Dry water-damaged areas and items (like carpeting) within 24 to 48 hours of flooding. Don't install carpeting in areas where there is a moisture problem.

Reduce indoor humidity by venting bathrooms, dryers, and other moisture-generating sources. If you don’t have exhaust fans, crack a window.

Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers inside your home. Change filters regularly. Use a dehumidifier to get rid of dampness in basements.

Add insulation to windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors where there is potential for condensation on cold surfaces.

If you follow these tips, mold growth should be kept at bay. But if you DO find mold, call SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch, and we will be out right away.

Why SERVPRO is the Best Restoration Company In Your Area

1/4/2019 (Permalink)

Disasters are by definition: "a sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage."

Nobody can predict when a water heater will burst, a pipe will break, or your stove will catch fire while you’re cooking.

But SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch is always available, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We are always ready to be there when you call, being "faster to any disaster."

Within minutes water will quickly spread, saturating everything in its path. 

Fire and smoke are especially destructive, leaving physical damage, smoke and soot and lingering odor settling in air ducts, furniture, clothes, and crevices.  In many instances property will also suffer from water damage from firefighting efforts.

In either case, The longer an area remains unmitigated, restoration time and cost increase dramatically; replacing contaminated materials and structural rebuilding may be extensive. That is why SERVPRO is ALWAYS available, we can get to the scene the faster. 

As part of a national chain of over 1,700 independently owned and operated franchises, SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch is held to a high standard of customer service. Creating happy customers is our overall goal.

Things Remember to Keep Mold at Bay

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Mold is a problem that can affect every home, and may be present even before it becomes visible. Mold likes to grow in dark and damp environments, so sometimes you'll notice a damp, moldy smell in the air long before you ever see signs of a mold problem. Here are three tips to stop it before it even gets started.

Temperature 

Warmer weather can instigate mold growth. Areas in your home that are allowed to surpass the 80-degree mark are the most susceptible. I

In the winter, check places where condensation collects, such as windows and doors. The heat from your home reacting to the cold outside will create moisture, especially if the area is not well insulated. If you have an older home, consider adding weather strips around drafty openings.

Air Circulation

Mold thrives in environments where there is little or no air movement. 

Vent fans, ceiling fans and strategically placed floor fans are excellent additions to bathrooms, or other places in your home where air can become stagnate. 

Moisture

The last problem you need to be concerned about is probably the most important. Mold needs moisture to grow. Without moisture in some form, mold will dry up and turn to dust. 

Leaks & Drips

Always fix water leaks and drips immediately though.

Gutters & Eaves

Clogged rain gutter can drip back under the eaves and begin to slowly seep behind your exterior walls.

Cleanliness

Dirt can also attract moisture as well as be a food source for mold. Vacuum at least once a week. If you have pets that shed, it would be well advised to vacuum a little more frequently.

Mold is everywhere, and once it starts to spread in your home it can become an expensive problem to remediate. Make sure you keep on top of issues when they arise to keep mold from affecting you!

Storms During the Colder Months

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

This summer and fall were unusually wet and cold. Even though the winter weather is not reliably predicted yet, whether or not we have a mild winter or one filled with blizzards and nor'easters, you should always prepare your home for the worst.

Preparing now may affect the impact that powerful storms and weather systems can do to property. 

Keep Drains and Gutters Clear

Clear leaves from your gutters and rake leaves away from your foundation.

The same applies for snow. Break up any piles of snow that may be slow to melt and get stuck in a cycle of re-freezing, which will block any drains. 

Another tactic to aid with drainage is to consult with a landscaping service to design your property to move water away from your home, and have plantings to prevent soil erosion.

Seal Potential Leaks & Gaps

As it gets colder and wetter, any roof leaks could be a potential disaster, as the entry point may freezes and re-freeze, making the gap expand and allow more water in.

Windows can also be a source for leaks. It  may take time to locate where water is coming in–you may have to check for cold air as well. Once you find it, you’ll have to caulk around where the break is.

Clear Away Sick Trees and Loose Branches

Poor drainage, combined with sick, old or damaged trees may result in downed trees during a storm - which results in uprooted trees. These may fall or lean on power lines and homes.

If you have trees on your property it would be in your best interest to hire an arborist or tree service to check your tree’s health. Most branches and fallen trees were weak and sick before a storm, and only needed the right gust to send branches flying and trunks to topple.

Maintain your trees and keep them trimmed and healthy.

Regular property maintenance can make the difference between a a rough weather season that’s manageable and one full of hazards and costly. Staying several steps ahead of the damage caused by wind, rain, ice and snow can make for a safe and secure rest of the year.

Remember, should you need professional assistance, SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch has the professionally trained staff to handle your post storm clean-up.

Why SERVPRO is Your Best Restoration Service Provider when Burst Frozen Pipes Cause Water Damage

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Burst frozen pipes can be any property owner’s worst winter nightmare.  Even a small amount of leaking water can cause significant water damage in just a short period of time.

If your home or business has been unfortunate enough to have burst frozen pipes, it’s understandable if you’re feeling stressed out and confused as to what you should do. We’d like to tell you why SERVPRO can be the best restoration service provider to fix your water damage problem.

We’re a locally owned and operated company with some of the most highly trained and certified water restoration technicians in the country. We offer 24-hour emergency service, and we have the advanced water inspection, extraction, and drying equipment necessary to restore your property quickly.   

We know that dealing with water damage requires immediate action in order to minimize the damage, so it’s best if you have a plan of action.  We’d like to share some water damage tips with you so that you can be prepared if you ever have to deal with burst frozen pipes.

Safety First

REMEMBER: your first priority is always safety first.

If it is safe to do so, try to determine the exact source of the water problem and cut off the water and electricity supply to that area. You want to minimize the damage as much as possible. 

If you find any carpeting, rugs, drywall, ceiling, or tile that is saturated, you need to call a professional restoration service provider as soon as you can.  

Remove What You Can

When you’re dealing with water damage, you need to remove items to a safe dry location.  However, it is an unfortunate reality that in this situation certain items may be beyond saving or easier to just replace rather than try to salvage. Here at SERVPRO, we always try to salvage as much as possible and can help you determine the best course of action.

If it is safe to remove potentially salvageable items from the affected area, be sure to take the right precautions.  Remember that your belongings will be much heavier if they’re soaked – you don’t want to attempt to lift something too heavy and injur yourself.

Dry

If you’re dealing with water damage, you want to dry out the area as thoroughly and as quickly as possible.  This is why water damage typically requires professional equipment and training.

Pro tip: although it may seem tempting, DO NOT use a household vacuum cleaner to clean-up water damage.  Any significant damage will require professional grade equipment to be both safe and effective.

SERVPRO of Eatontown / Long Branch has helped hundreds of both commercial and residential customers in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Mercer Counties. If you ever have burst frozen pipes, we’ll be there ASAP to minimize the water damage and get you back to normal soon.  We can even help work with your insurance company.

You can call us anytime 24/7 at 732-858-5196