Make Sure Your Home Is Prepared for Summer Storms
Summer is a time spent outdoors, enjoying time with friends and family at backyard barbecues.
Summer can also bring potentially dangerous weather conditions in the form of summer storms that can wreak havoc for homeowners. In order to minimize any damage to your home and property, here are some steps you can take now to help prepare for when the next storm hits:
Trim Large and/or Dying Trees
Some of the worst damage that can happen to a home during a major storm is the result of falling trees.
While the weather is nice, make sure to inspect all your shrubs and trees and remove any branches that has a potential to fall onto your home. If you suspect a tree is dying, you may want to consult with a tree specialist to ensure it won’t be dangerous during a major storm.
Make Sure Your Gutters are Clean
As in any season, keeping your gutters clean of leaves and debris not only helps protect your siding and landscaping, it can also help prevent costly water damage to your foundation.
Make sure to inspect where the downspout meets the gutter system as this is a spot where clogs frequently occur.
Secure Your Outdoor Furniture
If you have the space, the best option is to bring the furniture inside until after the storm has passed.
if not, make sure you have tightly secured any furniture on your patio or lawn. Consider using heavy duty chains or wires to connect your furniture to stakes. Or, try tying multiple pieces of furniture together with bungee cords so that their combined mass and weight can function like a natural anchor.
Put Together an Emergency Kit
If you’re wondering what you should have on hand in an emergency, here are the 15 minimum supplies recommended by the American Red Cross:
- Non-Perishable Food
- Radio (battery-powered or hand-crank)
- First Aid Kit
- Multi-Purpose Tool
- Personal Hygiene & Sanitation Items
- Copies of Personal Documents
- Cell Phones & Chargers
- Emergency & Family Contact Info
- Area Maps
Know Your Evacuation Plan
Lastly, in case the storm turns out to be severe, make sure you have a safe place to take shelter. Communicate with your family and make a plan well in advance so everyone is prepared.
If your home is damaged by a storm, call the restoration professionals of SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry as soon as you can. A quick response helps to minimize and prevent further damage, reducing costs. We have the specialized expertise and equipment to help you quickly dry and restore your home to its pre-storm condition.
Be Aware of Mold in Your Commercial Space
Mold growth is NOT a new subject. In fact, many commercial structures end up closing their doors to business for months due to mold contamination. That is why in any large facility the importance of maintaining that facility to deter water leaks, moisture problems and poor air quality should be the main focus.
Most mold growth is discovered after we get called to remediate a water issue, and we discover it growing behind removed material such as sheet rock, sink vanities, cabinetry, etc. In many instances, the mold growth has gone undetected for months, if not years.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the key to mold control is moisture control. Solve moisture problems before they become mold problems.
Mold Prevention Tips
- Fix leaky plumbing and leaks in the building as soon as possible.
- Watch for condensation and wet spots.
- Prevent moisture due to condensation by increasing surface temperature or reducing the moisture level in air (humidity). To increase surface temperature, insulate or increase air circulation. To reduce the moisture level in air, repair leaks, increase ventilation (if outside air is cold and dry), or dehumidify (if outdoor air is warm and humid).
- Keep heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) drip pans clean, flowing properly and unobstructed.
- Vent moisture-generating appliances, such as dryers, to the outside where possible.
- Maintain low indoor humidity, below 60% relative humidity (RH), ideally 30-50%, if possible.
- Perform regular building/HVAC inspections and maintenance as scheduled.
- Clean and dry wet or damp spots within 48 hours.
- Don't let foundations stay wet. Provide drainage and slope the ground away from the foundation.
Potential health concerns are also an important reason to prevent mold growth and to remediate/clean up any existing indoor mold growth.
Obviously staying on top of moisture issues is the key to keeping mold under control.
Should your commercial building need mold remediation, remember that SERVPRO has specially trained technicians that can handle the job. No job is too large or small, and we are available 24/7.
Your Guide to Drying Carpeting after Flooding and/or Water Damage
If your home or business has been damaged by flooding or a water leak, your carpeting may be a soggy, water-logged mess. When this happens, it’s imperative to dry the carpeting quickly in order to prevent damage to your walls, sub-flooring or any other structural elements of your building. The good news is: the drying process is one you can often start on your own until the professionals get there.
Here at SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry, we know how devastating water damage can be to a home or business. As a leader in professional restoration services here in this community, we want to help make sure you mitigate any damage that may occur to your property due to a water problem.
Here’s your step-by-step guide to start drying your wet carpeting in order to prevent further damage:
Identify and Stop the Source of the Water Problem
There’s no sense in doing the work to dry out your carpeting if will just continue to get flooded. While you’re working on figuring out the cause of your water problem, see if you can find a way to at least prevent further water damage.
Remove Any Standing and/or Excess Water
Once there’s no more water coming in, your next step is to start to remove any standing or excess water.
A useful tool is a wet/dry shop vac which can be used to suck up excess water from a saturated carpet.
Separate the Soaked Carpeting from the Floor
Once you’ve removed most of the water, now you will want to separate the carpet off from the floor.
Begin along a wall, pulling away from the tack strips and moving across the room. Be careful not to use too much force in handling your carpeting, as wet carpeting is more fragile than normal and more likely to tear.
Once you’ve pulled up the carpeting, you’ll want to dispose of the carpet padding. (Carpet padding is typically inexpensive and generally easier to just replace than to try to dry out).
Dry, Dry, Dry!
Once the carpeting is separated from the flooring, it’s time to do your best to dry both completely.
It’s often useful to move the carpeting to another totally dry area. Use high-powered fans and/or blowers on both the flooring and the carpeting. Although a household fan may work in a pinch, if you can rent a professional-grade blower, the process is typically much faster and more likely to end with a positive outcome.
It is also useful to use a dehumidifier to remove the excess humidity and speed up the drying process, however typical models are not sufficient enough on their own.
Clean the Floor and Sub-Flooring
Make sure to thoroughly sanitize the subflooring to prevent mold growth and odors. Ideally, a medical grade sanitizer is best in this kind of situation, but you can also try a solution of one-part bleach to one-part water.
Bring In Professional Restoration Services
Because SERVPRO has specialized equipment that can do a job faster and more efficiently, even if you start with extraction and dehumidification, it is in your best interest to call the professionals who will do the job completely and safely.
Why SERVPRO Can Help If Your Water Bill is Too High
It can be normal for your water bill to fluctuate from month to month. You may be watering your lawn more in the spring or summer, just filled up your swimming pool or added a new pet to your family. As long as you know why your water bill is higher, there probably isn’t a problem. However, sometimes you may notice an unexpected increase…and that could be a sign of water damage
Here at SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry we know how disastrous water damage can be to a home or business.
To help you prevent severe water damage to your property, here are 4 common kinds of leaks to look out for that may be causing your water bill to be too high:
A leaky faucet may just release a few drops of water, but if you wind up with a severe leak you could be wasting as much as 20 gallons of water every day. That’s why it’s important to check each faucet to make sure there are no visible signs of a leak.
One way to check is by placing an empty cup underneath the faucet and making sure no water collects. You’ll also want to take a look at the piping in the cabinets underneath the sink, and don’t forget to check your outside hoses and water sources as well!
Plumbing leaks can sometimes be difficult to detect as many of your pipes may be hidden behind walls or above the ceiling. Still, you can at least make sure to check all the visible fittings and fixtures for any signs of damage or leaking, as well as pay attention to the ceiling and walls.
A continuously running toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water every day and cause your water bill to soar.
One easy way to check if you have a leak is to dispense a few drops of food dye into the tank of your toilet. If you see the color start to come into the bowl, that’s a sign of a potentially bad leak.
Purification Systems / Water Softeners
If you use a water softener or purification system, that could be the cause of your bill increase. These systems tend to produce more waste water than other plumbing systems.
If you water bill is suddenly high, you want to make sure that these systems are working correctly and not producing excessive water waste.
However, if there is a problem with a leak, you want to find it quickly before the problem turns into major water damage.
Here at SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry, we can be there quickly to help you if you do have water damage. Our local team is made up of the best advanced technicians with the training and equipment needed to handle any size disaster.
5 Things To Do Immediately After Storm Damage
Storm damage can happen any time of year, but during the winter, the effects of storm damage can be particularly brutal. Heavy snow and ice can lead to roof damage that might ruin the structural integrity of your home and cause leaking. Strong, bitter winds might cause fragile trees to collapse.
Here at SERVPRO of Hackensack / Little Ferry we’re committed to help keep this community safe. We understand how challenging it can be to deal with storm damage. As a leader in the restoration industry, we’ve been helping homes and businesses in this area for over 10 years. We have the advanced training and equipment needed to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.
When you’re dealing with storm damage, it’s important to act quickly to minimize problems. Here are 5 things you should do immediately in the wake of storm damage:
Winter storms can quickly create hazardous conditions, such as collapsing roofs or damage to your windows and/or walls. Leaking can cause water damage that can ruin carpeting, furniture, and building materials, leading to an environment full of potential dangers.
While it can be tempting to want to rush in and save what you can – don’t forget that your first priority is to stay safe!
Be sure to shut off the main gas line if you smell gas, and be on the lookout for slippery surfaces, exposed nails, broken glass, and other possible hazards. If you decide to enter the affected area, you’ll probably want to wear protective clothing and slip-resistant shoes. Depending on the extent of the damage, it may even be necessary to arrange an alternate place to be while your property is being restored.
Call Your Insurance Provider
Contact your insurance provider as soon as you can to notify them of the damage. Your insurance company will send an adjustor to check on the state of the damage and determine payments for repairs.
Here at SERVPRO we’ll even work with your insurance provider to help you process the claim. Just let us know when you call!
If it is safe to move around or near the affected area, try to photograph the damage so that you have an additional record of evidence for your insurance company. This can help make sure you will be fully compensated.
Check if You Qualify for Federal Disaster Assistance
Depending on the severity of the storm, the federal government may have declared your property to qualify for disaster relief assistance. You may be eligible for aid or a low-cost loan for restorations
When a severe storm hits, it’s a good idea to call for professional restoration services as quickly as you can.
Your restoration services will begin with the basic tasks of inspecting your property and securing it to make sure it is safe. The damaged area will then be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and restored as soon as possible so you can hurry up and get back to normal life.
Smart Home Devices Prevent Fire Damage
If you’re a cautious homeowner, you want to take smart measures to prevent fire damage to your home. In the 21st century, there are new Smart technologies for your home that can make these preventative measures easier than ever to manage.
SERVPRO of Hackensack / Little Ferry is committed to helping homeowners in this community keep their homes and properties safe. That’s why we love these kinds of technological advances that you can hook up to your WiFi network and smartphone to keep you and your family safe. If these devices detect something dangerous, you can get alerted right away so that you can hopefully take care of the issue before it becomes a major disaster
Here smart home devices that can help you prevent fire damage to your home and property:
Smart Fire Detectors and Smart Smoke Alarms
You can set up these cutting-edge fire detectors so that they will automatically send an alert to your smartphone if the temperature reaches a certain point or if there’s a sudden rapid rise in temperature. These devices can even be connected to your centralized security system for greater precision and control.
You can also get Smart alarms that detect smoke or carbon monoxide. Some of these devices will even shut down your HVAC system if smoke is detected to prevent further complications. If you connect these devices with a Smart security system, they can also automatically alert the fire department in case of emergency, no need for anyone to have to dial 9-1-1.
Smart Electrical Outlets
These are outlets that you can turn off remotely using an app on your smartphone. This can be good protection in case you’re worried you forgot to shut off lights or appliances.
Some of these outlets can even be controlled by voice commands when you are home, so that you can turn off electricity even from another room.
If you’re the kind of person who has a tendency to forget to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, you may want to invest in Smart batteries.
Most of these batteries are compatible with multiple kinds of alarms and detectors, and they will send you an alert when the battery gets low.
Smart Kitchen Shut-Off Devices
Kitchen fires are a leading cause of fire damage to homes. These Smart devices can help prevent such fires by automatically turning off the oven or stovetop.
These Smart devices are typically motion sensors that are installed to a kitchen cabinet. If you leave the kitchen, the device will start a timer, and if you don’t return before the timer counts down, the device will automatically shut off your oven.
All this 21-st century tech can go a long way to helping you keep your home and family safe. If, however, you do experience water or fire damage, know that SERVPRO of Hackensack / Little Ferry is always here to help. We have all the advanced equipment, training, and knowledge needed to restore your property ASAP.
Why SERVPRO Can Help You Prevent Fire Damage this Spring
Many people know that Fall and Winter are the most common seasons to experience fire damage, with the hazards posed by candles, fire places, wood burning stoves, etc. So, now that Spring is finally here, it’s tempting to want to let your guard down. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to disaster.
Here at SERVPRO of Hackensack / Little Ferry we know that fire prevention safety is a year-round requirement. We pride ourselves on bring fire prevention leaders in this community, so we want to remind you that fire damage can happen any time, sometimes when you least expect it.
Here are 4 household items that you may be using this Spring that have been known to start fires and create significant smoke or fire damage:
- Electronic Chargers
Just make sure you use your chargers correctly! You can help prevent fire damage by:
- Not plugging multiple chargers into one outlet – this helps prevent overload.
- Always using the correct charger for each electronic device.
- Always following the manufacturer’s instructions when charging.
- Removing the device from the charger once it’s fully charged.
- Unplugging your chargers when they’re not in use.
Some hoverboard models have been known to suffer from battery explosions due to lithium-ion batteries that have a potential to overheat. In order to keep your hoverboard safe, you want to make sure to charge it properly, following the charging advice suggested above. Always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using your hoverboard.
If you’re trying to break an unhealthy addiction to smoking, e-cigarettes may be an important tool to help you stay nicotine-free. As the weather gets warmer, you may want to stay outdoors longer with your e-cigarettes – just make sure to stay fire safe!
E-cigarette fires are often the result of battery problems – make sure you only use the batteries and charger that have been designed for your e-cigarette model. In addition, it’s recommended to only use the designated accessories, as accessories from other manufacturers may not actually be compatible with your model.
- Electrical Outlets
Make sure that you use your electrical outlets properly and avoid overheating, especially as the temperature of the surrounding environment rises. You can help prevent fire damage by:
- Making sure not to overload your electrical outlets, including paying attention to how much you load any given extension cord.
- Looking for any frayed or damaged electrical cords, which should be replaced.
- Not using any electrical outlets that may be damaged.
These tips and suggestions can help you keep you and your family safe from fire damage this Spring. And, if an unfortunate accident should occur, know that SERVPRO of Hackensack / Little Ferry is always available to help with any fire damage issue large or small. We have all the advanced training and equipment needed to help restore your home to normal as quickly as possible.
How We Can Help After a Fire
Having a fire in your home is a devastating and traumatic experience. No matter how small, soot, smoke and ash can creep into every crevice of your home, leaving a fine film over surfaces, ash everywhere and a lingering odor. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to turn to or whom to ask for help.
Having a fire in a structure next to your home can be just as devastating, as fire may destroy siding, smoke and ash may enter your home and water used to put out the fire next door can also affect rooms in your home as well. It can be just as traumatic not knowing what to do or whom to turn to.
SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry is here to help. We have certified, experienced and professional technicians who will come to clean and deodorize – finding every place soot and odor can hide. We are also experts in content cleaning like furniture and have services that can clean documents, photos, artwork, rugs and window treatments. We can tarp your home where damage has occurred or board up windows and doors if needed.
Whether you experience a fire in your home or are affected by one next to you, remember that SERVPRO is here to help, and truly can make it “Like it never even happened.”
How to Prevent Water Damage: Everyday Tips and DIY Tricks
Water damage can be unpredictable. However, there are steps you can take to help prevent it. In fact, it can be quite easy to make sure your plumbing and HVAC systems are in good working order.
Here at SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry, we’re proud to be leaders in cleaning and restoration services here in this community. Our team of advanced technicians has all the specialized knowledge, training, and equipment necessary to handle any size disaster. But rather than cleanup after a disaster, we’d like to help you prevent major damage from occurring in the first place.
Here are some ways you can prevent water damage on a day-today basis, both when you’re at home and traveling away for an extended period:
Everyday Water Damage Prevention Tips
If you’re careful about what goes down your drains, you can help prevent cracks and damage to your pipes that might otherwise lead to leaks and water problems.
- Be careful what goes down your toilet. It’s a good idea to flush only human waste and toilet paper. Note: even “flushable” wipes can clog toilet drains, especially in bulk.
- Make sure not to pour grease or coffee grounds down drains as these can clog pipes and sewer lines.
- If you have a drain clog, try using a drain snake rather than a chemical cleaner as a snake is typically both more effective and less hazardous.
DIY Water Damage Preventative Maintenance
Here are some easy DIY steps you can take to inspect and maintain your water supply. If you do notice signs of wear and tear or incorrect operations, be sure to call professional services soon before a small problem turns into a major home disaster.
- Clean your gutters regularly and be sure to check them after heavy storms to make sure water is flowing properly.
- Once a year, make sure to visually inspect your plumbing - including any toilets, sinks, tubs, washing machines, or dishwashers – and look for any signs of damage or leaking.
- Flush your sinks with baking soda and vinegar to help prevent clogs. You can use lemon juice to eliminate any odors.
- Consider investing in a sump pump in case of flooding and be sure to check it regularly to make sure it is in good working order.
- Pay attention to your water bill each month. An unexpected increase may indicate that water is leaking somewhere.
Water Damage Prevention When Traveling
If you’ll be traveling away on vacation, here are steps you can take before you leave to help prevent any water problems while you’re away.
- Adjust your HVAC settings to a lower setting while your away to prevent pipes from freezing during cold weather.
- Consider turning off your water supply and draining your pipes.
- Ask a neighbor to check on your house every few days to make sure there aren’t any developing problems.
While it’s not always possible to prevent water damage, these tips can help minimize your chances of having to deal with a major water-related emergency. And if something should happen, know that SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry is available 24/7 to help deal with any size water damage problem, large or small.
Keep Your Business Safe From Winter Storms
If you own a business that is in a high-risk area for flooding, make sure you are prepared before any storm to keep your business afloat afterward.
Prepare by making sure you locate any important documents and valuables and store them in a location that will be dry and secure.
Check your gutters and spouts to ensure they won’t be clogged when the storm hits, and make sure to have a working sump pump.
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.
If your business facility floods, your first responsibility is to keep people safe.
Make sure to 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. If you choose to enter a damaged building, be cautious of any structural compromises or falling debris. Keep out of the floodwater as much as possible to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall hazards and bacterial contamination. Be sure to wear protective clothing – including slip-resistant shoes, gloves, eye protection, and a mask – in order to minimize potential risks.
When flooding occurs, the quicker you can start your cleaning and restoration efforts, the better your chances of minimizing long-term damage and costs.
Reconstruction can’t happen until the flood-damaged area has been thoroughly disinfected and dried.
Be aware that although surfaces may feel dry to the touch, that doesn’t mean they are thoroughly dried. If you are able to remove any wet items from the flood-affected area of your business, make sure they dry completely before you bring them back to where they belong.
One thing you can do right away is to encourage drying and control the spread of mold by opening windows and doors to allow for maximum air circulation. If it is safe to do so, you may want to run an air conditioner, fan, or dehumidifier to facilitate greater air flow.
When it comes to flood clean-up, you want to make sure you are thorough.
Anything porous that gets soaked – like carpet, insulation, or molding – may be beyond salvaging. If so, these items will need to be thrown away to prevent risk of disease from contamination. Items that can be saved will need to be disinfected and washed in the hottest possible water the item can tolerate. Sometimes pressure washing and professional cleaning are the only ways to ensure your items will be safe.
If your business suffer flood damage and requires professional cleaning and restoration, you can rest assured that SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry has technicians with advanced training, skills, and equipment necessary to clean and restore your business to its pre-flood condition as quickly as possible.