Recent Storm Damage Posts

Here come the Hurricanes

7/7/2021 (Permalink)

Hurricane from space A satellite photo of a hurricane from space.

The east coast hurricane season has officially started and runs from June 1 to November 30th.  So far there have already been 5 named hurricanes in the Atlantic this season.

Here is a brief list of things you should be considering NOW in order to be prepared.

  • Make sure your flood insurance is active. Many people let these policies lapse to save money or as an oversight.
  • Make sure both your home and business are secured as much as possible. This may include storm shutters, clearing gutters/downspouts to direct water away from the structure, and checking the roof for damage.
  • If you have a generator make sure it is operable. If it hasn’t been serviced recently you should check the oil, make sure you have adequate fresh fuel, and run the generator periodically.
  • Develop a business continuity plan. This should include emergency communication plans for employees and customers, facility remediation contacts, and contingency work plans.
  • If you are in an evacuation zone determine where you will go should the need arise.
  • Download the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan app which allows you to store and share emergency contacts, critical facility information, and document current conditions. For more information and to access the app click HERE.

Finally, you can register with SERVPRO to be added to our list of contacts so we have your basic information on file in the event you suffer a loss.  If you would like assistance in preparing your readiness plan please contact us for a free consultation and have a great summer!

Storm water damage process

6/1/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded Road Rain water on a flooded road

If your home or commercial property has water damage from storms, SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry has the expertise, experience, and equipment to properly restore your property. We have the most professional team in North Jersey.  At SERVPRO of Hackensack Little Ferry, we have the experience plus the scientific approach to water removal and cleanup to properly dry and restore your property. Every water damage is different and needs to be addressed as such, however, the general process is the same.

Step 1 - Emergency Contact

Step 2 - Inspection and Water Damage Assessment

Step 3 - Water Removal / Water Extraction

Step 4 - Drying and Dehumidification

Step 5 - Cleaning and Sanitizing

Step 6 – Restoration

At SERVPRO Hackensack Little Ferry we take every job very seriously. Restoration is the process of making your home or business back to pre-water condition. We understand that any water loss is stressful. Our technicians will treat you and your family with great care and empathy. We are always here to help, please contact us at 201-330-4193 for any questions or to schedule a free estimate.

Spring Flooding

4/25/2021 (Permalink)

Flood Insurance The importance of flood insurance.

Although flooding can happen at any time, Spring flooding is common as frequent storms leave the ground soaked and streams are often at their highest levels of the year.  Here are some tips for both families and businesses.

First, take advantage of a free App called the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Plan (ERP).  To learn more about this app and how it can prepare your business and minimize business interruptions click HERE for a brief video.  This app is also extremely useful for homeowners in preparing for a variety of disasters.

  • Make a family emergency communication plan and include pets.
  • Have emergency supplies in place at home, at work, and in the car.
  • Flood insurance takes 30 days to take effect, so purchase now to protect your family!
  • Listen to local officials by radio, TV or social media.
  • Evacuate when advised by authorities or if you are in a flood or flash flood prone area.
  • If you are on high ground above flooded areas, being prepared to stay where you are may be the best protection.
  • Don't let your business end up in a dumpster. Make a Flood Safety plan today.
  • Charge mobile devices. Locate flashlights & radio. Tell friends/family your location in case of power loss.
  • Heavy rain to areas that have been experiencing drought can cause flash flooding.

If you do need to venture out during or immediately after a flood, follow these rules:

  • Don’t drive or walk through flood waters
  • Water moving at just 5 miles per hour can lift and displace manhole covers leaving unseen dangers
  • As little as 12 inches of moving floodwater can be enough to float and carry away a small vehicle.
  • 6 inches of moving water can knock an adult off their feet. STAY AWAY from moving water!
  • Driving thru 6 inches of standing water can cause vehicles to lose control & stall. Avoid flooded roads.
  • Be aware of areas where waters have receded. Roads may have weakened & could collapse under the weight of a vehicle.

Personal Property

  • 30: The number of days it takes for flood insurance to begin. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
  • Only flood insurance will cover the damage from floods. Speak with your insurance agent to learn more.
  • A few inches of water in a 1,000-square foot home could cost more than $10,000 in repairs & replacement of personal possessions
  • Prepare for a flood today by reviewing your property & flood insurance policies.
  • Snap some pictures of your property & do an inventory. This will be handy if flood waters damage your property. Again, consider using the SERVPRO Ready Plan App.
  • Flood waters can damage important papers. Store critical docs in a waterproof container or electronically.
  • Before a flood: reduce potential property damage by elevating utilities & installing sewer backflow valves.
  • Prepare before a flood by installing a water alarm in your basement.

After a Flood

  • Watch your step! Flood waters often hide sharp and dangerous debris like broken glass and metal!
  • Wear the appropriate protective clothing and gear like boots, gloves and safety glasses when it comes to moving debris!  
  • Hands off! Stay away from electrical utility equipment after a storm or if it is wet to prevent being electrocuted!
  • Flooded homes are hazards! Get a professional to check for loose wires, mold and hidden damage before re-entering!
  • Avoid walking in floodwater. It can be contaminated with oil, gasoline, or sewage.
  • Use generators or other gas powered machinery only outdoors and away from windows.

SERVPRO Storm Teams

2/26/2021 (Permalink)

Storm Team Response SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch operating in Texas.

SERVPRO Storm Response Teams coordinate large scale responses, such as the recent deep freeze in Texas.  This is a scalable organization similar to first responder’s modular Incident Command System.  For the current disaster in Texas and other states, there are two storm response teams coordinating 1,000+ SERVPRO teams.  Both SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch and SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry are proud to have teams currently operating in Texas.

This requires specialized training for leaders in large scale incident management, logistics, planning, and communications.  Responding teams need to understand how they will be asked to integrate into the larger organization and what protocols will be required.

Franchises who participate in Storm Response Teams are proactively trained in many areas including travel requirements and equipment needs, operating in storm damaged areas safely, FEMA expectations, budgeting, and regulatory considerations between states.

Participation in these teams is voluntary and represents a high level of commitment to technical expertise and constant preparedness.  It is not only the commitment of the organization but the personal commitment of each team member who volunteers.  They answer the call knowing this means leaving home for several weeks in a row to help someone in need.  We are thankful to all of our team members who have answered the call!

Hidden Dangers of Power Outages

1/28/2021 (Permalink)

Candlelight Candles on a Night Stand

When the power goes out it can be very annoying, especially if you have no internet.  But, there are more serious concerns that you should be considering to protect your home.  Without power several critical systems in your home are going to be offline.  Here are some items to consider:

Sump Pumps: these pumps are located in the basement and prevent water from entering from the ground.  Without power the pump will not operate and water could enter from the sump pump pit.

Heating units: even gas powered heating units need electricity to run the blowers/fans that push the air through ducts and around the home.  Without heat the pipes are susceptible to freezing and rupturing. If the temperature outside is below freezing consider turning the faucets on just a little bit to keep water moving in the pipes.  This not only introduces warmer water from underground pipes but the movement of the water helps prevent freezing.

Freezers:  If you haven’t thawed your freezer in a while you may have significant ice buildup that will begin to melt and cause water to puddle at the freezer door.  You are better off putting a baking tray under the door rather than opening the door and trying to manually remove the ice.  Opening the door will cause the cold air to escape and will lead to more rapid thawing/spoiling of food if power is not restored quickly.

Of course a back-up generator is your best bet for restoring power quickly but these can be costly, especially built in units.  If you do have a generator (portable or built-in) make sure it is wired to provide power to the critical systems above.

If you do experience storm damage, call the experts at SERVPRO!

Storm Surge Flooded Floors

1/28/2021 (Permalink)

Storm Surge Storm surge flooded floors

Storm surges can be dramatic and cause significant damage but with the proper tools and training it doesn’t have to mean a total renovation.  The only good thing about storm surges is that the waters often recede as quickly as they rush in.  Hardwood flooring that is properly protected with polyurethane can withstand water penetration if remediation happens quickly.  At SERVPRO we have the right equipment and training to often save hardwood floors instead of removing them.  Here are three techniques we use.

First, our injecti-dry panel system is one way to extract the moisture.  Our technicians use plastic sheeting to create a containment area and install dehumidifiers to regulate the moisture levels.  The panels are installed with special methods to reduce additional damage.  We then use moisture measuring meters to monitor the changing moisture levels all the way to the sub-floor.

Second, we may utilize a heat drying system which heats the material to approximately 100 degrees.  Heat ducts are installed to remove the humid air and infrared monitors are used to monitor the drying process.

Finally, a Desiccant Dehumidifier may be used to introduce outside air which is passed through a dehumidifier before being introduced to the material.  Again, moisture monitoring equipment is used to measure the progress and reduce moisture at a controlled rate.

If you experience flooded floors call us to see if one of our methods can be used to save the material before you begin removing any material.

Storm Front Coming

1/27/2021 (Permalink)

Prepare for the next Arctic Blast coming this Friday.  The high temperature on Friday will be in the low 20’s with a low near 15 degrees.  Is your home ready to withstand the blast?

Here is a simple checklist of items you can do to prepare for the cold:

  • Have your HVAC system checked if you have not already done so.  An HVAC system failure in freezing temperatures is not only an uncomfortable inconvenience but could lead to frozen and ruptured pipes.
  • Clean your chimneys to remove soot build up and prevent a possible clog. Smoke blowing back into your home can make a real mess.
  • Test your smoke and CO2 alarms to make sure they are working and have charged batteries.
  • Make sure all outside plumbing including hoses, lawn sprinklers. and pool equipment is off and pipes are drained.

If you experience storm related damage call SERVPRO at the number above.

Ice Dams

1/23/2021 (Permalink)

Ice Dam on Roof Ice Dam on a Roof

It looks like we have a winter storm moving into NJ this week.  At SERVPRO this means we will likely receive calls for water leaking through the ceiling.  The most common cause during winter storms is Ice Dams.

Ice dams form when the snow melts, runs down your roof and refreezes near the edge or in a valley. This only occurs when the roof has colder and warmer spots which allow the water to melt and then refreeze.  Where the water refreezes it masses and creates a ‘dam” which pushes the water back up the roof.  This water pushing/flowing against the usual force of gravity helps it to find openings to penetrate the roof and ceiling below. 

Typically, heat escapes through ceilings into the attic and warms the wood and shingles directly above it. Although the outdoor temperature is below freezing, the snow melts over the warmed section of roof. Ideally, you should not see the snow melting on the roof if the temperature is below freezing.  This means sufficient heat is escaping from your home’s living spaces to provide enough warmth to melt the snow.  You should also not see uneven melting as evidenced by bare shingles next to patches of snow.  The melted areas show where the strongest heat loss is occurring.

If you see these warning signs on your roof you should take steps to prevent an ice dam from occurring.  The overall strategy is to keep the roof cold which also makes your home more energy efficient and comfortable.  Three steps to consider are:

  1. Look for openings which may be causing heat loss such as gaps around pipes and air ducts which can easily be filled with spray foam.
  2. Make sure the attic floor is properly insulated with insulation rated at R-40 or higher. Look for areas where insulation has been removed or pushed aside such as bathroom exhaust fans or other modifications.
  3. Make sure your roof is properly ventilated, based on the type of roof you have.

A technician from SERVPRO can perform an inspection for you using a thermal imaging camera to view and photograph areas where heat is escaping.  This needs to be done on a cold day.

If these measures don’t work you might consider installing a heating coil in the affected area with a thermostatic switch which turns on the heating coils when the temperature drops below freezing.  For worst case scenarios, safely remove the snow and ice manually with a shovel and/or broom until a long term solution can be found.

Tis the Season to Prepare for Nor'Easters

12/10/2020 (Permalink)

How a Nor'easter Develops Photo courtesy of NOAA

As a Nor'easter or Coastal Storm Approaches

  • Listen to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio or to a local news station for the latest information.
  • Follow instructions given by public safety officials.  Many towns have email or phone distribution systems for emergency messages.  Make sure you are on the list.
  • Review your family emergency plan.
    • If you live or work in a flood zone, hurricane evacuation zone, or an area that is prone to flooding be ready to evacuate.  This requires an understanding of which roads experience flooding most often so you can have an alternate route in mind.
    • If you are not in an area prone to flooding and plan on riding out the storm at home, gather adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and are unable to leave.
  • Prepare for power outages by charging cell phones and electronics (and portable cell phone chargers if you have them) and setting your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. If you use electricity to get well water, fill your bathtub with water to use for flushing toilets. Gather adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and are unable to leave.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full. Pumps at gas stations may not work during a power outage.
  • Prepare your home.
    • Secure or bring in outdoor objects (patio furniture, children's toys, trash cans, etc.) that could be swept away or damaged during strong winds or flooding.  This includes grills!  Despite their size and weight, strong winds can knock over grills causing gas lines to be severed.  Fire departments across Bergen County, NJ responded to numerous calls for ruptured grill supply lines during our last storm.
    • Clear clogged rain gutters to allow water to flow away from your home.
    • If damaging winds are expected, cover all of your windows. If you don’t have storm shutters, board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood.
    • Go Tapeless! Taping windows wastes preparation time, it does not stop windows from breaking or make cleanup easier. In fact, taping windows may create larger shards of glass that can cause serious injuries.
    • Turn off propane tanks if you are not using them.
    • Prepare for flooding by elevating items in your basement, checking your sump pump, unplugging sensitive electronic equipment, clearing nearby catch basins, and parking vehicles in areas not prone to flooding.
    • If instructed, turn off your gas and electricity at the main switch or valve.
  • If you have a boat, remove it from the water. If you cannot, prepare your boat for the storm to reduce damage.
  • If the nor’easter or coastal storm is a winter storm, learn how to prepare with our Winter Storm Safety Tips.

For more information visit this great site created by the State of Massachusetts”

 https://www.mass.gov/info-details/noreaster-coastal-storm-safety-tips#:~:text=a%20power%20outage.-,Prepare%20your%20home.,flow%20away%20from%20your%20home.

Be Prepared for Storm Conditions

5/22/2020 (Permalink)

Hurricane Storm Conditions Be prepared for storm conditions

The peak potential time for hurricanes here in New Jersey runs from mid-August through the end of October.  Hurricane Sandy is still on people’s minds, and each season is unpredictable as to the amount and severity of possible storms. Here at the Jersey Shore it’s especially important to be prepared for anything.

In order to protect your home, here are 5 tips that can help you prepare for and ride out a storm:

Keep Doors and Windows Protected Against Rain, High Winds, and Flying Debris

Heavy rains can cause flooding in your home. And, high winds can hurl objects at speeds so fast they can act like bullets. In other words: make sure to protect your windows and doors.

And don’t forget your garage door! Make sure your garage door is installed to be weather-proof or brace an existing door to keep it from giving way.

Remove Items from Your Yard

The more you can minimize any loose, large objects near your house, the better you can protect yourself from flying debris. Remember to secure any patio furniture or garden sculptures.  Even better, try to bring everything you can indoors for the duration of the storm.

Keeping your trees pruned and removing any dead branches well before the storm begins will make a big difference in high winds.

Keep Gutters Clear So Water Can Flow

It’s a good idea to regularly clean out your gutters and downspouts and make sure nothing blocks flowing rain water or melting snow throughout the year.  But, is especially important to make sure nothing is blocking your water flow before a major storm. 

If the heavy rains can’t flow down and away, they could end up pooling on your roof and leaking into your attic, creating significant and costly damage to your home.  So, make sure to conduct a visual inspection of your gutter and downspouts to ensure rain will flow away from your roof and home.

Make Sure You Have a Working Sump Pump and Emergency Generator

One way to ensure your basement or crawl space will stay dry during any potential flooding is to install a sump pump system.  Also having an emergency generator on hand can be useful for any power loss you may experience during a major storm.  You may consider installing a whole-house system, but even a small generator can keep the essentials going and help you withstand the worst of the storm’s after-effects.

Stock Up on Basic Supplies

It’s a good idea to keep on hand at least a three-day supply of basic necessities. This includes drinking water, food that doesn’t need refrigeration, a first aid kit, any prescriptions or other necessary medications, and personal hygiene items. You’ll probably also want a supply of batteries, a flashlight, and candles, just in case you end up with no electricity.

Some additional items recommended by FEMA include:

  • Copies of important family documents in a waterproof container
  • Sleeping bags and warm blankets
  • Change of clothing
  • Paper towels and plastic utensils, plates, and cups
  • Books and games to pass the time.

If your home does sustain significant storm damage, it is a good idea to enlist the help of trained storm damage specialists as soon as you can.  A fast response can limit the extent of the damage and significantly reduce your overall costs. Remember SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry is THE only restoration company who can handle storms like Sandy - we can rely on many of our SERVPRO franchises throughout the country to come and help.

Flash Floods a Real Spring Concern

4/9/2020 (Permalink)

The Hackensack area has had its share of flooding problems, mostly due to its proximity to the Meadowlands and several major rivers. Durng heavy spring rains, flash floods can be a real threat to the area. Flash floods can be devastating and dangerous, and oftentimes there is no warning.

Causes of Flash Floods

Flash floods typically happen when there’s a sudden storm, and the ground soil can’t absorb all the water that’s quickly streaming in.

The most common causes of flash flooding include:

  • Rain for an extended time (e.g. during a tropical storm or hurricane)
  • Sudden heavy rain in a short time span
  • Dam failures
  • Rapid thawing of snow build-up
  • Overflow in man-made sewers and storm drains

It’s important to understand the difference between a flood warning and a flood watch:

  • Flood Warning – a flood is expected within 30 minutes to an hour
  • Flood Watch – the conditions are right for a flood, and you should continually check to see if a Flood Warning develops

If a flood warning is issued, you probably won’t have much time to take action, so it’s important to be prepared and know what to do:

  1. Pay attention to instructions from local authorities – there may be a mandatory evacuation or a recommended evacuation to designated shelters or areas. 
  2. Protect your home – if there is no need to evacuate, be sure to secure your home by closing all windows and doors and staying up high away from possible flooding.
  3. Pay attention to water sources – if you find yourself near any bodies of water, from oceans to rivers to lakes to streams, keep a close eye on water levels and be prepared to leave if necessary. Storm drains or drainage ditches could also cause problems.
  4. Avoid driving and walking through flooded areas – many flood-related deaths are the result of people who are trapped in the cars or swept away by the flood waters. 

Flash Flood Cleanup

Make sure to remove all the water and dry the affected area as quickly as possible. Whether you hire professional cleanup and restoration services or can manage the cleanup work yourself, the process typically involves the following steps:

  • Removing all standing water
  • Properly disposing damaged materials
  • Quick-as-possible drying and dehumidifying
  • Cleaning and disinfecting
  • Rebuilding and restoring

After a flash flood, it’s important to dry the affected area as soon as possible in order to minimize the extent of the water damage. This is why many people turn to experts like SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry, as we guarantee fast, thorough cleanups with our expertly trained technicians and advanced professional-grade equipment. We’ll even help you work with your insurance.

SERVPRO Can Help You Need to Remove Water from Your Basement

1/21/2020 (Permalink)

It’s the time of year for winter storms, which means it’s one of the prime seasons to deal with water damage. Many homeowners realize too late that basements can be one of the most common places for water damage to occur

Here at SERVPRO of Hackensack / Little Ferry we’re experts in repairing and restoring the effects of water damage. If you suddenly get hit with water damage to your basement, it’s important to know you should act quickly as possible and minimize the extent of the damage. 

Before SERVPRO gets to your home and begins the restoration, there are a few things you can do before we get there. 

Identify and Fix the Water Problem

The first step is to figure out and stop the source of the water. Whether it’s a burst frozen pipe or a sump pump that’s stopped working, you want to fix the problem ASAP.

One exception would be any groundwater flooding that is weather related. If you can prevent more water from seeping in, that’s great – but you may not be able to deal with that problem right away, in which case you should call for professional assistance and prioritize starting to remove as much water from the basement as you can.

Extract the Water

The quicker you can remove water from the basement, the more likely you will be able to salvage more. A wet/dry vac is often useful to quickly remove large quantities of water. If nothing else, start grabbing buckets and mops to bail out as much water as you can.

Remove Damaged Items and Materials

Unfortunately, no matter how quickly you start getting rid of the water, chances are there will be some items that are already damaged beyond repair. For example: paper goods, carpeting, carpet padding, other fabrics, and insulation often can’t survive severe water damage.

Once SERVPRO arrives, we will continue to extract whatever water remains and take care of your wet and damaged contents.

Depending on how long the water sits, and how much water there was, some drywall may need to be removed.

Dry

SERVPRO will have commercial fans and dehumidifiers to efficiently speed up the drying process. Still, it may take up to 1-3 days (or more) for everything to dry out properly. 

Clean

Once everything is dry, SERVPRO will disinfect everything that’s been affected in the basement to prevent contamination from mold and bacteria.

Restore

The extent of the restoration may vary depending on the extent of the damage and may be eligible for coverage from your insurance.

If you need help dealing with water damage to your basement, our expert technicians here at SERVPRO Hackensack / Little Ferry are available to help anytime 24/7. We can help you with removing water, disposing damaged items, drying, disinfecting, and any restoration necessary to return your basement to its original condition.

What can we expect for the winter of 2020?

1/6/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO truck in driveway of home with snow SERVPRO can come out in any weather and fix water damage from snow, ice or slush.

According to the The 2020 Old Farmer’s Almanac, the winter of 2020 is predicted to be a cold, snowy and wet one. While many regions will be slammed with snow (no less than SEVEN big snowstorms coast to coast!), New England weather is expected to be more rainy and cold, making ice and slush a large concern.

Your house can take a toll with all this wet weather, so make sure you take the necessary steps to winterize your home and prevent damage during severe weather.

The following precautions can be very helpful in the run-up to any winter storm or freezing condition.

Outside

  • Clogged gutters should be cleared of fallen leaves and twigs to let liquid flow and not get a chance to freeze so gutters weigh down.
  • Worn out roofing - If the seams and flashing on your roof are worn out, this could lead to leaking and water damage when snow starts to melt.
  • Ice Dams on the Roof - ice and water repeatedly thaw and refreeze and start to form an ice dam along the edge of the roof. Ice Dams are perhaps the most common cause of winter water damage is from ice dams that form on the roof.

One of the tell-tale signs of an ice dam is a group of icicles hanging down. In order to prevent ice dams, you can add extra insulation to prevent dramatic temperature swings on your roof. Check for water stains in the wood, and make necessary repair to prevent future leaks.

It’s also a good idea to inspect your roof from both the outside and inside at least twice a year. If you notice any areas that are worn out or damaged, make repairs right away. In many situations you can fix minor gaps with roofing caulk.

 Inside

  • Exposed water pipes should be wrapped and insulated.
  • Faucets should be turned on to allow a trickle to come through to prevent freezing and pipes bursting. This is especially true during a freeze lasting several days.
  • Make sure thermostat is set to constant temperature and doesn’t dip below 55 degrees.

If you plan on leaving your house for an extended period of time, AVOID WATER DAMAGE by turning off your main water source and keep the thermostat set at sixty degrees.

Should you happen to experience ANY kind of damage this winter, call SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry and we will come make sure it looks “Like it never even happened.”

Prevent Storm Damage and Flooding

12/18/2019 (Permalink)

Yard covered with water from flooding Storm surges and heavy rain can soak lawns and property, which may end up flooding your home.

All homes that are located near to the Atlantic Coast have good reason to be concerned about the effects of storm damage and flooding. Although homes that are right along the coast often pay the most attention to possible flooding effects, the truth is a severe enough storm could potentially cause serious damage anywhere across New Jersey.  

At SERVPRO of Hackensack / Little Ferry, we’re strong believers in taking proactive steps for prevention. We know from experience how preparation can help minimize the worst possible effects when a storm is on the horizon.

Here are 7 ways you can start to prepare now to prevent the effects of storm damage and flooding:

Make Sure Your Basement or Crawlspace is Ready

  • Check your basement or crawlspace at least once a month for any signs of damage. 
  • Make sure items in your basement or crawlspace are stored properly.
  • Use containers that are water resistant with tight lids.
  • The more items you can store off the floor / ground and away from potential flooding the better.

Check Your Drains

Make sure that your drains are free of clogs, as clogging could lead to a sewage backup during a severe storm or flood.

To keep your drains clog-free, avoid dumping fats, coffee grounds, or other thick waste down sink drains. Use hair catches in your showers and tubs to help prevent hair clogs.

Maintain Your Sump Pump

If you have a sump pump, check it regularly and keep it well maintained to ensure that it will work when you need it.

Keep Up with Your Landscaping

Landscaping can hold and contain water near to your foundation, so make sure to keep bushes and trees at least three feet away from your building.

Also, make sure to trim any branches near the building that could cause damage in the case of strong winds.

Clear Downspouts and Gutters

Clean your downspouts and gutters at least twice a year to make sure that rainwater will be able to flow if there’s a major storm. You want to make sure water doesn’t collect on your roof or pool near your foundation.

Double Check Your Insurance Policy

Review your insurance policy at least once a year so that you know exactly what’s covered. If you have any questions, you want to be able to call and speak with your insurance agent well before there’s an actual problem.

Review Your Evacuation Plan

Do you have an evacuation plan that everyone in your family has agreed upon and knows?

It’s a good idea to come up with a few alternate go-to locations in opposite directions, depending on which way you may have to evacuate. Make sure everyone knows the evacuation plan in advance, just in case you lose access to your communication devices.

And remember, if you need help cleaning up or restoring your home after a storm, you can reach our expert professionals here at SERVPRO 24/7.

Nor’easter or Hurricane?

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

storm waves along the shoreline Nor'easter hits the shore, churning up water and eroding beaches.

Living on the East Coast of the United States means dealing with many types of storms, from hurricanes to blizzards. Big on the list of storms are nor’easters.

By definition, a nor’easter is a “storm that forms along the East Coast of North America. Nor'easters are named after the direction from which the strongest winds typically blow over the northeast states, including New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. The storms can bring wind, snow, rain and flooding.” 

How is a nor’easter different than a hurricane?

Nor'easters and hurricanes both form over the Atlantic Ocean. They're both also types of cyclones-a storm that has winds spiraling around a central low pressure zone.

However, while hurricanes originate over the warm waters of the tropics (near the equator) and rely on warm air to help move and strengthen them, nor'easters originate further north, near the eastern coast of the United States. Also, nor'easters thrive and pick up strength from cold air in the atmosphere, north of the Jet Stream and fueled by low-pressure systems from Canada.

Typically nor’easters are most common during the months between September and April. Because they thrive on cold air, bad weather conditions usually accompany them. These conditions usually include rain, flooding, high winds, snow and even blizzards. Sometimes the winds can be stronger than hurricane-force winds.

Hurricane season runs from June through October.

How to prepare for a nor’easter?

Winterize Your Home

  • Exposed water pipes should be wrapped with newspapers or a plastic wrap, and faucets should be turned on to allow a trickle to come through to prevent freezing and pipes bursting.
  • Leaking roofs need to be patched or re-freezing precipitation could widen gaps and bring in more water and cold.
  • Clogged gutters should be cleared of fallen leaves and twigs to let liquid flow and not get a chance to freeze so gutters weigh down.

Stock Up on Supplies

  • Canned and Non-Perishable Food: Begin buying a few canned goods before the season with each trip to the supermarket as part of your regular shopping.
  • Bottled Water: You should always keep a few extra gallons of water with some designated for drinking, others for non-consumption and set aside for washing up and cleaning, and even for first aid purposes.
  • Battery-Operated Devices: Keep an assortment of fresh batteries in different sizes for use in flashlights, radios, battery-operated charges and other useful equipment.
  • Generators: Keeping a generator running requires diligent maintenance. Perform all necessary checks, change the oil and make sure you’re stocked with all the necessary equipment and fuel to keep it running. Store it outside of your house at a good distance, since generators emit carbon monoxide exhaust.
  • Emergency & First-Aid Equipment: Keep your home first-aid kit fully stocked with fresh, clean bandages and non-expired topical applicants and gels
  • Keep Your Car Storm-Ready: Things to keep in your trunk are first-aid kit; jumper cables, shovel, scrapers and brushes .You may also want to carry kitty litter or rock salt to free your car from slushy situations.

Being prepared is paramount to making it through a storm unscathed. However there are circumstances beyond anyone’s control that may affect your home which even the best preparation won’t help. In that case, SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry is your best bet to get your home back to normal after a terrible storm.

Are You Prepared for a Hurricane?

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

In case you may have missed it, May 5 -11, 2019 was officially National Hurricane Preparedness week, and this month begins the hurricane season, which runs through to the end of November. So NOW is the time to make sure you are prepared!

One important distinction to know is the difference between a hurricane watch and a hurricane warning:

  • Watch – there is a possibility a hurricane may impact your area within 48 hours, make sure you have your supply kit, evacuation route, and emergency preparedness plan ready to go. 
  • Warning – a hurricane is now expected to hit hard within the next 36 hours. Prepare to evacuate and make sure your loved ones know your plans.

 In order to make sure you will be prepared before hurricane season arrives, here’s what you should know:

Advance Planning Before Hurricane Season

Here’s what you can do now, before the hurricane season starts:

  • Plan your evacuation route and destination. You may want to come up with several options so you can make adjustments depending on the direction of the storm.
  • Pack your supplies. Extra clothes, a first aid kit, your medications, copies of your important personal documents, cash, batteries, a flashlight, a phone charger, and bottle of water are good to have on hand.
  • Communicate your plans. Make sure your friends and family know your plans to minimize any confusion if disaster hits.

Safety Tips for When A Hurricane is About to Hit

When a storm is imminent:

  • Move any outdoor furniture or items to a secure location and trim any trees or plants that may be dangerous.
  • Make sure to stay tuned to the latest reports and be ready to leave immediately if there’s an evacuation order.

Returning After an Evacuation

After the hurricane, make sure to be safe in coming back home:

  • When you first enter, don’t use electricity, machinery, or matches until you have determined there is no gas leak hazard or any other damage that may pose a risk.
  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Be on the lookout for wild animals or other pests who may have been displaced by the storm – they’re probably stressed too, which can make an encounter extra dangerous.
  • Make sure to document any and all damage for your insurance records.

If your home or business is damaged due to a hurricane, you can at least rest assured knowing that SERVPRO of Hackensack / Little Ferry will be here to help.  We have the advanced training and specialized equipment necessary to handle any hurricane restoration project large or small. We can even help you work with your insurance company.

Make Sure Your Home Is Prepared for Summer Storms

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

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:

  1. Water
  2. Non-Perishable Food
  3. Flashlight
  4. Radio (battery-powered or hand-crank)
  5. Batteries
  6. First Aid Kit
  7. Medications
  8. Multi-Purpose Tool
  9. Personal Hygiene & Sanitation Items
  10. Copies of Personal Documents
  11. Cell Phones & Chargers
  12. Emergency & Family Contact Info
  13. Cash
  14. Blanket
  15. 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. 

5 Things To Do Immediately After Storm Damage

4/9/2019 (Permalink)

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:

Stay safe!

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!

Take Photos

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

Restore

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.

Winter Storm Protection Checklist – 5 Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

1/21/2019 (Permalink)

This past weekend saw Winter Storm Harper, which affected some area in all 48 states. When a major winter storm is in the forecast, do you know what you can do make sure your home stays safe?

Here at SERVPRO of Hackensack / Little Ferry we want to help homeowners keep their families and property safe when a winter storm hits, so here’s a quick checklist to help you protect your home:

Prevent Ice Dams on Your House.

Ice dams happen when heat from your home causes water to melt in the middle of your roof and then this water re-freezes at the edges, creating a dam that can cause roof leaks and damage to your walls and ceiling. 

If you notice icicles forming from your roof, this may be a sign of a developing ice dam.

Keep the Outside of Your House Protected.

Check your gutters and make sure your downspouts are clear so that water can flow. Trim any branches close to the house that may freeze, snap, and damage your house or power lines. Seal up any drafty windows or doors to keep your home warm.

Don’t Let Snow Accumulate on the Roof.

Too much heavy snow piled up on your roof could cause your roof to collapse.

This can be particularly problematic on flat roofs, which are typically built over porches or housing additions. If necessary, consider getting a roof rake which will come with a long handle so you can clear some of the snow from the roof while standing on the ground.

Make Sure Your Pipes Don’t Freeze.

Some of the worst winter water damage is caused by frozen pipes that burst.

Make sure to check on the pipes in your attic, crawl space, basement, and behind cabinets, as these are most likely to freeze. Consider wrapping them in insulation or opening the cabinets so that warm air can circulate.  In addition, try letting some water slowly drip from your faucets in order to keep water flowing.

Have an Emergency Kit and a Generator Ready.

Make sure you have an emergency kit with flashlights, extra batteries, a first aid kit, warm clothes, and a stock of food, water, and daily medications.  You may also want to keep some extra cash on hand, just in case.

With this simple checklist, you can help make sure your home stays safe throughout the winter season. If the storm does cause damage to your property, you can call SERVPRO Hackensack / Little Ferry for help.  We have the advanced skills and equipment needed to get your home back to normal ASAP. We pride ourselves on being “faster to any disaster,” and you can reach out to us anytime 24/7.

Prepare for Severe Winter Weather

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Bergen County is no stranger to severe winter weather. When the wind and snow come roaring through as a blizzard, or nor'easter,heavy snowfall and hurricane-force gusts will render roads impassable, down power lines and bring life to a standstill.

With the right precautions in place, you may be able to ride out the storm with your home and your family’s safety intact. Your best defense is a great offense.

Winterize Your Home

These following precautions can be very helpful in the run-up to any winter storm or freezing condition:

  • Exposed water pipes should be wrapped with newspapers or a plastic wrap, and faucets should be turned on to allow a trickle to come through to prevent freezing and pipes bursting.
  • Leaking roofs need to be patched or re-freezing precipitation could widen gaps and bring in more water and cold.
  • Clogged gutters should be cleared of fallen leaves and twigs to let liquid flow and not get a chance to freeze so gutters weigh down.

Dress for the Storm

  • Outside Apparel: If you must be outside, keep warm and dry. Cover yourself from scalp to sole with a hat, a scarf and a water-repellent outer layer. Use mittens instead of gloves because keeping your fingers close together helps with insulation.
  • Inside apparel: Even in the comfort of your own home, you should add an extra, secondary layer—especially if and when the power goes out. 

Taking proper steps and being prepared, can save you the expense and headache of broken pipes, water damage or any other storm issues. But if you DO need storm cleanup, you know you can turn to SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry!

Winter: Tis The Season for Ice Dams

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

What is an ice Dam?

They form when melting ice and snow refreeze above the eaves of your roof and subsequent melting backs up under the shingles. This causes interior leaks and water damage to interior walls and ceilings.

Proper ventilation, drainage and insulation are the ONLY ways to prevent ice dams.
  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris
  • Check and seal places where warm air could leak from your house to the attic such as vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches and light fixtures.
  • Inspect your roof and attic for proper ventilation and insulation
  • Look for signs of inadequate ventilation: rust spots, rusty nails or a mildew smell are all signals that moisture has formed on the inside of your roof
  • If you have soffit vents in your eaves, make sure they are not blocked and insulation surrounding them is secured so that air can flow easily
  • Keep snow from accumulating on the lower three to six feet of your roof

To remove Ice Dams, consult a roofing professional. DO NOT use a snow blower, shovel or blowtorch to try to chip, break or melt ice dams.

Winter Is On Its Way

11/21/2018 (Permalink)

Last year, Bergen County, along with the entire Northeast, suffered a deep freeze of below freezing temperatures for nearly two weeks. This resulted in frozen and bursting water pipes in many homes, offices and schools throughout the region.

Thankfully, SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry was on the scene, helping many homeowners and businesses by extracting water and drying basements, crawl spaces, floors and sheet rock.  

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, this winter is predicted to be warmer than normal but also wetter than normal. No matter what the actual weather will be, it is important to make sure your home is prepared for winter.

To avoid frozen and broken pipes, it is easy to take the following steps:

Outdoors:

  • Wrap outside faucets
  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the house
  • Disconnect garden hoses
  • Drain in-ground sprinkler systems

Indoors:

  • Let a stream of water run if the temperatures dip below freezing
  • Open cupboard and vanity doors in the kitchen or bathroom
  • Make sure thermostat is set to constant temperature

If, however, you do experience broken pipes or storm water this winter, make sure you take quick action to have the water extracted and your home or business dried out properly. Call SERVPRO of Hackensack/Little Ferry and we will make it “Like it never even happened.”