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3 Ways To Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather

12/9/2022 (Permalink)

Kit supplies Stock up on emergency supplies

Preparing Your Home For Cold Weather

Winter is here, and it's never too early to prepare for the season. While you can't always control the weather, you can take steps to make sure that your home is safe during this time of year. Here are three steps you can take to make sure your home is prepared for the colder weather coming your way.

Winterize Your Home

Get a professional to inspect and make repairs to your furnace, water pipes and windows before winter. Seal cracks with caulk or foam insulation around doors and windows to prevent cold air from seeping in. Check the condition of your roof for leaks or damaged shingles that could cause problems if snow accumulates on them. Repair any issues before it snows heavily this season, so you'll be protected during the worst of winter's weather conditions.

Inspect Your Heating System

The first thing to do is to make sure your heating system is in good repair. Some of the things you should check include:

  • The furnace, boiler and water heater all being clean and in working order.
  • The thermostat is set properly for the current weather conditions by a professional HVAC technician. If it works well, you'll stay comfortable without wasting energy or money!
  • Filters are clean and working properly on each air conditioner or furnace unit in the home (including window units). Cleaning them will help keep them from getting clogged with dust and dirt that could cause damage later on.

Stock up on Emergency Supplies

It’s best not to wait until the last minute when snow is fast and furious, so prep your home now. Make sure you have food, water and medicine. Store enough food to last at least three days. Keep non-perishable items in an open area of your kitchen or pantry (not your refrigerator) so they don’t lose their nutritional value if temps drop below 40 degrees F. Water is another must-have—you may need several gallons per person per day, which means more than one jugs Make sure you rotate expired items so nothing goes bad.

You will also need to make sure you have flashlights and batteries. It's always a good idea to keep plenty of flashlights around in case of a power outage (especially if you live in an area where storms can knock out electricity for days). Batteries are also essential for phones, radios and other electronics—and make sure you get fresh ones every chance you get! You might want to invest in rechargeable batteries as well; otherwise it'll be tough keeping them all charged up when the weather doesn't cooperate!

Finally, you want to make sure you have warm clothes and blankets. If recent history has taught us anything about winter storms, it's that they can bring unexpected drops in temperature while making roads slick with ice or snow - so make sure everyone has warm clothing before anything bad happens out there! Blankets are also critical since blankets help retain body heat during cold spells - especially true if it gets really cold outside overnight due to lack thereof heat inside buildings like ours here at home base. So get prepared early by stocking up now on those essentials before Mother Nature strikes again this year!

Being prepared for the first winter storm before it hits is imperative for protecting yourself, your family, and your home. Give SERVPRO of Beaufort County, Hilton Head, Bluffton, Jasper a call if you experience storm damage to your home, and we will get your Bluffton, SC home back to normal.

3 Steps for Safely Handling a Flooded Basement

12/1/2022 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. A flood in your home can be devastating.

How To Handle a Flooded Basement

Whether your flooded basement is the result of torrential rain, a broken dam, or melting winter snows, the result is almost always the same: unwanted standing water. Here are three steps for safely handling your basement flood.

1. Switch Off the Utilities

Turning off the electricity or gas to your home may be a problem if your home’s breaker box or meter is in the basement. If so, contact the utility companies and request they turn the power and gas off. Turning the utilities off before you begin any cleanup effort can help ensure your work environment is a safe one.

2. Locate a Professional Team

Many people panic when they find their Beaufort City, SC, basement floor flooded with water. The loss of stored items, children’s bedrooms, or an extra living area with all the sundry additional items those rooms entail, can be upsetting. Calling in a professional water mitigation team can help you make sure your damaged basement has insurance coverage because the professionals often document everything they do. They can also help save as many of the basement floodwater-damaged items as possible because the knowledgeable team can help you tell the difference between what can be saved and what should probably be thrown away.

3. Remove the Standing Water

The first thing the water damage team will typically do is remove the standing water and investigate for signs of structural damage. Water removal is important because standing water can:

  • Encourage mold growth
  • Cause foundation damage
  • Ruin walls and insulation

Once the water is gone, the team can begin cleaning and disinfecting the area, and, if needed, technicians can generally begin rebuilding the damaged areas.

A flood in your home can be devastating. Don’t let it paralyze you; instead, take the above three steps to help minimize the damage of any basement flood. You can fight back when you have a professional water mitigation team on your side.

Is There a Noise Coming From Your Water Heater?

11/12/2022 (Permalink)

Close up of a water heater It might be time to call a plumber if your water heater is making strange noises.

Is Your Water Heater Making Any Noise?

Water heaters are a staple of the home, and they can be used for decades if properly maintained. Most water heaters are installed when a house is built or remodeled, so it's likely that your home has an older model. Over time, these appliances develop quirks and become less energy efficient. The good news is that if you have an older water heater in need of repairs or replacement, it's not as expensive as you might think!

Is your water heater making noises?

  • Is your water heater making noises?
  • When it heats, does the water heater make a loud noise?
  • When it cools down, does the water heater make a loud noise?
  • Does your drain valve open and close with a loud bang when flushing out sediment or other debris that has accumulated inside of it?

Troubleshoot common issues and learn how to repair a water heater

The thermostat is one of the most common causes of water heater noise. A defective or mis-adjusted thermostat can cause the water heater to heat unnecessarily, and this excessive heating causes vibrations that can be heard as clicking or knocking sounds. If you suspect your hot water heater's thermostat is causing excessive vibration, check it for proper operation.

The pressure relief valve should never make any loud noises when heating cycle is complete, but if it does, there are a few possible causes. The gas pilot light may have been accidentally turned off while no one was home or while they were away on vacation; it's important to turn this back on before doing anything else because otherwise the pilot light will go out and leave you without heat in your house until someone remembers to relight it again!

If there are any cracks or leaks in the tank itself—or if its seams aren't tight enough together—water will seep out during periods where usage is high (i.e., morning showers), causing excess pressure inside which could potentially damage wiring components within if left unchecked long enough; resulting from these problems might include hearing strange noises coming from your system when trying something like turning on an appliance like a dishwasher (which uses lots of cold water).

Sediment or debris can cause unusual noise

When sediment builds up in your water heater, it can cause a lot of noise during its operation. This is because the sediment will rub against the inside of your water heater as it heats up and cools down. If you hear unusual noises coming from your hot water heater, there's a good chance that some debris has built up at the bottom of your unit.

The best way to deal with this problem is flush out your water heater or to call a professional plumber who can clean out any debris that may be causing trouble within your system. It isn't dangerous, but it could be causing damage if left unchecked!

If you hear odd sounds from your water heater, it may be time to call a plumber. They can help you troubleshoot the problem and get your water heater back up and running as soon as possible.

Common Problems To Combat With Commercial Water Damage

11/1/2022 (Permalink)

Ceiling with mold growth Your building is vulnerable to water damage in many areas.

Commercial Water Damage

Commercial properties often face more costly water damage repairs because of the equipment on the property as well as the size and complexity of most commercial facilities. Whether you’re dealing with a broken pipe, storm damage or any other source of water issues, you should understand the importance of quick remediation. Here are the most common problems associated with commercial water damage in Bluffton, SC.

Structural Damage From Water Penetration
Whether excess water occurs from supply line breaks or broken pipes, the most common problem experienced from commercial water penetration is structural damage. Your building is vulnerable to water damage in many areas. The areas most commonly affected include:

  • Drywall
  • Roofing
  • Flooring
  • Foundation

The sooner you respond to a broken pipe, toilet overflow or any other source of water penetration, the less time water has to penetrate, reducing the structural damage effects.

Equipment Loss From Flooding Damage
One thing that sets commercial property water damage apart from residential damage is the equipment loss factor. Most businesses have capital equipment investments that are also susceptible to damage from water penetration. 
Any water damage that your equipment suffers can lead to catastrophic failure. Some of this equipment may be difficult to replace if it is custom-designed for your business or in limited supply, which can affect ongoing operations.

Business Interruption From Water Damage
One water damage problem that many business owners overlook is business interruption. After a broken pipe, activated fire sprinklers or any other water disaster, you may have to close your business while repairs are completed. Depending on how long water damage repairs take, this period may have a marked effect on your company’s performance.
The sooner you address water damage problems, the less time that water has to wreak havoc on your commercial building. Doing so in a timely fashion minimizes damage effects and repair time, making water repair easier to accomplish.

The Role of Business Interruption Insurance

10/25/2022 (Permalink)

Business interruption insurance form and red pencil to sign. Business interruption insurance (BI) can help you recover lost income after a disaster.

What Is the Function of Business Interruption Insurance?

Every business owner in Beaufort County has nightmares about their operations being interrupted by a disaster. The reality is that the likelihood of an interruption is far greater than most people would like to admit. Events such as fire, flood, and storm can not only damage or destroy your property but also disrupt your operations and cause millions in losses.

Business Interruption insurance provides coverage for lost income when you are unable to operate due to a covered event. For example, if you own a manufacturing plant in Florida which has suffered significant storm damage and cannot resume operations for 12 months; your business interruption insurance will cover the costs of renting space elsewhere while your building is being rebuilt or repaired.

What is business interruption insurance?

Business interruption insurance is a type of business insurance that helps cover the costs of your company if it’s forced to shut down because of a covered event. Business interruption insurance typically kicks in after a covered event occurs and continues for as long as necessary until your business can return to normal operations.

The coverage provided by business interruption insurance varies based on the terms and conditions outlined in each policy. Some policies may provide temporary buildings, salaries for management & employees, and other elements related to restarting operations once they have returned to normal levels.

What business interruption insurance covers

Business interruption insurance covers the costs of lost income and replacement business expenses that result from property damage, structural damage, or loss of inventory.

  • Lost income: Business interruption insurance will pay for lost profits or revenue because of a covered property damage event. This kind of coverage might reimburse you for the cost of hiring temporary workers to replace those who have been injured or can no longer work due to the disaster. It may also cover business start-up costs associated with moving your operations to another location after your main facility has been damaged by an insured event.
  • Replacement expenses: If your business suffers extensive damage from an insured event like fire or storm, this type of coverage can help cover the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property such as equipment, buildings (including inventory), and computer systems so that you're back up and running without having to worry about bills piling up while you're out of commission.
  • Temporary relocation: If there's no way you can run operations at all while repairs are being made at your building—for example if portions of it have been destroyed in a natural disaster—temporary relocation expenses may be covered under this type instead if they're related directly back towards getting your company back up-and-running ASAP instead!

Why you need business interruption insurance

Business interruption insurance (BI) can help you recover lost income after a disaster. You never know when something unexpected might happen, and if you're unprepared, it could be devastating to your business. With BI, you'll have a plan in place to help protect your business from unexpected events—whether they're natural disasters or other catastrophes that cause damage or force the shutdown of your operations.

Businesses need to be prepared for the unexpected. It's important that you have enough coverage to pay for repairs and rebuilds in the event of a catastrophe so that your company doesn't lose money while waiting for funds from an insurance company or government agency like FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency).

Business interruption insurance is a valuable product that can help you recover from unexpected events. If you are interested in investing in business interruption insurance, reach out to your insurance company to learn more!

Understanding Homeowners' Insurance Coverage for Fire

10/19/2022 (Permalink)

Homeowners Insurance Policy Having a homeowners’ insurance policy is always a good idea.

Understanding Homeowners' Insurance Coverage for Fire

For many people, a house is the largest investment they’ll ever make. If your home in Jasper, SC, is financed with a mortgage, your lender will require you to carry homeowners’ insurance to protect their investment and yours. A homeowners’ policy protects the structure of your property and your belongings from certainly covered perils including theft or certain disasters, such as a home fire. Even if you don’t have a mortgage, it’s good to have such a plan in place to cover potential damages and losses. You should know that there are certain situations where your policy won’t cover fire damage.

When Is a Home Fire Not Covered?
While policies will vary based on your insurer, geographic locations, and other criteria, most homeowners’ plans won’t cover the following scenarios:

Arson: If you intentionally set a fire to your house, your policy won’t cover your losses or expenses associated with repair and cleanup.
Unoccupied or vacant property: Most policies won’t cover fire damage and other perils for a home that is vacant. You’ll need to purchase a special type of coverage for a vacant home fire.
Act of war: Generally damage that results from acts of war is not covered.

Acts of war are distinct from those of terrorism, which are usually covered by homeowners’ insurance.

What Else Should You Consider?
Where there’s fire, there’s probably smoke. In the aftermath of a home fire, you may also experience smoke damage, soot damage, and damage from the water used to extinguish the blaze. Water damage can also lead to mold, so it’s important to have a professional residential restoration provider complete cleanup and repairs. The pros can restore your home to preloss conditions.
Having a homeowners’ insurance policy is always a good idea, even if it’s not required. It protects you from having to rebuild or restore property damages out of pocket in most cases. It’s incumbent on you to know when you’re covered and when you’re not.

3 Mistakes Homeowners Make After Floods

10/1/2022 (Permalink)

Floodwaters enters a home, water reaches the stairs from the house Floodwaters enter a home in Hilton Head, SC.

The Aftermath Of a Flood

After flood water has filled your home in Hilton Head, SC, you may not know what to do next. There are several common mistakes that homeowners make after their homes are impacted by a flood and knowing how to avoid them can help you get through the aftermath of a flood.

1. Staying in the Home

As waters rise, many people may be tempted to stay in their homes in order to protect what they can. However, staying in a flooded home during and after a flood has occurred can be hazardous for many reasons. If you have any indication that your home may be affected by a flood, leaving your home before the flood occurs is often wise. If a flood occurs with little warning, it’s generally best to leave your home and seek shelter in areas of higher elevation.

2. Wearing Inappropriate Clothes

Returning to your home immediately after a flood can be tempting, but it’s often important to make sure you have the appropriate clothing items and the necessary equipment before entering your home. Heavy boots, thick gloves, and a face mask are often useful to wear when entering a flooded home. Even with the right outfit and equipment, areas, where flood water is present, should generally be avoided since debris in the water could be dangerous and electrical hazards may not be clearly visible.

3. Attempting DIY Repairs

Water damage can impact the structure of your home and can damage many of your belongings. However, if you try to make repairs to your home or try to restore items that have been damaged, you may end up causing further damage. Instead, it can be helpful to call flood restoration professionals who can begin restoration while mitigating the damage that has already occurred.

Knowing how to react when flood water has damaged your home can protect you, your belongings, and your home. After a flood, it’s often best to get out of your home, wear the appropriate clothes and avoid making major repairs on your own.

No Flood Insurance? Here’s What To Do

9/14/2022 (Permalink)

Fema.gov Disasters USA Government home page under magnifying glass. Visit the FEMA website and learn about your coverage options

Applying for Federal Assistance

Did a devastating flood recently hit your home, and you are left feeling helpless because you do not have flood insurance? Help is available if you lived through a federal disaster. Keep reading for more information on applying for federal assistance.

FEMA Grants

If you live in a disaster-designated county, you may be eligible for this coverage. These grants can help you and your family afford the following expenses:

  • Medical and dental care for issues that were caused by the flood
  • Home repairs related to the flood
  • Underinsured and uninsured loss of personal property
  • Funeral expenses necessitated by the flood
  • Temporary housing needs

There are other expenses that may be covered as well. If you live near a flood plain and recently experienced a disaster-related to it, it is time to visit www.fema.gov to learn more about the federal flood insurance application process. Be prepared for a federal inspector to visit your property.

Cleanup Assistance

If you need help with water damage in the meantime, a Hilton Head, SC, residential storm damage restoration specialist should be able to help. Most companies have technicians that are used to emergencies of this kind and can quickly set up a cleanup plan that will put your home on the path to recovery. If you are worried about being denied your federal insurance, know that you should still be covered for any damage as long as you take before and after pictures and save your receipts from repair work.

Help Is Available

A flood can be stressful for any homeowner. Not having flood insurance can make such a disaster even more worrisome. The best plan of action after a flood is to visit the FEMA website and learn about your coverage options - and seek professional cleanup assistance from a storm damage company. Help almost always exists after a regional tragedy. You just need to have a plan in place, so you know where to find it.

3 Ways Pretesting Can Help Your Clients After a Disaster

9/1/2022 (Permalink)

Technician checking out ceiling fan, debris on the floor of a property Technicians assess the property for damage and determine a plan of action.

Pretesting After a Disaster: How It Can Benefit Your Clients

After a disaster in South Colleton County, SC, it is the task of the insurance company to help clients as quickly and thoroughly as possible. It is also important to keep costs down where you can. Here are ways pretesting can help you meet those goals for your clients.

1. Determining the Full Extent of Damage
When a professional mitigation service begins the restoration process, the first step is to conduct a thorough inspection. Technicians assess the property for damage and determine a plan of action.
As an example, technicians inspect a home after a flood to locate the source of the water damage. They also determine the level of contamination, if any. They check for safety concerns as well.

2. Assessing What Areas Are Not Damaged
Treating areas that are not damaged can add unnecessary costs to an insurance claim. The restoration company's technicians can look for intact areas and secure them before damage spreads. After a storm blows off part of a warehouse roof, professionals can add tarps to prevent more water and debris from entering the building.

3. Pretesting Materials
Technicians can begin testing materials in the damaged areas to determine whether they can be cleaned. They can also assess which cleaning methods are the best for the situation.
This step is helpful because it saves money if items can be restored instead of replaced. It can potentially protect the client's keepsakes and prized belongings, too. Professionals can then report their findings to the insurance agent. After a fire, for example, cleaning window treatments may remove smoke odor, and they won't need replacing.
SERVPRO believes pretesting is an integral part of a restoration. That is one reason many insurance agencies designate it as a preferred vendor. SERVPRO helps your South Colleton County, SC, clients get back to normal quickly and lower costs.

5 Things To Do When Your Toilet Floods

8/24/2022 (Permalink)

Overflowing toilet What to do when you have a flooded toilet in your company.

Five Steps to Take If Your Toilet Floods

In Hilton Head, SC, water damage in your business is a vast and costly hassle. Read below to find out what to do when you have a flooded toilet at your company.

1. Call a Professional
Since a toilet problem could be from sewer damage, it may be Category 2 or 3 water. A professional sewage company will assess the situation thoroughly.

2. Ensure Your Safety
Cutting off the electricity can keep you safe. Depending on the size of your property, it may be possible to isolate the shutdown to minimize the disruption to your workflow.

3. Shut Down the Source
If the toilet itself is clogged or malfunctioning, you can turn off the water at the toilet. Try shutting down the primary water source if you cannot get to the bathroom due to the flooding.
Unfortunately, as mentioned above, there may also be possible sewer damage, which means there may not be much you can do on your own.

4. Begin Removing Water
Again, keeping safety in mind, you may be able to get ahead by soaking up excess water using towels or other absorbent materials. However, if the leak occurred on an upper floor, it could be that the water has damaged the subfloor and ceiling below. If so, removing the flooring, ceiling tiles, and anything porous may be necessary before detailed drying can begin.

5. Dry Up the Place
Opening windows or using fans to create airflow is a good start. But, the pros will use industrial-sized dehumidifiers and air movers and check the progression using special sensors until they deem it dry.
When a water disaster disrupts your business in Hilton Head, SC, it is good to consider the possibility of sewer damage and call in the pros to help you get your business back up and running.