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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

How SERVPRO’s Business Model Aids Insurers

8/14/2022 (Permalink)

Tablet and cel phone. SERVPRO's claims inventory service

How the Business Model of SERVPRO Benefits Insurers

When a fire or storm damages a business, there are many working parts that go into fixing it. This process can be daunting for business owners when there is a disconnect between the crew cleaning up and restoring the property and the insurance agent involved. Luckily, the building restoration professionals at SERVPRO set distinct standards to facilitate the process for insurers. Here is a closer look at the benefits of this model should you require these services for a commercial property in South Colleton County, SC.

1. Emergency Response to Every Insurance Claim
The local franchise team selected to repair a damaged property will always provide a fast, emergency response. This gives both building owners and insurance agents alike the peace of mind that the space will be attended to immediately. This way, expediting the claim and restoration process can limit the overall time spent getting the building back to its previous condition, a key factor for any impacted business owner.

2. Pretesting To Reduce Claims Expense
Claims professionals assisting SERVPRO's local franchise in South Colleton County, SC, will carry out pretesting in any damaged property. This practice effectively minimizes the overall insurance claim expense by determining whether the building and its contents should be restored or replaced. Restoration is typically more cost-effective than replacement, so this model can save insurance companies money.

3. An Itemized Claims Inventory Service
Both insurance holders and agents will benefit from the use of SERVPRO's claims inventory service. This advanced system for tracking claims provides an itemized collection of losses within the property and includes photographs of important items. This is key for staying on top of the total loss per insurance claim.
Insurers and their clients will benefit from the fast response, pretesting, and inventory service that SERVPRO's restoration experts provide. These components help expedite the claims process and get damaged properties back to working condition quickly.

3 Common Causes of House Fires and How To Prevent Them

8/1/2022 (Permalink)

Computer on a desk, ashtray with many cigarettes hand with a cigarette lid up Avoid smoking in your home.

Three Ways To Combat the Most Common Types of House Fires

Knowledge is power when it comes to preventing a home fire. Identifying and addressing common fire causes is a simple way to reduce your risk of catastrophe. Here are three ways to combat the most common types of house fire in Jasper, SC.

1. Stop Smoking Already
One of the easiest — not to mention healthiest — ways to curb your fire risk is to avoid smoking in your home. According to a report from the National Fire Protection Agency, smoking materials accounted for over 17,000 home fires in 2014.
If you must smoke, take it outside, and be sure all materials are fully extinguished before you dispose of them.

2. Recognize That Your Kitchen Is Basically Home Fire Central
Year after year, cooking is the No. 1 cause of fire in the home. If you'd prefer not to follow Thanksgiving dinner with a call to your local fire cleaning and restoration company, take these precautions when you cook:

Don't cook when you're sleepy or intoxicated.
Turn off the stove if you have to leave the kitchen.
Don't leave your home if the oven is on.
Keep flammable materials far from the stovetop.
Set a timer to remind you when food is done.

3. Be Smart About Heating Your Home
Home heating efforts are the second leading cause of household fires, and we're not just talking about rustic but unreliable old wood-burning stoves. Here are five ways to keep safe when temperatures drop:

Keep flammable materials 3 feet away from heat sources such as the fireplace, furnace, or space heaters.
Keep kids and pets at least 3 feet away from fires and space heaters, too.
Regularly inspect your fireplace screen for holes that can allow sparks to escape.
Get your chimney and firebox cleaned annually.
Turn off space heaters before going to sleep

The best way to avoid a home fire is a two-pronged plan that pairs education with prevention. Identifying common causes of residential fire and actively avoiding or undoing them is a simple way to significantly lower your risk of fire in Jasper, SC.

The Problem With Chemical Drain Cleaners

7/26/2022 (Permalink)

Drain cleaner ads, water pipe detergent with clear pipes section in 3d illustration When using chemical drain cleaners you never know what the outcome will be.

Chemical Drain Cleaners

It can happen to anyone in Beaufort City, SC. When brushing your teeth or washing your hands, you notice water backing up in the sink, and you find you have a clogged drain. So, what do you do? The ads on most television stations suggest you run to the nearest store and purchase a DYI chemical drain cleaner. However, is that really the best option?

The Biggest Problem

The mixture of chemicals in these cleaners is meant for strong sewage cleaning along pipes that are filled with hair, dirt or everyday miscellaneous buildup. The way to attack all possibilities at once is to produce a high enough heat that it bubbles away the problem by breaking the debris into bits that easily move down the drain. But not all pipes are created equally. Here are some problems you may encounter in your home’s plumbing.

  • Fractured pipes caused by the shifting earth
  • Aging pipes that have weakened over time
  • Incorrectly installed plastic pipes

When the heat and force caused by the chemical interaction in the drain cleaner expand outward, the result can sometimes be disastrous for a home plumbing clogged drain, and that can be the biggest problem of all.

The Best Solution

Calling a water and plumbing specialist is typically the best remedy to a clog in your home’s pipes. The water specialist has many tools the average homeowner does not possess. These tools can help diagnose the issue quickly and efficiently, and let the specialist immediately begin work on removing the problem. Those same tools can help find more serious issues such as tree roots in the line, fragmented plumbing pieces, or badly crushed pipes. Once the issue is found, the specialist can begin making repairs.

Using a chemical cleaning agent on a clogged drain can be like playing Russian roulette – you never know what the outcome will be. Play it safe and avoid the chemicals altogether.

Keeping Your Building's Sprinklers in Top Condition

7/13/2022 (Permalink)

red head of a fire sprinkler Maintain your fire sprinklers.

The Importance of Sprinkler Maintenance

As a building owner in Bluffton, SC, you understand the importance of sprinkler maintenance. Not only is it imperative that your sprinklers correctly switch on when needed but also that they only switch on when needed. The following are tips for keeping your system in top condition:

1. Maintain Your Fire Sprinklers
Sprinkler maintenance is the first step to reliable fire protection. All sprinklers should have a minimum of 18 inches of clearance below them. Once a year, a qualified contractor should inspect the system, including the heads, valves, fire pump (if applicable) and main drain. Every five years, a contractor should conclude an internal inspection, assessing pipes for buildup and debris. 

2. Avoid Accidental Activation
Correctly maintaining the system can help avoid accidental activation caused by pipe corrosion or damaged components. However, there are other things to look for regarding sprinkler activation. Circumvent overheating heads by installing them away from stoves and skylights, for example. Vandalism can also be an issue in certain areas. Installing institutional sprinklers that are difficult to access helps dissuade vandals. 

3. Educate Your Tenants
It's important that those living or working in the building understand their part in keeping sprinklers in working order and avoiding accidental activation. Inform tenants not to hang anything from heads, such as decorations or clothes hangers. Instruct them not to bump into the sprinklers (cages can be installed to avoid this) or tamper with them. If an issue arises, they should contact building maintenance rather than trying to repair the problem alone. In the event of sprinkler activation, it is always beneficial to contact a certified cleaning and restoration crew.
In the case of commercial fire, everyone hopes that their sprinkler system will perform correctly. In addition, it's essential that sprinklers not be activated unnecessarily, resulting in a hassle for tenants and financial strain for building owners. Sprinkler maintenance can go a long way in ensuring peace of mind for both possible situations. 

How Does SERVPRO Help With Claims?

7/4/2022 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a big building Commercial fire damage in Hilton Head, SC.

When your clients in Hilton Head, SC, have suffered property damage due to flood or fire, they expect timely help to get their property restored and their lives back to normal. Insurance adjusters rely on the professional service of their local restoration experts to get the job done.

How Does SERVPRO help with claim services?

Our commitment is to get your clients back to their lives as quickly as possible while minimizing cost and inconvenience. 

1. Response Time In the course of emergency response, every moment of delay can allow the water, smoke, or fire to spread to other areas of the property. To minimize damage, you need restoration experts who can be on site quickly and know what to do immediately upon arrival.
We have over 1,900 locations across the US and Canada, and we respond to emergencies 24/7. Our professionals can be on-site in most locations and initiate claim services in a matter of hours.

2. Cost Consciousness Our quick response to your client’s emergency is a significant cost-saver; the less time the damage has to spread through the structure, the better. Limiting the extent of loss reduces the cost of the repair. We also employ pretesting to prevent rebuilding what should be restored instead.

3. Client Satisfaction We work to assure your clients’ satisfaction with every restoration. By maintaining transparent communication throughout the project and only working with quality vendors, we ensure that the job gets done right, with minimal disruption to the client’s life. 

4. Professional Service We strive for excellence in every aspect of restoration. Our goal is to provide exceptional claim services to every client. The restoration and repair experts we work with receive state-of-the-art training. They are focused on providing the service and consideration your clients deserve throughout the process.
As an insurance professional, you will receive the support you need to provide your clients with the help that they expect.

4 Step Sewage Damage Cleanup Process

6/27/2022 (Permalink)

Sewage water on the floor Sewer cleanup is not a fun process.

Four Steps of Sewage Damage Cleanup

Toilet overflows are fairly common in commercial buildings. The amount of foot traffic businesses see often means restrooms are overworked, at least when compared to residential bathrooms. Still, sewer cleanup is not a fun process, and many business owners might be unfamiliar with the rules of such maintenance tasks. Most water mitigation services in South Colleton County, SC, will suggest property owners hire a professional service, one that understands the four steps of sewage damage cleanup.

1. Begin the Sewer Cleanup
If the sewage damage is a result of a flooded toilet or backed-up drain, the most important step is to start. The faster you can remove sewage from a property, the less severe the damage. The initial cleanup process is similar to other floods. A company might use tools, such as pumps, to remove a majority of the contaminated water and waste. The important thing is to remove the sewage and keep it away from inventory and other elements.

2. Follow State and Local Regulations
Every territory may have different rules and regulations for how to handle a sewer backup. Most business owners are not aware of the specifics of such regulations. Therefore, instead of trying to cram a bunch of laws into your brain, consider hiring a professional service to take on the burden for you. Certified services already have the knowledge required to clean up your property, so let them.

3. Disinfect and Clean the Site
Once the sewage is removed from the facility, the service you hire will disinfect, sanitize, and clean every affected surface. The goal is to leave the property feeling as clean as it was before the disaster.

4. Restore the Property
Finally, the restoration company you bring on will work to repair the facility to "like-new" conditions. Most restoration companies want business owners to feel like a disaster never happened.
Sewer cleanup is not a fun process. You should not attempt a cleanup alone. A mitigation company or emergency plumbing service typically has the knowledge and tools necessary for the job.

Choose the Best Smart Smoke Detector for Your Home

6/21/2022 (Permalink)

Smart smoke alarm on ceiling A smart smoke detector protects your property against fire.

Select the Most Effective Smart Smoke Detector for Your Residence

A smoke alarm protects against fire danger by emitting a high-pitched noise if it senses smoke. New, smart versions can alert you of smoke even when you aren't home by sending you a phone notification. Here are some criteria to follow when choosing a smart safety device for your Jasper, SC, home.

Review Smart Smoke Detector Tech
There are three types of technology to consider as you search for a smart fire alarm system.

Smart detectors: These sense smoke based on either photoelectric or ionization technology. Both are effective, but ionized detectors tend to give more false alarms. Smart detectors can be battery-operated or connected to a home security system. They also offer automatic sensor tests and the option to silence false alarms.
Smart listeners: These devices plug into outlets and message your phone if a fire alarm goes off. They do not connect to or communicate with detectors. Large homes benefit most from listeners by reducing the need to replace sensors in every room. 
Smart batteries: These are used inside a fire detector and notify you by phone if a fire alarm sounds or the battery is running low. You can also use smart batteries to silence false alarms if the detector is solely battery-operated.

Assess Your Budget
A smart smoke alarm usually costs at least $100. House-wide installation of detectors may be the most expensive option, but it also provides extensive long-term protection.
A listener can cost anywhere from $50 to $100, making it less cost-efficient for extensive detector replacement.
Smart batteries are the least expensive technology, ranging between $30 and $40. However, they boast fewer smart applications than detectors and cannot connect to other technology.

Choose Additional Features
Additional features available in a smart smoke alarm can include:

  • Carbon monoxide detection
  • Motion-sensitive night lights
  • Automatic battery checks
  • Ability to identify smoke versus steam

New smart technology makes it easier than ever to keep your family and home safe. These criteria will help you choose the best fire safety device to prevent house fires.

Do These 6 Things Before a Large Loss Response Team Arrives

6/7/2022 (Permalink)

Furniture damaged by floodwaters moved outside in a home. Set out all furniture to dry.

Do These 6 Things Before a Large Loss Response Team Arrives

If your company has faced a catastrophic loss in Beaufort City, SC, from flooding, you need help on a large scale to restore your business to its original state "Like it never even happened." SERVPRO can send Disaster Recovery Teams to assist the SERVPRO Franchise Professionals in your area to help you rebuild faster.
As the water recedes, authorities will give the go-ahead to return to your property. Keep these things in mind while waiting for disaster professionals to arrive.

1. Wear Protective Gear
When entering your property make sure you're wearing sturdy shoes and protective clothing for protection against injury.

2. Keep the Power Off
When you're standing in wet or even damp areas, don't turn on any electrical appliances.

3. Stay Away From Black Water-Contaminated Items After Storm Damage
Water coming from a stream or river as well as a creek is considered black water. The same goes with water that's come through insulation. Stay away from anything that has come into contact with this water after a catastrophic loss.

4. Set Out All Furniture To Dry
Carry out all of your furniture to allow it to dry. Remove all of the cushions and prop them vertically so they can dry out faster. Wipe down any wood surfaces and other items to prevent catastrophic loss from accumulating.

5. Throw Away Contaminated Food
Anything that has come in contact with floodwaters should be thrown away for your own protection, even canned goods.

6. Watch Out for Mold Growth
The collection of moisture in areas such as crawl spaces can encourage mold growth, so be aware and have professionals treat those problem areas right away.
Suffering a loss after a catastrophic event can be devastating, but with the help of a Large Loss Response Team, your business will be good as new.

Reasons To Steer Clear of Flooded Streets

5/27/2022 (Permalink)

White van driving through flooded street A flooded street may pose more problems to you and your vehicle than you expect.

Flooded Streets: Why Should You Avoid Them?

Not many people expect rain to impede their daily commute. When there is a flash flood warning in Bluffton, SC, however, you need to be mindful of your usual route to wherever you are trying to go. Driving through a flooded street can have a lot of negative consequences.

Car Damage
Monitor the roads carefully as you plan your route on stormy days. Driving through standing water can cause a lot of damage to your vehicle:

  • Rusted parts
  • Contaminated fluids
  • Electronic shortages
  • Hydrolocking

Another problem that flood damage mitigation experts often see is mold damage from floodwaters to the interior of cars. To protect your vehicle, you need to avoid driving through puddles that are so big that you can't see the bottom of them. It's better to take a long way around than put your car in peril.

Obstructed View
It's always important to be able to see where you're going when you drive. The main hazard of a flooded street is that it obstructs your view of what's in front of you. Don't assume that the road is the same as it usually is. Under the water, there may be debris blocking the path, or the asphalt could be broken up, creating dangerous potholes or sinkholes. Find a way around the flooded area.

Travel Tips for General Safety
You don't know how deep the water goes on flooded roads. It's not unusual for cars to be swept away in rushing floodwaters, taking their panicked drivers with them. Even more concerning, you may not be able to escape your car quickly if this happens. To keep control of your vehicle, you need to stay on pavement that you can see. It's better to turn around and go home than take unnecessary risks.
A flooded street may pose more problems to you and your vehicle than you expect. Therefore, it's in your best interest to never drive through standing water on roads.

How To Prevent a Home Flood During Your Vacation

5/17/2022 (Permalink)

Water gauge pressure, hand shut off main valve, close-up. Switch off the main water valve.

How To Prevent a Flooded Home

After a long vacation, you will probably need a few days to chill before going back to the reality of long work hours and deadlines. The last thing you want to do is spend the hours after your trip cleaning up a flooded home. Severe water damage can also destroy your valuables and affect the structural integrity of your house. While water pipe repair specialists can help after a disaster, you can limit your stress by preventing damage in the first place. Follow these suggestions, and you should return home to a dry property.

1. Check Fixtures and Appliances
Appliances and fixtures are common causes of leaks. You should thus inspect these parts of your home prior to vacation. If you notice any excess water or hear any funny noises, contact a professional immediately. During your inspection, pay particular attention to:

  • Sinks
  • Showers
  • Refrigerators
  • Toilets
  • Dishwashers

2. Turn Off the Water
If your house will be empty while you are gone, you should switch off the main water valve. Before you leave for your trip, check the faucets to make sure the water truly is off.

3. Let Your HVAC System Run To Avoid the Need for Water Pipe Repair
Keep your heater or air conditioner running even when everyone is out of the house. This will prevent the buildup of condensation. The continually circulating air should also reduce the chances of your pipes freezing.

4. Consider a Leak Detector
There are several modern devices that can detect a broken pipe or leak in your home. The device will then alert you via phone and may even shut off your water to prevent further harm. You can find one of these devices online or in a home improvement store.
Be sure to inspect your Hilton Head, SC, house and turn off the water lines before leaving for vacation. You can then relax on your trip and not worry about whether you will have to call water pipe repair experts upon your return.

4 Places Mold Might Be Hiding in Your Commercial Building

5/3/2022 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wall due to humidity Mold growth on a wall due to humidity.

Why Do I Keep On Finding Mold?

There are a variety of reasons why you may be finding mold in your Burton, SC, building. Whether the cause is severe weather, plumbing issues, high humidity, or something else, this fungus will take advantage of the moisture. It can grow in nearly any location and may show up in places you might not think to look, including the following.

1. Behind the Walls

Water can sometimes find its way between the walls of your building. This may be the case if you have leaky plumbing or have experienced stormy weather. Mold growth inside walls may show up as discoloration in this area.

2. In HVAC Systems

If you have a heating and cooling system in your building, this can become a breeding ground for mold. Mold spores can gather inside these systems and create an infestation. The moisture present makes it a convenient location for growth.

3. Underneath the Carpet

Absorbent materials such as carpets hold onto moisture from spills or water damage, creating the conditions needed for mold to form. It can be difficult to locate mold in these areas, as it may be growing beneath the carpeting. One sign to be aware of is a persistent musty odor.

4. In the Plumbing

Another place that mold growth can turn up is in the plumbing. Because of the water involved, plumbing fixtures such as toilets, sinks and showers can grow mold if they are not regularly cleaned. Keeping these surfaces dry after use can help prevent this.
When mold forms in hidden spaces such as these, it can be difficult to determine when you have an infestation. If you notice unpleasant odors in the building, mold growth may be the culprit. It can be helpful to have a mold remediation specialist come in to perform an inspection if you are unsure. Reducing moisture levels can help prevent mold and keep it from returning.

Preparing Your Commercial Building for an Upcoming Flood

4/30/2022 (Permalink)

Emergency preparation list on a clip board, batteries, gallons of water, Make sure your property has plenty of food, water, and cleaning supplies.

Getting Your Commercial Building Ready for a Flood

Since rain occurs in nearly every part of the country, it is perhaps no surprise that floods are the most common type of natural disaster in the United States. However, it is not just heavy rain that causes flooding. This emergency can also result from:

  • Storm surges
  • Coastal storms
  • Dam overflows
  • Snow

Flood damage to your Port Royal, SC, commercial building could be quite severe. That is why you should prepare for possible floods well ahead of time. Here are some tips for doing so.

Protect Your Assets

Floods typically affect the lower levels of a property. You should thus elevate valuable items in your building as much as possible. Any key documents should be stored in a waterproof container and placed in a high location. Consider creating backup digital copies of this paperwork, as well.

Get Insurance

You need insurance to help cover the cost of water damage restoration services after a flood. However, a commercial policy does not usually include flooding. Contact the National Flood Insurance Program to buy separate flood coverage.

Purchase Supplies

Make sure your property has plenty of food, water, and cleaning supplies. The latter is particularly important since floods often contain bacteria-heavy black water. The stores may be busy right before the storm when everyone in your area is stocking up on essentials. You should thus purchase what you need well in advance.

Keep Informed

The National Oceanic and Atmosphere Association have a weather radio that provides emergency alerts. Your local community likely has its own warning system, as well. Sign up for these systems so you know the exact nature and timing of the threat in your area.
Do not let severe flooding ruin your commercial property. Store important items away from the floor and purchase insurance that will help you repair or replace any damaged assets. Be sure to gather plenty of supplies and stay informed on the latest weather updates, as well. This should minimize any harm to the premises.

How To Avoid a Candle Fire

4/24/2022 (Permalink)

Battery powered candle There are flameless alternatives, such as battery-operated candles.

A candle fire at your Hilton Head Island, SC, home is a frightening thought, but many people enjoy candles enough to brave the risk. Fortunately, there are many candle alternatives available, and proper safety measures minimize the possibility of fire for those who choose to enjoy traditional candles.

Alternatives to Candles

There are a variety of alternatives that can be used in place of traditional wick candles. The following are some of the most popular:

  • Battery-operated candles
  • Reed diffusers
  • Wax warmers
  • Plug-in air fresheners

Flameless candles are good for those who like the visual effect of a traditional candle but want to minimize fire risk. There are flameless alternatives, such as battery-operated Hanukkah menorahs, available for religious purposes. For those who are more interested in the aromatic experience of candles, air fresheners, reed diffusers and wax warmers are good ways to infuse your home with a pleasing fragrance. Remember to keep oils and wax away from children and pets to prevent burns and accidental ingestion.

Safety Measures

Although there are a variety of candle alternatives available, sometimes homeowners want to burn traditional candles. Fortunately, wick candles can be enjoyed safely if adequate precautions are taken. Be sure not to leave the candle unattended or in reach of pets or children. Do not burn the candle near fabrics or anything else that can catch fire. Keep candles a minimum of three inches apart. Have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket nearby, and test your smoke detectors regularly.

Whether you choose to use one of the many candle alternatives on the market today or practice extra caution using wick candles, it is possible to enjoy the ambiance created by candlelight while avoiding a house fire. If your home does suffer damage from a candle fire, an experienced restoration service can provide the tools and expertise needed to get your home back to normal.

3 Steps To Fix a Leaking Kitchen Sink

4/19/2022 (Permalink)

Under Sink leaking An under sink leak could have serious consequences.

Steps To Fix An Under-Sink Leak

A leaky kitchen sink may seem like a minor issue, but an ongoing leak could have serious consequences. Homeowners or occupants may be able to fix a malfunctioning faucet, drain or drain seal at a residence in Beaufort, SC. A leaking supply line or other plumbing problems that could cause flooding require expert repair. Here are three steps to fix an under-sink leak.

1. Find the Source of a Sink Leak

A leaky or broken water supply line may visibly drip or spray water in a home. A P-trap or sink drain leak may only be evident after the water has run through the sink. If you cannot locate the source of a leak, shut off the water supply and contact a plumber.

2. Fix the Faucet, Drain or Seal

A leaky faucet is relatively easy to replace, along with one or two washers or gaskets. A P-trap leak may require clearing a blockage, tightening connections, or replacing a corroded trap. A sink drain leak may need to be unscrewed and repacked with plumbers putty. A broken supply line is more likely to cause Category One water damage or flooding and require expert repair.

3. Contact a Plumber If a Leak Continues

If the kitchen repair measures you take to stop a leaky sink are not effective, it is a good idea to call a plumber sooner rather than later. The longer an under-sink cabinet or other areas remain wet, the higher the risk of major water damage and mold.
A leaking sink often starts off as a drip, but a problem that goes unaddressed could end up flooding a home kitchen in Beaufort, SC. If you cannot resolve the underlying cause, contact a plumber to minimize primary damage. An under-sink cabinet that has been exposed to water for a long period of time or repeatedly may suffer primary and secondary damage.