Recent Posts

Oh!!!! Christmas Tree!!!!

12/17/2018 (Permalink)

                OH!!! Christmas Tree!!!

  According to U.S. Fire Departments; there are more than 200 fires per year that are caused by Christmas Trees. These fires cause an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries and $14.8 million in property damage annually.  A myth is that the tree lights alone are the problem but in reality the cause is also overloaded extension cords and electrical sockets which were faulty and short circuited.

  The following are measures which can be taken to diminish this risk:

  • Keep your tree at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Purchase a freshly cut tree.
  • Water the tree every day.
  • Remove the tree soon after Christmas or once it dries out.
  • Check extension cords for damage before use.
  • Do not overload extension cords. Use only UL approved lights and cords.
  • Check for any shorts, or damaged bulbs in the strings of lights and discard the string if they are found.
  • Check extension cords for any exposed wire and make sure they art grounded.
  • Make sure your lights are turned off before you turn in at night.
  • Make sure all outdoor light connectors are away from rain gutters and off the ground.

 Your Christmas tree is not the only item to exercise caution with.  It is reported that two out of every five decoration fires is started by candles.  Speaking from experience; this can happen in the blink on an eye and can cause considerable damage.  We had a small fire in our kitchen during Thanksgiving dinner one year after a dish towel got too close to a lit candle and we had to replace the island that it sat on.  A temporary lapse in attention is all it takes.

SERVPRO of Sussex County wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season!  If you should have some bad luck during the holidays or at any time – call us at 302-856-9768 and we will help to restore the joy of the holidays.

Bad Pipe Dreams

12/10/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Bad Pipe Dreams An example of exposed pipes under a sink that may freeze if the internal temperature of the home is not controlled.

Bad Pipe Dreams

  The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety states that the most common cause of property damage during frigid weather is frozen pipes that burst.  In fact, the average cost of such an event is estimated at $5.000.00 or more.  Over time; global warming may decrease this threat, however that make take many decades or centuries. What can you do now to prevent those pipes from freezing?

  Obviously, the pipes that are most exposed and located in unheated areas are more at risk than those located in a temperature controlled environment.  But even pipes running through cabinets and exterior walls are at risk.

  Once the temperature begins to drop, there are efforts you can apply to hopefully minimize this risk.  The temperature “Alert Level” is at 20 degrees Fahrenheit.  When the outdoor temperature reaches this level you will want to take the following steps:

  • Keep your garage doors closed. Especially is water supply lines are located there.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Let the cold water drip from your faucets served from exposed pipes. Even a trickle will do the trick.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. (Here is where you have to ask yourself: Is a slight increase in my electric bill worth possibly saving you up to or more than $5,000.00? – probably so.)
  • If you plan to be away during cold weather – leave your heat on – set the temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • For a more long term solution – add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Applying pipe insulation is also a good preventive measure and since it is about 50 cents per linear foot – it is cheap as well.

If by chance you incur water damage from frozen broken pipes or another cause; the first thing you should do is call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 and we can offer remediation and get you and your home back to normal.        

Time For A New Roof?

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Time for a New Roof?

Obviously, most homeowners will consider roof replacement after a leak is spotted on their ceiling.  This leak could be due to more than one roofing problem. Deciding to repair or replace the roof can be a costly decision. A new roof for a 2500 square foot home will average between $10,000.00 and $15,000.00. Here are some factors to consider before repairing or replacing your existing roof.

  • Roof Age – if your asphalt shingle roof is 20 to 25 years of age; it is typically at the point where it should be inspected for damage. Most experts agree that the average life for this type of roof is about 20 years.  It also depends on whether the roof has been previously repaired or a new roof was placed over the old roof.
  • Buckling or Curling Shingles – there is no vaccine for this – this is a sign that your roof is at the end of its life expectancy. This will be very apparent in the areas which receive direct sunlight. If a new roof is starting to show these symptoms – contact your roofing contractor – your roof may be defective and you may be entitled to reimbursement.
  • Check your Roof Valleys – if you have missing or deteriorated shingles in this area; it’s a definite sign that you need a new roof. The valleys channel the water and snow and if compromised can cause leaks.
  • Missing Shingles – Shingle tabs that are not intact are signs of a failing roof.
  • Flashing – chimney flashing made of roof cement or tar may need to be replaced with a long term water tight metal flashing system.
  • Shingle Granules in your gutters – check your gutters and if they are filling up with granules – this is a sign that the roof is deteriorating. Changes in the color of your roof may indicate this issue as well.
  • Light coming through the roof boards – if you can see light – you need a new roof. If light is coming through so will rain and moisture which could lead to more problems.

If you are unable or uncertain about these issues it is always best to have a roofing professional inspect your roof and offer advice for any issues or remedies.  SERVPRO of Sussex County is happy to provide a list of reputable roofing specialists who are available in our area.  Please call us today at 302-856-9768 if you have any roof leaks or questions. 

Water Tight Advice

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Water Tight Advice!

  SERVPRO of Sussex County responded to a call from a very smelly business about four months ago.  After a thorough inspection we found that the source was water intrusion which caused growth and mildew.  The lobby smelled like the most intense “locker room / body odor” smell that I have ever encountered.  Obviously, the business owner was concerned that this would not be good for business. 

  The water was coming in through leaking windows and since the structure was over 25 years old; this was not surprising. Over time, the water saturated carpets and flooring and proper drying never occurred; hence the intense odor.  The window sills and frames were also showing signs of water damage as well.

  We placed air movers and air scrubbers and recommended an Industrial Hygienist to inspect and offer protocol. The protocol offered by the Industrial Hygienist recommended that all of the affected windows be removed immediately and replaced. We offered the contact for a local window contractor and of course our agreement with the plan offered by the Hygienist.  We removed the smell and the growth; however they did not replace the windows.

  Let’s fast forward to two weeks ago – early October. We got another call from the same business after an intense weekend of rain and this time they had a water damage with standing water and saturated carpets, drywall and flooring throughout the basement and first and second floors.

  Again, our team responded and this time applied extraction and more drying, air scrubbing and cleaning.  Between the two losses the business incurred thousands of dollars in remediation expense.

  There is an old saying that goes “You can pay me once or pay me twice.” Which implies that if a lesson is not learned initially – more expense will occur.  If the business had heeded both the Hygienists and our recommendations – the second loss would not have happened.  The moral of the story is that these types of problems do not fix themselves and when a business or a resident is offered sage advice to prevent future issues – that advice should be heeded.

How do I answer the question: What does SERVPRO do?

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO How do I answer the question: What does SERVPRO do? Wendy at her BEST! Her enthusiasm and love of her work and her coworkers makes her one of our most valuable employees and leaders.

My name is Wendy and I am a crew chief for SERVPRO of Sussex County. When I tell someone that I work for SERVPRO; they usually get a little confused and ask me what that is exactly. My response is typically - "Just about anything!" or (my personal favorite) "We tear up houses all day!" Then I giggle at their initial reaction of shock before explaining further that when we repair a damaged home; we sometimes have to demolish and or remove the affected or damaged materials before a rebuild can begin.

We clean up after all types of pipe breaks or leaks; water and sewage related. Some are from water intake lines for a sink, toilet, shower or bathtub. Others are actual raw sewage lines, or a pipe that wasn't connected properly to a toilet. Our crews clean up mold that has been caused by a water intrusion or high humidity. Mold related jobs can range from being a small closet to a whole house.

SERVPRO also cleans areas that are considered biohazard. Some of these jobs are also either very involved or somewhat simple. Some of our work may seem unpleasant; especially when we respond to a health challenge or death. It’s at these times that one must consider what our community would be faced with if we did not do these types of jobs.

We offer remediation services after a fire has occurred or a puff back of smoke from a furnace or fireplace. A severe fire can create a great deal of damage and become a life changing event. Empathy is part of all we do. All of these jobs can be as dangerous as they are challenging. So, of course we have plenty of protective gear to wear and safety is always a primary concern for both our customers and our coworkers.

Overall I enjoy the variety of my work the most. No two jobs will ever be the same experience with all that we are capable of here at SERVPRO.

If you have questions or a need for our services please reach us at 302-856-9768 - SERVPRO of Sussex County.

A Recipe For Disaster

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

A Recipe for Disaster

  Thanksgiving is a popular time for family and friends to come together for food and company. Unfortunately, it is the leading day for home cooking fires in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association; between 2011 and 2015, it is estimated cooking fires contributed to $1.2 billion in property damage annually. There is an average of 455 daily cooking fires in the US. Their evidence has stated that in 2015, on Thanksgiving Day, there were four times as many cooking fires as any other day of the year.

  Unattended cooking equipment continues to be the primary cause of holiday fires. Some equipment presents a greater risk than people have prepared for. Turkey fryers have become a popular and easy way to prepare your holiday feast. Despite the ease and delicious results, these fryers come with their own unique set of safety precautions. According to the NFPA, deep-frying turkey has led to an exponential increase in holiday fires.

  Nobody wants a disaster to ruin a perfect Thanksgiving with the people we love. Below are some essential tips to keep yourself and family safe while cooking this year.

In your home:

  • Do not leave food unsupervised, especially when cooking with oil
  • Keep flammable material like wooden utensils, oven mitts, towels, and food packaging away from stovetops
  • Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, and monitor meals that take a long time to cook.

If you are using a fryer:

  • Fully thaw and dry your turkey. Excess water will cause the oil to boil over, potentially burning anyone nearby. If cooking oil spills onto the burner, it can easily start a fire.
  • Set your fryer up outdoors, on flat ground, and away from your home
  • Keep track of the oil temperature, and use protection when touching the lid and handle.
  • Be prepared for a fire. Have a multi-purpose dry powder fire extinguisher ready at all times.

 We encourage everyone to practice safety this holiday season. Please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 for any questions or issues relating to fire damage and remember it is always best to use an expert in such cases to lessen cost and severity of damage. You may also visit our website at:

Is Your Washer on Auto Pilot?

11/5/2018 (Permalink)

Is Your Washer on Auto Pilot?

Hurry!  Hurry!  Hurry!  There’s always so-o much to do and not enough time to do it in one day!  If you’re like me, you’ve not only got lunches to pack, breakfast for everyone (most of the time it’s on the run), making sure the kids are dressed and have their book bags in order, husband trying to remember where he left the keys to his car, and the dog barking – don’t forget to feed him!  And what about that pile of laundry?  You’ve got your in-laws coming over tonight and they won’t be happy to see that stack of smelly socks and who knows what else is in there.  Why not just put the laundry in the washer right now?  After all, you have a hair appointment that won’t wait and the laundry will be done by the time you’re back – right?

Wrong thing to do!  Do you realize that IF your washer makes the decision to keep filling with water as the fill switch may just suddenly break while you’re away, your entire house will be flooded with water by the time you return home?  Depending on how long you’re gone, you may have furniture and carpet floating in many, many rooms.  If your laundry room is on the second floor, you could also have a cascading waterfall down your staircase.  YIKES!!

While SERVPRO of Sussex County realizes that a water damage may also occur even through no fault of your own, they are there to help get your home back to a preloss condition or “Like it never even happened”.  If you need someone to help with your water loss, call the experts at SERVPRO of Sussex County 302-856-9768.  The highly trained IICRC technicians will be there to start the drying process.  If you have a water damage, call the professionals – call SERVPRO of Sussex County 302-856-9768.

Mold Remediation at a Furniture Store in Sussex County

11/3/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation at a Furniture Store in Sussex County

  SERVPRO of Sussex County recently responded to a water damage call from a local furniture store.  There was damage to both the show room and the warehouse and some pieces of furniture were also affected.  We found that separate issues contributed to this loss and we recommended a remediation protocol.  

  Improper use of the HVAC system in a home or business can cause and contribute to water damage.  The furniture store only operated their HVAC during weekdays and did not during weekends or nights.  This fluctuation in temperature can cause humidity and condensation to increase inside of the structure; as was the case in this example.

  The open air warehouse was the other culprit. We found that there was no temperature control or airflow and the concrete flooring was dirty and growth was forming in areas and spreading to the actual pieces of furniture being stored.  The rain gutters outside the warehouse were draining right next to the building and water was pooling up around the direct exterior. The warehouse was also extremely humid and there was evidence of condensation as well.

  SERVPRO of Sussex County recommended the HVAC system be set to auto so as to adjust itself to changes in temperature and a dehumidifier was placed inside the store.  We also recommended the installation of downspouts to redirect the water away from the building; as well as power-washing, sealing and painting the warehouse floor.  This step had to be completed in two stages since the inventory had to be moved from one side of the warehouse to the other to allow for the floor to be cleaned and repaired.  Some of these remedies may seem like simple common sense; however when you are busy running a business; it can become easy to overlook such issues until a problem forces attention.  For more on SERVPRO of Sussex County’s water damage services please visit: or call us at 302-856-9768 for questions or service.

Tips for Post Flood Safety

10/29/2018 (Permalink)

Tips for Post Flood Safety

  Once the waters recede and the immediate danger has passed; one should still use caution before entering a flooded home or structure.  Hidden dangers may pose threats as serious as the initial flood itself. 

  FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) offers much guidance on this issue and you may read more at:  Never assume a flooded building is safe and always be aware of the following hazards before re-entry:

  • Electrical hazards – Never enter a flooded building if the power is on. Make sure the power is turned off at the main breaker box and leave it turned off until a licensed electrician or building inspector has inspected and deemed it as safe.
  • Structural Damage – If the framing or the foundation are damaged – do not enter. Look carefully and if you detect any instability leave immediately.  A collapse could cause serious injury or even death.  Again, have a licensed professional inspect for safety.
  • Hazardous Materials – These include pesticides, fuel oil, gasoline or other chemicals which may have been spread during the flood. Typically, if the structure was built prior to 1978 there may also be a risk of asbestos and or lead based paint.  Any building material other than solid wood, glass or metal may pose a risk of asbestos.
  • Injuries - One of leading leading causes of injury is slips and falls due to slick surfaces. A damaged building may also present the risk of falling objects.
  • Biological Hazards - These include bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew. Bacteria and Viruses present in dirty water pose a health risk if ingested or from exposure.  Even a small cut can become infected from bacteria or hidden parasites.  Mold and mildew may grow indoors and can cause health risks if not safely cleaned and remediated.

  Remember, floods can occur due to natural causes or from man-made issues such as broken pipes.  If you have any concerns about water damage; please contact us at SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 and we will be happy to inspect and offer remediation services.

Murphy's Law

10/22/2018 (Permalink)

Murphy’s Law

   It’s Murphy’s Law that if you own a house, something will go wrong – you may even have a catastrophe – right?  OK – who is this Murphy and why is he in charge of the law in the first place? 

   If you “Googled” it, you will find many different versions on the subject, but it’s actually Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr. who was born in 1918.  Murphy was the eldest of five children.  He attended West Point and immediately commissioned into the Army Air Corps and saw action against the Japanese in China and Burma.  He was a successful pilot and aerospace test engineer.  Murphy decided after the war to involve himself in the technological aspects of aircraft design, and went to work as a research and development officer for the Air Force.  It was during this period of his life that Murphy became involved in the experiments that would give rise to the naming of his Law, “If anything can go wrong, it will and at the worst most possible moment.”

  No matter whether you have a brand-new home with new plumbing, new shingles on the roof, and new appliances or you have an older home, you’re bound to have a leaky pipe, loose shingle, or one of those appliances, such as a washer, dishwasher, or refrigerator hose fail.  And, of course, with Murphy’s Law you’re never home when it happens!

  We may not be able to stop all of those catastrophic losses to your home, but when they do happen – remember to call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 to help with the clean-up.  SERVPRO will respond to your home within a few hours, extract any standing water, set drying equipment in place and make sure all your clean-up needs have been met.  All of our technicians have met the IICRC training requirements.  SERVPRO of Sussex has a 24-7 answering service for all your cleaning needs.  Whether it be water, fire, odor, mold mitigation, crime scene clean-up, interior duct cleaning, carpet and/or upholstery cleaning – call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768.