Recent Posts

2022 Hurricane Forecast Update

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

Atmospheric and oceanic conditions still favor an above-normal 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, according to NOAA’s annual mid-season update issued today by the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.

“I urge everyone to remain vigilant as we enter the peak months of hurricane season,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “The experts at NOAA will continue to provide the science, data and services needed to help communities become hurricane resilient and climate-ready for the remainder of hurricane season and beyond.”

NOAA forecasters have slightly decreased the likelihood of an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season to 60% (lowered from the outlook issued in May, which predicted a 65% chance). The likelihood of near-normal activity has risen to 30% and the chances remain at 10% for a below-normal season. 

“We’re just getting into the peak months of August through October for hurricane development, and we anticipate that more storms are on the way,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad, Ph.D. “NOAA stands ready to deliver timely and accurate forecasts and warnings to help communities prepare in advance of approaching storms.”

NOAA’s update to the 2022 outlook — which covers the entire six-month hurricane season that ends on Nov. 30 — calls for 14-20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or greater), of which 6-10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or greater). Of those, 3-5 could become major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater). NOAA provides these ranges with a 70% confidence. 

So far, the season has seen three named storms and no hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin. An average hurricane season produces 14 named storms, of which seven become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.

This outlook is for overall seasonal activity, and is not a landfall forecast. Landfalls are largely governed by short-term weather patterns that are currently only predictable within about one week of a storm potentially reaching a coastline.

Please read in case of HURRICANE EVACUATION ORDERS per CDC

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

Be ready to evacuate or stay at home.

Always listen to authorities regarding whether you should evacuate or stay at home.

If a hurricane is coming, you may hear an order from authorities to evacuate (leave your home). Never ignore an order to evacuate. Even sturdy, well-built houses may not hold up against a hurricane. Staying home to protect your property is not worth risking your health and safety.

You may hear an order to stay at home. If driving conditions are dangerous, staying at home might be safer than leaving.

If you need to evacuate:

  • Grab your emergency supply kit and only take what you really need with you (cell phone, chargers, medicines, identification like a passport or license, and cash).
  • Unplug your appliances. If you have time, turn off the gas, electricity, and water.
  • Follow the roads that emergency workers recommend even if there’s traffic. Other routes might be blocked or flooded. Never drive through flooded areas—cars and other vehicles can be swept away or may stall in just 6 inches of moving water.
  • Contact your local emergency management office and ask if they offer accommodations for owners and their pets. Learn more about evacuating with your pet.

If you need to stay home:

  • Keep your emergency supply kit in a place you can easily access.
  • Listen to the radio or TV for updates on the hurricane.
  • Stay inside. Even if it looks calm, don’t go outside. Wait until you hear or see an official message that the hurricane is over. Sometimes, weather gets calm in the middle of a storm but then quickly gets bad again.
  • Stay away from windows—you could get hurt by pieces of broken glass or flying debris during a storm. Stay in a room with no windows, or go inside a closet.
  • Be ready to leave. If emergency authorities order you to leave or if your home is damaged, you may need to go to a shelter or a neighbor’s house.

Old Pipe Materials and Problems

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Any home built before the 1990s could potentially feature pipes made from materials that are no longer approved by U.S. building codes. If the home has been renovated within the last few decades, some or all of these pipes were probably replaced, but it’s always recommended to have the home’s plumbing inspected to ensure there are no unexpected surprises the first time a drain clogs.

Older homes could potentially feature three outdated types of plumbing pipes:

Lead 

Most commonly used for sewer lines and water main lines, lead is one of the oldest metals used in piping. Before the development of blast furnaces capable of casting iron, lead was an ideal metal for plumbing because of its malleability and durability. Lead was also used extensively as an additive in the solder used to join copper pipe fittings. Unfortunately, lead is highly toxic, resulting in joint and gastrointestinal pain, irritability, fatigue, and memory loss. It is especially dangerous to children, causing serious problems with physical and mental development.

Galvanized 

Commonly used for water lines in homes built before the 1960s, galvanized pipe is made of iron and coated with a layer of zinc. Over time, the zinc erodes, leaving the pipe very susceptible to corrosion and breakage. Although they can last as long as 60 years, most of them become clogged with rust long before then. Aging galvanized pipes become so brittle that they usually have to be broken apart to be removed and replaced. For this reason, they are usually replaced piecemeal in older homes, with the relatively intact pipes left in place.

Polybutylene

Heralded as the pipe of the future when it appeared in the 1970s, polybutylene pipe was introduced as a replacement for copper lines and saw widespread use throughout the 1980s. Unfortunately, the manufacturer was forced to pay out millions of dollars after a class-action lawsuit alleging the pipes were defective. Although the manufacturer never acknowledged a defect, oxidants in public water systems caused a chemical reaction with the plastic, leading it to flake, become brittle, and crack. Polybutylene was mostly used in mobile home installations, but any home constructed in the 1980s and early 1990s may have the plastic pipes somewhere.

If any type of pipe fails you or your business – call SERVPRO of Sussex County; we will be happy to help!  

5 Questions About Fire Extinguishers

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

How often should you check fire extinguishers?

NFPA 10 requires extinguishers be inspected when they are initially installed and once a month after that. You should inspect extinguishers more frequently if they are installed in locations where they are more prone to rust, impact or tampering.

How do you inspect a fire extinguisher?

Confirm the extinguisher is visible, unobstructed, and in its designated location. Verify the locking pin is intact and the tamper seal is unbroken. Examine the extinguisher for obvious physical damage, corrosion, leakage, or clogged nozzle.

How do I know if my fire extinguisher is expired?

If you're wondering how to find the expiration date on your fire extinguisher, look for a date stamp on the inspection tag first. You can also look for a date stamped on the cylinder's body.

How often should fire extinguishers be replaced?

Every 12 years

Disposable fire extinguishers - Should be replaced every 12 years. Rechargeable fire extinguishers - Should be recharged every 6 years.

Can old fire extinguishers be recharged?

Your fire extinguishers should only be recharged by a certified fire equipment dealer or fire protection company. Once a year, a certified fire equipment dealer, in accordance with the service manual identified on the fire extinguisher label, should service the fire extinguisher.

Is it a legal requirement to service fire extinguishers?

In a commercial or community environment; every 12 months, you must have your fire extinguishers serviced, referred to as a “basic service”. Due diligence should be applied to any home extinguishers as well. This service should be carried out in accordance with the BS 5036-3 standard and should be conducted by a third party, accredited fire extinguisher technician, with the correct tools, training and experience.

A Flood of Concerns

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

Kentucky residents who are struggling to rebuild after devastating flooding face huge financial obstacles because almost nobody in the state has flood insurance.

The area hit by the flash floods that began in late July and killed at least 37 people has a large concentration of low-income families.

Only 17,250 property owners in Kentucky have federal flood insurance, government records show. The public program provides the vast majority of flood policies in the United States.

A recent report from Federal Emergency Management Agency found that Kentucky has a low rate of flood coverage and ranks just behind New Mexico in the percentage of residences with flood insurance.

In the 10 counties in eastern Kentucky that sustained significant flood damage in recent weeks, just 2,485 property owners have coverage through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, an E&E News analysis of federal records shows. That’s about 2.3 percent of households in the 10-county area.

Many Kentucky residents decline to buy flood insurance because they think the premiums are too costly and the risk of being flooded is too remote, said Britney Hargrove, a spokesperson for Knott County, which sustained extensive flood damage.

“A lot of families don’t have that extra money to pay for something that may or may not happen,” Hargrove said.

Flood insurance costs an average of about $1,000 a year through FEMA. The median household income in Knott County is $32,500 — half the nationwide median of $65,000.

Flood coverage is sold separately from homeowners’ insurance policies and is considered vital to disaster recovery because policyholders can collect up to $250,000 in claims payments. Federal disaster aid, on the other hand, typically pays residents just a few thousand dollars and covers only temporary home repairs.

The absence of flood insurance and the minimal disaster payments from FEMA are forcing residents to rely on private charity, Hargrove said.

“That is going to be what makes or breaks the county — the foundations and the amount of donations that come in,” Hargrove said.

Another factor discouraging the purchase of flood coverage is that FEMA flood maps have vastly underestimated the flood risk in eastern Kentucky, according to a groundbreaking analysis in 2020 by the nonprofit First Street Foundation.

Nationwide, the foundation found, there are 14.6 million properties that face a significant flood risk — far more than the 8.6 million properties that FEMA says are in flood zones.

The FEMA maps were especially inaccurate in eastern Kentucky, the foundation found.

Need Some FRESH AIR?

8/11/2022 (Permalink)

There are many benefits to having your air ducts professionally cleaned, the top five of which are listed below:

Creates a Cleaner Living Environment.

Reduces Allergens and Irritants.

Helps Everyone Breathe Easier.

Reduces Unpleasant Smells and Odors.

Improves Air Flow Efficiency.

Does duct cleaning reduce dust in the house?

Getting your ducts cleaned will help eliminate the excess dust in your home by blowing out any dirt, dust, and debris trapped in your ductwork. If dust is accumulating in your home, there's likely much more sitting in your ductwork. You also help your air filter do a better job since the dust won't keep clogging it up

Can dirty air ducts make you sick?

In homes with dirty air ducts, occupants may experience symptoms that are similar to the symptoms of allergies, including coughing, sneezing, and runny nose. Mold, dust and other contaminants lurking in your ducts could also cause sore throat, headaches and even dizziness.

How often should I get my air ducts cleaned?

Every 3 to 5 years

Just like any other HVAC system, air ducts require regular maintenance to ensure maximum efficiency. As a general rule of thumb, the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) recommends air duct cleaning every 3 to 5 years. With certain methods, that cleaning recommendation can be extended to 6 to 8 years.

 SERVPRO of Sussex County has been offering professional duct cleaning services for more than 10 years.  During this time we have helped both residential and commercial properties enjoy better air quality.  Our Duct Cleaning Division is one of our busiest departments and they do a super job!  If you have dirty ducts – call the experts at SERVPRO at 302-856-9768!

6 Major Causes of Home Flooding

8/5/2022 (Permalink)

  1. Broken Pipes

Just one water leak can signal major flooding problems in the future — it only takes minutes for a broken pipe to send water gushing into your home. It’s important to be cautious of even minor leaks and to know where your home’s main valve to shut off the water is located in case of an emergency. If you’ve noticed water leaks from damaged pipes, call our plumbing expert before it turns into a flooding problem.

  1. Poor Drainage

Not only are floods caused by improper drainage a huge inconvenience, but it’s also a hazard that can ruin your flooring, walls, and fixtures. Opting for professional plumbing and Sewer line repair is less costly than repairing the damage from a flood caused by poor drainage.

  1. Clogged Rain Gutters

A house’s rain gutters are meant to divert excess water away from it, but if the gutters are clogged with debris the chances of flooding rise significantly. Heavy rainfall and rain gutters filled with dirt and debris lead to a messy situation that can end up costing you a lot of money in repairs. It’s best to be proactive and regularly clean your gutters.

  1. Malfunctioning Appliances

An improperly connected or broken water heater, dishwasher, or washing machine can wreak havoc on your home and flood it with water. It’s important to ensure there are no leaks or problems with the water supply to your major appliances. Using a device that can detect appliance leaks is one option, but if you notice a problem it’s best to have your appliances repaired or replaced.

  1. Damaged Foundation

If your home’s foundation is damaged with flaws or cracking, it can allow water to enter through the floors. A house’s foundation is always resting on the ground, even when it becomes over-saturated with water from storms, melted ice, and snow, or other precipitation. Homes resting on good, solid foundations aren’t usually affected, but damaged foundations can lead to severe floods. Foundation repair is necessary to prevent flooding caused by poor foundations, and the cost is typically less than the expense of salvaging what’s left after a major flood.

  1. The Weather

This is the one cause of flooding that you really can’t do much about, aside from having an emergency weather plan, a good foundation, and a functioning pump. Living in Houston means dealing with rainwaters that rise quickly, hurricanes, and other weather events that can naturally lead to flooding.

No matter the cause of your water challenge – the first step is to call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768.

5 Qualities of a Quality Service Company like SERVPRO of Sussex County

7/22/2022 (Permalink)

5 Qualities of a Quality Service Company like SERVPRO of Sussex County

Set Clear Expectations
Seems obvious, right? However, most of us rush to get started in delivering what we sell instead of getting very clear with the client about what will be done, who is responsible for making it happen, and by when it will be done.

Without these clear expectations being carefully established, the professional relationship is like gambling: It might work out well, but probably will not.

Communicate Often
I mentioned the importance of clear expectations being set before anything else happens. Equally as important is referencing those expectations throughout the working relationship.

As a service provider, you must help your client remember, understand, and respect what was agreed to before the work started. Gentle constant reminders backed up by the summary emails you send after every client interaction help everyone stay on course.

Compromise
Remember - you are working with humans even if you do the above there will come a time where a compromise might be needed.

Early in the job, some condition is found that you and your company has never seen before. The client is frustrated when presented with this information.

What might you do? Explain the situation, provide a solution for the change order, and hear what the clients say.  Meet on middle ground.

Completion Means Completion
When the client says they love your “guys,” what they love even more is having their project done.

By “done,” I mean 100% with no lingering issues. You have received final payment. You have delivered a thank you to show your appreciation for their business. You have done a download with them about what went right and what could have gone better.

Connect
Happy clients provide you with repeat business and referrals to other potential clients.

At the very least stay in touch with them personally. If you sold the job, find some reason to “touch” the client at least every three months. It could be a note card, an email, an invitation to a meal or the like, or a notice about a company event.

It is not rocket science. To be inspired keep in mind all the sales and service experiences you have had. Which ones made you feel smart and why? Do what you like and your clients will love it.

5 Qualities of a Quality Service Company like SERVPRO of Sussex County

7/22/2022 (Permalink)

5 Qualities of a Quality Service Company like SERVPRO of Sussex County

Set Clear Expectations
Seems obvious, right? However, most of us rush to get started in delivering what we sell instead of getting very clear with the client about what will be done, who is responsible for making it happen, and by when it will be done.

Without these clear expectations being carefully established, the professional relationship is like gambling: It might work out well, but probably will not.

Communicate Often
I mentioned the importance of clear expectations being set before anything else happens. Equally as important is referencing those expectations throughout the working relationship.

As a service provider, you must help your client remember, understand, and respect what was agreed to before the work started. Gentle constant reminders backed up by the summary emails you send after every client interaction help everyone stay on course.

Compromise
Remember - you are working with humans even if you do the above there will come a time where a compromise might be needed.

Early in the job, some condition is found that you and your company has never seen before. The client is frustrated when presented with this information.

What might you do? Explain the situation, provide a solution for the change order, and hear what the clients say.  Meet on middle ground.

Completion Means Completion
When the client says they love your “guys,” what they love even more is having their project done.

By “done,” I mean 100% with no lingering issues. You have received final payment. You have delivered a thank you to show your appreciation for their business. You have done a download with them about what went right and what could have gone better.

Connect
Happy clients provide you with repeat business and referrals to other potential clients.

At the very least stay in touch with them personally. If you sold the job, find some reason to “touch” the client at least every three months. It could be a note card, an email, an invitation to a meal or the like, or a notice about a company event.

It is not rocket science. To be inspired keep in mind all the sales and service experiences you have had. Which ones made you feel smart and why? Do what you like and your clients will love it.

Proud to be in Sussex County!

7/6/2022 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Sussex County will celebrate our 30th year serving our community in 2022. During this period we have done our best to be a reliable source of aid in times of urgent or emergency situations. Whether you have used our water or fire services for your home or your business; you know how important the reassurance a professional and prompt remediation and restoration company can offer during those “Oh no!” times. From broken pipes to cleaning your carpets; we touch many areas of our community and the people who live and work there. It is a true vocational calling to serve and we take pride in and to whom we offer services.

Our ongoing cleaning and janitorial efforts with local municipalities allow us to be present in some of the county’s most beautiful and important venues. You can see our vehicles and personnel at many town halls and community centers. When you enter these buildings and properties we hope you notice how our efforts keep them shining and appealing to all.

We are also very proud to serve our first responders and their needs. We work with both the state police and local police departments to aid in unmentionable situations; but you can use your imagination. Some may refer to this type of work as jobs that no other company can nor wants to do – and we say exactly. Where there is a need for remediation or restoration; we want to offer the finest services possible because we are serving the finest in our community.

Remember; SERVPRO of Sussex County is not only here for your water, fire and mold issues – we also offer carpet and general cleaning as well as duct and vent cleaning. Call us today at 302-856-9768 or go to: SERVPROsussexcounty.com to learn more.