Recent General Posts

Social Distance

12/16/2020 (Permalink)

Social Distance

For more than the last twenty years; man has developed technology that has made him more self- sufficient. The computer and the smart phone have given us answers to everything from the weather to medical advice. As a society, we seem to have all the information we need at our fingertips and the ease and speed with which we solve our problems is amazing. We even use these devices to connect socially with our friends and family. The power of the individual to thrive outside of the social group has never been more apparent. Then, in mid-February we found out just how very little we really know.

A tiny micro-organism called the coronavirus or COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill. A virus that has infected millions of people worldwide and killed hundreds of thousands has left us all frightened and looking for answers. Answers we cannot find on our phones or computers. I am 57 years old and I thought that 9/11 would be the defining historical moment of my life – but I may have been wrong.

Each day I rise and seem surprised that the sun is still shining and birds are still singing as I rush to the TV to check the up-tick in the number of infections and deaths and any promise of the vaccine. We have been introduced to a new concept known as “social-distancing”. I would think we would be better at this practice since most of us have very little human contact since the devices took over our lives. But the truth is we are struggling with this and people are not listening, meanwhile the virus grows stronger.

In a world and in an era where some are booking flights to Mars – our greatest minds are struggling with this crisis. The world has become a much smaller place almost overnight as we see our brethren in other countries braving the same nightmare. We have been forced to lay aside our politics and differences and focus on one common interest – our lives and the lives of everyone we love. It is a shame that sometimes only fear and horror seem to motivate our unity. There is a lesson here and I know it will become very apparent to all once this plague ends. Hopefully, we will never be the same “distant” society.

A View from the Frontlines

12/20/2019 (Permalink)

I had the privilege of working alongside the experts at SERVPRO of Sussex County during my first two weeks as a new member of the team. My personal experience with water damage placing life on hold left me eager to gain a new perspective from the professionals who restore homes on a daily basis. My role with SERVPRO is focused on social media and customer service. With this in mind, I embraced the opportunity to learn how SERVPRO provides industry leading solutions to their customers.

  While I am no stranger to working with my hands, I was shocked by the severity of damage my teammates are tasked to resolve. Our day started at a location with severe mold growth. A water pipe had burst under the home while the homeowner was away. With nobody around to report the water loss, flooding quickly gave way to a moist environment and extensive fungal growth within the home. Wearing respirators and personal protective equipment required before entering the work site, I couldn’t help but imagine how I would feel if this were my property. The extent of damage was incomprehensible.

  Fortunately, scenarios like this are where SERVPRO professionals shine. Wendy, our Crew Chief, was an excellent instructor. She provided great details on the mold remediation process from start to finish. We spent the day removing all damaged material, and preparing the structure for reconstruction. She explained that in a situation like this, all affected material must be removed from the structure. Walls, ceiling, and insulation that had been affected by the growth all had to be disposed. I developed great respect for the team I work with over the course of the day.

  Our technicians operate with a great sense of urgency and attention to detail. For more on SERVPRO of Sussex County’s water damage services please visit: www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com or call 302-856-9768 for more information.

Sniffing Out A Problem

7/8/2019 (Permalink)

Sniffing Out A Problem

  When you consider that most of the jobs that SERVPRO of Sussex County tackles involve a clear cause; an exception would be issues involving odor.  A water intrusion from a storm or broken pipe usually can be traced to a failed critical control point or a structural weakness; leaving little or no doubt or mystery as to the cause of the damage.  The same can be asserted for fire damage as well.  It is easy to solve the riddle when tangible clues are present.

  Generally, when a complaint is received involving odor; the culprit can be obvious or not.  When you enter a home, office or business and encounter a musty, mildew smell – the cause is typically moisture or growth.  Once these causes are suspected we apply technology to make our suspicions accurate.  The smell of smoke or soot is also fairly easy to determine just by trusting your senses.  We also respond to odors occurring from dead animals in attics and crawlspaces – again these examples offer a definitive smell that most would recognize. 

  The challenge with odor diagnosis usually begins with a difference of opinion.  Every nose has an opinion and since we generally arrive at an odor job after the smell has permeated the area – it is difficult to assume just what the location smelled like before the issue began.  Furthermore; an odor can change and may be stronger at certain times.  Recently, we had a customer who had an odor which was very similar to a chemical – musty blend – so our instincts led us to seek out moisture and or any saturation of cleaning or other chemicals in the area.  This case proved baffling since according to the owner – no chemical smell had ever been present before.  Ultimately, we had to demo some of the flooring and determined that the odor was due to a moisture problem and our deduction was reinforced by the presence of an abundance of water that our dehumidifiers removed from the air over several days.  Odor can be tricky and elusive.

  If you have a funny smell present at your home or business – please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 800-856-9768 and we will investigate and eradicate!

Get Your Mind in the Gutter!

6/24/2019 (Permalink)

Every time I drive into my driveway I look up at my clogged gutters and I start to worry. When it rains, most of my roof line looks like a waterfall – Yes, it’s that bad! All of this water is accumulating along the foundation and crawlspace of my home. Neither scenario is good for me emotionally, structurally or financially. I decided today to call and schedule a long overdue cleaning of my gutters. Below you will find some good reasons why you may want to do the same.

Your gutters can be a ticking time bomb above your head – filled with leaves, sticks, insects and critters. Gunked - up gutters can make nice homes for rodents, mold, bee and insect infestations. A debris clogged gutter can cause a leaky roof or water damage to your home. Standing water around your foundation will also keep a higher level of humidity in those areas; making conditions perfect for mold and growth to begin and flourish.

Obviously, one of the best times to have your gutters cleaned would be early winter after the leaves have taken their fall. If your gutters have not been cleaned within a couple of years or never – anytime would be good to perform this maintenance so as to offer peace of mind and bring any structural issues to light. A wet environment near your home is not a good situation and typically your gutters play a vital role in the direction and flow of the water. Your downspouts should also be inspected and cleaned since if the gutters are filled with debris – it will pass into the downspouts.

If you look up at your gutters and see leaves, sticks and debris – make the decision to have them cleaned and save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the end.

In the event of a water damage at your home or business – please call SERVPRO of Sussex County today at 302-856-9768.

Grilling Safety Tips

6/17/2019 (Permalink)

It’s finally summertime! If you’re like the rest of us, you’ll be getting out the grill, cleaning it up from winter’s storage and using it on a regular basis. Are you a charcoal griller or a propane griller? Either way, there’s nothing like the taste of a meal cooked on an outdoor open grill.

Let’s go over a few basics before you place that T-bone on the grill:

  1. Have you checked to make sure everything is clean from last year?
  2. Is everything in good working order? (better get it fixed before you try to use it)
  3. Are you using new charcoal? (old charcoal may be hard to light)
  4. Is the propane tank full? (you don’t want it to run out of propane in the middle of cooking)
  5. Make sure you have all your utensils and/or ingredients before you start grilling. (nothing worse than having to stop and run back to the kitchen for a missing ingredient)
  6. Make sure you are far enough away from the house and/or any structure before lighting the grill. (you don’t want to catch any other structure on fire in the event of a wind shift)
  7. Make sure your grill is always attended by an adult. (children can be curious but this can cause serious injury)

In the event that your grillin’ goes awry, things get out of hand, and a fire happens. Of course, your first call is to 911. The second call is to SERVPRO of Sussex County at (302) 856-9768. SERVPRO can help restore your property should an accident occur.

Have fun grillin’ this summer – but be a smart griller!

HVAC System Maintenance Saves Dollars and Makes Sense!

6/10/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Sussex County, we respond to water losses at both residential and commercial properties on an ongoing basis.  We find that many of the cases share a common denominator – a faulty HVAC system.  Typically, when we find out the details, we find that the system has not been inspected recently or not at all.  Generally, the cost of an annual HVAC system inspection is about $200 - $300.  The cost of a recent water loss at a local popular hotel was over $40,000.00.  A hose had broken and water flooded three floors.  We have also responded to local homes where the system shut down during the winter and the pipes froze and burst.

   The small investment of $300 or less can offer many benefits in addition to saving money.  These include cleaner air quality, a healthy environment, increased safety and overall peace of mind.  A clean HVAC system prevents the build-up of potentially harmful indoor airborne contaminants; therefore making the indoor environment of your home safer and healthier.  If your home or business is not comfortable due to changing temperatures; this may also be a symptom of a faulty HVAC system.  A compromised system may not maintain the expected thermostat temperatures causing the occupants discomfort. If rooms are too hot during the summer or too cold during the winter – it may be time to have the system checked. 

   Regular inspections and maintenance will also make your home safer since a faulty system can lead to water losses, mold and dirty air quality.  A faulty HVAC system may also create carbon monoxide exposure from a failed heat exchanger.  A healthy HVAC system consumes less fuel and minimizes our carbon footprint; so the environment benefits as well from good maintenance as well.

  A preventive maintenance plan may remove most of these worries and provide peace of mind from unwanted and costly damage and repairs.  If you need a reference for a good HVAC company – please reach out to us at SERVPRO of Sussex County and we will be happy to offer a reputable source.      

The Tornado Myth

5/27/2019 (Permalink)

The Tornado Myth

There is no doubt that Delmarva has its share of storms. We encounter occasional Nor’Easters, severe thunder storms and snow storms. There have also been several hurricanes that have affected our area over the years; some were severe – most fortunately were not. The most recent storm event occurred on 4/15/2019 and spawned something extremely rare to our area – a tornado.

I would say that there have been maybe three tornadoes or suspected tornadoes over the last thirty or so years on the Eastern Shore. Typically, our location being between two or three large bodies of water seems to offer respite from such severe weather events. Strong fronts are usually weakened by the presence of warmer air which those water bodies seem to produce. The event that occurred this past Monday morning proves that we are not immune to the power and destruction that a tornado can cause. The images from Laurel and Seaford are almost unimaginable – some families last everything. When you see a huge tree broken or uprooted or an entire roof torn off a structure you can finally understand just how powerful and deadly a tornado can be. I toured the most severe areas the following day and short of hurricane damage it was the worst I had ever seen firsthand.

The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help whether you're dealing with a tornado, hurricane, blizzard or flood.TheSERVPROSystem has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike near you. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, we are prepared for the unpredictable.

With the ability to mobilize local command centers, along with the resources of more than 1,700 Franchises nationwide, no disaster is too big.Recent mobilizations of the Catastrophic Storm Response Teams include:

  • 2014 Polar Vortex
  • 2012 Sandy
  • 2010 Nashville floods
  • 2008 Ike
  • 2007 Chicago floods
  • 2007 Ohio floods
  • 2007 California wildfires
  • 2005 Katrina/Wilma/Rita

If you have suffered any storm related damage and need assistance – please call SERVPRO of Sussex County today at 302-856-9768.

Gas Can Hazards

5/3/2019 (Permalink)

As we enter the warmer months of the year; many of us will begin our outdoor chores which will probably include lawn and property maintenance. Since most of the tools used for such endeavors are powered by gasoline; this might be a good time to talk about gas can and fuel safety.

The Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association estimates that there are approximately between 120 and 150 million plastic gas cans in circulation across the US. Statistics show that about a dozen people have lost their lives and thousands have been injured in the last twenty years. Scientists have found that under certain limited conditions lab tests show that gasoline vapor mixtures inside portable gas cans can ignite with explosive force. They stress that in most cases the following issues contribute to such danger:

  • A very low volume of gasoline in the container.
  • Low Temperatures.
  • Aged gasoline or gas that has been in storage.
  • Holding the can at a 42 degree pouring angle with the cap off and the spout open.

For an explosion to occur, gas vapor escaping the can must come in contact with a source of ignition such as a flame or spark and ignite, and the flame from the ignited vapor must travel back into the can through the spout, and the gas/air vapor mixture inside the can has to be in a concentration that falls within a defined flammability range.

Expertssay you should not leave small amounts of gasoline in a gas can, or fill the gas can more than 95 percent full. Use a tight-fitting cap and store the gasoline at room temperature, not in heat or cold. Do not store gas in unapproved, untested containers like milk or soda bottles. Remember not to refill a gas can close to a hot engine, or pour gas into a lawnmower or other small machine when it is still warm from use. Be aware of any possible sources of ignition nearby – flame or spark, including static electricity – when you are using a gas can.

SERVPRO of Sussex County encourages everyone to use caution when handling or transporting fuel. In the event of a spill or fire – please call us and we will be happy to help!

A New Perspective

12/24/2018 (Permalink)

A New Perspective

  I recently had the privilege of working alongside the experts at SERVPRO of Sussex County during my first two weeks as a new member of the team. Having personal experience with water damage placing life on hold, I was eager to gain a new perspective from the professionals who restore homes on a daily basis. My role with SERVPRO is focused on customer service. With this in mind, I embraced the opportunity to learn how SERVPRO provides excellent solutions to their customers.

  While I am no stranger to working with my hands, I was shocked by the severity of damage my teammates frequently resolve. My first day was spent at a location with severe mold growth. A water pipe had burst under the home while the homeowner was away. With nobody around to report the water loss, flooding quickly gave way to a moist environment and extensive fungal growth within the home. After donning protective equipment and entering the work site, I couldn’t help but imagine how I would feel if this were my property. The extent of damage was incomprehensible.

  Fortunately, scenarios like this are where SERVPRO professionals shine. Wendy, my team leader, was an excellent instructor. She provided great details on the mold remediation process from start to finish. We spent the day removing all damaged material, and preparing the structure for reconstruction. She explained that in a situation like this, all affected material must be removed from the structure. Walls, ceiling, and insulation that had been affected by the growth all had to be disposed. I developed great respect for the team I work with over the course of the day.

  Our technicians operate with a great sense of urgency and attention to detail. For more on SERVPRO of Sussex County’s water damage services please visit: www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com or call 302-856-9768 for more information.

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. 

Garage Storage Safety Tips

10/8/2018 (Permalink)

Garage Storage Safety Tips

  If you are like my wife and I you tend to use your garage as a STORE-ALL area.  Simplified; if it doesn’t belong in the house – it must belong in the garage – RIGHT? Wrong – here are some tips for what items are to be safely stored in your garage.  Some are obvious; some less so.

 Garage Safe Items – these will include lawn care tools and equipment, gardening supplies, plastic bins for storage. Hoses (after draining), sports equipment and of course your cars or vehicle.

 Items Unsafe for the Garage – Extra fuel – this is best stored in an outside shed due to the possibilities of spills, leaks or combustion. 

 Paint or home improvement chemicals should also be kept outside of the home and in some cases they are sensitive to varying temperatures and may become combustible as well.

 Unused Furniture can be subject to humidity and moisture which can warp wood and damage fabric.  Rodents and unwanted pests welcome such objects as homes or nesting places.  Donating old furniture to those less fortunate is a great gesture and can also offer a tax credit.

 Store your old clothing in the house in a sealed container. Typically, the attic or the back of a closet is the best place for such items. Any such items left in the garage will tend to absorb fumes, dust and tend to attract pests.

 Perishable items such as FOOD for human consumption or pets should never be left in an uncontrolled climate or area. Temperature swings will increase the rate of spoilage and such items will attract rodents or vermin.

 Keep your fragile and valuable items such as photographs, artwork and electronics in a climate controlled area.  If it is us personal value – it should not be in the garage.  

 If unsafely stored items have caused a harmful or potentially harmful situation in any area of your home – please call us at SERVPRO of Sussex County today at 302-856-9768 and we will be happy to inspect the area for you and offer proper advice on remediation.

SERVPRO is a Proud Sponsor of the First Responder’s Bowl

9/17/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is a Proud Sponsor of the First Responder’s Bowl

  I consider myself an avid college football fan and even with the season just underway; I am especially excited about a game to be played the day after Christmas 2018. The First Responder’s Bowl will replace the Heart of Dallas Bowl. This inaugural game is to honor all of our nation’s First Responders and is sponsored by SERVPRO. The game will take place in Dallas, Texas on December 26, 2018 at 12:30 pm. (Either ESPN or ESPN 2 will air the game). The teams are yet to be determined.

  SERVPRO has always had a very special relationship with America’s First Responders and we have a deep and strong appreciation for their efforts. Many times we follow them as “second responders” after fires, storms and other emergencies. It is a tremendous privilege to honor these brave men and women and spotlight their service and sacrifices made for us all. It’s hard to think of a more appropriate cause or a more appropriate sponsor for this game. 

  America loves football and we love our First Responders and hopefully this will become an annual event for us to enjoy each holiday season. SERVPRO of Sussex County is proud to serve alongside these everyday heroes and promote their recognition and honor. We will happily offer further details of the game as they become available.  For more information – please use this link: http://espnevents.com/blog/press/new-SERVPRO-first-responder-bowl-played-cotton-bowl-stadium/

  SERVPRO of Sussex County offers fire and water restoration as well as many other cleaning services for both residential and commercial customers. Please contact us today at 302-856-9768 or visit our newly upgraded website at: www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com.

The Basic Emergency Kit and First Aid Kit

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

Emergencies can occur without a great deal of notice. Although we can use radar and technology to track tornadoes and hurricanes; history still teaches us that this is not always an exact science and that we should prepare for unexpected changes. The very basic kit that everyone should have is the Basic Emergency Kit. It’s as basic as basic can be with only 4 items.

  1. Water – one gallon per person per day for up to three days.
  2. Food – at least a three day supply of non-perishable food.
  3. Battery powered or hand crank radio and a weather alert radio from NOAA (Amazon or Walmart)
  4. Flashlight

Thankfully most disasters are short term and the Basic Kit will typically provide for short term survival for you and your family. The food and water are life essentials and the radio and flashlight will keep you informed and brighten your environment and can help you find safety. Put your kit together today and you will feel “basically” more secure!

First aid is the immediate treatment or care given to someone suffering from an injury or illness until more advanced care is accessed or they recover. Your home First Aid Kit is not so basic and can include twenty or more items. A portable kit which can be kept in your car or home is more basic and may include:

  • Adhesive Bandages
  • Gauze pads
  • Safety Pins
  • Adhesive Tape
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Antiseptic and Hydrocortisone Cream
  • Tweezers
  • Sterile Gloves

The Aims of First Aid are to: preserve life and to prevent injury or illness from becoming worse. When you think of First Aid; think of the three “P”s – Preserve Life, Prevent Further Injury and Promote Recovery. Plan to be safe and have a safe plan!

Always remember that SERVPRO of Sussex County is ready and able to serve you in the event of a pipe leak or severe storm damage. Please call 302-856-9768 or visit our website at http://www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com/ for more details.