Recent Water Damage Posts

Types of In-Home Water Sensors

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

If you’re looking for an affordable whole-home leak detection system, your best bet is to buy a few battery-powered leak alarms, which you can find at most hardware stores and home centers. These are very easy to use – you simply place the sensors on the ground near any pipes and plumbing fixtures, such as drains, heaters and, of course, washing machines, and leave them there to monitor the situation. As soon as even a small amount of water is detected by them, the water leak alarms will begin to admit an extremely loud and piercing sound that will undoubtedly attract your attention.

The next level up from the plain battery-operated leak alarms is the leak detector that can connect to the internet. These alarms can wirelessly send information to you via your home internet modem so that even if you aren’t home, you can be instantly alerted to any leaks and quickly act to get home and turn the water off before disaster strikes.

One step better than even internet-enabled leak detection systems are single-point shutoff systems. These kinds of systems are ideal for those of you who spend a lot of time away from home, and who may not be able to get back quickly when a leak happens.

These leak detectors are plugged into the main electrical, rather than running on batteries, so you never have to worry about them stopping working because they’re out of juice. Single-point shutoff systems use a sensor that is placed on the floor, but which is held inside an appliance pan, to detect water. When a leak is detected, a shutoff valve turns the supply off so that your appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, cannot keep pumping out water.

This kind of system is especially good for using large household appliances that are kept above the basement level, because things like washing machines can leak a large volume of water and if that is seeping through a ceiling or floor, it can cause a lot of water damage really quickly.

If you suffer any water damage; please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768!

NOAA Warnings Concerning Storm Surge

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

  1. Storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane. It poses a significant threat for drowning. A mere six inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes only two feet of rushing water to carry away most vehicles—including pickups and SUVs.
  2. Storm surge can cause water levels to rise quickly and flood large areas—sometimes in just minutes, and you could be left with no time to take action if you haven’t already evacuated as instructed.
  3. Storm surge values do not correspond well to the hurricane wind categories (of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale) that range from 1 to 5. These categories are based only on winds and do not account for storm surge.
  4. Tropical storms, category 1 or 2 hurricanes, major (category 3 to 5) hurricanes, and post-tropical cyclones can all cause life-threatening storm surge.
  5. Storm surge can also occur with non-tropical storms like Nor’easters and other winter storms.
  6. Many U.S. Gulf and East Coast areas are vulnerable to storm surge, including areas up to several miles inland from the coastline. Find out today, well before a hurricane ever approaches, if you live in a storm surge evacuation zone.
  7. Storm surge can occur before, during, or after the center of a storm passes through an area. Storm surge can sometimes cut off evacuation routes, so do not delay leaving if an evacuation is ordered for your area.
  8. During the peak of a storm surge event, it is unlikely that emergency responders will be able to reach you if you are in danger.
  9. Even if your community is not directly affected by storm surge, it could experience other hazards from the storm and face dangerous conditions such as impassable roads, water and sewage problems, and power outages. If power remains on, downed electrical wires can pose an electrocution risk.

If you have experienced water or storm damage – please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768.  We offer prompt response and professional remediation, restoration and reconstruction services!

Causes of Home Water Damage

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

Severe weather

Strong winds and heavy downpours could damage your roof, sending a certain amount of rainwater straight down into your house or business. Worse, severe weather can sometimes lead to flash flooding, especially when your property is in a flood-prone area.

Clogged gutters

Your home’s gutter system is supposed to draw rainwater away from your house. However, gutters often get blocked by leaves, branches, and other types of debris over time.

Leaking pipes

A loose-fitting pipe in the kitchen sink could leak enough water to damage the cabinet underneath it. A broken pipe inside walls could make things even more complicated. Worse yet would be a leaking plumbing supply line or a drainage pipe in the soil underneath your concrete slab. When this happens, you’ll likely face costly repairs.

Washing machines

Your washing machine is fed by water supply lines that are under constant pressure. If your lines are made from braided stainless steel, then you have nothing to worry about. The problem will be if your washing machine has rubber or PVC supply lines.

AC Condensation

Your air conditioning unit produces condensation, with the moisture dripping from the unit’s evaporator coil into a drain pan and out of your property through a condensate drain line. This drainage system works until the drain pan is damaged, or the condensate drain line is clogged with dust or dirt.

With the water unable to get out, it will leak from your AC straight into your home.

Blocked drains

The drains in your kitchen sink, bathroom floor, and your bathtub clog up for any number of reasons. When not dealt with immediately, clogged drains can easily back up and eventually cause flooding and water damage inside your property.

Sprinkler systems

Once activated during a fire, a sprinkler system will no doubt save your property and even your life. The problem is, there have been incidents where older sprinkler systems have turned themselves on even when there isn’t the slightest indication of a fire.

Water heaters

If you have an old water heater, then the likelihood that it’ll eventually spring a leak is high. When a water heater leaks, you can expect your basement, where it’s presumably located, to be flooded quickly.

H2...Oh My!

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

Once in a while, we all face catastrophic events in our lives, some larger than others. Catastrophes ranging from outdoor natural disasters, untimely death or major injury, or possibly an unexpected event that occurs within ones home.

In the business of mitigation and restoration, a major water loss would be considered a catastrophic event to many. Some water losses can be very minor in size and the extent of damage can be minimal. There are other scenarios in which a water loss can cause whole house damages, and if not taken care of properly or within a timely fashion, can lead to wide ranges of a microbial growth infestation. Complications from a water loss can range anywhere from being displaced from your home for extended periods of time, loss of personal contents and undo confusion and other complications. Not only to mention the frustration that their home has been almost destroyed or even partially damaged by such a common substance that we all deal with everyday, in some way shape or form...water.

In the restoration industry, there is no better service provider to restore your home to it's original preloss state than your local SERVPRO franchise. Our IICRC certified and skilled technicians have the resources, specialty equipment and knowledge to handle any form of water loss, large or small. Surely, there is nothing convenient about any form of water loss. Whether it’s a broken pipe, appliance leak, or even an intrusion from outside water sources that may bring in potential unknown amounts of contaminants. Always remember that the folks at SERVPRO of Sussex County will always be there for when you need us, and to make it “Like it never even happened.” Call us to day to 302-856-9768 if you have any concerns about water damage.

Avoiding Home Water Damage

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

Many of the water emergencies that SERVPRO of Sussex County responds to are caused naturally, and are unforeseen and unpreventable; but there are many that can be prevented. The following are examples of such man made water troubles.

  • Disconnect hoses. Standing water in a hose may freeze and create blockage that can lead to bursting pipes.
  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts. Clean your gutters at least twice a year to prevent clogging and possible ice formations in the gutters. Clogged gutter will cause water to drain close to your house which can lead to an intrusion of ground or drain water.
  • Maintain trees and vegetation. Make sure there are no root systems which may interfere with your pipes. Always minimize landscaping near utility pipes.
  • Know where your water main is. In any home water emergency the first remedy is to typically turn the water off at the main. Time is precious during such an event so familiarize yourself with this issue.
  • Check your appliances regularly. An old failing dishwasher, hot water heater, ice maker or washer can be the culprit in many home water losses – so check them regularly.
  • Investigate and fix any leaks as soon as they occur. Ongoing water leaks can lead to mold and other secondary damage.
  • Upgrade washing machine hoses. This is another major area of concern so check them regularly.
  • Check your home water pressure and make sure it is not too high.
  • Monitor your water bill. If your sprinkler system is leaking underground – the only way you will know is if your water consumption is rising.

Call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 today if you have questions about water damage or if you need an inspection and or estimate.

Winter Water Worries

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

  Many people own their second home in Sussex County, DE.  When the weather begins to turn cooler; most will leave and return in the late spring or early summer.  During this time is when most cold weather water issues occur.

  Frozen pipes—resulting in broken pipes—is the greatest cause of water damage in winter, on average costing $18,000 per homeowner claim, and leading to significant waste of water. Frozen ground increases the downward force on pipes from the outside.  The following are tips to help you avoid winter water worries.

How do I drain my home's water pipes for winter?

  1. Shut off themain water ...
  2. Drain pipesof water. ...
  3. Force the water ...
  4. Drain ...
  5. Extra Protection: Pour anti-freeze into all sink and bathtub drains. ...
  6. When you are ready to use the wateragain, turn on the main water valve and let each fixture run until the pipes are full.

What do you do when water freezes in your house?

How to fix frozen pipes:

  1. Keep your faucet open. ...
  2. Apply heat to the section of the pipe that is frozen. ...
  3. Know what not to do. ...
  4. Continue applying heat until waterflow returns to normal. ...
  5. Takeswift action if the frozen pipes are located inside an exterior wall.

What should you do to winterize your home?

  1. Adjust your thermostat. ...
  2. Shutoff the water at the main shut off valve in your house. ...
  3. Turn offyour gas line to prevent a gas leak or other gas related incident.
  4. Bundle the houseup tight! ...
  5. Unplug everything. ...
  6. Tell your neighbors. ...
  7. Stop the mail. ...
  8. Check your sump pump.

SERVPRO of Sussex County is standing by 24/7/365 to assist with any residential or commercial water damage – call us today at 302-856-9768!

Winter / Water Safety Tips

12/14/2020 (Permalink)

Winter Water Safety Tips

The seasons are changing and as the days get shorter, it’s time to ready your home for the coming winter season. These four winter safety tips will help you stay warm and safe.

  • Winterize Your Pipes
  • During the winter, outside water can freeze and burst exterior pipes. Take precautions to prevent frozen pipes by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining any water left in outdoor spigots. If you have an automatic sprinkler system, drain it as well.
  • If temperatures will drop below freezing overnight, leave exterior faucets trickling to avoid the pressure buildup that causes burst pipes. You can also avoid frozen and burst pipes inside your house by insulating your home and pipes.

Before the first snowfall, check your roof for damaged, loose, or missing shingles that may leak when snow melts or during severe storms. Make sure seals around chimneys and vent stacks are intact as well. If they aren’t, you can make repairs yourself or hire a handyman.

Regularly clear your roof of snow this season. And remove all leaves, pine needles, and other roof debris as these can hold moisture and rot during winter weather if left unattended.

Icicles look enchanting, but they present risk of injury and ice dams—which damage the outside of your home and cause meltwater to get inside. Ice dams occur when there are air leaks in your home or inadequate insulation in your attic.  If you already have icicles on your home, there’s no need to be a hero. Hiring a professional to remove them is the safest route.

During winter weather conditions, remove snow and ice from sidewalks and driveways. Prepare for snow by stocking up on snow shovels and giving your snow blower or plow a tune-up. After it snows, immediately plow or shovel all trafficked areas. If you go the shoveling route, invest in an ergonomic handle, lift with your legs (not your back), and push snow rather than lift it. Take frequent breaks away from the wind chill to let your body warm up and your muscles relax.

If you have any concerns about water problems – please call SERVPRO of Sussex County 302-856-976 or visit: https://www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com/

Pipe Dreams and Nightmares

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

Pipe Dreams and Nightmares

  The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety states that the most common cause of property damage during frigid winter 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. You may also visit our website at https://www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com/

Faster Than a Flash Flood!

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

Faster than a Flash Flood!

  Recently, a friend, who is also a local contractor called to inform me that the office which he was leasing had experienced a water loss the day prior.  The Lewes area had experienced an extreme downpour and it forced groundwater through the foundation into the basement and ground floor. 

  Within an hour of his call, the SERVPRFO of Sussex County team delivered dehumidifiers and air movers to the location and the drying process began.  In hindsight, it was very lucky for this homeowner that someone was present at this location and was able to address the loss immediately.  If the flood water had been left unattended for days or weeks – growth and other additional loss may have occurred.  This absentee owner issue is a real concern for many homeowners in our area who also dwell outside of Sussex County.  SERVPRO of Sussex County recommends that if you do not have a neighbor or caretaker to offer periodic inspections of your property; you may want to consider a property management team to do the same.

  This story has a happy ending primarily due to the quick reaction by both my friends’ crew and our SERVPRO team in response to the loss.  After a several day drying process the moisture levels were reduced and the home smelled normal again.  I met my friend at the location and he showed me a video that he took of the flooding.  Many people are startled by how fast water travels.  Fast reaction and response time is what separates SERVPRO of Sussex County from our competitors.  If you need us – call us today – 302-856-9768 or visit us at https://www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com/.

Post Flood Safety Tips

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

After 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: https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1756-25045-8598/protecting_home_book_508compliant.pdf. 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 effects 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.

How High is The Water?

8/18/2020 (Permalink)

It is always a good idea to keep water safety in mind in good times and during a crisis. The wrong decision can be costly if not deadly. We remind everyone of the following tips for safety during a water loss or challenge.

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:https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1756-25045-8598/protecting_home_book_508compliant.pdf. 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 effects 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 or visit: https://www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com/

Trouble at a Home away from Home

1/14/2020 (Permalink)

The Delaware Beaches are a popular destination for many families seeking a getaway.  There is nothing quite like spending summers in a dream vacation home.  It’s a wonderful feeling to have a place to look forward to throughout the year.  With summer far behind us, many homes will rest unattended for many months.  Moisture intrusion can quickly lead to problems which can spread throughout your home.   Wallpaper, fabric, carpets, drywall, and wood products are all easily affected by such scenarios.  What can you do, and who can you count on to restore your property?

SERVPRO technicians are regularly called out to problems where homeowners are far away from the point of disaster.  We pride ourselves in showing great care for the homes we’ve been entrusted with.  Recently, SERVPRO of Sussex County was contacted to remediate growth from a gorgeous summer home which held great significance to a local family.  While the family was away, moisture within the HVAC system created a perfect environment for fungal growth.  As it expanded throughout the system, growth continued to spread throughout the home, affecting walls, furniture, and ceilings.  SERVPRO of Sussex County was called in to remediate mold from all affected surfaces. Our trained technicians possess an eye for detail. We inspected each floor thoroughly, cleaning and sanitizing the ceilings, carpets, walls, and belongings.  While some items were unable to be saved, the home was restored to its original, livable state.

No matter what happens while you’re far from home, SERVPRO is only a one call away.  We have the skills and experience to handle any disaster.  As members of the Sussex County community, we feel closely connected to our local customers and value their trust.  If find yourself in need of help, call.  SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 for any questions or issues relating to all types of unexpected property damage.  We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Cold Nights & Frozen Pipes

12/10/2019 (Permalink)

A cracked pipe A cracked pipe caused by freezing temperatures.

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. The average cost of such an event is estimated at $5,000.00 or more.  What can you do to prevent those pipes from freezing?

  Obviously, pipes that are poorly insulated, exposed and located in unheated areas are more at risk than those located in a temperature-controlled environment.  However, even interior pipes running through cabinets and exterior walls are at risk.

  There are efforts you can apply to hopefully minimize this risk. As you notice the seasons change and colder weather sets in, take a look around your property and locate areas of 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 the water supply lines are located there.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Start a cold-water drip from your faucets. Maintaining water flow will prevent freezing. 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.)
  • Leave your heat on – If you plan to be away during cold weather set the temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • For a 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.        

The Leak Won’t Stop If You Ignore It

11/26/2019 (Permalink)

Several months ago, SERVPRO of Sussex County responded to a call from a very smelly business.  After a thorough inspection our technicians found that the source was water intrusion which caused growth and mildew.  It was as if someone had opened a gym bag left to ferment for several weeks. The lobby smelled like the most intense “locker room / body odor” smell that we have ever encountered.  Obviously, the business owner was concerned that this would not be good for business. 

  The structure was over 25 years old and it was a surprise to no-one that there were structural problems. We found water leaking through windows and worse. Over time, this water saturated carpets and flooring. Because it was unnoticed for so long, proper drying never occurred; hence the intense odor.  The window sills and frames were also showing signs of water damage as well.

  We immediately placed air movers and air scrubbers. We also recommended an Industrial Hygienist be contacted in order to inspect and provide a protocol for mitigation. The Industrial Hygienist recommended that all of the affected windows be removed and replaced immediately. We agreed with this protocol, and advised out customer accordingly. SERVPRO of Sussex County knows many trustworthy local contractors who perform these services. We put our customer in touch with a local window contractor and proceeded to remove the smell and the growth.

 In early October, we got another call from the same business after a weekend of heavy rain. This time they had suffered flooding damage with standing water and saturated carpets. Drywall and flooring throughout the basement and first and second floors had been thoroughly affected. We soon came to learn that the business chose to ignore our advice and keep their failing windows.

  Once again, our team responded and applied extraction, placement of drying equipment, air scrubbers and deep 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 acted on the advice given by the Hygienists and our recommendations – the second loss would never have happened. These types of problems do not fix themselves and when a business or a resident is offered sage advice to prevent future issues time and money will be saved by taking action.

Keep Your Pipes Warm

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tips To Avoid Water Damage in Your Home

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

Tips to Avoid Water Damage in Your Home

Although many of the water emergencies that SERVPRO of Sussex County responds to are caused by Mother Nature and are unforeseen and unpreventable; there are many that can be prevented.  The following checklist may help you be prepared in the face of such man made water troubles.

  • Disconnect hoses. Standing water in a hose may freeze and create blockage that can lead to bursting pipes.
  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts. Clean your gutters at least twice a year to prevent clogging and possible ice formations in the gutters.  Clogged gutter will cause water to drain close to your house which can lead to an intrusion of ground or drain water.
  • Maintain trees and vegetation. Make sure there are no root systems which may interfere with your pipes.  Always minimize landscaping near utility pipes.
  • Know where your water main is. In any home water emergency the first remedy is to typically turn the water off at the main.  Time is precious during such an event so familiarize yourself with this issue.
  • Check your appliances regularly. An old failing dishwasher, hot water heater, ice maker or washer can be the culprit in many home water losses – so check them regularly.
  • Investigate and fix any leaks as soon as they occur. Ongoing water leaks can lead to mold and other secondary damage.
  • Upgrade washing machine hoses. This is another major area of concern so check them regularly.
  • Install water detection devices. These are more readily available and can help with such emergencies but keep in mind they only alert you to an issue that may have been preventable.
  • Check your home water pressure and make sure it is not too high. High water pressure can strain pipes and cause wear.
  • Monitor your water bill. This may sound silly – but if your sprinkler system is leaking underground – the only way you will know is if your water consumption is rising.

Is Water Damage Hiding In Your Home?

8/26/2019 (Permalink)

The top 5 places water damage may be hiding in your home
Here at SERVPRO, we know the dangers of undetected water damage. Building materials such as
insulation, wood, drywall, and subflooring can quickly develop fungal growth and rot when
saturated with water. Unfortunately, most homeowners do not know that water is causing
damage until it is too late.
1. Windows
a. Windows are a common spot to find water leaks. Typically, rainwater seeps into
the home between the window sash and jamb. Water can then trickle down
behind the walls, potentially saturating the framing, studs, and drywall. If left for a
long period of time, rot can begin to form on wood materials. Repairing structural
damage such as this can be expensive.
2. Beneath the dishwasher or behind tubs and showers
a. Anywhere water lines run through your walls is a prime spot for leaks to develop.
We commonly receive calls from customers who notice stains or mold forming
around their showers or tubs. In some cases, water will pool beside a fixture, or
you may notice the floor becoming spongy due to continual water leaks. The best
way to avoid this type of damage is to make sure your fixtures are properly
installed and sealed to prevent water from flowing into the wall behind them.
3. Under poorly sealed toilet
a. You’ve probably been to a home with a wobbly toilet before. Any time a toilet
shifts away from its point of installation, the seal on the wax ring surrounding the
base can become compromised. If there is a problem with the wax seal, you may
notice water pooling near the base. Addiotionally, you may notice that the toilet is
wobbly because the floor itself is becoming spongy due to rot. This is sign of
advanced water damage that should be addressed quickly.
4. Behind drywall after flooding
a. We work in Sussex County and know that flooding can cause severe damage to
your home. Flooding after heavy rain brings groundwater with a high
concentration of organic material into your home. These contaminants greatly
increase the risk of fungal growth and other health problems. Even water from a
supply line will carry whatever has been sitting on your floors into contact with
newly damp, porous drywall. Anytime waters rise above floor level
you should replace all the drywall along the lower portion of the wall and
consider treating the framing that remains.
5. Inside of an HVAC unit
This is a very common source of water damage during summer months when AC use it
high. Indoor HVAC units use a shallow drip pan to collect condensed water which forms while
the AC is in use. The water is then funneled into a condensation line to drain out of the home. If
there is any sort of obstruction to the line, water will accumulation in the pan until it overflows.
This is a very common cause of residential water damage, and can lead to mold forming in the
AC, as well as damage to other materials in the case of an overflow. You should check your AC
drip pan occasionally to ensure that water is draining as it should.
If you discover water damage and need help restoring your home or property, SERVPRO of
Sussex County is one call away. We will work with you to restore your home to its preloss
condition. Call SERVPRO of Sussex County today for a free inspection.

A Concern for a Home Away From Home

1/14/2019 (Permalink)

A Concern for a Home away from Home

The Delaware Beaches are a popular destination for many families seeking a getaway.  There is nothing quite like spending summers in a dream vacation home.  It’s a wonderful feeling to have a place to look forward to throughout the year.  With summer far behind us, numerous homes will rest unattended for many months.  Moisture intrusion can easily lead to problems which can spread throughout your home.   Wallpaper, fabric, carpets, drywall, and wood products are all easily affected by such scenarios.  What can you do, and who can you count on to restore your property?

SERVPRO technicians are frequently called out to problems where homeowners are far away from the point of disaster.  In cases such as these, we pride ourselves in showing great care for the homes we’ve been entrusted with.  In a recent case, SERVPRO of Sussex County was contacted to remediate growth from a gorgeous summer home which held great significance to a local family.  While the family was away, moisture within the HVAC system created a perfect environment for fungal growth.  As it expanded throughout the system, growth spread throughout the home, affecting walls, furniture, and ceilings.  SERVPRO of Sussex County was called in to remediate mold from all affected surfaces. Our technicians possess an eye for detail.  Each floor was thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, including ceilings, carpets, walls, and belongings.  While some items were unable to be saved, the home was restored to its original, livable state.

  No matter what happens while you’re far from home, SERVPRO is only a one call away.  We have the skills and experience to handle any disaster.  As members of the Sussex County community, we feel closely connected to our local customers and value their trust.  If find yourself in need of help, call.  SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 for any questions or issues relating to all types of unexpected property damage.  We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Bad Pipe Dreams

12/10/2018 (Permalink)

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.        

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.

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.

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: https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1756-25045-8598/protecting_home_book_508compliant.pdf.  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.

Water Damage is best left to our Experts at SERVPRO of Sussex County

9/24/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage is best left to our Experts at SERVPRO of Sussex County

   I recently had the privilege of attending and participating in an IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) Water Damage Restoration class in Toughkenamon, PA for SERVPRO of Sussex County.  Although my role with our company is more of a sales and marketing nature – I embraced this opportunity to educate myself further in order to better address customer concerns and questions in the field.  I also wanted to develop a better understanding of this process since it is a major part of our regular work schedule. 

  The class was offered over three days with a test required on the third day. We received a book and the instructor – Ron Valega was awesome.  He was very informative and almost immediately created a comfortable rapport with the class participants with colorful anecdotes and humor. We viewed many videos which highlighted safety tips and proper workmanship.

  I had no pre conception about the intensity of the subject matter and found it both interesting and challenging.  After about the first three hours of information; I began to develop a deeper respect and appreciation for my workmates who have not only earned their certification through this class; but apply their expertise on an almost daily basis.  Parts of the class addressed Psychrometrics – which is the understanding of the relationships between temperature, humidity and air flow and how they all play a part in the drying out process for structures and materials.  It was during this time that I began to envision a lower test score for myself since I found this somewhat confusing and after you pass the age of 50 – nothing new comes easy!

  I learned that water restoration is very complex and if not applied correctly can do more harm than good in some cases.  To make a long story short – I did receive a passing grade but more importantly I obtained the knowledge that our technicians are skilled and trained experts who are ready to offer a plan of action when they arrive to the scene of such damage.

  Please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 for any questions or issues relating to water 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: www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com