While You Were Away....
Post-Vacation blues are real… imagine coming home after some much needed vacation time to find your home damaged! While crime rates in the Chapin and Irmo area are fairly low, vandalism does happen! Especially in homes that are under construction or do not appear to be occupied. Storms as well as water leaks and even fires are prone to happen while you’re away. If you’re hours from home there’s not much that can be done to remediate or stop further damage…you feel helpless!
Don’t waste time trying to find the best company to help you, call the trusted professionals at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork right away. We work quickly to stop further damage from occurring and pride ourselves on fast response times that give you peace of mind and make your home “Like it never even happened.”
In the midst of the shuffle to get out the door and on vacation time, try and follow these easy tips that can potentially save you a phone call to our office:
- Unplug anything electronic that is not a necessity – doing so helps reduce the risk of fire
- Locate your water main shut-off, turn the water off. If a pipe or hose bursts in your home there will be less water to flow inside if the supply line is off.
- Ensure all doors and windows are locked and secured.
- Let neighbors or nearby family members know you will be gone and ask that they check on it periodically to make it appear that someone is in and out.
If you return home to a mess, don’t stress, call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork (803) 749-0178
In a recent visit with an insurance agent I presented one of our free services to clients in need; after a residential or commercial fire SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork will board up the windows and entry ways of a structure. We offer this free of charge because the property owner is already under enough distress, why add to that? Our staff secure quality boards with our logo on them to any windows that may have been broken and doors that are compromised. The agent wanted to know why a burnt building would need such a thing?
There are several reasons why you might want to board up structural damage or windows. In addition to protecting the structure from the outdoor elements, you also help to prevent unwanted intruders.
- If items are left in your home with unsecured entry-ways, you’re likely to fall victim to theft. It’s hard to keep sticky fingers out with a clear entrance to your home or building.
- Chances are the water used to extinguish the fire has already created some water damage within your home or building. It could be weeks before a roof is replaced or windows installed. Exposure to additional water, wind or sun can increase the damage caused by smoke and soot.
- Limiting the amount of unnecessary foot traffic. Soot damage is hard to clean and even harder to clean when it becomes embedded into carpeting or upholstery. Securing entrances can reduce the number of footprints you’ll see.
Talk to restoration experts at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, about whether boarding up is a good strategy for preventing loss and limiting damage after a fire. Your major concern is likely to be how to recover from fire damage as quickly and completely as possible. Preventing looting and exposure to the elements can make fire cleanup more successful. Don’t hesitate to call us (803) 749-0178.
When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
As summer approaches we look forward to a lot more fun in the sun! Kids are out of school; vacation season is in full effect and our stress levels seem to be at a low with the sudden increase of vitamin D. We’ve all been through it: you’re packing up to head to the pool or to the lake and you see dark skies on the horizon, or you find yourself outdoors when suddenly a pop-up storm arrives. Do you chance it and get a little soggy, or change your plans and opt for an indoor activity? Summertime thunderstorms are known to wreck plans but they also pose a danger to your family and your home. Ready, a division of the Department of Homeland Security offers a vast amount of insight on storm safety and what to do should you find yourself in the midst of a storm.
- When thunder roars, go indoors! Don’t wait until the storm is directly above you. Storms can move at speeds of well over 50mph.
- Never seek shelter under an isolated tree, tower or utility pole. Lightning likes to strike taller objects. Look for somewhere indoors or even a car. If you cannot find shelter indoors find a group of trees rather than one singular.
- Avoid elevated areas like hills, mountains or ridges.
- Immediately get out of and far away from bodies of water.
- Stay away from things that conduct electricity – including wires and fences.
- Never lie flat on the ground.
- Locate flashlights in case of a power outage – have water and basic food close by in case the power is out for an extended period of time.
If you plan to spend any amount of time outdoors be sure to sign up for a weather app that sends you alerts when a storm or rain are imminent. Don’t cut it close when seeking shelter, give yourself enough time to get yourself and everyone with you to a safe place if you know a storm is approaching.
Faster to ANY Disaster, Guaranteed!
Wouldn't it be nice if everything that broke or became damaged in your home or office did so at a convenient time? While not happening at all would be even better, let's be realistic.
Murphy's Law states "whatever can go wrong, will go wrong" we feel that it's necessary to add "after-hours" to the end based on our experience with water and fire damage. Luckily SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even holidays!
Reaction time is crucial in our line of work. If a customer has water standing in their home, even a small amount, it needs to be addressed immediately. The longer water sits on surfaces, the more damage it does. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork upholds a 1-4-8 promise:
- Contact the homeowner/customer within 1 hour of notification of a loss
- Onsite within 4 hours of notification to begin mitigation process
- A written and verbal estimate of the scope of work will be provided within 8 hours of notification
If you need our services outside of normal business hours we're available by phone. Our after-hours line is answered by a human being, no phone trees or robots here! They'll ask you a series of questions to give our technicians a better idea of what they'll need to bring when responding to your loss. In order to best help you it's important to know the answers to the following:
- Full name of the homeowners or person responsible for the property
- Street address of the property
- The source of the damage
- Year the structure was built
- Insurance coverage information
- If you've filed a claim already please have that number available
- Is electricity on in the structure
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork specializes in cleanup and restoration, our staff are IICRC Certified and proficient in the use of our equipment and products. It is always best to call a professional when it comes to water and fire damage, attempting to mitigate on your own can cause more damage and become more costly. We're here for you 24/7!
Indirect Fired Heater - Our Largest Asset
One of our largest pieces of equipment is the Indirect Fired Heater. While it is seldom used, it can be a lifesaver when it is needed. By providing clean, dry, hot air to aid in thawing frozen job sites, increasing ambient temperature in structures and accelerating drying times, the Indirect Fired Heater is the perfect candidate for drying a crawlspace or inside a home or building.
We recently used it to dry a crawlspace in a national forest in Columbia, SC. An overflowing water heater allowed water to spread across the flooring, into the sub-floor and ultimately into the crawlspace affecting the floor joists. Mold growth is a huge issue when moisture develops in the crawlspace. We can not emphasize enough the importance of proper drying. If it is done incorrectly you're likely to see costly structural damage later on.
The heater is set up outside the home or building, then using ducts, the air generated from the heater is pumped into the affected space causing the drying time to reduce by 50%. The high humidity levels in South Carolina making drying a challenge but the Indirect Fired Heater makes this process significantly easier!
Don't Let Water Damage Close Your Columbia, SC Business!
Flooding and water damage events at Columbia commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork
SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Our Top Tips for Fire Damage
Fire damage restoration is tough work. Homeowners and Insurance Adjusters call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork frequently to ask for advice on how to clean up after a fire. We’ve put together seven of the best tips we give people who ask about fire damage restoration.
Most people are capable of completing the majority of these tips, but, remember that fire damage restoration takes time, work, and skill. Realistically consider whether you want to try these ideas on your own or whether you’d be better off hiring highly trained restoration specialists who will guarantee their work.
With any type of fire, you’ll have a percentage of smoke damage to your walls, molding, and paint. If the smoke damage is light, you should be able to scrub it clean with detergents and bleach. Soot from smoke damage is greasy stuff, so always try to dust as much of it off from a surface before trying to scrub the surface clean. Often, you’ll want to repaint, but make sure all surfaces are clean and dry before you paint.
- Limit Activity & Other Simple Fire Damage Restoration Steps
Until your house is restored, limit your activity and movement in the house. This helps prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets that can be generated from foot traffic. Keep hands clean so you don’t further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. Protect your things by placing clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas. Before you clean know the best cleaning method for that particular cleaning job (one example: Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.) Wash both sides of the leaves on your houseplants. Change your HVAC filter and tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
Firefighters are brave men and women; they save lives and extinguish fires. Extinguishing a fire does prevent the rest of the structure from being demolished. But they do introduce mold and mildew into houses when they must use water to extinguish the fire. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork highly recommends you hire fire damage restoration professionals to deal with mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can cause serious health problems. It’s difficult for a nonprofessional to administer and complete the necessary tests that indicate moisture and mold levels. Mold and mildew can contaminate your furniture, carpets, clothing, mattresses, walls, and vents. The best thing you can do immediately is to air out every room and clean out all vents and filters.
- Replace Carpets. Clean and Dry Your Floors
Your floors and carpets act like a sponge for all of the water used to put out a fire. In almost every case, SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork recommends that you pull up any carpets that have water damage and replace them. Water can also seep underneath vinyl flooring and into the cracks in hardwood flooring. Again, it is difficult for a non-professional to administer and complete testing necessary for determining if hidden moisture is present.
- Avoid Smearing Soot into Clothing
Cleaning smoke damage from clothing is one of the biggest jobs you’ll have after a fire. Make sure you don’t smear the greasy soot into the clothing or just throw the smoky clothes into the wash. Often times dry cleaning is the best bet, and you should ask around local dry cleaners to see if any have experience with post-fire laundry. Removing smoke odor is a tricky task that requires the right equipment, cleaning products and skillset. We don’t recommend trying to complete this portion on your own.
- Scrub, Soak, And Cleaning Dishes
Dishes are also important items to clean thoroughly after a fire because they will be in contact with your food. Scrub all dishes well, let them soak in a solution of bleach and water (2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon) for at least 20 minutes and scrub some more for safety. When in doubt, if a dish, pot, or pan won’t come clean, cut your losses and throw it out – especially rubber or wooden dishes that absorb smoke.
Help Is Here
The team at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork also has specialized training and experience in fire restoration services, natural disaster prevention, water damage, chemical cleanup, and natural disaster cleanup.
Call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork for Cleanup and Restoration. Call (803 ) 749-0178.
Not Every Project Is A DIY Project
There are thousands of DIY projects to be discovered on the internet - from flipping a house, to a variety of crafts! If you’d like to take on a project on your own rather than hire a professional, there is guaranteed to be a blog or video with detailed instructions out there somewhere. Home improvement projects are among the most popular DIY topics. We all want our homes to look and feel cleaner, more updated and even renovated. DIY Home Improvement projects should be prefaced with research, and lots of it. Know what you want to do, what materials you’ll need, the level of specialty skill involved and most importantly, the COST of the project you plan to take on before you even begin.
We receive numerous calls from customers with complaints about the cleanliness of their carpet or area rugs. One of the first things we like to ask them is if they’ve attempted to clean the carpet on their own in the past. If the answer is yes, we know we have our work cut out for us. All too often homeowners opt to rent a carpet cleaning machine from their local grocery or hardware store, or they’ve purchased a carpet cleaning vacuum from a big box store. Sure, you spend a fraction of the cost, but considering the long-term results that come from these machines, we would strongly advise against using them.
- Suction Power – a rental machine does not possess the suction capability needed to remove all water from the carpet. Leaving behind excess moisture creates a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, viruses, etc.
- Residue – the soapy water left on carpet fibers because of the lack of suction power act as magnets for dirt and grime. Your carpets might appear brand new when you’re done but in a matter of weeks, even days, you’ll see dirt accumulated in a higher concentration than before.
- Hygiene – rental machines are used on a variety of stains and soils. Do you really want the same machine used to cleanup the aftermath of a sick animal on your grandmother’s antique rug? The machines and equipment are not cleaned on a regular basis and the chances of transferring bacteria or parasites from one home to another are high.
- Temperature – rental machines do not heat the water used to “clean” your carpets. You’re required to heat the water up before dumping it in the machine. A professional carpet cleaner uses water at very high temperatures because that heat helps to remove soils, eliminate the source of odors and kill bacteria.
Saving money is a top priority for many of us, but often the cheaper option is not the wise option. Allow a professional carpet cleaning company to take care of those stains, footprints and hidden dangers lurking in your flooring, or you might be paying for that shortcut later! SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork has specially designed products and equipment to tackle stains, dirt and grime in your home. Our staff are trained and knowledgeable, eliminating the guesswork on your part. For a free carpet cleaning estimate give us a call at (803) 749-0178
When Water Lingers, Mold Appears
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both outdoors and indoors. This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. Some restoration businesses advertise "mold removal" and even guarantee to remove all mold, which is a virtually impossible. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along in the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any sources of water or moisture must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor and can lead you to possible mold problem areas.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to remediate your mold infestation.
If You See Signs of Mold, Call Us Today at 803-749-0178
We’ve all been there, the sheer panic you feel as the water in the toilet bowl begins to rise… the scramble for the plunger, where do I shut the water off? Which way do I turn this knob?? If you’re not a plumber it’s likely that you’re not 100% sure how to resolve any plumbing related issues; join the majority of the world! If you want to avoid costly service charges for things you can do yourself, you’ve come to the right place. We put together a list of tips and tricks to file away in your knowledge bank should an incident ever arise.
Fixing a Clogged Toilet
First, STEP AWAY FROM THE HANDLE! If you attempt to flush your toilet when it appears clogged, you’re going to create a mess and will likely be calling SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork to fix the damage.
Second, grab your plunger, keep it in an easily accessible location – running to the garage is not ideal, but plungers aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, so find a spot that’s close but hidden.
A quick lesson on plungers – the most common type is actually designed for sinks. It’s the one with a simple flat rubber cup attached to a handle. They come in all colors/patterns and even in matching bathroom sets. If you have this variety and it has been in a toilet, throw it out. You’ll need to use one designed with a little extra “umph”. Toilet plungers have a soft rubber flange running along the inside of the plunger cups, making them more effective. This type can be used on toilets, sinks and drains – however, do not use the same one in sinks and drains that you’ve stuck in your toilet.
Let’s get plunging! Once you’ve got the correct plunger in hand it’s fairly simple if you can perform these steps correctly:
- Ensure a good connection is made between the plunger and toilet, begin the plunging motion with a good amount of force. Remember, you’re trying to force the blockage through.
- Use quick and repetitive motions, keeping an eye out for movement in the toilet, this means the blockage is being pushed through.
- Make sure the water is receding before you try to flush. Avoid chemical drain cleaners, their harsh chemical makeup can irritate your skin and eyes and cause damage to your pipes.
If plunging your toilet is unsuccessful it’s likely time to call in a professional.
Clearing a Drain or Pipe
If your drain is moving slow or not allowing water through at all chances are you’ve got a blockage. Before you dial your local plumbing service try this simple trick! Using a wire coat hanger, straighten it out and create a small hook at the end. Use the hook to retrieve the hair, buildup, etc. from your drain. There are several products on the market made of flexible plastic designed for this very purpose if you’re short on hangers. Then you’ll need to prepare yourself for the creature you’ll be removing. Bathtub and shower drains are capable of collecting enough hair to make a wig!
If you have no luck fishing try this – mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of plain vinegar and pour it down your drain. Move quickly when mixing because this mixture will foam, fast. Let it sit in the drain/pipes as long as possible, an hour will do but overnight is most effective. The chemical reaction will help break-up any gunk in your pipes!
SERVPRO is Here to Help!
If your plumbing issue exceeds your skill level, call a licensed plumber. And as always, if you experience water damage as a result of a plumbing issue, call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork! Even a small amount of water can seep under floors and baseboards causing mold as a result of improper drying. Proceed with caution when cleaning up excess water.