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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Blog Posts

Preventing House Fires

4/1/2022 (Permalink)

One of the most devastating experiences you and your family can go through is losing everything to a house fire. You’ve have put in time, money, and effort to make your home your sanctuary. You’ve created memories to fill its every corner. It is challenging to bring back your intangibles once they’re damaged by smoke and fire.

Always be mindful and do everything you can to protect your house from a smoke or fire loss. By following these sensible tips, you could help keep your home and loved ones safe:

  1. Buy a fire extinguisher

A fire extinguisher can save many lives, making this a wise purchase. Having more than one in your home can bolster your feelings of safety. They are also genuinely useful in case of a house fire.

Always make sure to put at least one fire extinguisher in an easy to reach spot on every floor. It is helpful to put them in high-risk areas of your home, such as the kitchen and the laundry room. Be sure to check the fire extinguishers regularly making sure they aren’t expired. They typically last an average of 5 to 15 years.

  1. Check your smoke alarms regularly

Smoke alarms are your first line of defense against fire due to their early warning capability. In some homes, they can be hardwired into the electrical system to monitor smoke and carbon monoxide, and they have the ability to send alerts to your smart devices.

If you are like most homeowners or renters, you probably have a battery operated one, be sure to conduct a routine check every six months to be sure it is still working properly. Just a few seconds to press a button on the alarm. If you hear a weak beep, it means you should change the batteries immediately. If you have an alarm that is WiFi-connected, you will be prompted on your smart device to change the batteries when needed.

No matter what kind of smoke alarm you have. It is always a safe bet to ensure they are in proper working order. This way, you will always be alerted when a fire breaks out, affording you and your family a sufficient amount of time to manage an emergency and get out safely.

  1. Check your dryer’s airflow regularly

Each year over 2,900 dryer fires occur in homes in the United States. This is because of clogged vents and filter buildup can get hot and cause a fire. Even this is highly preventable if you follow these simple best practices.

First, you should have your dryer vent inspected bi-annually or annually, depending on your usage – there is no substitute for this. Second, always make sure your lint trap is clean before adding a new load of laundry.

Lint or small clothing items like socks can easily get stuck on the back of the machine. Always make sure to inspect for those and remove them before running your dryer.

  1. Clean your toaster, stove and oven

Food particles can accumulate at the bottom of your appliance and be a culprit. This can happen at the bottom of your stove burner too.

Forgotten food sitting in these kitchen appliances could cause significant damage. Always make sure to clean them regularly and inspect them for food debris.

As always, there are many other things you should be mindful about, such as curtains hanging too close to the stove and small items like a dish towel or cookbook lying on a burner that is still hot.

  1. Pay close attention when cooking

Over half of kitchen fires are caused by cooking with disruptions. Be mindful that all it takes is a few moments for a kitchen to go up in flames. It could be just a pot of boiling rice, never leave your cooking unattended. Always keep distractions away and focus on what you’re preparing.

  1. Keep your fireplace clean

If you have a fireplace, they are cozy add-ons and many people enjoy the benefits of these in their homes. Your fireplace can also be a source of fire if not maintained and cleaned regularly by a licensed chimney sweeper. When you have a fire burning, you should always stay in the room. Always dispose of ashes properly, be sure to give them ample time to cool down. To be sure, put them in a metal container specifically made for the disposal of fireplace ashes.

  1. Use extreme caution with candles

A key factor in handling candles is being aware of the potential fire risk. Keep these rules in mind:

  • Remember to blow out candles when leaving the room.
  • Be sure to blow them out before you go to sleep.
  • Keep them as far away from objects that can easily catch on fire like curtains and blankets.
  • Don’t ever put them on an uneven surface such as carpet to prevent them from tipping over.
  • Always keep lit candles away from your pets.

By following these rules, you can help keep you and your family safe from a house fire. However, if you do suffer from a fire or smoke damage, you’ll need the expertise and knowledge of SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork. We understand the devastation fires can bring, this is why we work quickly and efficiently to address your fire and smoke restoration needs. Be sure to call on us to find out how we can help you with the process of restoring your home after a fire loss.

Summer Storm Season is Upon Us

3/1/2022 (Permalink)

With hurricane season right around the corner. You should consider preparing for you and your family. According to FEMA.gov, Summer storm safety is crucial to making sure you have a safe summer. Therefore, you and your family should start with a plan. Make sure everyone knows the plan and practices the plan, so that when a real disaster happens, everyone will know what to do.

Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes. Be sure to check with your local officials about what shelter spaces are available this year. Be aware – coronavirus may have altered your community’s plans. Please be mindful that some shelters do not take pets. Have a talk with neighbors, friends, or relatives to be sure you have a safe place for your pet to go if you must evacuate

Ensure you have enough supplies (water and nonperishable food) for every member of your family and pets to last multiple days. Be mindful of the unique needs of your family, including medications. Adding extra cleaning supplies would be helpful to protect you and your family from illness if you are displaced in a shelter.

Make certain you have important documents in a waterproof bag and always keep them with you. It helps to plan for disasters when all family members are in different locations that your family frequents (office, daycare center, school, and any other locations you go to normally).

Summer hurricane season is right around the corner and it’s always best to plan and be prepared for the worst.

Mother Nature Damages Businesses

3/1/2022 (Permalink)

The National Centers for Environmental Information  have reported last summer’s storms to have caused billions of dollars in damage. Strong winds, hail, and hurricanes caused most of this damage, and evidence shows we can expect the power and duration to increase, due to global warming.

Storm damages: Destruction from storms is common and an extremely devastating cause of commercial property damage. Powerful storms could cause power outages, break windows, knock down trees, damage inventory or equipment, roofs can be blown off, causing structural damage to an entire building. There is also lighting damages to add to the long list of unexpected havoc from storm damage. All of these weather-related factors range from mild to severe no matter the time of year, but, are especially prevalent during the summer months.

Fire damages: The heat from a lighting strike to your building or nearby area can cause a fire. A single spark between walls or in other places not visible to the naked eye. The ruin that fires cause is quite a particularly challenging type of property damage for any commercial business to sustain. If a fire cannot be controlled and extinguished swiftly, the entire building and all its contents can be at risk. An all-consuming fire can therefore be extremely devastating.

If you have any type of damages from storms or fires. You can always count on SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork to help you get your business back to normal operations quickly. "Like it never even happened."

Spring Showers Bring...

2/23/2022 (Permalink)

Spring Showers bring May flowers...... and potential  damages to your home.

You should always inspect your home from top to bottom after heavy rain storms.

Roof inspection

Inspect your roof for missing shingles or missing nails from high winds or strong gusts. Even a missing nail can cause leaks.

Gutter Inspection

You should keep your gutters clean and clear from debris. Always direct water away from your foundation. Be sure that your downspouts and drains don’t have any clogs and are free flowing.

Siding Inspection

Depending on what material your home is made out of: brick & mortar, vinyl siding, wood, engineered wood, hardy board, stucco, stone veneer and/or metal; be sure to inspect seams and seals. Faulty seals are a sure way for water to enter your home and cause serious damage and possible mold growth.

Window Inspection 

Inspect windows for moisture buildup (fog) between the glass panes and check caulking inside and outside of windows. Inspect the weather stripping, as this too ages throughout the seasons. Replace as needed.

Basement or Crawlspace

Consider waterproofing your basement or crawlspace. If your basement or crawlspace is prone to flooding, consider purchasing a sump pump. If you already have one, please be sure to check it regularly to make certain it is in working good order. Also, consider putting down a moisture barrier. This is as simple as 6 ml plastic sheeting to help stop moisture from rising from the ground up.

These five steps could save you from certain disaster and keep your home safe from mother nature and her Spring time showers.

If you do have water damage or find a leaky pipe, be sure to call your plumber first. Then call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, to help you make it "Like it never even happened."

We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

$5 Could Save You Thousands

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

What if we told you that you could potentially save thousands of dollars and protect your home for less than the price of your favorite latte?

A simple faucet cover can be purchased at your local hardware store for around $5. This humble device could prevent a major headache. It’s generally made of Styrofoam, and it’s designed to insulate and cover outdoor faucets by retaining heat during cold winter nights.

When temperatures dip below freezing, we see a lot of broken or burst pipes causing water damage within and underneath homes. The water has no way to drain completely from the plumbing under your home and if they burst, they can often go undetected. This slow spraying of water can flood your crawlspace, saturate insulation, and damage the subfloor.

Sacrificing a latte is surely worth it considering the damage that can be done to your home!

Burst Pipes? Let Us Help

1/10/2022 (Permalink)

Colder temperatures are slowly creeping in the Dutch Fork area, as these numbers reach overnight lows below freezing you could experience bursting pipes. You may inspect your commercial property on a regular basis, but sometimes bursting pipes still occur. If you experience water damage, as the result of a damaged pipe, time is not on your side. You want to get it fixed quickly so that you can avoid as much damage as possible. Here are some tips to help you prepare for what’s ahead:

Do You Need a Professional?
As soon as you’ve noticed or located damage, you may want to call plumbing experts to fix the broken pipe. The representative who answers the phone will likely ask you a few questions to determine what kind of problem you have, and dispatch assistance.

Assessing the Damage

Bursting pipes are as critical as they sound. Water is likely spewing in all directions, soaking everything in its path. Once the water has been turned off, gather as much information as you safely can.

Contact Mitigation Experts

Contact your local SERVPRO Franchise. They’ll take your contact information and send a team to help you ASAP.

Water Extraction
If your preliminary report over the phone was accurate, it will likely match the professional assessment pretty closely. This means the technicians can get right to the water extraction. They pump the water out to halt its potential to cause secondary damage.

Surface Drying
It's not enough to just remove the standing water. Everything must be dried, or your building is likely to develop a mold problem. This is particularly probable if the leak has significantly raised the humidity of the area.

All of these things ideally happen within the first 24 hours; mold can start to grow in as little as a day. The sooner you call the problem with your bursting pipes in and get the repair process started, the better chance you have of avoiding secondary damage.

Call SERVPRO, you won't regret it!

12/7/2021 (Permalink)

If you’ve never experienced water, fire, or mold damage, you’re likely unsure of what to expect. Rest assured, you’re not alone! Most of our clients are dealing with similar issues for the very first time.

I’ve discovered damage to my home, now what?

Your next steps are dependent on the state of your home:

  1. Water pouring through your kitchen ceiling? Find your water shut-off valve ASAP, then call a plumber.
  2. The cookies you put in the oven baked a little too long… now your house is hazy? Try not to touch or smear any soot covered surfaces until cleaning professionals arrive.
  3. Mold is covering the wall of your basement? Don’t disturb or try to remove any affected material. Avoid the area if possible until professionals arrive.

 If you’re planning to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance:

  • Call or inquire online as soon as you are able
  • Keep record of the claim number, your policy number and any adjuster’s information provided – this helps us contact them in a timely manner

What will SERVPRO do for you?

  • Our 24/7 Emergency Service Responders are ready to respond when you need them most
  • SERVPRO team members will guide you through all phases of your loss:
    • What to expect from us – our drying or cleaning processes and any equipment we place in your home
    • What we need from you – signed paperwork, access to your home to monitor progress
    • How we’ll help you make your home “Like it never even happened.”
  • We’ll contact your insurance company regarding any issues, documentation and update them on the ongoing progress

At SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork we strive to make your experience as painless as possible. If you’re in need of Cleaning, Construction or Restoration services, call the pros!

National Preparedness Month: Week Three

9/8/2021 (Permalink)

In week three of National Preparedness Month the focus is on low and no cost prepping! These are fun and free ways to get your family involved in your emergency plans. It’s important for your entire household to be familiar with your disaster plan, the location of your emergency kit, and any evacuation tactics you may have set in place during your planning.

  1. Download or order your free preparedness products to help your family plan, and prepare for the next emergency: ready.gov/publications
  2. Practice drills! – children practice fire, tornado, and other safety drills in school, but what about at home? Talk with your family about what to do, how to get out and where to go.
  3. Create a communication plan – less than half of American families have one: ready.gov/publications
  4. Get the kids involved! – Create a scavenger hunt around the house for items that you already have that you can add to your disaster supply kit. Create a checklist using: ready.gov/kitand make a game of it.
  5. Educate yourself on the possible disasters and hazards that could affect your area, how to get emergency alerts, and where you would go if you and your family need to evacuate. In South Carolina, we likely don’t need to spend time preparing for a blizzard… ready.gov/be-informed.

Hurricane Harms State Park Home - Prosperity, SC

9/7/2021 (Permalink)

During what would become a series of severe storms, a tornado touched down in nearby Prosperity, SC. The South Carolina State Park Service reached out to us early the following morning because a tree had fallen on a residence inside the park. Trees on houses are common, but this instance became more frightening when we found out that the family was inside the home and close to the location of the fall when it happened.

After the tree was removed, we placed tarps over the roof and began to assess damages inside. Because there were heavy rains, a significant amount of water damage needed to be addressed.

The residents endured a scary night of events, and we're working to get this home dry and repaired. Stay tuned!

National Preparedness Month: Week Two

9/3/2021 (Permalink)

Week Two of National Emergency Preparedness Month

The second week of National Preparedness Month is dedicated to another crucial step to ensure your family or household is ready for an emergency or disastrous situation: Building an emergency kit. Putting together an Emergency Kit is simple and only takes a little planning. Some items to include:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day, for several days)
  • Food (at least a three-day supply of non-perishable items)
  • Battery or hand-crank powered radio with a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Flashlight & extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities – preventing additional water damage)
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
  • Medications (prescription & generic illness/ailments)
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes & creams
  • Pet food & water for pets
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Important documents – copies of insurance policies, ID Cards, Bank records
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Changes of clothes
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles, or other activities for children

https://www.ready.gov/kit 

National Preparedness Month: Week One

9/2/2021 (Permalink)

A cartoon family gathers around a piece of paper, a flashlight and first aid kit to plan their emergency prep plan Create a plan for your household to prepare for South Carolina Disasters

September is National Preparedness Month

This week we’re highlighting the importance of planning. The first step to ensuring you and your loved ones are prepared for any emergency that may arise in the South Carolina area, is to create a feasible plan. This plan should cover everything from being alerted to disaster, to financial recovery should it be necessary. Set aside time to run through various scenarios and create a list of items that your family/household cannot go without (water, non-perishable food, medications, and pet supplies). Include all family/household members in the planning process so everyone is familiar with the plan, in the event you’re not all together, everyone knows the same information.

Ready.gov put together a great resource to help guide you in your planning phase. Be sure to check it out!

https://www.ready.gov/plan

Invest In Your Investment!

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Studies show that a clean working environment can increase employee productivity, morale, and overall job satisfaction. If you’re a business owner or manager of any capacity, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the business remains successful as well as profitable.

Consider each employee an investment, because after all, they are a critical part in making the business operate. Keeping your investments, or employees, happy and healthy will drive the success of your establishment.

If you notice a trend of sickness or signs of illness becoming a common trend amongst employees, consider the environment they spend most of their day – your business. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork offers a variety of cleaning capabilities for your South Carolina business – from mold to facility disinfecting. Notice mold on the air registers in offices? Or spotting on ceiling tiles? Maybe a heavy accumulation of dust on the shelves of your warehouses and storage areas. We can help create a cleaner, healthier working environment to protect the people you’ve invested in.

Contact SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork today to discover the many ways we can help your South Carolina  business reach its’ fullest potential.

Protecting Ourselves During Fire Cleanup

8/27/2021 (Permalink)

Safety is always our #1 priority. We value our team members, they’re the driving force of SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork. When we’re cleaning fire and smoke damages in Chapin, Irmo and other areas of South Carolina, we take necessary precautions to ensure that our team members avoid injury.

OSHA provides a broad definition for personal protective equipment (PPE): “Personal protective equipment is worn to minimize exposure to a variety of hazards. Examples of PPE include such items as gloves, foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices (earplugs, muffs) hard hats, respirators and full body suits.” While we may not be seen wearing everything on the list, we use some form of PPE on every job.

When performing fire remediation in Chapin, Irmo and other parts of South Carolina, there are several hazardous materials that could have been burned or melted. Asbestos, chemicals, mold and even lead to name a few. These hazards and the guarantee of smoke and soot, require additional PPE:

  • Respirator/Face Mask
  • Gloves
  • Shoe/Feet Protection
  • Eye Protection
  • Headwear

Securing Your Home After A Fire

8/3/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is proud to offer emergency board-up services. If your home has experienced a fire, or other major damage causing it to be unsafe or unsecure; we’re happy to help. Secondary damage, caused by Fire Departments attempts to extinguish the flames can leave you with broken windows, missing doors or portions of walls that can allow unwanted guests to enter your home. After you’ve experienced a loss in your home or business, it’s important to protect what remains salvageable. We provide the materials and manpower to close off any access to the structure.

In addition to board-ups, we also provide roof tarping services. Allowing water or debris to enter the structure before it can be repaired can create costly, and sometimes extensive damage.  Covering exposed areas with a tarp is a temporary solution to protecting your valuable assets.

If your home or business is unsecured or exposed from a fire or water loss, give us a call!

Pack Outs? Easy!

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Worried about what happens to your belongings after a fire or water loss? Have no fear, our team of SERVPRO Heroes are at your service! We’ve got the manpower and resources to pack your contents (even the fragile ones) and move them either to a safe storage space or cleaned and restored while the restoration process is ongoing.

You’d Rather Pack Your Own Belongings?

No problem! We’ll provide you with boxes, tape, and all necessary packing materials; allowing you to box up the contents of your home. Our team will move the boxes to their destination and move them back into your home once the restoration process is complete.

We strive to make the restoration process as simple for you as we can. From communicating with your insurance company, to packing up your belongings…. We’re always Here to Help!

Buying A Home? Check That Chimney!

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

A home inspection does not always mean everything was inspected…. Sometimes inspectors overlook the chimney. When it comes to the safety of your home, and those in it, we feel like that is a critical oversight.

Chimney service companies can do much more than what you might remember from Mary Poppins! These folks can make repairs, add a chimney cap, and perform a complete inspection. They provide a thorough, professional evaluation and solutions to fix anything that might need it.

While a gas fireplace puts off less smoke, it still uses that chimney to disperse heat and smoke from the fire. Even though it is fueled differently than a wood-burning fire, it still requires a check-up.

When you are planning to purchase a home it is a fair request to ask that the chimney be professionally inspected.

Air Duct Cleaning

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

Air ducts are typically the number one reason for poor indoor air quality. You can’t see them, so they’re often forgotten about. Regular inspection and maintenance could help prolong their lifespan and improve your air!

Air ducts move most of the air throughout your home, bringing warm and cold air from the HVAC unit to various areas. While they’re moving this air they’re collecting dust, pollen, dirt and debris, odors and other contaminants. All the pet hair you find in corners, on your furniture and under the bed? Imagine what your air ducts must look like?!

By having your air ducts professionally cleaned you can:

  1. Increase the energy efficiency of your HVAC unit
  2. Reduce the potential for mold growth
  3. Eliminate offensive odors

For your free air duct cleaning estimate, give us a call at 803-749-0178

When The Smoke Clears....

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

Enduring a fire in your home or business is a traumatic experience no matter the size of the flames. After the fear, adrenaline and chaos have subsided you’re faced with the horrors of “what now?”

If you’re structure was not a complete loss, you’re facing smoke and soot damage, electrical hazards, displacement. Thankfully the United States Fire Administration compiled some helpful information:

  • SAFETY – Your #1 priority right now. For yourself, your loved ones, your pets and your home/business! The structure could be deemed unstable or hazardous because of the fire. Adhere strictly to the instructions provided from your local authorities and fire professionals.
  • MAKE THE CALL – Your insurance provider should be one of the first calls you make. They will be able to assist you through the entire process of restoring your home/business to pre-fire condition. You should also inform your mortgage company and/or property owner if that is not you.
  • GATHER – If you are given permission to enter the premises, collect and secure any important documents you may need. Social Security cards, Birth Certificates, Passports, and other forms of ID. Do not attempt to move or remove any damaged items as your insurance company will want to see them in their post-fire state.

Should you or a loved one experience a fire at your home or business, give the pros at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork a call! We’ll help you make it “Like it never even happened.”

Are You Hiring The Right People?

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC, is the organization that sets the globally recognized standards for our industry. This non-profit group works to publish materials, courses, and standards of best practices for those in the inspection, cleaning, restoration, and installation industries. They offer a variety of certifications that pertain to the restoration industry, among others. Each certification requires multiple hours of classroom style learning, followed by an exam.

Why Hire an IICRC Certified Firm?

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is an IICRC Certified Firm, and all our employees possess at least one IICRC Certification. By assigning well-trained, and qualified individuals to our projects, we’re able to provide peace of mind to customers. There’s no guess work when you’ve got proven facts backing the practices we put in place.

Along with certifying our staff, each member of our team is vetted with a thorough background check and required to wear a uniform. We feel this is important because of the nature of our work. We’re entering people’s homes, their businesses, we’re in the midst of their personal space and belongings. While we work, we want you to feel safe.

When disaster strikes on your property, call the IICRC Certified Professionals at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork (803) 749-0178.

Choosing The Correct Extension Cord

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

As we get further into the summer months we’re doing more outdoors. Cookouts, bouncy houses, inflatable waterslides, hanging patio lights – the usual summer fun! What do all of those activities have in common? The need for a power source! Before you hook that extension cord up, are you sure it’s the best one for the job?

Electrical fires are commonly started in overloaded power outlets. We pile as many plugs as possible into that one outlet, and when it surpasses its limitations can trip a breaker or cause a fire!

Know Your Limitations!

Determine how many amps are required for the item you want to power. Using that number, you should be able to determine if you need a light, medium or heavy-duty cord. There IS a difference in indoor vs. outdoor extension cords and they should not be used interchangeably.

Avoid Hazards

Keep any power source away from water. That means puddles, coolers that can leak, kiddie pools, etc. Water and electricity do not mix! Also avoid heavy traffic areas and driveways or places where cars might have to drive over any electric cords.

Take proper precautions, know your limitations and choose proper equipment to keep you and your home safe this summer!

Leaving Town? Turn Off That Water!

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

We recently received a call from a homeowner that returned from vacation to find their home in disarray. Ceilings had fallen, drywall crumbled, and most of their belongings were soaking wet! At some point during their trip, there was a plumbing issue that caused water to back up and flooded the inside of the home, causing major damage.

When we arrived on-site to start removing the standing water and non-salvageable materials, we were given the opportunity to share a teaching moment. Had this family been home, they likely could have avoided the extent of damage that they are now facing. We showed them the location of their water shut-off point or valve, which stops all water from flowing into the home. Turning off the water until a plumber can address your issues helps to minimize damage and keep the affected areas to a minimum. Saving yourself money and limiting the overall damage.

If you plan to leave your home unattended for longer than a few hours, even if it is just a weekend trip, we advise turning off the water to your home! Returning to a swimming pool in your living room is not what you want to come home to.

Cutting Costs Can Cost You!

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

We have received several calls from businesses, churches, and office buildings, especially during the pandemic, that have temporarily shut down only to return to a building with mold growth. It’s a scary sight! Mold produces an unpleasant odor and can cause health effects after prolonged periods of time. Before shutting the facility down temporarily, operations managers may attempt to reduce energy costs and turn off the HVAC system, electricity and more. But we know that sometimes cutting costs can cost you!

By turning off the HVAC system you are most certainly going to lower your energy bills, and for a building that is not being used, that may seem like a good financial decision. But turning off the HVAC system means there is no air circulating within those walls. It becomes stagnant, and in this South Carolina heat, it becomes quite humid. Warm, moist air creates the perfect growing environment for mold spores. The methods used to properly clean and eliminate future mold growth can become costly and cause an even bigger financial burden.

Consider turning the temperature up around 78 or higher, rather than turning the system off entirely.

Water Heater Burst? We Can Help!

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

Next to plumbing, water heaters are one of the most common sources of water damage in a home. They are not usually placed in highly visible areas, which makes forgetting about them and their maintenance, easy to do. A water heater can cause serious water damage, fast. They contain large amounts of water, but they are also connected to supply lines that fill rooms with water very quickly.

It’s important to maintain any system in your home, and much like your HVAC unit that gets a routine checkup or cleaning, do the same for your hot water source! While they do have a significant life span, it’s not the most wise choice to push it to its’ limits.

If you have discovered your water heater leaking, or walked into a puddle of water:

  1. Turn the Supply Off
    1. Locate the cold-water supply pipe, turn the valve clockwise until it is closed. This turns off the supply to the tank.
  2. Shut off Power
    1. An electric or gas heating element can stay heated long after the water has escaped the tank. Wasting energy and posing a fire hazard. Locate your breaker box and turn the power off completely.
  3. Cleanup
    1. Remove any undamaged furniture, rugs and salvageable belongings. They’re dry and you’d like for them to stay that way!
  4. Call SERVPRO!
    1. We’ll help you walk through an insurance claim, the mitigation process and any necessary repairs to make your home “Like it never even happened.”

The ULTIMATE Cleaning Product

3/10/2021 (Permalink)

Eco-Friendly, Non-Toxic, All-Natural, Bleach Free, Disinfecting – all of these are phrases you might see when you are shopping for cleaning products. But how do you know what is true or the “best” option? We’re not here to write reviews or provide a pros and cons list of the thousands of cleaning products currently on the market. But we do have a simple and cost-effective solution to help you in cleaning essentially every surface in your home! In fact, you probably already have it sitting on a shelf.

Distilled White Vinegar is one of the most versatile and cost-effective cleaning products you can find. While it does not contain a perfumy scent, it can easily cut through mildew, bacteria, and grime. It is safe for use on a wide variety of surfaces, and harm your children or pets. Not sold yet? We’ve listed a number of the ways you might use vinegar to clean your home!

Refrigerator: Spills or leaks inside your fridge? You don’t want chemicals where you store your food. Wipe up spills using a cloth dampened with equal parts vinegar and water.

Drains: Pour vinegar on a scrub brush small enough to get inside the disposal or drain grate. Sprinkle the brush with baking soda and scrub to remove built-up grime and odor causing bacteria.

Cutting Boards: spray the surface with 100% vinegar, then rinse to clean.

Microwave: remove those hard-to-clean microwave splatters by putting ½ cup vinegar and ½ cup water in a glass bowl. Microwave on high 2-3 minutes or until it begins to boil – wipe away buildup with ease!

Stained Plastic Containers: coat the container in vinegar, let it sit for a few minutes then wash as usual. If you find that you have tough tomato or high acidity food stains put 1 tsp of dish soap in the container, a folded paper towel and enough water to cover that paper towel. Place the lid back on the container and shake until the stains are gone!

Countertops: spray vinegar onto the surface and wipe it away with a warm, wet rag. However, you should avoid cleaning countertops with vinegar if you have granite or marble.

Toilet:  to clean a toilet with vinegar, pour about a cup of vinegar in the bowl and allow it to soak overnight. For tough jobs, empty the toilet water first. The next day, spread baking soda or borax in the bowl, scrub and flush!

Tub or sink drain: pour ½ cup distilled white vinegar around the closed drain and allow it to sit for several hours, penetrating any build up or soap scum. Scrub to remove, drain and rinse!

Shower:  Bring vinegar to a boil, then carefully use the warm vinegar to wipe down the shower door and walls. Keep them damp by wiping them down every couple of minutes for 30 minutes. Using a non-scratch sponge soaked in vinegar, sprinkle it with baking soda and scrub. Rinse with clean water to wash away soap scum, mold, water spots and germs!

Showerhead: Pour some white vinegar into a plastic bag, then using a rubber band or twist tie, secure it around the showerhead. The showerhead should be completely submerged in the vinegar. Leave the bag on overnight and remove before showering.

Tile: mix ½ cup white distilled vinegar with a gallon of warm water. Mop floors or scrub countertops with the solution and allow to air dry.

Mattress Disinfectant: mix distilled white, a little rubbing alcohol, and some tea tree oil in a spray bottle. Lightly spray on the mattress to help combat general odors, mildew and dust mites.

The list of uses for cleaning with Distilled Vinegar is virtually endless! Keep a bottle of 50/50 Vinegar and Water on hand for all of your quick clean-up needs.

Product Highlight: SERVPROxide

3/10/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Products are formulated at our labs with our specific needs in mind. Rather than sorting through the oversaturated market of chemicals and solutions, SERVPRO Industries created their own formulas to do the jobs all our franchises tackle daily. For example, SERVPROxide™ is one of the most used products amongst our franchises.

SERVPROxide™ is a stabilized chlorine-dioxide based antimicrobial agent, it is our primary hospital-grade disinfectant. This product is registered with the EPA, also carrying the EPA’s lowest rating of toxicity. It does not contain a fragrance, only a mild cleaning odor which dissipates quickly, this is a great product for those with sensitivities to smells and chemicals as well as asthma.

It can be applied using several methods:

  • Directly with a rag or towel
  • Misting
  • Spraying
  • Electrostatic Spraying

Electrostatic Spraying allows an even application across all surfaces within a home or business, making it our first choice for our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned services. In homes and businesses that have been affected by COVID-19 or suspect contamination, we use a combination of electrostatic spraying and a thorough wipe-down of all commonly touched surfaces with SERVPROxide™. The CDC recommends the usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar characteristics of COVID-19 like feline coronavirus, canine coronavirus, staphylococcus, E. Coli, salmonella, rotavirus and swine flu. SERVPROxide™ is proven to protect against all of them!

If you would like to have your home or business sanitized and disinfected give us a call – 803-749-0178

There's Water in My Home, What Do I Do?

2/22/2021 (Permalink)

One of the most common comments we hear from our customers, after we've wrapped up the water mitigation process, is usually something along the lines of "I've never been through this, I had no idea what to do!"

They're certainly not alone! Unless you've experienced something similar before, it's likely you're unsure of the proper steps to take. At SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork we have a team of professionals available 24/7 to help walk you through the process, start to finish. We'll even handle communication with your insurance agent!

We're here for you, every step of the way. Even if that means calming you down as water pours through your ceiling at 3am (it's happened before!) 

Your satisfaction is our top priority, and we strive to provide 5-star service to every person we come in contact with.

SERVPRO Storm Team Headed to Texas

2/22/2021 (Permalink)

The winter storm that recently hit Texas has left many without power, water and in need of emergency restoration services. Burst pipes, water heaters and leaks, have caused massive damage in the homes of residents unaccustomed to cold weather.

SERVPRO is a national franchise system which provides the opportunity for crews to travel and assist other areas. Currently, there are a number of franchises sending crews to Texas in order to help with the vast number of homeowners in need of our help.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this historic freeze, call 1-800-SERVPRO. Crews are responding as quickly as possible. Or follow this link to submit a claim:

https://SERVPRO.com/fnol?fbclid=IwAR3OEKb7vN9E_QRVZaL159AltZ4QdGlBtJGaCyzokxwnBGXtBzyM5mbkf_0 

SERVPRO is always, "Here to Help!"

Days of Rain, Carpet Cleaning Pain!

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

It seems like the rain hasn’t stopped over the past week, with no plans to dry out in the next few days, we know what that means…. muddy yards! If you have little ones or pets you know all too well the fear that comes from the sight or puddles forming in your yard. The carpet and flooring that you’ve spent your quarantine time deep cleaning, is now lacking its luster.

Fear not! We’ve put together a simple solution for removing those pesky mud stains, and it’s much simpler than you’d think! Don’t run to the store for a specialty product or “miracle” stain remover, everything you need is probably already in your cabinets.

You’re probably tempted to start cleaning that mud the moment you spot it, but, practice some patience and allow the spot to dry completely before you touch it. After it has dried, you’ll want to vacuum the area to remove all loose dirt. Next, you’ll want to spray the spot with a mixture of 50% water and 50% white vinegar (keep this handy as it’s a wonderful all-purpose cleaner). Using a white cloth or towel begin to blot up the 50/50 mixture you’ve sprayed on. Continue until all signs of the stain have disappeared.

We don’t recommend following the instructions given by popular blogs and DIY sources that suggest the use of mild dish soap or detergent. While they do clean effectively, if they are not thoroughly rinsed afterwards, a sticky residue is left behind. This residue, may be difficult to feel, attracts dirt particles like a magnet. The clean spot you once had will be quickly discolored.

Having trouble with a stain? Call our office, our Certified Carpet Cleaning Technicians have the tools and know-how to restore your carpets!

Water Damage Help When You Need It Most!

2/12/2021 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork we know that accidents don’t typically happen at “convenient” times. Water damage seems to be the king of occurring when homeowners are least prepared – the middle of the night, when you’re away on vacation, or even when you’re packing your things to move! We stand behind our promise of 24/7 service. See water in your bathroom floor in the middle of the night? Give us a call. We can walk you through what measures you can take to best protect your home and belongings.

We understand how stressful any type of disaster can be inside your home, with 20+ years under our belts, we’re proud to say we’ve helped many people through the same situation.

No matter the hour, give us a call at 803-749-0178 – we’re always Here To Help!

Spring Storm Prep

2/9/2021 (Permalink)

As Spring approaches its important to remember that a transition in seasons can bring unpredictable weather patterns. We typically see a fair amount of rain in the Midlands, SC, and this year should be no different. With rain and storms comes wind and water damage. We can’t control what happens outside of our homes, but there are steps we can take to prevent potential damage.

  • Clean up your yard - branches and limbs that hang over your home or other structures pose a hazard, remove dead or sickly trees that can easily fall during strong winds.
  • Free up drains – gutters, downspouts, French drains, etc. Anything that allows water to drain on your property, clean them out and ensure the area around them will allow for proper function.
  • Basements – many of us have them, especially our lake homes. Consider installing a sump pump, they even have models with alarms to alert you of unwanted moisture accumulating in your home.

If water damage does occur because of storms, be sure to call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork to assist. We’ll help you make it “Like it never even happened.”

Commercial Content Coverage

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

Most Commercial Insurance policies provide coverage for not only the building, but the building’s contents. In the event of fire, water, or mold damage, you certainly want to retain the monetary value in both the structure and the valuables you have inside!

Take time to review your policies, their limits, and any stipulations they may include. It’s also important to keep an accurate inventory on hand of anything of value within your business. The more information you can provide, the higher the chances of you recouping potential money lost.

As always, at SERVPRO we do our best to adhere to our “Repair vs. Replace” mentality. If we can fix, restore, or simply clean your items, rather than attempt to get them replaced, we will. This saves you money, keeping your insurance claim low, valuable time.

Is Your Shop Really Clean?

2/3/2021 (Permalink)

First impressions are crucial, I think we can all agree, especially when it comes to your business! If a new customer walks in your store or office, what are the first things they notice? Cleanliness? Smell? Visible dirt? All these things might deter a customer from returning or even making an initial purchase, not something you’d want as a business owner.

You can certainly dust, mop or light a candle on your own – but deep cleaning requires a little more effort & know-how. Did you know that SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork offers deep cleaning services? We can clean and sanitize your floors (carpet & hard flooring), clean your duct work – which can help to eliminate odors and provide a cleaner breathing environment. Commercial kitchens? No problem! We can degrease, clean, and sanitize most any surface!

Call for a quote for your business today!

The Fire Cleanup Process

2/1/2021 (Permalink)

Fire restoration is one of, if not the most, intricate forms of remediation we offer. There are several stages to ensure the structure is truly left “Like it never even happened.” We do our best to explain these steps to our customers from the moment we set foot on their property. Because there are so many stages in restoring a fire damaged property, these types of jobs take a significant amount of time. We work with insurance adjusters to ensure that every item that is deemed unsalvageable will be replaced for the property owner. The items that can be salvaged will be cleaned onsite, or in our warehouses using specially formulated products that gently remove soot and smoke residue.

While cleaning, we’re also removing the affected structural materials. That includes drywall, insulation, flooring, and any other burned items. What remains will also be cleaned with our SERVPRO products and equipment designed to remove smoke particles. Once cleaned, our reconstruction division begins working their magic – we rebuild, replace and restore the property to its pre-fire glory!

Building Relationships Pays Off

1/11/2021 (Permalink)

Our team was recently reminded of the importance of developing relationships with customers. Spending time with them to make sure they’re informed of what we’re doing, educated on why we’re doing certain procedures and overall happy with the outcome of their project.

We received a call from a previous customer, who is now the Operations Manager at a fairly large commercial building. We performed remediation services in his personal home, but his experience with our staff left a lasting impression! When his crews discovered a water leak affecting several offices, he immediately called us. We always promise a quick response time, but calling us directly often expedites that timeframe. We were able to extract water while an insurance claim was filed and provide the insurance company with timely updates. The quick-thinking of the Operations Manager prevented further damage from occurring – saving the company time and money!

If you’re responsible for the upkeep of a business or building, give us a call and allow us to help develop an Emergency Ready Plan to keep you one step ahead!

South Carolina Emergency Managment

12/21/2020 (Permalink)

Winter is upon us here in South Carolina (finally…) while we’re not likely to see snowfall in numbers like our friends up north, there are still winter weather precautions we should take! Ice, sleet and hail are the biggest concerns we have during winter weather months. These create driving hazards, safety hazards and can make getting the things we need quite difficult.

Preparing for winter weather starts with making yourself aware of changes and weather events to come. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division has created an app downloadable from the Apple App Store as well as Google Play Store. The SC Emergency Manager app and Severe Winter Weather Guide is designed for users to build their own emergency plans, keep tack of supplies and to stay connected to loved ones. The app also allows users to view open emergency shelters in the event one is needed. This app provides a long list of features designed specifically for the needs of South Carolina residents during all types of emergencies, a great asset to add to your app library!

Water Damage and Drywall

12/15/2020 (Permalink)

When water invades your home or business, our IICRC Certified Technicians carefully analyze all materials that have been affected by the water. With the help of a moisture meter, we’re able to take readings on floors, walls and ceilings to determine the level of moisture in that material. When we take a reading on drywall, and it is above the IICRC standard of “normal”, we have to find a way to dry it out. We’re able to create an opening for air to circulate from behind the wall and place air movers to push air along the front of the drywall. As an absolute last resort will we create what is called a flood cut, removing the drywall one to two feet from the floor.

Drywall or sheetrock is a very porous material and absorbs water much like a sponge – this makes it very tricky to dry properly. If not dried properly, the chances of mold are high – especially between walls where you’re unable to see it.

As mentioned before, flood cuts are a last resort in the mitigation process. They generate additional costs and prolong the length of time a customer is able to use the affected space. Fortunately for our franchise, we operate a reconstruction division and will never require you to hire an additional contractor to repair what we removed.

Where Are Your Water Shut-Off Valves?

12/3/2020 (Permalink)

The best time to locate your water shut-off valves? NOT when you’re experiencing water damage! Take some time and familiarize yourself with the location and function of these valves should you ever need to turn off the water in your home.

  1. Main Water Shut-Off Valve – typically found in the basement or an outside wall. This valve connects your water providers lines to your home. Remembering the location of this valve in the event of a water emergency, is vital.
  2. Behind Each Toilet – if you notice water leaking around your toilet or in the bathroom, look for a knob behind the toilet on the wall. Turn the valve in the direction shown to close it and restrict water from flowing to the toilet.
  3. At the Water Heater – each water heater is slightly different. Check out this video that provides instructions to properly turn-off the water supply https://bit.ly/36BbQdp
  4. Sink Shut-Off - locate the knob or lever beneath the sink where your pipes are located. Turn the knob clockwise or the lever to the off position.
  5. Street-Side Shut-Off – the underground box that connects your home to the water supply. This box will contain a meter as well as a point to turn the supply of water to your home, off. It does typically require a special tool that can be purchased at hardware stores. This option should be your last resort.

Insulating Your Pipes

12/1/2020 (Permalink)

As temperatures begin to drop, you’re bound to get notices of freeze warnings. In the Midlands area, it’s not common for us to see temperatures below freezing for more than a few hours at a time, but it’s best to act with caution when it comes to your home.

     Insulating water supply pipes in exposed areas of your home, is an easy and affordable way to limit the risk of water damage during colder months. Water supply pipes that are exposed to exterior walls, unheated spaces and inside cabinets, can freeze, burst and cause water damage to your home. In addition to reducing the risk of a frozen pipe, you’re able to cut down on your energy costs. Hot water pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures require more energy or power, to maintain their warm temperature.

     Pipe insulation does not have to be seasonal – in the summer time a cold-water supply that comes in contact with warmer air, creates condensation along the line. That condensation increases the humidity levels within the house and can also cause water damage. Some of the same practices used in the winter have proven beneficial all year-round.

                There are several methods that can be used when insulating pipes. The method you choose depends upon the end goal. Are you hoping to prevent frozen pipes? Lower water-heating costs? Or to prevent your pipes from sweating?

  • Prevent Frozen Pipes: you’ll want to focus on the pipes that run through unheated spaces. That includes exterior walls, unheated garages, floor cavities above crawl spaces, and unheated attics.
  • Lower Water-Heating Costs: you’ll want to focus on hot water pipes where accessible. Insulating the water lines that leave your hot water heater is a great place to start.
  • Prevent Pipe Sweating and Humidity: you’ll focus on the cold-water lines that are exposed in and around your home. Especially in basements.

Insulation Methods - There are so many to choose from, do your research on what works best for your home/region.

  • Pipe wrap
  • Foam pipe sleeves
  • Wall insulation
  • Faucet covers on outdoor spigots
  • Installing frost-proof outdoor spigots
  • Insulating gaps where pipes enter walls.

Sanitized for the Holidays

11/19/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Employee wipes a refrigerator with a disinfectant Call us today for a quote!

As the holiday season quickly approaches we've realized that our usual traditions might look a little different this year. The 2020 pandemic has caused stress on many of us, and not being able to see our families and loved ones is certainly not ideal.

If you are able to gather with friends and family, consider a whole-house sanitizing before your guests arrive, after they leave, or both!

Our technicians will wipe down all hard surfaces with a cleaning solution, and use a method we call "fogging" to disperse an EPA recommended disinfectant on every surface you and your guests will come in contact with. Provide peace of mind to your guests when you tell them your home is Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned! For your free quote, call (803) 749-0178

Church Shuts Down, Mold Arises

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

Earlier this year, one of our local Chapin, SC Churches made the decision to temporarily close their sanctuary for worship. They were still able to hold services virtually and outdoors, but their historically beautiful sanctuary was not seen by any member for several weeks. Because the HVAC system was turned off, we believe the air climate changed and allowed the growth of mold on several of the wooden pews. When the time came to re-open the sanctuary for the congregation, the mold was discovered. After a brief consultation our technicians set out to wipe down each pew with a SERVPRO Product that eliminates mold and prevents re-growth. Mold is not something we recommend cleaning on your own, it’s difficult to eliminate and if not treated properly can continue to grow, affecting an even larger area than before.

In such uncertain times, we know that the additional reassurance provided by our cleaning services helped many members in their decision to return to in-person worship.  

Emergency Preparedness Kits

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month! Throughout the month you’re likely to see a variety of ads that offer tips and advice becoming prepared should you and your family ever face any type of emergency. Ready.gov provides information on every type of emergency situation thinkable, and some you might not have thought about. There’s resources on assembling emergency plans, how to educate children on implementing these plans and how to prepare for survival.

One of their most visited sections provides suggestions on assembling an emergency kit. Following an emergency, you could be without power, food and water for hours, even days. By putting together an emergency kit, you’re lowering the chances your household will go without necessities.

Each kit can vary from home to home but these are their suggestions:

  • Water – one gallon per person, per day, for at least three days.
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlights
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle – to signal for help
  • Dust mask – to filter contaminated air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape – to create shelter
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties – for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers – to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone chargers and a backup battery
  • Prescription medications
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or travelers’ checks
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person

These are just examples of items you might include in a basic emergency kit, to see the full list of suggested items you can follow this link – Full List of Suggested Items

Columbia Business Owners Mean Clean!

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Midlands, SC area have been a roller coaster lately. We see gradual declines and then reports of increases as school starts and we venture out in public more often. One thing we know that has been consistent, is the number of business owners reaching out to us to learn more about our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program. We’ve developed numerous plans for businesses of all types to help them keep their staff and patrons safe! The Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned Program provides business owners as well as patrons peace of mind when they see our logo, and can tell that the space they’re in is genuinely clean. We use EPA Approved products and procedures to disinfect all highly touched surfaces and areas of concern. This process leaves behind no residue or strong chemical odor, making it ideal for any business setting.

Restaurants, retail stores and office buildings are high traffic facilities. This makes them a great candidate for our program! If you’d like a quote for a single sanitation service, or even to set up a regularly scheduled cleaning – call us and we’d be happy to go over, in detail, how we can be of assistance.

What Happens to Wet Drywall & Carpet?

8/21/2020 (Permalink)

Discovering water in unwanted places is never a good sight – especially when it’s inside your home. Your belongings are now at risk of becoming damaged, and some un-salvageable. When you discover water damage, time is not on your side. But the quicker you react, the better your chances of saving your valuable items from irreversible damage.

Back to the importance of time; some items are able to maintain their integrity when submerged for a short period of time, while others, like electronics, are likely beyond saving. Typically, when we arrive on-site a customer’s first question is “will we have to remove it all?” While we never have a 100% for certain answer regarding various materials, we have to evaluate what is affected, to what degree and then monitor the progress of drying.

Wet Drywall

If you live in the Midlands, SC area your home likely consists of drywall which makes up the walls and barriers of your home. Drywall is a porous material that absorbs water like a sponge, even more so than wood. When it becomes wet it may swell, crumble or sag. More importantly, it becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold growth. If we discover wet drywall, we begin drying it right away – this involves various techniques to access the back and sides with fast moving air to quickly reduce the level of moisture within the material.

If the drywall is misshapen, distorted or soft upon our arrival we plan to remove that area, not the entire wall, and replace it when the drying process is completed.

Wet Carpet

Carpet and rugs typically incur the most damage when water intrudes. The synthetic fibers that make up the flooring material absorb water, debris and any other contaminates that come with the water. Carpet can be salvaged depending on the source of the water. If storm water flows from outside your home, into your home, it’s likely carrying mud, rocks, etc. Our technicians are able to extract water, but mud is an entirely different obstacle.

If the water source is clean and your carpet or rugs got wet, we simply extract the water and then “float” the carpet. This process allows air to flow on both sides of the flooring to promote quick drying.

At SERVPRO we always take the “repair over replace” approach. If we can fix, dry or repair affected materials rather than require you to purchase new ones, we will!

Protecting Your Multi-Unit Property from Water Damage

8/21/2020 (Permalink)

Multi-family or Apartment Complex water damages are not uncommon and its not unusual for them to become costly at a very fast rate. Because these individual units share walls with others, if water begins to flow in one unit, it almost inevitably will make its way to another unit. Leaving multiple parties with water damage to resolve.

Best Practices for Preventing Water Damage in Apartment Complexes and Multi-family Residential Properties:

  1. Create a clear emergency response plan and share it with your tenants. Make revisions as needed and update tenants once a year. Tenants should know and understand how to respond quickly in any emergency.
  2. Check on units that are vacant once a week to detect any issues. Money and time can be saved if you’re able to discover broken or malfunctioning items before they become a major problem.
  3. Remind tenants what CAN and CANNOT be flushed down the toilet. Often multi-unit properties share plumbing and a backup in one, can cause a backup in others.
  4. Inspect buildings regularly and make necessary repairs immediately. Even a small leak can cause drastic damage if left unfixed.
  5. Mark all water supply shut off valves clearly and obviously. If a tenant does not have to call maintenance staff or management to find the location, less time is spent trying to locate the source that could reduce water damage.
  6. If units are equipped with a fire suppression system, ensure that tenants can identify where those lines are within walls. Additionally, provide a reminder that sprinkler heads should not have anything hanging from or near them. Avoiding an accidental discharge of this equipment is a favorable outcome.

Keep our phone number easily accessible in maintenance and leasing offices. We’re accessible 24/7 for any emergency. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork also offers Emergency Ready Plans – these plans outline the shutoff locations for all utilities on each unit or building. They also list all contact information for those involved should there ever be an emergency. These plans are free of charge and highly encouraged for building managers.

The Dangers of Phone Chargers

8/21/2020 (Permalink)

A bedroom is covered in soot and burnt after a fire A phone charger sparked this fire in a bedroom.

The majority of us sleep with our cell phone within arm’s reach, on our nightstand or tucked under our pillow. It’s become common to charge them overnight when they won’t be in use. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork has responded to a number of house fires caused by the device we use every day. While it’s not usually the device itself but the charger that starts the fires.

Exposed wires, poor quality manufacturing and the location of the charger are all likely sources of the flames. Chargers produces a large amount of energy, which is why the cord is surrounded by a protective material. Once that protective layer becomes compromised, the entire cord is subject to malfunction. We’ve seen children’s mattresses completely charred; entire houses crumbled to the ground amongst many devastating home fire situations.

  • Ensure that you purchase devices and chargers that have been quality tested in a laboratory setting.
  • Use only the battery and charging cord that is designed for your device.
  • A cheap price point usually means cheap manufacturing – do your research before looking for the best deal.
  • Never charge your phone under a pillow, on your bed or in direct sunlight.

Your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll make, don’t let a charger cord be what takes that away from you!

Fire Safety - Preparing Your Children

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

Holding regular conversation with your children regarding fire safety is a great learning tool for both you and those young minds! Discussing the dangers of fire, how they can start and what to avoid that might accidentally cause a fire, are all great starting points. In school, your children practice fire drills; they learn what to listen for, where to go and how to exit the building safely. Practicing a fire drill at home can become part of your regular routine to ensure your children know how to detect a fire, and most importantly, how to get out safely.

  • Test your fire alarms monthly to make sure the batteries have not gone bad. This also familiarizes your children with the high-pitched noise or beep it makes, alerting them to a fire.
  • Create an exit plan – draw a map of your home for each child from their bedroom that takes them to the closest exit.
  • If you live in a home with multiple stories, consider a fire ladder that hangs from a window to help you escape. Store it in a visible location, and let everyone know where it is.
  • Children often want to re-enter a home during a fire if they’ve left a prized possession, pet or other cherished item. Teach and remind them to “get out, stay out”. Only professional firefighters should enter a building that is on fire.
  • Check windows for proper function. A window that is painted shut or unable to open could limit the number of exits your family has.
  • Teach and practice STOP, DROP and ROLL if your children’s clothes were to catch on fire this method could save their lives.

Fire education can certainly be fun, but more importantly, can save the lives of your family members. Never assume anyone in your home will know what to do in the event of an emergency. Hold a family meeting and organize your thoughts together, that way everyone is on the same page with the plan.

For more helpful tips and ideas on emergency preparedness be sure to visit https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/emergency-preparedness-for-kids.html

We Stand Behind Our Promises

7/14/2020 (Permalink)

A green SERVPRO truck is parked in front of a three story office building Three stories of water damaged offices were no match for SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork

Faster to ANY disaster, 24/7.

It’s our motto, our tagline, how we sell our SERVPRO brand. But how do we live up to that? We believe our customers would happily testify that we hold up our end of that bargain. We recently responded to a commercial job; a call came in for an office building in a local business park. Roof repairs were being completed when a downpour of rain popped up. With clogged gutters and an inoperable drainage system, the water had nowhere to go but down… Leaving three floors of offices affected by a great deal of water.

We loaded up our trailers with every piece of equipment we could get our hands on and began the drying process. In instances like this, the faster we react, the greater our chances of preventing further damage to the space as well as contents of the areas affected. Offices buildings are home to electronics, furniture and sometimes sensitive documents. These contents are expensive to replace and critical to the employees that work there.

Our technicians are equipped with a plethora of skills – drying out wet spaces and structures is at the top of the list. SERVPRO has equipment to dry and restore documents, books, clothing/fabric and even furniture. Unfortunately, this will not be a quick process but the property management and employees can rest easy knowing they called the right people. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is equipped to handle any disaster, of any size, at any time.

Professional Cleaning of Fire Damage

7/9/2020 (Permalink)

No matter the size or magnitude, fire can affect your entire home or business. Flames, heat, soot and smoke travel quickly – we’ve seen a small stove fire in a downstairs kitchen result in soot residue in a third-floor bedroom. We always advise hiring a cleaning professional to examine and perform the work necessary following any fire.

Our SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork Fire team is certified by the IICRC in Fire Restoration. That means they understand how fire, smoke and soot residue travel, affect materials, and how they should be restored. Our team is careful to maneuver in a way that does not cause further damage to the home. Walking on contaminated areas can track soot residue into other rooms, creating additional cleaning that has to be done. You must also take precautions due to possible structure damage. Floors can become weakened and support beams brittle after a fire, your safety should be the #1 priority.  

The fire team at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is prepared to handle any fire job, the RIGHT way. We understand that being displaced by fire creates an immense amount of stress on homeowners as well as business owners, and we do our best to comfort, reassure and help them through the entire process. If you or someone you know has experienced a fire and is struggling to get back on their feet, please reach out to us, we’re connected with many organizations that help individuals get the assistance they need.

The Shocking Truth of Electrical Fires

7/9/2020 (Permalink)

An electrical outlet catches fire due to a faulty wire If your home or business has experienced an electrical fire, Call the pros at SERVPRO!

Did you know there are well over 25,000 electrical fires that occur each year in the United States? The damage that results from those fires can be detrimental to a business. Not only do the flames, heat and smoke diminish the structure, but the efforts made by firefighters to extinguish the fire often cause significant water damage. We know that all fires are preventable, especially electrical ones. As business owners you may wonder what proactive steps you might be able to take in order to avoid a costly and potentially fatal blow to your livelihood. The most effective solution we recommend is to regularly inspect any and all electrical sources. A licensed electrician can help check all electrical systems and determine if there are areas of concern.

Wiring – faulty wiring can mean many things, all of which are not good for your building or office. There are many signs that your wiring could potentially have issues – check out this site that names just a few https://electricalconnection.org/news/6-warning-signs-of-faulty-electrical-wiring-in-your-home-103

Cords and Plugs – electrical cords are one of the most common causes of electrical fires. Extension cords, outlets and plugs can become damaged over time and increase the chances of sparking which leads to fires. Regularly check the condition of all cords, look for fraying, exposed wires and bent plugs that, when plugged into a receptacle, become dangerous. Also make sure you’re using the correct extension cord or power strip for the device or appliance you have plugged in. Overloading either one of those can cause a surge in electricity and spark a fire.

Outlets – similar to extension cords, are designed to produce a predetermined amount of electricity. There are many devices that allow you to plug multiple cords into one outlet and if you’re not mindful, you can quickly overload that circuit. Check to see if you’re outlet faces are warm or visibly damaged. If using a power strip on an outlet, The United States Fire Administration recommends purchasing products equipped with internal overload protection. This feature forces the device to shut off it its power supply becomes overloaded, preventing a fire.

Space Heaters – should be carefully placed away from flammable material such as clothing, paper, fabric and electronics. The heat supplied by these appliances can melt items within a small radius.

A few minutes of your time, or a simple phone call to a professional, could save your business – studies show that 80% of businesses that experience a water or fire loss never reopen. Don’t let yours become one of them!

Why Choose SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork

7/2/2020 (Permalink)

If you’re in need of services that we provide it’s likely you’ve done your research on companies who also provide the same services in your area. When you’re not experiencing an emergency loss or cleanup, you have time to be selective. We encourage this type of due diligence from our customers! We want you to have more than just our word when we assure you that: we offer competitive pricing, our team of IICRC certified technicians will perform tasks correctly, and our knowledgeable office personnel will make the entire process simple for you by handling all matters with your insurance provider.

We strive to be the #1 Restoration and Cleanup company in the Nation! We achieve that by setting goals to achieve superior customer service, performance and results. Each morning our office meets to go over each customer’s file – where we are, what we’ve done, and what we’re going to do. This creates fluid communication between all divisions of our office.

Our phone lines are open 24/7, 365 days a year for whenever you may need us. We’d love to make your home or business “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Pit Safety

7/1/2020 (Permalink)

Since we’ve been spending significantly more time in our homes, the number of DIY and home improvement projects have been much higher than typical. If you’ve visited a home improvement or hardware store lately, it’s pretty evident what people are spending their time on. With the closing of restaurants, bars and places to hang out with friends our backyards have become a popular hangout spot. Maybe you purchased a new grill and have deemed yourself a BBQ Pitmaster, or built a new deck! But what’s better than a summer evening spent around a fire, cold beverage in hand and a comfy chair? Not much, in our opinion.

Fire pits are a simple and affordable addition to any backyard and can provide a variety of uses for your family and friends. Want to roast hotdogs or marshmallows? Host a socially distanced cocktail hour? Keep those pesky South Carolina mosquitoes away? Before you head off to the store to purchase one or if you’re brave enough to build it yourself – consider a few things:

Where Will You Place It?

After you determine whether you’ll be installing a permanent fire pit or purchasing a portable one, you’ll need to decide where it will go. Fire pits should always be placed at least ten feet from your home and any neighboring homes. You should also pay attention to any overhanging branches, fences, and other items that could potentially catch fire.

What Will You Place It On?

You’ll need a level surface made up of a fire pit safe surface. Brick, stone, gravel, concrete or some other fire-resistant composite material is your best bet. Ensure you have enough material surrounding the outside of the fire pit to extinguish any stray sparks or ash. NEVER place your fire pit on a wooden deck, inside of a garage or other enclosed area.

Safety Tips

It goes without saying that fire is dangerous, it must be closely monitored and those around it should take great precaution to avoid burns or serious injury. Some insurance companies require the disclosure of a fire pit as a requirement of your policy. Avoid loose fitting clothing around the fire as well as clothing made of flammable materials like nylon. If you have long hair, pull it back when starting the fire, especially if you’re using an accelerant like lighter fluid or gasoline.

Soft woods like cedar and pine have a tendency to spark and pop, avoiding them can reduce your risk of injury or fire spread. It’s also important to understand the proper way to extinguish your fire and dispose of the ashes. Never using anything other than water if you choose to extinguish with a liquid. A flammable liquid can create large bursts of flames.

Helping South Carolina Get Back to Business!

6/29/2020 (Permalink)

South Carolina businesses are beginning to re-open or have already opened their doors to customers. As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has continued to grow in our community, we’ve spoken with many business owners that want to know what they can do to keep their customers and staff safe. Our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program allows us to create plans of action for these business owners. We provide accurate information as well as a list of services that we offer to help keep their stores open and safe for all who enter. All products used by SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork are on the EPA’s List N – which describes products that are verified for use in sanitizing hard surfaces to eliminate bacteria present at the time of cleaning.

What We Can Do

We offer one-time proactive cleanings as well as regularly scheduled disinfecting to further reassure staff and employees that business owners are working diligently to keep their space sanitized. Once we are finished, we have a variety of decals, brochures and signs that can be placed on doors, tabletops and windows to inform the public that your space was sanitized.

We’d love to create a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned plan for your business!

Supporting The Chapin Community

6/26/2020 (Permalink)

technician in white suit cleans police car The Chapin Police Department now has sanitized patrol vehicles.

During the COVID-19 pandemic many people were given the option or opted to work from their homes rather than in their office. A number of businesses in our community were required to shut down, allowing their employees to also remain in their homes. Our local police department was not given that option, they continue to keep our community safe and respond to anyone that needs them. While they know they face the risk of potential exposure while being in public and interacting with people, they continue to serve our community. Our technicians spent the day sanitizing their vehicles, which they spend the majority of their days in, in order to help keep them safe and healthy. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork takes pride in our local community as do all of our neighbors; we want to support all of the men and women who risk their health to serve and protect others. If you or someone you know is in a position that places them at risk of exposure please give us a call, we’d love to help!

Hidden Leaks Cause Costly Damage

6/25/2020 (Permalink)

When's the last time you checked on your appliances?

We fill a glass with water from the refrigerator, unload the dishwasher or start loads of laundry in our washing machines - all daily tasks that we complete without much thought. Unlike our vehicles that are designed to indicate when something is wrong or at the end of its life span, our appliances have no blinking lights or error messages when it comes to leaks. Appliances that utilize water are connected to a supply source by hoses and pipes that are prone to leaks, breakage and cracks. Water damage caused by appliances can go unnoticed for months, even years before a homeowner sees the signs. By that point it’s too late to simply absorb the water with a towel – the water that has been sitting has likely seeped into the floor, walls or baseboards. Regular inspections are simple and critical to prevent your home from costly water damage.

Inspect These Appliances Often

  • Refrigerator
    • We rarely move our refrigerators, they’re heavy and cumbersome. The water lines that supply our refrigerator are usually make of soft plastic materials that fail easily. Checking for leaks beneath and behind the refrigerator as a part of your yearly home maintenance can help you detect an issue more quickly.
  • Dishwasher
    • A dishwasher’s supply lines are as leak prone as those used in a refrigerator, but they supply a larger amount of water and are generally hidden. Most insurance policies do not cover damage caused by older models, checking regularly could spare you a costly repair.
  • Hot Water Heater
    • An appliance that is typically hidden in a closet or garage, we often forget about this one! They hold anywhere from 20 to over 80 gallons of water at a time, and last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Their seals and pipes are certainly capable of failure before the end of the life span and should be checked for accumulations of moisture after and during their use.
  • Washing Machine
    • One of the most common calls we get involve the pesky supply or drain hose on washing machines. They’re flimsy, and usually attached with simple hardware that can come loose, crack or disintegrate. You should check the connection and overall condition of these hoses monthly and replace them every few years.
  • Air Conditioner
    • Each unit should have a drain as well as a safety switch that causes the unit to shutoff when excess moisture pools in the drain pan. If this drain were to malfunction, you’re going to see water appear in places you wish it hadn’t. Each unit and manufacturer are different so we recommend referring to the manual for service and inspection scheduling. A professional HVAC Technician will know what to look for and how it can be repaired.
  • Wine Chillers & Mini-Refrigerators
    • Much like dishwashers these appliances are generally hidden beneath a counter top or cabinet. Their supply lines are not visible and often isolated. Even though you cannot see them, it’s still important to check them as you would a larger refrigerator or kegerator.

IICRC Certified Franchise

6/19/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is an IICRC Certified Franchise. The IICRC or Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification determines the standards for the restoration industry. They also provide training and certifications to restoration company employees. Completing the course work and training programs through the IICRC allows us to proudly display the IICRC Certified Logo on our buildings, vehicles and website.

Each of our employees, including office staff, have obtained at least one IICRC Accreditation, but all of our staff are Certified Water Restoration Technicians. We take pride in our membership of this prestigious organization because we must uphold the following:

  • Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.
  • Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and completed all required tests.
  • Require a continuing education program to keep technicians current on all of the latest changes in our industry.
  • Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.
  • Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve any disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

Choosing an organization that requires proper training, education and guidance for their employees, ensures that each task will be performed in the correct manner. We strive to be the #1 Restoration and Cleaning company nationwide, and achieve that goal by placing top notch individuals on our team. For all of your water, fire and mold damage issues – call on the IICRC Certified staff at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork.

Reopening Safely

6/2/2020 (Permalink)

Two bottles of hand sanitizer spray set up at a sanitizing station at a local pool One of our sanitizing stations to help keep those hands clean!

A local neighborhood Homeowners Association contacted us regarding the reopening of their swimming pool. They were issued several DHEC guidelines they're required to follow, and they felt that regular cleaning and sanitation was one of the most important factors. With a little brainstorming we came up with the perfect solution! Not only will we be regularly disinfecting their pool furniture as well as commonly touched surfaces, we created a sanitation station for all who use the pool. Hand sanitizer spray as well as disinfectant solution to be used by neighbors after their use of pool furniture. Not only does this provide peace of mind to all pool-goers, but we're helping them create a safer and healthier environment for homeowners that spend some time in the sun! 

Basement Flooded? Check That Drain!

5/20/2020 (Permalink)

With the impressive amount of rain South Carolina has received recently, we’ve noticed an increase in flooded basements. The majority of those homeowners have linked the flooding to a clogged French Drain. During your increased time at home as of late, we’re sure you’ve done lots of cleaning – baseboards, blinds, closets you forgot you had… But have you checked on that drain that provides crucial water run-off control for your yard? If dirt and debris fill up the drain, water is unable to flow in and out. A clogged exterior drain causes water to backup and will not allow proper drainage in your yard, often forcing the water into your home. If there is a clog, you’ll need to be able to fix it, here are some steps you can take to do so:

  1. Locate an end of the French Drain: you’ll notice a hole in your yard where the drain ends and begins. If you’re unsure of its location, look to the highest point of the yard.
  2. Use a garden hose to run water through the drain: If you notice water backing up rather than flowing through, you’ve got a clog somewhere in the line.
  3. Use a pressure washer to remove the clog: Standing to the side of the drain, aim the nozzle at the bottom of the drain to force the clog out. Be sure to move the nozzle around all sides of the pipe to clean any remaining dirt or debris.
  4. Use a sewer snake on stubborn clogs: A snake can be purchased at most hardware stores and is essentially a long pipe you stick down the drain to reach the clog. Using gentle pressure, you can push the clog with the snake. If you feel that it has broken free or loosened, continue to use the pressure washer wand to push it all the way through your drainage system.

If you find yourself standing in water in your basement, be sure to call our 24/7 Response Team at 803-749-0178

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – a defensive cleaning program

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

Table tent signs describing the Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned program on top of a wooden table. Our defensive cleaning program gives your business a way forward by providing your employees and customers ongoing safety and assuredness.

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s: Consult, Clean, and Certify.

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – until life is back to normal in the communities we all call home.

Call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork today at (803)-749-0178 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.

* #1 Choice in cleanup & restoration based Commercial Attitude & Usage Tracking study. Polling 816 commercial business decision makers on first choice for future needs related to cleanup & restoration work. Study conducted by C&R Research: October 2019

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned means professionally trained SERVPRO franchises perform the requested cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection services according to proprietary SERVPRO protocols and recognized industry and CDC standards with EPA approved cleaning products to deliver a SERVPRO certified cleaning experience.  Each SERVPRO franchise is independently owned and operated.

Preventative Cleanings

4/8/2020 (Permalink)

Three technicians fully equipped with PPE prepare to sanitize an office building affected by COVID-19 Our technicians prepare to sanitize an office building affected by COVID-19

With the help of the CDC, World Health Organization and our SERVPRO Corporate Offices, we’ve been able to stay up-to-date on the latest news and discoveries regarding COVID-19. There are many unknowns surrounding this virus, questions we certainly don’t have all the answers to. What we do know is that preventative cleaning is one of the safest measures a homeowner or business owner can take right now. In addition to encouraging the washing of hands regularly, avoiding touching of faces and covering coughs and sneezes; preventative cleaning serves to do just what it says, prevent. By limiting the amounts of various bacteria and viral pathogens you encounter regularly, you may reduce your chances of contracting an illness.

Our technicians, equipped with personal protective equipment, or PPE, use EPA and CDC recommended cleaning agents to eliminate potential viruses and bacteria on hard surfaces, fabrics and commonly touched items. We use a fogger, that emits a mist into the air, distributing the cleaning agent evenly amongst all surfaces and contents within a confined area. A fairly quick process with little downtime, helps provide peace of mind and a higher sense of cleanliness for all occupants.  

We Are Cleaning Experts

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is Here to Help during this time of need

During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.

Specialized Training

We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.

The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:

  • Kitchen/Food Areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Schools/Classrooms
  • Offices
  • Retail Spaces
  • Water Fountains
  • Shelving/Racks
  • Sales Counters
  • Carpets and Rugs
  • Stair Handrails
  • Elevator Cars
  • Playground Equipment
  • Fitness Equipment

Specialized Products

The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.

Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning

If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of the Dutch Fork (803) 749-0178

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/guidance-prevent-spread.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fguidance-prevent-spread.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html

Coronavirus - What We Know, How We Can Help

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

As the media continues to cover the spread of Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19) we are seeing an increase in confirmed cases within our region. Our community's health and safety is our first priority, and we're offering our assistance in any way that we are able. SERVPRO Professionals are trained to adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards issued by the CDC and local authorities. We have the staff and product line available to clean, disinfect and sanitize non-porous surfaces in any facility. Our chemical cleaning agents are EPA-Certified, hospital-grade disinfectants that have demonstrated their effectiveness against viruses similar to Coronavirus on hard, non-porous surfaces.

There is not currently a product available that has been tested against this particular strain of the Coronavirus, making a 100% success rate of prevention or elimination difficult to confirm. 

Our technicians are able to perform proactive cleaning services, allowing owners and managers of facilities to take a proactive approach in preventing the spread of harmful germs. This includes disinfecting all hard, non-porous surfaces, flooring areas and the use of equipment to remove particles from the air. 

Once we are contacted regarding our services, a CDC generated protocol is created for us to follow. A proactive cleaning is proven only to clean, disinfect and sanitize a space at the current state it is in. Proactive cleaning will not prevent or protect the building from future contamination if an infected person was to enter or occupy said building.

We highly recommend employing a remediation company to perform proactive cleanings in spaces where multiple persons occupy or enter. Disinfecting these spaces reduces the amount of time a business might have to shut its doors due to fear of illness or personnel suffering from illnesses.

For a free estimate on proactive cleaning, call (803) 749-0178

WINTER IS COMING!!! Finally...

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

WINTER IS COMING!!!! A little late, but nonetheless temperatures are dropping and snow is beginning to fall in the upstate. Remember our simple tips for avoiding frozen water pipes? If not, here’s a refresher:

  1. Let a faucet drip overnight. It may create a slightly annoying noise, but far less of a headache than water in your home, we promise.
  2. Open the cabinet doors under sinks. This allows the warm air keeping you cozy to reach those pipes and water lines that might not be insulated.
  3. Check under your home! Water lines running under your home might leak undetected for days before you notice a puddle outside. If you see standing water or water flowing from the plumbing under your home, act quickly. Saving time will also save you money.
  4. Unclog your gutters. Allowing water to flow properly rather than build up and accumulate can prevent leaks in your roof, attic and siding.

If you experience water related issues during this freeze, call us at 803-749-0178. We’re available 24/7!

People Helping People

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, we emphasize daily the importance of connecting with our customers. Unfortunately, in our line of work we encounter people when they’re often under a lot of stress - a family that has experienced a fire in their home or water sitting in their basement with their prized possessions floating around. That makes us alter our approach when dealing with those who call on us. We understand that each person who calls our office has chosen us and instilled trust in our company to remediate the circumstances they’re facing. We also know that we must work diligently to maintain that level of trust, to reassure them and communicate with them every step of the way.

Our technicians can spend anywhere from a few hours to several months at a property working to make their home “Like it never even happened.” Spending any amount of time in someone’s personal space creates a unique connection. Our staff are encouraged to get to know the individuals they interact with on a personal level, to become more than just a logo they might recognize down the road. At the end of the day, we’re simply people helping people. We leave our franchise each day to assist those in our community that are in need. If you chose SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, don’t hesitate to hold a conversation with any of our staff about matters other than work being done for you! We truly care about each person we come in contact with and hope that is displayed by our actions.

Flood Water Rising? Call SERVPRO!

2/18/2020 (Permalink)

With heavy rains we typically see flooding on roads, in ditches and low-lying portions of terrain around us. If you live in a flood plain you’ve likely seen water rising at a frightening distance to your home. Water that comes from within your home or even rain that finds its way inside from a leak is treated differently than water flowing on the ground.

When storm water moves across the ground it can pick up a number of contaminants that you certainly don’t want in your home; manure, pesticides, chemical waste and hazardous garbage are all capable of being swept into your home by the water. While it may be tempting to pull that shop-vac out of your garage and get the water up yourself, we highly recommend thinking twice. If storm water has invaded your home it needs to be removed properly, that involves water extraction and then additional treatment of any materials it may have touched. Drywall that is left with excess moisture is a breeding ground for mold, add in bacteria from contaminants that may have been picked up and your home could become a true hazard. If flood waters are rising, call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork!

Water Damage? Who Do I Call First?!

2/12/2020 (Permalink)

Overflowing toilet, leaking hose, burst water pipe…. there’s water where it shouldn’t be! Who should you call? A plumber? A water damage restoration company? Your neighbor whose cousin’s, brother’s, uncle is a general contractor? The answer to all of these should be NO! You need the help of SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork! Not only can we stop the leak, we’ll fix the source of it. After that we’ll remove the unwanted water from your home and dry anything out that was affected, including your personal items. After the leak has been fixed and the drying process is complete, our reconstruction division will work with you to make your home look “Like it never even happened.”

Not only are we a water damage restoration company, we’re a licensed general contractor. We’ve developed great relationships with a network of local plumbers that are always happy to help our customers. We strive to be the leader in our industry and we put ourselves ahead by offering a start-to-finish restoration process to everyone we come in contact with.

Wasting time when experience a water loss is the last thing you want to do. While additional damage adds up, so can the cost of the price to fix it. By calling SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, we guarantee 24/7 service hours and an incredibly quick response time.

Windy Weather in the Midlands

2/7/2020 (Permalink)

A tree on the roof of a house This Columbia, SC home had a large tree fall on the roof. Unfortunately the homeowner had planned to have an arbor company remove it the next day.

Storms in our area can be pretty fierce. Lots of rain, wind and even hail. Homeowners as well as business owners become fearful of their property being damaged as a result of these storms. Wind can cause major damage to any building, especially those surrounded by trees. With wind speeds exceeding 10mph it's not uncommon for debris and other objects to blow against or fall down on a structure. While you cannot totally prevent your home or business from wind damage, there are steps you can take to help protect them.

Tree Care

The trees on your property, especially the larger ones, should be trimmed regularly. Loose or decaying limbs can easily fly off with high winds. Trees that are not trimmed are at a higher risk of falling due to these problems:

  • overcrowded branches
  • hanging limbs
  • decay
  • disease
  • leaning that occurs over time

Properly maintaining trees is proven to keep them healthier and less likely to break in a storm.

Eliminate Debris

Keeping your yard free of clutter and debris goes beyond an aesthetically pleasing curb appeal. Loose shingles can fly off, lawn decor can end up in your home and trash cans are notorious for rolling away. If you know a storm is approaching, double check that loose items, no matter how large or secured or stored somewhere they cannot cause damage.

Some property owners are hesitant to properly maintain trees and yards due to the cost. We assure you that cost is far less than what could be a home damaged by wind damage.

Ice Blasting - An Innovation in Mold Removal

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

Ice Blasting has quickly become one of the most widely used techniques in mold mitigation or removal. It allows technicians to properly eliminate and sanitize mold that covers various surfaces in a manner that is not only faster, but more cost effective. Prior to the use of dry ice blasting, the traditional method involved several laborers sanding and scraping mold covered surfaces by hand using tools that aren’t able to get in all of the crevices surrounding nails, screws and corners. Those areas would then be sprayed with a micro-biocide product to prevent the regrowth of mold. Using the dry ice blasting method increases the speed of mitigation by almost 70%! This means lower labor costs and a reduction in the time that occupants are displaced.

These machines use compressed air to propel dry ice pellets at a temperature of -110 degrees through a nozzle, using abrasion to remove and kill the mold on contact. The pellets evaporate and turn into carbon dioxide gas. There are no toxic chemicals involved and the risk of toxic dust hazard is eliminated. Dry ice does not interfere or damage any electrical wiring or components, so electricity can remain on during the process and there is no risk of damaging the items being cleaned.

SERVPRO of the Dutch Fork uses this method regularly in commercial as well as residential settings. We’d be happy to give you a quote for mold removal in your home or business.

Community Highlight: Chapin We Care Center

2/3/2020 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, we take pride in being a part of what some might consider to be a small town. Chapin, SC is home to a wonderful group of people and almost all of our franchise employees! Because this town is so near and dear to us, we find great value in giving back and lending a hand within our community. We wanted to highlight one of the many organizations in our area that works incredibly hard to help those in need.

Chapin We Care Center began in 1986 as a group of Chapin area churches working together to provide a food bank and assistance ministry for those in need of emergency help. It was based out of Chapin United Methodist Church and run by volunteers. As Chapin continued to grow, it was evident that the need of Chapin We Care was quickly outgrowing their space. In 2001 a new space was developed with the help of donations, fundraisers and working hands. Since then, Chapin We Care has received 501(c) 3 status, achieved The Angel Award from the South Carolina Secretary of State, and helped countless members of our community and surrounding areas.

What began as a means of providing food and meals for families and individuals has expanded to offer an extremely wide variety of services. Their food assistance program is supported by generous donations from churches, school groups, the postal service, scouting programs, businesses and civic organizations. Through a mix of donations, food drives and monetary contributions, they’re able to help feed thousands of people each year. In addition to food assistance they offer several clinics to assist neighbors in interview skills, resume writing and filing their taxes. Not to mention their medical assistance ministry, which helps provide medical care to anyone without insurance coverage! The list goes on and on.

The hardworking men and women that founded Chapin We Care Center have developed all of these programs because a community saw a need, and wanted one central location to provide for the needs of anyone that walked through the doors. It’s because of the members of our Chapin community that so many people are given assistance they might otherwise go without. Please consider donating in some way to this fantastic foundation; whether that be with your time volunteering, monetary gifts or food donations. They have numerous opportunities for volunteers and welcome groups! Visit their website for a more in-depth overview of all that they do and to find out the best way you can help! 

Smoke Damaged Contents Can Be Saved!

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

When we’re called in to help a homeowner that has experienced a fire related loss, we prepare to spend a generous amount of time at their property. Water and mold related jobs generally take a few days to a week to complete drying but, fire damage is a category of its own. In some instances, we face smoke, soot and water damage from the efforts taken by firefighters. As we assess the damage, we remain optimistic that the majority of contents within the structure can be cleaned and salvaged. Using SERVPRO products and training gained through Fire Restoration courses, we sort items and begin restoring. Often, we’re able to clean on-site and avoid incurring additional costs of packing and transporting items. Fabric items like clothing, bedding and furniture need to be cleaned off-site because of the processes and equipment necessary. We work with several textile restoration organizations that help us speed up this process and get your belongings back to you as quickly as possible. They’re able to remove visible smoke and soot as well as the pungent odor that fire often leaves behind. SERVPRO practices a “restore rather than replace” mentality which saves our customers money and preserves the memory of precious items.

Pet Stain Removal

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

A puppy resting on a blanket This is Mia! Sometimes Mia has accidents. Luckily her Mom works at SERVPRO and knows how to take care of them!

A large majority of the area rugs and carpet stains we’re asked to clean involve a pet accident. They’re an unfortunate fact of life when it comes to being a pet owner! At SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, we understand the frustration that can come with discovering a stain on your expensive rugs and carpeting. Our office typically has at least one canine companion on duty during the week so it’s safe to say we’re pet people.

Our staff has taken rigorous courses on stain removal of various types of fabric, in each course there is always a section covering the removal of pet stains because they’re so common amongst our customer base. Cleaning these stains doesn’t always require a professional, with a little bit of research and some elbow grease you can get rid of the marks your four-legged friends leave behind. Timing is everything when it comes to avoiding irreversible damage to fabrics; the faster you begin reversing the damage, the higher the chances of removing the stain completely.

It’s crucial that you identify the type of rug or carpet you’re cleaning before you begin. If you turn a rug over, there is usually a label the identifies what material it’s composed of, and often has cleaning instructions to make your task even easier! If your rug is deemed an “oriental” rug, or composed of wool, silk or cotton you should NEVER use these products: Folex, Resolve, Oxyclean, Simple Green, Woolite, salt, baking soda, or bleach. These products are not designed for use on these materials and can cause more damage than your pet already has.

Items You Will Need:

  • White/light colored terrycloth towels
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Small bowls & sponges
  • A soft brush
  • Hair dryer
  • An enzyme based cleaner
    • We recommend our SERVPRO brand Urine Treatment Solution 

Pick It Up

Remove any solids from the floor. If this is a urine stain, use a towel or paper towels and apply pressure until there is no longer any liquid being extracted from the surface. If a stain remains, or this is a urine stain, dampen the area with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and cold water.

Dampen the Area

Be sure to bend the fibers back and dampen the entire fiber, not just the top. This can be done by using your hand and pulling in one direction, dampening the area and repeating until the fiber is completely dampened. You never want to saturate the area.

Blot, Blot, Blot!

Using a cotton towel, blot, DO NOT RUB the stain until there is no longer transfer on the towel. Using a light-colored towel makes this easier because the stain is more visible.

Sandwich the Fibers

Place a towel underneath the stain and on the top of it. If you’re working on carpet it may not be possible to place a towel underneath, be diligent about this step using just the top. Use your body weight and stand on the top towel to absorb as much moisture as possible. The “sandwich” method will assist in wicking away as much moisture as possible.

Dry the Stain

Using a hairdryer on a cool setting (be careful not to melt the fibers), dry and groom the nap of the fibers with the soft brush

Enzyme Mist

Some carpet cleaners and stain removers offer a fragrance that often covers the odor, which doesn’t eliminate the root of the problem. Using an enzyme based cleaner breaks down any lingering odor-causing bacteria. It’s important not to skip this step and invest in a quality solution, especially if pet accidents are a regular occurrence in your home.

Prop it Up

Don’t let the rug to lay flat on the floor after you’re done. Place an object under it to allow air to flow through both sides while it dries. If the stain is on carpet you should place a fan blowing on the cleaned area.

The Science Behind Pet Stain Removal

Pet urine is hot and acidic, it penetrates the fibers in the affected area. Most rug dyes are acid based, meaning the urine essentially re-dyes the fibers yellow and then begins to set. Stains can become permanent if not cleaned immediately.

Old pet stains (more than 7+ days) transition from acidic to strongly alkaline in their pH. Alkaline is the opposite of acidic, therefore this chemical imbalance begins to dissolve the rug dye and can lead to loss in color and what we call “bleeding”. Bleeding means the colors run into other areas, imagine a watercolor painting being held out in the rain. 

Carpet and rugs are expensive, but with the help of these guidelines we hope you’ll be able to prolong the life of them and protect your home from harmful bacteria. If you’re unsure on any of these steps, or would rather have our technicians take care of them, give us a call!

Restoring Your Property After A Fire

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Dutch Fork logo with flames For all of your fire remediation needs, call the pros!

When the First Responder vehicles depart, your home is likely to show signs of fire and smoke damage, with some degree of water damage from efforts made by firefighters to extinguish the flames. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork has a team of men and women with the specialized fire restoration training needed to make your home “Like it never even happened.”

Have Questions About Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Today 803-749-0178

Every fire damage is unique. The type of structure, contents inside and overall environment requires a specific plan of action, but our recommended general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the standard fire damage mitigation:

Step 1: Initial Contact

The clock starts when you call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our representative will ask a series of questions about what happened, the state of the home and the contents inside the home. This helps our team prepare to arrive with the proper equipment and resources.

Step 2: Inspection and Assessment

Our team will carefully walk the home in order to inspect and test several factors. The structural damage must be analyzed to predict repairs and any permits that will need to be applied for. The contents will be filed in an inventory log and separated into categories of salvageable and unsalvageable. This is determined by a set of regulated standards. This step is crucial in developing a plan of action to move forward. Moisture levels will be read throughout the home to determine where equipment is needed.

Step 3: Securing the Property

Fire typically damages the integrity of windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, we can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs. It’s important to keep unwanted humans and wildlife out of the home during this time.

Step 4: Water Mitigation and Dry-out

The water removal process begins the first day our crews arrive. Using extraction to remove the water from various materials allows us to place dehumidifiers and air movers to dry out any residual moisture. If this is not done quickly, the possibility of mold growth is likely.

Step 5: Smoke and Soot Removal

We will use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces. Our technicians have been trained to perform this task the correct way, without proper equipment and products, it is possible to spread the smoke and soot making surfaces unsalvageable.

Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing

We clean all salvageable items that the homeowner wishes to keep. This includes furniture, flooring, and fabric type items. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition and have contacts with specialist companies that can handle those we don’t have the ability to tackle. We’re able to remove the odor of smoke with the help of air-scrubbers and ozone machines. Smoke and soot particles infiltrate the pores of porous material which harbors odors that become difficult to mask.

Step 7: Restoration

The most important part of any of our processes ties back to our motto – “Like it never even happened.” We strive to leave each property we work on in the same condition and often better than it was before any damage occurred. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is a start-to-finish franchise with the ability to rebuild most anything. We work with property owners to discuss upgrades and what their insurance will cover as far as replacement before we begin any work.

Cleaning a Crusty Showerhead

1/8/2020 (Permalink)

Showerheads gather minerals and buildup overtime. They can start to look rather grungy after a few years, even months depending on the levels of pollution in your water. Hard water and minerals begin to form what looks like a barnacle, giving you an uneven or weak rate of water flow. Not only does it diminish the performance of the showerhead, it makes an unsightly addition to your bath or shower area.

We're not self-proclaimed plumbing experts, but, we do have an easy solution you can use without having to open your wallet! This quick and easy method can make your shower head look and act like new again in 6 super easy steps! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 zip tie
  • 1 plastic bag
  • Scissors

Eliminate showerhead stains and buildup with the following six steps:

  1. Fill the plastic bag with vinegar
  2. Loosely attach the zip tie to the showerhead
  3. Submerge the showerhead in the bag of vinegar, tightening the zip tie to the top of the bag
  4. Soak overnight
  5. Remove bag by cutting the zip tie with scissors
  6. Run water through the showerhead for three minutes

We're More Than Fire & Water Cleanup!

1/3/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is a franchise that wears many hats. Some days we’re working to mitigate water damage, other days we’re restoring a home and its contents that have been damaged by fire. There are even times when our crews are crawling under homes to test for mold! The list goes on and on, but the point being that each day is different here at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, and there aren’t many tasks we cannot complete.

 One of our lesser known services is commercial cleaning! We’re not talking emptying of trashcans and sweeping floors; this is a DEEP clean of any commercial space. We’ve worked on jobs ranging from commercial kitchens to religious buildings. When multiple people occupy a space for any given amount of time its guaranteed to become dirty. Add food, oils, cooking equipment or electronics into the mix and the amount of dirt can become amplified.

Our crews work quietly during hours of operation to cause as little disruption as possible and on several occasions, they’ve worked after business hours to limit interruption and avoid obstacles such as personal belongings and occupants. Whatever your schedule, we can make it work! If your commercial space is in need of odor removal, deep cleaning or just some sprucing we recommend giving the guys in the green trucks a call, you won’t be disappointed!

Candle Burning Safety

1/2/2020 (Permalink)

Who doesn’t love candles? They’re an easy way to make a space smell better, cozy up your living room or allow you to relax when soaking in the tub. There are so many scents, colors and even some that crackle like real wood while they burn.

With a flame so small it’s not hard to neglect the fact that they are a hazard in enclosed spaces. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 8,700 residential fires are caused by candles each year. Close to one-third of them begin in bedrooms where people have fallen asleep.

While some of these fire stem from the neglect of an open flame, they also begin with poor placement and accidental bumping/knocking over. The National Fire Protection Association provides a wealth of knowledge in fire prevention and best safety practices.

  • Candles should never be used as a night light, the risk of falling asleep with an open flame more likely when tired.
  • Keep candles in an open area – at least 1 foot from anything flammable (fabric, aerosol, electrical outlets).
  • Keep hair, clothing, and blankets away from flames.
  • Never touch or move a lit candle.
  • If oxygen is being used in the home an open flame of any sort should not be used.
  • Before burning, always trim the wick to ¼ inch. Long or crooked wicks can cause sparks, drips and flares.
  • Avoid burning candles all the way down, especially if they are not contained in a glass jar.

Fires are devastating, your home and all of its contents could be consumed in a matter of minutes. Take a few extra minutes to ensure you’re taking all necessary safety precautions before you ignite your favorite scent!

Traveling During Winter Holidays? Take Caution!

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Whether you're going down the road this holiday season, or across the country, traveling in winter weather can be a tricky task. AAA provided some simple solutions to avoiding a motor vehicle mishap.

  1. Accelerate and decelerate slowly
    • avoid skids and take time to slow down for a stoplight on icy roads.
  2. Properly position feet on pedals
    • keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  3. Don't stop if you can avoid it
    • if you can, slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes. Always stop at stop signs or signal lights when required.
  4. Uphill Driving
    • applying extra acceleration on snow-covered roads can cause your wheels to spin. Try to obtain extra speed before reaching the hill and let inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the top, reduce speed and proceed downhill slowly.
  5. Safe Following Distances
    • normal driving conditions suggest a 3-4 second car spacing. When driving in snow or icy conditions increase that to 8-10 seconds. Doing so allows you time to stop and avoid collisions should you need to.

Health and Safety: Top Concerns of Water Damage

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

Preparation is key in responding to water damage. If you’ve ever called a restoration company about water damage mitigation, you’ll remember that a number of questions were asked over the phone. Those questions are designed to better prepare crews and technicians for the scene they’re walking into. They must make sure they have any necessary safety equipment that would be required for them to do their jobs properly. You’ll also be asked in detail about the source of the water damage or where it originated from. Water is broken down into three categories of contamination in our industry. Each one must be handled slightly different than the others and requires varying degrees of safety equipment.

Category 1 – Water that originates from a sanitary source and does not pose substantial harm to humans. Some examples of Category 1 water could be: broken/leaking water supply lines, tub or sink overflows with no contaminants, appliance malfunctions involving water supply lines, melting ice or snow, falling rainwater, broken toilet tanks and toilet bowls that do not contain contaminants or additives. However, once clean water leaves its exit point, it is possible that it can become contaminated by contacting other surfaces or materials such as: building materials, systems and contents or soils. Wearing gloves and/or rubber shoes is advised when cleaning category 1 water.

Category 2 – Water that contains a significant level of contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans. This category can contain potentially unsafe levels of microorganisms or nutrients for microorganisms, organic or inorganic matter. This could include: discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, overflows from washing machines, overflows from toilet bowls, broken aquariums and punctured water beds. It is important to take moderate safety precautions when handling water of this nature. Gloves and rubber shoes as well as eye protection and in some cases full body coverage is necessary.

Category 3 – Water that is highly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Elderly persons, those under age two and anyone that has a compromised immune system, respiratory problems or allergies should not occupy the job site until the building is safe. Examples of category 3 water include: sewage, all forms of sea water, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams, and other contaminated water entering or affecting indoor spaces. Most organizations require that any personnel that encounters this category of water use proper protective equipment to include: splash goggles, rubber gloves, boots, coveralls and a respirator.

Water damage remediation is not a DIY project, trained professionals are the only ones who should attempt to dry out or remove affected materials following a water loss. Failure to do so can result in the growth of mold as well as numerous other harmful organisms. If you’ve experienced water damage in your home or business, call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork!

6 Tips to Prevent Water Damage This Winter

12/9/2019 (Permalink)

As temperatures fall to their lowest this time of year it’s important that we make homeowners and business owners in the Dutch Fork area aware of the dangers that winter poses on your home or office. We layer on clothing and break out our thick socks but have you taken precautions to be sure that your homes and offices will not be affected by the chill in the air?

A recent study performed by the Insurance Information institute stated that water damage accounts for almost half of all property damage claims. They found that 57% of homeowners who have experienced a water leak claim more than $5,000 on clean-up costs and around 15% spent $20,000 or more. These were all individuals with homeowners insurance policies that covered their claims. If you’re unsure what type of coverage you have involving water and storm damage, give your agent a call and discuss your policy before something happens!

We’ve developed a list of 6 simple ways to help protect your biggest asset:

  1. Install a water detection device – a minor water leak can cause massive amounts of damage if undetected. A small water supply line to an appliance has the ability to rack up thousands of dollars in damage because it goes unnoticed and spreads water over a vast area. A water detection device is a simple, easily installed device that can help detect moisture in areas you might not frequent. Installing one near water heaters, behind or under washing machines and around appliances that use water is a great way to detect water quickly and early on as to prevent further damage. Some models send alerts to your phone if moisture is detected or if there is an increase in the amount of water being used in your home.
  2. Turn off main water supply – if you’re leaving town or traveling, even for short periods of time, you can eliminate the possibility of returning to a flooded home. Not sure how to do this? Call your water company and they’ll walk you through the correct way to turn the water off at your residence.
  3. Check your water supply lines regularly – Just like an annual checkup at the doctor, your home deserves to be looked over regularly! Check water supply lines in your fridge, dishwasher, washing machine and any other appliance that may have a water supply flowing. Cracks, wear and tear and visible molding are indicators that they should be replaced. Most replacements can be picked up at your local hardware store and are far more inexpensive than cleaning up water damaged surfaces.
  4. Clean gutters and inspect your roof – leaves and debris tend to hold on to water and can cause stress on the structure of your roof. They can also clog your gutters and direct the flow of water down the side of your home/office or under the roof. Replace any damaged or missing shingles that might allow water to seep in.
  5. Protect your pipes – insulate accessible pipes with pipe insulation materials. Attics and crawl spaces that are accessible should be looked over to see if there are any exposed to the air. Purchase a spigot insulator for any water sources on the exterior of your home.
  6. Let a faucet drip – on nights when temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, turn a sink faucet on to allow water to lightly flow. This allows the water to move through the pipes in your home which lowers the risk of freezing. Keep cabinet or closet doors open to allow the warm air in your home to insulate the pipes under sinks and around water heaters.

Finding time to take these simple steps becomes much easier when you consider the damage and time it takes to restore your home following water damage. If you’ve experienced a water loss this winter be sure to call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork.

SERVPRO Storm Response Team

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know that each SERVPRO Franchise has the opportunity to leave their designated regions to assist in the event of a catastrophic storm? By joining the SERVPRO Storm Response Team, each participating franchise sends a crew to the affected areas to assist in high volume storm losses. The idea behind this operation is to reduce the amount of time homeowners and business owners are displaced or working/living in unsafe conditions. If residents of communities affected by catastrophic storms depended solely on the local mitigation services, it’s likely they would wait months even years to have their structures restored.

Working together as a Storm Response Team also allows multiple franchises to team up and accomplish jobs even faster. During Hurricane Florence our crews worked alongside multiple others to remove water and dry out an elementary school on the coast of North Carolina. Because of the teamwork structure set up by this program the school was completed in just three days! We’re proud members of this program and hope to continue to help those in need. The SERVPRO Storm Response Team is proud to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Spruce Up Your Business!

11/19/2019 (Permalink)

Most offices, stores and other businesses have a cleaning crew or janitorial staff. Some even utilize internal employees to complete daily cleaning tasks. But sometimes a daily sweeping and mopping isn’t as effective as we would like. A more thorough and time consuming clean is necessary for spaces with high traffic. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork not only helps you when you’re in need of fire, water or mold mitigation – we can bust dirt, dust and grime! Our technicians recently finished a four-phase cleaning regiment for an office building that surpasses 100,000 sq ft. They worked outside of the business operating hours to clean every surface in and around work spaces, lobbies, bathrooms and kitchen areas.

These areas don’t get dirty because of negligence, the janitorial staff is quite diligent! Because of the size of the building and the amount of work space, it’s often difficult to keep up with a small cleaning staff working on limited time. Our staff cleaned dust that could not be reached without special lifts, scrubbed cubicle walls and cleaned carpeted surfaces using portable extractors.

There is never a bad time to spruce up your office or business, with the holidays around the corner you want those shelves and displays looking their best!

For a free estimate on a deep clean call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork at 803-749-0178

Call SERVPRO - You'll Be Glad You Did!

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

When you place a call to SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork you can be sure to expect a few things: friendly service, a sense of understanding, and reassurance. We strive to maintain our reputation as the trusted leader in the restoration industry! No matter if you discovered our franchise during your own online search or at the recommendation of a friend or insurance agent, we pledge to deliver the most positive experience possible.

During your initial contact you’ll be asked a series of questions to paint a picture of the situation you see on your end of the phone. These questions give us a better idea of what our technicians will need to prepare for. That could mean special equipment, protective gear or paperwork. The stress of dealing with any type of loss in your home can take its toll on you, and we certainly don’t expect you to have all of the answers at that time. If you’re able to talk through the situation in your home we ask you the following:

  • Your name and address at which loss has occurred
  • The type of loss as well as the cause
  • When the loss occurred
  • Number of rooms or areas that were affected
  • If water and electricity are currently available in the property
  • Insurance claim number if a claim has been filed

We understand that answering a number of questions is challenging when your focus is on returning your home or business to its normal condition. Our representatives are ready to help walk you through step-by-step all the while reassuring you that calling SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork was the right decision!

If you're not always prepared, are you prepared at all?

9/4/2019 (Permalink)

A Storm warning sign Pay close attention to storm warnings - keep new channels on and weather apps up to date as they issue notifications for your area.

Even though we live a safe distance from the coast, there is a chance of a tropical storm or hurricane making its way to the Chapin, SC. In the event that a powerful storm does make it to the Midlands of South Carolina, the last thing you want to think about is where you put that box of batteries or whether you have enough food for you and your family. The SERVPRO family recommends preparing for situations that might leave you without power, water and even shelter. To prep for any situation and the aftermath review these top tips:

  1. Put Together an Emergency Kit

Evacuation orders can be issued at any time - If you’re required or even voluntarily choose to leave your home in a hurry, you'll want some necessities handy. Keep the following supplies, recommended by FEMA, in a portable container in the area of your house where you'll take shelter:

  • Three days' worth of food (nonperishable)
  • Water (at least a gallon per family member)
  • Battery powered (or hand crank) flashlights and radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Trash bags and duct tape, along with a dust mask
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Regional maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter, or solar charger
  • Moist towelettes and any personal sanitation or specific family needs, like pet supplies
  • Prescription medication along with some generics in case they’re needed

(For additional recommendations, be sure to check out ready.gov)

We also suggest having smaller versions of your kit stocked with a few necessities like walking shoes, snacks, and a flashlight at work. In general, you'll also need enough cash on hand for five days of basic needs (gas and food), but any amount of ready money will help if ATMs are down.

Once you have your supplies together, it pays to go through them at least once a year too, to weed out expired food and batteries.

  1. Make an Action Plan

When things get chaotic, you want to make sure that every family member knows what to do. We suggest designating two meeting places (one close by and one a little further away in your neighborhood) and hang a map with the spots marked near your emergency kit.

It also pays to have important contacts written down if the power goes out and there's nowhere to charge your cell phone. Make a mini contact list — ready.gov has templates you can print out — with important numbers that everyone can stow in their wallets. Leave a copy in your emergency kit, too. Establish a plan for checking in with relatives in case local lines get jammed. Text messages will often go through, even when phone lines are clogged.

  1. Prep Your Home

If the power goes out and you have time, unplug appliances and electronics and turn off air conditioners, whether you stay or go. This will prevent damage when the electricity surges back on. Leave one lamp on so you'll know when the power's back.

How you store food can also make a difference when it comes to salvaging items afterwards, according to the FSIS. If there's a chance of flooding, be sure to store dry goods in waterproof containers high enough that they will be safely out of the way of contaminated water.

Grouping food together in the freezer can help it stay colder longer in the case of a power outage. If you have advanced warning, freeze any items you don't need right away, like leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry to keep them at a safe temperature longer and stock your freezer with as much ice as you can fit. Coolers stocked with ice can also be helpful if the power is out for more than four hours.

Though you'll want to minimize the amount you open and close your refrigerator door once the power goes out, FSIS recommends keeping an appliance thermometer in your fridge and freezer to help you determine if food is safe to eat. The refrigerator temperature should be lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer temperature should be below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

After the Emergency

Coming home after a major disaster can be daunting. Call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork to help you in the event your home is affected. NEVER enter a home that has been struck by heavy debris or fallen trees.

Renting? Make Sure You're Covered.

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

Owning rental property can be a very lucrative investment. If you’re lucky you might even make a small fortune with very little effort. But rental properties can also drain you, physically and financially. Allowing tenants to rent your property for any period of time should be done with great caution. Contacting references, performing credit checks and verifying the identity of those applying and planning to live in your investments, are simple yet critical steps you should consider taking if you own and manage rental properties.

In your own home, if something goes wrong, you’re able to respond in the way that you see fit. Say a pipe bursts, you know (hopefully) where your main water shut-off valve is and you’re able to stop further damage from occurring. In rental properties this is not always the case. This brings us to the importance of INSURANCE! As an organization that works daily with insurance adjusters, agents and homeowners filing claims with their homeowners’ policies, we see both sides of the industry and we understand the frustration when finding out your coverage is not what you had hoped for.

Rental property insurance should be one of the most researched decisions you make in beginning your rental investment venture. If you’ve convinced yourself that nothing will go wrong, nothing will break and surely nobody will vandalize your property, think again. It will inevitably happen, and likely when you’re least prepared or unable to get to the home in time to help the tenants. Review your policy carefully with your agent to ensure that all aspects of the property have coverage, this may take some time but will surely save you a headache in the event of a disaster.

It would also be wise to promote or even require that your tenants have a renters insurance policy. This covers their personal belongings, in most policies. Young and inexperienced renters often assume that your insurance covers their furniture, electronics, etc. Sadly, this is not the case and they face hardship when trying to replace what might have been damaged in a fire, water or mold situation.

As always, if you do find yourself with water, fire, mold or vandalism in your rental property – give SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork a call (803) 749-0178

Protecting Your Business After A Fire

8/22/2019 (Permalink)

A burned warehouse wall This warehouse experienced a fire stemming from an ice machine. All contents, walls and ceilings were cleaned and burned materials removed.

If your Columbia, SC business has experienced a fire it’s likely that you’re unsure how to proceed.  The two most important steps of restoring any building that has experienced fire damage, no matter how large or small the fire, are:

  • Protecting the property
  • Cleaning affected areas/materials

First – Call Your Insurance Agent

One of the first calls you should make (after 911 of course) should be to your insurance agent. They can help you determine if you should file a claim or pay out of pocket for the steps necessary to restore your business. If the fire was small, let’s say a break room kitchen fire or something similar, you very well could be better off not filing a claim against your insurance. Your agent may also recommend a restoration service they know and trust to help you with the cleanup process while protecting your property from further harm.

Second – Contact a Restoration Service

Soot and smoke are extremely difficult to clean without the proper knowledge and equipment to do so. We always recommend calling a professional fire restoration service to handle this. SERVPRO of the Dutch Fork offers board-up services to secure your property and keep unwanted guests and animals out. We also offer tarping services if damage has occurred to the roof. This prevents water from gaining access to the space and causing further damage.

If water was used to extinguish the fire you may also be facing water damage, this requires a restoration company also. If the water damage is left untreated, you’ll likely be facing issues with mold down the road.

Has your business suffered fire damage? Call SERVPRO of the Dutch Fork, the trusted leader in the restoration industry for fire damage restoration.

Testing For Mold In Commercial Properties

8/21/2019 (Permalink)

As a business owner there are often times when you’d like to mutter four-letter words. Things go wrong, items get broken, money gets spent. One four-letter word we hope you never have to say, is MOLD! While fairly simple to prevent, it is often challenging to remove. Mold can cause a number of health issues to those who come in contact with it regularly. Some business owners can be shut down indefinitely if mold is discovered in their facilities.

Mold is not always green, fuzzy and highly visible. In fact, if it is visible, it’s very likely that the surface behind or under the location you’ve spotted it, is much worse. By calling SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork to come inspect your property you could be saving yourself thousands of dollars in lost revenue and repairs. We look for areas that have unusual moisture levels, soggy floors and improper ventilation. Since 1998 SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork has been blasting mold from crawl spaces, attics and every other surface brave enough to let it grow. Trusting our expertise can save you a few four-letter words.

When You Should Test For Mold:

  • If your building has experienced flooding, leaking or sewage back-up
  • If your building has a roof leak, areas that feel damp, or HVAC issues
  • If you have sported mold on any surface
  • If you are can smell foul or musty odors
  • Before you purchase, rent, or lease a commercial property
  • If you are planning to sell, renovate, or expand your commercial property

 Don't wait until it's too late. Call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork today! (803) 749-0178

While You Were Away....

8/19/2019 (Permalink)

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

Post-Fire Boardups

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

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!

7/11/2019 (Permalink)

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!

7/10/2019 (Permalink)

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

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

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!

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

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

7/9/2019 (Permalink)

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.

  • Remove Smoke Damage

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.

  • Get Rid of Mold & Mildew

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

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

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

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

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

Plumbing 101

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Duct Cleaning? Who Needs That?

5/20/2019 (Permalink)

Does it feel like your home has hidden dust magnets? Join the group of countless others who endure constant dusting, vacuuming and the costly replacement of air filters. Dust is not only unsightly, it could be the reason your allergies are aggravated, you experience a lack of energy and your energy bills are higher than they should be!

Dirt, bacteria, animal dander, mold, and a number of other containments are the what makes up dust particles. These particles circulate through your air ducts and can decrease the efficiency of your HVAC system by clogging air intakes. This causes it to work much harder than it should. By keeping these systems clean you allow the unit to run more efficiently – increasing the life span of your system and decreasing the amount of money you spend on energy.

Duct Cleaning Can:

  • Kill bacteria, fungi and mold
  • Reduce the chances of mold growth
  • Cut down energy costs
  • Eliminate odors in your home


The EPA’s website states: “In the last several years, a growing body of scientific evidence has indicated that the air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities. Other research indicates that people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. Thus, for many people, the risks to health may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.” Cleaning your ducts can sweep away years of dust and dirt, helping to reduce potential for damage and health risks.

In some circumstances, such as after a fire, smoke or suspected mold growth, duct cleaning becomes an essential part of the cleanup process. This includes certain odors as well. In these cases, SERVPRO can often restore the ductwork to pre-damage condition. It is also recommended that you have the ductwork cleaned after buying a home or after a renovation.  Just like carpet cleaning, having your ductwork cleaned should be part of your home maintenance routine. 

If you can’t remember the last time you had your ductwork cleaned, it’s time to call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork!

South Carolina Franchise Owners Meeting 2019

5/17/2019 (Permalink)

This week we had the pleasure of hosting the annual SERVPRO Owners Meeting for the state of South Carolina. We were joined by more than thirty SERVPRO Franchise Owners from various regions in South Carolina, as well as special guest speakers Brian Turpin (Kennett Square, PA) and Randy Williams (SERVPRO Lenoir, NC).

This meeting provides an opportunity for our corporate office to educate franchise owners on the changes that will be implemented in our day-to-day practices. This time also allows members in leadership roles to gain insight on tips and tricks that can improve their business.

These gatherings are a reminder that we should never become complacent in the workplace, there is always room for improvement in every aspect of business. We appreciate everyone who traveled to be there!

On A Budget? Our Top Budget Renovation Tips

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

DIY Projects are becoming increasingly popular - with so many shows, blogs and the endless supply of information that is the internet, who wouldn't want to try their hand at channeling their inner Joanna Gaines? If you find yourself in search of simple ways to update or improve the look of your home check out our list of budget friendly tips to achieve the look you want without breaking the bank. If you're in need of budget efficient inspiration check out this site for 100 Smart Home Remodeling Ideas.

  1. PLAN AHEAD
    • Don't run with the first idea you see. Do some research on costs, labor and material requirements and how it will affect the surrounding space. Once you get a clear idea of what is involved with each project, choose the one that best suits your budget and timeline.
  2. SHOP AROUND
    • If you're taking on a project that requires bringing in a contractor or other vendors be sure you get the best price from a company you trust.
    • Take your time with this - Quotes don't always come in immediately.
    • Be reasonable - lowest prices does not always equate to the best quality
  3. BE THRIFTY
    • Browse several stores and shop online for the best deals. Be patient - using tip #1 - check clearance sections and scratch and dent aisles for inspiration for future projects.
    • Habitat for Humanity Restores can be a huge asset in home renovations. They have a variety of products at great discounts, plus you're helping a generous cause!
  4. CLEAN UP
    • You can make a tremendous impact on a space just by picking up clutter, organizing and eliminating items you no longer use will open up your space and give you a better perspective on the area you hope to improve.
  5. CREATE A BUDGET & STICK WITH IT
    • A $100 project can multiply quickly. Decide what you want to do, how much you're willing to spend and execute it. If you come up with ideas along the way, make a list and plan to do finish them at a later date. Renovating can become stressful the more you pile on yourself.
  6. DO IT YOURSELF!
    • There are videos and blogs for almost everything now. Most big name hardware stores offer classes for simple things too! Educate yourself and try your hand at small jobs! Always call in a professional for things you're unsure of, and beware of damaging the integrity of your home. If you're not a licensed electrician or plumber, don't pretend to be. 

Are You Covered?

2/19/2019 (Permalink)

If your home fell victim to a major flood or storm tomorrow, would your insurance cover all of the costs incurred from the damages? Homeowners insurance may help cover certain causes of storm damage, including wind, hail and lightning. However, damage caused by flood and catastrophic storms are typically not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. It's important to read your policy to learn what types of storm damage may or may not be covered.

When purchasing a new home policy or when evaluating your current policy it is important to consider the geographic location, weather patterns and flood risk assessments of the area your home or office are located in. You might perceive additional coverage as an unnecessary or excessive cost, but consider the cost to rebuild or repair damage out of pocket. SERVPRO bases its pricing off national average or market rates, you’ll be thankful you spent the extra funds on these types of coverages rather than having to pay out of pocket in a time where your stress levels are at their highest.

Steps to Take Following Storm Damage

2/18/2019 (Permalink)

Storm damage can occur at any time and can cause an immense amount of harm to your home. Heavy rains can cause flooding and powerful winds can cause roof damage and downed trees on your property. Some post-storm damage can create safety and health hazards as well, so having a strategy to deal with damage will help you to be ready to take steps immediately after the storm.

Take Safety Precautions

Heavy winds and rain can create structural hazards like  collapsed roofing material, window damage, collapsed walls or standing water in the basement or home interior. In addition, moisture can soak into furniture, carpeting, and building materials making the perfect environment for mold growth that can cause health issues. Shut off the main gas line if you smell gas. Beware of broken glass, exposed nails, and other sharp objects on the property. Contact SERVPRO immediately to help secure your property and protect it from further water damage. If necessary, arrange for an alternative place for you and your family to live while your property is being restored to safe living condition.

Photograph the Damage

If it is safe to move around your property, use your cellphone or a camera to photograph the damage so that you will have a record for your insurance company. This action will ensure that you are fully compensated.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance agent to notify them about the damage to your home immediately. The company will send out an adjustor to determine the extent of the damage so that payment for repairs can be made.

Look Into Federal Disaster Assistance

The federal government may have declared the area affected by the storm as a disaster area that is eligible for low-cost loans to help restore your property to normal. You will be required to file documents to receive these loans.

When a storm-related disaster strikes, it may seem overwhelming, but these steps can help you to begin the process of restoring your home, and your life, to normal. At SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork, we provide 24-hour emergency disaster service. We specialize in the stabilization and restoration of homes and businesses that have suffered small or large loss from water, flood, wind, storm, fire and smoke disasters. 

Storms in Columbia? No Problem!

2/14/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork excels in storm and flood damage restoration. Our crews are highly trained and we use specialized equipment to restore your property to its pre-storm condition.

Faster Response

Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quicker with the right resources, which is extremely important. A fast response limits further damage and reduces restoration costs.

Resources to Handle Floods and Storms

When storms hit your Irmo/Chapin property, we can scale our resources to handle a large storm or flooding disaster. We have access to equipment and personnel from a network of 1,650 franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Teams that are strategically located throughout the United States.

Have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today 803-749-0178

Our Certified Staff

2/14/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: 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.

Don't Let Water Damage Drown Your Columbia Business

2/13/2019 (Permalink)

This store has standing water surrounding valuable merchandise.

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. We're happy to work around your busy schedule to stay out of the way and get operation up and running as quick as we can.

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.

If your store or office has experienced water damage, call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork 803-749-0178

What To Do After a Structure Fire in Chapin

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

If you've found yourself the victim of a structure fire, be it your home or office, it's quite likely that you're unsure of what your next steps should be. The following tidbits of information may be able to assist you in reducing the amount of additional damage and increase your chances of a successful restoration.

Do:

  1. Limit the amount of foot traffic within the property. Soot particles can be spread to unaffected areas and embed themselves into carpet and furniture fibers.
  2. Keep your hands clean. Transferring soot and other fire-related substances can further soil the walls, upholstery, woodwork, etc.
  3. Electricity is often turned off, empty refrigerators/freezers. Prevent food from perishing and open the doors after cleaning them out to prevent odors.
  4. Cover air registers with cheesecloth, and double layer the tape. Or any similar fabric that will keep soot particles out of the HVAC system.
  5. If your electricity is off, your heating system will not operate. In the winter, pour antifreeze designed for RV's and Campers in your sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and bathtubs to "winterize" your home and keep pipes from freezing.

Don't:

  1. Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces.
  2. Shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
  3. Clean any electrical items. Appliances, TV's, game consoles or cleaning devices that were close to the fire or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  4. Use or consume any canned or packaged food or beverage that may have been near the fire, heat or water. Varying conditions can alter the integrity of food items.
  5. Turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet, wiring can be damaged by the water.
  6. Send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may cause smoke odor to set in.

Fire Extinguishers - What You Need To Know

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

If you were given five seconds to answer the following questions, could you?

  1. Where are the fire extinguishers in your home or office?
  2. How do you operate those fire extinguishers?
  3. What type of extinguisher(s) are they?

In the event of a fire you’ll need to know the answers to all of these questions and you’ll need to know them FAST. Fires can consume a building in a matter of minutes, the faster you’re able to create a plan and react, the better.

The Fire Triangle, which is technically a tetrahedron because it has four elements, explains what is necessary for a fire to exist. A fire needs oxygen to sustain combustion, heat to raise the material to its ignition temperature, fuel to support the combustion and a chemical reaction between these three elements to sustain itself. Removing any one of the four elements will extinguish the fire.

Placement

A fire extinguisher should be placed on each level of your home or office building, and especially in places where fires are more likely to occur, like the kitchen and garage. They should be easily accessible and never covered or surrounded.

Types of Fires

We’ll start by classifying the different types of fires. The source or cause of the fire and its location determine what must be used to extinguish it.

CLASS A: contain ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper, cloth, rubber and many plastics.

CLASS B: are in flammable liquids like gasoline, petroleum greases, tars, oils, oil-based paints, solvents and alcohols. Class B fires also include flammable gases such as propane and butane. These do no include fires involving cooking oils and grease.

CLASS C: involve energized electrical equipment like computers, servers, motors, transformers and appliances. Remove the power and the Class C fire becomes a different class of fire.

CLASS D: are fires in combustible metals like magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, lithium, and potassium.

CLASS K: fires in cooking oils and greases such as animal and vegetable fats.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

Water and Foam: takes away the element of heat in the fire triangle. Foam agents also separate the oxygen from the other elements.

  • Water Extinguishers are for Class A only – they should not be used on Class B or C fires. The discharge steam could spread the flammable liquid in a Class B fire or could create a shock hazard on a Class C fire.

Carbon Dioxide: take away the oxygen element of the fire triangle and also by removing the heat with a very cold discharge.

  • Carbon dioxide can be used on Class B & C fires. They are usually ineffective on Class A fires.

Dry Chemical: extinguish the fire primarily by interrupting the chemical reaction of the fire triangle.

  • The most commonly used type of fire extinguisher is the multipurpose dry chemical because it is effective on Class A, B and C fires. This agent also works by creating a barrier between the oxygen element and the fuel element on Class A.

Wet Chemical:  a new agent that extinguishes the fire by removing the heat of the fire triangle and prevents re-ignition by creating a barrier between the oxygen and fuel elements.

  • Wet chemical extinguishers or Class K extinguishers were designed for modern, high efficiency deep fat fryers in commercial cooking operations.

Clean Agent: Halogenated or Clean Agent extinguishers include the halon agents as well as the newer less ozone depleting halocarbon agents. They extinguish the fire by interrupting the chemical reaction and/or removing heat from the fire triangle.

  • Clean agent extinguishers are effective on Class A, B and C fires.

Dry Powder: similar to dry chemical except they extinguish the fire by separating the fuel from the oxygen element or by removing the heat element of the fire triangle.

  • Dry Powder extinguishers are for Class D or combustible metals fires only

Water Mist: take away the heat element of the fire triangle. They are an alternative to the clean agent extinguishers where contamination is a concern.

  • Water mist extinguishers are primarily for Class A fires, although they are safe for use on Class C as well.

Use of A Fire Extinguisher

Remembering how to use any fire extinguisher is simple if you can remember the acronym P.A.S.S:

  • Pull the pin
  • Aim the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire from the recommended distance
  • Squeeze the operating lever to discharge the fire extinguishing agent
  • Sweep the nozzle or hose from side to side until the fire is out

Buying Guide

When purchasing a fire extinguisher, it is important to check the classification listed on the packaging. Manufacturers make it easier on consumers by labeling their products based on the type of fires they’re formulated to extinguish. Most home improvement stores carry products that carry Class A through Class C. Consider the types of materials within the are you're placing the extinguisher, in kitchens it is best practice to have one classified for grease fires as well as multi-purpose.

Are You Ready for Whatever Happens?

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

A smart phone displays the emergency ready app allowing you to access your disaster plan at anytime The SERVPRO ERP App can be downloaded to any smartphone or tablet for your convenience.

SERVPRO uses the term "disaster" to encompass water, fire, smoke, mold and storm damages of any size.

Did you know that 50% of businesses that suffer from any sort of disaster never recover? All the time, effort and money that have been dedicated to running a business can be completely wiped away in a matter of minutes. The only predictable thing about disasters is that they are simply unpredictable. Water and fire damages can occur without warning and allow very little time to react. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is here to help, at no cost to you!

Business Insurance policies help you cover damages but SERVPRO helps you react, recover and minimize the amount of downtime you may experience.

No One Plans on Disaster, But You Can Plan for It.

If you’re not prepared 100% of the time, how prepared can you be? One of the most important steps you can take for yourself and your business is to generate a plan ahead of time. SERVPRO offers a FREE program for business owners to help protect their livelihood. An Emergency Ready Profile or ERP helps you and your employees answer the important questions quickly should a disaster occur.

Pre-planning serves as an insurance policy, it gives stakeholders peace of mind when putting their livelihood in the hands of others. ERP’s are also proven to minimize the interruption time in a business because an immediate plan of action is already in existence.

Time is Not on Your Side

When you allow SERVPRO to prepare an Emergency Ready Profile you cut your response time down significantly. You’ll know what to do, who to call and what you can expect in advance – the key to all of this is timing. A timely mitigation minimizes the affects of water and fire damage allowing your property and business to be restored at an advanced rate with minimal downtime. The SERVPRO ERP addresses incident response and disaster recovery. You’ll receive a written copy as well as access to the entire plan in our Emergency Ready App.

Emergency Ready Profiles Include:

  • Employee and Emergency Contacts
    • Local police, fire and hospitals
    • Establishes primary internal contacts for purposes of employee safety and work authorization
  • Utility Contact and Shut Off Locations
    • Identifies local utility contact information
    • Provides a detailed description of utility shut-off locations
      • Photos of each location are taken and included for quick reference
    • Shut-off tags for gas and water are placed on each shut-off valve so that they may be easily recognized.
  • Primary Contact Information
    • The name, title, phone number and email address are identified for all primary contacts needed to begin cleanup and restoration:
      • Building Owner
      • Building Contact
      • Work Authorization Contact
      • Maintenance Contact
      • Risk or Property Manager
      • SERVPRO Franchise
      • Internet Provider
      • HVAC Contractor
      • Elevator Company
      • Flooring Company
      • Plumber
      • Electrician
  •  Property Overview Information
    • One-page snapshot of facility
    • Address, photo and directions to your location
    • Brief description of the facility:
      • Structural information and special instructions
      • Total square footage and square footage by floor
      • Type of flooring
      • Supplemental backup power
      • Hazardous material information

No Job Too Big or Too Small

A SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile has the ability to cover any establishment. Whether you have a 100-story city building or small storefront we’re ready to create a plan to protect what matters most to you. Give SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork a call today, we’re here to help.

Smoke Detectors - Your First Line of Defense

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Your home is one of your biggest investments, protect yourself and your family!

Think you don’t need a smoke detector? Think again!

Fires destroy numerous homes in Chapin and surrounding areas every year. One of the easiest ways you can prevent fire damage is early detection. Smoke detectors are inexpensive, easy to install and require very little maintenance. Properly maintained, they can keep your home and your family safe from harm.

There are many causes for house fires; faulty wiring, appliance mishaps, smoking, the list goes on and on. No matter the cause, fires are unpredictable and can be life shattering. Ensuring that your home has a functional smoke detector is one of the most important steps to reduce fire damage to your Chapin home. According to the South Carolina Fire Marshal, a smoke detector or alarm should be installed on the ceiling in every sleeping room, hallway and on every level of your home (this includes basements and attics).

The two most prominent types of smoke detectors are ionization and photoelectric.

Ionization: uses ions, or electrically charged particles that react to particles emitted in a fire, setting off the alarm. They are best at detecting fast-flaming fires that don’t emit much visible smoke. Most home fires are smoky and smoldering long before flames flare, ionization alarms are not as quick at detecting those. They can also be prone to nuisance alarms from cooking or steam, these should not be placed in the kitchen or bathrooms.

Photoelectric: contains a photo cell and a light beam that shines away from the cell. Once smoke enters the test chamber, some of the light becomes scattered by the smoke particles, which hits the cell and an alarm is triggered. They are best at detecting smoky and smoldering fires, which are most common in home fires. Dust or insects that enter the cell can cause false alarms so they should be cleaned occasionally.

There are several other types of smoke detectors and alarms, consider the conditions in which the device will be placed and the type of home you have before purchasing. If you’re unsure, pay a visit to your local Fire Station and they can guide you in the right direction!

After proper installation it is imperative that you maintain your devices by following these simple steps:

  1. Test the detector every month - we recommend the testing of smoke detectors at least once a month. This helps to determine if the battery is dead or if the alarm is working. To test the device, press the button until an audible alert tone sounds. 
  2. Replace the battery - If you find the battery is dead, we recommend you replace it. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on how to replace the batteries. Each alarm is different but should have a function that identifies if the battery is low. But, be doubly cautious and follow the wisdom of replacing the batteries when you reset your clocks for Daylight or Standard Time.
  3. Vacuum the detector  - After testing or replacing the batteries, we also recommend vacuuming the detector. This helps to remove any cobwebs, insects and dust build-up. Use a soft brush attachment for this process. 

Following these maintenance tips should cut losses and possibly save your family. If an emergency or mishap does occur from fire, water or mold problem, call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork 24/7 emergency line at (803) 749-0178.

Winter Weather Safety

12/21/2018 (Permalink)

The Dutch Fork, SC and surrounding areas don’t experience a great deal of winter weather, but when we do it seems that everyone shuts down. Well everyone but Walmart and Waffle House that is. The first Winter Weather Advisory alerts are delivered to our phones and emails, which we hesitantly believe. Rain begins to fall and the temperatures drop followed by a race to a grocery store that still has milk and bread in stock. All of this just for cold rain! This pattern creates some hesitation when it comes to taking winter weather seriously.

On the rare occasion that we do find ourselves in the midst of a blizzard or ice storm, we’re far from prepared. Driving on snow- or ice-covered roads in the Midlands is a challenge – we simply don’t get enough of it to adapt to such testy conditions. It’s not rare to see a number of cars lined up and down the side of the interstate after a winter weather event, abandoned or involved in collisions – with every tow company in the area busy from dusk til’ dawn you’re thankful it’s not you stranded on I-26.

But what if one of those vehicles IS you? Do you bundle up and trek through the snow and ice for help? What if you have small children or an elderly person with you at the time? You may be forced to remain in the vehicle until conditions clear or it is safe to drive. Keeping a “Winter Weather Kit” made up of the items below in your car is an effective way to ensure that you are prepared.

Mold: Think Before You Bleach

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

Household cleaning products are not designed to abate mold.

Scientific studies on mold are ongoing and at this time do not provide conclusive information on the potential effects on human health.  There are a few things that are certain though; it grows at a rapid rate, it can permanently damage your home and it can be harmful to your health as well as anything living in your home.

Mold Treatments

At the first site of mold you may be tempted to clean the area using bleach or a similar product advertised as a "mold killer". Before you purchase anything, be sure you read the back of the label - you'll find that such products are often misleading.

  1.  Bleach does kill mold, but not on all surfaces. Non-porous items like glass, tile, bathtubs and showers can be treated with bleach or similar products. While surfaces like drywall and hardwood will endure further damage from bleach
  2. Spraying bleach on porous surfaces actually increases the growth rate of mold spores because excess moisture is provided.
  3. Bleach only removes the color from mold when used on porous surfaces, the roots or hyphae continue to grow. 
  4. Chlorine bleach is extremely harmful to the integrity of surfaces. It breaks down the fibers of wood, which causes it to lose its strength. Metal almost immediately begins to corrode when combined with chlorine bleach.

Rather than potentially causing harm to yourself or your home, it is best to allow a professional to treat the affected areas in your home or business. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is equipped with trained technicians and antimicrobial agents that can contain, remove and begin the remediation process on your home or business. 

Are Your Floors A Breeding Ground?

12/10/2018 (Permalink)

A flooded basement, burst pipes, a leaky toilet, these are just a few of the things we see on a weekly basis. The quantity of water in a damaged area can vary from centimeters to feet, but they all have one thing in common, and that is the possibility of mold growth.

Waterproof Flooring? Think Again.

Often homeowners become frustrated when the flooring they purchased must be removed after a water loss. The term "waterproof" is a huge selling point for the flooring industry. While it is great for spills and pets, it does not fully protect you from water damage should one occur. The joints that form together to create a water-tight bond do not form that same bond with walls, doorways and transition strips. Water gains access at these weak points and seeps underneath to the sub-floor. Leaving an affected area untreated creates the perfect conditions for a mold breeding ground. Mold thrives in damp, humid areas where moisture is abundant.

Just because you can't see it, does not mean it's not there! Don't take a chance when you find water damage, call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork to protect your home or business. 

Disaster Relief Team

12/4/2018 (Permalink)

One of our SERVPRO Disaster Vehicles all the way from Chapin, SC

Ready For Any Disaster

SERVPRO prides itself on being faster to any size disaster - that includes major storms, tornadoes and hurricanes. SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is a part of the Disaster Relief Team, an initiative that allows us to mobilize our services and cover areas we would not normally service. Our equipment is designed to allow us the flexibility to be where our customers need us. 

Our Commitment to Storm Relief

Just hours after the worst of Florence passed, the technicians of SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork packed up one of our vehicles with a towable generator and our indirect fired heater to begin water damage restoration. 

Using all of our resources, SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork was able to serve the residents of Hampstead, NC.

Santa? We Know Him!!

11/20/2018 (Permalink)

Santa's home away from home stays pristine thanks to the professionals at SERVPRO!

The North Pole is always busy this time of year - there are toys to be made, reindeer to be fed and lists being checked twice! With a winter wonderland that works around the clock all season long, who has time to make sure all of those snowy footprints are kept outside?! Even the tiniest elf feet can create a super-sized mess, and it takes a special crew to handle such a jolly job. Mr. and Mrs. Claus trust the professionals at SERVPRO to keep the North Pole carpets in tip top shape throughout the year, but SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork has an even more special assignment! Santa flies to Columbiana Centre every day until Christmas to visit and take pictures with boys and girls in The Midlands of South Carolina. Santa selected SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork to make sure that his Winter Wonderland is just as clean as The North Pole. Our professionally trained technicians keep his carpets and comfy chair stain and odor free all season long!

Freshen Up For The Holidays

If you’re having guests over during the Holiday season, let SERVPRO relieve some of the stress and freshen up your home with clean floors and upholstery!  From carpet to tile, we can handle it all – you’ll be glad you called!

Extensive Clean-Out? Not A Problem!

11/16/2018 (Permalink)

This kitchen was in need of debris removal.

A home can become overwhelmingly cluttered for any number of reasons. Typically customers reach out to us on behalf of their loved ones in need of assistance. When we receive these types of calls we approach the situation with compassion and understanding because they are often sensitive ones. The services SERVPRO has the ability to offer, create the opportunity for a new beginning for some and represent a fresh start for the homeowner. We take pride in playing a part of this process.

During a recent extensive clean-out in Columbia, SC we were able to remove a large amount of debris, organize the homeowner’s belongings and thoroughly clean all living areas that were once uninhabitable. SERVPRO is equipped to handle all of your needs!

What Happens when you don't call SERVPRO

8/28/2018 (Permalink)

The inside of the pool house was consumed with mold. This caused considerably more damage than the original water leak that had taken place.

During one of the hardest freezes in January, 2018 we had a customer that found a pipe that burst in their pool house. This caused water to leak throughout the building. They were able to turn the water off manually. The homeowners thought that since they wouldn’t be using the pool house until it got warm that they would allow it to air dry. This happens a lot. We get so caught up in our day to day activities that we just don’t have the time to worry about a water leak.

A few weeks later our customer found the pool house decorated with different kinds and colors of mold.

Once we got the call our crew was able to get the pool house packed out so that we could perform the necessary demolition and restore the property back to its original condition.

When you have a water leak give us a call at SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork.We will work with your insurance company and take care of the problem for you. Calling SERVPRO as soon as you find your water leak will save you time and money.

Restoring Your Harbison Commercial Property After Water Damage

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

Flooding and water damage events at Harbison 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.

Irmo Smoke and Soot Cleanup

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork Today – 803-749-0178 

For Immediate Service in Chapin Call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in Chapin and surrounding areas. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

  • 24-Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any-Sized Disaster
  • Highly Trained Restoration Technicians
  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Advanced Restoration and Cleaning Equipment 

Have Questions? Call Us 24/7 – 803-749-0178

Residential Services

Whether your home needs emergency flood damage or your upholstery cleaned, you can depend on us.  Our technicians have extensive cleaning and restoration training and can make your property look its best. Learn more about our residential services:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Mold Remediation
  • Storm Damage Restoration
  • Cleaning Services
  • Building/Reconstruction Services

Commercial Services

There's never a convenient time for fire or Water damage to strike your commercial property. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services we have the training and expertise to respond promptly with highly trained technicians to get your property back to business. Learn more about our commercial services: http://www.SERVPROthedutchfork.com/commercial-restoration-cleaning

  • Commercial Water Damage Restoration
  • Commercial Fire Damage Restoration

Conditions In Irmo Increase Likelihood of Mold

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

It’s estimated that more than 1 million types of mold exist, yet less than 10 percent have actually been named. This means mold is very common in both indoor and outdoor environments. While mold and humans can sometimes co-exist without issue, there are certain species of mold that can cause health effects for some people.

If the right conditions exist, mold will grow.  Those conditions include:

  • Water - Different mold types require varying amounts of liquid before growth begins.   
  • Temperature - Normal indoor temperatures will promote mold growth.
  • Time - Initial mold colonizers can take hold within one day after being exposed to an adequate water supply.

Mold growth can occur in any home, so it’s important to keep an eye out for situations that might promote mold activity. Roof/chimney leaks, wet basements, or condensation from ducts that dampen surrounding insulation are just a few examples of issues that make a house a prime target for mold growth.

If you suspect mold in your home, call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork to assess the situation. We have the knowledge, tools and track record to effectively remediate mold in your home or business.

If you suspect mold, call us today at 803-749-0178

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork for mold remediation services.

Our Highly Trained Restoration Specialists can restore your Dutch Fork Home.

8/22/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork is an IICRC firm. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) creates the standards for the restoration industry and provides training and certification to restoration companies. IICRC Certified Firms have the right to display the IICRC Certified Logo.

IICRC Certified Firms must

• Present accurate information to consumers and conduct business with honesty and integrity.

• Require a technician on all jobs who has been formally trained and passed all required tests.

• Require a continuing education program to keep technicians up-to-date on the latest changes in the industry.

• Maintain liability insurance to protect all parties in the event of an accident.

• Maintain a written complaint policy and agree to Better Business Bureau or similar arbitration to resolve disputes, and accept the conclusions and recommendations of arbitration.

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

The IICRC has been the driving force in establishing the main industry standards and reference guides for professional carpet cleaning, water damage restoration and mold remediation. These IICRC standards take years to develop and require the coordination of experts in the field: manufacturers, industry organizations, insurance professionals, training schools, contractors, and public health professionals.

Every five years, the standards are reviewed and updated. The water damage restoration field changes rapidly with advancements in technology and science, and therefore the standards must evolve to keep pace.

About SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: 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.

Dutch Fork Residents: Follow These Mold Safety Tips If You Suspect Mold

8/2/2018 (Permalink)

A Leaking Sink Creates A Great Environment for Mold.

If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork for mold remediation services.

What Not to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

About Our Mold Remediation Services

SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork specializes in mold cleanup and restoration, in fact, it’s a cornerstone of our business.  Our crews are highly trained restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your mold problem quickly and safely.

If You See Signs of Mold, Call SERVPRO of The Dutch Fork - 803-749-0178

Does Your Irmo Home Have A Mold Problem?

7/13/2018 (Permalink)

A mold job we are currently working on at a home in Irmo.

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 fallacy. 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

2017 Hurricane Season

7/21/2017 (Permalink)

2017 Hurricane Season- SERVPRO is ready to help!

The 2017 Hurricane Season is underway and the Atlantic has already experienced 5 systems. Hurricane season begins on June 1st and ends November 31st. The 2017 season has already brought us 4 tropical storms and 1 depression. 

It is important to be prepared in the event a hurricane is heading in your direction. These systems bring torrential rains, major flooding and dangerous winds. 

Here are a few tips to help you be ready:

1) Sign up for alerts and watch the forecast to determine your risk.

2) Develop an emergency plan for communication and evacuation.

3) Prepare an emergency supply kit.

4) Prepare your home, check with your insurance company regarding your coverage.

5) Prepare an emergency contact list of hospitals, shelters and other resources that may be helpful

Speculations are that the Atlantic will encounter 11-17 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, and 2-4 major hurricanes. Take the steps needed now to be prepared.

#callSERVPRO #hurricaneseason

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