Recent Storm Damage Posts

When Unexpected Storm Damage Ruins Your Home by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage When Unexpected Storm Damage Ruins Your Home by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

Here in upstate NY, we often receive severe weather. If mother nature wreaks havoc on your property, use these 7 tips for cleaning up after a storm.

1. Get Protective Clothing. Prior to going inside your home, it is imperative that you wear protective boots, clothing, gloves, eye protection, and a mask. Flood waters carry sewage, bacteria and chemical compounds that may be dangerous.

2. Document the Damage.  To help with insurance and FEMA claims, you really need to document the damage as soon as it's safe to do so. Take photos and videos of your entire home from each and every angle. Make sure to get exterior and interior photos!

3. Water Extraction.  This, you may need help with. Flood water contains potentially dangerous bacteria, rodents, and insects. It's recommended that you have water extraction handled by a locally owned and operated professional disaster response team.

4. Open Windows. Circulating fresh air is an important step for cleaning up after flood damage and preventing mold growth. 

5. Remove Personal Items. Furniture, clothing, and other items in the house can be removed to speed the drying. Prior to throwing away damaged items, take photographs, and have them evaluated to see if they can be cleaned and restored. 

6. Remove Carpeting, Wet Drywall, and Insulation. If the storm water contains sewage, which many floods do, the flooring in the home will probably have to be removed. Drywall and insulation that has been touched by flood waters and saturated will also have to be removed. This helps prevent future mold growth.

7. Scrub Every Surface.  Each and every surface should be scrubbed with a powerful disinfectant.

Your local SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties is available 24x7 and stands at the ready to inspect, extract water, disinfect, dehumidify, and restore your home quickly.

This list might seem overwhelming, and it is. Cleaning up and restoring your home after a storm or water damage in New York requires hard work, proper tools, and specialized equipment.

SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties is locally owned and operated, and we'll work directly with your insurance company for a stress-free claim. Call us 24/7 at (607) 846-3685.

Winter is coming! Here are some ways you can prevent frozen pipes! by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

12/2/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Winter is coming! Here are some ways you can prevent frozen pipes! by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties Winter is coming! Here are some ways you can prevent frozen pipes! by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

Within the last couple weeks tempatures have been plummeting fast and your pipes could be at serious risk. Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions.

Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.

Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.

Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.

When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

If you find yourself in the situation where your pipes have burst call SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties were always here to help!

Prepping Your Home for Extreme Winter Weather by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

1/26/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Prepping Your Home for Extreme Winter Weather by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties Prepping Your Home for Extreme Winter Weather by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

As we move through winter months toward spring, we need to keep vigilant and make sure our homes are properly protected.

  • If you haven’t already, consider installing storm windows, or cover existing windows with plastic, to keep cold air out.
  • If you have a snow thrower, make sure the machine has been serviced and that it’s functioning properly and ready for immediate use. Keep rock salt and/or kitty litter on hand too, so you can melt ice and gain temporary traction.
  • Keep your gutters clean of leaves and other debris so that snow or freezing rain can’t accumulate and cause an ice dam.
  • If you have branches that hang over gutters, roof areas or walkways, remove them otherwise, they can cause problems once they become heavy with ice and snow.
  • Stock up on fuel for heat in case of a long-term power outage. When used safely, backup heat sources like a fireplace, a wood, coal or pellet stove, or a camp stove, can be invaluable. Many people in the mountain communities own generators and have plenty of gasoline available; that way, they can fire up the generator to help run heat sources that are dependent on electricity, such as pellet stoves.
  • You may be isolated for several days, so have an emergency kit with flashlights, extra batteries and other emergency essentials prepared. Make sure you have an adequate supply of drinking water, and don’t forget food and water for any pets.
  • Have an emergency communications plan, In case family members are separated during a winter storm. Designate a family member or friend who lives out of the area to serve as a central contact.

Take measures now, so that, even if “the big one” hits, you’ll be well prepared.

Call SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties for any questions or concerns.

Preventing Frozen Pipes by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties.

1/19/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Preventing Frozen Pipes by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties. Preventing Frozen Pipes by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties.

Within the last couple weeks tempatures have been plummeting fast and your pipes could be at serious risk. Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes.

Preventing Frozen Pipes

Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions.

Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.

Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.

Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.

During Cold Weather, Take Preventative Action

Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.

Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.

When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.

Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.

If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

If you find yourself in the situation where your pipes have burst call SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties were always here to help!

First-Time Homeowners Can Get Ready For Extreme Cold by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

1/7/2016 (Permalink)

Storm Damage First-Time Homeowners Can Get Ready For Extreme Cold by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties First-Time Homeowners Can Get Ready For Extreme Cold by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

Winter is almost here, and the season may include extreme cold in your area. For first-time homeowners, preparing for a big freeze, an ice storm, or even a blizzard can require a little more than simply having a few shovels on hand. Check out these important tasks to do before Jack Frost arrives in your neighborhood.

Stock a Winter Emergency Kit

You might have an all-purpose supply kit in your home, but is it stocked with items specifically for extreme cold? In addition to the standard emergency supplies of food, water and medication for everyone in your household (including pets), Ready.gov suggests stocking supplies that include windshield scrapers, additional hats and gloves, and road salt and sand. In the event of a loss of power, the website also suggests using a battery-operated radio that receives broadcasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio All Hazards network to stay up to date on any developments in the forecast.

Inspect Your Furnace

There’s more to winterizing your home than cranking up the heat at the first sign of cold weather. The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends servicing and repairing your furnace before cold weather reaches your area. In addition, EnergyStar.gov suggests scheduling a maintenance check of your furnace in the fall, before the cold weather arrives in force. The website also recommends checking your filter every month and replacing it if it’s dirty, with the filter replaced every three months at minimum. As noted by EnergryStar.gov, a dirty filter may impede a furnace from working efficiently.

Clear Outside Banisters, Stairs and Sidewalks

The outdoor features of your home may require some maintenance, too, especially if your area sees a significant amount of snow in addition to extreme freezing temperatures. Homeowners should repair or replace outside stairs, railings or banisters that could present a hazard in case of ice or snow, according to the III. You may need to clear your sidewalk of ice and snow, too, but don’t grab that shovel just yet. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), advises that you follow your doctor’s advice regarding strenuous work like shoveling, and to work slowly and dress warmly. The organization also advises dressing in layers and to keep your clothing dry while you work outdoors, as wet clothing in extreme cold weather can chill your body.

Ice Dam Signs and Prevention from SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

12/28/2015 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Ice Dam Signs and Prevention from SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties Ice Dam Signs and Prevention from SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties
Perhaps you saw them around the holidays: whiteor blue outdoor lights that simulate trickling icicles. Or greeting cards that depict houses with large icicles hanging from the gutters. While the frosty stalactites may look pretty, they may actually be a signal of trouble in your own home. 

Are icicles a sign that something is amiss?

Icicles are commonly thought to be a sign of an ice dam on your roof, but are they? Possibly, says Rem Brown, senior engineering manager at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).

The three things necessary to form icicles – snow, heat to melt the snow, and cold weather – are also necessary to form ice dams, he explains. Ice dams form when warm air from inside your home melts snow on the roof. When the meltwater reaches the colder eaves (the part of the roof that extends beyond the walls), the water re-freezes and creates a build-up of ice along the edge of your roofline.

So, icicles hanging from the roof edge could be a sign of an ice dam (and larger icicles would likely indicate a larger ice dam, Brown says), but ice dams can even form without the presence of any large icicles.

The dangers of ice dams

The more snow and ice accumulate, and temperatures rise and fall, the larger the potential for ice dams. And ice dams can wreak havoc. They can damage and loosen shingles, rip off gutters and cause meltwater to pool and seep into your attic. Once that happens, insulation can get wet, paint can peel and the structure of your home can become damp. Untreated, this may cause rotting wood, damaged drywall and even mold growth.

How to remove snow to avoid an ice dam 

It’s best to remove snow from a heavy snowfall immediately to prevent the buildup of ice dams later. Though you might hear about people doing anything from using a snow blower to remove snow or an axe to chip away at an already-formed ice dam, both methods can damage your roof, IBHS warns.

A push broom with stiff bristles can be used to remove snow off flat and low-slope roofs, while a roof rake is the right option for sloped roofs, IBHS says, because you can remain on the ground and still remove snow. Of course, if you’re unable to easily reach the roof, or just unsure about your ability to do so, ask a roofing professional to do the job.

In the event that an ice dam does form, IBHS suggests keeping the attic well ventilated – the colder the attic, the less melting and refreezing on your roof, IBHS says.

How to permanently prevent ice dams

According to This Old House, the best way to prevent ice dams is to keep your roof and eaves the same temperature. Here’s how:

  • Add extra insulation in your attic floor to keep the warm air inside your home and out of the attic.
  • Relocate or remove heat sources (recessed lighting, for instance) in the attic directly under your roof.
  • Insulate attic access doors with a cover, or seal an existing hatch with weatherstripping.
  • Check the exhausts. Make sure all ducts from bathrooms, kitchens or other living areas exhaust to the outside, not the attic.
  • Check the flashing around the chimney. Over time, flashing can crack and separate from the roof, causing hot air to escape and allowing water to trickle in along the chimney. Have your chimney sweep check the flashing and, if necessary, repair or replace it.

Preventive steps like these can help preserve the health of your home by eliminating ice dams – and maybe even those icicles!

If these ideas do not work, call SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties at 607-846-3685 and will be there to help.