Recent Water Damage Posts

Unseen Water Damage by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Unseen Water Damage by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

Everyone knows that the water damage that you can clearly see is causing damage to your home is not good and should be fixed as quickly as possible. However, do you know that even the smallest water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time. SERVPRO Professionals have the equipment, training and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. Having the right equipment to use makes a significant difference when dealing with water damage. Here are a few examples of what our team uses to help any unseen water damage in your home:

Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.

Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials.

The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO Professionals to monitor the drying process.

Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO Professionals can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized.

Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easily penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas. Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attach to and neutralize odor-causing particles.

If you are having any problems dealing with water in your home or property, call SERVPRO immediately so that we can help you make it “Like it never even happened.”

Best Practices to Avoid Winter Pipe Freezes by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties!

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Best Practices to Avoid Winter Pipe Freezes by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties! SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties!

Many people welcome the crisp, cold winter weather, but nobody welcomes pipe-related headaches that come with the dropping temperatures. Frozen pipes are far more common than most would think, affecting hundreds of thousands of families every winter. 

The best way to handle pipe freezes are to prevent them in the first place.

Follow these SERVPRO Tips:

Spend a little, Save a lot:

Temperatures only need to be at 31 degrees for your pipes to freeze and cause you a headache

Even if your house is 45 degrees, waterlines close to exterior walls (I.E. baseboard heaters) can be significantly colder because of their proximity to an uninsulated exterior wall, your house may be 45 degrees, but your pipes may be dangerously close to freezing

Spend the extra few dollars in fuel, and save yourself a lot of time and frustration in the long run

Let your pipes feel the heat:

Be sure to keep your pipes insulated to ensure warmth

Open cabinet doors to allow uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances close to exterior doors, allowing the heat from your house to heat your pipes

Keep it moving:

Keeping a faucet open to allow a continuous drip ensures that the water in your pipes are moving and decreases the chance of a freeze significantly.

In the event that you ever find yourself on the wrong end of a pipe-related problem, the SERVPRO team would be happy to lend a helping hand!

We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

12/12/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage We Specialize in Flooded Basement Cleanup and Restoration by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

A basement can flood at any time, although flooding most often occurs during heavy rainfall. Basements are inherently prone to flooding because they are the lowest level of a building and are normally built partly or entirely below ground level. There are a number of reasons why your basement could flood, including: 

  • A blocked or failed sewer lateral pipe
  • Heavy rain causes surface water to pool around your home
  • Storm sewer backup
  • Sanitary sewer backup
  • Foundation drainage failure
  • Water supply-line break or hot-water tank failure
  • And many more

Have Questions about Basement Flooding?

Call Today: 607-846-3685

If flood water is not handled quickly and properly, it can jeopardize your health and safety, and cause severe damage to your home’s structure. Remember, the longer you wait, the worse the problem will get.

The bottom line: a flooded basement can jeopardize your health, safety, and your home’s integrity. It’s worth making a call to SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties and let our trained, professional crews handle the situation safely and correctly. We have earned the trust of hundreds of homeowners, business owners, and property professionals.

We are Flooded Basement Specialists:

  • We are Available 24 hours/7 days per week
  • We’re a Preferred Vendor to many National Insurance Companies
  • We Bill The Insurance Directly – One Less Thing For You To Worry About
  • Our Technicians are Highly-Trained  in Water Restoration Techniques
  • We use s500 IICRC Restoration Standards
  • Advanced Inspection and Extraction Equipment

Basement Flooded? Call Us Today – We’re Ready To Help (607) 846-3685

What to Do When Your Hot Water Heater is Leaking by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

10/19/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage What to Do When Your Hot Water Heater is Leaking by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties What to Do When Your Hot Water Heater is Leaking by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

Hot water heaters, whether gas or electric, will last you about 10 – 12 years if you take good care of them. Even so, there’s always a chance your water heater could leak. This isn’t the end of the world – most small hot water heater leaks can be patched up pretty easily. And the best part? There are a number of things you can do before you call a plumber to make it even easier!

Cut the power

The first thing you should do when you find a hot water leak is turn off the fuel source leading to the water heater. If you have a gas water heater, find your thermostat. You should see a little knob with three settings: ON, OFF and PILOT. Switch it to OFF or PILOT to shut off the gas and make the heater safe to work on. If you have an electric water heater, go to your breaker panel and find the breaker labeled “Water Heater”. Turn it off to cut the power to your unit.

Shut off the water

All set? Next, you want to turn off the water, which is easy to do. First, you’ll need to find the cold water line leading to your water heater. There should be a valve on the line – turn it to the right until it closes. This will cut off the water and allow you to move on to the next step: draining the water heater.

Drain the water tank

In many ways, draining your hot water heater is the most important step – and it’s certainly the most involved! First, find the drain valve near the bottom of your hot water heater and attach a garden hose to it. Run the hose to a floor drain or sump pit. Once you’ve got the hose in place, open the valve. On older hot water heaters this may look like an ordinary spigot, while many new hot water heaters have a drain stem with a slot for a screwdriver.

Once you open the drain valve, you may notice water either doesn’t flow or doesn’t flow very well. This is because there’s a vacuum in the water heater. To break the vacuum, open any hot water faucet in your home. This will let air into the water tank and allow it to drain more easily. Once you establish a good flow, the whole tank should drain in about an hour.

And of course if its to late and the water has already made it impossible to clean up! Call us here at SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties! 607-846-3685

 

How to Prevent Water Damage In Your Home

8/22/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage How to Prevent Water Damage In Your Home How to Prevent Water Damage in Your Home, by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

Water damage is the No. 1 culprit that weakens your home’s foundation and the very core that holds your house together.

You’ve heard about core strength for your body. Well, water damage hits at the core strength of your house, eventually causing serious structural damage. Damp wood invites termites and carpenter ants; plus, it causes mold and mildew.

Here are three easy things to do to that will give you piece of mind the next time heavy storms hit.

#1. Ensure Good Drainage

Why it matters: Poor drainage weakens your foundation, causing cracks, uneven settling, and pathways for water to enter your home. 

How to do it:

  • Clean your gutters routinely. A clogged gutter will send cascades of water down the side of your house, damaging your siding and foundation.
  • Ensure your downspouts direct water 5 to 10 feet away from your house.
  • Make sure your yard is sloped at least 6 inches over a 10-foot span away from your foundation. That slope keeps water from getting down right next to your foundation, where it could cause walls to lean, crack the masonry, and create leaks. (For crawl spaces, keeping water away makes sure excess water doesn’t pool underneath your floor, making for damp conditions that encourage mold, rot, and insects.)
  • But don’t let the soil get too dry, either. Long dry spells let the soil around your house dry out and shrink. A big rain may make the soil expand, putting pressure on your foundation walls. In a drought, run a soaker hose at least 6 inches from the foundation and 3 inches under the soil to keep the soil from contracting and expanding.

Maintenance cost: Very little. Cleaning gutters can be a no-cost DIY job, or you can hire a pro for $50 to $250, depending on the size and height of your home. To get the soil slope you need, you might have to buy some additional topsoil.

Worst case if you put it off: Your foundation could settle, cracking your basement walls. The cost to stabilize, repair, and seal deteriorated foundation walls is a whopping $15,000 to $40,000.

#2. Test Your Sump Pump Regularly

Why it matters: Sump pumps come to life during storms. That’s not when you want to realize yours isn’t working properly. You should check it at least once a year, and ideally perform several checks during heavy storm seasons.

How to test your sump pump:

  1. Slowly fill the sump pump pit with water. Watch for the “float” (similar to the float in your toilet) to rise, which should turn on the pump. Then watch to make sure the water level falls.
  2. Test your backup pump the same way, but unplug the main pump first.
  3. If you don’t have a backup pump — or a generator — and are on municipal water, get one that runs on water pressure. If you’re on well water, your only option is the battery kind.

Maintenance cost: Testing is free; a water-powered backup sump pump, including installation, costs $150 to $350; a new battery for a battery-operated sump starts around $200.

Worst case if you put it off: Your basement could flood, ruining everything in it, including drywall and carpeting. (Did you know your regular insurance doesn’t cover flooding?) Plus you run the risk of mold and mildew — which can also be a very expensive problem.

#3. Check for Water Leaks and Fix Them.

Why it matters: Persistent leaks lead to mold and mildew, rot, and even termites and carpenter ants (they like chewing soggy wood, since it’s soft). Yet if you fix a leak soon after it starts, there may be no long-term damage at all.  

How to check for leaks:

  • Check for dark spots under pipes inside sink cabinets, stains on ceilings, toilets that rock, and of course drips.
  • At least once a year, inspect your roof. Repair missing, loose, and damaged shingles. Repair any cracked caulking and check for leaks around flashing.

Maintenance cost: Negligible for a simple fix, such as a new washer. A visit from a plumber might set you back $250; a roof repair, a few hundred dollars to $1,000.

Worst case if you put it off: Drips ruin the cabinet under the kitchen sink, and run down into the floor sheathing and joists underneath, so you need a structural repair, plus new cabinets and new kitchen flooring. Or the roof rots, so you need a new roof and repairs to rooms directly beneath.

If you do these three things and still have persistent water problems, such as water getting into your basement or an area of your yard keeps washing out, the solution is a bit more complicated in the form of a French drain.

5 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

8/5/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage 5 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties 5 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

Has water damage happened to you? Here's what to do next to keep it from getting worse.

When a pipe burst, a drain backs up, or a flood occurs in your home, it can be hard to see the mess. A million questions will run through your mind.

What do I do now?

What's going to happen?

Is my stuff ruined?

And the most important question of all: Will my homeowner's insurance cover the damage?

There’s no doubt about it. Water damage is extremely stressful, and the more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to decide how to address it. Here are five things that every homeowner needs to know about water damage.

1. There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.

You might think that water is water, whether it’s from flooding or a burst pipe, but flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. If you live in an area likely to experience flooding, you will probably already have a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP). When you report the claim to the insurance company, make sure to specify whether the claim is for water damage or for flood damage, so they can begin adjusting your claim correctly.

2. Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.

It is a good idea to look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.

3. Once water damage has happened, the clock is ticking before it gets worse.

When your property has been water damaged, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a convenient time to start the cleanup. Secondary damage from mold growth can present serious health risks associated with mold in the living environment.

Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.

There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time something gets wet until mold can begin to grow. After that time, mold will multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties to safely treat and remove the mold.

To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry again within that 48-hour window. To do this, Contact us so we can safely extract and remove any sighns of water. We have professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties have 24-hour a day emergency phone lines, so you can start recovering your property almost immediately.

4. Your insurance company needs to know right away.

It’s a good idea to call your insurance company right away when you discover water damage. Your insurance agent can start the claims process immediately, as well as guide you through the first steps you will need to take to protect your property from more damage, like stopping the source of the water at the main water turnoff.

5. The pollution level of the water is important.

Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.

Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. This water will not cause illness or any ill effects.

Category 2: Water that may cause illness through contact. It may have bacteria in it,

Category 3: Water that is highly contaminated. Contact can cause severe illness or death. Think sewage backup, an overflowing toilet, or storm waters.

Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination that the water touches, such as dirty carpeting or soil from the ground, can change water damage Category to 2 or even Category 3. And since standing breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.

More contamination can mean that we will have to use more aggressive measures to clean your structure and property, and it might mean that soft furnishings, like your carpet and the carpet pad, may have to be discarded for your safety.

Water damage can be dangerous and expensive, so preventing water damage is an important part of home maintenance. But if you know the basics of what to do once it happens, you can prevent it from doing its worst.

Call SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties.

How to Avoid a Flooded Basement by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

3/4/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage How to Avoid a Flooded Basement by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties How to Avoid a Flooded Basement by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

There are certain signs of spring we all welcome: cheery daffodils, increased daylight, and the chirping of birdsreturning from their winter vacations. Along with those happy signs of spring, a less welcome sign may be an annual event for you- basement flooding. Spring rains often bring out the worst in flawed grading and foundations, leaving homeowners with a mess. If you've never dealt with basement flooding before, there's a set procedure to getting things back in order.

First, get rid of the water. SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties has equipment  to extract the water from your home. If you have more then a few inches of water, your best bet is to leave it to the professionals. We have more powerful equipment and can get the job done quickley. After the water is removed, we will need to dry things out. We will provide as much ventalation as possible to decrease the possibilty of mold growth. Our team uses Dehumidifiers and Air Movers to dry out the rest of the structure.

Cleaing out a basement flood is alot of work and can get expensive. Here are some steps to take to prevent it from happening this spring.

  1. Gutter & Downspouts-Keep gutters free of debris and position downspouts away from the foundation. The goal is to drain storm water at least three feet away, so if necessary, consider running extensions or troughs.
  2. Foundation Cracks- Inspect the exterior foundation and your basement's walls and floors. Use epoxy to fill any foundation cracks and if warning signs are detected, apply masonry sealer indoors. For more serious problems you may want to call a pro.
  3. Sump Pump- 
    If you have a below-grade sump pump, check to make sure its well is free of debris. If you have a portable pump, position it in the lowest part of the basement and be sure it's connected to a power source.
  4. Sewers & Septics- If you haven't had your sewer inspected or your septic tank cleaned, spring is a good time to address these concerns. During periods of prolonged, heavy rainfall, clogged sewers and over-taxed septics are disasters waiting to happen. 
  5. Window Well Covers- If you have below-grade basement windows, install window well covers that will fasten securely to your home's foundation. Clear acrylic covers allow light to enter, even as they keep out rain, leaves, and pests.
  6. Generators- Remember a sump pump only works if you have power. If you live in an area plagued with frequent storms and power outages, a generator may be a long-term investment worth considering.
  7. Insurance- Review your property insurance policy and consider additional coverage, especially if you have a finished basement. Usually, homeowners' insurance does not cover flooding or sewer backups.

Frozen Pipe Prevention by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

2/15/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage Frozen Pipe Prevention by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties Frozen Pipe Prevention by SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties

What’s worse than a major home maintenance disaster? How about several major home maintenance disasters at once? For the quarter-million families who have their homes ruined and their lives disrupted each winter because of frozen water pipes, frigid nights can very quickly turn to ongoing, inconvenient, extremely expensive ordeals. In cold and warmer climates alike, pipes freeze for a combination of three central reasons: quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. Both plastic and copper pipes can burst when they freeze, and recovering from frozen pipes is not as simple as calling a plumber. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold. In the United States, frozen pipes cause a huge amount of damage each year; unlike natural disasters, this disaster is largely preventable. By taking a few simple precautions, you can help save yourself the mess, money, and aggravation frozen pipes cause.

Your Best Bet:

Don’t Let It Happen There are a number of preventative steps you can take to keep your pipes from freezing. Here are a few simple tips: Before The Cold Remember the three central causes of frozen pipes? Quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. You can prepare by protecting your home during the warmer months. Here’s how:

  • Insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces and attic, even if you live in a climate where freezing is uncommon. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember: The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
  • Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers' installation and operation instructions.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.
  • Before winter hits, disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.

When The Mercury Drops

Even if you’ve taken the right preventative steps, extreme weather conditions can still harm your pipes. Here are a few more steps you can take:

  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature – more common overnight – could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

Before You Leave

Travelling in the winter months might be good for the soul, but don’t forget to think about your pipes before you leave. What can you do?

  • Set the thermostat in your house no lower than 55°F (12°C).
  • Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it's warm enough to prevent freezing.
  • Shut off and drain the water system. Be aware that if you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house, it may be deactivated when you shut off the water.

If Your Pipes Do Freeze

  • If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber.
  • Do not use electrical appliances in areas of standing water: You could be electrocuted.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame because it could cause a fire hazard. Water damage is preferable to burning down your house!
  • You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with the warm air from a hair dryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.
  • If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. After you have done that call SERVPRO of Chemung & Schuyler Counties for24 hour service!