Archived Blog Posts
How to Properly Purchase Contents Insurance
Have you ever asked yourself, "how much coverage do I really need on my belongings?" There is no way to just guess and hope you have enough without keeping an inventory of what you have. Not only for the purpose of determining how much coverage you will need but also in the event of a loss where those items become damaged and that policy comes into effect.
When setting up your home or business insurance policy it is important to keep an inventory of your personal belongings or products/merchandise. Whether you are dealing with personal or business items the same guidelines follow. Keeping a list of items along with the value of them will help keep you prepared when a disaster strikes. It is also important to keep this list current with any new purchases that may increase the value of your property. Trust me, it will be less of a hassle than having to figure out what items you own when they are possibly damaged by a disaster such as a fire. With all the stress and amount of effort one deals with after property damage, one less thing to worry about will help the restoration process resolve much quicker and easier for the owner.
Also, aside from the usual items like furniture and jewelry; it is important to keep copies of any important documents. Things like birth certificates, property deeds and business contracts should be kept safe with duplicates available along with electronic copies.
Once you have an idea of everything you own and its value this will allow you to confirm you are receiving enough coverage for those items in your insurance policy. Every insurance policy has a limit for reimbursement so knowing how your policy matches up will keep any surprises down the road from surfacing.
Can Living With Mold Affect Your Health
The topic on health hazards from mold exposure is a gray area. It is believed that living with high levels of mold can cause some minor and/or serious health affects. However, there is very little evidence to confirm all instances at this time.
What most can agree on is living with mold should not be ignored. Not only due to the beliefs of the health risks accompanied but the affects it may cause to the value of your home. Any new buyer or renter will not want to walk into another person's mold issue.
Mold comes in thousands of different strains but only a few of those produce toxins. The most well known being stachybotrys chartarum also known as "black mold". Did you know the term we hear often as "toxic black mold" is not actually a scientific term. It was created by news reporters that carried the term around to create the myth that "toxic black mold" is deadly which in reality that has not been proven.
Now lets discuss what types of symptoms are reported due to mold exposure. People who spend time in these environments report respiratory issues such as shortness of breath, development of asthma, coughing, wheezing, eye irritation, nasal congestion and throat irritation. It is believed that those with weakened immune systems or a history of allergies or asthma are more prone to adverse reactions from mold. There are also some people that are more sensitive to particular strains of mold that can vary from person to person.
The CDC suggested a link between mold and a medical condition called acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage (AIPH) or pulmonary hemosiderosis. Others state that mold causes more serious conditions as well like lung disease, upper respiratory infections or even cancer. These claims have yet to be proven with any substantial evidence.
Although the research is limited on proving many of these claims it should still not keep someone from treating and removing any mold growth in their home. Hopefully future research can provide more insight so that federal laws can help regulate mold in homes.
What is Not Covered?
Here are a few key areas that are typically not covered by your standard insurance policy. Also keep in mind of a deductible that may need to be met or coverage limits.
1. Damages resulting from unresolved maintenance issues or neglecting to repair source. For instance, you have a leak coming from your toilet supply line that you have just been ignoring for almost a year. It caused some water damage to the ceiling below which typically would be covered by your policy initially but waiting too long to fix the problem will likely cause your insurance to reject coverage.
2. Flood. Any source of water that enters your home from a flood regardless of the cause is not covered under a standard insurance policy. Yet you may purchase flood insurance which would be recommended for those living in a flood prone area.
3. Law or Ordinance Upgrades. This type of scenario can come into play for something like a fire that causes the electrical wiring in your home to need to be removed and replaced. Yet, your town has new building codes that require a more expensive upgrade to new wiring being installed. In this case your insurance will only cover the costs of the original old wiring and the difference in charges for the new upgrade will be your responsibility.
4. Sewer or drain back up from OUTSIDE. You will typically not be coverage for water that backs up into your home from an outside source. There are endorsements that can be added on to your policy to cover backs up occurring within your property line. If the source is coming outside of your property line your city may be responsible.
5. Costs to repair and/or replace source. Most insurance companies will cover the damages associated however the costs to repair the cause falls under the homeowner. For example a pipe bursts in your home causing damages to your hardwood floors. Your insurance company will take care of fixing the floors yet the plumber you hired to replace the pipe will come out of your pocket.
Emergency Ready Profile
The Best Way to Reduce Business Interruption Following a Disaster is to Plan For it NOW.
As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research.
SERVPRO of Paramus offers a FREE assessment of your property and develops a plan in the event of a disaster.
Why the SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile?
Here are just a few reasons why your business will benefit from having an emergency ready profile in place.
- A no cost assessment of your facility. – This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency. – It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster. – This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
- Establishes your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. – You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin. – This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information. – Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in a disaster.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
Developing your Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from your current projects.
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) could be a valuable tool to help restore your business in the shortest amount of time possible.
To set up this free service, call Tony D'Arco @ SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen.
Top Sources of Mold
We will be discussing the primary sources of mold that are commonly found in homes. As we all know mold needs moisture and food (porous materials) to grow. Mold also likes dark humid environments. Some key causes to look out for mold are:
1. Leaky Appliances
Daily wear and tear to your appliances can cause leaks or splits that can allow moisture to escape. Unfortunately most appliances have the pipes and hoses hidden out of sight running inside walls or cabinets. So it may take some digging around to find any leaks. We recommend checking regularly for loose washers or leaky hoses.
2. Air Conditioning Units
The condensation from an air conditioning unit creates moisture for mold. On top of that it also sucks in air from the outside that contains dirt and pollen which are attractive materials for mold. You can help minimize mold growth by running it everyday for at least 10 minutes. When it sits for long periods of time it is more likely to grow mold. When not in use like during winter season you should remove it and store in a dry place.
3. Water Intrusion
It is beneficial to check your ceilings and cracks of your windows for any water getting in. This can be a sign of poor building construction so you may need a professional to diagnose and treat the issue.
4. Window Sills
This area is subject to higher levels of moisture and humidity along with dirt that is a valuable source for mold.
Next, we will discuss some locations in your home that have a higher chance for mold to grow.
Being that most basements are located on a sub-level, moisture is constantly part of its environment. The humidity level is much higher and typically not well ventilated leaving humidity to linger longer. Any cracks in foundation can also add to the issue.
If wallpaper is peeling it is likely that it has mold growing behind it.
The attic of a home is home to many air flow sources like dryer vents, plumbing vents, and kitchen/bathroom. All of these constantly pump moist air into the attic accompanied with all the inevitable dust found there makes a perfect environment for mold.
Like a basement the crawlspace also has a higher relative humidity. The soil in the crawlspace will absorb and lock in moisture and when it dries it will evaporate adding moisture to the air.
What To Do Until SERVPRO Arrives
When you experience a water damage the quicker you tackle it the better the outcome. First and foremost, finding out the source and stopping it should be your main priority.
If there are no safety hazards begin by shutting off the water source at the shut off valve. If applicable contact a plumber to fix the source to keep further damage from re-occurring.
If the water did not come from a clean source and likely contaminated avoid all wet areas.
- Contact your homeowners insurance company
- Contact a professional restoration company (SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County @ 201-445-5588)
- If safe, turn off electricity to affected areas at circuit breaker
- Try to mop or blot up water with towels
- Place furniture legs on foil on wooden blocks
- Use safety pins or clothespins to keep furniture skirts and drapery off wet floors
- Remove oriental rugs and place in a dry area
- Remove all moisture sensitive items to a dry place
- Prop up any wet upholstery cushions to dry
- Remove books, magazines, paper to a dry place where they will not transfer and stain
- Wipe excess moisture from furniture
- Use a household vacuum to remove water
- Use any electronics in a room with wet flooring
- Use ceiling fans where a wet ceiling is present
- Open windows in temperatures higher than 70 degrees. AC may be used if water is not contaminated.
How to Prepare For and Prevent a Fire.
Did you know that the actual heat from a fire is more dangerous than the flames?
Room temperature during a fire can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level.
You can scorch your lungs just trying to take a breath. The high temperature will even melt your clothes onto your skin.
- Install the right number of smoke alarms for your home and test them at least once a month. Batteries should be changed once a year.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended
- Turn off portable heater when unattended.
- Never smoke in bed, when drowsy, or medicated. Douse cigarette buds in water before disposal.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used. Oxygen can be explosive and will make a fire burn hotter and faster.
- Never use a portable generator indoors. It should also only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.
- Keep items 3 feet in distance from any fire source.
- Teach children what to do when they hear the sound of the smoke alarm.
- In the dark close your eyes and practice feeling your way out of your house.
- Establish two ways to exit each room.
- Create a meeting point for all the members in your family outside of your home.
- Make sure everyone knows how to call 911.
- Make sure windows are easily accessible and screens can be removed quickly.
- Make digital copies of all important documents and records such as a birth certificate.
In the event of a fire; before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If it is hot and/or has smoke coming out of the cracks do not open it. Use your second mode of escape from that room. If clothes catch fire teach everyone to stop, drop and roll. If someone cant drop down you can also take a blanket to smother the flames.
Why Bleach is Not Recommended for Mold
Mold Growth on Sheetrock
Did you know that bleach does not actually get rid of your mold problem? The old school thought of spraying bleach whenever you see mold is nothing but a myth. The reason people believe this works is because to the naked eye the visible mold is gone, yes, but that is because the bleach has removed the color of mold not its roots.
The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) stopped recommending the use of bleach for dealing with mold problems. The ESA (Environmental Site Assessment) also updated their guide similarly as well.
The problem with bleach is that it is has too many variables that affect how it can treat mold. Bleach only works on killing mold on non-porous materials. If you read our previous blog on how mold growth occurs you will know that mold typically grows on porous materials like drywall and wood. So the chances your mold growth will be on a hard surface is unlikely anyways.
Using bleach to clean areas like wood can actually promote mold growth and can leave you with a bigger problem than when you originally started. This is because mold spreads its roots deep into porous surfaces. When you use bleach it creates excessive moisture which then creates a better environment for the mold to return and thrive. Bleach will also negatively affect materials like wood by breaking down its fibers. It can also cause corrosion to metals.
Bleach contains an ingredient called Sodium Hypochlorite which in high concentrations can be registered as an antimicrobial pesticide that will kill mold under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. However Sodium Hypochlorite can also be sold as a household cleaner without being registered as a pesticide due to this type of item only containing small amounts of Sodium Hypochlorite. This means it is not guaranteed to kill mold nor is it sold for that purpose.
We want to steer you away from thinking bleach is the best route to dealing with your mold. Not only is it not effective but the dangerous fumes are toxic to your health. Plus, there are many anti-microbial alternatives readily available that will get the job done and are safer to use.
If you are dealing with mold in your home it is recommended to contact a professional. We are available to answer your mold questions. Contact us today @ 201-445-5588.
Minimize Business Interruption
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency 40% of businesses that experience a disaster never re-open. In order to protect your business from any type of interruption, it is adamant that you have a plan in place.
Every business owner should be familiar with the location they are in and what types of natural disasters the location is historically known for. Knowing what type of natural disaster is common in your area will help you develop an accurate emergency preparedness plan. Some examples of natural disasters can be flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc.
Once you have figured out what may be inevitable in your area you should then understand your insurance coverage. Business property insurance pays to repair or replace property damage but does not protect against consequential damage like the downtime of a business while repairs are going on. This type of damage would be picked up by a business interruption coverage. It is important to also understand this type of coverage as it can differ significantly with possible exclusions, coverage limits and waiting periods.
When preventing hazards from arising you should ask yourself if these areas are up to standard/code:
1. HVAC system
2. Electrical system
3. Telecommunications system
4. Fire protection systems
5. Sprinkler system
These areas should be regularly inspected and maintained for proper functioning.
Other potential risks may be occurring from indirect sources such as other occupants if in a multi-occupancy building. It is beneficial to know what hazards might be going on nearby. For instance, if the neighboring occupant to your property is a business that manufactures acetone products, which is extremely flammable, you would want to take note of this and customize your plan accordingly.
To prevent inventory damages, store contents based on level of sensitivity. Any water sensitive products should be removed from flood prone areas and placed above 100 year flood level. Vital records that are necessary for the survival of the business should be given maximum protection from any disaster. If possible establish electronic back up copies.
To expedite repairs in the event of an emergency, companies should develop contacts with contractors in the area. By establishing prior contacts in advance will help to initiate return to operation quickly and efficiently. This will also prevent any time wasted by auditioning different contractors to pick the best one.
We, at SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County, offer an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for businesses who would like to develop not just a plan but a relationship they can trust to help them be prepared for any size disaster. Contact us today to learn more!
Natural Disasters- Prepare Your Home
You are home watching the local news when the reporter says the next big hurricane is coming through your area within the next couple of days. You may think running out to fill up your gas tank and grabbing the last carton of milk and loaf of bread at the store means you are prepared. However, what about your home? Is it protected and prepared for the storm?
Here are some last minute tips on what you can do to get your home ready in the event of a natural disaster:
- Close all windows, doors, and shutters
- Bring in anything outdoors that can be picked up by wind.
- Keep trees trimmed, remove any compromised limbs
- Turn your fridge and freezer on to the coldest setting & keep it closed as much as possible so food will last longer in case of a power outage
- Turn off propane tank
- Unplug any small appliances
- Make sure your sump pump is working
To keep your home prepared all year round you must first identify any vulnerable areas in your home.
- Check for cracks or small holes in the foundation where water can seep in.
- Check for any loose or missing shingles on your roof. Secure soffits that may weaken over time. You can reinforce them by adding stainless steel screws.
- Touch up areas with caulking that have worn away like windowsills and door jambs. You can easily fix these cracked areas on your own by simply getting a caulking gun and a waterproof sealant
- Keep gutters free of debris and make sure water flows several feet away from your home
- Make sure the septic tank and sewer are inspected and cleaned before the start of every season
If your home is affected by a major storm or disaster, an emergency restoration company can help you with cleanup. You should also contact your insurance company to report the damage and file a claim. Our team at SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County can handle any size disaster you may face. Call us for more info. 201-445-5588
What Is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral in the ground typically found in North America. It was frequently used in the past as a flame-resistant insulation. It is a durable material made of layers of fibers that together virtually create an indestructible material. It was widely used up until the 70's when it was discovered to be a carcinogen.
Asbestos is found to be the sole cause of a deadly and rare form of cancer known as mesothelioma. After being exposed to asbestos mesothelioma can take 20-50 years before symptoms can appear. Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, heart and abdomen. Despite asbestos being known as a carcinogen it is still not banned. However, most manufactures have phased out the use of the material to switch to safer alternatives.
The EPA classifies six different materials as asbestos. All six being human carcinogens.
Only amosite which is the brown colored asbestos and crocidolite (blue) are mainly used.
Now that we know what asbestos is and the negative side effects lets talk about what to do when you come across asbestos. When finding asbestos in your home or building you don't necessarily need to go remove it immediately. It is actually best to leave it untouched if it is intact. Generally asbestos containing material that is in good condition and not disturbed will not release asbestos fibers. In the case the material is not in good condition or is in the vicinity of a renovation it should only be removed by a trained professional.
If you suspect the material contains asbestos but are not completely sure you can have testing done to confirm. Air testing can also be performed to confirm the air quality is safe after removal.
The most common scenario we come across is asbestos containing tile found hidden under layers of flooring. In the event our technicians suspect asbestos we will have testing performed to verify and then plan on the best route of execution.
Preventing an Ice Dam
What is an ice dam and how will it affect my home?
Have you ever noticed those pretty icicles hanging off the edge of your roof after a big snowstorm? Although they are beautiful to look at (I guess that's why they mimicked them with Christmas decorative lighting) those icicles can cause some serious water damage to your home.
An ice dam forms when snow melts from the upper portion of your roof causing water to run down your roof and then refreezes when it reaches the edge causing an ice dam to form over your gutter backing up water from properly draining. This pool of water that gets trapped backs up under the roof shingles soaking the roof sheathing and eventually finds cracks in the roof where it leaks into the attic of your home.
Typically this is usually caused by poor roof ventilation, and a warm attic space. A clogged gutter system can also intensify the extent of the situation.
Some steps that can be taken to prevent this from occurring are:
1. Check attic to make sure it is in good condition. You can do this buy searching your attic for daylight through any cracks.
2. Keep gutters clear of debris. Make sure your gutter is draining properly. Remove any tree limbs that can come in contact with your home.
3. Keep interior roof structure the same temperature as exterior. This can be done by providing ventilation for continuous airflow under the roof deck. As far as the interior temperature start by removing any heat sources like un-insulated lighting or un-insulated duct work. Opt for sealed can light instead of recessed lighting. Also increase attic floor insulation to keep living area heating from rise to the attic.
4. Use a roof rake to remove snow (6 inches or higher) from the edge of your roof.
If you find yourself with water leaking into your home call us at SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County to handle your ice dam problems. 201-445-5588
Do You Live In a Flood Zone?
Unfortunately, there are some homes that are just more prone to floods that it is almost inevitable. Of course, the first option to fix the problem is to just pick your house up and move (literally), but not everyone has the ability to do so.
Here are some tips to help you prevent the damages resulting from a flood to your home.
1. Consider replacing building materials with water-resistant materials such as:
- Galvanized nails - will not rust in a flood
- Indoor/Outdoor carpet w/ synthetic pad
- Synthetic baseboards instead of wood
- Marine plywood-most water-resistant plywood
- Metal doors & frames- will not warp, only rust which can be later sanded & painted
2. Have your washer/dryer in the basement? You may want to relocate them to the 1st floor or even just elevate them from the floor. (12" above 100-year flood level recommended). This can also be done with your hot water heater.
3. Raise all sockets, circuits breakers, switches and wiring to at least a foot above your expected flood level.
4. Install a sump pump. Sump pumps are the first line of defense in preventing water from seeping into basements. Also recommended to install a battery powered backup in case of a power outage.
5. Although expensive, raising your home with piers or columns so that the lowest level sits above flood level may be the drastic option needed if you live in a high risk flood zone.
6. Review your homeowners insurance policy. Did you know that most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage? Flood insurance is a supplemental policy you can purchase through an insurance agent or company.
7. Lastly, be prepared with a company you can trust like SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County that can help a devastating disaster like a flood become "Like it never even happened."
Better Act Quick!
Soot cob webs found in the kitchen of this home.
A fire is a devastating thing to have happen to anyone. No homeowner wants to experience a fire and its damages left behind.
Why is it important to start clean up and restoration after a fire?
First and foremost, left over smoke & soot particles is a bio-hazard. Smoke inhalation can cause respiratory problems or worsen conditions like asthma and heart disease. If possible always try to limit exposure by staying with a relative or in a hotel during restoration. Many times when filing a claim your insurance company may offer you a stay in a hotel until it is no longer a hazard.
Was Water Used?
There may be occurrences where water was used to cease the fire. If that is the case you may be experiencing not only fire and smoke damage to your home but also water damage. It is imperative to start proper drying of water in your home to prevent mold growth from occurring.
Acidic soot can cause damage to porous materials leading to permanent discoloration that even a professional at that point wouldn't be able to remove. However, if action is taken quickly permanent damage can be prevented.
It is expected that wherever the fire occurred there can also be electrical damage to outlets, wires, appliances. Make sure these are deemed safe before return to use.
Soot can also cause damage to finishes on appliances or kitchen surfaces. These can become discolored turning a yellow hue. Over time smoke and soot can cause etching to glass and tarnishing of metal.
Hopefully this situation will not occur in your home but if you find yourself needing to act quickly contact SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County.
A SERVPRO generator being used outside a home in Rutherford, NJ
When a storm hits and your home loses power many people turn to a portable generator. Although generators may seem simple enough to use many people do not know the risks of operating one.
Using a generator indoors can kill you in minutes. The primary hazard is the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust. Carbon monoxide does not produce an odor and is invisible to the eye. That is why it is important to practice safe handling.
1. NEVER use a generator indoors including a garage (even with an open door). The best and only place you should place an operating generator is outdoors. Allow 5 feet of clearance around the generator. Be sure the generator exhaust fumes are away from all windows and doors to prevent travel indoors.
2. Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Follow the manufacturers guidelines for correct placement and mounting height.
3. Avoid electric shock or electrocution by keeping the generator dry. Do not use in rain or wet conditions.
4. When refueling be sure to turn off the generator and allow to cool. Spilled gasoline on the hot engine parts can ignite causing an explosion. Do not overfill tank! Leave room of fuel expansion.
5. Never smoke near a generator.
6. Know the output rating of your generator. To prevent overloading select the right sized generator to handle the power requirements of your appliances you wish to use. Overloading can destroy not only the generator but also your electronics and/or appliances.
7. Never plug directly to your homes wiring or household outlets. Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy duty outdoor extension cord with the correct outage to handle your appliances. Never use a cord with exposed wiring.
Storage of fuel safely is just as important as operation of the generator. Store fuel outside living areas, such as a locked shed, in a properly labeled approved safety can. Use the fuel recommended in instructions for your generator. Some areas restrict the amount of fuel you may store so be sure to verify with your local fire dept. Do not store fuel near a fuel burning appliance like a natural gas water heater.
Practice proper generator handling to keep your home & family safe!
Dealing With Hoarding
Homeowner with hoarding disorder affecting mitigation of water damage and mold growth.
What is hoarding?
By definition hoarding is collecting or keeping large amounts of various items in a home due to strong urges to save them or distress experienced when discarding them. It is classified as a mental disorder that usually is the result of a traumatic event or a symptom of another disorder such as depression, dementia or obsessive compulsive disorder. It is most commonly found in older adults.
Many rooms in a hoarders house are so packed with items that the room cannot be used for its intended use. This makes normal everyday living compromised.
Hoarding can really be an issue in terms of safety and health. For one it can be a major fire hazard. In the event of a fire many occupants die due to the inability to escape the home because of blocked exits or even injuring themselves by tripping over items. Firefighters responding to a fire that is home to a a hoarder can be put at risk as well due to these obstructed exits and falling objects. It makes the search for occupants much harder and very risky. The weight of large amounts of piled up personal belongings along with the use of water to put out a fire can lead to a homes collapse.
Along with fire safety hazards hoarding can also be detrimental to health in the event of ignored or even unnoticed water leaks that can lead to mold growth. Many times a pile of various items can hide any issues that may be going on in the home since they are blocked out of sight. It can also attract pests and rodents that can gnaw away at materials like wiring causing further safety risks.
To prevent and respond to hoarding behavior be sure to be respectful when communicating with the individual. Instead of acknowledging the clutter focus on expressing safety concerns for not just themselves but for those around such as neighbors, family members, responders etc. The use of outside outlets to help with intervention can be beneficial and necessary.
What Is Soot?
Soot found on chemical sponge.
Did you know that the highest cause of house fires is from cooking? Usually when a homeowner leaves a pot or pan unattended and then only remembers it when smoke invades their home. It may not develop into fire damage to your property but rather smoke and soot damage that usually is worse than you would think. Although your kitchen cabinetry isn’t on fire and ruined there is still some specialized clean-up needing to be done from the smoke & soot.
Soot is a powdery, flaky substance composed of mostly carbon that is a result of incomplete combustion of materials like coal, oil and wood. Not only is it harmful but it can also be a pain to remove due to its stickiness which can cause staining if not treated properly.
A chemical sponge is used to clean soot from walls. Commonly a chemical sponge may also reveal soot you did not notice was there.
When treating textiles, a heavy duty vacuum must be used before trying to clean them. Do not try to wash these in regular dry-cleaning or wash. Professional cleaners will need to use counteractants to break up smoke molecules and eliminate odors.
It is highly recommended to hire a professional to properly handle clean-up and restoration to eliminate chances of staining and odor.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (201) 445-5588
How to Prevent Mold Growth After a Water Damage
Mold behind wainscoting.
Mold spores are everywhere! It only wrecks havoc on our life when it starts to grow in our home.
Mold requires a few circumstances in order to grow.
Ideal temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Mold does not flourish in cold temperatures.
Organic matter found in sporous materials like carpet, carpet pad, drywall, wallpaper, wood materials, paper products and ceiling tiles.
Humid environments with poor circulation.
How to prevent it.
Typically when mold has these conditions present it can begin to grow within 24-48 hours.
To prevent mold from reaching these conditions we must:
First, eliminate water ASAP.
Second, remove any saturated porous materials like carpet padding, insulation and ceiling tiles. Upholstered furniture should be removed as well since it can be a nesting ground for mold and difficult to clean. Lift carpeting to allow flooring underneath to dry out.
Third, dry out any wet materials with fans. Keep area ventilated by opening windows and doors.
Fourth, dry out the moisture in the air with a dehumidifier.
Fifth, sanitize walls, flooring and baseboards. Any baseboards not made of true wood should be discarded. If so made of wood detach from wall to allow drying to occur behind.
In most cases a professional like SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County is recommended to perform proper water mitigation and drying. In the event mold does grow on these materials mold remediation will need to be done safely and effectively to ensure no health risks are present.
Most Common Types of Homeowners Claims
Did you know that in 2016 losses due to natural disasters in the U.S. totaled $23.8 Billion in costs. Severe thunderstorms accounted for 60% of the losses at $14 Billion.
The most common types of homeowners insurance claims policy holders will file are:
1. Theft- Unlike most of the other types of losses this one can be prevented with security measures like an alarm system, safe box or my personal favorite a dog!
2. Wind Damage- Be sure to check trees and shrubs around your property to make sure they will not cause damage to your home. Also checking the shingles on your roof should be done yearly.
3. Water Damage (non-weather related)- This list includes causes like a pipe burst, leaky appliance, sump pump failure or even a sewer back up.
4. Water Damage (weather related)- This is most common in the Northeast where colder temperatures are common. Some measures can be taken to avoid instances like clearing out snow and ice to prevent buildup.
5. Hail Damage- This type is most common in the West and Midwest where golf ball sized hail can cause serious damage to property.
Water Damage? Let's Talk Contents!
Move contents to a safe and dry place.
When dealing with property damage to your home one of the challenging tasks is trying to save all of your possessions.
It may be a disappointing and daunting task to itemize, photograph and list every single item for insurance reimbursement but SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County will be there to help give some guidance as well as lend a hand with the removal of any unsalvageable items.
Here are some tips to help you figure out how to categorize your items.
Let's start with discussing what types of contents cannot be saved from water damage.
Items like food, cosmetics, medicines, medical supplies, carpet padding, stuffed animals and baby toys should never be tried to salvage. Mainly due to the risk of contamination and potential health hazards.
There are also some types of contents that can usually be saved but depending on the extent of the damage.
These are items like mattresses, pillows, large carpets, area rugs, upholstered couches & chairs, books, paper products, solid wood/metal/plastic furniture, metal utensils, pots and pans.
Now that you have an idea of what types of items can be saved it is important that you move FAST! Make sure everything you want to save is moved to a safe dry place to prevent further damage. Time is of the essence to decrease the chances of further damage.
The things you don't want to save should be left outside to dry until your claims adjuster arrives. Sometimes your adjuster may not be able to get out for a couple of days. In the case that some of these items are things like food that will spoil or may attract rodents; make a separate pile to have discarded as soon as possible after contacting your adjuster.
Be sure to have EVERYTHING documented as well as photographed for your adjuster to confirm all of your losses.
We hope this provides you some help and insight when dealing with your personal items.
We're Here To Help 24/7
Basement Flooded? Call Us Today- We're Ready
SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - (201) 244-0100
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 Northeast Bergen County 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)?
About SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County
SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County 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. 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.
Sometimes It Can Be Overwhelming
Don't try to tackle this on your own.
When That Sewer Back-up Is Too Much To Handle On Your Own.
At SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County, sometimes sewer back-ups can be bad... very bad. Our IICRC certified technicians know the safest way to clean up the mess. Sewer back-ups can cause illness if not properly remediated. Let our trained technicians get the job done right for you and your family.
We'll work directly with you and in most cases, your insurance company to assure that your home is properly cleaned, deodorized and sanitized. We'll make it safe again for your family, we'll make it "Like it never even happened."
Call us, SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County, your clean-up professionals.
We're here for you: 24/7 (201) 244-0100
Emergency Ready Profile
Our professionally trained crews are ALWAYS ready
The Best Way to Reduce Business Interruption Following a Disaster is to Plan For it NOW.
As many as 50% of businesses may never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind.
*** This a NO COST assessment of your facility ***
Important contact and phone numbers as well as insurance information, contractor, plumber, electrician and roofer info and more at your fingertips no matter where you are. If you are stuck at home and circumstances don't allow you to get to your business, you have everything you need right there with you. SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County can help you coordinate at a time when you need help the most.
A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from your current projects.
The SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) could be a valuable tool to help restore your business in the shortest amount of time possible.
To set up this free service, call Tony D'Arco @ SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County, CALL NOW or contact Tony via e-mail: TDarco@SERVPROparamus.com
Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges
The amount of time your business remains closed is critical. At SERVPRO of Northeast Bergen County, we'll work to get you open as fast as possible.
Flooding and water damage events at Bergen County 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 Paramus/Northeast Bergen County
SERVPRO of Paramus/Northeast Bergen County 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.
Call us, 24/7 201-445-5588
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause Pervasive Odor in Your Home
Special Chem or Dry Sponges used to remove excessive soot and smoke from hard surfaces
Smoke and soot is 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 Northeast Bergen County 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 Us Today – (201) 244-0100
What are The Common Causes Of an Ugly Ceiling Stain?
Residential Restoration Cleaning
Nothing can be more annoying than finding an ugly looking water stain on your ceiling every time you look up. If you are like most home owners, this ceiling stain will keep on bugging you until fixed. The first step in this direction should be to find the source. However, finding the real culprit can be difficult, inspecting the surrounding areas of the ceiling stain can be a good place to start with. Identifying the cause can also determine whether it can be solved with a DIY project or a residential restoration cleaning company would be required.
If you see that the damage has reached a larger area, don’t delay in calling a professional restoration company. Whether you need to call a local plumber or a roofing company, do so immediately.
What are the common causes of ceiling water damage?
Pipe leak - The most common reason for a water damage is a leaking pipe running under floors and behind walls. When you’re trying to identify what caused the ceiling stain, check the roof, the floor above and even the floorboards. If you hear the sound of running water, then you can guess that the reason is a leaking pipe. Keep in mind that a leaky pipe or fixture can leak onto a board at one spot and run along the board for a surprisingly long distance before the water drops onto the ceiling tiles below. The leak might not be directly above the spotting in the ceiling.
Roof problems – Missing shingles or loose parts in the roof can cause the water from rain or snowfall to enter into your house. Roof problems can also include cogged ice dams during winters. A long term fix for this is to upgrade the insulation in your attic.
Worn out pipes- The plumbing system in older homes may be outdated and develop leaks more easily than others. In other cases, pipes can also “sweat” water which means that older, worn out or improperly installed pipes are causing water to drip from the pipes.
Removing the ceiling water stain
While some stains can easily be removed with a stain-killing primer and a fresh paint, others will require the professional skills of a residential restoration cleaning company. It may also require replacing a large part of your ceiling. If not, the problem will keep occurring.
The ceiling stain will be completely removed only after the source has been eliminated, otherwise you’ll find yourself in the same situation. Once the source has been dealt with, the ceiling will require a structural repair. Whether you decide to call a professional house cleaning company or conduct a DIY project, ensure that the problem is fixed thoroughly.
Preventing future ceiling stains
Addressing ceiling stains is not a task you’ll enjoy tremendously, but delaying it will only bring you bigger problems down the road. The longer the damage is left to sit on the ceiling, the damage will continue to grow and become a serious problem requiring major structural changes.
Once the stain has been repaired, you can prevent it from happening again by keeping the moisture levels low. This also prevents mould growth and bacterial infestations. Also have a professional roofing contractor perform an inspection to ensure that it’s in good condition and not at risk for any leaks.
Sewage cleanup – why you should depend on professionals to do it right
sewage removal services
Even a minor plumbing problem can cause serious menace around the house and force the homeowners to treat the problem themselves with a mop, bucket and perhaps some bleach. Such minor water cleanup problems can be solved without professional help, but when it comes to sewage backup, it cannot be solved with a simple DIY project.
Sewage water is toxic. Sewage backup contains harmful bacteria and other dangerous elements that pose serious health risks to anyone exposed to it. Many a times, homeowners believe that treating problems such as a pipe burst or standing waste water lies within their capabilities, the truth however, is that water cleanupshould be best left to professionals to ensure safety and best outcomes.
Read on to know more about this dangerous sewage backups and why you should let professionals take care of it.
Why Sewage backups are dangerous?
Most sewage backup occurs when the lateral line between your home and the main sewage line gets blocked. The most common reasons for this are old worn out pipes, tree roots, and rain water that causes soil to shifty and block the lateral line. When standing sewage gets accumulated, you are exposed to morbid viruses, bacteria, fungi and deadly parasites. There have been cases where people have been affected by diseases like Hepatitis A and Encephalitis due to exposure to toxic sewage backups. Hence, it is important to address the problem as early as possible and call for professional sewage removal services.
Why should you let the professionals do it?
- Professionals follow a strict protocol
Proper sewage cleanup involves interrelated procedures which the professionals are trained to undertake. Raw sewage and the clogs which originate from deep within the plumbing can damage the structure of your house permanently. Unorganized and amateur attempts can magnify the problems. The professional companies providing specialized sewage removal services operate according to strict standards, minimizing further damages, and unclog pipes and prevent it from happening again.
- Professionals use special equipment
Professionals make use of special equipment including commercial grade vacuums and pumps to safely remove contaminated water. These hi-tech machinery is available only with professional companies and require professional handling for which their technicians are trained.
- Professionals discard contaminated property
Items such a furniture or carpets, that may have come in contact with sewage water and pose health risks, should be identified and discarded. Your cleaning crew will have the expertise to identify the items which are salvageable and the ones which must be removed.
- Professionals will sanitize your house
The cleaning job should be followed by sanitizing the entire house to completely get rid of the lingering microbes. Sanitization is also important to prevent mold growth, which causes its own host of health problems. Also, there are several infected areas in the house which can only be accessed by experts. By using the right cleaning methods and agents, the professionals will clean the crevasses, ducts and other difficult-to-access-areas, leaving your house fully sanitized and safe to occupy.
What can you do until professionals arrive at your doorstep?
It is recommended that all the members stay away from the sewage accumulation. However, until help arrives, owners can take small steps to ensure safety. These can include – turning off the electricity, shutting down the water lines, and avoiding the use of AC’s or heaters to prevent the circulation of contaminated dust around the house.