Hurricane season started June 1st and runs through November 30th. Now is the perfect time to think about making some preparations.
Preparing in advance to deal with the unexpected can make a world of difference in how quickly and completely we can put the pieces of their lives back together. We encourage all realtors, association managers and property owners to take advantage of the no-cost emergency planning tools available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) (www.ready.gov/publications)
The most important thing to consider for your home is flood insurance. A common misconception is that homes that are not in a flood zone are not eligible for such coverage. That is not the case. Any home can have a flood insurance policy. Insurance is sold through local agents as part of the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. Homeowners can take out separate polices to insure the structure and any contents inside. Homes that are in a designated flood zone are required to have flood insurance, and it is typically a stipulation during the sale of a house. In fact, it is recommended that homes outside of a flood zone also have coverage, especially in coastal communities, like Hampton Roads. Nationally, about 30 % of flood insurance claims come from homes that are not in a flood zone. Premiums vary by numerous factors such as location, age of the dwelling and value of insured contents inside the home. For more information about the NFIP, please visit FEMA.gov/NFIP.
Know your Zone.
The state introduced “Know Your Zone” to simplify evacuation processes when it becomes necessary. There are four zones, lettered A-D, that specify your evacuation zone based on your address and nature of the emergency event. State and local agencies will alert residents by their zones if there is a need to evacuate or shelter in place. While not every neighborhood is in a zone, that does not mean you will never have to evacuate, so you’ll still need to pay attention to official announcements and news.
To find your zone, go to KnowYourZoneVA.org. Once there, follow the on-screen instructions to enter your address and determine where you fall on the map.
Know your way out.
Have an evacuation plan, become familiar with it and make sure your family is aware of it as well. The most common routes:
- If you live north of I-264, head north and west along I-64 and across the HRBT and move inland.
- If you live south of I-264, head south and west on I-64 towards Suffolk and Highway 460 Continue to head inland and away from the coast to lessen the impact of a storm.
Keep in mind that the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel will likely be closed if an incoming storm has high winds. Avoid going north on Highway 13 and opt for the other routes.
If you choose to Shelter in Place
Have a cache of supplies that will last each member of your household, including any pets or infants, at least three days. Some of the basic supplies are:
- Water – one gallon per person, per day
- Food – Non-perishable or canned goods
- Medications and first-aid supplies
- Portable lights and batteries
- Portable radio
- Personal hygiene supplies
- Toilet paper
- Cash – to purchase one week’s worth of supplies for your household.
Should you or someone you know experience a water damage from a hurricane or a leaking pipe please do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Virginia Beach at 757-431-1400
What You Should Know, Should You Experience A Water Damage.
The thing about water damage and repair professionals is that no one seems to have interest in knowing one until they're in desperate need of their help! We interviewed SERVPRO of Virginia Beach Franchise Owner, Anna Cheracles, to find out just what it is that a restoration professional does and when and why someone would need to hire one. Here's what Anna had to say:
What exactly does a water damage and repair professional do?
We arrive onsite within 4 hours (usually 1 hour) to remediate a water damage. The sooner you can stop the water and begin to dry the structure, the less damage you will have, which will reduce repairs that will need to be done.
Why is it important to call a professional?
We can restore vs. replace. We have special drying techniques which will save time and money for the insured and insurance company. You don't want to end up with any type of secondary damage or mold that could be prevented by calling a professional right away.
A professional will know when it is necessary to remove materials such as vinyl or laminate floors in order to dry sub floors. We have tools, such as moisture meters, that can detect exactly what's been affected so that we can properly mitigate the loss.
What are the most common problems water damage professionals see?
We often find pre-existing damage. It is important to properly maintain your home so that dry rot or other slow leaks do not occur. If you have a pipe burst under your sink, but you have dry rot already showing on you sub floor, often the insurance companies will not cover this due to the home not being maintained.
Another problem we see is when a homeowner does not take immediate action. They will wait a few days for the insurance company to come out before they call a mitigation company to come out. Or they try to do the work themselves. This will only prolong the process and possibly cause more damage later on. You need special equipment to properly dry a structure.
When should I call a water damage professional?
Anytime you experience a water damage, you should call a professional. The sooner you call, the more you can minimize damage. Even if the cause of the problem is still not fixed, the faster we can begin extracting water, you can lessen the chance of further damage. Often times an area can feel dry to the touch, but it is important to have a professional use a moisture meter to check for water behind cabinets, walls, etc. Dry wall may feel dry, but the insulation inside the wall could possibly be wet. Carpet could feel dry, but the sub floor and padding could have elevated moisture levels.
How much will it cost?
We use industry standard prices, which are set for each region in the country through a program called Xactimate. Most of the charges are done by square foot, by a labor hour or per piece of equipment. It is pricey to properly mitigate your home, but if you do it right the first time, you won't have mold grow and will save money in the long run. We deal directly with the insurance companies so there will not be any type of paperwork that you will need to file. We take care of it all!
What should I do while waiting?
If possible, turn the source of the water off. Begin mopping up water or blotting with towels. DO NOT use a shop vac to remove water. Shop vacs are not meant to extract a lot of water, only a little bit here and there. Put all furniture up on blocks, or even put foil under the legs of furniture to protect it and to also protect your carpet from getting any staining on it. You should also wipe up any water on wood furniture so it does not ruin it. Do not use electrical devices where the moisture is present. Make sure to not stand under any sagging ceilings.
How do I decide who to hire?
You should always try to hire someone who has a national reputation and a brand that stands behind them. Take advice from your insurance company, they work with these professionals everyday and should have a good recommendation.
Storm Damage Clean Up In Virginia Beach
SERVPRO of Virginia Beach provides 24 hour, 365 days a year emergency board-up services for any residential or commercial location in the Hampton Roads area. Whether you experience vandalism, storm damage, or another unexpected disaster, you want to restore your property to its normal state as soon as it can be done. Boarding-up incorrectly can cause additional moisture damages, making the situation even worse. We have Class “A” Subcontractors standing by and ready to assist in any emergency. We can provide you with one-stop shopping. Leave the inconvenience of Board-ups to the Professionals at SERVPRO of Virginia Beach to make it “Like it never even happened.” Call us 757-431-1400 to ensure no further damage occurs to the structure or its contents.
4 Facts About Hurricanes You Need To Know
Hurricane season is June through November. So, here we are. Hurricane season. And though Virginia rarely gets a direct hit by a hurricane, living near the coast in the south, most people are all too familiar with the hurricane season and the tropical storms that come with it. But what about hurricane damage to your home? If you haven’t had hurricane damage before, here are 4 facts about hurricane damage you need to know before the storm hits.
1. Primary Causes of Hurricane Damage
The primary cause of hurricane damage to homes is damage from high wind and flooding from the torrential rains.
2. What the Wind Does
The wind can cause damage to siding and it can break windows and blow in garage doors. Broken and downed trees are another result of hurricane damage.
3. What the Water Does
Torrential rains can often cause flooding from overwhelmed gutters and downspouts, broken windows and damaged roofs, and saturated soil around and near your home.
4. What a Storm Damage Expert Will Do
A storm damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Virginia Beach will help you deal with hurricane damage quickly. With 24-hour emergency response and the tools and equipment to deal with the damage to trees, siding and flooding, they’re you’re one-stop-shop for hurricane damage.
Please give us a call at 757-431-1400.
Basic Mold Facts For Virginia Beach
What are molds?
Molds are fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. No one knows how many species of fungi exist but estimates range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more. Molds grow best in warm, damp, and humid conditions, and spread and reproduce by making spores. Mold spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dry conditions, that do not support normal mold growth.
What are some of the common indoor molds?
Where are molds found?
Molds are found in virtually every environment and can be detected, both indoors and outdoors, year round. Mold growth is encouraged by warm and humid conditions. Outdoors they can be found in shady, damp areas or places where leaves or other vegetation is decomposing. Indoors they can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or showers.
How can people decrease mold exposure?
Sensitive individuals should avoid areas that are likely to have mold, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Inside homes, mold growth can be slowed by controlling humidity levels and ventilating showers and cooking areas. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix the water problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions for use (see product label).
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected area.
- If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.
- Be sure the home has adequate ventilation, including exhaust fans.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before application.
- Clean bathrooms with mold killing products.
- Do not carpet bathrooms and basements.
- Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery.
What areas have high mold exposures?
- Antique shops
- Construction areas
- Flower shops
- Summer cottages
I found mold growing in my home, how do I test the mold?
Generally, it is not necessary to identify the species of mold growing in a residence, and CDC does not recommend routine sampling for molds. Current evidence indicates that allergies are the type of diseases most often associated with molds. Since the susceptibility of individuals can vary greatly either because of the amount or type of mold, sampling and culturing are not reliable in determining your health risk. If you are susceptible to mold and mold is seen or smelled, there is a potential health risk; therefore, no matter what type of mold is present, you should arrange for its removal.
A qualified environmental lab took samples of the mold in my home and gave me the results. Can CDC interpret these results?
Standards for judging what is an acceptable, tolerable, or normal quantity of mold have not been established. If you do decide to pay for environmental sampling for molds, before the work starts, you should ask the consultants who will do the work to establish criteria for interpreting the test results. They should tell you in advance what they will do or what recommendations they will make based on the sampling results. The results of samples taken in your unique situation cannot be interpreted without physical inspection of the contaminated area or without considering the building’s characteristics and the factors that led to the present condition.
Spring Cleaning Season Is Here
The first day of Spring is right around the corner, March 20th to be exact. It's time to start Spring cleaning. We all know Spring cleaning can be a little overwhelming, so we decided to create a check list to get you started on your spring cleaning!
- Change smoke alarm Batteries
- Clean/polish fixtures
- Clean mirrors and glass
- Clean rugs, floors & baseboards
- Dust/ polish furniture
- Dust bookshelves; donate books
- Dust light fixtures & bulbs
- Replace old light bulbs
- Wipe walls and ceilings
- Wash curtains
- Wash light fixtures/ ceiling fans
- Wash Windows
- Clean Garage
- Clean gutters
- Clean house siding
- Clean patio furniture
- Clean porch/deck/patio
- Seal driveway
- Wash/inspect light fixtures
- Clean out closets & donate
- Put away winter bedding
- Rotate mattress
- Wash Bedding
- Clean garage
- Clean gutters
- Clean & sanitize sink
- Clean & sanitize tubs, shower & toilet
- Clean out Medicine Cabinet
- Clean under the sink
- Dispose of expired medications
- Clean oven
- Clean appliances (inside & out)
- Clean pantry, toss old food
- Polish Stainless-steel appliances
- Wash Cabinets (inside &out)
- Clean refrigerator/ freezer
As always, If you are looking for a deep, professional cleaning of your home or business, give SERVPRO Of Virginia Beach a call, remember it is ALWAYS best to call directly 757-431-1400. Always Here to Help!
When Water Strikes in Virginia Beach
When Water Strikes in Virginia Beach
If you are looking to prevent damage to your home, staying ahead of water damage is crucial. Water damage leads to rotted wood, insect infestation, peeling paint and weakened roofs and siding, Mold or Mildew
Check for leaks and cracks where water can enter, such as windows and doors, especially around corners. Clean and caulk these leaks immediately. Look for broken shingles and cracks in exterior walls. Repair or replace any broken shingles that are allowing water in, seal all cracks and holes in your home’s foundation, joints, and exterior walls. Ceiling leaks can be dealt with by measuring the location of the leak from the nearest outside wall, then locating this point in the attic with a measuring tape.
Check your home for leaking faucets, sweating pipes, bad drainage systems, and clogged drains—all of these can lead to water leaking, pooling, and causing damage. Keep an eye on your water heater for signs of leaking water or rust. If you have a wood home, look out for termite damage. To prevent future leaks, install flashing around doors, windows, thresholds, chimneys, and roofs—it prevents water from penetrating places where two different building surfaces meet.
Maybe you are just dealing with a burst pipe, or worse yet you have a flooded basement. Regardless of how bad the initial damage is, you cannot afford to wait to start the water cleanup process. Within just a single hour up to a day after your home has been exposed to water, it will begin to cause damage. This is when drywall begins to bulge and break, furniture begins to swell and crack, and metal surfaces begin to tarnish
Water spreads very quickly and will get absorbed into the floors, the walls, your furniture, and other areas in your home. Once you have stopped the actual leak, you need to immediately start the process of water mitigation, which is the process of preventing or reducing the amount of water damage, to prevent additional damage so time is of the essence. If water damage persists for more than a week, mildew and mold growth, structural damage and biohazard contaminants may pose serious risks to you and your family. The delay in restoration time may also significantly increase the cost to repair water damage.
Do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of Virginia Beach at 757-431-1400 we strive to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Preparing for winter weather and avoiding water damage from Frozen Pipes
As seasons change, so do property owners preparation checklists. With winter weather upon us, it is important for homeowners and property managers to do everything they can do to reduce risks of costly water damage caused by frozen pipes.
When water freezes, it expands. That’s why a can of soda explodes if it’s put into a freezer to chill quickly and then forgotten. When water freezes in a pipe, it expands the same way. If it expands enough, the pipe bursts and water escapes leaving serious damage as a result.
Pipes in attics, crawlspaces, and outside walls are all vulnerable to freezing, especially if there are cracks or openings that allow the cold, outside air to flow across the pipes. Holes in an outside wall where television, cable or telephone lines enter can provide access for cold air to reach pipes.
The Red Cross warns that pipe freezing is likely to occur after consecutive days and nights of freezing (32 degrees) or below conditions. Taking the following precautions ahead of time can help you prevent potential pipe catastrophes:
- Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets, especially if the pipes for faucets run through unheated or uninsulated areas of your home. Allowing cold water to trickle from a faucet can alleviate pressure and prevent a rupture even if freezing occurs.
- If a vacant home, keep the temperature above 65 degrees.
- Cap outdoor water fixtures. By placing a cover on outdoor spigots and faucets, it reduces the possibility these fixtures build up with ice.
- Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells. This allows warm air to circulate around pipes.
If you have done nothing to prevent frozen pipes and you have water leaking or you have no water pressure, it likely means your pipes have burst. According to State Farm Insurance, this happens to more than 50 million families each year in the United States. If a pipe has even 1/8” crack, it can release 250 gallons of water a day.
You must act fast to prevent further, and more costly damage.
- This first step is to always shut down your property’s main water supply. (Depending on the amount of water and location, you may want to first turn off electricity.)
- If it’s heated water that’s coming from the broken pipe, you should also close the valve attached to your hot water heater.
- After you’ve shut down the water, call a plumber for help with repairing or replacing the burst pipe.
Make SERVPRO of Virginia Beach your first call to help you and your local insurance agent assess the damage. We will work for you to restore your property and your life to make it "Like it never even happened."
While it’s true that a house fire can be an extremely difficult and overwhelming experience, professional fire restoration companies are available to help you deal with the aftermath. When fire damage is the result of fire in our home—one of the scariest and most devastating events we can face—it can make us feel panicked, vulnerable, and helpless. The good news is that you don’t have to deal with it alone when you have the right fire restoration services to guide you.
What professional fire restoration companies do is a science designed to provide the most effective restoration and resolution after a fire to get your home back to its original condition and get you back to life as you know it.
Here are 3 amazing facts about fire restoration, and #3 just might surprise you:
#1: With a House Fire, Smoke Goes Everywhere
Even if you have a tiny kitchen fire with minimal damage, you will experience the smell of smoke and have the potential for smoke damage throughout other areas of your home, or maybe even throughout your entire home. Smoke travels everywhere. It’s made up of particles of the fuel that burned in the fire combined with chemicals and particulates that become airborne during the fire and then move throughout your house.
Smoke damage restoration is one of the primary concerns during fire restoration. If smoke damage is not treated properly it can cause more and more problems as it sits on surfaces throughout your home. And the odor lingers long after the fire is out and can make a home unlivable if it isn’t dealt with successfully. It takes the proper tools, equipment, products, and know-how to get rid of smoke damage.
#2: Fire Damage Is Often More Extensive (and More Dangerous) than It Looks
When the fire is out and the smoke has cleared, the danger isn’t necessarily over. Fire damage is often more extensive than it first appears. A small fire can damage not just the surface where the fire occurred but can damage the interiors of walls and ceilings and can affect the electrical and the structure of your home in unexpected ways.
When fire burns, the temperature and ferocity often depends on the fuel. In a home fire, that often includes lots of synthetic and petroleum based products like carpet and flooring, toys and furniture, and plastics and artificial laminates. This type of fire creates smoke and soot residue that is greasy and smeary and can be difficult to remove as well as toxic to handle.
When there is a fire against a wall, it can also burn the interior support structure and the floor below. This is another danger you could be facing if you choose to enter the home before it’s deemed safe by the fire department. Use caution when dealing with the interior of your home as well as the residue left behind by the fire. Call in a professional before you do anything.
#3: House Fires Lead to Water, Water Everywhere!
One of the most damaging things about a house fire isn’t necessarily the flames but the water used to extinguish them. Surprised? You’re not alone. Most homeowners expect to find fire damage after a fire, not water damage. The truth is that water can often cause more damage after the fact than the fire itself.
The water, though essential to put out the fire, is used in massive quantities and will run down through your home, pooling in the lowest areas of each floor. Not only can this cause damage to your belongings and the structure of your home, but it can cause an even more dangerous situations.
Fire damage is something we all hope we never have to deal with, but if you should be faced with a fire in your home, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with and why you should put the care of your home in the hands of a restoration company.
Contact SERVPRO for any restoration needs at 757-431-1400.
Flooding can happen ANYWHERE
It seems appropriate to write a little about flooding since we are smack in the middle of Hurricane Preparedness Week
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), “Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding.” NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as
- Flash Flooding
- River Flooding
- Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical systems
- Burn Scars/Debris Flows (caused by wildfires)
- Ice/Debris Jams
- Dry Wash (caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
- Dam Breaks/Levee Failure
Just because you haven’t experienced a flood doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for polices in the low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the U.S., and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP).
When Catastrophic water damage (or any water damage) happens to you, SERVPRO of Virginia Beach professionals can help. It is always best to call SERVPRO of Virginia Beach directly at 757-544-6027