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Common Causes of Mold and Tips to Avoiding it in Your Newtown Home

9/17/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Common Causes of Mold and Tips to Avoiding it in Your Newtown Home Because they are often damp and dark, basements tend to be an ideal location for mold growth.

There has been a lot of press on mold in homes and the potential health hazards of black mold lately. At SERVPRO of Newtown & Southern Litchfield County, we talk with many homeowners who are concerned when they discover mold in their home.   

In order to grow, mold requires certain conditions to be met. Mold spores need to be present and have a food source (examples would be cotton, sheetrock, plywood, etc.). In addition, mold requires darkness, oxygen and warm temperatures. However, these are typical conditions in most homes. The factor that most determines whether mold will grow in your home is moisture. 

Some of the most common causes of residential mold damage are: 

1. Leaky Pipes -  A slow leak might not be obvious to a homeowner but over time can create an environment that is ideal for mold growth. We have responded to a number of jobs in Fairfield County in which a plumber has discovered mold behind the kitchen cabinets due to a leaking pipe. In these cases, the kitchen cabinetry as well as walls and flooring often requires removal.

The fix: Periodically check pipes, walls and cabinetry for any signs of leaking. 

2. Attic Mold – In order to keep moisture levels low in an attic, it must be ventilated properly.  A well-ventilated attic will allow warm air to escape through the peak of the roof via the ridge and soffit vents.  Another reason for moisture in an attic can be a roof leak. 

The fix: Have your ridge and soffit vents checked for blockages and inspect your roof and attic for leaks.  

3. Basement Mold – Due to low sunlight, condensation, high humidity, flooding and leaks, the basement is a common location for mold growth. In addition, people spend little time in their basement and are less likely to spot it early on.

The fix: If there is flooding, have your basement waterproofed. Keep humidity levels down with a dehumidifier. Repair any leaky pipes. If there is water at your house's foundation, it may be necessary for ditches and drains to be built to protect your New Fairfield home.  

The good news is, not all mold requires professional remediation. If you spot mold in your Bethel home, give us a call at  (203) 743-5362. Our mold specialists have over 20 years of experience inspecting mold and will give you an honest assessment of whether mold remediation is required.  

Heavy Rains Cause Flooded Basements in Fairfield County

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Heavy Rains Cause Flooded Basements in Fairfield County SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County restores flooded basements caused by heavy rains.

Fairfield County has seen more rain this summer than I can remember. Starting with the water and wind damage caused by the tornadoes and microbursts that hit New Fairfield and Brookfield last May, rain throughout the summer and now with a week of rainfall in September, it’s been wet!  

With the rain, we have received several calls from homeowners who have flooded basements.  Even one of our production managers discovered a lake in his Warren, CT basement this morning. The source of the rainwater can come from many different sources including: 

  • Water leaks in from the outside through a basement window   
  • Sump pump failure, which can cause water overflows from your sump pump crock   
  • Water seepage from cracks in your concrete floor or foundation   
  • A sewer system back up into your basement  

In many houses with flooded basements, contents of the basement such as storage, tools, boxes etc. may also have water damage.  When responding to water damage, quick action is key to minimizing the damage. 

If your Fairfield County basement is flooded from rainwater or a sewage leak, call SERVPRO of Newtown & Southern Litchfield County at (203) 743-5362. We are available 24/7 and ready to respond to your water damage emergency.

Tips to Keep Your Family Safe During National Preparedness Month

9/6/2018 (Permalink)

September is National Preparedness Month - is your home and family ready for an emergency situation? National Preparedness Month is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters, both large scale and smaller local events. Here in Connecticut, we know all too well the impact a hurricane or winter storm can have on our daily lives. 

Here are some simple steps recommended by FEMA, who is the sponsor of the National Preparedness Month, on how to make sure your family is ready.

The first step is to Know your risk. It is important to understand the potential risks where you live. You can do this by doing the following:

  1. Bookmark weather.gov to stay informed on severe weather.
  2. Learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts, messages that will be sent to your phone during an emergency.
  3. Get practical tips on preparing for disaster at ready.gov.

The second step is to Take action. Make sure that you and your family are prepared for an emergency. Ensure that you can go for at least three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or other local services.

  1. Prepare a disaster supply kit with at least three days of food and water.
  2. Create a Family Emergency Plan, so that your family knows how to communicate during an emergency.
  3. Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio.

For additional tips and kit information, including ways to involve your family in the planning, visit  ready.gov.

If the Brookfield, CT area does get hit with a hurricane this fall, and you experience a downed tree or flooded basement, call SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County at (203) 743-5362 for a 24 hour response to your emergency.

Microwaves, Batteries, Laptops and Old Appliances Cause House Fires

8/29/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Microwaves, Batteries, Laptops and Old Appliances Cause House Fires Leaving a laptop on your bed can cause it to overheat and cause a house fire.

Most people are aware of the common causes of house fires – including fireplaces, old electrical wires and candle. At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we have restored homes in which the fire was caused by other, less common but still equally as destructive, sources.  

  1. Battery Fires: You’d be surprised at how widespread a fire from household batteries can be. When the terminals touch each other, or a metal source such as a key, a fire can start.  Batteries should be stored in a battery storage case, if one is available. If you do not have one, store them standing up, rather than loose in a container or drawer. Shorts can be prevented by placing electrical tape over the ends when they are being stored as well as when disposing.   9 volt batteries are particularly risky due to the proximity of their terminals. Never throw batteries into your garbage can or even in a bag together as that could start a fire, as this homeowner discovered when his home burned down due to 9 volt batteries.  
  • Microwave Fires: Microwaves can catch fire for a number of reasons- from unnoticed metals on dinnerware or take out containers to overcooking food such as burnt popcorn. Microwaves can also malfunction and catch fire. If something in your microwave has caught fire, unplug it if it is safe to do. Do not open the microwave door, as this will fuel the fire with oxygen. With no air, the fire should suffocate itself.  
  • Dryer Lint: Make sure that everybody in your family knows to clean the dryer lint out of your dryer with every load. Because the lint trap only catches 25% of the lint, the exhaust and duct work should also be cleaned periodically.  
  • Light bulbs: The main cause of lightbulb fires is when a light bulb with too high of wattage for a given outlet is used. Be sure to check the label on your lamp and when in doubt, keep it under 60 watts.  Caution must also be taken when using  CFLs (compact fluorescents). The spiral shaped CFL’s should not be used in an enclosed fixture.  If your CFLs are burning out early and you notice they are brown at the base when you remove them, the bulbs are overheating and could result in fire. The newer LED lights are cooler and less prone to causes a fire and also have a much nicer glow to them.  
  • Laptops: We’ve all felt the heat of a laptop on our lap after its been used for a while. You may have even seen some photos of a laptop that burned somebody’s bedding.  
    Laptops can get pretty hot during normal operation. Never leave your laptop on a bed or couch, or any place where its cooling vents are blocked. This could result in fire. Store laptops securely on a desk or laptop stand. 
  • Clutter: Stacks of newspapers or magazines can ignite quickly if left too close to a heat source. If you must keep old newspapers or magazines, be certain to store them in a cool, dry place in short stacks. The same goes for any clutter – whether that be a pile of sweaters stacked in your closet next to a light bulb or stuffed animals that touch a nightlight.  
  • Old appliances: The wiring on older appliances often becomes worn and begin to disintegrate.  Check them regularly to ensure good working condition and the safety of cords and connections. Even if your unit is working properly, consider replacing it if the electrical wiring is not up to code.  

These tips take little time and effort to follow and can save you from a house fire. 

It's Our Business to Keep You in Business After a Commercial Property Has Fire,Water or Mold Damage

8/23/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial It's Our Business to Keep You in Business After a Commercial Property Has Fire,Water or Mold Damage SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County has the training and expertise to restore your Brookfield business after fire and water damage.

When your business requires restoration services, the crew at SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County can help.  Whether your commercial property has experienced a sewage overflow, requires mold remediation or an electrical fire, we have the experience, equipment and training to keep your business back up and running.  We understand that you can’t afford to have your doors closed for long and our restoration plan is modeled with that in mind.  

Water Damage Restoration 

When it comes to water damage at commercial properties, we’ve seen it all – from coffee maker lines bursting to basement flooding. We offer 24 hour service, 7 days a week because floods don’t wait for business hours.  No matter where your business is located and no matter if you are a small privately owned business or a big box store, we have the resources and training to fix your problem.  

Fire Damage Restoration 

If your company has experienced a fire, business continuity is your primary concern.  In addition to smoke, soot and structural damage from the fire itself, most businesses that have had a fire also have extensive water damage from firefighting efforts.  As a trusted leader in fire and water damage restoration, SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County knows the ins and outs of fire damage and the extra damage that can come with it.  We have training and experience in fire and smoke restoration, odor control, upholstery and fabric cleaning as well as all aspects or water damage restoration.  

Mold Remediation 

Mold can be frightening to discover at your Fairfield County business. Mold, whether from a leak or plumbing, can cause serious problems to those who enter your business, give us a call to discuss how we can manage it as we work fast to address the mold. We know how to contain mold growth while reducing the number of mold spores in the air and on surfaces. Our crew members have training as Applied Microbial Remediation Specialists as well as Applied Structural Drying.  

The SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County team has the experience, knowledge, and expertise necessary to keep your business running after a water, fire or mold disaster.  It’s our business to keep you in business.  

Restore vs. Replace After Water and Fire Damage in Newtown Homes

8/14/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Restore vs. Replace After Water and Fire Damage in Newtown Homes When possible, SERVPRO restores your home rather that ripping out and replacing the contents.

As a SERVPRO franchise, we adhere to the SERVPRO rule of thumb that restoration is preferable to replacement if possible. Numerous insurance and restoration industry studies have concluded that restoring property after water damage is less expensive than replacing it. Restoration is also less time consuming and disruptive, meaning our customers can be in their homes and experiencing life as normal sooner after water or fire damage. Bethel area businesses will have their doors open sooner, meaning less revenue lost.

 SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County understands that a house is much more than just wood and sheetrock. It is devastating enough to see your antique wood floors water stained or your furniture covered with soot. We aim to restore these treasures, as well as family heirlooms and your children's toys, to make the experience a bit easier for Brookfield area homeowners.  

We use several methods in the restoration process including : 

Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues. 

Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning. 

Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning,  

Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if cleaned with water 

Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.  

Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.  

After your home and possessions are thoroughly cleaned, we remove odors and sanitize them so that they are ready to be returned to your home. 

Of course, there are some instances when an item, such as wet carpeting or mattresses, cannot be restored. In these cases, SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County will remove these pieces from your home and discard them ourselves. We work with your insurance adjuster to make sure you are properly compensated for damages.  Our crew and office staff are committed to make your Fairfield County home "Like it never even happened". Call us at (203) 743-5362 if you have questions about the home restoration process after you have experienced a refrigerator line leak in your Connecticut home. 

The Best of Both Worlds - We Offer Restoration and Reconstruction Services

8/7/2018 (Permalink)

Building Services The Best of Both Worlds - We Offer Restoration and Reconstruction Services The SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County team offers both water damage restoration and construction services

Should you use the same contractor for your water damage restoration and reconstruction? 

In a nutshell: Yes 

When you have experienced a flood in your home, the water damage restoration process has several stages. After the source of the flooding has been stopped, SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County will come in and dry out your home. We order a dumpster if needed and remove wet and damaged insulation, carpeting and walls. If your belongings have gotten wet or are in danger of getting wet or moldy from the water, we pack them up and move them to temporary storage. Any wet household items that can be salvaged are cleaned, usually at our off-site facility.  

After any standing water has been removed with extractors, our team uses a variety of tools to remove the excess moisture from your home. Industrial grade dehumidifiers and air movers dry things out. We take into consideration room measurements, temperature, and relative humidity to determine the optimal number of air movers and dehumidifiers needed to dry your home or business. Our professionals are trained to provide sanitizing treatments and to remove odors and deodorize your home.  

When everything is dried out, it’s time to put your home back together.  Whether there was a small leak that damaged just a few walls and molding or a catastrophic flood that has left your home without walls and ceilings, most homes with water damage require some reconstruction by a contractor. Most Brookfield area water damage restoration companies do not offer construction services, leaving you searching google for a  contractor after their work is completed.  

SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County offers full reconstruction services. Our licensed contractors will seamlessly pick up where our restoration team has left off without missing a beat. Our team understands the full scope of the work to be done.  When you have one contractor do the restoration and another do the reconstruction, an instant gap in communication exists. Dealing with two separate companies can create a situation where things slip through the cracks.  

Our office staff - Kathy, Theny and Alexis - understand your needs because they have been with you since the first phone call.  Rebuilding your home after a disaster, whether the job is big or small, can be both stressful and overwhelming.  We aim to make the entire process as streamlined and stress free as possible.  

The Facts About Mold in New Milford, CT Homes

8/1/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation The Facts About Mold in New Milford, CT Homes Not only is "black mold" toxic - all shades of mold -gray, black, purple, yellow, white- can be harmful to your health.

An internet search on household mold will result in a plethora of conflicting information on what mold is and how it can be removed from a home.  There are some facts about mold that are indisputable and good to know in case you find mold in your Newtown home.  

1. Bleach does not kill mold

This myth is so prevalent that we've been advised to use bleach against mold from everyone including our neighbors, plumber and numerous google sites.  While mold can be killed by bleach on hard surfaces such as bathroom tile, it does not kill mold on porous surfaces such as walls and wood. Mold spores present in the air are not affected by topical bleach use.  What’s more, because it is made up of 90% water, removing mold with bleach can actually make mold regrow even faster.  

2. Mold can start to grow in 24 to 48 hours 

If there has been water damage in your home or business, mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours. We typically see this when a home has been vacant while the owners are away on vacation. We've even responded to jobs in which the water damage was in a basement and not discovered until the following day. To avoid mold growing after a water damage, do not delay in calling a water damage remediation company after a flood.   

3. There are over 100,000 different types of mold

The term usually used when referring to dangerous mold is "black mold" however mold can come in a variety of colors, including brown, green, yellow and white.  In fact, there are over 100,000 known species of mold, most of which exist outside the home. Some molds are helpful to the environment and others are harmful. The most common form of molds found in homes are Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Penicillium, Stachybotrys and Alternaria. 

4. Mold is naturally everywhere 

Mold exists everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. Mold helps decompose organic matter and plays a vital role in maintaining a balance in our environment. Healthy levels of mold are not harmful to your home or your health.  When you see mold growing on surfaces of your home, however, it is probable that conditions exist that are causing an accelerated rate of growth. Typically, this is due to high moisture levels in the home. 

When SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County performs mold remediation in a structure, our goal is to bring the level of mold spores to healthy levels. In fact, complete mold spore removal is not possible and if a restoration company claims that they will eradicate mold in your home, you might consider hiring a different company.  Look for a business who has an IICRC certification  to ensure that your mold restoration company is educated and equipped in identifying and treating household mold. 

Home Appliance Leaks Cause Water Damage in Newtown

7/23/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Home Appliance Leaks Cause Water Damage in Newtown A dishwasher overflow can cause flooding to your Brookfield home.

30% of the residential water damage claims that we respond to are caused by an appliance failure such as a dishwasher, washing machine or refrigerator line leak.


Of course, there are many water damage disasters that are just that – unpredictable and unavoidable events that could not have been prevented. We recently restored a Newtown home after the ice maker supply line leaked from a brand new, professionally installed refrigerator, causing damage to the kitchen and basement below. However, most appliance related water damage events are due to age or deterioration of the appliance.


There are some easy steps that homeowners can take to reduce their risk of water damage from supply line leaks in three appliances- the dishwasher, refrigerator and washing machine.


Dishwasher
Dishwasher lines and hoses can spring a leak or blow out, often in the middle of the wash cycle, and flood your kitchen with hundreds of gallons of water.
A defective pump and/or pump seal may be the cause of a dishwasher leak. As your dishwasher ages, and because of the use of detergents, the rubber gasket that seals the pump housing could have broken down and become ineffective.
Another reason that your dishwasher may leak is because your kitchen sink pipes are clogged. The reason for the leak is that dishwasher discharge hose is connected to the sink drain. If you notice your sink or dishwasher draining slowly, clear the clog before it gets worse and causes an overflow.
A faulty seal on your dishwasher door can also cause your dishwasher to leak.


Washing machine
If you notice a puddle on the floor of your laundry room, don’t ignore it! Your washer may need a minor repair that can prevent a major catastrophe. There may be a loose connection on one of the hoses or a missing rubber washer. You may find that you have a washing machine hose that has a pinhole leak that could lead to an eruption and cause flooding throughout your home.
If you notice water on the floor in front of your front load washer, check your door seal. Soil, debris and soap buildup can cause the seal to fail and allow a leak. Also check to see if there is any deterioration of the seal or trapped items (like a pesky sock)
If there is a puddle under your washer, there could be a hole in your water pump and it should be replaced.
Also check to make certain that the door on your front load washing machine is opening and closing properly. A faulty hinge could allow water to leak out.


Refrigerator
The water damage that we usually see from refrigerators is generally caused by a failure of the ice maker supply line. Over the years, the supply line can weaken and become vulnerable to bursting. There may be a slow leak that can cause mold to grow throughout the years or there can be a sudden failure that causes flooding. Since most of us don't often look behind our refrigerators, a slow leak or deterioration of the line can go unnoticed. Periodically take a look behind your fridge at the supply line to make sure it is in sound condition.


Most homeowner's insurance policies do not cover water damage that could have been avoided with proper maintenance or what might be considered neglect. Making a habit of periodically checking your appliances for wear and addressing small water leaks or clogs when they first happen will save you from dealing with an uncovered water damage loss later on.

Choosing an IICRC Certified Restoration Company for Your Water, Fire and Mold Restoration Needs in Newtown, CT

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

General Choosing an IICRC Certified Restoration Company for Your Water, Fire and Mold Restoration Needs in Newtown, CT Choose an IICRC certified firm when you have water, fire or mold damage in the Brookfield, CT area.

When seeking a fire, water or mold restoration company in the Fairfield County area, it's important to choose a reputable company whose employees have been highly trained. A poorly conducted restoration can cause a home or business to have secondary problems such as mold down the line. 

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

IICRC Certified Firms must

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

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

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

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

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

The IICRC Develops The Standards For The Restoration Industry

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

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

About SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County

SERVPRO of  Newtown and Southern Litchfield 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 and we are an IICRC Certified Firm. We believe in continuous training: from initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.