Recent Posts

Smoke and Soot Cleaning After a Home Fire

12/4/2021 (Permalink)

Some of the toughest jobs we respond to are house fires. It can be devastating, both physically and emotionally, for the family who has experienced such a loss. Not only is there damage from the fire itself, the smoke and soot can render many possessions unsalvageable. On top of that, water damage from fire fighting efforts adds another layer of damage. Our team knows how important it is to save whatever we can of your belongings.  We have technicians trained and experienced in the art of content cleaning, which can take different forms depending on the item. 

Dry-Cleaning: In order to remove smoke and soot from porous items such as clothing, furniture and drapery, we use the dry cleaning method. The soot has to be removed from the textiles before they are washed with water. 

Ultrasonic: Non-porous items can go through a more vigorous cleaning than materials that soak up water. The ultrasonic treatment incorporates ultrasound and a cleaning solvent to rid your belongings of soot.

High-Pressure Water: In some circumstances, such as for larger items, our technicians opt to use  high-pressure water treatment on non-porous household items. 

Odor Removal: Smoke isn't the only thing that can cling to your possessions. The smell can linger after all visible signs of fire damage has disappeared. Our team may use thermal fogging or ozone treatments to make your home smelling good again. 

With decades in the business, our team has helped hundreds of families back into their homes after house fires. If you are faced with such a loss, please know that we are available to help.

We Will Get to You Fast!

11/29/2021 (Permalink)

When storms hit the Ridgefield area, the SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County crew is ready to respond immediately. Our owner, Greg Geaski, has lived in the area his whole life and knows it well. With a firsthand knowledge of the area and the weather it brings, he knows how to respond and what resources are needed. Our office staff, are available to answer your call and assess the situation and your needs immediately. Our crew is on call nights and weekends and able to respond to your call quickly.  

By responding quickly, we can lessen the damage, limit further damage, and reduce the cost of restoration.   Storms don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we.  Whether you have a tree down on your house, a broken window that requires boarding up or flooding in your basement, our team is ready help. 

Do you have Storm or Flood Damage? Call Us Today at (203) 743-5362.

Black Spiderwebs in Your Home?

11/15/2021 (Permalink)

With the arrival of cold weather in the New Milford area, the calls coming to our office take a different tone.

Winter brings calls from homeowners who have had burst pipes and chimney fires as well as furnace puffbacks. A puffback is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout the interior of a home. Puff backs happen when your oil burning furnace doesn't ignite when it should. This causes oil vapors to build up which results in an explosion when the igniter finally triggers. The result of this is soot and other debris is forced from the furnace's exhaust system. The soot then enters the homes heating system and gets blown throughout the home. 

If you see signs of a puffback in your home, call your oil company immediately for an inspection of your furnace. If a homeowner hasn't experienced a puff back before, they might mistake the soot on their surfaces for dust and attempt to wipe it away. However, soot cannot but easily wiped away- it requires specialized cleaning by your local SERVPRO franchise. 

At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we have the tools, training and experience to get your home back to properly remove soot in your home. Call us at (203) 743-5362 for immediate service.

What can be Saved After Water Damage in Your Home?

11/5/2021 (Permalink)

Excess water, whether it be from a hurricane, frozen pipes after a snowstorm or seepage into a basement after heavy rains, causes more than structural damage.  Not only has a home been affected by flooding, often the contents of a home are damaged as well. SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County crew members assist our customers in determining which of their possessions are salvageable, and which cannot be saved.  

We go through the contents of a home on a piece by piece basis and while each item is a unique case, we do use a few factors to determine whether it gets boxed, sent to our facility for cleaning or put in the dumpster. 

The type of water that has flooded the home is an important factor in determining what stays and what goes. Clean water does not pose as much of a health hazard as potentially contaminated water does. If there is concern that water is contaminated from sewage or chemicals, we are unlikely to suggest it be cleaned. It's not worth the risk.  

Typically, porous fabrics such as mattresses, pillows, carpeting and particle board cannot be salvaged. They absorb water quickly and are breeding grounds for mold spores to grow. However, there are cases in which we are able to clean area rugs and wood if we are called to the job quickly and the piece has not become oversaturated.  

Our ability to be on the job quickly helps us minimize damage to personal possessions that have water damage. The perfect example of this is wooden furniture. It takes quite a fit of time for it to really absorb and become completely water logged. If you get  personal belongings out of the standing water and begin the drying process right away, you have a good chance of being able to save them. 

The SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County team has the experience in caring for the belongings of your Sandy Hook home. We understand that it can be difficult to part with treasured items, and do our best to help save them. If you experience a flood, calling us immediately at (203) 743-5362 will help minimize the damage. 

Use a Turkey Fryer? Avoid a Fire With These Tips.

10/25/2021 (Permalink)

To be honest, I’ve never fried my Thanksgiving turkey. My family has always gone the traditional route and roasted our bird in the oven. I am tempted, however, to give it a try this year because so many people swear by how amazing and flavorful a fried turkey is. 

Working in the fire damage restoration business, however, I’ve seen the damage a turkey fryer can do to a home. Turkey fryer fires are more common than you’d imagine and are devastating because everything surrounding the fire is engulfed in the flames. 

So, why does frying a turkey carry the risk of fire? 

I know. It’s cold in Connecticut by the last Thursday of November and you may not want to be standing outside while the rest of the meal is cooking in the kitchen. But turkeys should ALWAYS be fried outside. Just because you’ve been doing it in your garage for 10 years and never had a problem doesn’t mean it can't happen to you.  Because the hot oil will spray everywhere when cooking, a 10’ radius around the fryer is necessary. It quickly starts a fire when making contact with combustible materials, such as wood or fabric.  If the oil touches bare skin, it can also cause severe burns.

One common mistake people make is using a frozen turkey. This is because when a frozen turkey is submerged into a pot of oil, the oil doesn’t mix with the frozen water on the turkey. Instead, heavy pockets of water will sink to the bottom of the fryer while the oil surrounding them quickly heats it beyond its boiling point. The water then evaporates, expands, and splatters the oil everywhere, including the burner. Upon hitting the burner, the beads of oil ignite into flames that spread out in all directions.  If you have marinated your turkey in a brine, make sure it is fully dry prior to putting in the oil. 

Measure your oil carefully, making certain that it is 4-6” below rim after the turkey is palced in it. . When you lower the turkey in, be sure to be wearing oven mitts, long sleeves, pants, and close-toed shoes. Hot oil will stick to bare skin, causing severe burns that can result in an emergency trip to the hospital.

Even a seasoned turkey fryer can have an accident that causes disaster.  The turkey can slip from your hands when lowering it into the fryer or your rope-and-pulley system could break, spilling the oil everywhere and igniting a fire. The point is that something can always go wrong when frying a turkey; therefore, you should always be prepared and have a fire extinguisher by your side at all times. 

We hate to see someone's holiday ruined by a house fire due to a cooking accident.  But if you do have a Thanksgiving disaster, we have teams on call 24/7 - even on the holidays and are Here to Help.

Is it a Winter Storm Watch, Warning or Advisory?

10/25/2021 (Permalink)

We have entered that time of year in Connecticut when the weather channels will start to warn us that there is a Winter Storm Watch, Warning or Advisory. Rarely will a week go by without one of these warnings in Connecticut. If you've wondered what the difference is between the three, here you go!

WINTER STORM WATCH is the first level of warning. It signifies that conditions are favorable to produce winter weather: snow, sleet, freezing rain, icy roads and the like. These conditions may or may not occur, but the weather service is alerting residents to the possibility. In Connecticut, heavy snow means 7 inches or more of accumulation in 24 hours or less. A winter storm watch is a long range prediction. They are issued at least 12 hours before the hazardous winter weather is expected to begin. When the storm becomes imminent, or has a high probability of occurring, the watch will be upgraded to a "WARNING".

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is the second level of warning - a middle man between the watch and warning. It is issued when winter weather is likely to create a hazard. Generally, the weather service is expecting snow, sleet, freezing rain, icy roads and other dangerous conditions. You may see a specific Wind Advisory or a Freezing Rain Advisory issued when these conditions are likely to be coming our way.  

WINTER STORM WARNING means that a winter storm is either expected soon or already taking place. Heavy snow, white-out blizzards, sleet, high winds and significant ice accumulations may be imminent, and residents should prepare immediately for deteriorating conditions. This is issued when a dangerous combination of heavy snow, with sleet and/or freezing rain, will occur or has a high probability of occurring within the next 12 hours. 

And in the Bethel area, we're bound to see a BLIZZARD WARNING a few times over the season.This is issued for a combination of strong winds averaging or frequently gusting to, or above, 35 miles an hour and very low visibility due to blowing or falling snow. These are the most dangerous winter storms and can be especially severe when combined with temperatures below 10 degrees.

Of course, as we all know in Fairfield County, the weather can change hour by hour so your best course of action is to check updates regularly and prepare for the worst!

Get Your Home Ready For Winter Weather.

10/4/2021 (Permalink)

Most of the leaves are on the ground in Litchfield County and we've already seen some of that white stuff falling from the sky. It's time to switch gears and settle in for the long, cozy New England winter.  Now is the time to take a few steps to ready your Bethlehem, CT home for the months to come.

Oil Burner Servicing - If you have not already done so, make an appointment to have your oil burner serviced. This is recommended on an annual basis. Having the burner tuned up and cleaned of dust and grime that has accumulated improves system efficiency, which means better heating performance and lower heating costs. It also minimizes the risk of your oil burner requiring a major emergency repair in the midst of freezing temperatures. At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we respond to many homes each winter that have water damage due to frozen pipes caused by a malfunctioning oil burner.

Wood Stove and Fireplace Cleaning - Many of our customers heat their homes with wood or pellet stoves and fireplaces throughout the Connecticut winter. These alternatives to oil heating provide what is often a more affordable source of heat. We recommend that you check your fireplace for any signs of excessive soot, cracks in the chimney and that your chimney cap is secure. Have your chimney swept annually to avoid soot buildup, or creosote. A blocked chimney can cause a  chimney fire, which is not always easily detected. These can spread quickly through the walls and roof of your home and result in massive damage to your home. A blocked chimney or a chimney with an improperly functioning flue can also  cause a buildup of carbon monoxide, putting those inside your home at risk. 

Prepare the outside of your home - Trim trees with branches that are low laying and may be an issue when covered with snow and ice. Snow and ice causes them to be heavy and possibly cause damage to your home during winter storms. Also, check your gutters to make sure they are free of leaves and debris so that they can function properly. If ice dams on your roof have been an issue for your Sherman home in the past, consider installing roof heat cables that help snow and ice melt on your roof before causing water damage inside your home. 

At SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, we are ready 24 hours a day to respond to your call. If you do experience a frozen pipe that bursts or a chimney fire or puffback this winter, call us at (203) 743-5362.

What Does it Mean to be an IICRC Firm?

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

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.

How to Avoid a Kitchen Fire in Connecticut

9/3/2021 (Permalink)

Let's talk about kitchen fires. It's actually amazing, when you think about it, that there aren't MORE fires in the kitchen.

Every household is cooking on a daily basis and we are all bound at some time or another to forget about a pot left on the stove top ("I'll check back during the commercial") or neglect to clean up that grease spill in the oven from the last time you cooked (any busy moms out there?). Proportionally, for the number of us cooking each day, the number of fires that are caused by cooking is not too substantial.

However, according to the National Fire Protection Agency, there are 471 cooking fires PER DAY in the United States. This means that as  Connecticut's leading fire restoration company, we typically receive a few calls a month from homes in which there has been a kitchen fire.

Since you can't stop cooking, the best that you can do to avoid a visit from us is:

1. Never leave food unattended. Ok, but realistically, you have to go check the baby or you're just going to sit down for a few minutes. So, set a timer whenever you leave the kitchen. You don't think that you will forget that you are cooking but neither do those other 471 people every day. Get one of those cute little egg timers that you will love using if it helps to remember!

2. Practice Microwave Safety. Of course your family knows not to put metal in the microwave. You've told them a million times, right? Well, let's face it, sometimes they might not listen to you. And, sometimes, the metal is hidden, as in a twist tie or food wrapper. The best advice we can give is to never leave a microwave unattended. And leave a note on the microwave reminding kids (and those young at heart) to double check for metal.  If a fire does start in the microwave, unplug it and leave the door shut. 

3. Have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Or, at least a big box of baking soda  - they cost about $2 and can safely extinguish a stove top fire. 

471 every day is a big number - try to avoid being part of that statistic. However, fires happen and if you have one, we are here to help.

Bathtub Overflow? We Can Help!

9/3/2021 (Permalink)

It happens a few times a year - an overflowing bathtub causes flooding in a Newtown area home. It happens easily - you turn on the tub and then go to get your magazine or answer the phone. You get distracted and don't remember the tub was on until you notice water dripping through the ceiling. 
 
Although you might be shocked that you forgot the water running and have caused damage to your home, our restoration technicians will not be. We see this sort of accident frequently and will arrive with the necessary equipment we need in order to secure and restore the water damaged areas in your home.

This includes extracting the water in your home using pumps and vacuums. We will check the subflooring for moisture. Even if you have ceramic tiles, water can seep in and around grout lines or fixture seals however in some cases, our technicians might be dry the subfloor from underneath to preserve the tiles. And, of course, if you do have water seeping through your ceiling, we will remove the ceiling and dry the joists and beams out before replacing with new sheetrock. 

Accidents happen. It doesn't have to be the end of the world. Call SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County to help make it "Like it never even happened."