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Understanding the Different Levels of Sewage Damage

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

As a homeowner, it’s important to be prepared for various types of damage in your home, including sewer backup. Whether you’re dealing with a flooded toilet or a faulty dishwasher, you should recognize that you’re in the middle of an emergency situation. If you ever have to deal with sewage in your residence in Louisa, VA, you need to reach out to professional experts in sewer cleanup to address this issue quickly and thoroughly. They will know the proper approach based on the type of contaminated water or sewage damage level found.


Exploring Different Levels of Water Contamination
Sewage damage is categorized based on three different levels or types of contaminated water:

  • Clean Water (Category 1): This describes damage from a clean source such as a leaky faucet or broken pipe.
  • Gray Water (Category 2): This describes contaminated water that comes from overflow from a house appliance or a toilet containing some urine. Gray water may contain microbes.
  • Black Water (Category 3): Severely contaminated water that contains sewage, harsh chemicals and microbes such as sewer backup or flooding is referred to as black water.


When clean and gray water are left untreated, they may degrade into gray and black water, respectively. Items that experience damage from Category 3 or black water usually cannot be salvaged. It is important to address any contaminated water damage with a comprehensive sewer cleanup approach that can only be offered by professionals.


Understanding the Professional Difference
Sewage backup in your house is a serious matter. Professional restoration specialists have the equipment and know-how to quickly and fully address any damage. The aim of a full restoration process is to bring your residence back to pre-damage conditions as soon as possible.
It is not recommended that you attempt to clean sewage backup yourself. Trust your home to sewer cleanup experts who are focused on fully addressing the problem, including damage that may be hidden from view.

How To Know Whether Your Sprinklers Are Ready for a Fire

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

A fire sprinkler system is a valuable piece of your Louisa, VA, commercial building. It can prevent a small blaze from turning into a massive and destructive fire. While you may need fire sprinkler cleanup services after the system activates, this is a small price to pay compared to the thousands of dollars in damage that flames could cause.
You thus need to make sure that your sprinklers are ready for a potential emergency. That is why sprinkler tests are required by the National Fire Protection Association. Below are some of the tests you should regularly perform.


1. Water Flow Test
Simply open the inspector's test valve and let the water flow for 60 seconds. Ideally, the alarm should sound and send a signal to the local fire station. Before you perform this quarterly test, contact the fire department so it knows not to respond to the property.

2. Main Drain Test
This test of the fire sprinkler system checks both the drain valves and the water supply. To start, record the static pressure indicated on the gauge. Then let the water in the main valve run until the pressure stabilizes. Look at the pressure again before slowly closing the valve. The difference between the two pressure readings should be less than 10 percent. A larger variance could mean a dropped gate or obstruction.

3. Trip Test
A partial dry pipe valve trip test should be done each year. Ideally, you should conduct the test when the weather is warmer to limit freezing. Partially open the control valve and make sure the system trips within one minute.
You should also do a full trip test every three years. This is the same as the partial test but requires you to fully open the control valve so the water flows.
To comply with insurance requirements and NFPA regulations, you must perform fire sprinkler tests. You can then rest assured that your fire suppression system will work during a blaze.

Don't Wait for Adjusters After a Storm

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

Strong storms with high winds and heavy rains can lead to floods and the destruction of property. If your home in Louisa, VA, suffers damage in a flood, immediate action is needed to begin cleanup and repairs. Check with your insurance provider to see if you have flood insurance to help cover the cost of repairs, but don't delay your rebuilding efforts.


1. Safety first
After a flood, shut off the gas and electricity as soon as possible. Wear protective gear whenever you enter the premises as flood water can be toxic.


2. Clean everything
Delaying the cleanup process until you hear from an adjuster about your flood insurance can lead to mold damage. Cleanup should begin as soon as safely possible. Standing water should be removed and soaked furniture and other salvageable items should be removed and thoroughly dried out. All appliances should be unplugged and dried out. Mud and storm debris often makes its way into the home during a flood. Shovel it all out. Scrub down the walls and floors with disinfectant and sanitizer before attempting to move anything back inside. You can consult a storm damage restoration specialist if you don't want to handle the task of cleanup yourself.


3. Make a list of damages
As you clean up, keep a detailed list of damages. Everything from furniture and items that were destroyed to flood damage to the structure of your home. Provide this list to your insurance adjuster when they are able to visit. Adjusters are often very busy after major storms. Keeping a list of damages for them allows you to report what you have lost while moving forward with cleanup and rebuilding.


4. Rebuild
Only after your home is safely cleaned and dried out should you move ahead with repairs and rebuilding.
If your home in Louisa, VA, is in an area known for frequent devastating storms, check with your insurance to verify that you have flood insurance or what type of protection you might want to add in case of a flood.

Understanding the Fire Cleanup Process

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

chair and furniture in room after burned by fire Fire damage in Rhoadsville, VA

Fire Cleanup Process

If a fire starts in your home, your priority is to get out safely. You will next be concerned about the state of your home and your possessions inside. Unfortunately, some things might not be salvageable. The good news is that with the right help, you can clean damaged items and restore your home to a livable condition once again. By learning how the professionals clean up after fire and smoke damage, you can have peace of mind knowing that this process can be effective.

Calling the Pros
When you have something as serious as a house fire, you need a professional disaster cleanup and restoration company to get you back on your feet. Professional technicians offer these benefits:

  • They can respond promptly and give fast service.
  • They have experience cleaning up after house fires.
  • They have the tools and equipment to thoroughly handle smoke cleaning.
  • They are licensed and insured.

Getting Rid of the Smell
The odor of lingering smoke can stay in your home for months or even years after a fire. Smoke damage can especially affect furniture and clothing. To remove the odor, technicians dry-clean the items and then use a deodorizer. Professionals also use ozone generators, which eliminate the molecules that smoke leaves in your home.

Removing the Soot
After a fire, the smoke will likely leave a layer of soot on the surfaces of your home. Soot damage can be detrimental to electronics, carpet, and other materials. You can start by wiping off the damaged surfaces with a damp cloth. Professional cleanup teams in Rhoadsville, VA, use powerful soot-removal sprays to eliminate the layers. After spraying the affected area, the product hardens and technicians can then peel it away, bringing the soot and its harmful components with it.
Don't let smoke damage sit in your home for too long. Remediation professionals can take these steps and more to properly clean your home.

Mold Prevention in Rental Homes

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Woman covering her nose while looking at wall with black mold Hidden damp, moist areas are prime places for mold growth

When you own a rental property, keeping up with the maintenance of the home is key. These properties are often left vacant for extended periods of time between renters. Rental owners in Locust Hill, VA, should make mold prevention a priority in the maintenance of their homes so that the property is always safely available for the next tenant.

Steps To Prevent Mold

Whenever your rental property becomes vacant, do a thorough site inspection. If you know the property will be vacant for an extended period, take these additional steps:

  • Check for leaky pipes or any signs of water intrusion
  • Fix all leaks as soon as they are discovered to prevent water damage
  • Inspect the foundation of the home
  • Check the attic, basement, and other frequently overlooked areas where water might sit
  • Turn off and disconnect any appliances that use water
  • Turn off the water entirely, if possible
    Adjust the temperature controls

Humidity helps mold grow, so maintaining the temperature inside the home while vacant is an important step in mold prevention. Whether this involves lowering the heat or adjusting the air conditioning depends on the climate in which your rental is located.

How Mold Happens
Mold grows when damp surfaces are left moist and unattended. Water from leaky pipes, malfunctioning appliances, or even built-up rainwater or snow, can seep into unseen places in any structure. Damp floors and carpets are easily discovered, but moisture hidden behind walls, in attics, and within cracks and crevices of a foundation can create problems. Hidden damp, moist areas are prime places for mold growth.
Mold prevention should be considered part of the general maintenance of any rental home. Periodically check-in while the property is occupied, deep clean between tenants, and turn off the water during all vacant periods. Promptly address any water intrusions as they arise to stop mold before it starts. If mold is discovered, find a mold remediation specialist to resolve the issue and restore the home to safe rental conditions.

5 Ways to Prevent Sewage Backup

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Pouring grease down the drain Never pour grease down the drain

Five Ways You Can Protect Your Property From Black Water Flooding

A sewage backup is one of the most common causes of black water floods. These dangerous incidents contain harmful biohazards and can cause severe damage to your property in Rhoadsville, VA. Preventing the issue in the first place is preferable to having to pay for expensive damage repairs. 

1. Take Care of Your Sump Pump.
Proper sump pump maintenance is super easy and can save you a lot of storm damage and flood-related trouble in the long run. Make sure to check the filters and pipes for debris, such as gravel and silt, regularly. Also, make time to test your sump pump to ensure it's working properly.

2. Install Backwater Prevention Valves.
Backwater prevention valves can help prevent sewage backup and flooding. These devices are typically installed into your residential sewer line, working to enhance sewer cleaning. They permit raw sewage to leave your pipes, while simultaneously preventing it from backing up into your basement.

3. Opt for Plastic Sewer Pipes.
Older sewer pipes are typically made out of cast iron, which can age and crack over time. Newer pipes are constructed from plastic, which has a significantly longer lifespan.

4. Only Flush Proper Paper Products.
You can easily clog your toilet by flushing the incorrect items down the pipes. Make sure that you never flush feminine hygiene products, diapers, paper towels, or other thick items down the toilet. If you use multi-ply toilet paper, try to limit how much you flush at once to prevent toilet flooding.

5. Never Pour Grease Down the Drain.
Oils can harden inside your pipes, gradually slowing drainage and building up clogs over time. Instead, you need to pour the grease into a heat-resistant container and dispose of it in the trash.
Sewage backup floods are extremely messy and can cause a lot of damage. This is why your best course of action is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Contact flood remediation experts if you have suffered from one of these floods.

Severe Storm and Flooding FAQs

1/4/2021 (Permalink)

Debri blocking road during a storm Storm damage in Locust Hill, VA

Common Questions Regarding Flood Risk Answered

Floods are a relatively common natural disaster that many homeowners have to deal with at some point, especially if your home in Locust Hill, VA, is located in a major flood zone. 

1. Can Flooding Occur Anywhere?
Flooding can occur anywhere in the United States, no matter what time of year it is. There are certain seasons when floods are significantly more common, however. These seasons vary depending on where in the country you reside in.

2. How Can You Gauge Flood Severity?
The National Weather Service (NWS) has a list of flash flood warnings, categorized in order of severity. You typically receive these alerts via your emergency weather channels within approximately 6 hours of heavy rainfall or severe weather. The three major flash flood classes are "Base," "Considerable" and "Catastrophic."

3. What is a Flood Zone?
These are the areas that have the greatest risk of succumbing to a major flood in the event of a severe storm or natural disaster. There are multiple different levels, but it's still best to anticipate the worst, just to make sure you're adequately prepared.

4. How Do You Know Whether You're in a High-Risk Zone?
The easiest way to gauge your personal risk is to check the map provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There are several different maps provided, and each has their own unique information to offer regarding flooding.

5. How Can You Tell When a Flood is Coming?
The best way to stay informed is to sign up for an emergency broadcast alert system. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is just one of the many channels you should pay attention to in order to stay up to date on an incoming flood or storm.
Knowing your property's specific flood zone can help you prepare to face any imminent storms. If your property does succumb to water damage, then you need to contact flood remediation experts as soon as possible.

Preventing Mold Growth After Water Damage

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Hand pointing to mold growth on ceiling Mold growth after water damage in Louisa, VA

If your Louisa, VA, commercial property suffers water damage, there will be many things for you as a business owner to deal with. One of the most important is preventing mold growth.

How Water Incursion Leads to Mold

There are a variety of reasons that your business could be inundated with water. The following are some of the most common:

  • Pipe breaks
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Heavy rains
  • Snow melt

When water from any source enters a building, the risk for mold increases. This is because most indoor areas have all of the conditions necessary for mold growth except a water source. Most commercial buildings are in the right temperature range to sustain mold and have a variety of sources of nutrients present, including drywall, upholstery, and other materials.

How To Prevent Mold After Water Damage
Because water is key to mold growth, it is also key to mold prevention. As soon as everyone is safe and the damage has been documented, it is important to begin drying out the property. An experienced restoration service can assist you with this process if necessary. There are wet/dry vacuums and specialized pumps available that you can use to extract standing water. If you do not have access to these tools, you can use buckets to scoop out the water. After removing the standing water, there will likely be moisture remaining in porous surfaces. Dehumidifiers and fans can help dry these items. Ideally, you should ensure the property is completely dry within 24 hours. After this, mold can begin to colonize the area. Even if you believe you were successful in fully drying the property, remain vigilant for signs of mold growth, including a musty odor or deterioration or discoloration of walls and floors.
Mold damage often co-occurs with water damage. Fortunately, acting quickly decreases the likelihood of mold appearing and increases the likelihood that you can get back to business.

Brief Overview of Category 3 Water Damage

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Drainage fountain of sewage. SERVPRO logo Blackwater comes from dirty and bacteria-filled sources

All water damage is not equal. In the same way, not all floodwater or water from other sources results in equal amounts of harm. When a professional cleanup and restoration company in Burr Hill, VA, is contacted to handle devastation caused by water in commercial property, one thing taken into account is the category of water that caused it. There are three categories, Category 1, or clean water, Category 2, or greywater, and Category 3, or black water. Category 3 is the worst kind of water damage.

What Is Category 3 Water Damage?

Category 3 water damage is caused by water that is highly contaminated. This black water contains substances, chemicals, microbes, and other contents capable of causing severe illness and even death.

What Are Possible Sources of Category 3 Water Damage?
Blackwater comes from dirty and bacteria-filled sources. This includes:

  • Toilet overflow from a backed-up toilet
  • Flood water that has picked up garbage or toxic materials
  • Sewage overflow
  • Runoff from rivers or the sea
  • Contaminated groundwater
  • Rising waters

What Are Options for Dealing With Category 3 Water Damage?
Because of the severe health risks associated with black water, Category 3 water damage should never be handled solely by untrained individuals. It is quickly absorbed by construction materials like wood, sheetrock, carpet, and anything that is porous in commercial buildings, allowing pathogens to spread and mold to breed. Exposure to such water carries the potential of contracting diseases like Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Norovirus. Building contents that have come into contact with the water must be thoroughly sanitized and may have to be disposed of. Cleanup should be left to professionals wearing proper personal protective equipment.
Not all flood water causes Category 3 water damage. However, since it can pick up harmful things as it travels, rising flood water often does. Besides water damage, it propagates the spread of mold and sickness, so it is best to have it handled by professionals as soon as possible.

How To Protect Your Property After a Fire

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a house House fire in Unionville, VA

Three Things You Can Do After A House Fire

After a Unionville, VA, house fire has been extinguished, it may seem like no more damage can be done. However, this is not the case. It is important to board up your home and take other precautions to prevent further problems. The following are three things you can do after a house fire to protect your home.

Secure the Property
Your home is vulnerable to a variety of threats after a fire has occurred, including:

  • Wildlife
  • Trespassers
  • Inclement weather

After the fire department has told you it is safe to do so, you can begin making temporary repairs to your home. There will likely be broken windows, holes, and other openings resulting from the fire damage and extinguishing efforts. Board up or tarp over these openings to protect the inside of the home. Installing a temporary security fence can add an extra layer of protection. Remember to keep receipts for emergency board up materials and other security expenses, because your homeowner's insurance may reimburse you.

Begin Cleanup
In addition to the fire itself, residual smoke and soot from the fire and standing water from the extinguishing efforts can cause further damage. Soot is often corrosive and standing water fosters mold growth, so acting quickly is key. Make sure to use the appropriate cleaning product and technique for the type of soot with which you are dealing. Otherwise, you may end up doing more harm than good. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need professional restoration assistance.

Prevent Future Damage
During the restoration process, you may consider taking measures to prevent future fires. Possible steps include investing in flame-resistant paint and installing a sprinkler system. Test your smoke detectors regularly and make sure you have enough fire extinguishers.
Whether you are dealing with major or minor fire damage, it is important to take steps to prevent further damage from occurring. From board up to cleanup, acting quickly but cautiously is the best way to protect your property.