Recent Posts

Bound Water and Why Building Materials Must Be Removed to Dry

6/22/2022 (Permalink)

It is a common occurrence that clients will call with a need for mitigation service due to water damage caused from any number of sources, including a burst pipe, toilet supply line, ice maker line, overflowed washing machine or washing machine as well as storm related water damage.  One common fact is that most water damage restoration will require the removal of some building materials due to bound water.  Bound water is water that becomes trapped underneath flooring, inside walls or behind molding.   If bound water is not removed it provides the perfect catalyst for secondary damage such as delamination of impacted walls, flooring, odor, and mold growth.

Professional remediation entails only the removal of areas that are impacted and can’t be dried effectively any other way.  In some cases, only the molding will be removed to expose the wet drywall.  Then holes will be placed in the drywall at the molding level so air movers can concentrate airflow behind the drywall to dry bound water.  In cases where water gets underneath vinyl or laminate flooring, the flooring must be removed because the flooring itself acts as a vapor barrier preventing the drying process.

 All professional remediators dry according to the standards set by the IICRC S500 otherwise known as the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.   The standards set forth by the IICRC S500 are recognized by all insurance companies and their adjusters as it relates to water damage claims.  Only impacted building materials supported by the IICRC S500 are removed by professional remediators such as SERVPRO of Chapel Hill and North Orange County.

If you have a water damage small or large call (919)245-0788 for fast, efficient service. Like our motto, “Like it never even happened.”

Do You Have Storm Coverage?

6/10/2022 (Permalink)

An insurance agent reached out to me to call a customer of his that had significant water damage in his flooded basement.  The agent knew the customer needed our services, but he didn’t know if the damage would be covered.  The determining factor would rest on how the adjuster classified the cause of loss. 

When I called the customer, I was told by them that there was over two inches of standing water covering the1500sf finished basement.   The flooring was laminate and there were multiple rooms of furniture and other contents that were affected.   Their assessment of how the water had gained access to the home was due the heavy torrential rains that had occurred the previous night.  Based on this information and that of the agent, it was clear that there would likely be no insurance coverage for this massive loss.  This is because homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood water damage.  A separate flood insurance policy would have provided the much-needed coverage to mitigate and reconstruct the home.

It is advisable that all homeowners have an annual insurance policy review and discuss their coverages.   Although SERVPRO can help with any mitigation situation, it is sad when good people have a bad situation in which they are unable to afford the cost to rectify the situation.  In conclusion, it always a wise practice to have both a homeowner’s and a flood policy.  This will assure that SERVPRO will be able to make it "Like it never even happened.”

Where is the Water Shut-off?

6/6/2022 (Permalink)

Imagine you’re a nonprofit property manager and you receive a frantic call from a tenant who has water flowing from a burst pipe with no immediate shutoff valve inside the home. Gallons of water are flooding the home each minute. What do you do? How can you get the water shut off to stop further damage that could easily affect adjoining units? These are important questions that should be contemplated during crisis.

Having a plan and addressing these issues is advance can minimize damage and save thousands of dollars. Failing to plan is planning to fail, which is why SERVPRO provides a complimentary service known as an ERP or Emergency Ready Plan. The ERP is the solution to having all your emergency shut-off information, location of such, directions, and special notes at your fingertips. The SERVPRO Ready Plan is an app which is available for Android and Apple devices. When implemented you have all the required information you need to minimize the damage, including vendors and direct contact to your local SERVPRO franchise for quick 24/7 mitigation.

SERVPRO of Orange County offers a free assessment of your facility where shut offs are located and documented within the app. Photos along with notes, local police, fire, hospital, and your company direct emergency response contacts are imputed, giving you the peace of mind that you are ready for whatever happens.

IF you have multi-tenant properties in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Cedar Grove, Efland or Mebane call SERVPRO of Orange to schedule your free ERP assessment at 919-245-0788.

Categorically Speaking

5/31/2022 (Permalink)

Categorically speaking not every water damage is the same and as a result is not mitigated in the same manner.  This fact is critical to assure safety.  The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification or IICRC in the water damage restoration certification class categorizes water damage in three categories.

  • Category 1 is water damage that results from clean water. A broken pipe, a ruptured ice maker line or supply line from a toilet are all Category 1 damage at the point of origin.
  • Category 2 is water damage that is referred to as gray water. This water contains microorganisms or other particulates.  A washing machine that overflows with detergent and dirty clothes mixed in with the water is an example of gray water or Category 2 water damage.   It is also important to note that a Category 1 water damage that goes untreated for a day or more can become a Category 2 or 3 as the water absorbs contaminants from the things it encounters.
  • Category 3 water damage is a water damage from a grossly contaminated source such as sewage water. Category 3 water damage contains bacteria that can cause sickness. 

When a professional mitigation and restoration company treats a water damage one of the first things, they look at is the category of the water.  If the water damage originates from a clean source drying methods are far less aggressive than in Category 2 or 3, where some impacted materials must be removed and discarded for safety reasons.

Storm Proof Your Roof

5/13/2022 (Permalink)

June 1st marks the beginning of hurricane season.  Each year hurricanes and tropical storms cause millions of dollars of damage to commercial and residential properties.  One the largest building systems damaged by high winds and water are roofing systems. As the highest point with multiple parts, roofs take a vast beating from torrential rain and high winds. Roofing systems are also constantly exposed to the seasonal elements of blaring heat from the sun and the extreme cold of winter along with the snow and ice that accompanies it.   Although no preventative practices can assure that no damage will occur to your building or home; storm proofing your roof can save you thousands of dollars in costly repairs.  Here are several practices that should be employed to protect and storm proof your roof.

  • Routine maintenance- The roof needs to be checked regularly for loose or damaged shingles, flashing or vents or pipe collars. Additionally, metal roofing and flat roofing systems should be professionally maintained. 
  • Check your attic for water spots and mold which would indicate that there is a leak. Also check for wood rot on rafters. If any of these things are found, immediate maintenance to correct the issue is essential to prevent more costly damage and the possible denial of an insurance claim after a storm.
  • Insurance review- Review your insurance policy to be apprised of your coverage and deductible limit.
  • Clean gutters- If the roof has gutters that do not have gutter caps that prevent clogging from debris, routine gutter cleaning is necessary to prevent damage to fascia boards caused by water overflowing the gutter.
  • Cut overhanging tree limbs and dead trees that could fall on the roof. A fallen tree limb can puncture a roof causing massive damage.  This is also true for a fallen tree that can break rafters and potentially result in the injury or death of occupants.  Having dangerous trees surrounding your business or home removed is one of the most effective means of storm proofing your roof.

Propane Grilling Safely

5/10/2022 (Permalink)

Now that springtime has brought warm temperatures, many people will enjoy grilling at home.  Exercising safety precautions in grilling is essential to having a great experience.  Many homeowners enjoy the convenience of propane grills.  Here are a few quick and easy tips to grill safely using a propane grill.

  • Always grill outside. Regardless of the weather, propane as well as charcoal grills are made specifically for outside use.
  • Never store propane tanks inside, including the garage.
  • If the grill fails to light- check for leaks using soapy water. If a leak is detected when the valve is open, there will be bubbles.  Never check for leaks with a lighter or match.
  • Never smoke around a propane tank.
  • Do not allow children to connect or disconnect the propane tank.
  • Always check the propane tank for dents or cracks and if damaged have it replaced.
  • When transporting a propane tank make sure there is proper ventilation and never leave a propane tank inside a car.
  • When storing your propane tank and grill- disconnect the hose and cover with a plastic tank. Make sure that the valve on the tank is closed.

Let’s Play the Feud- Category Top Causes of Commercial Water Damage

5/10/2022 (Permalink)

One of my favorite game shows of all time is Family Feud, where two families face off to answer the top answers in each category.  This version was played by four SERVPRO of Orange County office team members, Yvonne, Holly, Rachael, and Sarah.  Two per team with Yvonne and Holly as one team and Rachael and Sarah as the other. With the winning team buying lunch for the winner. In the spirit of the former host Richard Dawson and current host Steve Harvey- Let’s play the Feud.

Today’s category, Commercial Water Damage Causes. 

Top 5 answers are on the board

Yvonne vs Sarah.  Sarah hits the buzzer first and blurts out HVAC units. 

HVAC units #4.  Leaking HVAC units can cause significant water damage

Yvonne has a chance to steal.  Her answer: Pipe and Sprinkler Damage.  Her answer ranks #2. 

Pipe and Sprinkler Damage – can cause serious damage to property and profitability.  Burst pipes and sprinklers can affect multiple floors and large amounts of square footage, causing significant business interruption. With a choice to pass or retain, Yvonne decides to retain.  After conversing with Holly.  Holly answers: Roof Leaks.  Her answer ranks #1.

Roof Damage and Leaks is the top cause of commercial water damage.  Having proper maintenance can prevent a large amount of interior water damage.  However, some roof leaks can not be prevented and having a great relationship with a restoration company, like SERVPRO of Orange County, that can fix the roof and dry the structure is a blessing that can minimize business interruption and help you get back to preloss status.   

Yvonne continues the streak of no strikes with her next answer, Storm Damage. Storm Damage is the #3 answer on the board.  Storm events such as hurricanes, tropical storms and tornadoes cause millions of dollars of damage to commercial properties each year.  

Yvonne and Holly high five each other knowing they are one answer away from sweeping the board.  Confident in her next answer Holly states, “leaky windows and waterproofing.”  Leaky windows and waterproofing ranks as the #5 answer completing the sweep.  

Sarah and Rachael glare menacingly at the victors knowing their loss will require them to purchase lunch for the winners.  Yvonne and Holly celebrate, and Yvonne yells, “Don’t Hate-Congratulate!”

Although this fun game of Family Feud only cost lunch, the impact of commercial water damage can be significant.  SERVPRO Orange County makes it "Like it never even happened." with mitigation, restoration, and construction.  Call (919)596-1242

How to Prevent Crawlspace Flooding

4/25/2022 (Permalink)

Crawlspace flooding can cause serious damage to your home and understanding how to prevent it is key to avoiding the costly repairs associated with type of water damage.   For most homeowners the crawlspace is not an area of the home that often visited or even thought about.   The common assertion is that the crawlspace is a dark cobweb filled cavernous, and creepy place that is to be avoided or left for a repairman to go inside for the sole purpose of fixing piping or an air handler.  

However, the crawlspace requires attention on a more regular basis to assure that it is dry in order to protect electrical components such as the air handler unit of the heating and ac unit, prevent mold growth and preserve the structural integrity of the foundation.

During periods of heavy rains crawlspace flooding can occur.   Several reasons for this are:

  • Clogged gutters. If the gutter system on the home or building the large volume of water in an intense rainstorm will cause the water to overflow and water will collect along the foundation and lead to crawlspace flooding. To prevent this, have gutter guards installed or clean the gutters on a regular basis.
  • Improper landscaping: If the landscaping of the home fails to divert water away from the structure, flooding is likely to occur.  A great solution is to have a landscaping company install a French drain system and make sure that the lot is properly graded,
  • Have a home inspection to check pipes that run along the floor joists for leaks. If any are found, have them immediately repaired. 
  • Install a sump pump: A sump pump is a valuable tool that will pump water out the crawlspace, upon detection, keeping your crawlspace flood free.

If you have a storm flooded crawlspace call SERVPRO of Orange County at (919)245-0788 for extraction and drying.  We make it like it never even happened.

Why SERVPRO? Construction!

4/14/2022 (Permalink)

The Joneses called their SERVPRO representative at the recommendation of their insurance company for assistance with mitigating fire damage which had occurred because of grease catching fire in a skillet. The fire had damaged the hood vent, cabinets and a portion of the ceiling and walls.  The smoke damage had gone into the adjoining dining room, living room, bedrooms, and hallway bathroom.  The fire department had done an exceptional job in containing the fire but to get the family whole again would involve mitigation services in each room of the home.  The furniture, electronics, clothing along with walls, ceilings and floors needed to be cleaned and deodorized.  However, ground zero, the kitchen, needed far more than standard fire cleaning, it needed demolition and reconstruction.  

The Joneses needed a one call solution that could tear out the damaged building materials, clean and deodorize the walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, electronics, and clothing and make the event like it never even happened.  This is why they chose SERVPRO of Orange County.  The Jones family was impressed with the fact that SERVPRO of Orange County was able to provide a turnkey job, right down to working with the insurance adjuster, tear and replacement of drywall, insulation, trim work, replacement of hood vent and cabinets and a fresh paint job.  In addition to doing all this, the Joneses were overly impressed by the quality of work and the quick timeframe in which the job was completed. 

If you find yourself in need of quality cleaning and reconstruction services, look no further than SERVPRO of Orange County.  Call us at (919)245—0788.

Dry to the Touch is the Wrong Standard of Structural Drying

4/8/2022 (Permalink)

It’s 4:30pm on a Friday evening at a local apartment complex, when the maintenance department receives a call of a burst pipe to a dishwashing machine in a tenant occupied unit.  The maintenance guy jumps on his golf cart with a shop vacuum, a mop and single air mover.  Upon entry he cuts the water off to the dishwasher, extracts the visible standing water, sets up the air mover and runs back to the shop and grabs a dehumidifier.  He returns and sets up the dehumidifier and tells the tenant he will return on Monday to get the equipment.   What’s wrong with this picture?  Didn’t the maintenance guy do this job and properly mitigate this water damage?

Sadly, he did not do the job according to the standards of professional drying as established by the IICRC S 500.  The IICRC S500 describes the procedures and precautions to be taken when performing water damage restoration in commercial and residential buildings.  This is the standard used by water damage restoration professionals to best certify that building materials are properly remediated and dried to prevent health hazards and prevent secondary damage.

What did the maintenance guy do wrong?

  • He did not use a moisture meter to see how far the water progressed. This would enable him to correctly identify all areas that were wet so they could be dried properly.
  • He was not able to identify if water was bound underneath flooring that could not be dried.
  • He was not able to identify water that may have seeped underneath the cabinets or address the wet cabinets.
  • There is no assurance of a balanced drying system.

Any areas where bound water remained trapped creates the opportunity for secondary damage such as microbial growth to occur.  To properly address these issues, knowing what is wet is critical and that can not be done by visual assessment or by the touch.  This can only be done with a moisture meter and know how to read it and understand what a correct drying goal is for the building materials being dried.  Additionally, if water had progressed underneath vinyl or laminate flooring, the only proper way to dry it is to remove it.  If water was trapped underneath the cabinets, the toe kick must be removed to get air into the cavity so that drying can occur.  Also having a balanced drying system is critical.  The moisture that is changed from liquid to gas using airflow created by the air movers must be captured by the dehumidifier.  If there is more evaporation than dehumidification the excess moisture will seep into other moisture accepting materials potentially causing them to be damaged. 

Also, not properly identifying the category of water damage creates the potential for health hazards. 

There are standards for clean water, grey water and black water and knowing how to identify them and the procedure for proper remediation is essential for proper drying and safety.    The maintenance guy treated the grey water from dishwasher the same way as clean water.  There was no antimicrobial or disinfectant used to sanitize the affected material.  This along with the other things that failed to address the standard for proper drying could have serious consequences.

If you are a property management company that understands the benefits of proper restorative drying and can appreciate the value of paying more to do the job right and alleviate the risks associated with doing it wrong, call SERVPRO of Orange County for all your future loses, at (919)245-0788.