Recent Posts

What to do for a frozen pipe.

1/5/2018 (Permalink)

When the temperatures are consistently below freezing what can you do to prevent freezing pipes? Turn the hot and cold water on a trickle. Open the cabinets so warm air can circulate around the pipes especially if the sink is on an exterior facing wall. Ensure that crawl space vents are closed and that pipes are well insulated within the crawl.  Preparation is key in our blog winterizing your home, we suggested inspecting for air leaks. Caulking around windows, doors, dryer vents and where electrical wiring comes into your home is a good idea to protecting pipes.

If the temperature is below freezing and your water doesn’t come on, you may have a frozen pipe, and you may already have a leak. The short answer is call a plumber. But some DIY people go too far. Never try to thaw a pipe with a blow torch or open flame.  A hair dryer could help but never use an electrical appliance while standing in water. If the pipe has burst be sure to cut the water main off. It’s a good idea to teach everyone in your household where the shut off valve is.

Heat tape is readily available at your local home improvement store, but we recommend that it be installed by a professional. Placing it on an already leaking pipe could result in shorting the heat tape and may also result in an electrical shock. If you have had an issue with frozen pipes in the past then this may be an item to put on your to do list when winterizing your home.

If you’re leaving on vacation in the winter here are some tips. Never turn the heat below 55 degrees.  Remember that water main cut it off if you’re gone for more than a couple days. Even if pipes don’t freeze they can fail. A 1/8th inch split in a water supply line can dump 250 gallons of water a day into your home or business.  Not to mention you might have mold by the time you got back from your trip.  Asking a friend or family member to check on the house to ensure it’s not too cold is also a good idea.

You can count on SERVPRO of West Forsyth County to be there should you have a water disaster. It’s best to call us directly 336-946-1131

Vacation Planning? Prepare your home!

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Vacation time is either here or approaching. Going on vacation should be relaxing and worry-free which is why it is important to make sure your house is secure before you leave for your trip. Be SERVPRO ready so you don’t come back to damages in your home. Here are some tips for preparing your home provided by SERVPRO of West Forsyth County

Make Arrangements with an Emergency Contact

  • Choose a close friend or neighbor you trust as your emergency contact and provide them with all of your itinerary information in case they need to contact you.
  • Have them check on the house to ensure it is not to cold, check on water sources.
  • A timer on lights will give the impression someone is home.
  • Leave written directions for alarm codes, doors, or other information needed to properly care for your home.
  • Make sure your mail is collected; burglars often look for homes with overflowing mail. 
  • The Post office can suspend your mail and deliver the day you get back. Here is a link to the US Post Office

Take plumbing and electric precautions

  • Prevent leaks and floods from damaging your home by shutting off water at the meter, supply tank or appliances.
  • Turn off the water valves to washing machines, sinks, and the dishwasher.
  • Unplug electronics to cut down on any possible shortages which could potentially cause a disastrous fire.
  • Turn Gas off unless it’s a winter vacation that could lead to freezing pipes. 
  • Check your smoke detectors to ensure they are working properly.
  • Adjust your thermostat for the season in the winter 55-60, in the summer 75-80 should help control usage.

 Right before you leave

  • Notify your security company that you are leaving town.
  • Take out the kitchen trash and other trash that could get smelly.
  • Go on one last walk through of your home to secure windows, blinds, fences, doors, and plugs. This will ensure all entries are safe from hazardous obstructions.

Bon Voyage !!

If you come back from vacation and encounter water, fire or mold damage within your home, call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County 336-946-1131. We clean up mold, fire or water damage to your home or business in the Winston Salem and surrounding areas.

Frozen Pipe and Spigots are you prepared?

12/29/2017 (Permalink)

The next couple of weeks are supposed to be bitterly cold here in Winston Salem.  And SERVPRO of West Forsyth County wants to warn you against the hazards of frozen outside spigots and 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 forgotten. When water freezes in a pipe, it expands the same way. If it expands enough, the pipe bursts, water escapes and serious damage results.

Why Pipes Burst

Surprisingly, ice forming in a pipe does not typically cause a break where the ice blockage occurs. It's not the radial expansion of ice against the wall of the pipe that causes the break. Rather, following a complete ice blockage in a pipe, continued freezing and expansion inside the pipe causes water pressure to increase downstream; between the ice blockage and a closed faucet at the end.  It's this increase in water pressure that leads to pipe failure. Usually the pipe bursts where little or no ice has formed. Upstream from the ice blockage the water can always retreat back towards its source, so there is no pressure build-up to cause a break. Water has to freeze for ice blockages to occur. Pipes that are adequately protected along their entire length by placement within the building's insulation, insulation on the pipe itself, or heating, are safe.

Water pipes in houses here the southern climate often are more vulnerable to winter cold spells. The pipes are more likely to be located in unprotected areas outside of the building insulation, and homeowners tend to be less aware of freezing problems, which may occur only once or twice a season.

Pipes in attics, crawl spaces and outside walls are all vulnerable to freezing, especially if there are cracks or openings that allow cold, outside air to flow across the pipes. Research at the University of Illinois has shown that wind chill, which is the cooling effect of air and wind that causes the human body to lose heat, can play a major role in accelerating ice blockage, and thus bursting, in water pipes. 

Holes in an outside wall where television, cable or telephone lines enter can provide access for cold air to reach pipes.

If you have a loss SERVPRO of West Forsyth can make it "Like it never even happened." Call us directly at 336-946-1131

Holiday Candles And Cooking Be Safe

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

The holiday season is here and Winston Salem families gear up for decorating their homes and hosting large gatherings of friends and family, Jeff Meadows of SERVPRO® of West Forsyth County reminds homeowners to take note of some sobering statistics about home fire safety from the National Fire Prevention Association:

Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires. The three peak days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.1

Candles fires peak in December. The top three days for candles fires are Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve2 .

“These statistics are a serious reminder of how the excitement of holiday entertaining can quickly turn into a life-altering fire or even a tragic injury or death,” says Meadows. “While glowing candles and elaborate meals set the stage for a great holiday get-together, homeowners need to exercise extra care in controlling the dangerous potential for fires.” 

According to the NFPA3, unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of home cooking fires, with frying posing the greatest fire risk and electric ranges posing a higher risk than gas ranges. Range top cooking in general started the majority of home cooking fires and caused 86 percent of related civilian deaths for the reporting period.

While incidents of candle fires peaked in 2001 and have been falling since, candles are still one of the top 10 causes of U.S. home fires, according to the NFPA. As with cooking fires, unattended or abandoned candles account for a large portion of candle fires–almost 20 percent–but the most frequent cause of candle fires is placing the candle too close to something that can burn, like curtains, decorations or furniture. 

“It’s easy to see why cooking and candle fires both peak during the holiday season,” says Meadows, “and it’s also easy to see why homeowners need to take extra care when decorating their homes or entertaining. A moment’s inattention at the stove or a guest repositioning a candle on a tabletop may be all it takes to turn the festivities into a fight to save property and lives. While our business is fire and water damage restoration and we stand ready to help at a moment’s notice if disaster does strike, our sincere hope is that our friends and neighbors will enjoy a fire-free and festive holiday season.” 

For more information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit http://www.SERVPROwestforsythcounty.com/fire-smoke-damage-restoration . For more information on SERVPRO® of West Forsyth County, please contact us at (336) 946-1131

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/cooking

http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/candles 

http://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Top-causes-of-fire/Cooking/Reports-and-statistics-about-cooking-fires-and-safety  

Holiday cooking fire safety

11/10/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Holiday cooking fire safety Cooking fire

The holidays and cooking go hand in hand. But more time in the kitchen means an increased chance for cooking-related fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are nearly 4 times as many cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day as there are on any other typical day of the year. Cooking has long been the leading cause of residential fires and fire injuries, and while Thanksgiving is the peak day for residential cooking fires, folks tend to start heading into the kitchen more and more as temperatures drop. Halloween really marks the beginning of the season for baked and fried treats. A cooking fire is typically ignited by food or the grease and oils used to prepare the food, making cleanup more difficult. Turkey fryers can also lead to fire damage or injury.

A kitchen fire, regardless of the size, can be overwhelming. And while these fires typically begin on the stove, the damage generally affects the entire kitchen including, the walls, ceiling, air ducts and appliances. Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County Professionals have specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire loss condition. We can also remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet. Proper remediation of fire, smoke, and soot and water damage can help prevent further damage such as lingering odors, mold growth and permanent discoloration of items.

Before attempting to clean any smoke or fire damage, contact SERVPRO of West Forsyth County.

SERVPRO of West Forsyth County 336-946-1131

It's always best to call us directly.

Winterizing Your Home

11/10/2017 (Permalink)

Ahhh, fall is finally here! The leaves are changing, there’s a crisp coolness in the air, and our favorite pumpkin spiced-flavored treats line store shelves once more. We all look forward to fall’s festivities, and now that Halloween is over the winter Holidays are approaching fast. You have just a few weeks left to prepare your home for winter. Preparing can help ensure you’re cozying up by the fireside worry-free once cold weather rolls around. 

Decorating and meal-prepping might be the first things on your mind when it comes to preparing your home for the colder months Here are important fall maintenance tips that can make all the difference once winter’s first freeze hits.

  1. Clear out your gutters

All those colorful leaves falling from the trees sure are pretty — but they also pile up pretty quickly in your home’s gutters.

Even if you have gutter guard silt or excess debris can lead to clogs (or ice dams in wintery conditions), which can prevent gutters from draining properly. In turn, there’s a chance water could seep into your home since it has nowhere else to escape to, causing a multitude of issues like damage to your valuables, mold growth, and even structural rot.

Before winter hits, clear your house’s gutters of leaves and any other debris that might’ve accumulated during the summer months. It also helps to run water through the gutters afterward to check for any leaks or misalignments that could damage your home. Don’t forget to check the down spouts.

  1. Inspect for air leaks

Things like damaged weather stripping and small cracks in your home’s structure allow warm air to escape, causing your heater to go into overdrive to keep your place warm.

The solution to your chilly house and high utility bills is pretty simple: before it gets wintery outside, inspect your home’s windows, doorways, and any other places where air might be able to enter or exit.

You can use caulking to stop leaks in the stationary components of your home (like a crack in your doorframe) and weather stripping to insulate the moving components (like windows and doors).

  1. Have your heating system checked

Home just doesn’t feel like home if a malfunctioning heater is leaving you with the chills. And in parts of the country with freezing temps, it can be a much more serious situation.

That’s why it’s wise to have a licensed contractor come out to inspect your heater at least once a year, especially before the weather outside becomes frightful. Ask about the condensate drain line. “Is it clear?” “Is there an operating float switch?” Consider a moister detector that will alarm if water gets more than a 16th of an inch deep. This will let you know you have a potential problem.

  1. Prepare your pipes

Get to know where the pipelines in your house are located and make sure to inspect them every autumn (at least).

Simply patch any small leaks to help reduce weaknesses that might cause the pipe to burst in freezing weather. Have heat tape installed by professional who knows the applications. And you can further protect any exposed pipes by insulating them with foam or rubber pipe wraps, which can be found at your local hardware store.

For larger leaks or pipeline problems, it’s always a good idea to play it safe and call the pros.

Also prepare them when you leave for the long weekend to Grandma’s Turn the main valve off it can be the difference between a $800 repair and on in the tens of thousands of dollars. When you come back turn on slowly to prevent a sudden increase in pressure known as water hammer.

  1. Drain any outside faucets and irrigation systems 

Speaking of bursting pipes, it’s important to pay attention to the water systems immediately outside your place too. Undrained water in outdoor faucets and irrigation systems can expand when frozen and cause a pipe to burst.

Draining faucets is simple enough: just unhook the hoses from the faucets and pack them away in the garage for the winter and let out any remaining water — easy as that!

Irrigation systems, on the other hand, often vary in the way they should be maintained. It’s best to call a professional who has experience with underground water systems, just to cover all your bases.

  1. Have your roof inspected

For your safety, a full-blown roof inspection should be done professionally. The cost to hire an inspector can be as low as a little over $200 and can prevent seriously hefty repair expenses down the line if a winter storm wreaks havoc on your roof and you don’t have sufficient insurance coverage to cover repair costs.

Cut branches that overhang the roof or rubbing against the roof this can damage and cause problems for your home as well

Reinforcing and protecting your roof now can help you avoid a whole host of hazards, like air and water leaks, water damage, mold, and more — all of which could put a damper on your seasonal festivities (and your wallet).

  1. Restock cold-weather home essentials

Key items like rock salt or kitty litter, snow shovels, space heaters, extra batteries, and heated blankets can help make your home both more functional and comfortable during wintertime. Stock up on these helpful winter wares ahead of time to help avoid any extra hassle or stress come holiday season. You can also be prepared with a ready kit like the ones available at the Red Cross 

Related link: Tips for Before, During, and After a Winter Power Outage

  1. Take a peek at your homeowners insurance

Believe it or not, your homeowner’s policy could come to the rescue for a whole host of cold-weather mishaps. Whether a hailstorm leaves holes in your roof, a vandal breaks into your home and destroys valuables while you’re out holiday shopping, or the weight of snow and ice results in structural damage to your house, homeowners insurance could help pay to repair or replace your losses. Have a conversation with your agent about the “what if’s” and what you should be covered for.  

If you do all these and still have a Fire, Water, or Mold Damage to your home or business, call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County in Winston Salem. We make it “Like it never even happened." 

It's best to call us direct 336-946-1131

How ready is your business for a disaster?

10/23/2017 (Permalink)

It is estimated that up to 50% of businesses that close due to a disaster, such as fire and flood never reopen!  Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.

Are you “Ready for whatever happens?”

Preparation is a key component for making it through any size disaster, whether it’s a small water leak, a large fire, or an area flood.  The best time to plan for such events is not when the event happens, but well before it happens.

The SERVPRO® Emergency READY Profile serves as a quick reference of important building and contact information or can be an ideal supplement to any well-designed emergency preparedness or existing contingency program.  Rather than simply reacting to disaster situations, most prefer proactive measures to establish a relationship with a restoration services company.  And it’s available as a mobile app in the Google Play and iTunes stores.

By working with SERVPRO®of West Forsyth County to develop your personalized Emergency READY Profile your business will receive the benefit of over 40 years of experience in reducing the impact of any natural or man-made disaster.  SERVPRO® is a leader in water and fire damage response and can help you quickly get your property back in working order.

Call Ed Dean at 336-409-3060 Today for a No Cost Assessment 
of Your Facility!

Emergency planning can be the difference in open or closed

10/23/2017 (Permalink)

Even with insurance coverage, disasters can shake the foundations of even the best-managed companies. Make a business assessment for the survival of your company. Regardless of the cause of the catastrophe, a company’s very survival often depends on being prepared to responding quickly and efficiently, so a carefully constructed disaster recovery plan is one asset that every business needs. Before any calamity strikes, you should know what tasks will need to be performed to get your company running again and who will be responsible for accomplishing them. While there is no one-size-fits-all recovery plan, every business’ strategy should include some basics. Laying the groundwork by preparing to handle insurance claims, scouting viable options for temporary operations and considering the implications of various financial alternatives before trouble strikes can make the process of recovery much easier. The impacts from hazards can be reduced by investing in mitigation. If there is a potential for significant impacts, then creating a mitigation strategy should be a high priority.

 https://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/5.2.1.0%20Risk%20Assessment%20Process.png

Insurance Considerations

Depending upon the details of the policy that you have selected for your business, commercial property insurance may cover damage or loss of the insured property, time element losses, loss mitigation costs, and loss adjustment expenses. It may also cover costs for public relations, research and development, and other necessities. When a disaster occurs, it is crucial to take the steps that will preserve and maximize your insurance coverage. To ensure that you receive all the benefits that your business is entitled to, familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of your policy before any problems arise. Work with your insurance company to create a checklist of your responsibilities after a loss to aid you in meeting deadlines and assembling documentation. Knowing what you are responsible for and being organized will make the recovery smoother and faster.

Making Your Claim

If your business is hit by disaster, set your recovery plan into motion by providing prompt notification of any claim to your insurance company. Be ready to meet any deadlines for filing proof of loss statements. If circumstances make the deadline for these statements unreasonable, get written approval for extensions. Be prepared to meet any requirements for preserving the evidence of your claim if destructive testing or immediate remediation is necessary. You will also want to record your loss mitigation efforts and the reasons that these efforts were needed.

Regardless of the cause of the catastrophe, a company’s very survival often depends on responding quickly and efficiently, so a carefully constructed disaster recovery plan is one asset that every business needs. SERVPRO of West Forsyth County has a FREE customizable app that can aid your company recover in a timely manner. 

Timing Matters

Timing is critical in insurance claims. While keeping your insurance company informed is important, you need to understand any time limitations in your policy and their potential consequences. Review your policy to see if there is a deadline for electing a valuation method. See if there is a time limit for rebuilding or replacement. You will also want to check your policy for a suit limitation clause. Most policies contain one, so you will want to be sure that it is conservatively calendared to give you time to maneuver if necessary.

Payment Possibilities

It is not surprising that cash flow is a primary concern for a business working to recover after a catastrophe. While it can take time for a claim to be settled, some insurance policies contain provisions for claim advances or partial payments. Search through your policy to see if these provisions are included and identify how you would invoke them.

Re-establishing Operations

A business impact analysis (https://www.ready.gov/business-impact-analysis) of your business before a disaster will plan and effectively get your business running smoothly again. Before anything bad happens, think about how your business could operate during the recovery phase. This may involve moving to a temporary location or finding storage for undamaged inventory or equipment, so it’s smart to be aware of the possibilities in your area. Make a note to analyze leasing and service contracts if you are forced to relocate so that you can try to tailor them to your business’s specific needs.

Property Considerations

Regardless of where you set up shop after a catastrophe, you will have to decide what to do with your original location. Is rehabilitating or rebuilding the site worthwhile? If you believe that it is, then you will need to arrange for professional remediation, design and construction services. If you decide against rebuilding, then you must figure out how to dispose of that property and acquire a new permanent location. Remember that a new location will still require design and construction services in order to modify it to suit your company’s needs. Don’t forget to review zoning issues for any new property to verify that your business will be able to build appropriate facilities and operate as desired at that location.

Financing Issues

Even with insurance, a recovery may require financing. Depending on your recovery plans, options might include a line of credit, an acquisition loan or a construction loan. In some situations, it may be possible to use legal actions to seek reimbursement from the party responsible for your loss. Weigh all the possibilities carefully and remember to consider the potential tax consequences. Understanding the pros and cons of your options before any problems start will make it easier to make smart decisions when a disaster hits.

When your business needs assistance dealing with the aftermath of a catastrophe, count on SERVPRO of West Forsyth County. Our professionals are prepared to respond, so when a significant event occurs, they’ll be there for you. Whether it is damage from flooding, a fire, a tornado, a hurricane, an ice event or a snowstorm, we have the resources and expertise to help in the Winston Salem, Forsyth County are.

SERVPRO of West Forsyth County serves Winston Salem, Lewisville, Clemmons, Rural Hall, Pfafftown, Tobaccoville, and surrounding areas. It’s best to call us directly 336-946-1131 Emergency Services available 24 hrs. a day. 

Lead paint renovations in your home or office

10/19/2017 (Permalink)

Doesn’t it seem like every time you turn around there’s something new that you should avoid because it’s “toxic”? In our industry we hear about mold and asbestos all the time. Lesser known is another substance known to cause health issues: lead.  The most common place lead is found is lead-based paint. Chipping or peeling paint that contains lead and lead contaminated dust are the main sources of lead poisoning. Houses and apartments built before 1978 may have lead-based paint on the inside, outside, or both. Lead-based paint can also be found on toys, furniture, playground equipment, older cars and boats. Soil, especially around the foundation of homes and near highways, and old water pipes may also contain lead. Hobbies such as making pottery, stained glass or refinishing furniture can expose someone to lead.

Exposure to lead can result in serious health issues. The Forsyth County Environmental Health web site has more information regarding the effect of lead on the body.

Can I just paint over existing lead-based paint?

Repairing damaged painted surfaces can temporarily reduce your family’s risk of lead exposure, but it is not a permanent solution. Never use a belt sander, dry scraper/sandpaper, water blasting, torch, flame, or heat gun on painted surfaces that may contain lead. A contractor who is certified to work with lead-based paint knows how to safely work around the potential hazard and should conduct any work needed. And SERVPRO of West Forsyth is a certified lead paint renovator.

In disaster situations, we sometimes have to disturb lead paint in order to properly dry your home and make it safe. There are many jobs that we tear out drywall, and therefore paint. Enter the EPA Department of Health Services. There are laws about how to deal with structures older than 1978: we assume that lead is present unless we test for it and confirm otherwise. We use lead safe work practices, which basically means contain the workspace and make sure it gets cleaned up per EPA regulations. This makes it a safe environment for your home or workplace.

Place your trust in SERVPRO of West Forsyth County to handle all of your water, fire, smoke, mold, and vandalism damage, lead paint renovation and restoration needs.

It’s best to call us directly 336-946-1131

Halloween Fire Safety

10/16/2017 (Permalink)

Autumn holidays like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times for children of all ages, who can dress up in costumes, enjoy bonfire parties, enjoy fall fruits and vegetables, and eat yummy treats. These celebrations also provide a chance to give out healthy snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.

Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Going trick-or-treating?

When using candles to decorate with never leave them unattended.

Keep fabrics and other decorations such as crepe paper and spider web decorations far from the candles.

Bonfires should have a way to extinguish the fire should it get too large. Sand or a water hose available is a good idea.

Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.

Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don't run from house to house.

Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.

Look both ways before crossing the street.

Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.

Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult.

Only visit well-lit houses. Don't stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.

Use battery operated candles in jack-o-lanterns when possible.

Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes. 

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween from SERVPRO of West Forsyth County – 336-946-1131