Recent Posts

Is My Basement Water-Damaged?

6/14/2021 (Permalink)

You may be the proud owner of a home with a built-in basement, and you may be one of the many homeowners who find it to be a beloved, useful space, good for extra storage, shelter from storms or even a bonus living area.

But if you do own a home with a basement, you may also be aware of the moisture issues that sometimes plague homeowners and threaten the enjoyability of basement life. Because basements are dug directly into the ground, they are susceptible to moisture and pressure from the ground, and of course they also take on water from leaky pipes and overflows of other kinds, and oh yeah, sometimes it rains and…you get the point.

While you may be one of the lucky owners who never encounter a water issue in the basement, the odds of it happening are high enough that you should know the common indicators. So let’s examine what you need to look for to stay on top of having a dry basement.

Identifying the Signs of a Wet Basement

Unpleasant, musky odors. You know the smell, right? The musty, pungent whiff that often greets people as they head downstairs is so common that people often don’t even realize it shouldn’t be there. You may just think of it as the way basements smell, but truthfully this smell will only arise when mold and mildew are present in the environment. That scent is the first sign of mold growth, even though you may not see it yet.

Flaking paint on masonry or walls. Paint can’t hold back water leaks. Waterproof paint may mask it for a while, but eventually it’s going to show you what’s been going on, in the form of bubbles, flakes and cracks. If those are present, there’s a leak causing them that you need to find before it becomes a bigger issue.

Foundational cracks. Cracks in your foundation are a big issue that can’t be ignored. Houses shift over time, but a full-blown crack in the block requires attention. You may get the warning signs of cracks in the floor, the ceiling or in your walls, showing you that your house is under stress. If these cracks grow, they could be an indicator of a serious problem and a big water leak around your basement walls.

If you notice any of these signs in your basement, let us take a look. Our expert water restoration technicians can help you determine what is causing these issues and how to treat it properly. Contact us today to learn more. It's best to call us directly 336-946-1131

Two things for fire safety

4/12/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke detectors are the best way of being alerted to a fire and surviving it. This is especially true when installed correctly by a licensed professional.   According to U.S. Fire Administration, most alarms have a life span 8-10 years so if you already have lived in your house for 10 years you probably should have it replaced.  Keep it in good working order by ensuring that it is free of dust and pest debris. Monthly monitoring companies will often times have a tamper alarm when you are doing anything around the smoke detector. You will be talking with them soon if you did not let them know ahead of time that you are testing or changing batteries.

Do you have a fire extinguisher? Do you know how to use it? Do you have the right extinguisher? The most recommended extinguisher for the home is a 2-1/2-pound Class ABC Class A - fires involving solid materials such as wood, paper or textiles. Class B - fires involving flammable liquids such as petrol, diesel or oils. Class C - fires involving gases.  The recommended fire extinguisher can handle these types of fires however if you can’t reach any part of a fire with the extinguisher you should evacuate and dial 911.  Always be sure you have an exit at your back when fighting a fire, it should be a clear path to safety.

Flash Flood Warning what does that mean?

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

So Lanie Pope comes on the air and says “flash flood warning” what does she mean exactly? Well, we have to break that down and define what she means by each word and the order they are in. The word flash is pretty self-explanatory it is going to happen quickly. Flood is defined by “cover or submerge (a place or area) with water.” As a noun it adds “especially over what is normally dry land.” The word warning says that this condition is eminent that it will happen or is happening now.

Knowing whether or not you are in an area prone to flooding would be helpful to prepare for such a disaster.  You can check the North Carolina Flood Risk Information System (NC FRIS) to see if you live in or close to an area that is prone to flooding.  You also do not have to live in a flood plane to get flood insurance.

Homeowners and renters’ policies rarely cover flooding. Contact your insurance agency about getting flood insurance. Flood insurance is administered by FEMA and a helpful FAQ can be found here.

If your home or business suffers water damage from a flash flood call us directly 24/7 at 336-946-1131. SERVPRO® of West Forsyth County Professionals will work neatly and efficiently to help you regain control of your property when a damaging event has taken over. They will use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to ensure your property is taken care of right the first time.

We make it “Like it never even happened.” It’s best to call us directly at 336-946-1131

New equipment better efficiency

4/5/2021 (Permalink)

When you do business with a company, you want to be assured they are using all the right equipment and the latest and modern technology. When James Otterberg came on board as the new owner in 2020, he saw a need to ensure our crews had the latest and greatest equipment. He updated our capacity, allowing our franchise to take on more jobs in the Winston Salem area. The new low-profile dehumidifiers and air movers are not only more efficient, its size per piece is reduced so that we can pack more equipment into the new fleet of vehicles.

SERVPRO of West Forsyth County started with a 2008 Chevy Cargo van in 2010. Now granted it was only 13 years old, but work vans, especially ones with engine mounted extractors on them are used to do hard work. Since the updated equipment purchases, we have also updated and expanded the fleet of vehicles we use to arrive at your home or business. This means that we arrive safely with the best and latest restoration equipment to be able to handle your disaster as quickly as possible. To make it “Like it never even happened.” For fire, water, mold damage, cleanup and restoration call us directly at 336-946-1131

Smoke detectors need love to.

3/29/2021 (Permalink)

We have certain things in our home that we may take for granted. The smoke detector for example. We walk underneath it not even looking up at it. We take it for granted that it will work in the time of need. It will let us know that something is wrong with it, right? Usually at 3 am. We usually only think about them twice a year during the time changes or when we are reminded by a public service announcement, or 3 am chirping.

What happens if you change the batteries and that doesn’t fix the problem? Well according to Bob Villa The problem could be three other possibilities.

  • Spider cobwebs in the works the fix remove cover and blow out with a can of compressed air.

  • Sharp contrast in temperature changes. Living in Winston Salem we can have winter in the morning and summer in the afternoon. If the detector is in the attic it could think it’s on fire because of the changes or the cold may drain the battery to the point it can’t deliver a reliable charge to the sensor.

  • Some smoke detectors have a beam of light that is part of the normal operation. Dust or debris could be interrupting that light beam again the fix could be a can of compressed air.

  • One last thing to consider is how old is the smoke detector. Capacitors and other electronic parts may only last so long. The life expectancy of a smoke detector is about 10 years.

We hope that you never have to experience fire damage in your home or business. But if you do, you can rely on the professionals at SERVPRO of West Forsyth County to help make it “Like it never even happened.” Call us directly at 336-946-1131

7 Things to keep around for safety.

3/25/2021 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of West Forsyth we deal with some work spaces that can be hazardous. After a fire or flood things are not as neatly organized as it is in your day to day living.  Our manager, James Otterberg stresses safety first in all things SERVPRO related. Here are 7 things that you probably could use around your home or office that will help prepare you in the event of an emergency.

  • Fire extinguisher – available at Fire Ade (here locally in Winston Salem) this asset to your home could save you more money in insurance discounts. But be sure to have them serviced annually.

  • Carbon Monoxide detector – you may think, I don’t have gas so I don’t need this. But, do you have a garage? Do you have a self-cleaning oven? Do you have a fireplace? These are additional sources of carbon monoxide. You should place one on each level of the home or business.

  • Training – What? This is an intangible you can’t keep this around the office. Ah, but you can, the Red Cross has online and local classes that you can take. They do have a cost to them but what is the safety of your family, coworkers or employees worth? As an addition to this a safety magnet reminding you of what you learned and emergency phone numbers is a good reminder.

  • Emergency Radio – We are so dependent on our smart phones for our day to day lives and emergency notifications. But if the power is out for a longer than expected time, do you have a way to get information when your phone loses battery power? This product has a radio and can charge your phone.

  • App alerts – Speaking of dependency on our smart phones, when your away from home does your house tell you there is a problem? CPI Security has smart features that tell you when a door has been left open or smoke has been detected. Coupled with a smart HVAC controller you can tell when power is out at your home or office, or any number of other situations that you should be aware of.

  • Evacuation plan and needed items. Is your home or office more than one level? If you had to get out the window could you do it without assistance? Having an escape ladder stored near the window is a good idea. Teaching the whole family to be aware of the plan and tools to use are necessary to be able to account or everyone quickly.

  • Emergency kit – This is not doomsday prepper type kit. This is a storm event or flood has made it necessary for me to survive on my own for a little while. Being prepared for this event is key. has a great starting point to develop a first aid and emergency kit that every home and business should keep available. Remember to keep in mind your unique situation and include those items you would need. i.e. meds, pet supplies, any disability assist items.  

SERVPRO of West Forsyth wants you to be prepared for any event that could disrupt your routine. Be it water, fire or mold damage, we are here to help make it “Like it never even happened.”  It is best to call us directly 336-946-1131.

Where did that storm come from

3/22/2021 (Permalink)

Did you ever say “I didn’t know it was going to rain today” or “wow listen to the rain coming down”? So, that should tell you storms can sneak up on you. Here’s a shock they may even sneak up on weather forecasters. But, don’t let them catch you off guard.

Things to do before a storm

  • Make sure you have done your weather stripping and storm doors close good.

  • Outside maintenance is important sand reseal and paint when it’s cracked or showing signs that water is getting to the lap boards.

  • Caulk windows

  • Ensure gutters are cleaned

  • Landscape, does water lead toward the house or away as it should?

  • Cover window wells to prevent water from accumulating in them but be sure they can be removed from the inside as an escape in case of fire.

After the storm

  • If you have a sump pump check on it after a hard rain or even a power outage.

  • You may want to have your roof inspected to see if there are any loose or missing shingles.

  • Check areas that are below grade when was the last time a sealant was applied? Especially around windows and window wells

  • If you discover water damage or standing water call SERVPRO of West Forsyth County 336-946-1131

What to expect when we arrive

3/15/2021 (Permalink)

When we arrive, we will assess the damage with state-of-the-art equipment. We will work with you on the priorities and order of events that need to happen in order to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible. After some paperwork is signed, extract water if necessary and depending on the insurance requirements we may begin any demo of materials not salvageable. We will set equipment that will prevent secondary damage and professionally dry the structure. This equipment consists of commercial fans and dehumidifiers that are more robust than your normal box fan or standard dehumidifier. They are loud but it is important that you leave them running to dry the space quickly. You or your insurance is paying for them to run on per day basis. So, let them run to keep the cost of your damage lower, the sooner it dries to the standard the sooner we can pull the equipment from your home or business.  

Over the course of the next few business days, we will monitor the equipment and report to the insurance company our progress as they may require. Once a standard of drying has been achieved, and mitigation is complete we can help you move on to phase two, the restoration process.

You will want to act quickly to prevent any more damage to your home or even ensure that insurance will cover the damage. But the cost should be the least of your worries. Your deductible should be your only out of pocket expense for a covered loss.  Let us know if we can help you in a stressful time to make it “Like it never even happened.” 

Call us direct at 336-946-1131

3 tips for protecting your home investment

3/11/2021 (Permalink)

During the pandemic restaurants and other businesses suffered loss in revenue in the Winston Salem and triad area, while the home market soared. Many Realtors complained of low inventory but were very happy that houses that were on the market moved quickly and were even under contract in a matter of hours. Buying a home can be a complicated process and you want to protect your investment.  Here are three tips to ensure that you are moving forward while protecting yourself.

You have to have homeowner’s insurance so getting your home covered correctly with replacement cost coverage is something that is strongly encouraged.  Your home is your largest asset, so make sure you understand how your coverage works. When a loss occurs is not the time to find out that your home is not covered properly.

Home owner’s insurance doesn’t cover the repair of the burst pipe but home warranty could possibly fix the pipe in addition to the electrical, plumbing, or appliance that caused the issue. Think of it as supplemental insurance like Aflac for the incidentals. Also, if the appliance or major home system item breaks down for general wear and tear the repairs or the cost to replace is on the homeowner.  If you don’t have a home warranty, ask the seller if they would purchase a home warranty for you as a part of the buyer’s agreement. It may only be for a year, but after that you can pick up the premium if you like.

Policies and warranties will vary, be sure to talk with your agent and warranty provider. Understand what is covered and what the exclusions are. The last tip is home maintenance, things that you should do each month to ensure that your home runs smoothly. For example, changing air filters, ensuring circuits are not overloaded. Reduce the chances of having a major issue by doing these maintenance tasks routinely. But if you do have a disaster be sure to keep this number handy 336-946-1131 “Like it never even happened.” SERVPRO of West Forsyth County.

What to expect before we arrive

3/8/2021 (Permalink)

So, you have had a water damage in your home and you’re getting ready to call us 336-946-1131. What are the next steps? As this is most likely the first time that you have been through this, let’s explain the process and what to expect.  First off, we hope to gather enough information from you on the phone that we can arrive prepared. Giving us that information will determine how many people to send, how much equipment to bring, and the right equipment. Knowing the type of loss, you have had, the size of the affected area, (# of rooms) and what materials are affected, helps to determine the number of people and equipment we send to your home or business. Also, during the phone phase, we need to determine if this will be an insurance claim. This will help us know need permission from the adjuster for certain procedures, and to ensure coverage.

Because we work with most insurance carriers, we know their procedures and how they prefer to be communicated with regarding your claim.  Our goal is that your only out of pocket expense is your deductible on a covered loss. Because of the pandemic some insurance carriers are reliant on the mitigation service provider you choose to give them information. For this reason, you can rest assured that you have chosen the right one with us. Our communication system helps them throughout the process no matter where you adjuster may be located, even if working remotely from home.

 Call us direct at 336-946-1131